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

Twelfth Day Saturday, 29th September, 1945

Previous Day | Next Day

THE PRESIDENT: (To Lt. Jedrzejowicz) You made an application yesterday with regard to the witnesses for the prosecution and witnesses for the defence being together. I went into that last night and I have seen Captain Moisson of the R.A.S.C. this morning who, I gather, is in charge of the accommodation, and told him that those witnesses are to be kept separate. Perhaps you will have the opportunity over the weekend of visiting him yourself, and if you will let the Court know if the arrangements are not satisfactory then we will get further arrangements made, but the orders given to Captain Moisson are that he speaks to the various witnesses in accordance with any suggestion you may have to make. Will that be alright?


ESTERA GUTERMAN is recalled.

MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.

Cross-examined by MAJOR MUNRO: You told us yesterday that when you were kneeling on the ground an Aufseherin who was passing interfered? - Yes.

Will No. 8 stand up (Herta Ehlert) Is that the woman? - No.

How long after you had been kneeling did this happen? - Half an hour.

MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.

CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.

CAPTAIN BROWN: No questions.

CAPTAIN FIELDEN: No questions.


CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.


LT BOYD: No questions.

CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.

Cross-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: What were you employed as in Belsen? - I was in the block; I had not been working.

How long had you been in the respective blocks 27, 205 and 224? - I spent several weeks in each of the blocks.

You were Stubeälteste in block No. 224, were you not? - No.

What function did you have in Block No. 224 then? - I have not worked.

Were work parties sent out before the morning appels or during or after the morning appels? - Before the morning roll call.

Did the morning appels usually start at half past three in the morning? - We had to get up at half past three and before we were ready it took some time.

How many women were present at this Appell during which you said yesterday you have been beaten by the accused Koper? - The whole block was on parade at that time, several hundreds of women.

Were you the only woman of this Appell to move your position because of the cold weather? - I do not remember whether I was the only one that moved that time, but I was the only one that got beaten.

Who had the more power in the compound, was it the Blockälteste or was it the aufseherin? - I do not know, but as the aufseherin told me to get up and the Blockälteste did not allow me to do it and I had to kneel further I deduced that the Blockälteste had stronger powers at that time.

Are you quite sure that what you said to the Court yesterday about the conversation which the Blockälteste had with the aufseherin was reported by you exactly word for word? - Yes, I am sure; I swore and therefore I would not lie.

How many women were dying in your block daily? - About 30; it were the last weeks before the liberation of the camp.

How much did you know the Polish woman who was suffering from swollen legs? - We lived in the same block.

Did you know in the same way this Polish woman as you did know any of the several hundreds who were in the same block? - Yes, I knew her in the same way as I knew all the other women from the block. I do not remember her name.

Do you remember having made a statement before a British officer after the camp was liberated? - Yes, I do.

Do you remember having told him about the same incidents you told the Court yesterday? - Yes, I do.

I will read to you what you said in the statement about the conversation between the SS woman and Koper about your kneeling. "She said to Koper 'It is enough' and Koper replied 'No, she must stay there. She did not stand straight.' I had to carry on kneeling." Now I will read to you what you said in the Court yesterday to the same question: "It happened that the aufseherin was passing nearby and she said to the accused it is not very nice that such an old woman had to kneel, and she suggested that I should stand up, but the accused said: ' I am sorry, but now I am in power here and I am responsible. She will kneel as I told her'".

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I agree the language is different, but is there really very much substance in the difference? It is for you entirely, but it seems to me the substance is the same. The language is different I agree.

LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Do you remember you were asked yesterday by the Prosecuting Officer to tell your Polish address? - Yes.

Do you remember saying that you lived at Starachowice? - Yes.

In your written statement you said that your address was 24 Radeszensgo, Wierzbnik. - Radeszensgo and Starachowice, it is the same.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: No re-examination.

(The witness withdraws)

PAULA SYNGER is called.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: The witness will give her testimony in Polish and she is being sworn on the Jewish Bible. She says that the oath she is about to take will be binding on her conscience.

PAULA SYNGER, having been duly sworn, is examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE as follows:

What is your full name? - Paula Synger.

How do you spell Synger? - S. Y. N. G. E. R.

What was your address before the war? - Starachowice, Marshal Pilsudski - Road No. 46.

What is your nationality? - A Jewess from Poland.

When were you arrested? - I have not been arrested; I was evacuated for work with the camp.

Did you go voluntarily? - No, it was during evacuation and I was compelled to go there.

I think you were kept for a certain time at a labour camp, and did you eventually come to Birkenau? - Yes, I was for two years in work camps, and then I was sent to Birkenau.

About when did you arrived at Birkenau? - On the 3rd July 1944.

Later were you transferred to Belsen? - After three months. On the 3rd November I arrived in Belsen.

Three months would not bring us to November. Which is right? - I remember quite exactly that I left Auschwitz on the 25th October and I arrived at Belsen on the 3rd November.

I just want to deal with Auschwitz for a moment. How were you treated at Auschwitz? - At my arrival in Auschwitz I was beaten so terribly that from that time on I tried to avoid beating, and at the very sight of Aufseherinen I ran far away, because I wanted to live.

When you first arrived at Belsen how were you treated there? - I could breather with relief because I had not seen the chimneys any more.

What chimneys do you mean? - I mean the crematorium.

When you first arrived at Belsen how were you treated there? - At first it was better in Belsen than in Auschwitz, the Aufseherinen were better than in Auschwitz.

Who was the commandant when you were at Auschwitz? - I did not know his name - I always saw Kramer in Auschwitz.

When you said you did not know his name were you referring to Belsen or Auschwitz? - I meant the first camp commandant in Belsen; I did not know his name.

Did the commandant at Belsen change whilst you were there? - Yes, after Kramer arrived.

Did any other persons who you had known at Auschwitz come to Belsen? - Not at the same time as Kramer arrived, but later on various Aufseherinen arrived in Belsen.

Did that have any effect on the conditions at Belsen? After they arrived did the conditions at Belsen remain the same or did they change? - The conditions changed immediately, because before we had only one or two parades a week in order to get bread, and the sick people were not allowed to attend the parade.

What happened after the Aufseherinen from Auschwitz arrived? - It was the same hell that existed in Auschwitz and we were again afraid of the Germans.

Which block were you put into when you arrived at Belsen? - At first I was in Celta [Zelt; tents]. Then I was in block No. 28 and No. 24, and gradually I was being transferred to other blocks.

Who was the assistant Blockälteste of block No. 27? - Helena Koper.

Did she eventually become a blockälteste? - Yes, when we arrived in a new camp, in block No. 205, she was Blockälteste.

Will you come down into the Court and see if you can pick out any of the people who you say came from Auschwitz to Belsen, and see if you can pick out Koper? - No. 1, Kramer, camp commandant. No. 2, Dr. Klein. No. 3 Blockführer Weingartner. I know No. 5 by sight, but I do not know his name (Hössler).

It might be convenient, because I do not want to go through a long rigmarole in the witness box, if you will say where you saw him. - I know his face, but I do not remember whether I saw him in Auschwitz or in Belsen. No. 7, Aufseherin in Belsen (Elisabeth Volkenrath), I do not know her name.

Had she been at Auschwitz? - In Belsen. No. 8 (Herta Ehlert) oberaufseherin in Belsen. No. 9 Grese. No. 11 (Hilde Löbauer) arbeitsdienst in Auschwitz; her name is Hilde. No. 16 (Karl Flrazich) in charge of the cookhouse in Belsen. I know No. 19 by sight from Belsen. (Otto Kulessa)

What was he at Belsen? - I do not know, because I always tried to avoid meeting the Germans in the camp. No. 39 (Irene Haschke) was aufseherin in Belsen. No. 46, Koper. No. 48, Lagerälteste Stania (Stanisława Starostka).

THE PRESIDENT: I would just like to check that. I will give the names when recognised by name. No. 1, Kramer, camp commandant. No. 2, Dr. Klein. No. 3, Volkenrath, Blockführer. [No. 3 is Weingartner]. No. 5 (Hössler) by sight, Auschwitz or Belsen. No. 7 (Elisabeth Volkenrath) no name, aufseherin at Belsen. No. 8 (Herta Ehlert) an oberaufseherin in Belsen. No. 9 Grese. No. 11 (Hilde Löbauer) known as Hilde at Auschwitz. No. 16 (Karl Flrazich) in charge of cookhouse in Belsen. No. 19 (Otto Kulessa) by sight at Belsen. No. 39 (Irene Haschke) aufseherin at Belsen. No. 46, Koper, and No. 48 (Stanisława Starostka) lagerälteste Stania.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Yes. (To the witness) I want you to tell the Court a little bit about Koper. How did she behave to the internees as a rule? - Very badly.

What did she do to them? - She beat them; she beat them very much.

What did she beat them for? - Before the morning roll call, after we had been wakened up, instead of allowing us to parade quietly she started beating us and caused confusion, in this way making for us more difficult to parade.

What did she beat people with? - As a rule she had always a leather belt on her and used this, but apart from that what was available.

How did she behave to sick people? - It was a regulation in the camp that sick people are allowed not to attend the parade every morning and she was very unjust in this respect, because instead of allowing sick people to stay behind she compelled them to attend the parades and left in the block people whom she wanted to favour.

Do you remember any particular occasion when there was an old woman who was sick? - I remember one incident. It was an old woman that came from a transport from Leipzig. She was suffering from a heart disease and she was swollen. I myself tried to persuade the accused that this woman was unable to attend the parade, but the accused started beating her and compelled her to attend the parade.

What happened to her when she got on parade? - Shortly after she attended the parade she fainted. We asked the accused to allow us to take the woman inside the block, but she refused. We took only a chair and the woman sat down on the chair. After the parade we took her to the hospital and she died after three days.

What was the weather like at the time? - It was January; it was very cold and rainy weather.

Do you remember any other occasion when a woman who was sick was on the parade? - There are many cases like that. There were many cases when we fought for sick women to be allowed to stay in the blocks, and on all these occasions the accused was very stubborn, and on many occasions women had to kneel.

Do you remember any occasion when a woman was kneeling when one of the SS women interfered? - Yes, I do.

Will you tell the Court about that case? - The incidents with the kneeling were very frequent, and during one of these incidents it happened that an old woman was unable to stand to attention and she moved. The accused ordered her to kneel. She started weeping. It happened that one of the aufseherin came along and she noticed this old woman kneeling. She approached the blockälteste, the accused, and asked: "Why is she kneeling. Is it not enough." She said: "This woman did not obey my orders", and the aufseherin said: "All right, but it is enough, I think she should get up", but the accused said: "No, here I am to give orders. She will kneel as I told her", and that woman had to kneel till the end of the parade.

Who was in charge of the food distribution in the block? - Blockälteste

How did she distribute the food? - In the block she distributed the soup.

Did she distribute it fairly? - It varied.

Have you seen at any time known her excuse people from parade? - Yes, there were some people who enjoyed special privileges because these people gave some presents to her. I did not remember their names.

MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.

Cross-examined by MAJOR MUNRO: Will No. 2 stand up? (Accused No. 2 stands up). Is this the aufseherin who interfered with the old woman who was kneeling on the ground? [This must be a typing error as No. 2 is Dr. Fritz Klein] - This was not the woman.

MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.

CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.

CAPTAIN BROWN: No questions.

CAPTAIN FIELDEN: No questions.


CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.


LIEUTENANT BOYD: No questions.

CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.

Cross-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: You said you come from Starchowice? - Yes.

Is it the same, Starchowice and Wierzbnik? - Yes.

How many sick women did you have in your block daily? - Which block?

Block 224? - There were a large number of sick women, because people came in from the work parties.

Were none of these sick women ever allowed by Koper to remain in the block during the morning Appell? - We were allowed to choose the people who were very ill. You could see the people who were very ill and only hose could be left behind in the block. Koper allowed five or six women to stay behind.

Sick women? - Yes, sick. They were so called ill, but not all of them were ill.

What was your position in the block? - I was a clerk.

Who appointed you as clerk in the block? - I was a clerk in the former block and transferred to the new block as a clerk.

Could the blockälteste have changed the clerk in her block? - Yes, she could.

Did you help distribute food too? - I did not do it myself. The blockälteste did that with the help of the stubendienst.

Did you get the same amount of food as any other prisoner? - For my work I obtained a litre of soup.

Were you sleeping on the floor with the other prisoners, or did you have a bed in some part of the block? - It was the privilege of the clerk to sleep in the bed.

Was your life much better than the life of any other prisoner in your block? - I had a litre of soup more than any other prisoners. This was a great deal. Being a clerk I was able to help other prisoners, and the only reason i stayed with Koper was that the prisoners begged me to stay on as I was of help to them.

How many were you on the staff of the block? - There were three people who ran the block and besides that there were the stubendienst.

Did you know the prisoner called Estera Guterman? - Yes.

What position did she have in the block? - She had no particular function. I would like to add that Koper also used to denounce the prisoners.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: No re examination.

(The witness withdraws)

RUCHLA KOPPEL is called in.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: The witness Ruchla Koppel will give evidence in Polish. She is taking the oath on the Jewish bible and she says it will be binding on her conscience.

RUCHLA KOPPEL, having been duly sworn, is examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE as follows:

What is your full name? - Koppel, Ruchla.

How do you spell Koppel? - K.O.P.P.E.L.

Where did you live before the war? - In Ghetto in Łódź.

How old are you? - 28.

And what is your nationality? - Jewish.

What country do you come from? - From Poland.

When did you first go to Auschwitz? - In 1944, with the last transport.

Do you mean that was the last transport to go to Auschwitz? - It was the last transport from Litzmannstadt, the town I came from.

What happened to you when you got to Auschwitz? - I was there for two weeks.

How were you treated when you first got there? - I was treated very badly, and the Blockälteste beat me and also I came there with my mother, sister, brother and two children of my brother. All of them were sent immediately to gas chambers, and I was the only one that was left.

Then when you left Auschwitz where were you sent to? - To Belsen, and I was for the whole year in Belsen.

Who was the kommandant of Belsen when you first arrived there? - I do not know.

What were the conditions like when you first went there? - To begin with the conditions were quite good, but since Kramer arrived they deteriorated.

What was the difference? - We had to attend parades bare footed and we have not got food.

Did you see any beating whilst you were in Belsen? - Yes, I did.

Was there much beating before Kramer came? - No, there were no beatings before Kramer arrived; it was very well at that time.

Were there many beatings after he arrived? - Yes, there were many beatings since Kramer arrived, and also I saw when an SS man threw a girl into the water.

Which block did you live in during the winter of 1944/45, after you reached Belsen? - 201, 205 and 224.

Who was the Blockälteste of 205 and 224? - The accused Koper.

Will you look at the accused and see if you can recognise her? - The black woman with the light blouse on her, No. 46.

How did she behave herself? - One day I went to hospital to have my arm dressed and I came back to my block. I was told that the supper was already distributed. I went to the room occupied by the Blockälteste, and I said to her very politely that I had not got my supper. The Blockälteste Koper - I think she was in bed - she got up and started beating me terribly in my head and in my heart. I fainted and when I regained my consciousness I was in my block and from that time on I am suffering from a heart disease and that is why I cannot speak louder now.

Were you told what had happened to you whilst you were unconscious? - My friend told me later that they attended me and looked after me and that during the whole night when I was unconscious I was crying: "Help me, help me; my heart, my heart".

How did she behave to other persons in the block? - Her behaviour towards the other prisoners was very bad, and I remember on one occasion when a woman during the parade asked to be excused because she wanted to go for a minute, and she started beating her with a stick and the woman died.

Cross-examined by MAJOR WINWOOD: When you first came to Belsen, did you live in a tent? - Yes, I did.

MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.

MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.

CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.

CAPTAIN BROWN: No questions.

CAPTAIN FIELDEN: No questions.

CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.


LIEUTENANT BOYD: No questions.

CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.


COLONEL BACKHOUSE: No re-examination.

(THe witness withdraws).

HELENE KLEIN is called in.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: The witness Helene Klein will give her evidence in Polish and she declares that the oath which she will take on the Jewish bible will be binding on her conscience.

HELENE KLEIN is duly sworn.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Before I examine this witness there is just one thing I would like to point out, and I mentioned this to Major Cranfield the other day. You will appreciate that I could, if necessary, ask this witness to go through everything again.


COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I, rightly or wrongly, have taken the view that I have reached a stage when it is unnecessary to go through that each time with each witness. I think you will be satisfied by now that there was a gas chamber, and I know the Defence will not take it against me that I have not asked all these questions. I do not ask them to accept that these witnesses will necessarily say it, but equally I ask them to accept the mere fact that there were these selections.

MAJOR CRANFIELD: I do not think, on behalf of the accused, that we should give way on anything.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I am not asking my friend to say he accepts there were selections. I am merely asking him not say against me afterwards that I did not put it to each witness in turn.

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I do not think we can muzzle the Defence.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I will put it if there is going to be any suggestion...

MAJOR CRANFIELD: The situation is that I do not think the Defending Officers, in a case of this kind, with very serious charges, can give way on anything. I do not think it is a proper thing to do.

(The Court confer).

THE PRESIDENT: Will you conduct it as you think fit.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Certainly, sir.


What is your full name? - Klein, Helene.

What was your address before the war? - Tarnow, Nowa, No.7.

What is your nationality? - Polish.

When were you arrested? - In December, 1942.

How old were you when you were arrested? - 18.

Were you first sent to a forced labour camp? - I was sent to a labour camp.

Then form that camp did you go to Auschwitz? - Yes.

About when did you go to Auschwitz? - In November, 1943.

How many people were there on the transport that went with you? - 1200 women.

What happened when you got to Auschwitz? - At the railway station a selection was carried out and only 407 were left.

What happened to the remainder? - All of them were sent to the gas chambers.

What happened to you personally? - I went with these 407 women.

Where were you taken to? - I was sent to Auschwitz, to Birkenau.

What happened to you when you arrived at Birkenau? - I was taken to be tattooed and to a shower bath and to the block.

Which block were you put into? - The the block No. 1 for quarantine.

After you had finished your quarantine what work did you work at? - At first I went to the hospital because I was suffering from typhus.

What happened to you after that? - After that I attended another selection at which many people were chosen.

Where did that selection take place? - In January, 1944.

Where? - In Birkenau, in block No. 6.

How was the selection adopted? - It was a special commission that attended the selection and amongst them was Klein, Hössler and Mengele, who is not here, and other SS men.

How were you dressed? - I was in bed at that time, naked.

Did any SS women attend these selections? - I remember that was one woman there, but I do not remember her name.

During the time that you were at Birkenau how many selections did you attend in all? - I had to go through three selections.

Did you see any other selection? - Yes, I saw a great number of selections.

What happened to the people who were chosen on these selections? - Afterwards they were sent to the gas chambers, as usual.

Did you see any persons beaten while you were at Auschwitz? - A large number I saw.

Who did the beating? - First of all in cookhouse No. 2 it was one oberaufseherin - I hope to be able to recognise her amongst the accused here - who beat people terribly, and she never ceased to beat unless the people were bleeding; sometimes even they died.

Did you see any other persons doing any beating there in Auschwitz? - I am talking about Auschwitz and not about Bergen-Belsen? - Yes, I saw.

What time did you get up in the morning at Auschwitz? - At 5 or before 5.

What food did you get at Auschwitz? - A soup, one fourth of a loaf of bread, and twice a week margarine or sausage.

What work were you employed on there? - I worked in the potato stores.

Were you later transferred to Belsen? - Yes.

In which block did you live in Belsen? - 199.

Who was the night guard of that block? - Johanne Schmidt.

How did she behave herself? - She beat people terribly.

What did she beat them with? - What she could get available.

Will you come down here and have a look at the accused and see if there are any of them you can recognise. Take your time about it; do not rush about it. Look at them carefully and see if there are any of them you can recognise and then tell the Court who they are. (The witness descends into the Court). - No. 1, Kramer; No. 2, Klein; No. 3, Weingartner; No. 5, Hössler; No. 8 aufseherin from Auschwitz; No. 9, Irma Grese; No. 41, she worked in cookhouse No. 2 in Bergen-Belsen; No. 43, she was on night guard in block No. 199; No. 44, that was the woman that was so terribly beating people; No. 46, Koper, she was the first informer in the camp, and afterwards she was beaten up by the block leaders and she went to the bunker. That is all I recognise.

THE PRESIDENT: Let us just check this up, as it is important that we should get it on our notes. No. 1, Kramer; No. 2, Klein; No. 3, Weingartner; No. 5, Hössler; No. 8 aufseherin from Auschwitz; No. 9, Irma Grese; No. 41, from cookhouse No. 2 in Belsen; No. 43, the night guard in hut No. 199; No. 44 a woman who beat people badly; No. 47 [46], Koper who was first of all an informant and was later beaten up.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: What can you tell the Court about Kramer, who is the first person you identified? - I know that Kramer was the camp commandant in Auschwitz and in Bergen-Belsen.

Did you see anything of him yourself in either of those camps? - I myself did not see anything, but I know what kind of a camp commandant he was and how terribly he behaved.

The next person you recognised was No. 2, Klein - When we arrived from Trzevnia to Auschwitz Trzevnia was the man who, in the company of Hössler and other people, carried out the selections.

The next man you recognised was No. 3, Weingartner. Will you tell the Court what do you know about him? - Weingartner very frequently stood at the gate when we were passing through the gate and very frequently he beat people.

What did he beat them with? - I do not remember exactly, but I do remember that he did it very frequently. I remember one incident when there were many people in the cookhouse Kommando, because everybody wanted to get in as we used to receive more food in the cookhouse kommando. The accused beat the Kapo, Lidia Sunschein, terribly, and as a result of the beating she turned ill, and on this occasion all the people from the kommando were beaten up.

Was this at Auschwitz or a Belsen? - It was in Belsen.

The next person you recognised was No. 5, Hössler. - Hössler was present at the selection that took place on January, 1944. I attended the selection myself and I was chosen for the gas chamber, but before Hössler managed to get my number written down I was cunning enough to hide myself. I approached Hössler and I asked him, I begged him, to allow me to continue my work, and Hössler said: "you lived enough, come my child, come".

THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Could I have that again? I did not follow the answer.

COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Will you repeat the answer?

THE INTERPRETER: "I approached Hössler and I begged him to allow me to continue my work, not to send me to the gas chamber, and Hössler answered: 'you lived enough, come my child, come'".

COLONEL BACKHOUSE (To the witness): Will you go on? - Three days later all the numbers that were taken down during this selection were called out and all the people were sent to the gas chambers naked. It was January; it was a frosty and rainy weather. Some of the people were unable to go themselves because they were ill suffering from typhus, and had high fever. Those who were unable to go themselves were dragged into the gas chambers.

The next person you recognised was No. 8. - I remember this woman (Herta Ehlert) standing at the gate and beating prisoners by checking up. She was one of the worst in the camp.

Of which camp are you speaking? - Belsen.

Do you know what position she held at Belsen? - I only know that she was the senior Aufseherin.

The next one you recognised was No. 8, Irma Grese. - I heard about her many bad things, and I saw beating people; but apart from that I remember at Belsen that she made a kind of sport with us.

What do you mean by making sport with you? - It was: "Fall down" and "Get up" for two hours, and various kinds of tortures.

Where did you have to do this? - In Bergen-Belsen. It was a special place was chosen for this sport. Sometimes the Blockälteste did it and sometimes the accused.

How were you dressed on these occasions? - In the normal way; in civilian clothes.

What happened if anybody stopped? - She beat them.

What did she beat them with? - She beat them with a riding whip. She always had it with her.

The next person you recognised was No. 41 (Gertrude Sauer). - She was the aufseherin in the cookhouse, and she beat the people mainly when they approached the cookhouse in order to get a piece of rotten turnip.

The next person you mentioned was No. 43 (Johanne Roth). - She was the notorious night guard; the woman who was torturing people at night.

Is she the woman you referred to before? - Yes, she is the same woman.

What did you say her name was? - Johanne Schmidt.

I mention that because she answers on the charge to the name of Johanne Roth. - I know her very well.

What did she beat people with? - What she could get herself available.

What sort of things did she find available? - I do not remember exactly. It could be a broom or a stick or anything that was available.

What did she beat people for? - It could be that the people would get up at 3 o'clock in order to work; it could also be that they were ill people or sick people going during the night to the toilet and those who were lying on the floor sobbing and yelling.

What was the result of those beatings? - I remember one incident, a woman whose first name was Ida and her second name, if I am not wrong, was Friedman. She was an ill woman and she was beaten up and the next day she died.

Who was she beaten up by? - Johanne Schmidt - by the night guard.

Why did she beat her? - If one of the prisoners would shout during the night or yell or go to the toilet, she would be beaten up by the accused.

Why did she beat this particular woman? - Because Ida Friedman wanted to go to the lavatory and it was some shouting coming out, and the accused beat her: the next day Ida Friedman was dead.

You then recognised No. 44 (Anna Hempel)? - What can you tell the Court about her? - In my opinion she was the worst Aufseherin in the whole of Belsen. She was in Cookhouse No. 2.

What did she do to make you think that? - She ill treated the people from the personnel in the cookhouse in a terrible way. Apart from that if any of the prisoners would approach the cookhouse in order to get hold of a piece of turnip or anything else, she would beat them terribly. I observed her and I noticed that she kept in her office a special riding whip and she always used this riding whip for this purpose.

How did she ill treat the people in the cookhouse; what do you mean by ill treating them? - If she noticed anyone of the personnel slacking in her work for a minute, or looking somewhere or having some food in the mouth, she was able to seize the food out of her month and to start beating the victim. I remember another incident. We had another aufseherin for two weeks with us, and the accused went to Kramer with a complaint that this aufseherin did not beat the prisoners properly, and the aufseherin came to us and confided in us the whole story and talked with us together telling us about the cruel way in which the accused treated the prisoners.

You are still speaking of No. 44 (Anna Hempel)? - Yes.

You recognised No. 46 (Helena Koper). - This woman was the woman informer who denounced all the people and was also the Blockälteste.

Cross-examined by MAJOR WINWOOD - Were you present when the alleged beating of Lidia Sunschein by Weingartner took place? - Yes, I was present at that time. I remember at the time Sunschein went to the accused and said she was unable to make the kommando line up and in answer to that the accused beat her in a terrible way; she was bleeding.

Cross-examined by MAJOR MUNRO - What was the state of your health when you left Auschwitz for Belsen? - In a normal state. I was healthy.

You have told us about an occasion when on a selection parade you yourself were chosen? - Yes, I remember this occasion. I remember that I was picked for the gas chamber. I went to Hössler and asked him for a pardon; I promised him to work very hard if he would allow me to live. He said to me: "No, my child; you have lived enough. You come with me" and he took me to the table where the numbers were being written down. Then I managed to escape and I went to the place where the people were standing away from the table.

Will you answer this question yes or no. Was your number taken down? - No.

Did you see Hössler on subsequent occasions? - Yes, I did.

But he did not recognise you, did he? - No, he did not recognise me. I tried to avoid his eyes.

I put it to you that this alleged conversation with Hössler is pure invention? - I am responsible for what I say and I swore on it.

Cross-examined by MAJOR CRANFIELD - You told us that you heard about Kramer's misdeeds. Have you been told about them by the other witnesses for the prosecution? - No, I experienced it in the camp already.

Have they told you about Irma Grese ? - I experienced myself the sport with her. I did not need anybody to tell me anything because I went through it myself.

Will you tell us of what this sport consisted? - It was falling down and getting up and crawling and the speed was increased all the time.

Was this done individually or in a body? - It was in a group.

Were you formed up in ranks for it? - We were marched in in fives and we had to do the sport in fives.

Did Grese stand in front of you and give words of command? - Yes.

When you were telling us about this you said that as well there were various kinds of tortures. Will you tell us what those were? - She beat us if any one of us did not comply with the orders.

You first of all told the Court that she beat you and then you said she made sport with you and then you said: "And various kinds of tortures". I want to know what those various kinds of tortures were. - I said that she was walking along the camp and beating people and afterwards I said that she was making sport, and during this she was beating us. That is what I meant by tortures.

I suggest to you that those words were put in as a deliberate exaggeration and that is typical of the whole of your evidence - My evidence is based only on what I saw myself and what I experienced myself. I am responsible for what I say.

With regard to the riding whip which you say Grese carried. Was that at Auschwitz or Belsen? - It was mainly at Belsen that she usually beat people with the riding whip, but she beat people in Auschwitz, and I recollect an incident ...

What was the riding whip made of? - I do not remember exactly. It is impossible - humanly impossible - to remember what all the things they beat up with, what they were made of, and how they were beaten up.

I want you to describe it. Was it a stick or had it got a thong? - As far as I remember it was made of leather.

I want you to describe it. Was it a stick or had it got a lash? - It was a riding whip.

Was she wearing a pistol? - I saw her sometimes with a pistol.

Was she wearing a pistol at Belsen? - I do not remember exactly. I cannot say whether I saw her with a pistol in Auschwitz or in Belsen, but I remember I have seen her with a pistol.

Is it not true that at Auschwitz she wore a pistol and carried a stick or a whip, but at Belsen she had neither? - I remember quite exactly that she always carried a riding whip, and she was waiting for us in the camp when we were returning from Kommando work, and that was the usual period chosen by her for the sports. That was in Belsen.

How long was Grese in Belsen before liberation? - I remember her from about the month before liberation, but it is possible she was there earlier. I cannot remember her.

Has she ever beaten you? - The only time was during the sports. I fell down and got up improperly and I was beaten then by Grese.

How many blows did she give you? - I do not remember exactly. Beating in the camp was a matter of course; it was no problem in the camp.

Did you go to hospital as a result? - No, but I know that other girls from this arduous sport were sent to the hospital.

CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.

CAPTAIN BROWN: No questions.

CAPTAIN FIELDEN: No questions.


CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.


Cross-examined by CAPTAIN BOYD - Would the accused No. 41 stand up? The accused No. 41, Gertrude Sauer, stands up). When you say you saw this accused beat people, do you mean by that that she hit them with her hand? - No, she beat people with a riding whip, and the same riding whip that was used by the accused No. 44 (Anna Hempel).

Did you work in Cookhouse No. 2 every day? - Yes, every day.

How often did the accused No. 41 work there? - She started working at the end when she superceded the other Aufseherinen.

Why did you not say before that she used a whip? Did you not think it important? - As far as I remember I did say that she used to beat people with a riding whip and that it was when some of the prisoners approached the cookhouse to get hold of a turnip.

I suggest that the riding whip is a complete invention and that you only saw her use her hand? - If your observation would be true my whole evidence would be a lie and, unfortunately, I had to experience all these things myself.

Cross-examined by CAPTAIN MUNRO - I want to ask you about Block 199. How many internees were there in Block 199? - I do not know, but it was overcrowded and it was a very dirty place, and because of that at the end I did not sleep there.

Would I be right in saying that there were about 800 or 1000 people in the block? - No, I think less, but I do not remember; I could not say exactly.

How many Kapos were there in the block? - There were no kapos in this block, only working people. It was too dirty for a Kapo to live there.

Were there any Blockältesten or Lagerältesten in the block, , anybody to keep discipline at all? - It was a Blockälteste and also an orderly room man, and the guard - night guard.

I want to know the name of the person who was in charge of the block, or not the name of the person but the rank of the person; was she a Lagerälteste a Blockälteste or what was she? - Blockälteste

Did you know a woman called Frieda Frankel? - Yes, that was the Blockälteste

Was she responsible to the SS for the discipline in Block 199? - Yes.

Who distributed the food to the internees in Block 199? - Mainly the Stubendienst, but in company of the night guard.

Would No. 43 stand up? (The accused No. 43, Johanne Roth, stands up). Did that woman feed you? - Yes.

Every day? - Not every day, only sometimes; during the day she usually slept because she had to perform her duties as a night guard during the night.

Did you have any lights in your block at night? - Sometimes when it was not very comfortable for the accused she lit a light to see better how to beat.

Did you have a bed in the block? - Yes, I had a bed in this block but I did not avail myself of it because I preferred to sleep with my friend who worked in a clothing stores.

How far away from Ida Friedman did you sleep? - I slept in quite a different block than her because she slept in Block 199 but at three o'clock in the morning when we assembled for Kommandos I saw the incidents I described.

Was Ida Friedman beaten in block 199? - Yes, she was beaten up inside the block, and on the next morning I found out that she had died.

I suggest you did not see the beating and in fact no beating took place? - I have not dreamed about it; I saw it myself. We used to come together every morning.

Did you go from your block to 199 to see the beating? - We had to parade every morning at 3 o'clock for a kommando and on that occasion I saw this beating and I saw how the accused beat people.

Did not you say that Ida Friedman was beaten because she wanted to leave the room? - No, she wanted to go to the lavatory and it was on the threshold.

You did not yourself see Friedman die, did you? - I was told on the next day that she died.

Was she a friend of yours? - She was a closer friend of mine than the other girls; the other girls were beaten too but the beating of this particular girl was the most painful for me.

Did you know that she used to predict fortunes with cards? - Who?

Ida friedman? - No, I do not know that.

I now want to ask you some questions about Cookhouse No. 2. Were you a volunteer to work in Cookhouse No. 2? - Thanks to influence through the kapo I managed to get the job.

Is it true to say that working in Cookhouse No. 2 was a pleasant and safe job? - It was very hard and strenuous work but unfortunately everybody tried to get this job because although even in the cookhouse we did not get much food it was better than in the camp.


COLONEL BACKHOUSE: No re examination.

(The witness withdraws)

Previous Day | Top of Page | Next Day