Warsaw, 28 February 1948. Member of the District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Warsaw, Judge Halina Wereńko, interviewed the person specified below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Wacław Dziewulski|
|Names of parents||Ignacy and Michalina née Wiśniewska|
|Date of birth||31 January 1909 in Warsaw|
|Education||commercial school and the Technical Courses Association|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Leszno Street 13, flat 33|
|State affiliation and nationality||Polish|
I was in my flat at Graniczna Street 17 (on the corner of Żelaznej Bramy Square) in Warsaw, when the Warsaw Uprising broke out. At the beginning, our street was occupied by the insurgents. The “Gustaw” Group, in which I fought at that time under the pseudonym “Narcyz”, occupied the house at Żelaznej Bramy Square 8. The Germans were attacking us from the side of Senatorska Street, on 1 August 1994, from the Mirowskie Market Halls [Hale Mirowskie] (incessantly).
On the night between 5 and 6 August 1944 the insurgent units withdrew, partially to Śródmieście, and partially to the Old Town. I went home, where my wife and five children were.
On 8 August 1944 between 4 and 5 a.m., German Gendarmerie units and the “Ukrainians”, some of whom were wearing SS uniforms, entered Graniczna Street from the side of Hale Mirowskie. Together with other residents of the house we then ran to the building in Graniczna Street 15. After a while, a gendarme burst into the yard, threw a couple of grenades (which fortunately did not kill anybody) and ordered everybody to get out. In the yard, men were separated from women. Women were herded to Charles Borromeo Church, men to the ground near Hale Mirowskie. People were robbed and the elderly were separated from the young. Older men were escorted to Saint Adalbert Church.
Younger men, stripped from the waist up, around two hundred in number, were herded to the front of the Saxon Garden [Ogród Saski]. From there, we were taken under the escort of SS-men to clean up the road between Hale Mirowskie and Solna Street. Later we were herded to the fire-brigade station in Chłodna Street, where we were kept for three hours. One of the SS-men escorting us spoke Polish and claimed that he was from the Hitlerjugend.
From there we were herded at around 1 p.m. to Saint Adalbert Church. At some point one of the SS-men demanded ten volunteers to carry water. I went to distribute water to German stations as one of the volunteers.
We were then herded to the front of the forge at Wolska Street 124. In the area in front of the forge, I saw around a thousand decaying bodies of men, women and children. We were ordered to put these corpses on a pyre made of timber interspersed with bodies and burn it. A lot of corpses still remained to be piled up. In the evening, we were herded to a building in Sokołowska Street near the church. A group of men was then also brought from the church, so that there were about a hundred of us in total, and they divided us into two groups of fifty. I was assigned to the group quartered on the second floor, in a room whose windows faced the vicarage. The second group was put in the room whose windows faced the “Społem” warehouses. There was a Turk in that group (he is now the owner of a shop with iron products on the corner of Próżna Street and Grzybowski Square, I don’t know his name).
The commander of our group was an SD-man with the rank of an Untersturmführer, we called him leutnant. Every day our commander and about twenty SD-men came to our quarters in cars from Pruszków. The commander would receive a written message from the vicarage and on that basis he directed [us] to places where there were corpses to be burnt. We were always escorted by six to eight SD-men. The other group was commanded by another SD-man.
On 8 August 1944 and on the following day in the afternoon we were again taken to the area in front of the forge, where we put corpses into another pile, located about fifty meters behind the forge. For several days, with some intervals, we were burning decaying corpses there, then we burnt a small number of fresh corpses. On 9 August 1944 before noon we burnt corpses in a yard in Wolska Street near Bema Street. They were male and female bodies with gunshot wounds. On the same day, in the afternoon, we started burning corpses in the yard of Franaszek’s plant in Wolska Street. There were a few thousand corpses of men and not many fewer women with gunshot wounds. The first stage of the corpse-burning operation in Franaszek’s plant took two days. A couple of times we burnt bodies there in smaller groups.
On 12 August 1944 (I’m not sure of the date) both Verbrennungskommando groups were doing the burning in turns. In the “Ursus” plant, in the yard, our group burnt around 5 thousand, maybe even 6.6 thousand decaying male and female corpses with gunshot wounds. The second group also burnt bodies in the “Ursus” plant. Around that time we also burnt bodies of around one thousand men, women and children with gunshot wounds in Górczewska Street, in front of the flyover, near the two sheds.
On 13 August 1944 we burnt the bodies of five hundred people – mostly men – with visible gunshot wounds in Działdowska Street in front of the insurance company. We did the burning two times there. On the same day, in two locations, we burnt corpses of about five hundred men, women and children with gunshot wounds in the garden called Venice, in Wolska Street. The bodies were scattered. We did the burning there three times.
On 14 August 1944 we burnt bodies of men and women, in total around three hundred, with gunshot wounds in the yard of the building of the Roesler Secondary School in Chłodna Street 33. In that location we would burn corpses almost every day throughout August 1944. These were small numbers of corpses, mostly men.
At the beginning of September (I don’t remember the date) I saw through a window a group of around forty men and some women, one of them had a sanitary bag, some men were wearing striped uniforms. One of my colleagues (whose name I don’t know) that was responsible for cleaning the vicarage told me that these had been prisoners and insurgents. On the following day, we burnt the bodies of this group in the yard of the Roesler Secondary School.
In mid-August (I don’t remember the date) twice we burnt bodies of a couple dozen men with gunshot wounds in front of Saint Adalbert Church. More or less at the same time our group burnt a couple hundred corpses collected from Sowińskiego Park and Wolska Street. Those were bodies of men, women and children with gunshot wounds.
In Górczewska Street, across from Płocka Street, we at one time burnt around forty corpses, and at another time bodies of three persons, who had been shot in our presence (they were a lawyer, I don’t know the name, some woman and some caretaker who claimed to be an Englishman).
Our group also burnt bodies on the grounds of Saint Lazarus Hospital between Wolska, Karolkowa and Leszno Streets. I carried corpses to the basement in the main building facing Leszno Street, where they were burnt. In the basement there were partially charred corpses and a couple of fresh ones. I also carried bodies from the kitchen hospital there, my colleagues brought corpses from the hospital there as well, so I am unable to provide an aggregate number. After the basement was full, the corpses were set on fire. The work was not completed yet, and the next time we again burnt corpses from the hospital in the same basement. On 13 August 1944, in the first hospital yard, near the dispensary, we burnt bodies of fifty men who were shot in our presence. Two men were rescued from this group, Stefan Kubiak (who from that day on worked with me in the Verbrennungskommando) and some man I don’t know, who having been shot during this execution was hidden by me in the basement.
During that time we burnt about thirty corpses of men and women in two batches in Młynarska Street, in front of the Protestant cemetery. Roughly around the same time we burnt around fifteen male corpses with gunshot wounds on the corner of Długosza and Tyszkiewicza Streets. Then we buried bodies of six men with gunshot wounds in a bomb crater on the corner of Grzybowska and Żelazna Streets.
In mid-August we burnt around one hundred male bodies and several female bodies, with gunshot wounds, on the grounds of some factory in Okopowa Street (between Żytnia Street and Leszno Street).
In mid-August (I don’t remember the exact date) our group burnt corpses in the tramway depot workshops, around 80 bodies, and in the garden in the back of the depot, around three hundred corpses, mainly women and children.
In the second half of August (I don’t remember the exact date) our group burnt male corpses several times in the Orthodox cemetery in Wolska Street. Among others, a group of a couple dozen men were shot there, whom we had met a couple of days previously in Senatorska Street. These men were shouting that they had been taken from Praga (I recognized the first one, he had a hunched back and was wearing a tram driver’s uniform).
Around the same time (I don’t remember the date) we burnt several bodies on the earthwork near Saint Lawrence Church.
During that period we burnt around thirty corpses of men and women near Kamiński’s bicycle factory.
In Karolkowa Street, near the church, we buried several bodies collected from the street.
In the first half of August (I don’t remember the exact date) we burnt around four hundred corpses of men, women and children in a hall on Chłodna Street in a bomb crater. Around the same time we burnt bodies of around two hundred men, women and children with gunshot wounds, in the back of the school in Ptasia Street 3. Then we burnt corpses of around one hundred men, women and children in the yard of a house in Przechodnia Street (across from the tenement building of the Bank of Poland). The corpses had been massacred and had gunshot wounds, they were in a state of decomposition, only a small part of the bodies were fresh.
In the same yard, in the second half of August, we burnt around thirty corpses with gunshot wounds. Most of the corpses were men, but there were also a couple of female bodies.
In the second half of August we burnt about thirty corpses, including three women, with gunshot wounds, in the Saxon Garden in the back of the Zamojski palace. There were bundles by the corpses. The corpses were scatted within a radius of around fifty meters.
At that time our group burnt corpses in the opera house, but I was not there to witness it.
At around the same time we burnt corpses of around forty men collected from the vicinity in the basement of the Luxemburg Gallery [Galeria Luksemburga]. All of the corpses had gunshot wounds.
At the beginning of September (on 4 or 5 September 1944) near Saint Anne Church between Mariensztat Street and Nowy Zjazd Street on a little square we burnt corpses of around fifty men and women. The bodies were decomposing, they were scattered over an area of twenty meters, all of them had gunshot wounds. On the same day, we went to Stara Street alongside the banks of the Vistula. A few wounded people were lying there. An old lady was taking care of them. A Wehrmacht officer and an SS officer (I recognized their uniforms) were also there. In my presence, upon the order of the SS officer, our escort shot three young men. I burnt these corpses in the courtyard, near the statue of the Virgin Mary. I do not know what happened to the rest of the wounded, since I had to move on to other grounds to search for corpses. When I returned, I saw a burning pyre of corpses near the statue. I was unable to look into Stara Street at that time. On the same day we went to the Ministry of Justice in Długa Street 7, where the group collected corpses from the entire building. The bodies were charred, we burnt them in the yard. I don’t know how many corpses there were, at that time I was assigned to collecting timber for the pyre.