Warsaw, 8 March 1946. Judge Halina Wereńko, member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person specified below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the contents of Art. 107 and Art. 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Stanisław Pętlak|
|Names of parents||Adam and Katarzyna|
|Date of birth||14 October 1900 in Pilaszków|
|Place of residence||Chłodna Street 126, flat 4|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Education||illiterate, can sign his own name|
|Profession||employee at the City Sanitation Works|
During the Warsaw Uprising I lived at Wolska Street 129, in Hankiewicz’s house, opposite Sowińskiego Park. Our house had 236 residents with families. It had been estimated before the uprising that three thousand people lived there.
No insurgent activity was conducted out of our house, the fighting on 4 and 5 August took place far away from us.
On 5 August, at 9.40 a.m., I was on the second floor in my flat, which had windows facing Prądzyńskiego Street. I saw German soldiers (as far as I could tell from that distance they were SS troops) marching a group of over a hundred blue policemen with their hands up out of the 21st Precinct at Wolska Street. The soldiers brought the policemen up to the wall near the Orthodox church and shot them there.
Seeing the execution, I wanted to flee the house with my family, but it turned out it was already surrounded by SS-men and “Ukrainians”. I heard shouts calling on the people to leave their flats. I had barely managed to leave the house with my family before the troops started to throw grenades into the flats, starting a fire. I was in a group of residents of our house with my wife Sabina (36 years of age) and sons Stefan (19 years of age), Ryszard (14), Kazimierz (4), Janusz (3) and Henryk (11 years of age and still alive) and daughters Maria (13) and Hanka (9). The men were separated from the women and children and both groups were sent to the chain-link fence around Sowińskiego Park.
We stood there, the women near the park gate, the men closer to Elekcyjna Street. The soldiers started to shoot us with machine guns from Ordona Street. The guns were not visible from the site of the execution. I started to run away as the first volley was still being fired; I jumped over the fence and fell into the nettles on the inside of the park, unharmed.
Lying down I saw other residents of our house fall after the volleys, I saw a soldier snatch away a baby from the arms of a young mother, shoot her and throw the child onto the tramway tracks.
When the volleys stopped, I saw troops (“Ukrainians”, and I also think I saw SS-men there as well) walk between the people on the ground, killing off those still alive with revolver shots.
After a short break, a group of women, children and men from the municipal house on the corner of Wolska Street 132 and Elekcyjna Street 1/3 were moved to the fence of Sowińskiego Park.
Later on, I heard volleys close by and far away, for the entire day. Groups of men, women and children were brought over to the fence one after another, but how many people were brought there, and in how many groups, I cannot tell.
In the evening, I saw a group of civilian men who started to carry the corpses from the execution site to a square in the park. The moving of the bodies was not finished on that day.
I didn’t see the burning of the corpses. Around midnight, crawling, I reached the Orthodox cemetery, and from there I went to Jelonki.
A man from Grabowska’s house (Wolska Street 105), whose name I don’t know, escaped with me from the park. I know he now lives at Bema Street and is employed by the Citizen Militia (Milicja Obywatelska, MO).
Out of the people who lived in our house, those who survived the execution were Pachalski (owner of a grocery store, now lives in Błonie or Ożarów), Władek Maliszewski (a little boy, now living in Mszczonów with the Maliszewski family) and the midwife’s little son (I don’t know his name), Stanik’s little son (I don’t know his current address) and my son Henryk, then 11 years old, whom I found in 1945.
The people I saw die during the shooting: Świderski, the administrator of our house, and his wife, Mr and Mrs Stanin with their child, Władysław Maliszewski with his wife and three daughters. I don’t know the names of the other victims.
At that the report was concluded and read out.