Recording no. 1
An account drawn up on January 20, 1945, based on the testimony of Radogoszcz Commune inhabitants and representatives of the Red Army, concerning the functioning and liquidation of the prison in Radogoszcz on the night of January 17, 1945.
The District Court in Łódź. Prosecutorial files on the case against: Walter Pelzhausen, ref. no. Ld 498/28, vol. 4, pp. 31-34.
On January 18 of the current year, on the day before the Red Army entered Łódź, in the pale light of dawn, Radogoszcz inhabitants were alarmed by multiple gunshots in the prison. This was not uncommon, we thought that they were shooting some people again. However, about six, the gunfire intensified. Everyone rushed to the windows. Bullets started flying towards the opening windows, so people hid behind the wall to see what was going on there.
When it got a bit brighter, a pillar of smoke burst out of the prison and you could hear massive explosions. People froze with horror. There was more and more smoke. Everyone saw that then. The prison was burning with a huge column of fire. SS men were sitting around the prison hidden in bunkers and ditches, firing at the prison windows.
A stronger wind blew towards them from the west, so that one side of the prison was revealed completely.
And now we see prisoners jumping out of the windows. The staircase had bigger windows, so people were jumping out through the broken glass. They were shot at constantly. The smoke billowed as if the whole city was burning, and from that smoke you could clearly hear the song sung by the prisoners. It was the Polish national anthem “Poland is not yet lost, so long as we still live”.
This lasted until evening. Women fainted all the time. People would kneel on the snow and pray for the dying.
And then everything went quiet. It was forbidden to go down nearby streets. German soldiers occupied foxholes in Szosa Zgierska and adjacent streets. They were preparing to fight Soviet tanks, and we were waiting for the fight to end.
The following day, fight for life or death against the Germans continued. As soon as we heard the roar of Soviet tanks, we left our hidings and ran to the winners. Then we were running together; they were the first to help a few prisoners who could still be heard from under the piles of bodies, disfigured, burnt, without legs, senseless. A three days earlier there had been about a thousand people in that prison.
Barbaric! We’re out of words and breath, the world has never seen such an act of horror.
Recording no. 2
A report on court inspections of the crime scene, the building of the former prison in Radogoszcz, conducted on February 26 and March 20, 1946, on behalf of Examining Magistrate of the 3rd District of the District Court in Łódź by associate judge S. Krzyżanowska.
The District Court in Łódź. Prosecutorial files on the case against: Walter Pelzhausen, ref. no. Ld 498/28, vol. 4, pp. 208-209.
On February 26 and March 20, 1946, Examining Magistrate of the 3rd District in Łódź conducted court inspections of the place where, during the occupation, a camp was located, the so-called camp in Radogoszcz at the intersection of Szosa Zgierska Street and Gen. Sowińskiego Street, in the grounds of the former Abbe’s factory. The camp covers an area of about 10,000 square metres and it is surrounded by a brick fence that is 3-4 metres high. The fence is topped with 6-7 lines of barbed wire. (…). There are four sentry boxes in the four corners. They are made of brick and glass. In the yard, there are three trees and two building complexes. To the right of the entrance in Sowińskiego Street, there are the remains of the burnt building that was the main camp building. At the wall behind the main camp building, there is a one-storey building. Its walls are undamaged but its furnishings and installations have been destroyed completely. (…). The main camp building consisted of two parts: a one-storey section and a four-storey section connected by internal passages. Today, the condition of the four-storey building is as follows: only the outside walls have been preserved, and in two corners they go up to the third storey (…) Inside walls and floors have been completely destroyed and reduced to a heap of rubble. (…) Considering the remains of fittings, including kitchen stoves, washing vats, metal dishes, some elements of a central heating system, showers, and a disinfection chamber, the one-storey building must have housed the utility section of the camp (…) As it is evident from the present condition of the building, it was not burnt. Half of its roof was damaged but not by fire. Inside the building, there are clothing remains and a few dozen old enamel bowls on the floor. In the yard, in front of the windows of the one-storey building, there are weathered and blackened bones that look like human bones. In the camp grounds, 3-4 metres away from the gate to the left, there is a grave and a wooden cross. The camp grounds are completely unprotected and available to everyone. The gate is wide open. On the gate, there is a sign saying: “Ministry of Culture and Art, Department of Museums and Monuments of Polish Martyrology: A place of German crimes reserved for commemoration of the martyrdom of Poles. It is strictly forbidden to interfere in the original condition of the place”. This was the end of the inspection.
Recording no. 3
A letter written by associate judge S. Krzyżanowska on behalf of District Examining Magistrate to the representative of the Polish Red Cross in Łódź concerning the burial of unburied human remains from the grounds of the former Radogoszcz Extended Police Prison.
The District Court in Łódź. Prosecutorial files on the case against: Walter Pelzhausen, ref. no. Ld 498/28, vol. 4, pp. 213.
To Representative of the Polish Red Cross
On account of the investigation I conduct into the burning down of the camp in Radogoszcz, I have conducted two inspections of the camp grounds. Among other things, I have found that in the camp grounds, inside the burnt building and in the yard, there is still a certain amount of unburied human bones. Considering the above and the need to bury these human remains, not only for official reasons, under the administrative procedure, I hereby ask the Representative of the Red Cross as a social organisation whether he would undertake to bury these bones. I would like to emphasise that it is by no means my intention to organise another demonstrative funeral.
In case the Red Cross undertakes to take care of the technical part of the funeral, please provide me with the date and time of the funeral so that a representative of the Court can be sent to attend it.
District Examining Magistrate
Recording no. 4
An inspection of the evidence provided by the Radogoszcz district unit of the Polish Workers’ Party, including items found after the liquidation of the Radogoszcz prison on January 19, 1945, carried out on March 8, 1946, on behalf of Examining Magistrate of the 3rd District of the District Court in Łódź by associate judge S. Krzyżanowska.
The District Court in Łódź. Prosecutorial files on the case against: Walter Pelzhausen, ref. no. Ld 498/28, vol. 4, pp. 202.
On March 8, 1946, Examining Magistrate of the 3rd District of the District Court in Łódź inspected the evidence sent by the Radogoszcz district unit of the Polish Workers’ Party, previously secured by active members of the Party. The evidence was found by active members of the Party in the grounds of the camp in Radogoszcz among piles of charred bodies and the camp’s rubble.
The findings of the inspection are as follows:
- Envelope no. 1 contains a yellow cigarette case, burnt, with a sheet of paper with partially burnt edges, with the following words written in pencil: “Rutkowski Ignacy, Lowenstadt”.
- Envelope no. 2 contains a leather bag, the leather of the purse is stiff, partially burnt.
- Envelope no. 3 contains 4 wallets, black, leather, empty.
- Envelope no. 4 contains a red leather purse, half-burnt.
- Envelope no. 5 contains a white linen purse, considerably soiled, with an embroidered flap, the purse has a metal clasp.
- Envelope no. 6 contains 41 photographs with burnt edges.
- Envelope no. 7 contains a prayer book Ogień Miłości Jezusa Chrystusa (The Fire of Christ’s Love), leather-bound, partially burnt.
- Envelope no. 8 – a red purse, partially burnt, with a crumbling slice of bread,
- Envelope no. 9 – a leather cigarette case or a purse, partially burnt, with a partially burnt piece of paper inside, white with a blue pattern,
- Envelope no. 10 contains a leather purse, a so-called horseshoe coin purse, considerably soiled; inside it, there is a fragment of a form from the Department of Population Register notifying of a marriage from May 1943.
- Envelope no. 11 contains a cigarette case blackened by the fire, rusty, its original colour cannot be identified, with fragments of dirty black cloths sticking to the outside.
- Envelope no. 12 contains 24 photographs of unidentified men and women, partially burnt.
- Envelope no. 13 contains 20 photographs of men and women, partially burnt; 3 photographs have inscriptions: “Zdzisław Nit”, “For Zdzisio, as a keepsake”, “father Zdzisław Nita”.
- Envelope no. 14 contains a street photograph depicting two women; according to a handwritten note found in the envelope, the photograph was owned by Władysław Wosik.
- Envelope no. 15 contains a black leather wallet, damaged, with a number of documents issued to Tadeusz Sowiński, photographs, and letters.
This concludes the report.
Examining Magistrate, S. Krzyżanowska