Transcript of the Official Shorthand Notes of 'The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others'
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: With your permission I will now call the witness Steinbusch.
Where and when were you born? - On the 22nd May 1922 at Herzogenrath, near Aachen.
Are you married or single? - Single.
How did you come to be an SS woman? - Conscripted through the labour exchange on the 25th November 1944.
Before you were conscripted into the SS what was your job? - Conductress on the trams.
Have you been given any papers or documents to bring into Court telling you what to say in this Court? - No.
Will you tell the Court where you were at the beginning of April this year? - In the hospital at Nordhausen.
Did you about that time leave the hospital at Nordhausen? - On the 4th April we had to leave the hospital because the whole camp was evacuated.
Where did you go then? - We got a lift to Großwerther, where our headquarters were.
Will you come down into the Court and see if you can recognise these two people? (The witness does so) - No. 25 and No. 27.
Can you describe to the Court exactly what happened and all the circumstances in which these two men gave you the lift to Großwerther? - On the 4th April when the camp and the hospital had to be evacuated we got a lift by truck. Dörr and Stärfl and several other guards were on that truck and they gave us a lift to Großwerther; they gave a lift to me and to a comrade of mine.
Was it on the 4th April you went to Großwerther? - Yes, on the 4th April.
Did you go straight there or did you call at any other camps? - We went directly to Großwerther because or female prisoners were there and that is the place where we had to report to.
Was there any other body of persons who were going on the road; not in a truck but marching? - I did not notice anything because I was put into the truck and they covered me with blankets, and I did not look any more.
When you got to Großwerther what happened then? - The Kommandoführerin gave us permission, as we were not able to continue to march, to go and continue the journey in the truck to Bergen-Belsen.
Did the Kommandoführerin tell you that you were to go to Bergen-Belsen? - Yes, because the working party had been sent to Bergen-Belsen and also we had to report at Bergen-Belsen.
Was it arranged that you were to go to Bergen-Belsen by truck or by some other means? - We were unable to march and we were expecting to be operated, so the best means of conveying us was this truck.
How did you know that this truck was going to Bergen-Belsen? - In the beginning we asked Dörr and Stärfl where they went and they said that they went in the direction of Großwerther, but during the journey I asked them again where they went going from Großwerther and they said to Bergen-Belsen.
Carry on and tell the Court what happened after you arrived at Großwerther. - We went to Kleinbodungen from Großwerther. We stayed in Kleinbodungen until the 5th. On the 5th we carried on to Osterode am Harz. From Osterode am Harz on the 6th with the truck to Seesen.
How did you spend the night in Osterode am Harz? - I slept with my comrade in the office.
What sort of office? What was this office? - The office of the SS men.
Was there some sort of an SS unit in Osterode am Harz? - I do not know.
Did anybody leave Kleinbodungen at the same time as your truck, any other body of persons? - The prisoners went before, our truck went afterwards, a little bit later.
Did you see these prisoners again in Osterode am Harz? - I only heard them arriving, but I did not see them.
Do you know if the prisoners spent the night in Osterode am Harz? - As far as I was told by the guards the prisoners spent the night in barracks, wooden barracks there.
Did you see the prisoners the next morning? - I saw the prisoners the next morning when they fell in. When they were marched off I do not know.
Having seen them next morning can you say of your own knowledge whether they spent the night in the barracks or not? - I cannot say this.
During the night in Osterode am Harz, did you hear any shooting? - No.
Did you hear any shooting the following morning shortly before the prisoners marched off? - No.
Do you remember seeing near the camp in Osterode am Harz two isolated barns? - No.
Did you at any time that morning in Osterode am Harz see people digging graves and burying bodies in them? - No.
I think you said that the next night you reached Seesen. Did you see anything of the prisoners in Seesen? - I did not see them.
Did you see anything of them on the following morning? - I saw only the seven or eight prisoners who were travelling with us; whether they were sick or whether they belonged to the kitchen personnel I do not know.
Did you continue to travel with the truck for the next four days? - We continued our journey to the next village, I do not remember the name of it, but I remember it was pretty well burned out.
Was that on the next day or the day after? - The day after.
When you spent the night in this burnt out village did you see anything of the prisoners there? - I saw them when they arrived.
Do you know where they spent the night there? - In a barn.
Did you hear any shooting in that night? - No.
And the next night? - From this village, which name I do not remember, we continued our journey to Ohof.
And again did the prisoners also spend the night there? - Yes.
What about that night; did you hear any shooting that night? - No.
In the morning did you leave the staging camp before the prisoners in the truck, or did the prisoners move off first and you follow afterwards? - The prisoners were the first to leave.
Had you ever walked round the camp where the prisoners had spent the night before? - No.
We have got to Ohof. What was the next place you spent the night? - Gross Hehlen.
Did you arrive at Gross Hehlen before the prisoners or afterwards? - We arrived first.
When the prisoners marched into Gross Hehlen where did they go? - The majority of the prisoners went into a barn, but quite a few stayed outside and lay down in the grass, because the food distribution was just going to start.
And was the food in fact distributed? - Yes.
Did all the prisoners get their meal? - Yes.
What happened then? - The prisoners were just eating their food and sitting down when an officer from that field unit came and told Stärfl he had to take away his prisoners because that is his combat area.
What happened then? - Stärfl in the beginning refused to do this because the prisoners had been marching for 36 kilometres and were tired, and the food was being distributed, so at last he was called to see the Kommandant.
What happened then? - Stärfl came back and gave at once the order for the prisoners to fall in, and said that some other guards from that field unit will be helping to march them off. Very soon afterwards members of that field unit arrived and started chasing the prisoners out of the barn and shot in the air, so that a few bricks fell down. I saw that myself. The prisoners, whether they were eating or sitting, they had to fall in very very quickly. Then very quickly the prisoners, whether they were tired or not - they must have been tired because the guards were tired as well, they had blisters on their feet, and I suppose the prisoners had as well - they had to march at the double, prisoners and guards. We stayed a bit behind because we could not march as quickly, and Stärfl stayed with us for about half of the distance, then he went quickly away. I do not know where he went. During the journey I heard quite a few shots and saw myself a few bodies.
Can you remember how many bodies? - About seven or eight.
How far were you from the village of Gross Hehlen, approximately, when you started seeing these bodies? - 200 or 300 metres.
Do you mean 200 or 300 metres beyond the last house in the village? - Yes.
What happened next? - We did not see the prisoners at all then because they were marching the whole time at the double, and we saw the prisoners only when they had a rest for an hour near a farm. I do not know the name of that farm or that place.
When you caught up with them what happened then? - They stayed there for about an hour, then they had to carry on because they had to see where to spend the night; that was at an aerodrome. I do not remember the name of that aerodrome; there was a former camp which was evacuated already.
How far would you say this camp was from the village of Gross Hehlen? - I am not sure, but I should think six to eight kilometres.
Did you spend the night there? - Yes.
What happened on the next day? - The prisoners continued the journey in the direction of Bergen-Belsen. We had no truck so we stayed on for a few hours and then got a horse drawn cart.
Do you remember passing Bergen station? - Yes, we passed the station.
Did the prisoners halt there or not? - I did not see any prisoners because we were travelling in this horse drawn cart.
(The remaining Defending Officers do not wish to cross examine this witness)
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Was Osterode am Harz part of Dora Camp? Was it administered from Dora, a Lager from Dora - Yes.
The night after you were at Dora, that is the first night after the prisoners left the camp at Dora, did they stay in a barn - that is in Seesen? - As far as I was told by guards they spent the night in a barn. Whether that is true or not I do not know.
Were you in a stable or another barn not far away? - About 500 metres distant.
What were you in, a barn or what? - In a barn.
Was this just a few kilometres out of the village? - Where we spent the night that was in the village.
Were the prisoners just a bit further down the road out of the village? - The prisoners, they must have been outside the village.
Then of course you did not go on with them the next day, did you; you stayed there another night? - Yes.
While the prisoners were marching you were hardly with them at all, were you? - I did hardly see the prisoners at all, apart from these seven or eight before I mentioned.
Yes, the ones riding in the truck, but I mean the column. - No.
I just want to ask you a little bit about this night at Gross Hehlen. You remember Stärfl coming back from the Kommandant? - Yes.
I suppose you were fairly tired yourself, were you not? - I myself was not very tired, because I was always either in the truck or in a horse drawn cart.
And the SS men were tired, were they not? - Yes.
So when Stärfl went off with the officer to decide whether or not they would have to move on I should think they were all pretty excited, awaiting the result, were they not? - Yes. The guards were not very happy about it, to march further on, because they were very tired.
I suppose they were waiting rather anxiously to hear what Stärfl had to say when he came back, were they not? - I do not know.
Then Stärfl came and gave the order to fall in to the prisoners, did he not? - Yes.
Did the guards begin to fall the prisoners in? - Part of the prisoners were still sitting and eating, but they very quickly those from the field unit came and chased them away.
Stärfl w gave an order to fall the prisoners in. What did the SS men under his command do? - The guards of course obeyed the order and said to the prisoners to fall in, but it was not quick enough for those of the field unit.
And then the prisoners and your guards set off down the road, did they not? - Yes, they had to fall in very quickly and had to march at the double towards the next village.
I suggest they did not go at the double at all, they went at a normal pace. The village people were watching, were they not? - As far as I know and as far as I have seen they marched at the double.
And the guard went with them, did they not? - The guards under the command of Stärfl could not keep up that pace and some of them stayed with us and some of them fell back, they went slower and slower.
And a good many of them went on with the prisoners, did they not? - Because they had to.
Do not worry about why they did it, or try to defend them. All I want to know is did they? - Some of them marched, but I could not march with the prisoners, I could not tell you who they were.
In other words, except for the ones who had bad feet your guards went on with the prisoners in the ordinary way, did they not? - How many there were who could march I do not know. I know that some of them went and marched with the prisoners, but the majority they walked slower, they remained behind.
What did Stärfl say to those guards of his who fell out and did not keep up with the prisoners? - I have not heard him.
Here were prisoners in wooden clogs who had marched just as far as the SS and had to pull handcarts with them going along the road, and here were the SS - the élite of the army we were told - unable to keep up with prisoners. Did not Stärfl not say anything to those? - I do not know.
Did you not have any discipline in the SS? - I should think yes.
Let me suggest to you what really happened. When you got to Gross Hehlen, when the prisoners got there, they began making some music, did they not? - Yes.
And it was quite close to the local public house, which was being used as a headquarters by the Commander, was it not? - Yes, opposite.
And a lot of village children and village people came and gathered round, did they not? - I did not notice this.
Then the Commander sent an officer out to tell Stärfl to take his noise and his people away and get out of his area,did he not? - I did not hear that.
And when Stärfl was refused permission to stay he came along and fell in his prisoners and fell in his SS and marched them out, doing as he was told? - The prisoners were only chased by members of the field unit.
I suggest to you that Stärfl had quite enough men of his own and the members of the field unit had simply been introduced to explain the dead bodies? - I had nothing to do with the whole affair and, therefore, I do not know any details.
Re-examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY: You said in an answer to the Prosecutor, I think, that Stärfl gave the prisoners the order to fall in at Gross Hehlen. Is it true that he actually gave them the order to fall in or did he come and say ...
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: That is getting far too leading. She has definitely said he gave an order to fall in. My friend must not put at alternative in her mind.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I will put it in this way. Did you hear the exact words which Stärfl used at that time? - I have only seen how the guards gave orders to the prisoners to fall in because they had to leave that village at once.
Did you hear Stärfl say anything? - I cannot remember quite exactly whether he spoke to the guards or to the prisoners.
When he came back from the Kommandant how did his manner appear to you? - When Stärfl returned, although I did not speak to him, I noticed that he seemed very excited.
You said that the prisoners were marched out of Gross Hehlen at the double. Does that mean running? - It was a quick step, but compared with the normal pace at which the prisoners walked it was at the double.
Did they move out of the yard at this quick step, or did they develop as they went on? - No, it was started already when they fell in - immediately they fell in.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE When you followed the prisoners out of Gross Hehlen were you going in the direction of Celle or the other way? - No, so far as I remember the other way, the opposite way; not towards but away.
Away from Celle; is that what you mean? - Yes.
When you saw these bodies were you walking or were you in a truck? - No, we were marching because everything was so fast, in such a hurry, that we could not get a truck.
Was Stärfl with you then? - Yes, part of the journey.
When you were seeing the bodies was Stärfl there or not? - Yes.
Did you stop to look at these bodies? - No.
Were they lying together or were they lying distances apart? - Apart; it was getting dark, they were lying apart.
I am talking about the bodies, whether it was dark does not affect it. Were the bodies lying together or were they lying along the road? - Apart.
Were they all on the road or were some in the field? - One body was lying in the road but the others were mostly on the right side of the road, there was a wood there. On the right side there was a wood, on the left side there was a field, and the bodies were lying on the right side.
How near did you get to these bodies? - I went mostly in the middle of the road because I cannot bear such a sight.
How do you know that they were dead and that they had not been merely wounded? - I assumed they were dead because they did not move.
Did Neumann go any nearer the bodies than you did? - No, I did not see that.
Are you prepared to tell the Court that they were dead and that their brains were coming out of their heads and, therefore, they were very disgusting to look at? - I have seen one body where the brain came out and it was such a sight I could not bear it any longer and I simply carried on walking.
Did Stärfl show the slightest interest in these bodies to see who had been killed and whether they were alive or dead? - I did not see this.
Do you know what he was doing at that time? - No.
When was the last time you saw Dörr? - Bergen.
THE INTERPRETER: I do not think she understood. I will ask her again.
THE WITNESS: On the aerodrome in the camp where we spent the night.
THE MEMBER OF THE COURT: But before the incident of marching off occurred? - At the barn in Gross Hehlen where we fell in.
Did he go off with the prisoners? - I have not seen it where Dörr had gone; I do not know.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions on that?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: No.
(The witness withdraws)
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Yesterday afternoon I mentioned another witness from the village of Gross Hehlen. Last night I asked the Military Government Detachment to get this witness sent up here today. As far as I know he has not arrived yet, but if he should arrive possibly I might be allowed to call him later. It is merely, actually, because I think this witness can throw some light on the bodies disposed around the village of Gross Hehlen, and it is my case that there were some prisoners killed in and around Gross Hehlen, and I think it is rather essential for me to prove that the bodies were found there. I do not know whether the Prosecutor is now prepared to accept the fact that the Gross Hehlen incident did happen, that there was shooting at Gross Hehlen.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I say there was shooting all the way, all along the route, and I should not be surprised it that was not one of the places. As regards bodies I certainly do not deny there were bodies there; I think it is a certainty.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I do not think we can have matters of this kind decided in this way. It is the responsibility of the Defence to decide who to call. If he is a relevant witness you should hear him, if not,then you do not need to.
THE PRESIDENT: I understand the application is merely that he should come in a bit later?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, that will be all right.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I would now go on to the case of Barsch, who is No. 28. Barsch is only on the Belsen charge and the only evidence against him is contained in two affidavits. Those affidavits are Cesa Silberberg, on page 133, and Miriam Winter , on page 177. Both these affidavits deal with the same incident which is deposed to by both the deponents, and each of these deponents mentions in her affidavit the other one was there at the time.
It is a single incident of a shooting which is alleged to have taken place outside No. 1 Kitchen on or about the 13th April, and in the affidavit of Silberberg that particular date, on or about the 13th April 1945, must have been shortly before the English [British] arrived. In both of these affidavits Erich Barsch is described as the SS Kitchen Chief of No. 1 Kitchen at Belsen.
The Court have heard the witness Litwinska who claimed to be working in No. 1 Kitchen at Belsen at or about this time, and she appears to have identified the persons who were in there. She was asked by me if Erich Barsch was one of those persons.
I would like to refer you to the transcript, Volume 7, page 12. She did not recognise Barsch in Court and then I actually stood him up and said: "Do you recognise that man?". She said: "I had nothing to do with him. Maybe I have seen him but I do not know." I then asked her if she would recognise the two SS men in No. 1 Cookhouse, and the answer was: "Certainly". Then I asked her again: "I am speaking of a time just before the camp was liberated. You are quite sure, are you, that this man was not one of the SS men in that cookhouse?", to which she said: "I am quite certain".
He has also been cleared of being in No. 1 Cookhouse by the accused Pichen who said he was not in No. 1 Cookhouse and went further to say that he, Pichen, knew the kitchen staff of Belsen No. 1 Camp and that Barsch was not one of them in any of the cookhouses.
Finally we have the evidence of Emil Kltscho who was called by my friend, Major Cranfield. That is contained on page 32 of Volume 28. Emil Kltscho says that he recognises Barsch. (Actually he does not recognise him by name; he only recognises his face) from the Mittelbau concentration camp. He further says that Barsch was working in the hospital of the troops in Mittelbau. After the camp had been evacuated he saw him again in the barracks at Bergen and says that his work there was a medical orderly with the doctors.
The position, as I see it at the moment, is that the only evidence against this man is that of one incident at which he is supposed to have shot this woman outside No. 1 Cookhouse in Belsen on or about the 13th April, and the deponents to that incident say that he was the Chief of No. 1 Cookhouse. Another witness on the Prosecution's side agreed he was not the chief of No. 1 Cookhouse or one of the SS men in that cookhouse at all.
As far as this charge is concerned it is, to my mind, quite sufficient to prove that he was not and could not have been in No. 1 Cookhouse a few days before the British arrived and that he was in fact employed somewhere else; in fact a few days before the British arrived in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He claims to be an SS Medical man and I have here and propose to call in his defence two doctors with whom he is supposed to have worked with n No. 2 Camp and I think that they will tell you that he was working with them in No. 2 Camp.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: You were asked before and you said: "Yes". You want to alter that now, I understand. This has to be done in some proper kind of order, and it was recorded earlier.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: The accused Barsch was asked if he wished to give evidence on his own behalf and he said: "Yes". Since then I have spoken to him and I said: " do not think there is any need for you to give evidence at all". I now wish to call Dr. Schmidt.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I want to be quite sure about this. I have to put these things to the Defending Officer, I am not putting them to the accused. It is not for you really to decide, you know, whether Barsch gives evidence or not. You have to put it to him what he intends to do and then he must make up his own mind. It is not for the Defending Officer merely to say he wants him in the box or not. We want to be sure you have explained it to Barsch, that he can give evidence on oath if he wishes but if not he need not. We must be assured you have talked it over with Barsch.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: It has been explained to him by you, Sir, in Court actually.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I want to make quite sure about it. I have a duty to all these accused. You have put this to him and he has decided, in the light of your advice, he does not want to give evidence on oath; is that so?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: What I have said to him was: "You have heard what has been said against you; of course, you can give evidence", but my advice to him was there was no need for him to do so. If he wished to give evidence on oath he could do so.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Do not tell us what was said to Barsch. All I want to know is whether, as his counsel or Defending Officer, you have been instructed by Barsch that he does not want to give evidence on oath. It is only because you used the phrase: "I am not going to put him in the box" that the Court thought you had decided that and not Barsch, but if you assure the Court that Barsch has had the legal position put to him and he does not want to go in the box that is perfectly in order, that is all.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I do not understand your point. Barsch was here in Court and you yourself ...
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: The answer then was that Barsch wanted to go in the box. Was that not quite clear?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Yes.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Now you come along and say that Barsch does not want to. You used language which indicated to me that perhaps you had decided that he should not go in the box because, as his Defending Officer, you thought it better not to. I have interposed because I have a duty to perform and all I am asking you is quite simple: have you discussed this with Barsch and has he asked you to say he does not wish to give evidence on oath? It is a simple point. If you say: "Yes", then we will go on.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Well, Sir, I have not decided for him that he is not to go in. I have merely said: "Well, make up your own mind" and he said: "Well, I will not".
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: If he has made up his mind we will go on. That is quite clear.
DR. ERNST HEINRICH SCHMIDT is called in and, having been duly sworn, is examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY as follows:
What is you full name? - Ernst Heinrich Schmidt.
Where and when were you born? - On the 27th of March, 1912 in Altenburg in the province of Durania [Thüringen ] .
Are you a German? - Yes.
What is your profession? - Doctor.
Where and when did you qualify as a doctor? - 1937 in the University at Leipzig.
Have you been in the German Armed Forces during the war? - In the beginning of the war I was in a hospital of the Waffen SS
Where were you in the beginning of April, 1945? - In the camp at Dora, Mittelbau near Nordhausen.
Did you go anywhere from there? - The camp was evacuated and I was transferred to Bergen, the Wehrmacht barracks in Bergen.
When was that? - We left on the 5th April.
About when did you arrive in Bergen? - We arrived on the 8th or 9th April; I do not remember the exact date.
Would No. 28 stand up? (The accused Barsch stands up). Do you know this man? - Yes.
Do you know his name? - Barsch.
Where have you seen him before now? - For the first time I saw him in the Wehrmacht barracks in Bergen.
Can you remember the actual date of that? - I arrived on the 8th or 9th and either that day or the next day I saw Barsch for the first time.
Did you see anything of him after that? - Every day.
Why did you see him every day? - He was working under my command as a medical orderly.
Can you tell the Court what sort of work he was doing for you at that time? - We transformed immediately Block 90 [MB 90] into a sort of C.R.S. for the prisoners and Block 64 [MB 64] into a C.R.S. for the wounded soldiers and in this type of work Barsch was helping me.
Did you stay in Belsen? - I stayed in Belsen, but not until the British troops arrived; I believe it was on the 12th when we got orders to march to Hamburg, to go to Hamburg.
Did you in fact go to Hamburg? - Yes.
Were there any others with you? - Yes.
When did you arrive in Hamburg? - The next night about 2200 hours.
The journey took you 24 hours; is that right? - Not quite because we left the camp about two o'clock or three o'clock in the morning and arrived at about 2200 hours at Hamburg.
How long did you stay in Hamburg? - Only a few hours. We were awakened in the same night and received orders to proceed at one to Bergen.
When did you arrive back in Bergen? - The next day about noon.
Can you remember what date that was or, if not, the day? - I cannot remember exactly but I think two or three days before the British troops arrived.
You say you came back to Bergen-Belsen. Do you include in that the same party that had gone up to Hamburg? - Yes, Barsch and Besemer whom I mentioned before, they came with me in the same car from Hamburg to Bergen.
What did you do when you got back to Bergen? - I carried on my work at once so that all the medical questions should be cleared before the British troops arrived.
Was Barsch still working with you? - Yes.
Was he working with you all the time until the British arrived? - Yes, but during the last few days he was ill and I myself looked after him.
What was wrong with him? - I do not know; something was wrong with his stomach, either dysentery or stomach ulcer - I do not know.
As his medical advisor what did you do for him? - I told him to stay in bed, but in the last few days I believe he got up again, so I told him to stay in bed to keep warm.
You say you believe he got up. Did you see him up? - I do not remember very clearly but I know that during the last days his illness was not so bad; it developed worse after the arrival of the British troops.
You said you believed he got up some time during those last few days. Did you yourself see him when he got up from his bed? - He had been working until the last day before the British troops came; I know that for certain.
When you say working, do you mean working in these two blocks which you had converted into hospitals? - Yes.
How do you know that? - I remember that it was on the last day or it may be the last but one I gave him an order to go to Block No. 90 [MB 90] and to see that everything is nice and clean and tidy.
You say on the last day before the British arrived or the day before he was not working; why was that? - I said that he was working.
I am sorry, I misunderstood. He was working on the last day?
THE INTERPRETER: "I gave him an order, I remember quite clearly, on the last day or the last day but one, to go to block 90 [MB 90] to see that everything should be clean and tidy". That is his answer.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Let us get this straight. Can you tell the Court on which day it was he ceased to work? - I said before that in the last few days partly he lay in bed and partly he was working.
Do you know where Camp No. 1 at Belsen is? - Yes.
Did you ever send Barsch down to Camp No. 1 while he was working for you? - No.
Were there any women in Camp No. 2? - No.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Would the shorthand writer read the part of this witness's evidence relating to the move to Hamburg?
(The shorthand writer reads the relevant passage)
THE PRESIDENT: We are not clear about the date. First of all he said he left on the 12th and then when you asked him if it was 24 hours he said: "No, not quite because we left at 0200 hours and arrived at 2200 hours". I am not quite clear whether he left at 0200 on the 12th and arrived at 2200 hours on the 12th, in which case his coming back would be the next day; he came back the next day so he returned to Bergen on the 13th.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Did he spend the night of the 12th/13th at Hamburg? That is really the point.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I will try and clear that up. (To the witness) You said when you left Bergen to go up to Hamburg you left on the 12th, but you also said that you left at 0200 hours which, of course, is the very beginning of the day. Do you mean that you left in the night - obviously you left Bergen in the night, but was it in the night of the 11th/12th or the 10th/11th? - I cannot say quite clearly because I had no calendar with me and I cannot remember which date is was, whether it was the 10th/11th or whether it was the 11th/12th.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I can, if you like, take him backwards.
THE PRESIDENT: No.
MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
Cross-examined by MAJOR BROWN: Were there any nurses in these hospital blocks at Bergen-Belsen? - In Block 64 [MB 64], the block which dealt with wounded soldiers, there were two sisters.
CAPTAIN FIELDEN: No questions.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No questions.
LIEUTENANT BOYD: No questions.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No questions.
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: When did you join the SS? - July 1941.
What was your rank in the SS in April 1945? - Hauptsturmführer.
Did you disclose that to the British authorities when they came to the camp? - Yes.
When did you cease to wear uniform? - Two days later, or rather a day later, after the British troops came I was told to continue to work in the hospital, and I put a white coat over my shirt and left my tunic in my room. When I returned my tunic was gone - stolen.
Did you ever serve at Höhe Luckert? - No.
Where did you serve? - I was a doctor at the Flak - anti aircraft - battery In Weinau in 1941.
When did you first go to a concentration camp? - I was the doctor in a Lithuanian guard company in Poland, and this guard company did guard duties amongst others also in a concentration camp, but I had nothing to do with the camp.
Which concentration camp was that? - Near Lublin.
Majdanek? - I do not know the name Majdanek.
What was the name of the concentration camp? - The name was P.O.W. Camp, Lublin.
There were a great many prisoners gassed there, were there not? - I was in town and was a doctor for the troops in the barracks in the town.
I put it to you that you were working in Majdanek? - No.
Where did you go from Lublin? - I went to Silesia and took over the practice there of a doctor in the country.
Were you released from the SS? - At the same time I was working for a labour camp and also a P.O.W. camp.
Which labour camp and which P.O.W. camp? - The working camp was near Gross Rosen and the name of the P.O.W. camp I do not know. They were prisoners working on farms.
The prisoners at Gross Rosen were working in the quarry, were they not? - Yes.
You must have been pretty busy there, were you not? - Very busy.
That camp had one of the highest death rolls of any concentration camp, did it not? - No.
When did you leave Gross Rosen? - September or October 1944.
Was that when you went to Mittelbau? - I was sent to Turoboven [?] in Austria and I was working as a doctor there for several companies who were distributed at several labour camps.
Which concentration camp were they administered by? - As far as I know they were administered partly by Berlin, partly by Dachau, and the plan was that they should become quite independent.
They were Aussenlagern from Dachau, were they not? - Yes, partly I believe so.
You know perfectly well, do you not? - I do not know exactly because there were always some sort of plans to make them independent, and there were some camps belonging to the Todt Organisation, so it is not quite a clear position.
You came directly under the chief doctor at Dachau, did you not? - Yes, for those labour camps who were under the administration of Dachau it was the chief doctor at Dachau, and then others they were the chief doctors of the Todt Organisation as well.
When did you go to Mittelbau? - I was ill; I had typhus from January until the middle of March and at the end of March I came to Mittelbau - March 1945.
Where did you pick up your typhus? - Probably I was infected by a soldier who had the disease.
Where were you when you came to Nordhausen? Were you in Mittelbau? - I arrived at night in Nordhausen and the next morning I had to take over several outside camps.
When you left Nordhausen how did you leave? Did you go by car, by train, did you walk, or what? - With the train and part of the journey was done by car or motorcycle.
Who left on the train with you? - Prisoners of the camp. I converted two trucks for sort of medical attention, one for the troops and one for the prisoners, and in the truck where I was the medical orderlies of the troops travelled with me.
Who was in charge of the particular transport that you travelled on? - An Oberscharführer or an Unterscharführer from Dora, but I do not remember his name because I did not know those people from Dora.
Do you know this man? (Indicating accused No. 19, Otto Kulessa, who stands up) - I believe I know this man - I might know his face - but he was not the man in charge of that transport.
Was he on that transport? - I cannot say for certain because I just arrived before the transport left and I, myself, had concussion of my brain - shock - and apart from that, I did not know anybody. Of course, those medical orderlies who were travelling with me I know, but I did not bother very much about the guards or anybody else.
How many people died on the way? - Very few.
How many? - I cannot say; maybe 10 or may be 20.
Surely you as the doctor on the train know, do you not? - I remember that there were a number of doctors amongst the prisoners themselves who were also working in this wagon where the doctors were together, and then I remember still that we tried to bury somebody and jus when we tried to do this there was an air raid, so all the troops went immediately to the wood and took cover and through this incident my memory is a big blur.
What happened to the prisoners whilst the SS were taking cover in the wood? - Partly they took cover and partly they stayed in the train. I myself saw that the SS troops took cover, for instance, in a distance of 500 metres, and I saw also prisoners doing the same.
What did you do for the prisoners on the train; anything at all? - Anybody who reported to this wagon where I worked was dressed if he had some wound, and I gave orders to the prisoner doctors as well to do the same, to look after them.
What examination did you make when somebody died? - I myself did not do any examinations because it was the job of the prisoner doctors to do this, and they were responsible to me. They came and told me and reported also to the man in charge of the transport. They reported the name and number and cause of death. The cause of death mostly was pneumonia which they caught on their journey.
What was the water situation for this journey? - Several times on stations we got some water. I myself had nothing to do with it. That was the responsibility of the man in charge of the transport, but I did not hear one single complaint about the scarcity of water.
Would it be right to say then that there was no difficulty in getting water at the stations if you tried? - It was certainly not difficult, because the whole atmosphere of the people and their behaviour was very good. They had several orchestras and they made music whenever they arrived at the stations so there should have been no difficulty at all.
When you got to Bergen-Belsen who did you report to? - I reported to Hössler.
When you got there did you find Dr. Kurzke there or did he come after you? - I do not remember exactly, but he must have arrived just at the same time - a quarter of an hour perhaps before or after me - because I remember somebody said: "There is the Red Cross hospital wagon from Dora".
Was there any other SS doctors with you at Bergen-Belsen? - No, during my working period nobody. For a short while a doctor from Hamburg, a Doctor Wirths, arrived, but he returned immediately.
Who was the senior, you or Dr. Kurzke? - Myself.
How did you divide your duties between the two of you? - We were comrades, or rather friends, and we did not give each other any sort of orders but we were together.
How did you arrange your duties there? You did not go round together all day, did you? - In the morning, for instance, there was Block 64 [MB64] which was for the troops, and the things were very primitive and we had few instruments and few medical supplies, and , for instance, when I was working in 64 he might have gone to Block 90 [MB90] to see what was happening there or vice versa.
Had you many patients in Block 64 [MB64]? - Yes.
How many? - There were no proper hours for treatment. They came in the morning or they came in the afternoon. It was not quite properly organised then.
How many people had you in bed in that block, if any? - Nobody.
All you really did was hold a sick parade in the morning and afternoon; is that right? - No, it was not a proper sick parade in the morning or afternoon. People simply came and the doctor who was there treated them. Most of the things were still packed in boxes. It was not a properly organised sick parade.
What about Block 90 [MB90]; how many people had you in bed ill in there? - About 300, 350 or maybe 400.
Ill in bed in one block? - Yes; in Block 90 [MB90], all in Block 90 [MB90]. Whether there were really 300 or 400 I cannot say, but that is an approximate figure.
Did he tell you what the conditions were like there? - No.
Do you mean to say you never discussed what the conditions were like there, when two doctors got together? - Certainly not; we did not discuss anything concerning the previous concentration camp, Camp No. 1. We did not discuss any patients, treatment, or anything like that.
Did he not ever tell you that he was in crying need of doctors and medical supplies? - We were only together for about five or seven minutes, and there were others present, so we did not discuss many purely medical affairs.
Did Dr. Klein never make any request to you for assistance? - No.
What did you think the smell that came from Camp No. 1 was? - I was only near the entrance and I did not proceed very far, and where I stood I could not smell anything at all.
Thousands of rotting corpses have a very distinctive smell, do they not? - I certainly did not smell anything at all, because maybe I was too far away or maybe the direction of the wind was different, but I can assure you I did not smell anything.
Had you no idea that there were people dying by the thousand in that camp just a kilometre or so away from where you were working? - I did not know that. I heard about it only later on, because our own dead bodies were transported to Camp No. 1, and a number of the dead was so awfully enormous I did not know at that time anything about it.
Although you two doctors and your prisoner doctors and your medical orderlies and medical supplies were all available, within a kilometre or so of Camp No. 1, nobody even mentioned to you that they might be required? - Nobody at Camp No. 1 asked me to help. Apart from that my medical supplies were very small indeed, because the main truck with the drugs was not unloaded in Bergen-Belsen but continued its journey I believe to Hamburg.
The first time you ever saw Barsch was the day you after you arrived in Bergen-Belsen, was it not? - Either the day I arrived or the next day.
That was either the 8th, 9th or 10th, is that right? - Yes.
That is only five or six days before the British arrived? - Yes.
Then you had this rush up to Hamburg and back. Did all the Aufseherinnen go with you? I am only trying to get the date. - The Aufseherinnen from Dora were sent to Camp No. 1. We in Camp No. 2 had no Aufseherinnen.
On this morning when you set off early and went up to Hamburg were there a number of vehicles which all went together? - Yes.
Did they include some vehicles full of Aufseherinnen? I do not mind where they came from. - My Red Cross wagon was posted in the wood so that it should be covered in case of an air raid and should be ready to help immediately if an air raid should take place. I had one man in the camp who was on telephone duties and this man phoned me up saying that I had to proceed to Hamburg so my vehicle was not with the others.
All I want to know is if it was the same day, but do not worry about it. Never mind what date it was. You only arrived at this camp on the 8th or 9th; you started work on the following day which is the 9th or 10th, you took one day going to Hamburg and another day coming back which is five, so you only had three working days altogether, did you? - Yes, about that.
This is what you said in your evidence in chief: "Barsch was still working with me until the British troops arrived. During the last few days he was ill and I looked after him. I told him to stay in bed, but in the last few days I believe he got up again." Did he ever go to bed in those last two days before the British arrived? - We shared the same room in Block 64 [MB64] and I told him several times to go to bed and I am almost sure he went to bed during the day as well.
Do you really know where he was at all during those last few days? - The greater part of the time I am sure he was in Block 64 [MB64] or in some other block of Camp No. 2 to see to it that everything is clean and tidy.
Just one last question. You say you never heard of Majdanek. Is not Majdanek only just a mile from the centre of Lublin? - I know that there was a P.O.W. camp about 6 or 8 kilometres from Lublin; I know that.
I am not talking about a P.O.W. camp. I am talking about one of the biggest concentration camps in Poland, called Majdanek? - What I mean is what was called a P.O.W. camp of the Waffen SS I know only about this one. That was a big camp.
THE PRESIDENT: I am not clear on this. The witness is being asked by the Prosecutor whether he has heard of Majdanek or not, and he is now talking about some Prisoner Of War camp. He is being asked a direct question by the Prosecutor, as I understand it.
(The Interpreter puts the question again)
THE WITNESS: I heard the name Majdanek now for the first time, but this concentration camp and this P.O.W. camp I am talking about must have been the same.
What I am suggesting to you is this, and I want to put it very plainly: There was nobody within a 20 or 30 mile radius of Lublin who did not know all about Majdanek, even if they were not in the SS themselves, and that you knew it perfectly well and served there? - I had so much to do with my own troops. I was the doctor for three Battalions and I was working in the barracks by the centre of Lublin, therefore I had never anything to do with prisoners as a doctor.
Is there another Dr. Ernst Schmidt who was serving in the SS at Lublin at that time? - I do not believe so.
Re-examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY: You have been asked by the Prosecutor if you concealed your rank in the SS to the British liberating authorities. Are you living in any concealment now? - No, I did not conceal anything, I am now in charge of a hospital in Belsen in Camp No. 3.
Now you said that you had a conversation with Dr. Klein at Camp No. 1. Can you remember when that conversation took place? - I believe after my return from Hamburg.
Was that the only occasion you have been in Camp No. 1? - I have been once more in Camp No. 1. I believe the day before the British troops arrived or the day before that day. On that day there was a conference of all officers in Camp No. 1.
Now it has been put to you by the Prosecutor that you did not really know what Barsch was doing in the last few days before the British arrived. Now what was Barsch's job in Camp No. 2? - In the first place he had to go to several blocks and he was responsible for the cleanliness and hygiene, and then he was particularly responsible for the same thing in Block No. 90 [MB90], the hospital block for the prisoners, and Block No. 64 [MB64], the hospital for the troops.
Did you ever find that you were looking for him and you could not find him; that he was not where he was expected to be found? - No. Whenever I needed him he was always to be found; I can say that.
Were the jobs which you gave him to do carried out? - Yes, very well.
Did you ever give him permission to go into Camp No. 1? - I did not give him permission, nor did I prohibit him to go there, because as far as I know that camp was forbidden for Unterführer and privates at all.
Was there any particular reason for that prohibition? - I do not know for certain that it was prohibited, but I heard it, it was told to me. I did not hear the reason, but I assume it was because of the epidemic typhus.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE - Dr. Schmidt, you joined the SS as a medical officer in 1941; is that correct? - Yes.
Did you serve with them for about four years? - Yes.
When you saw Barsch for the first time about 9th April, 1945, can you tell us whether he was an SS soldier or not? - He was an SS soldier.
What was his rank? - Unterscharführer.
Was he wearing the uniform then of an SS soldier? - Yes.
What are the distinctive badges of a medical orderly in the SS? - An Aesculapian sign on the left under arm.
Do you mean on his sleeve? - On his sleeve.
Did you ever have any opportunity of testing whether Barsch was a competent medical orderly or not? - Yes, he was certainly a good medical orderly.
Could he dress wounds and do that kind of thing or not? - Yes, he could.
Now if you cannot answer these questions, just tell me. When a recruit was taken into the SS, was it part of the duties of the medical men in the SS to ascertain his blood group and if so what did they do about it? - As far as I know the blood group was not certified with the unit. It was done by people from Berlin. There was a Blood Group Commission with doctors and medical orderlies and they travelled to the several units.
When the blood group was ascertained by this travelling unit, what happened to the recruit? - When these people came to the unit and certified the blood group they tattooed it on his body.
In your view then every SS personnel should have his blood group tattooed on his body; is that right? - Well, I have not read the order myself, but I believe that it should be like that, but during the war so many people came to the SS, and the Blood Group Commission had so much work to do that it could not be carried out with all people in the SS
Have you ever examined an SS man who did not have that stamped on his body? - Yes.
Would you take steps to have that reported and put right then, if it came to your notice? - No, that was not my job. I know that the Blood Group Commission travelled round the units following a certain scheme, and it may be that when they reached a certain unit it should be reported there, but as far as I know after quite a lot of people from the Wehrmacht joined the SS it was not done any more at all.
These special units coming from Berlin were SS units and not Wehrmacht; is that right? - Yes.
From what you said a moment ago, am I right in assuming that so far as your knowledge is concerned, the Wehrmacht did not have this mark of their blood group tattooed on their body? - Yes, that is correct.
Do not let us have any misunderstanding, and I am not asking you to say anything more than you really know, but are you telling this Court that the markings of the blood group on the body of a soldier was a practice of the SS and not the practice of the Wehrmacht? - As far as I know it was an order to have these blood groups tattooed with the SS, but I do not think it was done in every case. As far as I know about the Wehrmacht it was not done.
And I suppose we may assume that in Germany the military authorities, when they had a man they did not know much about, would look at his body to see whether he had such a mark, and according as they found it or not they might draw an inference as to whether he belonged to the Wehrmacht or to the SS? - It was known that the SS tattooed the blood group, but I do not know whether the Wehrmacht or any other organisation did something of the same kind. I never heard about that.
A MEMBER OF THE COURT: When the tattoo mark was put on the SS man, was it always done in the same pattern and in the same colour? - I do not know; I have not seen it done.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any questions to ask on what the Court has put?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: No. I wonder if this witness could be released. As he has said in Court, he is a doctor in the Belsen D.P. camp.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I would rather he was not released too quickly.
THE PRESIDENT: How do you mean, "not too quickly"?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I would rather he was not released immediately.
THE PRESIDENT: You mean today?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: The position is that he tells me he is a very busy man at Belsen.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Have you any other witnesses on this part of the case?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Yes, there is one more witness.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Then I think he ought to wait until this part of the case is finished.
THE PRESIDENT: That witness is being called this afternoon?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Then when that witness is finished there is no objection to releasing the witness?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: I have an objection, but I do not wish to make it not.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Before my friend calls his witness, I have now secured the photograph which I cross examined Schreirer about. It is just a question of which is the most convenient way of proving it before the Court. I would suggest - as I understand there is no dispute about it and Schreirer agreed that the photograph existed - the most convenient way would be if the Court were to recall Schreirer and ask him if this is the photograph concerned. Failing that I am afraid I should have to try to find Sergeant Major Liddle, who was released by the Court some time ago, to prove it. That can always be done if there is any doubt about the photograph, but I understand there is no doubt and it seems to me to be the most convenient way of putting it in.
THE PRESIDENT: I think probably it would be easiest when we have finished with this particular accused. We can then interpose Schreirer and you can put in the photograph.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: If you please.
Where and when were you born? - Born on the 20th January, 1905, at Neuhammer, in Silesia.
Are you German? - Yes.
What is your profession? - Doctor.
Where and in what year did you qualify as a doctor? - 1943 - very late because I had several other professions - at Marburg.
Have you been, during the war, in the German Armed Forces? - I was conscripted in 1942 into the SS, but later on I had been released.
What happened when you were released? - I returned to Marburg, continued my studies and was there a doctor until the 24th October, 1944.
Where did you go then? - I was conscripted again, called up again, by the SS in Berlin.
Where were you in March of this year? - I was one week after the Easter holidays in the concentration camp at Dora, Mittelbau.
What happened then? - The whole camp of Dora was evacuated to Bergen-Belsen. I myself went there as well.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Did you mention a date?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: He said a week after Easter. To the best of my recollection Easter was the 1st April. (To the witness) What did you do when you got to Bergen-Belsen? - I must add that not the whole camp of Dora was evacuated. I left the greater majority of the sick there and in Bergen itself I worked as a doctor.
Did you have any medical orderlies to assist you in Bergen-Belsen? - Yes.
Would you like to come down into the Court and see if you can recognise any of them? (The witness does so) - I know No. 5, Hössler, and I know Klippel, No. 12. No 28, Barsch; No. 25, Stärfl; No. 19 as far as I remember was in Dora, also in some part of the C.R.S.
Now you recognised Barsch. What can you tell the Court about him? - I know only about the time in Belsen or whether I had seen him before, but I rather think I had seen him before.
Where had you seen him before? - Probably in Dora in the C.R.S. for the troops.
Have you any reason for saying that you probably saw him in Dora in the C.R.S. for the troops? - As Barsch is Red Cross personnel, medical orderly, so these were his Headquarters, and I was deputising for Dr. Wirths. Whether he had been working there or whether he came as a patient, I do not remember.
When did you yourself arrive in Belsen? - I do not remember the date; it was a Tuesday morning and more than a week after Easter.
Let us try and fix this date another way. Do you remember when Belsen was freed by British troops? - I remember the day, it was a Sunday at half past 12, but I do not know the date. Between this day and my arrival there might have been about 11 or 12 days.
Where were you stationed at that time? Were you in a sort of barracks? - The first night or the first two nights I spent in the woods, but then later on lived in Block 64 [MB64].
Where you in Block 64 [MB64] when Barsch reported to you? - I am not quite sure; I do not think so; I believe I was still in the woods.
Did any other people arrive at Belsen at the same time as Barsch? - I do not know with which transport Barsch arrived. I know that there were already four transports which had arrived previously. Another transport arrived later and two transports did not arrive at all. I know that because some of my friends who were amongst the prisoners did not arrive.
And where had these transports come from? - From Concentration amp Mittelbau.
When Barsch reported to you, did you give him any work to do? - Yes, he helped me- he was working in in Block 64 [MB64] - by unpacking boxes containing the instruments, and apart from that I remember I gave him orders to prepare Block - I am not quite sure - Block No. 90 [MB90] for the prisoners. I told him to prepare paillasses for the sick there.
How long did he continue to work for you in Belsen? - Not many days; he was ill in the last few days.
Did you all stay at Belsen until the British arrived? - No. We had orders to proceed to Neuengamme as Bergen-Belsen should have been taken over by Wehrmacht personnel and Hungarians.
Did you in fact leave Belsen then? - Yes.
At what date was that? The day will do; do not bother about the date. - I believe three days before the British troops arrived.
How long did it take you to get to Neuengamme? - We arrived the next evening at dusk, to Neuengamme.
What time did you leave Belsen? - About 2300 hours.
No. Who went up with you from Belsen to Neuengamme. - There was another man, but I do not remember who he was.
Can you remember what happened when you got to Neuengamme? - In Neuengamme at 0400 hours I got new orders to return to Belsen.
Did you in fact come back to Belsen? - Yes.
And back to your two hospital blocks in Belsen? - I lived then not in Block 64 [MB64], but in GB6.
Whereabouts is that? Is that in the same camp? - In the same camp.
Is there anything else more you can tell the Court about Barsch? - I remember only that Dr. Wirths, who was my superior officer, made out the rota of duties and all doctors and medical orderlies from Dora to the different detachments appertaining to Dora, I remember the name of Barsch at that time.
I was referring rather to Belsen, that is, during the time between when you arrived there yourself and before the British came, do you know any more about him in Belsen? - I only know that he had been helping me and that he had been sick during the last few days. That is all I can say about him.
Did you attend him while he was sick? - Only once as far as I remember.
When was that? - I do not remember. It was in the last few days.
What was wrong with him? - Gastritis.
Were there any women in this camp at Belsen? - Two arrived from Dora.
Were they internees or SS women, or what? - Two nurses, sisters. I just remember a few SS women telephone orderlies came, but they disappeared after two days again, so apart from those only those two nurses aforementioned were there.
Were there any women internees in the camp? - No.
Cross-examined by MAJOR WINWOOD: Was Sturmbannfuhrer Dr. Wirths evacuated from Dora as part of the Dora administration? - No, he went away before.
When he left Dora, where did he go to? - A week before the general evacuation Dr. Wirths left Dora. As far as I remember he went to Winsen with his family.
Was there a big hospital in the Wehrmacht barracks next to where you were? - In Dora?
No, in Bergen-Belsen? - No; there was one in Block 64 [MB64] which we transferred to the C.R.S.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
Cross-examined by MAJOR BROWN: You have mentioned two sisters. Do you know where they were employed in Bergen-Belsen? - They were not employed at all; they were simply there.
Cross-examined by CAPTAIN FIELDEN: My questions relate to No. 22 (Ansgar Pichen) Were you in Dora throughout the winter of 1944/45? - Yes, from 1st November.
Do you know who was in charge of the bathhouse at Dora? - I do not know his name, but I believe it is No. 19 (Otto Kulessa)
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: He said he thought it was Kulessa in the bathhouse; is that right?
CAPTAIN FIELDEN: Yes.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No questions.
LIEUTENANT BOYD: No questions.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.
LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: No questions.
Cross-examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Let us see if we can get this Tuesday clear when you arrived At Belsen. You say it was more than a week after the Easter holiday, do you? - Yes.
Taking that week, we know that the 1st April was Easter Sunday. It was not the Tuesday two days after that, was it? - No, not at all.
The next Tuesday after that would be the 10th. - Yes, it must be that Tuesday I was talking about.
Of course the British came in on Sunday 15th; that is only five days later. Would that be right? - On Sunday I was still in Herzberg; I remember that very well. On Monday there was some sort of air raid, so I did not arrive on Monday either. It must have been Tuesday.
You arrived on Tuesday. Then you spent the first two days in the woods, did you? - Yes.
When you say two days do you mean the day your arrived and another day, or do you mean two more days after you arrived? - I mean the day when I arrived and another day.
That is the next day, the 10th and 11th. Very early the next morning you went off to Neuengamme, or Hamburg? - No, in the evening about 2300 hours.
That would be what - the evening of the Thursday or the Wednesday? - I believe the Thursday.
Then you did not get back again until the evening of the Friday, did you? - No, the next morning about 1030 or 11.
About 10 or 11 on the Friday; is that right? - Yes. I cannot give the exact dates, but it must be like this.
The British arrived on the Sunday? - Yes.
So you really only had two days there all the time? - I remember it was a very short period when I returned before the British troops arrived.
It would be Friday afternoon, Saturday, a full day - if you worked a full day on Saturday - and Sunday morning? - When we returned from Dora I made all preparation for this transportation of those two above mentioned blocks for C.R.S.
Was that whilst you were still in the woods? - Yes; during the day I was working in the camp.
I see. You just slept in the woods? - Yes.
Was Götzy your driver? - Yes.
Did he bring you up from Mittelbau? - Yes.
Are you quite sure you ever went to Belsen before you came back to Neuengamme? Did not Götzy take you straight up to Neuengamme? - Yes, I am sure.
Did not you just call it [in] Belsen, and were you not told that the English [British] were five kilometres away and you went straight on to Neuengamme? - No, it is not so.
And did you not come back just the morning the truce was signed? - Yes, I returned on that morning when the truce was signed.
Götzy was your driver at the hospital at Mittelbau, was he not? - He was the driver in the C.R.S. at Mittelbau, but not my driver.
When you say "your" I do not mean your personal driver, I mean he was driver to the hospital. - Yes.
Of course you disliked being in the SS very much, did you not, doctor? - I can only say I have been a soldier and I liked to be a soldier, but first I am a doctor, and those things which I have seen are too terrible for me.
You had a number of friends amongst the prisoners, had you not? - I can say almost the whole camp.
You were released by the British authorities, were you not? - After 20 hours, having been arrested, all my prisoners came, and after 20 hours I was released and was installed again as a first doctor for the camp.
As a matter of fact, during the short time you were a doctor in concentration camps you did your level best to help the prisoners, did you not? - I can only say with all the strength I had.
And you were shocked and disgusted with the way in which they were treated in the concentration camps, were you not? - I learned for the first time to weep in a concentration camp.
There was not the slightest consideration given to these prisoners, was there? - Yes, I must say for very many no consideration was shown at all, and particularly not from the Gestapo.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: No re examination.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Will you try and help us doctor on this point. If you cannot just tell me. Do you know whether members of the SS had tattooed on their bodies their blood group? - Yes, myself as well.
How did it come about that a man who joined the SS got this marking put on his body? Was it done by the medical doctors or by some other personnel? - When I was called up in Berlin I was taken down into a medical department, which was at that time in a cellar in Berlin and they took a blood test from my ear, and immediately afterwards it was tattooed under my left arm.
What was the object of putting this mark on your body, do you know? - As I was told, in case of a wound or injury that the blood transfusion should be made easier by knowing at once the blood group.
You would agree with me that that sounds a very sensible thing to do, would you not? - From this point of view certainly, and particularly I, as a doctor, think it is a very good thing to do.
And it would be just as useful in the case of a Wehrmacht soldier, would it not, from this point of view? - In my opinion, yes, because if I am in the front line and I see somebody who is loosing blood and I look after him and know immediately which blood group he is in that makes work easier for me.
Do you know whether it was the practice to put the blood group of a Wehrmacht soldier on to his body, like it was in the case of an SS man? - I have never heard about that before.
That is not what I want. Do you know whether it was practice to put the blood group on the body of a Wehrmacht soldier, as it was the practice in the case of an SS soldier? -No, I do not know this.
I do not know what you mean.
THE INTERPRETER: He means he has never heard about that practice in the case of soldiers of the Wehrmacht.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Have you never seen the naked bodies of some Wehrmacht soldiers in your career as a doctor and a surgeon? - Yes.
Well, when you had to treat a Wehrmacht soldier did you not look on his body and find the mark, or did you have to find it out some other way? - I have never seen that before in the case of a Wehrmacht soldier.
How many Wehrmacht soldiers' bodies have you seen, do you think? - Not very many; I have only treated those soldiers when I was practicing in the country, those soldiers and also officers who came on leave, but I have never seen any tattoo marks on the bodies of those officers or men.
Have you ever seen an SS soldier who had not got that mark on his body? - I have never paid enormous attention to it, but I have been told that in later times this practice of tattooing had been discontinued with the SS personnel.
A MEMBER OF THE COURT: Was it the practice of any other organisation besides the SS to have this blood group tattooed under the left arm? - No.
THE PRESIDENT: Captain Corbally, have you any questions on the questions asked by the Court?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: No, Sir.
(The witness withdraws)
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: There is one other witness in the case of Barsch, a man about whom I was told when I received my first instructions, but I only heard yesterday or the day before where he is and I am afraid I have not got him here yet. He is an SS man. I ask that I be allowed to call him at a later stage.
THE PRESIDENT: You can do the same thing as we did before. We realise the difficulty of getting these people, and if he becomes available then apply to the Court for him to be heard.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I am much obliged.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Before Captain Corbally goes on can we interpose the photograph?
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Yes.
The accused HEINRICH SCHREIRER is recalled on his former oath and is further cross examined by COLONEL BACKHOUSE as follows: Is that the photograph I referred to the other day? (handed) - That is my photo.
That is the one about which I asked you? - Yes.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Have the Defence seen it?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I have. Colonel Backhouse showed it to me before.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Have you any further questions?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: No, Sir.
(Photograph is marked exhibit 139, signed by the President and attached to the proceedings)
(The accused Heinrich Schreirer withdraws from the place from which he has given his evidence)
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Sir, the last case which I have to present to you is Eric Zoddel, No. 29. He is only on the Belsen charge and he was not in the SS; he was himself an internee. He has not been recognised in Court and the evidence against him is affidavit evidence. It is contained in the following affidavits: Isak Lozawski, page 101 Benec Zuckermann, page 181, and Miriam Weiss, page 174.
(The Court confer)
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I am sorry to keep you waiting, but we are not quite in agreement as to what happened, we just want to check it up.
I will explain what we have been trying to do. There is no mystery about it. I had a note which indicated to me that when Major [Lt Colonel] Champion gave evidence he had, in effect, said that Glinowieski had identified a particular photograph. That photograph was handed in and the Court were then invited to look at that photograph, with Zoddel in it, and form their own view whether that made a chain or not, and if that were so it seemed to me that there was some evidence for the Court to say - although Glinowieski had not picked out Zoddel in Court - that he had at some other time picked out Zoddel as the man he was speaking about in his allegations made here. I do not know whether you agree with it or not, but that is what we were trying to clear up. That seems to be borne out by the shorthand note. I do not know whether the Prosecution agrees.
COLONEL BACKHOUSE: Yes, I do agree. The Court will remember my friend read Glinowieski's affidavit to Glinowieski and brought in Zoddel's name in that way, and they Major [Lt. Colonel] Champion gave his evidence the photograph was produced and it was left to the Court to form what view they liked.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Captain Corbally, will you bear it in mind when you present this case that in my view there is some evidence before the Court which would permit them, if they thought it right, to find that Glinowieski was talking about Zoddel even though he could not identify him in Court.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: Yes, I certainly will. I have not got to refer you to the transcript because you have already looked it up. It is transcript No. 10. I will now, with your permission, call the accused Zoddel to give his evidence.
The accused ERICH ZODDEL takes his stand at the place from which the other witnesses have given their evidence and, having been duly sworn, is examined by CAPTAIN CORBALLY as follows: What is your full name? - Erich Zoddel.
Where and when were you born? - On 9th August 1913 in Berlin.
Are you German? - Yes.
What was your occupation? - A milker, dairyman.
How did you come to be in a concentration camp? - I had some sentence because of theft.
When was that? - 1941.
What sentence did you get? - One year in prison and then into a concentration camp.
What concentration camp did you go to? - Sachsenhausen.
Can you remember when you went there? - The end of 1942.
How long did you stay there for? - 14 days.
After that where did you go? - Oranienburg; in the works of the Heinkel aircraft factory.
How long did you stay there? - The end of October 1943.
What happened to you then? - Buchenwald.
How long did you stay in Buchenwald? - In Buchenwald a fortnight; I had my hair cut and then to Dora.
How long did you stay in Dora? - The end of September 1943 until 27th March 1944.
Where did you go then? - 27th March until 18th April 1945 Bergen-Belsen.
When you say the 27th Match to April 1945, it is March 1944? - Yes, until the 18th April 1945.
When you came to Belsen did you get any position in the camp? - When we arrived yes; 1000 prisoners from Dora, we were the first prisoners apart from the interned Jews there, and after three days I became Blockälteste in the hospital.
Why had you been sent to Bergen-Belsen, do you know? - We were 1000, all of us sick prisoners with diseases; my throat for instance is still just as bad as it had been, and then all the 1000 of us we were sent to Bergen-Belsen.
How long did you remain Blockälteste in the hospital block? - Until January, 1945.
What happened then? - Then the first Lagerältester of the whole camp called Hanke he was put in charge of the whole camp and the third, the second deputy, he elected me for that job.
Actually what job did you get as a result of this? - Third Lagerältester.
Did your job connect you with any particular compound? - Only in Camp No. 1.
Would you describe to the Court what your duties were as Lagerältester? - I was responsible for the who general order and tidiness of the whole camp. I was responsible that working parties went out, I had to check the numbers, I had to check the numbers of those who came back, and I had to see to it that food was distributed in a fair way.
You say you were responsible for seeing that the working parties went out, and so on. Who were you responsible to? - Arbeitsdienstführer Rau. I gave the working chit to Arbeitsdienstführer Rau, and the next higher authority was Hauptscharführer, Rapportführer, Emmerich.
When you were selected for a Lagerältester were you given any instructions about your job? - No.
In what way were you responsible for the distribution of food? - 18 men were responsible to bring food from the kitchen, that was a proper Kommando, working party of 18, and to distribute it to the different blocks; now if, for instance, the food was not sufficient - because one litre was the real ration for each prisoner - then I had only to write a chit and sign it with my name and more food was brought from the Kitchen No. 1.
Did you sign a chit like this without making any enquiries? - I had several people in whom I had utter confidence; they were several clerks from the office or food distribution, I had two food distributors, and if they said, for instance, 100 or 200 litres of soup are missing then I believed them and I signed such a chit for that required quantity.
You used to attend the distribution of food yourself? - I controlled myself several people, or I went to see in the blocks that the distribution should be fair. I went sometimes to No. 5, 6, 7 and 8; these were blocks with sick people, to see that the orderlies really did distribute the food to the sick patients; then I went sometimes to 1, 2 and 3 which were blocks for working people and I saw there as well that things should be distributed in a right way.
Do you remember the witness Glinowieski? - Yes.
He said that your behaviour to the internees was very bad and he remembers one incident when a friend of his was queuing up for soup and because of the crown of people the soup was poured out and that you accused this friend of his and beat him terribly and he says that you beat him with a very big stick which he described as thick as his arm. Is there any truth in that? - No, that is not true.
Have you ever had to beat people at the distribution of food? - Well, sometimes I assisted when food was distributed although really it was not my responsibility at all, because food distribution was the duty of the Kapos or the Blockälteste, and, well, I must say that sometimes if people were behaving like animals and tried to get to the containers or dixies well I might have beaten them perhaps with my hand or stick - it might have been.
Have you ever beaten people so hard that they fell down to the ground and when they were on the ground beaten them again when they were lying there? - No.
Or kicked them? - No.
You said that you have at times beaten people with a stick. Did you always carry a stick? - Not always.
What sort of a stick had you? - Until about the end of April or the beginning of March [end of March or the beginning of April] I had a walking stick, I needed a walking stick because my legs were very bad at that time; then later on I left this walking stick in my room where sometimes I took it out again, now and again.
Where was your room? - Block No. 4.
And you say your room was in Block 4 which was 25 metres away? - Yes.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: I am not quite clear what you mean by the place where the food was distributed.
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: I think it may appear there was a central place in Lager 1 where the food in all the blocks was distributed from.
THE JUDGE ADVOCATE: Do you mean after it had been cooked or before it had been cooked?
CAPTAIN CORBALLY: After it had been cooked. I think I had better ask him that. (To the witness) When the food was brought from the kitchen did each block draw their own and distribute it amongst the blocks or was it brought to some central place in Lager No. 1 and taken away from there? - The whole food comes from Kitchen No. 1 and then between Block No. 1 and Block No. 3 it is centralised until the whole food which had been cooked is there, well, let us say for about 3000 or 4000 prisoners, and from that point it is being distributed to the different blocks and what remains that will be for the working parties are coming back later in the evening.
Who ensured that there was some left for the working parties which were coming in later? - In Blocks Nos. 1, 2 and 3, those three blocks mostly working parties were living, and the three Blockältesten of those three blocks had to give the numbers of those who were on working parties, working sites, and that food, those rations, were retained.
And if for some reason sufficient rations were not retained what happened then? - There was always a sufficient quantity there, but let us assume there would not have been, then they could have reported to me and I would have gone to the kitchen to see to it that they got their rations.
Just one more question about your stick. Was this walking stick which you talked about the only stick you had in Belsen? - Yes.
Could you describe what sort of stick it was? - It was quite a common walking stick and on the bottom end there was a rubber knob.
I want you to look at the affidavit of Zuckermann on page 181. Have you read paragraph 2? - Yes.
What do you say about that? - It is not true what is said here; not true at all.
Which Lager in Belsen were you Lagerälteste of? - Camp No. 1.
Did you wear a green triangle on your blouse in Belsen? - No.
Did you ever beat people at the distribution of food? - No; it may have occurred that I boxed their ears when there was some crushing and crowding, but I never gave them a real beating.
You see, the person who said this said that he was actually trying to get a second helping. If you caught a person doing that would you beat him? - No, because I have nothing to do with the distribution of food; if working parties came back to get their food it is the job of the Kapos to hand it out and I have nothing to do with what happens then.
Would you look at the affidavit of Lozowski on page 101. First of all paragraph 3. What have you to say about that? - No, I have no stick with iron or metal on it and it never happened.
Look at the next paragraph. What do you say about that? - If this man had had a wound of 50 centimetres on his head he would not have been taken to hospital - he would not have got up any more.
Were you present when the Kapos were parading the working parties? - I looked at them when the working parties left the camp and, in the meantime, the Blockältesten paraded the people who were still left in the blocks.
What happened if somebody fell out from a parade under the Kapos when they went out to work? - If he was really ill he would either have reported earlier or, if he reported to the Kapo, he would have been sent back to parade with the other people and the Kapo would have left the camp with one man less.
From which Lager were outside working parties at Belsen taken? - Only Kommandos from Compound One.
Have you ever had to beat people on Arbeitskommandos? - No.
What do you say about this statement of Lozowski? - The man who accused me was standing on the street. These Arbeitskommandos were paraded in front of Block 2 and there was a fence round the camp through which people could not see, so it was quite impossible for somebody standing on the street to see the parades of the working parties.
Where was the Appell place? - Behind Block 2.
If you were in the Appell place are you saying that you could not see the street? - No, you could not see the street, because there was something on the barbed wire fence through which you could not look.
Are you saying in effect that you could not see through the barbed wire because in some places there was something obstructing your view? - Yes, you could not see through the barbed wire because there was something like straw between the barbed wire.
I think you said that you have at times beaten the internees with your hand or boxed their ears. What were the reasons for doing that? - Well, it happened now and then in the camp that not everything was in order, or that people were trying to push the sick people away to get a helping of the food distribution first, and some other reasons for which you may see the necessity to box their ears.
You say you have never beaten people so badly that they fell to the ground and beaten them when they were on the ground? - No.
MAJOR WINWOOD: No questions.
MAJOR MUNRO: No questions.
MAJOR CRANFIELD: No questions.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS: No questions.
Can you remember the last time you went in before the British arrived? - It may have been the 14th or 15th April.
CAPTAIN FIELDEN: No questions.
CAPTAIN NEAVE: No questions.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: No questions.
LIEUTENANT BOYD: No questions.
CAPTAIN MUNRO: No questions.
Cross-examined by LIEUTENANT JEDRZEJOWICZ: Do you remember a day or night in March 1945 when Allied planes dropped leaflets on Belsen concentration camp? - Yes.
Can you give me more or less the exact date when this happened? - It was about the middle of March. I cannot tell a more exact date. I know on the morning there were leaflets lying about in the camp and I read one of them myself.
What was the text of those leaflets? - It said that the Germans who were prisoners in foreign countries were treated very well, and that the Germans who were prisoners in Germany would be free very soon.
When those leaflets were found were the prisoners strictly confined to the blocks? - Yes, and the leaflets had to be handed in. We were not allowed to read them.
Did you or did you not see any member of the Political Department present during the operation of lifting those leaflets from the camp? - I have not seen it.
(The accused, Erich Zoddel, leaves the place from which he has given his evidence)