ANNA ZIELSKA

On 13 December 1971 in Iłowo, Ryszard Juszkiewicz, Judge for the District Court in Mława, with the participation of court reporter Ewa Jakubowska, heard the person named below as a witness. The witness was warned about the criminal liability for giving false testimony, stating with her own signature after this that she had been cautioned about this responsibility (Article 172 of the Criminal Code). The witness, [also] cautioned about her responsibility regarding the content of Art. 165 of the Criminal Code, then testified as follows:


Name and surname Anna Zielska
Parents’ names Joanna and Maksymilian
Date and place of birth 9 December 1921 in Iłowo
Place of residence Iłowo, Jagiellońska 7
Occupation manual worker
Education primary

I have lived in Iłowo since birth and during the occupation I also lived in Iłowo. From 1943, I worked in the camp. By this, I mean the camp that was located in Iłowo on Leśna Street at the junction with Jagiellońska Street, where the camp administration was located. Representatives of various nationalities stayed in this camp. First, there were Russians, civilians, entire families. They appeared in the camp not long after the outbreak of the German-Russian war. After the young were selected, they were taken to Germany for forced labor, while the elderly and sick were left in this camp until the end of the occupation. They lived in wooden barracks. I think there were four of them. They were very long, with two entrances. One barrack has remained on the camp grounds until now. More than 50 people lived in each barrack, but I can’t be more precise. The camp also hosted, but very briefly, Gypsies, Ukrainians, and in 1944 some Italians appeared. The Italians were soldiers—where they were taken, I don’t know.

I started working in the camp in 1943 as a physical worker. I cleaned in the children’s camp and washed diapers. When I came to the camp, there was a special barrack where there were small children. The barrack still stands; it’s located on Leśna Street and currently hosts the dormitory of the Vocational School in Iłowo. This barrack is made of brick. Children aged from one month to one year stayed there. They occupied two rooms and there were about 40 of them together. These children were of Polish and Russian nationality. They were taken from mothers who had given birth to them in Germany. Who brought these children from Germany, I don’t know. I remember one incident when one of the mothers, a Russian woman (she was in our camp), gave birth to two children. They were taken from her and she was locked up in the camp. What these children were called, I don’t remember, but I know they were boys. I don’t know what happened to them later, because after the war I was deported to the Soviet Union on the charge of being German, because I was in the third category of nationality.

I don’t remember the name of the camp manager, but I know he used to wear a yellow uniform. I was convinced that he came from former East Prussia. The head of the provisioning was called Rybka, and he also came from Masuria. There were two Polish doctors in the camp, they were called Knappe, they came from Białystok. The nurses were Polish nuns from Płock; I don’t remember from what order. They wore gray habits when they worked in the kitchen, and when they went outside, they dressed in black. Their names were Anzelma, Łucja, Wiktoria, Jadwiga.

Three or maybe four children died at my side. Two of them died of pneumonia—Olenka and Diter, Russian children. Franciszek Krokowski, who still lives in Iłowo, took the dead children to the forest and buried them in the field. At first, these children didn’t have the best nutrition, and then, I remember, they received some grated carrot and butter. Each child slept on a separate bed. The cots had white bedding; there was a plaque on each of them, giving the child’s surname, and besides, each child had a ribbon on his arm containing his first name and surname.

The Germans said that these children were to be brought up for the Germans. One nurse was German. I don’t remember her name, nor do I remember where she came from.

In 1944, I was sent from this camp to work in the kitchen, and then I cooked food for the Russians. Later I worked as a kitchen assistant and cooked food for the German staff.

There were a few German guards, I don’t remember their names. When the Soviet army arrived, in January 1945, no one was deported from the camp, only the Germans fled.

The Polish doctors were kindly disposed toward the children and other camp members as well.

I believe that at the time of the liberation of Iłowo by Soviet troops, there were about 50 children in the camp. After the war, they were taken in by Polish families and brought up by them.

No children were ever brought in when I was around, so it’s hard to tell where they came from. Usually when I came to work in the morning I saw some foreign children.

The hearing was thus concluded and, after reading, the report was signed.