Warsaw, 12 March 1948. Judge Halina Wereńko, a member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below as a witness, without taking an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Maria Osęka, née Szwiek|
|Parents’ names||Stanisław and Julianna, née Staniszewska|
|Date of birth||17 August 1900|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Złota Street 63, flat 81|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was in the John of God Hospital, where I worked as a nurse. In the middle of August 1944 (I don’t remember the date) I was wounded and transferred to the hospital at Długa Street 7. From there, towards the end of August (I don’t remember the exact date) I was taken to the hospital set up in St. Jacek’s Church at Freta Street 10. Following the bombardment of that Church, I was transferred – having suffered a serious injury – to the hospital located in the corridor of the building of the Warsaw Benevolent Association.
There were a great many wounded there. I cannot provide the surnames of the doctors or other members of staff. In the beginning of September – I don’t remember the exact date – German detachments entered the hospital premises. It was said that this was an SS unit, but in any case the soldiers spoke in German. They searched the hospital and left. After some time a detachment of Vlasovtsys arrived, and they took two female nurses and a small girl who was lying next to me (aged 12, H.[...] D.[...], healthy, who was in the hospital with her wounded mother) – to peel potatoes, so they said. They raped the latter. We – myself and the other wounded – were told this by a female nurse. One of the sisters managed to escape by jumping through a window. D.[...] did not return.
It was said that she had been murdered. I don’t remember who told me this.
After some time a few German soldiers came around (I didn’t recognise their unit) with flame throwers; they went towards the far end of the corridor, in the direction of St. Jacek’s Church. A while later, flames appeared in that location. The corridor caught fire, and even the mattress upon which I was lying started to burn. An organised effort was then made to rescue the wounded, and I, among others, was carried out into Stara Street.
I cannot stay whether everyone was carried out of the corridor. There were many wounded lying in the street, but I cannot give an exact figure.
I was lying closer to Mostowa Street, nearly at the end of the row. We lay there for a few days, and German patrols passed by constantly. We were cared for by some old woman (I don’t know her surname). We had no food and no dressings, so that worms started to develop in the wounds (I had them too). Some of the wounded, heavily burnt, screamed loudly in pain. Once, another German patrol approached (I cannot give their unit). The soldiers went in the direction of the screams – I heard a few single shots and the cries ceased. When the soldiers left I was told by those lying beside me that they had shot a few of the wounded.
A few days later in the morning (I cannot provide the dates, for I had suffered a head injury), a Polish sanitary patrol arrived – it was made up of priests, female nurses and civilian men, and they took some of the wounded. On the same day the sanitary team (always under German escort) took another group of wounded, myself among them. Some of the people were carried on stretchers, while others walked unaided. We passed through the ruins of the Old Town to Zamkowy Square, from where we were led along Krakowskie Przedmieście Street to the seminary near the Carmelite church. Along the way we were guarded by German soldiers, who gave us linen and water.
I cannot say whether the remaining wounded were transferred from Stara Street to the seminary. I stayed at the seminary for some three, four days, after which we were transported to the Wolski Hospital, where I lay until October (no register of the wounded was kept); subsequently, I was taken to the hospital in Milanówek.
I am currently suffering from paresis of the right arm and right leg, I have difficulty walking and cannot move my arm. This is the result of the wounds that I received in August 1944.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.