Transcript of the Official Shorthand Notes of 'The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others'
CAPTAIN FIELDEN: Before the learned Prosecutor starts his cross examination I would like to point out to the Court an error in the transcript of yesterday's evidence. It is on page 29 in reply to the question: "How many internees were there in the transport at this time".
THE PRESIDENT: The Court has already observed that. I think the answer was "610 to 613".
CAPTAIN FIELDEN: "610 or 613"
THE PRESIDENT: It should read: "How many internees were there in the transport at this time? - In all there were 610 or 613".
The accused GEORGE KRAFT is recalled on his former oath and is cross examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE as follows:Where do you say you first went to when you came into the SS? - To Vienna.
Was that in the summer of 1943? - Yes.
I suggest to you that you went from Vienna first to get your preliminary training at Auschwitz? - That is not true.
Were not all the foreign members of the SS concentration camps staff taken there first? - Yes, all the foreigners, all the Germans from foreign countries, were sent to Vienna first - also front line troops.
That is not quite what I am putting to you. What I am suggesting to you is that all the ones who were destined for concentration camp guards went from Vienna to Auschwitz? - No, we went from Vienna still in the status as civilians to Buchenwald for instance I who had previously wounded in the war was amongst these.
Was not the SS training school at Auschwitz? - I do not know.
I suggest to you that you were acting as a concentration camp guard in Auschwitz in the summer of 1943 ? - I have never been at Auschwitz.
I must put it to you, as it is part of my case, that in fact during the summer of 1943 you caught a man speaking to a woman there and that you beat that man about the face and head until he died? - It was not me.
When you got to Buchenwald were you employed as a concentration camp guard there? - We had our training there and two days after we finished this training, which lasted for about three weeks, we were all dispersed, I myself was detailed to go to Dora camp.
Who was the Kommandant of Dora when you got there? - Sturmbannfuhrer Hershner [Förschner].
What were the conditions like at Dora? - When we arrived there was nothing there, no huts; even the SS had to sleep under canvas.
Was the food for the prisoners there insufficient for them to work and live on? - At the time I had no insight into the food question; we ourselves had rather little food.
Did the Kommandant there who had been in command at Auschwitz come there as Kommandant? - I myself have never seen Kommandant Baer at Dora but I understand he has been there, but during that time I was already at Kleinbodungen.
You went to Kleinbodungen in January, did you? - Yes, on the 5th January.
After you went to Kleinbodungen I suppose you do not know who was at Dora? - Yes; I have heard who was there but I had not seen the Kommandant.
And you do not know what SS men were drafted there or away after you left? - Yes, that is possible.
, so that any of them might have been in charge of the bath - house? - Yes, that is possible.
I want you to tell us a little about this journey. Who was in charge of the party? - Hauptscharführer Stöfel, who had the highest rank.
Is he in the dock here? - Yes.
Which is he? Will you point him out? (The accused No. 25, Franz Stöfel, stands up.) I see he has pointed himself out. Would No. 27 stand up. (The accused No. 27 Wilhelm Dörr, stands up) Do you recognise that man? - Yes.
Was he on the transport too? - Yes.
The first place you arrived was just outside Osterode [Osterode am Harz], was it not? - It was Oestrode [Osterode am Harz]; it should have been Herzberg but it was in fact Osterode [Osterode am Harz].
And the prisoners were put into some barns there for the night, were not they? - No, in proper barracks.
I suggest to you that they were put into two barns by the right hand side of the road about three kilometres outside Oestrode [Osterode am Harz]? - That is not true.
Was Stöfel riding a motorcycle on this transport? - Yes, up to Osterode [Osterode am Harz] he used it, then later through a dive bombing attack this motorcycle was put out of action.
When the party left Osterode [Osterode am Harz] I suppose you stayed behind to take up the kitchen, did you?- Yes.
Do you remember some men who had found themselves unable to keep up and unable to walk? - Yes, I do remember, but nobody stayed on in Osterode [Osterode am Harz], I know that. From which station they carried on I do not know, but nobody was left behind; nobody stayed behind.
I suggest to you that nobody stayed behind alive but that Dörr shot these three men the following morning before the party left Osterode [Osterode am Harz]? - I did not see any bodies during my being on the transport.
I put it to you that Dörr took those three men and made them kneel down and he shot two of them in the back of the neck, the third one tried to run away and was shot too? - I do not know anything about that.
Do you remember any Kapos in that party? - Not by name.
I suggest to you that from Osterode [Osterode am Harz] onwards every straggler was shot as the party went along? - I have never been with the transport itself, I did not march them, therefore I cannot say whether they had been shot or not.
You were with the transport each night, were you not? - We never arrived at the same time, either the transport arrived before me or I arrived before them, and I did not mix with the prisoners, therefore I do not know anything about that.
Do you remember arriving at Belsen? - Yes.
I suggest to you that that party which started out 613 strong had lost a minimum of 30 shot on the way? - I cannot say anything about that. I had never counted them and when I arrived at Belsen they were already distributed in different blocks, therefore I cannot say.
How did they finally complete their journey to Belsen? - Always walking, marching.
When you got to Belsen you told us you went into what we call Camp No. 2, the Wehrmacht camp? - Yes.
Then in the last few days there was an attempt made to clear up the whole place before the British came in, was there not? - The barracks where I had been in Camp No. 2 were quite clean and tidy and we just tidied them a bit more, but they were clean.
You remember telling us that Hössler told you you must stay behind because they were short of administrative staff? - Yes.
I put it to you that from the time Hössler told you to stay behind, you, together with the other SS men left, were engaged in a frantic attempt to clean up Camp No. 1? - I never even heard about Camp No. 1 during the three days I was there.
The Hungarians had taken over the guarding of your prisoners, had they not? - Yes, on the morning of the 13th.
I put it to you that from that time onwards you, together with the other SS men left, were engaged in a frantic attempt to clean up Camp No. 1? - I had never even heard about Camp No. 1 during the three days that I was there.
I put it to you that you were in fact helping in the guiding and directing of that miserable procession dragging corpses to the mass graves? - I have never been there; I have only been there when the British were in command from 22nd to 29th April.
Did you hear Kramer say that he used the men who were healthy from the new transports that had just come in for that purpose? - Those who came into his camp, yes.
Do you not know that his camp had ceased to take people and yours was the overflow one? - I was never interested in any sort of camp affairs; I had my kitchen to look after and what else happened I have no idea about.
I put it to you that you were in that camp kicking, beating and striking, together with the other SS guards? - In Camp No. 2 that never happened and in Camp No. 1 I have never been.
Re-examined by MAJOR WINWOOD: Do you know whether any of the prisoners escaped on the journey from Kleinbodungen to Belsen? - Yes, I have heard about that, that some had escaped in fact during the night, but how many I could not say.
(The accused leaves the place from which he has given his evidence)
MAJOR MUNRO: I would like to address the Court very shortly on behalf of all the four accused who I have been appointed to represent, Hössler, No. 5; Bormann, No. 6; Volkenrath, No. 7, and Ehlert, No. 8, all of whom have been included in both charges of the indictment and all of whom are German nationals.
My friend, Major Winwood, in his opening address on behalf of his own accused has given the Court a very careful and significant picture of the system under which the accused Kramer and, of course, the other SS accused were obliged to work, live and function. With what he has said as to the effect of this system on the actions, behaviour and moral outlook of all those gathered in by its tentacles I wish to associate myself on behalf of my own four accused because, of course, the principle of blind and implicit obedience applied fundamentally from top to bottom and even more so the further down the scale we go.
In effect that this means as far as this trial is concerned is that the issue is raised sharply as to what extent the defence of acting under orders can rightly be held to be a valid one. I do not propose in these opening remarks at this stage to burden the Court with any argument about that but I do think it is right to indicate at the very outset of my case that I shall be using that as an integral part of my defence.
I also think it is right at the very outset to advise the Court that it will be no part of my case to deny either of two things: firstly I will not deny that there were gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz, or even that the use to which these grisly institutions were put should not appal the conscience of the world; secondly I will not deny that the conditions at Belsen as described by the various witnesses such as Brigadier Glyn Hughes, Mr Le Druillenec and Dr Fritz Leo, were in the main essentials exactly as described. The only comment I think it right to make, however, in that connection is that Kramer himself found himself helpless how much more so would his underlings?
The fact that I do accept this evidence at once raises another issue of law and that is this new and difficult question of collective responsibility, the principle of which is somewhat abstrusely defined in Regulation 8. I shall, of course, be making my submissions about that in detail in due course but I mention it now because, as the learned Prosecutor has pointed out, he is seeking to say that merely because these people were at Auschwitz or Belsen or both they must be held responsible for every single thing which was done in either or both of those camps. I do not accept that principle or accept that it is a proper and reasonable interpretation of Regulation 8 and, further, it will be necessary for me to ask the Court to do a little more than consider merely the individual accusations which have been brought against each of the accused.
I shall ask each of the accused what, if anything, he or she did to help the conditions, if there was anything which they could have done and failed to do or if they did do something which they ought not to have done.
There is just one more point I would like to mention before calling the accused Hössler. I do not propose to ask any of the accused any questions as to why the prisoners committed to their custody were arrested. The matter was brought up on an objection and was very properly allowed to go before the Court, because arrest of a person due to his religion was probably in itself a war crime. That may be so, but in this case it is not a war crime with which these accused have been charged, and I go further and say that whoever it is who may be responsible for the commission of the war crime it cannot be these accused because English Law has never made a gaoler answerable for wrongful arrest, and I submit that principle must apply here.
I now propose to call the accused Hössler.
The accused Franz Hössler, takes his stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and, having been duly sworn, is examined by MAJOR MUNRO as follows:What is your full name? - Franz Hössler.
What is the proper way to spell your surname? - H. Ö. S. S. L. E. R.
What is your nationality? - German.
Where and when were you born? - On the 4th February, 1906, in Oberdorf in Schwarden. [Comment: This could be Obersdorf or Marktoberdorf in Schwarben]
What was your profession in civil life? - Photographer.
How did you come to be in the SS? - I have been out of work in 1931 and I was on the dole and then somebody told me at that time, that was a year later in 1932, that a police force is being built up in the town which is called Kenton in Alva [Comment: This could be Kempten in Allgäu]; that was in 1932.
Did you volunteer to join this organisation? - Yes; I waited for a little while and tried to get work. I failed to obtain work and then on the 13th January, 1933, on the day when Hitler came to power, I volunteered for the SS
What sort of work were you given to do when you joined the SS? - Nothing.
Where were you sent? - I stayed on for three months in Kenton [Comment: This could be Kempten in Allgäu], at home, and after this period I was sent to Dachau.
Were you at Dachau a long time? - I believe it was the autumn of 1935 I stayed in Dachau and in Dachau I was a member of that police force which I mentioned before; it was an SS police force.
When did you first come to Auschwitz? - I came to Auschwitz in the month of June, the middle or end of June, 1940.
What kind of camp was Auschwitz then? - It was a very small camp at that time; there were only three blocks surrounded by barbed wire, and the numbers of prisoners was altogether about 400, but may be a little more.
Did you leave Auschwitz again? - I left Auschwitz in November, 1940.
Did you come back eventually to Birkenau? - In July, 1943, I came back to Birkenau.
How long did you remain there? - I stayed in Auschwitz until the 6th February, 1944. During that period I was Lagerführer in the women's compound.
When you came back to Birkenau did you find that Auschwitz camp had changed? - Yes, I saw changes; it was much, much, larger and in everything very much bigger.
Was there any reorganisation when you came back? - I do not understand what you mean by reorganisation.
Was Auschwitz sub divided when you came back? - Yes.
Will you explain to the Court how it was sub divided? - In the beginning Auschwitz and Belsen [Birkenau] was a unity; in August, 1943, however, that was the time when I was Lagerführer in the women's camp; there came a Kommandant to Birkenau whose name was Hartenstein or Hartenschein [Hartjenstein] - I am not clear about it - and he told me it had been sub divided now, the camp had been sub divided.
What were these sub divisions? - Auschwitz No. 1 was the original camp; Auschwitz No. 2 was Birkenau, and Auschwitz No. 3 was Buna, there were the works of the I.G.
Who was in command of the whole camp? - Obersturmbannführer Hoess.
Who was in command of Auschwitz No. 2, or Birkenau? - Hartenstein or Hartenschein [Hartjenstein]
How did you find conditions in Birkenau? - When I came first to the women's compound, whose Lagerführer I was, I was more than surprised to find conditions not very pleasant. There were very many sick people; typhus, and other diseases were rampant. So the first thing which I did was to look round and to go through the various blocks.
What did you do as a result of that inspection? - I myself had the appointment of a Lagerführer for the first time in my life and I did not know very much about it. I had to learn as I went along. The first thing which I did was to go to the camp doctor, Dr. Rhode, and asked him: "How is it possible that there are so many sick people here?"
What response did you get from the doctor? - He told me: "It is high time really that a Lagerführer has arrived, and we shall do both of us everything to get the camp into proper shape." I told him also that it is not my character to leave things as they are in this camp.
What did you proceed to do? - The first thing is I went to see the Sonder, that is the sonder delousing block. I saw that the stoves were broken, they were not working, so I went to see the senior camp Kommandant, Hoess. I made a report about it and I told him about the conditions which I found in the women's compound.
What happened then? - I asked Hoess why I was sent here to this camp. His answer was: "So that you could tidy up things just a little bit, that is the reason why you are here. If you need something go to the camp Kommandant Hartenschein [Hartjenstein], go to the senior doctor, Dr. Wirtz and tell them what you need." That is what I did. I had a conversation with Dr. Wirtz, told him about it; he came with me; he saw the sonder, and he saw that this delousing machine did not work at all and promised me to send some additional machine so that it could be in working order.
Did the Kommandant keep that promise? - Yes, he kept his promise and sent machine, and in both parts of my camp, in "A" and "B", the delousing machine was put in order, and night and day that was working to delouse the people.
You were just about to say something else. What was it? - In three weeks time we finished the whole delousing process in both compounds.
Did you do anything else to improve conditions? - Yes, I did try to improve. I heard that in a bunk which was really for only three to four people that six or seven women had to sleep in. I did not believe that so I went one night to see with my own eyes, and it was so indeed, they had to sleep six or seven in one bunk.
What did you do about that? - I went then to the Kommandant, Hartenschien [Hartjenstein], told him about my experiences and asked him to come with me and see with his own eyes. He did so, and when he saw it he promised me to do something about it, and he put in an indent for much larger bunks in three parts so that on each part five people could have slept and in all three parts fifteen.
Did the Kommandant produce those bunks for you? - Yes, they arrived and they were put in working order.
Did you get enough of them? - Yes, we got enough of those; they were sufficient for six blocks. I saw also that those bunks which were broken that they were repaired. One could not do very much more because there were plans for building or changes of huts, buildings.
Did you do anything else to improve conditions? - Yes. There came visitors from Berlin, Obergruppenführer Pohl with Glücks and several other officers. They looked through the camp and also visited the women's camp.
Was anything done as a result of that inspection? - I showed the visitors the conditions in my camp and they promised me that everything would be changed as I wanted it.
Were things changed? - Yes. I showed them the washhouses, the lavatories, the streets and the squares in front of the blocks where the prisoners had to make their roll call.
What happened? - At first nothing happened, but then I pressed again and one man from the building department arrived. Afterwards the streets and the squares were made in better shape, also the lavatories and the washhouses. But not much could be done as we were very short of material as a result of the war.
Did you do anything further on your own account? - Yes. These changes with the beds and the bunks all happened on my own initiative.
Did you erect any more accommodation? - Yes, I built five new huts and I radically changed the so called scabies block.
Did you have any difficulty doing that? - Yes, it was very difficult because these changes were not in the official building plan, so I had to try and get materials myself, and this was very difficult because the front came nearer and nearer.
How did you get the materials? - I had to take the materials with the help of Kapos and other functionaries amongst the prisoners away from building sites in other parts of the camps and I had to smuggle them into my own compound.
Did you get into trouble about that? - Yes, sometimes the people who were concerned with the other buildings found out their material went to, and then they talked to me very seriously, and even threatened they were going to bring me before the SS Court.
We have heard a lot in Court about selections for the gas chamber. Did you have to attend these selections? - Yes, I attended these selections because I had to guard the prisoners. I did not make selections myself and there were no selections without doctors.
Can you remember the first time you were asked to be on one of these selection parades? - Yes.
When was that? - I cannot tell exactly, but it was in the summer of 1943.
What did you think when you were told to do that? - When they told me for the first time I did not know what it meant. I only thought I had to see that the people got out of their carriages and came into the camp.
Did you later learn the real purpose of these parades? - Yes, I heard about it.
What did you think? - I did not think that that was all right.
Did you make a protest? - Yes. Once when Hoess arrived at the platform in his car I asked him if it was all right what was going on here.
What was his reply? - He said: "Just do your duty", and he disappeared with his car.
When you were told to go on a selection parade who gave you the orders? - I received the order personally and verbally from Hoess.
We have heard in evidence that there were different kinds of selection parades for the gas chamber. I want to ask you first of all some questions about selections on the arrival of transports. Will you explain to the Court in your own words exactly what happened when transports arrived in the camp? - The transport train arrived at the platform in the camp. It was my duty to guard the unloading of the train and to put the SS sentries like a chain around the transport. The next job was to divide the prisoners into two groups, the women to the left, the men to the right.
Did you do that separating yourself? - No. As I said, the women were put on the left, the men on the right. Then the doctors arrived and they selected the people. The people who had been selected by the doctors and found to be fit for work were put on one side, the men and the women. The people who were found to be unfit for work had to go in the trucks and they were driven off in the direction of the crematorium.
What were you doing while the selection was being carried out? - The doctor, and sometimes two doctors, made the selection, and it was my job to supervise the unloading of the luggage of the prisoners and the guarding, because nobody was allowed to try and steal anything. After everything had been unloaded the train departed from the platform. I had to go with two soldiers to the front and see that no prisoner succeeded in getting out by smuggling himself into the train.
While the train was at the platform did you patrol up and down the train? - Yes, that was my duty, because in the neighbourhood several working parties of prisoners had their job and they always tried to steal something that was lying on the platform. These working parties of prisoners were not with guards.
Did you ever stand yourself at the end of the train furthest away from the camp entrance? - Yes.
Was that near the crematorium? - It was opposite crematorium No. 1.
Do you remember the witness Sompolinski ? (To the Court) The reference is: transcript 13, pages 9, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 17. (To the witness) Do you remember what he said? - I cannot remember.
He said that you were the Kommandant of the crematorium. - Yes, I remember now.
What do you say about that? - I have never been Kommandant of the crematorium.
Do you remember him saying that he thought that you were the Kommandant because you came with the transports? - It is possible that he said it, but the platform we are talking about now is not a platform. This platform is from the men's camp to the front of crematorium No. 1. The other platform is more in the direction of the gate.
What do you mean by "the other platform"? I thought there was only one platform? - There were two platforms. One was finished in the autumn of 1943, that was the large platform, and then the other was not used anymore.
Will you look at this plan, Exhibit 8. (Handed) Will you point out on that plan where both these platforms were? Mark them in pencil. (The witness does so) - There was really one long platform, but it was divided into two, because there was a cross street where the women's compounds "A" and "B" are separated.
Do you mean that there was one platform opposite compound "B" and one platform opposite compound "A"? - Yes.
Can you explain why the witness Sompolinski should have thought you came with the transports? - Yes. I used to walk up and down the platform. I very often came to the crematorium and even in the courtyard of the crematorium.
You have heard a large number of witnesses say that you took an active part in the selecting and that you did individual selections yourself. Is that true? - It is not true.
Can you give the Court an explanation as to why these witnesses should have thought so? - I do not understand how the witnesses could say such a thing, especially about selections of my own, because only doctors could make selections and selections could only be made on orders of higher authorities.
What happened to those prisoners who were put on one side for retention in the concentration camp? - They were taken into the camp; they got a bath; their number was tattooed on their arm and then they were billeted in blocks. I know all about it but had nothing to do with it.
Were they sorted out on the platform into various groups corresponding to the block to which they were going? - No. The men marched to the men's camp under the Blockführers, and the women marched into my camp. I very often was ordered to put men who were fit for work on trucks and they were taken directly to their work at Auschwitz No. 3.
Will you tell the Court something about the selections which were held in the camp? - The senior camp commander came to me and told me there was going to be a selection in my camp but only for Jewish women. I had to take them to the bath place and then they were shown to the doctor who in the meantime had arrived.
Did you do any selections yourself then? - No, I was present but did not select people. I did not say: "This one is fit; this one is unfit; this one has to go to the gas chamber". What the witness said about that was not true.
What did you do while the doctors were doing the selecting? - I had to stay there and do guard duties because in the morning my Blockführer and Aufseherin had received their orders for daily work and had gone to duty; so I was the only one available to do this job.
We have heard that there were also selections in the hospital; did you attend any of these? - Yes, I had to.
How many of these did you attend? - Altogether three selections.
What happened on this occasion? - I was there present with either Dr. Klein or Dr. Mengele, but I was there only because I was responsible for order and discipline.
Did you do any selections yourself? - No.
When did your duties finish? - I stayed there until all the women had finished the march pass the doctors, then those who were selected - those who were too sick or too weak - had their numbers taken by a woman clerk.
Do you remember the witness Helene Klein? (Transcript No 12) - Yes.
Do you remember her story that she was selected for the gas chamber and that she pleaded with you to be let off and that you told her she had lived too long? - Yes.
What have you to say about that? - I say it is completely untrue. It is quite impossible that the witness was speaking the truth, because if I remember rightly she said she came in 1943 to Auschwitz; then she said in January 1943 she was present at this selection when the alleged incident ...
THE PRESIDENT: Did the witness say in January 1943?
THE INTERPRETER: January 1944; she arrived in November 1943 and was at this selection in January 1944.
THE WITNESS: I maintain if somebody arrives in a strong healthy condition in November, it is quite impossible that in two months' time she should become so weak and so ill that she should have been really selected for the gas chamber.
Did you do that? - Yes, but I must add it was not the witness whom I took out from the gas chamber but somebody else.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Then you did not take Litwinska out? - No.
MAJOR MUNRO: Did you say the whole story is false? - On the whole it is right, but what she said in the details is wrong and I would like to rectify them. I cannot remember the exact date, but it was during a selection in the hospital. Those who were selected were loaded on trucks and went in the direction of the crematorium. I was in the road at the crossroads between compound A and B when one of these trucks carrying those selected for the crematorium passed by. There I saw this woman - I repeat not the witness who said it happened to her, but another woman, and I am quite capable to find her amongst thousands; I can recognise her. I saw that woman passing by; she sat in the back of a lorry. Suddenly two women came to me and started crying and weeping and said: "This woman is working at the stores in the bath house", and they cried and implored me to save her. I saw a motor cyclist near the block who was just facing me. I winked him and he came immediately, and I told him: "In the back of the lorry in the corner there is a woman. She is covered with a blanket. Go and fetch that woman and bring her back".
As the lorry passed you did the woman shout to you by name? - Yes.
Was she brought back? - Yes, after about five minutes the motor cyclist came back with a woman who was still covered with this blanket, and I gave him an order to bring her immediately to the hospital.
Had she been inside the gas chamber? - No.
Do you remember the witness Lidia Sunschein? - I remember the name.
Do you remember the girl who said that you held a selection in her block on your own initiative? - I cannot remember the whole incident. If you can help me I will remember better.
Do you remember how she said that you found a pyjama at the door of the block, that you came inside and there and then held a selection there and then, and sent certain numbers to the gas chamber? - That is quite untrue; it is different. What the witness Sunschein said is completely untrue, because if she mentions this affair of the pyjama it could have been only in compound B in block No. 1 or block No. 2. Now all that is completely untrue. What is really true and what did happen was that there were Kommandos who were working in a work squad called "Union," and sometimes I got some reports about several members of that Kommando that they did not work satisfactorily, or that they did something wrong. Then I made selections by taking people who were reported to that way out from that Kommando and sent those in Compound A, into quarantine. If that witness Sunschein says that I would be capable, because one pyjama or because of several pyjamas lying about or outside, to decide to make a selection and to sacrifice human lives for that, then I must say that she thinks in a very small way about my character.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Major Munro, the witness said if people in the Union Kommando were reported not working properly, he took them out and sent them into the quarantine compound. I do not know whether I am fairly entering that he had sent them to the gas chamber or not. I think you ought to clear it up as the Court do not know whether to hold it against him or for him.
MAJOR MUNRO: I will clear it up. (To the witness) When you told us you sent people from the Union Kommando to the quarantine; what did you mean? - Quarantine were blocks where those who did not work were put. These blocks were for new arrivals who were put into quarantine until some sort of job had been found for them.
By doing so did that mean that they were to be sent to the gas chamber? - No; but I believe that the witness must have thought that these people would come into this banned Block 25 which really did lead into the gas chambers.
What did happen to those people you sent into quarantine? - I sent them there so that they should recover their strength and should be able to work somewhere else - not in that Kommando, but somewhere else.
Were parades for the gas chamber selections the only parades held at Birkenau? - There were other parades as well.
What kind of parades were those? - If, for instance, I got an order to prepare a larger working squad - say 100 or 200 women - then, of course, I could not take them from one single block, so I gave orders that in this quarantine area all the blocks should parade and then I chose and selected the strongest and healthiest ones for that particular job.
Where were those women you selected sent? - They were sent into Camp B where the working people were.
Were there other kinds of parades? - Yes, there were other parades. For instance, those who were infested with scabies. Dr. Klein had the order to be present there and to make a selection amongst those who afterwards were sent to the block for people with scabies.
MAJOR WINWOOD: May I question that translation? I do not think the witness said Dr. Klein.
THE INTERPRETER: That Dr. Klein made these selections amongst the people with scabies or a prisoner doctor.
MAJOR MUNRO: Were prisoners from Birkenau ever transferred to other camps? - Yes.
How was that done? - I do not understand the question. Do you mean people who were fit and sent to other camps?
Yes. - There were parades, and those people who were selected were prepared and sent away. I was in charge of those selections.
Did those people who were sent away come back to Birkenau again? - No.
You have told us that you did not think it was right to send people to the gas chamber. Did you do anything positive to prevent it? - Yes; very often young girls came to me and implored me saying that their sister or their friend or anybody else they liked was in this Block 25 and I should try to save them, and I have done so.
Will you tell the Court how you managed to do that? - When these people came to me asking for their sisters or friends I asked them: "Do you know their numbers" and they had their numbers always ready, so then I wrote a little chit saying that those numbers should be released from Block 25.
How many people did you save? - Several hundreds.
How did you manage to conceal that from Kommandant Hoess? - I falsified the nominal rolls.
How did you do that? - Those numbers were compiled into a nominal roll of numbers and names, and they were given then to the Political Department of the camp. The Political Department, for reasons which I do not know, sometimes crossed I out a few, sometimes even more - amongst those who were on the list. So what I did was I checked these numbers which were given to me by those people who wanted to save their relatives and compared them, and when I found these numbers I crossed them out.
Before we pass on from Birkenau is there anything else you would like to tell the Court about your activities there? - I would like to add that through these actions, by liberating these people from the gas chambers, I think I brought sufficient evidence that I did not agree with the policy of liquidation of the Jews, and that I did something which might have been very dangerous for me if it had been found out.
What would have happened to you if it had been found out? - (After a pause) I believe I would have been punished very severely - perhaps with a death sentence.
When did you leave Birkenau? ...
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: There are allegations as far as I know that have not been dealt with.
MAJOR MUNRO: I think the other allegations are dealt with at a later period in Auschwitz No. 1 to which he came back to a little later.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Very well.
MAJOR MUNRO: (To the witness) When did you leave Birkenau? - I left Birkenau at the end of January 1944, and I left Auschwitz on the 7th February.
Did you come back to Auschwitz? - Yes, on the 7th February 1944 I was transferred to Dachau, and I returned to Auschwitz about the middle or end of June 1944.
What part of Auschwitz did you come back? - Auschwitz No. 1, as Lagerführer.
Do you remember the witness Helen Hammermasch? - I do not remember the name.
Do you remember the girl who came into Court and said that you had ordered and officiated at the hanging of four girls? - Yes, I remember but I did not give any orders.
Did you officiate as executioner? - No.
What have you got to say about this evidence? - One afternoon the Kommandant of Auschwitz - at that time Baer - rang me up and told me that when all the working squads had returned to camp an execution would take place and that I would receive a letter from the Political Department whose contents I would have to read out aloud to the whole camp.
What did you say to that order? - I told the Kommandant on the 'phone that he could not do that because it is not right to hang women in front of women.
What did the Kommandant say? - I was afraid that such an incident would produce cases of fainting women and apart from that such measures would rather increase trouble in the camp than improve it.
Did the Kommandant Baer agree with you? - No, he did not agree. He said: " Orders are orders," and then he rang off.
What did you do then? - About 5 o'clock or about half past 5 in the afternoon I was handed a letter which contained also a copy of the judgment concerning those four women. I do not know whether it was a copy or whether it was the original; I had never seen one before. In this judgment the four women, one because of abetting and the other because of theft of ammunition, all four were condemned to be hanged, and through this ammunition which was passed on to prisoners working at the crematorium a big fire was created and the crematorium destroyed.
Did you execute these four women? - Yes, the execution took place at the end of November or the beginning of December, 1944, and this revolt which I was talking about before took place, I believe, in October, 1944.
Did you carry out your orders? - Yes, I did.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: What do you mean by "Carry out these orders". Do you mean he read out this, or had them hung?
MAJOR MUNRO: I will put it straight to him, if you like?
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Yes.
MAJOR MUNRO: Did you execute these four women? - Yes, the execution took place at the end of November or the beginning of December, 1944, and this revolt which I was talking about before took place, I believe, in October, 1944, and on the place of the burned down crematorium parts of that ammunition which was stolen were found.
Did you read out publicly the judgment which you had been given? - Yes. The execution took place and all the prisoners were paraded. I was standing a bit higher so that everybody could hear what I had to say. I read out the judgment and I told them to be careful and to leave their hands off such things so that such a theatre which we had to do now should not take place again.
Do you remember a Dutch Jewess called Adelaide De Jong? - If I know what you are meaning, then I will remember.
I am going to read from the affidavit of Adelaide De Jong.
THE PRESIDENT: Can you give me the page?
MAJOR MUNRO: It is Exhibit 44. "I am 35 years old. I am a Jewess of Dutch nationality. On 29th August 1943 I was against my will and for no reason of health sterilised by Dr. Samuel, a German Jew, also a prisoner in the camp. Many other persons were sterilised in this camp. The orders for the operation were given by the Kommandant of the camp named Essler. Dr. Samuel acted under compulsion and I have heard that he was subsequently shot by the Germans." What do you say about that? - The first thing I do not know about Dr. Samuel. Second, I have never been Kommandant of Auschwitz, and third I have never given any orders for sterilization of women, and fourth I never knew that any sterilization had taken place in that camp.
I am now going to read the deposition of Alegre Kalderon, and that is Exhibit 46, page 74 of the book. She says she is 20 years of age and a Greek Jewess. Paragraph 4 reads as follows: "I also name as persons whom I have personally seen committing brutal assaults on internees, SS woman Juana Bormann, whom I identify as No. 3 on photograph 19. I also name Franz Hössler and Theodore Heuskel, whom I identify as 1 and 2 respectively on photograph 9. I have seen these men repeatedly administer savage and brutal treatment to half starved internees". - All that is not true.
Have you ever beaten anyone? - No.
When did you leave Auschwitz again? - On 18th January, 1945.
Where did you go? - To Dora, camp Dora.
How long did you remain there? - I arrived at Dora about the end of February and stayed there until the 5th or 6th April, 1945.
Under what circumstances did you leave Dora? - Dora camp was evacuated. The prisoners were loaded into railway wagons, but about 900 or 1100 of them stayed on in the camp who were too weak and who were not certified by the doctor to be strong enough to undertake such a journey.
What was their destination? - The destination was Neuengamme, the camp at Neuengamme.
Did they get there? - The trains left Dora with the destination Neuengamme. The did arrive to Neuengamme, but apparently that camp did not accept those prisoners so that the train was directed to Bergen-Belsen.
Did you travel with the prisoners yourself? - No, the prisoners were on the train and I was in a car. Some other members of the administration staff was travelling with me.
Did you then arrive at Bergen-Belsen before the prisoners? - Yes.
What did you do when you arrived? - I went and reported to the Kommandant of the camp, Kramer.
And what happened then? - I would like to add that those trains loaded with prisoners were dive bombed by Allied bombers and I met five prisoners on the road who were walking without any guard, and they told me that those trains with this destination of Neuengamme had been redirected, and that those trains, then from Neuengamme towards Belsen, were also dive bombed.
Did you tell Kramer about the prisoners who were on their way? - Yes, I told him that my transport was on its way and I even thought that it should have arrived. Kramer said that he knew about it and expected part of the transport on the same day.
Did you ask for instructions? - Yes, I asked him if he could take my prisoners into his camp and he said that it was not possible because his camp was too full already.
On what date was this? - I am not quite sure whether it is the 8th or 9th April.
What instructions did Kramer give you? - Kramer told me he could not take my prisoners. I asked him: "Well, what am I going to do now? My prisoners are on their way already for several days and they should get an opportunity to leave the wagons". Then Kramer pointed to the direction of the Wehrmacht barracks and said: "Go and see Colonel Harries, who is in charge of them."
Did you go and see Colonel Harries? - Yes, I went to Colonel Harries with my administration officer. I told him to expect my transport every hour and I asked him to give me some accommodation for my prisoners.
What did Colonel Harries say? - The Colonel called in another officer and told him to go with me to part of the barrack area and point out to me which place would be available for accommodation of prisoners.
What were you given? - Going from the concentration camp Belsen, in the direction of the village Bergen, it is on the road the first gate in the stone barrack area.
Were you satisfied with that accommodation? - Yes, the accommodation in itself was all right, but there was no food, and as a result of bombardments there was no water. I knew that the prisoners would be hungry when they arrived, so my first thought was: "How will I get some food for them.
What did you do to get food? - I went back to Kramer and saw him in his office and asked him if he could give me some food for my prisoners, but he said he needed all his food for his own prisoners because his camp was overcrowded, that there was typhus and many other sick people. Then I said: "I am glad that my prisoners are not coming into your camp, because my prisoners are not sick and they have no lice".
What did you do then? - Colonel Harries said I could get some of his food from his stores and he sent me to his Paymaster with another officer. Then I got some dried vegetables and other food and. moreover, I received from Kramer potatoes and turnips that were stored near the station.
What about water? - There was no water. I told Colonel Harries that I needed water. He said: "There is a water cart in the camp and this cart is supplying the bakery and you can have this cart, and it is going to supply you with water". The cart came into my part of the camp immediately.
Did you do anything else in preparation for the arrival of your prisoners? - Yes, I asked Colonel Harries for transport to get the food from the stores. He gave me some transport. He gave me his water cart and that was all I could do, because I was alone and had to wait for my prisoners to do some more work. In the afternoon the first transport of prisoners arrived.
What date was that? - On the same day, the 8th or 9th April.
Did you go down to the station on that day? - Yes.
I am now going to read from a Deposition of Josef Hauptmann, exhibit 37, page 42 of the book, at paragraph 3: "On 4th April 1945 10000 workers were transferred to Belsen. The journey took about five days and over 100 died due to the conditions and a number were shot en route. Attached to the train was an ambulance wagon in which the sick were carried. There were still 9 of these alive when we arrived at Bergen station. Whilst I was there the SS man Hössler came up and gave instructions that the 9 sick persons were to be shot. I did not see them shot but I never saw them again. " What have you got to say about that? - That is not true. It is correct that I was on the platform when the train arrived and then the leader of the train reported to me the arrival of the train: "We have come from Herzberg".
Did you see anyone shot at all while you were at the station? - Nobody at all.
Were any orders to shoot anybody brought to your notice? - No. I have given no orders and there were no orders giving anybody instructions to shoot prisoners.
Did you ever go into what is now known as Camp No. 1 at Belsen? - No. During that period I did not come into camp No. 1. I came to the Officers' Mess and had my meals there.
Did you have anything to do with its organisation or administration? - No.
MAJOR WINWOOD: That concludes my examination.
Cross-examined by MAJOR WINWOOD: Would No. 4 stand up? (The accused No. 4 George Kraft, stands up) When did this man first come to Belsen? - He came with the transport from Dora about the 10th or 11th April.
Cross-examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD: In your camp in the barracks at Belsen were there any women? - No.
I want to talk to you about the accused, Grese. Had you at Auschwitz a good opportunity of seeing her work as an Aufseherin? - Yes, she worked in my camp.
Had Grese a dog? - No.
Will you tell the Court your opinion of Grese's work as an Aufseherin? - Grese worked in the camp post office, but in the evening when the working parties returned to camp she had, just as all the other staff who were in the administration, to help the Blockführerinnen during their Appelle. In the camp post office her duties were to censor incoming and outgoing mail. I could see and it was part of my duty to see whether they were trustworthy enough and also efficient and sometimes I personally took some of the inmates away from the blocks to see how the count will be going on and really I must say that Grese was very good and that she saw to it that her part of the job was done efficiently. I would like to add that particularly in the case of Grese whenever I gave her any job to do I was quite sure she would do this job and fulfil it to my entire satisfaction.
You have heard the accusations made against her in this Court, four occasions when she is alleged to have shot prisoners with a pistol, and you have heard her picked out as treating the prisoners with savage cruelty. What do you, as her Lagerführer, say about that? - I have to say that in my opinion particularly Grese is quite incapable even to load a pistol or to fire a shot and that she should be accused that she beat prisoners well, and Blockführer, any Lagerführer and any Aufseherin who tries to keep things in order there will be many prisoners who will say she she is alright doing that and many prisoners who will not say that she is right doing it.
I want to put a particular accusation to you. It is Volume 8, page 15 of the transcript. The witness Szafran, a female witness, came here and said the following: "In Camp A, Block 9, Blockälteste Ria and Hössler and Dr. Enna, the prison doctor, made a selection for the gas chamber and two girls, two selected girls, jumped out of the window and the accused mentioned before came, approached them, and when they were lying on the ground shot them twice. ", the accused mentioned being Grese. What do you say to that? - I do not agree with that at all because I do not remember that I made any selections where this prisoner doctor, any female doctor, went. I remember very well that she should have been present and apart from that the whole thing is not true because the prisoner could not have jumped out of the window because in Camp A in Block No. 9, the windows are made in such a way that they cannot be opened, so if she had done it she must have jumped through the glass of the window. Apart from that if Grese or for that matter anybody else would have been shooting in front of the block and I would have been inside the block so it would have been my duty to go out to see who is doing the shooting and what is it all about, but I never heard any shots fired in Camp A.
Were selections made by prison doctors at all? - Yes.
I want to ask you about selection parades in the camp. We have been told that some selections were for the gas chamber, some selections were for working parties, and some selections were for other purposes? - Yes.
Were all these selection parades formed up in the same way? - No, it depended for which purpose these selections were made.
Is it not true that all the parades were formed up in five ranks? - No, it was different; for instance for roll calls, for counting purposes, they had to stand in fives or if there was room enough even in tens, but for instance for Appels for selections for working parties it was not necessary that they stood in fives, they could stand in fours.
What were the duties of the Aufseherin on these parades? - Which parades? For counting purposes?
A selection parade, whether it was selecting for a working party or for anything else...
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I would like that made clear.
THE PRESIDENT: Are not there three different types?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Which one do you want?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I will put it another way. (To the witness): Is it not true that the duties of the Aufseherin at selection parades where a doctor was present were to maintain order? - Yes.
If any Kapos were present were not their duties the same? - A Kapo on such an occasion would be under the orders of the Aufseherin and the Kapo has to do what the Aufseherin would tell her to do.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN ROBERTS: Would No. 14 stand up? (The accused No. 14 Oscar Schmedidzt, stands up.) When did you first see this man? - I believe on 11th April in Belsen.
In which camp was that? - In my own camp, Camp No. 2.
What was he? - He was a prisoner.
Was he wearing prisoner's clothing? - Yes.
Did you subsequently see him after the British arrived? - Yes.
What was he wearing then? - I was already a prisoner myself at that time, but when I saw him he wore only underpants.
Did he give any explanation as to why he was only wearing his underpants? - They had a fight and he was beaten.
THE PRESIDENT: He said: "They". What does he mean?
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: Who had a fight? - I could not say exactly. I was imprisoned with the others in a room then suddenly guards threw this man in and in such a haste he was only clad in underpants so I asked him: "Where do you come from?" He said: "I had a fight". Well, I do not know with whom he had a fight - I think with another prisoner but I cannot really remember any more. Then we gave him a pair of trousers and a tunic and in the meantime the guard was changed over so that when in the evening he wanted to return to his own block the other guard thinking that he belonged to us did not let him go and since then he became an SS man. I must add that at that time he really wore SS uniform. He had at that time SS uniform and the guard could not know that he was not a proper SS man.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN [MAJOR] BROWN: Would No. 17 stand up? (The accused No. 17, Ladislaw Gura, stands up) Can you remember this man from Auschwitz? - Yes.
Will you tell the Court what his duties were at Auschwitz? - In Auschwitz he was a driver; I remember him because he brought for my washhouse coal and wood and so on.
Was he ever to your knowledge a Blockführer at Auschwitz? - No, I knew the Blockführer in my own camp and I knew fairly well the Blockführer of Auschwitz 1 as well, but I do not think he was a Blockführer
Was he put under arrest while you were at Auschwitz? - Yes.
Was he still under arrest when you left Auschwitz? - Do you mean when Auschwitz was evacuated? I do not understand the question.
When did you leave Auschwitz? - On the 18th January, 1945.
Was this man at Auschwitz then? - No, he went away earlier before the general evacuation of the camp.
Was he taken away under arrest? - Yes, in company with the other people who were under arrest.
Would No. 19 stand up? (The accused No. 19, Otto Kulessa stands up) Can you remember this man arriving at Belsen? - Yes, he came with the first transport to Belsen.
Who was in charge of that transport - An Oberscharführer Hartwig or Hertwig.
Will you tell the Court what he did when he arrived at Belsen, what his duties were?
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: What is this now? Are we at Belsen?
CAPTAIN [MAJOR] BROWN: Yes.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: In April?
CAPTAIN [MAJOR] BROWN: Yes. I will raise the question of time.
THE WITNESS: When the Hungarian troops took over then I kept this man, No. 19, with me and gave him the orders to see that everything should be all right round the blocks, that he should see to it that everything was all right.
CAPTAIN [MAJOR] BROWN: Can you say on what day he arrived at Belsen. approximately? - I believe on the 9th April with the first transport.
It has been stated in evidence that this man was in charge of Block 87; is that correct? - He was in charge not only of one single block; he was responsible for several blocks.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I wonder if my friend would point out who said that. I have no note of it. It does not say so on the affidavit in any way.
CAPTAIN [MAJOR] BROWN: I am sorry, I have made a mistake.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Is that the affidavit of Szaja Müller? My not says: " Kulessa was an SS guard at Belsen. Just before the liberation he came into my block, No 87, wearing a white hat". Is that what you want?
CAPTAIN [MAJOR] BROWN: Yes, that is it.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN FIELDEN: I want to ask you some questions about the accused No. 25, Stöfel. Do you remember Stöfel arriving with a transport from Kleinbodungen at camp No. 2 at Belsen about the 11th April? - Yes.
When he arrived did he report that any particular incidents had occurred on the march from Kleinbodungen? - No. I heard from somebody that the transport from Kleinbodungen had arrived, but that is all.
What happened to Stöfel after he arrived at camp No. 2? - I cannot say; I cannot remember.
Did he perform any duties in camp No. 1 before the arrival of the British? - No, he was always with me.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Did you give the orders for the Kleinbodungen kommando to leave Kleinbodungen? - Yes.
Can you tell the Court what they were as to the route and destination? - Yes. The destination was Herzberg in the Harz district and about the route I did not give any orders which way they had to go.
Was Herzberg the final destination? - The final destination was Neuengamme, and in Herzberg I could have used a few railway wagons for that purpose.
Had you yourself received orders that the Kleinbodungen kommando was to be evacuated to Neuengamme? - Yes, everything, everybody who was in Dora had the final destination of the camp at Neuengamme.
Where did these orders come from? - From the Kommandant at Dora, Baer.
Do you know who gave these orders to Baer? - No, I do not.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No questions.
LIEUTENANT BOYD: No questions.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No questions.
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: You have been in the concentration camp service for about ten years now, have you not? - Not quite ten years.
And in all that time you have never seen anybody beaten in a concentration camp? - I have never seen anybody ill treating prisoners.
Did you have your eyes shut all the time? - No, not at all.
So that all these prisoners who say they have been beaten and your own guards who have admitted in their statements that they have beaten people are wrong, are they? - I cannot say that at all, the question was whether I had seen it.
Were you in and about the camps during the last ten years? - Oh yes, quite a lot.
Tell me a little more about these selections. You have given us an account of three different kinds of selections, the first one when the prisoners first arrived at the camp, the second one is in and about the camp, the third one is in the hospital; is that right? - Yes.
And at each of these selections there was a doctor present actually saying, "You this side and you that side" ? - Yes. Very often there were several doctors, not only one.
That was when there were a lot of people to be killed, I suppose? - No, I do not want to say that.
What SS were there present? - There were SS troops who had to guard the transport and to surround the whole transport in guarding them; secondly there were several Blockführers, and thirdly some administrative personnel. I am speaking now about the transports arriving at the station.
We will take the first. Was there an ordinary Lagerführer in charge of the SS? - The Lagerführer was responsible for the security.
Was he the senior SS man there? - With the exception of the doctors who had a higher rank and, of course, if the Kommandant himself would have been present.
Sometimes did the Kommandant come too? - Yes.
And when the doctor had put some on one side and some on the other who gave the order for the prisoners to march off into the camp were not going to be gassed? - There was nobody who gave a direct order, because it was done in that way, that the official of the Political Department who counted them when he had finished counting them then he said to the appropriate Blockführer to take them away and so they marched away.
Who gave the order for the ones who were going to be gassed to be loaded up? - It was in the same way, just as it was with those who were fit for work.
Who actually loaded them into the trucks? - The Blockführers. There were some steps leading up and the people went up.
Did the prisoners always go quite happily and willingly to their death? - I did not say that.
I am asking you. - There was a ladder there and the people went up the ladder, and when the truck was fully loaded the truck went.
Did everyone go willingly? - No, I should not think so.
Did nobody ever try to run away? - I have never seen that.
Did no one ever have to use any force to load them? - I have never seen that. It was not always the case of loading them because sometimes, or frequently, they were marching that way.
Did you ever have any Aufseherinnen on these parades? - No.
Who marched them away - who went away with them to see they went in the right direction? - The Blockführers and those of the SS troops who were available.
Were the Blockführers under the strict command of the Lagerführer? - Yes.
Are you surprised then that the witness Sompolinski should think you were in charge of the people who took transports to the crematorium? - I have not said that I am surprised, but the witness said that I had been the Kommandant of the crematorium.
You remember the selections in the hospitals, do you not? - Yes.
And you have heard a lot of witnesses who have come here and given accounts of them, have you not? - Yes.
Were not these fair accounts of what you had been doing there? - Not quite that.
Is the only difference between you that the witness say sometimes you pointed women out to a doctor yourself?
MAJOR MUNRO: The witness has been making replies ...
THE INTERPRETER: His reply was: "I have never pointed at anybody." So I explained: "Yes, that is what the question is."
MAJOR MUNRO: I would like the Interpreter to say what the witness says.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: You have told us about the occasion when you sent a man on a motorbike to rescue somebody from the gas chamber? - Yes.
Who was the woman? - I do not know the name of the women. I know her by sight. But I know quite clearly that that woman who sat here and shouted: "That is the murderer" was not the woman in question.
Do you realise that a lot of these women look very different after they have been properly fed and clothed and housed for a few months? - Yes, I know.
Why do you think that this woman should make up a story that you saved her life if it was not true? - I am astonished, because if I had really saved her life then I cannot understand why she points me out, saying: "Here is the murderer." Either I saved her life or either I am a murderer.
You knew, of course, that it was a very wrong thing to gas these women and children, did you not? - Yes.
And yet you were prepared day after day to take charge of these parades? - I did not do them every day.
How many thousands do you think were killed there? - I do not know.
It must have been millions, must it not? - I do not know.
You have been in concentration camps for about 10 years. What sort of food do the prisoners get? - During peace or war time?
During war time - I speak about the beginning of the war, 1939, when rations were still on peace scale.
What did the prisoners get even then? - The rations were at that time, in 1939, at the outbreak of the war - they were still peacetime rations - 750 grammes potatoes per person, 750 grammes vegetables and 500 grammes peas or beans or something like that. About bread I am not quite sure whether each prisoner got one-third or a half of a loaf per day. About the ration of fats and so on I do not remember exactly, but I do remember that the calorie value per day was about 1800, 1800 calories per day.
Now tell me what the food was like when you were at, say, Dora? - In the morning they got one litre of coffee, at noon one litre of soup, and bread 500 grammes of per day. About the ration of margarine or sausages I am not sure how much.
Did you think that was enough for the prisoners to live on? - No.
When you got to Dora who was the Kommandant of the camp there? - When I arrived Sturmbannfuhrer Baer came in. The previous Kommandant's name is, I believe, Hoess.
Had Baer been the Kommandant of Auschwitz? - Yes, Auschwitz No. 1.
Tell me about some of the people who worked for you. You have been asked about Grese. Do you know Bormann as well? - Yes, I remember Bormann, who was working for me. She worked in my camp. Later on she came into a smaller camp in our vicinity called Butte. [Hütte?]
Did she have a wolfhound? - She had a dog, it was a brown dog, but it was not a wolfhound; it was a very big dog.
Do you know the woman next to her, Volkenrath? - Yes.
Did each of those women perform her duties entirely to the satisfaction of the SS? - I cannot say that. I can only say that Grese, Bormann and Volkenrath were working under me; Bormann on an out Kommando, working outside, but I have never heard anything against her.
You mentioned to us a selection when you went to the bathhouse? - Yes.
And you said you were obliged to go yourself because all your Aufseherinnen had gone out to their particular jobs? - Yes.
Otherwise would it have been the duty of one of the Aufseherinnen to have been present? - Yes, I would have detailed somebody and I would not have been present myself; I would have detailed somebody else to be present.
As a rule when there was a selection in the camp amongst women were some of the Aufseherinnen there? - I have never seen them; they always worked out with Kommandos, so they could not be there.
I will put the question again. When there was a selection for the gas chamber in the camp was it usual for there to be Aufseherinnen there if women were being selected? - There was no selection for the gas chamber in the camp; they were in the bathhouse.
We are quarrelling on terms. In the bathhouse? - Yes, in the beginning when I was there there was an Aufseherin in the bathhouse.
Do you remember an occasion when about 3000 women were all paraded in front of block 4 or in block 4? - I do not know about that.
Do you known Dr. König? - Yes, that was one of the doctors.
And you know this prison woman doctor, Dr. Enna? - Yes.
Have you ever attended selections when they have been the doctors on duty? - No.
I am putting it to you that you attended a selection with these two doctors and that was the occasion when Litwinska was taken to the gas chamber. - I cannot remember. Is block 4 the hospital?
Yes. - It is impossible that 3000 women could have been paraded in front of one block because the whole number of inhabitants was 4000.
I was not suggesting that all the 3000 came out of one block. There were 3000 women that day selected from the hospital blocks of which No. 4 was one; is that not right? - It is impossible, because the whole number of ill people in the hospital area at that time was 4500. They were Jews and Aryans, and it is quite impossible that 3000 of them were Jews.
The witnesses were right then who said that only Jews had to parade for the selections, were they? - Yes. That is what i said this morning.
Now I want to ask you a little bit about what happened on these transports going from Dora to Belsen. We will turn from Auschwitz for the time being. First of all, let us get it quite clear. There was one transport that marched, was there not? - Only the small compounds outside of the Dora camp but belonging to the camp were marching.
Was the Kleinbodungen transport one of those? - Yes, it was, because this transport came from a place favourably situated so that it could easily march, Herzberg.
Was Dörr one of the men in charge of that transport? - Yes.
When that transport got to Belsen did you hear from people that some of the prisoners had been shot on the way? - No, that was not told to me. I was only told that the transport had arrived. Then I went to the kitchen to see after the food.
Do you remember making a statement? - Yes.
Do you remember saying this: "I did hear from prisoners in the camp that several people in the transport who walked from Dora camp were shot"? - That was not quite correct. It happened like this. I heard from prisoners that during the march prisoners had been shot, but it was told to me in the room where I was a prisoner myself, after the British troops had arrived.
Did you go on to say: "I mentioned these shooting to these men, but they both denied all knowledge of them"? - No, that is not quite in the way I said it. During the morning a prisoner came into the room and said to Dörr:"Tell me who was the man who ordered the shooting of prisoners?" After that man left the room I asked Dörr what had happened and he said he did not know anything about it, and Stöfel said the same.
Do you remember No. 19 (Otto Kulessa)? - Yes.
Did he travel on the transport that came by train? - Yes.
How many prisoners died on that journey? - I cannot tell exactly. There were transports with 20; another with 25; another with 30 people dead, and I remember now that this man told me in the gaol at Celle that his transport had 40 people dead.
Did you see the train when it arrived? - I saw one train.
Had there been a truck for the sick in it at the back? - Yes, the last wagon of the train was a special wagon in which a doctor or medical orderlies travelled and they had medicine. If people fell ill during the journey we had to take them to that wagon.
Were there only nine people still alive in that wagon when it reached Belsen? - I cannot remember at all.
I suggest to you that when the transport reached Belsen station, you ordered that those nine remaining ones who could not walk up to the camp should be shot? - No, it is not true, and I can explain how it happened in reality.
How what happened in reality? - When the train arrived I said very loudly so that everyone should hear it that everybody has to take his blankets, his mess tins, and his spoon, and has to line up, and then the whole column was marched to the camp. The prisoners marched off. They carried the sick people who could not walk to a truck that belonged to Kramer. This truck was actually at the station because it had brought other prisoners. I do not know where they went.
About the question of feeding No. 2 Camp and housing No. 2 Camp at Belsen, when you asked Oberst Harries for accommodation you got it? - Yes.
When you asked him for food you got it? - Yes.
When you asked for water you got it? - Yes, it went like this: I had a water cart but not enough water so I went back to the Colonel and told him and he gave me more water.
When you asked for transport he lent it to you? - Yes, he gave it immediately - two trucks with trailers.
With regard to Kulessa, when you got him in you told us one of the duties you gave him was to keep the road cleaned up; is that right? - Yes, that is correct. I told him to tidy the street because there were many papers lying about and I wanted to have the place clean as soon as the British troops arrived.
When Kulessa first arrived at Belsen with his transport, was one of his jobs to see men into a block? - Yes; they were divided over several blocks - I believe 4.
Do you seriously tell the Court and stick to it that you have never seen a prisoner beaten or ill-treated in your ten years of service in a concentration camp? - I have never seen SS people beating prisoners, but I heard several times from the doctors that prisoners had been wounded during fights or because they had been beaten, but whether they had been beaten by SS people or by other prisoners I could not tell.
Re-examined by MAJOR MUNRO: When transports arrived at Auschwitz and prisoners were loaded on to trucks, did they know where they were going? - Partly, yes.
When you went to Oberst Harries did he seem to be already aware that prisoners were coming into this camp? - Yes, and I told him that I would bring about 20000 or a least a lot of prisoners into this camp, because if we did not do anything to accommodate them or feed them, we would get much trouble with them.
You told us about a scene involving No. 14. At the time that scene occurred were you in prison in camp No. 2? - Yes.
What was the date of that occurrence? - I have been arrested on the 16th; it was either on the 16th or 17th April.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Will you tell us a little bit more about these selections? On any selection at which you were present, were you usually the senior SS officer there? - Yes, except the doctors.
Suppose a woman shrieked and kicked and fought, and absolutely refused to do what she was told, who handled the situation? - (No answer)
Well, who dealt with the woman who would not obey the instructions to go where she was told to go by the parade? Do you understand the question? - Yes, but in such a case you could do nothing.
Was force used to the woman to make her obey the orders? - No, but two other female prisoners had to go to her and make her quiet.
Who would give the two other prisoners the orders to go and make her quiet? - If I had seen it I would have said it, otherwise, perhaps the doctors.
THE PRESIDENT: Major Munro, have you any questions to ask arising out of that?
MAJOR MUNRO: No.
(The accused, Hössler, leaves the place from which he has given evidence)
MAJOR MUNRO: I had intended to call another witness for this accused named Schopf. She came along to the Court and I saw her, but she has since disappeared, I understand, after having talked with certain of the Prosecution witnesses. However, she originally offered her evidence by postcard and I propose now, with the Court's permission, to put in that postcard along with a translation, and to ask the Court to allow me to produce the witness later if she is found by A Branch of 43 Division.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE - Far more important than the absence of a witness is the fact that witnesses are not going to testify because they have been in conversation with witnesses for the Prosecution. If that be the case the Court will have to do something about it. I do not know whether the Defending Officer is in a position to substantiate his assertion.
MAJOR MUNRO - I cannot substantiate it positively, it is a mere suspicion.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: If that is a mere suspicion I think it is a disgraceful suggestion.
MAJOR MUNRO: I make no suggestion against the prosecution themselves; none at all. I am merely trying to explain to the Court the circumstances under which she disappeared from here. I have asked A Branch, 43 Division to try and find the witness for me, and I shall then investigate the matter and explain to the Court what has happened.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I should like my friend to give definite reasons for his suggestion or withdraw it unreservedly. If it is merely his suspicion, it should never have been made.
THE PRESIDENT: Is there anything that can be gone into as to why this witness has gone? At present there is a reflection on the efforts being made to keep the witnesses separate, and I am not clear why that statement was made.
MAJOR MUNRO: I should like to assure the Court that I am making no reflection whatsoever on the Prosecution. If this has happened it is the result of an accident and something over which the Prosecution could have had no control.
THE PRESIDENT: All your suggestion really comes to is that it may possibly have been a question of a Prosecution witness having had a conversation with this witness?
MAJOR MUNRO: Exactly, that is the case.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I think that is a very different proposition to the one my friend put at first. If, in fact, it is merely his case that that might have been the position, then I repeat it is something which should never have been said, and it should be unreservedly withdrawn, because if it is not a reflection against the Prosecution, it is a backhanded reflection against the Prosecution's witnesses which should not have been made.
MAJOR MUNRO: If my friend looks at it in that light, then I will most certainly withdraw the suggestion unreservedly.
THE PRESIDENT: With regard to this postcard, was it sent by this witness volunteering to give information?
MAJOR MUNRO: That is correct. It was received and addressed to the Court in Lüneburg and marked in pencil on top "Defence" and passed to me. As a result of that I asked for the witness to come along to the Court and the witness did so.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I raise no objection to it for what it is worth.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: It is a question whether the woman is available to go into the witness box and say it is true.
MAJOR MUNRO: If the witness turns up, as I hope she will, of course we will put her in the witness box.
THE PRESIDENT: You want to put this post card in?
MAJOR MUNRO: Yes.
(Post card from Erika Schopf is marked exhibit '123' signed by the President and attached to the proceedings)
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I will read this to the Court. I am reading the translation. "Translation of a postcard written by Erika Schopf of Schulz, Burgdorf, L/Hannover, Spitalstrasse [Spittastrasse] No. 12 C/Mohle, dated 4th October 1945. My dear Court people, I have read in the papers about Belsen Auschwitz trial and I have to inform you of the fact that Hössler is unguilty. He has not made selections and when Jews were sent to the gas chamber Hössler has always tried to get them out of this. I have been for three years in Auschwitz, and I have worked in the Mason Kommando that was established by Hössler. I know also the female Dr. Enna. She is a very bad type and has been very cruel to prisoners. Please tell me when I am able to come to Lüneburg. With kind regards, Erika Schopf."
THE PRESIDENT: Has a copy of that been shown to your accused?
MAJOR MUNRO: Yes.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Has he heard it in German?
MAJOR MUNRO: He has seen the post card himself.
THE PRESIDENT: We will have the post card read in both German and Polish.
(Post card is read by the Interpreters)
The accused, Juana Bormann takes her place at the stand from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and having been duly sworn is examined by MAJOR MUNRO as follows: What is your full name? - Juana Bormann.
What nationality are you? - German.
Were and when were you born? - On the 10th September 1893 in Birkenfelde, East Prussia.
Are you married or single? - Single.
How did you come to be a member of the SS? - Somebody I knew who was in the Reichsführung of the SS She told me to join.
When did you join? - On the 1st March 1938.
Why did you join the SS? - We were not in the SS We were civilian employees.
Why did you take up this work? - I was working in a nerve hospital which was called "Inner Mission" and there I had only pocket money which was not very much and here I could earn more.
What work were you given when you joined? - In the kitchen.
Did you eventually come to Auschwitz? - Yes, I arrived from Ravensbrück to Auschwitz.
When did you arrive at Auschwitz? - On the 15th May 1943.