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

The Trial (Defence - Evidence for the Defendant Wilhelm Dorr)


WILHELM DORR, sworn, examined by Captain CORBALLY - I was born on 9th February, 1921, at Nuremberg, am married and have one child. Before the war I was a farmer living on my father’s farm. On 15th December, 1940, I volunteered for the army, but could not get into it so I volunteered for the Waffen S.S., and went to Dresden in the Engineers. I stayed there until the autumn of 1941 training and then, because I was ill, I went to hospital. I then went to Oranienburg, where I stayed until January, 1944, when I went to Mittelbau and eventually came to the camp at Kleinbodungen in September, 1944. I was an assistant of Stofel. We started in the morning with a roll-call, and then the workers left the camp and went to Mittelbau. After they came back we had another roll-call, and it was the same programme every day. I stayed at this camp until it was evacuated.

Thirty-third Day - Wednesday, 24th October, 1945

WILHELM DORR, examination continued - Can you remember the date on which the march of the transport from Kleinbodungen started? - Yes, 5th April. In the morning we counted the prisoners before marching off; there were 610. On the first day we reached Osterode, where Stofel and I had previously made arrangements.

It has been said that some men joined your party on that first night and that you took them into a stable and shot them. Is that true? - No, no men were shot in Osterode.

What happened the next morning? - The prisoners continued to march to Seesen. Kraft and two S.S. women stayed in Osterode and waited for Stofel, and when he arrived we loaded food on the truck and then drove to Seesen. Next we marched to Salzgitter, the number of prisoners still being 610. On the following morning we found that five German prisoners, all persons in authority, including the Lagerältester, were missing. During the next three days we marched to Rudingen, Ohof and Gross Hehlen. The approximate distance of each day’s march was between 25 and 35 kilometres.

What sort of food were the prisoners getting? - In the morning they got their marching rations, 500 grammes of bread, then cheese or sausages, or margarine, whatever was available, or sometimes tins of meat. In the evening they had either a hot meal, for instance soup, or they got bread again.

Were there any stragglers? - By the third or fourth day if anybody had sore feet he was put on a hand-cart, and the following day he was put into the ration truck. I was not always with the column as I tried to see where there was some water. I was with Stofel.

What happened when you arrived at Gross Hehlen? - We arrived about 1800 hours on 10th April, and were just going to distribute the rations when an officer of the Field Force stationed there arrived and gave orders to Stofel that we were to go away at once. Stofel said we could not do this as we were just distributing rations, and the prisoners were tired and we did not know our way about, but that we could continue our march early next morning. The officer went away and then returned and insisted upon our going away. Stofel declined every responsibility, and afterwards an officer with about 30 soldiers arrived and started to chase the prisoners out of the barn, shooting into the air and chasing them away in the direction of the road opposite Celle. The officer took me with him to an aerodrome where there was a former P.O.W. camp. We went on our bicycles and on riding back towards the column we heard shooting the whole time. We spent the night at this aerodrome and next morning started to march towards Bergen.

When you arrived at Bergen what happened then? - I tried to get Hoessler so that Stofel could report to him, but I could not find him. When I returned Stofel had already reported the prisoners at the office. A roll-call was held and there were 590 prisoners. They were distributed in, I believe, Block 90.

Gruhmann in his deposition says that 650 prisoners of mixed nationalities set out, that you marched through Herzberg, Brunswick [Braunschweig], Peine and Celle, and that on the first night and the next morning you shot six men who had escaped from a party of prisoners from Nordhausen. Is that correct? - No. We never had 60 prisoners, nor did we go to Peine. We had no prisoners from Nordhausen.

He says that from then on you shot all the stragglers who could not walk, and that you shot at least 46. Is that correct? - I was not with them at all on the first two days, and anyways all that is a lie.

Adolf Linz says that you shot 13 or 14 prisoners because they had bad feet or were suffering from other diseases and could not carry on? - It is not true.

Poppner in his deposition says there were 613 prisoners, that you covered 51 kilometres on the first day, and that you shot somebody in Osterode. He also says that in a wood near Salzgitter you and three other men shot two prisoners. Is that right? - No, there were 610 prisoners, and on the first day we marched 35 to 40 kilometres. I did not shoot any prisoners.

Do you know the three men who were supposed to be with you, Berling, Zimmermann and Liebholz? - Yes, but, they were prisoners and had no weapons.

Did you yourself shoot any of the prisoners, or see anybody else doing so on the road? - No.

How do you account for the 20 prisoners who you say you lost? - Five escaped in Salzgitter, four or five were shot in the incident in Gross Hehlen, where I understand the others escaped.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - Why could you not get into the army when you volunteered? - Everything was full up.

In 1940 was the S.S. not supposed to be the élite of the whole outfit? - Not in 1940. The S.S. was under the command of the Wehrmacht.

It was better paid than the army, was it not? - No, the pay was equal.

What did you do at Oranienburg? - I was an orderly corporal.

Oranienburg was one of the biggest concentration camps in Germany, and prisoners were treated just as badly, if not worse, than in Auschwitz, Belsen or Dora? - I do not know. I had nothing to do with the camp; I belonged to the troops.

You mean the S.S. men guarding the camp? - Yes.

What was your employment at Dora in January, 1944? - That was the first time I had anything to do with prisoners and I was trained to become a Blockführer.

Was this camp not like all the others, people regularly dying of a combination of overwork and underfeeding? - Not during the period when I was there.

Is it not true that you learned your job to such purpose at Dora that you became second-in-command to Stofel at Kleinbodungen? - I had no idea when I arrived at Dora about prisoners. I did not know anything.

In March do you remember catching two prisoners hiding in the potato cellar at Kleinbodungen, and ordering three other prisoners to beat them, which they did until they died? - No. The potato cellar was always locked, and I do not see any reason why two prisoners should hide there. Then, I cannot understand why I should give an order to three prisoners to beat them and to allow a fourth to stand there and look at it.

Why was the potato cellar kept locked? - So that the prisoners should not steal potatoes or turnips.

Did it not become the common practice of the S.S. to make prisoners beat each other rather than do it themselves? - In our camp there was no beating. I never saw any beating at all by any S.S. or Kapos at any time.

Or any shootings either? - I did not see any shooting but I heard shots. I have never been in a concentration camp except in Belsen because Dora was a labour camp.

Auschwitz was a labour camp with "Labour Makes Free" written across the gate, was it not? - I do not know.

Had you very many German prisoners at Kleinbodungen? - 30 to 50.

Did you not get to know them fairly well? - No, I knew the Kapos. We had only about 10 or 15.

You knew Berling, Zimmermann and Liebholz, did you not? - Yes.

Did Berling wear a brassard with "Kapo" written on it? - Yes.

Did Zimmermann wear a green triangle on his breast? - I do not know.

What would it mean if he did have a green triangle? - As far as I know, a professional criminal who was punished before.

All three of them were what you would call "functionaries" in the camp? - Berling was a Kapo, Zimmermann was a shoemaker and Liebholz was a carpenter.

Most of the men wore wooden clogs? - Yes; with some leather on them.

You say you went to Osterode with Stofel to see that the prisoners could be accommodated for the night. Did you not know that that camp got orders to march out the same time as your own? - Yes.

The earlier transports from Dora got through on the train all right, it was only the later ones that could not? - I do not know.

After you had seen about the accommodation what did you and Stofel do? - We drove back on our motor cycles which got destroyed in an air raid, so we got a lift in a car and drove into Herzberg, where we waited for the column to arrive. I went with the truck with the rations to Osterode and unloaded. The truck went back again with Stofel, who went to Kleinbodungen to fetch some more rations.

You were left at Osterode awaiting the arrival of the column. Had that column been joined by two men who had escaped from Nordhausen? - No.

Were there two men being pulled in a hand-cart who had not managed to keep going in wooden clogs? - I do not know.

There would be no ration lorry available the next morning when they marched off to carry them? - Nobody reported to me that they had sore feet.

On the night of 5th April did you not shoot two men who had escaped from Nordhausen, and the next morning at least three more, and did you not make them kneel down and shoot two of them in the back of the neck first, and the other one as he tried to run away? - I say that is not true.

What does the expression "kopfschuss" mean? - A shot in the back of the head.

Is that not a popular way of disposing of people? - No, it was strictly prohibited by Reichsführer Himmler as a general instruction how to treat prisoners.

Was that not the method, of making a man kneel down and shooting him in the back of the neck? - Quite impossible.

I suggest that that is what you did to these men that day? - I am only sorry that the witnesses are not here.

I suggest to you that from then on when anybody began to straggle you took him on one side and shot him, and that you employed Berling, Zimmermann and Liebholz as escorts when you took these people away? - No, that is not true.

Do you remember a German prisoner called Adam Mocke, who says that what Popper in his affidavit states is true, because he was there as well? - No.

There has been some suggestion that some of these stories told about prisoners in the dock have been made up either by Poles or Jews against the Germans, but these two men are both Germans, and Gruhmann, who makes virtually the same statement about you, was Czechoslovakian, and not a Jew either. Why do you think that these men should all pick on the stable or a barn for the first night instead of the camp at Osterode, if you really stayed in this nice camp? - I have four witnesses who can testify that we really were at Osterode. I wish these other witnesses could show the Court where those stables or barns are, and where all those people who were killed are lying.

Where did those two S.S. women suddenly appear from about whom you have told us? - They were in hospital at Mittelbau and as they had the same route they asked whether they could travel with us. Sometimes they marched and sometimes they were riding in the truck.

Did Kraft know they were riding with you? - Naturally.

It is strange he never mentioned them in connection with this truck. He gave us an account, and was asked who was in the truck and he told us. Did he know these women were there all the time? - He knew.

Did Stofel know you had these two women with you? - Yes.

He never mentioned them either. Did these women come all the way to Bergen with you? - Yes. We did not bother very much about them,

Did they stay with you and Stofel or with the column when you kept going away from it? - Mostly in the ration lorry.

So Kraft would have seen them all the time ? - There were two lorries, and in which they rode I do not know.

What view did the S.S. officer take of their presence at Gross Hehlen? - It was not his affair.

You have been in the S.S. a long time. Did you want to become a guard at a concentration camp? - No.

Why, did you take on this job if you did not want to do it? - I never did guard duties because I was excused, but I could not refuse to do orderly corporal’s duties.

When you found yourself actually being taught to be a Blockführer, why did you not say you would not do it? - It was not possible to refuse an order. It would have meant heavy punishment.

What happened to Stofel when he refused to obey the order of the S.S. officer at Gross Hehlen? - He belonged to another unit and was not the direct superior officer of Stofel.

The whole objection to your staying there was because you were in the fighting area. Are you seriously suggesting that Stofel refused to obey the order, and the front line troops stopped their fighting and came along and took the prisoners away from you? - Where should we have gone? We could not leave the prisoners in the open.

Is not the suggestion that your prisoners were taken away by the Waffen S.S. made up to explain the fact that you arrived a good many short, and that the people who were missing on that transport, with the exception of five who genuinely escaped, were shot by you as you went along the road? - If I had shot anybody I would not have stayed in Bergen of my own free will, but would have disappeared to Hamburg.

There is no question of your own free will; you were either detailed to stay or you were detailed to go into the firing line? - I am not afraid to go into the firing line; I am a soldier.

When you started out on the journey you went to collect the ration, did you not? - No, that was Kunz from the Administration who was in charge of that.

I thought that when you went to collect the rations you picked up these two women? - Yes, that is true, but Kunz went to Nordhausen and got the rations.

For how long did you draw them? - I know only that we had so much that when we arrived in Bergen we still had the remnants which we handed over.

Re-examined by Captain CORBALLY - Were there any of the prisoners on 5th April who were unable to undertake the march through ill-treatment received in the camp at Kleinbodungen? - No.

Was the officer who interviewed Stofel at Gross Hehlen connected in any way with the transport of the prisoners, and did he know how many prisoners you had, or where you were taking them? - No.

If Stofel and you had been shot then, who would have been in command? - The guard company.

By the JUDGE ADVOCATE - Were the people working under you in Kleinbodungen both Jews and Germans? - I had all nationalities, but no Jews. On their left breast they had a number.

Had they any numbers tattooed on their bodies? - No.

When you started out from Kleinbodungen did you not even have a nominal roll of the various people? - We had orders to destroy all nominal rolls and everything concerning the prisoners.

Is it not common sense that when you reported to your superior officer at Belsen you ought to have been able to tell him which of these particular men had died on the way? - Yes.

Have you got any tattoo marks on your body? - My blood group under my left arm which was put on either in 1941 or 1942.

Have you served in the Wehrmacht as a soldier? - No.

When you arrived at Belsen did Hoessler question you about some rumour that people had been shot on this journey? - Yes, he asked about it. I do not know exactly the day, but it was before the 16th, before we were captured.

You know that Hoessler has said that you denied it as well as Stofel? - Yes, we denied that we shot the prisoners.

Do you say you told him the story about the shooting by a field unit? - Yes.

By the PRESIDENT - When the prisoners were beside the barn at Gross Hehlen and you commenced issuing rations, what did the S.S. guards who had moved with this column do with the field troops who came along to the prisoners? - Some of them were just having their meal, some washing and shaving, some were without boots, and everything went so quickly, that before they realised what had happened the others had taken the prisoners away. They simply tried to get after them as quickly as possible.

What did the guard do? - There were only two guards on duty, and I really cannot remember what happened.

Two guards to 600? What were you actually doing yourself during this time? - I was shaving in the vicinity of the prisoners.

GERTRUD NEUMANN, sworn, examined by Captain CORBALLY - I am single, was born on 19th February, 1922, in Taucha in Saxony, and was drafted into the S.S. on 10th January, 1945. Before the march on 4th April I was sick in hospital at Mittelbau. The camp at that time was evacuating and we were told to try to rejoin our unit. We got a lift in a lorry belonging to the work Kommando of Kleinbodungen which took us to Grosswehrter [Großwerther], where we were told that they also were quite ready to move out, and that we should proceed to Belsen. We spent the night in a small camp in Osterode. There was another S.S. woman with me, called Ilse Steinbusch. The prisoners and the guards were also there.

Did nothing unusual in the way of shooting take place while you were in Osterode? - No.

What happened the next morning? - The prisoners left before us and either Stofel or Dorr tried to get some transport for us. I heard no shooting before the prisoners left, nor saw any digging of graves. It was afternoon before we got transport and we spent the night in Seesen near the prisoners but not in the same barn. Actually we spent two nights in Seesen because we could not get transport the next day. On all the other nights we were near the prisoners.

At the various staging camps on your journey had you ever seen any of the guards shoot any of the prisoners? - No. I heard shooting one night in Gross Hehlen, where we arrived about 2000 hours, unloaded rations and waited for the prisoners. There were some troops of the Waffen S.S. in the village. We started to distribute the food to the prisoners, when an officer of the S.S. Unit came and told Stofel that the prisoners were to leave the village because it was a defence position. Stofel said that he could not take the responsibility for that because the guards and prisoners had marched 36 kilometres already. Stofel went away to the Kommandant, and returned very excited and told us we had to go a short distance further on. Just as he said this, troops of the Waffen S.S. Unit arrived, starting shooting and firing some shots in the air which caused a panic amongst the prisoners who were lying down then. They were marched off by these S.S. people and when they were taken away there were quite a few shots fired. We tried to catch up with the column and we saw some dead prisoners lying on both sides of the road, Eventually we caught up with the prisoners who were allowed to have a rest, and we spent the night in the same camp.

How many bodies in fact did you see? - Eight at least.

Whereabouts did you see these bodies? - On the road. There was a wood on one side and fields on the other.

Cross-examined by Captain FIELDEN - Do you know where Stofel spent the night that you arrived at Osterode? - I did not see him in Osterode that night.

Cross-examined by Captain NEAVE - When did you finally arrive at Bergen on this journey? - We arrived with the transport on the 11th. We had to go to Neuengamme on the 12th, and were back on the 13th.

When you came from Neuengamme to Belsen on the 13th, was accused No. 35, Klara Opitz, in the same transport as you were? - Yes.

Was that the first time that Klara Opitz had been in Belsen? - Yes.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - Where is this place Grosswehrter [Großwerther] you are talking about? - Eight to ten kilometres from Nordhausen.

How did you first get in touch with this lorry? - On the afternoon of the 4th in the camp at Mittelbau we asked the driver, Stofel and one or two others, whether, they could take us.

When they left that night from Mittelbau did they go back to Kleinbodungen? - We left in the afternoon and arrived in Grosswehrter [Großwerther], but continued the journey immediately and spent the night in Kleinbodungen.

Do you really mean to say that when you got to your unit the Lageraufseherin sent you on with these two men to the men’s camp at Kleinbodungen? - She gave us the order to go to Bergen-Belsen and they said they were going there and would take us in their truck.

Do you know that at that time, according to their story, they had no idea they were going to Bergen-Belsen? - I do not know.

What time did you set off the next morning? - About nine, with Steinbusch, Kraft and the driver. They said they were going to Herzberg.

What happened when you got to Herzberg? - The truck was unloaded at the station and went back to fetch the other portion of the rations. I waited in the station. When we arrived everything was all right; then came a dive-bombing attack and the station started burning.

Did you see Stofel and Dorr that day? - Yes after the attack.

How did you get from there to Osterode? - They made room for us in the truck.

Where did you spend the night at Osterode? - In the room of the orderly corporal of the guards.

What time did the prisoners march out the next morning? - About ten or eleven.

What had happened to your truck? - That truck was only borrowed from the labour camp and Stofel had to see about a new truck.

Had Stofel not gone back to Kleinbodungen in the old truck? - I do not know.

Where did you wait for transport? - In the canteen with Kunz, Kraft and Dorr and a few prisoners.

Were there any other prisoners at Osterode? - Yes, they marched off a few hours later.

Who came in the truck with you when you set off? - Stofel.

Next night, did you sleep in a barn? - Yes. There was another barn close to it where the prisoners slept, and some stables.

Did you see the prisoners arrive that night? - No.

Where were Dorr and Stofel? - I do not know.

Did the prisoners stay two nights at Seesen? - No, they marched on. Kraft, Kunz and a few prisoners stayed with us.

Did Stofel and Dorr stay with you? - No.

Why did you not go on when the prisoners went on? - Because we were told a truck was going to arrive.

Did any truck go with the column? - No, the prisoners had hand-carts in which they put some belongings.

What happened to the food? - We waited the whole day for the truck, but it did not arrive.

If the prisoners arrived at Salzgitter the following night they would have had neither the cook, the ration store man, nor the rations? - The prisoners had their rations always for a few days in advance.

The rations which they would be expecting to arrive that night did not arrive? - No, only the next day.

Where did you pick up the prisoners again? - About noon in Salzgitter.

What time did you get to Ohof? - About eight o’clock. I marched with the prisoners.

Did Stofel and Dorr march with them? - Yes.

Who had gone on to see if there was any accommodation at Ohof? - Stofel and Dorr. I am not sure whether they went on bicycles or got a lift in a car. Kraft remained with the truck with the rations. The truck was too full and therefore I marched.

How did you get from Ohof to Gross Hehlen? - In the truck with Kraft, Kunz, Steinbusch and the prisoners.

What happened to Dorr and Stofel? - I do not know.

In fact, except for this very short journey when you started at mid-day and just marched two stations, you were never with Stofel and Dorr when they were with this transport, were you? - Overnight.

They could have shot half a transport along the road and you would never have known? - Yes.

Were Dorr and Stofel in the truck with you on the day you got to Gross Hehlen? - I do not know.

When you got to Gross Hehlen were the S.S., the prisoners and yourself all going to sleep together in the same barn? - Yes.

When did the officer from the Waffen S.S. come up? - About half an hour after the guards had been allocated.

Where were the S.S. all this time? - Those who had guard duties were on guard. The others sat down with the prisoners or were eating. I do not know how many were on guard. I was sitting with Steinbusch near the prisoners.

Did you not get a terrible shock when you heard an S.S. man tell an S.S. officer that he would not do as he was told? - I do not know. I did not know that he was an officer.

Did Stofel not jump to his feet and click his heels? - I do not know.

Did Stofel not come to attention at least when he spoke to this officer? Did he not call his other S.S. men up? - I do not know.

Did he go away with the officer? - I know he went, but whether with the officer or not I do not know.

What did all the S.S. guards do when the prisoners fell in? - They had to fall in as well. I do not know how many stayed behind.

Did the majority of them fall in? - Yes.

Did they go off with the prisoners? - Most of them went behind them because they were unable to keep up the pace with the prisoners.

The S.S. could not keep up with the prisoners? - Well, they had to carry their rifles, and the prisoners, apart from the two blankets, had hardly anything at all.

What did Dorr do? - I do not know.

What did Stofel do? - In the beginning he remained with us, but when the distance between the prisoners and ourselves became too big he started to walk quickly. I set off when the S.S. men did.

When the prisoners went running off up the road too fast for the poor S.S. men to catch them, and the S.S. men were running behind, and you were walking further back with Stofel and passing corpses as you went, how did you know who shot them? - It was not necessary for our S.S. men to walk so very quickly because the Waffen S.S. guards were with the prisoners.

Did your S.S. men fall in at the same time and follow the prisoners off down the road? - Yes, but the prisoners were too quick for the S.S.

How far down the road did Stofel go with you? - About half the distance. He then hurried on after the prisoners.

Of course, that was away from the Kommandant and the Waffen S.S. party, was it not? - Yes.

If he says he went back to ask the Kommandant for a truck, was that quite untrue? - I do not know.

As a matter of fact did you ever see any Waffen S.S. there at all? - Yes.

Kraft has never mentioned you to the Court at all. How often were you with him on this journey? - Nearly all the time.

Stofel has never mentioned you at all. How much of the time were you with him? - The evenings and the mornings before they marched off.

Who did you report to when you got to Belsen on the 11th? - We met Hoessler quite near the station. The prisoners arrived at Belsen before us, and Steinbusch, myself and another Unterscharführer were walking near the ration lorry. I saw Stofel later on in the Panzer School Training Barracks.

When did Stofel leave the place where you slept the night at Gross Hehlen? - I believe with the prisoners.

Where did Hoessler tell you to go to? - He told us that he would discuss later on how we should get to Neuengamme. Steinbusch told me that we had to go immediately to report to Volkenrath, but as she was asleep we reported to her deputy, Gollasch. Our transport was to go to Neuengamme in the morning and we went and saw Volkenrath then.

What time did you start the next morning? - We had to get up 4 or 5 o’clock.

The next morning whilst it was still dark you were put into trucks and taken off to Neuengamme? - Yes.

Then how on earth do you know whether Klara Opitz was ever at Bergen-Belsen before you came back on the 13th? You only saw the place for a few hours in the dark? - I saw her on the 22nd or 23rd March, 1945, in Grosswehrter [Großwerther] and for the first time after that I saw her in Neuengamme.

Re-examined by Captain CORBALLY - When Dorr and Stofel told you at Grosswehrter [Großwerther], that they would take you to Belsen did they in fact say that they were going to Belsen? - I cannot remember exactly what they said, but I suppose so, because otherwise we would not have gone with them.

Ohof was the next station but one from Salzgitter. Does that mean the next railway station? - No, the distance between Salzgitter and Ohof is, I believe, about 60 kilometres, and about half-way was a burnt-out village where we spent the night.

If any of the prisoners had been shot during the night would you have known about it? - Certainly.

Or at any time before the marching column moved off and while you were with the transport, and were still in the staging camp of the night before? - Yes.

Who made the prisoners fall in on their way to Gross Hehlen? - The S.S. Field Unit.

Who were firing shots in the air and who made the prisoners march out and down the road so fast that you could not keep up with them? - The same people.

When you saw the dead bodies lying on the side of the road outside the village, were your comrades of the S.S. with you or with the prisoners? - They were still with us.

By the JUDGE ADVOCATE - What time of night did you see those eight bodies? - About 8 o'clock.

Did you bother to stop a moment and see whether you could assist any of these people at all, or examine them to make sure they were really dead? - No, The sight of them with their brains smashed made us feel quite ill.

Did you hear of a single person having been wounded that night? - No.

Did Stofel or Dorr make any enquiries to see whether any of the people they were responsible for had been wounded? - I do not know.

Do you think it was possible that firing could have taken place without some people being wounded as well as others being killed? - It is possible, but I did not see anybody.

Then every person you saw who had been shot on that night had died? - Yes.

By a Member of the Court - Do you say they were all shot in the head? - Yes.

ERIKA CECONI, sworn, examined by Captain CORBALLY - I am a German widow, and on 10th April, 1945, I was living in an inn "Zur Linde" in Gross Hehlen, where there were German troops billeted in my guest house. They were S.S. and Wehrmacht. Prisoners from concentration camps arrived in the village. I heard them playing music and went and looked a them. They were in a barn opposite. I saw them marched off. They were in good order but they seemed very tired, and I was deeply moved and shocked.

Before they started marching out of the village had you heard noises while they were getting ready to go out? - Yes, I heard two shots, but do not know what they were.

Did you see anything of the guards with the prisoners? - No. I have not a very great idea about guards, and do not even know who would be a guard.

After the prisoners had gone did you notice the direction in which they went? - My house is in the main road and they were marched away from Celle, I believe towards Bergen.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - What moved and shocked you so when you saw these prisoners? - Because they made a very tired impression, and I had never seen the uniform which they were wearing, and the whole attitude of their walk.

By the JUDGE ADVOCATE - Did you leave your house at all because of fighting round about that time? - No.

Was there an aerodrome or a P.O.W. camp or any sort of a camp anywhere near your village? - No.

By a Member of the Court - Did you hear the two shots just before prisoners passed or afterwards? - I think it was just before, about 7 or 8 o’clock. It would be about dusk.

Did you see any commotion at the farm while the prisoners were there? - There was a commotion already in the village, and when the concentration camp prisoners started to play some music, of course the children gathered round and the commotion grew bigger.

Was there a P.O.W. camp or an aerodrome within say, 10 kilometres of your village? - There is an aerodrome in the neighbourhood of Heustadt about eight kilometres away.

Thirty-fourth Day - Thursday, 25th October, 1945

ILSE STEINBUSCH, sworn, examined by Captain CORBALLY - I was born on 22nd May, 1922, at Herzogenrach, near Aachen. I am single and was conscripted into the S.S. on 25th November, 1944. At the beginning of April of this year I was in the hospital at Nordhausen, and on the 4th we had to leave ,because the whole camp was evacuated to Grosswehrter [Großwerther]. I was put into the truck and covered with blankets, so I did not notice whether there were people marching. When we got to Grosswehrter [Großwerther], the Kommandoführerin gave us permission to continue the journey in the truck to Bergen-Belsen, because the working party had been sent there and we had to report there. We were unable to march as we were expecting to be operated on, so the best means of conveying us was by this truck.

How did you know that this truck was going to Bergen-Belsen? - We asked Dorr and Stofel where they were going and they said in the direction of Grosswehrter [Großwerther], but during the day I asked them where they were going after that, and they said to Bergen-Belsen.

What happened after you arrived at Grosswehrter [Großwerther]? - We went to Kleinbodungen, where we stayed until the 5th, and we carried on to Osterode, where I slept with my comrade in the office of the S.S. men. The prisoners left Kleinbodungen before our truck, but although I heard them arriving in Osterode I did not see them. I saw the prisoners the next morning when they fell in, but when they were marched off I do not know.

During the night in Osterode, or on the following morning, before the prisoners marched off, did you hear any shooting? - No.

Did you at any time that morning in Osterode see people digging graves and burying bodies in them? - No.

The next night you reached Seesen? - Yes. I did not see the prisoners; I only saw the seven or eight who were travelling with us. We continued our journey to the next village, which was pretty well burned out, and I saw the prisoners when they arrived there. They spent the night in a barn, but I heard nothing during the night. The following night we stayed in Ohof and then the next place was Gross Hehlen. We arrived first and then the majority of prisoners went into a barn, although quite a few stayed outside and lay down on the grass because food distribution was just going to start. All the prisoners got their meal and were just eating their food when an officer from a field unit came and told Stofel to take away his prisoners, because they were in a combat area. Stofel refused to do this because the prisoners had marched thirty-six kilometres and were tired, so at last he was called to see the Kommandant. He came back, gave the order for the prisoners to fall in, and said that some other guards from the field unit would be helping to march them off. These soon arrived and started chasing the prisoners out of the barn and shooting in the air. The prisoners had to fall in very quickly, and, tired as they were, they had to march at the double, the prisoners and guards. We stayed a bit behind, because we could not march as quickly, and Stofel stayed with us for about half of the distance. Then he went away quickly - I do not know where to. During the journey I heard quite a few shots and saw about seven or eight bodies after we had left the last house in the village. When the prisoners had a rest for an hour near a farm, we caught up with them, after which they had to carry on to the aerodrome where they were spending the night. There was a former camp there, already evacuated. It would be about six or eight kilometres from Gross Hehlen. We spent the night there.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - Was Osterode part of Dora Camp? - Yes.

Did the prisoners stay in a barn in Seesen? - I was told by the guards they did. We were in a barn about five hundred metres away and the prisoners must have been outside the village.

You did not go with them the next day, but stayed there another night? - Yes.

You were hardly with the prisoners at all while they were marching? - No.

When Stofel came back from the Kommandant, the S.S. men were tired, were they not? - Yes.

So when he went off with the officer to decide whether or not they would have to move on, they would all be pretty exhausted? - Yes, the guards were not very happy about having to march further on because they were very tired.

When Stofel came back and ordered the prisoners to fall in, what did the S.S. men under his command do? - Told the prisoners to fall in, but it was not quick enough for those of the field unit.

I suggest that the prisoners and your guards set off down the road at a normal pace and not at the double at all? - I saw them marched double. The guards under Stofel’s command could not keep up that pace, and some of them stayed with us and others fell back.

Except for the ones who had bad feet, your guards went on with the prisoners in the ordinary way, did they not? - Some of them went and marched with the prisoners, but the majority walked slower and remained behind.

Here were prisoners in wooden clogs who had marched just as far as the S.S. and had to pull hand-carts along the road, and here were the S.S. - élite of the army, we were told - unable to keep up with them! Did Stofel not see anything of this? - I do not know.

I suggest that when you got to Gross Hehlen what really happened was that the prisoners began making some music quite close to the local public house which was being used as a headquarters by the Kommandant, that a lot of village children came and gathered round; that the Kommandant sent an officer out to tell Stofel to take his noise and people and get out of his area, and that when Stofel was refused permission to stay he came along, fell in his prisoners and S.S. and marched them out? - The prisoners were only chased by members of the field unit.

I suggest that Stofel had quite enough men of his own and the members of the field unit had simply been introduced to explain the dead bodies? - I had nothing to do with the whole affair, and I do not know any details.

Re-examined by Captain CORBALLY - When Stofel came back from the Kommandant, how did his manner appear to you? - I noticed that he seemed very excited.

When the prisoners moved out of the yard at the double, did they develop this speed as they went on? - No, it was started immediately they fell in.

By the JUDGE ADVOCATE - When you saw these bodies, were you walking or were you in a truck? - We were marching, because everything was in such a hurry that we could not get a truck.

Was Stofel with you then? - Yes.

Did you stop to look at these bodies? - No.

Were the bodies lying altogether, or were they lying along the road? - One body was lying in the road, but the others were mostly on the right side of the road where there was a wood. I went mostly in the middle of the road, because I cannot bear such a sight.

How did you know that they were dead and not merely wounded? - I assumed they were dead because they did not move.

Did Stofel show the slightest interest in these bodies to see who had been killed and whether they were alive or dead? - I did not see this.

By a Member of the Court - Was Dorr with you at this time? - I did not see him. The last time I saw him before this incident was at the barn in Gross Hehlen, where we fell in.

The Trial (Defence - Evidence for the Defendant Wilhelm Dorr)