Polish riot, senseless and merciless.
Indications of Lieutenant-General R. Shtagel 28.04.1945
REBELLION IN WARSAW
1. On July 27, 1944, as the leader of the “Sonderschtab Stagel”, I was handed the swords to the oak leaves of the Knight's Cross by the Führer. Under these circumstances, he appointed me the commandant of Warsaw and set me the following task: a) take care of order and calm in the city; b) to promote the construction of fortifications.
2. July 27, this year. in Warsaw, the following situation was created: the Red Army, advancing by motorized forces from the southeast and east, approached 30–40 km to the city. The 73rd division and parts of the Goering division settled down in front of the Red Army units, so there was a reasonable prospect of holding the Russians for a long time.
In the city there were, in addition to the two guard battalions, numerous stage formations and civilian bodies that partially moved to the rear. It was about the camps of spare parts, communications troops, the main field commandant and others.
I never had accurate data, as the local commandant's office had just changed, and civilian bodies, like the post office, railway transport, and the management of the monopolies, were not yet subordinate to the governor until they were subordinate to me when the uprising began on August 1 (martial law).
I assume that the total German strength was 6,000, including 500 policemen. It was exclusively about old and old ages, who were armed only with handguns and several machine guns. Only the police had one outdated armored vehicle.
The construction of the barriers to the east of the city was carried out by civilian control, and fortifications on the outskirts of the city were erected by military units located in the city. Life in the city seemed to go perfectly normal. The police reported that although it is necessary to constantly count on an uprising, at present there is no danger.
3. Before the uprising on August 1, the events developed as follows:
The Red Army successfully advanced to Otwock, Polish Minsk and Radzyn, so that I was forced to remove 5-6 companies from the barriers east of the city.The construction of these positions has not yet been completed and the Russians succeeded in various places in overcoming and capturing them.
I personally was completely unfamiliar with the situation in Poland and Warsaw, and therefore, along with the organization of the headquarters, in connection with which I needed to pick up new officers in the army, I was very busy to get acquainted with the military and civilian situation. With a limited time, I did it only superficially, since in the foreground there was an account of all the forces. I was also only able to speak fluently once with the commanders of the divisions who were allocated in case of internal anxiety and give them basic instructions.
By this time, Mikolaichik visited Moscow, as the police told me. On this basis, and in connection with the approach of the Red Army, the Polish insurrectionary movement became noticeably more active. In any case, in the absence of accurate data, we considered these events in conjunction.
4. The police throughout the time strongly harassed rebel movements and, as a countermeasure, repeatedly liquidated explosive depots, editors and arrested the commanders of units, etc. She subdivided:
a) Army Craiova, the Polish national movement;
b) the communist movement;
c) various small movements pursuing separate goals.
She had agents in these movements who, shortly before the uprising, especially agents stationed in the Home Army, brought credible information. She received other information as a result of her finds during the confiscation of newsrooms, etc. According to all data, the best agent was a member of one of the subgroups. As I recall, he reported:
July 27 - The uprising will begin.
July 30 - no, nothing will be done.
July 31 - the degree of alarm 3, within 40 hours will begin.
August 1 - at about 15-30 - today will begin.
Since the neutralization and suppression of the uprising was primarily a matter for the police, I was not interested in further details, and especially in the personalities of the agents.
Due to the fact that the uprising disunited me with the chief of police, I did not receive more details in the subsequent time, especially since I was only interested in military actions in which all Poles took part.
Nobody seriously thought about the uprising of the Poles, for it seemed hopeless.However, given the temperament of the Poles, it was considered possible. But this possibility also seemed so unlikely that they had refused to bring the units and armed police to the alert. Later, as a result of the interrogation of those arrested, the following preparations became known:
Preparation was carried out for 4 years. According to all data, there was a cadre army of 4,000 men. It was divided into platoons and companies, battalions and regiments.
They were commanded by military officials, such as lieutenants, captains, etc. In many cases, the discussion dealt here with the former personnel and reserve Polish officers, who at the beginning of the uprising appeared in Polish military uniform.
Only partially applied German form. As a rule, they wore a red and white armband and a Polish eagle on a steel helmet. Commanders were known only by their nicknames and always only in a small circle.
Certificates were prepared (with the name). Were printed in a small pocket format, even instructions about the new German weapons, such as the machine gun-42 (with a picture).
Armament was scarce. It is possible that even the personnel army did not have all types of handguns.On the other hand, each was armed with homemade grenades and incendiary bottles.
The cadre army was very well trained in the art of street fighting (defense). They took into account all the modern subtleties. So, for example, simultaneously with the construction of barricades, they fought against the tanks from the windows of houses.
The tactical goals that were set at the beginning of the uprising seemed extremely insignificant. They consisted in seizing stockpiles of weapons, a small guard and sentries, blocking certain streets, surrounded by large apartments and attacking telephone exchanges.
Along with the cadre army, in all likelihood, most of the "ordinary stock", which, however, were hardly armed and trained, were organized and covered by the lists. In any case, the number of insurgents on the second day of the uprising had greatly increased (20–40,000 people).
Food was procured, at least for the regular army. Women were assigned as medical personnel, as well as doctors.
According to all the data of the church were used as dressing and assembly points. Apartments were prepared in which up to 20-30 people could gather at the beginning of the uprising.
Blocks of streets, houses, etc., were accurately explored. Shortly before the uprising, they were captured (tenants were locked up), so that the uprising could start unexpectedly.
5. It happened on August 1, 1944 at about 16-30. The insurgents succeeded in some places by surprise to seize the guards, block the streets and surround the apartments.
In Prague, олoliborz, the area of Fort Bema, in Mokotów, Okechi and Beljani, the uprising was immediately put down, as there were tanks and anti-aircraft artillery in these parts of the city.
At first, the German strongholds defended, and then launched an offensive, as far as was possible without heavy weapons, in order to surround the enemy centers of resistance. Thus, the following centers of resistance of the Poles were formed: a) the district of Blumenstrasse4, b) Drykroytsplatz and c) north of the castle and the Theater Square.
These counterattacks without heavy weapons, carried out by old people inexperienced in street battles, cost the Germans casualties, which indicated that it was not appropriate to continue the struggle without the presence of heavy weapons and young troops.
In addition to parts of the East Prussian Grenadier Regiment, which was temporarily brought into battle, the task was assigned to the police under the command of the SS Obergruppenführer von dem Bach-Zelewski to clear the city, advancing from the outside.
Starting from the second day of the uprising, the German strongholds inside the city had to be considered isolated. Communication with the help of armored vehicles was possible for several more days, until the rebels built numerous barricades and incendiary bottles did not prevent this.
In the first two days, the rebels suffered significant losses (2000-2500 people). They behaved, therefore, passively at first, but their snipers prevented the Germans from clearing the city.
6. Immediately after the beginning of the uprising, a leaflet appeared, which shed some light on the goals of the rebels. It came, apparently, from the Army of the Regional and was signed by Colonel BUR.
The leaflet announced the immediate release of Warsaw, indicated the proximity of the Red Army, which from day to day could march to Prague. It was striking that the leaflet cherished hopes and faith for help from Russia. They hoped that the Russians would arrive in time, and they believed that Russia recognized the freedom and the old rights of Poland.
It was not quite clear to me how the command led the rebels. The detainees showed that the Communists and other parties united with the Home Army, and that all Poles in the city would take part in the uprising.
One day a truce brought a note signed by Lubishov (or something like that) to the commander-in-chief of a new Polish army. In any case, the mass of rebels viewed themselves as soldiers.
The command mobilized all those under the hands of military service, but on what basis they were called, I do not know. The mass of the population and all the clergy were unquestionably overwhelmed by the uprising and were mostly against it. They already had enough suffering.
7. While I was supposed to limit control from my headquarters apartment (Saxon Garden) to the expansion of the German strongholds, the police launched an offensive from the outside:
The SS Dirlewanger SS regiment advanced from west to east in the direction of the Saxon Garden, and the Kaminsky regiment from Okechiv in the direction of Akademis. Later about two more police battalions were thrown into battle, and then tanks and assault guns (12-20).
The offensive was conducted on a broad front in the indicated direction. During heavy fighting, partly as a result of aerial bombardments, partly from arson, large fires occurred.
Due to the fact that it took several days to pull up the police unitsRebel resistance intensified, for which all existing men were attracted. Women were used in the construction of barricades. In some cases, they participated in battles.
The rebel armament was to be strengthened through the air. Starting from about the 4th day of the uprising, special cylinders were dropped in which there were machine guns, ammunition and, above all, anti-tank weapons along with ammunition (British anti-tank weapons).
Occasionally civilian clothes and cigarettes (from Havana in Cuba) were also in the cylinders. Most of the cylinders fell into the hands of the Germans; only in one night about 40 cylinders were picked up.
Flights to rebel supplies ceased after 9 to 12 aircraft were shot down overnight. The crews consisted of the British, as they, with the exception of the names, refused to give any evidence whatsoever, so I don’t know the place from which they flew.
8. When I left Warsaw, the city, with the exception of the centers of resistance on Blumenstrasse, Drykroytsplatz and minor remnants north of the theater square, was cleared of rebels.
On the contrary, the rebels entrenched themselves in Mokotów.Approximately on August 15, 1944, the BUR made a speech on London radio, which called upon its troops stationed in Poland and still not participating in the battles to come to the aid of rebels who had fallen into a difficult situation in Warsaw. To what extent this order was executed, I do not know.
9. The sufferings of the population were monstrous. Only a small part was provided with food for a long time. Already 10, 14 days and more, they were sitting in basements in anticipation of the end of the bombing and fires.
I gave the order to evacuate the population from the destroyed buildings. 200–300 000 people with scant luggage proceeded through the German positions to the west. Subsequently, the rebels kept the population from evacuating to the west.
Civilian institutions organized refugee camps for refugees. The sick and frail were left partially in the city in temporary hospitals or taken out on the railway.
10. The total losses of the rebels are very difficult to determine, since often the rebels could not be distinguished from the civilian population. It can be assumed that the total losses by August 25 were 8-10,000. This number was determined by me, although I had no information from the police.
It can be much higher and even exceed the number I doubly named. I can judge German losses only on the basis of the information of my people, not the police. I guess they reached 600-800 people, including the wounded.
11. The uprising hardly had any influence on the course of the German battles east of the Vistula. The front is up there. All that was necessary from the contentment, the front found on the east coast.
Only at first, sometimes it was necessary to make a detour through Modlin. Communication with the west through the city was interrupted only for a short time. The Fuhrer on the eastern front was General Gille, who had 2-3 divisions at his disposal. I had no connection with him.
12. My daily reports of the 9th Army, to which I submitted, contained only brief events per day, intentions, and all that I learned about the rebels.
Until August 12, 1944, I had no connection outside of Warsaw. But it didn’t matter, as the telephone connection was active. Less pleasant was the fact that I could not visit my strongholds, who thus received orders by telephone.
Later, the rebels managed to seize the telephone station by blasting a poorly guarded building.Communication was also often broken as a result of the bombing. For this reason, the water supply in various parts of the city has stopped. However, this had no effect on the measures to clean the city from the rebels.
In the area of Blumenshtrasse, the rebels repeatedly held meetings on the streets singing national songs. On large buildings held by the rebels, they hung red and white flags.
13. The failure of the uprising is due to the poor armament of the rebels, who, when confronted with heavy weapons, were forced to surrender quickly. In addition, not all preparations were carried out properly. In particular, the uprising was hopeless, because it began without joint action with the Red Army.
Translated: the security officer of the 2nd Division of the SSMU "Smersh", Senior Lieutenant Sokolov
Right: Major Kuzminin, Chief Operational Officer of the 2nd Division of the Smersh GUKR
Central FSB of the Russian Federation. D.N-21101. L 21-26.