Warsaw, 20 April 1949. A member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Norbert Szuman (MA), interviewed the person named below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Franciszek Obstawski|
|Date and place of birth||27 September 1904 in Warsaw|
|Parents’ names||Józef and Maria, née Galbarczyk|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Poznańska Street 11, flat 43|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was in my flat at Puławska Street 73/75, at the corner of Boryszewska Street. During the first days of the Uprising this area, occupied by the insurgents, was relatively calm; however, our house and the immediate vicinity were constantly being fired upon.
On 3 August at around 5.00 p.m., when I was in my flat on the first floor, which opens onto Puławska Street, I noticed that a German tank had driven up from Belgijska Street and had stopped on the even-numbered side of Puławska Street, more or less opposite our house.
The entire even-numbered side of Puławska Street had been occupied by the Germans. I saw that soldiers were evicting the residents from their houses, and I also noticed that they were shooting at them; the bodies of the victims fell in the street. When three tanks had gathered in Puławska Street, they started shelling our house at no. 73/75; seeing this, I ran down to the basement of our house with my two minor children. A short time later, when we were in the basement, I heard screams and shouts, and amongst them I recognized Germans ordering the people to come out into the courtyard; shots were being fired, too. Although the soldiers were already in the courtyard, I somehow managed to sneak out of the basement and return to my flat. I hid the children in the flat, and waited to see how events would unfold. After a while, three German soldiers entered the apartment: one SS man (I recognized his uniform insignia) and two “Ukrainians”. They beat me till I bled, and then took me down to the first floor.
At this point I must stress that our house had two courtyards. The building, divided by a crosswise annex, had three stories and contained perhaps some 50 flats with a large number of residents.
When I was taken down to the courtyard, I noticed the bodies of the caretaker and his wife on the stairs and in the gate. Many bodies of residents were lying in the first courtyard (I cannot provide the exact number), while some must have been wounded, for I heard groans. A large number of German soldiers – who had carried out the execution – were milling around in the courtyard, and I also saw that the caretaker’s flat and the crosswise annex were burning. I and a few other people – and I would like to stress that I was semiconscious at the time – were stood against the wall of the crosswise annex. I heard shots, fell down, and passed out. After some time I came to.
I don’t know how long I lay unconscious. The Germans were nowhere to be seen, and the entire house was ablaze. There were many bodies in the courtyard – no one moved. Driven more by adrenaline than strength – I became aware that I was wounded – I managed to run into my flat, which had not yet caught fire, and gather my children. I crawled down with them to the courtyard, by now only partially conscious. There we stumbled upon two women, whose surnames and addresses I don’t know, who led me through the second courtyard of our house to the warehouse of the Gąsecki company, which was located behind our house, at Pogodna Street.
While I was passing through the second courtyard of our house, I did not notice any bodies.
I stayed in the Gąsecki warehouse for a few days, after which I was taken to the nuns at Belwederska Street 20, where an improvised hospital had been set up. At the hospital I received treatment for my severely wounded lung: the personnel set me on my way to recovery, so that a few days before the capitulation of Mokotów I could be carried together with all the other wounded people and paralytics – as the Germans had demanded – to the hospital at Chocimska Street 7. After the capitulation of Mokotów, this entire hospital was evacuated to Milanówek.
Continuation of the interview of witness Franciszek Obstawski, dated 20 April 1949, conducted in Warsaw by Norbert Szuman (MA).
On 5 May 1949 the witness Franciszek Obstawski appeared once more. Having been reminded of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the obligation to speak the truth, the witness testified as follows:
I hereby submit a certificate made out by Dr. K. Chmielewski in Milanówek on 19 October 1944, with the oblong seal of the Central Welfare Council affixed thereto, stating that on 4 August 1944, being wounded in the chest, I reported to the first-aid station at Belwederska Street 20. I would like to explain that the date given for when I reported to the first-aid station is erroneous, for as far as I remember I went there on Sunday, 6 August.
Having perused the above-mentioned certificate, the interviewer decided to make a copy thereof, after which said copy, authenticated by the seal of the Main Commission, was attached to the present report.
At this point the interview report, dated 20 April and 5 May 1949, was brought to a close and read out.
I hereby declare that Mr. Franciszek Obstawski, aged 40, with his address of permanent residence in Warsaw, at Puławska Street 73/75, arrived at the first-aid station at Belwederska Street 20 on 4 August of the present year, with a chest wound and symptoms of haemoptysis. Presently, since his health has improved, he would like to return to work.
Dr. K. Chmielewski
Polish Welfare Committee
Sochaczew – Błonie
Milanówek, 19 October 1944