On 5 August 1947 in Kraków, deputy prosecutor of the Court of Appeal in Kraków, Edward Pęchalski, a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, acting in accordance with the provisions of the Decree of 10 November 1945 (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 51, item 293), with the participation of a reporter, articled clerk Krystyna Turowicz, interviewed the person specified below as a witness, pursuant to Article 20 of the provisions introducing the Code of Criminal Procedure, with reference to Articles 107 and 115 od the Code of Criminal Procedure. The witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Stanisława Marchwicka|
|Marital status||wife of Wojciech|
|Parents’ names||Józefa and Konstanty Szkrabal|
|Date and place of birth||23 October 1899, Oświęcim|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Kraków-Prokocim, Krakowska Street 33|
Following my arrest on 20 July 1940, and detention first in the Montelupich prison in Kraków, then in a prison in Tarnów, I was sent in the transport of about 138 Polish women to the camp in Ravensbrück on 10 September 1941. I was given the number 7192 and stayed in the camp until 1945, because I was sick during the fall of Germany and I was staying in the camp hospital.
Out of the many people from the Ravensbrück camp personnel, I remember especially well Oberaufseherin Maria Mandl, who remained there until some time in the autumn of 1942. She terrorized the whole camp, because she was exceptionally sadistic in her treatment of prisoners. If I were to give a short characterization of her, I would have to say that at the time she was a monster in human form. She always walked around the camp looking for an opportunity to take her anger out on the prisoners whom she brutally beat for no reason. Whenever I saw her, she was holding a whip. Prisoners avoided her because she beat them on the head with the whip for no reason. She expressed particular hatred towards the Polish prisoners. If she disliked anything about someone’s look, this was enough for a prisoner to get hit in the face and then kicked all over the body.
I got beaten up by her, too. She ran into me on the camp premises when I was carrying a sack of stockings made by prisoners to a warehouse. Since the warehouse closed at 12.00 in the afternoon, I had to get there earlier. I left a few minutes before 12.00 p.m. to make it before the closing time. When Maria Mandl ran into me on the way there, it was 11.55 a.m. Without asking for an explanation, she started hitting me in the face and kicking, and when she was done beating me, she ordered that I be put in a report, promising the punishment of flogging and the bunker. Fortunately, another Oberaufseherin received reports that day. She told me to report to Maria Mandl herself the next day. I did not do that, and that is how I avoided the flogging and the bunker.
Mandl very often conducted body search of the prisoners and searches of the barracks. If she found that a prisoner was hiding some food or warm clothing, she beat her and administered various punishments. Among the kinds of abuse practiced by Mandl, depriving prisoners of food or ordering various punitive drills was very common. It was enough for Mandl to notice, for example, five prisoners standing unevenly to punish the whole block with a long period of starvation and additional hours of standing at roll call.
She was an evil spirit and the nightmare of the camp in Ravensbrück. She has many prisoners on her conscience, having sent them to a penal company or the bunker, where women were sooner or later destroyed. Detention in the bunker was almost always tantamount to a death sentence, since it usually involved being naked, starved and beaten. It was impossible to survive a longer period of time in the bunker.
Right after my arrival at the camp in Ravensbrück, the function of Oberaufseherin was assumed by Langefeld, and later by another German woman, Erika. This, however, lasted for a short time, and then Maria Mandl was given this position. She immediately introduced a harsher treatment of the prisoners. For example, in March 1942 she prohibited the prisoners from wearing shoes until October. Since it was still cold in March, especially during the morning roll calls, some of us would secretly place pieces of paper under our feet. If Maria Mandl noticed that, she would brutally beat the prisoner. I recall that she once beat up an elderly lady over 60 for this reason. Beaten by Maria Mandl, the elderly lady fell to the ground and about two weeks later died.
Maria Mandl also actively participated in selecting the prisoners who were to undergo experiments in the camp in Ravensbrück in 1942. I did not see that with my own eyes because I was busy with work at another kommando, but I know from my friends that Maria Mandl came by my block a couple of times, chased the prisoners out, and in front of the block personally chose a few women who were called to the hospital the next day and subjected to surgical experiments.
When in the autumn of 1942 Maria Mandl was taken from Ravensbrück and sent to Auschwitz, the Ravensbrück prisoners greeted this news with great satisfaction and relief. It was hard to imagine that Mandl’s successor as Oberaufseherin could be as brutal towards the prisoners as she was.
At this the report was concluded and read before signing.