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

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Bialek, Regina)


2. I recognise Ladislaw Gura (photo. 7-1) as being a Slovak and a Blockführer at Auschwitz. One day in the summer of 1943 I saw him beat a man on the face and head with the butt of his rifle for speaking to a woman. The man’s head was split open and blood issued from his mouth and ears and his injuries appeared so bad that I had no doubt that he was dead. On Gura’s orders some prisoners had to take the victim to the male quarters. On another day, in the summer of 1943, I saw, from about 40 metres away, George Kraft (photo. 7-5) catch a man who was also speaking to a woman. Kraft battered the man’s face and head with a stick so that his head was gashed and blood poured from his mouth and ears. In my opinion the man must have died, since no one could have survived such injuries. I later saw his body taken away to the male quarters by other prisoners.

3. On 25th December, 1943, I was sick with typhus and was picked out at a selection made by Doctors Mengele and Tauber along with about 350 other women. I was made to undress and taken by lorry to a gas chamber. There were seven gas chambers at Auschwitz. This particular one was underground and the lorry was able to run down the slope and straight into the chamber. Here we were tipped unceremoniously on the floor. The room was about 12 yards square and small lights on the wall dimly illuminated it. When the room was full a hissing sound was heard coming from the centre point on the floor and gas came into the room. After what seemed about ten minutes some of the victims began to bite their hands and foam at the mouth and blood issued from their ears, eyes and mouth, and their faces went blue. I suffered from all these symptoms, together with a tight feeling at the throat. I was half conscious when my number was called out by Dr. Mengele and I was led from the chamber. I attribute my escape to the fact that the daughter of a friend of mine who was an Aryan and a doctor at Auschwitz had seen me being transported to the chamber and had told her mother, who immediately appealed to Dr. Mengele. Apparently be realised that as a political prisoner I was of more value alive than dead, and I was released.

4. I think that the time to kill a person in this particular gas chamber would be from 15 to 20 minutes.

5. I was told that the staffs of the prisoners who worked in the gas chamber and crematorium next door changed every three months, the old staff being taken to a villa in the camp to do some repair work. Here they were locked in the rooms and gas bombs thrown through the window. I estimate that in December, 1943, about 7000 people disappeared from Auschwitz by way of the gas chamber and crematorium.


2. I first met Helena Koper when I traveled from Auschwitz to Belsen in the summer of 1944. During the time we were in Belsen Camp Koper told me that her husband and son were both members of the S.S. and that she came from Cracow [Kraków]. I first heard that her husband was a German from other prisoners, and in order to find out the truth I told Koper that my husband was a German. It was then that Koper told me the story of her own husband and son. At Belsen Koper acted as an assistant Blockälteste, Blockälteste, and for a while as camp policewoman. She was well favoured by the S.S. Koper reported to the S.S. the names of women who were in possession of valuables, etc., and the S.S. then came to those women and deprived them of that property. Women found in possession of valuables were often beaten by the S.S.

3. Koper was assistant Blockälteste of Block 27 in the women’s camp at Belsen and I was in this block whilst she was there. Koper deprived women in the block of their proper share of what food there was, because she kept more for herself than she was entitled to have. The food that she saved in this way she exchanged with other prisoners for margarine. Koper frequently beat other women prisoners in the block for coming to her for more food. She beat them across the head and all parts of the body with a wooden stick, sometimes three or four times. As far as I know, Koper did not inflict any serious injuries on those she beat, but there was no necessity for the beatings.

4. I have also seen Koper beat women prisoners outside the block in the camp. As a camp policewoman she checked prisoners for small offences, such as being outside the block when an alert was sounded. For those trifling offences she beat prisoners with a wooden stick, and on one occasion she beat a friend of mine without reason. I did not see the incident, but was told by my friend who had a black eye.

5. In Belsen Koper used to keep company with one of the S.S. men. I do not know his name, but he used to visit the block to see her and bring her packets of food. When he came other prisoners used to clear out of the way. Koper became pregnant according to other prisoners, and all said that the S.S. man was responsible. Then one day in march, 1945, S.S. woman Ehlert came to the block to search for jewellery, but was unable to find any as the women had hidden it. It had been reported to Ehlert by Koper that other prisoners were in possession of jewellery, and when she did not find it she struck Koper and told other prisoners to set about her. Koper was hated by the other prisoners and they all began to beat her. Koper had to be taken to hospital afterwards, and I was told by other prisoners she had a miscarriage when about four months pregnant.

6. I identify No. 3 on photograph 37 as an S.S. woman who was an Aufseherin in Kitchen No. 1 at Belsen. I knew her by the name of Ilse Forster. I often saw Forster beating other prisoners with a thick stick in the kitchen. She struck male prisoners across the head and women across the backside, but sometimes she hit women on the head too. I have seen Forster beat many prisoners until they were unconscious and they were then left lying on the floor. These beatings were inflicted in a room within the same building as the cookhouse, and I saw the beatings through a window of the room. These beatings were given because prisoners asked for food or because they took food from the kitchen. I have seen unconscious prisoners who had been beaten by Forster taken away on a wheelbarrow to the hospital. I do not know whether any of them died as a result of their injuries, but many were covered with blood.


2. I know the accused Ilse Lothe in Belsen. I met her about two months before the camp was liberated. She was a Kapo in charge of the agricultural working party. I myself was working in Kitchen No. 1 in the men’s camp. I saw Lothe every day and never saw her beat anybody. The other Kapos used to take food away from the internees for their own purposes. Lothe never did that - in fact, she often asked me to get her something to eat as she was hungry.

3. There is nothing more I can say about her as I had no dealing with her outside the kitchen, but judging from her behaviour I find it hard to believe that she would have treated the girls badly.

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Bialek, Regina)