Warsaw, 11 June 1946. Judge Antoni Knoll, acting as a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, interviewed the person named below as a witness, who testified as follows:

My name is Wanda Odolska, daughter of Tadeusz and Anna Skrzypiciel, born on 5 June 1909 in Połtawa, a journalist, member of the Polish Reformed Church, resident in Warsaw at Grochowska Street 277, flat 23, married, no criminal record.

In the first days of August 1944, the population of the houses set on fire by the Germans was expelled onto the street. After separating the men, they marched the women to aleja Szucha, to the Gestapo HQ. I am stating – having stayed at the Gestapo HQ from 5 August at 10:00 a.m. until 6 August at 12:00 p.m. – that the total number of women staying at the Gestapo HQ at that time was around 1000. It took an entire day to bring the women there, they even continued to be brought in at night. “My” party had initially been set up on the corner of Litewska and Marszałkowska streets, within the range of two machine guns standing on the street corners. We were kept like that for half an hour. The women expected a mass execution. It did not happen, probably because an angry German ran up from the Gestapo, said something to the crew manning the machine guns and cracked a whip in our direction.

The men were expelled with us onto Marszałkowska Street in front of houses no. 35, 33, and 31. On the opposite side, men, apparently expelled earlier from other houses with lower numbers, were lying down facing the ground. They were being beaten on their heads with rifle butts, suitcases and boards. That was the last image I saw of the men from that group, whose fate is still unknown.

The party in which I was walking was robbed of watches, rings, jewellery, pelted with insults, and jostled. Apparently, there was an intention to kill us at the time, because a Vlasovets grabbed the leash on which I was holding my dog from my hand and said: “Why do you need a dog, bloody hell, you don’t need anything anymore.” When asked about the fate of the men another Vlasovets announced: “You’re one thing, but those bandits, we’ll mow them down.” The original intention of having us executed was also suggested by the fact that they called out foreign citizens with documents and Volksdeutsch women several times.

Eventually, however, the Volksdeutsch women were not separated from us, which again indicated a sudden change of plan.

We sat on the ground for three or four hours before entering the Gestapo building. At that moment the Vlasovtsy disappeared somewhere, four tanks arrived in front of the Gestapo HQ, and the Germans started dragging women off by their hands. They were arranged in two rows, six in each – eight in front of and behind each tank. It is a fact, and I state this categorically, that Gestapo men took up positions among the women on the tanks, dressed up as women – in stockings, furs, coats, each in a helmet wrapped with a scarf. The Polish women served as living shields, the disguised Gestapo men with pistols in their hands guarded those shields and apparently intended to make as an assault landing if the barricade was captured. I was saved because I wore trousers, so I wasn’t taken. Only two tanks came back from the action. None of the women from the two burned tanks returned. After the tanks’ return from the “expedition,” we were told: “Today’s action was not successful, the next one is tomorrow” and led into the Gestapo courtyard, where we spent the night. There was a pile of coal a few meters high next to the building. The long courtyard had a wooden screen riddled with bullets on one side and a shooting ground on the other. In the middle, a burned, rusty, machine gun was standing on a tripod, the ground beside it littered with shells. The ground in the courtyard was soft, black, the facade convex. The yard looked freshly dug. There must have been a vegetable garden there before, as indicated by a pumpkin growing on the side. The ivy on the building was burned up to the first floor. I dug up from the ground, from the depth of a few centimeters, a few tin buttons, a garter elastic and a suspender elastic, a piece of jaw with two teeth.

The next day, on 6 August at 12:00 p.m., we were arranged in fours and they made – literally – this announcement: “Our posts will not shoot at you until Zbawiciela Square. Go to your bandits and tell them that we treated you well.” To the question as to where we were supposed to go, they answered: “Go to hell! The Germans can also burn alive, so you can, too.” And to the question about what had happened to the men [they responded]: “They will return, they are only going with us to work.” Despite this announcement, we were shot at on a section of Marszałkowska Street. The shots came from Litewska Street and from the ruins of the former Ministry of Military Affairs. They shot from machine guns.

Through the windows and doors of the burned out Anca pharmacy, I saw men’s heads, corpses piled in layers all the way up to the ceiling, perpendicular to the street (Marszałkowska Street 21). There was no trace of [our] men. According to my provisional estimates, the number of men expelled from that district between 1 and 5 August must have been around 20,000. My husband, Jan Odolski (39 years old) and my father, Tadeusz Skrzypiciel (71 years old), were in that group, both taken from Marszałkowska Street 33.

Around 10 August, a group of priests and six civilian men, all panic-stricken, came to the insurgent hospital on the corner of Mokotowska and Jaworzyńska streets, which I had got to once released from the Gestapo. They had been released by the Gestapo too. The priests were set free for propaganda reasons. The names of the priests taken from the Church of Our Savior on the same day as my family, that is on 5 August, were: Pogorzelski, Fulde, Cegłowski, Włodarczyk, and Długołęcki. I was interested in why those few men had been released and what was done with the rest. One was a decrepit old man the others called a colonel. The second one said that he had been barracked since July, had painted the Gestapo walls and had been released as someone who obviously wasn’t taking part in the uprising. The third one – with a weirdly “Gestapo” face – dressed all in leather clothes, was reportedly a draftsman, employed at the same task. The fourth one was a gardener. The fifth one – a shadowy figure – said that the men had been kept in underground cells at the Gestapo HQ, 160 people in one cell, so that it had been impossible to sit down and that they had been led out one by one. Everyone had to hold documents in one hand and valuables and money in the other.

Asked about what fate had been devised for them, he swung his hand in a very desperate way. The sixth one was a young dentist, Dr. Kałużny, who now lives in Poznań. The Polish Radio secretary at Aleksandra Street knows him well. The doctor behaved strangely in my opinion and didn’t want to say anything. When I met him last year in front of the Polish Radio office and asked him to explain some facts undoubtedly known to him, he was very abashed and said that he didn’t know anything. Asked why he had been released (as an infrequent exception), he said that he had escaped. Citizen Kozierska – as a result of my long-standing requests and appeals to her social conscience – explained that Dr. Kałużny had promised the Germans some favor, which was rendered by his mother.

Apart from that, I know that eng. Plebański, until recently residing on Teresy Street, taken on the same day from Marszałkowska Street 31, managed to survive. The residents of Marszałkowska Street say of Plebański that he was always on very good terms with the Germans, with whom he used to trade. Eng. Plebański was reportedly set free because he was recognized on aleja Szucha by a chauffeur, who used to drive the Germans to his estate in Grójec for hunting.

The priests, of whom Pogorzelski and Długołęcki are currently in the Church of Our Savior – said: “the women should not delude themselves – they were all killed.” But they either didn’t know or didn’t want to give any details.

In addition, Marek Korganow survived, being a Georgian and underage (14 years old). This foreigner, who received “better treatment,” was immediately separated from the remainder of the group, was saved from Auschwitz by his father after a couple of months. The boy’s mother now manages a guesthouse in Sopot or Gdańsk.

Another fact worth taking into consideration is that the bodies of some of the men from the group (Marszałkowska 33) were discovered in recent months, dug up on aleja Piłsudskiego. The corpses were found accidentally and were recognized by the documents on them, belonging to: Tadeusz and Kazimierz Zaniewski, Henryk Siwek, Franciszek Zaremba. Reportedly, they were killed on the spot because they tried to escape from the street. Janina Zalewska, wife and mother of the murdered, works at the railway head office in Poznań.

Allow me to draw your attention to the fact that amid the ashes I saw in the building of the former Main Inspectorate of the Armed Forces [GISZ] I spotted many small objects – burned scissors, belt buckles, glasses cases, a tin cigarette box. Sifting those ashes could provide some serious evidence material. My husband, for example, had a bracelet locked on his right hand, an armored chain, iron not having any obvious value, so surely nobody took it from him. I am wearing an identical bracelet on my wrist. Mine has 26 links, my husband’s had 32, I think. Finding that bracelet would not only provide evidence of my husband’s death, but would also indicate that the entire group was killed.

Citizen Krystyna Znatowicz, who was with me at the Gestapo HQ, now residing at Marszałkowska Street 4, found out, making her own inquiries, that our female group was not burned because the grates at the Main Inspectorate of the Armed Forces were already clogged up with excess ash. And that there had been an argument about it between the technical staff manning the stoves and the Gestapo the same day as were there. The stove staff, reportedly, had not burned people since 4 August. Citizen Znatowicz has tracked an institution which possesses documents proving that it was indeed the case.

From conversations with women who spent the day (5-6 August) in the Gestapo courtyard with me, men from aleja Przyjaciół, Koszykowa Street, Oleandrów Street, and from the side streets [sic]. Since men had been burned at the Gestapo since 1 August, I suppose that until 5 August around 20,000 victims were burned.

There are two tons of ashes – completely unsecured – at the GISZ. I know that these ashes are being “looted” with buckets, with no consequence, and rinsed with water in search of gold and teeth. At the same time, small objects lying around are being lost.

I am presenting these facts to the prosecutor; although deeply interested, I am not able to draw a full picture because I don’t have any right to examine or to appeal to the abovementioned men (especially Dr. Kałużny and eng. Plebański) to testify. I realize that the material provided by me can be viewed as a serious trace, as long as it is examined by those who have the right to do so – not in the name of personal, painful curiosity, but in the name of the law.

I am requesting that you summon me and my mother (Anna Skrzypiciel, Grochowska Street 277, flat 23), who shared my fate and knows, as an old-time resident of the house at Marszałkowska Street 33, many of the names of the men who perished at the Gestapo HQ and of the women who survived, of whom each undoubtedly also knows some minor facts shedding more light on the case, as well as the former owner of the cake shop at Marszałkowska Street 31, the company Edis, Mr. Pągowski, whose first name I don’t remember.