The sixteenth day of trial, 11 December 1947
Presiding Judge: Please call the next witness.
Witness Arnošt Rosin, 34 years old, technical clerk, non-religious, no relationship to the defendants, resident in Prague, Czech Republic.
Presiding Judge: I advise the witness to speak the truth. Making false declarations is punishable with a prison term of up to five years. Do the parties wish to submit any requests regarding the mode of hearing of the witness?
Prosecutor and Defense: We exempt the witness from taking the oath.
Presiding Judge: Will the witness please state what he knows about the case itself and about the individual defendants?
Witness: I was a prisoner in the concentration camp in Auschwitz, specifically in Birkenau. In 1942, I was brought to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where I stayed for three days, and then I was transferred to Birkenau. A week later, I was assigned to the so-called Sonderkommando [special unit]. Initially, our task was to dig holes. Defendant Plagge was our Kommandoführer [work detail leader] at that time. At first, we did not know why we were digging those holes until one day when the first gassing in a small gas chamber in Birkenau took place. In the morning when we came to work, we found people buried in our holes – we could still see their legs and parts of their bodies. It happened on the day when two fire hoses were brought from Auschwitz, which action was assisted by Aumeier and Grabner.
I would like to testify concerning individual defendants. On 3 December 1942, 300 people from the Sonderkommando were gassed in Auschwitz for organizing an escape. The rest of the unit, about 10–12 people, was left in the block, and then escorted to the so-called death chamber – it was a place where corpses were stored – and shot dead by defendant Plagge himself.
The Lagerälteste [camp elder] and a prisoner from the hospital were present there. I would also like to stress that I did not see all the SS men kill people. Buntrock, sitting in the dock, did not kill people, but he harassed them. However, those who did not kill were no better than the others.
Presiding Judge: Does the witness recognize defendant Buntrock?
Witness: As far as Buntrock is concerned, I would like to say one thing. In 1942, I escaped from Birkenau. In 1945, I saw him walking the streets of Bratislava. I would like to know if Buntrock will confirm that.
Presiding Judge: Will defendant Buntrock confirm that the witness met him in Bratislava?
Defendant Buntrock: No. I would like to make a statement concerning the witness’ testimony. In 1944, I left Auschwitz and was transferred to an armored division in Woditz [Vodice] in Czechoslovakia in order to get professional training.
Witness: In March 1945, I saw him in Bratislava, walking with a rifle.
Presiding Judge: Thank you. Are there any questions?
Presiding Judge: The witness is excused.