Source: Law-Reports of Trials of War Criminals, The United Nations War Crimes Commission, Volume II, London, HMSO, 1947
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THE BELSEN TRIAL
BRITISH MILITARY COURT, LUNEBURG,
Hanka Rosenberg, also a Jewess from Poland, said that she knew Kopper at Birkenau and in Belsen. In March, 1945, she saw Kopper beat a girl prisoner with a whip because she asked for more soup. When she ran away Kopper chased her and hit her.
Regina Rosenthal, a Polish Jewess, said that she saw Kramer set dogs on people at Auschwitz and machine-gun them.
Sofia Rosenzweig, a Polish Jewess, said that Roth was assistant Block Leader in Block 199 at Belsen, in which the deponent lived. The accused had to get the inmates of the block out on roll-calls. Rosenzweig had typhus and was too sick to rise, but the accused made her get up and beat her with a wooden lath from a bed. She saw the accused on another occasion beat an old woman who was sick and could not get up.
Engel Sander, a Jew from Czechoslovakia, said that on the 1st July, 1945, he noticed a man in kitchen No. 6, camp No. 3, at Belsen whom he recognised as Polanski, an assistant Block Leader of his block in Belsen. The accused tried to get away but was caught. In Block No. 12, camp No. 1, Belsen, in early April, 1945, at 3 a.m. the accused with others beat prisoners and the deponent himself was beaten by the accused with a rubber truncheon on the head. He fell down and the accused kicked him with his heavy boots. On the 15th April, he clubbed to death a Pole who was too weak to continue dragging bodies.
Elga Schiessl, a German Jewess, stated that Kramer, Klein, Volkenrath and Hoessler took part in selections for the gas chamber. Borman used to beat woman prisoners with a rubber stick.
Sala Schiferman, a Jewess from Poland, said that, at Belsen in January or February, 1945, a Hungarian called Eva, aged 18 years, came into kitchen No. 4 to eat some peelings. Bothe came up from a near-by working-site, saw her and beat her with a piece of wood. When the prisoners protested, the accused said : " I will beat her to death " and beat the victim all over the body. After 10 minutes she stopped and the girl was taken to a block where corpses were left. A woman internee doctor examined the body and said that she was dead.
Cesa Silberberg, a Jewess from Poland, said that Barsch was the kitchen chief of No. 1 kitchen. On or about 13th April, 1945, shortly before the English arrived, he shot a woman internee apparently for no other reason than for standing near a pile of turnips.
Dora Silberberg, also a Jewess from Poland, said that at Auschwitz on the 15th June, 1944, she was in a working party outside the camp, and with her was her friend Rachella Silberstein. The friend said she could not work that day, but Borman told her to go on. Silberberg intervened and Borman hit her in the face, knocking out two teeth. She then set the dog on the friend, and it dragged her round by her leg. Her legs became swollen and blue-black and she was carried away. On the 17th June when the deponent went to the hospital she was told the victim was dead. She saw her dead body in the yard.
Josephine Singer, a Czech Jewess, said that she was Block Leader in Block 198. She named Volkenrath as being responsible for beating many women
She threw down the steps of a workshop a Slovak Jewess who came for work. The latter was old and died at once from her injuries. .
Alexandra Siwidowa, late of Rostov on Don, recognised Volkenrath and said that the accused was in charge of all the S.S. women and beat many woman internees across the head with a rubber truncheon. On 70 or 80 occasions she beat people into unconsciousness. The deponent was certain that death sometimes occurred as a result of these beatings as the victims were not seen again. Lisiewitz, as a supervisor of a Belsen cookhouse, was often seen by Siwidowa to beat women with a rubber truncheon for trying to steal extra food. She knocked prisoners down, then kicked them. Borman beat prisoners for wearing good clothes. She stripped women prisoners and made them do strenuous exercises ; when they were too tired she beat them all over the body with a rubber or wooden stick. Walter was the S.S. woman in charge of the parties engaged on gardening round the S.S. quarters at Belsen. She often beat many women for attempting to steal potatoes and she struck the deponent on the cheek because of her German in March, 1945, causing it to swell. She had seen her beat women with a part of a wooden spade.
Tolla Stempler, a Jewess from Poland, identified Hahnel as an S.S. woman at Belsen. In February, 1945, the accused was in charge of the bath-house. Because the girls did not dress quickly enough she beat them with a whip when they were naked. The beatings were very severe and drew blood in many cases.
Eva Stojowska, a Polish Jewess, said that Dr. Klein and Kramer sent prisoners to the gas chamber. She identified Walter Otto as an Unterscharführer and Block Leader at Belsen. One day in January, 1945, she went to get a bed in Block 213, which was empty. She obtained leave to take one, but Otto saw her and accused her of stealing the bed. He beat her and she was badly bruised. Two days later Otto came into Block 201 carrying a big stick. A Block Senior, a Hungarian Jewess, was knocked to the floor and beaten. The deponent believed she had ribs broken, as she could not breathe properly. Presumably Otto suspected that she had got a bed improperly. The victim said she had got the bed from outside with the consent of the Camp Senior. At Belsen, Kopper was Block Senior of Block 205 and later of 224. In March, 1945, Kopper was beaten in kitchen No. 1, by other Block Leaders because of information given to the S.S. that the Block Leaders were in possession of jewellery.
Mevrouw Nettie Stoppelman, a Jewess from Holland, said that Volkenrath made a habit of compelling girl prisoners to " make sport " (Sport machen). Volkenrath made girls run round fast and fall down and get up for between half an hour and an hour in the office where the woman chiefs lived. She took away their cigarettes, clothes and bread.
Vladimir Sulima, a Russian, said that Ostrowski went to Belsen with him ; they were both in Block 19, and Ostrowski was kapo. A sick Frenchman who could not go on roll-call had his head smashed by the accused and was killed. Sulima had been beaten at Belsen by Ostrowski, when sick with typhus he asked for food.
Maria Synowska, a Pole, said that Starotska was Block Leader of Block 7. She saw the accused punish women under her command. She used to make them kneel with their hands in the air holding a stone. She beat women until they lost their senses, thus causing their death. She placed a woman between live electric wires and killed another by forcing her head under water. She was perfect in causing slow death. She sent ill and old people to the crematorium.
Czeslawa Szymkowiak, a Polish national, said that he was sent to Block 26, where Stanislawa Starotska, called " Stania ", was Block Leader. She beat the prisoners on every occasion, mostly on their heads. She denounced them to the Germans when she could. All feared her. At roll-call for the slightest noise she made prisoners kneel for half an hour holding up their hands .
Erika Thuna, an Austrian Jewess, said that Kramer and Grese both took part in selections for the gas chamber at Auschwitz. Volkenrath was personally responsible for many brutal assaults on exhausted women on parade. Klein was responsible for selecting victims for the gas chamber.
Edith Trieger, a Slovak Jewess, stated that Volkenrath beat prisoners with a rubber stick. She was once selected for the gas chamber herself by her, but escaped. In August, 1944, she saw Grese shoot a Hungarian Jewess, aged 30, through the left breast. The deponent later went up to the victim and found that she was dead. Trieger had also seen Grese forcing back with blows and kicks prisoners who were trying to escape from a gas chamber selection. Lobauer selected people for working parties and sometimes beat them with a wooden stick. She was very sadistic and would beat people for not lining up properly but Trieger had not seen her kill anyone. She identified Frieda Walter as an S.S. woman supervisor of kitchen No. 2 at Belsen. She had seen the accused practically every day beating women who approached the kitchen. She beat them over the head and hands with a hosepipe. Sometimes she kicked them. Trieger had not, however, seen anyone killed or rendered unconscious by her.
Luba Triszinska, a Russian Jewess, said that when woman internees gathering herbs fell behind Grese set her dog on them. Lobauer selected people for working parties, and beat them if she found vegetables on them. She had seen both Lobauer and Grese outside Block 25 chasing into the lorries people selected for the gas chamber. Charlotte Klein was responsible for beating prisoners to death, Internees pulled the cart of bread from the main store to other stores under her supervision and were beaten for stealing bread. The deponent accused Bothe of having frequently beaten internees and caused their deaths. She was in charge of a vegetable Kommando. Frieda Walter and Irene Haschke beat internees, causing their ultimate death. Hempel caught a male internee stealing turnips and she beat him with a rubber truncheon. She then called the supervisor, a Rottenführer, who kicked him into unconsciousness.
Estera Wajsblum, a Polish Jewess, recognised Pichen as an S.S. man, kitchen chief of No. 1 kitchen at Belsen. Three weeks before the English came she saw the accused search a prisoner near the wire. Pichen brought back foodstuffs which he had found on him and later shot the man. She was told later that the man was dead. About the 13th or 14th April, 1945, when
the accused and another man, Joseph, returning from an S.S. parade, saw 50 prisoners stealing turnips, they opened fire at about 30 metres range and many fell. About 10 or 15 men were shot by them, and prisoners dragged away those who had been shot.
Sonia Watinik, a Jewess from Poland, said that she saw Lothe, who was a kapo, beat her friend, Gryka, with her fists, making her nose bleed. The accused also beat Ruschla Grunwald because she left her work to go to the lavatory. Watinik heard Lothe ask Grese to set her dog on Hanka Rosenzweig, and the dog bit the latter in the shoulder. She had seen Lothe beat many prisoners. Some prisoners could not work and they went to Block 25. It was common knowledge in the camp that those who went to Block 25 were destined for the gas chamber.
Miriam Weiss, a Yugoslav Jewess, recognised Volkenrath as an S.S. woman at Belsen. On the 16th April, 1945, she saw the accused strike a prisoner who was in poor health and could not walk, because she was out of her block when the prisoners were all confined to their blocks. She fell to the ground and did not move. Lobauer beat the deponent so hard in March, 1945, that she had ear trouble. She recognised the photograph of Zoddel as that of an internee at Belsen who did police duties for the S.S. in the camp just before the British came.
Dr. Zdenek Wiesner, an internee doctor at Belsen, said that at Belsen at night, owing to hunger, people tried to get into the food stores and were shot. Kramer was said to have taken part, and bodies lay about the scene afterwards. On one occasion Dr. Wiesner personally saw 45 bodies. He estimated that during the last three months at Belsen there were 25,000 deaths. In many cases half of the prisoners were dead in the railroad carriages that brought them.
Miriam Winter, a Jewess from Poland, said that Barsch was the kitchen chief of No. 1 kitchen at Belsen on or about 13th April. She saw him shoot a girl, possibly because she was standing near a pile of turnips.
Benec Zuckermann, a Jew from Poland, said that Zoddel, Camp Senior in No. 2 camp, Belsen, was always very brutal and carried a wooden stick for beating prisoners. In March, 1945, after the food was served out in the open in No. 1 camp the deponent tried to get a second helping. Zoddel, who was watching, jumped on him and struck him several times with his stick on the head. Zuckermann started to run away but could not go fast enough. Zoddel ran after him beating him all the time. He was bleeding badly and had to remain in bed for three days. Zoddel often beat sick internees. Some of them died and Zuckermann saw their corpses removed.
Affidavits made by various of the accused were also entered by the Prosecution. (Footnote: See also p. 134) These accused were Kopper, Ehlert, Grese, Hoessler, Dr. Klein, Lobauer, Volkenrath, Aurdzieg and Kramer. Klein admitted selecting prisoners who, he knew, would go to the gas chamber. He only acted on the orders given to him by Dr. Wirts ; he could not say who gave the latter his orders. He never protested against people being sent to the gas chamber though he never agreed with the system ; one could not protest when in the army. Ehlert stated that Lisiewitz was always well behaved and treated
prisoners decently. Lobauer made the admission that she frequently hit women with her hand to keep order. She also stated that she had seen Sauer, Bothe, Weingartner and Fiest beating prisoners. Volkenrath said that Kramer told her on the 20th March that he had made a report about the state of the camp and that the visits of Obergruppenführer Pohl and Dr. Lollinge at the end of that month were the result of that report. Hoessler said that he heard from certain prisoners that several other prisoners had been shot on a transport arriving at Belsen from Dora, but that both Dorr and Stofel, who were in charge, denied this to him.
In her affidavit Kopper said that Francioh was chief cook at Belsen just before the British came. She saw him shoot a girl who was pregnant. She went to hospital where she died, though she was only shot in the arm. Kopper saw the accused repeatedly shooting at internees, who fell down and were flung on a heap. (In Court she said that the victims were more than ten and that Francioh was shooting, from the steps of his cookhouse, prisoners belonging to Block 224, which was about 20 metres away.)
Kopper said that she knew Schreirer as an Oberscharführer at Auschwitz in the winter of 1942-1943. She also saw him several times in Belsen. Grese was in charge of the Strafkommando (Punishment Kommando) working in a sand pit from 1942-1944. (In Court Kopper changed this period to seven months.) It was the practice of Grese to pick out certain of the Jewish woman prisoners and order them to get something from the other side of the wire. When the prisoners approached the wire they were challenged by the guard, but as Grese usually picked out non-Germans they did not understand the order and walked on and were shot. She was responsible for at least 30 deaths a day resulting from her orders to cross the wire, but many more on occasions. Volkenrath not merely acted as a guard at selections ; she personally picked victims for the gas chambers.
Kramers affidavits covered much the same ground as his evidence in Court.
Several of these documents contained other serious accusations against various other accused, but on appearing in Court their authors contradicted their previous statements on a number of points ; this was true for instance of the accused Ehlert.
All of the Counsel defending individual accused delivered opening remarks which were of varying length and largely devoted to summaries of the evidence against the accused and of the evidence which they intended to call.
Major Winwood also said that it was the very foundation of Kramers case that he was a member of the National Socialist Party, and that it was the National Socialist regime which was in power at the time when the alleged crimes took place. National Socialism demanded implicit obedience and trust on the part of a person carrying out orders. Counsel proceeded to trace the steps whereby Hitler became the source of law in Nazi Germany, and whereby the powers thus provided were used in the campaign against the Jews, first in Germany then in the territories occupied by Germany.
This campaign culminated in the chimneys of Auschwitz. Himmler was the
head of the whole system of concentration camps and delegated the Concentration Camp Department to a person called Obergruppenführer Pohl, who held the position of Inspector General of concentration camps and was responsible for all camps in greater Germany. Under him was a Gruppenführer Glucks, who was the administration officer for all concentration camps. He had to deal with all questions of personnel and transport, and with such decisions as which internees went to which camps. Among the sub-departments under him was Department D.5, the medical department, which was presided over by a Dr. Lollinge.
Major Winwood went on to claim that Kramer had no control over the selections and the gassings, even though they took place in his camp, Auschwitz No. 2, since these operations came under the control of the political department, which was responsible partly to the Kommandant of Auschwitz No. 1 and partly to Himmler directly. Conditions at Belsen were largely outside the control of Kramer, who protested in vain against the continued arrival of new transports of prisoners from other camps. Those responsible, men like Pohl, Glucks and Dr. Lollinge, were not available. Kramer should be regarded, not as the Beast of Belsen, but as the Scapegoat of Belsen.
Major Munro associated himself, on behalf of his accused, with what Major Winwood had said as to the effect of the National Socialist system on the actions, behaviour and moral outlook of all those gathered in by its tentacles, because the principle of blind and implicit obedience applied fundamentally from top to bottom, and increasingly the farther down the scale one went.
Major Cranfield submitted that his accused must be judged as warders and the wardresses in a properly constituted prison, legal under German law, and all political aspects of the matter must be ignored altogether. The Court must apply International and not English law, and should remember that English standards regarding corporal punishment in prisons were not observed in modern times in a number of other countries. To throw up ones hands in disgust at corporal punishment in a prison, even for women, was not a proper course for a judicial body to take. The Court must consider what was reasonable conduct in the circumstances, and must consider the allegations of cruelty and ill-treatment in the light of what was standard behaviour throughout Europe on those points.
Throwing doubt on the soundness of the affidavit evidence before the Court, Counsel said that he would seek to prove his point by putting in affidavits of witnesses who had testified in person, and inviting the Court to compare what they had said in their affidavits with what they said in the witness box. For instance, Litwinska in her affidavit accused Ehlert of shooting, but when she came into Court she made no mention of it. Ehlert stood up before the witness, who was invited by a defending officer to accuse her, but she completely failed to do so. Again there was the incident when a woman was made to kneel in the snow and according to Gutermans affidavit Ehlert said : " It is enough". In Court, Guterman said that it was not Ehlert who said this. (Footnote: See p. 19)
Regulation 8 (ii) of the Royal Warrant could only have effect where it was proved that the accused planned together, or were so closely associated that the inference of joint enterprise could properly be made. The Court would have to decide whether the appalling conditions which were found in Belsen were the concerted act of anyone at all, much less of the accused in the dock.
Major Cranfield did not suggest that his accused at Auschwitz did not know there was a gas chamber, or that they did not know that people disappeared in circumstances which made it extremely probable that they had been killed. What he was claiming was that before a parade took place they did not know its purpose, and that they had no part whatever in selecting or in deciding who was to be selected.
On 26th September, 1945, the hearing of the evidence for the Prosecution was interrupted and the examination of Major Smallwood as a witness for the Defence was interposed. Major Smallwood stated that in April, 1945, he was on the staff of the Judge Advocate Generals Department and was put in charge of a small team to start making investigations at Belsen into the atrocities alleged to have been committed there. Some investigations had already been made by members of the Military Government but they had not taken any sworn affidavits. According to the procedure which he first followed, witnesses were brought in and the officers explained to the interpreters that what they wanted was evidence of definite acts committed by definite people on as far as possible definite dates. Major Smallwood devoted himself substantially to framing affidavits from statements taken by other people. Rough notes were taken of a deponents evidence and then Major Smallwood put those notes into ordinary affidavit form. The witness then came back and the affidavit was read out to him or her and translated in Major Smallwoods presence by the interpreter. Sometimes various small alterations were made ; then the witness was sworn, and signed. At first there were no photographs available, but later Major Smallwood obtained them and when a witness came into his room he would hand him a collection of photographs and say : " Look at those and tell us if you recognise anyone in these photographs who has done a particular act or more than one particular act."
Kramer said that he joined the S.S. in 1932, and began to take part in concentration camp work in the autumn of 1934. On the 10th or 15th May, 1944, he became Kommandant of Auschwitz No. 2, otherwise called Birkenau. The Kommandant of the whole of Auschwitz was Obersturmbannführer Hoess. The latter gave him written orders that the gas chambers and incoming transports were not his (Kramers) concern. Orders on these matters always came from the political department in Auschwitz No. 1. The Sonderkommando which worked in the crematorium was under the command of Hoess, who was later replaced by Baer. Kramer admitted that he was sometimes present when transports of prisoners arrived since their place of arrival was usually situated, in his camp. Selections for the
gas chambers or working-camps were carried out only by doctors, and Auschwitz No. 1 was responsible for keeping order on these occasions. He took no part in any selections, and denied also having used violence to load victims on to lorries. When asked what was his personal reaction to the use of gas chambers, he said : " I thought and I asked myself, is it really right about these persons who go to the gas chambers, and whether that person who signed for the first time these orders will be able to answer for it." Under cross-examination he admitted having gassed 80 prisoners previously at Natzweiller camp.
Accommodation, supplies, transport and all such administrative matters, he claimed, were under the control of Auschwitz No. 1. Kramer was a Lagerführer rather than a Kommandant.
He was later transferred to Belsen, understanding it to be a convalescent camp for sick people, and arrived there on 1st December, 1944. The food position was good at first, but deteriorated as new transports arrived. Owing to the breakdown in supplies he did not get enough food for these people, and the stores in the Wehrmacht camp were not open for him to draw upon.
The transports coming from Natzweiller brought spotted fever with them ; the transports coming from Eastern Germany brought typhus. When spotted fever appeared he closed the camp, and reported his action to Berlin. He was told to open it again and to keep it open and to receive all prisoners arriving at Belsen. He gave orders that ditches were to be dug by each block for the purpose of sanitation, and for concrete ponds to be cleared and filled with drinking water. He had written a letter to S.S. Gruppenführer Glucks at Oranienburg on 1st March, protesting against the dispatch of any further transports of internees to Belsen in view of the overcrowding, the lack of food and the current rate of mortality due to typhus and spotted fever. A purported copy of this letter was entered as evidence. On 19th or 20th March, the camp was inspected by Obergruppenführer Pohl, with whom Kramer discussed means of improving conditions, including the cessation of further arrivals. Despite these steps and despite Kramers imploring the area commander to prevent further overcrowding, a further 28,000 prisoners arrived between 4th and 13th April, and 17,000 more were expected.
The S.S. guards and Overseers were allowed to carry guns at Auschwitz, but he forbade the carrying of sticks by S.S. men ; corporal punishment could be administered only with the assent of the authorities at Oranienburg.
He denied Rosenthals allegation, (Footnote 1: See p. 33. ) saying that it was only the S.S. guard Company which was armed with machine guns. He also denied the charges made by Glinowieski, Sunschein, Sompolinski, Dr. Wiesner, Stein and Hammermasch. (Footnote 2: See pp. 14, 15, 16, 21 and 36) He was not at Auschwitz at the time mentioned in Glinowieskis story. All charges of ill-treatment were untrue except in so far as he once slapped a Russian girl who was brought back after attempting to escape.
He stated that he never saw Grese with a dog in Birkenau on or off duty. Grese was never at any time an Oberaufseherin. She discharged her duties
very seriously and very well. It was untrue that she shot or maltreated internees. Kramer said that he did not know Kraft at Auschwitz.
Kramer had never seen Schmitz or Schreirer until he was taken as a prisoner to Celle jail. The latter was not a member of his staff at Belsen. When Kramer arrived at Belsen in December, Mathes was working in the S.S. kitchen. In January, 1945, he went to the bath-house. During Kramers time he never worked in the camp cookhouse. Francioh first came to Belsen between the middle and end of March, 1945. Kramer gave him ten days detention for leaving camp without permission in April.
This accused, a Roumanian, said that he was at Auschwitz from December, 1943, to November, 1944. He admitted that he took part in selections, and that he knew that they constituted murder. He disagreed with the system, but to protest would have been useless. On the first selection in his experience Dr. Wirtz, the senior doctor, had told him to divide a transport of prisoners into the fit and the unfit for work ; the latter included the aged, the weak, the unhealthy, children up to the age of 13, 14 or 15 years, and pregnant women. The selection was done exclusively by doctors, but it was not a proper medical examination. The doctors simply looked at the prisoners, who were dressed, and asked them a few questions if they looked ill. Dr. Klein said that he had heard that some of the unfit went to the gas chamber.
He first came to Belsen at the end of January, 1945, to replace Dr. Schnabel for about ten days, but his duties were not heavy. Doctors chosen from the prisoners looked after the hospitals ; the latter were rather primitive. When he came back to Belsen about the middle of March, Dr. Horstmann was his superior. The latter did not give him any part of the camp to look after because he said that Klein would only stay two weeks and should care for the S.S. troops. He often went into Belsen camp with Dr. Horstmann, however, and kept advising Horstmann to send reports to Berlin complaining of the state of affairs and thus to lessen his responsibility ; the situation was deteriorating every day. The camp was inspected in March by Dr. Lollinge and by Pohl from Berlin. About three days before the arrival of the British, Dr. Horstmann went away and Kramer told Dr. Klein to take over his duties. In the stores he found a surprisingly large supply of medical goods, and he called a meeting of internee doctors to find their requirements. He also found a large supply of milk, meat and biscuits. He distributed the food to the children and to really sick people who were undernourished. Impressed by the dreadful conditions, he told Kramer that the bodies should be disposed of and that water was most important since the internees were suffering more from thirst than hunger. Kramer, however, said : " You cant give me any orders ". Belsen, said Klein, was not a camp for sick people. It was a death camp ; a torture camp. The officials from Berlin, having seen the camp, were in Dr. Kleins opinion wholly responsible for these conditions, because they were sending thousands of people into the camp without providing them with anything which they needed. The witness testified that Lisiewitz was ill, with a high temperature, at some time in March or April, 1945.
This accused, a Yugoslav, said that he went to Auschwitz in October, 1942, and, after doing weapon training for three months, was a concentration camp guard until November, 1943. In December, 1944, he was in charge of a Kommando which was digging trenches for regulating the river and had a thousand women employed under him. There were about 30 male guards, and three or four wolf hounds accompanying the Kommando but not under his command. His sole concern was to supervise the women. He never beat any of the women ; if he had beaten people while on the Vistula Kommando he would have done it against orders. The women in the Kommando were working from 7.30 in the morning to 3 oclock in the afternoon ; they had to march four or five kilometres to their work and then back again in the evening.
Before the Kommando duty, he was Blockführer of the womens compound doing telephone duties. He never saw any selections and did not know anything about them. He left Auschwitz on about 19th January, 1945, and went to Belsen near the beginning of February. Apart from once beating Sunschein with a piece of hose on the back, he never struck anybody except with his hand, and caused no harm by these blows. He did not recognise Shreirer as being in Birkenau in the autumn of 1942. He could remember neither the witness Glinowieski nor his brother : the formers story (Footnote 1: see p. 13.) was untrue.
A Roumanian of German descent, Kraft claimed that he was never at Auschwitz but was at Belsen from 1lth April, 1945, The first time he went into the actual concentration camp, however, was on the 22nd April, 1945, under British guard. As far as he knew, the accused Schmitz was not in the S.S. ; he joined Kraft quite naked while in prison.
Speaking of the transport of which Stofel was in charge, (Footnote 2: see p. 53.) he said that, at Gross Hehlen, front line S.S. troops lined up the prisoners, guarded them, and marched them off themselves. As he had to stay behind with the food trucks he did not know whether any of the prisoners were killed. He saw no shooting of internees on this journey to Belsen.
Hoessler said that he was at Auschwitz from July, 1943, until 6th February, 1944, during which period he was Lagerführer (Camp Leader) in the womens compound. There were many cases of typhus. He went round the block and tried to improve conditions. He saw the commander of the whole camp, Hoess, and Dr. Wirtz and succeeded in securing a delousing plant.
He did attend selection parades, under orders from Hoess, but did not make any selections. The selections were made by doctors and he was there to see that the internees were guarded. Hoessler did not think that the gas exterminations were right, and when first ordered to attend he protested. He saved several hundred people from being gassed by falsifying the roll. The witness Sunschein (Footnote 3: seep. 17) must have thought that people who were being
sent by him to the quarantine block to get fit again, and then to go on to other work than the Union Kommando, were actually intended for the gas chambers. All selections were not for the gas chambers ; some were intended to recruit working parties or to find who was suffering from scabies. He attended three types of selection parades : parades on the arrival of prisoners, parades in the hospital and parades in the camp.
He returned to Auschwitz during June, 1944, becoming Lagerführer of Auschwitz No. 1. He left Auschwitz for the last time on the 18th January, 1945, and after a period at Dora he went to Belsen, arriving on April 8th or 9th.
He was not the Kommandant of the crematorium as stated by Sompolinski or Kommandant at Auschwitz, as stated by Adelaide de Yong. The allegations of both were untrue, as were also those of Alegre Kalderon, Sunschein, Klein and Litwinska. (Footnote 1: See pp. 12, 16, 20, 21, 25 and 28. ) He did not give any order for the hanging described by Hammermasch, (Footnote 2: See p. 14.) but he did read out the judgment on that occasion. The girls executed were responsible for a fire which burnt down one of the crematoria in, he believed, October, 1944. They were hanged at the end of November or beginning of December. In reply to Hauptmanns allegation (Footnote 3: See p. 27.) he said that it was true that he was on the platform when the train arrived and that it was reported to him that it had come from Herzberg. He did not see anyone shot there, however, and no orders were given by him to shoot prisoners.
Szafrans story about Greses shooting two girls (Footnote 4: See p. 13) was untrue ; windows could not be opened in the block in question and Grese was incapable even of loading and firing a pistol. Grese worked in Hoesslers camp and did not have a dog. As an Overseer she worked in the post office and at night she had to help Block Leaders on their roll-call. She was very reliable.
Calesson came to Belsen on a transport under Oberscharführer Hartwig, on about 9tbApri1, 1945. He was responsible for several blocks. Kraft came to Belsen in a transport about the 10th or 1lth April, 1945, from Dora.
Hoessler believed that he first saw Schmitz on the 11th April, in Belsen, in his own camp, No. 2. He was a camp prisoner wearing prisoners clothes. Later when both were prisoners of the British he saw Schmitz, wearing only his underpants ; he was given an S.S. uniform to wear and the British guards mistook him for a member of the S.S.