Transcript of the Official Shorthand Notes of 'The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others'
A. BIMKO is recalled on her former oath and cross-examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD as follows: Please listen carefully to my questions answering where possible yes or no. Where that is not possible, answer in as few words as possible. Would you agree that the feeding at Auschwitz was better than the feeding at Belsen? - In the later times, yes.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I find it rather difficult to understand that answer.
THE PRESIDENT: I see your point. (To the witness) You said, I think, "In the later times". Does that mean in the later times at Auschwitz or that it improved at Belsen in later times? - In the last few months at Auschwitz it was better than in Belsen.
Would you agree that in the last month at Belsen the feeding deteriorated? - There was much less food.
You have told us what the ration at Auschwitz was; what does that represent in calories? If you cannot say, say so. - I do not know how many calories.
Would you agree that the sanitary arrangements at Auschwitz were better than they were at Belsen? - Yes.
Would you agree that the sanitary arrangements at Belsen deteriorate in the last month ?-Yes.
Is it correct that you were you at Auschwitz for fifteen months and at Belsen for five months ? - Yes.
When you were liberated from Belsen were you yourself in a state of extreme emaciation caused by starvation? - I myself no.
Why was that? - Because when I came from Auschwitz I was in much better condition and, apart from that, I came directly from Auschwitz to Belsen, whereas, many other internees came on transports which took them three to six weeks, and they came already in such condition that the food given to them in Belsen had a much worse effect on them than it could have on me. Another reason is because we, as doctors, were in a much better position. We, for instance, we had beds to sleep in and our washing facilities were much better than those offered to the many thousands or tens of thousands prisoners.
Can you say, remembering that you are on oath, whether you ever seen that man before (indicating No. 12, Josef Klippel)? - No.
How did you first come to work in the prison hospital? - After the first ten days in Auschwitz we were told that doctors should report. I did so, and the Blockälteste took my name and reported it to the office, and after ten days I was put to work in a hospital.
During the remainder of your time in prison did you work continuously in the prison hospital? - Yes, the whole time I worked as a doctor.
Did any of the prison doctors tell you on what basis they made the selections for the gas chambers? I want you first of all to answer yes or no? - I saw it myself.
No, I will repeat the question. Did any of the prison doctors tell you on what basis he made the selection for the gas chambers? - (After a pause) The SS doctor I understand as the prison doctor.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean by prison doctor one of the doctors who was on the SS staff or do you mean one of the doctors who had been selected from the prisoners? - That, I think, is the point upon which the witness is not clear.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: What I mean is one of the doctors on the camp staff who to your knowledge made a selection for the gas chamber. Did one of those doctors tell you on what basis the selection was made?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Do you mean German staff, prison staff, or both? That is what nobody can understand.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness is not clear when you say prison doctor whether you mean a doctor who had been selected from amongst the prisoners themselves, or whether you mean a German doctor on the staff of any of the concentration camps; that is to say, an SS or some other form of doctor.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I appreciate that, but I myself am also not quite clear which doctors are alleged to have made these selections. I want to know whether a doctor whom she alleges made a selection told her on what basis the selection was made by him.
THE WITNESS: No.
Do you agree that in evidence you have given to the Court to the basis on which these selections were made is your opinion and nothing more? - Yes.
How many times were you beaten at Auschwitz? - I myself only three times.
On those occasions did you have to go into hospital as a result? - Twice when I got those blows I was hit by a doctor himself in the hospital ...
Will you please answer my question.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: She has answered your question.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: She has not really given an answer to the question, Colonel Backhouse. If she would answer the question first and them amplify it afterwards it would be better.
THE WITNESS: No, I was hit only in the face.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Can you tell us with what you were beaten on those three occasions, taking each occasion by itself? - I was beaten with the hand, and the blows were directed against my face.
Can you tell us who hit you on those three occasions? - Twice Dr. Mengele and once by a supervisor named Kuch.
With regard to the question of the parades which were mentioned yesterday, do you tell the Court that when the Aufseherinen and the Kapo got the prisoners on to parade they told the prisoners what the parade was for? - There were twice in the camp roll calls, and in the camp we knew that in the morning and at night these roll calls are made for counting purposes.
Will you please answer my question. I intend, subject to a direction by the Court, to get an answer. Do you tell the Court that when the Aufseherinen and the Kapo got the prisoners on to parade they told the prisoners what the parade was for? - No, they did not say why.
Is it correct that all the parades in these prisons were formed up in the same way, that is to say, the prisoners lined up in ranks in a military formation? - Yes.
Was it the Aufseherin and the Kapo who ordered the women on to parade and produced them in lines? - No.
Who did that? - On the orders of the Aufseherin, that is the Chief Supervisor; the Blockältesten were responsible for these Appelle and they lined them up.
You said in an answer yesterday that when it was a call for selection for the gas chamber then you were told: "All Jews assemble now". - Yes.
Are you suggesting that only Jews were sent to the gas chamber? - During the time I spent in the women's camp only Jews were sent to the gas chamber. Am I allowed to say a word more about that?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: It seems rather a peculiar statement. I wonder whether she really means...
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: May she finish her answer first?
THE PRESIDENT: Finish your answer.
THE WITNESS: In the time I was there I was told that there was a camp for gypsies, and they were also sent to the gas chamber.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Do you mean to swear that during the fifteen months you were at Auschwitz apart from the gypsies no person other than a Jew was sent to the gas chamber? - Yes.
I suggest to you that that statement is quite untrue. What do you say to that? - I have sworn at the very beginning that I shall say nothing but the truth, and I am very astonished if I am approached now to be lying.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Captain Roberts is unavoidably absent and I am dealing with his points for him.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN BROWN: Is it not true that the persons who actually made the selections which you have referred to from the point of view of the physical condition of the persons present on the parade were in every case doctors? - They were made by doctors in the presence of others - I mean of the others from the camp staff.
Is it not true that the SS personnel who were present on these parades were only there for the purpose of control and guard? - No.
Will you state for what purpose they were there? - As I said before, they were there and if a doctor did not see somebody or let somebody pass, they pointed him out, and very often hit him very severely and pointed him out to the doctor to be sent away.
Are you aware that the SS doctors from time to time prepared lists of the patients in the hospital showing an estimate of how long they were expected to suffer from their present disease or infirmity? - I do not know about that.
I put it to you that the only selections made from persons in hospitals were made on the basis of such lists? - I do not know about these lists, but I do know that I was present very often when the selections were made, and even quite healthy persons who were on the discharge list the very next day were put into line with those for the gas chambers. With your permission I would like to add that I do remember one case of a friend of mine who comes from the same town as I do. On a very cold winter morning she cut a piece of a blanket and because it was very cold she had it round her shoulders. As a punishment she was sent to block number 25, which I mentioned before, and was sent to a gas chamber.
I put it to you that between May and November 1944 no selections of any kind were made in the hospital at Birkenau? - I have been a doctor at B3 which is a part of the camp in camp C, and I do remember that In May 1944 big transports of Hungarians came in and scarlet fever was rampant. On the 27th July I remember that all those who were even suspected, who were not yet in hospital but still in their proper blocks, were sent to the gas chambers. I remember on the 27th July myself still being in charge of the hospital in B3, and on that day big transports from a concentration camp called Litzmannstadt arrived and there were quite a few cases of typhoid fever. Those were put into my hospital and in a sort of big room, and every two or three days selections were made and those were sent away. Two or three days I saw trucks loaded with human beings on the way to the gas chambers. In the first few days of the month of October 1944 that hospital where I was working was, as I call it, liquidated. It was finished, disbanded. Three people, Drechsler, Brandel, and the doctor called Mengele came and this disbandment took such forms that all of the 359 patients - I am quite sure about the number because I had to prepare the nominal roll - were simply loaded on to trucks and led to the gas chambers. With your permission I would like to add that after the hospital B3 finished, I was sent to Camp C. This camp C after only a week's time this was also liquidated; that means that part of the healthy and strong were sent into another part of the camp for working purposes, then Drechsler came and in the presence of Kramer and Grese, all the sick people and part of the healthy people were loaded on the trucks. These trucks followed immediately and came to stop in front of the blocks so that all the prisoners knew exactly what that meant if they were loaded on the trucks. It happened that some of the prisoners tried to escape and Kramer himself, I observed, took part in catching some of those prisoners, hitting them and kicking them because they were not quick enough in getting on the trucks.
CAPTAIN BROWN: While I do not want to stop the witness saying anything that is relevant, might I suggest that it seems that this statement of her's is going on for a considerable time which is entirely beside the question which I asked.
THE PRESIDENT: The question, as I see it, was that you asked if it were true that between May and November 1944 no people were sent to the gas chamber...
CAPTAIN BROWN: The question was no selections were made in the hospital.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes; and the witness is now giving you examples of people who were selected from the hospital to be sent to the gas chamber.
CAPTAIN BROWN: I understand the witness was referring to some entirely different place in the camp.
THE PRESIDENT: You feel that you have had an answer to your question?
CAPTAIN BROWN: Yes; I do not want to stop the witness, but I do think it is rather a waste of time.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: If you put another question to the witness on a different topic that will probably have the desired effect.
THE INTERPRETER: The witness asks whether to this question she might say one word to the Court.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
THE WITNESS: I cannot understand why the Defending Officer puts to me that no selections were made in the period May and November. He only knows, or thinks he knows, by hearsay. Why am I to be stopped - I, who can give dates, and am a real proper witness? Why should I not be allowed to say what I know about this?
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: To whom is she putting that question?
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: (To the Interpreter) Will you please explain to the witness that if counsel put a question and the Court is satisfied that it has acquired the required information on the answer she has given it does not require any further answers. It is now up to the Defending Officer to ask any further questions that he wishes.
CAPTAIN BROWN: You have stated that Dr Klein was present at a selection on the 1st December 1943. I put it to you that Dr Klein did not arrive at Auschwitz until 15th December 1943 and that accordingly you must be mistaken.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Is that right? Did she ever say anything of the kind? My notes say that she said Klein came as a deputy medical officer, I believe, in January 1945 for three weeks, then as a second camp doctor in March 1945.
CAPTAIN BROWN: That was in Belsen camp. This reference is to Auschwitz camp. In reply to a question on page 5, the last but one question, she says: "Dr Klein was present and took part in this selection", which she has already referred to as having been the 1st December 1943.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Put the question then.
You said yesterday that Dr Klein took part in a selection on the 1st December 1943. I suggest to you that Dr. Klein did not arrive at Auschwitz until the 15th December 1943 and that accordingly you must be mistaken? - I state once more that during this very big selection, when 4000 people were sent to the gas chambers, Dr. Klein and Dr. Tilot had taken part in it.
Do you know who was the Kommandant of Auschwitz Camp from May to November 1944? - I believe Hössler, but I myself had not been in Auschwitz. I was in Birkenau, which is the other part of Auschwitz.
You have mentioned five crematoriums in the camp. Do you know of any more in the whole of Auschwitz camp? - I do not know.
Do not answer this question unless you are quite sure of the answer. Were the crematoriums and the hospital in Birkenau controlled directly from Auschwitz? - I do not know.
Do you know that all orders to the doctors came directly from Dr. Wirtz, the head doctor at Auschwitz? - I do not know. I never got any secrets from the doctors where the orders came from.
Is it not true to say that the girls in the camp who went to brothels were volunteers? - I do not know. I know only that great promises had been made to these girls how well they were going to be treated and that all sorts of measurements had been taken and they had been looked at quite carefully. Whether they believed these promises and went as volunteers or whether they had been forced I do not know, because I did not take part in any of these selections.
Is it correct that Appelle were a feature of German concentration camp life? - Yes.
Are you aware that when Kramer arrived at Belsen he gave strict orders that no SS men were to be employed in the women's camp? - They were always the same, the whole time.
Will you answer the question and if you do not know the answer say "I do not know." - I do not know about these orders of Kramer.
Is it not true that apart from the 14 days at Belsen when Dr Klein was deputising for Dr Horstmann he was only the camp doctor at Belsen for two or three days before the British arrived? - The facts are not quite right, because Dr Klein never deputised for Dr Horstmann. On the contrary he worked with him, together, he deputised for Obersturmführer Schnabel, so that the facts of the defending counsel do not seem to be quite correct.
You stated yesterday that Dr. Klein came to Belsen to deputise for the camp doctor and stayed for three weeks and afterwards went back. Is that correct? - Yes.
And is it not true that apart from that period, although he was employed as an SS doctor he was not camp doctor except for the two or three days before the British arrived? - I know that he was the second, the junior camp doctor, during that time and during the last few days senior camp doctor; I will say the only one.
Will you answer the next question either "yes" or "no." Is it true that it was almost exactly when Dr Klein took over as senior doctor that the medical stores were discovered and made available? - I cannot answer this question with "yes" or "no", because you must understand the conditions and the reasons why the stores were opened and made available, particularly at this time, as they were.
Will you state whether or not it was at that time that the stores were made available? - I must repeat once more that I cannot answer this question with "yes" or "no", because anybody in Dr Klein's place would have made the stores available because the British troops were just arriving, and the whole world should know that at that time these were the reasons why the stores were made available. That is the reason why I cannot answer this question with only "yes" or "no".
I have not asked under what circumstances they were made available. All I have asked is regarding the matter of time. Will you say whether or not it was about that time that the stores were made available? - I understood the question at the very first moment, but I cannot answer this question otherwise than I do now.
THE PRESIDENT: I think it is clear to the Court that what you are asking the witness is: was it about the time that Dr Klein took over that the stores were issued or not? - and that the witness is apparently not willing to answer that question and is going off into questions as to the reason why the stores were issued and that sort of thing. I think, as far as I am concerned - and I am sure the rest of the Court - it is perfectly clear the point you are making.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: As a matter of fact, she has answered the question: "Three or four days before the British came two more rooms were opened and stores of medicine and instruments were produced in such quantities as we did not see or even think of." She put that about three or four days before the British came. I think that is what you want.
CAPTAIN BROWN: Yes. (To the witness) To your knowledge were any Red Cross parcels distributed to the internees? - Yes. On the day before the British troops entered the camp the stores were opened and hundreds and hundreds of Red Cross parcels were found, having come from Geneva.
Will you answer my question. It seems to me a perfectly easy question to answer with "yes" or "no". Is it within your knowledge that Red Cross parcels were distributed to the internees? - It is a perfectly simple question for the defending counsel to answer with "yes" or "no", but not for me, because the Red Cross parcels were in the camp for a long period, but only a few hours, or let us say half a day, before the British troops arrived were they in fact distributed.
I put it to you that your statement yesterday regarding Kramer kicking four Russians, or you statement today regarding Kramer kicking and hitting several internees is a complete fabrication. - I would like to point out that it was me who was present and not the defending counsel during those incidents I described yesterday and today.
CAPTAIN BROWN: That concludes my cross examination.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN FIELDEN: You identified this accused yesterday as an electrician (indicating No. 23, Walter Otto)? - I did not say he was an electrician; I said he was the supervisor for the electricians.
Do you know if he held any position of authority over the internees in the camp from his work as an electrician? - I do not know; I do not think so.
Do you know if he was at any time a Blockführer in Belsen? - In the women's camp in Belsen, no, whether he was somewhere else Blockführer I do not know.
I suggest it is impossible or would be impossible for a man who was a supervisor of electricians in addition to hold an administrative position of authority over the internees at Belsen. Do you agree? - I do not know. I only recognise this man as the man who supervised the electricians. What his position in the higher hierarchy of the SS had been I cannot say.
In which compound was Block No . 213 in Belsen? - In the same part of the women's camp in the vicinity of the hospital, but the main of that camp was women's camp No. 1.
Was that in some part of the larger women's compound on the right hand side of the camp as one walked down the main street? - The whole compound for women was on the right hand side of the main street.
I suggest it was impossible for a member of the administrative staff to enter the part of the women's camp which contained Block 213 without a special pass. Do you agree? - I do not know that; I do not know whether they had special passes or not.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN NEAVE: You have said you attended several selections. What did you do on the selections? - I was working as the doctor in the hospital, and in that position I was a witness. Nurses or whoever worked in the hospital was a natural witness because she was present.
For about 20 months you worked as a doctor both in Auschwitz and in Belsen. Did you come to regard yourself in any way as a member of the staff of either of these camps? - Yes, as an internee, as a prisoner.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: I want to ask you some questions about Belsen, not Auschwitz. Were you in a position to see prisoners arriving at Belsen? - Yes, I was always called to be present to take the sick, when transport arrived, away to take them into hospital.
In what state of health were they, generally speaking, when they arrived? - It was various, some were very tired, some were sick. It depended mainly from which camp they arrived and how big a distance they had to go.
Is it true that in the last month they were nearly all already ill when they arrived? - Not in the last month, because in the last month the transports which arrived came from neighbouring camps, for instance Unterlüss or Hambühren, which is in the Belsen area. There might have been some sick people, but on the whole they were quite all right.
What about in February and March? - In January and in the beginning of February transports arrived from Auschwitz, which had been liquidated as I said. These people arrived very tired, but not ill or sick. At the end of January transports arrived from Hungary and there some were ill. In February more ill people came in, but in the month of March, as I mentioned before, only the neighbouring camps were vacated, and those people who came down to our camp were not ill at all.
Do you remember telling the Court something about this man yesterday (indicating No. 16, Karl Flrazich)? - I do.
Do you know what his name is? - I do not know his name, but he was in charge of the kitchen.
Have you ever known his name? - No.
In which section of the camp was the kitchen in which he worked? - In the Women's Camp No. 1 where I lived and worked.
With what sort of gun did he murder this woman ? - It was a revolver. I cannot give any details because I did not look at the gun, but it was a normal looking revolver.
How many shots did he fire? - Two.
How far away was he from the victim when he fired? - A few yards, three or four, not far away at all.
Was there any reason for his doing this? - The only reason was because he saw that the woman bent down to get some peelings of these potatoes or some other vegetables.
Did you examine the woman after she was wounded? - Yes, I did, and I had to state the death.
Whereabouts in the body was she wounded? - One shot went through her head and the second through her liver, kidneys; the blood vessels had been touched.
After the liberation you remember making statements which were put down in writing? - Yes.
Were those statements read over to you after they had been written down? - Yes.
Were those statements made on oath? - Yes.
In what language were you questioned? - In German.
How many statements did you make in all? - Three.
Do you remember now what you said then? - I do not understand - concerning what?
Concerning this incident? -Yes, I remember; I said then what I say now.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Would the prosecution have available the original document in question which the witness made?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Yes.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: I propose to read to you part of the first of those statements. This is a copy I have of what you are supposed to have said: "On the day before the British troops arrived at Belsen I saw Karl Flrazich, who was a cook shoot a man internee dead for stealing vegetables." How did you know this man's name? - I did not know the name then.
I will now read to you a portion of the third statement which you made. I am only going to read out a part of it. "I witnessed this shooting, and because I was a doctor, I immediately went to see if I could do anything for him"... - It was a woman and...
THE PRESIDENT: Wait until the conclusion of the Defending Officer's reading of the statement. He will then ask you a question.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: "I saw he was dead, having been shot through the stomach". When you made the first statement how did you know this man's name? - I never knew the name of this man. I know that he was in charge of that particular kitchen. I was shown some photographs and out of those I picked this man out. Maybe those people who showed me the photographs knew the name of that particular photograph and maybe they put it in. I personally never knew the name of him.
You made three statements. The first is dated the 9th of May. When you made that first statement were you shown the photographs? - Later; not at that time.
Why then did you name this man by name in the first statement before you were shown the photographs? - When I gave the declaration I never mentioned the name of the man because I did not know him. When I made the first declaration I did not sign on the spot and only later on when I had been shown the photographs did I sign, but even then I did not know personally the name of that man.
Will you repeat the answer?
THE INTERPRETER: "I did not sign the first statement. I signed it only later when I had been shown the photographs, but even then I did not know the name of this man because I never knew the name".
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Do you suggest that the statement was altered after you had signed it? - No, I do not, but I did not say the name.
How do you think the name got into the statement? - As I said before I was shown some photographs. I pointed out on that occasion the man and probably those people who showed me the photographs knew who the man was and they probably put the name in. I myself did not know the name.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Colonel Backhouse, the Court really should have before them the original document.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I have the original, if you would like it?
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I think that should be handed in. Have you the rough document from which it was made?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I have the final one only. This is one of the early affidavits and in the early photographs I think you will find in several of them the officer taking the affidavit of course knew the name of the person concerned and put in the name and in the later photographs when the proper War Crimes team had arrived in each case it said "A man whom I am now told is so and so".
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Have you the original there?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Yes.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE:You had better hand it to the defence so they can use it if they wish.
(Statement handed to Defending Officer)
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Surely if what Colonel Backhouse has said is going to be really considered by the Court we should hear some evidence on that point?
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I do not think the Court will accept that evidence.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No. I do not think this helps me any more than the copies which are before the Court.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: There are three affidavits. I think the third one is the one which clears the position up.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Do you mean the one on page 14 or page 13?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: The short one, page 13. That really clears it up.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: I do not want to discuss what has been said, but I think she has said she was not shown the photographs until after she had made the first affidavit.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I think that is true.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: So the question is how did she know it on the first affidavit.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I have already tried to explain that.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Will you go on with your cross examination?
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: (To the witness) I would like to know whether you have any other or further explanation of the discrepancy, of the difference, between your affidavits and your evidence yesterday - whether you have any explanation other than what you have already said to offer the Court? - What sort of discrepancy?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I think she is entitled to know what discrepancy he is talking about. I am not prepared to agree that there are discrepancies.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Put your question again.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: What explanation do you produce of the fact that yesterday you referred to this man shooting a girl, a woman, whereas in your affidavits you refer to him having shot a man? - I have always said it was a woman. It is quite impossible that I should have said it is a man.
How do you account then for the affidavit saying he shot a man? - I cannot explain that. I have always spoken about a woman and I cannot give any explanation of how that came in.
Is it right to say then that you can offer the Court no explanation of this difference? - I cannot explain that; I can only explain that I have always spoken about a woman and never about a man.
I am suggesting that the whole incident is imaginary. What do you say about that? - Then I would say that it is a lie because I have seen it myself.
Cross-examined by LIEUTENANT BOYD: Is it correct that you worked in the hospital at Belsen in the women's compound No. 1? - Yes.
Is it also correct that although the hospital in compound No. 2 had its own staff it was also under the control of the hospital in compound No. 1? - Yes.
Would the accused No. 41 (Gertrude Sauer) stand up? (The accused does so) Is it correct that this woman was one of the overseers in compound 2? - Yes, No. 2.
Do you remember an occasion about the end of March when she saw you and said that there had been some trouble with the medical staff in the hospital in compound 2? - I do not remember this incident. I do remember, however, that she came very often into my hospital and told me about the hospital No. 2 which contained quite a number of surgery cases and because the conditions in No. 2 were worse, asked me sometimes to take them over into No. 1.
Do you not remember this woman coming and saying that she had found the doctor and nurses of this hospital compound 2 still in bed at eight o'clock and the patients completely unattended? - I do not remember.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN MUNRO: Could you tell me whether between January 1945, and the time of the British liberation there was a bathhouse made available for internees? - We came into No. 1 from another part of the camp on the 1st January 1945, and there was a bathhouse available but it was so small and there were so many women prisoners that it was no question that everybody could take part in this pleasure to have a shower, not even every block, only just single persons who were lucky enough to get there.
Did you ever see a bath parade for women in a women's compound at Belsen? - I did not. It was only once, about the 15th January, when we went into this new part of the camp where we were found by the liberating armies that all the women went through this bathhouse, including the sick women.. That was the only time that I witnessed a proper parade, and later on from time to time those transports which had just arrived sometimes got into the bathhouse.
Would the SS be in charge of those parades, or Blockältesten or supervisor be in charge? - The Blockältesten.
What was she at Auschwitz Camp? - I knew her as Lagerälteste .
Did you ever know why she was sent to Auschwitz? - I do not know; the only thing which she told me was that she was put in prison and from prison she was sent to Auschwitz, but that is all I know about her.
Do you know she would be in a position to choose victims for the crematorium? - I do not think so. I rather think she got orders under which she acted but I do not think she had the proper right to select people but I do not know because I never witnessed her at these selections.
If this was the case would you have known, being at Auschwitz, that she did choose victims for the crematorium? - No, I could not say so because I did not know everything that happened in that camp.
Did you ever see for yourself or hear how the Germans chose a prisoner and appointed him as a Blockälteste or Camp ältester? - I do not know; they were selected but how and why I do not know.
To your knowledge could a prisoner refuse or give up such an appointment? - I do not know whether they were forced or not, I did not know the method, but I should not think that they were volunteers.
Do you think the prisoners were in a position to make life so difficult to an ältester, a Blockälteste or Lagerältester, and by so doing force the Germans to appoint another one? - No, I should not think so because the prisoners had no means at all to say whether they were satisfied or not.
I do not think you have got the point. I did not mean about making complaints to the Germans but making life difficult to the Blockältesten? - I cannot understand that question. What do you mean by making it difficult?
May I use a Polish expression in asking this question?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
(Lt. Jedrzejowicz puts a question in Polish)
THE WITNESS: How and when?
THE PRESIDENT: Has she answered your question? Do you wish to press it further?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No. (To the witness). Did you ever hear of the secret relief organisation being in operation at Auschwitz camp? - I did not.
If the Germans did make any attempts to find it out using brutality and torture would the majority of the prisoners know it - about the brutality and torture? - Not always, when the person who was questioned in that way returned to the block and told us about it then we knew.
To your knowledge was there any wire loaded with electric current surrounding Auschwitz Camp or any part of it? - Yes.
Do you know of anything about prisoners asking Starostka in Belsen to try and get a Lagerälteste appointment for her? Did any of the prisoners in Belsen when Starostka was there ask her to get herself appointed by the Germans as Lagerälteste? - I do not know about that, but I did know that when Starostka came quite a number of prisoners expressed a wish that they would prefer her to be Lagerälteste instead of the old one.
Do you think it was because she was Lagerälteste at Auschwitz she did the satisfy the majority of the women prisoners in the camp? - Was it a result of the other prisoners asking her to become Lagerälteste at Belsen - was it a result that they were satisfied at the time they were at Auschwitz? - She should have arrived in the month of November already and when she arrived I know only that I do not think that many particular complaints against her were heard against her.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I do not follow that.
That no particular complaints by the prisoners against the accused Starostka, who was at that time Lagerälteste, were made.
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think that quite answered the question. I am not quite sure but I thought your question was; was it in view of the good report she had for herself in Auschwitz that when she came to Belsen the prisoners wished her to be made Lagerälteste?
Lt. JEDRZEJOWICZ: Yes.
THE WITNESS: She was appointed by the Kommandant to be Lagerälteste and not through the good or bad opinions of the prisoners.
THE INTERPRETER: The witness would like the defending counsel to ask that question in Polish. Could that be done?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Lt. JEDRZEJOWICZ (In Polish): Was it the case that the people in Belsen asked the accused Starostka to make attempts at getting the job of Lagerälteste because her conduct on the same appointment in the previous camp was good? - I do not know whether any people were coming to the accused and asking her to try to get a job, but I do know that they were many people who would prefer to have the accused on this job to having the previous one.
Were the prisoners allowed at Auschwitz to move without any escort inside the perimeter of the camp ? - Yes.
Did you ever come across a prisoner from block 26 at Belsen Camp? - Yes.
What kind of prisoners were held there? - It was different. Sometimes it was a block occupied by sick people with gangrene and so on; sometimes it contained only Jews. I remember the name of the Blockälteste called Helena Zachaczewski and the block deputy Wika Klimczewska, but it was different.
What you said now, this is what you saw yourself, it is not told to you by somebody before you arrived at Auschwitz [Belsen]? - I have been working in block 26 for a time as a doctor, particularly when the sick people with gangrene and so on were there.
Re-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: There are only two or three points I want to clear up. The first one is with regard to these different parades or selection parades, working parades, appels. You have been asked a good many questions about different parades. Were there regular parades for a roll call every day? - Every day, twice.
Were those parades roll call parades pure and simple? - Yes.
Are those the parades which are generally called "Appell"? - Yes
Were there also parades to detail working parties? - Not during these parades, but sometimes, at other times, out of the people who were lined up in blocks there were selections made for working parties.
Had either the roll call parades or the parades to select working parties any connection or anything to do with the selections for the gas chamber? - No.
When you told us that you have seen both Kramer and Klein on selections for the gas chamber, are you quite clear in your own mind that these selections for the gas chamber and not for any other purpose? - Yes.
Have you any doubt about that at all? - No.
You have been asked about the period May to November, 1944, and you have given details of some parades during that period, some selections during that period? - I gave details today as an answer to the phrase of the Defending Counsel that there were no parades in that period.
During that period can you give any estimate as to how many selections there were? - I cannot say an exact number, but there were very many in B3 and also in C. There were very many every two or three days.
Were B3 and C both within Kramer's command? - Yes, it was called Birkenau.
Were they also both in Hössler's command? - I cannot say; during that time I believe not.
Have you at any time seen selections at which Hössler was present? - Yes, it was in Birkenau, in women's compound No. 1 in the hospital.
Have you any doubt that that selection was for the gas chamber? - No.
Now I want to turn to quite a different point and that is the question of the affidavit. Did you first make a statement to Major Bell before it was put into the form of an affidavit? - I do not know who Major Bell is, but the first statement was made in the room where I live, in the block where I live. Then I was fetched and it was read over to me; the second time I heard the same statement again in my room in the block, and the third time I came and signed it.
In what language did you make your statement? - German.
Who acted as Interpreter? - I do not know whether he was an officer or an other rank, but he was in British uniform and later on a former internee who acted also as an interpreter was present as well.
POLISH INTERPRETER: She is uttering now that it was a Sergeant.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: After you had made that first statement, were you shown some photographs? - Only the third time when it was only concerned this man in charge of the kitchen; it was a particular statement.
Did you then pick out a man on the photograph? - Yes.
Did you yourself know his name at all? - No.
But was the name put into the statement before it was read over to you? - When I picked the man out from the photos somebody in the room said: "That is his name". I could not say Yes or No, because even today I do not know his name.
Whatever his name may or may not be, have you any doubt that the man who you saw kill an internee is the man whom you recognised today and yesterday? - I have no doubt whatsoever it is he.
And however it may have been translated on your affidavit, are you quite clear that you always said the person shot was a woman? - I am quite clear.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: That concludes my re examination.
(The witness withdraws)