On 19 April 1948 in Łódź, the Investigating Judge from the I Region of the District Court in Łódź, with its seat in Łódź, this in the person of Candidate Judge R. Jezierska, heard the person named below as a witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and the significance of the oath, the witness was sworn and testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Eliasz Gelade|
|Age||54 years old|
|Parents’ names||Fiszel and Mindla, née Erlich|
|Place of residence||Nowotki Street 60, flat 4, Łódź|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
From October 1942 to November 1942, the small ghetto in Piotrków, where I was at the time, was under the direct supervision of the Gestapo. In the middle of November 1942, control over the ghetto was assumed by the Schutzpolizei, which answered to Böttcher. Towards the end of November, rumor spread that he was to visit our ghetto. Then the Jewish community decided that all children and the elderly should be hidden. Following Böttcher’s visit, which indeed took place in the last days of November, another rumor got around that there were too many Jews in the camp and therefore the Polizeiführer ordered that several hundred of them be exterminated. Round-ups lasted for a few days and those caught, mostly the elderly, young women and children, were grouped in the synagogue. About 600 of them were kept there in abominable conditions until 20 December. We learnt from German policemen, the Volksdeutschers, that these Jews had been left at Böttcher’s disposal. On the morning of 20 December all these people were taken somewhere in the vicinity of Piotrków and shot. We learnt from the same Volksdeutschers that the execution had been carried out on Böttcher’s order. The Polizeiführer visited our ghetto several more times and each of his visits resulted in some repression. In February, Böttcher ordered deportation of 300 women for very hard labor in the powder mill in Skarżysko. In March 1943 he decreed (as we learnt from the head of the Schutzpolizei in Piotrków) the liquidation of the Jewish intelligentsia. Eight members of it were then shot at the cemetery in Piotrków. In June 1943, the liquidation of the ghetto began and then the Jewish community was informed – by a circular from Böttcher’s administrative office which bore his signature – that a camp for craftsmen and their families had been established in Bliżyn. A lot of Jews signed up for it then. They left on 28 July. When they had already been loaded onto the train, several hundred SS-men came and threw everyone out from the cars and then they took all children and three breastfeeding mothers with their babies and took them to the barracks next to the Schutzpolizei. We tried to get the children back, but the Schutzpolizei head told us that they were at Böttcher’s disposal. On 1 August 1943 we learnt that on that day all these children were taken somewhere near to Piotrków and shot.
We know from Polish policemen that the execution site is close to the execution site of 600 Jews and the synagogue, but we cannot locate it. This execution was also carried out on Böttcher’s order. Later on, when we were barracked and I found myself in the labor camp in Bugaj, I met Böttcher once again, as he visited us twice. Before such a visit the factory director would warn us, so we hid the children and the sick got dressed and went to work. Whenever Böttcher saw a Jew who wasn’t undernourished, he reproached the director that we were too well off in his factory. One Werkschutz killed a Jew from the camp when the latter went to collect some bread by the barbed wire. The guard was later sorry for what he had done. He told us that when Böttcher found out about this incident, he rewarded the guard with cigarettes and vodka. Böttcher got promoted to a higher rank for diligent service – for persecuting Jews and Poles at the time when he headed the SS in Radom.
The report was read out.