On 1 October 1947 in Tarnowskie Góry, the Municipal Court in Tarnowskie Góry, Fifth Branch, with Judge J. Dobkiewicz presiding and with the participation of court reporter J. Kłodnicka, heard the person named below as an unsworn witness. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Stefan Horzela|
|Parents’ names||Wincenty and Maria, n ée Zydek|
|Place of residence||Żyglin|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
I was a prisoner of the Auschwitz camp from 1940 until October 1942. I know Hans Aumeier and Max Grabner from the criminal list of former members of the Auschwitz camp crew; I don’t recall the rest of them.
Hans Aumeier was SS-Hauptstrumführer. He then served as the Lagerführer [camp leader]. I didn’t have any contact with him myself. I only know that all of us prisoners were as afraid of him as fire, because our fate lay in his hands. I didn’t witness any crime committed by him. Someone told me, but I don’t remember who, that he supposedly walked around and shot prisoners in the back of the head.
Max Grabner, SS-Untersturmführer, was the head of the camp’s Political Department. Everyone was also afraid of him, because it was common knowledge that whoever went into his office usually came out dead.
I don’t remember the exact date, it could have been May 1942, when a general inspection of all the blocks was carried out. They were looking for various things that the prisoners were not allowed to be in possession of. During the inspection a piece of leather was found in my bed, which one of my colleagues had given me. The inspector wrote down my number and went off. In the evening after work during the roll call I was called out just like a number of other prisoners, and we were told that we were going to the bunker. We were led to the bunker in block 11. It was a 4 by 4 meter room located in the basement, with a window of 10 by 10 cm, covered with a net, above the ground, installed with “Z”-shaped bends. In the bunker there were about 45 people. The door was closed. We didn’t realize what was going to happen. We were locked in around 7.00 p.m. After two hours, it started to get stuffy. We started to undress. We were very sweaty and one lay on the other, it was getting hotter. To get some kind of air circulation going, some of us swung our jackets around. Some of the weaker ones began to get delirious and lose consciousness. In the corner of the bunker stood a bucket for physiological needs. Some prisoners were so thirsty that they drank from this bucket. I, thanks to my friend Gulba, who was in the bunker with me, managed to back away towards the door and, lying on the ground, managed to draw in some air coming through the gaps in the door. What happened to me next I don’t know because I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I was lying in the corridor, naked and red from the swollen pores in my skin. When I regained consciousness, through the door of the bunker I saw the rest of my fellow prisoners lying in a pile, some of whom were dead and the rest unconscious. Of the prisoners who were in this bunker, about ten got out alive and the rest suffocated. The prison guard said that we were supposed to be punished, but not with the death penalty in the bunker, and this was even reported to the Lagerführer. The rest of us survivors were moved and for 10–12 days isolated in a spacious room with windows. After this time, we were moved on to a penal company, where I stayed for five months. I worked there doing heavy earth-digging. I should mention that it was dark in the bunker, because there was no lighting. Together with me there was also Franciszek Gulba, residing in Żyglin, Główna Street 19. Who ordered us to be put in the bunker, I don’t know. In the bunker there were both Poles and Germans. There could have been four or five of them.
The report was read out.