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

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Fürstenberg, Halma)


2. Whilst at Belsen Camp I was in Block 27 and the assistant Blockälteste was a Polish Jewess named Helena Koper. I was cleaner for this block. We had moved to Block 205 and after that to Block 224; in both these blocks I acted as cleaner. Koper became Blockälteste in Block 205 and later, in Block 224, camp policewoman for a week, relinquishing her job as Blockälteste.

3. I have frequently seen Koper beat other women prisoners. These beatings usually took place in the block round about the time that Appelle were being held. She beat prisoners because they hurried away to their blocks after Appell. She also beat prisoners for trifling offences such as speaking or moving on Appell. She usually beat prisoners with a stick, but at other times a leather strap was used, or she picked up anything and beat the prisoners on the head and all parts of the body. When she picked on someone for a beating, she beat them again and again. On several occasions when an Appell was on, she made old women kneel on the ground, usually for speaking or something of that nature. She rarely made a young person kneel – it was always an old woman. Apart from the incident mentioned in paragraph 6 hereof, I cannot remember any other specific instance directly involving death due to beatings administered by Koper. I know, however, that Koper beat several other women, who subsequently died but I am not able to say whether the deaths were due to beatings or not. I believe that the beatings certainly contributed to death. The victims were starved and in ill-health at the time of the beatings, and the beatings were such as to endanger life in persons in this condition.

4. On one occasion in January, 1945, during very cold weather, Koper made a Polish Jewess aged about 45 years, I do not know her name, kneel on the ground for half an hour. This was because the woman had spoken while on parade. Two S.S. women on the parade said, after the woman had knelt for a short time, that it was enough, but Koper said, "She must learn to stand at Appell," and made the old woman continue to kneel. Sometimes when she was in a bad mood she came into the room and beat women for no apparent reason.

5. Once when Koper was camp policewoman, I saw other Blockältesten beating her. I asked them what it was for, and they told me that they had beaten her because she had given information to the S.S. that they were in possession of jewellery, even though they were not. This was apparently an attempt to get them into trouble. I was told that the S.S., instead of finding jewellery on the Block Leaders, had found a gold chain and locket on Koper and they had told the Block Leaders to beat her. She was later put in the bunker. The locket she wore had a photograph in it of an man named Roman Svistal, with whom Koper kept, company. I have seen them in bed together.

6. I remember an occasion when there was a Polish Jewess, aged about 30 years, sick in the block. I cannot remember this woman’s name. This woman missed her food one day and she went to Koper and asked her for it. Instead of giving her food, Koper beat her again and again over the head with a leather strap. When the woman fell to the ground unconscious Koper continued to beat her. The woman remained unconscious for an hour and, after regaining consciousness, kept lapsing into unconsciousness. She suffered from concussion. Three or four days after she had been beaten by Koper this woman died. I saw this beating and I saw the woman die. I also saw other prisoners take the woman's body out of the block.

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Fürstenberg, Halma)