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

The Trial (Defence - Evidence for the Defendant Stanislawa Starostra)

Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ - I represent six accused, Starostka, Polanski, Koper, Ostrowski, Burgraf and Aurdzieg, all ex-internees and all of Polish nationality. In my submission, the Court must regard these accused in a different light from the other accused and different from the way in which they were introduced to you by the Prosecution. I need not prove to the Court that after Poland was overrun by the Germans in 1939, there was a large and effective Underground Movement in operation in that country. There were millions of Poles deported to Germany to work there in large or small concentration camps or in factories, mines and on farms. The Court will hear from some of these accused that they were arrested by the Germans for activities hostile to the German army, or the German war effort in general, that they were tried by the Gestapo and sent for unlimited periods of imprisonment and hard labour in concentration camps. Some started this imprisonment as early as 1940 and were finally released by the British as late as 1945. So these men and women were the first victims of war, and this is what I ask the Court to bear in mind: these accused are victims of war: they did not come to Auschwitz or Belsen as members of a well-trained camp staff, they came as prisoners to work and perhaps to die. After some time they had a certain responsibility placed upon them by the proper camp staff. These they had to carry out and they tried to do it as well as they could under the circumstances. The Court has heard the Prosecution witnesses bringing against Koper and Starostka far weaker allegations than these we find in the written statements. In the case of the four men, no Prosecution witness has brought a single allegation against them, and, Sompolinski has, on the contrary, spoken in favour of Polanski and Aurdzieg. But against all of them there is a large number of statements and the Court has had no opportunity to check on the reliability of these witnesses. All these four men will tell you that they had minor functions and low positions in Belsen Camp, indeed so low as to be hardly possible to call them members of the camp staff at all. Nearly all of them will agree they did beat prisoners themselves and their witnesses will try to explain to the Court that a certain amount of beating was necessary, especially during the food distribution, and was the only means of control. They will try to explain that they would have felt much more guilty towards the prisoners if they had not bothered to control the food distribution, merely getting their own share, and going away leaving the other prisoners to help themselves.


STANISLAWA STAROSTKA, sworn, examined by Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ - I was born in Tarnow, Poland, on 1st May, 1917, and before the war was a book-keeper and shorthand-writer. On 13th January, 1940, I was arrested by the Gestapo because I was a member of a Polish Underground Movement, and was sentenced by a German Court Martial in Cracow [Kraków] to death, which after 21 days was converted into life imprisonment. On 28th April, 1942, I was transferred to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where I stayed in prison for more than two years. We were very badly treated and almost starved to death.

Have you got a number tattooed on your arm? - Yes, No. 6865. All the inmates of Auschwitz had the numbers tattooed except German nationals. My number is rather low because, when I first went to Auschwitz, it was in the first months of the existence of the women’s compound. There were only 1000 German prisoners, 5000 Jews from Slovakia, and I was one of the first 108 Polish women in that camp.

How long were you an internee without any responsibility whatever? - After a short time in Auschwitz I was working in the water Kommando, and because of my knowledge of German was also acting as interpreter. When a Blockälteste was, in due course, punished for having cigarettes, I was made Blockälteste because of my knowledge of German, by Oberaufseherin Langenfeld. At first I was in charge of Block No. 8, and then we were transferred to Block No. 5, which was for the new internees who came into the camp. It was the most overcrowded block I have ever come across during my experience in concentration camps. The maximum number should have been 1000, but at one time there were 3428.

When did you eventually get transferred to Birkenau? - At the end of August, 1942, the women’s camp from Auschwitz No. 1 was transferred to Auschwitz No. 2 and was called Birkenau. The conditions there were terrible - no drainage system and no light. I was Blockälteste for varying periods in Block Nos. 19, 1, 10, 27 and 7. In Block No. 7, in July, 1943, I contracted typhus and went to hospital. The most difficult block to control I found was Block No. 26, because up to that time I had come across only political and Jewish prisoners; but there I had to deal with criminals, so-called prisoners with green triangles. Those people were the criminals with long sentences, who had spent many years in various prisons. They had no moral principles and only looked for opportunities to steal from each other or to fight. They were difficult to control and at first I tried persuasion, but when that turned out unsuccessful, I had to beat them.

What happened to you when you left hospital? - After I came out of hospital I became Lagerälteste. All the Kapos, Blockältesten and Lagerältesten were German at that time and I was the only Polish Lagerälteste. Oberaufseherin Drechsler appointed me at the end of August, 1943, because I was one of the oldest Blockältesten and had been already a long time in the concentration camp and knew the conditions. Apart from that I tried to get the job, although I was afraid of it because in the concentration camp the great majority of the prisoners were Polish Jews and Polish Aryans. The administration was in the hands of the Germans and we wanted to have people immediately over us of our own nationality, and I realised how much I could help the other prisoners if I was in any position of authority.

Did you come to this conclusion by yourself or was there anybody else who advised you to try to get this job? - We continued our fight against the Germans inside the camp in the same way as it was fought outside, and my fellow countrymen told me it would be advisable for me to try to get this job. The position was a very responsible and difficult one, and was necessarily connected with continuous contact with the German authorities.

Were you the only Lagerälteste in Birkenau ? - There were two compounds, A and B, and three Lagerältesten - a German, a Jewess and myself. I went to the German authorities myself and suggested that it would be very advisable to have a Jewish Lagerälteste who would be better able to understand the Jews.

From whom did you receive your orders as Lagerälteste? - From the Rapportführerin, Oberaufseherin and sometimes from the Lagerführerin but never during my stay in Auschwitz from the Kommandant of the camp. I was responsible for my Blockältesten and for food, baths, delousing, order in the camp, Appelle and some additional duties of lesser importance.

In what way were you responsible for the Blockältesten? - If a Blockälteste failed in the fulfillment of her duties she was punished for it, but I was punished as well, for I had not seen to it that she had obeyed.

What were your responsibilities in connection with food? - There were 40000 prisoners in the two compounds and only two kitchens, and I had to see that the proper rations were sent to each of the blocks. Sometimes, although the prisoners got the proper amount of food containers in front of the kitchen, before they reached the blocks some of the containers had been stolen from them. The Germans and Russians were physically the strongest prisoners, and therefore the Jews, who were the weakest in the camp, usually had some of their containers stolen, with the result that some blocks had double rations and others none.

What were your responsibilities with regard to additional food? - The Kommandos employed on hard work were entitled to a special food allowance twice a week of half a loaf of bread, some sausage; and margarine, and the Kapos took these rations and distributed them to the respective prisoners. Sometimes the Kapos got their additional allowance of food and instead of bringing it to the proper prisoners they kept it to themselves for bartering. When I became Lagerälteste I stopped this trick and decided that the additional food allowance should be distributed directly among the prisoners.

Tell the Court what you understand by delousing and baths? - The greatest calamity in the camp was the fleas which were breeding disease and we attached special importance to delousing, and we sent various parades for this purpose to the bath-house. The process went on all the time by permission of Untersturmführer Hoessler, who was the Lagerführer.

Were you responsible for any Appelle? - It was my duty to take the parades on orders from the Oberaufseherin, who told me how long and where the parade was to be held. Every Appell started by means of a whistle. There were normally parades morning and evening for counting purposes, Appelle for selecting people for working both near and at a distance; and a third kind was the gas chamber parades.

You would probably know that when an Appell was ordered in the morning or evening it would be for a nominal roll; would you know that another Appell would be to choose a Kommando for a long or short distance, or would be a selection for the gas chamber? - It was impossible to foresee whether the parade was going to be held for working parties or for the gas chambers, but sometimes an internee doctor, Enna, used to tell me that there would be a combing out on the next day for the gas chamber.

What were your responsibilities on an Appell? - That the prisoners should stand in fives, not talk too much and behave.

What do you mean by short-distance and long-distance Kommandos? - Short-distance were these working in the area of Auschwitz and returning to their quarters, and long-distance were those sent to factories in Germany for work. The long-distance Appell was very similar to that for the gas chamber because the candidates were examined very carefully by the doctors, as people infected with contagious diseases, crippled or pregnant women and weak people were not sent. Sometimes those sent returned, but they were in a state of extreme exhaustion and were replaced by the same number of healthy men.

How was the Appell for selection for the gas chamber run? - The doctor was present and he chose weak and sick people instead of healthy ones. My part was exactly the same as during the other parades. I had to keep order, and see that everything was all right. I never helped the staff of the concentration camp during the selection for the gas chamber.

Do you remember the witness Rozenwayg saying that during the selection for the gas chamber you were taking down the numbers of the girls who were selected? - Yes, sometimes I even tried to be allowed to get it, because I knew that later on I should be able to strike out some numbers from the list, which I had to rewrite before handing over to the German authorities.

When you received information from Dr. Enna that there might be a selection for the gas chamber the next day, did you do anything about it? - Yes, I sent the weak people on outside Kommandos and to work in order to save their lives.

Szparaga accused you of choosing candidates for the crematorium? - It is an absurdity to say so. Even the S.S. did not know what the purpose of the parades was, so how could I, who was not an S.S. woman, have such a great influence on the authorities of the camp as to be able to choose people for gas chamber.

What can you say about the allegation that you were promoted to the rank of Lagerälteste in view of your special merits of exterminating prisoners? - I made it clear to the Court why I was appointed Lagerälteste, and why I tried to get this appointment.

What do you say about the allegation that you should be prosecuted for killing and torturing thousands of women? - It must be the product of a morbid imagination.

Szymkowiak says that she was beaten by you on every occasion when she was in Block 26? - I beat her occasionally when I was compelled to by the circumstances, but never without any grounds.

Did you denounce the girls to the German authorities for every small offence? - I have never denounced prisoners to the German authorities because that would have meant collective responsibility, and for a crime committed by one prisoner, hundreds would have been punished.

She says you punished girls during Appell by making them kneel and hold their hands in the air? - Yes, I had to give them these orders when they did something wrong during their work. A report would come to me that certain prisoners, indicated by their numbers, were to kneel during the next Appell, and I had to obey these orders.

Synowska in her deposition says that you pushed girls against the wires which were loaded with electricity? - Between the camp and the barbed wire there was a deep ditch with water about five yards wide, and if I had wished to push people towards the barbed wire, I should have had to transfer them first over the ditch. It would be very difficult in the day and quite impossible at night because the guards at the wire would have fired.

Did you beat women prisoners until they lost their senses and died? - It is untrue; I might have slapped their faces if it was necessary in the circumstances. In that part of her statement, she says that I forced a woman, Grabarek, to keep her head in the water for half an hour. In the first place, at that time it was 1943, and all the prisoners except for Germans had their hair cut off, and secondly, if I had kept her head for five minutes under water she would have died. Then she went on to say that I used to select old and sick people for gas chambers. Am I responsible for the fact that the great majority of the people chosen for gas chamber were old and sick?

Did you at any time ill-treat little children? - On the contrary, I myself lived in a block where children lived and if I had not liked them I would not have stayed in that block. I always tried to get more food and sweets for them, to excuse them from parades, and to do my best to improve their fate.

Do you remember Anita Lasker saying you were a notorious collaborator with the S.S.? - If I as Lagerälteste wanted to help the prisoners I had to gain the confidence of the German authorities; I had to keep up the deceptive appearance of getting on well with them as otherwise I could not have been of any assistance to the prisoners, which was the prime object of my holding the position. I had to fight for each compromise.

Glinowieski said that you beat prisoners across their knees whenever they stood improperly on parades? - When a parade was held in the female compound there was another parade in the male compound and it was impossible for him to see anything. When I was Lagerälteste I never beat a prisoner.

Dora Szafran said that when you were a Lagerälteste in Auschwitz you carried on selections for the gas chamber on your own? - Apart from humane reasons it was impossible for me to do things like that. She may have been under a misapprehension because sometimes I selected people for working parties or to see whether they had some lesser skin disease.

Do you remember Ilona Stem saying that she could not talk about your beatings in Auschwitz because you did it so frequently? - It is true that beating in the camp was frequent, but it is not true that I did it. I have already admitted doing it when I was Blockälteste in Block 26, but never when I was Lagerälteste.

Stoppelman tells of an incident in which you were involved in causing the death of three girls working in the cookhouse by poisoning them? - It is not true. If we are going to admit that all the people responsible for causing dysentery should be shot I think that thousands of prison or personnel of the respective cookhouses should be put to death, because dysentery was an epidemic in the camp and a great majority suffered from it.

Can you tell us about an incident which involved 26 girls and yourself? - Apart from the gas chamber parades for the Jewish prisoners there were three so-called general parades for Aryans in which 26 Polish Aryans were chosen for the gas chamber and sent to Block 25. I went to the Lagerführer and I implored him to change this decision because they were ill anyway.

Have you ever done anything else for the prisoners? - I have done everything that was in my power to help them. I tried to induce the German authorities to change their practice of sending people who had just come out of hospital on to parades, and to leave them in their blocks. I tried to get a special food allowance for people who were employed on very strenuous work, such as those on Leichenkommandos, working with the bodies, and I helped prisoners to change their jobs if their actual work was too hard. If I received any complaint about ill-treatment by Kapos or Blockführer from the prisoners, I tried to change these functionaries or reprimand them. All the orders from the German authorities to my prisoners had to come through me, and I tried to relax the severity of these orders.

The witness Synowska has said you were the only master in the camp. Is that true? - I was not Kommandant of the camp or Lagerführerin. I was only a Lagerälteste.

What was Koper doing in Auschwitz? - She was in an open block, that is a block where people after work were entitled to go out, and then for a short time afterwards she was working in a Strafkommando.

Have you known Koper as a Blockälteste in Belsen? - When I first came to Belsen she was already Blockälteste in Block No. 205. In my opinion she was the least suited person for that job, because on account of the great suffering and hardships she had had to endure during her long stay in concentration camps she was in a state of complete exhaustion, and on the brink of a nervous breakdown. She was aware of that and tried to change her job. I felt pity for her because I knew how much she had had to suffer before, and I asked Rapportführerin Gollasch to put her in a position of camp police, and I succeeded in doing this.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - How did the S.S. behave towards the prisoners at Auschwitz? - The prisoners in Auschwitz were treated very badly, and beaten on every occasion. They had to work very hard, the accommodation was very bad, they had lice and other diseases, and dogs were set on them. Almost all the Blockführer in the camp carried sticks which they used, and some of the Aufseherinnen had sticks, some cellophane whips, and others dogs. Some had nothing.

Did you know Bormann there? - Yes, she was always with her dog.

Were the only people who had to attend selection parades as a rule Jews? - Yes, as a rule.

How was the order given, just for Jews alone to attend? - All the people from the blocks, irrespective of whether they were Jews or not, had to fall in, but the Aryans fell in on one side and the Jews on the other. Only Jews were examined, although the Aryans stayed there the whole time the parade was held.

Was it quite easy to distinguish that parade from a parade to select working parties? - Yes, but it sometimes happened that the people for working parties were chosen only from Jews.

Could you tell perfectly easily as soon as the parade began what the parade was for? - It was quite easy when the parade was on to guess what was the purpose, but sometimes it was difficult to say before.

We know the doctor was there, and apparently you and the Blockführer, but who used to attend from the S.S.? - Blockführer and S.S. women who were on duty that day inside the camp. All the Aufseherinnen who happened to have camp duty that day were there.

When these Jews began to realise that they were being selected for the gas chamber did a lot of people begin to try and run away and get hysterical? - Some of them tried to run away and others tried to hide themselves, or tried to avoid being examined by the doctors. Those who tried to run away or hide were brought back again to the same place and sometimes were beaten.

When they had selected who was to be murdered, who took them away? - Sometimes the Blockältesten, and sometimes the Blockführer, marched them off to Block No. 25, or to the hospital.

They had to get from Block 25 eventually down to the gas chamber, had they not? - We were not told about it officially, but the confinement to the blocks that many witnesses have mentioned took place not at the time the prisoners were chosen for the gas chamber, but when they were transferred from Block 25 to the gas chamber. We could see the trucks loaded with people going to the gas chamber, and afterwards the smoke coming out of the chimneys for days and nights. Normally the Blockführer loaded the prisoners into the truck.

Koper says that part of the time Grese was in charge of the Strafkommando? - Usually the Strafkommando worked outside the camp, it was only for a short time that it was employed on building inside the camp, and during that period Grese was supervising.

Koper says that she was in the Strafkommando which worked in a sand-pit outside the camp? - As far as I remember she was continually employed there.

She says that part of the time when she was in that Kommando Grese was one of the people supervising it in the sand-pit? - I have never worked outside of the camp and I have never seen this Kommando at work.

Who had these dogs which were set on prisoners at Auschwitz? - Aufseherinnen Bormann, Kuck and Westfeld, and the great majority of the guards employed on outside Kommandos.

Was Volkenrath Oberaufseherin just before she left Auschwitz? - At the end of autumn, 1944, in Women’s Compound No. 2. She was in the bread stores and in the parcel stores, and I saw her sometimes beat prisoners.

Did the Kommando which worked at Budin [Budy] come back each night to Auschwitz, or did it stay out there? - It never came back to sleep in the camp, but when there was special hard work and additional prisoners were sent from the came to assist, these people used to come back for the night.

You say that sometimes the factories sent some prisoners back again who were completely exhausted from work. I suppose it was only a question of time before these people found their way into the gas chamber? - It was not even a question of time; they were sent direct from the platform to the gas chamber.

The whole system was to work them as long as there was any sign of work in them and then to destroy them? - Yes.

In selection parades did the Blockältesten get their own blocks out? - Yes.

Did Kapos attend selection parades? - They had to attend, not as people. with functions but as inhabitants of their respective blocks.

Lothe says that whenever the selection Appell took place, all the Kapos were concentrated in one block, and it was strictly prohibited for them to leave that block during the whole time. Is that wrong? - That was when those chosen were transferred from Block No. 25 to the gas chambers - then nobody was allowed to leave their block except the Blockführer and some other people employed on the trucks. During the parades for the gas chambers all the Kapos had to parade as well.

When the prisoners were being marched past the doctor, did you stand behind him taking the numbers or did you go round the parade and take the numbers afterwards? - Prisoners marched past the doctor and then he would point out one of these wretched people and say "That man can be taken to the gas chamber." At that moment the Blockführer would take the man and bring him to the left side and tell me to write down the number as he was for the gas chamber.

Did you ever see Kramer there on any of these occasions? - Yes, sometimes I saw him when he was Kommandant at Auschwitz. Kramer himself was not so bad as his driver, who always accompanied him and was his evil spirit.

Do you mean that Kramer did not soil his hands with it himself, but if he wanted somebody killed the driver did it for him? - I would not say that because when Kramer was transferred to Belsen he killed many people on his own initiative, especially at the time of the evacuation which took place on 18th January when he killed all the people who were unable to march off with the others.

Did he do it with the knowledge of the authorities or just on his own account? - I think he did it on his own account because there was no real authority at that time in the camp.

On the earlier occasions, before Kramer left the camp, did he do it without anybody’s knowledge then? - I do not know; sometimes Kramer would order his driver to examine prisoners in the camp to find out whether they had any forbidden things on them, and if the driver found anything he would torture them and beat them terribly, and Kramer would march away in some other direction.

If somebody was shot in Auschwitz, was there any enquiry about it? - Yes, there was always an enquiry after a prisoner was shot.

Was the driver allowed to go on shooting people then? - Yes, but it was at the time when this driver worked in the crematorium, and in the crematorium no enquiries were made. Many Poles sentenced to death by the Gestapo were not sent to the gas chamber but were killed before and then sent to the crematorium.

When you first went to Auschwitz did you really go there and start the women’s camp? - It was the first Polish female transport. There were 1000 German and 4000 or 5000 Jewish prisoners.

Were you the first Pole to accept a functionary office there? - Yes.

Were you not released from prison and sent there in order to become a functionary? - No.

You spoke fluent German and Polish, did you not? - Yes.

Was a great advantage to be a Blockälteste? - The only advantage I derived from it was that I had a bed of my own.

If it was not an advantage, why did you think it was unfair to poor Koper that she should be reduced to an ordinary prisoner after her suffering? - Only because of the bed.

Block 213 had, first of all, Russians in it who were then cleared out to make it into an isolation block? - Yes.

Did you clean it out? - We could only scrub the beds with chloride and scrub the floors.

Is not that just the time, whilst the block was empty, that there might be a bed which might disappear immediately it was put outside? - No, some of the people from Block 213 were ill and were left there all the time. We had no time for doing things like taking the beds out of the block. As soon as the block was considered to be a typhus block we transferred the people suffering from typhus there and took out the fit people to another part of the camp.

When you were a Blockälteste and a Lagerälteste did you not quite regularly beat women? - Only when I was in Block 26 and never when I was Lagerälteste.

Do you remember what the other women have said about you, one after the other? - Yes, but none of the witnesses except Ilona Stein said that I beat prisoners.

People in your block did quite a little organizing now and again, did they not? - Yes, when I was Blockälteste in Block 26 the prisoners in my block sometimes managed to organise food containers from the other blocks.

Did you not help the political police in their enquiries into these organizations? - In what way could I render any assistance to the political department?

I suggest that as Blockälteste, and someone who spoke both German and Polish, you could render a great deal of assistance to the police both by informing them and by interpreting for them, and by beating women until they confessed? - Yes, but I was employed only as Blockälteste in this particular block and had nothing to do with the political department. I had no special information, and if anybody organised anything they would not come to me and tell me about it; they would keep it to themselves.

Is the truth not that they would be frightened of your informing? - No.

If you had been so extremely good to the prisoners and were acting as a sort of Florence Nightingale in that camp, why do you think that all these various people have complained about you? - I do not claim that I was a Florence Nightingale, but I tried to help as far as it was possible; sometimes I had to be hard, but it was necessary under the circumstances.

I suggest to you that you sold yourself heart and soul to the S.S. in return for comfort and safety in that camp? - Never.

Fortieth Day - Thursday, 1st November, 1945

STANISLAWA STAROSTKA, continued - By the JUDGE ADVOCATE - While you were apparently carrying out your duties as a functionary at Auschwitz to the entire satisfaction of the Germans, were you also trying to assist the internees? - Yes.

Did the Germans ever suspect that you were being lenient to the prisoners, and did they take any action about it so far as you are concerned? - They certainly did suspect, and on several occasions I was even punished by getting three days’ imprisonment, in which I had to stand all the time, because I had opened the gate between the compounds on Sundays in order to enable the prisoners to get in touch with each other.

On how many occasions did the Germans punish you for not doing your duty? - Sometimes I had to be in prison, and once I got 25 strokes for disobeying orders.

Was there no official way of reporting stealing to the German authorities, and having the internee properly punished? - There was an official way of dealing with these cases, but it depended on what and where the crime took place; for the same kind of crime guilty people would be punished in different ways according to whether it was the first occasion or more. If it was a case of a man who repeated these crimes often, not only did he himself get punished but they would mete out collective punishment for all in the block.

Did you ever know of cases where internees were brought before the German authorities to have their cases enquired into, to have a trial, and then a proper punishment inflicted according to German Concentration Camp law? - Yes.

By the PRESIDENT - You said you were punished with 25 strokes for doing something to help your fellow internees? - Yes. A working Kommando outside the camp complained to me that instead of getting the whole ration of their soup they got less, and I reported this to the Oberaufseherin. When the man in charge of the Kommando came back after work had finished, in the presence of the whole Kommando he administered these 25 strokes unofficially because he was not entitled to do it.

You were not tried or anything? - No.

Is it a fact that punishment was just meted out by anyone who thought he was entitled to do so without that person reporting first to superior authority? - Yes.

By a Member of the Court - You would see quite a lot of Hoessler at Auschwitz. What was his whole attitude like? - He was the only Lagerführer who really cared for the prisoners, and thanks to his efforts all the lice in the camp disappeared.

When the lorries took prisoners from Block 25 to the gas chamber did you ever see Hoessler with them? - As a Lagerführer he was sometimes obliged to attend because he had to make records.

ANNA WOJCIECHOWSKA, sworn, examined by Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ - I am a Pole from Cracow [Kraków], and was put into prison by the Germans and was transferred to Auschwitz on 18th January, 1942. I have a number tattooed on my arm. I recognise the accused Stanislawa Starostka as Blockälteste and Lagerälteste in Auschwitz.

Were you ever selected yourself for the gas chamber? - Yes. I had to go to work with a Kommando, but as I had no shoes I did not go. There was a general selection parade in the camp at that time and I was sent to Block 25. Starostka approached me when we were standing in fives in front of Block 25 and asked me why I did not go to work with the Kommando. I told her I had no shoes, and she took 20 of us into the stores, issued us with shoes and from that time on I worked in the camp.

Were you found at any time by Starostka with a letter in the camp? - Yes, it was not allowed. She read the letter herself and advised me to destroy it, and told me that if any of the Germans caught me with this letter I would be severely punished.

Have you ever been ill with typhus in Auschwitz? - I fell ill with typhus and was sent to hospital, from which I was sent to Block 13. On that day there was a parade held by Starostka, and as she wanted some personnel for the hospital in the Gipsy Camp I was selected by her because I was immune against infection.

Do you know a girl called Szparaga? - Yes. I met her in 1943 in the Gipsy Camp where she was for a year.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - When did you first see Starostka? - April, 1942.

How old were you when you went there? - Fifteen.

Were there quite a lot of Czech Jewesses and Poles who were functionaries in the camp when you got there? - Mostly Jewesses.

Would it be quite nonsense to say they were all Germans? - Yes.

Do you remember Starostka being Lagerälteste? - Yes.

How many Lagerältesten were there then? - Three - Starostka, a German woman called Maria, and I do not remember the name of the third. There was one for Lager A, and two for Lager B. Starostka was Lagerälteste in Lager B, and Maria in Lager A.

Was Starostka the only Lagerälteste in Lager B? - No, there was the other one whom I do not know.

Was the selection on which you were chosen not a selection for a working Kommando? - At first it was the usual parade at seven in the morning. The same parties were chosen for work, but several people ran away, and therefore at eleven o’clock there was another parade, and the whole parade was taken to Block 25.

Was there any doctor present at that last parade? - Yes.

This was as a punishment for running away, it was nothing to do with the selection for the gas chamber at all, was it? - Yes, it was.

How were you dressed for this parade? - In the normal way.

Did you know this girl Szparaga well? - I was a year in the Gipsy Camp and she was working in the kitchen.

What was Starostka when you first knew her? - Blockälteste of Block 7.

Did you know that she had been Blockälteste of Block 26 before that? - No.

How long had you been at Auschwitz when you were sent to Block 7? - Five months.

Was Starostka Blockälteste then? - Yes. She says she was not there till the following year.

Are you sure you really did not go to Auschwitz until 1943? - I do not know, but I think it was 1942.

Were you not allowed to have a letter in Auschwitz? - No, it was forbidden.

Did you not have any letters at all? - We were allowed to receive letters from Poland from our families, but not to receive letters from other prisoners from the camp area.

Were you ever punished at Auschwitz? - Yes, because I threw some bread over the wire to a friend of mine, and for 12 days I had to report every second hour to the gate. I was often beaten by my Blockälteste from the Gipsy Camp. There was only one S.S. man in my camp, and no Aufseherin.

How were you treated in the women’s Lager? - I was working all the time with outside Kommandos, and I was never beaten there.

KRYSTYNA AGNIESZKA JANICKA, sworn, examined by Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ - I am a Pole, aged 34, and was imprisoned by the Gestapo In Cracow [Kraków] in 1943, and was transferred to Auschwitz on 25th November, 1943. I know accused No. 48 by the name of Stania, and first met her in Block No. 7, when she was Blockälteste there. When I was sent to Block No. 7 I was told it was the worst block in the camp because of a very bad Blockälteste. But during my stay there I came to the conclusion that it was entirely groundless because she was very good and very energetic. She had got this reputation because she tried very hard to maintain order and secure a fair distribution of food.

Did you ever see the accused being punished by the Germans? - Yes.

To your knowledge did she select anybody for the gas chamber at all? - I do not know about it. As Lagerälteste she attended all the parades and, amongst others, gas chamber parades.

You changed your view of the accused. Was it your private opinion or was it shared by a certain number of girls in your block? - There were many people in the block who liked her, and many who disliked her.

Cross-examined by Captain STEWART - When you came to Auschwitz were you given a number which was tattooed on your arm? - Yes, No. 45508.

Which was the first block you went to? - Block 14 in Lager A, where I stayed approximately six weeks. Then I went to Block No. 7 for about four weeks, and afterwards was transferred to Block No. 15 in Lager B.

Who was the Lagerälteste in Lager B? - I know at that time Stania was appointed Lagerälteste in Lager B, but I was not long there because I was sent to hospital. When I came back I was working with an outside Kommando and Stania marched us off, and was waiting for us when we came back in the morning and evening.

Have you ever been on a selection for the gas chamber? - Yes, but I was not selected.

Were you aware of the fact it was a selection for the gas chamber? - No, but after two days people chosen disappeared and never came again. On one occasion. there was a parade held at a very unusual time of the day, and Stania told us to go out of the blocks and parade and try to make ourselves look very well, and when we asked if it was for the gas chamber, she said that it was only an inspection. Nobody was chosen out of our block, but many were taken from other blocks, and later on we found out that the whole parade was for gas chambers.

Were you ever beaten in Auschwitz? - Yes, by the Aufseherinnen, by Blockältesten, and once by Starostka because I tried to get a second helping when the other prisoners had not got a first one.

Was it a general habit in Auschwitz to beat people? - Yes.

Did all the Aufseherinnen you saw carry either a stick or a leather whip? - Most of the Aufseherinnen, and the two other Lagerältesten, but not Stania.

MARIA CHUDZIK, sworn, examined by Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ - I am a Pole, aged 28, and was arrested by the Germans and deported on 28th November, 1942, spent two weeks in an internment camp in Zamosc [Zamość], and was then sent to Auschwitz. I first saw the accused, Starostka, when she was Blockälteste of Block 26, in January, 1943. When I was in Block 21, I knew her as Lagerälteste. She behaved very well to the other prisoners, and I have not seen her beat any of the girls, nor did I see her taking part in, or making her own selections.

Cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - How were you treated at Auschwitz? - Sometimes well, sometimes very badly.

Which Lager were you in? - I was in Lager A for eight months, and in Lager B for the rest of the time.

Who was the Lagerälteste in Lager B? - Two German women and Starostka.

All three at once? - The two German women were there when Starostka arrived.

Was a Jewess Lagerälteste in Lager A? - No, only German. Only the Blockältesten were Jewesses.

Were there two German women who were the two Lagerältesten, and then one of them when Starostka was put in her place? - No, there were two German women and Starostka, and they used to go from one camp to the other.

How could you tell whether a prisoner was a Jewess or not? - They wore a big yellow star of David.

STANISLAWA KOMSTA, sworn, examined by Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ - I am a Pole, aged 37, was arrested by the Germans in January, 1943, and was sent to Auschwitz on the 22nd. I know the accused Starostka whom I met in Block No. 7, when she was Blockälteste in June, 1943. Before that date I knew her only by sight. When I first came to Auschwitz. I was sent to Block No. 7, which had another woman as Blockälteste, but after two and a half months I fell ill and was sent to hospital, and when I came back Starostka was Blockälteste. When I was in hospital I was told that Stania was very bad, but I changed my opinion because I found that she was very good, very energetic, and fair in her treatment, although sometimes very severe.

Have you ever attended a selection carried out by Stania? - I attended many selections, and Stania was always present as Lagerälteste. She never carried out selections on her own initiative. On the contrary, when a selection was held and she was able to save some of the people she did her best to do it.

Cross examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE - How were you treated when you first went to Auschwitz? - The treatment was horrible, the conditions were terrible.

Were you beaten at all? - Yes, by the German Lagerältesten, a very short time after I arrived.

Was Stania the only person who did not beat anybody? - Even Stania beat people because it was necessary under the circumstances sometimes to do so.

How did the Aufseherinnen behave towards you? - They were extremely severe. They carried sticks or whips, and they beat prisoners with them. The Kapos also carried sticks.

What Kommando did you work in? - First in the field and then in a weaving factory.

Who was the Lagerführer whilst you were there? - Hoessler.

How did he behave to the people? - He was very severe indeed, during his rule many prisoners were sent to the gas chamber. He was master of our life and death in the camp, and everybody was afraid.

Do you know the accused No, 9 (Irma Grese)? - She was Blockführerin in Block 26 in Lager A, and took the parades, counted prisoners, and then had nothing further to do with them.

SOFIA NOWOGRODZKA, sworn, examined by Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ - I am a Pole, aged 19, and was deported by the Germans and sent to Auschwitz on 13th December, 1942. I know accused No. 48 as Stania whom I first met in Block No. 7 in January, 1943, where she acted as Blockälteste. She behaved very well to the internees in the block. As Lagerälteste she tried to do her best in order to put all the Polish in positions of authority where they could not be beaten any more. I remember an incident when 20 Polish women were selected for the chamber and were sent to Block 25. Starostka saved these women from the gas chamber, amongst whom was a friend of mine whom she sent to hospital. When spring came the prisoners had to hand over their pullovers and stockings, and Starostka managed in such a way that they were allowed to keep them for a longer period as it was very cold.

Do you know from your own knowledge if Starostka has ever organised selections for the gas chamber on her own? - No, that is not the case. She was obliged to attend all the parades, and at the selection parades she had to write down the numbers of the persons selected.

Cross-examined by Captain STEWART - Were the conditions very bad in Auschwitz? - Very bad indeed. We had no water; no food; we had to work very hard; we were beaten by the Germans; it was very cold; we had no warm clothes; and we had our hair cut.

Did the camp authorities make any effort to improve these conditions? - The only person who really tried to help us was Stania.

Did the Aufseherinnen or the S.S. try to do anything to help you? - The German staff tried only to worsen our condition.

Have you ever been on one of the selection parades for the gas chamber? - No.

How do you know, then, that Stania attended and wrote down numbers? - I was told about it.

Starostka told us that she was in Block 7 from April to July. Is not the truth that you were never in Stania’s block at all? - I was, together with Stania, in Block No. 12 when she was Lagerälteste. I was working in the cookhouse as an ordinary prisoner.

Did all the girls who worked in the kitchen sleep in Block No. 12.? - Yes.

Did Stania sleep there? - Yes.

The Trial (Defence - Evidence for the Defendant Stanislawa Starostra)