Warsaw, 7 May 1949. A member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Janusz Gumkowski (MA), interviewed the person named below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Włodzimierz Izak|
|Date and place of birth||15 January 1918 in Warsaw|
|Parents’ names||Władysław and Władysława, née Kozłowska|
|Father’s occupation||officer of the Polish Army|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Occupation||clerk at the Ministry of Light Industry|
|Place of residence||Włochy near Warsaw, Wielkie Łuki Street 15, flat 4|
When the Warsaw Uprising broke out, I was at Skolimowska Street 5. Until 4 August 1944 the insurgents occupied both our street and neighboring streets. The nearest German units were located in Rakowiecka Street at the Flakkaserne – the anti-aircraft artillery – and the Stauferkaserne – the SS. For the first few days our street was under constant fire, while the insurgents would fire upon the German positions in response. The command of the 3rd region was located at Skolimowska Street 5. In the evening of 5 August, SS-men barged into our street; I assume that they came from the Stauferkaserne and from aleja Szucha. They surrounded the block of houses enclosed by Puławska, Skolimowska and Chocimska streets, and the Mokotów bazaar. As a result of contradictory orders issued by the command, only a few insurgents managed to escape from the house at Skolimowska Street 5 to the hospital at Chocimska Street; the rest – having virtually no ammunition – could not defend themselves.
The Germans burst into the houses at Skolimowska Street nos. 3 and 5 and, shouting raus!, proceeded to throw all the residents out into the courtyards. In total, there could have been some 100 people in these houses. The SS-men also brought in people from other houses.
Some time later, when all of the residents were gathered in the courtyards, a few Gestapo men – among them two officers, one in the rank of Hauptmann, if I remember correctly – came in through the gate. This officer gave an order in German that everyone was to be shot. The people in the courtyard of the house at no. 3, myself amongst them, stood in small groups. I stood near the entrance to the basement (the witness proceeded to draw a site plan presenting the premises of the houses at nos. 3 and 5 Skolimowska Street). When I heard the Gestapo officer’s order and saw that the German soldiers were shooting from the gate at the people gathered near the fence dividing the courtyards of nos. 5 and 3, and by the wall of the annex, I jumped through the basement door. I knew the layout of the basements of the house at no. 3 Skolimowska Street well. I also remembered that one of the basements was not locked with a padlock. I ran up to the basement and, when I started feeling for the door (it was very dark), I heard that there was someone in the corridor of the basement. I worked out that this must be another escapee. Thus, I opened the basement door and dragged “him” in with me. A while later I once again heard steps in the corridor. Again it was an escapee. I pulled him into the basement, too. As it turned out, it was the entire “Kazimierczak” family (I don’t know their real surname), comprising the father, mother, and two children – a boy and a girl.
Soon after we heard a female voice, speaking in German, in the corridor, and also a male voice. A moment later, a shot rang out. Then, through the relatively large gaps in the door of the basement in which we were hiding, I saw that Germans had approached the corridor leading to the house at no. 1 Skolimowska Street, into which “our” basement exited, and were shining lights into it. After a while we heard the German voice once again – Hier sind man keine mehr – whereupon another voice said: Jawohl. Then the Germans left.
We spent three days and three nights in the basement. The house was ablaze, and we had nothing to eat. Since the wife of Mr “Kazimierczak” started to hallucinate due to exhaustion and hunger (it was very stuffy in the basement, too), we decided to go out in search of food. In the corridor of the basement, at the turn marked with the letter “e” on the site plan, there lay four bodies, including that of a woman. The bodies of murdered people lay in the courtyard, too. They were swollen, and swarms of flies hovered above them. We heard a gushing sound. We realized that it was the water flowing from the burst pipes in the annex. We therefore went in that direction. Having quenched our thirst, we found better hiding places in the basements than those that we had been using up to then. The next night, therefore, we brought Mr “Kazimierczak’s” wife and children there. We remained in that basement for 11 days, making frequent sorties for food. In the first few days following our “move” I attempted to pass through a hole in the fence at Skolimowska Street 5, where bodies lay in the courtyard in two groups. One of the groups, marked on the site-plan with the letter “c”, included the regional commander and his deputy. I wanted to take their documents. However, due to the fact that the nights were very bright, [illuminated] by the fires, I did not dare to do so.
After a few days of hiding in the basement marked on the site-plan with the letter “f” we noticed, during one of our sorties for food, that the corpses were burning. By the next night there were not even any traces of the ashes. Apparently the Germans were trying to remove the evidence of their crime.
Since the water in the basement marked on the site-plan with the letter “f” was by now waist-high, we found a basement on the other side of the annex gate in which the water level had fallen. We therefore moved to that basement. We remained there until 21 or 22 (I don’t remember the exact date), and afterwards managed to leave Warsaw.
Apart from the abovementioned “Kazimierczak” family, no one survived the execution. As I have already stated, I don’t know “Kazimierczak’s” real surname. I know that he was a railwayman who before the War had lived and worked in Bydgoszcz, and during the occupation had been employed in Warsaw at the Western Railway Station. After the Uprising we parted company in Opacz, where we stayed the night in one of the houses near the narrow-gauge train line.
At this point the report was concluded and read out.
[The site-plan of the premises of the houses at nos. 5 and 3 Skolimowska Street, drawn up by witness Włodzimierz Izak while giving testimony, constitutes an attachment to the interview report dated 7 May 1949.]