Kraków, 18 August 1946. Regional Investigative Judge Jan Sehn, acting in accordance with the Decree of 10 November 1945 (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 51, item 293) on the Main Commission and Regional Commissions for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, as a member of the Main Commission, pursuant to Article 255, in connection with Articles 107 and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, interviewed the person specified below, who testified as follows:

Name and surname Antonina Piątkowska
Date of birth 24 December 1900
Parents’ names Cyprian Bladosz and Helena Ziółkowska
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Citizenship and nationality Polish
Place of residence Kraków, Bema Street 2

I was arrested on 10 March 1941 along with my husband, Bolesław, and my 17-year-old son, Roman Wierzbicki. My husband and son were shot by firing squad in Auschwitz – my husband on 2 May 1941, and my son on 29 July 1941. My cousin, major Roman Szafarczyk, was arrested with us and also imprisoned in Auschwitz, where he was shot dead in June 1942.

I was in the Auschwitz concentration camp from 27 April 1942 to 18 January 1945, as prisoner no. 6805. Until June 1942, I stayed in block 8 in the main camp. That block was situated within what was then the women’s camp in Auschwitz, which consisted of blocks 1–10. From June to August 1942, I worked in the penal unit in Budy, which I was assigned to along with 200 other Polish women. We lived in a school fenced with barbed wire. Apart from Poles, there were also German and Slovak women. There were about 400 of us there.

We lay on bare, marshy ground and our job was to clear and deepen lakes, and to carry out earthworks related to the construction of a railway.

In August 1942, we were transferred, like all female prisoners, to the newly built women’s camp in Birkenau. After two months, only 137 of us returned from Budy; the rest had died of exhaustion. When I came to Birkenau, there was no light or water in the blocks. We lived in brick blocks – 1200 women in each – equipped with stone bunk beds. There was no floor, so on rainy days the water reached our ankles. During nearly the whole time I spent in Birkenau, I carried out earthworks, built ditches and canals, cleared lakes and worked in the fields, doing agricultural works. For some time I also worked demolishing houses in Birkenau. At that time, I worked with a friend of mine, Monika Galica, prisoner no. 6814. When she fell sick with typhus, she stayed in the hospital of block 28a as a Schreiber [clerk]. She worked there until the end of 1944.

The hospital kept records of all dead prisoners from the women’s camp. All female prisoners who died in the hospital or in the blocks, or those who were killed with injections or gassed, were registered in a ledger.

Galica and I wanted to preserve the names of Auschwitz victims for posterity, so we agreed that she would write down all the names of Polish women who had died in Auschwitz and were mentioned in that ledger. Galica listed all deceased Polish women and gave me her notes. I stored them in various places in the camp and at the end of 1944, with the help of a friend of mine, Zofia Gawroń, I handed them over to her father in Brzeszcze. The notes were stored there until the liberation and I picked them up from Gawroń in June 1945. Then, I gave them to Reverend Jasiński from Caritas. On the basis of the notes, files of the deceased were prepared and families were informed of the fate of their relatives. Then, I submitted the notes to the Main Commission. These are the notes that have been shown to me. I am absolutely certain that the notes were drawn up based on an authentic register of the deceased, kept by the Germans in block 28a, mostly by Monika Galica herself – only a few pages at the end were written by a younger friend whose name I do not recall.

All prisoners listed in the notes I have submitted died in Auschwitz. Most of them died of exhaustion and diseases or were killed by guards and SS men at work; the rest were killed by injections or gassed. All prisoners killed by injections were marked with a circle with a cross inside, while gassed prisoners were marked with the word “transport.” Injections were administered above all to all pregnant women and women who had just given birth, and those who had arrived with transports from the Lublin region. At a roll call, an Aufseherin ordered all pregnant women to present themselves, saying that they would be assigned to lighter work and would receive better food. She wrote down the numbers of the women who came forward and after a few days they were summoned and escorted to the infirmary in block 28a, where an SS man (whose name I do not remember) killed them with an injection. Monika Galica told me that initially carbolic acid or another preparation were injected, and when the SS ran out of these – also benzol. German block seniors would throw newly born babies out of the block, where they died due to lack of care or were killed by rats. I saw with my own eyes that a German prisoner functionary from block 23, Schwester, threw a newly born child into a burning furnace where the child burned.

Monika Galica is currently in Paris. In the spring of 1944, Krystyna Horczak from Radom gave me plans and sketches of the Auschwitz crematoria for safekeeping. I sent those plans along with the notes from Galica’s friend through Zofia Gawroń to her father in Brzeszcze, from where I picked them up in June 1945 and gave them to Krystyna Horczak. In the same way (Gawroń – Brzeszcze) we smuggled out the notes of Martyna Puzyna, who worked for an SS doctor, Dr. Mengele, who did anthropological research in the camp.

The commandant of the Auschwitz camp, Rudolf Höß, often inspected the women’s camp. During inspections, everything in the blocks had to shine. We would hide the sick and Muselmanns [extremely emaciated prisoners], because otherwise he would give an order to take them to block 25, from where they would go to the gas chambers as prisoners unfit for work. Block 25 was a place where all selected prisoners were gathered and then transported to the crematoria. The most unfit for work were usually selected by Aufseherin Hasse, who transported her victims herself from block 25 to the gas chambers.

I would like to emphasize that the notes of Monica Galica, which I have submitted, include only Polish deceased women. We did not list prisoners of other nationalities. I know that Czech and Yugoslav women listed their compatriots. I cannot say how many women of all nationalities died in Auschwitz. It is also impossible to calculate the number of all those women who from the ramp went straight to the gas chambers, without being admitted to the camp and registered in the camp records. Apart from Jewish women of all nationalities, entire transports from the Zamość region (between 1942 and 1943) and Russian women from Vitebsk and Smolensk (1943) went straight to the gas chambers. In particular, entire peasant families – men, women and children – from the Zamość region went to the gas chambers.

Initially, people killed with injections or in the gas chambers were marked in the files with special symbols: SB (Sonderbehandlung [special treatment]), GU (Gesondert untergebracht [special accommodation]), and others. As the Eastern front approached, the SS changed the contents of those files, providing the names of various diseases in place of those cryptonyms. Eventually, just before the liquidation of the camp, the Germans burned all the books and records of the dead.

The report was read out. At this point, the interview and the present report were concluded.