On 1 October 1947 in Kraków, Municipal Judge Dr. Stanisław Żmuda, a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, in accordance with the provisions of the Decree of 10 November 1945 (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 51, item 293) on the Main Commission and District Commissions for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, in relation to art. 254, 107, and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, heard the person specified below, a former prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Antonina Piątkowska|
|Date and place of birth||24 December 1900, Warsaw|
|Parents’ names||Cyprian and Helena|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Occupation||clerk at the Railway Workers Cooperative|
|Place of residence||Kraków, Bema Street 2, flat 4|
I was a prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp, prison number 6805, from 27 April 1942 (the first transport of Polish women) up until the liquidation of this camp on 18 January 1945, and over that period I was with different working kommandos, including two months with the penal company (SK, Strafkompanie). From my time at the camp, I know by sight and by name the following members of the SS armed crew from Auschwitz, whom I recognized beyond all doubt in the course of the presentation held on 25 September 1947 at the Kraków central prison.
I have already testified about the activity of Maria Mandl, SS-Oberaufseherin [senior overseer] and Lagerführerin [camp leader] at the women’s camp at Birkenau, at the Prosecutor’s Office of the District Court in Kraków.
I know Therese Brandl, SS-Aufseherin, from the period of almost two years during which she carried out various functions at the women’s camp, particularly from her period of employment at the Bekleidungskammer [clothing storeroom], in the course of which she displayed a particularly hostile attitude toward Polish female prisoners: she either refused to issue underwear to Poles at all, or the underwear she did issue was lousy. She participated in all selections and carried out block inspections, alone or with other SS women, in the course of which she beat and insulted the prisoners, calling them “Polish pigs”. I often saw her beat prisoners and I particularly remember as she beat and kicked one prisoner, whose name I do not remember, after she caught her eating a raw potato. She also beat me on one occasion, during an inspection of the block, called me a “Polish pig”, and remarked that we lived too long, anyway.
I have only known Luise Danz, SS-Aufseherin, since December 1944, when she took over from Mandl and Drechsel as Rapportführerin [report leader], fulfilling at the same time the function of camp commandant. In this capacity she caused hardship at the women’s camp, holding tough, long roll calls and camp-wide inspections, beating prisoners in the process and filing penal reports, which often meant the death penalty. I was also severely beaten by her, as I was driving a cart through the camp gate. I witnessed when during a roll call at block 5 she beat prisoners in an utterly atrocious fashion, despite the fact that the Eastern Front was drawing closer to Auschwitz and the camp was preparing for liquidation. I also saw her frequently visit the block which housed offices and the parcel room, as she issued drastic orders as regards inspecting and divesting parcels.
I have known Elfriede Kock, SS-Aufseherin, since spring 1942, when she supervised the prisoners involved in ground works and escorted them to the camp for labor. During this work she would unleash dogs on prisoners, beat them and additionally file penal reports concerning these prisoners at the camp gate. I would also see her as she held roll calls at the block, as well as in the course of escorting prisoners picked in a selection to block 25, i.e. the death block. She caused particular hardship to prisoners of block 8 during inspections she carried out with the block elder, a Slovak prisoner, whose name I do not remember, when both of them held an additional roll call and savagely beat the prisoners and filed penal reports against them. Another memorable event is also a night inspection at block 22, carried out by Mand, Lupka and Kock.
I know Emilie Macha, SS-Aufseherin, from the camp, when for about a year she was one of the persons overseeing roll calls, aiding in selections and briefly escorting labor columns to Aussenkommandos [external work details] and supervising prisoners’ work there. I saw on different occasions as she beat prisoners for no reason and she also beat me once with her hand, for no reason. She sometimes came to the block and carried out surprise inspections, sometimes dispossessing prisoners even of items issued to them from the camp’s inventories. Additionally, she asked if any prisoners were pregnant, and if anyone confessed, her number was read out after a couple of days and the woman was taken to the camp hospital, where they killed her with injections.
I know Monika Miklas, SS-Aufseherin, from the period of her work at the parcel room, where she used to select parcels containing superior groceries, set them aside, and then move them to the block housing German prisoners. She had a sizeable goiter on her neck and, like other SS women, she wore a uniform and carried a firearm. Overseeing roll calls, she beat prisoners, which I saw very often, and she also beat me, for no reason. She also participated in selections in front of block 25 and escorted selected prisoners from other blocks to block 25. She was a harsh, strict and savage SS woman who tortured prisoners in various ways and she evidently derived pleasure from this activity.
Gertrude Zlotos, SS-Aufseherin, was at Birkenau for almost three years and I remember her well in connection with her camp gate duty. Operating in this capacity, she frisked prisoners, beat them, or even unleashed dogs on them. She beat me just because I was passing through the gate from camp A to camp B, despite the fact she did not find anything on me. She also took part in selections of prisoners to be sent to block 25, as well as in roll calls, which in the wintertime often lasted long hours, such as the general roll call of 6 December, which saw a lot of casualties. At such roll calls, both Zlotos and other SS women beat prisoners, unleashed dogs on them and pulled them out of rows at random.
Hans Aumeier, SS-Hauptsturmführer, is known to me as Schutzhaftlagerführer [camp leader], who was also a frequent presence at the women’s camp, together with the entire staff of the political department, prior to some notable actions. During the two months I spent with the penal company in 1942 I saw Aumeier a few times, as he took part in public whippings in Budy, personally holding a list of prisoners and reading out prison numbers. In the wake of each of his visits to Budy, the atmosphere in the camp harshened. Aumeier was particularly hostile toward Polish female prisoners. His further activities at the camp are known to me mainly from stories told by fellow prisoners of mine.
As regards Franz Kraus, an SS officer, I have only known him since the end of 1944, from the grounds of the women’s camp, especially from Blockführerstube [office of block leaders], which was located by the gate. He was considered to be the commandant of the women’s camp because Hösler at that time no longer visited it. I know of a situation whereby Kraus beat in Blockführerstube prisoner Zofia Gawron, presently Mrs. Preisner, a resident of Warsaw, at Pułaska Street 76, who was suspected of having ties to the underground movement. Kraus also beat her at the Auschwitz I political department, to the extent that her eardrums burst. She told me about it herself at the Ravensbrück camp, where I met her after the evacuation of the Auschwitz camp. I saw Kraus a few times a day, when I was taking parcels to Birkenau and back, and also from block 2, where I was accommodated at the time. Kraus was very active in the course of the liquidation of the women’s camp on the night between 17 and 18 January 1945: he was issuing liquidation orders concerning the women’s camp. I also know that he fulfilled some functions with the camp command office (Verwaltung), because I went there with another prisoner to collect typewriters. Kraus was a short- tempered type, one of those SS men who beat prisoners on any pretext.
At this the report was concluded, read out and signed.