On 23 February 1946 in Warsaw Associate Judge Halina Wereńko, delegated to the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes, interviewed the person named below as a witness, without taking an oath. The witness was advised of the obligation to speak the truth and of the criminal liability for making false declarations, and testified as follows:
Name and surname Zofia Lewandowska, formerly Kuligowska,
|Parents’ names||Teodozy and Aniela, née Zaborska|
|Date of birth||20 September 1899 in Warsaw|
|Place of residence||Warsaw, Żulińskiego Street 7, flat 3|
|Occupation||housewife; my husband is a barrister|
|Education||secondary school leaving exam|
My son from my first marriage, Henryk Janusz Kuligowski (born on 24 January 1921 in Grudziądz), a graduate of the Mickiewicz secondary school in Warsaw, and an artillery officer cadet, was arrested by the Gestapo on 26 January 1940 at home at Chmielna Street 83, flat 7; this was the home of his father, Henryk Kuligowski, where my son lived at the time.
Previously when we talked my son did not admit that he was taking part in clandestine activities; I think this was in consideration of his state of health (organic heart disease). I thought that my son was involved in underground activities for he frequently left the apartment in the evening, and sometimes did not return for the night, later explaining that he spent the night in Żoliborz, at the home of his friend Bogdan Grycner, who was arrested by the Germans even before my son and was subsequently detained with him in Mokotów prison.
My son, as I have already stated, was a graduate of the Mickiewicz secondary school. At the time, numerous alumni of this school were members of an organisation established by Kott. Many members of this organisation were sought out and arrested along with my son. Recently I spoke with my son’s father, who learned from one of his colleagues that out of my son’s entire class, which numbered 42 students, only 16 were still alive. The class tutor, Professor Drewnowski, was also killed, reportedly with his entire family. All this happened in the same period. On this basis I surmise that my son could have been involved with Kott’s organisation.
Somebody also told me that my son was a member of the White Eagle organisation, which set up an officer cadet school. After my son was arrested, I was unable to obtain any information regarding his place of detainment for six weeks – despite numerous efforts on my part. Subsequently I learned that up until 2 April 1940 he had been held at Mokotów prison, from which – as guards from Mokotów stated – he was transferred to Pawiak with other prisoners; there the group was augmented to a total of 300 people and driven along the road in the direction of Modlin. According to information provided by the prison administration, reportedly 70 people from Mokotów prison were executed, while the group had been augmented at Pawiak and a total of 300 persons were executed in Palmiry.
Today I do not remember the surnames of the persons who gave me this information.
In September 1941 I was summoned to appear at Daniłowiczowska Street, where the criminal police and office of the district governor were located. There I received my son’s death certificate written in German (the witness presented an authenticated copy of the death certificate, with the following contents: [manuscript in German, contents illegible]).
An identically worded notice was sent to the home address of the parents of my son’s friend, Bogdan Grycner, in January 1941.
Both of Grycner’s parents are now deceased. His sister is the sole surviving family member, but I don’t know her address. I heard that she fell ill after her brother’s execution.
Using an address provided in a newspaper, I established contact with Mr F. Kotarbiński (residing in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz, Parkowa Street 14), who is searching for his son Jan [Strancman?], arrested in the same period following Kott’s escape. The letter indicates that he possesses no details concerning his son’s fate.
I was present at the exhumation performed in Palmiry on 25 November 1945 and talked to a local teacher, I think (I don’t know his surname), who showed me a notebook with the dates of some of the executions. He did not have the date of 2 April 1940 written down. There were two dates from September 1941, and 21 June 1940, when Speaker Rataj and Member of Parliament Niedziałkowski were killed. The local priest informed me that at night the local residents would go out and mark the graves. He also provided some details concerning the executions, which were usually performed during the daytime. Statements made by residents of Palmiry led me to surmise that executions were conducted in the Palmiry Forest from the autumn of 1939 until the spring of 1941.
The report was read out.