Warsaw, 4 June 1949. A Member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, magister [MA] Norbert Szuman, heard as a witness the person specified below; the witness did not swear an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Maria Franiewska née Alchimowicz|
|Date and place of birth||1908, Wilno|
|Names of parents||Władysław and Agnieszka née Wasilewska|
|Occupation of the father||laborer|
|State affiliation and nationality||Polish|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Education||three grades of elementary school|
|Occupation||employee of the Main Institute of Mechanics|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Libawska Street 14, flat 6|
At the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising I was in my house at Libawska Street 14, flat 6, situated near Powązkowska Street, opposite the access road to the Bem Fort. At about 5.00 p.m., shooting began somewhere in the vicinity of the tram terminal. The German soldiers from the fort opened fire in the direction of Żoliborz. The German troops spread around the area, and civilians were forbidden to leave the houses and walk in the streets. I spent the entire day and night staying in my home on the alert.
At night, I cannot give the exact time, from a distance of some several dozen meters, from the direction of Powązkowska Street, I heard volleys of shooting, screams and groans of people, I saw flashes of firing and the silhouettes of people running all around. Since I had just awoken from a nap, I cannot tell how for long it all lasted and what had been happening before the shooting commenced. After some time all went quiet and dark, and finally I heard someone knocking on my door. When I opened the door a crack, I saw a man, curled up by the wall, who asked me for water and help as he was injured, and he said that he had been in a group of people who had been executed by the road. I gave him some water and – since I didn’t have any dressing materials or medicaments – I showed him the safest route through the garden plots to the nearby houses.
I don’t know his name and I don’t know what kind of wound he had suffered; I heard that he was present in 1946 when a cross was being placed at the execution site, and that he gave a speech then; if I remember correctly, his name is on the plaque with the names of the executed people which is fastened to the cross. There are 21 names on it, all men. As the inscription says, these were the inhabitants of the house at Powązkowska Street 41.
On the following day, 2 August, I saw from the window of my house some twenty corpses of men lying just by the road. These corpses remained there unburied for some two more weeks, until they were buried in a common pit on the other side of the backwater by some young men who had been brought there by the Germans.
Allegedly, these young men were hostages. Prior to the burial of the executed, other hostages were led by the Germans around the area and told that should just one bullet be fired, they would be executed, and the inhabitants would be burnt alive in their houses.
Some time later the Germans, many of whom spoke Polish, began to storm into the adjacent houses and force the men out, as they were telling them, to the school on Elbląska Street. What happened as a result of that round-up, I cannot say.
Some time later, I don’t remember the date, but it was at the same time when Słodowiec and Buraków were set on fire, without any warning or order to leave the flats, the German soldiers stormed into our houses, doused them with petrol, adding some flammable materials, and set them on fire. In this manner they burned all the houses in the so-called działki [plots], where my house is situated. Then I went to the premises of the Military Cemetery, where I had a friend who was employed there and who was at that time burying the fallen Germans. From the period of my stay in the cemetery I remember that always at the beginning, before the German military authorities intervened, the “Ukrainians” were assaulting the civilians employed at or visiting the cemetery, and the cases of women being raped were quite frequent.
I stayed in the cemetery until the end of the uprising.
At this the report was closed and read out.