From the time when the Jewish population was herded to the marketplace in
Radzilow, until the time when people were burned inside a barn, and also later
on, when Jews were murdered near the unused ice-pit, witnesses saw no Germans
there, at least no Germans in uniform.
Anna Bikont: On behalf of the IPN, you are managing the inquiry not only into the
case of the murder of Jews in Jedwabne, but also in Radzilow. Could IPN reach
any of the perpetrators of the crime committed in Radzilow?
Radoslaw Ignatiew, IPN Prosecutor:
I have questioned some witnesses who saw the Jews herded in the marketplace and
then driven to a barn by Piekna Street on the 7th of July 1941. Their
testimonies confirm the information found in the archives. After the war, there
were several criminal cases pertaining to the participation of some inhabitants
of Radzilow in this crime. We know the name of a person who poured a flammable
liquid onto the thatched roof of the barn and then set it afire. A few of the
witnesses testified about it. The same person allegedly killed a young Jewish
woman who managed to get out of the burning barn. We know that this person most
probably still lives and we are in the process of finding where the person
In light of your determinations until now, are the criminal acts in Jedwabne and
in Radzilow different, or it is the same "scenario"?
The events were very much alike. The Jewish population was first herded in the
market and ordered to weed grass. Sometime later, the Jews were driven to a barn
and set afire. In both localities, individual persons were also killed in the
A dozen or more inhabitants of Jedwabne were jailed after the trial of 1949.
They had been sentenced for their participation in the burning of the Jews. Were
any people sentenced in the trials concerning Radzilow?
From the files of the trials that have been analyzed until now, one could
conclude that the culprits from Radzilow were exculpated. But I have a
deposition of a witness who claims he had to testify for the benefit of the
culprits in two trials, although he knew they had participated in the crime.
This witness told me he was afraid of the revenge. He also thought his family
would be exposed to danger had he disclosed the whole truth then.
I spoke to an inhabitant of Radzilow who told me that the barn was surrounded by
Germans carrying heavy machine-guns. He described to me a place from which he
could observe the scene. It was a meadow near Matlak (a river), where he took
cows out to pasture. I went there, it was almost a mile away, and he couldn't
[possibly] see anything from that place. Do other witnesses, when they talk to a
Prosecutor, depart from the truth in the same way?
It's quite often that witnesses confabulate, trump up accounts. Sometimes this
may be an unconscious act, like completing the gaps in their memory with some
news read in newspapers or heard over the radio. For example, when the media
informed of some cartridge cases found on the site of the Jedwabne barn, some of
the witnesses began to tell they had heard shots. And there was nothing about
these shots in the depositions of the eyewitnesses I had questioned earlier.
Did any witnesses with whom you spoke about Radzilow mention that they had seen
Germans take part in the crime?
It results from the testimonies which I have obtained until now, that from the
time the Jewish population was being herded to the marketplace until the time
when these people were burned in the barn, and also later on, when Jews were
being killed near the unused ice-pit, that the witnesses saw no Germans there,
at least no Germans in uniforms, except for one who could take pictures from a
balcony at the marketplace. We are checking the information about an earlier
visit of Germans to Radzilow, Germans who were supposed to hand over a few
rifles to one of the perpetrators.
Is it possible that one could be sentenced now for a crime committed 60 years
The war crimes, the crimes against humanity, cannot be proscribed. The IPN
Prosecutor's Office's aim is not only to determine the truth and to prosecute
the criminals; our goal is also to give, at least moral compensation, to the
close relatives of the murdered people. We would like them to see that the
Polish State can lay claims for the benefit of its citizens, notwithstanding
WITNESSES ARE SOUGHT
The IPN Prosecutor, Mr. Radoslaw Ignatiew, appeals to all witnesses who know
something about the crime in Radzilow to call the IPN Prosecutor's Office in
Bialystok. The phone numbers are the following: (+48.85): a prefix for calling
from abroad, (0-85): a prefix for calling from Poland; the numbers: 664-73-71
or 664-71-86. They also may write letters to the following address: IPN (Oddzialowa Komisja
Scigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu), postal code 15-637 BIALYSTOK, ul.
Warsztatowa 1a, Poland (for: Mr. Radoslaw Ignatiew). The call number of the case: S15/01/Zn.
IPN Prosecutor declares: "I will contact, in person, all persons who declare
they know important information about the Radzilow case. The privacy of these
persons, their names, addresses and other personal data, will be protected under
the law as the secret information of the inquiry. I guarantee," said Prosecutor Ignatiew, "that this information will
not be disclosed in public."