On 20 September 1947 in Nowy Sącz, the Municipal Court in Nowy Sącz with its seat in Nowy Sącz, with Municipal Judge A. Benisz (MA) presiding and with the participation of reporter J. Stefaniszyn, interviewed the person named 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||Kazimierz Sichrawa (MA)|
|Age||45 years old|
|Parents’ names||Roman and Anna, née Nenoni|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Nowy Sącz|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
From 14 April 1940 to the end of October 1944, I was held in the Auschwitz camp as a political prisoner. Since a lot of time has passed, I cannot remember today if I met any of the members of the armed personnel of the Auschwitz camp from the list that I have been shown, and if yes, which of them, except for Hans Aumeier, Max Grabner and Ludwig Plagge, whom I remember very well. I knew their names already in Auschwitz.
Hans Aumeier served in the camp from January or February 1942 as Lagerführer [camp leader]. I met him in person for the first time a few days after he assumed his position. It was a period of extremely cold temperatures, falling below minus 30 degrees [Celsius]. The previous Lagerführer, Fritzsch, did not allow anyone, even prisoners working outside the whole day, to light fires. At first, we were relieved, because the new Lagerführer, Aumeier, let the prisoners, especially those working outside, light fires, so we could warm ourselves up. Therefore also in my work unit (I worked as an interpreter in the horse stables), we freely fired the stoves situated in all stables and toilets. One day, Aumeier and a few SS men came to the stables and asked us who had fired the stove. When I replied that it was me, Aumeier slapped me in the face and gave an order to dismiss me from work. At first, Aumeier was not that bad, but – as the prisoners claimed – under the influence of Max Grabner, who occupied the leading position in the Politische Abteilung [Political Department], and of Rapportführer [report leader] Palitzsch, he became more and more strict.
Around the beginning of the spring 1942, a group of Dutch Jews, who had been told even before they arrived at Auschwitz that they would settle and work in really good conditions, were forced to work very hard all day long. Their task was to carry wire and iron bars, and they were ordered to pick up so many of them at once that they were hardly able to lift them. After a few hours of work, the group of a dozen or so Jews refused to continue working, stating that the work was beyond their strength. Then, Aumeier, Palitzsch and – I think – also Ludwig Plagge jumped at them and started beating and torturing them in a horrible way. I believe that a few of the Jews were killed on the spot, while the rest – eight or nine prisoners – were lined up in the evening, that is after work, in a row at the so-called Birkenalee (it was a place where prisoners could stroll). They stood there as a warning for other prisoners who were told why the Jews had been beaten so hard. One of the Jews had had an eye knocked out; another one had had a big toe cut off. All of them were covered in blood, with deep wounds on their heads, hands and legs.
We got to know the truly dreadful features of Aumeier’s character at the end of 1942. Aumeier drank almost every day and every few days he went drunk to the bunker, that is the camp prison, together with Grabner, Palitzsch and Plagge. He walked from cell to cell, asking the prisoners who they were and why they were there. Practically every Pole and Jew were taken aside and shot dead on the spot. Soon when a Polish prisoner was taken to the camp prison for any reason, it meant a death sentence for him.
The situation changed when Arthur Liebehenschel became the camp commandant. I declare that I do not know of any criminal activities by Liebehenschel.
I never met Max Grabner, the chief of Political Department, in person. I knew from my inmates that he was the terror of the camp, the camp’s evil spirit. Aumeier really cared for his opinion and all crimes against the prisoners were committed under Grabner’s influence.
From the beginning of the camp’s existence, Ludwig Plagge held the position of Blockführer [block leader], deputy to the Rapportführer [report leader].
At this point, I would like to correct my statement: initially Ludwig Plagge carried out the so-called “sports activities” with the prisoners, then he became Blockführer and deputy to Rapportführer Palitzsch. Next, he became Rapportführer in the Gypsy camp, and finally – Lagerführer [camp leader] in that camp. About 1943, he left the camp, but I do not remember where he went.
I met Plagge on my first day in the camp and later I saw him very often. During the first or maybe also in the second year of my stay in Auschwitz, I saw him almost every day. Ludwig Plagge was very cruel towards the prisoners. He was a composed man, calm, cold and even tactful, but a sadist. He revealed his sadistic side by constantly organizing exhausting “sports activities” for prisoners, which lasted many hours, as a result of which many prisoners would faint from exhaustion. Plagge would very often execute prisoners personally by shooting them in the back of the head.
In May 1943, I was transferred to the Gypsy camp, where Plagge was the Rapportführer. In that camp, I worked in the Schreibstube [writing room], where I saw Plagge cruelly abuse Gypsies for the smallest violations regardless of their sex, beating them with a whip all over their bodies or on the bottom. At that time, he treated Polish prisoners and myself in a tactful manner.
I do not know anything else regarding the present case.