Recording no. 1
A fragment of the conclusion of the judgement in the case of Józef Zawierko, former prisoner functionary in the Radogoszcz Extended Police Prison.
Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance, ref. no. Ld 498/179, Prosecutorial files relating to the case of Józef Zawierko, c. 90-91.
The District Court in Łódź, in the 7th Criminal Department, having considered on November 17, 1947, the case of Józef Zawierko born on March 14, 1896, accused of acting to the detriment of persons persecuted by the authorities of the German state in 1941 and at the beginning of 1942 in Łódź as a cell head in the Radogoszcz prison, particularly by:
Beating his subordinate fellow inmates;
Denouncing his fellow inmates to the German prison staff for various offences, which led to the torturing of his fellow inmates;
Providing his fellow inmates with food of lower quality, and leaving better food to himself and his colleagues;
acquit Józef Zawierko of the charge described above.
Grounds of judgement:
The witnesses interviewed established that Zawierko, as cell head, had beaten his fellow inmates for stealing bread, but at the same time they stated that no one had held that against the defendant. Moreover, all witnesses established that the defendant had had a good reputation among other prisoners. Only the read out testimony of Pawłowski and Górski differs from the general testimony.
Pawłowski, who himself was accused of abusing prisoners, describes Zawierko in the worst terms possible, however, as such an attitude can also be motivated by the intention to place some of his blame on a different person, the Court could not treat this testimony as objective evidence, particularly that the Court was not able to determine the significance of this testimony by hearing it directly.
Neither does Górski’s testimony contribute anything concrete. Górski wants to incriminate Zawierko with one sentence: Józio would come to the cell and say: “give me thirty for whipping,” and Zawierko would select these thirty men. But even if we assume, which is contrary to the testimony of witnesses, that Zawierko indeed selected those 30 people, a question should be asked about whether he could select only 25 instead of 30. A prisoner during the occupation was only a tool and could not argue or bargain with SS men. For these reasons, the Court decided that neither the behaviour nor the actions of the defendant bore traces of the crime he was accused of, and this is why he was acquitted.
A fragment of the conclusion of the judgement in the case of Alfons Mitleiner, former guard in the Radogoszcz Extended Police Prison.
Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance, ref. no. GK 209/1160, Special Criminal Court for the Warsaw Appellate District with a seat in Łódź. Files in the case of: Alfons Mitleiner, c. 6-6v.
The Special Criminal Court for the Appellate Court District in Warsaw with its seat in Łódź, having considered on October 21, 1946, the case of Alfons Mitleiner born on August 6, 1910, in Łódź, as the son of Leon and Alma née Bemertow, accused of:
Acting to the detriment of the Polish population by helping the German authorities from the autumn of 1939 to the beginning of 1940 in Łódź as a member of Selbstschutz, and in particular by serving as a guard in Radogoszcz, taking part in round-ups of adults and minors, and acting in a brutal way towards people queuing for bread, beating them for failing to maintain order;
From the beginning of 1940 to August 1941 in Łódź, being a member of the SA (Sturmabteilung), the paramilitary wing of the NSDAP, used along with the Gestapo, SA, and SD as policing and pacification services in concentration camps, by which he acted to the detriment of Polish civilians;
Find Alfons Mitleiner guilty of acting to the detriment of the Polish population by helping the German authorities in Łódź from the autumn of 1939 to the beginning of 1940 as a member of Selbstschutz, and from 1940 to August 1941 as an SA member, in particular by serving as a guard in front of Abbe’s factory – a prison for Poles; taking part in round-ups of Polish citizens, and acting in a brutal way towards people waiting for bread, and to sentence him to eight years in prison, crediting against the term of imprisonment the temporary detainment from December 5, 1945, disenfranchisement for five years, and forfeiture of property. This sentence is final and binding.
Recording no. 3
A fragment of the conclusion of the judgement in the case of Adolf Orłowski, former guard in the Radogoszcz Extended Police Prison.
Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance, ref. no. GK 209/1162, Special Criminal Court for the Warsaw Appellate District with a seat in Łódź. Files in the case of: Adolf Orłowski aka Adler, c. 67-68.
The Special Criminal Court for the Appellate Court District in Warsaw with its seat in Łódź, having considered on December 15, 1954, the case of Adolf Orłowski, aka Adler, born on March 1, 1906, in Łódź as the son of Jan and Anna, accused of abusing from the spring of 1940 to February 1943 persecuted Poles and Jews imprisoned in Radogoszcz near Łódź, thus helping the occupation German authorities as a member of the SS and a prison guard in Radogoszcz,
pronounce Adolf Orłowski, aka Adler, guilty as charged and sentence him to death, permanent disenfranchisement, and forfeiture of his whole property. This sentence is final and binding.
Grounds of judgement
The defendant pleaded not guilty, stating during court proceedings that he had not been a member of the SS, but only had served as a guard outside the camp in Radogoszcz, and that he had not taken part in any beating, abusing, or torturing prisoners. The court proceedings including witnesses, former prisoners of Radogoszcz, questioned under oath proved beyond all doubt to the Court that the defendant was a member of the worst part of the guard unit in Radogoszcz, taking part in beating, kicking, abusing, and torturing Radogoszcz prisoners, both Poles and Jews, being even crueller in his treatment of Polish citizens of Jewish nationality. Beating and abusing prisoners was an everyday event in the camp in Radogoszcz. It started during the morning assembly and ended during the evening assembly. Prisoners were beaten and kicked with unprecedented sadism and bestiality from early in the morning until late in the night; they were beaten with bullwhips, with something heavy on the end, which made the physical pain of prisoners even greater. Each newly arriving Radogoszcz prisoner received a “buy-in”, which meant a certain number of lashes with bullwhips, sometimes even fifty; during every assembly prisoners were beaten with bullwhips by guards standing on stairs, and when they were no longer able to bear the physical pain and shouted in pain, they had their heads dipped in barrels of water, and they were still beaten and tortured. In some cases, prisoners were ordered to stand in the camp yard in freezing weather, with temperature reaching 30 degrees below zero, and they had to stand still; and only after two hours they were driven to the office to have their data written down; in some cases, dogs were set on them, and on frosty days guards warmed themselves up by beating prisoners with bullwhips. At times, prisoners were taken in an unknown direction at dawn, and then the lorry would return from the so-called transport all covered in human blood, body fragments and hair. The defendant Adler took direct part in all these crimes.
Recording no. 4
A fragment of the conclusion of the judgement in the case of Stanisław Baśko, former prisoner functionary in the Radogoszcz Extended Police Prison.
Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance, ref. no. GK 209/1163, Special Criminal Court for the Warsaw Appellate District with a seat in Łódź. Files concerning the case of Sebastian Baśko, pp. 46-51.
The Special Criminal Court for the Appellate Court District in Warsaw with its seat in Łódź, having considered on May 17 and 24, 1946, the case of Stanisław Baśko born on April 25, 1918, in Łódź as the son of Ludwik and Stefania née Grzybowska, accused of helping the occupation German authorities at the end of 1943 and at the beginning of 1944 in Radogoszcz by taking part in abusing Polish prisoners as head of cell no. 4 in the Radogoszcz prison, beating them with a whip without a reason until they fainted, decided to acquit Stanisław Baśko on this charge. This sentence is final and binding.
The defendant pleaded not guilty and explained that during the occupation the German court had sentenced him to five years in prison for assembling a radio station. He started serving his term in Sieradz, where he became a driver assistant, so he had some freedom of movement, which he used to transport parcels or letters from prisoners. He was denounced and on November 11, 1943, under the administrative procedure, he was transferred to Radogoszcz, from which he was to be sent to the Auschwitz camp. In Radogoszcz, he found himself in cell no. 4, which occupied the same room as cell no. 3. The head of cell no. 3 was a certain Kołodziej, and the head of cell no. 4 was a doctor who was soon released. The defendant repaired a radio of one of German officers, who in return appointed him as the secretary of cell no. 4, and after the release of the doctor, the previous cell head, the defendant became the head. He did not use any of his rights or privileges on this position, and particularly he did no beat prisoners without a reason. Prisoners were very different; apart from common criminals, there were people imprisoned for their political beliefs or minor offences. The defendant claimed that had been trying to maintain discipline among these people through persuasion and had not resorted to the whip used by other heads. Sometimes, at the request of theft victims, he had to intervene, and if he detected theft, he had to inflict punishment, accepted and sanctioned by all prisoners, in the form of whipping the thief or slapping his face. However, he denied having beaten prisoners without any reason, particularly when they were going down to wash, during the so-called “treadmills”, or on their way back. The masters of the situation were two SS men, hosts of cells no. 3 and 4 – “Józio” or “Rudy” and “Rolowany”, and they, along with Kołodziej, abused prisoners; heads sometimes got it in the neck for failing to maintain order or to follow rules.
It was established that prisoners transported to Auschwitz or a different camp, who had been too eager to please Germans to the detriment of their colleagues, were killed upon arrival at a new camp. The defendant had no such reputation. It is difficult to image that the defendant who had put himself at risk in Sieradz by delivering parcels and letters from his fellow inmates, risking he would lose the possibility of doing his time in acceptable conditions, could change so much with respect to his fellows in Radogoszcz.
To sum up the above findings, the Court is convinced that the reason for the defendant’s actions was the good of his fellow inmates in the camp’s reality, and not being the lackey of Germans, and that he acted to the detriment of his fellow inmates in order to fulfil the head’s responsibilities assigned to or imposed on him, and for these reasons he was acquitted on the above charge.