Source: German Crimes in Poland. Vol.I. Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland. Warsaw, 1946.
Crimes Committed During the Warsaw Rising
[Note on Source Material. The text contains numerous inaccuracies of spelling and of grammatical usage, which have been left as in the original. Page numbers precede text.]
Crimes committed in the Marie Curie-Sklodowska Radium Institute.
Record No 45/II:
"Between ten and eleven o’clock on the morning of August 5, 1944, numerous military formations were seen approaching from the direction of the houses of Wawelska Street. Soon
afterwards about a hundred soldiers in German uniforms, belonging to Vlasov’s detachment (R. O. A.), rushed into the building of the Radium Institute, shouting and shooting at random.
That gang of drunken soldiers, having first secured the exits, began searching and plundering. There were at the time about 90 patients and 80 members of the staff with their families in the building. They were robbed by the soldiers of all their jewels, watches, and money and even of such trifles as fountain-pens, automatic lighters, or pocket mirrors. The fact that the institution was a hosopital, which was explained to the soldiers and was in any case obvious owing to the presence of the patients and the staff in their white coats, left the soldiers indifferent.
After having been robbed, the whole staff were driven by threat of machine-gun-fire into the hospital garden, where the stage was set for an execution.
Amid insulting and threatening shouts and shots fired in all directions, the victims were lined up in rows of three and forbidden to look round; and then an order was given to set up machine guns in their rear.
The husband of one of the patients, who slightly transgressed against the above-mentioned order, was killed on the spot by a revolver shot.
The whole party were then led in this order from the hospital garden across the Mokotow field and along streets in which lay dead bodies with skulls split open, to a camp at "Zieleniak". There they were kept for four days and nights in the open air, without food or water. Time and again women were assaulted, dragged out and violated by the drunken soldiers. Some of the Staff of the Institute were then transported via Pruszkow to Germany. Others succeeded in escaping from the transport and stayed in the vicinity of Warsaw.
We must here mention the fact that when the Hospital Staff
were taken straight from their work, dressed very lightly, mostly in their white coats, they were not allowed to take anything with them, and if anybody happened to be carrying a parcel oar a small suitcase, it was immediately taken from him.
About 90 patients confined to bed remained in the hospital, and 9 members of the staff had hidden in the chimney flues, and thus avoided expulsion.
That same day the plundering and demolishing of the buildings was begun. Doors were broken down, stores, cupboards, safes and suitcases were broken open, and glass was smashed. All the mattresses, pillows, blankets, and linen were ripped up and thrown about in the corridors and wards of the hospital. The ether and spirits were drunk and the store-rooms emptied.
More valuable things (clothing, linen, dresses, or silver) were stolen or thrown out of the windows and destroyed. Female patients were assaulted and violated.
On the next day, August 6, 1944, the barbarity of the drunken soldiers reached its climax. Some of the seriously sick and wounded, lying on the ground floor (about 15 in number), were killed with revolver shots, after which their mattresses were set on fire under their dead bodies. As not all the shots hit their mark, and those that did were not always fatal, some women who were too weak and ill to move were burnt alive. Only one of them, although badly burned and very weak, dragged herself out of bed and crawling on all fours escaped immediate death.
While these atrocities were going on, petrol was poured on the floors and the Institute was set on fire, all the exits having first been covered by machine-guns. In spite of this three women (an X-ray assistant, a nurse and a patient) managed to slip out of the building. Two of them ‘were caught, and after having been violated many times by the soldiers were brutally murdered. Their common grave has been found in the
hospital garden, where they were buried by those who were forced to dig trenches.
The remaining patients, on the upper floors, over 70 in number, and seven members of the staff who had managed tohide themselves, remained in the burning building, making desperate efforts to find some place where they could hold out against the suffocating smoke and burning heat of the fire. That day the unfortunate victims saved their lives for the moment, thanks to the fact that the Institute was burning comparatively slowly, owing to the absence of any great quantity of inflammable material and to the existence of fire-proof parquet floors. But later all the patients and one nurse were killed.
No less terrible were the scenes which took place in the science building of the Institute. It is true that the inmates were taken to the "Zieleniak" camp, but the building was set on fire and the people from the adjacent building (belonging to the Navy) were brought there. The women and children were separated from the men, who were driven into the burning building under the threat of machine-gun-fire. In this way eleven men perished in the presence of their families.
When everybody had left, the building was set on fire: 2 members of the staff had not obeyed the order and were still hiding in a chimney.
When the soldiers noticed in the procession a very sick woman,
staggering and helped along by the others (it was the one who had
‘been carried out by a member of the (staff), they ordered her to be
laid down near the wall of 19, Wawelska Street, where one of them shot
her, and then set fire to the body.
That the action was planned and premeditated by the German commanding is proved also by the following circumstances: 1) that Vlassov’s men were purposely given drink before marching on the city, 2) that one of the murderers stated on August 5 in the Institute: "The building won’t be burnt to-day, for we haven’t any orders yet", and 3) that the German Chief of Hospital and Ambulance Services in the Warsaw sector, Captain Borman, declared to a doctor, who begged him to intervene in the matter of the Radium Institute:
"It is of no importance if several old women with cancer perish - the most important thing is to win the war".
Crimes in Other Hospitals
Record No. 80:
,,In the summer of 1944, I was sent as a patient to Wola Hospital,
where I was still, suffering from sudative pleurisy, when the Rising
began. The Germans came to the Hospital on August 3 at 1 p. m. I was in
the cellar with mlany other sick and wounded. On entering the cellar,
the Germans fired a round from a machine-gun and several wounded men who
were standing near the entmrance fell dead. A few minutes
"The frightful smell of burning corpses was unbearable. I saw it all quite well, as I stayed in the German first-aid station (situated quite near), till the following morning."
Record No. 94:
"On August 5, 1944, at 2 p. m., the Germans broke into Wola Hospital in Plocka Street. Robbing began; the staff and the wounded were searched, and their money, watches and valuables were taken from them. At about 3 p. m. the Germans broke into the Hospital Director’s office and shots were heard from there. They shot the Director, Dr. Marian Piasecki, Prof. Zeyland and the Rev. Father Kazimierz Ciecierski, Chaplain of the Hospital (who had been specially summoned to the office). Then the order was given for the Hospital to be evacuated. The staff and all the patients who could walk were ordered to leave the premises. The procession was dreadful: the doctors leading, then the assistants, then the patients, staggering along, supported by those whom were stronger. Some had their arms in splints, others were on crutches; all in their underlinen, often incomplete, moving on with almost super-human effort. We were driven behind the railway subway to a shed or rather a factory hall, called Moczydlo, where were already several hundred people; and there with shouts and threats they divided us into groups. After some time four people were called out, then twenty-five. At the entrance, they were ordered to give up their watches. After a moment we heard shots. As there was no fighting near by we knew that an execution was taking place near us; the well-known sound of machine - gun fire was heard, and later single shots. There was no doubt that those who had been led out had been shot. Being a priest, I told those present the fate that probably awaited us and gave them absolution. After a moment the Germans called out 50 men. The atmosphere of death had already spread in the hall; the men went reluctantly.
Then 70 men were called out and again shots were heard; then the last group; among them the doctors, assistants and male nursing staff. To this group we also belonged, that is to say myself and another priest, Antoni Branszweig (alumn). I succeeded at the last moment in slipping away from the group which was coming out and hid among some nuns. The party of doctors were led out to death before my eyes. I did not see the execution itself, I only heard the volleys. I was told afterwards that the executions took place inside and in the courtyards of burning houses, at several places in Golrczewska Street. In the last group I saw Prof. Grzyblowski, Dr. Drozdowski, Dr. Sokolowski, and Dr. Lemtpicki led out for execution.
"Next day, disguised as a nun, I was taken with the remainder of the women in the direction of the Wola fortifications. During that march I escaped.
"More than 200 people from Wola Hospital were then shot.
"The crimlinale belonged to SS and Ukrainian detachments."
Record No. 215:
,,On the night of August 5/6, 1944, the St. Lazarus Hospital was taken. Owing to very intense artillery fire and air raids, the staff and the wounded retired to the shelter. The Germans threw grenades and mines and poured petrol into it and set it on fire. About 600 people were burnt. The whole hospital building was also burnt down after they had first removed all the Germans, who had been given the same care by the Poles as the Polish insurgents themselves.
"When one of the nuns tried to intervene on behalf of the wounded, a German threw a hand-grenade at her".
Record No. 189:
"St. Lazarus‘ Hospital. On Aug. 6, 1944, the stronger patients and the staff (200 persons altogether) were driven ,out of
the hospital. All were shot: among them 28 from the chief staff. Mrs. Dr. Barcz was shot together with her husband (also a doctor). She was only wounded, and fell to the ground, where she was found next day, together with some male nurses, and brought to St. Stanislaus’ Hospital. Dr. Barcz was never found: probably he died. One of the nurses who was saved, Mrs. Maciejewska, states that the severely wounded and the old men were taken under her supervision to’ the shelter, but were murdered there with hand-grenades when the hospital was captured. Not one of them was saved".
How the civilian population was murdered
Record No. 95:
"On August 5, 1944, I was sitting in the cellar of No. 4, Staszica Str. with other inhabitants of the house, when suddenly the Germans broke in and drove us out, at the same time grabbing the things we had with us. The women were separated from the men and driven in the direction of Dzialdowska Str.
"I was led out with a group of men to the yard of No. 15,
Staszica Street. Several hundred men had been driven into this yard. The
Germans began to fire machine guns at the crowd. I had withdrawn to the
rear, so that before the first rows had fallen, I succeeded in lying
down and concealing myself. The shots did not reach me. After some time
I crawled out from under a heap of corpses. When, after some time, a
German officer arrived, he did not give the order to finish those who
were still alive, but allowed us to join the people who were
being driven along the street. I thus got to Gorczews, ka Street and
from there. to Moczydlo. When I was passing No 26, Staszica Street, I
heard shots coming from the yard; an execution was taking place".
"I lived in the suburb of Wola, at No. 45, Gorczewska Street. On August 2, 1944, SS-men ordered us to leave and go to the house opposite; our house and the neighbouring ones were then burnt down. We got news on the 3rd that our position was hopeless, and that we were going to be shot. Several hundreds of people were gathered in the house. At 11 a. m. on August 4 the Germans surrounded the house, and ordered us to get out; dreadful cries from the women and children were heard. Some shots were fired at the entrance, and many people were killed or wounded. We were driven out into the potato field and ordered to lie down in the furrows. They guarded us closely, so that there was no chance of escape. After some minutes we were ordered to get up. Then they led us under a bridge quite near. There was no doubt about our fate. A woman asked where they weretaking us. The answer was: "German women and children are dying owing to you, so you must also die". They regrouped us, separating a group of 70 people, who were sent over the bridge towards a hill. They placed the others (among whom I was) near a wall, amid barbed wire. In different places near us shots were heard: victims of the German persecutors were being executed. We were herded together. I stood on the outskirts of our group, while at a distance of about 5 metres (16 or 17 ft.) from us one of our tormentors quietly made ready to fire a machine-gun, and another took photographs of us, as they wanted to keep a record of the execution. Several were watching us. A volley of shots rang out, followed by cries and groans. I fell wounded and lost consciousness. After a certain time I recovered my senses. I heard them finishing off the wounded I did not move, pretending to be dead. They left one German to keep watch. The murderers set the neighbouring houses, large and small, on fire. The heat scorched me, the smoke choked me, and my dress began to burn, I tried cautiously to put out the flames
I was hidden by a potato basket, and when the German sentinel was looking in another direction I pushed the basket in front of me and crawled along for a few yards behind it. Suddenly the wind blew a cloud of smoke in our direction so that the sentinel could not see me. I jumped to my feet and ran into the cellar of a burning house. There I found several people slightly wounded who had succeeded in getting out from under a heap of corpses. We set to work to dig an under-ground passage, a difficult task amid fire and smoke. At last, after several hours of superhuman effort, the passage was finished and brought us out in the courtyard of a neighbouring house, not yet on fire. This was about half past twelve at night. Someone led us out to the fields, away from the fighting and burning. I could hardly keep on my feet. I am still in hospital. The number of persons shot in my presence may be estimated at about 500, only 3 or 4 having been saved. The murderers were SS-men." (The Polish text shows that the author is a woman, this cannot be shown in the English translation save by the one word "dress". Note by the translator).
Record No. 73:
"On August 5, 1944, between 12 and 2 p. m., I saw from a window on the first floor of Wola Hospital Germans dragging women out of the cellars of No. 28, Plocka Str. They shot them in the courtyard with machine-guns. Almost at the same time, I saw in the courtyard of No. 30, Plocka Str. the hands of more then 20 people raised and visible over the fence (the people themselves could not be seen). After a volley of shots these hands fell down: this was another of the executions in Wola".
Record No. 57:
"I lived in the Wola district at No. 8, Elekcyjna Street. At 10 a. m. on Aug. 5, 1944 a detachment of SS-men and Vlassov’s
men entered. They drove us from the cellars and brought us near the Sowinski Park at Ulrychow. They shot at us when we passed. My wife was killed on the spot: our child was wounded and cried for his mother. Soon a Ukrainian approached and killed my two-year-old child like a dog; then he approached me together with some Germans and stood on my chest to see whether I was alive or not. - I shammed dead, lest I should be killed too. One of the murderers took my watch; I heard him reloading his gun. I thought he would finish me off, but he went on further, thinking I was dead. I lay thus from 10 a. m. until 9 p. m. pretending to be dead, and witnessing further atrocities. During that time I saw further groups being driven out and shot near the place where I lay. The huge heap of corpses grew still bigger. Those who gave any sign of life were shot. I was buried under other ,corpses and nearly suffocated. The executions lasted until 5 p. m. At 9 p. m. a group of Poles came to take the corpses away. I gave them a sign that I was alive. They helped me to get up and I regained sufficient strength to carry with them the body of my wife and child to the Sowinski Park, where they took all the dead. After this sad duty had been performed they took me to St. Laurence’s Church at Wola, where I remained till next day. I cannot state the exact number of the victims, but I estimate that those among whom I lay amounted to some 3,000 (three thousand). I met a friend in the church who had gone through the same experience as I, having lost a boy of 8, who had been wounded and died calling for his father. I am still in hospital and the image of death is constantly before my eyes".
Record No. 63:
"I lived at N’o. 18, Dzialdowska Street, Wola. The Insurgents had built two barricades near our house, at the corner of Wolska and Gorczewska Streets, with the help of the inhabitants, including even children. Machine-guns, ammunition and
while he was endeavouring to get inside. He called for his father and his mother. We all knew what awaited us here; there was no possibility of escape or of buying one’s life; there was a crowd of Germans, Ukrainians (Vlassov‘s men), and cars. I came last and kept in the background, continuing to let the others pass, in the hope that they would not kill a pregnant woman, but I was driven in with the last lot. In the yard I saw heaps of corpses 3 feet high, in several places. The whole right and left side of the big yard (the first yard) was strewn with bodies." (A sketch of the yard was made by the deponent.) "We were led through the second. There were about 20 people in our group, mostly children of 10 to 12. There were children without parents, and also a paralysed old woman whose son-in-law had been carrying her all the time on his back. At her side was her daughter with two children of 4 and 7. They were all killed. The old woman was literally killed on her son-in-law’s back, and he along with her. We were called out in groups of four and led to the end of the second yard to a pile of bodies. When the four reached this point, the Germans shot them through the backs of their heads with revolvers. The victims fell on the heap, and others came. Seeing what was to be their fate, some attempted to escape; they cried, begged, and prayed for mercy. I was in the last group of four. I begged the Vlassov’s men around me to save me and the children, and they asked if I had anything with which to buy my life. I had a large amount of gold with me and gave it them. They took it all and wanted to lead me away, but the German supervising the execution would not allow them to do so,and when I begged him to let me go he pushed me off, shouting "Quicker!" I fell when he pushed me. He also hit and pushed my elder boy, shouting "hurry up, you Polish bandit". Thus I came to the place of execution, in the last group of four, with my three children. I held my two younger children by one hand, and my elder boy by the other. The children were crying and praying. The elder boy, seeing the mass of
get up, I became sick and dizzy. At last I succeeded in crawling on all fours over the bodies of the dead towards the wall and looked round for a way of escape. I saw that the passage through the first yard which was there when we were being led to death was now blocked by a pile of corpses. German voices were heard from the street; I had to look for another way. I crawled into the third yard and found a hiding-place there in a hall where I got through an open window with the help of a 1adder. I hid here, fearing the Germans might come to control the place, and spent the whole night here. That night was dreadful. A Tiger tank stood in the street firing continuously, and planes did not cease bombing. All the walls shook. I feared the factory with all the dead would take fire any moment. In the morning all was quiet. I climbed up to look through the window to see if there were any living people about and saw a woman." (As stated later it was another victim who had escaped death by some miracle. She also was an inhabitant of our house.) "Then a man about 60 years old came crawling through the yard; he had also escaped death, but had lost one eye. They had both spent these two days in some hiding-place. We began to search the whole yard for some way out. After a long search and many attempts to get free, we at last found a hole on Skierniewicka Street and made our way out through it. The man, however, hearing the voices of Ukrainians did not follow us. They were standing alt the corner of Wolska Street and did not see us. We went through the debris and rubble into the middle of the street. Then they saw us and surrounded us, though we begged them to allow us to get to a hospital, as we were wounded, which was obvious. We were soaked in blood. We were driven in the direction of Wola in a group with other passers-by, picking up still more on the way. At a certain spot the younger and older people in the group were separated. Young men and women were put on one side and then marched towards a house of execution. This was past Plocka Street in the direction of St. Stanislaus’
Church. The remaining group (including myself and my companion) were driven to St. Stanislaus’ Church. I saw heaps of corpses on the road and parts of bodies, and Poles carrying the bodies away under escort. German officers standing in front of the church laughed at us, and kicked and beat us. The church was overcrowded. People were being taken in and out. I was then soexhausted that they laid me with the other sick persons before the High Altar. There was no help. I only got a drop of water. After two days I was taken on a peasant’s cart with the other sick and wounded to Pruszków, and from there to Komorow, and then still further to Podkowa Lesna. It was only there - on August 11 - that I got medical attention and help. On August 20 I gave birth to a little boy. I suppose I have lost, not only my three children, but also my husband, for he told me that he was going to stay in Warsaw to the end. I have no hope that he is still alive after all the dreadful things that happened.
"The Germans were setting houses on fire; throwing people out; hunting and beating them. In the yard of the "Ursus" works people were shot by Vlassov’s men under the command of a German; they say he was from the SS. As far as I can judge, there must have been 5-7 thousand dead in the yard of this factory. About 200 people were driven there from our block alone, which had over 40 flats (with about 4 people in each), and all were killed".
Record No. 58:
"When I was endeavouring to get outside the town from Wola, I passed through Gorczewska Street. This was on August 7,1944. When we passed No. 9, Gorczewska Street (a house which belonged to nuns), we were called into the house and ordered to carry out and bury the corpses which were there. The courtyard was a dreadful sight. It was an execution place. Heaps of corpses were lying there; I think they must have been
collecting there for some days, for some were already swollen and others quite freshly killed. There were bodies of men, women and children, all shot through the backs of their heads. It is difficult to state exactly how many there were. There must have been several layers carelessly heaped up. The men were ordered to carry away the bodies - wewomen to bury them. We put them in anti-tank trenches and then filled these up. In this way we filled up a number of such trenches in Gorczewska Street. I took the impression that during the first days of the Rising everybody was killed. Later on women and children were sometimes left alive, but the killing of men still went on. I watched all this until August 7, when I succeeded some-how in getting away out of this hell, having been saved by a miracle".
Record No. 59:
"On August 5, 1944, at Warsaw at about 4 or 5 p. m., the houses Nos. 105,107, 109, Wolska Street immediately behind the railway bridge, the so-called Hankiewicz-houses, were suddenly surrounded from all sides by Germans, who threw hand-grenades and set then on fire by means of some white powder, which they carried in bags. There were many inhabitants there and lots of people had come here from town. No order to leave the houses was given. After the Germans had surrounded them no one left them: everyone was burnt alive or else killed by hand-grenades. No one could escape. Only those were saved who had left the houses at some earlier hour. It was said that the Germans burnt all the houses in which insurgents had stayed. In the Hankiewicz houses some 2,000 people or perhaps even more found their death".
Record No. 60:
"On August 7, 1944, about 9 p, m., at No. 15, Gorczewska Street, the three and four-storeyed Wawelberg blocks were
surrounded by Germans (SS-men). They threw hand-grenades inside, surrounded the houses with machine-guns, and set them on fire from all sides. Any persons who tried to get out were killed. People in flames ran to the windows. Nobody could escape from the fire; they were all burnt alive. It was a miracle if someone escaped. I know of one woman who jumped from the second storey and thus succeeded in saving her life. The front entrance was full of the bodies of those who had tried to escape from the flames. I saw among them women with babies at the breast. The houses were completely surrounded, and I suppose there must have been about2,000 people living in them. No one came out alive unless by miracle, as in the case of the woman I have mentioned above".
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