On 9 September 1947 in Kraków, Municipal Judge Dr. Stanisław Żmuda, member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, acting at the written request of the First Prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal, this dated 25 April 1947 (Ref. 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), and in connection with art. 254, 107, and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, interviewed as a witness the person specified below, a former prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Józef Dyntar|
|Date and place of birth||17 March 1919, Kraków|
|Parents’ names||Szczepan and Anna, née Stabryła|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Kraków, al. Słowackiego 52|
I was arrested by the Gestapo on 30 March 1940, together with my father, Szczepan, in my flat in Kraków, and I was detained at the prison on Montelupich Street in Kraków until 19 July 1940, after which I was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp by motorized transport, in a group of around 65 prisoners. There, as a Polish political prisoner, I was assigned number 1409, and I remained at the said camp until 18 January 1945. On that day, in the course of the evacuation of the Auschwitz camp, I was made to walk to Wodzisław via Pszczyna, and then I was put on a train and transported to the Mauthausen camp. My camp comrades, prisoners Cyrankiewicz, Kłodziński, Dr. Fejkiel, and others were on the same transport.
At the Auschwitz camp, I had been under quarantine for over a week, and then for one day I worked with the ground works kommando [work detail], after which I was assigned to the locksmiths’ kommando, which was initially called Lagerschlosserei, then Bauleitung- Schlosserei, and finally DAWSchlosserei. I worked with the locksmiths’ kommando more or less until the end of 1944. Because of the nature of my work, I had an opportunity to move around the grounds of the main camp as well as within the perimeter of the great Birkenau Postenkette [chain of sentries], and additionally, I was on various locksmith’s assignments at the flats of the Auschwitz SS staff.
During the quarantine, already on my first day at the camp, I came across SS man Plagge, who was Blockführer in the quarantine zone. Plagge was in charge of the so-called sport for the newly arrived prisoners, which was so exhausting and accompanied by such gross harassment that it became apparent that its aim was to kill as many people as possible. My entire transport was welcomed with the corporal punishment of 25 lashes and more, in the course of a public execution, that took place on a stool. Directly before the execution, we were addressed in German by the then Lagerführer [camp leader] Meier, who explained to us that we were not to think that we were at a vacation site but at a German concentration camp, in view of which we would receive 25 lashes each. Plagge actively participated in that execution, and his blows, which he administered with rods purposely dipped in water beforehand, caused particular pain to the prisoners. During the quarantine, Plagge proved to be a cold, cruel sadist, who every day, for no particular reason and with a smile on his face, beat prisoners with a rod, kicked them, and ordered exhausting exercise. He enlisted the help of kapos, German criminals. In my group, Plagge’s right hand was Lagerälteste [camp elder] Leon Wietschorek from Berlin. Plagge had come to Auschwitz straight from the SS training facility in Oranienburg, where he had completed special training and thus belonged to the SS elite at Auschwitz. He smoked a pipe and the prisoners called him “Fajeczka” [little pipe] between themselves. Plagge had on his conscience three casualties from my transport from the quarantine period, namely Jewish prisoners from Kraków: Fischhab, Markiewicz, and Lindenbaum.
As regards Fischhab, both Plagge and Wietschorek beat him during the exercises for two days and tortured him inhumanely, and finally cut the veins on his neck and threw him in a trough, and then ordered [the prisoners] to take him, barely alive, to the toilet, where he died before the morning came. As regards Markowicz, a butcher from Podzamcze Street, Kraków, he was murdered by Plagge and Meier, the latter of whom ordered him to jump from a second-floor window, and he was so unfortunate as to catch the windowsill of a first-floor window with his leg on his way down, and was literally torn in half. Lindenbaum died, having been beaten by Plagge, shortly after the quarantine was over. During the quarantine, Plagge purposely harassed and beat prisoner Kitka, who had almost had it, and he survived only because the quarantine was relatively short. I know that Plagge was later a Blockführer at the main camp, and finally a Rapportführer [report leader] at the gypsy camp, but I did not witness his activities first-hand over that period.
I remember that in fall 1941, Plagge came to the locksmith’s shop where I worked and took away with him a camp comrade of mine, the late Jerzy Sadyczkow, who subsequently told me that he had been given locksmith’s assignments supervised by Plagge and another SS man, nicknamed “Perełka” [little pearl], whom he did not know by his name. This was in connection with setting up the first gas chamber at the Birkenau forest.
Because of my locksmith’s assignments, I also came across SS man Kurt Müller, whom I clearly recognize in the photograph presented to me today (the witness has been show a photograph of Müller). He was one of the SS men with a record of distinguished service for the camp’s management, and at the same time one of those who is far from fondly remembered by prisoners. Thanks to his zeal and excessive willingness to serve, he was promoted from an ordinary SS man to the rank of Unterscharführer and assigned to the Arbeitseinsatz [work service] office. He was known for beating prisoners, filing penal reports about them, and handing out immediate punishment to them every evening. Sometime around 1943, I had a direct contact with Müller at the Union-Werke kommando, when, following a report from a German kapo, he beat me on the face with his hand and filed a penal report, petitioning for 25 lashes. Fortunately, the report was not acted upon because my boss from the locksmiths’ kommando intervened on my behalf.
I know SS-Obersturmführer Josten by sight and by name. He was commandant of the guard company and supervisor of the sentries. In the camp, he was known for his excessive willingness to serve because he liked to frisk prisoners by surprise, inspect the outside working kommandos, and file reports about prisoners on the slightest pretext. Josten was one of those SS men who conceived and promoted the idea of liquidating the Auschwitz camp together with all its prisoners by bombarding the camp from the air and thus razing it to the ground. I know about this from my conspiratorial collaborators at the Auschwitz camp.
I know the following persons by sight and by their names: the first Schutzhaftlagerführer [camp leader] Aumeier and SS-Untersturmführer Grabner. Aumeier was known at the camp as a sadist, who beat and kicked prisoners on the slightest pretext and handed out immediate punishments to prisoners, following reports from SS men and from the so- called snitches, of which there were plenty during his time. Aumeier assisted at every public execution and also actively participated in mass executions of prisoners from block 11. He was a drunk, a short fellow thus called among the prisoners “Łokietek” [elbow-high] who would hang around the camp all days, harassing prisoners in various ways. He held a revolver at all times and often he beat prisoners with it or fired it to scare them. Aumeier was always with Grabner during executions and selections. At the camp, Grabner was the master of life and death of prisoners, and has on his conscience thousands of lives; I heard at least 25,000 casualties are ascribed to him. For Grabner’s benefit, at our locksmith’s shop, we made various luxurious items with which he used to decorate his flat, such as lamps, chandeliers, chests, paperweights, desk ornaments etc. All these services were provided for Grabner for free, and the necessary materials were “rustled up” by the prisoners. We did similar work also for Aumeier. Let me say that skilled prisoners, myself among them, received better treatment from SS men, because they wanted to enlist these prisoners’ services for private purposes and wanted them to “rustle up” the materials that they needed.
At this point the procedure and the report were concluded. The report was read out and signed.