The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others
DEPOSITION OF HELEN HAMMERMASCH of POLAND, sworn before Major Geoffrey Smallwood, Major (Legal Staff), an Officer of the Staff of the Judge Advocate General to the Forces.
1. I am aged 25 years and a Polish Jew. When the Germans entered Poland I escaped to Hungary, but was arrested by the Hungarian Police about the end of September, 1939, and was taken back to Poland and handed over to the Germans. I was then placed in a Ghetto at Stanislau, and, after two weeks, escaped and joined my parents at Limburger Kreis, where I stayed until the spring of 1942. After surviving a purge of Jews in the spring of 1942, when some 30000 to 40000 were killed, including my father, mother and five sisters, I again got to Hungary, but was arrested there. Eventually I was sent to Auschwitz in May, 1943, and transferred to Belsen in February, 1945.
2. At Auschwitz I worked in the leather store and also had to attend a number of selections for the gas chamber. I name the following as being responsible for sending many thousands there. Kramer, Mengele, König, Tauber, and of the women, Drechsler, Mandel and Hasse.
3. The leather store in which I worked was controlled by Unterscharführer Otto Graff. His description is, about 27 years old, 5 ft. 8 in. to 10 in. in height, slim build, dark brown wavy hair, grey eyes, good teeth and thin face.
4. During afternoons Graff worked in one of the crematoria. He used to boast over his work there, saying how he enjoyed naked bodies put in the crematorium - especially women's bodies. He also spoke of working on the gas chamber. He often told the women in the leather store that they would go to the gas chamber in due course. He was fond of beating women with a stick and throwing them across the store, and he would make women take down their clothes and beat them with a stick, giving them 25 strokes across the buttocks.
5. On one occasion during the summer of 1944 I saw him beat a Polish girl named Marilla Dombroska (aged 19). He beat her across the head with an iron rod and smashed her skull. The girl died on the spot and was taken to the crematorium.
6. Graff’s assistant in the store was Oberscharführer Paul Pfor, He was about 30 years of age, 5 ft. 6 in, in height, thick-set, had very blond hair, fat round face, very white skin, clear grey eyes and good teeth. He used to work in the crematoria and he said he liked to work there better than in the leather store as he wanted to kill as many Jews as possible in the interests of Germany. In the leather store I often saw him beat and whip women. In the summer of 1944 he beat a French woman (a Jewess) until she could not stand, and then he kicked and whipped her whilst she lay on the ground. The woman died two weeks later as a result of her injuries.
7. In the men's section of the factory was a civilian SS man named Grenke, he was about 45, 6 ft. in height, thick-set and stout build, had blond hair, yellowish skin, grey eyes, and always looked ill. From time to time I saw him kill at least 50 male prisoners, beating them on the head with a stick. He had two dogs and he also set the dogs on to the victims. He beat men, often killing them, every day, for minor offences, such as looking towards the women working in the factory.
8. On one occasion an SS man whose name I do not know - he was an Obersturmführer - visited the factory. He was about 28 years’ old, 5 ft. 5 in. in height, medium build, had black hair, dark brown eyes, dark complexion and had a black moustache. He asked Graff and Pfor why more prisoners were not killed in the factory, saying that five or six should die every day. I have seen him beat both men and women with a rubber stick for no reason.
9. I have seen Kramer when selections were made, kick children towards the vehicle taking them to the gas chamber.
10. On one occasion Hössler (photo. 9-1) caught six women stealing explosive powder. He had them all hanged in the camp and was present at the hanging himself. I and some others bad to watch the hanging, and Hössler warned us we would meet the same fate for such offences.
11. About the end of March or beginning of April, whilst at Belsen, a young Russian woman was caught after escaping from the camp. She was brought back and I saw her beaten with sticks and kicked by Kramer, Weingartner (photo. 12-1), Kasainitzky (photo. 12-3), Volkenrath (photo. 22-6) and Ehlert (22-5). The woman was screaming in Russian and I do not know whether she died.
13. I have handed to C.S.M. J. Liddle of the C.M.P. (Special Investigation Section) a bottle marked "Glukose" (produced) which I found soon after the British troops arrived, in a closed German medical box, which contained other medical stores, in No. 1 Camp Women’s Hospital. It appeared to contain petrol. I believe the contents were used for injections. A nurse told me at Auschwitz that Klein kept "Glukose" bottles and referred to them as "Corpus Delicti."
Sworn by the above named Helen Hammermasch this 19th day of May 1945 at Belsen Camp.
Sgd Helen Hammermasch
Before me the said Major Geoffrey Smallwood
Sgd Geoffrey Smallwood
Certified that the above is an accurate translation of the evidence given by the said Helen Hammermasch in my presence.
Sgd Traube Neuman