Warsaw, 23 July 1947. Member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, Acting Judge Halina Wereńko, interviewed the person named below as a witness, without an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the obligation to speak the truth, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Lucjan Horotwitz|
|Parents’ names||Maurycy and Franciszka, née Taubenszlak|
|Date of birth||14 March 1905, Kraków|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Na Skarpie Avenue 21, flat 4|
|Education||Warsaw School of Economics|
|Occupation||Department Head at the Ministry of Industry and Trade|
I came into contact with Flick’s activities in the pre-war period, that is, before September 1939. Then I was abroad throughout the war, until March 1946, and I had no information on Flick’s activities during the war.
Flick ran businesses in Poland from 1925 or 1926. Initially, he was a shareholder of a company called Katovizenactiongesellschaft, and then he expanded the scope of his activities to include the Bismarckhutte joint stock company. Finally, through a merger agreement, he gained influence – in consultation with American capitalists – over the Upper Silesian United Royal and Laura Steelworks [Górnośląskie Zjednoczone Huty Królewska i Laura]. Those three companies formed a group known as the Community of Interests [Wspólnota Interesów]. In 1933, due to the companies’ tax arrears, which had resulted to a large extent from financial exploitation by the shareholders, the above-mentioned group of companies was subjected to judicial supervision, which ended in 1937 with the Polish government, or a special company formed by the court, buying Flick’s block of shares. In this way, in 1937, Flick formally ceased to be a shareholder of enterprises in Poland. The purchase price was paid in bonds guaranteed by the State Treasury.
I also know that, before the war, Flick was the main shareholder of Mitteldeutschestahlverke and a major shareholder of Vereinigtestahlverke in Germany. I do not know anything about Flick’s shares in IG Farben and Herman Göring Verke, which he probably acquired later on.
I also do not know how and based on what legal acts the mines and steelworks belonging to the Community of Interest were split up after the Germans occupied Upper Silesia, and how some of those facilities were incorporated into Herman Göring Verke.
German property in Upper Silesia was protected by the provisions of the Geneva Convention. After this expired in 1934, the Germans were in great danger of losing facilities in Poland, all the more so because those shareholders had artificially burdened their enterprises in Poland for many years, in order to avoid revealing their profits and paying taxes. The artificial burdening involved imposing extremely high loans on the companies via German banks, which in turn were used for purposes that had nothing to do with the company’s activities in Poland, e.g. Flick’s shares transactions in the Reich.
When the Community of Interest was subjected to judicial supervision, the German shareholders and government feared that those enterprises would be taken over without any compensation (expropriated) by the Polish government; therefore, they had grounds for considering the contract concluded by Flick and the Polish government to be a great German success. According to the contract, German shareholders and creditors were granted over 100 million zlotys in the form of long-term bonds.
I cannot provide any information on the Pszczyna case. The negotiations with Flick concerning the takeover of his shares in the Community of Interests on behalf of the Polish government were conducted by the late Engineer Wiktor Przedpełski (deceased in 1942 in New York) and Attorney Mieczysław Chmielewski (currently residing in London). Until 1938, I repeatedly came into contact with Flick as the director of the Community of Interest, since he was my supervisor until the judicial supervision was announced, and then while settling matters between the Community of Interests and Mitteldeutschestalverke.
In my opinion, some documents concerning Flick’s activity during the German occupation should be in the Stahlverksverband archives in Katowice and in the Chamber of Commerce.
These two institutions were located in the building currently occupied by the Central Board of the Steel Industry [Centralny Zarząd Przemysłu Hutniczego], and I know that there are also German archives in that building.
As for people I know, additional information could be provided by Paweł Keller, currently employed at the Centre of Iron and Steel [Centrala Żelaza i Stali] in Katowice, at Ligonia Street, who during the German occupation held a subordinate post as a bookkeeper during the liquidation of one of Flick’s companies.
At this point, the report was concluded and read out.