Warsaw, 14 June 1946. Judge Antoni Knoll, acting as a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, heard the person named below as a witness. The witness testified as follows:
My name is Krystyna Znatowicz, daughter of Stefan and Zofia, born on 13 June 1913 in Będzin, Roman Catholic, Doctor of Philosophy, domiciled in Warsaw, Marszałkowska Street 4, no criminal record.
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was in town. I attempted to get to my house at Marszałkowska Street 4, but due to the military action I had to stay in the house at Marszałkowska Street 33.
On 5 August 1944 at 10 a.m., Vlasovtsy [Russian Liberation Army soldiers] came into the courtyard and told people to leave the apartments. At the same time, houses on the odd- numbered side of Marszałkowska Street were being set on fire. Upon leaving the house we were all gathered downstairs, and shortly after we were marched in the direction of Litewska Street. At first, the women, men and children walked together, but when we approached Litewska Street they began to segregate us. The men stayed on Marszałkowska Street, while the women and children were marched to Litewska Street. When I turned around on Litewska Street I could still see the men standing there.
I didn’t see any men lying on the ground.
On Litewska Street, we had our first longer stop, during which the Vlasovtsy took our watches and jewelry. They also took the dogs that many people had on leashes. Then we were marched down aleja Szucha in the direction of Aleje Ujazdowskie. We walked on the side of the Main Inspectorate of the Armed Forces [GISZ]. As we halted in front of this building, the Gestapo were bringing in groups of men from the direction of Litewska Street and leading them to the Gestapo headquarters yard. As I heard from the women standing next to me, these were men from Marszałkowska Street.
At about 4.00 p.m. seven tanks came. Then some women were placed on these tanks, but only on four out of seven. In addition, some women were also placed in sixes in between the tanks. Each such unit standing between the tanks comprised approximately four sixes. Some Vlasovtsy put on female coats and headscarves and mingled with the women. The tanks with women’s units left in the direction of Aleje Ujazdowskie and Koszykowa Street.
German officers with skulls and crossbones on their hats chose the women for the tanks and the in-between tank units. We were watched by Vlasovtsy.
At 6.00 p.m. the first of these [women’s] units came back to aleja Szucha. I don’t know whether the rest of them returned, since we were taken into the Gestapo grounds at that time. I cannot say whether any of the women chosen for tank protection were killed.
At the Gestapo HQ we were taken to a second yard. There were machine guns and German officers who were watching us in the windows on the ground floor. We spent the night there. At 2.00 a.m. or maybe 3.00 a.m. a large group of inhabitants from aleja Przyjaciół and its surroundings arrived at the Gestapo HQ. They had their belongings with them. As a result, there were some 1,200 people in the yard.
At 9.00 a.m. a Gestapo man with a skull and crossbones on his hat who spoke Polish fluently told us to go home. He literally told us to “go back to our bandits” and tell them to stop this “stupid” gunfight. And indeed when we were walked to the corner of Litewska and Marszałkowska street we were told to go in the direction of Zbawiciela Square, and we were not escorted further. We were forbidden to go in the direction of Unii Lubelskiej Square.
The Germans didn’t shoot at us as we left Zbawiciela Square. However, they fired a few shots at people who attempted to cross the street from the sidewalk on the even-numbered side of the street along which we were told to go.
In the first Gestapo yard our attention was drawn by a large quantity of coke and burnt papers, among which I saw Jewish Kennkartes and forms. The sight, coupled with the panic prevailing among the crowd, made us certain that the Germans would execute and burn us.
As for the allegedly blocked grates, people began to talk about it only after a note on the discovery of ashes at the Main Inspectorate of the Armed Forces [GISZ] was published in the press, to the effect that we were lucky not to be burned because the grates got blocked.
I haven’t heard of any public agency in possession of evidence that the grates at the GISZ were out of order. If I have said anything about it, my knowledge was based entirely on the press article.
I would like to add that when we entered Zbawiciela Square we saw two corpses – of a man and a woman – with their arms spread out. It made a great impression on me.
The following people were with me at aleja Szucha: Tadeusz Skrzypiciel and Anna Skrzypiciel, their daughter Wanda Odolska, Jan Odolski, Halina Siwek, Henryk Siwek, her husband, Zięckowska, Ancowa, her daughter, and Sienkiewicz, a pharmacy employee.
Now the Anca pharmacy is situated on Marszałkowska Street near Litewska Street.
The report was read out. At that the hearing was concluded.