The sixth day of the trial
Witness Jan Bronisław Janikowski, born in Warsaw in 1888, active-duty lieutenant colonel, residing in Wawer, no relationship to the parties.
Presiding judge: – The colonel has been summoned as a witness in connection with the murders committed by the Germans in Wawer. Could you, please, describe, briefly and to the point, the course of the events that took place in Wawer?
Witness: – Will the Supreme Tribunal allow me, before I give my testimony, to provide some explanations concerning colonel Daume, who is present here?
Presiding judge: – The case of colonel Daume is linked to the Wawer case.
Witness: – That is why I would like to explain something. I learned from the press that Daume claims that when the murders in Wawer took place, he did not preside over the trial that was held there. Well, I declare, with full certainty, that colonel Daume...
Presiding judge: – Defendant Daume.
Witness: – ...that defendant Daume lied, claiming that it was not him, but major Hasse from the judicial corps who presided over the trial. He was the president; he issued the orders and decrees. Major Haase was rather a public prosecutor, he acted as if he were a prosecutor, but he was never the president and he never interfered. I wanted to point this out.
Before 1939, I lived in Wawer at Józefa Piłsudskiego Street 46. On the night of 26 December 1939, an incident took place in the restaurant, but it has been described in the press, so I will not repeat it. That night, at about 11.30 p.m., ten soldiers under the command of a non- commissioned officer came to the yard of the house where I lived. Six of them were standing at the gate; four entered the apartment and asked who lived there. I told them I lived there with my mother, wife, and sister. They asked me if there were more men. I said no. Then, they asked if I was an officer, and when I said yes, they told me to go with them. I said I would go in a moment, that I had to get dressed because I had just gotten out of bed, but they answered, “No, right now, schnell.” My mother wanted to give me some necessities such as food, a towel, and soap, but they pushed it all away, saying I wouldn’t need it and that we had to go right now. They said I would not need any documents either, but I took them with me, just in case.
They took me to II Poprzeczna Street and told me to stand in a row, like everyone else – there were three rows. After some time, ten men were ordered to go to Poprzeczna Street, to Klemensiewicz’s house. I have a sketch of that house.
Presiding judge: – It’s in the files.
Witness: – We were gathered by a small house, near the grave of lieutenant Blokholz, I believe, who was killed in 1939. I waited there for some time and watched what was going on in the yard. Terrible things were happening because all the men who had been gathered there were treated inhumanely. Soldiers would approach individuals all of a sudden and beat them with a rifle or a stick. One of the Germans had a piece of cane and beat everyone on the head. I didn’t know what they wanted. To the right of the house, there was a group of people who had already been judged. On the left, I saw a man wearing only underwear, standing in the cold, and it is worth mentioning that the temperature was eighteen degrees below zero. It lasted for about an hour, and then I was summoned into the house. It was a tall, one-story building; about two meters high. It could be accessed by stairs with about ten steps, leading to the courtroom. When people were climbing the stairs, the soldiers standing on the right and on the left were kicking everyone. They also wanted to kick me, but somehow I managed to neatly dodge the blow, and the soldier who had swung his leg almost fell down the stairs. When I got there, I stood face to face with a Gestapo officer who had a rifle and a revolver. He took me into the room. There were soldiers on the right and left who believed it was necessary to stick their legs out to trip up those who were entering the room, but I noticed this and entered the room slowly, so I didn’t fall down. I was only hit on the left side by a soldier, and in the head by another one. I approached the table where the president, defendant Daume, was sitting. The prosecutor, major Haase, was sitting next to him.
Presiding judge: – Which of the defendants in the dock do you think is Daume?
Witness: – (pointing) The one holding headphones, wearing a green uniform. As soon as I was brought in to the courtroom, the interrogation began. There was another table, longer than the one under the window. A major, a colonel, several officers, and, I believe, also Lieutenant Stefan, the commandant of Anin, were sitting there.
Attorney Węgliński: – The interpreting equipment has broken down and defendant Daume cannot hear the testimony that is important to him.
Presiding judge: – I am ordering a five-minute recess.
Witness: – The interrogation began. There were two tables: defendant Daume was sitting at one of them, together with a clerk, the prosecutor, and two lieutenants. At the other table, there were some officers, including Lieutenant Stefan, the commandant of Anin.
The interrogation was started by the clerk who had a piece of paper in front of him, partially covered in writing, and asked me my name and surname, year of birth, and occupation. When I told him I was a major, defendant Daume turned to me, “Are you an officer or a legionary?” I said, “No, I am a professional officer of the Russian army.” He asked if I had participated in the World War and when I said yes, he added, “And who did you fight against?” “I fought Austrians and Germans,” I told him. He asked me where, and I told him near Lublin. “In which army?” he continued. “The fourth, under General Ewert.” “Against whom? Do you know the commanders?” “Yes, it was Auffenberg and Dankl,” I responded. Then he asked, “Were you wounded?” I said, “Yes, in the leg.” Then, some officers approached me to check if I had indeed been wounded. Defendant Daume beckoned the prosecutor to approach me as well. He came over, saw the scar, and said Loch, because I had a gunshot wound in the leg. This was the end of the examination. Defendant Daume then turned to me, “Do you have any documents certifying that you are an officer?” I showed him my Polish identity card, issued before 1929 by the Ministry of Military Affairs. He looked at it and said, “Pfff, it’s Polish. It can be easily falsified.” I said, “Forgive me, sir, but I don’t falsify documents!” He threw it back to me.
Then the prosecutor came in and started saying that Poles had made a mistake, that there had been an incident in Anin and two soldiers had been shot dead, but he knew that the person who committed the crime was not a military man, but a civilian. He said that since I was a military man, I had nothing to do with it, and that between us officers there was a bond of unity. I believe he said something like esprit du corps, but I am not sure. As soon as the prosecutor was finished, the defendant shook his head to show that he was not happy and unconvinced, and he asked me if I had any other evidence apart from that Polish identity card. “Yes, I have a German identity card,” I said. “Really, a German one?” he asked. I had a copy of a document issued by the Kommandantur Warschau, a Bescheinigung [certificate] stating that I had reported in Warsaw on 10 October, that is, on the last day of the registration of all officers who were in Warsaw. I showed it to him, he read it and tore it up, “Now you have no document.” “Yes, unfortunately, I don’t have any documents now,” I said. I saw that nothing I said would convince him. He was also not convinced by what the prosecutor had said. It was like vox clamantis in deserto, the voice of one clamoring in the desert. There was nothing I could say to convince him and I saw that the situation was hopeless, because I would only be taken out together with the rest. Then, I remembered that the best way to fight the Germans is to be insolent, so I took my chances. When he tore the document up, I said, “I have read and I have been told that the German army is a perfect army, a model for others, an army par excellence, which should be a model for others, but I don’t believe, sir, that what you have done is in line with this perfection, because the Bescheinigung has been issued to me by order of the commander, Lieutenant General Kokenhausen. He gave an order for every officer to report and be given such a certificate. If you, sir, in the presence of your subordinates, and particularly in the presence of a stranger, that is, me, do not respect the orders of your supervisors and undermine their authority, what would one think of the German army? It shouldn’t be like that.” The defendant became truly outraged and I even thought he would shoot me with the revolver he had on him, but when he saw the ironical smiles of his subordinates, he calmed down, approached the clerk – who was sitting two steps away from him and was holding a ruler, with which he was nervously tapping on the table – and he ordered him to cross me off the list of those who were sentenced to death. He told me to report in three days to the Sejm building at Wiejska Street, in the Sejm hotel, where a battalion was stationed, and where I would be issued a new certificate. I said all right. Then he beckoned to the other non-commissioned officer and told him something. The soldier approached me, and the one who wrote and crossed names out said, “You are free, you can go home.” That was it.
Presiding judge: – Were you present when the court was hearing other cases?
Witness: – No, only during that one.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – You have said that defendant Daume was the president, and the other officer was the prosecutor. Will you please tell the Tribunal why you think those were the functions they performed?
Witness: – It would be difficult to think otherwise when the man was standing at the table, with a clerk next to him, he gave orders and, at the same time, he was a lieutenant colonel, while the other one was a major. In the army, it is a strictly observed rule that only younger men can be subordinate, not older. What else could I think when he was the one who gave orders, and the other one, supposedly the president, Major Haase, stood by and only answered questions? It was defendant Daume whom I handed the document to and it was he who tore it up. He did not even show it to Haase, so it seems that the latter played a secondary role.
Presiding judge: – So based on the behavior of Daume, you assume that he was the president of that so-called court?
Witness: – I am not saying he definitely was the president, because he could have been acting as such only when I was being interrogated. It is possible the two men switched roles. While he was interrogating me, I am convinced and I solemnly declare it before God, the law, and my own conscience, that he, not the major, was the president.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – Are you aware of the importance of your testimony to the case of defendant Daume?
Witness: – Yes, I am.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – Are you sure that the man whom you refer to as the president was Daume?
Witness: – Mr. Prosecutor, I did not know Colonel Daume personally, so I cannot say that this man is Daume. I’m only saying that this is the same person who interrogated me. I don’t know if it’s Daume. I have learned from newspapers that Daume was the president and I am fully convinced that the individual sitting in the dock is the one who judged me and released me.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – At what point did the arrested men realize that they were being led to their death?
Witness: – No one was a hundred percent sure that they were being led to their death, because even at the very last moment there is a glimmer of hope that something might happen, and people try to convince themselves that the situation only appears to be bad. Based on what happened to me, I was sure that something bad was going to happen, and the only thing that comforted me was that I was not alone. I thought that if there were so many of us, no special repressive measures would be applied, and that, in the end, they would just load us into a train and take us to Germany. I was not a hundred percent sure that they wanted to shoot me.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – Will you please explain whether you were one of the first to be summoned by the court, or one of those who were summoned later?
Witness: – The list was written on a lined sheet of paper. When I came in, fifteen names had been written down. Apart from that, I saw a group of people standing in the third yard. This was the list of those who were sentenced to death, because I was crossed off that list.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – Did you know any of those names?
Witness: – Yes. I have lived there for twenty years, so I know a lot of people.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – What personal data were you asked for before they checked your identity documents?
Witness: – He asked me for my name and surname, and wrote it all down.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – Did the court ask you about any deeds you had committed?
Witness: – To tell you the truth, people were not told what they were being accused of. I was asked no questions and I was not a hundred percent sure what was going on.
Prosecutor Siewierski: – Were witnesses who would have been able to determine how the murder happened interrogated?
Witness: – There were no witnesses; there were only the accused.
Attorney Wagner: – Do you remember what unit carried out the arrests, held the trial, and executed the verdict?
Witness: – When the trial was taking place, it was impossible to tell, because there were no badges on their arms. Later on, I found out that it was the 6th Battalion of the 2nd political police company.
Attorney Wagner: – Political or order police?
Witness: – Political.
Attorney Wagner: – Where were they stationed?
Witness: – I wouldn’t like to say anything that is untrue; I don’t know exactly. I only knew that this battalion had come from Warsaw by trucks.
Attorney Wagner: – Your documents were taken away and you were told to report. Where?
Witness: – At Wiejska Street, to the Sejm hotel. I went there the next day, but when I saw Gestapo officers standing there and that everyone was armed, I decided not to go inside. And I didn’t.
Attorney Wagner: – Did you check, when going to the Gestapo office, what unit it was?
Witness: – Not then, but later on I found out that it was the 2nd and 3rd company of the 6th Battalion. On 2 January, I went to the city’s commander, and I was issued a new Ausweis [certificate] for which I paid a thousand zlotys. This one was even better because some major declared that I was never in the army, did not fight any battles, and that I posed no danger whatsoever.
Attorney Węgliński: – Could you please tell the Tribunal when was the first time you heard the names of the Germans who participated in the so-called court in Wawer?
Witness: – A lady whose husband or someone else had been shot asked me, “Do you know what are the names of the Germans from the court?” I told her I didn’t know, and she said, “Just so that you know, one of them is called Daume.”
Attorney Węgliński: – How long after the trial was this?
Witness: – Over half a year.
Attorney Węgliński: – Didn’t you participate in the investigations carried out by the Polish authorities concerning the events that had taken place in Wawer? Did you know about those investigations?
Witness: – There were investigations, and it was announced that everyone who knew something should come forward. I testified before Judge Halfter.
Attorney Węgliński: – I’m asking about the year 1939 and the beginning of 1940.
Witness: – I don’t know anything about that, and I didn’t testify at that time.
Attorney Węgliński: – You have told the Tribunal that when you entered the room, the men in there played different roles: there was the president, the prosecutor, the clerk, and it all resembled a court. Why didn’t you tell anything about that court at the hearing before Judge Halfter?
Witness Janikowski: – I wasn’t asked about it.
Attorney Węgliński: – You have said that the prosecutor gave a speech, partly in your defense. This is not included in the interrogation report.
Witness: – That’s possibly because everything was done quickly and carelessly.
Attorney Węgliński: – You have been interrogated several times.
Witness: – I have been interrogated once, when the testimony was to be sent to Nuremberg.
Attorney Węgliński: – And what about the examination of your wounds? Why didn’t you talk about that?
Witness: – I said that it was all so quick and brief that it’s possible that I didn’t say everything, and even now I might not have told you everything.
Attorney Węgliński: – To whom did you show your officer’s identity card?
Witness: – Defendant Daume said that such a document could be falsified.
Attorney Węgliński: – What language did you speak in that room? Polish or German?
Witness Janikowski: – At first, I was asked questions in German and I wanted to answer in German, but when I realized that everyone understood Polish – it seemed so to me – I spoke Polish.
Attorney Węgliński: – Did defendant Daume speak Polish?
Witness: – He was speaking through the clerk and an interpreter.
Attorney Węgliński: – Where were they at the table? Where was defendant Daume and Major Haase?
Witness: – I have a map. There were two tables. By a window, there was a group of officers, and there was another table, where Daume was seated. The clerk and another, very tall, lieutenant were sitting right next to him. Behind me, there was the prosecutor, Major Haase (the witness illustrates the positions of the people in the Wawer courtroom).
Attorney Węgliński: – Why did you describe it differently during the investigation? During the investigation, you testified that the major was standing at the table.
Witness: – They were all standing at a table, but in different places.
Attorney Węgliński: – You have said that he was standing behind you.
Witness: – I’m now saying what it was like.
Attorney Węgliński: – Your Honor! I will not attempt to clarify the numerous contradictions that exist between the testimony given during the investigation and the one given now, at the hearing. I would like to ask for those contradictions between the testimonies to be revealed and for the testimony of the witness of 16 October 1945, before the Investigating Judge Halfter, from the fourth volume of the case file, to be included in the case files. I have a few more questions, but I will not explain the contradictions. Will the witness, please, say who announced the verdict? Was the verdict announced?
Witness Janikowski: – I have been told it was announced, but I was not present then. I have been told it was announced by the president.
Attorney Węgliński: – And were those officers wearing coats or not?
Witness: – They weren’t. Only defendant Daume was wearing a coat and a hat.
Attorney Węgliński: – So you noticed that the man was a major, because he wasn’t wearing a coat, but only a uniform. What time were you released? How long did you spend in the room?
Witness: – Over two and a half or two hours.
Attorney Węgliński: – Did you walk home alone?
Witness: – Defendant Daume beckoned the non-commissioned officer, pointed at me, and the clerk said I was free and that I could go home.
Attorney Węgliński: – Did you experience any inconvenience after leaving the room?
Witness: – On the contrary. Before the trial, the soldiers wanted to beat me, and afterwards they were standing at attention, and I walked past them with no obstacles. Only on the street, there was a cordon of soldiers, and a non-commissioned officer, or a commander, asked the soldier where he was taking me and if I was to be executed. He told him I was going home. The other one waved his hand and I was escorted back home.
Attorney Wagner: – I would like to ask defendant Daume a question concerning the testimony of the witness. Defendant Daume, please tell the Tribunal whether the 6th Battalion was part of the Ordnungspolizei or another type of police.
Defendant Daume: – It was the German Order Police.
Attorney Wagner: – Was the headquarters of the 6th Battalion located at Wiejska Street at the Sejm?
Defendant Daume: – As far as I remember, it was in a student residence hall.
Attorney Wagner: – Were the Ordnungspolizei and the Stadtpolizei connected in any way?
Defendant Daume: – No.
Attorney Wagner: – Does the defendant know anything about defendant Meisinger’s participation in the Wawer incident?
Defendant Daume: – No.
Attorney Wagner: – I have no more questions.
Attorney Węgliński: – Defendant Daume has one question for the witness.
Presiding judge: – Go ahead.
Defendant Daume: – Your Honors! I would only like to refer to one sentence said by the witness. Based on the rank I held back then, that is, lieutenant colonel, the witness assumes that I had to be the president because, as he said, “If a colonel is present, and since it is a higher rank than a major, then he must be president.” This is roughly what the witness said. I would like to point out that, according to the official regulations – if I may refer to this matter – according to the service regulations of summary police courts, only commanders of independent battalions are authorized to preside over such a police court, and Major Haase was such a person. Alternatively, the position may be held by the commander of an independent company. In this case, according to the German law, only the commander of a battalion – that is, Major Haase – could become the president of a summary court set up by him.
Judge Rybczyński: – I would like to ask defendant Daume whether all the other facts mentioned by Colonel Janikowski in his testimony ever took place.
Defendant Daume: – I did not hear the first part of the witness’s testimony, before the recess, because it was not interpreted. As for the second part, I must say that it is not clear to me what the witness understands by a prosecutor. I would like to point out that according to the regulations concerning summary police courts, no prosecutors are present during such trials.
It seems that – forgive me, Colonel, if I say this – the witness has mixed up the people. All the questions that the people brought into the room were asked were not asked by any prosecutor, by myself or anyone else, but by the president of the summary police court, Major Haase.
I remember that many other Poles, when their identity cards were being checked, claimed that they had certificates issued by the German labor offices. The president, Major Haase, confirmed this and released them. The same happened in the case of the colonel, the witness.
Judge Grudziński: – So who does the witness believes it was who released him?
Witness Janikowski: – The defendant.
Judge Grudziński: – Did you hear him stating that or did it only seem like that to you? You speak German, so please describe this moment exactly to the Tribunal.
Witness Janikowski: – Your Honor! At the end, it was the defendant who gave the order to cross my name off the list. He was holding a ruler in his left hand and he was tapping it on the table. Then, he approached the clerk and said: “Cross this off.” The clerk crossed my name off in his presence.
Judge Grudziński: – And what happened then?
Witness: – As soon as the clerk crossed off my name, he said something, but I didn’t hear it, and he beckoned a non-commissioned officer standing in the corner to call over another soldier. That soldier approached me, and the clerk said, “You are free, you may go home.”
Judge Grudziński: – Did Haase say anything then, or was he passive?
Witness: – He didn’t say anything. I am sorry that I called him a prosecutor; I said he acted as if he were a prosecutor. Haase stood by me and remained passive until the defendant gave the identity card back to me and said it could be false. Then Haase said he was becoming convinced that I was an officer.
Presiding judge: – In what language? Do you speak German?
Witness: – In German. I understood it, and the clerk was interpreting.
Attorney Węgliński: – I want to return to what you said about Haase’s behavior. You have testified that he was becoming convinced that you were an officer. Was that everything?
Witness: – I haven’t told you everything he said. He talked about the bond of unity, but it has already been reported and I will not repeat it again.
Attorney Węgliński: – How well do you remember the moment when your name was crossed off?
Witness: – I remember it very well.
Attorney Węgliński: – And you are saying that who crossed it off?
Witness: – The clerk-interpreter crossed it off personally, as instructed by the defendant.
Attorney Węgliński: – During the investigation, you testified that Daume personally crossed off your name.
Witness: – He was holding a ruler and gave an order to cross off my name.
Attorney Węgliński: – This is not what you said during the investigation.
Witness: – I don’t understand.
Attorney Węgliński: – I can read it out.
Presiding judge: – The Tribunal is familiar with this fragment.