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

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Klein, Dr. Fritz)


I am aged 58 years and a Rumanian by birth. Before volunteering for service in the S.S. in June, 1943, I was a general practitioner at Zeiden near Kronstadt in Rumania. On joining the S.S. I was sent to Yugoslavia as recruiting doctor. On the 15th December, 1943, I went to Auschwitz as a doctor in the concentration camp. On the 15th December, 1944, I was transferred to Neuengamme near Hamburg. I was only in Belsen Camp for about 6 to 8 weeks before the British came, having been loaned to them because their own doctor (Dr. Schnabel) was ill. I was acting as doctor for the S.S. men and only went into the camp three days before the British came, to take the place of Hauptsturmführer Dr. Horstmann, who was sent away by Kommandant Kramer.

When I arrived at Auschwitz the S.S. officer in charge was Kommandant Hoess; he was succeeded by Kommandant Liebehenschel, and then in June, 1944, Kommandant Baer took over. There were several doctors in that camp, the chief one being Dr. Wirtz; others whose names I can remember are Dr. Fischer, Dr. Kitt, Dr. Lucas, Dr. Mengele, Dr. Thilo, Dr. Rohde and Dr. König. When transports arrived at Auschwitz it was the doctor’s job to pick out those who were unfit or unable to work. These included children, old people and the sick. I have seen the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz, and I knew that those I selected were to go to the gas chamber. But I only acted on orders given me by Dr. Wirtz. I cannot say from whom Dr. Wirtz received his orders and I have never seen any orders in writing relating to the gassing of prisoners. All orders given to me were given verbally. All the doctors whom I have previously mentioned have taken part in these selections, and although S. S. guards were on parade they took no active part in choosing those who were unfit to work. I never protested against people being sent to the gas chamber, although I never agreed. One cannot protest when in the Army. It was not a pleasure to take part in these parades, as I knew the persons selected would go to the gas chamber. Persons who became pregnant whilst in the camp and therefore unfit for work were also selected on later parades. I have heard that Himmler had visited Auschwitz camp, although I have never actually seen him. It was certainly known to the higher-ups that these methods were being used at Auschwitz Camp.

Brothels were run at Auschwitz Camp for the benefit of the prisoners. Girls who went in these brothels did so quite voluntarily. It was one of my duties to select girls for this job and about fifteen would be brought before me, and I selected what were, in my opinion, the ten best. The girls in the brothels were inspected twice a week by a Polish doctor who was himself a prisoner. I know that, on orders from Berlin, certain individuals were sterilised, but I never took any part in it as I am not an expert. Those who were sterilised were usually mental cases, as far as I know. I cannot say who gave the orders.

Whilst at Belsen I made several complaints to Kommandant Kramer about the conditions there. I was told that I was only a doctor and that it was nothing to do with me. Three days before the British came, when I took over the camp, I had a talk with Kramer about the conditions. I told Kramer that the corpses should be removed, and that water should be supplied to prisoners as many were dying from thirst. Kramer said he did not take orders from me. I told him, had I been the English [British] officer taking the camp over, I would have taken the Kommandant and the doctor, put them against the wall and shot them. The food was not much and hardly enough to live on. The person who was responsible for the distribution of food was Hauptsturmführer Vogler. I do not think more food could have been given as there was a general shortage in Germany, although we S.S. lived quite well. Belsen Camp was very overcrowded. It was originally built to house 14000 people and was used as a convalescent camp for those prisoners who were unable to work. I understood that after a period there they should have returned to working camps.

I have seen people shot by the S.S., but I cannot remember the names of people who had done the shooting. I have also seen people beaten by the S.S. and by prisoners, and I have submitted reports to the Lagerführer about this. I cannot say whether anything was ever done about it.

I realise that I am as responsible as those from the top downwards for the killing of thousands in these camps, particularly at Auschwitz.

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Klein, Dr. Fritz)