16. German woman struck by 18 shell splinters
Murder of Max Korth.
The witness, Frau Korth, of Bromberg, made the following statement on oath:
Re person: My name is Charlotte Korth, nee Fricke. I am a widow: my husband, Max Korth, was a merchant. I am 41 years old, Protestant, a minority German and live in Bromberg, 3 Hippelstrasse.
Re matter: My husband was formerly an active German officer and saw service in the Great War. He was a prisoner of war in Russia for 6 years. He was 45 years of age.
On the morning of Sunday, Sept. 3, my husband had hidden in a Polish house opposite ours because the Polish police and the rebels were searching for him. They knew that he had been a German officer. He had then hidden in the air-raid cellar of the Polish house. The Pole, Sionon Janek, pointed out to the soldiers and rebels where my husband was hiding and he called to them: "There is the Szwab." "Szwab" is a term of abuse applied to us Germans.
The following further account of the matter was given me by Frau Bayda who lives with us.
They dragged my husband on to our own land and stuck a bayonet into his left temple as he lay on the ground. As he was still alive after 20 minutes they clubbed him to death with their rifle butts. They dragged him back again on to the road, where I found him at noon on Tuesday. He had a jagged wound about 2 inches wide in his left temple. The left side of his skull was so battered in that his brain was exposed.
They made such a wreck of my house that I cannot go into it even now.
On Friday, Sept. 1, I went to see my parents who live in Bromberg, 20 Berliner Strasse, because my father had had a stroke. My two children accompanied me.
On Sunday, Sept. 3, the Poles came to this house too. There was a Polish lieutenant with 5 soldiers and 3 rebels. They knocked at the door and, when I opened it, they said to me: "Where is the person who fired a shot here?" I answered: "There is no man here except my father who is very old, and the rest are women." We five women [p. 55] were made to stand in the yard; Frieda Fröhlich the maid, Liwia Cresioli, a boarder, a mother and daughter called Karowski, and myself. There were two Polish relatives of the Karowskis in the yard with us as well. In the presence of the officer we all had to huddle together in a bunch. A rebel drew a revolver but a Polish soldier stopped him saying: "No, a hand-grenade." I ran into the house, jumped through the window into the street and tried to seek shelter at the house of a baker named Kunkel. But the woman said: "It serves the cursed 'Niemce' (Germans) right." I ran on down the street. They fired at me and I was struck in the left hip. The bullet has not yet been extracted. I stood still. A rebel came up, seized me by the arm and took me to the Military Headquarters at the Hippel School. When I had to pass the soldiers on my way through, they gave me terrible blows with their rifle butts hitting me wherever they could. For 3 hours I had to stand against the wall, my hands above my head, my nose touching the wall. After three hours, I heard them dragging my father along and flinging him to the ground. My father is 71 years old and quite helpless. He could no longer move by himself. They also brought all my other relatives and the remaining occupants of the house along.
My children were questioned. As they spoke Polish well my daughter managed to get permission for us to sit down and to have water brought to us by the soldiers. We were accused of firing upon Polish soldiers from our house with a machine gun. It is a fact that later on German soldiers found in a Polish house opposite, three machine guns and some hand grenades and bombs. It is also a fact that we had no firearms at all in our house, i. e. the house of our parents. Then, at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, we were finally released, no reasons being given.
Before I could manage to get away from the yard, the hand grenade that had been thrown at us by the rebel exploded quite close. I received in all 18 wounds from splinters. (The witness showed several marks on her body caused by these splinters.) Three of us had to be taken to hospital. They were chiefly suffering from injuries to the feet.
While we were being taken away, our house was plundered by the bandits. Only jewellery and money was taken, but they wrecked everything.
The witness begged to be spared the ordeal of having her statement read over to her as she could not bear to hear it again. She had a clear recollection of everything and the record of her statement was in order.
The witness remained seated while taking the oath, as her wounds prevented her from standing.
(signed) Charlotte Korth.
Source WR 1
The murder of Schlicht
The witness, Herbert Schlicht of Bromberg, 197 Berliner Straße, made the following statement on oath:
On Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939, my brother-in-law, Hannes Schfilke, and I were both captured by roving bands of Poles. We were taken off to the barracks of the 62nd Regiment. There we were beaten and roughly handled with cudgels and knives. When they were about to stab me with a knife, I begged them to leave me alone as I had a wife and two children. They then put heir knives away but they beat me with cudgels and iron bars wherever they could.
I had been captured because I was alleged to have participated in some shooting. I had no weapons at all so they put some cartridges in front of us and then asserted that we had been shooting.
Schlicht was set free later as his military papers proved he had served in the Polish army His statement continues:
Hardly had we passed through the gate when the minority Germans who had stayed behind were shot.
I then went to my parents' house and in the cellar there I met my mother and sister. They told me that my father had been murdered and that his body was lying somewhere on Peterson's land. I then took a spade and went to look for his body. Soon after I got to the field, I came across a soft patch of ground which gave way under my feet. After removing a few spadefuls of earth, I found my father's body. His right eye had been gouged out with a bayonet and the right side of his face torn open. In addition, his body was covered all over with green and blue marks. My father was 58 years old. He had also been robbed and his empty wallet had been flung down in front of the door at my mother's feet. The perpetrators are unknown to me.
The bodies of six other men lay buried under my father's. Three of these I managed to dig up. In one case the top part of the head and the brain were missing. Another had a bayonet wound in his abdomen and his bowels protruded. The third had his face smashed in and his nose was missing.
(signed) Herbert Schlicht.
Source: WR I
18. The brain was protruding--The eyes were missing
"My husband was shockingly mutilated." The murder of Boelitz and of Paul Berg, aged 15
The following statement was made on oath by the witness, Anna Boelitz, of Bromberg:
On Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939, at midday, considerable shooting broke out in Jägerhof. We went into the room occupied by an employee of ours, Paul Berg, in order to get out of the house. The Polish soldiers fired direct into the window. We lay flat on the ground until my husband suggested I should go out as I could speak a little Polish. They demanded that my husband should come out, saying that he had been shooting. I told them that we possessed no weapons at all. My husband had to put his hands above his head. They kicked him, and struck him with their rifle butts. They led him away and thereupon searched my house. Shortly afterwards they sent for the lad, Paul Berg, and took him off too. Paul Berg was 15 years old. On Wednesday evening I found my husband in the same spot on the bridge where the clergyman Kutzer lay.
My husband's body was horribly mutilated. The top of his head was completely gone, the brain was hanging out and the eyes were missing. Paul Berg lay in the same spot. I did not look at his wounds because he lay face downwards on the ground.
Source: W R I
19. A hammer placed on the body of the victim
The murder of Ristau and Schmiede
Bromberg, Sept. 11, 1939.
Military Judge-Advocate Dr. Waltzog (Air Force) as judge,
Walter Hammler as secretary specially appointed.
In the investigation of Bromberg 1 of breaches of international law, the witness Irma Ristau, nee Bloch, having been instructed as to the sacredness of the oath, made the following statement:
Re person. I am 25 years old, Protestant, and live in Bromberg, 10 Kartuzka.
Re matter: My husband worked for a gardener named Schmiede in Bromberg. On Saturday, Sept. 2, my husband asked his employer by telephone whether he should come to work as usual. Herr Schmiede told him that he knew nothing of any war yet and that he should carry on as usual. My husband therefore set out for the garden. I accompanied him, as a Polish neighbour of ours named Pinczewski of 8 Kartuzka had threatened to tear us "two Hitlerites," as he called us, limb from limb and scatter our entrails over the street as soon as war broke out. I could no longer go to work either, because on the previous day I had been struck at and threatened with an iron bar. In this strained situation I did not move from my husband's side.
We stayed overnight that Saturday at the gardener Schmiede's house. The gardens were situated on tile outskirts of the town. There were several Poles there as well. After lunch that day the Poles left and sent some soldiers to us: When the soldiers got there they asked for an interpreter, as Herr Schmiede was far too excited to make himself understood in Polish. They said to him: "Have you any weapons, you son of a b----?" Schmiede said that he had not, and invited them to search the house. Thereupon they said: "Three paces back," and then they shot him Frau Schmiede flung herself down beside her dead husband to take her last leave of him arid, though likewise fired upon by the Poles, was not hit. She then fled, crying to us: "Children come into the cellar; the Poles will kill us all!" We fled to the cellar. The Poles surrounded the house and fired from all sides through the doors and windows of the cellar. Finally they set the house on fire. As we did not want to be burned alive we tried to escape from the cellar. This was no longer possible by way of the door as the entrance was already in flames and, besides, the Polish soldiers shot as soon as any of us showed ourselves. We therefore tried to go out through the window. An apprentice employed by the gardener first climbed through. Later, we found him in the garden, shot. Then my husband and I climbed out and got as far as the street. We raised our hands above our heads and called to the Poles not to shoot and that we would surrender. But the Polish civilians who were looking on, cried out, "You've got to shoot at these, they are Hitlerites and spies." At once a Polish soldier fired and my husband who was at my side was shot dead with a bullet through his head. I sank to the ground through the noise and the fright and lost consciousness. When I came to myself, there was a Polish soldier standing near me with a bayonet fixed to his rifle. This man then took my husband's wedding ring, his watch and 45 Zlotys. My husband's shoes which he had worn at our wedding and which he had had on only five times altogether, were taken off and given to the Polish civilians. I myself was seized by my hair and lifted up, but again collapsed at my husband's side. When I asked the soldier to let me have at least the wedding-ring as a memento, he thrust at me with his rifle butt hurting my back and neck so much that even today after over a week I can hardly move my back. I was then handed over to two soldiers, with fixed bayonets, to be taken to the guard-room. As I was not willing to leave my husband's side, they kept striking my hands until I had to let go. Then, just as I was, my arms above my head, splashed with my husband's blood and my hair in disorder, I had to go. The Polish civilians shouted to the soldiers not to let me--a German spy--go but to shoot me where I stood. As soon as I lowered my hands from weakness, they thrust at my arms with their rifles and kicked me. When I reached their headquarters, I was questioned by an officer. It was established that I had done nothing wrong. I asked two soldiers who were present at the interrogation to shoot me as I had no further wish to live. One of them answered: "It is a pity to waste a bullet on you, you miserable Hitlerite; go to the devil." The Poles jostled me and hit me and then let me go. I washed my hands and face in a ditch and then went back to my husband's body. There I saw soldiers and civilians mutilating his body. His mouth was so distorted that he appeared to be smiling and so they threw refuse on his face and cried "You damned Hitlerite--still laughing are you?" They had also stuck a bunch of keys and a hammer on the body of Schmiede, the gardener. I took my husband's papers away. While I was doing this, Polish soldiers struck me and drove me away. I stayed out of doors wandering about in the neighbourhood, until 8 o'clock, when, on the appearance of a German aeroplane, we all had to run into the doorways for shelter. A Polish woman took me in and put me in a room adjoining which several Poles were gathered. I heard the woman tell her husband to go for the Polish soldiers as there were still a few Germans about in the streets and they were apparently not feeling very safe. Her husband did not get back until about 3 in the morning and told his wife that the Polish soldiers had already fled and that the Germans were coming. He said he would follow them, for the Poles having murdered all the Germans, the Germans would serve all the Poles in the same way; so they all fled. I crossed over to a house where two German widows were living.
Read, approved and signed, Irma Ristau (nee Bloch). The witness took the oath.
(Signed) Dr. W a 1 t z o g (Signed) Walter Hammler
Source: W R I
20. His family murdered before his very eyes
The murder of Finger
Bromberg, Sept. 9, 1939.
Investigation conducted in the presence of Dr. Schattenberg, Senior Naval Judge-Advocate in charge of the investigation, and Dirks, Senior Government Inspector, as secretary.
At the court of enquiry held at Bromberg 1, Herbert Finger, bank clerk, appeared as witness and, after taking the oath, made the following statement:
I am 24, Protestant, live in Brornberg-Schleusenau, 44 Chaussee-Strasse, and am a member of the German minority.
My parents live on the outskirts of Bromberg at Schleusenau. My father worked for the German Welfare organization.
On Sunday, Sept. 3, between 10 and 11 o'clock in the morning. we were in our house watching the police and the mob taking a number of minority Germans out of their houses, threatening them with pistols, and ill-treating them with sticks and knuckledusters.
Owczarzak the air raid warden in charge of our block,--who has been arrested since--drew the attention of the soldiers and the mob to our house, shouting: "Just go in there! There are some more Germans there!" The soldiers battered in the door which we had barred and two of them with fixed bayonets at once dashed into the drawing-room where my parents were. I myself was in the adjoining room. A mob of young hooligans aged from 17 to 24, crowded in after them. They were armed with sticks, bayonets and other weapons of assault. One of the Polish soldiers ordered my father to lie down on the floor. My mother flung herself down beside him. The soldier pointed his rifle at my father's chest and shot him through the heart. He was killed instantly. Then the mob rushed at us, i. e. my mother and me, at my 13-year-old brother, and our two maids. They struck us down and then we were hauled off to the police station. On the way we were beaten continually. The soldiers had remained behind in order to search the house, and money to the value of 2000 Zlotys and other valuables were stolen from us. At the police station we received further blows. A police official struck down my mother with a rifle butt Finally, through a policeman whom I knew, I succeeded in getting my mother and brother released. Later I was dragged off with 80 or 90 other prisoners to the town hall. Rifle butts, etc. were freely used. By good luck a professor I knew enabled me afterwards to secure my release.
The witness took the oath.
Read aloud, approved and signed
Source: W R I
21. Abdomen and chest trampled upon
"Well I'm d . . . ! This beggar hasn't a penny on him; the other one I killed had 150 Zlotys
The Public Prosecutor at the Special Court
at Bromberg. Temporary address: Wloclawek, November 20, 1939.
The officials present were:
The Public Prosecutor, Bengsch
as examining official.
Johann Kurkowiak, Interpreter,
Lucian Szafran, Secretary.
In the course of the preliminary investigation against Wroblewski for murder, the witness. Pelagia Wieczorek, was summoned and, after having been informed of the nature of the enquiry and of the significance and sacredness of the oath she was about to take and cautioned to speak the truth, she stated:
Re person: "My name is Pelagia Wieczorek, a Pole, living in Michelin, where I am married. I am 35 years of age, and a Catholic, and am not related to the accused in any way.
Re matter: When I was going to Siedlecki's shop in Michelin at about midday, the first Wednesday in September, I came across an old man of about 70 lying in the ditch at the roadside in front of the shop. I found out that he was a minority German who had been taken away with many others but had been too exhausted to go on. Close to the old man. who was still alive, was the man Wroblewski, whom I knew, and another Pole who was a stranger to me. I saw, Wroblewski searching the German's pockets and heard him exclaim: "Well I'm damned! the beggar hasn't a penny on him--the other one I killed had 150 Zlotys." Then, shouting something else about "Hitlerites and shooting," he jumped with both feet upon the German's body and trampled on his chest and abdomen. He also stamped on his face. When I begged him to leave the old man alone, he abused me and asked me if I was also a German; he said he would treat me in the same way if I was. So he went on trampling on the old man, and he went on doing it even when other fugitives who were going that way, tried to persuade him to leave off. I then went into the shop. and, when I came out again, I saw the second Pole, whom I did not know, pulling the shoes off the dead German. Then I went home.
The dead body remained in the ditch for about 2 weeks after that, covered with a small heap of sand.
Read out in Polish by the interpreter, approved and signed.
The witness Pelagia Wieczorek being illiterate signed by means of crosses XXX
(signed) Bengsch (signed) Lucian Szafran
Public Prosecutor Secretary.
signed) Johann Kurkowiak
Source: Sd. Js. Bromberg 814/39.
22. Skull completely smashed in--the corpse stripped of its clothing
Murder of the brothers, Bölitz and Bogs
Margarete Bogs nee Bölitz, of Schwedenbergstrasse, Bromberg, appeared without
and made the following statement:
On Monday, Sept. 4, 1939, at about 7 o'clock in the morning, the Polish workman, Dejewski senior, whom I knew by sight, and who lived in the workman's huts in Bromberg, Sandomierska, came to the house of my mother-in-law, a minority German widow named Berta Bogs of 4 ul. Sandomierska (formerly Schulstrasse) and said: "Where are the Niemcys (Germans) who have been shooting?" My two brothers, Erwin and Helmut Bölitz, replied that nobody had been doing any shooting there, which was also true. With the words "We'll soon show you" he went away. I happened at the time to be there on a visit to my mother-in-law, and I heard these words and so did my sister-in-law, Frau Hildegard Nowicki, whose home address was No. 4 Sandomierska About two hours later two Polish soldiers appeared at the above mentioned house of my mother-in-law and searched the place for weapons, but they found none.
On the same day at about 2 p. m. seven other Polish soldiers came to the house and took away my two brothers,
a) Erwin Bölitz, horse dealer, 29 years old, married,
b) Helmut Bölitz, no occupation, 27 years old, single and
c) my unmarried brother-in-law, Bruno Bogs, tailor, aged 30.
From that time we had no knowledge of the fate that had befallen them until yesterday when we found them with several other Germans in the wood near ul. Kujawa (Kujawier Strasse), done to death. We also buried them yesterday. Their skulls were completely smashed in. Erwin Bölitz had about 250 Zlotys on him when he was taken off, and Bruno Bogs a hundred Zlotys. The money had been stolen and their bodies had been stripped to their underclothing.
Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 16/39.
23. Misuse of his calling as a priest
Police Headquarters Bromberg, Sept. 13, 1939.
Emergency Squad 2
Troop No. 3 (Reschke).
The accused, Wladislaw Dejewski, a Pole, baker and confectioner, born on May 7, 1895 in Bromberg, Catholic, married to Helene nee Liszewska, 5 children, aged from 2 to 16 years, residing at Bromberg No. 1 ul. Sandomierska, appeared before the court and, having been informed of the subject of the enquiry, and duly cautioned, made the following statement:
"I confess that on Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939 (not on Monday 4th) I made an accusation to the Polish military authorities to the effect that the Bogs family of No.4Sandomierska had been shooting from their house. I must, to tell the truth, admit that I did not know if there had been any shooting from that house and if the minority Germans, Bogs and Bolitz themselves had taken any part in it. It is also a fact that I was at widow Bogs' house on Sunday Sept. 3, at about 7 o'clock in the morning, and met some men there whom I accused of having taken part in some shooting. Of course I did not know if they had, and all of those present including, if I remember rightly, an elderly woman too, protested that not only had they done no shooting but they were not in possession of any weapons either. Thereupon, I went away and reported to the Polish soldiers that there had been some firing from that house. It is also true that I had threatened the occupants that "we would show them." Why I made these false accusations against this minority German family to the Polish military authorities, I myself cannot say today. The only excuse I can put forward is that we had been incited against everything German by the Polish upper classes. In particular the Pfaffen (the accused's own expression for Catholic priests) have breached this doctrine to us time after time and even from the pulpit, that if the Germans were to come they would kill everyone of us, and for that reason we must settle all the Germans first. I beg to say further that I attended the service in the parish church in the ul. Farna on the Sunday before Sep. 3, 1939. It was the second Mass that day, held somewhere between 9 and 10 o'clock. The preacher was a priest about 45 years old but I did not know him by name as I had not been living in this parish for more than 2 months. During the sermon this priest spoke among other things of the tension between Poland and Germany and he actually said in Polish "Nie damy sie Niemcom pobic do ostatnie j kropli krwi! Niemcow musimy z polskiej ziemi wywlaszczyfl" (which means: "We shall defend ourselves against the Germans to the last drop of blood! We must exterminate all Germans from our Polish soil"). These words uttered by the priest had the effect of inciting the working class element of the Catholic population in particular to deliver the minority Germans on Sunday Sept. 3, into the hands of the Polish soldiers, or even to kill them themselves. I do know for a fact that on the 3rd, the Sunday in question, very many Germans were also done to death by the Polish civilian population. But I acknowledge responsibility for the deaths of only those three persons, namely
1. Erwin Bölitz,
2. Helmut Bölitz and
3. Bruno Bogs
and only, as I said at the beginning, inasmuch as I knowingly made untrue accusations against them, to the Polish military authorities, concerning the shooting. Otherwise, I have not betrayed any Germans. As an excuse, I can only add that the idea of betraying these German families, Bogs and Bölitz, was not entirely my own but I was led into it by the two Polish workmen:
a) Jan Powenzowski of No. 1 ul. Sandomierska and
b) Tarkowski, aged about 22, son of the workman Tarkowski residing at ul. Smolinska in the workman's quarters.
These two told me to go to the Polish soldiers and tell them that there had been firing from the Bogs' house and that weapons were to he found there. It was like this: On the Sunday morning in question, my eleven-year-old daughter, Sabina, was going to our neighbours for milk. At about 6.30 a. m., happening to be in the yard, I heard my daughter shout and I ran into the street. Powenzowski and Tarkowski were standing there and they told me that my girl had been wounded in some shooting that had taken place. Where the shooting had come from they did not say and I myself had not heard any. I examined my daughter without finding any traces of a wound. The only thing I could find was a slight tear on the right side of her skirt. She told me she had heard a shot and had been frightened. Where the shot was supposed to have come from she did not know either. As there were no other minority Germans living in our street, Powenzowski and Tarkowski considered I ought to go along to the soldiers and tell them that there had been shooting from Bogs' house. Although I myself did not believe that the damage to my daughter's dress could have been caused by a shot as there was not actually a hole in it but only a tear, I took this opportunity to make the accusations referred to at the beginning, to the Polish military authorities and to induce them to make a search of Bogs' house. I also led the soldiers to the house of widow Bogs. I did not stand in the yard while the search was in progress, however, but took part in it.
The fact that the two brothers Bölitz and Bruno Bogs were arrested later and killed by Polish soldiers, was unknown to me until now. At any rate, no weapons were found in the house.
I particularly emphasize that neither the Bogs nor the Bölitz family had ever done anything personally to me, in fact I did not even know them well. My only reason for reporting them to the Polish soldiers was the fact that they were Germans and that Tarkowski and Powenzowski had told me that there had been some shooting.
It is true that I fled with my family to Zlotniki (Deutsch-Gildenhof, District of Hohensalza) on the morning of Sept..4, 1939 because my wife was pregnant, and firing could already be heard from the German lines. On Sunday Sept. 10, 1939 I returned to Bromberg with my family.
Powenzowski and Tarkowski also fled on Sept. 4, 1939 and have not yet come back. Where they are I do not know.
I should not have denounced the Bogs family to the Polish military authorities about the shooting, if the Germans had not continually been described to us by the Polish intelligentsia and the clergy as the greatest enemies of Poland and that they would kill all the Poles. One of the greatest agitators against everything German was Canon Schulz, whom I met here in prison yesterday. Schulz is known in the town to be an agitator against Germans. I myself have never been present at any of his sermons as I did not belong to his parish. I was employed with about 350 other Polish workmen in the Millner factory for the production of spare parts for cycles; at Bromberg. From these workmen and also from other Polish families whose names however I am now unable to give, I heard on all sorts of occasions that Canon Schulz, up to shortly before the capture of Bromberg by German troops, had charged the inhabitants to fight to the last drop of blood against the Germans and to destroy everything German. On a Polish holiday, maybe two months before the taking of Bromberg by the Germans, Canon Schulz, at a great public meeting in the old market square, held a speech which was broadcast by means of loudspeakers. I was also present at this gathering which was a sort of Mass. Schulz, in this speech, urged the uttermost resistance to the occupation by German troops of the town of Danzig.
It was also Canon Schulz who, as I have heard from other Poles, was supposed to have called upon the people to see to it that the following Protestant churches in the town of Bromberg be taken from the Protestant German minority and incorporated in the Catholic church:
(1) St. Paul's Church in Plae Wolnosci (Welzinplatz)
(2) The Nakielska Church (Nakeler Strasse)
(3) The Schleusenau Church and
(4) The Church in Zimny Wody (Kaltwasser).
Apart from this, I cannot say anything detrimental to Schulz, as I have not had anything to do with him. According to what I have heard about him from other Polish people, I consider him one of the chief persons responsible for the massacres committed by the Poles on Sept. 3, 1939 in Bromberg, for which we wretches must. now suffer. With us Poles and Catholics the word of a priest carries great weight, as he is supposed to be our leader and we believe him. If the priests had urged us to be calm and levelheaded this massacre could have been avoided. On the contrary, however, they always depicted the Germans as the greatest barbarians who had no pity even for children, but shot down everything indiscriminately.
I cannot give you the names of the persons who have killed or maltreated Germans or betrayed them to the Polish military authorities or made false accusations against them, as I do not know the names of any such people. I should name them if I knew any of them. I only know that people wearing green armlets with metal badges on them led the Polish soldiers to the houses occupied by minority Germans. The soldiers took the Germans away with them. I saw this happen both in the Thorner and Danziger Strasse. Later, some men wearing red and white armlets came along, and they also showed the Polish soldiers where there were German families. I did not see anyone I knew amongst them. I myself have seen people wearing these armlets plundering German shops and civilians.
I have now told the whole truth and concealed nothing.
I just remember that a Polish workman named Kasprich, living in Bromberg, 1 ul. Sandomierska, did some plundering in some German private houses and stole some articles of clothing. I met him in Thorner Strasse myself with coats, curtains and lamps on his arm. It was on Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939 between 12 and 1 o'clock in the day. As far as I know Kasprich is at home.
My statement has been read out to me slowly and distinctly: I have understood it all. As regards its meaning the record corresponds with the statement as given by me.
I confess that I was directly responsible for the deaths of the 3 minority Germans mentioned at the beginning of my statement, by having falsely accused them of being in possession of weapons, but I should never have reported them to the Polish military authorities if I had foreseen that they would be killed.
Read, approved and signed
(signed) Wladislaw Dejewski.
Kraus, Court official.
Source: Sd. K. Ls.-Bromberg 16/39.
24. Hidden in a Dung Pit
The murder of Hans Schutz and Helmut Knopf. Son and son-in-law killed
The witness, Friedrich Schulz, of Bromberg, made the following statement on oath;
Re person: My name is Friedrich Schulz. I am 52, Protestant, a butcher by trade, a minority German and live in Bromberg, 15 Oranienstrasse.
On Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939, somewhere about 2 p. m. several bands of soldiers, civilians and railwaymen came to our place and said: "The house will be blown up That will make the "Niemce" (Germans) come out." We fled. I myself jumped into the dung pit in the yard. My son Hans, aged 20, and single, and my son-in-law, Helmut Knopf, who has 2 children, one aged 4 months and the other 18 months, escaped over the garden fence with the idea of hiding among the potato plants and stalks. At the fence, however, they were caught. From my hiding place in the dung pit I recognized the voice of a neighbour of ours, a railwayman named Przybyl, who shouted "Hands up!" My son and son-in-law were taken off to another garden, about 500 yards further away. I gathered this from the place where their bodies were found.
My son-in-law had had the gold settings knocked out of his mouth and stolen His tongue had also been cut out. The "International Commission" photographed him. Besides, he was so covered with blood that we did not examine him any more.
My son had a great hole in the back of his head from which his brain protruded.
Neither of them had been shot; they had- been beaten to death. No bullet wounds were found.
That I escaped with my life is due solely to the fact that they did not discover my hiding place. My wife and daughter and her two children--who had taken refuge partly in our cellar and in the cellar of a Polish neighbour--remained unhurt.
The witness took the oath, read, approved and signed Friedrich Schulz.
Source: W R I
25. Rifle butts used on a pregnant Woman
The murder of Blumke
The witness, Martha Blümke of Bromberg-Jägerhof, 74 Brahestrasse, made the following statement on oath:
"They were all seated in the cellar except Günther Gehrke, aged 13, and Ernst Boldin, aged 12, who were in the yard. The soldiers asked the children where their fathers were. The fathers then came out into the yard. They had to put up their hands and were at once beaten with rifle butts. Kanderski and his son, who had hidden themselves in the same cellar, were also beaten in the same way. They took my brother away. My sister-in-law ran after them crying, and little Günther was crying too. They thrust my sister-in-law back. They also took the youngster with them. They pushed my sister-in-law into a ditch and dealt her a blow with a rifle butt, although they could see that she was pregnant.
I saw the bodies afterwards. My brother had been beaten to death, not shot. His face was completely smashed in. The lad had likewise been beaten to death. His arm lay across his face.
Source: WR I
26. With crow bars and clubs
The murder of Springer at Sehleusenau
The witness, Rudoff Jeske, wheelwright, of Bromberg, made the following statement on oath:
In the afternoon of Sunday, Sept 3, 1939 from 10 to 15 hooligans armed with iron bars and poles came to Schleusenau, Grunwaldzka. They at once made a rush for the house of our neighbour, Springer, and I saw them beat him to the ground with their crow bars and sticks. Then they gave him a severe kicking as he lay there. They tortured him in this way until he had to get up. He was to be taken off to the police station. but he was much too weak to walk. They kept beating him with their rifle butts In desperation and terror of death, Springer tried to seize hold of a rifle butt. Then there was a shot and he collapsed sideways. Half of the civilians ran on, the other half ran up to my house. When they came to fetch Springer two hours later, and put him on a stretcher, I saw him trying to raise his head slightly. Springer was about 62 years old.
Source: W R I
27. Skull split half-open
25 Germans from Wonorze shot
The witness, Friedrich Weiss, butcher, of Wonorze, made the following statement on oath:
Altogether, 25 men from Wonorze were shot. They Were hastily buried by Polish soldiers, after having been robbed of most of their clothes. Eight or 9 days later, when digging up their dead bodies, I ascertained that they all had bullet wounds, in some cases, the skulls were so injured that they were split half-open. Whether these injuries were due to shots or were the result of other ill-treatment, I cannot say.
Source: WR II
28. Abdomen slit open--Bowels hanging out--Castrated!
The murder of Ernst Krüger, the brothers Willi and Heinz Schäfer, and Albert Milan
The witness, Heinrich Krüger, farmer, of Tannhofen, stated the following on oath:
As my son Ernst had been frequently asked for, and certain of the villagers had already been shot by the Polish soldiers, he fled on Tuesday Sept. 5, 1939 together with Albert Zittlau and the brothers Willi and Heinz Schäfer, who had at first taken refuge in a barn. On Sept. 19, 1939, I learnt from Frau Zittlau that she had found her husband buried in a field close to the main road in the vicinity of the Rucewko estate. She said that only his head and an arm were sticking out of the ground. Near the same place Willi Schäfer's cap had also been found. As we all supposed that now all four fugitives were very likely lying together, I went there with a few Germans from our village. With the help of some other persons whom we had called, we dug up the ground at that spot and laid bare the body of my son, that of Zittlau and of the two Schäfer brothers. The bodies were in a confused heap. Underneath the soil was covered with blood. I assume that all four had been actually done to death in this pit and had been buried just where they had fallen.
The lower part of my son's clothing had been undone, his jacket, vest and also his shirt had been drawn away on both sides, laying bare his abdomen. This was slit open and his bowels were half out. His boots had been taken off and were missing. His wallet containing about 40 zlotys, his watch, and chain and his papers had been taken as well. At any rate these things had been in his possession when he left his parent's house.
Heinz Schäfer likewise had had his abdomen slit open and his bowels were hanging out. Heinz Schäfer and my son had been treated in the same way, except that his genitals were missing. These had been cut away, for I could clearly see shreds of flesh and bowels, where they should have been. Heinrich Wising, a farmer, from Tannhofen, who was also present, corroborated this when we discussed it together later. In the case of both my son and Heinz Schäfer, we looked for bullet wounds but could not find any.
In the case of the others, the clothing had not been touched. Zittlau had been shot in the chest and Willi Schäfer's body had no signs of any wound. We did not remove the clothing, but only loosened Zittlau's clothing in front a little.
Source: Sd. Is. Bromberg 151/39.
29. Head torn half away
The murder of Alf--"Shoot them all!--Spare only the little children!"
In accordance with the findings of the inquiry, the witness Blendowski, made the following statement on oath:
On Sept. 5, 1939, Alf, a farmer, told Blendowski and his family, who lived in Klein-Neudorf, to come to his place at Gross-Neudorf for safety from the Polish hordes. Blendowski agreed, and came to Gross-Neudorf on Sept. 6, 1939, at about noon. The Alf family were just having dinner. Frau Alf invited Blendowski to share it with them. While they were still at their meal, Alf's daughter shouted: "They have come!", and some Polish soldiers drove into the yard in a farm waggon. The waggon was driven by a workman, named Bernhard Zielinski. On his own statement he had met the Polish soldiers just before, as they were passing through the village of Gross-Neudorf. They had asked him where there were any minority Germans to be found and where they could get oats. On that occasion, they said something to the effect that all Germans should be shot. Zielinski then climbed on the waggon and drove the soldiers to Alf's farm. When they got there, the soldiers ordered the following persons to place themselves against the wall, facing the soldiers. Altogether there were: Blendowski himself, the farmer Hermann Alf, aged about 57, Erich Benzel of Tannhofen, aged 45, Edwin Eberhard of Gross-Neudorf aged about 40, and a German fugitive from Bromberg, aged about 72, who was unknown to Blendowski. The minority Germans named did as they were told. Then the soldiers demanded oats. At the request of the farmer, the women folk gave them the oats. Thereupon the Germans standing against the wall were given the order to turn round and face the wall. They complied. Thereupon Zielinski said to the soldiers: "Shoot them all except the little children. They are the, children of poor people." They opened fire, but Blendowski was not hit. He collapsed, however, from the fright and fainted. When he came to himself, the soldiers and Zielinski had gone, and the other Germans, who had been placed against the wall, were dead. Two of them had their heads half blown away.
Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 1/39.
30. Whole families murdered
The witness, Anton Dombeck, garden inspector, of Bromberg, 2c Goethestrasse, made the following statement on oath:
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1939, the Polish militia with some regular soldiers among them departed. About half an hour later the German troops entered the town. We began to restore order in the town on Wednesday morning. The sights that met our eyes were terrible. The elderly people had been shot, but were without any mutilation worth mentioning. On the other hand, we found in a large mass grave at 8 Bülowplatz some dead bodies, mutilated beyond recognition. The bodies were covered with straw and a had sand thrown over them. In some cases the back of the head was completely knocked off, the eyes gouged out, the arms and legs broken, and even some of the fingers.
Whole families have been murdered. For example: Kohn: father, mother and 3 children. Boldin: 3 persons. Böhlitz: father and 2 sons. Beyer: father and 2 sons (18 and 10 years old)--the younger had to be torn from the broken-hearted mother's arms.
Source: WR I