On 19 May 1949 in Opoczno, the Municipal Court in Opoczno, Criminal Division, with Judge J. Krawiecki presiding, interviewed the person specified below without administering an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the provisions of Article 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Stanisław Bernacki|
|Age||50 years old|
|Parents’ names||Łukasz and Zuzanna, née Lenart|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Occupation||farmer, owner of 5 ha. of land, illiterate, with no social position|
|Occupation||Siucice, Machory commune|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
In January 1944 – I can’t remember the exact date, I think it was 18 January – about 70 German gendarmes drove to the village of Siucice, bringing along five people in civilian clothing. I recognized four of them, namely the three Burakowski brothers from the village and commune of Topolice, and Jędrzejczyk from the same village. I don’t know their first names. I didn’t know the fifth man, but the other four told me that he was called Jachimowski and lived in the village of Sokołów.
The gendarmes herded all the villagers from Siucice into the yard of the village head Stanisław Gutowski, inspected their documents, and let everyone go home in the evening, with the exception of Adam Lenart, Stefan Lenart, Stanisław Chmielewski, and Bieniek, whose first name I don’t remember. They were taken to Skórkowice and executed there on the following day.
The gendarmes called out the Burakowski brothers, Jędrzejczyk and Jachimowski, whom they had brought from Siucice, to walk one by one from the car to the village head’s house. I saw this through the door of the barn in which they had placed me and the others. After a longer while I saw the gendarmes take these people out of the village head’s house, one by one, covered in blood, and carry them by the head and legs behind the barn. Shortly afterwards I heard a shot. Then [the gendarmes] called out the next person and the cycle repeated.
Having “dealt” with the last man, the gendarmes summoned me to the village head’s house and demanded that I give up bandits, otherwise I would bleed like those men, whose blood was on the floor. I was summoned together with Józef Urbańczyk, village leader of the Siucice commune, and Józef Lenart – village leader of the Zawada commune. They were told the same thing. All three of us said that they could kill us, and that there were no bandits around. The gendarmes then said that they were going to shoot every fifth man. They took the four men I mentioned earlier and let us go. Others were set free as well. During this interrogation I saw a bloody axe and a lot of blood on the floor of the village leader’s house.
We quickly buried the five men who had been murdered in Siucice in the village leader’s garden. The families of the deceased later took the corpses to their villages.
I would like to clarify that the gendarmes did not kill Jachimowski in Siucice. They drove him somewhere farther away. The fifth man whom they killed in Siucice was some Jew, who had been hiding in the village and was captured by the gendarmes. They didn’t torment him as much as they did the other men. He wasn’t covered in blood when they were leading him out of the village leader’s house. After a while I heard a shot, so I figured they killed him. After the gendarmes left, we buried five corpses.
A miller from Siucice, Tadeusz Maciejewski, said that the gendarme who tormented the Poles in the most brutal way was called Koncel and that before the war he used to work as a teacher in Tomaszów Mazowiecki.
I have just remembered that Bieniek, whom I mentioned previously, was called Franciszek.
The report was read and signed.