War Crimes Trials - Vol. II The Belsen Trial. 'The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others'

The Trial (Defence - Evidence for the Defendant Josef Kramer)

JOSEF KRAMER, sworn, examined by Major WINWOOD - I was born in Munich on 10th November, 1906, and joined the National Socialist Party on 1st December, 1931, and the S.S. in January [June], 1932. In the autumn of 1934 I started work in the Concentration Camp Service and remained in that, without interruption, until April, 1945. In May, 1944, I was in the concentration camp it in Natzweiler in Alsace and Obergruppenführer Pohl told me that I would be transferred to Auschwitz No. 2 Camp. I told him that I not very keen on leaving Natzweiler and certainly did not wish to go to Auschwitz at all, as I had been there in 1940 when it was created, for five months, and did not like it. Two or three days later I got a telegram giving me official notification of the transfer, and went to Auschwitz about 15th May.

(Major Winwood read the State Telegram making the necessary appointment, Exhibit No. 119.)

When you arrived at Auschwitz who was the Kommandant of the whole camp? - Obersturmbannführer Hoess. It was a very large camp and was subdivided into Camp No's. 1, 2 and 3. I was the Kommandant of Camp No. 2, Birkenau.

Will you explain to the Court how it is that, in the first statement you made, you said the allegations referring to gas chambers, mass executions, whipping and cruelty were untrue, whereas in your second statement you said that they were true? - There are two reasons for that. The first is that in the first statement I was told that the prisoners alleged that these gas chambers were under my command, and the second and main reason was that Pohl, who spoke to me, took my word of honour that I should be silent and should not tell anybody at all about the existence of the gas chambers. When I made my first statement I felt still bound by this word of honour which I had given. When I made the second statement in prison, in Celle, these persons to whom I felt bound in honour - Adolf Hitler and Reichsführer Himmler - were no longer alive and I thought then that I was no longer bound.

Did Kommandant Hoess say anything to you about the gas chambers? - I received a written order from him that I had nothing to do with either the gas chambers or the incoming transports. The Political Department which was in every camp had a card index system of prisoners and was responsible for personal documents and for any sort of transports or incoming prisoners. At Auschwitz the Political Department was also responsible for all the selections from incoming transports for the gas chamber. In the crematorium the S.S. and prisoners - Sonderkommando - were under the command of the Kommandant of Auschwitz, Hoess. As the place where the transports generally arrived was in the middle of my own camp I was sometimes present at their arrival. The people who took part in supervising and who were responsible for the security were partly from Auschwitz No. 1, and partly from my own camp at Birkenau, but the selection of these people who had to supervise was done by the Kommandant of Auschwitz No. 1. The actual selections of the internees were made only by the doctors. Those who were selected for the gas chambers went to the different crematoria, those who were found to be fit for work came into two different parts of my camp, because the idea was that in a few days they were to be re - transferred to different parts of Germany for work.

Did you yourself ever take part in the selections? - No, I never took part, nor did the other S.S. members of my staff. I do not know exactly who the doctors got their orders from, but I think it was probably from Dr. Wirtz, the senior doctor of the camp. The doctors lived together in Auschwitz No. 1 where the headquarters were.

What did you personally think about the whole gas chamber business? - I asked myself, "Is it really right about these persons who go to the gas chambers, and whether that person who signed for the first time these orders will be able to answer for it?" I did not know what the purpose of the gas chamber was.

Who took the place of Hoess as Kommandant of Auschwitz? - Sturmbannführer Baer. As well as being Kommandant of No. 1 Camp he was responsible for and Kommandant of all the other camps.

What happened on 7th October, 1944? - There was a sort of revolt, and people tried to escape and fire Crematoria No's. I and 3. At the time I was at home, about 3 kilometres away, and could not believe that it was true. I heard that all the troops available in Auschwitz No. 1 had been loaded into trucks and driven to Birkenau, and that the fire - brigade was also on its way. When I arrived near Crematorium No. 3 I saw that it was burnt out already. Baer and Hoessler were already there. As far as I know none of the prisoners succeeded in getting out, but by the time I had arrived the ringleaders of the mutiny had been shot and were lying on the ground.

Did other selections take place in the camp? - Not in my part of the camp, but in those parts where the Jews were housed who had arrived in transports. Although in my part of the camp they were under the command of Auschwitz No. 1, sometimes, in the course of all inspection tour, I attended these selections which were carried out by the doctor, but I never took ally active part. Selections also took place in the hospital, but I never went into it as it was the responsibility of the doctor.

In regard to your camp, what was Auschwitz No. 1 responsible for? - Everything concerning accommodation, supplies, transport, and the work of the whole administration depended on them. In reality my services were not the services of a Kommandant, but rather of a Lagerführer and whenever I needed anything I could not give any orders, for instance, to the Political Department in my camp, but had to apply to Auschwitz No. 1. I also got orders from them concerning the re - transfer of people fit for work to different parts of Germany .

How did you know how many internees you had in the camp? - From the roll-calls which took place in front of each block, the count being made by each Blockführer, or, in the women's compound, by the Aufseherinnen. They, in turn, reported their rolls to the so-called Rapportführer, the numbers were compared and if they tallied roll-call was over. The internees fell - in in rows of five, and although there were between 12000 and 15000 prisoners in Birkenau these roll - calls did not take longer than the maximum of half an hour. There was no difficulty in the compounds where the working prisoners were, but it was otherwise in Compound C where the transport of Jews were. On one occasion in Compound C I counted for a whole hour, but those who were counted already started coming in front for the purpose of seeing what was going on. At that I told the Blockältesten to inform the prisoners that I should go on counting until I had finished, and not until then would food be distributed. After this the prisoners fell - in in fives and the whole count was over in 20 or 25 minutes. If it has been alleged that roll-calls took sometimes two or three hours, it was not the fault of those who counted, but it was the behaviour of the prisoners. I told the Blockführer that I blamed them if they lost their temper, as they had to be quiet and decent in their behaviour towards prisoners, but that on the other hand I would understand them losing patience, after having told internees five or ten times to fall in, they still would not do it. The Arbeitskommando generally went out to work in summer between 0600 and 0700 hours and came back at 1700 or 1800 hours. In the autumn some working parties on agricultural work went out between 0500 and 0600 hours, but that was only for a short period of a few days. At Auschwitz they had to attend Appell before they went out, but not in Belsen. The Appell in Auschwitz started about 0500 hours, and in the autumn later.

Were the S.S. men and women allowed by the Kommandant to carry weapons? - In Auschwitz the S.S. men had their revolvers or guns, and the Aufseherinnen, probably on the authority of my predecessor or Hoess, had permission to carry revolvers. They were not allowed to carry any other sort of weapon. Once when a transport arrived I saw that some of the S.S. men had walking-sticks, but I was afraid that they might use these for corporal punishment, and I gave the order that they were to be taken away. If any other S.S. men carried sticks or unauthorised weapons they did it against my orders.

Was corporal punishment allowed in Auschwitz? - It was permitted by higher authority at Oranienburg, which was consulted from case to case. Permission was requested by each Kommandant to Oranienburg as necessary, and I should say that I got permission to carry out corporal punishment about 35 to 40 times. The prisoner had to bend over a table and the punishment was administered by other prisoners, the Lagerführer and the doctor being present.

Were there dogs in Auschwitz? - Yes, in Birkenau. There was a special guard company responsible for these dogs, which had nothing to do with the administrative personnel, and they were distributed to different working squads out on agricultural work.

The witness, Glinowieski, alleged that you gave him 25 strokes? - It can only be that for something or other he got 25 strokes authorised by higher authority at Oranienburg. As I was not at Birkenau in the autumn of 1943 it must have been by somebody else. It is not true that I gave him this beating, nor is it true that I shot at people with a machine - gun and set dogs on them. Only the guard company in Auschwitz was in possession of machine-guns.

How did you receive your instructions to go from Auschwitz to Belsen? - By telegram arriving from Oranienburg, which told me that I had to report to Glücks on the way. I did, and he said, " Kramer, you are going to Bergen-Belsen. That is a camp for sick people, and it will contain all the sick prisoners from the northern part of Germany, and also all the sick prisoners of the working camps in the north - western part of Germany. You will have thereabout 17000 or 18000 prisoners." When I asked him what would happen when all the sick people eventually came to my camp, he said, "I cannot answer that at the moment, but the idea is that all those who, for a longer period than 14 days, remain in the C.R.S. and from this disturb the normal work of a camp, should be assembled and concentrated in your camp." I asked him what would happen to those prisoners who became fit again, and he said, "You send these either to those camps where they came from or you will build up a new series of working parties, and you will get orders from Oranienburg where to send them." He also told me that I would find part of the camp with so-called exchange Jews who would eventually be sent away, but when that was to happen he did not know. I arrived at Belsen on 1st December, 1944.

What did you find there? - I found approximately 15000 prisoners, rather overcrowded because accommodation was very limited. About half the prisoners were exchange Jews, the other half were normal prisoners of concentration camps. The camp itself was subdivided into so many compartments that I really could not find my way through, created largely through these exchange Jews. They were not allowed to see or speak to each other and lived together in families, men, women and children. With regard to the other inmates, about 90 per cent of the men were sick, and the women were badly overcrowded as they had been put in tents which had been destroyed by a storm.

What eventually happened to these exchange Jews? - Just after I arrived, a government official from Berlin came down and sorted out some 1400 Jews who were sent were to Switzerland, a further 500 going there also in January. These people came directly under the Reich Security Command - the Gestapo. The remainder of the exchange Jews, to which a new transport from Hungary was added, left at the end of March.

What was the situation with regard to the food in the camp ? - When I came the food situation was quite all right because there were only about 15000 prisoners. Later on, when new transports arrived, the food supply situation became more serious. Food came from Celle and Hanover [Hannover], and I had to provide, partly, my own transport. A firm in Hamburg, with a small branch office in Bergen, supplied part of the food and the bread supply came from the Truppenübungsplatz in Bergen, but when my strength increased I was told by the authorities that I could only have 10000 loaves of bread a week. During the winter months it was hardly possible to get any potatoes or vegetables, and although I had been getting bread from Celle and Hanover [Hannover] the air raids destroyed part of the bakeries and the road and rail system. It was when the air raids started that, for the first time, bread did not arrive in the camp. I got in touch with a bakery at Soltau and got a few thousand loaves per week, but with the increasing number of prisoners the bread supplies were certainly not sufficient. As my strength was between 30000 and 40000 prisoners I tried to get supplies from Hanover [Hannover] by sending out my whole transport of five vehicles day and night. On account of the cold weather these supplies were even more difficult to obtain and my administrative staff was told that the towns and cities had to be provided for first. At last I lost patience, and told them, through my administrative officials, that if I did not get any potatoes or vegetables sent I would hold them responsible for any sort of catastrophe which might happen. On 20th January I was handed over a sort of P.O.W. camp which became, later on, the women's compound. I took over all the supplies which were there for the winter and these helped me just a bit to bridge over this very difficult period.

What was the food situation at the end of March and the beginning of April? - The rations I was provided with would have been quite sufficient for healthy people for a few weeks, but for these sick people who came into my camp these rations were not sufficient. The supplies and stores in the Wehrmacht barracks were really for the Wehrmacht, and my supply system depended upon an entirely civilian basis. I was not entitled to apply to the Wehrmacht for reserves and they were not forced to give them to me. I had meat twice a week from Celle and had no reason to ask the Wehrmacht for it, and I obtained milk and potatoes, which I had a right to apply for, from the civilian authorities. I do not think if I had gone to the Wehrmacht stores and asked for food at the beginning of April I would have got it.

How were the internees fed who came into what we call No. 2 Camp? - They arrived in the last week before the British came and for these prisoners I had nothing at all, apart from two wagons of potatoes and six or eight wagons of turnips. Then the Platz Kommandant gave orders that they were to be fed from the supplies of the Wehrmacht, but that later these rations were to be returned.

What was the position regarding water in the camp? - We got our water supply from pumps in the Truppenübungsplatz, but in March I gave orders that the huge concrete basins which were there in case of fire should be pumped out, cleaned and refilled again with drinking water in case of emergency. We used the water in the concrete basins in the last week for cooking, but there was no water for washing.

What steps did you take, when the great influx of internees came into the camp, with regard to sanitation? - There were lavatories in the men's compound and a few in the women's camp, but there were not enough. As the prisoners had already arrived something had to be done in a hurry, so I ordered that ditches were to be dug and there were to be one for each two blocks. So far as I knew this order was carried out. I want to point out that the people I had in my men's camp were all sick persons who could not work, so that for digging these trenches I had to rely on the female prisoners and perhaps they did not work as quickly as men would have done. The men who were found on 15th April fit for work only arrived in Belsen in the last ten days before the liberation.

Apart from the fact that these internees were ill, can you tell us anything about their behaviour, and so on? - About one-third of the people in the transports which arrived in February and March were dead already, and almost 80 per cent of the rest had to be fetched by truck from the station. My five trucks every day had to fetch food, bread and building materials and then in the afternoon or at night they had to go to the station to collect the new arrivals. Stabarztführer Dr. Lolling, in his visit in January, made it quite clear that Belsen could only accommodate 30000 prisoners, and he had advised Headquarters at Ravensbrück that Belsen was to become a camp for sick people. Ravensbrück sent messages to other concentration camps to inform them about this, although they knew that Belsen had just barracks and no beds, paillasses, blankets or furniture to put in them. I was supposed to receive 3000 three - tier beds from Czechoslovakia, but they had not come as there were no trains running. The filling for the paillasses consisted of wood fibre, and the amount we received was perhaps enough to fill the paillasses in two barracks, but not in the 40 or 50 barracks that there were. I received all these prisoners and could do nothing but put them on the bare floor, which I did not like doing. If I had said that I would not take them they would have remained outside of the camp or in the railway carriages, but in any case, as they were sent by Ravensbrück, I just had to take them in. To help a bit, and improve conditions when the snow had melted away in March, I sent out some labour parties to collect heath that could be put on the floor.

How much notice did you receive of the prospective arrival of a transport? - From the larger concentration camps I received telegrams one or two days in advance, but as far as the vast majority of transports were concerned the only notice I received was when somebody at Belsen Station phoned me up to tell me I could expect a transport in about half an hour. It was only when I arrived at the station that I learned where the transport had come from, how many persons there were and whether they were men or women. Sometimes the leader of the transport at the station could not even tell me how many people there were. When I pointed out that he should know, he said, "Well, we were fleeing and suddenly we found at the station 10, 12 or 15 trucks. We pushed in as many people as we could and started and that is how we came here. During the journey there was no food at all because there was no time to take care of it and generally no food from where we came." I wanted to tell you this example so that you may know how the conditions were during the months of January, February and March. Prisoners arrived both on foot and in trucks.

What did the internees bring with them? - Most of the transports only arrived with the clothes they had on. Everyone starting from Auschwitz had another suit and two blankets, but owing to the long distances they had to march the prisoners got rid of them by dropping them near the road. The hundred or two blankets I had were of no importance for the thousands of prisoners I received.

How many cookhouses were there for the whole of Camp No. 1? - Two cookhouses in the men's camp, two in the women's camp and one in front of the women's camp. We could only do enough cooking by cooking two or three times for every meal.

Did anything particular happen in February? - The transports coming from the labour camp at Natzweiler brought spotted fever and those coming from Eastern Germany brought typhus. After Dr. Horstmann had reported spotted fever to me I ordered the camp to be closed and reported to Berlin what I had done. In reply I was told that the camp was to be re - opened, that I had to take all the transports that were going to arrive, and that 2500 women were to be taken in from Ravensbrück I wrote a letter to Gruppenführer Glücks in Berlin expressing dissatisfaction with the conditions at the end of February. This letter was sent by private courier, and towards the end of March we received a visit of inspection from Obergruppenführer Pohl (Exhibit No. 121 ).

Major WINWOOD - This letter addressed to the Head of Department D in S.S. Administration Department, S.S. Gruppenführer Glücks, Oranienburg, is headed "Bergen-Belsen, 1st March, 1945," and reads: " Gruppenführer, it has been my intention for a long time past to seek an interview with you in order to describe the present conditions here. As service conditions make this impossible I should like to submit a written report on the impossible state of affairs and ask for your support.

"You informed me by telegram of 23rd February, 1945, that I was to receive 2500 female detainees as a first consignment from Ravensbrück. I have assured accommodation for this number. The reception of further consignments is impossible, not only from the point of view of accommodation due to lack of space, but particularly on account of the feeding question. When S.S. Stabsarztfuhrer Lolling inspected the camp at the end of January it was decided that an occupation of the camp by over 35000 detainees must be considered too great. In the meantime this number has been exceeded by 7000 and a further 6200 are at this time on their way. The consequence of this is that all barracks are overcrowded by at least 30 per cent. The detainees cannot lie down to sleep, but must sleep in a sitting position on the floor. Three-tier beds or bunks have been repeatedly allotted to the camp in recent time by Amt. B. III but always from areas with which there is no transport connection. If I had sufficient sleeping accommodation at my disposal, then the accommodation of the detainees who have already arrived and of those still to come would appear more possible. In addition to this question a spotted fever and typhus epidemic has now begun, which increases in extent every day. The daily mortality rate, which was still in the region of 60 - 70 at the beginning of February, has in the meantime attained a daily average of 250 - 300 and will still further increase in view of the conditions which at present prevail.

"Supply. When I took over the camp, winter supplies for 1500 [15,000] internees had been indented for; some had been received, but the greater part had not been delivered. This failure was due not only to difficulties of transport but also to the fact that practically nothing is available in this area and all must be brought from outside the area. The supplies which were available here were calculated to last till 20th February; by the greatest economy it has been possible to have still, at the present time, potato supplies for eight days and turnips for six days. Fresh negotiations with the representative of the local peasants' combine with regard to further supplies have been started. The same situation prevails with regard to the supply of bread - apart from the supply by Training Area Bergen we received daily one load from a bread factory in Hanover [Hannover]. For the last four days there has been no delivery from Hanover [Hannover] owing to interrupted communications, and I shall be compelled, if this state of affairs prevails till the end of the week, to fetch bread also by means of lorry from Hanover [Hannover]. The lorries allotted to the local unit are in no way adequate for this work and I am compelled to ask for at least three to four lorries and five to six trailers. When I once have here a means of towing then I can send out the trailers into the surrounding area. If the negotiations with the representatives of the local peasants' combine on the subject of supply of potatoes are successful, then I have to allow for fetching these also by lorry. The supply question must without fail, be cleared up in the next few days. I ask you, Gruppenführer for an allocation of transport. The collection of food will be dealt with from here. Further, I need badly an additional supply of boilers. All boilers belonging to the camp are in use day and night. We shall be in great difficulties if one of these boilers fails. There is a field kitchen here with 30 boilers of 300 litres capacity which were placed at the disposal of the S.S. by the D.A.F. To our request of 29th December, 1944, that we should make temporary use of these boilers, we received a written reply on 3rd January, 1945, that their use cannot be sanctioned. S.S. Sturmführer Burger noted this when he paid a visit here. I do not know what decision was arrived at as a result of any discussions. Possibly under the changed conditions it is possible to gain the use of these boilers. I urgently need here a further 20 boilers in order to be able to provide for a possible deficit.

" State of Health. The incidence of disease is very high here in proportion to the number of detainees. When you interviewed me on 1st December, 1944, at Oranienburg, you told me that Bergen-Belsen was to serve as a sick camp for all concentration camps in North Germany. The number of sick has greatly increased, particularly on account of the transports of detainees, which have arrived from the East in recent times - these transports have sometimes spent eight to fourteen days in open trucks. An improvement in their condition, and particularly a return of these detainees to work, is under present conditions quite out of the question. The sick here gradually pine away till they die of weakness of the heart and general debility. As already stated, the average daily mortality is between 250 and 300. One can best gain an idea of the conditions of incoming transports when I state that on one occasion, out of a transport of 1900 detainees over 500 arrived dead. The fight against spotted fever is made extremely difficult by the lack of means of disinfection. Due to constant rise the hot - air delousing machine is now in bad working order and sometimes fails for several days. At the time of his visit S.S. Stabsarztführer Lolling promised me a 'short - wave delousing machine.' To use this I need a more powerful transformer, which, according to information received from Bauinspection Nord, Wismaerstrasse, Berlin, is awaiting collection. Although I require the apparatus so urgently, it is impossible it the present time to send transport to Berlin to collect it. The same situation prevails with the parts for the new crematorium and for roofing material and cement. In my opinion it should be possible for the Building Department to load all these urgently required items, if not in a lorry at any rate in a truck, to dispatch them to this place with a transport of detainees from Sachsenhausen or Ravensbrück. So far as the Building Department is concerned, the matter is able here in great excess and only waiting for employment. A further item which concerns the Building Department is the sewage installation. It was decided in 1943 that the existing machinery was too small for the number of detainees. In the period since 1943 several investigations and plans were made, but nothing at all done. Now owing to this deliberation a catastrophe is taking place for which no one wishes to assume responsibility. It may be possible to initiate measures from your end so that the matter is put in hand.

"Gruppenführer, I can assure you that from this end everything will be done to overcome the present crisis. With this letter I merely wanted to point out to you the difficulties which exist here. For my part it is a matter of course that these difficulties must be overcome. I am now asking you for your assistance as far as it lies in your power. In addition to the above - mentioned points I need here, before everything, accommodation facilities, beds, blankets, eating utensils - all for about 20000 internees.

"On the question of putting the internees to work, I have contacted the employment authorities. 'There is a chance of being able to make use, in the near future, of woman labour. There is no availability here of making use of male labour. In addition to the concentration camp prisoners there are here still about 7500 internees ('Exchange Jews'). S.S. Hauptsturmführer Modes from RHSA. IV. A. 4b. was here last week and informed me that these Jews would be removed in the near future. It would be much appreciated if this could be done as soon as possible, for in this way accommodation could then be found for at least 10000 concentration camp prisoners. Because of the spotted fever danger S.S. Hauptsturmführer Moes is not willing to take these Jews away at the present time. These Jews are to go partly to Theresienstadt and partly to a new camp in Württemburg The removal of these internees is particularly urgent for the reason that several concentration camp Jews have discovered among the camp internees their nearest relations - some their parents, some their brothers and sisters. Also for purely political reasons - I mention in this connection the high death figure in this camp at present - it is essential that these Jews disappear from here as soon as possible.

"With that I wish to close my present report. In this connection, Gruppenführer, I want to assure you once again that on my part everything will definitely be done to bridge over this difficult situation. I know that you have even greater difficulties to overcome and appreciate that you must send to this camp all internees discharged from that area; on the other hand, I implore your help in overcoming this situation.

" Heil Hitler, yours truly,
"J. K., S.S. Hauptsturmführer"

What did Pohl do when he arrived at Belsen on 19th March? - I went through the camp with him and showed him the worst parts. Dr. Horstmann and my administrative official, Vogler, were with us, and Lolling and Hoess were with Pohl. Hoess at this time deputised for Glücks. He saw the whole camp and told me that what he had seen that day in Belsen he had never seen anywhere before. I told him that if they sent me nothing but sick people I would not be able to show him anything better. We returned to the office and had a conversation to try and find means to improve the situation. My proposals were to cease all new transports and to transfer all so-called exchange Jews with their families. We discussed the use of material which was there for the erection of huts. The idea was to build approximately 40 huts and in each to accommodate about 100 prisoners. These huts are the same which have been defined by one of the witnesses, through a mistake, as gas chambers. The Obergruppenführer decided there and then to send a telegram, and to comply with my request in connection with the two points I raised.

Twentieth Day - Tuesday, 9th October, 1945

JOSEF KRAMER, examination continued by Major WINWOOD - What happened after the first week of April? - I asked higher authority by radio what I was to do in case the front line came nearer and I had to evacuate my camp. After my fourth request I got a message from Glücks saying that they did not understand my messages because Himmler had given orders that another 30000 prisoners were to be transferred to Belsen. I had a conference with my Area Commander, General Boyneburg who asked me what my plans were in case of evacuation, and I told him that there was no question of evacuation because I had got new orders to be ready to receive more prisoners. I told him that my camp was already overcrowded and that he as a General might have more authority and be able to help me. In my presence he rang up higher authority in Hanover [Hannover] and spoke to a General there, telling him about this additional 30000 prisoners. He was told by Hanover [Hannover] that they knew of Himmler's order with regard to these extra prisoners and that if my camp had not enough room for them then he was to see that they were accommodated in the barracks in Bergen, and if this should prove to be insufficient then the camp at Münster, about 20 kilometres away, was to be used. General Boyneburg told Hanover [Hannover] that there were still soldiers in the barracks, and was given orders to evacuate the barracks and make them ready. With that the conversation with Hanover [Hannover] ended and General Boyneburg asked me whether I knew about the date of the arrival of these transports. This conversation took place on 2nd or 3rd April, and on the 4th the first transports arrived. Until 13th April transports arrived night and day. Apart from these 30000, I was to receive working Kommandos from several other places, so that altogether the total would have come to about 45000. Up to 13th April, 28000 prisoners arrived. When the first transports came, the barracks on the barrack ground were not free and the Kommandant there asked me to take over the first few transports whilst he saw that the barracks were made ready as quickly as possible. Instead of being enabled to diminish the strength of my camp as was my plan, I was forced to take in more and more and to overcrowd it. These transports came from Dora Concentration Camp, and Hoessler, who was to be in charge of Camp. No. 2, came with the last 15000.

What arrangements did you make to feed the people in Camp No. 2? - I could not give them anything at all because the reserves which I had were reserves for a certain period and were required for the inmates of my own camp. To get food was quite impossible because the front lilies were all broken, and apart from that, transport was very difficult. My own trucks were shot to pieces by dive bombers just before the arrival of the Allies, so that all that was left was one single truck. The Wehrmacht were prepared to give some supplies in the barrack area to Hoessler to avoid any trouble arising, but these were only given under the promise that I would restitute them whenever my own supplies arrived.

As Kommandant of Belsen were you responsible for Camp No. 2? - Yes. Although it was not the sphere of my responsibility I took it over because there was nobody else there. Hoessler himself had no administrative staff or vehicles - nothing at all, apart from 15000 prisoners.

When you first came to Belsen did you make any alterations in the routine of the camp? - The first thing I did was to dissolve the small sort of compounds into which the big camp was subdivided, then I planned a new kitchen, work on which started in March. In the women's compound I gave a whole hut to the C.R.S. because previously they had only had a very small hut about eight to ten metres in length. I ordered that Blockführer should not be allowed to do any duties in the women's compound, the whole service routine there being fulfilled by Aufseherinnen. I started a new sewage system, for although Berlin had made plans in 1943, nothing had been done.

When you first got to Belsen were Appelle held? - I really introduced the morning roll-call because I was responsible for the strength of my camp, and I could not count them in any other way. Apart from that, the inmates of Belsen did not go very much on working parties; in fact, they were only inside the camp for camp maintenance and therefore these morning roll-calls were the only work they performed during the day. I believed it was quite good for the health of the inmates if they left the very bad air in their huts for a short time at least.

Did sick people have to attend the Appelle? - Yes. I gave these orders because the people were too lazy even to go for a short time out of their barracks, and then they all said, "We are sick." I gave orders that anybody who felt sick was to go to the doctor for inspection and if the doctor certified him he was allowed to stay away from Appell.

What happened to the healthy prisoners? - All those who were fit enough to work I had to put into new working parties. About the end of March I got an order from Oranienburg to produce about 2,500 healthy strong prisoners for working purposes which I could not execute because I did not have that. Consequently in the men's compound I had only sick people there when the transports from Dora started to arrive.

Did some of the staff of Auschwitz come to Belsen? - Yes, several Unterführer and Aufseherinnen came with transports.

Did you keep records of the internees? - When I arrived in Belsen no records were kept at all, so I gave orders that at least some sort of index card should be kept. The Political Departments of the camp were in charge of this card index. I did not know at that time that any British subjects were in my camp.

Did you ever receive instructions for the execution of any internees in Belsen? - Yes, I got an order for the execution of two men and the names were provided. Not knowing really who they were I gave orders to the Political Department and to the Lagerführer to find out whether they were in my camp or not, and the Lagerführer reported that one was sick with typhus and the other had already been transferred. Next morning the sick man had died. I gave no orders for these men to be executed.

Were they German names or were they obviously British names? - They were not German names, they were foreign names, but whether they were British or not I could not tell.

What happened to all the records in the camp? - In March I got a radio message from Pohl in the name of Himmler that every written thing had to be destroyed, and consequently all papers in the camp were burned.

Do you remember when a Russian girl was brought back to camp? - Yes, this girl escaped from a working party and a few hours later was caught by a member of the Wehrmacht and brought back to camp. She told me first that she had lost her way then that an S.S. man had sent her away, then that she had decided to go back. In all she told several lies. As a result I boxed her ears and sent her back into camp with the order that, next day, she should be with a working party that was not going to leave the camp. Nothing else happened to her in my presence or on my orders.

You remember witnesses stating a story in which it was alleged you kicked some Russians? - These stories are a product of their imagination.

Sompolinski accuses you of wounding him and killing two Hungarians? - It is not true; I do not know how he got the scar. During all my service in concentration camps and with troops I have never shot at people.

What instructions did Colonel Harries, who had taken over from General Boyneburg, give you with regard to handing over the Bergen area to Allied troops? - I was told about the conditions of truce and the handing over without fighting of the Bergen area. A certain district would be arranged in which no fighting was going to take place, and the administration of the military barracks as well as of the concentration camp had to go on. To make known which people were working with the administration each of them had to wear a stamped armlet. I was only interested in the conditions concerning the concentration camp. Colonel Harries told me that the troops guarding the concentration camp had to leave on 13th April at 12 o'clock. Only those S.S. people who were working on administration were allowed to remain in the camp, and it was one of the conditions of truce that these people would not become prisoners and would be set free to go back through the front line to their homes after the British had taken over. The S.S. and the Wehrmacht were to be allowed to take arms and materials with them when going back through the lines. Next day I told my administrative staff these conditions and gave the order that nobody was to leave the camp. On Friday, 13th April, the camp was taken over by the Wehrmacht who were going to do the guarding and see that everything was in order. As far as the camp was concerned I considered myself under the command of Colonel Harries, but not as far as the administration because I was doing that with my own staff.

What did you say to Captain Sington when he arrived at Belsen with the loudspeaker van? - I told him I had to give Colonel Harries notice about this. He said that he had to give a message by means of his loudspeaker van to the population of the camp, and I told him that the prisoners were quiet at the moment but I feared that if he was going into the camp with his van and sending out some message it might cause some trouble. At first he went away but soon came back and gave his message through the loudspeaker.

What happened in the camp? - The first thing was that the prisoners destroyed everything; they destroyed the remaining beds, they made fires and they started looting. Several stores were looted. Tanks had to guard the food stores, and on the next day many troops had to use firearms and several men were found killed the next morning. Two hours after the loudspeaker van had gone through the camp the camp was in indescribable condition.

When Captain Sington made his announcement on the loudspeaker did he say anything about your position in the camp from that time onwards? - He said something about the S.S. having no more power, the National Socialist Party was kaputt, and the prisoners were given to understand that the British troops were taking over the camp and that the S.S. had no more say in the matter.

At the time the British troops came were you a member of the Waffen S.S.? - As a part of the Waffen S.S. I was a member of the German Wehrmacht.

Were you allowed to go home or back through the German lines? - No, I was arrested on 15th April. I told the British officer on the spot that that was against the conditions of the truce, but he told me he had got his orders.

When you were arrested were you treated as a prisoner of war? - I believe so. In the beginning I was sent to a transit camp and then later to a fortification in Belgium. I asked the Belgian commandant of that camp what kind of prisoner I was, but he would not give me any answer. In my opinion it is against the treatment of a prisoner of war that during the whole time I was manacled night and day.

When did Dr. Klein come as a permanent doctor to Belsen? - At the end of January he came for ten days, then he took over the camp on 13th April. The senior doctor before Dr. Klein took over was Hauptsturmführer Horstmann.

When Dr. Klein was working under Dr. Horstmann, what kind of work did he do? - I saw him mostly in the military barracks area, but he also came to the camp itself. Whether he came on his own or whether he received an order from Dr. Horstmann to come I do not know. There was a big hospital in the Wehrmacht barracks and I think also a small one.

Was that available for internees? - No, only for wounded soldiers from the front. Even my own S.S. men if they were taken in had to be withdrawn from that hospital and taken back into my own camp.

What happened to Red Cross parcels when they arrived at Belsen? - When they arrived the Lagerführer of these exchange Jews came and had to sign receipts, so that he knew exactly how many parcels arrived. If single persons received parcels then they received it alone. These parcels were received by the Jewish Lagerführer in my presence, but how he distributed them inside the camp I do not know. I told them that was their own affair. Once parcels containing medicine and drugs arrived for the prisoners and I gave these to the senior officer, at that time Dr. Schnabel, and left it to him to distribute as he thought fit.

Was the accused, No. 4 (George Kraft), in Auschwitz when you were there? - I do not know this man.

Cross-examined by Major MUNRO - Was it part of Hoessler's duties to attend parades for gas chamber selections? - Yes. There were different officers, but if it was his turn then he had to be present. I have not seen his orders, but I should think they came from either Hoess or Baer.

Were prisoners ever transferred from Birkenau to other camps ? - Yes for working parties.

If there had been an execution at Auschwitz, from whom would the order have come? - Either Hoess or Baer.

Was Camp No. 2 at Belsen left by you entirely to the control of Hoessler? - Yes.

Could the various Aufseherinnen in Belsen do nothing themselves to improve conditions? - No, there was really nothing available there and they could not do anything to improve the camp.

Was it possible for S.S. men and women to leave at their own request? - No.

Cross-examined by Major CRANFIELD - At Auschwitz there was another Hauptsturmführer called Kramer. Was he at one time in charge of the guard company? - Yes, when I arrived at Birkenau.

Is it true that Grese was not in the S.S.? - Yes. She was employed as a supervisor of a Gefolgschaft.

Did you send for Grese to come from Auschwitz to Belsen? - No, but when she came with a transport I made a request to Oranienburg that she should remain with me.

Would the police dogs obey only the orders of the man or woman who had trained them? - Yes.

Did Grese ever have a dog at Auschwitz or Belsen? - I never saw her with a dog either on or off duty.

As her commanding officer will you tell the Court how Grese discharged her duties as Aufseherin? - As her Kommandant I can only say the very best about her. She took her duties very seriously and discharged them very well indeed.

What do you say about the accusations made against her of shooting prisoners with a pistol and of treating them with savage cruelty? - It is not true.

You remember at Auschwitz when the Aufseherinnen made themselves whips; what were they made of? - Some sort of cellophane paper or cellulose. I prohibited the carrying of whips.

If corporal punishment was carried out at Auschwitz by the Political Department, could it have been done without your knowledge, and would they have required your permission? - It could possibly have been without my knowledge, because the Political Department was situated in Camp No. 1 and required no permission. from me.

Cross-examined by Captain ROBERTS - Did the cooks at Belsen carry arms? - I have seen them on their way to and from the camp with arms, but whether they carried them in the kitchens themselves I could not say.

Just before the British arrived did you find it necessary to place armed guards round the cookhouse to maintain order ? - Yes. In addition I separated the forward part of the women's compound from the other part where all the sick people were concentrated, and that was just where the kitchens were situated.

Do you remember the arrival of No. 17 (Ladislaw Gura) at Belsen? - Yes. He came as a prisoner with other prisoners, and as soon as he arrived he was put under arrest. With the exception of a period of five days he was under arrest all the time he was at Belsen.

Cross-examined by Captain FIELDEN - Was it forbidden for any member of the S.S. staff to enter that part of the women's camp which had been isolated? - Yes, that is why I put guards at the separation.

Cross-examined by Captain CORBALLY - Was this man, No. 26 (Heinrich Schreirer), a member of your staff at Belsen? - No.

Cross-examined by Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ - If there was a case of a secret organization in existence at Auschwitz, who would be dealing with it? - The Political Department.

Could the Blockältesten or Lagerältesten take part in these enquiries by helping the Political Department? - They could only hand in a report if they had seen something.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - Do you believe in God? - Yes.

You remember the oath which you took when you first went into the witness box. Do you realise that to lie after you have taken that oath is deliberate perjury? - Yes.

In the first statement you made at Diest did you make precisely the same oath before you signed your statement? - I am not sure whether it was before or after.

I put it to you that you took precisely the same oath that you took in this court before you made your statement and that you lied and knew you were lying when you made that statement in which you said that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz at all? - I have already said that, at that time, I felt still bound to my word of honour on that subject.

I suggest to you that you went on lying about the gas chamber until you were shown a photograph which had been taken of one at Natzweiler and that was the first time you admitted the existence of such a thing? - It is not so, because between the two statements I was not asked any more.

When you joined the Nazi party were you not one of the first concentration camp guards, and have you not been consistently chosen and used for the dirtiest jobs in the concentration camps? - No, I was only working in the office as a shorthand typist.

What was the purpose of the Natzweiler camp? - To let prisoners work in the quarry near by.

Were prisoners not regularly supplied from that camp to Strasbourg for experiments? - No.

Was there no gas chamber there before you arrived? - No.

Was it constructed under your instructions and did you quite deliberately gas 80 prisoners in that gas chamber ? - Yes, on the orders of Reichsführer Himmler.

Was that for the purpose of supplying these bodies to Dr. Hoess in order that he might experiment on them? - I do not know what he did with them. My orders were to supply these bodies for Dr. Hoess at the University of Strasbourg. They were the orders of the highest military authority. I can imagine what they would have done to me during war if I had disobeyed those orders.

Are you suggesting that there was a law in Germany which allowed prisoners to be murdered simply so that doctors could experiment on their bodies ? - I do not know anything about such a law.

You knew perfectly well that it was a crime you were committing? - No.

Did you actually force these people into the gas chamber yourself ? - Yes.

Did you actually put the gas in yourself and then watch them inside as they died through a peephole you had made? - No.

Did you not make a statement about this to Kommandant Jenner, stating that you watched them? - No.

Did you not describe that the women continued to breathe for about half a minute? - One could hear that. It was not necessary to observe.

Were you not chosen as Kommandant of Birkenau because you had proved yourself willing to do this sort of thing? - No, I do not think so, because I got a special order that I had nothing to do with either crematoria or transports.

When Kommandant Pohl demanded your word of honour not to talk about the gas chambers, why was it that you could not tell anybody if it was all legally proper and above board? - I do not know. Nothing could be said about concentration camps in the outside world.

Was not that because all of you knew that they were an outrage against decency? - No. We never spoke about them with the outside world, and I, as Hauptsturmführer, had no right to ask a General about such a case.

Was the purpose of the gas chambers not a part of the determination of your Party to try and exterminate the Jewish race and all the intelligent people of Poland? - I do not know.

How many people do you think were killed in the gas chambers while you were Kommandant of Birkenau ? - Not having been notified about the strength of the transports I do not know.

In the summer Of 1944 transports were coming in day and night, and the crematoria could not keep up with burning the bodies, and ditches had to be dug. All this took place, did it not, in the camp of which you were Kommandant? - Yes, with the exception of these parts over which I had no jurisdiction and which came under the Kommandant of Auschwitz No. 1.

Did you never protest against your camp being used for this purpose? - If I had raised a protest probably I would have been arrested myself and put behind barbed wire.

Did you prefer to be a party to wholesale murder rather than to be arrested yourself? - I did not partake in this mass murder.

Do you think that anyone is entitled to give or to execute orders for the mass murder of innocent people? - Probably there must have been somebody who issued these orders. I myself never saw them and have nothing to do with it.

I put it to you that not only were you present at these selections, but you took an active, and very active, part in making the selections yourself? - That is not true. It is a lie.

When Camp C was liquidated were you not present actually helping to load people on to the transport to go to the gas chamber? - No.

Do you not remember witness after witness stating that you were present at and actively took part in selections? - No.

You heard witnesses here in person, one after another, and affidavits of dozens of other people read, with regard to the beatings which went on at Auschwitz. Do you say that never happened? - Yes.

How often were you in the camp that you commanded? - From 7 in the morning till 7 at night.

Then if this happened you must have seen it? - In that camp which I commanded, certainly.

You heard Grese's statement read in which she said she carried a whip and used it consistently? - That is exaggerated. It was not so.

Let me suggest to you that you beat so many people that you cannot remember any particular one? - I can only say I have not beaten any prisoner.

What was the accused Weingartner's position at Auschwitz? - Blockführer in the women's compound near the gate.

Was he in charge of a Kommando of women who worked by the river? - During the whole six months I was in Birkenau he was always a Blockführer

Had Volkenrath a sister? - Yes, called Weinniger.

Is the accused in the dock Volkenrath? - Yes.

You told us that in Birkenau people who were unable to work went to the gas chamber. When you went to Belsen was it not intended, in precisely the same way, that those unable to work at Belsen should be exterminated too? - No.

Why has there been this change of heart? - I do not know. I received orders that Belsen was to become a camp for sick prisoners.

I suggest to you that there was every intention that the sick prisoners who were unable to work at Belsen should die just as those at Auschwitz died, and that because you were successful at Birkenau was the reason why you were chosen as Kommandant of Belsen? - Why I got the order to go to Belsen I do not know.

Was any hospital accommodation ever provided to make it into a camp for sick people, and were any doctors ever sent there apart from two amongst 40000 people? - No. When Lolling came it was I who pointed out that if the camp was really to become a camp for sick people we needed doctors and medicine. Medical supplies came in March and part of the beds at the end of the month.

I suggest to you that the letter you sent to Oranienburg was never sent at all? - I sent this letter through a messenger.

Why was the copy not destroyed with all the other documents? - This letter was a private letter and report to Glücks and a copy of the report was amongst my private papers in my house and not in my office with the other official documents.

On 1st March you had only 26723 in this camp, whilst in this letter you talk of 42000 detainees. I put it to you that this letter is a deliberate concoction made a long time afterwards? - This letter was written exactly on the same date as marked on the top.

Does this strength return, Exhibit No. 122, signed by you, not show an opening strength for the fortnight beginning 1st March of 26723 (handed to witness)? - This is only the strength of the women's compound. The men's compound is missing.

What was the greatest number of men internees you had in that camp? - At that date 14000 or 15000.

You heard witness after witness go into that box and tell of the beatings that happened in Belsen. Is that all untrue? -When I was present there were never beatings. What happened when I left the camp I could not say.

Were the Kapos armed with pieces of wood? - No.

Do you not remember Captain Sington telling us about the Kapos beating men when he came with a loudspeaker van ? - Yes, after the British troops came into the camp.

Do you remember Ehlert in her statement said that she had often seen prisoners beaten at Belsen and that the conditions were a shame and a disgrace? - Yes, but I am astonished that she did not report this to me.

Do you remember her saying that you were responsible for the conditions because, among other reasons, on one occasion, "When I complained of the increasing death rate to Kramer he said 'Let them die, why should you care'"? - Firstly, I did not see any reason why I should give a subordinate any explanation about the conditions of the camp, and secondly, what she says my answer was is not true. As an Aufseherin it was her duty to report to me.

Do you remember the habit of making women make sport? Was that done on your orders? - These disciplinary measures did not originate from me. They belonged to the status of concentration camps and women's compounds. I did not give orders for women to do it in Belsen.

With regard to food, did the prisoners get their entitlements or not in Belsen? - Yes, with the exception of bread.

Do you seriously say that is enough for somebody to live on? - For healthy persons it would have been sufficient for a few weeks. For sick persons, however, it was not enough.

What special rations were provided for sick people? - With the exception of the diet, nothing. I do not know how many people got the special diet as it was the doctor's province. I could not give orders to the doctors as they only came under me as far as they were members of the S.S.

Who provided the food, you or the doctors? - I, with my administration.

With regard to the number of people you provided the special diet for, is the real answer nil? - There was a certain amount of diet got for the hospital, but I do not know how much.

Did you ever go into the hospital and see the conditions there? Did you see the conditions in the huts? -Yes.

Did you watch these people slowly starving and dying? - Yes. That is to say I did not look at it, but I saw from the daily reports how many people were dying every day.

Did you see these people gradually dying of starvation and thirst? - Yes, I mentioned these facts in my letter to Glücks

And in spite of the fact that these people were starving and dying you ordered them out on Appell? - Not the sick people.

Are you seriously suggesting that two doctors could certify the sick in that camp? - With these two doctors there were a certain number of doctors coming from the prisoners themselves. It is not my fault that I did not get any more S.S. doctors.

Is it true that these people stood for hours on Appell fainting and being left where they lay in the snow? - It is not true. With the arrival of so many transports it was practically impossible to hold roll-calls, and at the utmost only two roll-calls were held each week.

How far was the river from the camp? - 400 to 500 metres.

Why did you not pump water from the river? - I had no apparatus or material.

Do you know that British troops did it with the material that was in the camp? - Perhaps in the Wehrmacht barracks, but not in my camp.

Did you never march some prisoners down to the river and let them get a drink? - No, I was told that the water was not fit for drinking. The pumps worked with other water.

Do you know that that is the water that has been used for the camp ever since? - No.

You were using water out of the concrete tanks in the camp. Do you know what filth was found in these cisterns? - No, I only know that when these ponds were pumped out for the first time there was dirt in them.

Was the reason you did not go to the General and tell him exactly what was happening because you were frightened to tell any decent person what was going on in your camp? - No.

There was a bakery in the Wehrmacht barracks capable of making 60000 loaves a day. Do you not think that the General or any other decent person would have helped you with food if you had told them of the way in which these people were dying and shown them the living skeletons that were in your camp? - The General could not have helped me as the food that was in the stores could only be obtained by means of special indents and I could only get my food from the civilian administration. He was not allowed to give me anything.

Did you ever ask him? - No. The food that was stored there was only for the Wehrmacht and the only thing I received from them was 10000 loaves every week.

Did you not get vegetables from the Wehrmacht stores? - No, but Camp No. 2 received some.

Is not the truth of the matter that you never tried in any way to help these people at all? - That is not true. I have written to several firms to get additional food.

I suggest that the transports that poured in did so for precisely the same reason that they poured into Birkenau? - No.

I suggest that you never even troubled to clear up the corpses from the camp until you knew a truce was being signed? - If that was true I could have spared many litres of diesel oil. Only five days before the arrival of the British troops the corpses were taken to the crematorium by truck and by horse-drawn cart.

Do you know how many thousands were still lying unburied in the camp when the British came? - No. It was reported to me by the Lagerführer two days before the British troops arrived that there were no more corpses lying about in the men's compound.

Do you know that the British found 13000 corpses lying unburied in that camp? - I cannot believe it.

Is it true that these sick and starving men were employed from morning to night dragging corpses to clear up the camp before the British came? - Not the sick and dying people, because in the meantime healthy people had arrived with new transports. If it had only been sick and dying people I do not believe that the witness Le Druillenec could have done this work for five days without food.

Did you watch that procession yourself, and do you still say you saw no one beaten in that camp ? - I have seen it and nobody was beaten dragging corpses as long as I was present.

Did you see anybody shot during that period? - Yes, by members of the Wehrmacht or Hungarians.

Anybody, I suppose, who was not under your command? - After the camp had been taken over by the Hungarians the Wehrmacht were in command over it. I had only to look after the administration. I was never present at the shooting itself.

Did you see any shooting near any of the kitchens? - I did not see it but I heard it.

At any time whilst you were in command at Belsen have you never seen anybody shooting near the kitchen? -Previously three of the S.S. staff who were members of the guard company and later on three Hungarians.

I suggest that your own cooks were regularly shooting from the kitchen windows and that you yourself took part as well, and that it was a regular sport amongst the S.S. to wait for the prisoners going near the kitchen and then take pot-shots at them? - It is not true. I think that is a fantasy of the witnesses. I could not imagine anyone, knowing that he would be shot in the vicinity of the kitchens, would nevertheless go there.

You saw the witness Sompolinski with a bullet through his hand, and I put it to you that you in fact shot that man yourself? - I have never shot anybody during the whole time of my work in concentration camps.

You have told us, too, that you never beat people. Do you remember the Russians building a hut? - Yes.

Did you kick any of these Russians? - No.

With regard to the Russian girl who escaped and whose ears you say you boxed, Ehlert stated that she saw you kicking and shaking her and later hitting her with a stick on her head and face and all over her body quite unmercifully? - I told you already that I slapped her face. I did not have a stick in my hand.

Ehlert says that as a result the girl gave the names of two girls whom she said had helped her to escape, that you sent for these two girls and gave instructions for each of them to receive five strokes on the bare behind to make them confess? - No. I never issued such an order either in Birkenau or Belsen.

I suggest to you that you beat that girl, that you know you did, and that that answer is no more truthful than any of the other answers you have given this afternoon? - I have said nothing but the truth.

Twenty - first Day - Wednesday, 10th October, 1945

JOSEF KRAMER, re-examined by Major WINWOOD - You were asked if you believe in God. Do you believe in Germany? - Yes.

You were also asked if it was part of the doctrines of your Party to exterminate the Jewish race? - It was part of it.

Was your Party the Government of Germany? Did it come into power in 1933 and did it remain in power until the end of the European war? - Yes.

Was that Government recognised by all the civilised countries in the world? - I believe so.

Was Adolf Hitler the head of that Government and Heinrich Himmler the member who was entrusted with the internal security of Germany? -Yes.

In your humble position which you held in Germany what was your opinion of an order from Himmler? - Himmler was my highest chief and any order emanating from him had naturally to be executed. Any other opinion simply did not exist, and not to execute a military order was quite out of the question.

Where did these transports that were coming day and night for about fortnight in 1944 come from? - Hungary.

Did you prefer to be a party to wholesale murder rather than be arrested yourself? - Yes.

To what office were the strength returns sent? - Two separate reports went to Oranienburg for internees, one for men and one for women.

Did you ever do anything against the regulations to get food for the internees? - I tried with several private firms to get more food supplies.

What would have happened if you as a Hauptsturmführer in the S.S. had gone to a General in the Wehrmacht in April, 1945? - I do not think there would have been any particular difficulty in seeing him, but if I had mentioned any sort of request for food supplies his answer would have been in the negative because these food reserves in the stores of the Wehrmacht were destined only for the members of the Wehrmacht.

By the JUDGE ADVOCATE - I think you have been connected with concentration camps for about ten years. From your experience did you form the view, at any rate in the war years, that a sick or infirm Polish Jew was bound to die as part of the policy of the German Reich? - No.

Of what use to the German Reich was a sick or infirm Polish Jew or Jewess ? - I do not know. I had nothing to do with the reasons why these people were sent into my camp. I was there to receive them. Whether it was a political enemy or a Jew or a professional criminal had nothing to do with me at all. I received the bodies, that was all.

When you were told that Belsen was to become a camp for sick Jews did you realise that unless it was properly fitted up those who went there must inevitably die? - It was not only a question of sick Jews. It was a question of sick prisoners, and when Lolling came in January to inspect my camp I told him that if it was to become a camp for sick prisoners I should need more doctors, medical supplies, beds, blankets and so on.

When a Jew was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz was any official record made in the records of the country of that person's death? - I do not think so. All these things were done by the Political Department of Auschwitz No. 1.

When a Polish Jew died at Belsen was any record made regarding his death? - Yes, up to the day when I executed orders that all official documents had to be destroyed.

In Belsen if anybody died did you have inquiries made how they came to die? - Not I myself, but the doctors had to see the reasons for that person's death and had to certify it.

While you were serving did you receive any rewards or promotions for your service to the Reich? - Before the war I held the rank of Obersturmführer and in 1942 was promoted to Hauptsturmführer - that I believe is a Captain. The two decorations which I received were the Kriegsverdienstkreutz, 1st and 2nd class, in 1942 and 1945.

By a Member of the Court - Can you tell us what was the normal system of rationing at concentration camps, apart altogether from any emergency that may have arisen in March and April? - I do not know the exact ration system, but it was approximately three-quarters of the amount civilians got.

Did camp authorities put in indents for their requirements? - Yes, to the Wirtschaftsamt at Celle, from whom I got the ration cards.

Were the camp authorities those responsible for making the contracts for food supplies? - The firms with whom we had to deal were already giving through the Wirtschaftsamt, and there were firms who were delivering already in former times to the camp and carried on.

Mrs. ROSINA KRAMER, sworn, examined by Major WINWOOD - I am the wife of Josef Kramer, whom I married on 16th October, 1937. Except for short intervals I have been always with him, although, of course, when he was on duty he was in the camp. I went inside the concentration camp on Sundays, off-duty days. I went to Auschwitz in 1944, two weeks after my husband. The Kommandant of Birkenau, before my husband took over, was Hauptsturmführer Hartjenstein. Three days prior to my husband taking over I asked Hartjenstein why my husband had been chosen for Auschwitz. His answer was because of the rank my husband held and that there was a general change of commands. It was a policy of Berlin that every two years commands had to be changed over. Baer and Hoess were Kommandants of Auschwitz No. 1.

Do you know, of your own knowledge, why Hoess was sent to Auschwitz? - I think. for the incoming transports. One evening my husband said to me, " Those who are responsible, for the lives which are being destroyed now, do not sleep lightly." I went to Belsen on 30th December.

Did you ever go into Belsen Camp? - One Sunday afternoon. I went into the place where they were weaving and my husband told me with great pride about the beautiful orchestra which was playing. He wanted to show me that. There was a band, but they had no instruments, so my husband asked for the instruments from Auschwitz to be sent to Belsen so that these girls should at least be able to play something.

Did your husband ever speak to you about the food in Belsen? - I was present at a conversation between him and Vogler, the official who was responsible for the food, and I remember that my husband said, "What these people get is not enough to live on and too much to die on."

Did he ever speak to you about the hospital and medical supplies or the dressings? -Yes. One evening just after an air raid alarm he was pacing up and down, and he said, "Now the truck or railway wagon which I was expecting for the last three months, I just hear that it has been bombed to pieces in Hanover [Hannover] and I have not a bit of bandaging material or dressing material."

Did your husband have any social contact with the Wehrmacht in the barracks? - No, because he was on duty day and night. The only night members of his staff who came to our house socially were Vogler and Dr. Horstmann, who came once.

Have you ever heard of your husband ill-treating anybody while at Belsen? - No.

Did you know what your husband's opinion was about his duty to the internees? - Yes, to take care of them, and this is what he has been doing all the time, night and day.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - You said that Hoess had been sent to Auschwitz for the incoming transports. What transports were these? - I believe these were the transports which were destined for the gas chambers.

You knew about the gas chambers, then? - Everybody in Auschwitz knew about them.

Why did you think your husband was sent there, then? - Because of his rank being only Hauptsturmführer he did not know beforehand that the camp had gas chambers.

Your husband told you that those who were responsible for the lives which were being destroyed could not have a very easy conscience. He realised it was very wrong, did he not? - Yes, naturally.

The Trial (Defence - Evidence for the Defendant Josef Kramer)