Kraków, 18 Stycznia Street 30
former prisoner of Auschwitz no. 51444
the Supreme National Tribunal
I accuse Arthur Liebehenschel that during a selection in Auschwitz I, block 19a, he chose me for a transport to the crematorium.
In the middle of January 1943, after I was beaten by the block leader and reported after the nightly roll call, the defendant Artur Liebehenschel ordered the Rapportführer [report leader] to take down my number and escort me to the square in front of the kitchen, where a column of people sentenced to the gas was being formed. Such transports had been leaving Auschwitz for several weeks prior.
We waited until 1.00 p.m. to set off, and before we did, the defendant Liebehenschel came to us and, seeing that my five was supporting a sick man, he ordered that man to stand straight and his friends to let go of him. He didn’t beat the sick man, but when the poor soul fell to the ground he ordered him to get up and pick up his cap. The unfortunate man staggered when reaching for his cap and collapsed once more, and blood began to seep through the bandages on his neck. The old, practically untreated wound began to bleed. He died on his way to Birkenau; he was an elderly man, some 60 years old judging by his appearance.
I accuse Arthur Liebehenschel of organizing a hospital in block 7 in the old Birkenau lager, where the prisoners were beaten, starved, and not treated at all.
This block was not a hospital, it was a waiting room, where the prisoners awaited death by gassing. In block 7 in Birkenau, in the winter of 1943, 50–80 people died every night, and every two or three days the prisoners were selected, as a result of which 300–400 people were sent to the crematorium.
There were two kinds of selections in that block.
I. Selections for the gas.
A person chosen during this selection was tattooed with an additional “A” or “L” letter, according to whether he was an Aryan or a Jew. This additional tattoo was to facilitate finding a häftling [prisoner] who fled from the block of death to the camp or hid in block 7, thus delaying the transport, and also made it easier to carry out an inspection at the last moment. Before January 1943, there were no additional tattoos of “A” and “L”, and so it often happened that the SS men grew impatient and didn’t wait for the numbers to be checked – as it was tiresome and tedious – but took the first prisoners they chanced upon, including those who performed various functions in the camp. The division into “A” and “L” prisoners was to emphasize the difference between the Jews and the Aryans. During some selections, more people were chosen to be sent to the gas than could be taken in one transport, and then only Jews marked with “L” were taken and the Aryans awaited another transport.
II. During selections of the second type, strong, healthy and well-built prisoners were chosen to be “castrated”, and then they were gassed.
In block 7 in Birkenau (the old lager), contrary to hospital regulations, roll calls were organized in the courtyard, and the sick were dragged out of the block in only underwear and laid down in the snow or water from the melted snow (February 1943 was very mild). The roll calls started as early as 4.00 a.m., so that they would be over by 6.00 a.m., when the Blockführer [block leader] came. In the meantime, the block was cleaned, which lasted to 9 or 10.00 a.m. When the block was again in order, people were admitted one by one, and the records were checked. When the records and the numbers were checked, again one by one the prisoners were issued coffee or dinner, depending on the hour. The selections were usually carried out at that moment, when the prisoners were entering the block one after the other. The task of the executioners was thus easier, as they were sure that everyone was reviewed – everyone wanted to get back to the warmer block as quickly as possible and everyone craved some rest. It was possible to evade selection when in the block, but never upon entering the block.
Those who were lying in the wet in front of the block were never carried back inside; they either died during the day or froze to death at night. Very often the night guards, who kept guard around the block in order to prevent the prisoners from running away to the camp, would finish off the dying.
I would like to emphasize that in block 7 in Birkenau (the old camp), there were only prisoners from Auschwitz I, that is the parent camp, and its subcamps located in other places. The transports which didn’t receive numbers and were sent directly to the ovens didn’t come to block 7 at all.
When I was selected for the gas and tattooed with “A” under my number, I asked to be spared, but the writer in block 7, in order to get rid of me, told me that he couldn’t cross me out because the list had already been sent to Auschwitz. From this declaration and the fact that the camp in Birkeau was, in administrative terms, closely connected with Auschwitz I as the parent camp, I infer that the defendant must have known about what was going on in that camp, and due to the position he held in the camp, he is fully responsible for his crimes.
Arthur Liebehenschel transferred the block of death from Auschwitz I to Birkenau, establishing a hospital – or rather a crematorium Warteraum [waiting room], as it was called – in block 7. Arthur Liebehenschel sentenced to death 26 heroes from Jaworzno, who wanted to liberate the entire camp. They died between 7 and 8.00 p.m. on 6 December 1943 in Jaworzno, having been sentenced to death by hanging. I was an eyewitness and part to the conspiracy.
As far as details are concerned, I kindly ask the Tribunal to summon me for a hearing.