89. Old men among the victims of abduction
Personal narrative by veterinary surgeon Dr. Schulz at Lissa
Witness Dr. S c h u l z , veterinary surgeon, deposed on oath as follows:
In the afternoon of September 1st, the 350 to 400 arrested Germans were led to Storchnest by a provost sergeant-major of the Polish army. Among us was the 82-year-old Prof. Bonin in his underpants and dressing-gown. Besides Prof. Bonin there were the elderly Herr Tiller, a tailor, 82 years of age, and other 70-year-old men in the column. There were also women among us. They had not even spared children. The march to Storchnest was comparatively bearable, also that which followed to Schrimm. At Storchnest, butcher Gaumer, elektrician Weigt, teacher Jaschke, forwarding agent Weigt, brushmaker Senf, tailors Tiller (father and son), sculptor Bissing and photographer Juretzky, from whose houses shots had allegedly been fired, were called out of the ranks. But of these thefoilowing were again released: Weigt, forwarding agent, Tiller (father and son), and Senf. The Tillers (father and son), however, were again singled out at Schrimm. Of the others, the old people, women and children were released but were not able to return to Lissa and were driven to other districts. Those singled out, such as Gaumer, Weigt, and the others were tried by a military court at Schrimm and, on the evidence of Polish citizens of Lissa, shot. Only in the case of the 72-year-old Bissing was the death sentence commuted to a term of imprisonment. To make the situation clearer, I would further mention that the "trustworthy" witnesses attached to the military court, who were called upon to give information about us, were a notorious person of evil reputation in Lissa named Ullrich and a tailor called Trzeczak.
At Schrimm, we were beaten and had stones thrown at us by the Polish mob and military. We were called "rebels" because we were alleged to have shot at the soldiers at Lissa. The escort hardly protected us. From Schrimm the march continued visa Santomischel to Schroda. At Santomischel, through which we passed on a Sunday, we were again maltreated and spat upon by the Polish populace and military, so that we refused to enter Schroda with the inadequate escort, because we feared being beaten to death. With the assistance of the extra police that were called we did in fact get through Schroda more or less unmolested, especially as the auxiliary policeman Wendzonka, of Lissa, forced a path through for us with his bayonet. But during the night which we passed at Schroda, every few minutes some of us were called out and bestially maltreated outside by the guard. This maltreatment stopped at midnight only after some Germans from Lissa-Land joined us. I should like to add that at Schroda we were given water to drink out of petrol buckets. We got nothing to eat and were obliged to have bread etc. sent for at our own expense.
From Schroda we continued to Peisern ("Congress" Poland) via Miloslaw. The column of 250 men had to pass the night there in the far too small fir station. During the night we heard shots in the room, but no one was hurt. The next morning our watches and other valuables were taken from us. However, through the mediation of the auxiliary policeman Wendzonka, who was otherwise amenable, we got our property back again. From Peisern, the march continued further to Konin and then to Rlodawa. Here we passed the afternoon in a fowl yard, where we were also to pass the night. There we received water we only against payment. AS the Polish populace molested us by stone-throwing etc., we bribed the Polish sergeant who now had charge of our column to allow us to continue our march instead of spending the night at Klodawa. From Klodawa onwards we marched day and night as they apparently were endeavouring to get us out of the Kutno encirclement. On the Klodawa-Kutno road, in the ditch to the right and left of us, we counted 38 Germans who had been shot or had died from exhaustion all of whom must have belonged to the marching columns ahead of us.
On Saturday, Sept. 9, 1939 we finally reached the region of Lowitsch. This locality was at the time being bombarded by German planes and shells. Our escort, therefore, led us about 4 miles across the fields in a northerly direction. On the way, two more were shot--one because he did not leave the waggon quickly enough, the other because it was alleged he had wished to escape. I should remark here that there were two farm waggons in our column on which those were to ride who were most exhausted. The escort, nevertheless; tried to prevent this by means of blows from the rifle butt and shots We were all of us so exhausted and footsore that we could only have marched another day at the most. On the occasion of a short midday rest in a village the majority of the escort left us . . .
It was at this village that our release took place through German armoured cars. Our joy at our rescue was indescribable.
Source: WR II
90. Pastor Rauhut, minister of the Gnesen German Catholic church, on those abducted from Gnesen
Investigation Dept. for Breaches of International Law with the Supreme Command Gnesen, Sept. 21, 1939
of the German Forces
Hurtig, Judge Advocate.
Pitsch, Military Inspector of Justice.
Pastor August Rauhut of Gnesen appeared and declared on interrogation:
R e P e r s o n : My name is August Rauhut, born on Sept. 21, 1888 at Dambitsch, in the district of Lissa, minister of the German Catholic church in Gnesen, former headmaster of the German private grammar school. deputy chairman of the German Catholic Association in Poland, resident at la Poststrasse, Gnesen.
R e M a t t e r : With my party of expelled minority Germans, accompanied by two policemen. I was on the road from Wreschen to Stralkowo. On the way we saw Polish troops stationed at the edge of the wood, and as they saw us passing by the threatened to shoot us, particularly me, as minister. But, accompanied by the two policemen, we nevertheless reached Stralkowo. Just before Stralkowo the two policemen obtained three military lorries for the rest of the journey, for which we had to pay heavily. We were supposed to go to Kossow in the Province of Polesie (Pinsk district).
After wandering about for several days in the fields and woods between Stralkowo and Powitz, our party of 42 decided to send 3 men to Powitz; this was on Sept. 7, 1939. These 3 men were to request the authorities in Powitz to allow us either to stay in Powitz or to return to Gnesen. The men's names were:
(1) Ernst Wiedemeyer of Gnesen, merchant,
(2) Farmer Derwanz of Przybrodzin, District of Gnesen,
(3) Myself, August Rauhut.
We reached Przybrodzin at eleven o'clock and received personal identification papers from the temporary authorities, and permission for us to settle in Przybrodzin. While these formalities were being completed Herr Wiedemeyer and I saw our third companion, Herr Derwanz, together with my former pupil, Lyk, being taken away be the military, apparently to be shot. We did not see Herr Derwanz again, but later heard that he was supposed to have been buried naked in the Protestant cemetery in Powitz. Derwanz was later found and recognised when persons known to me were opening and examining various graves.
At 2.30 a.m. Wiedemeyer and I, with our personal identification papers, and having the permission of the authorities, were returning to our party which was in the wood 2 miles away, in order to bring them into the town. Just before we reached them we were overtaken by a noisy band of armed youths, and were taken back by force and threats of death of all sorts, since they said: "You must go back, your identification papers are no longer valid, you will be shot." They wanted to carry out this threat of death several times on the way. We had to keep apart and were ordered not to speak; Wiedemeyer whispered to me: "If you get away with your life, give my love to my wife and children." When we reached the town, the public attitude to us became very threatening and we were frequently insulted and abused, particularly myself. At 4.30 a.m. we arrived at the commissariat, where the commissar, a Polish landed proprietor, made several grievous remarks on the shooting of Derwanz, which act he actually condemned. We sat for about two hours in the waiting room and were again asked for our identification papers, which were shortly after returned to us, whereupon we were taken away to be shot by 3 shabbily uniformed Polish soldiers, amongst whom was a lame invalid, who was armed, and who showed his brutality to me particularly. Wiedemeyer remained behind. When I was in the corridor I was called back to the conference room, where there were a number of youths, amongst them also an elderly chairman of the so-called shooting commission. He accused me of being a gang leader in possession of a short wave wireless set. When I refuted all this, he said that religious work with short-wave wireless sets was a very bad stain on my character. I realised that my fate was sealed.
Then I remembered that my ecclesiastical superiors had given me a letter of recommendation to my Bishop in Polesie. I produced this and they were surprised. Meanwhile the local clergyman entered the conference room and said: "I have no authority over him, transfer him to Gnesen to the deacon, Zablcki, who was at the head of the civil council of Gnesen." I then had to leave the conference room and return to the waiting room. Wiedemeyer was no longer there, and I knew what had happened to him. I suspected at all events that he had been shot in the meantime, because the same fate was to be allotted to me. Shortly afterwards the local clergyman called for me and explained that be had assumed full responsibility for me, and that I must spend the night at the presbytery and would be handed over to my superiors in Gnesen on the following day (Friday Sept. 8, 1939), which actually took place. For my own safety as a priest I was accompanied by another priest who happened to be staying in Powitz, and the local chairman of the civil council. We reached Gnesen despite many reproaches and insults levelled at me on the way. The civil council decided, for my own safety, to put me in the "Hospital of the Grey Sisters," and I stayed there until 11.30 a.m. on Monday September 11, 1939, when the German army marched in and I was freed by a German captain.
I would point out that on the journey from Powitz to Gnesen, accusations were continually made that I had a short wave set in the stove or stoves in my home, and because of this I had an investigation made by the chairman of the Civil Committee as to the lack of foundation for these accusations.
Thereupon he said to me: "Let me tell you that Mr. Wiedemeyer is no longer alive." He asked me not to say anything. On Thursday, Sept. 14, 1939, the new graves in the cemetery in Powitz were opened by civilians, who had been sent by the town of Gnesen, and the bodies of Derwanz as well as of Wiedemeyer were found. Wiedemeyer's body was particularly mutilated and showed, in particular, bloody wounds on the throat.
Both men were murdered by the Polish military.
In addition to these two men, six more people from the neighbourhood of Gnesen were bestially murdered near their homes by armed civilians. Amongst them were Kropf, and his son-in-law Brettschneider. One of the victims had had his stomach cut open and his head crushed. In Gnesen these deeds were talked of with disgust, even amongst the Poles.
In my opinion these civilians were armed by the authorities. This took place during my absence from Gnesen.
Concerning the state of the dead, the grave-digger of the Protestant cemetery was able to give information, but I cannot remember his name at the moment. The expulsion order was handed to me on September 1, 1939, by the district administrator, and I left Gnesen on September 3, 1939.
Dictated, approved and signed.
The witness took the oath
(signed) H u r t i g (signed) P i t s c h
Source: WR II
91. Even a deformed minority German was not spared
The witness Ewald T o n n , business man and inn-keeper of Rogasen in the district of Obornik, deposed the following on oath:
About 4½ miles from Gnesen our deformed comrade Puder stepped out of the marching column because he was completely exhausted. He was immediately beaten on the chest with rifle butts and was left behind. Since I wanted to look after him, I wound my way to the rear of the column and saw him lying on a waggon in the agonies of death. He died shortly afterwards.
Source: WR II
92. Driven forward with bleeding feet
On oath, the 70-year-old witness Emil L a n g e , farmer in Slonsk, deposed the following:
. . . The march (1) was very difficult for me, a man of seventy years; my feet were covered with blood, the nails had to be torn off my toes, and it was only with the
(1) The march referred to was from Ciechocinek via Nieschawa to Wloclawek.
help of my son and one of my neighbours that I was able to last out the march. We were urged to inhuman efforts, particularly by the knowledge that we would be murdered if we fell behind. On the way my son was struck heavily in the back by the rifle butt of a Polish soldier. The power of the blow was lessened by a bag which he was carrying on his back.
Source: WR II
93. 80-year-old minority German brutally beaten by Polish police
The witness, Szczepan S i e d l e c k i , grocer in Michelin, deposed the following on oath:
On the first Wednesday in September of this year, I saw about 150 minority Germans who, being marched off by Polish policemen, passed my shop window in the direction of Kutno. An old minority German of about 80 years of age could go no farther, and was struck with rifle butts by policemen, so that he broke down completely and was left lying in the street. Some civilians standing near by were told by two Polish policemen to finish him off, and I saw two men, strangers to me, go through the old man's pockets, after which they struck him with a stone and kicked him with their feet . . .
Source: Sd. Is Bromberg 814/39
94. Polish officer murderously shoots captured minority Germans
The witness, Kurt S e e h a g e l , barber in Rogasen, at the time of writing resident at Bukowice, deposed the following on oath (Seehagel served in the Polish infantry from 16.4.31 to 16.3.33):
On Sept. 1, 1939, I was arrested in Rogasen together with 20 to 25 other inhabitants and marched with about 700 minority Germans to internment in Warsaw, via Kutno, Lowitsch.
Between Kutno arid Lowitsch our party made a halt in a public park. Our escorts, who were Polish reservists doing military police service, and some Polish soldiers, who were standing near by, commenced indiscriminately shooting at us, and some of us were not only wounded but killed. Before we marched into the public park there was a Polish officer standing at the entrance, who was in charge of the Polish troops in the neighbourhood. He asked our escort who we were. When they replied that we were Germans and had called Hitler to Poland--the escort's actual words were somewhat as follows: "These are the swine who called for Hitler"--the Polish officer drew his revolver, and shouting out that he would like to kill one of "them", fired at a German-born comrade who was marching in front of me. Shot right through the temple, he lay dead, and I had to step over his body, whilst the Polish officer behind me, again shot at us, but I could not tell whether he murdered another comrade, since it was forbidden to look round.
On the way the escort indiscriminately pulled my comrades out of the column and murdered them in one way or another, either by shooting or by beating them with rifle butts. In the night, as we were between Lowitsch and Warsaw, three of our escort drew me out of our party and kept me behind with them with the intention of murdering me. Whilst one held my arms, the other two struck me with the butts of their rifles, but I managed to pull myself free, and to escape. They fired after me, and shot me through the shoulder so that I fell down. I heard them shout out that I was finished, but I managed to run on and hide until I saw some German troops. After washing myself, changing into a clean shirt that they gave me, and having my wound bound by German first-aid men, I went with some other rescued comrades a short way back along the route along which our party had previously marched, and we saw a large number of the bodies of our comrades on the road. Most of them were disgustingly mutilated and their faces unrecognizable. In my opinion they were beaten to death by rifle butts.
Source: WR II
95. From Lissa to Lowitsch
Report of an actual personal experience by Dr. Schubert, farmer.
Dr. Albrecht Schubert, farmer in Grune Dear Lissa, deposed the following on oath:
On Sept. 2, 1939, I was arrested in my home without being given any reason, and was taken away with threats of death. In Griewen a sergeant of the 17th Polish Lancers, stationed in Lissa, robbed us of our personal belongings, and the guards--Polish regular soldiers--also stole some of the prisoners' money. We were all driven on foot from Griewen to Lowitsch, about 150 miles practically without food or shelter. Once, each prisoner received half a loaf of bread, and then only because I bribed the sergeant with 100 Zloty, and paid him 30 Zloty more each day, collected from the prisoners. We suffered terribly from hunger and thirst and those who took a swede from the fields were beaten with rifle butts so that they collapsed.
The German-born civilian prisoners were made up of people from 14 to 76 years of age, including women. No prisoner was equal to the strain of the march, which was carried through without food, mainly without shelter and in absolutely insufficient clothing. The people were arrested just as they were clothed at the time, most of them in their shirts and trousers, some in clogs, others with only one shoe on; they were not even given time to dress themselves properly. Most of those who became ill during the march and could go no further, were finished off by shooting or beating. I did not personally see the shooting or beating because it mostly happened at night, and because we were not allowed to look backwards, nevertheless I frequently heard the noise of heavy blows, cries, and shots, and those prisoners who were taken out of the column did not return to us. On our route I saw at least six
dead--minority Germans--who had been beaten to death or shot by troops marching in advance of us.
In Schroda the prisoners from Lissa were unbelievably ill-treated, thrashed and beaten with rifle butts by their escort, men of the 17th Polish lancers. Master-tailor Schulz was pulled out of the column four consecutive times and so maltreated that he had many bad head wounds.
In Peisan where, as an exception, we were sheltered in a room, penned in without straw, Semenjuk, a teacher from Lissa, went mad through the maltreatment and harassment that he had suffered, and started screaming; this immediately caused the guard to start shooting into our room. Only the presence of mind of the prisoners avoided a massacre. Our escort let the mob into our lodging, and the prisoners were robbed of their possessions, watches, rings and money, and what was left over was stolen by an N.C.O. of the 17th Lancers, who came the next morning.
I, personally, suffered severe maltreatment through being beaten with rifle butts, and am only alive today because the soldier who shot at me, missed me; the bullet went right past m head. All this took place only because I tried to help an old man of 70 who had collapsed on to a waggon. I, and all of my fellow-prisoners who survived, are of the firm conviction that during the march numerous minority Germans were slain or shot, but because of the darkness of the night we could only see some of them. During the whole march we were most severely beaten with rifle butts and whips, not only by our escort, who belonged to the 17th Lancers, but also by nearly all of the retreating Polish troops that we met. Between Kolo and Klodawa, a Polish major of a mechanized unit, with disgusting insults and blows of his whip, joined his men in the maltreatment. On the march from Slopa to Lowitsch (90 miles) there was no further rest, not even at night; we made only short halts necessitated by the road being blocked up.
The organist Wiener, of Griewen, collapsed after 15 miles, because his artificial leg broke and he could not carry on. I carried him, my comrade in captivity, for 10 miles since I did not want to leave him behind to be probably slain. Because I carried him I was badly beaten with rifle butts.
A man from Lissa, whose name I will find out later, had to march on past Lowitsch with a shot in his testicles; his scrotum was completely filled with blood, and he endured unspeakable pain.
Source: WR II
96. In cattle trucks, and on forced marches towards Lowitsch
Report of the experience of Pastor Rakette of Schokken. On October 9, 1939, the witness Paul Rakette deposed the following on oath:
Since January 1938, I have been minister to the parish of Scklokken.
On Sept. 1, 1939, I was arrested with about 30 parishioners and locked up in the police prison of Schokken. I was put in a cell, meant for one man, but for a night 10 other of my compatriots were kept there as well. On the next day we were taken in cars to Wongrowitz, where we were also locked up in the prison. Here we experienced the bombing by German aeroplanes of the railway station and other important buildings. At eight o'clock in the evening we were marched off to Elsenau, and at 11 p. m. entered the railway station, where we were put into railway carriages and taken to Gnesen. Whilst the train was still in the station we experienced the second German air raid there, and during the course of the day, a Sunday, there were several more bombing attacks. I had the impression that the train was deliberately left standing there; fortunately none of us were injured. After we had waited during the whole of the Sunday and the night from Sunday to Monday, penned up in the carriage in the station, we were transferred to cattle trucks. Together with 52 other parishioners and comrades from Wongrowitz, I was, put into a cattle truck. For several hours we were left in these cattle trucks practically without fresh air, and a man named Kiok, a war invalid and estate owner from a neighbouring parish, became delirious and began to rave. Early on Monday our goods train started off in the direction of Thorn, and during the journey, as well as in Thorn itself, we again experienced bombing attacks on the railway line and on the station at Thorn. On the way from Thorn to Wloclawek our train had to stop for several hours before the line was repaired, probably on account of hits by bombs. Because our truck was nailed up and it was difficult for us to breathe--at the commencement of every bombing attack our escort hid themselves in the fields or woods--I shouted out during a halt on the open track, and despite threats, with rifles at the ready, by a sergeant-major of the State police, succeeded in being allowed to leave the truck and get two buckets of water. In Thorn, and on the journey to Wloclawek, besides being disgustingly abused, we continually had bottles and other things thrown at us, also by Polish railwaymen. Maltreatment also took place on many occasions. Kiok, whom I mentioned before, was mentally deranged, and a Polish policeman struck him wildly with his rubber truncheon. A bottle exploded in our waggon, which considerably demoralised the occupants. In Wloclavek we were taken out of the train. Apparently without reason, nevertheless in my opinion deliberately and wilfully, we were first of all made to march through the town, where we were stoned and struck by cudgels, etc. I, for example, received two blows in the face from the butt of an army revolver. One blow broke the bridge of my nose, as a doctor later ascertained. Finally we were led into a sugar mill, a collecting centre for all groups of internees. We remained there for two nights and a day, some of us in the yard and some in the rooms of the sugar mill. The number of internees had in the meantime grown to 7,000 men, women, and children. On Thursday, Sept. 7, 1939, the forced marches in the direction of Kutno and Lowitsch began, and for 26 hours, practically without a break, we, kept on to just past Kutno, where we rested for six hours in a meadow. On the march I personally saw how those of my countrymen who had become weak, were left lying exhausted by the wayside, and how at the order of a Polish sergeant they were shot like dogs. According to what I experienced and saw this happened in about 80 cases, until we were rescued by our troops After a rest near Kutno we kept on for 16 hours in a practically unbroken march to Lowitsch. Now and then we met bodies of Polish troops, and as we passed by, they insulted us disgustingly. It was not seldom that I heard wild shooting behind me, and I am not wrong in assuming that this was done by Polish lawless soldiery who fired into groups following us. Shortly before reaching Lowitsch we came upon an advance guard of German troops, which took the Poles by surprise. Our Polish escort tried to drive us in a certain direction in order to get out of what was, for them, a danger zone. They were successful in doing this with about 800 internees. We others, however, lay still in the meadow where we had halted, and awaited further events. Then Polish troops shot into our groups, which were lying down, whereby another parishioner of Revier, named Franke, was fatally hit. After the German troops had won ground our hour of relief came at last. The German army at Lowitsch sent us in waggons to Lodsch, and from there we went in lorries to the nearest railway station at Kempen. We then went home by rail via Breslau and Schneidemühl. I, personally, went via Lissa, where I used to live.
I would not like to leave unmentioned that on these enforced marches, people in despair ran out of the marching column and were then shot down like driven hares. One case I remember particularly. One of these comrades had run out of the marching column, and was driven by shots from the guards into a hollow. At that moment some Polish soldiers swarmed down a rising, and as they reached him did not shoot him dead, but kicked him with their nailed boots. I could only see him get up once more, whereupon he was struck with rifle-butts until he sank down, dead. Even then they stabbed at him with bayonets. The brutality of the Polish soldiers and police was too bestial . . .
Source: WR II
97. Shot by Polish Infantry
"Secret Plans" surreptitiously drawn in notebook
The witness Willi Bombitzki, of Grätz, 10 Weinberg Strasse, deposed the following on oath:
. . . . . Polish infantry then came by and asked us who we were, and on being told that we were minority Germans, shouted that we were spies. They then ran to the officer leading them, who came to us and ordered us to be stood with our face to the wall and said that we would all be shot. On this occasion the officer punched Hirt, a minority German, of Opalenitza, several times in the face, because he did not turn round quickly enough. At the officer's instructions, a new escort was commanded to take us to Iwno, where a policeman appeared from the direction of Gnesen and told us that we were free and could go home. He advised us not to go back in one column but to break up into small groups, because we should then not so easily be molested by the mob. We broke up into smaller groups and went by side roads in the direction of Posen. Atfer remaining in a ditch with two other minority Germans for about two hours, we were caught by an N.C.O. and two privates of the 57th Posen machine gun company and taken to the village of Iwno. On being arrested by the three Polish soldiers we had to lie on the ground with outstretched hands whilst the N.C.O. continually trod on our heads with his boots, saying: "Kiss Polish ground, you German swine." The three soldiers then led us through the village, where the N.C.O. ordered the civilians to beat us because we were spies. The civilians obeyed the order to its fullest extent. In Iwno itself further small groups of minority Germans with whom we had formerly been, came together again; they had also been caught by Polish infantry. In all we were now about 25 men. We were led across a meadow to a thicket, where we were ordered to kneel. The soldiers then took all our valuables away from us. On the German-born Oskar Rothe, of Nonkolewo, the soldiers found a German passport, and he was then immediately killed by a pistol shot of a Polish infantryman. We were then led back to a farmyard, where we again found about 20 minority Germans. In the farmyard the infantrymen reported to an officer that four of us had signalled with a shirt to German airmen. I did not see anything like this happen and think it quite out of the question. At the officer's command the minority Germans concerned were led behind a wall and there shot by infantrymen with their rifles. I could not see this myself, but I heard from the shots that they could not have come from pistols. Then an officer of a Polish tank division appeared and ordered the civilians present to see if they knew any of us. The civilians named one of us, and an N.C.O. asserted that this man had secret plans in his notebook. In this connection I must state that when we were in the meadow formerly mentioned, I had seen the N.C.O. himself, thinking he was unobserved, make a drawing in the man's notebook. In the farmyard the lieutenant himself killed this minority German by a shot in the neck from behind. Then the civilians called out Wilhelm Busch of Neutomischel. He was asked by the lieutenant if the accusation of the civilians that he had printed a German newspaper was true. Busch could not answer because he did not speak Polish, and had really not understood the question. The lieutenant immediately picked up a long rubber truncheon and struck Busch with great force in the face. He did this about eight times. To the lieutenant's question, which was repeated in German, Busch answered in the affirmative. The lieutenant declared that he had thus acted against the Polish state. He was put with his face to the wall, and then the lieutenant personally killed him. by shooting him three times in the back of the neck and the head. My name was then called out by the Grätz boy scouts. The lieutenant ordered the scouts to pick me out; but this did not take place because, at that moment, three more minority Germans were brought in by infantrymen. I owe my life to this interruption. A civilian stepped up to the lieutenant and declared that one of the minority Germans who had just been brought in had held secret meetings. Without any questioning whatever, this man, whom I did not know by name but who came from Iwno itself, or from that neighbourhood, was shot personally by the lieutenant with his pistol. The rest of us had to line up in a row, apparently because the lieutenant, on account of an order which he had just received, had no more time to occupy himself with us. We had to get, one at a time, into a lorry, and, whilst doing so, each one of us received from the lieutenant a heavy blow with his rubber truncheon. The lorry then took us to Gnesen . . . .
Source: WR II
98. Polish lieutenant as mass murderer
Report of the experience of Paul Wiesner, estate manager, of Wollstein. Posadowo, Oct. 4, 1939.
Investigation Department for breaches of International Law with the Supreme Command of the German Forces.
Hurtig, Judge - Advocate
Pitsch, Military Inspector of Justice
On being called upon, Paul Wiesner, an estate manager in charge of the estates in Posadowo, appeared and stated on interrogation and after explanation of the sacredness of the oath:
Re person: My name is Paul Wiesner, born on November 14, 1874, at Marsfelde, in the district of Neutomischel, estate manager, resident at 1 Bismarck Strasse, Wollstein, at the moment residing at Posadowo.
Re matter: On August 31, 1939, I was arrested by the police at the railway station at Opalenica, whilst on my journey to Wollstein. I presume that m,; arrest took place because I was frequently in Germany, particularly in Schwiebus, and it was believed that I was working for an intelligence organisation against Poland. After a thorough search of my person and examination of my bags, I was taken to the police station. First of all they explained that if nothing was found against me I should be discharged, and they even tried to stammer some words of excuse. The investigation produced nothing suspicious against me. In the meantime the police sergeant nevertheless telephoned to the police at Wollstein, and I overheard this conversation: In answer to the question of the Opalenica policeman as to whether they had anything against me, I heard from the earpiece of the telephone the voice of the police captain of Wollstein, who shouted, "Arrest him and lock him up." Thereupon I was locked up in a cell and soon afterwards they brought in Dr. Krause, a veterinary surgeon of Opalenica, whom I had visited for a few minutes from the railway station. In this cell I stayed two nights and one day, and, with Dr. Krause, was then taken to Buk under police escort. There I was led to a room in which about 100 minority Germans were already interned. After about four hours we were put into waggons, including two rack waggons, 12 men in each; escorted by two policemen and two soldiers with fixed bayonets, we were driven through the night to Posen, which we reached on
Sunday, September 3, 1939, at about 6.30 a. m. We were led through the town, and the Polish inhabitants threw stones, bricks and dirt at us; their outburst of rage went so far that they jumped on to our waggon and struck us with cudgels until we bled. We were sheltered in an elementary school, where we stayed for two days and two nights, without food, and sleeping on the floor. On Monday, September 4, 1939, we marched from Posen through the towns of Schwersenz and Kostschyn. In the latter the mob again beat some comrades till they bled, and five of the women in our group were stripped to their underclothes. The howling Bolshevist inhabitants of Kostschyn enriched themselves with these women's clothes. Our group had to go beyond the town, where we were to await further instructions. After about two hours a police sergeant from Gnesen came and, turning to me, since 1 spoke Polish best, explained that we were all released and should break up into troops of 5 to 10 men. I remained with the last group of about 20 men. After they had broken up over a front of about half a mile, some soldiers of a bicycle company who were stationed on the Iwno estate came and commenced to fire with their rifles and machine guns at the surrounding fields over which our group of 100 to 120 people had spread. At first we lay still, because we thought that we should not be hit on account of the high shooting. As, however, they aimed right into the middle of the turnip field in which we were lying, we sprang up and raised our hands. The soldiers now drove us together and led us, first of all 30 of us, to a brickfield. There we found Greisel, the superintendent of Neutomischel, lying with a broken foot. From the brickfield we were transported to the lwno farmyard where we were ordered by a Polish officer to go into the ditch by the road, and to lie on the embankment, with our faces to the ground and our hands stretched out in front of us. After our carrying out these instructions, I expected fire would be opened on us by the Polish soldiers, since there were about 200 of them on the road with rifles in their hands. Whilst I was thinking about this I received from a Polish woman standing next to me a blow with a large stone on the left side of the head, so that I lost consciousness for a moment. When I recovered consciousness I found myself lying in a pool of blood. I could still see my comrades being. plundered by the soldiers; money as well as watches were taken away from them. We were then ordered to stand up arid were led, in twos, to a neighbouring wood, where we were all to be shot. Our escort consisted of about 40 soldiers, armed with rifles and led by a young Polish officer. On the way to the wood, which was about a mile away, it suddenly occurred to me that I had in my pocket-book some letters--although only copies--, one being an acknowledgement from the "storosta" of that time, for my work on the Posen district council, as well as from-the district commissar who had himself identified this letter of acknowledgement in detail. I therefore took out my pocket book, extracted the two letters of recommendation, and put them in an envelope in order to give them to the Polish officer when the opportunity occurred. At that moment a Polish ensign who was marching next to me sprang at me and snatched away the envelope, since he apparently thought that I wanted to conceal something. To this I remarked that I had no objection since it had been my intention to give both papers to the Polish officer.
On the way till we reached the wood the ensign read the papers through, and, when we arrived there, handed them to the lieutenant. Both then went behind an alder bush and conferred together. After a short time I was called over and asked by the Polish officer how I had come by these references--was I a Pole; to save the situation, I answered in the affirmative. He then asked further if I understood what measures he now proposed taking with my comrades. From his whole behaviour, particularly on account of the spades which were lying ready, I concluded that we were to be shot. I therefore answered: "These men are just as innocent as I, and if they are to be shot, then please shoot me too." This seemed to make him waver, and, particularly, because I had refused his accusation that we were rebels, I believed I had gradually turned the situation in our favour. At this moment, however, the ensign returned from a search of our comrades who had to submit to this, kneeling down. He brought with him four membership cards of the German Youth Movement, which he had found on four comrades, and we were thereupon led back to the farmyard. The four comrades on whom the membership cards had been found were led at the rear of our group. Just before reaching the farmyard they were stood with their faces to the wall of the park, and all four men were shot down by one salvo, at three or four paces, by about twenty soldiers. We were then led on to the farmyard. On arriving there, a commander of the bicycle corps appeared on a motor cycle, with a lieutenant wearing the regiment number "58." This regiment was stationed in Posen and billeted in the barracks of the former 6th Grenadier Regiment.
Just previously, the young lieutenant had sent me to the field kitchen, which was in the yard, and had my other comrades led over to the wall of the yard. When the First-lieutenant arrived be said to his lieutenant in an -arrogant tone, so loud that I could hear it: "Well, how many more of the Hitler swine have you finished off?" The lieutenant replied: "Four are already lying behind the wall, and the others are at your disposal." Pointing to me, he explained further that I was to be excluded, and showed him my two letters of recommendation. Then the First-lieutenant had me called to him and asked me what rank I had held in the World War. When I answered truthfully that 1 had been an acting sergeant, he said it was in order and I was stood aside. Then he turned to the 300 to 400 Polish soldiers who were standing in confusion in the yard, and called out in an arrogant manner: "Well, do you want to see any more of this German Hitler pork?" Thereupon all the soldiers answered in chorus: "Yes, shoot all the swine!" Then the First-lieutenant called two soldiers over to him and had the editor Busch, of Neutomischel, brought out. In answer to the question as to what his profession was, he showed his identification paper without answering, since he did not understand Polish. The First-lieutenant, who was armed with hand grenades, a Browning and a horse whip, shouted: "What, you German swine, you are an editor and have incited the people, and in 20 years have not even learnt Polish!" And he hit Busch, with all his strength, about 15 times on the head, so that the blood streamed from his eyes, mouth, nose and ears. He then had two soldiers put him with his face against the yard wall, drew his Browning, and fired at him. 1 saw Busch, shot in the back of the head, plunge to the ground. Even then he again shot him twice in the head to finish him off. Arrogantly he turned again to his soldiers . and shouted: "Do you want any more of this Hitler pork?" In one voice they shouted: "Put them all against the wall!" The First-lieutenant then drew two more comrades out of the group at random and personally shot them in the same way. He let a farm driver select a fourth man, this was the unhappy settler Pohlmann, from Skalowo, near Kostschin, whom he also shot personally.
After this murdering of four German comrades, he made a speech to the soldiers, to the effect that these four would be enough. that they were not Bolshevists but Polish soldiers, and should honour their chief war-lord, Marshall Rydz-Smigly, for whom he asked for three cheers, which the soldiers gave in a bawling voice, finishing up with the Polish national anthem.
At the officer's order, our other comrades, who had up to now been standing by and looking on,. put the four dead into a grave which had already been dug, and shovelled them over. After this we, were put on to a lorry. Whilst getting in, the lieutenant dealt each of us a heavy blow with his horse whip. After driving to Gnesen we were given up to the Polish police. After staying for two days in a school we marched on foot, with a police escort, in the direction of Warsaw. Our destination was supposed to be a place between Warsaw and Brest-Litowsk. We did 25 to 30 miles daily and in 10 days covered about 250 miles without any food from the Polish organisation. That which we obtained to eat we procured ourselves. We spent the nights partly in barns and portly in the open, even when it was raining, and fed mainly on swedes. Our escort consisted of two active policemen and six Polish reservists who had been drafted as auxiliary police. Suffering insults and maltreatment, we at last reached Ilow on September 16, and 17, 1939. This town lies north-east of Kutno--Warsaw. On September 17, 1939, after we had lain a whole day in a barn during a severe air raid, our escort left us. The aeroplanes not only dropped bombs but also fired with machine guns. From 10 p. m. on September 17, 1939, we were without any escort. On September 18, 1939, after I had entreated my comrades to remain lying in the barn during the night, we broke out. From the artillery fire in the direction of Ilow, which had set in the previous evening, I concluded that the German troops were now not far away. I was not deceived in my supposition for, on September 18, 1939, after we had marched westwards in single file for about 20 minutes, we met the first German soldiers of an artillery regiment. Our martyrdom was at an end.
As further witnesses I name:
Jesske, an estate owner, of Paczkowo near Kostschin, further, his son and his son-in-law, who, in a bad state, were brought to the Iwno farmyard when we were already there.
With him in Jesske's farmyard there was also a military Polish unit, and he will be able to tell much of interest about their conduct.
Dictated, approved and signed
(signed) Paul Wiesner
The witness took the following oath:
I swear by Almighty God that I have spoken the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. so help me God.
(signed) Hurtig (signed) Pitsch
Source: WR II
99. German teacher struck down with a sledge-hammer
Supreme Command of the Forces. Lodz, October 23, 1939
Investigation Dept. for Breaches of International Law, with the Supreme Command of the Forces.
Present: Judge Advocate Zirner, in charge of the investigation.
Inspector of Justice with the Landwehr, Grope, as recording officer.
In the case at Lodz, investigated in accordance with International Law the undermentioned witness appeared on summons.
He was told the object of the investigation and instructed as to the sacredness of the oath, and the criminal penalty for breaking it.
Then he was examined
Re person: Petrak, Wilhelm Karl, 30 years old, Protestant, minority German. married, one child, master dyer, resident at flat No. 22, 17 Katno Strasse, Lodz, platoon commander in the former Polish army.
Re matter: On Sunday, September 3, 1939, I was called to the ranks at Lodz. As Lodz was evacuated by the military in the night of the 5th to the 6th, I, with my unit of troops of the remaining detachment of the 4th Heavy Artillery Regiment. marched out of Lodz in a northerly direction. On Wednesday the 6th, just before 1 p. m., we reached the Wood north of Wola Bledowa west of Glowno.
Although we were regular soldiers we were not uniformed, and outwardly could not be distinguished from civilians. As we were camped on the edge of the wood, some civilians brought in two minority Germans to us, who were supposed to be teachers. The civilians maintained that they were spies and that the blond one of the two teachers had had with him a map with drawings on it.
While we were still encamped, a lieutenant of the reserve carried out an examination. The blond one of the two knelt on a truck. His hands were bound behind his back with a chain, which was also knotted round his throat. I watched the examination from a distance of, at most, 50 yards, although I could not understand the individual words. Two soldiers, who were standing on the lorry behind the two teachers, then struck them with rifle butts and a sledge-hammer, apparently at the instructions of the examining officer. They both cried loudly with pain. When we then moved on, both teachers remained on the truck. The blond teacher had to remain kneeling the whole time; he was not in a state to do so and leaned against the side of the truck, which was about a foot high. He had broken down completely and he hung his head in front of him. The other teacher, who had black hair, lay bound on the truck. During a halt at about 5 p. m. I had a close look at both of them at a distance of 2 to 3 yards. Although the two of them were already beaten up, the two soldiers were still hitting them. Both teachers were terribly mutilated. The blond teacher's head was completely covered with blood, the nose completely swollen and pressed to one side, so that I assumed that the bridge was broken. The left side of his chin was covered with blood and the skin was split open; the lower jaw bone was apparently broken. The left side of his chest was smeared all over with blood. He was practically unconscious, and when .the soldier hit him with a sledge-hammer he only moaned. The other teacher was also completely beaten up. After this I did not see the teachers again. Soldiers of my platoon later told me that the two were to have been shot. Since, however, they could neither walk nor stand, they were dragged to the edge of a wood and were there bayoneted They were supposed to have been hurriedly buried by civilians, and their grave is on the road beyond Bromberg.
The teachers were definitely not spies. They had apparently taken flight. The soldiers said that they had admitted everything, but they definitely only did this because they were so terribly beaten, for at first they had said quite frankly that they were German teachers. The lieutenant who had conducted the examination had no authority to do this, he should have had the two teachers taken to the regimental command, which was, at the most, about three quarters of a mile away.
I remember still another case. At the end of September, I believe it was the 23rd, we found the bodies of six German soldiers on a field path between Chelm and Rejowiec. They were vilely mutilated. The mouth of each soldier was crammed full of tobacco so that this teeth were deranged; the tobacco had apparently been pressed in with a piece of wood so that we had difficulty in getting it out. Rifle bullets, with the cases, had been stuffed into each nostril. The bodies had been completely plundered, and I could find no mark of identification. We then buried the bodies.
I assume that the soldiers, who had apparently been wounded, were murdered by the civilians. I cannot think that a Polish soldier could have committed such atrocities.
Read, approved and signed
(signed) W. K. Petrak
The witness took the oath.
(signed) Zirner (signed) Grope
Source: WR IV
100. Polish officer allowed minority Germans to be shot
The witness Gerd von Delhaes-Günther, of Kreuzfelde; in the District of Schrimm, deposed on oath as follows:
My name is Gerd von Delhaes-Günther, born on February 28, 1907, at Bromberg. I am a farmer in Kreuzfelde, in the district of Schrimm, am married and have two children. I was a Polish subject, of German race, and by religion Protestant.
On Monday, September 4, 1939, a group of 20 minority Germans from the neighbourhood of Schmiegel and Czempin, were driven over the Warthe bridge to Schrimm, and were put into the prison, where the military left them. The acting mayor set them free, whereupon the Germans, in small groups, wanted to go back over the Warthe bridge. Thirteen of them were again arrested by the last Polish blasting squad, led by lieutenant Bejnerowicz, and, presumably, by the N.C.O. Krol and lieutenant Szakowski, of the pioneers (Regiment unknown). Bejnerowicz demanded of the acting mayor Dambrowski the arrest of the remaining Germans. Dambrowski sayd that he refused this, since he maintained that they were innocent. As far as I know, the files to which I have had access also came from him. Without even knowing their names, Bejnerowicz then had the Germans shot. As far as I have heard, Bejnerowicz let the Polish mob manhandle the Germans, as could be seen when the bodies were later found. I did not see the bodies myself, but I was told that they were mutilated; none of the 13 were found, and they all belonged to Czempin. The names are:
1. Hermann Raabe, Piechanris
2. Herbert Raabe, Piechanris
3. The elder Steinke, Peterkowalz
4. Steinke, son of above, Peterkowalz
5. Paul Steinke, Peterkowalz
6. Manthei, Piechanris
7. Wilhelm Nier, Peterkowalz
8. Kint, Peterkowalz
9. Adam, Peterkowalz
As to the condition of the bodies, information can be given by district mayor Hartmann, of Schrimm.
Source: WR II
101. Polish women like furies--with whips and pistols
Report of the experience of Richard Glaesemann, farmer and cattle merchant, of Schwersenz.
Present: Posen, November 18, 1939
Junior Judge Bömmels, as Judge.
Court Official Miehe, as recording official at the office.
In the prosecution against Luczak for illegal detention, Richard Glaesemann, farmer, appeared on summons and stated:
Re person: My name is Richard Glaesemann, 51 years old, a farmer and cattle merchant in Schwersenz, s. V.
Re matter: At about 8.30 a. m. on September 4, 1939, there appeared before my house in Schwersenz a Polish N.C.O., accompanied by Valentin Luczak, a mechanic of Schwersenz, whom I knew. I saw Luczac pointing out my house, and visibly making statements about me to the N.C.O., who demanded a horse from me, saying at the same time that I was suspected of spying, and that he must arrest me. As I was standing before the house, to be led away, I saw Luczak and the carpenter Walczak, of Schwersenz, remonstrating with the N.C.O., and pointing at me. The N.C.O. then led me off, just as I was, I was not allowed to take anything with me. The N.C.O. took me to Liefke's timber yard in Schwersenz, and led me to a Polish officer who covered me with a loaded revolver, whilst the N.C.O. emptied my pockets. The officer said to me: "As a matter of fact we should not concern ourselves much about you, but should shoot you at once!" But I was not told why I was arrested, and was forbidden to ask any questions. The officer did not even give me permission to receive a drop of water, although it was very hot.
My horse, which had been at the same time led away from my yard, was to be used to draw a load of oats. The officer said to the N.C.O.: "Let him ride, and if you meet a group of internees on the way, throw him off."
Just before reaching Osthausen, we met a column of arested minority Germans who were taking a rest at the roadside. The N.C.O. handed me over to the sergeant of the escort of this column, and gave him the things which had been taken off me. In the column I met Paul Wiesner, an estate manager, from Wollstein, whom I knew. and who told me bf the column's experiences up to that moment. The column, which had been under way since August 31, 1939, consisted of 121 minority Germans from Wollstein and Neutomischel, including four women. Wiesner also told me that they were taken in carts to Posen, and on the way had been maltreated and insulted by Polish civilians. In the district of Jerzyc they were put in a hall where it was disclosed that they would all be shot.
The sergeant then led the column round Kostschin. Wiesner told me that it was lucky for us that we were taking the route along the railway, and not through the town, because he had heard that in Kostschin groups of minority Germans had already been badly maltreated. But after we had passed Kostschin, before we reached the main road, and were near the estate of Stromniany, about 100 people, men and women, came running after us. The women broke into the column and tore off the cloaks, stockings and shoes from the four women who were with us. At the same time they beat them, and it was horrible to see. We did not dare to interfere; otherwise we should have been beaten to death. We were also held back by the escort
For several days the women had to walk barefoot; two of them, however, were able to buy themselves shoes and stockings in Witkowo, but, until September 17, 1939, the other two marched barefoot with the column. One of these women was nearly 70 years old. She had such injuries under her toes, exposing the raw flesh, that she had to be left behind about three days before our release in the village of Zechlin, between Kutno and Lowitsch. Whether the woman got home I do not know. She told me that she had been arrested from the sick-room of her husband who had been confined to bed for the last few years.
After the people of Kostschin had given up maltreating us, we came to the forked roads, where the streets from Wreschen and Gnesen diverge. There we had to wait while the leader of the escort drove to Gnesen to obtain further instructions After about 2 hours, another sergeant came from Gnesen, and said that from now on we were free, and should spread out over the field in small groups, in order not to be held up again. He also gave us back our things.
We. divided up into individual groups. With me was the accountant Hintz, of the Savings Bank of Neutomischel. We went into a small wood on the south of the road, and wanted first to wait until the large number of marching columns had decreased. We may have, sat for about two hours on the border of the wood, when we were seen by a machine-gun company and surrounded. During the rest we had torn up the entries, in the German language, in our business note-books, so that these would cause us no further difficulties if we were again arrested. The soldiers took each of these bits of paper with them and wanted to shoot us on the spot, because they took us for spies. But I explained to them in Polish that we had already been arrested, and then let free again. The officer of the company then had us led away to the Iwno farm to have the matter investigated.
Before reaching the farm we met two waggons. The two farm hands sprang off and beat the two of us terribly on the head with the butt end of their whips. We put up our hands to protect ourselves, and on my right hand I caught such a blow that it was swollen for weeks, and to this day I cannot move my index finger. The two soldiers who were supposed to guard us did not restrain the farm-hands, but laughed at us scornfully, and did not lead us off to the farm until the servants were tired of hitting us.
In the farm-yard there were about 50 minority Germans from our column, including four women and my acquaintance Wiesner. Most of them were splashed with blood. In Wiesner's head there was a hole as big as a two-shilling piece, from a stone thrown at him. He told us that his group had struggled through north of the village of Glinka. Near this village they were shot at by a machine-gun unit from a range of about ¾ of a mile, so that they had sought cover in a turnip field for about an hour, until the soldiers advanced and captured them anew. During this shooting, so Wiesner told me, a clergyman was shot. I recently saw the announcement of his death in the newspaper, but I have forgotten his name. According to Wiesner, this group, whilst on the Iwno farm, was also terribly maltreated being peltred with stones and beaten with clubs, without any intervention on the part of the escort. This was the reason for the terrible head injuries of some of them.
After confirming to the officer that we had belonged to his group, our pockets were again searched. Thereby a soldier took my gold watch and chain, and various small things.
Whilst the search was still going on, an officer had four people of the group summarily shot. The soldiers said that these people had given signals to German airmen, who had then dropped bombs. I, personally, had seen nothing of airmen. One of those who were shot wore the badge of the Young German Party.
During the interrogation which followed, the same officer asked me if I also belonged to the Young German Party, and whether I spoke 'Polish. In my opinion. the fact that I, as a business man, can speak good Polish, saved my life. During this interrogation the officer had two men shot; they both belonged to the Young German Party, and one of them wore their badge.
The officer wanted to release me, as well as Hinz, who also spoke Polish. Another officer, however, drove up on a motor cycle, and, when he saw the group of minority Germans, he said with a horrible scornful laugh: "You have enough bandits there!"
He sprang into the column, and asked each one individually whether he could speak Polish. Those who could not answer in Polish were then terribly beaten with a whip, the thongs of which were threaded with wire. Particularly a 72-year-old editor from Neutomischel was terribly beaten; he was hit so often in the face that it was completely covered, one might say black, with blood. From these blows the man should, in my opinion, have died. The officer then turned him round, kicked him aside, and then shot him down with his revolver.
He then had us lined up in two rows against the wooden fence, opposite the soldiers with rifles. He asked the soldiers if he had done well, and they shouted: "Yes, sir, well done!"
Then a farm-hand came and toll the officer that a certain man named Wartermann, from Kostschin (a group of minority Germans from there had been brought to the farm), had continually held secret meetings in his house. Wartermann, a man of about 60, was called out. He denied that he had held such meetings. But the officer said that it was proved by the statements of the farm-hand, and that such a fellow as he (Wartermann) had earned no more than a bullet. After he had led him a few paces aside, he shot him with his revolver.
Then he called out to the people in the yard: "You civilians, would you like one of these internees here? Come over and pick one out, and he will be shot!" None of the people came forward. He also called out to the wife of the estate manager, as she was going by: "If you see one here who has done anything against you, or whom you want to have shot, pick him out and I will have him shot for you." The woman replied that he had done well to shoot the band, they should really all be shot. The officer then said that he would do us the 'favour' of giving us a motor car ride to Gnesen. He had a farm lorry driven up, the tailboard was let down, and the officer demanded that we should get in with one jump. Thereby he struck each of us on the head with his horse whip. As I was getting in I held up my left hand, which was not wounded, and received such a blow that the little finger is still bruised and the nail black.
. . . . . .
During the whole of the journey to Gnesen, which took two hours, we had to remain kneeling in the lorry and bend our heads. For all those who were injured it was terribly painful, but if anyone raised his head, the escort dealt out blows with rifle butts. When the lorry stopped on the way in a village, the escort did not restrain the Polish population from insulting us and hitting us with sticks.
In Gnesen we were accommodated in a school, not in the empty class-rooms, but in the corridor, on forms on which we slept a little because we were shockingly tired.
On this day we received just as little food as on the following day, on which we were brought to Witkowo, again being continually spat upon, beaten with clubs and stoned, without any intervention on the part of the escort. The soldiers had only scornful laughter for us. Our request for permission to buy something with the money we had been allowed to keep was refused, on the way as well as in Witkowo, which we reached at about 3.40 p. m. There we had to stand for 1½ hours in the market place before we were put in the synagogue. Here also no one troubled himself, either about our food or our wounds.
During the following days we were then marched on foot through Slupca, Konin, Kolo and Kutno, to a place near Lowitsch. We were given no food at all, and lived solely on carrots and swedes which we fetched from the fields. We did not even receive enough water. The insulting shouts and the maltreatment by the inhabitants did not cease even to the last day; the fugitives from the evacuated areas were particularly spiteful.
On September 16, we arrived at a German settlement, the name of which I have forgotten. Here also the men had been arrested and taken off. The inhabitants spoke only German. Here, for the first time, we received warm food from the people. On September 17, the Polish troops, who were close by, were heavily fired on, and were bombed by aeroplanes. The Polish military retreated, and our escort suddenly disappeared. Until the morning we stayed in the barn, where we were sheltered, and then set off in the direction of the German lines.
At 10 a. m. on September 18, we met the first German soldiers. Most of us were so exhausted that we could hardly go any further.
Of the fate of the people from Wollstein, and Neutomischel, who had not come up
to the Iwno farm-yard, I only heard from another group which had tried to struggle through from Kostschin in a north westerly direction.
About the middle of September the bodies of nine murdered of this German group were found between Jankowo and Karlskrone; later on the bodies of three more were found.
I can confirm these statements on oath.
Read, approved and signed
(signed) Richard Glaesemann
The witness then formally took the oath.
(signed) Bömmels (signed) Miehe
Source: Sd. Is. Posen 55/39