The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others

Exhibit 129 Affidavit of Estera Gutermann


DEPOSITION OF EWA GRYKA, (Female) late of 24 Radeszensgo, Wierzbnik, Poland, sworn before Captain Alexander MacInley Forbes, R.A., Legal Staff, No. 1 War Crimes Investigation Team.

1. I am 42 years of age and in the summer of 1941 I was compelled, under orders of the Germans, to go to a Labour Camp at Starachowice where I was employed in a munition factory. I remained there until the winter of 1943 when I was moved to Auschwitz Concentration camp. I came to Belsen in February 1945.

2. I first saw Helena Koper in Block 27 at Belsen Camp, where Koper was assistant Blockälteste. I was in Block 27 myself. I later moved with Koper and other prisoners to another block, the number of which I cannot remember, and later to Block 224. At the second block we went to, Koper was Blockälteste and she also held this position in Block 224. For a few days shortly before the British troops arrived Koper was Lager policewoman.

3. One day in February, 1945, I attended an Appell of which Koper was in charge. It was cold and there was snow on the ground. The Appell lasted about two hours that day. After about an hour on this Appell I felt very cold and moved my position slightly. Koper then came up to me and beat me across the head and body with a leather strap she was carrying. The beating was very painful and made me cry. After the beating Koper made me kneel in the snow for about an hour. Whilst I was kneeling down an SS woman, whom I identify as No. 5 on photograph 22, and whose name I have been told is Herta Ehlert, came up and spoke to Koper. She said to Koper, "It is enough," and Koper replied, "No, she must stay there, she did not stand straight." I had to carry on kneeling.

4. At another Appell in February, 1945, of which Koper was in charge, there was a Polish woman named Fischer, aged about 40 years, standing on parade without any shoes. She stood in her stockings. There was snow on the ground and the weather was damp and cold. Koper came up to the woman Fischer and said, "Why are you not working? You should be with the working party." Fischer replied, "I have no shoes." The Appell was at 8 a.m. and working parties had gone out at 7 a.m. Koper, without saying any more, then beat Fischer with a leather belt, again and again, across the head and other parts of the body. Fischer fell to the ground crying, and Koper then made her kneel in the show for about an hour until the Appell was finished. I was on this Appell and saw all that happened. When Fischer returned to her block, No. 224, she was ill and had to lie down. She remained ill from the onwards until about three weeks later, when she died. I was present when she died and I saw her dead body carried out of the block by other women prisoners. She had received no medical attention.

5. On another occasion in February, 1945, just before the Appell, I was in the block when Koper ordered everyone outside on Appell. There was a sick Polish woman who was suffering from heart trouble and swollen limbs. I do not know this woman’s name, but she was about 35 years of age. She was lying on the floor as there were no beds. In my presence this woman told Koper that she felt too ill to attend Appell. Koper immediately started to beat her with a leather strap and continued to do so until the woman got to her feet. Koper then made her go outside to attend Appell. During Appell the woman collapsed on the groups unconscious. There was snow on the ground at the time and the Polish woman was left lying in the snow for two hours, no one being allowed to touch her because Appell was on. After Appell I saw other prisoners carry the unconscious woman to the hospital block. Three days later other prisoners told me the woman had died and I did not see her again.

6. I have seen Koper beat other women prisoners with a wooden stick or a leather belt every day at Belsen. She beat them on the head and all parts of the body for trifling offences and often for nothing at all. As she walked through the block she would beat women prisoners without reason. On a number of occasions I have seen Koper beat other women prisoners until they were unconscious, and many of her victims had to be taken to hospital for treatment.

Sworn by the said deponent Estera Gutermann at Belsen this 18th day of June 1945.

Sgd Estera Gutermann

Before me

Sgd Alexander MacInley Forbes, Captain, R.A.

I hereby certify that, the said deponent not understanding English, this affidavit was translated in my presence to the said deponent before swearing and I am satisfied that its contents were fully understood by the said deponent.

Dated this 18th day of June 1945.

Sgd Alexander MacInley Forbes, Captain, R.A.

I hereby certify that I have accurately translated this affidavit to the said deponent.

Dated this 18th day of June 1945.

Sgd. 13118612 Cpl. Aitchinson H.

Estera Gutermann

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