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

The Trial (Defence - Evidence for the Defendant Oscar Schmitz continued)


JOHN MALLON, sworn, examined by Captain ROBERTS - I am a Battery Sergeant Major in 58th Light AA. Regiment and was in a detachment detailed for guard duties in the men’s camp in part of the Panzer Training School at Belsen, immediately after its liberation. I was in charge generally of the area in front of our Headquarters block, and, on a certain day, I cannot remember which day, I heard a scuffle outside, and on investigating saw accused No. 14 (Oscar Schmitz), who was naked from the waist upwards and was only dressed in underpants. He was under the protection of my guard, who were holding off a crowd of internees, obviously trying to get at this man to harm him. I got the impression that he also was a prisoner. I saw that one man was armed with a bicycle chain and I told my guard to take it off him. I ordered the guard to place this man in with the S.S. prisoners for safe keeping, and later on, during my tour of duty, on looking in at the S.S. prisoners to see that they were safe, I saw that he had obtained German army clothing from somewhere.

Was your detachment, which had been guarding the S.S. prisoners, relieved by another detachment? - Yes.

Was any information about this man ever passed on to the relieving unit? - Not to my knowledge.

Why did you say that you had to protect this man? - Because before this the internees had been setting upon anybody who was German, and had in fact killed a couple.

In view of the guard precautions, do you think it was possible for prisoners to get in and out of the camp? - I do not think so.

While you were going round the camp, did you not notice any piles of corpses? - No.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - Were there not any corpses round your regimental Headquarters? - One man had died during the night and we saw him next morning.

Do you speak German? - No.

Why do you say the internees were attacking everyone German? - Because there were some German prisoners in the camp, and we had to break up a couple of riots before this one.

What time did this disturbance take place? - I think it was mid-afternoon.

Where exactly was the man when you first saw him? - Just outside the door of our Headquarters block.

Was it known in the camp that that was where S.S. men were under guard? - I cannot say. They were in a room just inside our Headquarters block.

Why do you say that you got the impression this man was a prisoner? - Because the interpreters afterwards told us so.

Did you ever see any other internees who had been issued with underpants? - No.

Did you see any of the S.S. having intercourse with any of the other prisoners? - No.

Was it the S.S. who were in that room who supplied this man with his S.S. uniform? - I cannot say.

Was there anybody else who could have supplied him with it? - No.

Was there a sentry on the door of this room that the S.S. were kept in? - There was a sentry on the door and outside the window.

There was a large crowd of prisoners trying to get at this man? - There was always a large crowd of prisoners outside our door, but there were more than usual and there were some shouting threats at this man.

Were they not doing a great deal more than merely shouting before you interfered? - Yes, but I was inside the block.

By the JUDGE ADVOCATE - How soon after the camp had been liberated did you arrive at Belsen? - Within two days.

How long did you see this man on that day? - For a quarter of an hour.

What sort of uniform do you say you saw him wearing afterwards? - I only know it was German army uniform.

What makes you sure that the man you pointed out was the man you saw on that occasion? - Because I can remember him.

The Trial (Defence - Evidence for the Defendant Oscar Schmitz continued)