world war 2: warsaw uprising 1944

Central Commission for Investigation of German Crimes in Poland.

Excerpts from: German Crimes in Poland. Howard Fertig, New York, 1982.

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  Crimes at Other Wola district Hospitals

Record No. 80
In the summer of 1944, I was sent as a patient to Wola Hospital, where I was still, suffering from sudative pleurisy, when the Rising began. The Germans came to the Hospital on August 3 at 1 p.m. I was in the cellar with many other sick and wounded. On entering the cellar, the Germans fired a round from a machine-gun and several wounded men who were standing near the entrance fell dead. A few minutes later the order was given to leave the hospital. All the wounded and sick who were able to walk went with the hospital staff, while the more severely wounded were carried on stretchers. Our march was a nightmare. I felt very weak, still having drainage tubes in one side. We were driven to a shed a few metres behind a tunnel in Gorczewska Street. Many people were already there. After examining our documents, they divided us into groups, and then began to drive us out. Soon the group to which I belonged was taken out for execution. We were led towards a large house (already on fire) near the tunnel: were ordered to form rows of twelve people, and were then driven into the yard of this house. At the entrance Ukrainians* (six in number) shot from close range at every person who entered, and thus the dead fell into the flames of the burning house. I saw clearly, when waiting my turn in the first group of twelve people, doctors, assistants in white aprons and also (if I am not mistaken) some priests being shot. Among the doctors was Prof. Grzybowski; then the wounded and sick in the other rows were driven to death, and when the turn of those on stretchers came, they were shot first and the stretcher-bearers after them. It was only by a miracle that I escaped death. When I was driven to the entrance in a group of twelve, I turned to one of the officers and told him, falsely, that I myself and my two companions were Volksdeutsche (I speak German well). So the German ordered us to fall back and follow him; he led us to a German first-aid station, situated in the neighbourhood. About 500 persons were shot in m y presence, among them many from the Wola Hospital; others also, driven here from other streets in the Wola suburb, were with us. The volleys lasted till late into the night. At nightfall hand-grenades were thrown on the heaps of corpses and in the morning a tank arrived, and demolished the burnt house, thus covering the corpses of the murdered (already partly burnt) as well as the place of execution.

The frightful smell of burning corpses was unbearable. I saw it all quite well, as I stayed in the German first-aid station (situated quite near), till the following morning.

Record No. 94
On August 5, 1944, at 2 p.m., the Germans broke into Wola Hospital in Plocka Street. Robbing began; the staff and the wounded were searched, and their money, watches and valuables were taken from them. At about 3 p.m. the Germans broke into the Hospital Director’s office and shots were heard from there. They shot the Director, Dr. Marian Piasecki, Prof. Zeyland and the Rev. Father Kazimierz Ciecierski, Chaplain of the Hospital (who had been specially summoned to the office). Then the order was given for the Hospital to be evacuated. The staff and all the patients who could walk were ordered to leave the premises. The procession was dreadful: the doctors leading, then the assistants, then the patients, staggering along, supported by those whom were stronger. Some had their arms in splints, others were on crutches; all in their underlinen, often incomplete, moving on with almost super-human effort. We were driven behind the railway subway to a shed or rather a factory hall, called Moczydlo, whe re were already several hundred people; and there with shouts and threats they divided us into groups. After some time four people were called out, then twenty-five. At the entrance, they were ordered to give up their watches. After a moment we heard shots. As there was no fighting near by we knew that an execution was taking place near us; the well-known sound of machine-gun fire was heard, and later single shots. There was no doubt that those who had been led out had been shot. Being a priest, I told those present the fate that probably awaited us and gave them absolution. After a moment the Germans called out 50 men. The atmosphere of death had already spread in the hall; the men went reluctantly.

Then 70 men were called out and again shots were heard; then the last group; among them the doctors, assistants and male nursing staff. To this group we also belonged, that is to say myself and another priest, Antoni Branszweig (alumn). I succeeded at the last moment in slipping away from the group which was coming out and hid among some nuns. The party of doctors were led out to death before my eyes. I did not see the execution itself, I only heard the volleys. I was told afterwards that the executions took place inside and in the courtyards of burning houses, at several places in Gorczewska Street. In the last group I saw Prof. Grzybowski, Dr. Drozdowski, Dr. Sokolowski, and Dr. Lempicki led out for execution.

Next day, disguised as a nun, I was taken with the remainder of the women in the direction of the Wola fortifications. During that march I escaped.

More than 200 people from Wola Hospital were then shot.

The criminals belonged to SS and Ukrainian* detachments.

Record No. 189
St. Lazarus‘ Hospital. On Aug. 6, 1944, the stronger patients and the staff (200 persons altogether) were driven out of the hospital. All were shot: among them 28 from the chief staff. Mrs. Dr. Barcz was shot together with her husband (also a doctor). She was only wounded, and fell to the ground, where she was found next day, together with some male nurses, and brought to St. Stanislaus’ Hospital. Dr. Barcz was never found: probably he died. One of the nurses who was saved, Mrs. Maciejewska, states that the severely wounded and the old men were taken under her supervision to the shelter, but were murdered there with hand-grenades when the hospital was captured. Not one of them was saved.

Record No. 215
On the night of August 5/6, 1944, the St. Lazarus Hospital was taken. Owing to very intense artillery fire and air raids, the staff and the wounded retired to the shelter. The Germans threw grenades and mines and poured petrol into it and set it on fire. About 600 people were burnt. The whole hospital building was also burnt down after they had first removed all the Germans, who had been given the same care by the Poles as the Polish insurgents themselves.

When one of the nuns tried to intervene on behalf of the wounded, a German threw a hand-grenade at her.

* See [ RONA ]
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