On 9 September 1947 in Kraków, a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, municipal judge Dr Stanisław Żmuda, acting at the 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), in connection with articles 254, 107, and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, heard as a witness the below mentioned former prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who testified as follows:
Name and surname Michał Piękoś (known in the case)
I was imprisoned in the Auschwitz camp from 19 July 1940 until October 1944. My number was 1366. I arrived in Auschwitz in a car transporting sixty-something prisoners. The entire transport was greeted with 25 sticks each. This procedure looked like this: each of the prisoners was placed on a vaulting horse and had to count out the blows in German, and if he got it wrong, the counting and beating began again. After this procedure finished, the prisoner had to stand up and say thank you in German using the formula specific for the camp. Finally he received a kick and had to go over to the wall, squatting. This was a public procedure, assisted by a few or a dozen SS-men. As we later learned, this “welcome” ceremony for my group had been prepared beforehand, and even the bullwhips used for the beating had been soaked in water. This event was preceded by exhausting gymnastic exercises conducted among others by SS-man Plagge, whom I met during the first day at the camp. He also took part in the floggings, and his blows were especially strong and painful. I recognize Plagge well from the photograph presented to me today (the witness was shown a photograph of the suspect Ludwig Plagge), but he looks slimmer in the photograph. Plagge did “sport” with my group for a period of nearly two weeks and during that time we really had it bad because he would come up with various exhausting exercises for the prisoners, and at the same time he would beat us every single day for no apparent reason, usually with a stick, and he did so with apparent pleasure and with a smile on his face. He was a kind of sadist. He later came to be known among the prisoners as “Little Pipe” because he smoked a pipe. As a result of the exhausting exercises, hunger, and moreover, the heat at that time, and the beatings, a few or more prisoners passed out on the ground who were then soaked with water, beaten and forced to do more exercises. We weren’t allowed to help any prisoner who had fallen down. We hadn’t yet been given our caps or shoes, and so during the heat all the prisoners had swollen heads, and their feet were shredded from running and marching on ground covered with sharp gravel and slag. I remember how Plagge, for two or three days during the exercises, tormented one of the prisoners from our group, a Jew from Kraków, whose name I never knew. Plagge and his helper, a German prisoner named Lec, a criminal, beat this Jew badly throughout the day to the extent that they cut the veins on his neck and he couldn’t hold his head straight, for which he was again beaten. Whenever he marched or ran holding his head up with a finger under his chin, he was beaten for not holding his arms down. When he lowered his arm again, his head dropped. The prisoner passed out, fell to the ground, and then was thrown into a trough of water or soaked with water, beaten and forced to do further exercises until he ended up being beaten unconscious. Plagge ordered him to be thrown to the toilet, where he would end his life the next day.
Plagge particularly tormented weak prisoners who couldn’t stand the pace of this “sport”. His favorite exercises included: running with our hands held up, exhausting marches on bare feet, crawling on gravel on our elbows, so-called goose stepping, rolling on the ground, usually with two groups of prisoners opposite each other who had to meet in the middle to form a cluster, and everyone had to get through this living wall to the other side. When we were rolling around, Plagge liked to walk behind individual prisoners and kick sand in their faces or kick them in the kidneys. Plagge’s favorite “sports” also included the prisoners spinning around in a circle with their arms raised, climbing thin posts or trees with the whole group of prisoners doing these exercises and bathing in a trough filled with dirty water. I don’t know or remember the surnames of the prisoners who were severely beaten by Plagge, and I don’t know whether or how many fatalities he has on his conscience for that period of “sport”. Plagge did the “sport” on the camp grounds next to the former block 16, later numbered 21. The “sport” area was surrounded by barbed wire and covered three blocks. There was only one toilet located outside where prisoners were not allowed to go at night or else they would be shot, as all the prisoners had been told in advance. This was one more, additional torment for the prisoners.
At this the hearing was concluded, and the report was read out and signed.