Source: Law-Reports of Trials of War Criminals, The United Nations War Crimes Commission, Volume II, London, HMSO, 1947

[Some sections have been highlighted provisionally until hyperlinks can be added to appropriate files. Page numbers precede text]

CASE No. 10.

THE BELSEN TRIAL

TRIAL OF JOSEF KRAMER AND
44 OTHERS

BRITISH MILITARY COURT, LUNEBURG,
17
TH SEPTEMBER-17TH NOVEMBER, 1945

Foreword  Part I  Part II  Part III  Part IV Part V Part VI Part VII Part VIII  Part IX Part X  Part XI Part XII

Gertrud Neuman
Ilse Steinbusch
Erika Ceconi
Heinrich Brammer
Albert Tusch
Dr. Ernst Heinrich Schmidt
Dr Alfred Kurzke
Erich Zoddel
Ignatz Schlomowicz
Deposition of Daniel Blicblau
Ilse Forster
Ida Forster
Klara Opitz
Charlotte Klein
Herta Bothe
Gertrud Rheinholt
Frieda Walter
Irene Haschke
Gertrud Fiest
Getrud Sauer
Hilda Lisiewitz
Johanne Roth
Anna Hempel
Stanislawa Staratska
Anna Wojciechowska
Krystyna Janicka
Stanislawa Komsta
Sofia Nowogradka
Antoni Polanski
Ziegmund Krajewski
W Rakoczy
Lt. M. Tatarczuk
Helena Kopper
Vladislav Ostrowski
D Solomon
Medislaw Burgraf
J Trzos
Antoni Aurdzieg
M Andrzejewski
Hermann Muller

The Closing of the Case for the Defence

Colonel Smith's Closing Address on Behalf of all the Accused

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36. Gertrud Neuman

This witness said that she was one of two S.S. women accompanying Stofel and Dorr with the transport. When they arrived at Gross Hehlen, they noticed Waffen S.S. in the village. While food was being distributed to the prisoners, someone came from the S.S. and told Stofel that the prisoners must leave the village as it was a defence position. Stofel protested unavailingly and eventually the prisoners were ordered to line up ; somebody then fired in the air, causing a panic amongst the prisoners, and the prisoners moved off. They could not go as fast as the Waffen S.S. wanted and when they went shots were fired. Neuman and others tried to catch up but could not. They saw at least eight dead prisoners lying by the side of the road.

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They eventually caught up with the prisoners. At no stage in the journey did she see the guards of the prisoners shooting the latter.

37. Ilse Steinbusch

This witness said that she was an S.S. woman who accompanied the convoy under Stofel. She corroboratd substantially everything that was said by Neuman.

38. Erika Ceconi

Ceconi, an inhabitant of Gross Hehlen, said that she remembered the prisoners from a concentration camp being marched out of the village on 10th April, in good order though apparently tired. She heard two shots but did not know where they came from. The firing took place just before the prisoners marched off. It was about seven or eight o’clock, at dusk. In the village at the time were infantry, S.S. and Panzer units.

39. Heiarich Brammer

This witness, a civilian of Gross Hehlen, said that on 10th April, 1945, a party of prisoners was in Gross Hehlen and left at 9 p.m. This party was the only party of concentration camp prisoners he had ever seen. A commission found three bodies, about a kilometre from Gross Hehlen, some six or eight weeks after the prisoners had gone. The bodies were disinterred in his presence and buried in the churchyard. The bodies when found were clothed in striped prison clothing and wrapped in blankets. He did not know how the men died. He did hear some gunfire on the 10th April, but he did not see any German troops in the village. The witness stated that he became Burgomaster of Gross Hehlen at the end of the following May.

40. Albert Tusch

This witness, a farmer at Gross Hehlen, said that there were German troops in Gross Hehlen in April, 1945, and that they left on the 11th April. On the 10th April he saw a party of concentration camp prisoners arriving at Gross Hehlen; they looked tired and weak. They left at about 9 p.m. on the same day but he was not present when they left. He had seen no bodies and heard no shots.

41. Dr. Ernst Heinrich Schmidt

This witness, an S.S. doctor, said that Calesson might have travelled on a transport going to Belsen from Mittelbau from 5th-8th or 9th April, but that he was not in charge of it. He never saw any of the guards on the transport shoot prisoners. Nor did he see the accused shoot or beat anyone in Belsen. From 8th or 9th April onwards Barsch was a medical orderly in No. 2 camp Belsen, under the witness’s command. During the last few days before the British arrived the accused was sick with stomach trouble under the witness’s care.

42. Dr. Alfred Kurzke

This witness said that he worked as a doctor at BeIsen, where’ he was

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assisted by Barsch as a medical orderly. The accused arrived at Belsen early in April, but was ill with gastritis rather later.

43. Erich Zoddel

This accused said that he came to Belsen as a prisoner on the 27th March, 1944, and remained until the 18th April, 1945. After three days he became a Block Leader in the hospital, and stayed in this post until January, 1945, when he became third Camp Senior of compound No. 1. As Camp Senior he had, for instance, to supervise the camp and see that food came from the cookhouse and was sent to the blocks. From the beginning of March, 1945, all working people were in his compound and no one died of starvation, though in the last four weeks they were having little bread. If he was short of rations he simply asked for more and was given them.

He beat people but never after they had fallen to the ground, and never so that he drew blood. Glinowieski’s allegation (Footnote 1: See p. 15.) was untrue. Sometimes the accused assisted in the food distribution, though it was not his responsibility ; it was that of the kapos or the Block Senior. When people behaved like animals to get at the food he might have struck them with his hands or a stick. He had never beaten people to or on the ground or kicked them. He agreed that he had a walking-stick, because he had a lame leg, but he did not always carry a stick. The evidence of Lozowski and Zuckermann (Footnote 2: See pp. 30 and 36.) was not true. The accused denied ever being Camp Senior of compound 2. Mathes was employed in the bath-house on the 14th or 15th April ; Zoddel often saw him there.

44. Ignatz Schlomowicz

Schlomowicz, a Viennese Jew, said that after being arrested several years previously, he eventually arrived at Belsen at about 11 p.m. on the 8th April, 1945. Barsch and Glinowieski were with this party. Ede the Camp Senior appointed him as Block Senior for Block 12 because all the German prisoners and S.S. had marched away from Belsen on the 12th April, 1945. He had not been a Block Senior before. His main duties were in connection with the distribution of food and the maintenance of discipline inside the block, but the latter was impossible. There were 800 internees in the block, to which his transport added 300 more. He distributed the little food that was available and never beat anyone. He had suffered much hardship and pain in concentration camp life himself and he gave strict orders to the people working under him for his two days in office that beatings must cease. He denied ever having beaten anyone with a rubber cable or a stick, and pointed, out that out of the hundreds of people in his block only two had apparently heard the words alleged. (Footnote 3: See p. 24.)
He continued as Block Senior until the 20th April, by which time he was suffering from typhus, and later he was removed to hospital. He told of a visit which was paid to him in hospital by his two accusers Judkovitz and Basch (Footnote 4: See pp. 24 and 28)
who brought him cigarettes and chatted with him. He suggested that they had themselves been so ill with typhus that they were in a low state mentally and physically, which must have been the reason for their making these accusations.

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The accused said that he never saw or heard of any Russian being killed by Aurdzieg. He had seen Aurdzieg beating people on food distribution but not with any weapon. He denied that Polanski was ever assistant Block Senior during his, Schlomowicz’s time at Belsen. He did not know Jozef Deutsche, (Footnote 1: Seep. 25.) but Polanski could not have beaten anyone while Schlomowicz was Block Senior in No. 12.

45. Deposition of Daniel Blicblau

Blicblau, a Polish Jew, said that he came to Belsen as a prisoner on the 6th April, 1945, and that Schlomowicz was the Camp Senior in room 12. He had not seen him beat anyone, but had heard of him hitting prisoners with his hands. The accused only punished people who stole, and behaved well as a kapo at previous camps at which the deponent knew him.

46. Ilse Forster

This accused said that she arrived at Bergen-Belsen with Hempel on the 17th or 18th February, 1945. For two or three days she worked in the bath-house and then she went into kitchen No. 1 in the men’s compound. Here her duty consisted in the general supervision of staff. She tried to get more bread for the internees from Charlotte Klein and succeeded in doing so. The kitchen staff always got the food they required but many internees who did not get enough food came round the kitchen and tried to steal it. If they did not go away when told she beat them with her hand and sometimes with a stick. She never had a rubber truncheon and had never even seen one till she went to prison after capture. The people who came to the kitchen were mostly men and she could do nothing with them except hit them. She denied that she ever beat prisoners until they were unconscious or bleeding or that she left anyone bleeding on the floor.

Litwinska’s story (Footnote 2: See p. 12.) was untrue. Ilse Forster remembered a Russian girl ; she had some kind of a beating but returned to work the next day. The accused was on good terms with her staff in the kitchen and she never beat Litwinska or anyone else on her staff.

She agreed that if Bialek (Footnote 3: Seep. 24.) stood at the door she could have seen beatings such as she described but she denied taking prisoners into a special room and beating them. Lippman’s story was untrue.(Footnote 4: See p. 29.) So was Ehlert’s. (Footnote 5: SIT p. 37. Ehlert’s evidence regarding Ilse Forster is an example of the contra dictions mentioned.)

The accused said that she visited the bath-house on the 13th or 14th April, 1945, and saw Mathes there in a billet where he slept ; at about 3 or 4 p.m. she saw him in bed there. Pichen was in charge of kitchen No. 1 ; he had a pistol but never carried it in the kitchen ; it was kept in a locked drawer. She had never seen him shoot anyone or heard that he had done so. The relations between Pichen and the internees in the kitchen were intimate. He never beat them. She had never seen Barsch in kitchen No. 1.

Ilse Forster believed that Lisiewitz came to Belsen at the end of February, 1945. She worked in kitchen No. 1 in the peeling department. In the

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middle of March for a few days she was ill, then came back for a short time, was sick again, and never returned. When she was ill another Overseer called Lippman took her .place. Hahnel worked with Ilse Forster in No. 1 cookhouse. She arrived at Belsen the first week in April and worked there until the British came. She was never in charge of the bath-house ; she always worked in the kitchen.

Under cross-examination the witness said that there was a concrete pond close to kitchen No. 1 at Belsen, but she never saw any bodies in it. She heard of a male body being pulled out, in March, 1945. (Footnote 1 See Rozenwayg’s assertion regarding Haschke on p. 16.) 

47. Ida Forster

Ida Forster said that she came to Belsen on the 28th February, 1945. For a fortnight she had a small working squad taking offal from the kitchen, and then she went to work in No. 2 part of No. 3 kitchen as an Overseer. She had the duties of general supervision but had nothing directly to do with the feeding of the internees. Stein’s story (Footnote 2: p. 14) was untrue ; she never beat anyone. Frieda Walter worked in the same kitchen. In the other part of the kitchen was the accused Francioh. Ida Forster claimed that she never saw anyone shot or beaten at Belsen and that the people who worked in her kitchen had a pleasant time. She knew an Overseer named Orlt who worked in kitchen No. 3 at Belsen, and who resembled Sauer.

48. Klara Opitz

This accused stated that she arrived at Belsen on the 13th April. During the two days before the British came she was working in the kitchen in Block 9 peeling vegetables near the bread store, but for her first three days at Belsen she did nothing. She never saw any prisoners beaten and denied that she herself ever beat prisoners at Belsen.

49. Charlotte Klein

The accused Charlotte Klein said that she went to Belsen between the 20th and 26th February, 1945, with Bothe. Her duties commenced in the bath-house and the wood Kommando, and then she went into the bread store for a week. She was ill for four days, and went back to the bread store until 29th March, 1945. She became ill again and returned to the bread store again on the 5th April, 1945, where she remained until the day the British came. The bread was taken round in carts to various parts of the camp. She went with the carts, but she never had to beat the prisoners on the bread Kommando. They worked well and she always treated them well. Stealing by other prisoners happened very frequently, partly from the hand-carts and partly from the store when the door was open. If she found anyone trying to steal bread she merely took the bread away and slapped their faces. She never had a stick or a rubber truncheon at Belsen. The people in her Kommando never stole bread because there was plenty of bread and they could eat as much as they liked. Until the 11th April, 1945, bread was still being brought from Soltau, though not regularly. She never beat anyone till they died.

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During her period in the bread store Egersdorf never came to the store, and she could remember no shooting. She did issue extra bread to Forster at her request. She said she wanted some bread as her prisoners worked long hours. Bread was scarce, but she gave her some. Klein shared her room with Bothe but she never saw Bothe with a pistol. She said Hempel went to her for more bread, and she gave Hempel some.

50. Herta Bothe

This accused said that it was between the 20th and 26th February, 1945, when she came to Belsen. On her third day she did some duty in the bath-house. For a few days in February she was working at the kitchen in the men’s compound carrying away swill, and about the middle of March she was put in charge of a wood Kommando with sixty or sixty-five prisoners in it. She had nothing to do with the ordinary run of prisoners in the camp and she never had a pistol. Everybody had to work their share on the wood Kommando, but she would not say that it was really too much for their strength. The accusations made by Schiferman, Triszinska and Grunwald (Footnote 1: See pp. 26, 33 and 35.) were untrue. Kitchen No. 4 was opposite where the wood Kommando worked, but she never went into kitchen No. 4. She had never beaten anyone to death. She had beaten internees with her hands for stealing, and when she found that the internees had stolen articles from the S.S. men’s billets. She has never beaten anyone with a stick, rod or truncheon. There was a vegetable Kommando in Belsen, but she had nothing to do with it. She delivered wood to the bath-house where Mathes was the S.S. man in charge. She thought she saw him, working there ; the last time she delivered fuel to the bath-house was about the 9th or 10th April, 1945. Bothe said that Charlotte Klein shared her room with her.

51. Gertrud Rheinholt

This witness said that she joined the S.S. on the 1st July, 1944, and went to Belsen between the 20th and 25th February, 1945. She knew Herta Bothe at Belsen and slept in the same room as she did. She confirmed that the accused was ill part of the time at Belsen. She never saw Bothe with a pistol, but she was not sure whether she had one or not. She did not see Bothe during the day at all. The witness became ill on the 7th March and was in hospital from the 10th to the 29th.

52. Frieda Walter

Frieda Walter claimed that she arrived at Bergen-Belsen on the 24th or 25th February, and worked at various times in kitchen No. 3. a Kommando which was putting stones into ditches, the gardening Kommando and kitchen No. 2.

H3r reply to Siwidowa’s accusation (Footnote 2: Seep. 34.) was that she certainly hit a woman with her hand, because she stole potatoes just as others did. She hit with her hand prisoners who stole, but she confessed that she had no right to do so. Triszinska’s story (Footnote 3: See p. 35.) was untrue. She never had a stick or a rubber truncheon.

Francioh was put in prison in about the middle of March and was in kitchen No. 3 from the 25th March, 1945, until the 1lth April, 1945. She had seen Francioh beating prisoners with a stick. She saw Kopper some five or six times in the women’s compound in front of kitchen 3, in Belsen. Kopper was in the camp police who had to see that prisoners did not crowd in on the kitchen. She never saw her beat anyone or carry a stick.

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 53. Irene Haschke

The accused Irene Haschke testified that she arrived at Belsen on 28th February, 1945, and, among other functions, she worked three days in kitchen No. 2, then in kitchen No. 3, which had two portions. The S.S. man Francioh was in charge of her portion and another Overseer called Ault also worked there.

The allegations of Stein, Rozenwayg, Neiger and Triszinska (Footnote 1: See pp. 15, 16, 31 and 35.) were untrue. Although beating was forbidden, she admitted that she had beaten prisoners when they took food from others, and she had beaten them with her hands sometimes. She used also an ordinary wooden stick, but she would hit people only once or twice. She denied that she ever had a rubber stick or that she kicked prisoners.

Francioh came about the middle of March, 1945, to kitchen 3, and he often went away to his wife. His story of his being in prison in April was untrue. He, like Haschke, when he beat prisoners, did it openly.

54. Gertrud Fiest

The date of Fiest’s arrival at Belsen, she said, was the 28th February, 1945, and among other duties she took roll-calls twice per week in the women’s compound. She counted the prisoners with the Block Seniors and a clerk. The roll-calls lasted about one and a half hours to two hours. She never made them last longer than was necessary and it was untrue to say that they lasted six hours. The sick and dying were not forced to attend. They were counted inside the block and it was left to the female doctor to decide who was fit to attend roll-call or not. She agreed that she had on occasions hit prisoners with her hand. Anita Lasker’s and Berg’s accusations (Footnote 2: See pp. 22 and 24) were untrue. Once she made four women prisoners kneel on the order of the Overseer Gollasch, when the four had been caught stealing. She did march a party to the gate but none of the party fell down, and she never kicked anyone.

55. Gertrud Sauer

The accused Sauer said that she came to Belsen on the 28th February, 1945. She worked, among other places, in kitchen No. 2 of the men’s compound and in the women’s compound No. 3. She was in kitchen No. 2 on the 9th, 10th and 11th April taking the place of Hempel who was ill. She had hit prisoners near kitchen No. 2 with her hand when she caught them stealing vegetables. She always endeavoured to make the regulations more lenient for prisoners. She never saw a riding whip at all. She merely

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slapped girls’ faces and only when she caught them stealing vegetables. She denied that she ever pulled anyone’s hair or that Sunschein (Footnote 1: See p. 17.) was beaten in her kitchen. She never beat girls without reason. Neuman’s story (Footnote 2: See p. 31.) was untrue ; the accused had never been near No. 1 kitchen and never worked in kitchen No. 3. She never beat anyone with a stick. Before relieving Hempel she was in charge of the bath-house. She testified that Hahnel was never seen by her to take a bath parade, and was never in charge of the bath-house.

56. Hilda Lisiewitz

This accused said that it was the 3rd March, 1945, when she arrived at Belsen, where she performed various functions. From the 13th to 20th March, she was employed in bringing vegetables to various cookhouses, and later spent a week in the cookhouse No. 1 in the men’s Lager. She denied the truth of Almaleh’s and Siwidowa’s allegations. (Footnote 3: See pp. 23 and 34.)  If she found anyone stealing she took what they had from them and smacked their faces. Her Kommando had enough to eat, but she admitted they did eat raw turnips. She had no stick. Working under her in her working party were only Russians and no Greeks.

She said she knew Pichen. When. in kitchen No. 2 he did not carry a pistol, but kept it in a locked drawer. His relations with the internees in the kitchen were good and she had never heard of his shooting anyone.

57. Johanne Roth

Roth claimed that she came to Belsen on the 27th January, 1945, as an ordinary prisoner and remained so throughout her stay in the concentration camp. She first went to Block 213 and was in the block for six weeks, and was transferred to Block 199 on the 6th March, 1945, and made a Stubendienst, a sort of orderly. She did not want the job and she did not ask for it, because it was a hard and thankless task. She had to get up at six in the morning and go to roll-call but the Block Senior was responsible for discipline on these occasions. Block 199 received sufficient food ; they received more soup than other blocks, because the kapos claimed for 300 persons when they should have claimed for only 250.

Her answer to Helene Klein’s allegation (Footnote 4: See p. 20.) was that she, Roth, was never a night guard. She remembered Ida Friedman in Block 199 but she never beat her and had nothing to do with her death. Friedman was a Polish Jewess and the accused saw her two days before the British arrived. The allegations of Rorman and Rosenzweig (Footnote 5: See pp. 32 and 33.) were, untrue : she never beat prisoners for no reason at all, and never beat any old woman who was lying in bed. She did beat people in Belsen, mostly during the food distribution, when they tried to get a second helping, or crowded round the containers. She never carried a stick or rubber truncheon. She only beat prisoners with her hand, except on occasions, when she used a small leather belt.

58. Anna Hempel

Hempel said that she arrived at Belsen on the 17th February, 1945. She

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was soon sent to kitchen No. 2 in the men’s compound, of which Heuskel was in charge. She was an Overseer working at first alone and later joined by Overseer Rosenthal. In the cookhouse there were about 34 female internees and 18 men cooking for 17,000 people. The rations were not enough for the prisoners. She approached Charlotte Klein, who worked in the bread store, and got some extra bread from Klein. She also secured some extra ingredients from Muller, so as to make the soup thicker. She had to work for 14 or 16 hours every day in the cookhouse. She stopped working in kitchen No. 2 on the 8th April, because she was ill with typhus, and she went to hospital on 9th April, 1945, in the Wehrmacht barracks. She was arrested there on the 16th April, 1945. Sunschein’s evidence was untrue : she never beat anyone in her private room, because she did not have one. She never had a rubber truncheon. She agreed, however, that when it was necessary in cases of stealing she beat prisoners, but not the staff in her kitchen. They worked very well, but she had to drive them hard. If she caught any of them stealing they asked her not to send them away from the kitchen but to beat their faces. She beat internees with her hands except in the case mentioned by Triszinska. (Footnote 1: See p. 35.) Regarding Triszinska’s evidence she said that she did catch a man stealing turnips. She hit him with a stick, but she did not call for anyone else and he did not collapse. The evidence of Helene Klein (Footnote 2: Seep. 20.) was quite untrue and the accused never had any riding-whip. Diament’s evidence (Footnote 3: Seep. 25) was also quite untrue. Mathes was never employed in No. 2 cookhouse ; he was employed in the bath-house.

59. Stanislawa Starotska

This accused claimed that she was arrested on the 13th January, 1940, by the Gestapo because she was a member of the Polish underground movement. On the 28th April, 1942, she was sent as a prisoner to Auschwitz No. 1 ; in Auschwitz she was badly treated and almost starved to death. She eventually became a Block Senior because of her knowledge of German, and in August, 1942, she went to Birkenau. Conditions at Birkenau were terrible. There was no light and no drainage system throughout the autumn and winter. She continued to be Block Senior for some time, going from block to block, and she found it difficult to control some of the inmates because they were criminals who had long sentences to serve and had no moral principles. She tried persuasion, but that had no effect ; she had therefore to resort to beating.

She ceased to be a Block Senior on July, 1943, when she went to hospital, but when she came out of hospital she was promoted to Camp Senior in August. She did not look forward to the job, but she put herself forward in an attempt to help her fellows. Her friends also advised her that this step would help in the fight against the Germans. She said that officials were punished like anybody else if they did not do their duties, including the Block Seniors. She agreed that she was responsible for making arrangements for parades. At gas chamber parades, a doctor chose the sick and the unfit cases. Her duties were the same in almost all the parades in which she took part, gas parades or otherwise. She had to look after the parade and

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see that the prisoners stood properly and were behaving themselves. During these selections she did not help the staff of the concentration camp. She did everything she could to help prisoners. She tried to secure that people in hospital were not called out on parade, she helped hard-worked prisoners to get extra food, she helped certain prisoners to obtain easier jobs and she used to change Block Seniors or kapos if they were cruel. Prisoners in Auschwitz were badly treated and had lice and bad accommodation. Most of the Block Leaders carried sticks and used them, and some of the aufseherin had whips and sticks. Dogs were set on the prisoners ; Borman regularly walked around with a dog.

Starotska mentioned what she called " general selections ". If only Jews were ordered to parade everybody knew what was happening and, therefore, there was utter chaos and confusion. It was, therefore, the practice later to turn out the whole camp with the Jews on one side and Aryans on the other and only Jews were selected.

Of Szafran’s testimony (Footnote 1: See p. 13.) she said that she could not, on sentimental grounds, apart from humane reasons, make selection on her own, and that she had not the requisite authority. She might have selected a working party or found out which prisoners had scabies or some lesser skin disease. This action might have confused the witness. It was true that beatings were frequent, but she only resorted to them in Block 21 when she was a Block Senior. She never beat anyone while acting as Camp Senior and it was then that she worked on bath parades. Glinowieski (Footnote 2: See p, 15.) could not see her on parades because the parades of men took place at the same time as the women. Regarding Rozenwayg’s evidence, (Footnote 3: See p. 16.) the accused admitted that she wrote down the numbers of prisoners selected for the gas chamber. She tried to secure this job, which was normally done by a clerk, as she knew she could strike out some numbers from the list, not very many but just a few. Her comment on Lasker’s accusation (Footnote 4: See p. 21.) was that she had to pretend to work for the authorities in order to gain their confidence. Her activities were really a fight for the prisoners but she could not tell the prisoners so.

Rozalja’s statements (Footnote 5: Seep. 32.) were wholly inaccurate. It was a great exaggeration for Szymkowiak to say that she beat people on every occasion, or without grounds. She never denounced prisoners to the German authorities because she knew that hundreds would be punished by a sort of collective punishment. She admitted to making prisoners kneel on parades but this was done on a superior order. Of Synowska’s evidence (Footnote 6: See p. 35) she said that everybody knew that there was a deep ditch full of water in advance of the electric wire. The wire was not electrified by day, and it would be most difficult to get to at night because of the ditch. She denied that she beat prisoners until they collapsed, but she might have slapped their faces when it was necessary. It could have happened that she deloused a woman’s hair by putting her head in water.

She came to Belsen on about the 4th or the 5th of February, 1945. She was Camp Senior of the large women’s compound from the 5th or 6th onwards. Block 213 was never empty. She never heard of a Block Senior being beaten in Block 201 and she would certainly have heard if this had

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happened. (Footnote: See p. 34 for an accusation made against Otto). Mathes was responsible for part of the bath-house at Belsen. He was employed there, but she could not say for how long ; at any rate until the 10th April, 1945. She said she knew Kopper at Auschwitz and she found Kopper at Belsen as Block Senior, she thought, of Block 205. Kopper was not suited to be a Block Senior as she was on the point of a nervous breakdown owing to her long stay in the camps. Starotska asked Gollasch to put her on camp police and this was done.

Hoessler, as Lagerführer at Auschwitz, looked after the interests of the prisoners very well.

60. Anna Wojciechowska

This witness said that she was a prisoner who was selected for the gas chamber and sent to Block 25. After the selection Starotska approached her, and asked why she was not with her Kommando. The witness said it was because she had no shoes. Whereupon Starotska took 20 girls, including the witness, to the stores and issued them with shoes and they were sent to work. Further, she was caught by the accused reading a letter for which she would have been punished if caught by the camp staff, but Starotska advised the witness to destroy this letter and to run away.

61. Krystyna Janicka

This witness said that Starotska behaved very well in Auschwitz. She was very energetic and tried to maintain order and obtain a fair distribution of food. Once when the prisoners were ordered on to parade the accused told the witness and others to look their best and, as a result, no one was selected from their block. From other blocks many people were chosen and later it was found that the parade was for the gas chamber.

62. Stanislawa Komsta

Komsta said that she attended many selections and that Starotska was always present as Camp Senior. She never held selections on her own initiative ; she was not entitled to do so as she was also a prisoner herself. On the contrary, when a selection was held she was able to save some people chosen during these selections ; she did her best to do so. The accused did beat people but such action was necessary under the circumstances.

63. Sofia Nowogrodzka

This witness said that Starotska behaved very well to the internees, especially to the Poles. Nowogrodzka remembered when 20 Polish women were chosen for the gas chamber. They were sent to Block 25 and Starotska went there and brought those women back. She never made selections on her own initiative but had to attend parades to write down the numbers of those selected. The accused obtained permission for prisoners to wear their winter clothes for a longer period.

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64. Antoni Polanski

This accused, a Pole, claimed that he was sent to Belsen as a prisoner, arriving about 10 or 11 o’clock at night on the 7th or 8th April, 1945. He was in Block No. 12 for two days and then went to Block No. 16. He took no part in helping to get people on to parades, and he did not help in the food distribution. The people in Block No. 16 were engaged in digging graves, and when these were ready they all had to drag corpses to the graves. Deutche’s story (Footnote 1: Seep. 25.) was false because during his stay in the camp he never beat anyone and held no office. Burger’s and Sander’s (Footnote 2: See pp. 24 and 33.) evidence was also untrue.

Aurdzieg, he thought, distributed food very fairly and he had never known of his demanding any money for soup. His block was No. 16. The only roll-calls which took place in either Block 12 or Block 16 were in the latter place before the prisoners left for work on mornings.

65. Ziegmund Krajewski

This witness said that he had known Polanski in Auschwitz and was with him in a number of concentration camps. He corroborated that the accused was in Block No. 12 for two or three days, perhaps four, and then in Block No. 16 until the liberation. The accused, he said, " did not do anything". He and the accused were both dragging corpses themselves on the 12th, 13th and 14th April.

66. W. Rakoczy

Rakoczy said that in his experience Polanski behaved very well. The accused was a few days in Block 12 and then went to Block No. 16, holding no functions in the camp at all as far as the witness knew. He and the accused both took part in dragging the corpses.

67. Lt. M. Tatarczuk

This witness claimed to have known PoIanski very well because they were in the same block. He was a decent man, a good friend and self-controlled, and he used to try to help people by getting extra food from the Block Senior. The witness corroborated the statement of the accused that he lived in Block No. 12, then Block No. 16. He had never heard of any allegation made against Polanski, even while he, Tatarczuk, was a member of a Polish committee formed, after the liberation, to investigate alleged atrocities in the camp.

68. Helena Kopper

This accused stated that she went as a prisoner to Auschwitz on the 21st or 22nd October, 1942, and that she was there until the 20th December, 1944. She was employed " in a normal block " at Auschwitz for two weeks and then was sent to the punishment Kommando, where she stayed up to the time when she went to Bergen-Belsen. She was not too badly treated therein because she knew what she should do and should not do.

p.66

After moving to Belsen on the 27th or 28th December, 1944, she was first sent to Block No. 27 in camp No. 1, and then to Block No. 205 when Kramer came. She was Block Senior until the 5th February, 1945. She was too nervous to carry on the work and therefore asked the Camp Senior to remove her. She was then appointed a camp policewoman and she remained in the police until the 1st March, 1945, when she received a beating from Ehlert and she was taken to prison. She was in prison with Francioh and left prison with him on the 25th March. After her release she became an ordinary prisoner until the British came. She went to Block No. 224 and she was completely exhausted and ill. When she got to Block No. 224 she became Block Senior. In Block 224 the percentage of sick was very high and she persuaded Gollasch to agree to count the strength of the prisoners inside the block instead of having them out in the open ; the same had been the case in Block No. 205. She was arrested by the British on the 8th June, 1945.

She admitted that she was an informer and a spy, but claimed that she only informed truthfully. When she saw one prisoner stealing from another she thought it her duty to report the matter.

Guterman’s allegations (Footnote 1: see p. 19.) were untrue. The accused said that the deponent was her assistant. During her absence Guterman gave internees water instead of jam or altered the quality of it. Kopper gave her a beating to undermine her prestige. Gollasch was the woman who passed by and made the enquiry when Kopper made the internee kneel. On hearing the explanation Gollasch told Kopper to dismiss Guterman from her job. The next day Guterman became an ordinary prisoner and went to another block. She had to kneel for 20 minutes, and Kopper never beat her, because she was a functionary in the block. Fischer was still alive in Belsen, claimed the accused. The allegations of Synger (Footnote 2: see p. 19.) were untrue. Kopper’s explanation of the incident related by Koppel (Footnote 3: see p. 19.) was that she told Koppel that she could not have any soup but could have a double ration the next day. Koppel became aggressive and Kopper, therefore, had to resort to beating her. Kopper said she was told the next day that she fainted, but it was for a different reason. She put on a light in an air raid and a guard shot into the block.

Bialek’s account (Footnote 4: see p. 24.) was untrue. Kopper denied ever having beaten anyone with a stick. She only used a belt, because she had suffered so much as a prisoner. The belt was a narrow one made of dress material. She had nothing to do with keeping order in alerts. She agreed that she beat prisoners while she was Block Senior of Block 205 when she had to get the prisoners on roll-call, but rarely. She shouted more often. On one occasion only did she order a woman to kneel and she was her own Stubenälteste (Room Senior), Guterman. It was untrue to say that she beat a woman until she died. She caused no harm by her beatings. She denied that she was ever beaten by fellow-prisoners. Of Rosenberg’s allegation (Footnote 4: see p 33.) Kopper said that at the relevant time she was in prison or on police duty and so had nothing to do with food.

p.67

Kopper said that she was bitten by Borman’s dog, which was dark brown, and whose marks were still on her arm. Kopper made an allegation that she was beaten by Ehlert because she was in possession of leaflets dropped by British planes. She never heard that Otto had beaten anyone. He was the only S.S. man who was good to prisoners. Block 213 was never empty. (Footnote 1: See p. 92.)

Kopper said that collective punishments, for a whole block or the whole camp, were commonly inflicted at Belsen ; they took the form of deprivation of food.

Foreword  Part I  Part II  Part III  Part IV Part V Part VI Part VII Part VIII  Part IX Part X  Part XI Part XII

Stuart.Stein@uwe.ac.uk
Last Updated 29/01/07 18:35:12
©S D Stein
 
Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science