Warsaw, 2 April 1946. Judge S. Rybiński, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, interviewed the person named below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the significance of the oath, the judge took an oath therefrom, following which the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Władysława Zienkiewicz, formerly Mikulska, née Wyszkowska|
|Parents’ names||Józef and Feliksa, née Sokołowska|
|Date of birth||7 March 1888|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Jagiellońska Street 36, flat 52|
I have been living at the abovementioned address since 1941. Until 1944, my second husband, Szczepan Zienkiewicz, and I lived there with my younger son, Jerzy Zienkiewicz (born on 6 November 1926). My son took his intermediate school leaving exam in 1943, while he was a student at the Roesler school at Chłodna Street, and enrolled in secondary school.
I don’t know whether my son was a member of a political organisation aimed against the German occupying forces. I can only guess that he was. On 3 April 1944 my son left home at 8.00, without saying goodbye. I thought that he had gone just to use the telephone. He did not return.
At 16.00, however, we were visited by two scoundrels dressed in civilian clothes. One of them wore a leather coat. They told me that they were friends of my son and would like to take back a book that they had lent him. They rifled through my son’s briefcase and, after a cursory search of his books, didn’t take anything and left.
Only on 7 April was I approached by a woman, unknown to me, who introduced herself as Leszczyńska and informed me that she knew my son well, for he had visited her sister, Kubczyk, residing at Tarchomińska Street 7; there, my son had been arrested together with Ms Kubczyk, her daughter, and son-in-law, Józef Kwaśnica. Her son, also by the name of Józef, and two elderly gentlemen had also been detained. Since I learned about my son’s arrest on 7 April, Good Friday, I took a parcel for him to the Patronat at Krochmalna Street only after Easter, on 12 April. They accepted the parcel. Two weeks later I took another parcel, and this was accepted too.
I did not receive any letters or messages from my son, until on 3 May I was approached by an unknown man, whose surname I have forgotten. He was my son’s age. This youth told me that he had been detained in Pawiak together with my son, and that my son had told him how he had been arrested by the Germans. Namely, my son had knocked on the door of Kubczyk’s flat when the Germans were already there, and the members of Kubczyk’s family were lying tied up on the floor. Whereupon the Germans present in the flat (one had even sat himself down and was playing the piano) detained my son, who was caught completely unawares. Continuing, the man said that the Germans had in all probability executed my son on the previous day, before he had been released from prison. Those held at Pawiak knew what awaited them when one of the Gestapo officers – always the same one – summoned them in order to lead them out of the prison. The Gestapo man told my son to take his clothes with him, and when my son replied that he had none, he ordered him to take his parcel. Nevertheless my son did not want to take anything; however, he took the empty box for he knew that he was being taken to be shot. My son gave my address and asked those present – if and when any of them regained their freedom – to inform us, his parents. When he was leaving the cell, my son said to his cellmates: ”Goodbye friends!”, and the Gestapo man hit him on the face. This was on 2 May 1944.
The next day the young man visited us and told us about our son’s fate. Józef Leszczyński and Kwaśnica (Józef, too, if I remember correctly), who had been arrested along with my son, were executed at an earlier date, for they both figured on a poster with a list of people who had been shot by firing squad, which was dated 17 April. My son did not figure on that list, while later on the Germans ceased to announce the surnames of those who had been executed.
I received no information concerning my son, Jerzy. The Germans did not return my son’s personal effects, and in any case I didn’t ask them to. Furthermore, I did not receive a certificate confirming my son’s death.
From amongst the people who had been arrested along with him at the flat – five men and two women – only the two women, Ms Kubczyk and her daughter, Kwaśnica, returned home after the War from Dachau concentration camp. They knew nothing about the fate of the men who had been detained together with them, for after being transported to Pawiak they were separated.
Apart from Jerzy, I had another – older – son, Bronisław Mikulski (from my first marriage), who was born on 11 November 1910. I know nothing about his fate. I learned in November 1939 that following the September Campaign, as an officer of the Polish Army, he had returned in the utmost secrecy from Russian territory to Zawiercie, where he had worked before the War. Someone in Zawiercie turned him in. The Germans arrested him and he vanished into thin air.
I did not meet with Ms Kubczyk and Ms Kwaśnica. Leszczyńska informed me of their return from Dachau.
The young man who informed me of the fate of my Jerzy also told me that my son had complained to his cellmates that the Gestapo had beaten him up severely.
The report was read out.