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

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Ivanow, Peter)


2. On 15th June, 1945, I was shown by Sergeant Scamans, 86 Special Investigation Section, Corps of Military Police, a man whom I recognise as a Kapo whom I first met on the journey from Dora to Belsen. I have now been informed that his name is Vladislav Ostrowoski.

3. From Dora I was marched with other prisoners to a small camp about nine kilometres away where we stayed the night. The following day we began an eight-day journey to Belsen. We arrived in the small camp I have mentioned about 5 p.m. on the first day of our journey. Many of the prisoners were standing on the road passing through the small camp when the Kapo, Ostrowoski, approached. He was carrying a very thick wooden stick about a yard long and three inches thick. Upon reaching the prisoners in the road he began to beat them indiscriminately with the stick. Altogether he beat between 15 and 20 prisoners, knocking them to the ground by blows on the head and other parts of the body. Some of the prisoners were rendered unconscious by the blows. I saw all this happen, and the beatings were completely unwarranted. Ostrowski, who is a strongly built man, proudly cleared a path for himself through the group of prisoners by knocking them off the road with his stick. I cannot say whether any of the victims were killed, but they were all injured by the blows.

4. During the short period I was in Belsen there was very little food distributed. Only twice did we get any food and that was a small quantity of soup. Together with other prisoners from Dora I was detailed to live in Block 19, of which Ostrowski was Kapo in charge. It was his responsibility to distribute this soup. The prisoners were naturally very hungry and, on both occasions, rushed to get their soup. I saw Ostrowoski, on both occasions, beat many of the hungry prisoners with the iron handle of a broken soup-ladle. The iron handle had sharp edges and Ostrowoski beat prisoners across the head and other parts of the body with it, causing injuries and bleeding. A number of victims were rendered unconscious by these blows, but I cannot say whether any of them died.

5. On the morning of 15th April, 1945, when British troops arrived at the camp, Ostrowoski came into the block at about 5.15 a.m. The block was overcrowded and I saw him walk across the sleeping bodies of the prisoners, not caring where he trod. He was again carrying the iron handle and he beat prisoners with it as he walked through the block, shouting to them to get out on Appell. When prisoners did get up he beat them with the iron handle as they went out on Appell. It was fairly dark at that time and I could not see what injuries were inflicted or if any of the prisoners were killed by the blows. The dead and sick prisoners who were in the block had to be carried out on to Appell that morning.

6. On the day before the camp was liberated I was told by another Russian prisoner who left Belsen some weeks ago, that the Kapo, Ostrowoski, had beaten a French prisoner to death in his block. I did not see the incident myself; I did not sleep every night in Block 19 as it was too overcrowded, and therefore I cannot say all that happened in Block 19.

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Ivanow, Peter)