Recording no. 3

My father hid from Germans throughout the occupation, however, he got arrested by the Gestapo at some point (I can’t remember the date), but he managed to escape. He was arrested the second time in December 1944 in Łódź, in a flat (I don’t know whose or its number) in Zawadzka Street. (…) Soon after my father was arrested, my mother found that he was detained in the Radogoszcz prison in Łódź. (…) After Germans escaped from Łódź, on January 17, 1945, one of Radogoszcz prisoners (I don’t know his name) came to my mother. And he told my mother about the circumstances of the death of her husband and my father. Namely, in January 1945, Germans escaping from Russians surrounded the Radogoszcz prison and the imprisoned Poles with barrels full of gasoline and tar, and set them on fire to burn the prison along with the Poles inside. Germans shot or threw grenades at those trying to get out of the burning prison. The man, former prisoner, who told this to my mother, informed her that he and a few other prisoners made a hole in the prison roof, got out and jumped down from the roof, I think it was the second floor. Germans shot at the men jumping. The above-mentioned man told my mother that he had managed to jump down and had been shot by Germans then. My father was to jump next but, in the meantime, one of the Germans threw a grenade and my father was probably wounded by grenade shrapnel as he could hear his moans. A few days after the liberation of Łódź by the Soviet Army I went with my mother to the smouldering Radogoszcz prison to find my father’s body. There were loads of bodies in the yard, particularly near the prison building. I can’t say how many bodies there were. Some bodies were scorched, others were charred. We didn’t find my father’s body. Most probably, my father was burnt to death inside the building, the roof and floors of which collapsed during the fire.

Witness interview report of an interview with Maria Iwona Kmieć née Godzwan. The testimony concerns the search for the body of Edmund Godzwan – the witness’s father and victim of the Radogoszcz massacre.

AIPN The Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, ref. no. Ds. 67/67, Witness interview report of an interview with Maria Iwona Kmieć de domo Godzwan, vol. 30, c. 5807-5808.