Warsaw, 11 January 1946. Judge Halina Wereńko delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes interviewed the person specified below as a witness. Having advised the witness of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the gravity of the oath, the judge swore the witness in accordance with Art. 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Tadeusz Marian Hroboni|
|Names of parents||Jan and Felicja|
|Occupation||senior assistant at the Karol and Maria Children’s Surgical Hospital in Warsaw|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was a senior assistant and a doctor at the surgical ward in Karol and Maria Children’s Hospital, at Leszno Street 136 in Warsaw. During the first days of the uprising, the hospital, out of necessity, became a hospital also for adults, since there were difficulties in communicating with the Wolski Hospital and since Saint Lazarus Hospital, located opposite our hospital, did not have a surgical ward.
During the first days of the uprising (I don’t remember the date), the hospital was fired upon from machine guns mounted on a German tank. The area was controlled by the insurgents, but their operations were not launched from the hospital grounds.
The Germans entered our grounds for the first time on 6 August 1944. An SS armoured formation stopped in front of the hospital; later it was said that they were from the “Herman Göring” division. Several “Ukrainians” and “Kałmuks” in SS uniforms as well as German gendarmes (I recognized their divisions based on the uniforms) entered the hospital. All of them were in helmets, armed with machine guns equipped with bayonets, grenades, and rozpylacz guns.
When the soldiers entered I was in the surgical ward, so I know what had happened in other parts of the hospital only from what people told me. As I heard it, the German soldiers gave an order for everyone to leave the hospital. Between 3 and 4 p.m. they brought out the staff and the civilians hiding in the hospital outpatients’ clinic and from the storage facility. The group was taken to Bem’s Fort and from there transported to Germany to work (those who were able to work). The rest were sent to Jelonki. In that group were the head of the hospital administrative office, Staszewski, and the head nurse, Jurkowska.
At around 4 p.m. I was brought out together with sick and wounded patients, as well as with some staff. Patients after abdomen surgeries were also forced to leave, so they did, helping one another. At that time preparations were being made in the operating theatre for an acute appendicitis surgery, which was to be performed by Doctor Kmicikiewicz. The patient was already on the operating table. In spite of this, we were brutally ordered to get out. The soldiers also threw out patients waiting to have their dressing changed. The “Ukrainians” and “Kałmuks” raped a few women from the staff. At that time there were around one hundred and eighty patients in the surgical ward, about eighty had lighter wounds and were able to get out on their own. We took around twenty patients on stretchers, around eighty wounded, who were unable to march, were left in the hospital.
Our group was herded down Leszno Street and halted at the corner of Młynarska Street, where the soldiers’ conduct made us think that we were about to be executed. The soldiers put a heavy machine gun in front of our group, and two soldiers positioned themselves with automatic guns in their hands. Doctor Kmicikiewicz was ordered to step forward, and having exchanged a few words with him, the soldiers executed him.
I did not hear what they were talking about.
We were ordered to leave the wounded on stretchers and proceed. After a moment we were ordered to go back and pick up the wounded.
Houses were burning on either side of Leszno Street, the air was black with smoke, bombers were flying around, and in the ruins of a house near the Wolski Hospital (I don’t remember the number), German soldiers were playing O sole mio on a gramophone. We reached the Wolski Hospital, but then we were ordered to take the wounded men back to the corner of Leszno and Młynarska Streets. The gendarmes dragged our patients, who had already found places to lie down, out of the beds; only about ten of our patients managed to hide in the Wolski Hospital and did not come out. Around forty of our patients disappeared without a trace then. Judging by the fact that none of them has reported to the hospital after the liberation, I presume that they were executed.
I don’t remember the names of the wounded.
At the same time an order was issued for ten nurses and a doctor to head back to Karol and Maria Hospital to take care of the wounded and the children who had been left there. Doctor Gac (presently in the West), Nurse Maria Rzadkowska and others went back. This group left the wounded on the corner of Młynarska and Górczewska Streets, near the statue. In the Wolski Hospital we found Doctor Woźniewski, a nun, Sister Lange, two operating-theatre nurses and about one hundred patients. I stayed there until 19 October 1944, when Karol and Maria Hospital was evacuated to Włodzimierz near Piotrków.
I heard that after our group had been thrown out from the surgical ward on 6 August 1944, a third group was thrown out from the hospital that included Doctor Bogdanowicz, some nurses, a number of the children, and people who arrived at the Wolski Hospital on 7 August 1944. Nurse Wanda Dąbrowska (presently resident in Anin) and Franciszka Branicka (presently near Białystok) stayed with the children for the longest time. Both of them came to the Wolski Hospital a couple of days after we did.
Nurse Stobierska, who was wounded, and a number of the children died in the hospital, which, after we had left, was on the front line. Some members of the hospital personnel survived for around ten more days after 6 August 1944, hiding in central heating ducts. Among them were Michał Kostyra and Stępień, who was shot by a German.
At that the report was concluded and read out.