Transcript of the Official Shorthand Notes of 'The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others'
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: I finished yesterday all the witnesses in my case, but I have now one or two documents which the Defence as a whole want to put in and this is a general application on behalf of the Defence. The first is a copy agreement under which the truce took place and Belsen camp was taken over. It is Appendix A to the report of Brigadier Glyn-Hughes, which is exhibit 1, but it does not at the moment contain this agreement.
THE PRESIDENT: I think exhibit 1 does contain it. I will check that up. It is not on the big boo, but as far as I recollect the original exhibit has the agreement attached. Is it the one which starts: "(1) On instructions from the Reichsführer SS, the Military Commander at Bergen approached the Allied Forces, 12th April, with regard to the concentration camp at Belsen"?
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT:It goes on paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, a short one at the end, "The Wehrmacht will continue to man the telephone exchange until it can be relieved. Wires leading out of the camp will require disconnecting."
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: That is before the Court. The reason you thought it was not is it is not in the original big list of affidavits issued.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Yes. I have some copies if the Court would like them.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, because it is only held on the original. I cannot remember whether it was read.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: My recollection is it was not.
THE PRESIDENT: Mine is the same. Do you know, Colonel Backhouse?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I have no recollection either way.
THE PRESIDENT: I read it myself during the evidence of Kramer, but if it has not been read it might as well be read now.
"Agreement with regard to Belsen Concentration Camp made by Chief of Staff, 1 Parachute Army, Military Kommandant, Bergen, and BG.S. 8 Corps.
(1) On instructions from the Reichsführer SS, the Military Commander at Bergen approached the Allied Forces, 12th April, with regard to the concentration camp at Belsen.
(2) The following area will be regarded as neutral." - There follow a number of map references.
"(3) Both British and German troops will make every effort to avoid battle in this area, and, as far as operations make it humanly possible, no artillery or other fire (including bombing and strafing) will be directed into this area. Equally, neither side will use this area for the deployment of troops or weapons. This paragraph is subject to over-riding military necessity.
(4) The German military authorities will erect notices and white flags at all the road entrances to this area so far as possible. These notices will bear, in English and German, on one side ‘Danger-Typhus,’ and on the other ‘End of Typhus Area.’ A disarmed post will be mounted by the Germans at each notice board.
(5) Hungarian and German troops at present employed on guard duties will remain armed and at their posts. All such troops will wear a white armband on their left sleeve.
(6) The Hungarians will remain indefinitely and will be placed at the disposal of the British Forces for such duties as may be required. The German Wehrmacht personnel will be released within not more than six days and conveyed back to the German lines with their arms and equipment and vehicles at the end of the period.
(7) SS Guard personnel will be removed by 1200 hours 13th April, any remaining will be treated as Prisoners of War. SS Administrative personnel will (if the Wehrmacht can prevent them running away) remain at their posts and carry on with their duties (cooking, supplies, etc.) and will hand over records. When their services can be dispensed with their disposal is left by the Wehrmacht to the British authorities.
(8) The Wehrmacht will continue to man the telephone exchange until it can be relieved. Wires leading out of the camp will require disconnecting.
The other documents I want to put before the Court are translations which have been done by the Court Interpreter of certain decrees of German laws, and certain treaties between Germany and various countries conquered by her, and things of that sort. All these have been extracted from two books, one is the official Deutsche Reichsgesetz, which contains all the official German decrees, and the other on is a book called "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe" containing laws of occupation. The parts which have been extracted and translated are not matters of comment, they are enactments and decrees. The Prosecutor has had a copy and I understand he has no objection to them being put in. I think ordinarily, this being a matter of foreign law, it should be proved by an expert witness which, if the Court require, I can bring here to prove that these books do contain German law and that is what they are. That is entirely a mater for the Court, and unless the Court require that I would like to put them in now, by the consent of the Prosecutor.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I have no objection. I agree they should be proved, but I think the rules about putting documents in are quite enough to make it unnecessary to call a German lawyer.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: If it is going to save time by using the documents rather than a witness, I say use the documents.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: They are purely copies of official books.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: What are we to do with them, Captain Phillips?
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: What I would like you to do with them is to attach them to the record so that they may be made use of at a later stage of the case as a matter of argument and comment and so on. I do not propose to read them at the moment. There are two bundles.
(Extracts from German law are marked exhibit 143, signed by the President and attached to the proceedings)
(The Agreement with regard to Belsen Concentration Camp is translated in German to the accused)
THE PRESIDENT: Lieutenant Jedrzejowicz, do you wish this to be translated into Polish?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No, Sir.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: That concludes my case.
THE PRESIDENT: (To the Interpreter) Will you explain to the accused that the second document put in merely contains extracts from German law which the Defending Officers want to put forward for certain arguments later on.
(The Interpreter explains this to the accused)
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: Sir, with your permission I would like to interpose a witness on behalf of the accused Schmedidzt, No. 14. This witness was in the detachment which took over guard duties at No. 2 Camp, Belsen, immediately after the liberation.
THE PRESIDENT: Was an application made at the time?
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No, Sir. This witness has only come to light since Schmedidzt has been in the witness box. I might explain that he is a Sergeant Major in an Anti Aircraft regiment and he has come here voluntarily to give evidence. I understand he is due to go on leave shortly and that is why I am anxious to put him in now rather than at the end of the case for the defence.
(The Court confer)
THE PRESIDENT: Will you call him.
Are you a Battery Sergeant Major in 58th Light A.A. Regiment? - Yes.
Were you in a detachment detailed for guard duties at Belsen immediately after its liberation? - I was.
Which part of Belsen were you guarding? - I knew it as the men’s camp.
Was that camp situated in part of the Panzer Training School? - It was.
Do you remember reading in a newspaper a description of an occurrence which was very similar to something which occurred to you at Belsen? - I do.
Will you tell the Court what happened on this occasion? - Yes, Sir. Shortly after we arrived at Belsen I was detailed to be generally in charge of the area in front of our Headquarters block. On a certain date - I cannot say which date - I heard a scuffle outside the Headquarters block and went outside to investigate. When I went outside I saw the man in question, who was naked from the waist upwards, and below he wore only underpants.
Before you go any further I want you to take a look at the prisoners in the dock and see if you can identify that man now. - Yes. No. 14 (Oscar Schmedidzt).
Now will you carry on. - This man was under the protection of my guard, and there was a crowd of people being held way by other members of the guard, who were obviously trying to get at this man to harm him. I knew we had to do something to help this man and the only place we had under guard was where the SS prisoners were.
These people, what exactly were they? - Internees in the camp.
What was this man? - I cannot swear to anything, but I got the impression that he was also a prisoner.
This group of internees, did they have any weapons?- I saw that one man was armed with a bicycle chain and I told my guard to take it off him. I accordingly ordered the guard to place this man in with the SS prisoners for safe keeping. Later on during my tour of duty I had to look in at the SS prisoners to see that they were safe. I saw that this man had obtained German army clothing from somewhere. Later on during our stay at Belsen I heard a rumour there were some SS troops ...
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: We are getting to rumours; it is going rather a long way ...
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: If you just let him finish this answer it will explain itself.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: That may be. but if we are going to have the rumours he heard at Belsen we are getting rather ...
THE PRESIDENT: You can lead him to the point you wish to bring out.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: As a result of information received did you shortly afterwards go on a reconnaissance with your Troop Commander? - I did.
And whilst you were away on that reconnaissance was your detachment which had been guarding the SS prisoners relieved by another detachment? - Not exactly, but it was shortly after that, while we were off duty, that we were relieved by another unit.
And having been relieved by another unit did either you or your detachment ever return to Belsen? - No.
Do you know whether any information about this man was ever passed on to the relieving unit? - Not to my knowledge.
You said earlier on you realised you had to protect this man. Why exactly was that? - Because before that the internees had been setting upon anybody who was German and had, in fact, killed a couple.
Was there any barbed wire in this camp? - To my knowledge, no.
How was the camp guarded? - There were Hungarian guards every 100 yards or so, and at advantage points round the camp there were tanks.
As a result of these guard precautions do you think it was possible for prisoners to get in and out of the camp? - I do not think so.
While you were going round the camp did you not notice any piles of corpses? - No, not piles of corpses.
(The remaining Defending Officers do not wish to cross examine this witness.)
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: When did you arrive at Belsen? - I cannot tell you the day or date.
You were in charge of the guard of the Headquarters of your own unit? - Yes.
There were not any corpses round there, were there? - There were one or two.
Up there by your regimental Headquarters? - One man had died during the night and we saw him next morning.
Do you speak German? - No.
How long were you there all together? - About five days.
Why do you say the internees were attacking everyone German? - Because there were some German prisoners in the cam, and we had to break up a couple of riots before this one.
Do you know anything about such things as Blockältesten and Kapos? - No.
What you really mean is this, is it not, that some persons were attacked in the camp by prisoners and they did turn out to be German? - The Interpreters told us they were German.
What time of the day or night was it you went out to see what this disturbance was about? - I can only say I think it was mid afternoon.
Was this an incident which happened more than once while you wee there, finding a half naked man running about the place? - No.
Then it is not very hard to remember whether it was in the morning or afternoon or night? - I cannot remember.
Where exactly was the man when you first saw him? - Just outside the door of our Headquarters block.
Was it known in the camp that that is where SS men were under guard? - I cannot say.
Whereabouts were the SS kept, in fact? - In a room just inside our Headquarters block.
Why do you say that you got the impression this man was a prisoner? - Because the interpreters afterwards told us so.
What interpreter? - We had various internees of different nationalities acting as interpreters for us.
And they questioned them, did they, for you? - I cannot say.
Did the interpreters go and interview this man for you? - Not while I was there.
Did you ever see any other internees who had been issued with underpants? - No Sir.
Did you see any of the SS having any intercourse with any of the other prisoners? - No Sir.
Was it the SS who were in that room who supplied this man with his SS uniform? - I cannot say.
Was there anybody else who could have supplied him with it? - No.
If there was nobody else who could supply him with it why do you say you do not know it was the SS who did? - Because I did not see them give it to him.
What was this room that the SS were kept in? - Just a normal living room, I think, in the block.
Was there a sentry on the door? - There was a sentry on the door and outside on the window.
Which block was it, do you know? - No, I can only say it was our Headquarters block.
Do you know who had used it before you did? - I could not swear to anything, but we understood it was the SS block itself.
One thing is quite definite, there was a large crowd of prisoners trying to get at this man? - There was always a large crowd of prisoners outside our door, but there were more than usual, and there were some shouting threats at this man.
They were doing a great deal more than merely shouting before you interfered, were they not? - Yes, but I was inside the block; I cannot tell you that.
Where did you read this story? - The account of it?
Yes. - I was ill in bed at the time and read it in the Daily Express.
When was that? - I think it was a fortnight last Friday's newspaper; I read it the Monday afterwards.
Have you still got the cutting? - No, Sir, I sent it in with my statement to my Commanding Officer.
Re-examined by CAPTAIN ROBERTS: While you were at Belsen did you ever see any other internees out in the open without his trousers? - No.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Can you not give us any date when your unit went to Belsen? - No, Sir.
Not at all? - No.
How soon after the camp had been liberated? - Within two days of it.
We have a statement from a witness as to when his version happened. I wish you could try and help us. - I am afraid not. At that time days and dates did not mean much to us.
Did you put these other SS men into that room? - No, Sir.
The only man you had to deal with was this man? - Yes.
How long did you see this man on that day? - I should think for a quarter of an hour.
Did you think he ought to have some clothes? - Well, it was very warm at the time, and we had none to give him ourselves.
What sort of uniform do you say you saw him wearing afterwards? - I only know it was German army uniform. I cannot say what kind.
What makes you sure that the man you pointed out was the man you saw on that occasion? - Because I can remember him.
You picked him out very quickly here, did you not? - I do not think so, Sir.
Have you ever seen that man between the time you say you saw him in the camp away back in April of this year and this morning? - No, Sir. I have seen a photograph.
Where did you see a photograph? - I saw a photograph yesterday. Captain Roberts asked me could I pick the man out and I did.
How many people were there on the photograph? - There were four on that particular photograph.
A MEMBER OF THE COURT: The Interpreter you were using were internees; is that right? - Yes.
They said this man was also an internee? - They gave me that impression.
You feel certain about that, do you? - Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you want to ask any further questions?
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: (To the witness) When I showed you the photograph yesterday how many photographs did I show you? - Six or seven.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: There is no reflection on you, Captain Roberts. I only wanted to know whether this was a spontaneous one.
(The witness withdraws)
CAPTAIN BOYD: I represent three more of the small people, Gertrude Fiest, Gertrude Sauer and Lisiewitz. None of them are calling any other witnesses besides themselves and I propose to put the first one, Gertrude Fiest, straight in the box now.
The accused GERTRUDE Fiest takes her stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and, having been duly sworn, is examined by CAPTAIN BOYD as follows: What is your name? - Gertrude Fiest.
Where and when were you born? - 31st May 1918 in Neu-Gebhardsdorf in Silesia.
Are you married or single? - Single.
In 1935 did you start working in a factory at Roersdorf in Silesia? - Yes.
How long did you work in that factory? - 14th August 1944.
What happened in August 1944? - On the 16th August 1944 I was conscripted into the SS Gross Rosen.
Did you go on a course? - On the next day on a training course at Langenbielau, and stayed there for three weeks.
Where did you go after your course? - I went back into my factory in Roersdorf as an Aufseherin.
What duties did you have as Aufseherin in this factory? - I brought the prisoners to their work and I brought them away again when they had finished their work; and I stood at the door to see that the prisoners did their work and did not go out.
In February 1945 was that factory evacuated? - Yes, it had been evacuated because of the approach of the Russians, and on the 28th February I brought the prisoners to Kratzau.
Where did you go from Kratzau? - We went to Zittau and from there to Belsen.
What date did you arrive at Belsen? - I made a mistake. What I wanted to say is we arrived in Kratzau on the 16th February and we arrived in Belsen on the 28th February.
What did you do the first day at Belsen? - I did nothing at all on the first day. On the 3rd or 4th March I did some sort of orderly duties, I stood by for any sort of duties and Aufseherin might be required to do.
How long did you do that? - One day.
What did you do after that? - Six days gardening work; a working party in the garden of the Kommandant.
After that? - Four days in the peeling part of Kitchen No. 1.
And after that? - Two days and one night in the Bathhouse, a half a day off, and the other half day on orderly duties to stand by.
What did you do after that? - Then into the women's compound No. 2.
How long did you work in women's compound No. 2? - Until the 15th April at noon.
We have heard all the Aufseherinnen went to Neuengamme; did you go to? - Yes.
What day did you go to Neuengamme? - On the 12th April.
Do you know how many Aufseherinnen went? - I am not quite sure, but certainly more than 40.
How many came back? - 22.
Was it a part of your duties in the Compound 2 to take Appell? - Twice a week.
We have been told that on that Appell the prisoners were counted. Who counted them? - Myself and the Lagerältester and the Clerk was there as well sometimes.
Do you know the name of the Lagerältester? - I know only her first name, Katia.
How long did the Appell take? - An hour and a half; sometimes two hours.
Did you ever make it last longer than necessary? - No.
Did it ever last from six o’clock in the morning until noon? - Never.
Were the sick and dying forced to attend? - No, those who could not come to the roll calls were counted in the inside of the blocks.
Who decide whether a prisoner was fit to attend the Appell? - The female doctor.
Have you ever hit prisoners? - Yes.
What did you hit them with? - With my hand.
Do you remember the witness Anita Lasker? - Yes.
She said that you made prisoners who tried to steal turnips kneel down in the snow and eat the turnips, dirty as they were. Is that true? - No.
Did you ever make prisoners kneel down? - Once I made them kneel on the order of Rapportführerin Gollasch.
Why was that? - Early one morning the chief cook Heuskel complained that many women from my compound were stealing from the kitchen. I went round the blocks and warned them not to do it, but in the afternoon I caught four women who were stealing and just at that moment Rapportführerin Gollasch approached on her bicycle, because she wanted to get some information about the possibility of accommodating more people in my blocks. She said that I had to make them kneel down.
Will you look at the affidavit of Margatete Berg (Exhibit 17 No. 3) paragraph 3. Did you ever march a party going out to collect grass to the gate of the camp? - No.
Did you ever march any party of women? - Yes.
Did any one of that party ever collapse? - No.
As you came to the gate did anyone ever come out and kick a prisoner who had fallen down? - No.
Did you ever kick a prisoner yourself? - No.
Have you ever taken part in kicking by anyone else? - I never saw it.
(The remaining Defending Officers have no questions to ask)
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Was Gollasch a very cruel woman? - I do not know.
Did she beat people regularly? - I did not see it.
Did you see anybody beating prisoners in Belsen? - No.
Or in any of the other camps you have been in? - No.
Or at Langenbielau? - No.
Then why did you do it? - I lost my patience because they always did what I prohibited.
You have never seen anybody else do the same? - No.
Were all the Aufseherinnen chosen from Silesia or East Prussia? - I do not know.
Practically all the ones who are here are from Silesia or East Prussia, are they not? - Yes, that is possible.
Tell me about the factory you were in before you came to Belsen. How many prisoners had they there before you went off to join the SS? - Just the same number as when I became Aufseherin.
How many was that? - About 150.
Who was in charge of them before you became an Aufseherin? - They were under the Gestapo.
Who was the actual person who looked after them in the factory and saw that they worked and did not run away? - Civilian women.
And you were one of them, were you not? - No.
I suggest to you that you women who were in the factories and went off on this course to Langenbielau not been acting as factory guards and forewomen over these prisoners for a long time? - That is not true.
And that all that happened in 1944 was that for the first time you went on a course and were put into uniform? - No.
Were you taught to beat women at Langenbielau? - No.
Have you noticed that every woman who has come here who was trained at Langenbielau has admitted that she beat prisoners, whilst all the others except Grese who were trained at other places said they did not. Are you sure you were not taught to do it there? - It was prohibited to beat prisoners.
But you did it all the same, did you not? - Yes.
And you know perfectly well that you never got into trouble for doing it, did you not? - I do not know.
It was done quite openly, was it not? - I do not know.
You did it quite openly did you not? - Yes, when I found them stealing I gave them some beating.
And you were not frightened of being reported for doing it, were you? - I only boxed their ears and I do not know.
You know perfectly well that no prisoner in a concentration camp dared try to report any SS, do you not? - They could have done it.
Have you ever known a single case of them doing it? - No, I did not hear anything about that.
Tell me a bit more about the work you did. First of all, how did you get from this factory which was evacuated to Belsen? - We marched from Roersdorf to Kratzau and then we handed the prisoners over.
How many Aufseherinnen were there on that march? - Ten or eleven. I do not know exactly.
How many prisoners? - I do not know exactly; I believe 147.
What work had they been doing in this factory? - Part of them had been doing the same work as I did before in the spinning department of the factory.
How many German girls had you working in that factory? - I could not say how many.
About how many? - I could not tell because it was ever changing.
How many spinning frames had you? - There were several departments, not only spinning machines. I really could not tell you how many machines there were.
How many women were there working in the spinning department apart from the prisoners? - I do not know.
You had worked in this factory for nine years and you do not know how many girls were working in your own department? Do you really expect the Court to believe that? - I do not know, because I was not interested in the number of workers but only in my work.
Your work was to supervise prisoners was it not? - No, I have been working at the machine myself.
Who supervised you when you were working at the machine? - There was a forewoman.
Why were you chosen to be the guard over these prisoners? - Because the management of the factory had to hand in the names of women between 21 and 45 who were taken into the SS, and there were relatively a small number in this group without any family.
What not many women between 21 and 45 without a family employed in a spinning mill? - No.
How many were there about in that age group in this factory? - I do not know.
How many about went to Gross Rosen together? - 19.
All from your factory? - Yes.
How many from the spinning department? - From my department three, including myself.
And you became the Aufseherin and you looked after these prisoners, did you? - Yes.
Why did you suddenly become necessary in August of 1944 if up to then they had been looked after by the foreman and forewomen? - Because the SS took over the Jewish prisoners.
But the SS took over Jewish prisoners in 1942, did they not? - I do not know.
Coming back to Belsen again, you did duty in the Bathhouse for an odd day or so, did you not? - Yes, two days.
Practically every Aufseherin did on her arrival, did she not? - It was not my first job.
It was a job you did before you got a regular one, was it not? - Yes, that is correct.
Was not that the usual practice? There was no fixed Aufseherin for the Bathhouse but just whoever was spare did it for an odd day or two? - I do not know.
For a time you were just in the camp doing any duty that turned up, what ever the Blockführer or anybody else wanted you to do; is that right? - One day and a half.
When you had the working party in the Kommandant’s garden, did you find then that the people tried to steal vegetables? - No, there no vegetables there.
When you came to work in Compound No. 2, what were you doing? - To keep order and to see that everything was clean.
How many Aufseherinnen were doing that? - I was there and often Sauer was there when she had no other duties.
Which kitchen was she in, do you know? - In Kitchen No. 2.
That was Heuskel's kitchen, was it? - Yes.
How did your prisoners manage to get to that kitchen to steal? - They went out of the gate to the kitchen.
Could prisoners get in and out of the gates of the compounds on the main road where the kitchens were? - Yes, because they always used to go in groups of six, and the man on guard on the gate would not know whether they were a working party or not, so he let them go. In the last part they forced a small gate that was in the Star Camp so they did not have to pass through the main gate.
Then it is not true to say that prisoners could never move about in and out of their compound without an escort? - No, not unless an SS Aufseherin went with them and it was really outside the camp ...
I said outside their own compound? - Yes, because they had to go to the kitchen to fetch the food.
Who was the Aufseherin in that kitchen? - Hempel.
Was she the only one? - There was also an Aufseherin in the peeling part of the kitchen but that was not always the same.
Did you have any mattresses at all in this compound No. 2? - Just a few.
Did you let people try to collect grass to fill them? - No.
Were they not allowed to fill them? - We had no mattresses to be filled.
I thought you said you had a few? You really had not got any at all, had you? - Yes, there were a few but they were filled already.
Of course your camp provided working parties for other parts of the camp, did it not? - Only once I had to appoint some prisoners for a working party in Compound No. 1.
You were supposed to have the fittest women in your compound, were you not? - Yes, the majority of them were healthy.
And they were the ones who were forming most of the working parties for the camp, were they not? - From Compound No. 2 no working parties went out.
I suggest to you that you did in the last few days when you knew the truce had come try and get some mattresses filled for some of these prisoners? - No, it is not true.
And I suggest to you that when one of these parties was going out and the woman fell out you went up to her and kicked her when she fell? - Such a kommando did not exist in my camp.
And that she died there and then? - I did not know anything about it.
You beat a lot of women there, did you not? - No.
About how often did Volkenrath come? - About four or five times.
About four or five times during the whole time you were there? - Yes, and once Grese came to see us.
Did they spend most of their time in the other women's compound? - I do not know where they were.
You heard what Ehlert said about you, that you had a reputation for being very severe? - Yes.
Is that right? - I do not know what Ehlert means by severe. I did my duty very conscientiously.
Do you remember what Lohbauer said about you? - Yes.
She was one of the women concerned with working parties, was she not? - Yes.
You remember she said: "Of the SS men and women I have seen with my own eyes beating and ill treating prisoners I consider Gertrud Fiest, Gertrud Sauer, Herta Bothe and Peter Weingartner should be punished" ...
CAPTAIN BOYD: I do not want to interrupt the Prosecutor, but of course Lohbauer said she did not say that when she gave her evidence in the box. She said she was asked if she had seen these people beat prisoners and she said yes, and then she said she was asked if they should be punished and she said she did not know. She was not cross examined as to that.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: It appeared in her statement.
CAPTAIN BOYD: What she said in the box was that she never said it in her affidavit.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I appreciate that, but quite a lot of people have said in the box what they did not say in a previous statement. |It is not necessary for the Prosecution to accept them.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: As I understand it, Colonel Backhouse, in her original affidavit she did say something like Gertrud Fiest should be punished for ill treating prisoners, then she gave evidence in the witness box and I think she qualified that or retracted it. If you are putting to the witness that she said it in her affidavit it is all right.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: That is what I am putting. If my friend in re examination wishes to make some point about what she said at some other time he can do so.
CAPTAIN BOYD: My point is that Lohbauer said she did not say that in her statement, the reason being that it was a mistranslation.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I appreciate that, but I am entitled to cross examine on what is contained in the affidavit.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I think, Sir, it is a matter for re examination by this Defending Officer, but I think the Prosecutor is entitled to put this to the witness to see what she has to say about it.
CAPTAIN BOYD: If you please.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: (To the witness) Did you hear that read out: " The SS women whom I have seen with my own eyes beating and ill treating prisoners I consider Gertrud Fiest.... should be punished"? - Yes.
Lohbauer was working in the Arbeitsdienst, was she not? - Yes.
Do you remember that Lohbauer was asked about this when she was here and she gave an account of what happened, and she said that she was asked whether she had seen you beating prisoners, and she said 'Yes'? - I do not know where she could have seen me. Maybe she has seen me when I slapped one girl's face perhaps.
Do you think a woman who had been treated as Lohbauer had in concentration camps would be worried about you slapping one girl's face? - I do not know. I did not beat inn a different way than slapping their faces.
On this occasion you told us about, when you say was the only time you ever made prisoners kneel down, when Gollasch told you to do it, was that for stealing from the kitchen? - Yes.
Had they been stealing turnips from the pile outside? - Yes, turnips and potatoes.
Do you remember what Lasker said about it: "I have seen her make people in the snow eating dirty turnips". Did you not make them eat the turnips they got as they were, filthy and uncooked? - No, that is not true, because at that period when I was in Compound No. 2 there was no snow and then I never forced them to eat the turnips.
You say that the sick did not need to go on to Appell; all they had to do was to get the doctor to certify them? - The female doctor saw how many sick there were in a block and reported the number to the Blockälteste. The Blockälteste reported the number to me and I took this number for granted; I did not worry about it.
You are speaking only of people who were in the doctor's hospital, are you? - No, I am speaking about those being in blocks and unable to attend parades.
You mean the doctor had time to go round the blocks seeing? - It was not one female doctor, but three, and they were three prisoner doctors.
You had not got no less than 300 cases of typhus not even segregated in that compound, had you not? - I did not know anything about that.
Do you really mean you do not know? - The prisoner doctors had the duty in the case of finding somebody infected with typhus to report it at once to the Lagerältester and to me, and then to an SS doctor or medical orderly, and those found having typhus would have been transferred immediately to compound No. 1 .
But there were hundreds of people lying sick and ill in this compound of yours, were there not? Do you mean to say you did not even know it? - In Compound No. 2 there were no sick lying about.
Did you ever look round your compound at all? - Yes, every day.
You have told us that there was no beating at all; that you never saw anybody beaten except by yourself, did you not? - No, I have never seen it from SS women, but I have seen it being done by Kapo’s.
When have you seen Kapo's beating? - When I was on duty in Compound No. 2.
How were they beating people? - That was not a sort of daily occurrence, but I have seen it, slapping the faces of prisoners and sometimes beating them with a leather belt.
And have you seen them beating people with a stick? - No.
Did you immediately stop them on each of these occasions? - When they beat people with their leather belt I intervened and forbade it.
Do you remember the last four or five days? - Yes.
Do you remember that procession of men dragging corpses right past your compound? - Yes.
From morning till night? - Yes, I have seen it in the morning when I went on duty, and at night when I returned from duty.
Being beaten on their way as they went, to make them keep up? - I did not see this.
It was going past your compound all day, was it not? - I did not look because at that, because this dragging of corpses made a terrible impression on me.
When you got back to the mess, to the other women, did you never mention it? - We only took our meals, but we never touched any sort of questions of duty or work.
Did nobody in that mess care in the least for the prisoners? - When we were in the canteen we took our meals or we spoke about our home life.
Re-examined by CAPTAIN BOYD: You said that there were no sick lying about in Compound No. 2. Do you mean lying inside the blocks or outside the blocks? - Outside the blocks.
Were there any sick inside the blocks? - In the hospital and those who were in the blocks were those who could not attend parades.
Could you tell whether these people had typhus or not? - No, that was a question for the doctor.
(The accused leaves the place from which she has given her evidence.)
The accused, GERTRUD SAUER, takes her stand at the place from which the other witness have given their evidence, and having been duly sworn, is examined by CAPTAIN BOYD as follows: What is your name? - Gertrud Sauer.
Where and when were you born? - On the 8th September, 1906, in Görlitz in Silesia.
Are you married or single? - Married.
What is your husband? - A Sergeant-Major in the Infantry.
What were you doing at the beginning of the war? - Saleswoman in Osnabruck.
Where did you go from there? - Back to Görlitz, because my house was bombed.
What did you do in Görlitz? - Work in a munition factory; clerk in the office.
In April, 1944, was the factory asked for volunteers for duties as Aufseherinnen? - We were told that the work is going to employ 300 women prisoners and 1000 male prisoners and that Aufseherinnen were needed.
Did you volunteer? - I did not volunteer, I was sent.
Was your name sent in as a volunteer? - No.
Were you eventually called up into the SS? - On the 22nd September, 1944, I was sent to Gross Rosen.
Where did you go from Gross Rosen? - On the next day to Langenbielau.
Where were you sent from Langenbielau and when? - On the 8th November to Roersdorf.
What were your duties at Roersdorf? - Lagerführerin.
Was the factory later evacuated? - On the 16th February, 1945.
Where did you go? - Kratzau.
Where did you go from Kratzau? - Through Zittau to Belsen.
What date did you arrive at Belsen? - 28th February.
What was the first duty you had in Belsen? - Three days no duties at all, then three days the Wood Kommando.
And after that? - Two days peeling department in Kitchen No. 2 in the Men's Compound.
What did you do after that? - Two days in the Woman's Compound No. 2.
And after that? - A whole week in the Bathhouse.
Were you ever in any of the kitchens? - On the 9th, 10th and 11th April I worked in Kitchen No. 2 for Aufseherin Hempel, who was absent at that time.
Have you ever hit prisoners? - Yes, near Kitchen No. 2.
Did you ever hit them without any reason? - No.
Why did you hit them? - I caught them several times stealing vegetables.
They say that you used a whip by Kitchen No. 2; is that true? - During the whole period I was serving with the SS I never saw a whip.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I think the witness said "never saw a whip".
THE INTERPRETER: I am sorry, "I never saw a whip".
CAPTAIN BOYD: Will you look at the affidavit of Maria Neumann. (Deposition 115, exhibit 67, paragraph 2). - Yes.
Have you ever beaten anyone severely with a stick? - No.
Have you ever worked in Cookhouse No. 3? - No.
CAPTAIN BOYD: That concludes my examination.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Who is supposed to have mentioned Kitchen 3?
CAPTAIN BOYD: The reason I bring that out is because Maria Neumann says that this incident took place inside Kitchen No. 1, and in the next paragraph she accuses Flrazich a shooting a woman outside Kitchen No. 1, and I imagine it will be suggested that by that she means Kitchen No.3.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I see. She says she has never worked in Kitchen No. 3.
MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
MAJOR BROWN: No questions.
CAPTAIN FIELDEN: No questions.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: No questions.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No questions.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN MUNRO: I have a few questions on behalf of No. 45, Hahnel. (To the witness) You say you were in charge of the Bathhouse in March. Was this your official job in the camp? - Yes.
Does this mean that you just had your job in the Bathhouse and no other job? - Yes.
Does this also mean that you were in the Bathhouse every time there was a bath parade for women? - Yes.
Am I right in saying that the only bath the internees had in Belsen was when they first arrived in transports? - No, I could not say that, because prisoners who had been already in blocks they had their baths and they were also deloused.
And at that time was there any water in the Bathhouse at all? - I could not say with certainty whether I had been on duty on the 7th.
Will No. 45 stand up? Accused No. 45, Hildegard Hahnel, stands up). Do you know this woman? - Yes.
Has she ever been in charge of the Bathhouse at Belsen? - No.
Have you ever seen her take a bath parade for women at Belsen? - No.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No questions.
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I am not going through all your earlier history; we have been through it rather too often. You were trained at Langenbielau too, were you not? - Yes.
What were you taught to do if anybody did anything wrong; if any of the prisoners did anything wrong? - A written report.
What were you taught to do if anybody stole anything? - Written report, name and number of the prisoner and reason for the report.
Have you ever put in any such report at Belsen? - No.
Have you ever heard of anybody else doing it? - No.
The fact of the matter is this, is it not, that these were beautiful rules for other people’s benefit, but that you were taught from the very outset that you did not need to keep to them, were you not? - No, we should have made written reports.
Can you explain why every woman who has given evidence here, who was trained at Langenbielau, admits that she used to beat prisoners instead of putting in the report? - Because vegetables were stolen at Belsen so frequently that written reports would have been far simply too many.
Did you do this beating quite openly, or did you do it secretly? - I did not talk very much about my beatings.
But did you do it openly, or did you do it secretly? Did you take people into some secret place and do it or did you beat them openly where they were? - No, I beat them there and then, when I caught them stealing vegetables.
And did you not use Hempel's riding whip for it? - I never saw a whip.
You heard the witness Klein in the witness box say that she saw you beat people who approached the cookhouse with a whip, in fact a riding whip which Hempel used to use? - I remember, but I have never seen a riding whip.
Perhaps it was your riding whip that Hempel borrowed? - No.
Do you remember Anita Lasker saying that she had very often seen you with a whip beating people? - I have never used a riding whip, and I believe the prisoners said the truth when they said that I beat them, slapping their faces, but that was not brutal enough for the British officers and therefore they invented a riding whip.
Did you ever use a piece of rubber piping? - No.
You remember what Neiger says about you in her affidavit? (Page 111). That you frequently beat people with a rubber stick...
CAPTAIN BOYD: I do not think Neiger says it.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I am sorry, it is Sunschein.
CAPTAIN BOYD: Sunschein did not say that in Court.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Aufrecht.
CAPTAIN BOYD: Aufrecht is not in either.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I withdraw the name of the witness. (To the witness) I still put it to you that in fact you beat people both with a rubber stick or a piece of rubber piping, quite regularly? - I caught prisoners three or four times stealing vegetables, and I slapped their faces, but I never beat them either with a stick or with a whip or with a rubber truncheon or rubber piping.
Do you remember Sunschein, the witness who was here? - Yes.
Do you remember her in your cookhouse? - Yes.
Do you remember what she said about you, you used to beat the girls in the kitchen very frequently and pull their hair? - I never pulled anybody’s hair. What Sunschein said here, that I beat her, that she fell to the ground, that is not true, and anyway in my kitchen nobody was beaten at any time.
You remember she says that just a few days before the British came she saw you give a girl a terrible beating with your hands? - Yes, I remember that she said so, but it is quite impossible; I have never done this.
You had a week in the Bathhouse altogether, had you not? - Yes.
How long were you in the Bathhouse altogether, stretching over what period? - The second and fourth week in March.
You were in the Bathhouse for each of these two weeks, were you? - And the first days in April.
Were quite a lot of other Aufseherinnen were on duty there for an odd day with an odd parade as well, were they not? - Yes, when, for instance, people had their baths in the night. Sometimes I was on duty night and day, and then the next day I was off duty. In such a case another Aufseherin took over.
It was generally one of the new Aufseherinnen who had not already got a job who was appointed. We have heard Fiest and Ilse Förster and also Herta Bothe say they were given it when they were out of a job? - During the period of my duties in the Bathhouse no new Aufseherin came into the Bathhouse.
They must have come down, I suppose, on the days when you were off duty; is that right? - Possibly.
Fiest may not be telling the truth, but I see no reason why she would not tell us. Fiest has told us she was there two or three days. Ilse Förster said she was there for an odd day, and Herta Bothe said she was there for an odd day. Do you doubt any of that? - It might be true, because Fiest and Bothe were working in February in the Bathhouse, and Fiest in the first days of March, so it might be true.
That is what I really want to know, whether Volkenrath is right or not. Up to what date were women taking baths in that Bathhouse that you know about? - I know for certain that on 6th April I was still on duty and that people had their baths. I am not so sure about the 7th April.
I know it is Aufseherin, but your duties were to help her to keep order and keep the place clean, and that sort of thing, were they not? - Yes.
And if you saw somebody stealing from that cookhouse you would interfere; would you not? - It happened three or four times that I slapped their faces, but generally they ran away when they saw us.
If you saw somebody stealing when you were on your way to work you would interfere, would you not? - Not always.
Sometimes? - Three or four times.
You could not get to your work without passing it every day, could you? - But still there was a distance of 20 to 30 metres from the road.
Even if there was it would not be too far to go if you saw someone stealing from the kitchen, would it? - No, I would not have interfered if it happened at another kitchen.
As a matter of fact, were you not walking down that road with a stick in your hand when you saw this man and you went and beat him with a stick? - No, I never had a stick.
Of course, you are a strong, thick-set woman, are you not? - Yes.
And the prisoners, or the majority of them, by that time whilst you were at Belsen were little better than living skeletons, many of them, were they not? - Yes, a part of them.
You would have no difficulty in picking one of them up and throwing him into a ditch, would you? - I would never do such a thing.
Do you remember Neumann? - Yes.
I mean Maria Neumann, the one who says this about you? - No.
She says she was a trained nurse and that she got a beating from you simply for standing and watching what was happening; is that not true? - No, it is quite impossible. I hit people only when they were stealing vegetables.
Do you remember what Ehlert said about you both in her statement and in her evidence? - Yes.
That you had a reputation for being very severe? - I do not know exactly what Ehlert means by that, but anyway I have done my duty in a conscientious way, and on the contrary I relieved some regulations and made it easier for the prisoners.
Of course beating these wretched starving people was not only not part of your duty but was directly against your regulations, was it not? - Yes.
On your own admission you went beyond your regulations, did you not? - Yes.
Is the fact not this, that when you said "I only did my duty" you mean that you knew very well you were allowed to do that beating? - No, it was not allowed.
Do you remember Hilde Lohbauer? - Yes.
Do you remember her saying she had seen you ill treating and beating prisoners? - I have never ill treated prisoners; I slapped their faces.
Re-examined by CAPTAIN BOYD: Where did the prisoners who were trained nurses work? - In the C.R.S.
Were either of the hospital's near Cookhouse No. 1? - No.
Have you ever heard that called anything else but the women's compound ...
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: We changed the number over afterwards, and I wanted to make it clear what we were talking about. You will find in Brigadier Glyn-Hughes report that the big camp is called by the opposite number.
CAPTAIN BOYD: After the British came in?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Yes. I was not putting it in for the benefit of the witness but for the benefit of the Court.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I do not want to ask any questions on this if it is not being pursued. Is it going to be suggested that some mistake was made between this woman and some other Aufseherin named Olt?
CAPTAIN BOYD: That is suggested, yes.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: It has not been put by anybody. Are you going to put it to this witness or not?
CAPTAIN BOYD: I have put it to several witnesses there was an Aufseherin called Olt who was like this woman and there has been no cross examination.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: It is being pursued, is it?
CAPTAIN BOYD: Yes.
(The accused Gertrud Sauer leaves the place from which she has given her evidence.)
The accused HILDE LISIEWITZ takes her stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and, having been duly sworn, is examined by CAPTAIN BOYD as follows: What is your name? - Hilde Lisiewitz.
Where and when were you born? - 31st January 1922 in Grünewald, Silesia.
Are you married? - Single.
What were you doing at the beginning of the war? - I was working in a fruit garden with a gardener.
What did you do after that? - Reichsarbeitsdienst.
How long did you do that? - October 1940 to March 1941.
After March 1941 what did you do? - I went home again and went into a public house, restaurant, in a railway station and worked there.
When did you leave there? - I stayed there till January 1943.
Where did you go then? - From February 1943 until November 1944 munition factory in Grünberg.
What happened in November 1944? - Conscripted into the SS
Where did you go? - To Gross Rosen, next day to Langenbielau.
Where did you go after that? - In Langenbielau. till the 29th December, then back to the factory in Grünberg.
Was the factory later evacuated? - Yes, 29th January.
Where did you go? - We marched with the prisoners to Gruben and arrived there on the 2nd February.
Where did you go from Gruben? - I stayed in Gruben until the 7th February and then I got orders to proceed to Bergen-Belsen.
When did you arrive at Belsen? - 3rd March 1945.
Where were you between 7th February and 4th March? - I wanted to see my mother, so I went to Grünberg in the province of Brandenburg.
When you got to Belsen what was the first job you did? - Three days nothing, on the 6th Wood Kommando.
What did you do after the 6th? - One day Wood Kommando, on the next day one week of so called Vegetable Kommandos outside the camp.
What did you do after that? - Another week with the same Kommando bringing vegetables to the different cookhouses.
After that week? - One day in the women's compound weaving, one day in the Bathhouse and the third day off duty.
What did you do next? - One week in the peeling department of Cookhouse No. 1 in the men's compound.
And after that week? - Three days ill, one day afterwards in the peeling department again, and then came Easter Sunday, then I had the Vegetable Kommando again on that Sunday.
What happened on Easter Sunday? - I did not feel very well on Easter Sunday and I had to go to bed between 11 and 12, and I was taken ill again and I was ill again till the 11th April.
THE PRESIDENT: Taken ill again on the same day?
CAPTAIN BOYD: Yes. (To the witness) What did you do on the 11th? - On the 11th ordinary duties in the camp, ordinary Aufseherin and on the 12th to Neuengamme.
You worked in the peeling department of Kitchen No. 1. Where is that peeling department? - In the men's compound; the first cookhouse.
Yes, but the actual peeling department? - In the building where the kitchen is.
When you were ill do you know what was the matter with you? - The first three days I had a temperature, then the second time when I was taken ill the doctor said it was a sort of Typhus.
Did you go to hospital? - I should have been taken to hospital but there was no room, and then later I felt better.
CAPTAIN BOYD: I am coming now to the affidavits. The first one is Alexandra Siwidowa, page 137, exhibit 81, paragraph 2. (To the witness) She says on many occasions she has seen you beat women with a rubber truncheon for trying to steal extra food; is that right? - That is not true.
She then says that you reported such incidents to the Blockleaders. - I have never done that.
She then says that you knocked prisoners down and then kicked them on the floor. Is that true? - No, I never beat anybody near the kitchen.
CAPTAIN BOYD: Now Dora Almaleh, page 1, exhibit 16. (To the witness) Is that true? - No.
Did you ever carry a thick stick? - I never had a stick.
Supposing Dora Almaleh had been one of your working party would she have been left behind when you went away? - No.
CAPTAIN BOYD: That concludes my examination.
MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
MAJOR BROWN: No questions.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN FIELDEN: Do you recognise the accused Pichen, number 22? - Yes.
Whilst you worked in Kitchen No. 1 did he wear a pistol? - Not during his work.
Where was his pistol whilst he was working in the kitchen? - In the cupboard.
Was the cupboard locked? - Yes.
How would you describe his relations with the internees working in the kitchen? - Good.
Did you ever see him shoot anyone? - No.
Did you hear that he had ever shot anyone? - No.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: No questions.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No questions.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No questions.
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: You never did work in Kitchen No. 1 itself, did you? - But the door was open and I could look into the kitchen.
So you used to watch each day to see where he put his pistol when he came in, did you? - My coat was hanging in the cupboard and then I saw the pistol.
You had to get the cupboard unlocked each time to get your coat out? - Yes.
Who kept the key? - It was hanging near the window.
You told us that you left Guben on the 7th February? - Yes.
What orders were you given when you left? - To report at once in Bergen-Belsen.
You did not in fact report at once to Bergen-Belsen? - No.
Do you really say that on the 7th February you absented yourself without leave for a month? - Yes.
How did you get from Guben to Brandenburg? - By train.
Where did you get your railway warrant from if you were absent without leave? - I bought one at Guben.
How did you get from Grünewald to Belsen? - I went to Ravensbrück and got there a railway warrant to Belsen.
What happened to you when you got to Ravensbrück having been absent without leave and having asked for a railway warrant? - They were angry with me and said I should get along immediately to Bergen-Belsen.
Were you not punished ? - No.
What sort of discipline did you have in the SS camp to just go away when you liked and come back? What did they say: "You are a very naughty girl" and leave it at that or what? - I told them I was looking for my mother.
All these SS women who have told us they were so frightened if they did not do the things they were told need not have been frightened at all; there was no trouble when you went off like that? - Yes, generally they were very severe but they could not prove anything, because I could have said that I was on my way for such a long time because the conditions were very bad.
When did you get to Ravensbrück? - On the 28th February.
It would be rather hard to say that the communications were responsible when it was not on your route at all and it took you 21 days to get there, would it not? - I was not punished.
I suggest to you that you arrived at Belsen quite a long time before you are pretending you did? - No, it was Saturday, 3rd March.
Let us just go through what you say you did. You got to Belsen on the 3rd March? - Yes.
For three days you did nothing at all; is that right? - Yes.
Which day of the week did you start work? - Monday the 6th.
If Saturday was the 3rd, Monday could hardly have been the 6th, could it? - Monday the 5th.
You started on the 5th? - Yes.
And then you had one day, the 6th, with the Wood Kommando; is that right? - Yes.
Then the next day you started a week with the Vegetable Kommando outside the camp; is that right? - On the 6th.
You were a week on that, were you? - About a week.
Was it a week or about a week or how many days did you go on it? What day of the week was it when you finished? - At the beginning of the next week - one or two days.
That would take us, if we give you the two days, to the 13th then you had another week with the same Kommando bringing vegetables to the kitchen, did you not? - Yes.
That takes us to the 20th. How long were you weaving? - One day.
How long were you in the Bathhouse? - One night.
Then the next day you say you were off, do you? - Yes.
Then you had a week in the potato peeling department; is that right? - Yes.
Cookhouse No. 1? - Yes.
CAPTAIN BOYD: She said, I think, about a week.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Well, what day of the week was it when you stopped? - I do not know either the date or the day of the week.
How many days were you in that cookhouse on that occasion? - I do not know.
Try and think, will you? - On the 28th, 29th and 30th I was taken ill for the first time.
Then you had a day's peeling again? - Yes.
Then do you say the doctor said you had typhus when you were taken ill again? - The start of typhus.
And he sent you back into the peeling department? - He said that when I fell ill for the second time.
But after you had been ill for the second time you went back into the peeling department in Kitchen No. 1, did you not? - No.
Is that not what you told us? - I was on duty after my illness for the second time, on the 11th.
What I am suggesting to you is that if you had typhus it is utter nonsense to suggest you were ill for ten days and then put back in the cookhouse ...
THE PRESIDENT: I am not entirely happy with the translation of the word typhus. I think it was typhoid.
THE INTERPRETER: The witness said it was Fleckfieber which is typhus.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: You were very frightened of typhus in that camp, were you not? - I was not afraid.
There were thousands of prisoners who had it, were there not? - Yes.
There were thousands of prisoners who died of it, was there not? - Yes.
Were you not very careful not to touch them? - I did my duty and nothing else.
That has nothing to do with what I asked you. Were you not very careful not to touch the prisoners who were covered with lice? - I had to work with my gang because that was my duty, and apart from that I did not mix very much with them.
Most of the prisoners were covered with lice, were they not, that is what was spreading the Fleckfieber, was it not? - I did not see that.
Were you not given any instructions by anybody about what precautions you should take to avoid getting Fleckfieber? - No.
I suggest to you that the SS took good care not to touch the prisoners with their hands and that is why most of you beat them with sticks? - I never had a stick.
Did you go onto the Vegetable Kommando at all at Easter time? - Half a day on Easter Sunday.
Do you remember when you were on the kommando before that - not on Easter Sunday, but before that - that prisoners tried to steal some vegetables? - Yes.
Did they often try to steal them? - Rather frequently.
What did you do if they tried to steal them? - I chased them away and slapped their faces.
Did any of your working party ever try to steal any? - No.
Why were they so much more honest than the others? - They had enough.
Were they eating raw turnip? - Yes.
You remember, of course, Almaleh and what she says about you? - I remember what she said, but I do not remember her herself.
She said that she was one of your party? - I do not know.
She says that she allowed two male prisoners to take two turnips off the cart? - Yes.
What would you have done if you had caught one of your party letting two prisoners take turnips off the cart? - I would have chased them away.
What would you have done to the women in your own party? - My girls never did that.
Most of these men, of course, and the women were far too weak to try and run away at all, were they not? - I did not encounter any men.
Where did you take the vegetables to from the store? - To Kitchen No. 3 from the food stores.
Was that from the vegetable store? - Between the barbed wire and the food stores.
That was actually in the men’s compound, was it not? - At the beginning.
Why do you tell us you never came into any contact with any men when you were actually getting these vegetable from out of the men's compound? - I went through the SS barrack area, near the Blockführer's room.
You would have to do that to get in, and having got in the men's compound you would find the food store, would you not? - Yes.
And you would have to load that handcart up with the vegetables inside the men’s compound, would you not? - I had to load it there in the men's compound and then I brought it to the kitchen.
Then you could not avoid being in contact with men inside that compound, could you? - There were no men there because that was surrounded with another barbed wire.
Men used to hang round the food store, did they not? - No.
On the off-chance of stealing from the food store? - I have not seen any.
I suggest to you that what you did when you found these men stealing was you pushed them to the ground and beat them with a stick which you always carried? - I never had a stick.
And then you stamped on them with your high boots? - I did not have high boots.
What sort of boots did you wear? - Either shoes or boots but not those high jackboots.
Were they not part of your uniform? - We were not issued with these boots until 13th April
Do you really mean that? - We all coming from Silesia did not have any high boots.
Were did you get the ones you were issued with on the 13th April? - I do not know where from but it was at Bergen-Belsen.
Were they just issued to you to impress the British when they arrived, were they? - They were in Belsen - just high boots - and they should have gone to Oranienburg, but I believe that camp had been evacuated before so all of us Aufseherinnen were issued with these high boots.
I suggest to you that having knocked those two men down and struck and kicked them you then got a hold of Almaleh herself and gave her a good shaking? - That is not true.
Do you remember her starting to cry? - No; Almaleh says she is a Greek subject. I had in my kommando only Russians.
Do you speak Russian? - No.
Do you speak Greek? - No.
How do you know what they were? - I know it that they were Russians because they told me so in German.
Who took over this kommando from you? - Aufseherin Lehmann.
Do you say that at no time did you carried a stick? - No, never.
Did you see other people carrying sticks? - I have never seen anybody with a stick.
Have you ever seen anybody else beat a prisoner with a stick? - No.
All the time you never saw a prisoners beaten with a stick? - I did my duty and what the others did I did not see.
Do you mean by that it was you duty not to see what the others did? - I did not see anybody beaten.
Why did you beat people? - Because they were stealing and I could not chase them away in a different way and I had to beat them.
Did you see all those corpses lying about the camp? - Not before 18th April.
Did you never see them as you went round the camp? - I did not go into the camp. I went to the kitchen and that was the furthest point.
Did you notice the filthy state that the camp was in? - I did not see that. Everything was tidy.
Did you never see the foulness that was lying around all over the camp? - No.
Do you remember the large pile of corpses that was lying about just outside the wire of the women’s lager? - No.
You never noticed it? - I did not go into the women’s compound.
But Kitchen No. 3 was in the women's compound, was it not? - All that I did was I passed four or five blocks and did not see anything else.
Did you not smell anything? - I do not know how that smells.
Did you never wonder what the smell about the place was? - No.
When you saw these prisoners absolutely skin and bone and skeletons did you ask if any of them were dying? - We knew about tit that there was typhus and that there not very much to eat - hunger and starvation.
Did it not ever occur to any of you to try to help these people, to organise some sort of nursing for them or clean the place or do anything at all? - We Aufseherinnen could not do anything about it.
Did you discuss between yourselves what you could do about it? - No.
Did you care in the least? - When no food arrives we cannot do anything about it.
Re-examined by CAPTAIN BOYD: You told us when you went to kitchen number three you passed four or five blocks. Do you know who lived in those blocks? - Yes, working kommandos.
(The accused Hilde Lisiewitz, leaves the place from which she has given her evidence)
CAPTAIN BOYD: That is my last accused.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: I appear for number 43, Johanne Roth, number 44, Anna Hempel, and number 45 Hildegard Hahnel. Before I call Johanne Roth I would like to tell the Court at the very outset that she is not an SS woman, never was an SS woman, and, in fact, she has been a prisoners of the SS since January 1sr 1941. She has endured all the hardships of concentration camps all that time, and it is not until she gets to Belsen that she becomes a functionary. She will tell you when she arrived she was made Stubendienst, which was a person who remained behind in the block, when the rest of the kommandos had gone to work, to supervise the distribution of food, the distribution of rations, and the looking after the sick and so on. I will now call Johanne Roth.
The accused JOHANNE ROTH, takes her stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and having been duly sworn is examined by CAPTAIN MUNRO as follows: What is your full name? - Johanne Roth.
Where and when were you born? - 27th January 1913 in Steinheim, Silesia.
Are you married or single? - Single.
Before the war did you work as a farm girl for eight years, then were you a shop assistant for ten months, and then did you work as a housemaid in a doctor's house? - Yes, for 12 months in the doctor's house.
What happened in January 1941? - I was arrested by the Gestapo at Giessen.
Why were you arrested? - Because I was living together with a Pole.
Was that the only reason? - Yes.
What happened to you then? - Four days in Giessen, then on the 6th January 1941 to Darmstadt and there thirteen months in prison.
During those thirteen months were you ever promoted to be a functionary in Darmstadt prison? - Yes.
Were you an ordinary prisoner or were you not at Darmstadt? - No functionary - a simple prisoner.
Where were you sent from Darmstadt? - On the 17th February 1942 to Ravensbrück.
How long were you at Ravensbrück? - 26th March 1942, then I was sent to Auschwitz.
At Ravensbrück did you hold any function or were you an ordinary prisoner? - A simple prisoner.
To which camp did you go in Auschwitz? - No. 1.
Where were you sent from there? - On the 26th July to Birkenau.
THE PRESIDENT: Is this still 1942?
CAPTAIN MUNRO: Yes. (To the witness) How long were you at Birkenau? - Up to April 1943.
And from there? - I was sent to Budy.
How long were you there? - 18th January 1945.
At Birkenau and at Budy were you an ordinary prisoner or did you hold a function? - Ordinary prisoner.
Where did you go from Budy? - To Belsen.
What date did you arrive at Belsen? - 27th January.
To what block were you sent when you arrived at Belsen? - 213.
Were you then an ordinary prisoner or were you a Stubendienst? - Ordinary prisoner.
How long were you in Block 213? - Six weeks.
Were you then transferred to another block? - On the 6th March to 199.
What happened to you then? - There I got a function, a Stubendienst, a sort of orderly.
Will you tell the Court how you were chosen for the job? - We were 13 German women and three of the 13 became Kapos, six went into the quarters of the SS to wash their laundry and the others became Stubendienst.
Did you ask for for this function? - No.
Did you want the function? - No.
Why not? - Because it was a thankless task, a hard thankless task.
What were your duties as Zimmerdienst? - We had to get up in the morning at 6 o’clock and go on roll-call and after the roll-call we had to tidy the rooms.
Did you have to stand on Appell yourself? - Yes.
And who was responsible for the discipline on those Appells? - The Blockältesten.
Now when the working kommandos had left the camp under the Kapos, what did you do? - We had to tidy the blocks.
Did you have anything to do with food? - In the afternoon we had to collect the food and distribute it and it was the same with bread.
Did you personally give the food to the internees? - No, I only had to stand there and watch it. The other Zimmerdienst did this job.
Were you ever the night guard of Block 199? - No.
How many night guards were there? - Three.
What sort of a block was Block 199; what sort of people were in that block? - Russians, Poles, Hungarians, Czechoslovaks and Germans.
How many people were in a block? - 800.
How many sick people were in the block? - In the first fortnight about 50; the next three weeks about 200, and it increased gradually.
Were you ever visited by the SS?, supervised - Yes, Aufseherin Gollasch.
How many times did she visit you? - Every second or third day.
Were you ever at any time given instructions as to how to control prisoners? - No.
Did you at any time personally try to help the prisoners by getting them more food? - They had enough food in Block 199.
Did they have more food than in the other blocks, Block 199? - Yes, the Kapos were seeingto that.
How could the Kapos do that for them in Block 199? - They received 50 litres more than the other blocks.
How did they do this? - If they went to collect the food and said it is for 250, they always received for 300
CAPTAIN MUNRO: I am going to turn now to the allegations. The first one is Helena Klein, which appears in transcript 12, at page 14, she appeared in Court. (To the witness) Do you remember the witness Helena Klein? - Yes.
Do you remember a woman called Ida Friedman in Block 199? - Yes.
Helen Klein said that you beat her very severely one night because she wanted to go to the lavatory; is that true? - It is not true.
She went on to say that the next day Ida Friedman died. Can you say to the Court that you had nothing to do with her death or not? - Certainly not.
What nationality was Ida Friedman? - She was a Polish Jewess.
When did you last see Ida Friedman? - Two days before the British troops arrived.
What have you got to say about that? - Everything is a lie.
Did you ever beat a Polish girl called Hoffman? - No.
Did you frequently beat prisoners for no reason at all? - No.
The next one is transcript 17, page 11, the deposition of Sofia Rosenzweig. What have you got to say about that affidavit? - It is all a lie.
Is it true that you beat her when she was very ill in bed? - There is no question about beating sick women who are in bed.
And did you beat an old woman who was lying in bed? - No.
Did you ever beat people in Belsen? - Yes.
Why did you beat them? - Mostly during the distribution of food.
Why? - When they tried to get a second helping or when they were crowding round the containers.
Did you ever carry a stick or rubber truncheon? - No.
With what did you beat the prisoners? - With my own hand.
Did you beat them with anything else besides the hand? - With a belt. It is a very small leather belt.
When were you arrested? - On the 16th June.
What were you doing between the time the British arrived and 16th June? - I went walking.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I am not sure the translation is right.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Is that what she said. It sounds nonsense to me, but it may mean something.
THE INTERPRETER: Yes: "I went for a walk".
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: That cannot last for two months, that is why I am sure the translation is wrong.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: I will clear it up. (To the witness) Did you go walking and what distances did you walk? - I was walking about in the camp.
With whom did you walk? - With my friends.
Were your friends prisoners? - Yes.
Why did you not go away from Belsen when you had the chance? - I had a clear conscience and in the second place I had to wait for my papers.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: That concludes my examination.
MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
MAJOR BROWN: No questions.
And you stayed there continuously for the next six weeks? - Yes.
Were there any other prisoners living in Block 213 at the same time? - Russians and Poles.
During the time you lived in that block, were there any beds piled up outside? - There were beds inside the blocks.
Were there any beds piled up outside the block? - No.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Were you ever in the Strafkommando in Auschwitz? - No.
Did you know most of the SS men in the Birkenau camp? - No.
I am speaking of the period from the Autumn of 1942 till April, 1943. Have you ever seen the accused No. 26 (Schreirer) as Auschwitz during that time? - No.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Neither Captain Boyd nor I have any questions.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No questions.
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: How were you treated at Ravensbrück? - Quite well.
How were you treated at Auschwitz? - Not so well.
How were you treated at Birkenau? - Not so well.
Did you see anybody beaten there? - I have never seen anybody beaten. I went to work in the morning and returned at night.
You never saw anybody beaten on an Appell? - No.
And never saw anybody beaten in a block? - No.
Really quite a nice place to be? - I was always outside; I never saw anything.
Which Lager did you live in at Birkenau? - Birkenau No. 1 Women’s Compound.
Is that the one we call Lager "A"? - I do not know.
Is that the one nearest to the gate on the left hand side as you go in? - Yes.
I suppose you never saw anything of these selections? - No.
Never saw any transports coming at night or anything of that sort? - No.
You really did go to the place, I suppose? - Yes.
When did you see Kramer there? - On Easter Monday 1943.
At Auschwitz? - Birkenau.
1943? - April, 1943.
Are you sure about that? - Yes.
Do you know what he was doing there? Had he come for a holiday, or was he working? - Several SS Unterscharführer arrived to look for people for their own Kommandos for their own working parties.
But Kramer was Kommandant of Natzweiler at that time, the other end of Germany? - He was there present when these working parties were selected.
Have you not got the wrong year altogether? - No, it was in April, 1943.
When did you go to Budy? - April, 1943; Easter Monday, 1943.
Is that the same year that you saw Kramer? - Yes.
Do you remember Bormann at Budy? - Yes.
Had she a dog with her? - Yes.
Were you one of the prisoners who used to play with it? - No.
Why, did not the prisoners play with it? - The dog was mostly in the fields; he was chasing about in the fields.
Did the prisoners play with him? - When he was there then the prisoners played with him.
Did Bormann paly with you too? - With me?
With the prisoners in the dock? - No, we did not play. We went to work in the morning and returned at night.
How long have you really been a functionary at a concentration camp? - Up to March, 1945.
Who appointed you? - I have never been a functionary; I was always a simple normal prisoner.
You were a functionary in Belsen, were you not? - Yes, in Belsen.
Who appointed you? - Aufseherin Gollasch and the Blockälteste.
When did you first meet Aufseherin Gollasch? - On the 8th or 9th March she came for the first time to my block.
Did she not come into your part of the camp? - I do not know; I have never seen her.
Have you ever seen anybody in the dock at all? - I did not bother about the Aufseherinnen.
You got along with them very well, did you not? - I had nothing to do with them.
Who was the Blockalteste of your block? - Frieda Franka.
The block was frightfully overcrowded, was it not? - During the night we were 800, during the day the prisoners went out for work.
Who was in charge of them going out to work? - The Blockalteste and the Clerk.
Who marched them off to work? - The Kapos.
And who stood at the gate checking them out? - The Blockführer and the Clerk.
Who was the Blockführer? - I do not know his name.
Was not Weingartner the Blockführer? - I have never seen him as Blockführer.
Where was this block of yours? You are sure it is in the same Belsen we are all talking about? - Women’s Compound.
That is the big one with Kitchen No. 3 in? - Yes.
Weingartner said he was the Blockführer. Are you quite sure he was not? - He might have been a Blockfuhrer, but when I went to work there was always another Blockfuhrer standing at the gate.
And, of course, Volkenrath said she spent all her time there, that is why she never got into the other women’s compound. Are you sure you never saw them at all? - I never paid any attention either to Blockführerin or Aufseherinnen or SS men.
How did they react to a prisoner ignoring them all? - I went through the gate with my prisoners and did not bother about anything else.
What did you go through the gate with your prisoners for? - To fetch our food, our meals.
That was one of your jobs, was it? - Yes, that was a duty of the hut orderly to fetch the meals and to fetch the bread as well.
Now you have heard the allegations against you which have been made of beating on a number of occasions, have you not? - I beat very little.
You had some beds in the block, had you not? - Yes.
Did some of these get broken? - Very many.
Did you not use a wooden lathe from one of those to do your beating with? - No.
Do you remember a girl called Rozenzweig being in your block? - I do not know her.
I suggest you beat her with a lathe when she could not get up for an Appell? - It is a lie.
And that you beat other people in a similar way when they could not get up? - I could never, I was not allowed, I could never beat sick people.
Were there any French people in your block? - No.
Did you not know an Ida Friedman, who was a French girl? - No, she was a Polish Jewess, she was not a French girl.
Do you remember beating her at all? - No, she was not beaten.
I suggest to you that you regularly beat people and you beat that woman and you beat her until she died? - Untrue, and she is not dead either.
RE examnined by CAPTAIN MUNRO: Was the reason that you did not notice the SS because you tried to keep out of their way as much as possible? - Because I was imprisoned for such a long while.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Did you have a name or a number in concentration camp? - A number.
Have you got a number tattooed on your arm? - No, I had my number on my dress/.
You are a German, are you? - Yes.
Only the Jews had the number on their arm; is that right? - Yes
In these blocks were there some lavatories? - Yes.
For the 800 people who slept in the block at night how many lavatories were there available for them? - Five or six.
And when the water went off towards the middle of April what was the condition of the lavatories? - Dirty.
Were they choked up? - Yes.
Could they be used at all? - Yes.
What happened when they were full up? Were they cleaned out? Is that what you say? - Yes, cleaned out.
Who cleaned them out? - Male prisoners.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE COURT: You say that Friedman was not dead. Can you tell us what makes you think that? - I saw Friedman two or three days before the British troops arrived and 10 or 12 days later.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Did anybody die in this block of yours? - During this period of my stay in there seven or eight.
What happened to the bodies there? - The Clerk took their names and numbers and then the bodies were taken away to the mortuary.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions?
CAPTAIN MUNRO: No Sir.
(The accused Johanne Roth leaves the place from which she has given her evidence.)
The accused, ANNA HEMPEL takes her stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and, having been duly sworn is examined by CAPTAIN MUNRO as follows: What is you full name? - Anna Hempel.
Where and when were you born? - 22nd June 1900 in Grünberg in Silesia.
Are you German? - Yes.
Are you married? - Yes.
Have you one son? - Yes.
How old is your son? - 17.
What job did you do in civil life? - I was working in a textile factory, sewing.
Where was the factory? - In Grünberg in Silesia.
Were there any prisoners working in the factory? - Yes.
How did you join the SS? - On the 8th May 1944 myself and 34 other women were conscripted for the duration.
Then what happened? - We went, all 35 of us, on the 8th May 1944 to Ravensbrück.
After that? - Three weeks in Ravensbrück and then back to the factory in Grünberg.
What happened when you got back to the factory? - A fortnight's leave then into the camp.
What sort of job did you have in the factory then? - I was in the office of the camp and did clerical duties.
Was there a camp attached to the factory? - Two camps.
When you came back from Grünberg were you in the camp or the factory? - In Camp No. 1.
What happened to this camp? - In September 1944 I came to Camp No. 2.
Then what happened? - On 28th January 1945 our camp was evacuated.
Why did the camp have to evacuate? - The Russian front was only 15 kilometres from our camp.
Where did the camp move to? - Guben.
How long were you at Guben? - Four days in Guben then orders to Bergen-Belsen.
On what date did you arrive at Belsen? - 17th February 1945.
How many Aufseherinnen were there in the cookhouse? - I was alone.
For how many people did you cook? - 17000 rations.
How many internees were there in the cookhouse to help you? - 34 women and 18 men.
Were they all volunteers for the job? - Yes.
Why did they volunteer to work in Cookhouse No. 2? - They had good food.
Now the rations you received, were they enough for the prisoners? - No.
Was the daily ration that a prisoner used to get in Cookhouse No. 2? - Midday one litre of soup, and for night three quarters a litre of soup.
Did you try to get more rations for the prisoners? - Yes.
Tell the Court. - Heuskel and myself we went several times to Unterscharführer Müller and told him that the rations were not sufficient and that our prisoners had for seven days no bread at all, and we asked him about this question as well. We asked the Aufseherin Klein as well - Klein who worked in the stores.
And did you get extra rations? - If Aufseherin Klein could manage it she let us have some more bread, and the same applies to Müller, who tried to give us some ingredients to make the soup a bit stronger.
What were your working hours in Cookhouse No. 2? - 14 to 16 hours on duty.
Was this every day? - Yes.
Why did you stop working in Cookhouse No. 2? - On the 8th April I was taken ill with Typhus, and on the 9th April I was taken to hospital.
To which hospital were you taken? - Wehrmacht barracks area at Bergen.
Were you arrested there? - Yes, on the 15th April.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: I am going on to the allegations now. The first one is Lidia Sunschein, transcript 11, page 15. (To the witness) Did you know a Kapo at Belsen called Lidia Sunschein? - Yes, she was a Kapo working in our kitchen.
Do you remember her giving evidence against you in this Court? - Yes.
She accused you of beating girls in your private room because they stole turnips, is this true? - No.
Did you in fact have a private room? - No.
She accused you of beating a Frenchman called John; is this true? - No.
She accused you of using a rubber truncheon; is that true? - No.
(The accused Anna Hempel withdraws from the place from which she has given her evidence.)