CASES OF TYPICAL ATROCITIES
1. German children's home in Bromberg searched five times
Threatening of German children's nurses by Polish soldiers and armed civilians.
As proof of the baseness with which Polish soldiers and armed civilians went against minority Germans in the September days of 1939, we publish in the following an eye-witness's account based on a statement made on oath by Sister Schmidt concerning the events in the German children's home in Bromberg.
Though no act of murder was committed in this case the fact that the search was repeated four times at short intervals on the ground of persistent and completely unfounded assertion that weapons were hidden in the children's home, speaks for itself.
On the "Blood Sunday"
five searches in all were made in the German children's home in the Thorner Strasse in Bromberg. At
about two Polish soldiers
arrived and demanded admittance. They searched the house for weapons and
departed after having convinced themselves of the uselessness of their action.
These soldiers were quite polite. At about 9.30 a second search was made by six
Polish soldiers. They knocked at the door with their rifle-butts and demanded
entrance with much noise and abuse. One of them put his pistol at the
In the early afternoon, at about , the next search was made by about five soldiers and five civilians, among the latter again being Gackowski. The leader of this Squad ordered all the inmates, consisting of three sisters and 18 children aged from 2 to 18, to line up with raised hands. Gackowski also on this occasion repeated his previous abuse and repeatedly asserted that shots had been fired from the home, and demanded to see the machine gun. He also dragged in an alleged witness who, he said, was going to state on oath that shots had just been fired. Whilst the soldiers searched the home, one of them remained in front of Sister Olga with his bayonet. Gackowski took part in the search. When this squad had also not found anything, he declared "They work during the day, but at night they have men with them, and smoke cigarettes. I have seen it myself; and at night they shoot." This squad was leaving the home, when a man was brought in from the direction of the Rifle Club and of whom it was also asserted that he had fired. Gackowski was the first who took up this assertion and approached the man. After this fourth search the sisters discovered that small valuables, such as Sister Olga's watch, were missing. The last search in the house took place in the evening at about 5.30, and again soldiers and civilians took part. The leader of this squad approached Sister Olga with levelled rifle, and threatened to shoot her. At this moment one of the sisters who had been sent to the station to assist in the work of clearing up, returned to the home followed by a batch of soldiers and civilians. On returning home, this sister was covered from head to foot with dirt, as she had to clean the railway track at the station. At the instigation of Gackowski, who was again one of the party, a railway worker declared that the engine oil on the hands and the dress of the sister originated from a machine-gun. Also on this search Gackowski incited the soldiers continually with the assertion that shots had been fired. In point of fact, however, neither were any weapons in the home, nor had any shots been fired from there.
Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 37/39.
2. The suspicious cap of a member of the Black Guards
Witness Wilhelm Starke. Director of the Vereinsbank in Lissa, deposed on oath as follows:
It was asserted that
the cap of a member of the Black Guards had been found in the possession of
Berndt, the horticulturist, who together with his two brothers was thereupon
arrested. Neither Berndt nor his two brothers had had the cap in their homes,
and it was subsequently ascertained that the cap was "Captured"
during an attack by Poles on the
Source: WR II
3. Scenes of horror on the Bromberg Blood Sunday
"Always three to the front" and shot down
Military Court of the Air District Staff 3. Bromberg,
Judge Advocate Dr. Waltzog, acting as Judge.
Gunner Endlich specially engaged as Secretary.
(1) Furniture Factory Owner Herbert Matthes.
After the significance and sacredness of the oath had been explained to him, he deposed on oath as follows:
Re person: My name is Herbert Matthes, I am 46 years of age, a Protestant, furniture maker in Bromberg, 24 Albertstr.
Re matter: I hand over herewith a declaration drawn up by myself entitled "The march of death of about 150 minority Germans to Piecki near Brzoza," together with a supplement "Researches of a Field Company" (1). Both documents have just been read out to me once more. The additions in pencil have been made in my presence, and according to my statements. I make these documents the subject of my evidence.
Read, approved, signed
The witness took the oath.
(2) Heinz Matthes.
He was warned to tell the truth and deposed as follows:
Re person: My name
is Heinz Matthes--I am 13 years of age, pupil of the
Re matter: Both reports compiled by my father have been read out to me, I make them the subject of my evidence. Polish soldiers in Piecki stabbed me with a bayonet through the right shoulder.
Read, approved, signed
The witness in view of his youth, did not take the oath.
(signed) Dr. Waltzog (signed) Endlich, Gunner
The fatal march of about 150 minority Germans to Piecki near Brzoza
On the "Blood
(1) The supplement has not been printed here.
were beaten with rifle
butts, whilst passing a line of about 8 yards. With raised hands we stood about
one hour against a wall, after our pockets had been searched. After that a
group of about 100 persons, mostly well-known citizens of the town, were driven
out into the street and, under guard, we had to go through the Danzig-Elisabeth Strasse up to
the barracks at the station all the time with raised hands. On the way the
beasts threatened us with swords, daggers and axes; they spat on us and beat us
-the poor boys could hardly go farther. There were several of these boys among
us. In the riding-stable a platform was erected; "All come up here"-we
were the first. There were still more coming-in-many fathers with their sons,
and, at last, when it was getting dark, there were about 400 of us. They were
all calm, quiet, but with courage in their eyes. A sudden enervation set in
only when an intelligent man of about 20 years moved six steps away from us. He
was pushed back with a bayonet, when he called out "Heil
Hit . . . .,"--a sharp report, and he fell to the ground, hit in the body.
His legs, which still moved, were fastened to a stretcher and he was carried
out, whilst filthy abuse was used. Then a sudden command
"Those to report who carry military papers." The papers were taken
from us--"you can call for them to-morrow at the Commissions'
Office." A section of us were called out to load up ammunition--these were
the few lucky ones, because the majority of them are still alive to-day. We
others were put together and had to march out on the Kujawier
Strasse to Brzoza. Very
soon on the way the old men, who lost their breath, were stabbed with bayonets,
and some were murdered. Shortly-beyond the town "Halt" was commanded;
we were forced to give a cheer for
24, Albert Straße. (sgd) Herbert Matthes
Sergeant (Reserve) and acting officer, decorated with the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class
Source: WR I
4. Quarrelling about the spoils
According to the facts ascertained in the case; witness Herbert Matthes of Bromberg deposed on oath as follows:
In the hours of the forenoon of September 3, 1939 the accused Kazimir Dybowski, Paul Kinczewski and Peter Pijarowski, accompanied by a large number of unknown Polish civilians, and several Polish soldiers with fixed bayonets, paraded through the [p. 40] Albert Strasse in Bromberg. Whilst Dybowski carried a knife in his hand, Kinczewski and Pijarowski were armed with an axe and chopper respectively. When the gang get to 24 Albert Strasse, in which house the witness Herbert Matthes, a minority German has a large joinery, they stormed the house led by Kinczewski, whereby Kinczewski asserted to witness Biermann, who, being an air raid warden, was passing through the entrance hall, that Matthes had fired on Polish military. All protestations of Biermann that this was incorrect could not prevent the mob from forcing their way into the yard, where Matthes had hidden himself in a drying room with his wife, his two sons, aged 13 and 15, and his 72 year old mother. The door leading to this room was locked. When, at Kinczewski's call to "Come out" the door remained locked, he simply took an axe and smashed the door in. Thereupon the wife, Ella Matthes, with her two sons and her mother-in-law appeared in the door-way, whilst Herbert Matthes remained in hiding for the moment. Frau Matthes informed the members of the gang and the soldiers that her husband was no longer present and that she did not know his whereabouts. On Kinczewski declaring that in that case he would take away the two sons as hostages, Matthes showed himself in order to save his children. It is only due to the fact that Biermann stepped in between at the last moment that the stroke of the axe which Kinczewski directed at Matthes missed him. Previous to this Pijarowski had already threatened the 72 year old Selma Matthes with his chopper, and Dybowski had threatened her with his knife, without however hurting her. Matthes and his two sons were finally led away by the Polish soldiers. Matthes and his sons were able to save themselves by escaping on the way, when the Polish soldiers quarrelled over the distribution of the valuables taken from Matthes, and neglected to guard them (1).
Source: Sd. K Ls. Bromberg 22/39
5. The "swaby" (huns) must all be shot
Murder of Giese ... Parts of brain and blood adhered to the kitchen wall
Witness Giese of Bromberg deposed on oath as follows:
R e person : My name is Johanna Giese, nee Keusch. I am 51 years old, Protestant, a minority German, and domiciled in Bromberg, 9 Konopnickiej.
R e matter : On
My son-in-law left the cellar first. At that moment a civilian shouted "The 'szwaby' (Huns) must all be shot." My son-in-law was at once fired at by a soldier, and was shot through the artery; he also received three further shots in the chest and throat. In spite of this he did not die immediately, but was still alive on Sunday evening, when we had to flee. We could not take him with us and laid him on a sofa in the house.
(1) Details of this incident in previous document.
After the German military marched into Bromberg on Tuesday, I took an N. C. O. with me to my farm, because I wished to see how things looked there. It was a frightful sight. My son-in-law had been taken off the sofa. They had dragged him into the kitchen up to and under the kitchen table. The head was split, the cranium was missing altogether and the brain was no longer in the head. Parts of the brain and blood adhered to the kitchen wall . . .
My son Reinhard Giese had also been with us in the cellar; he was 19 years old. When he saw that my son-in-law had been shot dead he tried to escape, and he succeeded in getting over the fence into the neighbour's property. They ran after him, caught him and shot him dead. I brought the body of my son into the wash house in the evening. He had been shot in the chest.
Another son of mine, Friedrich Giese, 25 years old, is said to have been shot in Hopfengarten together with his whole family, to whom he had fled.
Source: WR I
6. "Kill the Germans"
Eyes gouged with bayonets
Witness Paul Sikorski deposed on oath as follows:
R e p e r s o n : My name is Paul Sikorski, 35 years of age, Catholic, merchant. I claim to be a minority German, domiciled in Bromberg, at 4 Müllerstrasse.
R e m a t t e r
In the afternoon, between 3 and , a group of soldiers with railwaymen came to my mill, Peterson's mill, and brought 18 Germans with them. They were bound together in pairs. I had an exact view of them from my garden. The whole 18 of them were then shot down, two at a time. They then struck them while they were lying on the ground. Amongst the victims were a 14 year old boy, and a woman. Evidently everything had to be done quickly on this occasion, because they all moved off immediately. I carefully inspected the corpses afterwards; they were there for three days.
On Monday afternoon, when it was said that the Polish soldiers had already evacuated the town, two soldiers brought in an elderly man and an elderly woman. In front of my eyes they put them to the wall in the mill. I ran over to the soldiers, knelt down before them and begged them in Polish to release these two old persons, both of whom were about 65 years of age. However I was pushed away with the rifle butt by one of the soldiers, who said: "Let these damned Germans perish." Before I could rise again they had shot the old people down, and their bodies fell into a ditch. Thereupon the soldiers marched off at the double.
Source: WR I
7. "They should be beaten to death--not shot"
Murder of Wildemann
According to the facts ascertained in the case, witness Frau Wildemann deposed on oath as follows:
Several hordes had repeatedly searched the house of the witness Wildemann in Bromberg,
Schwedenbergstrasse (56 Ugory) in the forenoon of Sept. 3, for weapons without finding any.
At about in the afternoon a new horde of about 30 men appeared, all of them armed with cudgels and similar weapons. Pretending that shots had been fired from the house that therefore the house must be searched for weapons, a new search was-made. During the search a number of articles, the property of the Wildemann family, was stolen. There were no weapons in the house, nor were any shots fired from there. Wildemann had hidden in the cellar when he saw the horde arrive. In response to the question as to his whereabouts put to her under threats, Frau Wildemann declared that he had gone to see some acquaintances in the Kujawer Strasse. She was thereupon taken to that place. As her husband was not found there she admitted where he was, after she had been threatened with shooting, and on the promise that nothing would happen to her husband. The horde then returned to Frau Wildemann's property, seized her husband and, handling them roughly on the way, carried both of them off into the adjoining garden. They were then stood in a position as if they were to be shot. When they embraced each other and commenced to pray, they were laughed at and mocked. There were continued shouts of "They should be beaten to death, not shot." Among the shouting crowd was the barber Alfons Lewandowski. On Frau Wildemann's turning to him and asking "What have you got against me, what have I done to you?" he hit her in the face saying "You German swine, you damned Hitlerite." Frau Wildemann was then led away by the soldiers, who on the whole had been rather moderate. Some days afterwards they found Wildemann's dead body terribly mutilated, not far from the premises. He had been hurriedly buried in sand and was only recognizable by his clothing and the contents of his pockets.
Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 14/39
8. All Germans must be butchered
Murder of Gollnick and Köpernick
According to the facts ascertained in the case witnesses 0lga and Franz Tafelski, Bromberg, deposed on oath as follows:
The crowd which was on the move in the Breite Strasse incited the soldiers against the German Gollnick. The soldiers knocked. Gollnick down with their butts and left him lying in the street, badly injured. He lived until the evening. Witness Tafelski saw that Gollnick, towards evening was still convulsively moving his left leg and left hand. Gollnick who had fallen on to his face had been turned over by the mob and his trousers opened so that the entire lower part of his body was exposed. Towards evening a civilian appeared with two soldiers, who thrust their bayonets into Gollnick's stomach. Thereupon he was finally killed by a finishing shot. During the afternoon bands of civilians and soldiers raged up and down the Breite Strasse, quite near the spot where Gollnick lay badly injured, shouting that the Germans had fired from their houses. Amongst this horde was Sofie Bednarczyk, an unemployed woman. She flirted with the soldiers and behaved, according to the statement of Olga Tafelski "like a mad woman." Franz Tafelski saw Bednarczyk marching in front of the horde with crossed arms. Her whole attitude expressed that she considered herself extremely important. She shouted, as heard by Olga Tafelski: "Give me a rifle, all Germans must be butchered, the damned Hitlerites." Franz Tafelski heard her shout: "All Germans must be shot dead." In doing so she even smiled at the soldiers. At the corner of 5, Breite Strasse she stopped. When she saw the minority German Gollnick lying there with trousers torn open in front she shouted, as heard by the witness Bartkowiak: "This Hitlerite must have his b ----. . . cut off." About half an hour later the German Köpernick was dragged past the same place and, shortly afterwards, murdered.
(These facts were ascertained at the trial on October 10. 1939 at the special court in Bromberg, on the strength of statements on oath made by Bartkowiak and Christa Gollnick, in addition to those of the witnesses Olga and Franz Tafelski.)
Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 73/39
9. "That swine is still alive!"
Murder of Gollnick
Witness Christa Gollnick of Bromberg, 101 Kujawier Strasse, deposed on oath as follows:
We kept a greengrocer shop, and also sold flour and fodder. When the first Polish troops marched off I saw our Polish neighbour approaching a Polish major, telling him something and pointing to our house. Thereupon Polish soldiers stormed our shop. after they had smashed in the door. We thought that a battle was going to take place and that the soldiers intended to barricade themselves in our house. We thereupon ran to our dug-out, which we had built by order of the authorities. We did not, however, get that far because the Polish soldiers opened fire on us. My husband was struck in the shoulder, and received a rifle butt blow in the face. He reeled but still endeavoured to escape. He tried to climb over the fence, but was held back by a civilian. He received a further butt blow from a Polish soldier so that he fell. My children and myself were brought back into the house by a Polish lieutenant. I could see my husband lying on the ground, from the attic. He still lived for a long time. I saw him draw up his legs to the body and straighten them again, and now and then he raised his hand. It was impossible for us, however, to go out to him as Polish soldiers and civilians were standing about. A Polish policeman was continually stationed at the fence where my husband lay. Polish women screamed: "That swine is still alive." Towards evening three shots were fired at my husband by Polish soldiers, after he had received a bayonet stab in the body earlier in the afternoon. I observed my husband continually feeling for this place and trying to open his trousers, which were subsequently found to be open. My neighbour told me that my husband had still gasped the next day. My husband was tall and strong and only 38 years old, therefore he must have had a fearfully prolonged death. He had lain for about 18 hours before death delivered him from his agony.
Source: WR I
10. "We will butcher you!" "Here is one of Hitler's young brats"
Murder of Bettin
According to the facts ascertained in the case, witness Bettin of Bromberg, deposed the following on oath:
Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 91/39
11. "Seize him, so that I may kill him"
Murder of Thiede and Mittelstädt
According to the facts ascertained in the case, witnesses Gerda Thiede and Otto Papke a wheelwright of Schulitz, deposed on oath as follows:
Waclaw Pasterski, a chauffeur, owns some property in Schulitz opposite to the Thiede family's place. The Thiede family consists of the mother and two children, the daughter named Gerda, and son, Werner, the family is German, and has been domiciled there for years. Waclaw Pasterski is a Pole and came to Schulitz about seven years ago.
Werner Thiede was 20 years old. Mittelstädt was about 30. Mittelstädt had lately become a widower and leaves a small child.
Source: Sd. K. S. Ls. Bromberg 7/39
12. "Oh God! . . . Now we must die!"
Murder of Finger
Public Prosecuter Bengsch, acting as examining official.
Clerk of the Court Kraus, acting as secretary.
In the criminal proceedings against Owczaczac on the charge of murder, witness Finger appeared on a summons and deposed as follows.
My name is Kathe Finger, nee Boehlke, 48 years old, widow of a bank official, of Bromberg, not related by blood or marriage to the accused.
On the "Blood Sunday," several minority Germans and a Polish woman, whom we had asked to come in for our protection, were in our house. My husband would be 62 years old today. In the forenoon, at about , the mob came through our street. Amongst the crowd were the Weyna brothers, who live opposite to us in the Raddatz' house, and the accused Owczaczak. One of the Weyna brothers was armed. After a while I heard my husband in the adjacent room telling our household help Goede that Owczaczak was pointing to our house. Immediately afterwards he came over to me and said: "Oh God! that mob is coming into our house. Now we must die." He declared that we would die together. Immediately afterwards the mob including a soldier forced its way into our house. The soldier ordered my husband and me to lie down on the carpet. We did so. Then he fired. My husband was killed instantly. As a second shot was not fired as I had expected, I raised myself somewhat and noticed that my hands were reddened by the blood of my husband. Then, as I said "my God," I was pushed up and led away with other persons who had sought protection in our house. On the way we were abused, beaten and kicked. As we passed the sluices a Polish civilian tried to drag me up the canal with the words: "You damned Hitler b ---" I succeeded however in tearing myself free. I was then taken to the Police station, where I was received with such a violent kick that I was thrown against a wooden fence. We were then forced to lie down at full length in the police station yard. They called to us: "Lie down here like cattle, you b ----- . . . German dogs!" There were continuously new victims arriving, who had been beaten until blood was drawn, and who groaned with pain. I would add that my boy of 12 years of age was lying alongside of me. There was continual shooting into the police station yard from adjacent houses and from the direction of the sluices, several Germans were hit. These men were then taken away. Whether they were dead I do not know. After about 7 hours I was released with my 12 year old son on the entry of a Polish police official.
In the police
station yard a machine gun was trained on us, and we were forced to kneel down
and give a cheer for Rydz-Smigly. Then we were asked
mockingly whether we had not really been treated well in
I confirm the correctness of these statements and refer
to the oath I already took in this matter on
Re-read, approved, and signed. Kathe Finger (nee Boehlke).
(signed) Bengsch (signed) Kraus.
Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 2/39
13. "The Bloodhound of Bromberg"
Pregnant woman bayonetted
Witness Roesner deposed on oath as follows:
At the police station I was ill-treated by blows in the face and kicks. At night we were transferred to the Government House. There I heard the screams of the ill-treated and noticed that about 200 dead and wounded were lying there. Part of the procedure was to tell those Germans who had just been interrogated that they could go. When, however, they walked down the staircase, they were shot from behind or knocked with rifle butts and thrown down the stairs. In particular, I saw a pregnant woman being bayonetted from behind; the bayonet was then withdrawn by placing the foot on the woman's body, and she was then pushed down the stairs; where she was shot dead. A certain Roberschewski, a higher police official, who was known here as the "Bloodhound of Bromberg", and who has since fled, repeatedly said, when the screams of those interrogated under torture became too loud and a hand siren was sounded, pointing at a small dog running aimlessly about: "What's that dog still barking about, hit him on the head." He meant, of course, that those screaming should be finished off. This was then done. Roberschewski, at the Police station, had already ordered three Germans, who were still alive, to be killed. I saw there ten persons lying completely naked in one room. Seven of these were already dead. The bodies of all of them were frightfully beaten. The three still alive lay further back and groaned. Roberschewski came in with several Poles and asked: "Are they still alive?" Thereby he beckoned to the other Poles, whom I do not know, whereupon they took an axe already covered with blood and killed the three.
Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 79/39.
14. 11 year old youth torn from his mother and killed
The four-fold murder of the gardener Beyer's family in Bromberg
Extracts from the files of the State Criminal police office-Special Commission Bromberg-file No. Tgb. V (RKPA) 1486/7 39.
The murder of the Beyer family, gardeners of Hohenholm, a suburb of Bromberg, is characteristic of the large proportion of German-born families belonging to special professions that were decimated or entirely exterminated as victims of the murderous Polish element on the Bromberg "Blood Sunday;" it also characterises the particular groups of miscreants whose origin can be traced to organisations of Polish state officials but without any apparent connection with the military, who were actually responsible for the hundreds of massacres.
The criminalistic and medico-legal expert attention given to the Beyer murder case, having entirely elucidated the events by statements of witnesses and objective record material, shows clearly that on the late afternoon of the "Blood Sunday" eight or nine (on this point the statements of witnesses differ) State officials of the so-called "French-Gdynia-Railway" in uniform and led by the 17 year old Jan Gaca, who has since been sentenced to death by court martial, forcibly entered the nursery garden of Friedrich Beyer Prior to this the perpetrators had opened fire on these premises. Owing to the shots the Beyer family, consisting of the parents, their two sons of 11 and 18 respectively, and the 22 year old gardener's assistant Erich Thiede, tried to escape into the house near by of Beyer's mother, a woman of 66 years of age. The railwaymen, still led by Gaca, followed and drove the whole family, including the old mother, back to their garden. Here the old assertion so often heard in Bromberg was made, Herr Beyer owned a machine-gun, which he should hand over. After a vain search, both Beyer, his two sons, and Thiede were forced to accompany the railwaymen to the railway police station on the pretext of an interrogation being necessary concerning the illicit possession of a machine-gun. The railway officials did not shrink from dragging the 11 year old son Kurt, who was anxiously held by his frightened mother, from her arms by using brutal force, so that also this child should "answer for" the alleged possession of the machine-gun. Characteristic for the carrying off of the Beyers is the remark of a Polish woman to others: "Now they are chasing the Beyers."
On the Monday following the "Blood Sunday," at about 9 a. m the Polish subject Stefan Sitarek discovered in the former military drill grounds, which adjoin the French-Gdynia Railway to the North, the dead bodies of Friedrich Beyer and his son Heinz, as well as of the assistant Thiede, lying alongside and on top of each other; among them the 11 year old child, evidently badly hurt, twisting and groaning loudly. Sitarek, a Pole, took care of the badly hurt boy. He was, however, in accordance with his credible statement, turned away by all departments dealing with the transport of
the seriously wounded, so that the child, as deposed by the Polish witness, died of his wounds in the hours of the forenoon of Sept. 4, alongside the dead bodies of his father and brother. Towards of the same day the four dead bodies were hurriedly buried at the spot where the murder was committed, and where subsequently the criminal-police investigations were carried out.
The medico-legal autopsies show that in these four cases mainly pistols were employed. The bullets found in the corpses of Beyer, father, and Heinz Beyer, son, indicate that Nagan revolvers were used, i. e., the model with which a large number of Polish Railway Police were equipped. The dead body of the 11 year old child Kurt Beyer alone showed two shots in the chest, running from the front to the back, one of them a wound caused by a bullet embedded in the body; furthermore a serious fracture of the right forearm bone, and a stab wound across the left eye, none of which, not even in a combined effect with others, was absolutely deadly.
15. Murder of the Radler family
Threatened by the bayonets of Polish soldiers, 14 year old daughter Dorothea forced to help her mother bury her murdered father and brothers.
Extract from the files of the State Criminal Police Dept--Special Commission--file No. Tgb. V. (RKPA) 1486/2. 39.
In the course of September 3 and 4, 1939, the minority German Artur Radler of Bromberg, 55 Wladyslawa Belzy, his two sons Fritz, aged 19 and Heinz aged 16, were shot on their premises by members of the Polish army (1). The shooting which in the case of Artur Radler himself, was carried out with an almost incredible brutality, represents acts of unparalleled inhuman bestialities, in view of the vulgar and inhuman atrocity with which the perpetrators worked on the feelings of the survivors, i. e. Frau Hedwig Radler and her daughter Dorothea still in her childhood.
In conformity with
one another, the widow Hedwig Radler and her daughter
Dorothea, born on
early afternoon of
(1) Presumably the Infantry Regiment No. 61. Investigations continue.
begged him to hurry up, in order not to give the soldiers any reason which might also lose them husband and father. At the house door, however, the unhappy man was shot at immediately when he appeared; he collapsed and, obviously in great pain, writhing on the floor, begged continuously to be "quite finished off." But the soldiers and civilians now mocked the wounded man all the more and cried: "Let that dog die miserably," thereby showing their wish that his wounds should cause him a "miserable death." After some time a Polish officer rode into the yard, spat in the presence of the wife on the writhing man and cried: "Teraz jest Ci lepiej, Tybandyta hitlerowski" ("Now you feel better; you Hitlerite bandit"). The young daughter of the wounded man, already badly weakened by her illness, was prevented from giving water to her father. Hours thus passed, during which the soldiers who did not tire of jeering and reviling, had even the vulgarity to take mother and daughter away from the house and the wounded man, in order that they should show them at what spot in the garden they had hidden their valuables; these were then dug out and distributed to the crowd, amongst which also women and children had now mingled, although the place was only a few yards distant from where Artur Radler lay writhing in his blood, groaning and screaming for water. In the afternoon, at about , the same soldier who had previously wounded Radler shot him in the head with his rifle at close range. Shortly afterwards-mother and daughter had meanwhile had to return to the sitting-room-soldiers and civilians carried the dead bodies of the three Radlers into the garden in front of the sitting-room window, and forced the woman, together with her child, to bury the dead bodies of the three persons killed in a pit about 1 1/2 yards deep. The strength of the woman failed when she had to throw the first handful of earth on to the bodies, after having made the pit; they then offered to cover the bodies with earth if she paid a sum of 20 Zlotys for this.
The principal statements of the witnesses already made several days earlier, which neither in themselves nor in comparison with one another contained any contradiction, could definitely be checked at the actual place of the occurrence and were also confirmed by post mortem. In the first place it could be ascertained that Radler's house, situated at the only scarcely inhabited eastern boundary of the town, directly at a cross road leading to the south-eastern exits of Bromberg, was situated near a point where on September 3 and 4, all the Polish troops converged in their retreat from the town. At the entrance to Radler's property, separated from the street by a small front yard, traces were found in the wood at a height level with a man's chin, which were incontestably due to the effects of shots, and which definitely show the direction of these shots. The depositions, particularly those which describe happenings which occurred outside the house, and were observed from inside the rooms, were repeated by witnesses at the actual spot, and it was ascertained that they could in fact be observed. It has for instance been recorded by photographs that young Dorothea Radler not only could observe the process of shots being fired at her father, but could in fact hardly fail to sight him from the place of observation indicated on the previous days. In the same way the statement made by the witnesses. concerning the serious ill-treatment of Heinz Radler, the events at the place of the murder in the garden, and the mockery of the wounded Artur Radler by the officer on horseback, were checked up definitely and with positive results. On the other hand, concerning the facts indicated by the result of investigation, it was ascertained that statements had been omitted where, owing to conditions of space, observations could not be made, which in particular substantiate the importance of the depositions made by youthful Dorothea Radler to a considerable degree. In accordance with criminalistic experience, especially in cases such as the foregoing, it is known that not seldom confusion arises between personal experience, things heard of, things only subsequently seen, or things reconstructed according to the logic of the persons giving the evidence, and which are then given as something actually observed by the person making the depositions.
The result of the investigations which were carried out with the most painstaking accuracy forces one to the conclusion that the occurrences recounted by the survivors of the Radler family are authentic. No reason therefore which might supply a justifiable motive for the shooting--of any subjective value at least--is recognisable, so that they are proved murders in the sense that they were wilful and premeditated killings deliberately carried out. However, with the exception of the murder of Fritz Radler, in which armed civilians may have participated, the perpetrators, as investigations have proved, were Polish soldiers who, unchecked at any rate by their superior officers, not only committed murder, but were further guilty of the bestialities described.
Statement of Dorothea Radler, aged 14
. . . . On
On Monday, Sept. 4, a lot of Polish soldiers, this time a whole company of them; came again. They wanted a drink. My 16-year-old brother was outside in the yard. There were several civilians with the soldiers and these told the soldiers that my other brother had been shot the day before. The Polish soldiers then told him that my elder brother had fired at them and when he answered that it was not true they struck him on the head and shoulders with their rifle butts and fists. In fear, my brother ran away and tried to hide in the raspberry bushes. They found him and shot him. He was shot twice, once through the head.
A quarter of an hour later, my father entered the house and told us that the soldiers had just placed a bomb in the house. Immediately after that some soldiers came into the yard again, and my father went out to them. They at once fired at him and a bullet entered his throat and passed out through his shoulder blade leaving a gaping hole behind, causing the lung to protrude. My father was not yet dead; he lived for another five hours. They would not allow us to give him a drink or to help him in any way. He begged them to end his sufferings with a merciful bullet but they only laughed and said: "You can lie there and rot!" The crowd laughed and jeered. At last, after 5 hours, a soldier took pity on my father and ended his sufferings with a bullet through his temple. The wound caused was so large that parts of the brain protruded. We stayed indoors throughout that Monday night. The following day a large number of Polish guns were driven up in the neighbourhood of our home. Fearing that something might happen to us, we took refuge in the home of our neighbour, Johann Held. This witness is still alive. We wanted to hide in the cellar, but Held's Polish tenant who lives on the premises would not permit this. His name is Gorski . . . .
Read, approved and signed (signed) Dorothea Radler.
Source WR I (1)
(1) The record is printed in its original form (See phot. on p. 271).