Warsaw, 22 March 1946. Investigating judge Halina Wereńko, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, interviewed the person specified 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 swore the witness, who then testified as follows:

Name and surname Michał Roman Baran
Names of parents Władysław, and Bronisława
Date of birth 5 August 1916, Warsaw
Occupation painter, owns the lease of a smokehouse
Education secondary school, Warsaw School of Decorative Art and Painting
Place of residence Gdańsk, Rokosowskiego Street 33, flat 2
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Criminal record none

During the German occupation, I lived in Warsaw, at Szustra Street 38. I worked as a painter, which I still do, and was also the joint owner of a shop. I lived with my wife, Maria nee Brandeburska (b. 11 September 1916), my daughter Irena (b. 1 January 1944) and my wife’s grandmother Anna Brykalska (b. 1854).

During the Warsaw Uprising, I was with my family in our apartment in Szustra Street until 5 August 1944. On that day, I took my family and went to Sadyba in the sub[…] to a street located 50 yards from either Piłsudski or Dąbrowski fort, I do not remember exactly.

During the first days of the uprising, Szustra Street was a no-man’s land, with both insurgents and Germans going there. I went to Sadyba in order to find a quiet place for my 7-month baby and my family. At that time it was quite quiet there, until 18 or 19 August, when the insurgents occupied the fort and the whole of Sadyba. These were units from Ochota (who later got through to Kabaty) and from places around Warsaw.

On 2 September 1944 at 12.40 p.m., after finishing off the Old Town, the Germans decided to do the same with Sadyba and attacked from all directions. There were bombings and a massed attack with all kinds of weapons. The insurgents’ resistance was very weak; in the fort there were two insurgents with automatic weapons, who held out until 2 p.m. The insurgents partly retreated to Siekierki and Chełmska Street, but only a very few of them could do this. Sadyba was occupied by units of German airmen (in grey uniforms). They had volunteered to finish off the part of Sadyba where I lived. I had been told these were volunteers by Poles who had contact with the Germans.

I do not know the names of the Germans or the units that occupied Sadyba. I know that the German unit formerly stationed in Wilanów was also there in Sadyba, and let me say that these soldiers were merciless in killing both wounded and fit insurgents, while their attitude towards civilians was more or less fair. Other units were cruel towards insurgents and civilians alike.

As regards my own experience, at around 2 p.m. we heard a German unit approaching. My family, acquaintances and everyone living in the house, we were all in the cellar then. A German in airman’s clothes approached the garden of our house and threw a grenade into the cellar. This grenade injured some people in the legs. We started to shout that there were no insurgents here and we all came out of the cellar to the front of the house. Then the Germans set up a machine gun opposite and started getting ready to fire it – at us. We started explaining that we were civilians and there were no insurgents among us. The officer ordered the machine gun to be removed and told us to move some 20 yards away, towards the field. There were around 25 of us. The officers, young and excited, talked among themselves and then a soldier holding a chopper (assault rifle) positioned himself behind some bushes, ready to fire. I was standing 20 yards from the house and heard cries and shots coming from the neighboring house by the road to Wilanów, which was right behind ours. Then some German soldiers came from that direction and set about searching us. At that, the Germans who had forced us out of the house objected, shouting the loot was theirs.

So these soldiers moved on, while from behind the bushes, the soldier with the chopper opened fire on us. We all fell to the ground. Then another soldier brought an assault rifle and shot at the people lying on the ground. I took two bullets in the lungs and the spinal region; these bullets had previously gone through a man lying next to me, so they had somewhat lost their momentum. Children were screaming, so the soldier shot at them from his assault rifle. Survivors of the execution: Andrzej Brandeburski (b. 1924, student, current address Szustra Street 38, flat 4), his wife Joanna (same address), Lucjan Pakulski (current address in Komorów or some other town in the Zamość district, where he worked as a picture painter, painting churches), the owner of the shop at Szustra Street 1, whose name I do not know. Those who died then included Leonard Pękalski (about 46, painter), Wanda Polskowska (about 40, wife of a University of Technology professor), her sister, surname Haladin, whose first name I do not know (about 50, wife of a businessman in the transport sector), Hieronim Zajczyk (plumber, about 41), his female servant, Mr. & Mrs. Rutkowski with their 10-month-old daughter Małgosia. I do not remember the other names. After the execution the Germans moved on to other houses. At that point Zajczyk, Pakulski, the Brandeburskis and the owner of the shop on Szustra Street in part hid in the air-raid shelter of the house, in part moved on. I could not move because I thought that the bullets had penetrated my spine. My wife and a couple of other people were still alive, but severely wounded. After 20 minutes the same Germans came back and set about stealing our valuables and finishing off those still alive. I saw a German finish off my wife and her grandmother. He shot at my legs but missed, then checked if I was alive by feeling my fingers. Two of my fingers were numb, and thanks to that I am alive. I lay among the corpses until 6 p.m. and then I went to the air-raid shelter of our house, where I stayed with Pakulski and Zajczyk until 9 p.m. Then some German tanks drew up at the neighboring houses; I heard moaning from somewhere, giggling from somewhere and decided to escape to Mokotów. Some of the neighboring houses were on fire and there was a bright moon so it was quite light. I went first and, moments later, I heard Zajczyk and Pakulski being caught by the Germans. I heard the Germans tormenting my friends, twisting Zajczyk’s wounded arm and asking where their ‘comrades’ were, and then I heard two shots. I lay in a beet field while a car on the road looked for me. There was a sentry standing a few steps away from me, but he could not see me and walked away in the morning. I went in the direction of Mokotów and at the end of the field, before the road running by Dąbrowski fort, I was captured by Germans. The next day, after long discussions about whether I should be executed as a spy, I was loaded, by then completely lacking in energy, onto a cart to Wilanów. We passed near the execution site and from the cart I could see civilians looting the corpses lying by our house and civilians taking suitcases out of our house.

I was taken to Wilanów, to a health insurance doctor, and then to a hospital in Konstancin, where I quickly recovered, although neither of the bullets has as yet been removed.

I later heard that Pakulski survived. Zajczyk and Pakulski had been captured by “Ukrainians”. Zajczyk was killed, while Pakulski escaped and stayed in some basement for weeks, after which he was taken to a hospital in Milanówek. When he was fit again he went to Komorów in the Zamość district.

Going back to before the execution, a man of around 40 came to our house, an architect who was a professor at the school of architecture on Koszykowa Street, and he had escaped from the place of execution on Dworkowa Street. There was a military police sentry point on Dworkowa Street. Between 1 and 8 August, the Germans had gathered the Polish residents from the neighborhood in a few cellars. On 8 August the insurgents launched an attack to eliminate this German outpost. The mission failed and, in retaliation, the Germans took all these civilians, some 100 people, to Dworkowa Street, down the steps towards Belwederska Street, pushing people down the steps with the stocks of their guns. When everybody was down, the Germans started to fire at them from their machine guns. A number of people survived this execution. The events were witnessed by the nurses from the hospital on Chełmska Street, who quickly came to the rescue. They had first gone to see the Germans and managed to get permission to collect the bodies. After permission was granted, the nurses took away all those still alive. I was told all this by the man I mentioned. He died in the execution by our house.

I do not know his name.

The hospital on Chełmska Street was bombed by the Germans a few days later and a lot of people died. The hospital in Mokotów run by the nuns of the order of the Holy Family of Nazareth was also bombed; the Germans bombed hospitals deliberately.

I also know that during the uprising and right up until 18 January 1945, a man and two doctors had been staying in Bagatela Street, making notes regarding the number of people executed at al. Szucha 12.

I do not know the name of this man, but it can be provided by Anna Brykalska (of Szustra Street 38, flat 3), who is married to the owner of a business in Górskiego Street, where the man who took the notes worked as a caretaker. Brykalska can give the name and address of this caretaker.

My brother Ludwik Baran (living in Otwock, at the PPS {Polish Socialist Party} rest home) can provide information about the execution of Poles on 2 or 3 August in Olesińska Street (behind Madalińskiego Street, opposite Dworkowa Street).

I also heard that there was an execution of Poles at Marszałkowska Street 111, but I am not able to name any witnesses.

The witness sketched out a map of the execution site in Podhalańska Street, which is attached to this report.

The report was concluded and read out.