In 1942, Teofil Dolata from Poznan worked in the forge of the “Bauzug 2005” railway and repair train. They followed the German offensive a year earlier, and since January 1942 they have been standing on the sidings in Gnezdovo near Smolensk. One day a woman passing by workers started to speak Polish to them and that’s how Dolata learned about the burial of murdered Polish officers in the forest. He gets two friends, Jan Wachowiak and Zygfryd Musielak, to help him, without any success they dig in different parts of the forest. Asked about the graves a resident of one of the cottages leads him to the right place. They work with the shovel again.
The crew of the repair train No. 2005; they were the first to find the place of death of Polish officers in Katyn, already in 1942.
“We dug up the corpse of major and the captain,” recalls Teofil Dolata. It was horrific. Faces that are unrecognizable, there is nothing left of one head but a shapeless mass, like a neck extension. Victims’ hands tied on their backs..
We’re silent. We do not know what to say, because no word will convey our thoughts and what a man feels when he sees his people so brutally murdered. Curse the torturers? But which insults should we choose to show how angry and full of hatred we are…. I can’t tell you why none of us cried.
I still remember the silence in which we buried the bodies and placed the turf on top of the grave […] We return to Bauzug. Colleagues asked questions, they can see on our faces that we had discovered a secret. On the next day, on Sunday, we recruited a few friends and we set off again to the forest. We didn’t dig up the graves anymore, because there wasn’t any sense to do it, but we put up a birch cross. The discussions on the train were different from that day on, and the most stubborn ones in a week’s time went to put a second cross on the grave
So in April 1942 two crosses stood in the Katyn Forest…”
Teofil .R. *
When giving his account in 1989, Teofil Dolata is not yet determined to reveal his true name: Rubasiński.
“I changed my name after I escaped from the bombed train,” he says goodbye and asks me to sign him in the book as Teofil R.
* Fragment of the account from the book ‘Powrót do Katynia’ (‘Return to Katyn’) by Stanisław M. Jankowski and Edward Miszczak, Rzeszów 1990.
The account we recorded in Mr. Teofil’s apartment in Poznan is so important – and at the same time so shocking – that we decide to check it in order not to make a mistake before including it in the book. After a longer search, we manage to find the address of Zygfryd Musielak, who – as Rubasiński remembered – accompanied him during revealing the mystery of the Katyn Forest. Unfortunately, Mr. Zygfryd is dead, but his son-in-law Jan Bronicki decides to answer the questions.
“My father-in-law told me about his stay on the 2005 train for the first time in 1945,” he recalls in a very extensive letter “Only at the beginning of the 1960s did he reveal that in 1942 he went with his friends twice to the Katyn forest to dig up the corpses of Polish officers. With him were: Józef Boruszak, Marcin Karmoliński, Stanisław Paczkowski, Teofil Dolata, now Rubasiński, Tadeusz Oksiak, Franciszek Grodzki and Maciaszek or Maciaszczyk. Someone else was with them, but I forgot the name. After covering the corpses they put a wooden cross on the grave. The cross was to indicate the place of the murder of Polish officers.
From my father-in-law I also heard that workers from Bauzug learned about the murdered officers from an elderly Russian (very scared), living at the station Gnezdovo, whose house was located by the road leading from Smolensk to Minsk […].
15 August 1943 Bauzug No. 2005 was bombed, many Polish workers were killed….”