Transcript of the Notes of 'The Trial of Erich Zoddel'

The Trial of Erich Zoddel A Military tribunal in Celle 31 August 1945 - Exhibit A

Exhibit A
Case No 86


Original Document

Deposition of Dora Silberberg (Female) late of 15 Gdańska Łódź, Poland, sworn before Major Savile Geoffrey Champion, Royal Artillery, Legal Staff, No. 1 War Crimes Investigation Team.

1. I am 25 years of age and because I am a Jewess I was arrested and taken to Tarnow Concentration Camp in October 1939. I was transferred to Mogilna in May 1940, to a camp near Poznań in May 1941, to Bilski, Poznań in August 1942, and to Auschwitz in January 1943. I came to Belsen in March 1945.

2. I recognise No. 3 on photograph 19 as an SS woman at Auschwitz. I knew her by the name of Bormann. I have now been told that her full name is Juanna Bormann. On 15th June 1944, whilst at Auschwitz, I was working with a working party outside the camp. Working with me was a good friend of mine named Rachella Silberstein aged 21 years, from Łódź, Poland. On this day she felt very sick and could not walk on her own to the working site. We had to assist her and on arriving at the working site she sat down because she was so weak and suffered from very severe pains. Bormann, who was supervising the party, ordered my friend to go to work immediately. Because my friend could hardly speak through pain I intervened and told Bormann that Silberstein was too ill to work. Bormann hit me in the face with her fist, knocking out two of my teeth, and told me to go back to work. As I moved away she hit me all over the body with a thick stick which she carried. She then ordered a big dog which always accompanied her, to attack Silberstein who was sitting the ground. The dog grasped her leg with its teeth and dragged her round and round until she finally collapsed. Bormann then ordered the dog to let go of my friend. After about ten minutes Silberstein recovered consciousness but laid all day on the ground. I could see no open wounds but the leg which had been gripped by the dog became very swollen and blue-black in colour. I had the impression that it was blood-poisoning. When we marched back to the camp four girls had to carry Silberstein and on her arrival they took her to the hospital. On the following day I went to visit her ad she was very weak. She could neither speak nor eat. When I went to see her on 17th June 1944 the Warden told me that she had died. He said that the dead body was in the yard and I went there and saw a corpse covered with blankets. I lifted the blankets and recognised my dead friend.

3. I recognise No. 8 on photograph Z/4/3 as an internee at Belsen, employed in the directing of labour. I knew him by the name of Erich and now I have been told that his full name is ERICH ZODDEL. About three or four days after the English [British] came to Belsen Camp, that is about 18th April 1945 I was passing block 201 at about 9 o'clock in the evening when I saw MARIA KONATKEVICZ come out of the block with a boyfriend. Maria was a great friend of mine. She was aged 22 years and came from Lemberg, Poland. The boy she was with I know was a Russian but I do not know his name. The boyfriend left Maria just outside the door as she was preparing to enter the block again. At that moment ZODDEL appeared and I saw him pull his pistol from his pocket and quickly fire at Maria from a distance of about three metres. I heard three shots and after the third shot Maria fell down. ZODDEL ran away immediately. I brought soem water and washed the blood off Maria's body and covered her with a sheet because I could see she was dead. She had three wounds. One at the back of the head, one between the shoulder blades where the bullet had gone through the body and out through the chest, and one about five inches lower down the back. The body lay on the ground until the next morning when some German soldiers, guarded by an English [British] soldier, loaded it on to a truck containing corpses. Maria had told me several times that ZODDEL wanted to go out with her but she had refused to do so because she did not like him as he was a German.

Sworn by the said Deponent Dora Silberberg at Belsen this 8th day of June 1945

Signed Dora Silberberg.

Before me

Signed S.G. Champion, Major R.A.

I hereby certify that, the said Deponent not understanding English, this affidavit was translated in my presence to the said deponent before swearing and I am satisfied that its contents were fully understood by the said deponent.

Dated this 8th day of June 1945

Signed S.G. Champion, Major R.A.

I hereby certify that I have accurately translated this affidavit to the said deponent.

Dated this 8th day of June 1945

Signed Roberts Coles
13116368 Cpl PC