world war 2: warsaw uprising 1944

Central Commission for Investigation of German Crimes in Poland.

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

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  Executions at the Opera House

Record No. 19 / II
On Aug. 9, 1944, at ten o’clock in the morning, about twenty SS-men with revolvers rushed shouting into the courtyard of our house in Trebacka Street and ordered all the people in the flats and cellars to go out into the yard. Our street had been completely in German hands since the beginning of the Rising and there had been no military activity in it whatever. The inhabitants had stayed quietly in their flats or cellars. We came down men, women and children. In one of the flats a paralysed old woman of about 70 named Ropelewska was left behind. Several SS-men rushed into her flat after all the inhabitants had left and set fire to her mattress; seeing this her son carried her into the yard. When we were in the yard SS-men rushed into the flats and set them on fire one after the other. Then they took us into the, next yard, at No. 2, Marshall Foch Street. As Mrs. Ropelewska could not walk one of the armed SS-men shot her before our eyes.

At No. 2, Foch Street, the men were separated from the women. Then we went from one house to another (Nos. 2, 4, 5, 7, Foch Str.). We were brought through cellars and court-yards into the Opera House; women and children into the cellars and men to the first floor. Among the men were my father, 69, and my husband, a student, 26 years old. What happened to the men I was told later by a schoolboy, Jerzy Szajkowski, who had escaped death. The men were led upstairs to the first floor of the Opera House, their Kennkarten were taken from them, and they were divided into groups: 1) Those who had been working in German institutions, 2) foreigners, 3) the remainder. Later this third group was brought out through the doors of the boxes and killed by shots through the back of the head The corpses fell on the stage. Thus my father and husband were murdered. The number of people killed then amounted to 500. The women, of whom there were several hundred, were divided into groups: 1) above 60, 2) women with children, 3) the rest. I succeeded, with 30 other women, in escaping from the last group. We came to the church at Wola, from where we were taken to Pruszkow. I was recently in the ruins of the Opera House. The remains of the burnt corpses are still lying there. They were murdered on August 9. I saw bones, hair, teeth, and the remains of clothing, shoes and documents. I think some women were also shot there, because there were also remains of women’s dresses, and I fear that this was not the only execution there.
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