Transcript of the Official Shorthand Notes of 'The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others'

Forty First Day, Friday, 2nd November, 1945

Previous Day | Next Day

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: My next witness is No. 22 on the list.

WŁADYSŁAW RAKOCZY is called in and having been duly sworn is examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ as follows: What is your full name? - Rakoczy, Władysław.

When and where were you born? - 12th December 1921 in Sanok.

What was your last address in Poland? - In Sanok.

What was your occupation? - I went to school.

Were you arrested by the Germans? - Yes.

When were you arrested? - 1939.

Can you give a more exact date? - 12th December 1939.

Why were you arrested? - During a round up.

Where were you taken after you were arrested? - I was four months in a prison in Tarnów and from there I was sent to Auschwitz.

Have you had a number tattooed on your arm in Auschwitz? - Yes.

How long did you stay in Auschwitz? - Three years.

What were you doing in Auschwitz? - I worked in various working parties.

When did you leave Auschwitz? - I left Auschwitz on the 12th April 1943.

Where were you taken to when you left Auschwitz? - I went to Hamburg to a concentration camp in Neuengamme.

How long did you stay in Neuengamme? - Approximately 18 months.

What were you doing in Neuengamme? - I was loading sand into trucks.

When you left Neuengamme where were you taken? - To Hannover.

How long did you stay in Hannover? - I stayed there until I was sent to Belsen which was between the 8th and 9th April 1945.

Do you know this man? (Indicating accused No. 47, Antoni Polanski who stands up) - Yes, we worked together.

In what country? - In Auschwitz we were employed on agricultural work in the fields.

Were you together with him in the other concentration camps as well? - Yes.

How did this man behave towards the other prisoners in Hannover? - He worked in the same way as the other prisoners.

Did you live with this man in the same block at Belsen? - No, I lived in Block number 13 and he in Block number 12.

Did you see much of him in Belsen? - Yes, he used to visit me very frequently.

As far as you know was he the whole time until the British liberation in Block 12? - He was a few days - three or four - in block number 12, and then he went to Block number 16.

Did he have, to your knowledge, any function in any block or in the camp? - I have not seen it, and I have not heard about it either.

Do you remember the procession in Belsen when prisoners were dragging corpses to the pits? - Yes, I do remember because I had to do this work myself.

What was Polanski doing when you were dragging corpses? - He did the same job.

(The remaining Defending Officers have no questions to ask)

Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: How were you treated by the SS in Auschwitz? - Worse than dogs.

Were you ever beaten? - Yes.

Often? - Yes.

It was virtually impossible to avoid being beaten in a concentration camp, was it not? - It was quite impossible. There was not a single prisoner who would not be beaten in a concentration camp.

Did the SS men carry any sticks or whips or anything of that kind? - Yes, they did.

Did the functionaries, the Lagerältesten, the Blockältesten, and the Kapos beat people too? - In the same way as the SS

Did they normally carry sticks too? - Yes.

Was that exactly the same at Neuengamme as well? - Yes, it was just the same.

At Hannover? - Yes, just the same.

In fact, in every concentration camp you have been in? - Yes.

When you got to Belsen you say you went into Block 13? - Yes.

What was the first work you were employed on in Belsen? - Dragging the corpses.

How soon after you got there did you start on that work? - It was about four or three days before the arrival of the British troops.

What time in the morning did you get roused and brought out of your block? - I do not know exactly, but it was dark.

Were you beaten when you came out? - Certainly.

As a matter of fact, it would be surprising in a concentration camp not to be beaten as you came out of your block, would it not? - It was very painful for the German personnel if they could not beat prisoners.

You did not have to do anything wrong to get beaten, did you? It was in the same way as you will see one type of farmer hitting his cattle as they go through a gate, was it not? - There was no difference whether there was any ground for it or not.

In each block in a concentration camp you had the Blockälteste and then he had one or two assistants to help, did he not? - Yes.

One of their functions was to get the prisoners out on parade in the morning, was it not? - Yes, to beat them and to chase them away as quickly possible.

In return for that the Blockälteste and the Stubendienst had a fairly easy time, did they not? - That was why they managed to keep their positions, because they murdered people.

Providing that you were prepared to play the SS game and beat prisoners you had a much better time if you were a functionary, did you not? - Certainly.

You got a better share of food because you were responsible for the distribution, did you not? - Of course, it is quite understandable.

And the Blockälteste and his assistants had beds, did they not? - Yes, they had single beds.

And they did not have to go out on parade, did they? - They had to attend parades in the same way as everybody else.

But having attended the roll call they did not go out to work; they stayed in the block, did they not? - They were present during work too.

Who looked after the block during the day? - The Blockälteste.

The Blockältesten share of the work was to look after the block during the day, was it? - Yes.

That was a very much more comfortable job than going to work with a working party, was it not? - Certainly.

Of course, the Lagerälteste was the senior prisoner or functionary of the whole camp, was he not? - Yes.

You had to be pretty friendly with the Germans to get that job, did you not? - Certainly.

How did the Lagerälteste behave towards the prisoners? - In the same way as Kapos and Blockältesten.

If a Lagerälteste had not beaten prisoners and had not treated them in the same way as the SS and Kapos could he have ever held his job for a week? - No.

Do you remember this man? (Indicating accused No. 30, Ignatz Schlomoivicz) - No.

Was he not a Kapo at Hannover? - I do not know him.

Do you not remember him either at Hannover or at Belsen? - No.

Was Block 12 next to Block 13? - Yes.

Who was the Blockälteste of Block 12? - I have never been there, I do not know.

Do you know this man? (indicating accused, No. 32, Antoni Aurdzieg) - No.

Was he at Hannover? - I do not know; I do not remember.

How many of you were there at Hannover? - To begin with 1500 and then 3000.

How did you and Polanski manage to stick together like this? - It was pure accident. We were taken from the list and always sent together to another camp.

And you were lucky every time? - Yes, we had no influence in it. We were ordered to go together and we had to go together.

Was there a fair amount of bribery in a concentration camp of Kapos to get good jobs or extra food or anything of that kind? - Unfortunately I have not seen it.

I was not suggesting you did it, but I was just asking if it happened in a concentration camp? - I have not been interested in it and I have not heard about it.

When you arrived in Block 13, for instance, did not the functionaries there offer you food in return for cigarettes or bread that you had with you? - I have not heard about it.

I do not suppose you remember him, but did you know a man called Druillenec who was in your block? - I heard about him.

Who was Blockälteste in your block? - A German; I do not know his name.

Who was the block orderly? - Several people, I think some Germans, but I do not know exactly because it was not my concern.

Were you not very concerned to get some food? - Yes, I would take my food and go away.

How much food did you manage to get? - A small mug of soup, sometimes once a day, sometimes twice a day.

There was nothing like enough food to go round the whole block, was there? - Whoever was stronger could get more; whoever was weaker could not. Especially the stronger Germans managed to get more.

Did not the block functionaries sell it? - It was quite possible that they did, but I do not know because it was not my concern.

You keep repeating it was not your concern. Nobody has suggested it was yet. Why do you keep repeating "It was not my concern"? Surely you were very concerned to get food if you were one of the prisoners? - Of course, I was very eager to get more food, but I did not want to risk it, because those who were trying to push themselves forward had to run the risk of being beaten by the people there and I was afraid.

Tell us about the procession in the last few days. Were you marshalled outside the blocks? - We had to fall in in fives and we were then marched off to the places where the corpses were lying and everybody had to start dragging the corpses.

When you fell in in fives was that outside your own block? - Yes.

Then did you have to take your place in the procession dragging the corpses? - Yes.

Were there functionaries of one kind or another more or less lining the route and making you keep your place? - Yes.

And beating people who did not keep up? - Yes.

Were there SS men stationed here and there along the route? - Yes.

Were they doing the same thing? - Yes.

You told us you were dragged out before it was daylight. Up until what time in the evening did it go on? - We worked in two shifts, one party working until late at night then we went to sleep, and another party would replace us.

Do you mean there was a party working during the night as well? - Yes, because I myself were sometimes in that shift.

So that for the last three days really this procession was going on day and night? - Yes.

Did you actually see Polanski on this procession? - Yes.

How was that? You told us you were marshalled by blocks. You were in Block 13 and by that time he was in Block 16, so you say. How did you manage to see him? - There were three blocks working at the same time. If I went, for instance, to the mass grave with my body I would meet Polanski coming back from the mass grave to get his corpse.

How many times did you see him? - About three times.

Each time was he coming back as you were going up with your corpse? - No, it varied. Sometimes I was coming from the mass grave to get my corpse and he was going in the reverse direction and sometimes vice versa.

How often were you beaten on that procession? - There was no use counting. That happened every second.

Was it quite impossible to avoid being beaten on that procession? - There was not a single person who avoided being beaten during that work.

The only people who avoided it, I suppose, were Kapos who did the beating? - Yes.

On that procession you had to go past one of the cookhouses, did you not? - Yes.

And there was a water tank or cistern just outside that cookhouse, was there not? - Yes.

Did any of the starving prisoners try to get either to the food or to the water or even to the potato peelings outside the kitchen? - If anybody tried to do it he would not come back. He would be shot.

Was there a good deal of shooting from the cookhouse? - Certainly.

Who was doing the shooting, do you know? - SS and Hungarian troops.

Were the SS men in the kitchen joining in the shooting? - They were shooting whenever they noticed anybody trying to get food.

There was another cookhouse on that same road as the one you passed, was there not? - Yes.

Did prisoners try to get near the food round that too? - Yes.

Were the SS men shooting there as well? - Yes.

Did the SS men all go about armed? - Yes.

Did they hesitate to use their arms? - Yes, they used their weapons frequently.

Was that common to all the concentration camps you have been in? - Yes.

When you were working at Auschwitz in the outside Kommandos did the SS men have any dogs with them? - The SS women had dogs, not the men.

What did they use their dogs for? - To set on the female prisoners.

When the women's kommandos went out in the fields did the SS women take dogs with them? - Yes.

Did the SS women often ride a bicycle if it was a fair distance; the prisoners marched and the SS women rode bicycles? - Yes.

When did Polanski find time to come and visit you in these last few days? - At that time I was transferred from Block No. 13 to Block No. 1 and he managed always to find time to come and see me.

When were you transferred to Block No. 1? - Two days before the arrival of the British troops.

And you say Polanski came and saw you there? - Yes.

Unless he had managed to procure some sort of function he would hardly be able to get from one compound to another, would he? - It was quite possible.

Block No. 1 was in Compound No. 1 and Block 16 was in Compound No. 2, was it not? - Yes.

And there was the stores area in between the two, was there not? - Yes.

There were guards around the stores area too, were there not? - I do not know.

There were guards at the gate of Compound No. 1 and Compound No. 2, were there not? - Yes, but only prisoner guards.

Of course, if you were on sufficiently good terms with the prisoner guards you could get through, could you not? - It was not necessary to be on good terms. You could say: "I am going to see my friend," and they would not mind for a short time - five minutes.

Do you really mean they let you walk down the main road past the cookhouse and past the Vegetable Stores? - I did not want to pass by the cookhouse or pass the Stores because whoever did would never come back because he would be shot.

I am not talking about you personally. I am suggesting that to get from Lager 2 to Lager 1 you would have to go past Cookhouse No. 1 and past the Stores. That was the only way of going? - It was a road leading from one compound to the other, and not in the immediate vicinity of the cookhouse and Stores.

Where did this road come; I do not quite follow it. How did you get from the one compound to the other? - Along the main road.

You would have to pass Cookhouse No. 1 and the Vegetable Cellar on the left hand side and the stores area on the right hand side, would you not? - Yes, I had to pass by those places, the cookhouse and the Vegetable Cellar.

Do you really mean that a prisoner was allowed to wander along there by himself? - It was really forbidden to do so, but if someone wanted to take risks he could do it, especially during the period of dragging the corpses he would come and nobody would notice.

Let me suggest this to you. You have been a friend of Polanski's for a very long time, but are you quite sure you saw him in these last few days, particularly after you went to Compound No. 1? - He used to come to see me. I took an oath and I am saying only the truth.

Because you would look down very much on somebody who became a Kapo, would you not? - Certainly.

If Polanski had fallen at the end he would hardly be likely to tell you, would he? - If Polanski would become a Kapo he would not try to conceal that fact; he would come to me and admit it.

Re-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: You have been asked if Polanski would have concealed the fact that he was a Kapo. Would it be possible for him to conceal it from you or from the others of his friends who were taken to Belsen with him? - It was impossible to conceal this.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I do not understand your evidence about the dragging of the corpses. Will you try and help me. You said the prisoners were working in shifts. How long did a shift consist of? (The Interpreter endeavours to explain to the witness). What is the trouble? It seems a very simple question: How long did a shift last in regard to carrying the corpses in the last few days at Belsen?

THE INTERPRETER: He said he had no watch and he cannot say how long.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: (To the witness) About how many hours do you think the shift lasted dragging corpses? - Sometimes 12 hours one shift; sometimes 8 hours, sometimes 3 hours.

Do you say, or do you not say that you were always working on the same shift with Polanski? It is not clear to me. - No, not always.

Sometimes would you be sleeping while he was working? - I know that only Germans were assistant Blockältesten. and only those who could speak German.

A MEMBER OF THE COURT: Did you ever see any rubber truncheons being used in any concentration camp? - No, I did see sticks, but I have not seen rubber truncheons.

ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE COURT: Did you see any SS women in Belsen? - Yes.

Were they armed? - I do not know, because they used to carry their arms under their clothes.

So you did not see them fire at anybody? - They were in different compounds, so I could not see.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions to ask on what the Court has asked?


(The witness withdraws)

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: The next witness is No. 24, Tatarczuk.

LIEUTENANT MARIAN TATARCZUK is called in and having been duly sworn is examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ as follows: What is your full name? - Marian Tatarczuk.

Where and when were you born? - 1st August, 1913, in Samara, Russia.

Are you a Polish national and a Polish citizen? - Yes.

What was your last address in Poland? - Zamość, Poland.

What was your occupation before the war? - Professional officer in the Artillery.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that the Polish Army?

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Yes. (To the witness) Were you arrested, or were you made a Prisoner of War? - On the 12th September, 1939, I was taken prisoner and I managed to escape after four days. Then I was arrested again on the 7th October, 1939, and after four weeks I managed to escape again. I escaped to Poznań and I stayed there two months. Later on I went to Warszawa [or Łomżą] and I lived there one year, and from there I went to Zamość, and I was at large until the 15th June, 1942.

What happened that day? - I was arrested by the Gestapo in Lublin.

What happened to you next? - I was kept in prison in Lublin for three months, then transferred after seven days questioning by the Gestapo to Warszawa [or Łomżą]. I spent 8 months there, and on 13th May, 1943, I was transferred to Auschwitz.

How long did you stay in Auschwitz? - Until the 1st September, 1943.

What were you employed at? - I was employed in Birkenau in Block No. 26 in building barracks for two weeks.

Where did you go when you left Auschwitz? - I went to concentration camp Neuengamme.

How long did you stay in Neuengamme? - Eight months.

What were you employed at? - I was working in an outside kommando employed on drainage.

When you left Neuengamme where were you sent to? - I arrived in Hannover-Stöcken on 30th March, 1944.

How long did you stay in Hannover-Stöcken? - Until the 5th April, 1945.

What was your work in Hannover-Stöcken? - At first I worked in a battery factory, and later on I was transferred to tailors' shops in the camp.

Will No. 47 stand up. (Accused No. 47, Antoni Polanski, stands up) Do you know this man? - Yes, I know him.

What is his name? - Antoni Polanski.

Where did you meet him first? - During the first days of my stay in Hannover-Stöcken.

Did you know him very well then, at the time you were both in Hannover-Stöcken? - Yes, I came to know him very well because we lived in the same block.

What kind of a man was he then? - He was a good friend; a decent man, very calm and self controlled.

What was he doing in his spare time after he finished his work? - He performed the duties of a barber in the block.

Did he take any re-numeration for this work? - Yes, he received re-numeration in the form of additional soup or bread from the Blockältester.

When you came to Belsen did you see this accused there again or did you not? - I met him frequently in Belsen.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Can we have a date when he arrived at Belsen?

THE PRESIDENT: We have got he was at Hannover-Stöcken until the 5th April, but we have not a date for Belsen.

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: (To the witness) When did you arrive at Belsen? - On the 7th April, 1945, at 2200 hours.

Were you in the same block in Belsen? - He was in Block No. 12 and I was in Block No. 13; they were two neighbouring blocks.

Do you know if he stayed in this block until the liberation? - After a short time - I do not know when - he was transferred to Block No. 16. I myself was transferred to Block No. 1, but I used to meet him in the camp and from his words I know that he was in Block No. 6 [16].

Have you been, after the camp was liberated, in contact with any relief committee? - Three days before the British troops arrived I managed to get to the drug store of the camp, and I distributed drugs to the prisoners. After the British troops arrived a Polish Committee was formed and one section of it, the medical section, was under my supervision.

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: I think there was a mistake in the translation. He did not say "supervising the medical section". He said he was in the medical section. (The question is repeated to the witness). - I was working in the drug stores there with the medical section of the committee.

Do you know if there were people sent by this committee to try and find out any allegations or any information about crimes which had been committed by Blockältesten., Lagerältesten, or any other functionary internees? - Yes, I know about it, because I myself participated in enquiries concerned with crimes committed by former functionaries in Belsen and in the other camps.

Did you ever receive any allegations against Polanski? - No, I have not heard of any allegations against Polanski. No allegation came to our kind of court we formed there, and our committee.

As far as you know it would have been possible for anything to be brought to your committee; any allegation could have been freely brought? - Yes. I know that there were many allegations brought to our committee, and that if there were any allegations against Polanski they would have to our committee. I am sure that during the two months during which Polanski remained in the camp no allegations were made against him.

MAJOR WINWOOD: Both myself and Major Munro have no questions.

Cross-examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD: How long did you stay at Belsen after the liberation? - I remained in Compound 1 [Bergen-Belsen KZ] till 10th May, and then I was transferred to Compound No. 3 [Bergen-Belsen Barracks, Camp 3] where I am till the present day.

Do you remember a British team coming to Belsen to investigate war crimes? - Yes, I do.

Have you been asked to give evidence for the Prosecution in this case? - No.

(The remaining Defending Officers do not desire to question the witness)

Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: What is your present rank? - Lieutenant.

What is your present unit? - Polish Liaison Officer.

With whom? - Attached to the Polish Liaison Officer, Bergen-Belsen.

And who is the Polish Liaison Officer at Bergen-Belsen? - Second Lieutenant Bomba.

Who attached you to him? - He himself.

Are you a pre-war professional serving soldier? - Yes.

What effort have you made to report yourself to your Government or any proper Polish military formation? - I reported to the military camp at Unterluess.

To whom? - To Major Mogucki who is in charge of it.

What was your unit before the war? - 18 Heavy Artillery Regiment.

Where did you receive your training? - In Toruń; I graduated from there.

This Major you say you reported to, what is his position? - He is the Camp Commandant of a former Prisoner of War camp.

Is it a camp for displaced persons? - It is only for the former Polish Prisoners Of War.

How did you get back to Belsen? - I was liberated in Belsen, and then I reported to the Prisoner Of War camp, and I was redirected from there to Belsen to assist Second Lieutenant Bomba.

You, a Lieutenant. sent to assist a Second Lieutenant? - Yes.

It is rather strange, is it not? - It might seem a little strange, but the Second Lieutenant has a good knowledge of English, French and German, and therefore his qualities are higher than mine. I work only in the education department.

What sort of identity card have you got? - Do you want to see it?

What type is it; who issued it? - The documents I have were first issued by the Headquarters in Belsen. Apart from that I have my verification papers issued by special verification board in Rimpelvt [Rinteln?].

Tell me about this Polish committee which was investigating war crimes. Were you a member of this committee? - No, I have not been a member of this committee. I was working only in the drug stores.

Who were the members of it? - There were two boards, there was the Polish committee and the investigation team. Which one do you mean?

The investigating committee? - The Chairman of the team was Doctor Kuc and the Prosecutor was Barrister Ladnowski.

Did they take statements from people? - Yes. If anybody knew about any incident that could be considered as a war crime, we would take the necessary steps and secure that statements should be made.

Have you any idea what they have done with all these statements? - All these statements were handed over to the British Investigation Team that came to Belsen.

When? - Gradually.

Did you make a statement to the War Crimes Investigation Team? - I have not.

Either to the Polish one or to the British one? - To neither.

Do you know whether the Polish Team had any allegations against any of these other people who are in the dock? For instance, Aurdzieg? - Yes, they have.

The Polish Committee have had allegations against him, have they? - I do not know.

Which of those answers do you mean, "Yes they have", or "I do not know"? (The Interpreter and the witness converse together in Polish). May we know what some of this is about?

THE PRESIDENT: He first of all said: "Yes", and then he said: "I do not know". What is the bother now?

THE INTERPRETER: This incompatibility of statements was caused by the fact that I spoke abut the past when I said "They had allegations", but I do not know whether they have now at present.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I am not worried about whether they have got them at present. I merely want to know whether they have had them. Up to now we have had "Yes and "I do not know". There is only no left. I will ask you again: Did the committee have allegations against this man Aurdzieg or have they ever had them? - I do not know.

Why did you say "Yes" the first time? - I did not speak about Aurdzieg.

Did you really know anything about this committee or these investigations? - Yes, I do know.

Do you know whether they had any allegations against Schlomoivicz? - I do not know.

In fact, the only man you know anything about is Polanski; is that right? - I am sure they have not got any against Polanski, because I made enquiries in that matter.

Why? - Because I was asked about it in Belsen and I made statements on this matter.

Who to? - To the British Investigation Team, to a Major.

When was this? - About two months ago.

How long did this Polish Investigation Team function? - For five weeks till the time when they were transferred from the Compound No. 1 [Bergen-Belsen KZ] to the Compound No. 3 [Bergen-Belsen Barracks, Camp 3].

Do you know if they ever sent any of the results of their investigations to the Polish War Crimes Liaison Officer? - I know that they sent the result of their investigation to the British Commission. Whether they sent any to the Polish Liaison Officer for the investigation of war crimes, I do not know.

What British commission are you talking about? - The British Investigation Team.

Which one? - That one which was in Camp No. 1 at Belsen.

How many Kapos do you think they sent reports about? - I do not know, I did not check that.

Have you any idea? - Judging by private information and talks I had, I suppose about 30.

When you were in Belsen as a prisoner before you came an officer there were you allowed to walk about the camp quite freely, in and out of the compounds where you liked? - Bergen-Belsen consists of three areas, so called fields, and it was possible to go over from one area to the other area.

I am not quite sure what you mean, but there was a Men's Lager 1 and also a Men's Lager 2. - Do you mean the Camp No. 1 or ...

I told you what I meant. Will you apply your mind to the question you were asked. When you were a prisoner in Bergen-Belsen was there not a Lager 1 and a Lager 2 for men? - Yes, at that time there were Camps No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3.

Did Camp No. 1 consist of Blocks 1 to 8? - Yes.

Then next to that was there a stores area consisting of Blocks 9 and 10? - That is right.

Next to that was there Camp No. 2 which consisted of Blocks 11 to 26? - Yes, but Block No. 11 was not a living Block.

I am not worried about that. Were prisoners allowed to pass freely from Compound No. 1 to Compound No. 2 and back? - There were restrictions.

What were the restrictions? - An ordinary prisoner who was not a function or had any special work to do outside of his own compound was not allowed to leave the compound, and that applied to both Camp No. 1 and Camp No. 2.

But were functionaries permitted to pass from one camp to another? - Yes, that is right; those on functions were entitled to go from one camp to the other.

But if you were not a functionary you were not allowed to go from one to the other unless you were taken on a working party? - That is right.

Now there is only one other thing I want to ask you. Compound No. 1, Blocks 1, 2 and 3 were for the fit people who were going out on working parties, were they not? - Yes.

Zoddel was the Lagerältester, was he not? - Yes.

How was it that Polanski was not transferred when the rest of you were sent to Block No. 1? - Not all of us were transferred to Block No. 1, only the Germans or of German origin, the doctors and the members of the band, and I was a member of the band.

Was Rakoczy a member of the band too? - No.

Was he of German origin? - No.

Was he a doctor? - No.

How did he come to be transferred? - It depends when he was transferred.

I suggest to you that the fit men from your transports, who were fit for work, were transferred to Camp No. 1 unless they had some function in Camp No. 2? - No.

Did Polanski come and visit you in Camp No. 1 after you had moved there? - I do not remember whether it was in Camp No. 1, I know only that I met him, and I would like to indicate that I had the right to move freely in the camp because I was a member of the camp band, and apart from that I was working in the drug stores.

Were you a functionary too, were you not? - Yes.

Re-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: You said you were a member of the camp band. Do you know the majority of the members of this band? - I am able to, but all of them are dead now.

Were there men only or did you have women in the band too? - During the period before the British troops arrived there were only five men in the band, but later on two women came to help us.

Was it, do you think, difficult for Blockältesten or Stubendienst while distributing food to control his fellow prisoners? - It was very difficult at the later period.

Do you think it would be true to say that in Belsen it was far more difficult than, for instance, Hannover-Stöcken, or Hamburg-Neuengamme or even Auschwitz? - Certainly, I quite agree.

Would you think that giving verbal orders to prisoners during food distribution was sufficient or was not sufficient? - During the last eight days of my stay in Belsen verbal orders were of no avail at all, because the prisoners were starved and they did not get any food.

You have been asked to identify a man Zoddel. Can you tell the Court how he behaved in Belsen camp? - I cannot really say. I have never seen much of him. I was in my block and he used to come there only once or twice a day for inspection, and three days before the British troops arrived the whole German personnel left the camp.

Did you see him beating prisoners? - No, I have not.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: You knew, I suppose, that Polanski was a soldier, did you? - Yes.

Was he picked up as a soldier and reported to the authorities, like you? - No.

When did the Polish Committee of Enquiry finish its work at Belsen - what date, about? - After five weeks - about 10 or 15 days.

When did you first know that allegations had been made against Polanski and that he had been arrested at Belsen because of these allegations? - It was about four months ago, and after a few weeks a Sergeant from the Military Government came to me and asked me whether I knew anything about Polanski, and it was there when I made my statements.

Lastly, are you receiving pay as an officer now? - I have not received it yet, but I was promised to receive it shortly, 400 marks a month.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions on that?


(The witness withdraws)

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: This concludes the case of the accused No. 47 (Antoni Polanski)

The next accused I represent is Helena Koper, No. 46. The evidence against her is partly verbal and partly in in statements. The statements are in Volume 16, Rosenberg, marked exhibit 73; Volume 15, exhibit 18, Bialek, and in the same volume, exhibit 34, Helina Furstenberg. The live witnesses, Guterman , Volume 11, page 35 and 36; Volume 12, Synger and Koppel, pages 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. I will not deal with the affidavit of Stojowska, which really contains no accusation except she speaks about the beating in which Koper was invloved and beating herself, and she says she was in the camp police and a Blockälteste.

THE PRESIDENT: Which affidavit is that?

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Stojowska, page 148. I propose now to put Helena Koper in the box.

Helena KopperThe accused HELENA Koper takes her 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: What is your full name? - Helena Koper.

Where and when were you born? - 24th February 1910 in Płoki, Poland.

What was you last address in Poland? - In Kraków, Poland.

Are you married or are you single? - Married.

Have you got children? - Two sons.

How old are they? - At the time when I was arrested one was six years of age, the other one nine months.

What was your occupation? - I had no occupation; I was at home; I was a mother and a wife.

Were you eventually arrested by the Germans? - Yes, on the 24th June 1940 I was arrested.

Why were you arrested? - Because I was in possession of leaflets which were anti German.

What happened to you after you were arrested? - I was in prison in Kraków, held by the Gestapo, till the 15th October 1940.

What then? - There were 60 women altogether arrested at that time; 31 were sentenced to death and 29 sent to the concentration camp at Ravensbrück.

How long did you stay in Ravensbrück? - Till the 20th October 1942.

What were you employed at in Ravensbrück? - Building shelters near the crematorium.

How were you treated in Ravensbrück? - Very badly; not only me but all of us.

When you left Ravensbrück where did you go to? - To Auschwitz with a transport.

When was it you arrived in Auschwitz? - It was the 21st or 22nd October 1942.

How long did you stay in Auschwitz? - Till the 20th December 1944.

What were you employed at in Auschwitz? - For two weeks I was in a normal block and then I was reported by the Lagerführer and went to the punishment kommando.

Have you got the number tattooed? - Yes.

Was it tattooed in Ravensbrück or in Auschwitz? - In Auschwitz, but it was the same number that I wore in Ravensbrück.

You said after you had been reported by the Lagerführer you were sent to the punishment kommando. How long did you stay in the punishment kommando? - Till my departure to Bergen-Belsen.

How were you treated in the Strafkommando? - I have not been treated too badly myself because I had some experience in concentration camps and I knew what I should do and should not do.

Was the work you were forced to do in the punishment kommando a heavy one or a light one? - It was the hardest possible job anyone could get in a concentration camp.

Where did you go from Auschwitz? - I went to Bergen-Belsen and I arrived there on 27th or 28th December 1944.

How did the camp look when you arrived? Was it just like the time of the liberation or was it a different camp? - We came to the so called tents, and the state of the camp was different than at the time of the liberation.

How long did you stay under canvas? - The wind destroyed the tents and we were transferred to wooden barracks after a short time. [The storm which destroyed the tents was on 7th November 1944]

What was the number of the first block you were sent to? - 27.

What part of the camp was it? - I think it was camp No. 1.

Was it always used by women, this part of the camp? - No, it was only temporarily used by women and later on Kramer [Kramer arrived 02 December 1944] arrived we were transferred to another part of the camp, some of us to Block 205 and other to Block 224.

Did you hold any position in Block 27? - Yes, I was assisting the Blockälteste.

Who appointed you to help the Blockälteste? - The Blockälteste herself; I wrote down the numbers, helped her.

Did your appointment have any German name? - No, it has not; I simply helped her.

Do you mean by this you were a sort of private help to the Blockälteste or was it an official position? - It was not any official appointment, but the Blockälteste knew me; she asked me to help her and I agreed.

How long did you stay in Block No. 27? - Only four days.

What happened then? - I was transferred to Block No. 205 and Rapportführerin Gollasch appointed me as Blockälteste.

Were you wanting to be transferred from Block No. 27 to Block No. 205? - No, all of us were sent, the whole block was sent from Block 27 to Block 205, and as the day before the Blockälteste from Block 27 was transferred to another block I, as an experienced person, was made Blockälteste and went together with the whole block, already as Blockälteste

How long were you Blockälteste of Block No. 205? - Three weeks.

What happened to you then? - The whole block was transferred to Block 224 in Compound No. 2 because of the outbreak of typhus in the previous block.

How long were you Blockälteste of Block 224? - Till 15th February 1945.

What happened then? - I asked several times the Lagerältester to remove me from the present occupation because I did not consider myself suitable for this work, I was too nervous, and after a few days I went to the Rapportführerin and she appointed me as camp police.

How long have you been a Lager police? - Till 1st March 1945.

What happened after the 1st March 1945? - At that day I got my beating from Oberaufseherin Ehlert. I was taken to the prison where I stayed till 25th March 1945. I left the prison together with Flrazich.

When you left the bunker what happened to you then? - I came back to Block No. 224 completely exhausted and ill.

I will talk about 224 and go into more details about that. Can you tell the Court what was the block staff when you were the Blockälteste of Block 224? - Synger, as a clerk, Furstenberg and Guterman. I chose them myself.

What was Furstenberg and Guterman's occupation?

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Stubendienst. That means responsible for the hut or the block. (To the witness) How many internees did you have in Block No. 224? - 850.

What were you responsible for as Blockälteste? - For parades, for distribution of food and maintaining order in the block.

How often did you have Appell? - In Block 224 there were no parades at the time when I was there, only in Block 205.

Why were there no parades in Block 224? - Because the percentage of sick people was very high, and I asked the Lagerältester to stop these parades; there was no use making parades when 50 percent would go out and 50 percent would stay in, and the Rapportführerin Gollasch agreed to count the strength of the prisoners inside the block.

What were your responsibilities in connection with food? - To secure the fair distribution of food.

I come now to the specific allegations. I take first the affidavit of Hanka Rosenberg, exhibit 73, Volume 16 page 27. Do you remember Hanka Rosenberg saying that in March, 1945, she saw you chasing after a girl who had asked for some more soup and that you beat the girl? - I was at that time in prison and, of course, I could not do it, and apart from that speaking about the whole people, I was already camp police and being such had nothing to do with food.

The next is the affidavit of Regina Bialek, exhibit 18, Volume 15 page 11. Paragraph three says that while you were assistant Blockälteste Block 27 you deprived the women of the block of their proper share of what food there was because you kept more for yourself than you were entitled to have. - That is not true because at that time, as I said already, I was not an official Stubendienst in the block and therefore could not do that; even if I were an official it was forbidden and I would be punished if I were to do so.

She goes on and she says that when the women came to you and asked for more food you beat them across the head and all parts of the body with a wooden stick. - I have never beaten anybody with a stick; I used only my own belt because I suffered too much as a prisoner to beat prisoners.

Can you describe to the Court what this belt looked like? - It was a very narrow belt that women used to wear on their dresses; not made from leather but from the same material as that the dress is made of.

What was it made of? - It was an oil cloth belt and it was black. This belt is still in the hands of the British Police because at the time I was arrested I handed it over.

In paragraph four Bialek goes on and says you have been beating women prisoners with a wooden stick in the camp while there was an air-raid on. - I had nothing to do with maintaining order during air-raids because there was a special order in the camp for these things.

The next deposition is that of Halina Furstenberg, exhibit 24, it is in the same volume on page 33. In paragraph three Furstenberg says that you were beating prisoners during Appell because they would not hurry enough or they would hurry too much before the Appell was finished to get back into the block. What can you say to that? - I have to admit that I beat some prisoners during parades in Block 205 but never in Block 224, but even in Block 205 I did it very seldom. I shouted more than I beat.

The same woman says on several occasions you have all the women kneel down on the ground simply for speaking or something of that nature? - It was only one occasion during my whole stay in concentration camps that I ordered a woman to kneel and it was my own Stubenälteste, Guterman.

I will come back to this incident when I take the deposition of Guterman, but I leave it now. (To the witness) The same woman says you have beaten several other women who subsequently died and that the beatings certainly contributed to death - That is an absurdity to say so. I have not caused any harm with my beating because I endured too much myself and I had too much heart for the prisoners.

In paragraph four she says you forced a woman 45 years old to kneel down on the ground for half an hour, an SS woman came and asked why this woman was kneeling and you said "She must learn to stand on Appell - This incident took place but in quite a different way to that described here.

Who was this old woman? - This woman was my Stubenälteste, Guterman.

Then in paragraph six she goes on and she says that there was a Jewess 30 years old sick in the block, she missed her food, and she went to ask you for the food and you beat her again and again with a leather strap, the woman remained unconscious for an hour and then kept lapsing into unconsciousness and then the woman died after three or four days? - That is not true because the victim of this incident is Koppel, the same witness as came here in the Court to give evidence.

Do you remember the witness Guterman? - Yes.

You have told the Court before the adjournment that you have made Guterman kneel during an Appell. Can you tell the Court how this incident happened? - Guterman was my assistant in the block, and during my absence there was a distribution of jam in the block. Guterman instead of giving jam to the prisoners she gave them water, and when I came back it was that in my block the jam was very poor quality. I wanted to undermine her prestige, therefore I ordered her to kneel.

The witness said an Aufseherin came and enquired why Guterman was kneeling and you said she had to kneel because she did not know how to stand during an Appell, and you said: "I am giving orders here and she is going to kneel". - Yes, that is true. It was Rapportführerin Gollasch that happened to pass by at that time and she enquired why this woman was kneeling and I told her why, but, of course, I could not say to Rapportführerin Gollasch that I am giving orders here, because I was only a cog in the machine and the real masters were the Germans. Rapportführerin Gollasch hearing that told me to dismiss the woman from their function. The next day Guterman became an ordinary prisoner and was transferred to another block.

How long did she have to kneel? - I think about 20 minutes.

The witness goes on to say before you made her kneel you beat her with a belt. - That is not true. I have never beaten her because she was a functionary in the block.

Do you remember another incident Guterman has told the Court about with a woman called Fischer? - Yes, I do, and I know Fischer very well.

Fischer is alleged to have been forced to kneel down because she did not go to work and the explanation she gave was because she had not got any shoes. Then she goes on and says she got high fever. After three weeks she died - Fischer is still alive and lives in Belsen in Block G.B. 13 [Bergen-Belsen Barracks] and, apart from that, all the prisoners in Belsen had shoes and I never forced her to kneel.

Then she goes on and she gives another incident concerning a sick Polish woman who suffered from swollen legs whom you forced to attend a parade; you beat her; she fainted; she was forced to lay down during the parade on the ground; she was taken to hospital, and after three days she died. - That is a lie. Firstly, because in Block 105 [205] were only fit workers. There were no weak or ill women. Apart from that I never forced anybody to go on parade because I bore well in mind that at one time I was a prisoner and sometimes I asked to be excused a parade and I know what it meant not to allow people to stay in the blocks who were unable to go out.

Cannot you remember an incident like this at the time you were Blockälteste of Block 224? - Yes, I do. I remember this incident in the Block No. 224. At about 2200 hours a woman called Koppel came to me in my room and demanded soup. She knew quite well that the soup distribution took place at 1800 hours ...

My question was in connection with the woman with swollen legs which happened at the time when you were Blockälteste of Block 224. - No, not in Block 224, not the incident with the swollen legs, because nobody was forced to parade at all. The parades were held in the block.

Do you remember the witness Synger? - Yes, she was my clerk.

Do you remember Synger telling the Court that while you were Blockälteste you were very unjust in the way you allowed a girl to stay in a block and not attend parades. You always allowed healthy women to stay and the sick were forced to attend them? - Yes, I remember her saying that.

Is it true? - That is not true, because as I mentioned before there were no parades in Block 224 during the time I was Blockälteste there.

Did it happen then in Block 205? - It could not happen also in Block 205 because although Aufseherin Gollasch was very bad she gave us permission to leave the weak and sick persons in the block and she made the roll-call parades inside the block.

And the girls who were all right did have to attend parades outside the block? - Yes, it was on orders from Gollasch that fit women had to parade and the weak stay in the block.

Then Synger goes on and says there was a woman from Leipzig who had swollen legs and she was forced by you to attend an Appell, she fainted, and you did not allow her to go into the block, but finally you agreed to a chair being brought out and she could sit until the end of the Appell; but the girl was taken to hospital and died three days later. - That is not true because there were only five women from Leipzig that came from my block. They only spent one night there and that was with children. The next morning Blockführer Kasainitzky came to my block and ordered me to transfer these women to a special block for children called the children block.

Synger says also that you forced on many occasions women to kneel on parades and that on many occasions you did not allow the sick women to stay in the block. - I have to stress once more that I have never forced anybody to attend a parade, because I kept in mind what it meant to be forced to attend parades when one is ill, because I was a prisoner myself. Sometimes I feel bound to forbid a prisoner in my block to do things that were prohibited because I was afraid that that would bring harm to all the inmates of that block.

Synger was asked if you did distribute food fairly and she said that it varied. - I had to secure a fair distribution of food because we were under the control of the Lagerälteste all the time. It was a very important point.

Do you remember Koppel? - Yes, I do.

She says that you have beaten her one night when she came and asked for food which she had missed through being in hospital. - She came to my room about 2200 hours and demanded soup. I told her that as she knew very well the distribution took place at 1800 hours, therefore as there were 850 prisoners in the block, we were unable to remember all the people who did not attend the distribution. I promised to give her a double ration the next day, but she behaved very aggressively and therefore I had to resort to beating, but I used my belt.

She goes on and that the whole night she was unconscious and while she was unconscious she was crying: "Help me, help me; my heart, my heart". - If anybody is unconscious he is unable to ask for help and he is unable to say that he has got heart aches or anything like that. I was told the next day that she really fainted but she fainted for quite a different reason.

What was the reason you were told that she had fainted? - As I was told the whole incident took place during an air-raid and when she left my room and she came to her own room, I think especially to cause trouble for me, she put the light on and the guard outside shot in the direction of the block. It was really only great luck that he did not shoot in anything in any of the room, but in the bathhouse of the block.

The witness goes on and then says that you, during an Appell, have beaten a girl who wanted to go to the toilet, and that finally the woman died. What do you say to that? - I have never beaten anybody with a stick. If I ever beat anybody I did it with my belt as I told you before.

MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.

Cross-examined by MAJOR MUNRO: When were you arrested by the British authorities? - 8th June at 1600 hours.

Do you remember making a statement which was read in Court? - I do.

Was that statement dated 26th June? - I am not sure, but I suppose so.

How long was it before you signed that statement that you had your first interview with the investigation team? - Two or three days.

Was it before or after you were arrested? - After.

I will remind you that you are on oath and I repeat my question. Was it before or after you were arrested? - I was arrested on the 8th June and after that I was called to the office and I had the investigation.

When you were asked into the office what was said to you? - It was not any commission; it was a British Captain accompanied by another Lieutenant who spoke German.

Will you answer my question? When you were called into the office what was said to you? - It was not in the office. They came to my room.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: She said she was not called into a room, but they came to see her.

MAJOR MUNRO: When you were first interviewed what was said to you? - They asked me how long I stayed in Auschwitz and in which camps I was before and after.

And after that? - Then I was asked whether I knew any SS people who were in the camp.

Did you know at the time that you had been accused yourself? - Certainly I knew.

Why did you not defend yourself in your statement? - Because the Captain told me that I did not need to speak about myself, that I shall be brought before a fair trial and I shall given an opportunity of saying everything I know, but at that time they only wanted to know about the SS personnel.

Then you accused some of the SS did you not? - I did not accuse them. I said only the truth.

Is it not the case that you only made these accusations in order to try and help yourself? - Nothing of that kind.

Do you know about the reputation you had as an informer? - Yes, I do know that I was an informer in the camp.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Is that what she said?


THE PRESIDENT: She actually said: "I do know that I was an informer in the camp" did she?

THE INTERPRETER: Yes - she said: "I was an informer" and now she says: "But I was informing only the truth".

MAJOR MUNRO: Is it not true that you were the bearer of false information? - Never.

Do you know the deponent Halina Furstenberg? - Yes, she was my Stubendienst.

Have you read her affidavit? - Yes.

Do you remember her saying that you had given information to the SS that some people were in possession of jewellery even though they were not? - That is not true.

You have told us that you went into hospital after you had received a beating; is that right? - That is not true. I have never been in hospital.

Is it true that you were put into prison after receiving a beating? - Yes, by the Political Department.

That was after other prisoners had beaten you, was it not? - During my stay in concentration camps it never happened to me that I was beaten by a prisoner from the camp. It happened only once when I was in a punishment kommando.

Do you remember what Halina Furstenberg said? - Yes.

Do you remember that said she was told that Blockältesten had beaten you and that they had beaten you because you had given false information? - That is not true. I have not been beaten by any Blockältesten.

Do you remember Regina Bialek's statement? - Yes, I knew her very well.

Do you remember that she said other prisoners set about you? - Yes.

Was that true? - No. There was not one prisoner who beat me at Belsen.

I put it to you that you were in fact set upon by other prisoners. - That is not true.

And that you were set upon because you gave false information about them? - That is not true.

I also put it to you that it was a favourite habit of yours. - I am very eager to know how the officer from the Defence could know such things.

And I put it to you that your whole statement is a pack of lies from beginning to end? - Unfortunately my evidence is only the truth, but it is not the whole truth. If I had to tell everything that I had to endure I should have to write it down for months and months.

Cross-examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD: Were you in the punishment kommando at Auschwitz for two years? - Almost two years.

Did that very severe punishment have an affect your health? - Yes, very much so.

Do you find now that you suffer from headaches? - I am suffering not from headaches but from a bladder disease and I am under the observation of the British doctor.

Do you find now that you have difficulty in sleeping? - Yes, that is true.

When did you last have a night's sleep? - I do not remember.

You have told us you remember the statement which you made. Do you remember seeing the officer to whom you made the statement here in Court? - It was Captain Fox and some other Lieutenant, and it was a Major who was in this Court.

Did you sign one statement or more than one? - Only one.

Have you got a copy of it in front of you? - Yes.

Look at paragraph 2 of your statement.

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: She has not got it. She has only the translation of the affidavit against her.

MAJOR CRANFIELD: In that statement you describe an incident about the accused Grese, and you say: "I first knew Grese in Ravensbrück in 1941". - Yes.

You have heard Grese in the witness box say that she did not go to Ravensbrück until the summer of 1942. Do you say that is untrue? - That is not true.

You still maintain that Grese came to Ravensbrück in 1941, do you? - Certainly; I do. I know all the Aufseherinnen from Ravensbrück.

Then you say that when Grese came to Auschwitz she was a Block leader. Which camp was that? - It was in Camp A and in Camp B.

Which block was it? - She carried out her parades from all the blocks.

Then you say Grese was in charge of a punishment company from Auschwitz from 1942 to 1944. Do you still say that that is not true? - She was for seven months the leader of the Kommando S. K, that is Strafkommando, punishment kommando.

Now seven months is not the same thing as two years. Do you still say that Grese was in charge of the punishment company at Auschwitz from 1942 to 1944? - Yes, I do.

What is the difference between the punishment company and the Kommando S.K.?

THE INTERPRETER: That is the same thing. When I translate it it will be the same thing.

MAJOR CRANFIELD: Just ask her the question.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Well, it is the same words for both.

MAJOR CRANFIELD: Is it the same word that she has used?


MAJOR CRANFIELD: (To the witness) I suggest to you that Grese did not come to Ravensbrück until the summer of 1942, and did not come to Auschwitz until March, 1943? - And I still maintain that I remember Grese in Ravensbrück from 1940, when she was walking with her riding-whip and carrying out parades in front of Block No. 10. [Koper had just previously answered she knew Grese in Ravensbrück from 1941]

I suggest to you that at the time you say she was a Blockführerin in Camp A and Camp B, she was in fact on telephone duty in the Blockführerstube? - In Auschwitz no female personnel were employed on telephone duties, only male personnel. For instance Kasainitzky, Weingartner, Rhatus and Herschel.

Do you remember an incident in the sand pit which you described in your statement? - I remember it very well.

Where was the sand-pit? - It was about six kilometres from Auschwitz camp in the direction to Budy.

Was it on the river? - There were some stagnant waters in the vicinity and we were digging a dam.

Was the kommando called the Vistula kommando? - No. We were pushing trucks.

Do you say there were 700 to 800 women in this kommando? - Yes, because we had 70 lorries to push.

Is that not a very large number for one kommando? - It was not too many because some of us had to dig sand, the other to even the ground, and the other again to push the lorry.

Do you say that Grese was in charge of this kommando for seven months [Koper's statement says 6 months]? - Grese was Kommandoführerin and Herschel was Sturm Arbeitsdienst.

How many Aufseherinnen did Grese have to help her? - There was only one Aufseherin, Grese, there was a senior Kapo, ordinary Kapos, forewomen and about 30 guards.

Is it not true that in the case of kommandos of 100 or 150 there were always two Aufseherinnen? - That is not true.

In your statement you describe how women were shot because they did not understand the challenge of the guards. Is not the challenge of a German guard "Halt"? - Yes.

Are you suggesting that even a Polish woman, an inmate of Auschwitz, would not understand when a German guard said "Halt", and covered her with his rifle, that she was to stop? - Everybody would understand that "Halt" means stop, especially a Polish woman. Perhaps French women or a Belgian woman would not understand that, but every Polish woman would.

What nationality were the women in this kommando? - French, Greek, Belgian, Polish and Russian nationality.

Are you suggesting that any of these women if they were told to halt and were covered by the rifle of a German guard, would not understand that they had to stop? - Yes, that is true, but these guards did not challenge us; they shot at once unless they were Slovaks or Poles Volksdeutsche.

Do you remember the enquiry which you describe in your statement? - Yes, I do. I remember it very well.

Did that take place in the Political Department at Auschwitz No. 1? - Yes. It was not only myself that was present there, but another four women. I was the only one that was questioned.

Was Grese there? - No.

Who was the accused? - The accused was the guard who refused to fire at the girl.

Was he an SS man? - It was an SS man of Slovakian descent.

Who was the senior officer present? - There were no officers present, only N.C.O's. There was an Unterscharführer; I do not know his name.

Who made the accusation against the SS man at the enquiry? - Grese.

You and four other female prisoners were present, were you? - No, it was myself and three other women. I was the only one that was questioned. [Koper had just previously said four women]

What I want to know is were the other three women prisoners? - Yes.

The SS man was brought in handcuffed, was he not? - Yes.

And the next day he was back on duty? - Yes, he was, but Grese was absent.

Are you asking the Court to believe that an Aufseherin could have an SS man charged, and the SS man be brought in handcuffed in the presence of four female prisoners? - Yes, it was quite possible, because he was not a real SS, he was of Slovakian descent.

You say that on this working party 30 prisoners a day were killed. If that were so, do you not think it would be known in the camp? - Yes, everybody knew about it, and Grese got the Kriegsverdienstkreuz.

You say in your statement that you wrote a letter to the son of one of the prisoners who was killed in this way? - I wrote to my son, not to her son. I wrote him that this woman, whose name is Güterman, a Master of Laws from Kraków, was killed.

Do you know that in your statement the woman's name is given as Guterweiss, and it says that you wrote to her son? - I could not write to her son, I did not know her address, but I think it is a mistake in printing.

I suggest to you that this story is untrue from beginning to end and was invented by you? - I swore to say the truth and I am telling only the truth. Even in the hardest days of my life I have never resorted to lies because I resent lying.

And I suggest to you that the reason you now say the woman's name was Güterman is because you cannot remember the details of the story you concocted last June. - Unfortunately I remember it so well as I know that one and one is two.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Would you ask her to tell us again who this woman was?

MAJOR CRANFIELD: Who do you say this woman Güterman was? - Bachelor of Laws under the Polish law.

Do you remember the accused Ehlert describing to the Court what happened when you were beaten by the other prisoners? - Yes, I do.

I am going to read you a part of it. (Transcript 25, page 5). She says "Koper came into my office and said that she had been working already before in the Gestapo and that she was a very good agent and a good spy". Later on she says: "She brought me the name and number of one and later of the second and later of the third; three people, but she implored me not to tell anybody about the services which she was rendering me" - that is Ehlert - "because otherwise she would have to suffer". Afterwards, Ehlert says that the clerks in her office said to her: "We know there is only one woman who could have told you about such a thing and that is Koper", and when she asked them why they said: "Oh, we have known before from Auschwitz. She has made the life very miserable for many people there by her spying on the others". That is true, is it not? - I admit that I was a spy, but you should try to find out what kind of spy.

You spent all your time in concentration camps reporting your fellow prisoners to the Germans, did you not? - It was not my only job, but when I saw that a German prisoner would exploit the other prisoners in the camp by stealing food, by selling this food and taking other advantages, I thought it just to go to the German authorities and tell about it, and then this man would disappear, he would be sent to a punishment kommando.

And your statement to the British is three pages full of accusations against your fellow officials in the concentration camp, is it not? - They were only Germans. I accused only German SS and German prisoners with black and green triangles.

You accused only Germans, did you, irrespective of the truth? - No, whenever I saw that a Polish woman or a Jewish woman was stealing food from other prisoners, I considered it my duty to report it to the German authorities.

I am talking about your statement. In that you accused only Germans, did you? - I accused only and exclusively SS

There is nothing in your statement in your own defence? - I do not understand.

Have you got two children in Poland? - Yes, in Kraków.

Do you want to get back to them? - Certainly I want to get back to them.

I suggest to you that when the British came to Belsen you thought that if you accused all the Germans in the camp you would curry favour with the British. - I did not think that, because I never tried to save myself at the cost of other people. I said only that they ruined the lives of thousands of people and my own life too.

And I suggest to you that that is a policy you have followed all your life. - That is not true.

Now just answer this question "Yes" or "No". Have you at any time been a Professor of Music? - I suppose the Defending Officer had opportunity to find out that I was.

Cross-examination by CAPTAIN ROBERTS: You told us that when you came out of the Bunker on the 25th March 1945 you were completely exhausted and ill? - Yes.

What did you do then? - I came back to my block and my previous clerk and Stubendienst tried to help me as well as they could.

Did you get any better? - Yes.

When were you well again? - It was not really that I was very ill at that time when I came from the Bunker, it was only that I was almost starved to death, because i received in this Bunker every third day a half litre of water and a small piece of bread.

So when you came back to Block 224 you got enough food to help you build up your strength again? - Yes, I had a friend who helped me.

Were you still carrying on your duties as camp policewoman? - No, from the time I left the Bunker to the arrival of the British troops I was an ordinary prisoner.

What did you spend your time doing now that you had no longer got any official duties? - I helped with everyday duties in the block; I went to fetch food from the cookhouse myself.

You told us that Block No. 205 which you were in before was a block for fit women; is that right? - Yes.

Was it not in fact the maternity ward? - No, the maternity block was the so-called Sturmlager, and Block 205 was a block for working parties.

I am now going on to No. 16 now. (Karl Flrazich) (To the witness) How far is it from Cookhouse No. 3 to Block 224? - Like from my place to the place where the Prosecuting Counsel sits. I mean the cookhouse that was opposite to Block 224.

That was the part of the cookhouse which was furthest from the camp entrance, was it not? [Cookhouse 3 (C)]- Yes, it was the further one.

Do you remember the other half of the cookhouse which was closer to the main entrance? - Yes.

How far is that from Block 224? - Twice as much.

That would be about 20 metres? - About 25 to 30. [At best it is 80 metres]

I put it to you that in fact that distance was not 20 or 30 metres but it was 200 or 300 metres. - Do you mean the cookhouse that was situated opposite to Block 224?

No, I am still referring to the half nearest the main gate. - 300 yards was from my block to Cookhouse No. 4. [Cookhouse No. 4 was in the SS Administration area, and was nearest the main entrance to the entire complex, and is 400 metres away from Block 224]

I still want you to think about that half of Cookhouse No. 3 which was nearest to the main gate. Could you see that cookhouse from Block 224? - Yes, I could see both parts of the cookhouse through the window.

So when you say in your statement: "I saw Flrazich shooting repeatedly at the internees, many of whom fell down and were flung on to the heap", you saw all that from your block, did you? - Flrazich was shooting from that part of the cookhouse that was exactly opposite to 224, and I took that woman myself to hospital.

I am not referring to any girl, and will you answer this question? - Yes, because I had a room with a window to that part where the kitchen was, and I saw him standing on the steps in front of the cookhouse and shooting indiscriminately.

On the steps of which part of the cookhouse did you see him stand? - It was at this part of the cookhouse which was situated further from the entrance to the camp, just opposite my block.

You could see the entrance to that cookhouse from your block, could you? - Even if I were very short sighted I could see it. [At this period of time there were trees obscuring Kitchen 3 (West) from Block 224]

I put it to you that in fact you could see neither of the entrances to either cookhouse from Block No. 224, and you never saw Flrazich shooting repeatedly at the internees? - Good gracious, how many times I have to repeat it. He did not shoot really, he was mad; he was shooting and did not know what was going on - all the time repeatedly, like in a trance.

Was it usual for pregnant women to go and collect food from the cookhouse? - It was not a normal occurrence in the camp, but that was just before the British troops arrived and the camp was in a state of complete chaos, and the SS men were shooting all the time with a gun without any reason.

Whereabouts was this heap of corpses which you talk about which was supposed to be near the cookhouse? - It is really grossly exaggerated to say it was a heap of bodies. I said only that more than ten men were shot by Flrazich, and I saw it myself.

I will just read this out to you: "I saw Flrazich shooting repeatedly at the internees, many of whom fell down and were flung on the heap." - Yes, that is the truth.

Will you now tell me whereabouts this heap of corpses was? - It was about 15 yards from this part of the cookhouse which was opposite Block 224.

And it was just outside the door of the cookhouse, 15 metres from the door? - It was 15 yards from that point from which Flrazich was shooting from these steps I mentioned before.

And the steps and this door faced the other half of the cookhouse; is that right? - No, these steps were facing my block, the window of my room.

Was this heap of corpses always there? - I do not understand the question.

You just told me there was a heap of corpses 15 metres from the cookhouse steps. Did it always remain there - that heap? - No, they were taken to the mortuary very soon after.

I put it to you that the whole of these accusations which you make against Flrazich are untrue, and you have only made them because Flrazich would not give you extra food when you went and asked him for it? - I have never asked Flrazich for any food and I said only the truth. He himself knows very well that I said the truth.

CAPTAIN FIELDEN: Major Brown has no questions. I have some questions on behalf of No. 23, Otto.

Cross-examined by CAPTAIN FIELDEN: Who was the Blockälteste of Block No. 201 when you arrived at Belsen? - A Slovakian Jewess.

Do you know who the next Blockälteste was? - After her it was a Polish woman, Aldona Pietrkiewicz.

Did you hear that either of those two Blockältesten had ever been beaten? - I know that this Slovakian Jewess was beaten very severely and as a result of it she had a broken rib.

When was that? - I should think it was at the beginning of January, immediately after I arrived in Belsen.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: What date did she give for that?

CAPTAIN FIELDEN: The beginning of January, soon after she arrived at Belsen. (To the witness) Do you know who beat this Czech Jewess? - Hauptsturmscharführer [Hauptscharführer] Mitz or Kitz, but I knew him very well; I cannot describe how he looked.

Do you know if any other Blockälteste of Block 201 was beaten? - No.

If any other Blockälteste had been beaten would you have heard of it? - The whole camp would know about it.

Do you know the accused Otto, No. 23? - Yes, I know him very well from Auschwitz.

Did you hear that he had ever beaten anyone? - No, he was the only SS man who was very good for the prisoners.

Did you know Block 213 in Belsen? - Yes.

Was that block ever empty whilst you were at Belsen? - No, it was occupied by the Russians and Polish women.

Beds were quite scarce in Belsen, were they not? - There were only a few blocks that had beds and all the other prisoners had to lay on the floor.

Cross-examined by CAPTAIN CORALLY: Before you made this statement were you shown a photograph of accused No. 26 (Schreirer)? - Yes.

Were you asked if you could say anything about him at Auschwitz? - I have not been asked whether I was able to make any allegations against him; I was asked if I knew him as Blockältester.

Blockälteste or Blockführer? - Blockältester.

Were you later on brought face to face with him when he was under arrest? - Yes.

When were you asked if you could make any statement about him as Blockältester. at Auschwitz what did you say? - I said that he was no Blockältester. but Oberscharführer Hanzig from Auschwitz.

Were you asked if you could say anything about how he behaved as Oberscharführer at Auschwitz? - I was asked whether I knew anything about him.

Are you certain and can you say on oath that the accused No. 26 is the same man as Hanzig whom you knew at Auschwitz? - I now and at that time did not swear for it; I said: "I am unable to swear because I am not sure of him".

Look at him now and remember that you must not swear in Court that he is the man unless you are sure - look at him now and say if you can swear he is that man? - Yes; after all, yes.

What do you mean then by saying a moment ago you are not sure? ...

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I do not think she said that. She said that the time at which she was shown the photograph she said she could not swear it.

CAPTAIN CORBALLY: (To the witness) Did I understand you to say that at the time when you made this statement you would not swear that the accused No. 26 was one and the same person as Oberscharführer Hanzig? ...

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I do not want to interrupt my friend, but up to now he has not asked her about the statement. He asked about the time when she was shown the photograph. That is as far as he got.

CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I understood her to say that she said she would not swear that he was. I think perhaps the Shorthand-writer had better read what she said.

(The Shorthand-writer reads the relevant passage)

CAPTAIN CORBALLY: What do you mean by saying a moment ago that at that time you were unable to swear that the accused No. 26 is Hanzig because you were not sure? - When asked by the Captain I said I am not able to swear because I saw the man only on a photograph and I asked to be given the opportunity of seeing him personally because on this photograph I found that he was dressed in a very queer way.

Yes, but before you made this statement you did actually see him, did you not? - I made my statement from the photograph and later on I was asked to swear to it; I refused to swear unless I am going to see him in person.

But were you not brought face to face with this man long before you made this statement, at least not a long time but before this statement was made? - No. I made an indispensable condition of swearing this statement to see the man personally and I said to the Major that I have to refuse taking the oath unless I see him personally.

But did you not in fact see him personally before you made the statement? - No.

I put it to you that on the very same day on which you first saw this photograph and only a few hours afterwards, after you had seen that photograph, the accused Schreirer was brought into the office of the War Crimes Investigation Team and you saw him then and that was before you made your statement? - I have to say once again that I made my statement only after I have been shown his photograph and when I was asked to swear I said that I have to see this man personally and then I shall be able to ascertain whether it is really the same man or not.

Are you saying that part of the statement which you made before Major Champion is not a sworn one, is not a sworn statement? - I signed and I took an oath for my statement as an entity after I saw the accused personally.

You also said a few moments ago that you were not prepared to swear now that it is the man and yet since ...

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I must object to this being put again. My friend is again suggesting that she said she was not prepared to swear to it. Can we have the Shorthand-writer read that part of the evidence?

CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I am afraid I must say that it is my impression she did not say so.

THE PRESIDENT: Would the Shorthand-writer read the relevant passage?

(The Shorthand-writer reads the relevant passage)

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: She certainly mixed up "now" and "at that time". What was she trying to convey I do not know; that is for the Court to decide. I think it is best to put the question again.

CAPTAIN CORBALLY: (To the witness) What do you mean by saying a few moments ago: "I am not now or at that time willing to swear that it is the man" and yet one minute later you look at him and say: "After all, yes"? Do you swear or do you not swear? - I did not say "now"; I said only at that time I was not able to swear to it.

Do you say now that you are prepared to swear by Almighty God that the accused No. 26 is one and the same person as Oberscharführer Hanzig whom you knew at Auschwitz two years ago? - I swore already to say the truth and I am unable to lie.

That is not an answer. - Yes, I am ready.

He was an Oberscharführer when you knew him, was he not? - I think so; I think that he was an Oberscharführer.

And you knew him when you were in the Strafkommando; is that right? - He was only once in charge of the guards in the Strafkommando but later on I met him also in the prison when I was sent there because of the report made by the accused Bormann.

You said in your statement that he came to your room every day; is that true? - What do you mean by a room? It was a cell in the prison. He had to come there every day because he was in charge of it. He had to open the door and lock the door.

Did he talk to you a lot? - Yes, very frequently.

What used he to talk about? - Various subjects, mainly music.

Did he bring a violin for you to play to him in the cell with the other prisoners? - Yes, I was his slave and I had to do everything on his orders.

Were there a lot of other prisoners there? - A German woman called Seichert, who is still in Celle, and she recognises him in the same way as I as Oberscharführer Hanzig.

Used he to spend a very long time with you in the cell? - Sometimes an hour, sometimes two.

Were there any Americans at Auschwitz? - There was one American boxer [Jakob Kozelczuk] well known in the whole camp named Jakob.

You knew him quite well, did you not? - Yes, he was in a special position in the prison; his duty was to bring food for the prisoners and everybody knew him, because he helped many prisoners in the prison.

Do you say he brought special food for the prisoners? - It was the normal ration we were entitled to receive.

What was this Jacoe? Was he himself a prisoner in the bunker or what was he? - He was the man in charge of the prison; he was the man responsible for bringing food for the prisoners. He was a prisoner of the concentration camp but he was employed on special duties in the bunker, the prison; his duties were to bring food for the prisoners in the prison, the bunker, together with accused No. 26.

Previous Day | Top of Page | Next Day