On 5 August 1947 in Kraków, a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Appellate Investigating Judge Jan Sehn, acting upon written request of the first prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal, this dated 25 April 1947 (file no. NTN 719/47), 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) with reference to the Articles 354, 107, 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, interviewed the Ravebsbrück camp prisoner specified below as a witness. The witness testified as follows:
Name and surname Zofia Mączka (known in the case)
I have described the time and course of my detention in the concentration camp in Ravensbrück during the hearing on 22 October 1946. I repeat that I stayed in the camp from 13 September 1941 until 25 April 1945. From the time of my detention there, I vividly remember Maria Mandl, who at first was the overseer of the so-called bunker, the camp prison (Arrestaufseherin). Then from the early spring of 1942 to the late summer of 1942 she was the head overseer (Oberaufseherin), having succeeded head overseer Langefeld who had been transferred to Auschwitz. When Mandl was the overseer of the bunker, one of the killing methods used in the bunker was starvation. It was a punishment for various and often trivial offences that would normally be punished in accordance with the regulations, or by detention lasting a specified period of time in more serious cases. I recall that at that time a Czech communist was detained in the bunker and starved to death. She had a nervous breakdown and in a state of shock got locked up in the bunker. The cells for prisoners sentenced to death by starvation had numbers 64 and 46. As a Revier [camp hospital] worker, I carried a prisoner who had died of starvation out of cell 64 – I think this was in August 1942. I would like to emphasize that starving people to death was strictly connected with Mandl’s command, both as the bunker overseer and later as the head overseer at Ravensbrück. When she left Ravensbrück in the late summer of 1942, the prisoners were no longer subjected to this punishment.
The worst terror in the Ravensbrück camp ensued when Mandl was the head overseer (Oberaufseherin). When she left and Langefeld returned, the camp regime became less harsh. In June 1942, a command was issued prohibiting prisoners from wearing clogs, so that all of them, regardless of the work they were doing, had to walk barefoot. This resulted in mass injuries of the feet, which without proper treatment made the prisoners unable to work. The head camp doctor, Schiedlausky, appealed to the camp authorities twice to allow the prisoners to wear clogs in order to facilitate their labor and lower the cost of treatment. The authorities refused these two appeals. For protection against the cold, prisoners fashioned themselves soles out of paper, put them on the ground during winter roll calls and stood on them with their bare feet. Mandl was ruthless in fighting this offence and whenever she noticed that prisoners had placed paper under their feet, she kicked them and forced them to stand on the ground.
In the early summer of 1942, a transport of Jewish women that included many elderly ladies arrived at Ravensbrück. They were immediately sent to work tamping down and building a road on the camp premises. From the first day they had to work barefoot, which resulted in many of them becoming lame due to injuries of the feet, while their calves were sunburnt. They came to the Revier in large numbers, but helping them or putting on dressings was forbidden. They worked in this condition for several weeks. After that, they were transported to another camp.
When Mandl was in command at Ravensbrück, roll calls were especially oppressive – firstly, because we were barefoot and secondly, because all prisoners feared Mandl, since during roll calls she would hit them in the face and kick them for the tiniest “offences”, such as an unbuttoned button, or failure to tie a scarf in accordance with the regulations. Improperly brushed hair made her furious. A loose curl was punished by shaving the head.
I described the kind and the course of the experiments carried out on the prisoners of the concentration camp in Ravensbrück during the last hearing. I presently add that all preparations for these experiments began and were carried out under Mandl as Oberaufseherin. She participated in the inspection of the Lublin transport from which all the operation subjects were selected.
The report was read out. At this, the hearing and the following report were concluded.