Letter of Leon Warm to Wladislaw Szpilman, 16 November 1950
I am writing to you in my name and on behalf of the family of the Wehrmacht Captain, Wilhelm Hosenfeld, whom you apparently knew well during the occupation. I assume that as with me and other Jews and Poles, Mr. Hosenfeld contributed much to your survival. At the moment Mr. Hosenfeld is in Soviet captivity, most probably in Brest, and there seem to be no chances for his release. During a chance stay in Germany I visited his family in Thalau, near Fulda. Mr. Hosenfeld repeatedly mentioned your name in his letters from prison, and asked the family to turn to you for help, but unfortunately he did not know your address.
From the family's accounts I gather that at one point mentioning your name saved him from being shot (I don't know by who). During my talks with Hosenfeld he never mentioned your name, but this was probably because he kept everything secret from the others. Had I known something, I would have contacted you earlier, because I often saw you in Warsaw after the war. I was not aware that Mr. Hosenfeld was in captivity, although I had written to various authorities asking for information about his fate. Unfortunately I never got an answer. It was a coincidence that while I was in Austria I found his home address and his present whereabouts.
It is probable that previous initiatives [for his release] ended in failure: the initiative of Father Cieciora, who at that time did not turn to me, as well as the efforts of Karl Hoerle, a member of the German Communist party and Wehrmacht officer who now lives in Hanau, and who served in the Stadium in Warsaw in 1943-44 after he was drafted to the Wehrmacht following his release from concentration camp. We were working there together. The fact is that villains and perpetrators are free, while a man deserving recognition is suffering.
I believe that I don't need to say much about Hosenfeld. I am attaching a photo of him as well as addresses and the statement of Father Ciociora. You can get more information from the following people, who probably still live and work in the Stadium: Chamczyk Leon, Krawczyk Waclaw, Patela Waclaw, Zalegowski Wiktor, Wiernik-Tokarska Maria, Father Cieciora-Cichocki, residing in Poznan, Karl Hoerle, residing in Hanau, Opfeenstr. 26 in the American occupation zone. This letter can serve as my statement, because I will be leaving Germany in one week, and I don't have any forwarding address.
I cordially ask you to undertake this matter, and to maintain contact with my sister, whom you know personally from the Ciechocinek and who now lives in Frankfurt [address], or with the Hosenfeld family, Thalau near Fulda, in the American zone. The last information about Hosenfeld came from Brest. It was said that he was to be released, but then he was accused of alleged crimes against humanity. Is this at all possible? He supposedly asked: "hand me over to the Poles, it was there that I lived for the entire time. I had never been in Russia."
All those helped by Hosenfeld or who had some other contact with him will never permit that such accusations be made against him. On the contrary, all are committed to help him for his kindness and to reward him. For the past year Hosenfeld's family had no sign of life from him. The last letters came from Minsk. There is however new information that he is in a camp together with civilians, children and prisoners who have been sentenced or those who await trial. His health is very bad – paralysis, heart condition, and depression. Together with his desperate family – his wife and five children – I place the responsibility for his fate in your hands – you who owe him a moral debt as well. I assume you will confirm receipt of this letter to my sister, I am sending it through a friend, because I don't have your address.
With deep respect, and with hope,