Warsaw, 6 March 1946. S. Rybiński, the Judge delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, heard as a witness the person specified below; the witness did not swear an oath. Having been advised of the duty to tell the truth and of the criminal liability for making false declarations the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname
|Halina Adamska née Teichen
|Franciszek and Jadwiga née Kreyser
|Date of birth
|27 February 1903
|Place of residence
|Warsaw, Wiśniowa Street 38
|Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture
In the winter of 1944, I was walking one day (I remember neither the day nor the month) along Marszałkowska Street from the direction of Zbawiciela Square on the even side of the street. When I reached Aleje Jerozolimskie and wanted to cross to continue walking on Marszałkowska Street, I was stopped with a “halt, halt.” I saw that, just beside the sidewalk on which I was standing, there were the so-called shacks, in which the Germans used to put people caught in round-ups. But by that time I had already understood from the behavior of the crowd gathered on the same sidewalk that this was about something else.
People began to take their hats off. Then I noticed that to my right, before the wall of a house on Aleje Jerozolimskie, there was a row of people in identical lightly-colored clothes.
Later people were saying that these clothes were made of paper bags. Then I understood that it was a public execution. The people condemned to death were packed tightly in a line. There were about 20 of them. I didn’t finish counting them as I was interrupted by a volley of shots. I managed to notice that each of them had their hands tied in back and something white over their mouths. Perhaps they had their mouths gagged, since no screams were to be heard, and their mouths were not visible under the white cover. They were not blindfolded.
Whether they had their shoes on or not, I did not notice.
The execution took place in silence. After the volley of shots all the convicts fell.
From how far they were being shot at, I didn’t notice. I was looking at the convicts all the time. One of the uniformed Germans approached the people lying, kicked them one by one and shot two of them with a revolver who must have given some sign of life. Then some Germans left, and the others began to throw the bodies of the executed into the only shack that was left and then sprinkled the blood-covered pavement with sand.
I was looking at the faces of the gendarmes who were standing closer to the site than I – they were very young. I didn’t notice any signs of emotion. Some of them were even smiling.
A few years earlier, in the summer of 1940, I was a victim of a round-up myself. I was then in a tram on Puławska Street. The Germans stopped the tram at Narbutta Street and took people from both carriages. I was in an attached carriage and before they surrounded it, I managed to jump from the back deck. When I was already running along the street, some German noticed me and alerted the gendarmes. I was caught and they told to me to stand with all the other passengers, with my face to the wall and my hands up. I managed to get a 20 PLN note and a strip of paper from my purse. I told the nearest standing gendarme who was watching us along with the others that I wanted to show him my identity papers. I showed him the note covered in a strip of white paper. It was effective, as he motioned me to go away. I was so dazed that I could barely walk. Fortunately some older man got out from a nearby shop and dragged me in. In this manner I was saved.
On 19 September 1940, there was a wave of arrests of men in the flats. I was living then in Lubecki Housing Estate at Solariego Street 5. The Germans surrounded the entire housing estate at dawn and began to take men from the flats. One gendarme came to our flat and told my husband, Wincenty Adamski, to go out to the yard where other men from our house had already been gathered. My husband did as he was told and then two gendarmes came in and searched the flat for hidden men, they were even opening the wardrobes. They took eight men then, all those who were in the house at that time. Only two escaped this fate, one [by] pretending to be ill, and the other [by] hiding in the basement. My husband was then 43 years old. I don’t remember the names of the seven men who were taken with my husband.
I didn’t know where my husband was. A few days later some man gave me a scribbled note which my husband had thrown out of the window of a train. It said that he was being taken in an unknown direction.
At first I went to the Gestapo at aleja Szucha. I was told there to file a petition. Then I went to the military commander, von Kambach, who was quite civil towards claimants. When he learned that my husband had been taken by the Gendarmerie, he told me that he could not do anything, as my husband had not been arrested by the military and, as he told me quite openly, “the Gendarmerie and the Army do not love each other very much.”
Then I went to Cracow, to the office in which my husband had been working, to his boss Funke, a doctor of law. He welcomed me heartily. Later, during his stay in Warsaw, Funke went with me to the Gestapo, to the commander, and intervened himself on behalf of my husband. The Gestapo commander (I don’t remember his name) told me that he would try to satisfy Funke’s wishes. My husband was an architect and before the war he had worked in the Army Lodging Fund. After the outbreak of the war, they were subordinated to the office run by Funke. I have to say that both Funke and Dr Kitt, his Warsaw assistant, were kind to me and I believe that their help was most effective. Nevertheless, I went also to the chief of the district, Dr Fiszer. It was not easy to get an appointment.
After a week of efforts and bribing lower clerks and caretakers, which I could do thanks to Missbach, an engineer and a Volksdeutsch whom I knew, I got an appointment. Fiszer received me rather kindly, standing, and spoke French with me, and German with engineer Missbach, also present. He promised to look into the case by way of exception, as he was not handling such cases at all. Fiszer had a kind face, and he was a tall, dark-haired man in his prime. He was pompous and pretentious.
I went to the Gestapo several more times. The commander told me quite kindly that I was obstructing their work, that I wanted to succeed too quickly, and that I had even made Dr Fiszer intervene. This is how I learned that Fiszer had kept his word. Another time, when I was at the Gestapo on my own (during the visit which I have recounted above I was there with Funke), during a conversation with one of the officers (I don’t know his name) who was assuring me that my husband was safe in Auschwitz (by then I already knew that my husband was in Auschwitz as I had gotten a letter from him), I smiled. I suppose that he did not like this, as he suddenly came at me, grabbed me by my hair with one hand and tried to rip my hat off with the other, but the hat had a string. I suppose that I was smiling unconsciously. Then he flew into a rage, punched me on the head, got out his revolver and began to beat me violently about the head with the butt and to kick me. I leaned against the wall, as he would have shot me or kicked me to death if I had fallen. Finally the other agent, who was reading a newspaper in the same room, said to my oppressor, “ genug,” and he had to repeat it more loudly. Then my oppressor told him in German, “that Polish pig is smiling at that.” He stopped beating me. The other Gestapo man told me to go home. My oppressor opened the door for me with exaggerated civility and said something in idiomatic Polish. He was young and handsome, about 32–33 years old, tall and dark-haired.
I would recognize him for sure if I saw him. I couldn’t learn his name. He said to me then as I left, “Tell anyone, you Polish pig, and we will finish you off.” I cannot describe the other Gestapo man, as I didn’t look closely at him. He had glasses and was reading a newspaper all the time. I barely managed to walk out of the Gestapo building and I went home in a cab, as I was exhausted. I was barely able to continue my efforts in my husband’s case afterwards. [Even] now I begin to feel the effects of the beating with the revolver butt on the head – I cannot carry my head freely as I get dizzy, and I cannot bear any pressure on my head.
My husband returned home from Auschwitz after a month. My efforts from October 1940 were successful. All the other inhabitants of our house who had been taken with my husband died in Auschwitz.
The report was read out.