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Documents: Cases of Typical Atrocities, Part 2
[50]
Bromberg 15. Murder of the Radler family

Threatened by the bayonets of Polish soldiers, 14 year old daughter Dorothea forced to help her mother bury her murdered father and brothers.

Extract from the files of the State Criminal Police Dept. – Special Commission – File No. Tgb. V (RKPA) 1486/2.39.

I.
In the course of September 3 and 4, 1939, the minority German Artur Radler of Bromberg, 55 Wladyslawa Belzy, his two sons Fritz, aged 19 and Heinz aged 16, were shot on their premises by members of the Polish army.1 The shooting which, in the case of Artur Radler himself, was carried out with an almost incredible brutality represents acts of unparalleled inhuman bestialities, in view of the vulgar and inhuman atrocity with which the perpetrators worked on the feelings of the survivors, i.e. Frau Hedwig Radler and her daughter Dorothea still in her childhood.

II.
In conformity with one another, the widow Hedwig Radler and her daughter Dorothea, born on June 20, 1925 in Bromberg, have described the course of the actual facts which, in an abbreviated form, can be summarized as follows:

In the early afternoon of Sept. 3, 1939, five Polish soldiers appeared on Radler's property, and with continued threats against the lives of the whole family, carried through a search and subsequently carried off the 19 year old Fritz Radler. On hearing a shot a few minutes afterwards, Artur Radler ran into the street, where he found the dead body of his son quite near the house. However, the father of the killed boy was driven away from the body and back into the house by a Polish officer, who hit him with a riding whip and threatened to have him shot dead.

On the morning of the next day soldiers fetched Artur Radler from the house in order to get him to water their horses at a pump just outside the property. Towards 8 a.m. – in other words only a short time afterwards – the same soldiers demanded something to drink at the exit of the yard, whereupon the 16 year old Heinz Radler gave them milk from a can. Pointing to the dead body of his brother lying quite near, the soldiers mocked the boy and goaded him into remarking that the killed boy had really done nothing to warrant his death. Immediately, as if they had only been waiting for such a "reason," they hit Heinz Radler, who sought to escape the ill-treatment by trying to flee into the garden at the rear; however, everybody who happened to be in the vicinity followed him – soldiers and civilians. Shortly afterwards two shots were heard in the garden, and a short time later a hand grenade was thrown into the room behind the sitting-room in which Frau Radler was with her sick daughter, which caused the door leading to the sitting-room to blow into the room in splinters. Suddenly, Artur Radler, who had had to be of service to the soldiers whilst his youngest son had been chased and shot, came in. He could however hardly ask what had happened, as he was again impatiently called out of the house. Mother and daughter begged him to hurry up, in order not to give the soldiers any reason which might also lose [cost] them husband and father. At the house door, however, the unhappy man was shot at immediately when he appeared; he collapsed and, obviously in great pain, writhing on the floor, begged continuously to be "quite finished off." But the soldiers and civilians now mocked the wounded man all the more and cried: "Let that dog die miserably!", thereby showing their wish that his wounds should cause him a "miserable death." After some time a Polish officer rode into the yard, spat in the presence of the wife on the writhing man and cried: "Teraz jest Ci lepiej, Tybandyta hitlerowski!"2 The young daughter of the wounded man, already badly weakened by her illness, was prevented from giving water to her father. Hours thus passed, during which the soldiers who did not tire of jeering and reviling, had even the vulgarity to take mother and daughter away from the house and the wounded man, in order that they should show them at what spot in the garden they had hidden their valuables; these were then dug out and distributed to the crowd, amongst which also women and children had now mingled, although the place was only a few yards distant from where Artur Radler lay writhing in his blood, groaning and screaming for water. – In the afternoon, at about 4 o'clock, the same soldier who had previously wounded Radler shot him in the head with his rifle at close range. Shortly afterwards – mother and daughter had meanwhile had to return to the sitting-room – soldiers and civilians carried the dead bodies of the three Radlers into the garden in front of the sitting-room window, and forced the woman, together with her child, to bury the dead bodies of the three persons killed in a pit about 1½ yards deep. The strength of the woman failed when she had to throw the first handful of earth onto the bodies, after having made the pit; they then offered to cover the bodies with earth if she paid a sum of 20 Zlotys for this.

Murder case Radler.
Concerning the murder case Radler – Bromberg – Tgb. V (RKPA) 1486/2.39.
Frau Hedwig and her 14 year old daughter Dorothea Radler.

III.
The principal statements of the witnesses already made several days earlier, which neither in themselves nor in comparison with one another contained any contradiction, could definitely be checked at the actual place of the occurrence and were also confirmed by post mortem. In the first place it could be ascertained that Radler's house, situated at the only scarcely inhabited eastern boundary of the town, directly at a cross road leading to the south-eastern exits of Bromberg, was situated near a point where on September 3 and 4, all the Polish troops converged in their retreat from the town. At the entrance to Radler's property, separated from the street by a small front yard, traces were found in the wood at a height level with a man's chin, which were incontestably due to the effects of shots, and which definitely show the direction of these shots. The depositions, particularly those which describe happenings which occurred outside the house, and were observed from inside the rooms, were repeated by witnesses at the actual spot, and it was ascertained that they could in fact be observed. It has for instance been recorded by photographs that young Dorothea Radler not only could observe the process of shots being fired at her father, but could in fact hardly fail to sight him [watch it] from the place of observation indicated on the previous days. In the same way the statement made by the witnesses concerning the serious ill-treatment of Heinz Radler, the events at the place of the murder in the garden, and the mockery of the wounded Artur Radler by the officer on horseback, were checked up definitely and with positive results. On the other hand, concerning the facts indicated by the result of investigation, it was ascertained that statements had been omitted where, owing to conditions of space, observations could not be made, which in particular substantiate the importance of the depositions made by youthful Dorothea Radler to a considerable degree. In accordance with criminalistic experience, especially in cases such as the foregoing, it is known that not seldom confusion arises between personal experience, things heard of, things only subsequently seen, or things reconstructed according to the logic of the persons giving the evidence, and which are then given as something actually observed by the person making the depositions.

IV.
The result of the investigations which were carried out with the most painstaking accuracy forces one to the conclusion that the occurrences recounted by the survivors of the Radler family are authentic. No reason therefore which might supply a justifiable motive for the shooting – of any subjective value at least – is recognisable, so that they are proved murders in the sense that they were wilful and premeditated killings deliberately carried out. However, with the exception of the murder of Fritz Radler, in which armed civilians may have participated, the perpetrators, as investigations have proved, were Polish soldiers who, unchecked at any rate by their superior officers, not only committed murder, but were further guilty of the bestialities described.

Statement of Dorothea Radler, aged 14

...... On Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939, at about 4.30 p. m., about six Polish soldiers came into our house. They made a search for weapons and, this proving fruitless, they took my elder brother Fritz, aged 18, with them. They took him behind a fence about 200 yards away from the house. A little later, a neighbour, now also dead, told my father, Artur Radler, that they had shot my brother. More Germans had already been shot. The air-raid-warden explained to us that the soldiers would be taking away all the dead. We therefore left my brother where he was until Monday evening. Then, at the command of the soldiers, we had to bury him. My father told us that my brother had been shot through the chest.

On Monday, Sept. 4, a lot of Polish soldiers, this time a whole company of them, came again. They wanted a drink. My 16-year-old brother was outside in the yard. There were several civilians with the soldiers and these told the soldiers that my other brother had been shot the day before. The Polish soldiers then told him that my elder brother had fired at them and when he answered that it was not true they struck him on the head and shoulders with their rifle butts and fists. In fear, my brother ran away and tried to hide in the raspberry bushes. They found him and shot him. He was shot twice, once through the head.

A quarter of an hour later, my father entered the house and told us that the soldiers had just placed a bomb in the house. Immediately after that some soldiers came into the yard again, and my father went out to them. They at once fired at him and a bullet entered his throat and passed out through his shoulder blade leaving a gaping hole behind, causing the lung to protrude. My father was not yet dead; he lived for another five hours. They would not allow us to give him a drink or to help him in any way. He begged them to end his sufferings with a merciful bullet [mercy shot] but they only laughed and said: "You can lie there and rot!" The crowd laughed and jeered. At last, after 5 hours, a soldier took pity on my father and ended his sufferings with a bullet through his temple. The wound caused was so large that parts of the brain protruded. We stayed indoors throughout that Monday night. The following day a large number of Polish guns were driven up in the neighbourhood of our home. Fearing that something might happen to us, we took refuge in the home of our neighbour, Johann Held. This witness is still alive. We wanted to hide in the cellar, but Held's Polish tenant who lives on the premises would not permit this. His name is Gòrski......

Read, approved and
signed Dorothea Radler

Source: WR I3


 
Bromberg 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 onto 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 [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' (German) 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 [ours], 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 I


 
Bromberg 17. Murdered – Robbed – Buried

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 Schülke, 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


 
Bromberg 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: WR I


[57]
Bromberg 19. A hammer placed on the body of the victim

The murder of Ristau and Schmiede

Bromberg, Sept. 11, 1939.

Present:
Military Judge-Advocate Dr. Waltzog (Air Force)
as judge,
Walter Hammler
as secretary specially appointed.

In the investigation of Bromberg I 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:

a) Re. person: I am 25 years old, Protestant, and live in Bromberg, 10 Kartuzka.

b) 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 the 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 and, 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.

Concluded:
(signed) Dr. Waltzog       (signed) Walter Hammler

Source: WR I
[Scriptorium notes: Photo document is here.]


 
Bromberg 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,
Dirks, Senior Government Inspector
as secretary.

At the court of enquiry held at Bromberg I, Herbert Finger, bank clerk, appeared as witness and, after taking the oath, made the following statement:

a) Re. person: I am 24, Protestant, live in Bromberg-Schleusenau, 44 Chaussee-Strasse, and am a member of the German minority.

b) Re. matter: 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 Herbert Finger

Source: WR I


[60]
Bromberg 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"

Temporary address: Wloclawek, November 20, 1939.

Wloclawek The Public Prosecutor at the Special Court at Bromberg.

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.

Concluded:
(signed) Bengsch      (signed) Johann Kurkowiak       (signed) Lucian Szafran
Public Prosecutor                             Interpreter                             Secretary    

Source: Sd. Js. Bromberg 814/39


 
Bromberg 22. Skulls completely smashed in – the corpses stripped of their clothing

Murder of the brothers Bölitz, and Bogs

Frau Margarete Bogs nee Bölitz, of Schwedenbergstrasse, Bromberg, appeared without being summoned 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) Helmuth 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


 
Bromberg 23. Misuse of his calling as a priest

Bromberg, Sept. 13, 1939.

Police Headquarters
Emergency Squad 2
Troop No. 3 (Reschke).

Hearing.

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:

[62] "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. 4 Sandomierska 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 Bölitz 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 [Polish] Pfaffen (the accused's own expression for Catholic priests) have preached 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 się Niemcom pobić do ostatniej kropli krwi! Niemców musimy z polskiej ziemi wywłaszczyć!" (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 be 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.

Gildenhof 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 Plac 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.

[65] 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)Wladislaus Dejewski

Certified by:
Kraus, Court official.

Source: Sd. K. Ls. Bromberg 16/39


 
Bromberg 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.

Re. matter: 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 [reeds]. 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, [As for the rest,] he was so covered with blood that we did not examine him any more [further].

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: WR I






1Presumably the Infantry Regiment No. 61. Investigations continue. ...back...

2"Now you feel better, you Hitlerite bandit!" ...back...

3The record is printed in its original form (See phot. on p. 271). ...back...



The Polish Atrocities
Against the German Minority in Poland.

Edited and published by order of the Foreign Office
and based upon documentary evidence.
Compiled by Hans Schadewaldt.