Transcript of the Official Shorthand Notes of 'The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others'
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I will call Hilde Löbauer.
The accused HILDE LÖBAUER takes her stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and, having been duly sworn, is examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD as follows: Is your full name Hilde Löbauer? - Yes.
Were you born on 8th November 1918? - Yes.
Are you married? - No.
Where were you born? - Plauen, Saxony.
Where were you working in 1940? - In Saxony in a weaving factory.
What happened to you in that year? - I was to go to the munition factory at Württemberg, but I refused it because my mother was working in 1918 in a munition factory and she was killed there.
What was the result of your refusal? - I was sent to a Concentration Camp, Ravensbrück.
How long did you stay there? - March 1942.
Where did you go then? - To Auschwitz.
Which part of Auschwitz? - Four weeks Auschwitz No. 1, later on Birkenau.
Was Ilse Lothe in the same party? - Yes.
How long did you stay in Birkenau? - Until January 1945, when I went to Ravensbrück.
How long were you there? - Four weeks.
And then? - Then a transport of pregnant women was sent to Belsen; we accompanied this transport.
Ilse Lothe was with you again, was she? - Yes.
When did you arrive at Belsen? -March.
I want to go back to your time at Birkenau. How were you employed in there? - In the beginning I was a prisoner like all the others. At the end of 1943 or the beginning of 1944 I was Arbeitsdienst, something to do with working parties.
How were you appointed Arbeitsdienst? - Arbeitsdienstführerin Hasse, she saw me at a parade and she went round and said: "You will be Arbeitsdienst".
Did you ask to become Arbeitsdienst? - It was no question about wanting, or no question about refusing; we were ordered to do it and had to do it.
In which camps in Birkenau did you work as Arbeitsdienst? - Compound A and B.
Was that the women’s camp? - Yes.
Tell the Court what your duties as Arbeitsdienst were. - My duties were after parade when working parties marched out to their respective works I had to stand at the gate, count them and see how many went out. The same process happened when they came back at night, I had to count them again.
Had you any duties at an Appell? - No, that was the responsibility of the Lagerälteste.
After the working parties had gone out from the camp what were your duties? - Then I had also to see to it that those working parties working inside the camp should really work and should do their jobs. Apart from that I had to see that the camp was tidy and clean.
From whom did you receive your orders? - Lagerführer Mendel and Arbeitsdienstführerin Hasse in Auschwitz.
To whom did you give your orders? - I do not want the names, I want the rank or position they held. - To the Kapos.
Was there an appointment of Arbeitsführerin? - I do not understand.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I am just trying to get the chain of command.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Put it to her; lead her, if it will help.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Was not your immediate superior the Arbeitsdienstführerin? - Yes.
What was your position at Belsen? - I arrived at Belsen with a transport. I fell ill and when I was all right again Kommandant Kramer made me Arbeitsdienst again.
Were your duties the same as at Auschwitz? - Yes, but in Belsen the number of the working parties was not as big as in Auschwitz.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Will you try and make it clear what is the distinction between a Kapo and an Arbeitsdienst.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I can explain it, if you will allow me. The Arbeitsdienst - when the parade was held working parties were detailed off, separate working parties, to go an work in separate places. It was the work of the Arbeitsdienst to tell off the parties and to count them, and then to see that their Kapos took them away out of the camp, and it was the job of the Kapos to take this party to the place of work and supervise the work there.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Was an Arbeitsdienst superior to a Kapo in giving orders?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Yes, she said that.
THE PRESIDENT: She said: "I gave the orders to the Kapos."
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Yes, she had a number under her, I think. (To the witness) How many Kapos would you have under you? - 25 to 30.
Were there any other Arbeitsdienst in Lager A and B? - Yes, another two.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I think that gives a picture, Sir. (To the witness) Now you have heard the accusations of striking and cruelty made against you? - Yes.
In Auschwitz did you carry a stick? - In the beginning, yes.
What kind of stick was it? - A wooden stick.
Can you indicate to the Court the size and thickness of it? - So long (indicating about two feet) and so thick (indicating about 3/4 inch diameter).
Was it a rough piece of wood you had picked up, or was it a walking stick that you had bought in a shop? - No, it was a simple piece of wood.
Did you carry a stick at Belsen? - No.
Did you at any time carry a rubber truncheon? - No.
Did you at any time carry a whip? - No.
Did you strike prisoners with your stick? - Sometimes, yes.
Will you tell the Court on what occasions and for what reasons you struck prisoners? - One example, for instance, when a working party had to fall in. Let us say a working party of 100. Suddenly two were missing. I got punished by my superiors, Arbeitsdienstführerin and Lagerführer, then, of course, when I found those one or two who were missing I beat them.
Have you ever beaten a prisoner for no reason at all? - No.
Have you ever beaten a prisoner so that she was in a dying condition? - I would never have dared to do that, I, as a prisoner, because I would have been reported at once and would have been punished by being sent into the bunker.
Have you ever beaten a prisoner so that she fell to the ground senseless? - I would never have dared to do so. Such things simply did not exist; I would have been punished myself.
Have you ever struck a prisoner to the ground and kicked her while she was lying there? - No.
Have you been punished by the Political Department? - Yes.
What was the punishment? - 15 strokes on the swing of Stalin.
What was the effect of that punishment on you? - I had to go to the C..S. for four weeks.
Have you any scars as a result? - Yes.
Your heard Ilse Lothe describe how the punishment on her was carried out. Was yours done in the same way? - Yes. In my case, however, it was so that I lost consciousness.
At the time you were punished were you Arbeitsdienst? - No, it was before I became Arbeitsdienst.
You knew Ilse Lothe well at Auschwitz; did you not? - Yes.
Do you know about the beatings she received at the time? - Yes.
Is it true that she received those while she was a Kapo? - Yes.
And she remained a Kapo? - Yes.
Was there anything out of the ordinary in that? - No, in spite of the beatings one retained the armlet of a Kapo, and one stayed on in the rank of Kapo.
Now I want to ask you about the parades which were attended by a doctor who picked out the fit or the unfit. Did you attend those parades? - Yes.
What were your duties there? - When Appell were made to pick out working parties, for instance, for the kitchen, there was also a doctor there to see that those prisoners are healthy and clean. That is the reason why a doctor was present. The names of the prisoners were taken and in the morning they started work.
What I want you to tell the Court is what your duties were at the parade...
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Are you now on the particular kind of parades or on the gas selection parades?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I am on a parade where the selection is made by a doctor. She gave an instance of one where they picked out a working party.
THE WITNESS: My duty was to take the numbers of those who were selected for this work. That is what I have been doing. When these working parties started work always about 50 or 100 or more appeared. That is the reason why I had to take the numbers of those who had been selected.
If after a parade a party was sent to Block 25 had you any duties in regard to that? - That was a different kind of parade. With that kind of parade prisoners had nothing to do. We knew, of course, that Block 25 meant that people are being sent into the gas chambers, but we prisoners had nothing to do with it.
Will you tell the Court how it is wrong and what you said when you made your statement? - Here it says that the punishment was carried out by two fellow prisoners. That is wrong; SS men gave the punishment.
Now I want you to read paragraph 5 and say whether that is what you said at the time. - Here it says that I have seen these people beating and ill treating prisoners and I considered that Gertrud Fiest, Sauer, Bothe and Weingartner should be punished. I was asked whether I saw that they were beating prisoners. I said: "Yes." I was asked how they should be punished?" My answer was "I, as a prisoner, cannot really say what sort of punishment they should have meted out."
Was your statement read over to you in German? - Yes.
Did you point the mistakes out? - Yes.
What was the answer? - "It is going to be changed".
Does that apply to both mistakes? - Yes.
Who told you that? - The officer who made the enquiries, I believe he was a Colonel.
Did he speak to you in German? - Yes. I made two statements.
What I want to know is did the Colonel speak directly to you in German? - Yes. He told me that will be changed.
Was there anybody else present? - Another prisoner.
With regard to paragraph 5 was anything else said to you? - He told me: "You must have seen these people beating", and I answered: "Of course I have seen them beating."
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Now, Sir, I am going to start on the specific allegations. The first affidavit in No. 65 in the summary, Jasinska, exhibit 43. (To the witness) Will you look at the affidavit No. 65, Jasinska. Will you look at paragraphs 3 and 4. Are those true? - No.
Is there anything you want to say to the Court in regard to those accusations? - Those three women had arrested me and they were the cause that I am arrested, and such things that prisoners should beat other prisoners until they were covered with blood that simply did not exist, otherwise we would have been reported ourselves.
THE PRESIDENT: She says "These three women" and in the affidavit it is one woman.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I think it is confirmed by somebody else, but I will ask. There is a corroboratory one at 117. (To the witness) Who is the third woman? - 232.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: That is Regina Borenstein, is it not?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Yes. (To the witness) Will you read paragraph 3 of 232? I will deal with this one now as she has it. It is exhibit 103.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: For the purpose of my note, have we finished with the affidavit of Jasinska?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Yes, we have.
THE PRESIDENT: She denies they ever have.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: She denies paragraphs 3 and 4.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Yes. (To the witness) Is the accusation made in paragraph 3 of that affidavit true? - Yes, I took away blankets which the prisoners put sometimes round their legs, that is true. That was an order given by the Lagerführer or the Arbeitsdienstführerin But that they had to go bare foot that is not true, because they still had their shoes; and the remark about the rubber truncheon, that is a lie.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Now, Sir, I am going on to Triszinska, which is 163, exhibit 88.
THE PRESIDENT: I am not quite clear on this. You have dealt with exhibit 43, in which the witness denies paragraphs 3 and 4. She, in doing that, referred to three women. We then jumped to exhibit 103, which is page 232, which you have just dealt with. Are you dealing with the third woman?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No, I was not going to deal with that. She was page 117. She denies Jasinska's allegation, and I think this is only corroboration of that. Now I am going on to 163, exhibit 88, Triszinska. (To the witness) Will you look at paragraph 3, the last sentence: " I have also seen her outside Block 25, Auschwitz Camp, chasing into lorries those, people selected for the gas chamber." The rest of the paragraph I think I have already dealt with. Is that true? - No, that is not true. Once I had been in Block 25, we had to load the bodies on the trucks at that occasion.
You have been accused of selecting prisoners for the gas chamber. Have you ever at Auschwitz picked out a prisoner and sent her to the gas chamber? - No. Prisoners had no right to do such a thing.
The next one is 174, Weiss. Will you read paragraph 4? Can you remember any such incident as that? - Yes.
Is the account in the affidavit true? - It might be true.
You have told us that you can remember the incident. What is your recollection of it? - I remember in March there was an inspection coming into our camp and the Kommandant, Kramer, ordered that everybody should be inside their blocks. Now it is quite possible that this woman ran out and I saw her and that I beat her then because it was quiet clear to every prisoner if they were confined to their blocks they had to stay in.
Look at affidavit No. 160, Edith Trieger. (exhibit 86) Look at paragraph 6. What do you say about that? - It is a lie.
The last one is page 231, Elisabeth Herbst. (exhibit 102) Read that. Can you remember any such incident as is described in this affidavit taking place? - No, I do not remember, but I do know that this Kapo, Krause, who is said to be dead is still alive, and in August, 1942, I was in the hospital, I had typhus.
Is what you are described there as having done true? - No, because that ditch which is mentioned here was not so deep that anybody could have been drowned there.
Have you ever been at that ditch when there were women struggling in the water? - No, but I know that ditch.
Have you ever pushed any woman into that ditch so that she drowned? - No.
Can you remember any occasion when there were dead bodies in that ditch? - No, I do not know anything about bodies there; I know only that Lagerführer Müller punished one working party by letting them stand there near the ditch, but I do not know anything about somebody being drowned.
(The remaining Defending Officers do not desire to cross examine the witness)
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: How long after you got to Auschwitz were you made a Kapo? - I was no Kapo.
I suggest to you that before you became Arbeitsdienst in charge of the Kapos you were yourself a Kapo? - Yes, I had been a Kapo for four weeks but I lost that job because I was not severe enough towards the prisoners, and so I do not count that at all.
What period was that? - About Christmas, 1942; November or December, 1942.
Then when Jadwiga Dembouska (affidavit 17) said you were a Lager Kapo at Auschwitz in 1942, she being taken there in November 1942, she was probably right, was she? - But not in August because in August I was in hospital with typhus.
I did not say anything about August; I said December. - Yes, but she said August.
Why have you not told anybody before that you were a Kapo? - Because it was only for four weeks; well, it was four weeks.
You knew that quite a lot of these people, and in fact one of the witnesses who was called here, Glinowieski, said that you were a Kapo, did they not? - Yes, that was Christmas.
When you were a Kapo, what was your duty? - I had to see to it that everything was all right inside the camp.
You were then actually the Lager Kapo? - Yes.
Tell me a little bit more about these parades or selections for the gas chamber. Had they got anything to do with the ones you were telling us you went on to select working parties? - No.
How did you know which was which? - If parades were for the purpose of working parties, kitchens and so on, then there was no prohibition to leave their respective blocks, but in the case of selection parades it was the strictest order not to leave the blocks.
You got definitely a different order if it was a selection for the gas chamber? - Yes, it meant that everybody had to stay in their blocks.
When there was such a selection for the gas chamber did not the Lager Kapo attend? - No.
Did she not in fact have to take down the numbers of the prisoners selected? - No, that was the duty of the clerk.
Who marched the prisoners selected off to Block 25? - The SS
S.S. men or SS women? - SS Men.
They say that they handed them over to the prisoners to take; you say that they handed them over to the SS to take? - It is not true.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Who do you say said they handed them over to the prisoners?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: It was either Volkenrath or Grese; I am not sure which, but when asked if she had not taken them she said: "No, I never took them myself it was the Lager Kapo or the Lagerälteste. who took them". I am trying to find it i the transcript. (To the witness) What I am suggesting to you, you know, is that one of your duties when you were the Lager Kapo was taking these women to Block 25? - No, that is not true.
And also helping to see that they did not run away? - No, during selections no prisoner was allowed to be present.
As a matter of fact was not one of the prisoners told to stand at the door to see that people did not run out? - Yes, that is nothing to do with the Lager Kapo; that might have been the Blockälteste who was told to stand there so that the people in her block should not run away, but it has nothing to do with Kapos.
Even when you became Arbeitsdienst you still had your duties round the camp as a sort of camp policewoman, did you not? - I was never camp police; I was sweeping the roads at Auschwitz. In Auschwitz there was no Lager, Camp police at all.
As Arbeitsdienst, whatever you like to call the work, one of your duties during the day was to go round inside the camp to see that the people kept the camp tidy and see that the people who were working inside the camp got on with their work, was it not? - But there were always Kapos present; my job was only just to pass on and see whether the Kapo is there and was doing his duty.
But if you saw somebody not working or if you thought they were not working properly did you not beat them? - I had nothing to do with that, that was the responsibility of the Kapo in charge of them.
If you saw someone where you thought they ought not to be you beat them, did you not? - There were thousands of prisoners there and I could not know really whether the prisoner ought to have been there where he was or not.
But if you did see a prisoner where you thought he ought not to be did you not beat that prisoner? - I had nothing to do with it, where he was.
Were you doing exactly the same duties to do at Belsen? - Yes.
Why then did you beat Miriam Weiss when she came out of her block then if it had nothing to do with you? - Whether it was Miriam Weiss or not I do not know and when I have beaten her I do not know, but if there was a strict order to stay in the blocks so I might have beaten the prisoner; whether it was Miriam Weiss I do not know.
But what had it to do with you, beating somebody coming out of their block? - That was an order which was given either by the Oberaufseherin or by the Arbeitsdienstführerin who probably saw that prisoner walking about; she told me: "See there is somebody walking about - see that she disappears" and then I saw to it that she disappeared.
When you first got to Auschwitz your first job was of assistant supervisor to a forewoman of a working party, was it not? - No, I was a simple prisoner who had to work.
How were you treated there? - Bad.
Who treated you badly? - The Aufseherinnen.
In what way did they treat you badly? - For instance, when I was working on outside Kommandos and we relaxed just for a moment or two the Aufseherinnen came and beat us.
Was that a regular practice? - Naturally.
That was how concentration camps were carried on, was it not? - Yes.
What did the Aufseherinnen beat you with? - With their hands.
Did some of them carry whips or sticks? - Not in Auschwitz.
None of them? - Yes, some of them ran about with a whip, but I had nothing to do with those.
I expect you kept away from them as far as you could, did you not? - Naturally.
Did the Kapos never beat anyone? - I do not know; I had never been with the Kapos together on an outside job, but I suppose if the prisoners did not do what they were told to do then they might have been beaten. The Kapos had to beat.
That was part of the SS system, was it not, to make Kapos beat the other prisoners? - Of course, they were forced to do so.
When did you first meet Lothe? - Ravensbrück.
Did you go to Auschwitz together? - Yes, together with a transport of 1000 prisoners.
And then you were both made Kapos at Auschwitz, were you? - I was no Kapo; Lothe became later on a Kapo.
You became first of all a Lager Kapo and then Arbeitsdienst? - I was only Lager Kapo for four weeks.
When you were Arbeitsdienst you told us you carried this stick about with you, did you not, the stick you told us about? - Of course I had a stick.
And you beat people with it, did you not? - Yes, but not so that they were bleeding.
Do you remember these girls who had you arrested? - Yes.
They found you in the camp at Belsen, did they not? - Yes, I was in Belsen and I was working as a nurse in the C.R.S. there.
And they pointed you out and had you arrested, did they not? - No.
Did they not point you out and have you arrested? - No.
How did you come to be arrested? - I was led into a room and the prisoners were asked: "Do you know this woman?" and they said: "Yes", and those three were there.
The three that you mentioned as being the ones who had you arrested; first of all there was Jasinska. Part of her affidavit has been put to you but not the rest. This is what she says: "The woman Löbauer who has just been brought into the room I recognise as the one who at that time was Lager Kapo there. As such I have seen her help in the selections of persons to go into the gas chamber". I suggest to you again that one of your duties as Lager Kapo was to attend these selection parades? - And I repeat that I have been in camps for five years but I have never been present at these selections; that is a lie.
You have been asked about the rest of that woman's affidavit. She said that many people were made ill by beatings by you, but you were not asked though, about paragraph 5 where it is said that you gave her, the actual witness herself, a blow that drew blood. What do you say to that? - That is a lie.
You were known as the SS woman without a uniform? - I do not know.
It is true that you stood at the gate of the camp, is it not, when the Arbeitskommandos were coming in? - Yes, that is true.
Did you search the prisoners as they came in? - No, I myself had never the right to make any searches; there was always an Arbeitsführer, Arbeitsdienstführer of Lagerführer present.
Were prisoners searched? - Yes, of course.
I suggest to you that you used to do this yourself? - I had no right, being a prisoner myself, to do this searching.
What happened to prisoners who were found to have anything on them, any vegetables or anything of that kind? - It was taken away from them.
What happened to the prisoner? - They had to kneel at the gate.
How long were they kept kneeling? - It depends; sometimes for an hour.
Making people kneel was a popular punishment in a concentration camp, was it not? - Yes.
Or making people stand with their hands above their heads with a stone in their hands? - We had to do that during parades, but without stones.
What were you made to do that for? - For instance when during parades there was some talking going on and the Aufseherin came then we had to stand with our arms raised or we had to kneel.
You know the ditch which Herbst was talking about? Did that ditch run round the camp? - Yes, the whole camp.
It was to prevent somebody escaping, was it not? - Yes.
Are you really suggesting it was not deep enough to drown anyone in? - No, it was not so deep that somebody could be drowned. This ditch was rather as a sort of protection that one should not approach the barbed wire because it was the ditch and then came the barbed wire; the ditch was in front of the barbed wire. The barbed wire was loaded...
What was this occasion you were talking about when Lagerführer Müller made a party stand there? - I heard about that. This working party had done something wrong and so as a punishment Müller let them stand near the ditch.
Do you mean they were in the ditch or what do you mean? - In front of the ditch.
Why was that a great punishment? - The punishment was that they had simply to stand there an hour or two hours.
Do you remember a Kapo called Krause? - Yes.
Was she a friend of yours? - No.
How do you know she is still alive? - Because I know that she had been released from Auschwitz.
How do you know that? - If prisoners are together for years then they know somebody is released or somebody is missing and then they make enquiries and they know where he has gone.
What is suggested against you is this, that there were women in that ditch trying to get out again and that you had a long pole and were amusing yourself by pulling them halfway out and pushing them back again; is that true? - (After a pause) No, that is not true.
It took a long time to decide whether that was true or not...
MAJOR CRANFIELD: If the witness may be allowed to explain that last answer - I think she was going on to add something to her last answer and I would prefer ...
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I would prefer the witness to answer my question and my friend can put the matter in re examination.
THE PRESIDENT: She said: "No, it is not true"; that was the answer to the question.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I thought she was going to explain why.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: That can be put in re examination.
THE PRESIDENT: I suggest you bring it out in re examination.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: It is usual for the witness, if she can, to answer "Yes" or "No", but it is equally usual after that if she wishes to add any amplification to it, provided it is about the question, to allow her to do so. The whole point is whether she was going to say something else.
THE PRESIDENT: What was she saying?
THE INTERPRETER: I do not know; that was at the same time the question came.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: The point is that I put the question through the Interpreter and she answers it and then the Polish Interpreter comes in between and whilst he interprets it to the witness begins to think of her answer and then starts to speak. If we are going to have a speech each time we will never get anywhere and it is a complete waste of time to cross examine.
THE PRESIDENT: What was she saying?
THE WITNESS: If a prisoner would have dared to do such a thing, whether we would have been Germans, Poles or Jews, we would have been liquidated at once.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: If you had dared to do such a thing without the authority of the SS that would be true, would it not, but if the SS were there amusing themselves and watching you do it and encouraging you that would be a different matter, would it? - Such a thing did not exist.
(The witness continues to speak in German)
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: You see how things get out of hand.
THE WITNESS: With the SS a thing should be done, I would not have been present.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Do you mean you would not have helped the SS? - They would not have allowed prisoners to stand there and look at them.
They might well have made prisoners do it, might they not? - No, no such thing.
Some of the senior Kapos who played the S. S. game got quite friendly with some of the SS, did they not? - I rather doubt that there had been Kapos who collaborated to such an extent with the SS On the contrary, I think that the Kapos got more beatings than the other prisoners.
Was Grese the Arbeitsdienstführerin at Belsen? - Yes.
And you were one of the Arbeitsdienst there, were you? - Yes.
Well, do you not remember that pretty little story she told us about going into the woods to pick a wreath accompanied by her Arbeitsdienst? - That is true, but not with me.
You told us about the punishment that you had and the punishment that Lothe had. Were beatings of that type, regular beatings, quite a common thing? - We were beaten in the Political Department; that was something quite different from beatings inside the camp.
I appreciate that, but I am asking about regularised beatings, beatings in the Political Department; were those a common thing? - Not so very frequent; if someone reported us then that went to the Political Department and there we got our beating.
I just want to ask you one or two questions about Belsen. First of all, about going there. Who was in charge of the transport of women that you went with? - Ehlert.
Ehlert came from Belsen to Ravensbrück., and then came back with you; is that right? - Yes.
She told us that she went to Ravensbrück particularly to get some Kapos, and that you and Lothe were the two she chose, were you not? - That is not true.
What is not true about it? - Ehlert came and took Bormann and Grese with her. Then she wanted to have some more prisoners who could have some authority, who could have jobs of authority, but she could not have those because those had gone away already. So for those 35 pregnant women, 10 of us were chosen to go with them and to take care of them.
So she took Bormann and Grese back with her as well, did she? - Bormann came with Ehlert from Belsen to Ravensbrück. I believe Bormann had some personal belongings still at Ravensbrück. and on their return journey they took Grese with them, so it is not the reason really why they came to Ravensbrück that they wanted some prisoners who had some functions; that was not the real reason at all.
But she came particularly in order to pick up some what she called "functionaries", Blockältesten, Arbeitsdienst, Kapos, did she not? - No. it was not the question of functionaries at all. She took us only so that we should take care of her personal belongings; that is the only reason she took us, because the pregnant women could not carry these very heavy trunks of hers.
Did they not take you back? - Not only Lothe and myself, but ten others as well.
There may have been a lot more, 36 pregnant women as well, but she did in fact take Lothe, Grese and yourself? - There were no more prisoners in Ravensbrück. We were the only ones left and that is the reason why they took us with them.
You have just anticipated what was going to be my next question. She collected anybody there was at Ravensbrück. she could find who had been at Auschwitz, did she not? - The majority had gone already, but we were the only ones left and that is the reason why we were taken with her.
At Belsen I suggest to you that you carried on just as you had done at Auschwitz, regularly beating women and regularly and ill-treating them? - That is not true.
I am not going to go through all these individual witnesses with you, but I just want you to look at the affidavit of Trieger, on page 160. - Yes.
"I have frequently seen this woman beat other women prisoners, sometimes with her hands and sometimes with a wooden stick". You agree that is true, is it not? - Yes, I have beaten people with my hands, but not with a stick.
Do you say now you have never beaten people with a stick at all? - Oh yes.
"Oh Yes". Does that mean that you have beaten people with a stick or have you not? - Yes.
Then I do not see what we are quarrelling about. Did you beat people daily? - No.
Did you beat women for not lining up quickly enough on parade? - I had nothing to do with parades. Appell concerned only the Lagerälteste.
I am not talking about Appell. Working parties paraded as well? - Immediately after the roll call in the morning...
Let us keep this word Appell out of it, because that is what is causing the difficulty. She is talking of particular parades and I am talking of parades in general. [(To the Interpreter)] Put it to her in some word which does not mean morning roll call. [(To the Witness)] What I am suggesting to you is that this woman is quite right when she says you would beat women for not lining up quickly enough on parade or for any other trifling offence?
THE INTERPRETER: The witness insists on the word "Appell".
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: (To the witness) You have told us yourself, you know, about people who were not on parade when you wanted them and you went away and got them and beat them, so why quarrel with it now? - Naturally; of course.
During the day time, after selecting the working parties, did you not patrol around the camp? - Sometimes I was sitting in the office and sometimes I was controlling the Kapos.
Now I suggest to you that on those occasions you used to beat women across the head and the shoulders and the body, and often make them bleed? - That does not exist.
You know this witness then goes on: "I did not see her kill anyone or knock anyone unconscious". That does not sound like a woman who is exaggerating, does it? - It is very exaggerated.
Now I want to put this final question to you. I suggest to you that the sole reason that you and Lothe were sent for and taken to Belsen was because you had fallen in with this practice of ill-treating prisoners so successfully at Auschwitz? - No. The reason we were taken to Belsen was to take care of the trunks and the parcels and also to take care of the pregnant women, but not to continue or to beat prisoners.
Re-examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD: Where was the Political Department at Auschwitz? - Auschwitz No. 1.
Do you know what was the Political Department’s punishment for both men prisoners was? - As far as I can remember it was the same as for the women.
What was the punishment for the women? - The punishments were blows with a stick, reduced food rations, standing to attention for a time and kneeling down.
Was it a regular scale well known throughout the camp? - Yes.
Now I want to ask you about your working parties in Camps "A" and "B" at Birkenau. Did they live in the camp? - Yes.
Were you concerned with any working parties living outside the camp? - No.
Do you know anything about the working parties which lived outside the camp? - I only know there were outside Kommandos called Budy and Vistula and some other names, but I do not know anything more about them.
Do you know anything about working parties which went away to work in another part of Germany or Poland, right away from Auschwitz?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I do not want to interrupt my friend, but I do not know how this arises out of my cross examination.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: It arises out of the selection parades. I want to take it by stages, if I may.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
THE WITNESS: Yes, I know that many people left the camp to go for work in other parts of the country.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Had you anything to do with that kind of working party? - Now and then I was present to select the people for these Kommandos.
When you attended a selection parade, was it to take over one of your working parties? - Yes. There were several kinds of Appell and sometimes there were working parties for outside the camp or for the kitchens and I had to take them.
That is not the answer to my question. Will you listen carefully to the question before you answer it. When you attended a selection parade, was it to take over one of your working parties? - Yes, of course. We selected these people for working parties.
If there was not a working party for you, would you attend the selection parade? - No, never, because the prisoners had to stay in their blocks then and I was a prisoner as well.
A MEMBER OF THE COURT: You say that you assisted in loading bodies from Block 25 once? - Yes.
Were the bodies alive or dead? - They were dead bodies.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE COURT: What was the highest appointment that a functionary prisoner could hold? - Lagerältester.
Did they all wear armbands according to the appointment that they held? - Yes, otherwise nobody could have found us amongst these thousands of people.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you want to ask anything on what the Court has put?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No.
(The accused leaves the place from which she has given her evidence).
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I do not know whether this would be a convenient time to put the affidavits in. I do not propose to read them, but just put them in.
THE PRESIDENT: Which affidavits are these?
(The following affidavits were marked as Exhibits as under, signed by the President and attached to the proceedings)
(Affidavit of Ada Bimko, Exhibit 128)
(Affidavit of Estera Guterman, Exhibit 129)
(Affidavit of Helen Hammermasch, Exhibit 130)
(Affidavit of Sofia Litwinska, Exhibit 131)
(Affidavit of Hanka Rozenwayg, Exhibit 132)
(Affidavit of Ilona Stein, Exhibit 133)
(Affidavit of Dora Szafran, Exhibit 134)
(Affidavit of Ewa Gryka, Exhibit 135)
(Affidavit of Sergeant Dinsdale, Exhibit 136)
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Now the last of my accused is in a different position from the others. He is charged with the Belsen charge only, and the only specific accusation against him appears on page 64 of the abstract. None of the witnesses produced here in Court accused him of anything or identified him.
The affidavit on page 64 is by a woman called Jakubowice, who states that she came to Belsen on the 1st January, 1945. She says she was employed as a cook at Belsen and that the accused Klippel was the cook in charge. She does not say which cookhouse it was. She alleges that he frequently beat women with a rubber stick and she does not say when that was, but presumably it was in the period from the 1st January to the 15th April, 1945. She then alleges that during March of 1945 he shot two Jewesses.
Now Klippel will go into the witness box and he will tell you that from the 1st January until the 5th April, 1945, he was at a camp called Mittlebau, which is near Nordhausen, which is approximately 100 miles away from Bergen-Belsen. He will be followed by other witnesses who will confirm that throughout the period the accused Klippel was at this camp Mittlebau.
That is my case so far as the specific accusation is concerned, and it is in brief the defence of an alibi.
With regard to the general charge that the accused was concerned in what happened at Belsen as part of the camp staff of Belsen Concentration Camp. Mittlebau, where we say Klippel was, was part of the Dora camp of which the Court has heard, and I want to remind the Court of what is the Prosecution's case in regard to those of the accused who were at Dora and subsequently came to Belsen, and it was put by the learned Prosecutor in answer to an objection made by my friend Captain Corbally over the admission of some evidence in the case of Dora as to what happened on a journey from the Dora area to Belsen.
This is is what the Prosecutor said: "I put it this way. These men were on the staff of Belsen concentration camp at the time. We always have the same difficulty where somebody leaves his unit and goes to another unit, and it has always been the practice to charge them as belonging to the unit to which they are posted and not the unit which they started from. The offenses which are alleged, or will be alleged, are on the line of march, having left a previous unit going to Belsen. My friend says there is no evidence at all that these men were on the staff" - that is the Belsen staff - "Of course there is not yet because it has not gone in. But if it does then, in my submission, there will be evidence of offences when they were taking a transport to Belsen".
He goes on: "In indictments for offences committed during a journey it has always been held that the venue can be laid at any point. This venue, it will be proved, finished at Belsen and, in my submission, it could probably be laid" - that is the charge - "at Belsen".
The evidence which I shall put before you is that so far from these men who were on the staff of the Dora camps being posted to Belsen; so far from that being their destination when they started from the Dora area, the evidence which I shall put before you is that it is quite clear that they were not going to Belsen at all, but that their orders were to go to a camp called Neuengamme near Hamburg.
I shall produce as a witness one of the staff who went to Hamburg. They arrived there, and it was only when they got there that it was known the camp was full and could not take them, and they had to be sent somewhere else, and the train was sent back to Belsen and, as we have heard, they were accommodated in the Truppenübungsplatz, the Wehrmacht Barracks, near the concentration camp.
The accused Klippel will describe how he was left behind from his particular party and made his way as best he could in the general direction of Hamburg; that he arrived at Bergen in the barracks and reported to his officer who was there, and was told to bed down for the night.
During the night his officer, together with a non commissioned officer whom I shall bring before you as a witness, left Bergen and ultimately his party dispersed; they were told to go to their homes.
Klippel, having spent one day resting in the barracks, was roped in to a miscellaneous party of SS men and put to work in one of the cookhouses which were improvised in the barracks for the 15000 internees who were accommodated there, and he will describe to you how he spent the remaining days of the week, which ended on Saturday the 14th April.
He arrived there on the 11th, and he will describe to you what happened on the remaining days of the week and how the British arrived on the 15th.
He will tell you that the cookhouse in which he worked only operated to feed internees, häftlinge, for a period of just over 24 hours before the British arrived, and he will tell you that there were not any women internees in the barracks at all; that he never went into camp No. 1, the concentration camp with Koper, until after the British arrived and that he went in with a working party.
He will tell you that he had never seen Kramer until he arrived in Lüneburg, and that he has had at no time anything to do with the Belsen concentration camp No. 1, and he was certainly not there for the period from January until the 5th April, and that he has not ever shot anybody, much less the two Jewesses as is alleged.
I will now call Josef Klippel.
The accused JOSEF KLIPPEL takes his stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and, having been duly sworn, is examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD as follows: Is your full name Josef Klippel? - Yes.
When were you born and where? - On 24th November 1909 in Vukovar.
Is that in Yugoslavia? - Yes.
Are you what is called a Volksdeutsche? - Yes.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I understand that to be a man living in a country outside Germany of German descent. (To the witness) Were you in 1943 living at Neusatz, Yugoslavia? - Yes.
Did you own a food shop there? - Yes, a grocery shop.
What happened to you in that year? - In 1943 all Volksdeutscher up to the age of 35 were taken into the SS
Where were you posted in October of that year? - In October we went to the concentration camp Mittelbau.
Where is that? - Three kilometres from Nordhausen.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I do not know whether you want to know any further where that is.
THE PRESIDENT: No.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: How long did you stay there? - Until 5th April 1945.
When you first arrived there what was your position? - After my arrival I became clerk in the 7th Company.
What happened then? - Afterwards I was a runner for the adjutant, Obersturmführer Dettless.
For how long was that? - The end of November 1944.
After that? - After that I came in the food store of the administration.
How long did you stay there? - Till 5th April 1945.
What happened on the 5th April? - On the 3rd April we had our first air raid; on the 4th April at 8 o'clock in the morning we had a second air raid. At 10 o'clock we were told to get ready to evacuate the camp, and this happened on the 5th April. On the 4th April the first group of 5000 prisoners went by train in the direction of Neuengamme. In the morning of the 5th April the second transport left the camp, and in the evening the third transport, and I was with the third transport.
What did the transport consist of? - About 4000 prisoners and all the SS people who were still there.
What time did the third party leave on the 5th April? - It was about 2000 hours; it was quite dark already.
How did they travel? - By train.
What was your duty? - There were two wagons with food, and I had to look after these two wagons.
Where did the train go? - After we left the first station was Stettinbau.
I do not want all the stops on the train journey. I want to know where the train ended its journey. - The last station was Osterode [Osterode am Harz].
What happened at Osterode [Osterode am Harz]? - We found that the rails had been damaged by bombs so the train could not go on. The prisoners had to leave the train. They marched off under a guard and I stayed behind with six men to look after the food stores. Before the prisoners left I distributed as much food among them as they could carry. Then I requisitioned two farm carts and loaded food upon them and sent them after the the transport.
What happened after that? - As we could not get hold of more farmer's carts the man who was in charge of the transport, Obersturmführer Mosser [Möser], ordered that the rest of the food should be given to the local hospital. The prisoners had left Osterode [Osterode am Harz] about 7 or half-past 7 in the morning. We, the six of us, started from Osterode [Osterode am Harz] about 1500 hours. Five of us had bicycles, the sixth was going on foot, so we all decided to walk.
Which day was it that you left Osterode [Osterode am Harz]? - It was Sunday 8th April.
Where did you go to? - We walked not in a hurry, not trying to catch up the transport, across the Harz Mountains. We found a station where we were informed that a transport had boarded a train and had gone off in the direction of Hamburg. We caught a train next day and went off to Hamburg. I heard at the station that the transport had left by train in the direction of Hamburg. We intended to go by train the next day, but then we heard there were no more trains running.
THE PRESIDENT: I am not clear. Has this come down to the fact they did catch a train or intended to catch one and one did not go?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Yes, that is right, Sir. The trains stopped altogether. (To the witness) What did you do then? - We walked in the direction of Hamburg. We passed through Brunswick [Braunschweig] and Celle, and we heard that there was a concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. We could not go in the direction of Hamburg because the Wehrmacht would not let us through. I believe some tank spearheads had reached the road already.
Did you arrive in Bergen? - We arrived in the Wehrmacht Barracks in Belsen on 11th April after 1700 hours.
Who did you report to there? - I found there all the administrative personnel from concentration camp Mittelbau. I reported to my superior officer, Brenneis.
What was his rank? - Hauptsturmführer.
What did he tell you to do? - He ordered me to go to Unterscharführer Triebel, who had been in chief of the other concentration camp in the food stores there, and I had to work with him.
What did you do that evening? - That evening bread arrived by truck, and I went round with Unterscharführer Mabel to distribute the bread amongst the population of the blocks.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I do not know if that is a convenient time to adjourn.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I want to ask two questions which I left out. What is your rank in the SS? - Sturmbann. [Sturmmann]
Can you tell the Court the names of the men in your party from Osterode [Osterode am Harz] to Bergen? - Rottenführer Kltscho, Sturmmann Conrad Stefan, Rottenführer Rosegger, Sturmmann Lamac and Rottenführer Klahr.
You have told us that you arrived at Bergen on the 11th and you reported to Hauptsturmführer. Brenneis. What happened on the next day, the 12th, which was a Thursday? - In the night from the 11th to the 12th the whole administration, including Hauptsturmführer. Brenneis, went to Neuengamme. On 12th April I did not do anything at all. On the 12th and on the 13th all the SS guards went away.
What SS guards were those? - The SS guards.
What unit did they belong to? - I know only that they came from concentration camp Mittelbau.
You have told us that on Thursday 12th you did nothing. What did you do on the next day, Friday 13th? - Obersturmführer Hössler gave me orders on Friday to take charge of the kitchen, Kitchen No. 24.
Where was cookhouse No. 24? - Near the C.R.S. of the prisoners, a block nearby; I believe it was Block No. 91 [MB 91, Bergen-Belsen barracks].
Was that in the Truppenübungsplatz barracks? - Yes.
What did you do in that cookhouse on Friday 13th? - There was nothing at all there in the kitchen so I had only to make preparations. I opened some beer barrels and then I selected a few of the prisoners who had been working before in kitchens for my kitchen staff.
Were any of those prisoners on your kitchen staff women? - No, no women at all.
What did you do on the next day, Saturday 14th? - For the first time on the 14th we cooked meals in that kitchen.
Who were the meals for? - For the prisoners.
Did you serve any meals to any women prisoners? - There were no women there.
How long did you stay working in cookhouse No. 24? - Up to the 16th.
What happened on the 15th April? - On the 15th the first British troops arrived; the loudspeaker van went through the camp, and also the first British tanks took positions up near the Kommandantor.
When were you arrested? - On the 16th at 9.30 at night.
Before you were arrested had you ever been in the Belsen Concentration Camp? - No.
When did you first see the accused Kramer? - For the first time In the prison at Celle, and then here at Lüneburg.
Now you have told us you were at Mittelbau from January to the 5th April. Did you at any time during that period go away from Mittelbau to Belsen? - No, never.
Have you at any time killed a woman? - Never.
Have you at any time beaten a woman prisoner with a rubber stick either at Belsen or anywhere else? - In concentration camp Mittelbau there were no women, so I could not do it there.
Answer the question yes or no. Have you at any time in Belsen or anywhere else beaten a woman prisoner with a rubber stick? - Never.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I do not propose to ask any other questions about affidavits unless the Court want me to.
Cross-examined by MAJOR WINWOOD: My questions concern No. 4, Kraft. (To the witness) Do you know this man? - Yes.
When did you first meet him? - In 1943 when I arrived in concentration camp Mittelbau this man had been there already before.
Do you know how long he stayed in Mittelbau? - Until January 1945. Then he was transferred to Kleinbodungen.
Did you meet him on the way from Dora to Belsen? - During the last night on the journey I met him. That was a sort of prison camp and that is where I met him on the last night.
THE PRESIDENT: What last night?
MAJOR WINWOOD: The last night of the journey, I think, from Dora to Belsen. (To the witness) What was the name of the place where you met Kraft on the way? - I do not remember. There was a big aerodrome there.
MAJOR WINWOOD: It is the same camp, a part of the same camp; he was going on this part of the journey and he met Klippel on the way.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Can you give us a time or date?
MAJOR WINWOOD: (To the witness) What date was it? - In the night of the 10th to the 11th April.
THE PRESIDENT: You met him on the 10th/11th April? - Yes.
MAJOR WINWOOD: What time did Kraft get to Belsen? - A few hours before I arrived.
Did he come to the same part of Belsen as yourself? - Yes.
What work did he do at Belsen? - He worked in a kitchen, I believe Kitchen No. 20, and we slept in the same room.
Did he remain in that camp until 16th April? - Yes, we were arrested together.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN ROBERTS: Do you know this man, accused No. 14? - Yes.
When did you first meet him? - I saw him in March 1945 in concentration camp Mittelbau in the clothing stores.
Is that somewhere near Tettenborn? - 28 kilometres from Mittelbau.
How was he dressed then? - A prisoner.
He was dressed as a prisoner? - Yes.
Why is it you remember having seen him? - Because he came with an Unterscharführer into the stores and asked for a cardboard box to put in some medical supplies.
When did you next see him? - The next time I saw him was on the 17th April. A British guard brought him into a room; he had nothing on apart from a pair of trousers.
Do you know why he suddenly appeared in your midst dressed like that? - He told us that he had a fight with others and then he jumped from the first floor and retired to the part where the British guards were, and the British guard brought him in that attire into our room.
He was never a member of the SS to the best of your knowledge? - No, I saw him for the first time as I described him to the Court as being an SS man. [This answer is in error in the transcript and is discussed on Day 29]
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN BROWN: Would No. 19 stand up? (The accused Otto Kulessa stands up) Did you ever see this man at Nordhausen? - No.
Did you ever see him in the barracks at Bergen-Belsen? - Yes.
Was he in the same part of the barracks as you were? - I do not know; he came sometimes into the kitchen, but whether he belonged to that part of the barracks I do not know.
Do you know when he arrived there? - No.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN FIELDEN: My first question is a general one, and I want to ask some questions about No. 22. Is Mittelbau the same camp as Dora camp? - Yes, it is the same name; Dora was a sort of code expression.
Did you ever see that man at Dora? - No.
Do you know who was in charge of the bath-house at Dora? - No.
Would No. 25 stand up? (The accused Franz Stärfl stands up) Do you know this man? - Yes.
Did all the camps controlled by Dora evacuate their internees at the same time? - Yes.
Were all the internees from those camps all going to the same destination? - Yes, all to Neuengamme.
Was Kleinbodungen one of those camps? - Yes, it belonged also to Dora.
Kraft was with the transport of internees, was he not? - I met Kraft, it was already very late, about 11, half past 11, at night and I saw him in the morning again because he had still something to do with the rations, so I saw him the next morning.
Did you speak to any other SS men who were with Kraft? - No, I did not speak very much to them.
Did you see No. 25 at the Panzer training barracks at Bergen? - Yes.
Do you know when he arrived there? - With a transport coming from Kleinbodungen a few hours before we arrived.
Did he stay at the Panzer training barracks until he was arrested? - Yes.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: No questions.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No questions.
LIEUTENANT BOYD: No questions.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.
Cross-examination by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Have you known a Kommando B.12 in Dora? - Yes.
Did the transport leaving Dora for Belsen stop on their way in a sort of transit camp called Elrika? - No.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: I think the translation was not correct. I did not ask if his transport stopped but did any transport from Dora bound for Belsen stop in the camp called Elrika.
THE INTERPRETER: I misunderstood your question.
THE WITNESS: About the first two I do not know, about the last one which I was in it did not stop.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Did any transport stop at Elrika camp in April, about the 8th or 9th April? - No, there were no transports about that time because the last one went on the 5th of April.
Would No. 31 stand up? (The accused Vladislav Ostrowoski stands up) Do you remember this man in Dora camp? - No.
Cross-examination by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Where did you first go to when you were called up for the SS? - On the 15th September to Vienna and later on to Berlin.
And from Berlin? - To Buchenwald.
Did you do your training at Buchenwald? - Yes, a fortnight.
Did you go straight to Dora from Buchenwald? - Yes.
When did you get to Dora? - Between the 15th and 20th October, 1943.
You say Kraft already there when you got there? - Yes.
Was Stärfl there? - I do not know, but I remember that in the office I saw him several times coming to the Sergeant Major there in the office.
Do you remember Dörr there? - Yes.
When did Dörr first get to Dora? - I do not know, but I remember having seen him during the period of my stay.
What was his job there? - His rank was Unterscharführer but what he was doing I do not know.
What was Stärfl's job? - I do not know.
What was his rank? - Hauptscharführer.
When did you first see Pichen? - In prison at Celle.
You have been asked about Kulessa. Were any other of the prisoners in the dock at Dora with you? - No.
What was his job at Dora? - I do not know; I had nothing to do with him; I have seen him, but I do not know what his job was.
What station did you start from? - There was a station at the camp itself; from the camp.
Did all the transports start from that station? - From Mittelbau all of them.
Was Stärfl’s transport from Mittelbau? - No, those from Kleinbodungen although under our administration and they belonged to our ration strength, they went directly fro Kleinbodungen.
Did you all meet at Osterode [Osterode am Harz]? - Nobody from these people; only my own transport of 4000 prisoners.
About how many prisoners were there at Dora? - 15000.
How were they treated? - In Dora they were treated well because there the V1 weapons were fabricated, or produced, and those working there were specialists, and therefore, they were taken care of and well treated.
Did you ever work in a cookhouse at Dora? - No, I was working from December to April in a food stores.
How is it you particularly remember Schmedidzt? - I remember him, as I told the Court before, because he came with an Unterscharführer into the stores and asked for a cardboard box for some medical supplies to be put in and then he asked me also if I could let him have some bread because he was hungry so I said: "You should try to go to the kitchen and try to get there something". His answer was: "That was not the proper stuff; I do not want that at all".
Were prisoners there known by name or number? - Generally only with numbers because everybody had his number; sometimes we knew the names but on the whole it was always only by numbers.
How did you know the prisoner's number? - They had stitched on on the left side of their tunics and, apart from that, they had some sort of signs either circles or triangles to show what sort of prisoners they were.
Did the prisoners at Dora have their numbers tattooed on their arms? - No.
When you say that you got to Belsen, had Hössler already arrived when you got there? - Yes.
Was everybody very busy indeed trying to get something done for the prisoners? - When I arrived the kitchens were already functioning and there were also some sort of food rations which arrived to the administration.
How was it you managed to have a day doing nothing at all? - As I told you before on that day the administration and also my superior officer had gone away and I tried to do the same but Hössler stopped me and said I had to stop and therefore I simply disappeared and did not do a thing.
In those last few days there was a frantic effort made to clean the camp up, was there not? - During those few days; it was only a few days that the whole camp only existed because the Wehrmacht left and the prisoners came in immediately so there was no particular effort needed to keep it clean or to tidy it up.
Because the prisoners in your part of the camp at Camp 2 - we call it camp 2 you do not know that - the prisoners in the Wehrmacht barracks were stronger and in a better condition than the ones in No. 1 camp or the concentration camp? - Yes, I saw those of camp 1 for the first time on the 22nd April when was already a prisoner and I was brought into the camp to work there, but those, my prisoners in Camp 2 they were all proper fit people, fit for work.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: My interpreter tells me the witness did not say "Yes". He omitted the word "Yes" at the beginning of what he said. All he said was: "I first went into the concentration camp on the 22nd April".
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: All I want to know is whether the prisoners in the concentration camp when he saw them were a lot worse than the prisoners outside. (To the witness) Do you agree with that or not? - In my compound, in my camp, there might have been a few sick people, but in Camp 1 when I saw them at least 80 percent of the people were sick.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I gather he does agree with me then. (To the witness) There is no doubt about it, yours were very much healthier than the ones you saw in the other camp? - Yes.
I suggest to you that those few SS men who were still left there all helped and took their turns in both camps? - Yes, we helped in Camp No. 1 but only as British prisoners.
I must put it to you that you did in fact act as a cook in Belsen, not merely for one day but for that last week at least? - I came for the first time to Belsen on 22nd April as a prisoner of the British troops.
And that whilst you were in that kitchen you had some women working under you? - In the Wehrmacht Barracks area there were no women at all.
Did not the women's working Kommandos come out to work in that area? - Never seen them.
What were you armed with when you joined the SS? - 30 Marks per month.
What arms were issued to you? - Rifle and bayonet.
Were you taught to use them? - I knew everything because I was in the Yugoslavian Army in 1931.
Did you bring your rifle to Belsen with you? - To Bergen, yes.
We do not want to quarrel about words, to wherever it was that you were when you were working in this cookhouse? - I went around without my rifle; I left my rifle in the room where I slept.
And I suggest to you that you indulged in the popular sport at Belsen of shooting at prisoners who came near the cookhouse? - I have never been at Belsen.
Again we will not quarrel about words, Bergen-Belsen we will call it? - There was no shooting around the kitchen there in Bergen.
What food did you have there? - A very small food stores for kitchen 17, but it contained only very little stuff.
What did you cook in your kitchen? - We had on the 12th April in the afternoon Hungarian troops bring us some potatoes and turnips and then we found some fat or some grease or rice or something, that is porridge, and that is what we were doing.
Where were these potatoes put? - These potatoes were brought to every kitchen and in the kitchen there was a small room, a back room, and that is where they put it.
Did not the prisoners come and try to get some of that food? - When they brought the potatoes eight or ten Hungarian soldiers came with machine guns and they were put in readiness so nobody dared come near to steal anything.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: What exactly is a storeman [Sturmmann] in the SS - what rank? - Lance Corporal.
Equivalent to a non-commissioned officer. What is below him then in the SS? - A private.
When you were in Bergen during these last few days where did you get your water from? - The Wehrmacht brought it on trucks, water wagons.
How many wagons? - Two trucks.
Could you get as much water as you wanted? - They started with the kitchens and when they had finished the kitchens with the amount needed then they went round and stocked each block and distributed water.
During the last three or four days had you water did you ever wash yourself? - Yes, there was a big basin where during the summer time they had a bath there and that is where I washed myself.
I want to know specifically whether during the last three or four days when you were at Bergen you had water in which you could wash yourself? - No, it was not enough water; we had to save it for the kitchen. If we wanted to have a wash we went to the basis, the concrete pond.
Do you know where this drinking water was coming from in the Wehrmacht barracks? - No, I do not know.
What was the capacity of these water tanks? - 1500 litres, because I could fill all the containers of the kitchen and still something was left.
Were these motor trucks or were they horse pulled trucks? - Motor trucks.
Were they going round the barracks day and night? - Yes.
Did you know that in the camp at Belsen a large number of people were suffering acutely from lack of water, drink? - I only knew or I only heard that not far away there was a concentration camp with many prisoners but that is all that I knew about it.
What were these water tanks going round the blocks to do? - The first thing was seven kitchens, that was the first thing, to give enough water to seven kitchens, and then the water wagon went round and stopped at each block. The prisoners paraded and each one got into his small mug or small cup some water.
Do you say there were enough internees in the Wehrmacht Barracks to keep these two motor trucks busy morning, noon and night, delivering essential water so that people could drink? - Yes, there were very many; it was about 15000 prisoners. I cooked twice for them, and that was 30000 litres.
How much water did you get to drink each day in the last few days yourself? - I drank very little myself.
Could you drink what you liked or were you put on a ration? - Perhaps half a litre per day.
(The accused Klippel leaves the place from which he has given his evidence)
MAJOR CRANFIELD: I now call Kreutzer.
PAUL KREUTZER is called in.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: This witness is going to give his evidence in German. He says the oath he is about to take will be binding on his conscience and he is taking the oath on the bible.
PAUL KREUTZER is duly sworn and examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD as follows: Is your name Paul Kreutzer? - Yes.
When and where were you born? - 27th March, 1901, at Hagen in Westphalia.
When the war ended were you a Hauptscharführer in the SS? - Yes.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Can you give the Court some idea of the equivalent rank in the British Army?
MAJOR CRANFIELD: It is a Warrant Officer. (To the witness) Were you posted to K.L. Mittelbau administration in January, 1944? - Yes.
Was your position there head cashier? - Yes.
Were you there continuously from January, 1944, until the 5th April, 1945? - Yes.
Where did you meet him? - In Mittelbau.
Did you see him regularly at Mittelbau up to the 5th April, 1945? - Not every day, but I saw him last time on the 5th April, in the afternoon.
On the 5th April did you leave Nordhausen by M.T.? - Yes.
Were you in the party of ten commanded by Hauptsturmführer Brenneis? - Yes.
Did you eventually come to the Panzerschule in the Truppenübungsplatz in Bergen-Belsen? - Yes.
What date did you arrive there? - I am not quite sure; either on 9th or 10th April.
And when did you leave? - On the 10th or 11th at 0200 hours in the morning.
Was that the night of the 10/11th or the night of the 11/12th? - Either the night from the 10th to the 11th, or from the 11th to the 12th, but I believe from the 11th to the 12th.
After you left Bergen-Belsen, what happened to you? - We went to the concentration camp Neuengamme.
And after that? - To a training camp for Panzer Grenadiers, Battalion "A", No. 18, in the vicinity of Hamburg.
Did your party eventually disperse to your homes? - On the 5th May after the capitulation in Schleswig-Holstein.
During the time you were in the barracks at Bergen-Belsen, did you hear anything of a Hauptsturmführer Kramer? - I personally do not know anything about it, but I assume that Hauptsturmführer BrenneisBrenneis, who was in charge of our party, had some dealings with Hauptsturmführer Kramer.
Were you ever told at Bergen-Belsen that you were under the command of Hauptsturmführer Kramer? - No.
Cross-examined by MAJOR WINWOOD: Will No. 4 stand up? (The accused George Kraft stands up) Do you know this man? - Yes.
What is his name? - Kraft.
When and where did you first meet him? - In Mittelbau as a cook.
When? - I do not know. As far as I know he was transferred to a detachment to Kleinbodungen, but when this happened I do not know.
Did you see him at Bergen-Belsen? - No.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
CAPTAIN BROWN: No questions.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN FIELDEN: Do you know who was in charge of the bath house at Dora? - No.
Will No. 22 stand up? (Accused Ansgar Pichen stands up) Did you ever see that man at Dora? - I do not know him.
Do you know No. 25? (Accused Franz Stärfl stands up) - Yes.
Do you know when he first arrived at the Panzer training barracks at Bergen-Belsen? - I did not see him there at all.
(The remaining Defending Officers do not wish to ask the witness any questions)
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE - What did you do at Bergen-Belsen? - For two days I was guarding two big boxes which contained all the documents and receipt forms, and also quite a lot of money.
Did you take those things with you? - Yes, they came all to Hamburg Langenhorn.
What have you done with them?..
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Ought we to warn the witness?
THE PRESIDENT: No.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: What have you done with them? - I took it to Heide in Schleswig-Holstein.
What happened to it when you last saw it? - On 5th May, after the capitulation, Obersturmbannführer [unreadable] ordered me to destroy everything.
Did you destroy it all? - All the documents were destroyed and all the money was distributed amongst the men of the whole regiment as a sort of farewell discharge money.
I just want you to have another look at Pichen, No. 22. (Accused Ansgar Pichen stands up). Just try and imagine him without that moustache and with his hair brushed quite differently, and see if you cannot recognise him? - Did he have, in Mittelbau, an Air Force uniform?
You must not ask me questions, because I would not know. Do you think you have seen him in Mittelbau? - No, I do not know him.
Why did you ask about the Air Force uniform? - Because just at the end quite a number of flying personnel of advanced age came into our camp.
Do you think he looked rather like one of them? - No; I do not know.
Then why did you ask about the Air Force uniform? - Because there were quite a number of flying personnel there.
If he does not look like any one of them, why ask about it? - No, I do not know him.
Did you ever see Hössler at all whilst you were at Nordhausen? - Yes.
What was his position there? - He was Lagerführer of the camp, a camp for protective custody.
Did you see him at all at Bergen-Belsen? - Yes.
What was he doing there? - He was in charge of everything there in the Panzerschule, in this Wehrmacht Barrack area.
Did Hauptsturmführer BrenneisBrenneis you have mentioned, give him his orders? - No.
Was he not in that barrack too? - Yes.
Whose command did he come under? (After a pause) I am not trying to catch you out on this. I merely want to know who was in charge. I thought you said Hössler was in charge of the whole outfit, so I wanted to know where BrenneisBrenneis fitted in? - He was a sort of self-contained command, BrenneisBrenneis. He belonged to a Hauptwirtschaftsverwaltungsbeziek; to a sort of central administration in Berlin, and did not come under the command of Hössler.
Does that apply to you as well? - It was the same thing. My immediate superior officer was BrenneisBrenneis and both of us belonged to this central administration in Berlin.
Will No. 14 stand up? (Accused Oskar Schmedidzt stands up) Do you know this man? - No.
You have never seen him before? - No, I do not know him.
Re-examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD: Hössler is a Obersturmführer, is he not? - Yes.
A Hauptsturmführer is a senior rank to an Obersturmführer? - Yes.
Hauptsturmführer BrenneisBrenneis was in the Verwaltung at Dora, was he not? - Yes, he was in charge of administration at Dora.
And Obersturmführer Hössler was at Kleinbodungen; is that not right? - I do not know; I have never heard of it.
Was he in the Verwaltung? - No.
Have you been charged with a crime by the British authorities? - No.
Are you now detained in a prisoner of war camp? - Yes.
(The witness withdraws)
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: This witness is going to give her evidence in German. She has taken the oath on the bible and she says that is binding on her conscience.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Is your name Emmi Sochtig? - Yes.
Where and when were you born? - 21st August, 1907 at Niedersachsen Werken in the province of Saxony.
Is that near to the concentration [camp] Mittelbau? - Yes.
Will No. 12 stand up? (Accused Josef Klippel stands up) Do you recognise that man? - Yes.
Who is that? - Herr Josef Klippel.
Was he employed at the concentration camp Mittelbau and did you see him regularly? - Yes.
Was he there during the period from the beginning of January to the 5th April, 1945? - Yes.
Where and when did you last see him before you came to Lüneburg? - On the 7th April, at the station of Tettenborn. That was when the transport stopped at that station.
Is that a place between Nordhausen and Osterode [Osterode am Harz]? - Yes.
(None of the remaining Defending Officers asked any questions)
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: No questions.
(The witness withdraws)
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: My friend will realise I have not cross-examined as to any of this at all. I am not disputing what he says about how he got there.
EMILE KLTSCHO is called in.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: The witness is giving his evidence in German and being sworn on the bible which he says will be binding on his conscience.
Are you a Czech and were you a Rottenführer in the SS? - Yes.
Did you join the concentration camp Mittelbau staff in December, 1943, and were you employed there as a waiter in the Officers' Mess until April, 1945? - Yes.
Will No. 12 stand up? (Accused Josef Klippel stands up) When you arrived at Mittelbau did you meet that man and did you see him daily until you left? - Yes.
What is his name? - Josef Klippel.
Did you leave Nordhausen on 5th April and travel to Osterode [Osterode am Harz] by train? - Yes.
At Osterode [Osterode am Harz] did you, the accused Klippel and four other men put the food stores into a hospital and were you behind the main party? - Yes.
Did you set out with five others? - Yes.
Where did you intend to go? - Our destination was Neuengamme.
Did you in fact arrive at the Wehrmacht barracks in Bergen-Belsen? - Yes.
Can you tell the Court the date or day of the week when you arrived there? - It was the 10th, 11th or 9th April. I do not know the day.
To whom did you report on your arrival? - Hauptsturmführer BrenneisBrenneis.
What orders did you receive from him? - He told us we were going to work in the kitchen next day, but we were going to sleep because we had not had any sleep for some days.
What did you do the next day? - On the next day we got up early. We went to the kitchen and I prepared the coffee for the troops.
Which cookhouse was that? - Kitchen No. 19.
Can you remember how many days that was before the British troops arrived? - Two or three days.
If I told you that the British troops arrived on the Sunday can you remember which was your first day's work at Bergen-Belsen? - I think it has been on Thursday.
Thursday was the 12th. Where did you sleep during those two or three days before the British arrived? - On the first floor in the kitchen building No. 19.
Did anybody else sleep in the same room? - Yes.
Did you and Klippel sleep in the same room each night from the time you arrived there until the British came? - Yes.
As far as you are aware did Klippel ever go into the Belsen Concentration Camp? - No, at the time I was there he did not go into that concentration camp.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: Now, Sir, I am in a bit of a difficulty, because I am not quite sure whether it was suggested in cross examination of the accused that the shooting referred to in affidavit No. 64 might not have taken place in the barracks round cookhouse No. 24.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: The affidavit talks about March.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I appreciate that, but I have never met anybody yet in this case who has been right about dates.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: You may be suggesting that it might have taken place in the Wehrmacht barracks?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I am suggesting it might perfectly well have taken place there. Up to now I have not found anybody with the right date in this case.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Major Cranfield, you must deal with anything you like. The Prosecutor may ask the Court to consider whether the shooting took place in the Wehrmacht barracks, so if you want to deal with that you must deal with it on that basis.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: (To the witness) The accused, Klippel, is charged with shooting two female prisoners round about Cookhouse No. 24 of the Wehrmacht Barracks. Did you hear of any such incident taking place? - No.
How far was Cookhouse 19 from Cookhouse 24? - There was a distance of about 300 to 400 metres.
Cross-examined by MAJOR WINWOOD: Will No. 4 stand up? (To the witness) Is that Kraft, who you mentioned just now? - Yes.
When did you first meet him? - In the beginning of December 1944 when I went to the kitchen in Dora.
Do you know how long he has been there? - I do not know when he was posted to Kleinbodungen, but I know that it has happened.
Do you know when he first went to Dora? - I do not know; he must have arrived before I came.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
CAPTAIN BROWN: No questions.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN FIELDEN - Will No. 22 stand up (Ansgar Pichen) Did you ever see that man at all? - Never.
Did you ever see him in the Panzer training barracks at Bergen? - Yes, I saw him there.
Do you know when he arrived there? - I do not know when, but he arrived with the transports.
Did he stay at the barracks continuously until he was arrested? - I believe so.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Will No. 28 stand up? (Eric Barsch) Do you know this man? - Yes.
What is his name? - I do not know his name.
Where have you seen him? - I saw him in the Concentration Camp Mittelbau.
Do you know what his unit was there? - He was working in the hospital of the troops.
And after the camp at Mittelbau was evacuated have you seen him again? - Yes, I saw him in the barracks at Bergen.
What was his work there? - He was a medical orderly working with the doctors.
Do you know that he went to Neuengamme or not? - I only know that another chap who worked with him told me he came back from Neuengamme.
Do you know there was a cookhouse known as Kitchen No. 1 in the Wehrmacht barracks at Bergen? - I cannot remember.
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: With regard to the last man first, Barsch. What doctor was he working with in Belsen? - Dr. Korska; there was also a Hauptsturmführer Schmidt, who was also a doctor.
They were both SS doctors, were they? - Yes.
So there were two doctors, quite apart from Dr. Klein, available for anything that was necessary in the Wehrmacht Barracks, were there? - I have always seen these two doctors and no other.
You have been asked a lot about people who were at Dora. Will you just look at this photograph and see if you can recognise anybody there as having been at Dora. (Photograph S.G.C.3 handed to the witness)
THE INTERPRETER: He is pointing to the third one from the right.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Do you think he was at Dora? - Yes, he was at Dora.
Anybody else? - Not on that photograph.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: What is this?
THE PRESIDENT: Is the man he says he recognises someone we are concerned with?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: No. Tell me, do you remember a lot of Air Force men coming to Dora? - Yes, quite a lot of people of the Air Force came to Dora in the course of the time; they came all the time.
Do you remember whether some who were too old for the Air Force came to Dora and joined the staff at Dora? - I do not know whether they were too old for the Air Force; I heard that quite a lot of people out of the Air Force were taken into the SS
Were you ever in cookhouse No. 24 at Belsen? - I believe so, but I have been in several.
Did you ever work in Cookhouse 24? - No.
Did you work the whole time you were there in Cookhouse 19? - Yes.
And were you cooking for the SS in Cookhouse 19? - Yes.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No re-examination.