Warsaw, 6 April 1948. Judge Halina Wereńko, a member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, interviewed the person named below as a witness, without taking an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Aniela Elżbieta Kołakowska, née Zabowska.|
|Date of birth||8 August 1909 in St. Petersburg|
|Parents’ names||Stefan and Leokadia, née Tarnowska|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Rakowiecka Street 1, flat 21|
When the Uprising broke out, I was in my apartment at Puławska Street 3 in Warsaw. During the first days of August I heard shots from afar. There were no insurrectionists on the premises of our house. German patrols walked along the street, and for this reason we could not exit the building. You could see Unii Lubelskiej Square and Polna Street from the windows of our apartment, and I saw fires in that direction. I don’t remember which houses were on fire. On 5 August I and most of the residents were taking shelter from the gunfire in the cellar. I did not observe the direction from which the shots were being fired. At around 11.00 a detachment of German soldiers ran into our house, shouting for the residents to leave (raus). I did not recognise the unit, and only saw that they had death’s heads on their caps. They spoke in German. I went out onto Puławska Street together with my husband, Artur Kołakowski, seven-year old son, Andrzej, parents Stefan and Leokadia Zabowski, cousin Edward Zabowski, and a group of residents from our house. I saw, when exiting, how a soldier took a gold watch from our neighbour, Irena Rackman (currently residing in Warsaw). In the street, our group joined other groups of civilians ejected from houses at Puławska Street 5, 7 and 9. In Unii Lubelskiej Square, in front of the national insurance pharmacy, the women were separated from the men, who numbered more than a hundred. Next, we were marched along aleja Szucha, the men in front and the women behind. The men were led into the gate of building no. 23, which was occupied by the Gestapo. The women, in turn, were stopped in the Square near the swimming pool, at the junction of aleja Szucha and Aleje Ujazdowskie. When standing in the Square, I noticed how successive groups of civilians were being marched from Unii Lubelskiej Square; the men were led to the gate of the house at aleja Szucha 25, while the women were attached to our group, and when there was no more space in the Square, they stood on the lawns along the wall surrounding the former Chief Inspectorate of the Armed Force at aleja Szucha. Talking with the incoming women, I learned that they were the residents of houses at Marszałkowska Street 33 and 35.
At around 16.00 the German soldiers – I could not recognise their unit – took the majority of the women in order to cover their tanks. The senior German officer gave a speech in which he said that the women must go to the front in order to gather the German wounded, for the Poles had organised an uprising. I managed to stay with my son in the group of older women and women with children. I witnessed them taking Mrs Anc, the wife of the owner of the pharmacy at Marszałkowska Street 33, who had to leave her two infant children behind. A few hundred women were in front of and behind two tanks. Four women rode on each of them. The procession started along Aleje Ujazdowskie in the direction of Pius XI Street. Before evening, one of the tanks and a part of the women constituting its rear cover returned. The part of the cover in front had run away to the insurrectionists, who had burnt the first tank by throwing bottles with petrol at it in Pius XI Street. The German soldiers told us that the ‚test’ had been unsuccessful, but that another time the result would be better. We were terribly frightened.
When, during the day, I was in the square at the junction of aleja Szucha and Aleje Ujazdowskie I didn’t hear any shots. As night fell, the group of women was taken to the courtyard at the back of the premises occupied by the Gestapo at aleja Szucha 25. While there, I heard shots, and I think they were coming from the direction of Zbawiciela Square. I didn’t see the men again in the courtyard of the Gestapo offices. My mother, Leokadia Zabowska (currently residing in Ciechanów, in the village of Gumowo), told me that at night she heard groans coming from the cellars. The men were led out into courtyard of the Gestapo offices on 5 August in groups of a few, whereas ours numbered more than one hundred people. On 6 August at around 11.00 a German in uniform told us that we would be freed and might return to our ‚bandits’. We were led under escort to the corner of Litewska and Marszałkowska Streets, and ordered to proceed to Zbawiciela Square. I later made it to the Śródmieście district.
I never saw my husband, father, or brother ever again. I have heard nothing about them since.
In January 1945, following the liberation, I talked with engineer Józef Plebański (I don’t know his current address), who was taken together with us from the house at Puławska Street 3. Before the Uprising he had worked at the ‚Marconi’ radio apparatus company. He told me that all of the men from our group were executed by firing squad in the open-air kindergarten. The executions in the open-air kindergarten were also mentioned by Jasiński, currently a conductor with the Municipal Transport Utility Company along the Mokotów route in Warsaw, and the owner of a pharmacy at Puławska Street 7 in Warsaw, a Czech who currently lives in Prague, however I don’t know his exact address.
At this point the report was brought to a close and read out.