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

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Litwinska, Sophia)


1. I am 28 years of age and was arrested on 19th May, 1941, at Lublin. I was arrested because I was a Jewess; my husband, who was an Aryan and a Polish officer, having been arrested in 1940. He was taken to Auschwitz, where he died. The reason my husband was arrested was because he married a Jewess. On my arrest I was taken to Lublin prison, where I remained, for one year before being taken to Auschwitz. I was taken to Auschwitz in company with other Jews who were said to be partisans. On arrival I was made to have a bath and had my hair cut off and was then placed in quarantine for six weeks.

2. At Auschwitz, on 24th December, 1942, I was paraded in company with about 19000 other prisoners, all of them women. Present on parade were Doctors Mengele and König and Rapportführer Tauber. I was one of the 3000 prisoners picked out of the 19000 by the doctors and taken to our huts, where we were stripped naked by other prisoners and our clothes taken away. We were then taken by tipper-type lorries to the gas chamber chute. They were large lorries, about eight in all and about 300 persons on each lorry. On arrival at the gas chamber the lorry tipped up and we slid down the chute through some doors into a large room. The room had showers all round, towels and soap and large numbers of benches. There were also small windows high up near the roof. Many were injured coming down the chute and lay where they fell. Those of us who could sat down on the benches provided and immediately afterwards the doors of the room were closed. My eyes then began to water, I started coughing and had a pain in my chest and throat. Some of the other people fell down and others coughed and foamed at the mouth. After being in the room for about two minutes the door was opened and an S.S. man came in wearing a respirator. He called my name and then pulled me out of the room and quickly shut the door again. When I got outside I saw S.S. man Franz Hoessler, whom I identify as No. 1 on photograph 9. He took me to hospital, where I stayed for about six weeks, receiving special treatment from Dr. Mengele. For the first few days I was at the hospital I found it impossible to eat anything without vomiting. I can only think that I was taken out of the gas chamber because I had an Aryan husband and therefore was in a different category from the other prisoners, who were all Jews. I now suffer from .a weak heart and had two attacks since being at Belsen. I do not know the names of any persons who went into the gas chamber with me.

3. After recovering I worked in the kitchen at Auschwitz and while there I often had to undress other people who had been selected for the gas chamber. I left Auschwitz in November, 1944, and went to Breslau, where I stayed for three months, working in a munitions factory. After leaving there I went to various places, working in similar factories until I came to Belsen in March, 1945.

4. Whilst at Belsen I saw Herta Ehlert, whom I identify as No. 5 on photograph 22, shoot a woman dead outside the cookhouse. I do not know the woman’s name, but she had apparently stolen one potato from outside the cookhouse. I am quite sure the woman was killed as I later saw the woman’s body dragged away by two other prisoners. This occurred about two days before the English [British] came, which was 15th April, 1945.

5. I was told that there were altogether seven gas chambers at Auschwitz, each with a crematorium attached.

Appendices (Affidavits & Statements - Litwinska, Sophia)