On 2 September 1947 in Kraków, Judge Advocate Franciszek Wesely, Acting Judge delegated to the Kraków District Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, in accordance with the provisions of and procedure provided for under the Decree of 10 November 1945 (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 51, item 293) on the Main Commission and District Commissions for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, in connection with art. 254, 107, and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, interviewed as a witness the person specified below, who testified as follows:
Name and surname Henryk Porębski (already identified in the case)
The witness was shown a photograph of Erich Muhsfeldt. Having examined the photograph, the witness testifies as follows:
I recognize, definitely and beyond all reasonable doubt, suspect Muhsfeldt, who has been presented to me. He was commandant of crematoria I and II in Birkenau. If memory serves me right, he transferred from Lublin roughly at the turn of spring 1944 and had fulfilled the function of head of crematoria I and II for a couple of months. The reason I remember the time of his arrival at the camp is the fact that Muhsfeldt brought with him Russian prisoners and a German kapo Karl, all of whom then started to work at crematoria I and II. Formerly, only Jews and four Polish stokers worked at the crematoria. I used to see Muhsfeldt at the crematorium very often, because as an electrician, I had access to it and many times they would send for me so I would fix the electric engines installed at the crematorium furnaces.
Muhsfeldt was always drunk and he beat up the Jews hired for operations at the crematorium. Mietek Morawa, who was kapo at crematoria I and II, told me that Muhsfeldt had beaten him up because he had failed to deliver vodka to him. He showed me bruises around his eye. I tried not to get directly involved with Muhsfeldt: first, because he was new on the camp and I did not know if he could be bribed like other crematorium heads thus far, and second, because he had a reputation for beating up the personnel, and until then, heads of crematoria had not abused their staff.
I am definitively stating that around that time, i.e. in summer 1944, crematoria I and II saw gassings and incinerations of transports which arrived not only at night but also during the day. Gassings were done around the clock, except between 10.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m., whereas the crematorium furnaces were operative all the time. It was during that period that the highest number of transports arrived, so that the crematorium furnaces could not cope. So in this light a special pit was dug near crematorium I, where corpses of the gassed victims moved from the gas chambers were incinerated. Additionally, the corpses of the gassed victims from crematoria I and II were transported to pits located north-west of the bathhouse.
I often saw Muhsfeldt in the company of Houstek-Erber, nicknamed “Chłystek” [whipper- snapper]. I did not see Muhsfeldt present at the actual gassing of transports, or I may not have recognized him, since the SS man in charge of a gassing always wore a gas mask, but undoubtedly, Muhsfeldt, as crematorium head, must have been present at the pick-ups of transports to be gassed, and then at inspecting the corpses and ripping off teeth, shaving off heads, etc. If Muhsfeldt denies that, then he is lying.
I came across Maria Mandl on the grounds of the said camp very often. She was very cruel in her treatment of female prisoners. She beat them up. Prisoner Muskeler, who came from Vienna and had a black winkiel [triangular camp badge], boasted to me that she was not afraid of Mandl and that she could do what she pleased, because back in Vienna, she owned a brothel, where Mandl had worked for a while as a prostitute. Indeed, Muskeler enjoyed preferential treatment at the camp.
I also recognized Max Grabner in the photographs displayed at the Kraków Market Square. I had no direct contact with him because I gave him a wide berth: first, because I had a low camp number, which meant I was potentially facing termination, and additionally because I lived at the women’s camp and I managed to stay there by means of bribing the SS staff – if Grabner had seen that, he may have exploited the fact. I know that Grabner made decisions as regards sending transports to gas chambers, which is why I often saw him on the ramp as selections were carried out. Many times, Grabner would by mistake send certain transports to gas chambers instead to the camp. Consequently, sometimes Grabner would send Bilan, an SS man with the Political Department, to the camp so as to check if this or that prisoner, who was to be released or interrogated at the Political Department, was still at the camp. However, it would turn out that the prisoner had been mistakenly incinerated together with the entire transport.
I had been a prisoner of the Auschwitz camp for four years and nine months, and let me clarify that SS men never served as clerks (Schreibers) at the camp’s head office. Only prisoners worked as clerks. In a camp, an SS man could only serve as a Blockführer or as leader of a kommando. If a private, such as e.g. Richard Kortmann, claims he was a clerk at the head office of the women’s camp in Birkenau, then he is lying.
As regards the information pertaining to Grabner, head of the Political Department, Schutzhaftlagerführer [camp leader] Aumeier, and other high-ranking SS men from the Auschwitz camp, it can be provided by the following former prisoners: Reinhold Puchała, resident of Kałwsk [Węgliniec], Zgorzelec district, Regional Power Plant of the Zielonka mine, and Józef Mikusz, resident of Ustronie near Wałbrzych [?]. The former worked as an electrician for the Birkenau camp management, and the latter worked at the Arbeitseinsatz [employment office] in Birkenau from 1942.
At this point the procedure and the report were concluded and the report was read out and signed.