Transcript of the Official Shorthand Notes of 'The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others'
The accused, STANISLAWA Starostka, resumes her place at the witness stand and is questioned as follows:
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Are you telling this Court that while you were apparently carrying out your duties as a functionary at Auschwitz to the entire satisfaction of the Germans you were also trying to assist the internees? - Yes, that was my policy to get on well with the German authorities and simultaneously to help the prisoners.
Throughout the considerable time when you were a functionary did the Germans ever suspect that you were being lenient to the prisoners and take any action about it so far as you are concerned? - Certainly they did suspect that and on several occasions I was even punished by the Germans because I was too lenient.
What sort of punishment did you receive? - I was punished with three days standing imprisonment, that means I had to stand all the time, and that was because I opened the gate between the compounds on Sundays in order to enable the prisoners to get in touch with each other.
On how many occasions do you say the Germans punished you for not doing your duty? - It depended on the offence I committed; sometimes I had to be in the prison; at one time I got 25 strokes for disobeying orders.
When an internee did something which was wrong, such as stealing, which required punishment was there no official way of reporting that crime to the German authorities and having the internee properly punished on the method that was general throughout the camp by the German authorities? - There was an official way of dealing with these cases, but it depended on what and where the crime took place, and even for the same kind of crime the guilty man would be punished in different ways according to whether it was the first time he committed the crime or second or third time, and according to that he would receive great punishment or very lenient punishment; if it was a case of a man who repeated these crimes many times not only he himself would be punished but they would mete out a collective punishment for all the people in the block or some other group of prisoners.
I am afraid you have not understood my question. I will put it a different way. Supposing an internee had committed an offence such as stealing soup, what was the action which you would have taken in reporting it and what was the official action which would have been taken in that case? - If it was a case of stealing some soup it was not really a great offence, but he could be punished by having his own portion of soup withdrawn the whole day but if, however, I reported it to the German authorities not only he himself but the whole block would be deprived of the soup for the whole day. That was a kind of example punishment, to give examples to the other prisoners to warn them that they should refrain from doing these things.
Did you ever know of cases where internees were brought before the German authorities to have their cases enquired in to and have a trial and then have a proper punishment according to the German concentration camp law, inflicted? - Yes, there were cases like that too, but usually when the crime was very great he would be sent first for enquiries, sometimes several times, and after that he would be punished by the Political Department with 25 strokes or with long internment, long imprisonment.
THE PRESIDENT: You have just said you were punished with 25 strokes and that was for doing something to help your fellow internees? - Yes, it was because the working kommando outside the camp complained to me that the soup that is being sent to them is not delivered to them properly - instead of getting the whole ration they got less - and I reported it to the Oberaufseherin. When the man in charge of the kommando came back after work had finished in the presence of the whole kommando he administered these 25 strokes unofficially because he was not entitled to do it.
That is what I want to get at. You were not tried, or anything; it was simply the man in charge of the kommando who gave you 25 strokes on his own? - Yes, it was that way.
I understood, from what I have heard other people say, that things had to be reported. Do you know why he did not report it? - I did not report it at that time because I was afraid that if I do so he would punish me again so I preferred not to say anything.
Is it a fact, therefore, that punishment was just meted out by anyone who thought he was entitled to do so without that person reporting it first to superior authority? - Yes, it was a very frequent occurrence in the camp especially with Oberscharführer Mohl and Unterscharführer Steibitz and some other people in the camp who used to do it very frequently.
A MEMBER OF THE COURT: I take it that at Auschwitz you saw quite a lot of Hoessler; is that right? - Yes, at the end of 1943 he became Lagerführer in Birkenau in the women's compound.
What would you say was his whole attitude? - All the time when I was in the camp he was the only Lagerführer who really cared for the prisoners and thanks to his efforts all the lice in the camp disappeared.
You said you could see through the windows the lorries taking the prisoners from Block 25 to the gas chamber. Did you ever see Hoessler with those lorries? - As a Lagerführer he was obliged sometimes to attend them because he had to make records, to count the numbers of prisoners being loaded on the truck.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE COURT: You said yesterday in answer to the Prosecutor that dogs were set on the prisoners at Auschwitz and that people who had these dogs were Aufseherin Bormann, Aufseherin Kuck, Aufseherin Westfeld, and most of the guards with outside working parties - Yes, I did.
You said also that the only one you had seen yourself setting a dog on a prisoner was Aufseherin Westfeld? - I said that Westfeld set the dog on me.
Did you know of any occasions which the others had set their dogs on prisoners? - I know from my own knowledge that the Aufseherin Westfeld and Kuck used to set dogs on people very frequently, but about Aufseherin Bormann I do not know exactly because I think her dog was very young and not trained properly, but the fact that I do not know about it does not mean she did not really do so.
Do you think the dogs could be mistaken? - No, it was impossible to mistake one dog for the other; they looked quite different. Kuck's dog was a black wool and Bormann's dog was brown with light spots.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I wonder if the Court would put one question. I only want to make quite sure I have understood what the witness has said. I understood her to say that when she got the 25 strokes that was given to her by the kommando fuhrer of a kommando because she had reported that he had done something wrong.
THE PRESIDENT: I understood that, that she had complained that there was not sufficient soup sent out there and it was when he came back, the man in charge of this kommando, he there and then gave her 25 strokes.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: That is how I understood it.
THE PRESIDENT: (To the witness) I understood that you said you received your 25 strokes from the SS man who was in charge of the kommando because you had said that that kommando had not got sufficient soup? - Yes, I reported to the German authorities about it and, of course, he was very upset about it and when he came he took his revenge.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions you wish to ask on the questions asked by the Court?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No.
(The accused Starostka leaves the place from which she has given her evidence)
What was your last address in Poland? - In Kraków, Poland.
Were you arrested by the Germans? - Yes.
Why were you arrested by the Germans? - I wanted to go to the countries near Kraków and at that time the Germans arrested many Poles and amongst them I was also arrested. Where were you taken to after your arrest? - Into the prison at Kraków.
Were you eventually transferred to Auschwitz? - Yes.
When was that? - 18th January, 1942.
When were you born? - 19th June, 1927, in Kraków.
Have you got a number tattooed on your arm? - Yes, I have.
What is your number? - 29760. [According to this number at Auschwitz: Funek, Anna, born 18 June 1925 ( in Rudawa), Inmate No: 29760, Profession: student, transfered 1944 to KL Natzweiler, survived]
Would No. 48 stand up? (The accused Starostka stands up) Do you know this woman? - Yes, I do.
Who is she? - Stania Starostka, Lagerälteste.
What was she when you first met her in Auschwitz? - Blockälteste in Block No. 7.
Did you know her as Lagerälteste later on? - Yes.
Have you ever attended a selection parade? - Yes.
Have you been selected yourself for the gas chamber? - Yes.
Can you tell the Court how it happens then that you are still alive? - I had to go to work with a Kommando but as I had no shoes I did not go. At that time it was a general selection parade in the camp and I was sent to Block 25. When I was there Starostka came into Block 25 and noticed me standing in the room and she approached me - it was not in the room at that time when Starostka approached me, it was when we were standing in fives in front of Block 25 and Starostka came to me and some other girls, about 20 of us. She asked me why I did not go with the Kommando for work. I said because I had no shoes. She took 20 of us into the stores, issued us with shoes, and from that time on I was working in the camp.
Do you remember Block 13? - Yes.
Do you remember the way some girls behaved towards Starostka one day in 1943? - No.
Do you remember if a certain amount of girls from Block 13 were selected for the gas chamber? - Yes, I do.
Were they really sent to the gas chamber? - No.
Do you know how it happened that they were not sent to the gas chamber? - They were sent to Block 25, a punishment block, and then I do not know what happened to them.
Do you remember any incident where you were found by Starostka with a letter in the camp? - Yes, I do.
Were you or were you not allowed to read that letter in the camp? - It was not allowed.
What did Starostka do about you and this letter? - She read this letter herself and advised me to destroy this letter. She told me that if anybody else from the Germans would catch me with this letter I would be severely punished.
Have you ever been ill with typhus in Auschwitz? - I fell ill with typhus in Auschwitz.
Have you been sent to hospital? - Yes.
What happened to you after you had been released from hospital? - From the hospital I was sent back to Block 13 and at that day it was a parade held in the block by Starostka. She wanted some personnel for the hospital in the Gipsy Camp and I was selected for work in that hospital.
Why did you get this job and not another one? - Because I was just after typhus and I was immune against being infected again and there was typhus rampant in the Gypsy Camp.
Was it hard work or not you were supposed to carry out in hospital? - It was a very hard job.
Was it a harder one than the other jobs you might have been asked to do in Auschwitz? - It was not a harder job.
Do you know a girl called Szparaga? - Yes.
Where did you first meet this girl? - In 1943 in the Gipsy Camp.
Was the accused Starostka a Lagerälteste in the Gypsy Camp too? - No.
How long do you think Szparaga was in the Gypsy Camp? - One year.
Do you think she could not see too much of Starostka when she was in Auschwitz then? - No.
(The remaining Defending Officers do not desire to cross examine this witness)
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: When do you say you first went to Auschwitz? - 19th January, 1942.
How did you come to have such a high number? - Because a large number of prisoners arrived at that time in the camp.
Polish prisoners? - Yes.
Who was your Blockälteste when you first got there? - It was a Czech Jewess, Emma.
When did you first see Starostka? - In April, 1942.
Have you any idea how your number comes to be much higher than hers - thousands higher than hers, although you got there first? - Because Starostka came first and I came later.
But she says she came months after you...
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Starostka said April.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: She says she went in April and was with the first batch of Poles; this girl says she arrived in January, some three months before and has a number 20000 later.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: I think she probably mistook the year. I think she got the wrong date; instead of 1942 she should have said 1943.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: That is a matter of comment, I think. (To the witness) When were you first asked to give evidence? - I do not know; I do not remember that date.
Who asked you? - My friend from Auschwitz; his name is Paweł.
Is he living in the camp at Wentorf? - Yes.
Is that where you were living? - Yes.
Was Starostka living there until she was arrested? - Yes.
Where was she living at Wentorf? - In a block; I do not remember the number.
When did the man Paweł come and ask you to give evidence? - I do not remember.
You did not really go to Auschwitz in 1942 at all, did you? - Yes, I came in 1942.
How old were you when you went there? - 15.
You are quite sure you went in January? - Yes.
About how many Poles went with you - about how many were there on your transport? - 500.
Were there any Poles already there when you got there? - Yes, very many.
You have already told us that there was a Czech Jewess. Were there quite a lot of Czech Jewesses and Poles, people like that, who were functionaries in the camp? - Mostly Jewesses.
What sort of Jewesses were they - were they Czech Jewesses, Hungarian Jewesses, or Polish Jewesses? - Various nationalities.
Would it be quite nonsense to say they were all Germans, would it? - Yes.
It would be nonsense to say that. Who was the Lagerälteste when you got there? - A German woman called Maria.
How many Lagerältesten were there? - One.
Do you remember when Starostka became the Lagerälteste? - No, I do not.
Do you remember her being Lagerälteste? - Yes.
How many Lagerältesten were there there? - Two - three.
Who were the other two? Do not keep looking up at Starostka, look up at the Court. Who were these three that you have corrected from two? - I know only Maria and Starostka. I do not know the third one.
There was not a third one , was there? Was there not one for Lager A and one for Lager B? - There were two for Lager B.
Which Lager were you in? - At first in Lager A and then in Lager B.
Of which lager was Stania the Lagerälteste? - In B Lager.
Which lager was this other woman Maria the Lagerälteste? - A Lager.
Who was your other Lagerälteste in B - that is the one you were in? - In my lager Stania was the Lagerälteste.
Was she the only one? - No.
Who was the other one? - That was that one that I did not know.
What nationality was she? - German.
What nationality was Maria you have already talked about? - Also German.
Was not either of them a Jewess? - No.
Tell me about the selection parade that you were on? That was a selection to choose a working kommando, was it not? - At first it was a usual parade at 7 in the morning, I think, and some parties were chosen for work, but many people from these parties ran away and therefore at 11 o’clock there was another parade and the whole parade was taken to Block 25.
Let me get this quite clear. You had a parade at 7 o'clock in the morning to chose working parties. That was the ordinary thing, was it? - Yes.
And quite a lot of people ran away from the working parties; is that right? - Yes.
Then at 11 o'clock they rounded up all the people who had run away; is that right? - Yes.
Then they marched the whole lot up in front of block 25; is that right? - Yes.
Was there any doctor present at the parade? - Yes.
Who was that? - I do not know him.
This was as a punishment for running away, was it not? - Yes.
And everyone on that parade was marched up to block 25; is that right? - Yes.
It was nothing to do with a selection for the gas chamber at all, was it? - Yes.
Do you mean "Yes" or "No"? Had it anything whatever to do with a selection parade for the gas chamber? - Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: I think she is saying it had.
THE WITNESS: It has something to do with it.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Everybody on the parade was taken. That was not a selection, was it? - Yes.
How were you dressed for this parade? - In the normal way.
Then Starostka came and enquired why you had not gone on your working kommando, found that 20 of you had not any shoes, issued with some shoes and sent you off to work; is that what happened? - Yes.
I just want to ask you about this girl Szparaga. Did you know her well? - Yes.
What was her Christian name? - Roza.
About how old was she? - 27.
Was she living in Wentorf too? - No.
She was a Polish girl, was she not? - Yes.
How long were you in the Gypsy camp? - One year.
What was she doing in the camp? - She was working in the kitchen.
Did she go into the Gypsy Camp at the same time as you? - No, before me.
Did she leave it before you and go back to the other camp? - Yes.
When did she come to Auschwitz? - I do not know.
Did she come at the same time as you? - I do not know.
When did you first get to know her? - In the Gypsy Camp.
What was her number? It was usual to know people by number not by name, was it not? What was her number? - Exactly her number I do not know.
Did you not generally know each other by numbers? - No.
What was Starostka when you first knew her? - Blockälteste.
What block was she Blockälteste of? - No. 7.
Did you know that she had been Blockälteste of Block 26 before that? - No.
How long had you been at Auschwitz when you were sent to Block 7? - Five months.
Was Stania Blockälteste then? - Yes.
After you had been there nearly five months? - Yes.
You know she says she was not there till the following year. (Pause) Do you know that? - I do not know.
Are you quite sure you really did not go to Auschwitz until 1943 (Pause)? - I do not know, but I think it was 1942.
Let us take it this way. Are you quite sure you were 15 when you went there, not 16? - I am quite sure.
What were you really arrested for? - I wanted to visit my aunt in the country and that was the 15th January. It was a general rounding up in that part of Poland and they examined our papers, and I was arrested; I had no papers.
And you were only 15? - Yes.
This story you have told us about reading a letter; were you not allowed to have a letter in Auschwitz? - No, it was forbidden.
Did you not have any letters at all? - Yes, we were allowed to receive letters from Poland from our families, but we were not allowed to receive letters from other prisoners from the camp area.
Were you ever punished at Auschwitz? - Yes.
What for? - Because I threw over the wire some bread to a friend of mine in the other compound and the Lagerführer caught me.
What did he do to you? - For twelve days I had to report every second hour to the gate.
Were you ever beaten or hit by anybody whilst you were there? - Yes.
Who by? - My Blockälteste from the Gipsy Camp.
Were you beaten often? - Yes.
What for? - If I were absent for a few minutes from my room and I was caught I would be beaten.
How did the SS treat you? - In my camp, in Gypsy Camp, there was only one SS man.
Were there any Aufseherinnen there? - No.
What about when you were in the Frauenlager; how were you treated there? - I was working all the time with outside Kommandos and I have never beaten there.
Re-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: You remember you said there were three Lagerältesten, two were German and one was Starostka? - Yes.
The other two were speaking German? - Yes.
Did the average type of a Jew in Auschwitz speak German or did he speak the language of the country he came from? Among themselves did they talk German? - Two French Jews would speak among themselves in French.
Would there be a difference if one of the two Lagerältesten was not a German Jew; would she talk to the prisoners in another language but German? - No.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: When do you say you were arrested by the Germans? - 19th January 1942.
Then you say you were put into Kraków jail; is that right? - Yes.
How long were you in the jail before you were transferred to Auschwitz? - Five days.
And when did you leave Auschwitz eventually? - In August 1944.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions on that point?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No, Sir.
(The witness withdraws).
KRYSTYNA JANICKA is called in and, having been duly sworn, is examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ as follows: What is your full name? - Krystyna Agnieszka Janicka. [See gave the following details when she arrived at Auschwitz: Janicka, Agnieszka, born 29 August 1912, Inmate No :45508, transfered 1944 to KL Ravensbrück]
Where and when were you born? - 29th August 1912 in Bärwalde, Poland.
What was your last address in Poland? - Kraków.
Were you arrested by the Germans? - Yes.
When and why? - By Gestapo in Kraków and I was sent to the prison in Kraków.
When? - 7th April 1943.
How long did you stay in prison? - Till the 25th May.
Where were you eventually transferred from the prison? - On the same day to Auschwitz.
Where did you meet her first? - In block No. 7 in Auschwitz.
Was she the Blockälteste of this block then? - Yes.
How did she behave? - When I was sent to block No. 7 I was told it is the worst block in the camp because of a very bad Blockälteste, but during my stay there I came to the conclusion that it was entirely groundless, because she was very good and she was very energetic.
Why do you think she had such a bad reputation as a Blockälteste? - Because she tried very hard to maintain order in the block and to secure fair distribution of food.
Did you ever see the accused being punished by the Germans? - Yes. I remember once it was raining and she allowed us to go back to our blocks, and therefore she was punished. On another occasion I saw her with a swollen face and people used to say that she was beaten by the Germans.
To your knowledge was she selecting anybody for the gas chamber at all? - I do not know about it, but I do know that she attended parades for the gas chambers. As Lagerälteste she attended all the parades and amongst the others also gas chamber parades.
You said that when you came to block No. 7 after a certain time you changed your view of the accused, you found she was not so bad as she was said to be. Was it your private opinion or was it shared by a certain number of girls in the block? - There were many people in the block who liked her and many people who disliked her.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: That concludes my examination.
(The remaining Defending Officers do not wish to cross examine this witness)
Cross-examined by MAJOR STEWART: Can you tell us why you were arrested by the Germans? - I worked in a special German institution as assistant, which dealt with sending Polish people to Germany for work, and I was asked by the German authorities whether I could reveal the names of the doctors who tried to relieve people from going to work in Germany for money, and I did not disclose any names, therefore I was arrested.
When you came to Auschwitz were you given a number which was tattooed on your arm, as was usual? - Yes.
Can you remember it? - 45508.
That was April 1943, was it? - It was on the 25th May 1943.
Yes. I beg your pardon. What was the first block you went to? - No. 14 in Camp A.
How long did you stay there? - I do not remember exactly - approximately six weeks.
Then did you go to another block? - No. 7.
That was Stania's block, was it? How long did you stay there? - Not very long, about four weeks.
MAJOR STEWART: (To the Interpreter) Did she say something about going to Camp B afterwards?
THE WITNESS: I was transferred to Camp B, to block No. 15.
Who was the Lagerälteste in Lager B? - I know at that time Stania was appointed Lagerälteste in Lager B. I was not a long there because I was sent to hospital.
Did you see much of her in the camp? - When I came back from the hospital I was working with outside kommandos and Stania marched us off and was waiting for us when we were coming back, in the morning and in the evening.
Am I right in saying the only time when you were really with her was in block No. 7 these four weeks? - Yes. The main period of time was in block No. 7, but apart from that when I was in Lager B I tried to do my best to avoid going for work and sometimes I succeeded, I was the whole time inside the camp, and these days I had the opportunity of seeing Starostka.
Tell me about these selections for the gas chamber. Have you ever been on one? - Yes, I was.
Were you selected? - No.
Were you aware of the fact it was a selection for the gas chamber? - No.
How do you know it now? - Because after two days people chosen during that selection disappeared and never came again.
Was that the only gas selection you have been on? - No.
In all the others you went to how do you know they were gas chamber selections? - I remember on one occasion it was a parade held at a very unusual time of the day, not in the morning and not in the evening, and Stania told us to go out of the blocks and parade and try and make ourselves look very well, and then we asked: "Why do you want us to tidy our dress and so on?" - we said: "Is it a selection for gas chamber?" and she said: "No, it is only inspection." Nobody was chosen out of our block, but from the other blocks many were chosen, and later on we found out the whole parade was for gas chambers.
Were you ever beaten in Auschwitz? - Yes.
By the SS or by the Kapos or Lagerältesten? - By the Aufseherinnen, by Blockältesten and once by Starostka because I tried to get my second helping when the other prisoners did not get the first one.
Did she beat other people as well, or only you? - I noticed only once that she punished someone or perhaps hit her head, but I think the prisoner deserved it.
You said you were beaten by the Aufseherinnen and by the functionaries. Was it a general habit in Auschwitz to beat people? - It was very difficult to comply with all the orders given by the German authorities.
That is not what I asked you. I asked you: was it a general habit to beat people in Auschwitz? - Yes.
What were people beaten with? - It varied, with a stick or with a leather whip.
Did all the Aufseherinnen you saw carry either a stick or a leather whip? - Mostly all the Aufseherinnen and the two other Lagerältesten, except Stania.
And apart from Stania they all used their sticks or whips, or whatever they carried? - Yes.
How long were you in Auschwitz? - 14 months.
How did you get out? - At the end of July 1944.
You were released, were you? - I was taken for ten days to Ravensbrück and from there to a munition factory in Altenburg.
You have never seen Stania since, have you? - I spoke to her twice in Belsen.
THE PRESIDENT: Any re examination?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No, Sir.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Were you frightened of Stania or not? - No.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions on that?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No, Sir.
(The witness withdraws)
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: My next witness is No. 6.
How old are you? - 28.
Were you arrested by the Germans? - Yes.
Where and when were you born? - 14th February 1917 in Nowosielec.
What was your last address in Poland? - In Skierbieszów.
Why were you arrested by the Germans? - I was deported.
Where were you deported to? - To Auschwitz.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Why were you deported? - I do not know. I was deported from my home.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: When was that? - 26th November 1942.
Were you taken straight to Auschwitz? - I was for two weeks in an internment camp in Zamość and then I was sent to Auschwitz.
Do you know this woman? (Indicating No. 48, Stanisława Starostka) - Yes.
Where did you meet the accused first? - In January 1943 in the block No. 26 in Auschwitz.
Did you wear a triangle on your dress? - Yes, a red triangle.
Did you see in block 26 triangles of any other colour than red? - I have not been in block 26. I was in block number 21.
THE PRESIDENT: Did the witness say originally that she was in block 26?
THE INTERPRETER: Now she says she kept away from block 26 and that she was in block 21.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: So you first saw Starostka in the camp when she was Blockälteste of block 26? - Yes.
Did you know the accused as Lagerälteste? - Yes.
How did she behave to the other prisoners in Auschwitz? - Very well.
Did you see the accused beat any girls in Auschwitz? - I have not seen it.
Did you see the accused taking part in or making her own selections? - That is a lie, no.
Have you ever been one of the girls paraded for a selection? - No; I have not.
(The remaining Defending Officers had no questions to ask)
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: You were in Auschwitz for a long time, were you not? - From 1942 to 1944.
Where were you sent to in 1944? - To Ravensbrück.
And then on to a factory somewhere? - Yes.
What sort of a factory did you go to? - A silk thread factory.
How were you treated at the factory? - In Zellerndorf very well.
Tell us how were you treated at Auschwitz. I am not asking you about Starostka for the moment; I want to ask you more generally. How were you treated at Auschwitz? - Sometimes well, sometimes very badly.
Which Lager were you in? - To begin with I was in Camp A and then Camp B.
How long were you in Camp A? - Eight months.
Then were you in Camp B for the rest of the time you were there? - Yes.
Which camps were blocks 21 and 26 in? - In A.
When you first went there who was the Lagerälteste? - A Jewess; I do not know her name.
Who was the Lagerälteste in B? - Two German women and Starostka.
You had three in Lager B? - Yes.
All three at once or one after the other? - Two German women were there when Starostka arrived.
Was this Jewess Lagerälteste in the other lager before Starostka was Lagerälteste at all? - I did not say that there was a Jewess in Camp A.
Was there a Jewess Lagerälteste in camp A or not? - No, only German.
Was there ever a Jewess Lagerälteste at all? - No, only the Blockälteste were Jewesses sometimes.
There was never a Jewish Lagerälteste? - No, never; only Blockälteste
Either in Lager A or Lager B? - Neither A nor B.
Is this the true position, that there were two German women who were the two Lagerältesten, and then one of them went and Starostka was put in her place? - No, it was not like that. There were two German women and Starostka and they used to come from one camp to the other; three came from Camp A, B and on the contrary.
Are you sure one of those German women was not a Jewess? - I am sure.
How could you tell whether a prisoner was a Jewess or not? - (No answer)
They wore a different badge, did they not? - Yes.
They wore a big yellow star of David, did they not? - Yes.
How did you like the Aufseherinnen at Auschwitz? - Sometimes it varied.
How did they treat you? - (No answer)
You were at Auschwitz, were you not? - Yes.
Well, cannot you tell us how the Aufseherinnen treated you? - (No answer)
Did you come here to say one thing only, that Starostka is a nice girl? - (No answer)
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No re examination.
(The witness withdraws)
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: My next witness is number 8.
When and where were you born? - 27th April 1918 in Radków.
What was your last address? - Jedlnia.
Were you arrested by the Germans? - Yes.
When? - 16th January 1943.
Why were you arrested? - Because I had not got my papers.
What happened to you after you were arrested? - I was five days in the Gestapo headquarters and then was sent to Auschwitz where I arrived on the 22nd January 1943.
Do you know this woman? (Indicating No. 48, Stanisława Starostka) -Yes.
What is her name? - Starostka.
Where did you meet her first? - It was in June 1943 in Auschwitz. I met her in my block No. 7 where she was Blockälteste Before that date I knew her only by sight.
Where were you before you were put in block No. 7? - When I first came to Auschwitz I went directly to the block No. 7, but at that time another woman was Blockälteste After two and a half months I fell ill and was sent to hospital. When I came back from hospital to block No. 7 Starostka was Blockälteste
Were you glad or afraid to have Starostka as the Blockälteste? - When I was in the hospital I was told that Stania is a very bad woman and I was afraid to come to block No. 7 where she was Blockälteste, but during my stay in block No.7 I changed my opinion altogether, because I found out that she was very good, very energetic, and fair in her treatment although sometime very severe.
Did she ever hold selections on her own? - No, she never carried out selections on her own initiative. She was not entitled to do so and she was also a prisoner, and I have to deny statements like that very firmly. On the contrary, when a selection was held and she was able to save some people chosen during the selection, she did her best to do it.
(The remaining Defending Officers have no questions)
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: When you first went to Auschwitz, how were you treated ? - I arrived there on the 22nd February 1943. The treatment was horrible and the conditions terrible.
Did you come by train? - Yes.
What was the first thing that happened when you arrived at Auschwitz itself? - We were placed in some barracks and from the barracks we were sent to the bathhouse. We had our bath and hair cut and then were issued with camp clothes.
This was the first time you had ever been in a concentration camp, was it? - Yes.
Were you beaten at all? - Yes, by the Lagerältesten - the German woman.
Were you beaten almost as soon as you arrived there? - A very short time after I arrived.
Were prisoners regularly beaten by the German Aufseherinnen and also by the German Lagerältesten - Yes, they were beaten without any ground.
How did the Aufseherinnen behave towards you? - They were extremely severe and for very minor offences they used to beat us terribly.
Did the Aufseherinnen carry sticks or whips? - Yes, they carried sticks or whips.
Did they use them to beat the prisoners? - Yes, they did.
Did a lot of the Kapo's carry sticks? - Yes.
Did they use them to beat prisoners too? - To begin with yes, and later on the conditions changed a little.
What Kommando did you work in? - First in the field and then in a weaving factory. That was kommando No. 210.
Who was in charge of the weaving kommando? - It was an SS man, I do not know his name, and an SS woman Kapo.
How long did you stay there? - 18 months.
When did you leave? - 22 July.
Who was the Lagerführer whilst you were there? - Hoessler.
How did he behave to the people? - He was very severe indeed, and during his rule many prisoners were sent to the gas chambers.
Have you ever actually seen him beating any prisoners yourself? - No, I have not.
Why do you say he was very severe? - Because he was master of our life and death in the camp and everybody was frightened.
Who was the principle SS woman in your lager? - I do not know her name.
In which lager was she Blockführein? - A Lager - when I was in A Lager in Block 26. It was the block for people who came from the hospital and were unfit for work.
Was that block No. 7? - 26.
How was it you went back to block 7? - I was in block No. 7, then block No. 2, block No. 13 in Lager 13, Lager B, block 26 in Lager A because I was very weak and then on the 17th June 1944 I was again in block No. 23, Lager A.
What has that to do with the question. The question I asked was this. You have just told us that people out of hospital went to block 26, and you said you came out and went to block 7; now I am asking you why? - Because at that time when I came out of the hospital these special blocks for ill people did not exist. Therefore, the custom was to send people back to the block they came from.
And it was later that 26 was turned into a special block for people coming out of hospital; is that right? - Yes.
And Grese was Blockführerin of that block, was she? - Yes.
How did she behave towards her prisoners? - She took the parades and she counted the prisoners and then she had nothing to do with them.
When were you first asked to give evidence in this case? - I came spontaneously to the Defence Counsel and offered my services as a witness.
Had you discussed the case with anybody else? - I was questioned by the Defending Officer.
Do you know the last witness? - Yes.
Did you discuss the case with her? - Yes, certainly.
Was she trying to collect witnesses? - No, she came also the same way as I did to offer her services.
Do you know that you used exactly the same words, when you were asked whether you were frightened of having Stania for you Aufseherin, in your answer to the question? - It was a real fact in the camp, and we did not invent it. What we said was the truth.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: I think it was a mistake. It was not the last witness but the one before.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I was just about to put it that it was the one before as well as a matter of fact. (To the witness) Do you know the first witness who came her? - Yes.
Are you living together at Wentorf? - I live in Glinde not in Wentorf.
Does the last witness live at Glinde? - Yes, only we two.
Was it with you that Stania came over to a dance at Glinde? - No, but I met her at another party by chance.
In Glinde? - Yes.
Who was she with? - She was in the company of several British and Polish officers and some other girl friends of hers.
And she came over from Wentorf with them did she? - I suppose so.
Re-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Did the conditions at Auschwitz change between January 1943 and the time you left? - Yes, they improved.
When did they change? - The process of improving started in May 1943.
Can you shortly tell us in what way it changed? - There was delousing of the prisoners initiated, and special food allowances for prisoners; more people were taken to the hospitals and a special block was established for people coming out of the hospitals.
Who was the person or persons who were responsible for those changes? - It was during the period Hoessler was Lager Kommandant.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: You came to Auschwitz in January 1943, did you? - Yes.
When you arrived for the first time by train at Auschwitz did you come by yourself? - It was a very large transport. At the time the whole train was for this purpose.
Was this very large transport examined by a doctor on its arrival? - No.
Did you never see a doctor within a week or two of your arrival there? - No.
Did you come with any relatives or friends in the transport? - No, alone.
A MEMBER OF THE COURT: Were there any Jews on your transport? - I think they were only Poles, but if there were any it was only a very few.
There were some Jews in your camp, were there not? - Certainly; Jews were everywhere.
Was there much difference in the treatment of Jews and Christians? - Although we were treated very badly ourselves, the Jews were treated much worse. To begin with the Jews and Poles were both chosen for gas chambers, but later on the treatment of Poles was better and only Jews were sent to the gas chambers.
You said that generally speaking the Jews were more badly treated than the Christians. Would that apply to Starostka's part at all? - It was my mistake really. The Jews were treated in the same way as non-Jews and Starostka never treated Jews worse than the others. Whenever she beat the prisoners she did it only because she did not want to report them to the German authorities. Therefore she preferred to beat them herself. Whenever she beat prisoners she never used anything else except her bare hands.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions arising out of that?
LIEUTENANT EDRZEJOWICZ: No.
(The witness withdraws)
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: My next witness is No. 10. This witness is a girl who was in hospital for a long time, therefore I did not put her on the list as I thought she would never arrive. I put her instead of the one on the list.
THE PRESIDENY: This witness is in place of No. 10?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Yes.
ZOFIA NOWOGRODZKA is called in and having been duly sworn is examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ as follows: What is your full name? - Zofia Nowogrodzka. [Details from Auschwitz: Nowogrodzka, Zuzanna Zofia, born 20 May 1926 in Sady, camp serial number: 26989, Student, transfered 1944 to Natzweiler, then to Sachsenhausen].
When and where were you born? - 17th April, 1926, in Zamość.
What was your last address in Poland? - In Sady.
Were you arrested by the Germans? - I was deported.
Why were you deported? - We had a large estate in Poland and the German authorities sent Germans to our estate and we were deported to Germany.
Where were you taken? - To Auschwitz.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: We have not got a date of when she was deported.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: When did you arrive at Auschwitz? - 13th December, 1942.
Will the accused No. 48 stand up? (Accused No. 48, Stanisława Starostka, stands up) - Do you know this girl? - Yes.
What is her name? - Stania.
Did you come to Auschwitz by yourself or together with your family? - With my family.
Did you all survive your internment in Auschwitz? - All of them died except me.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Can we have how many there were?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: What members of your family did you have in Auschwitz? - My parents and my brother.
When did you first meet the accused? - It was in January, 1943, in block No. 7, where the accused acted as Blockälteste
How did she behave with the internees of her compound? - She treated the internees very well, especially the Poles. She tried to do her best in order to put all the Polish internees on functions, on positions of authority, and tried to put them in positions where they would not be beaten any more.
Can you tell the Court of any instance or any example of the good she has done to the prisoners? - Yes, I am able to. I remember an incident when 20 Polish women were selected for the gas chamber and they were sent to block 25. Starostka went there and brought these women. Amongst them was a good friend of mine, Anna Wojciechowska, saved from the gas chamber, and she was sent by Starostka to hospital to recover because she was still a little sick.
Did the prisoners have to change their clothing when Spring came? - Yes, they had to hand over their pullovers and stockings, and Stania managed to change it in such a way that the prisoners were allowed to keep them for a longer period, because it was March and April, and at that time it was very cold.
Do you know from your own knowledge if Starostka has ever organised selections for the gas chamber on her own? - No, that is not the case. However, Stania was obliged to attend all the parades and these selection parades took place in the presence of Tauber and Drechsler, and Stania was ordered to write down the numbers of the persons selected.
(None of the Defending Officers present desire to cross examine)
Cross-examined by MAJOR STEWART: When you arrived at Auschwitz with your family, was there a selection when you came? - No, we were taken directly to the camp.
Were all the people who came with you Poles, Christian Poles? - Yes.
Tell me about the conditions generally in Auschwitz. Were they very bad? - It was very bad indeed. We had no water, no food, we had to work very hard, we were beaten by the Germans, it was cold, we had no warm clothes, and we had our hair cut.
Did the camp authorities make any effort to improve these conditions? - The only person who really tried to help us was Stania, because she was a Pole and she tried to help us.
I know Stania is very wonderful, but what I am asking you is this. Did the Aufseherinnen or the SS try to do anything to help you? - On the contrary, the German staff tried only to worsen our conditions.
Have you ever been on one of the selection parades, selections for the gas chamber? - No. At that time, when a general selection for the gas chamber took place I was in the hospital. My mother and many friends of mine were sent to the gas chamber at that time.
If you were never there, how do you know that Stania attended and wrote down numbers? - I heard about it; I was told about it. When my friend was taken to the gas chamber, although I was not present because I was fit for work, I saw that my friend was taken to the gas chamber.
If you were never there how do you know that Stania did it under orders, because that is what you said in your examination in chief? - My friend told me.
You arrived in January, 1943, and you went to block 7; is that right? - No, I was in block No. 13, but block No. 7 was nearby, and therefore I could see Stania there.
Was that immediately when you arrived in January? - Yes.
If my memory serves me right, Starostka told us yesterday that she was in Block 7 from April to July? - If you say so, I have to admit that perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps it was a different period when I came out of hospital.
Do you realise that you first said you were in block No. 7 with her when she was Blockälteste there? You have changed your mind now and you say you were working with her in block 12 instead of block 7, and she was Lagerälteste instead of Blockälteste Is that right? - I did not say that I was together with Stania in block No. 7. I said only that I knew Stania when she was Blockälteste in block No. 7.
When you were in block 12, what was your position; what was your function? - I was working in the cookhouse.
What I meant was, not where you worked, but whether you had a function or were a simple prisoner? - I had no function in the block.
What function did you have in the kitchen? - I was an ordinary prisoners working at the boiler in the cookhouse.
I am not trying to catch you out. I am just trying to follow your train of thought when you said that Stania got you all jobs, and I was trying to find out whether she got you one and what it was. - Although it was not a position of authority in the cookhouse it was much better than working in an outside kommando.
Did all the girls who worked in the kitchen sleep in Block No. 12.? - Yes, all the girls from the cookhouse slept in block 12, but it does not mean that all the girls from block 12 worked in the cookhouse.
Did Stania sleep there? - Yes.
What was she at the time? Was she Lagerälteste then? - Yes.
And that is the only time you knew her intimately; is that it? - Yes.
When you left Auschwitz where did you go? - With a transport to France.
When was that? - It was in 1944. I do not remember whether it was in August or another month.
Where were you when you were eventually liberated? - Ludwigslust.
Where do you live now? - Wentorf.
Did you volunteer to come here and give evidence for Stania, or did somebody ask you to? - I volunteered.
Re-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: You were asked if you volunteered or if somebody suggested to you that you should come here and give evidence. Tell the Court this. Is there a big number of ex internees from Auschwitz in Wentorf camp now? - Yes, a large number.
Are the majority of these ex internees against or for the accused Starostka? ...
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I do not think we can have that, otherwise I shall have to call some.
THE PRESIDENT: No.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: In Auschwitz there were a lot of Poles, were there not? - Very many.
What was the proportion of Christian Poles as distinct from Jewish? - There are more Jews.
Did you find that Stania was more inclined to find a good job for a Christian Pole, or Jewish Pole? - A Christian Pole; only the Polish Christians.
To your knowledge did you ever see her go out of her way to assist a Jewish Pole, or a Jew at all? - I have not seen it.
Would you say her treatment of Poles who were Jews was just the same as Poles who were Christians? - (The question was put in Polish)
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: I think the translation was wrong. Was it not your question Did she treat in the same way a Polish Jew as a Christian Pole?
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Yes. (The question was repeated to the witness). - She had a better heart, better sentiment for the Poles, but she did not treat the Jews better.
THE PRESIDENT: I think there must be something wrong in the interpretation. The question is: Was she treating the Christian Poles and the Jewish Poles in the same way?
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: That is the substance of the question: Did she treat the Jewish Poles and Christian Poles in the same way, or did she treat the Christian Poles better?
THE PRESIDENT: Put the question again. (The Interpreter repeats the question) - Yes, it was a difference.
A MEMBER OF THE COURT: I take it your family were people of some wealth; is that right? - Yes.
Did you manage to bring some of your personal possessions with you? - No, everything was taken from us.
Before you arrived at the camp? - When we were deported from Poland we were told to take our belongings with us because we were told we are going to work for Germany, and we took our belongings with us, but when we arrived at Auschwitz camp everything was taken away and we were left without anything.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE COURT: Do you know a Pole called Szparaga? - No, I do not know her. I met her in Wentorf here.
Can you tell the Court whether she is a Jew or a Christian? - I do not know. My friends tell me she is a Polish woman.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: She is a Roman Catholic according to the affidavit.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to ask any questions arising out of that?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No. That concludes the case of the accused 48 (Starostka).
(The witness withdraws)
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: The next accused I propose to put in the witness box is No. 47, Antoni Polanski.
The accused Antoni POLANSKI takes his stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and having been duly sworn is examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ as follows:
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: The evidence against this accused is contained in Transcript 17, pages 4, 5 and 6, and the respective numbers in the bundle are 228, 229 and 230. (To the witness): What is your full name? - Antoni Polanski.
When and where were you born? - 24th October, 1914, in Muszyna.
What was your last address in Poland? - In Muszyna.
What was your occupation before the war? - I had no real occupation really, and lately I served in the army.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: What army and when? Will you give us a little more detail?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Did you serve in the Polish Army? - Yes.
Had you been mobilised in 1939? - Yes.
Did you take part in the Polish campaign against the Germans? - Yes.
What were you in the Polish Army? - Corporal.
What were you? - In Heavy Artillery in Kraków.
Have you been taken prisoner or have you been arrested by the Germans? - I was taken prisoner by the Germans.
What happened to you next? - All the prisoners of war were sent to the factories and I escaped from one of these factories.
What did you do then? - I came back home in November, 1939.
Were you arrested by the Germans again? - Yes, I was arrested by the Germans on 24th April, 1941.
Why were you arrested? - For participation in the underground movement.
Was anybody else from your family arrested to? - My whole family.
How many people? - My mother, father, brother and sister.
What happened to you after you were arrested? - My family was arrested before me and then I reported to the Gestapo after they were arrested and then I was arrested.
Why did you report to the Gestapo? - Because I was told during my work in the woods that my family was arrested and therefore I ran away.
No. My question was: What was the reason why you went to the Gestapo and reported yourself? - Because it was announced in the town that 15 hostages were taken by the Germans and if I would not report to the Gestapo within the period of time of five days, these hostages and my family would be killed.
What happened to your family? - My father, my brother and myself were sent to Auschwitz.
How long did you stay at Auschwitz? - For 21 months.
Can you give a more or less exact date when you left Auschwitz? - I left Auschwitz on 10th March, 1943.
What were you doing at Auschwitz during your stay there? - For the first few weeks I was employed inside the camp in building part of the camp. Later on I was transferred to horse kommando and I stayed there until the very end of my stay in the camp.
Do you mean you were working in the fields? - Yes.
Where did you go then from Auschwitz? - To concentration camp Neuengamme.
What happened to the rest of your family who were in Auschwitz? - My father was killed in Strafkommando in July, 1941, and my brother was transferred to a concentration camp in Brzezinka [Auschwitz-Birkenau], in Poland.
Have you ever seen your brother since? - The prisoners transferred to Brzezinka [Auschwitz-Birkenau] were sent to the gas chambers, it was well known, and I have never seen him since.
How long did you stay in Neuengamme? - Nine months.
What month was it when you left Neuengamme? - December, 1943.
What did you do in Neuengamme? - At first I worked for the first month in a Kommando employed on unloading boats with sand from the river and then I worked in another Kommando loading in sand.
Did you have any function, or were you a simple prisoner? - I was an ordinary prisoner.
Where did you go when you left Neuengamme in December, 1943? - To Hannover-Stöcken.
How long did you stay at Hannover-Stöcken? - To 6th April, 1945.
What did you do in Hannover-Stöcken? - I worked in a factory.
Did you have any function? - I was an ordinary prisoner.
Where did you go when you left Hannover-Stöcken? - To Bergen-Belsen.
Did you go by yourself, or did you come with a transport? - The whole camp was evacuated and we marched off to Bergen-Belsen.
When did you arrive in Belsen? - It was the 7th or 8th April, 1945, about 2200 or 2300 hours.
What block were you put in? - It was Block No. 12.
How long did you stay in Block 12? - Two days.
Were you the only one to be detailed for Block 12 or were you with some other prisoners who arrived from Hannover-Stöcken? - Before we entered the camp we were formed in groups of 100, and 100 of us were sent to Block No. 12.
Have you been given any function while you were in Block 12? - No.
Who was the Blockälteste of Block 12? - I do not know. I was told it was a Frenchman, but I do not know.
Now you said you were only two days in Block 12. Where did you go then? - As in Block No. 12 we did not get any food either for the first day or the second day I decided to run away because I thought to myself that after having endured all these hardships and sufferings I am not going to let myself be starved at the last days of the war, and therefore I went to my friends to the Block No. 16.
Have you been given any duties to perform in Block 16? - Not really, I only helped them digging mass graves.
Did you have morning Appell while you were in Block No. 16? - Yes, when we were going to work.
Did you help anybody in Block 12 or Block 16 in getting prisoners on Appell? - There were no parades either in Block No. 12 or in Block No. 16, with the exception of those mentioned before, before we went to work in Block No. 16.
Did you take part, or did you help anybody in getting the prisoners when there was a parade? - No, I did not help anybody.
Did you help anybody, any member of the block staff, doing food distribution either in Block 12 or Block 16? - No.
Did you see prisoners dragging corpses to those mass graves? - At that time the graves were not ready.
But when they were ready did you see prisoners dragging corpses? - I had to do it myself so of course I could see it.
I come now to the specific allegations. The first one is on page 4 of the Transcript volume 17, Jozsef Deutsch. Jozsef Deutsch says first of all that you were assistant Block leader, which is probably Blockälteste, of Block 12. - That is a lie.
He says that two or three days before the British liberated the camp while there was an Appell going on,you beat him and his father and his father is supposed to have died as a result of the beating? - That is a lie. During my whole stay in the camp I have never beaten anybody.
The next deposition is on page 5, Paweł Burger. Paweł Burger again says in his you were an assistant Blockälteste in Block 12 while you lived in this block? - I had no function in this block and I would not accepted any if it was offered to me.
The same man goes on in paragraph three to say that you were trying to get people to work and as they had to pass in front of you you beat them very hard with a leather belt. - That is not true. I was supporting those who did not want to work in the camp and I never chased anybody out of the block to force him to work.
In paragraph four of the same deposition you are said to have been supervising the dragging of the corpses and while doing so you hit a man called Jacobovitsch who could not work anymore because he was too weak and died on the spot. What can you say to this? - That is not true.
The third affidavit is also on page 5, Sandor Engel. In the third paragraph you are said again to have been forcing people to leave the block to go to work, that you had a rubber truncheon in your hand and you were beating people and when they fell down you kicked them? - During my stay in the camp I forced nobody to work. According to this allegation the incident took place on the 8th April, and on the 8th April no dragging of corpses began; at that time we were working still on digging the mass graves and, apart from that, at that time I did not know very much about the camp myself and I did not know what to do myself and no more would I be able to force anybody to work.
THE PRESIDENT: Was the answer that this was alleged to have taken place on the 8th April, because there is nothing about it here.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: He said in an early day in April, he thinks it is the 8th April. (To the witness) In paragraph four you are said to have put a dirty rag into the mouth of one prisoner, the rag which the prisoner used to help himself with while dragging corpses. - Never, it is impossible; I would not be able to do anything like that.
I will not refer you to paragraph five because it is the same as in the previous allegation, about the same man. Do you know German? - No.
What did you do when the camp was liberated? - I reported to the Polish committee to help them in their work.
Did they employ you? - Yes.
What kind of work had you got to do? - As a medical assistant.
Where did you work, in Belsen or in Bergen? - In Belsen.
How long did you continue to work amongst the internees? - Till the evacuation of Belsen camp to Bergen.
What did you do then? - Then I was helping the Blockälteste in the Polish block; his name was Antoni Maer.
For how long did you go on working like this again? - About three weeks.
When were you arrested by the British? - On the 30th of June, 1945.
What has been the cause of your arrest? - I was at that time in Camp 3 in the kitchen No. 6; there was a dancing party at that time, about 2300 hours, when a man approached me and started shouting "Detain this man" and then he asked the Blockälteste to come and I was detained.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: I think he said the man was shouting: "Detain this man, he was a Blockälteste".
THE PRESIDENT: Would the Interpreter clear that up?
THE INTERPRETER: The answer is: "He accused me of being Blockälteste".
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: I think that covers the whole evidence against him, unless you wish me to put any more questions.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Can he tell the Court who this man was, who is alleged to have denounced him as a Blockälteste?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: (To the witness) Did you know the man who was shouting that you were a Blockälteste and you should be arrested? - No, I did not know him.
MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
MAJOR BROWN: No questions.
CAPTAIN FIELDEN: No questions.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Would No. 26 stand up? (The accused Schreirer stands up) Did you ever see this man at Auschwitz? - No.
You told the Court your father was killed in the Strafkommando at Auschwitz. Do you know who was in charge of the Strafkommando? - Oberscharführer Palitzsch.
Was the Strafkommando normally commanded by an Oberscharführer? - It was a man who was sometimes deputising for him, but he himself was the infamous man who killed so many people in the camp.
Which block were you in at Auschwitz? - 8, 10, 14, 18 and 4.
Whereabouts is Block 22? - It is immediately after the gate on the left hand side; there are three blocks, 24, 23 and 22.
Was that near any of the blocks in which you were living? - Yes, when I was living in Block No. 14 it was not far away.
Do you know who was the SS Blockführer of No. 22 block was? - I do not know.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN NEAVE: Would No. 30 stand up? (The accused Schlomoivicz stands up). Do you know this man? - Yes.
You have told us that when you went to Belsen first you spent two days in Block 12. Can you remember if during these two days there were any Kapos in Block 12? - No.
THE PRESIDENT: You asked him could he remember. I am not clear whether he remembers or whether there were no Kapos.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: Do you mean there were no Kapos or that you cannot remember whether there were any or not? - I have not seen any Kapos there.
You have told us that you then went to Block 16. Did you ever have occasion to go back to Block 12 again? - I do not remember, but it is possible.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No questions.
CAPTAIN BOYD: No questions.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: How were you treated at Auschwitz yourself? - Very badly.
How did the SS men behave to you? - Any way worse than with animals.
What was this Strafkommando that your father was put into? - It was a special kommando formed in 1941 where usually the Jews were sent who tried to organise something, and it is known that they are sentenced to death and people are usually no longer there than one month in this kommando.
Are you a Jew? - No.
Was your father a Jew? - No.
How did he come to be sent to this Kommando for Jews? - My father was employed with 100 old men near the railway and when the trains were coming from the East with wounded German soldiers some of the people laughed and smiled and the German personnel found out and the whole 100 men were sentence to the punishment kommando and amongst these was my father.
You were never in the women’s camp, I take it? - I passed by it, but I have never been in it.
You were obviously never in it, were you? - No.
And when you speak of block 22 you do not mean Block 22 in the women's compound, do you? - No, I do not speak about the women's camp.
And when you speak of the Strafkommando commanded by Palitzsch you do not mean the women's strafkommando, do you? - No, I mean my camp, the male camp.
And you had nothing to do with the man who was in charge of women who misbehaved themselves, had you? - No.
At Hannover how were you treated? - We had to work very hard, 12 hours a day.
Who was in charge of you? - A German Kapo.
Had you any Jews there? - No.
Were you practically all Poles? - There were Poles, Russians and Frenchmen.
Was Schlomoivicz there? - No.
Are you sure? - Yes, I am.
When did you first meet Schlomoivicz? - After the British troops arrived I came to Block No. 12 and that is where I met him.
Do you know Sompolinski? - Both of them.
Was he in Block 12? - Yes.
Had you met him before? - No.
Do you know Aurdzieg? - Yes.
When did you first meet him? - I think it was during the second day of my stay in Block No. 12.
What was his position? - He served soup to the prisoners.
In Block 12? - Yes.
Was that your second day in Block 12, you say? - Yes.
I thought you did not get any food in Block 12 and that is why you left? - During the second day I got half a litre of soup.
Was Aurdzieg taking money for it? - I did not see it.
Was he distributing food fairly? - I think so.
Was not he demanding both money and anything else he could get for it? - He did not demand anything from me and I have never seen him doing so.
Do you remember a man called Grunzweig in that block? - No, I do not know anybody.
Do you know any of the people whom you came with? - I know them by sight but I do not know their names. The overwhelming majority of my friends were not from this block but in the other blocks and that is the reason why I ran away from this block.
Do you remember Schlomoivicz acting as a Kapo there? - When I was there for two days I did not see any Kapo there.
Do you remember him acting as Blockältester there? - Only after the British troops arrived.
Let me suggest to you what was really happening in that block. Did not a little gang of you Poles who had come from Hannover start extracting money and anything else, valuables, that people had in exchange for food and start beating them until you got it? - It is possible, but I did not take part in it.
Is it not that what Aurdzieg and his friends were doing? - I cannot state anything because I did not see it.
I suggest to you that Schlomoivicz was the Blockältester and that you and Aurdzieg were his two Stubendienst? - I only know that after the British troops arrived I went to that block on the committee and tried to find out what people think about Schlomoivicz and they unanimously told me that they thought he was very good.
What is this Polish committee you are talking about? - Immediately after the British troops arrived a provisional self government was chosen from amongst the Poles in order to bring help and assistance to the Poles.
Did you go round trying to beat up Germans? - No.
What I want to suggest to you is this, that you were in fact acting as assistant block leader for those last few days at least? - Nothing of that kind.
Were you not, in fact, acting as assistant Blockführer for these last few days? - Nothing of the kind.
Do you remember Engel, the man who eventually had you arrested? - Yes.
Do you remember a man called Fuchs who was with him? - He was an Interpreter.
Fuchs was an Interpreter, was he? - Yes.
And as soon as these two found you in this kitchen No. 6 you began to run away, did you not? - I did not know them; how could I try to escape?
Did you not begin to run away as soon as they started to call out after you? - No, I did not. I lived in that block and I did not see them.
Did not any soldiers stop you and take you to the military police? - No, it was like this, It was in the corridor and a British soldier came and asked me whether I was ever an Älteste; I said "no" and he brought me to the police.
Most of the functionaries tried to get jobs in either the hospitals or the kitchens or some sort of medical job as soon as the British arrived, did they not? - I do not know.
It was the best way of keeping out of the way of prisoners who might have recognised you, was it not? - I held no position of authority and I had no reason to be afraid.
That would be a very good way of keeping out of the way of prisoners, would it not? - I do not know of which opinion some people are.
When you decided to change from where you lived, from Block 12 to Block 16, was it as easy as that? Could you just walk from one block to the other? - Yes, it was quite easy
Were you not registered in when you arrived in your block, Block No. 12? - Yes, I was.
Would it not throw all the numbers out if you just went from one block to another when you felt like it? - It was an overriding necessity for me; I had to save my life and I had to take the risk.
Were the people in Block No. 16 very glad to see you, to share their food? - Why should they not be?
They liked an extra mouth to share their food with at that time, did they? - In Block No. 16 we had more food than in the other block.
You said you had to drag these bodies yourself; is that right? - Yes.
Were you called out of your block at about three o’clock in the morning to start it? - It was not three o'clock; it was at seven o’clock in the morning.
Was it still dark when you were called out? - No, it was light.
Were you beaten as you came out? - Certainly the prisoners were beaten; I, by chance, avoided it.
Who was doing the beating? - The camp police and Blockführer.
What do you mean by the camp police? - There were some people with armlets on their arms and who maintained order in the camp.
Prisoners do you mean? - Yes.
Were they beating prisoners as they came out? - Yes, they assisted the Blockführer in chasing the people out of the blocks.
Did the Blockälteste help? - I have not seen it.
One of his duties was to get his block out on parade, was it not? - I do not know; I have never been a Blockälteste and do not know his duties.
How long have you lived in blocks? - In which block?
How long have you lived in blocks in concentration camps? - Four years.
Do you really mean to say that you do not know it is the Blockälteste’s job to get his block out on parade? - I know it was his duty in normal camps but not in a camp like Belsen.
And if he did not do it he got punished, did he not? - I have no idea, but Belsen camp was in a state of complete chaos.
And then did the people were dragging these bodies have to drag them through the camp along the way Mr Le Druillenec showed us when we went up there to the mass grave? - Yes.
Were there both SS men and functionaries along the way beating them on if they faltered? - Yes, there were; I am not sure whether they were Germans or not, but they were in uniform and they stood along the way the prisoners were passing by.
Did you have to pass Kitchen No. 2 - you had to pass a kitchen, did you not? Do not worry about the number. - Yes.
Did some prisoners try and pick up an odd bit of potato or turnip peel or whatever there was there? - Yes.
What happened to them if they did that? - They were shot on the spot.
Did you have to pass one of the concrete water tanks? - Yes, in the vicinity of Kitchen No. 2.
Did some of the prisoners try to get to the water? - They tried, but it was impossible because they were shooting at them all the time.
I suggest to you that you were one of the people who was beating these men on, not one of the people being beaten. - No, that is not true. I am not able to beat anybody from my fellow prisoners because I was a prisoner myself.
Do you remember Jozsef Deutsch? - I know him from the indictment.
He actually saw you face to face and recognised you, did he not? - It is impossible. Before the British troops arrived I had no function in the camp and I tried to help the prisoners.
I am not talking about that, I am talking about when Deutsch came and saw you in prison. He pointed you out to a Sergeant, did he not? - Yes, I remember.
Why should he pick on you? - Perhaps he was inspired by his friends in this accusation.
He is not a Czechoslovakian like the others, he is Romanian...
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Deutsch is a Czech, is he not?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I beg your pardon, yes, he is a Czech. It is the other man who was Romanian. I have got them the wrong way round.
THE WITNESS: I have no idea.
Do you remember him recognising you in Belsen prison? - He said I was a Blockälteste, but I said already ...
He never said anything about you being a Blockälteste; he said you are exactly what I suggested to you, that you were an assistant. Is he not the man who came and recognised you himself? - I do not know.
He says you were one of the people who were standing outside the block door beating prisoners as they went out. - But he states it was 3 o'clock in the morning and at 3 o'clock in the morning was quite dark.
Mr Le Druillenec said you started while it was quite dark too. Do not worry about these details, just answer the question. Were you not one of the people standing outside the door beating people? - No.
Engel says the same thing, does he not - the man who recognised you in Kitchen No. 6, the man who was with the interpreter. His friends cannot have put him up to it, can they? - That is the man who ordered to arrest me.
Yes. How do you think he recognised you? - I do not know; I have never known him before.
Both Burger and he says you were in this party who were beating people as they came out, and they both say you were one of the men who were driving people round. IS that not true? - (No answer).
Do you remember Jacobovitsch? - No.
They both said you beat him to death. - That is a lie.
And a lot of people were killed by being beaten on the way round, were they not? - I do not know whether it was caused by beating or by emaciation or by typhus.
Or a combination of the three? - I do not know.
Were a lot of people trying to use bits of cloth to keep their hands from coming in contact with those bodies (Pause) Were they not or were they? - Yes, everybody used this, because you have got to pull.
And did you not take a piece and push it into Engel's mouth? - No, I would not do it, ever.
Why do you think all these people should say this about you? - Perhaps they know me from Block No. 12 and No. 16, because up till the British troops arrived I used to come to these blocks to cut the hair of the prisoners, and therefore they know me.
If you were so good and so kind to the prisoners from the moment the British arrived why do you think these prisoners, people who were quite strangers to you apparently, should all come and say this about you? - I am surprised myself. During my stay in the camp I have never beaten anybody, and I have never forced anybody to do any work.
Did they come and bring you cigarettes whilst you were in the cells? - No.
Is not the truth of the matter that you and the other two Poles who are in the dock, Schlomoivicz and Medislaw Burgraf all three of you sold yourselves to the SS for the extra bit of food that you got and the extra bit of comfort? - No, never.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: Schlomoivicz is not a Pole.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I am sorry. (To the witness) Did not you and that little gang of you from Hannover spend your time making what you could out of the Jews who were in that block? - No, never; I would not do things like that.
Re-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: You have said that on the second day you were in Block No. 12, before the British liberation, you saw the accused No. 32 (Antoni Aurdzieg) serving soup? - Yes.
Can you tell the Court in what way this man was serving this soup to you? - We were sitting in groups of ten on the floor. The man from the officer, Stubendienst, was pouring the soup out and the accused was serving the soup to us.
Do you mean by this that the accused was bringing mugs of soup to each of the prisoners? - Yes, the Stubendienst poured the soup into the mug and the accused brought the mug to us.
Do you think it is fair to say then that that day he was not distributing soup, he was only serving soup? - Yes.
Do you know if many ex-internees went away from Belsen after the liberation? - Yes, all the ex-functionaries who had a guilty conscience ran away.
Could you go away from Belsen yourself, or were you in a certain way tied up to the camp? - Yes, I could run away.
Was it safer for you to go away or to go on round the camp, helping in different blocks, for a period of several months after the liberation? - It was safer for me to stay in the camp. I was waiting for the day of liberation for such a long time, why should I escape when this day arrived?
I mean if you had been an assistant Blockältester ...
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I think the Court appreciate the point you are trying to make. You are trying to say he had plenty of opportunity of getting away after the camp was liberated. I think the Court have got that and you can make the point in your speech if you want to.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Thank you very much.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Have you got number tattooed on you arm? - No.
You have never had a number put on your arm in any concentration camp you were in? - No.
THE PRESIDENT: Any questions on that point?
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No, Sir.
(The witness withdraws)
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: I will now call the first witness for this accused, No. 16.
When and where were you born? - 25th April 1920 in Mława.
What is your last address in Poland? - Warszawa.
What was your occupation? - Painters enterprise; I was manager of a painting enterprise.
Were you arrested by the Germans? - Yes.
When and why? - It was on the 6th or 8th August 1940 during a round up.
Where were you taken after you were arrested? - We were taken to the military barracks in Warszawa and from there to Auschwitz.
When did you arrive at Auschwitz? - 12th August 1940.
How long did you stay in Auschwitz? - Till the 10th March 1943.
What did you do in Auschwitz? - In various kommandos, working parties.
Where did you go then? - To Hamburg, Neuengamme.
How long did you stay in Neuengamme? - Nine months and then I went to Hannover-Stöcken.
What did you do in Hamburg, Neuengamme? - In outside kommandos.
What did you do in Hannover-Stöcken? - In a factory for accumulators.
When did you leave Hannover-Stöcken? - We left Hannover-Stöcken, and were on the journey for two days. We arrived in Belsen on the 8th or 9th April at night.
Do you know this man? (Indicating accused No. 47 Antoni Polanski) - Yes, I do.
What is his name? - Antoni Polanski.
Where did you first meet him? - I was all the time with him in all these respective camps till the liberation.
Can you tell the Court how long the man you recognise, Polanski, was in the two respective blocks? - In Block No. 12 he was two, three or four days, I do not know exactly; in Block No. 16 he stayed there till the liberation.
Do you remember prisoners in Belsen dragging corpses to the pits? - Yes, I did it myself along with the accused.
Can you tell the Court when about it was when you were dragging these corpses with Polanski? - On the 12th, 13th and 14th April.
After the camp was liberated what was Polanski doing? - I do not know, because I left the camp after it was liberated.
THE PRESIDENT: Have any of the Defending Officers any questions?
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY: My question relates to No. 26 (Heinrich Schreirer). Was this man the SS Blockführer at Auschwitz while you were there? - I do not recognise him.
Which blocks were you in at Auschwitz? - 8, 9, 4A, 13.
Do you know who most of the Blockführer were doing during the time when you were there? - There were many changes; there were many people in these positions.
I would like you to think of the period between the Autumn of 1942 and the Spring of 1943. - I cannot remember that period.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN NEAVE: My question relates to No. 30 (Ignatz Schlomoivicz). Did you know this man at Belsen? - No.
(The remaining Defending Officers do not wish to cross examine this witness)
Cross-examined by MAJOR STEWART: You spent nearly three years in Auschwitz. How were you treated there? - Worse than a dog.
By whom, SS, Kapos, functionaries - everybody? - It was just the same. The German prisoners in the camp were as bad as the German staff.
Have you ever been through a selection, a gas chamber selection? - I came to the hospital ill with typhus two days after a general selection took place in the hospital during which 2000 men were sent to the gas chamber.
Have you ever been beaten in Auschwitz? - Very frequently.
Let us come to Belsen. When you arrived at Belsen and went to Block No 13, did you not? - Yes.
Did you receive any food when you arrived? - From time to time, but it was very difficult to get some.
Was there any difference, as far as food was concerned, whether you were in one block or the other? - It was the same everywhere; In all the blocks there was a great shortage of food.
There would not have been much point in to leave one block to go to the other. You would have received just as little food there, is that right? - It was a difference, not from the point of view of food but hygiene. In Block No. 12 for instance it was very dirty and Block No. 16 was cleaner.
You were a simple prisoner, were you not? Could you have gone from your block to another block just because you thought it was better there? - At that time the camp was in chaos and everybody could do whatever they wanted.
That is what I thought. It was not because there was better food or better accommodation in one block or another. You simply went to a block where you had your friends; is that not it? - Yes.
Regarding the procession there; you were made to drag corpses yourself were you not? - Yes, all of us who were fit were forced to do it.
Am I right in saying that this procession was supervised by the SS who had remained there and that prisoners were beaten constantly to make them work, and that if they approached any of the cookhouses or any of the heaps of turnips and potatoes and tried to pinch something, they were instantaneously shot? - Yes; there were many cases of shooting in the vicinity of my block even.
Is it right that the SS drove people with continuous beating? - Yes, that was their policy because they knew the British troops were bound to arrive there shortly.
Were you beaten yourself in the course of those three days? - when I got a beating with a stick on my shoulder I did not even pay attention to it, because it was such a frequent occurrence.
I did not ask you whether you paid any attention to it. I asked you whether you were beaten? - Certainly; there was not a single prisoner on dragging corpses who would not be beaten.
How was it that Polanski was never beaten if he was with you? - I do not know.
Re-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Was to your knowledge Block 12 more overcrowded than Block 16 or Block 13? - I do not know; perhaps there were more, perhaps the same number, or less, but I know that in Block 12 there were more people from other blocks.
Do you think it would be reasonable for a prisoner from Block 12, if Block 122 was more overcrowded, to go to another block and expect to have a bigger share of food? - Everybody acted according to his own common sense.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: When you were in Belsen did you notice that a very large number of the people who had been there before you were dying and were almost like living skeletons? - That is exactly what they were.
You were pretty fit and strong, were you not, at this time? - Yes, I was very fit and very strong at that time.
What chance had these skeletons to get any food if it was a question of scrambling for food when there were such a lot of fit and strong people like you? - Yes, these people employed on functions in the block tried to bring the food for them when they were lying in bed.
Was anybody trying to keep any order at all to see that everybody got a fair share of soup, if any? - These people employed on certain functions in the block tried to maintain order, but in spite of that there was no possibility of securing a fair food distribution, because the amount of food was not sufficient to serve all of them.
So I assume the strongest got the soup; is that right? - Yes, whoever managed to push himself into the front got a bigger portion.
Did you get any water in that last week? - No, there was no water.
Have you got a tattoo mark of a number on your arm or body? - I left Auschwitz before they started with this practice.
A MEMBER OF THE COURT: Will you try and answer this question carefully, as the evidence so far has been very conflicting. Who supervised the procession to the graves? - There were Hungarian troops, German Wehrmacht, some people from the SS and the prisoners on functions. They were all employed on supervising.
Were there many SS there? - No, there were not many at that time in the camp.
Would it be true to say, do you think, that all the SS in the camp were mobilised to superintend that procession? - Yes, they were only supervising.
Do you think they were drawn from their other employment to supervise this march? - I do not know that.
Can you give any rough idea of how many SS men were seen during that procession? - About 20 or 30. The great majority were Hungarian troops and Wehrmacht.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE COURT: Did you ever hold any official position amongst the prisoners? - No, never.
As you were a prisoner for so long how did you manage to survive? - It is only a miracle really.
Did many survive? - I think so.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions arising out of that?
(The witness withdraws)