On 21 August 1947 in Rzeszów, the investigative judge of the District Court in Rzeszów, in the person of Z. Teleśnicki, with the participation of reporter M. Kotowicz, interviewed the person specified below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the wording of Article 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:

Name and surname Maria Liwo
Age 31
Parents’ names Józef and Janina
Place of residence Rzeszów, Dąbrowskiego Street
Occupation deputy prosecutor of the Dictrict Court in Rzeszów
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Criminal record none
Relationship to the parties none

I met Maria Mandl in the autumn of 1942. At that time, she held the position of Aufseherin [overseer] of the so-called bunker – a prison in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Back then I did not come into direct contact with the suspect. I only heard from many prisoners (who had been detained in the bunker and whose names I do not remember) that the suspect brutally abused prisoners by beating them and withholding their meals. I would like to emphasize that the prisoners locked in the bunker were given food every four days, and she would deprive them of such modest rations.

I came into direct contact with the suspect when she became Oberaufseherin [head overseer] and Lagerführerin [camp leader]. She was the worst and cruelest “oberka” I encountered during my five-year detention in the concentration camp. All of her orders were designed to tire out and exhaust prisoners, while humiliating them as women.

The Oberaufseherin’s first order was to take away the prisoners’ brassieres and clogs. This was in the early spring of 1942. The climate in Ravensbrück was very cold, so we trembled with cold during early morning roll call. Many prisoners caught colds because of that, and those with poor lungs came down with tuberculosis. In order to protect themselves from the cold during roll call, older women who had a cold and were physically weak would put pieces of cardboard that they had cut out under their feet. I do not know how Mandel found out about this, but every single day during roll call she would burst into the rows and beat the prisoners whose pieces of cardboard she spotted, until they bled.

The purpose of giving such orders was to increasing the death rate. At least twice a week – always during heavy rain or scorching heat – she ordered one of the blocks (sometimes several or even the whole camp) to stand for hours after roll call as punishment for some non-existent offence.

Since I stood right next to the table at which the suspect received the reports, I very frequently heard her say mockingly in the pouring rain: “What lovely weather, it will be good for you to stand for a bit in the fresh air.” Obviously, she would then order us to stand for several hours in the rain and cold, barefoot and wearing light dresses after a day of hard work, which deprived us of precious moments of leisure.

During the morning and afternoon Arbeitsapel [roll call], while receiving the reports, the suspect would pull prisoners (those whose faces she did not like) out of the rows every day to beat and kick them. When the prisoner no longer had strength to get up, [Mandel] would pick her up and throw her to the ground so forcefully that the numbed human wreck could not stand up. Having vented [her anger] on one prisoner, she took another.

None of us knew whether they would fall victim to Mandl’s brutality. The hardships of the religious sect of the Bible Students, the so-called Bibelforschers were known around the camp. At first, the suspect, along with the camp commandant at that time, only beat them during roll calls and assigned them to the hardest jobs. Next – when they refused to comply with the orders of the camp’s authorities – their beddings and mattresses were taken away, so that they were forced to sleep on the floorboards in the block with the windows open. She starved them severely and then punished all of them with 50 lashes each.

I learned from the staff of the camp prison – the bunker – that Mandl personally gave [prisoners] the beatings. Among these prisoners were young [girls] and ladies over the age of fifty. From the prisoners who worked in the Revier [camp hospital] I found out that after being beaten and starved, most of the Bible Students lay in the Revier severely ill, covered in blood and sores. As a result of this persecution, three quarters of the Bible Students died, and only a small group of about 150 people survived.

As “oberka”, Mandl meted out punishments for offences committed in the camp. These punishments were too harsh – they usually involved 25 lashes, four weeks in the bunker and three months in the Strafblock [penal block], for a most trivial offence.

The report was read out.