Kraków, 22 June 1945, Kraków District Investigative Judge Jan Sehn, a member of the Main Commisssion for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, has, acting on a motion from a member of said Commission, Prosecutor Edward Pęchalski, in his presence and with his participation, heard the witness Dr Otto Wolken, former prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp no. 128,828, already featured in the case (hearing protocol dated 24 April 1945), according to the procedure outlined in Art[icle] 254, as relates to Art[icles] 107, 115, of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The witness testified as follows:
To supplement the testimony I have provided so far, and as regards the Sonderbefehl [Special Order] 17/43 from 30 July 1943, presented to me, I explain as follows: at the end of July of 1943 I was moved to the Birkenau camp and placed in camp BIId. The general delousing of that camp sector, discussed in the aforementioned order, did not take place until 14 August 1943. It was postponed due to unfavourable weather. With all actions such as the delousing commanded in order 17/43, the intent of the camp authorities was not to protect the life and health of prisoners, but to prevent the possibility of infection spreading to the SS men who had to have contact with the prisoners due to their functions. It happened sometimes that those SS men would spread lice they had gotten from the prisoner blocks. Sonderbefehl 15/43, shown to me, also attests to that. In early 1943 even Dr Mengele caught typhus. Following from this assumption, prisoner wellbeing was not too important during delousing, even while the contents of order 17/43 show that extreme precautions were taken to protect the health of SS men participating in the operation.
The new delousing method applied by Dr Wirths was to gas blocks with Zyklon[-B] and disinfect prisoner clothing in a water solution of hydrogen cyanide. The gassing of blocks proceeded as follows: the entire block crew was divided into three groups. The first carried prisoner clothes outside and dumped them into a vat containing the hydrogen cyanide solution. The second cleaned out the blocks and hung the blankets on bunk bed poles. The third stood in the roll call square between the blocks. After the first two groups were done, the prisoners working in them would also be lined up in the roll call square. Then a special delousing and disinfection kommando [work detail] would arrive, headed by an SS man, Oberscharführer Claire [Klehr]. He would arrive in a sanitary car marked with Red Cross emblems. He carried cans of Zyklon[-B] in the car’s trailer. The prisoners in Klehr’s kommando would take the cans to the block, place them on stoves and open them with a special knife and hammer. The contents of the can were dumped onto a piece of paper. The key for the cans looked like a saw with large and sharp teeth rolled into a circle. Before the can contents were dumped, holes in block walls were plugged with rags, and the base of the wall was covered with dirt on the outside. After the Zyklon[-B] was dumped, the doors were locked, sealed in the same way as described previously, and covered with dirt at the bottom. One block would use up four or five cans of Zyklon[-B]. They were large cans labelled mit Warnstoff [unsafe contents]. Prisoners in Klehr’s kommando worked in masks. He himself would not approach the gassed block, he stayed a significant distance away. The gassing of a block took five hours. The prisoners from the gassed block had to spend that time performing the bathing procedure I outlined in section 3 of attachment 1 to my protocol from 24 April 1945. After returning from the bath, we would wait in the roll call square for the opening of the block. Prisoners from Klehr’s kommando would open the block doors wide, swing open the upper windows, gather the post-Zyklon silicate with shovels, dump it in the cans, and after these activities were performed we could enter the block. Our clothes would be hanging on wires stretched between the blocks and drying. We would take them from there and put them on wet. Some prisoners dried them on hot stoves, resulting in many cases of lethal poisoning with hydrogen cyanide vapour. I would point out that an entire camp sector, which, as we know, contained 32 blocks, was gassed within a day and a half. The part of the camp sector gassed at any one time was separated from the as yet ungassed part with barbed wire mesh (Spanischer Reiter). Prisoners in the gassed section would spend that entire time in the area around the gassed blocks, where they were in danger of being poisoned with Zyklon[-B] from the barracks, which could not be [completely] sealed with the primitive methods used for that purpose. It is therefore no wonder that almost all prisoners suffered from headaches, were sick, some vomited, many fainted. I suppose those ailments were not caused solely by fatigue from delousing, shaving, and bathing; their real reason was more likely Zyklon[-B] poisoning.
I would stress that the delousing described in order 17/43 was a test of Wirths’s delousing method. The SS men and Wirths himself were afraid of the risks associated with conducting it, and for that reason tested it on prison blocks first. The trial showed that it could be used without endangering the SS crew, so Wirths’s method was later used to delouse the SS men’s quarters (Copies of Sonderbefehle 15/43 from 7 July 1943 and 17/43 from 30 July 1943 were attached to the present protocol as attachments nos. 1 and 2).
Unlike the Auschwitz Stammlager, we had neither fleas nor bedbugs in Birkenau, because the blocks were too wet and damp due to the local conditions of Brzezinka. Such an environment does not foster these parasites. Instead, rats were a plague in Birkenau: there were hundreds, thousands of them in the camp. Every now and again, rat-fighting days (Rattenkampftag) were held. On such days, meat paste spiked with rat poison was deployed throughout the blocks and signs were hung saying that a rat poisoning operation was underway and that the prisoners were forbidden to eat the paste placed around the camp as a part of it. However, the rats came out on top in these fights, and their plague was never defeated up to the end of the camp’s existence. The mass breeding of rats should be attributed to the local conditions in Birkenau and its sewer system, as well as other hygienic devices I have described in detail in the document I hereby present, based on my observations and experiences. I request that the document be attached to the protocol and treated as a vital part of it. (The witness presents a typescript of six pages, typed over on one side, numbered from 1 to 6, starting with section 6, “ Wasserversorgung ”, and ending with section 9, “ Blutspende”. The typescript has been attached to the protocol as attachment no. 3.)
Aside from the matters outlined so far, the document also discusses the relations within the infirmary of sector BIId and the action of drawing blood from prisoners for military purposes. The action was called “voluntary” (freiwillige Blutspende), but none of the prisoners targeted as donors dared refuse. Blood donations came with a promise of extra bread and sausage, but those supplements never reached us.
I have extensively testified before the general commission about how in late 1943 I was sent to the gas alongside a group of 800 prisoners and that I only survived when we were turned around and placed in Birkenau camp BIId because the crematoria chambers were full of bodies. Later on I learned that in the previous days Jews coming to Auschwitz on transports from France were gassed and burned. Word around the camp was that 50,000 French Jews were gassed and burned in that time. This was the operation discussed in the third section of Standortbefehle no. 31/43 from 6 August 1943. As stated in that order, all SS men received leave for the work done as part of this operation. (An extract from order no. 31/43 is attached to the protocol as attachment no. 4.) As to the question of whether or not I have any information about the Trzebinia camp and relations therein, I explain as follows: in the first days of November 1943, a transport of Jews from the Trzebinia camp arrived in Birkenau. 952 prisoners were sent from that transport into the quarantine camp and placed in blocks 8 and 9, and a few hours later, in the evening, nine further prisoners joined them. I was told by the arrivals that they were part of a transport of 3,898 prisoners. 57 were taken out of that group already when being loaded onto the train in Trzebinia and placed in a separate rail carriage. Of those 57, only nine made it to the camp. Out of the rest of the transport, only 952 made it. The rest, that is, 2,937 prisoners, were sent straight from the Birkenau rail ramp to the gas. Among the arrivals I remember: Dr Jakub Wagschal from Tarnopol, who was the prison doctor in the Trzebinia camp, Spitz, a band director from Vienna, Erich Breuer, a necktie factory owner from Vienna, Piotr Dunow, a Russian music professor, Speiser, a violin player from Sosnowiec, and Van der Walde, a Dutch painter. Wagschal was later hanged for attempting to escape. Spitz and Van der Walde were put on a transport. Breuer was alive in the BIId camp as recently as September of 1944. Dunow was sent to the gas in April of 1944. What happened to Speiser, I do not know. They told me they had worked in Trzebinia at expanding the rail transit station. I know nothing of the existence of a second camp in Trzebinia, specifically about a camp supposedly set up in the Trzebinia refinery. I have not met anybody who could provide me with any information about this subject. I also note that the prisoners arriving in Birkenau from Trzebinia also worked at rail construction in Auschwitz. Most of them fell victim to a selection in January of 1944 and were gassed. They were all Jews of various nationalities. Because they arrived from a Polish camp, they were registered as Polish Jews.
I do not know exactly when the prisoners were first given number tattoos. If I am not mistaken, it happened in late 1941. At that point, all prisoners in the Auschwitz camp were tattooed with numbers, even the Reichsdeutsches [ethnic Germans]. Oftringer, Hemerle, and Borhert, who were in the camp at the time, were also tattooed. Later on, tattooing Reichsdeutsches was abandoned. Prisoners arriving in evacuation transports from Warsaw in August and September of 1944 were also not tattooed. However, both groups received numbers under which they were registered in the prisoner files. I stress that because, unlike in those cases, Hungarian Jews, Jews from ghettos liquidated during the German retreat, and Jews arriving on the last transports from Teresienstadt [Theresienstadt] were neither tattooed nor numbered. The Jews from those transports who were not immediately sent to the gas were gathered into transports and sent to other camps with lists naming them. The point was to avoid increasing the prisoner count of the camp by numbering those prisoners.
Mass transports between 16 May and mid-August 1944 brought some 700,000 Hungarian Jews to Birkenau. Of that number, around 600,000 were sent straight to the gas, and around 100,000 were placed in the camp for a brief time. The men were placed in the Gypsy camp BIIe, the women in BIIc and Mexico [the unfinished section of the camp]. They lived there between a few weeks and two months, not tattooed, not numbered, not included in the prisoner registry. Only numbered prisoners were included in the prisoner count, non-numbered Hungarian Jews and Jewesses were listed in the statistics as “ depot”. Hungarian Jews were picked from the Gypsy camp, assembled into larger groups as required by labour needs outside Auschwitz camp, and brought to quarantine camp BIIa. There they were placed in a single block, regardless of the number of prisoners. It happened that a thousand or even more prisoners were placed in one block. They waited in those conditions for a week or more while rail carriages were assembled for the transport. Hungarian women from BIIc or Mexico that were to be transported were placed in one of the BIIb or women’s camp blocks while carriages were assembled. Out of those 100,000 Hungarian men and women, most were sent away in transports, very many died in the camp from disease, some fell victim to selections and went to the gas as well. Hence, after the Hungarian operation was finished, only some 600 Hungarian men and women were left in Birkenau. At the end of 1944, alongside the surviving remnants of Jews from the liquidated ghettos, they were numbered and tattooed. The men were placed in series B with numbers from 17,000 and upwards, the women in series A with numbers from 25,000 upwards. An exception was made in July for 500 Hungarian Jews, who were picked out from a transport to some side camp – a coal mine, I believe – and tattooed in series A. That group is on the Zugang list under the date 3 July 1944. The sending off of transports of Hungarian Jews is described in detail in the Birkenau clothing room document from 14 July 1944, that I have seen. (A copy of that document is attached to the protocol as attachment no. 5.)
Alongside the transports from Hungary, Birkenau received transports of Jews from various liquidated ghettos. Some 350,000 Jews of all ages and both sexes arrived in Birkenau. 300,000 of them were sent to the gas straight from the ramp. The rest were treated the same as the Hungarian Jews, that is, men were put in the Gypsy camp, and women in camp BIIc or Mexico. Their fate was the same as that of the Hungarian Jews who were not sent straight to the gas. The Jews from liquidated ghettos were not tattooed or numbered either.
In the end, some 500 were left in the camp and they were tattooed alongside the remaining Hungarian Jews in late 1944, in the same series.
The running series of numbers tattooed on men included the numbers 1-201,000. Russian prisoners of war were tattooed a number between 1 and 16,000 on their left breast, Gypsies were tattooed with a Z series number between 1 and 16,000. In the summer of 1944, the new A series, 1 through 20,000, and B series, 1 through 18,000, were introduced for Jewish men. Both series covered the same category of Jews, that is, people marked for transports (Transport-Häftlinge), they did not include Schutzhäftling Jews, who were, at the time when the A and B series were introduced, still tattooed with the current series of 1-201,000. After all 20,000 numbers of the A series were exhausted, a new series was started with B. At the same time, Jewish women, except for Schutzhäftling women, were given the women’s series A, 1 through 26,000. The women’s running series included numbers between 1 and 98,000. Gypsy women were tattooed with the Z series, 1 through 12,000. In Auschwitz (Stammlager), there was also a special series for correctional prisoners (Erziehungshäftlinge), with numbers 1 through 8,000. Taken together, the series I have enumerated account for 415,000 of tattooed and numbered prisoners. As I have already explained, these series only included around 20 percent of all prisoners transported to Auschwitz. They were chosen from 2,075,000 prisoners. The rest, the remaining four fifths, 1,660,000, were destroyed without being numbered upon arrival in Auschwitz. If we add to that the 600,000 gassed Hungarian Jews, 300,000 gassed Jews from liquidated ghettos, and some 500,000 prisoners coming in smaller transports, usually brought in by car and all going to the gas without any registration, we arrive at a total of 3,060,000. Out of the people placed in the camp, those 415,000 who were tattooed, some 350,000 were murdered in the camp, making the number of victims murdered in the camps in Oświęcim around 3,500,000. This number does not include any of the prisoners murdered before tattoos were introduced.
The Russian commission based its calculations on crematorium capacity and arrived at the number of Auschwitz victims in that way. They did not consider that the crematoria did not operate round the clock, and in my opinion that is where the surplus comes from. If we consider that the crematoria were quite frequently out of action, even for days at a time, then the count based on that also comes to 3,500,000. I am personally convinced that the number of Auschwitz camp victims does not run any higher. Dr Wohlmann, known to the Commission, shares this opinion.
After the Germans had fled the camp in January of 1945, we found a prisoner count for all of the Auschwitz camps in the main Schreibstube of the Stammlager. It included the following items on 17 January 1945, on the eve of the final liquidation and evacuation of the camp by the Germans:
Babice [Babitz] 159
Brzezinka [Birkenau] – economic department 204
Plawy [Pławy] 138
MKK Brzezinka [Birkenau] 4473
Monowice [Monowitz] 10,224
Goleszów [Golleschau] 1008
Jawischowitz [Jawiszowice] 1988
Neudache [Neu-Dachs] Jaworzno 3664
Elechhammer [Blechhammer] 3959
Hoffnungshutte [Gute Hoffnung] 853
Guntergrube [Günthergrube] 586
Brun [Brünn] 36
Gliwice I [Gleiwitz I] 1336
Gliwice II [Gleiwitz II] 740
Gliwice III [Gleiwitz III] 609
Gliwice IV [Gleiwitz IV] 444
Sosnowiec [Sosnowitz] 863
Sharlottengrube [Charlottengrube] 833
Bismakshutte I [Bismarckhütte I] 192
Bismakshutte II [Bismarckhütte II] 202
Russian prisoners of war 96
Women’s camp I 6191
Men’s camp I 10,033
Hospital (KB [Krankenbau]) 1353
The fate of the Jews who received numbers, were tattooed, and were admitted to the camp, was in my view even more tragic than that of those who went straight from the ramp to the gas. The latter did not suffer, at least, while the prisoners in the camp were doomed to a slow death amidst the most cruel torture, persecution, and abuse. As a result of the treatment by the camp authorities, most prisoners died very quickly. Those who were not killed fell victim to epidemics or died from exhaustion. This is more than just idle talk on my behalf, it is a conclusion drawn from the fate of transports of Slovakian, Dutch, Polish, and French Jews, arriving in the Auschwitz camp between 17 April and 17 July 1942. The fifth transport, on 29 April 1942, marked the arrival of Dr Jakub Wohlman [Wolman], who features in that day’s list of Zugangs under no. 326. He described in detail in his testimony to this Commission how people arriving on those transports were treated. The result of that treatment is visible in my statistics, which I now present. I also present an explanation of those statistics. (The documents have been attached to the protocol as attachment no. 6.) I created the statistical tables based on the lists of Zugangs from the file labelled “ Zugang Listen Juden – nicht fotografiert.” Those lists feature the date of death of every prisoner until 15 August 1942. The transports listed in that file brought a total of 9,683 Jews to Auschwitz. Of that number, 6,973 were dead by 15 August 1942. The goal was the rapid killing of people, planned and methodical. This is seen for example in the fact that on 17 July 1942, the day Himmler visited the camp, there was not a single death. On that day the kommandos did not go to their workplaces, Himmler toured the camp, the SS men were preoccupied with his person and did not kill. The next day 80 prisoners died; on 19 July 1942 there were 146 prisoner deaths.
The first statistical analysis presented here covers the number of victims on specific calendar days between 19 April and 15 August 1942. It shows that out of the total of 9,683 arrivals, only 2,710 survived past 15 August 1942. 91 percent of the first transport did not make it that long, nor did 98 percent of the second, 92.5 percent of the third, 94.8 percent of the fourth, 95.03 percent of the fifth, 94.7 percent of the sixth, 78.3 percent of the seventh, 88.9 percent of the eighth, 80 percent of the ninth, 44.3 percent of the tenth, 30 percent of the eleventh, 48 percent of the twelfth, 70 percent of the thirteenth, 65 percent of the fourteenth, and 30 percent of the fifteenth. The second statistic covers the same transports and the same period, that is, between 17 April and 15 August 1942. There, I listed the prisoners arriving on those transports against the length of their stay in the camp. It shows that in the first week, 3.06 percent of new arrivals survived, in the second 5.32 percent, in the third 6.2 percent, in the fourth 11.32 percent, in the fifth 11.04 percent, in the sixth 10.75 percent, in the seventh 10.45 percent, in the eighth 7 percent, in the ninth 8.07 percent, in the tenth 6.1 percent, in the eleventh 4.75 percent, in the twelfth 3.3 percent, in the thirteenth 1.93 percent, in the fourteenth 1.3 percent, in the fifteenth 2 percent, in the sixteenth 1.49 percent, and in the seventeenth 1.63 percent. All this killing meant that after seventeen weeks, 95.65 percent of the total number of arrivals were dead. The harsh conditions of camp life, in particular the poor hygienic situation and throwing people into the camp regardless of their health, were the reason why around 30 percent of all prisoners were sick and required medical attention at any given time. This number is also taken from the statistical graphs for the period between June 1942 and August 1943, which is in the possession of the Commission.
At first, the sick were “dealt with” by injecting them with phenol. Later on they established something like a hospital, which was designed not just for treating the ill, but also for experiments of all kinds. That the camp hospitals of Auschwitz were the site of human experiments can be seen for example in the Auschwitz surgical department report from 16 December 1943. It lists Hodenamputationen [testicle amputations], Genitalienamputationen [genital amputations], Eierstockentfernungen [ovary removals], and Entfernung des Eileiters [fallopian tube removal]. Not all genital operations served experimental purposes, as some of these surgeries had to be carried out following the SS men’s brutality towards prisoners. However, the number of such cases was a lot lower than the figures in the report, meaning that the figures conceal cases where such surgeries were conducted for purely experimental purposes. Every hospital filed a daily sanitary report, a weekly report, a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual report. These reports were then used to create a general report in special forms sent to the main sanitary office in Oranienburg. Those forms included special fields for sterilization surgeries. (A copy of the 16 December 1943 report has been attached to protocol 7.)
In camp Auschwitz I, the hospital, called Krankenbau in official German correspondence, occupied blocks 9, 19, 20, 21, and 28. Block 9 housed the internal diseases ward and convalescent station. Block 19 was reserved for internal diseases, block 20 for infectious diseases, block 21 for surgery and a dentist station, while block 28 housed the infirmary, an X-ray station, a laboratory, a pharmacy, ear and throat diseases station, eye diseases station, and, on the second floor, a mixed internal disease and surgery ward. In 1944, this hospital was also fitted with women’s departments.
In Birkenau, the BIa sector housed the women’s camp Krankenbau, ocuppying blocks 5 (X-ray and dentist station), 6 (overt tuberculosis), 7 (infirmary and eye department for Aryans), 8 (infectious diseases), 9 (tuberculosis), 10 (children and Reichsdeutsche), 20 (children and mothers), 21 (Durchfall [diarrea]), 22 (selection block for Jews), 24 (tuberculosis), and 33 (surgery).
In November of 1944, the women’s Krankenbau was moved from the FKL [Frauenkonzentrationslager, women’s concentration camp] to sector BIIe, where the following blocks were appropriated: 16 (internal diseases for Aryans), 18 (Durchfall), 20 (surgery), 22 (internal diseases for Jews), 24 (internal diseases for Reichsdeutsches, children, and camp functionaries), 28 (infirmary and gynecology), 30 (tuberculosis), 32 (infectious diseases).
Sector BIIb had its own Krankenbau, located in blocks 28 (women), 30 (men), and 32 (infirmary, dentist station, small surgery station and Schonung [convalescent ward]). Sector BIIc did not have its own Krankenbau. It only had an infirmary, from where patients were sent to the hospitals at FKL or BIIb.
The Krankenbau of sector BIIe was located in blocks 28 (women), 30 (men), and 32 (infirmary, dentist station, and one surgery room each for women and men).
The men’s Krankenbau for Birkenau was originally located in sector BIb, where it occupied blocks 12 (infirmary and diseases – Aryans), 7 (general block, where people marked for Sonderbehandlung [special treatment] were gathered), and 8 (Mittelblock [middle block], for patients not marked for Sonderbehandlung). In June of 1943, sector BIIf was appropriated for use as a men’s Krankenbau. It was a hospital for camp sectors BIIa and BIIb. By the end it consisted of 18 blocks. Block 1 housed the Schreibstube [office], the pharmacy and a laboratory. Blocks 2 and 3 were the surgery [department], blocks 4, 5, and 6 were the internal diseases [department] for Aryans, block 7 was the internal diseases [department] for Reichsdeutsches, block 8 was the infectious diseases department, block 9 was a ward for tuberculosis patients, blocks 10 and 11 were wards for patients with active tuberculosis, block 12 was a ward for Durchfall sufferers and the internal diseases [department] for Jews, block 13 housed the Pflegers [nurses], Bekleidungskammer [clothing warehouse], and dietary kitchen, block 14 was a ward for Jews with skin diseases, block 15 was the same for Aryans, as well as an X-ray station, a dentist station, and an ophthalmology station, block 16 was the baths, block 17 was the internal diseases department for Aryans and tuberculosis sufferers, block 18 was an Achonungsblock [?] for Aryans. Block 12 was expanded with a morgue and a room for experiments with twins, conducted by Mengele. The twins lived in block 15. In autumn of 1944, block 2 was fitted with an abortion room, where prisoner doctors Stern, Herman, and Cohen conducted such procedures on Mengele’s orders. In BIIa, at first an infectious diseases ward was set up in block 16. This was done due to a transport of Majdanek prisoners arriving from Lublin on 15 April 1944. [The arrivals] suffered from various epidemics, they could not be put into the camp, so after some examination of the human material, a transitional Krankenbau was set up in blocks 3, 4, 5, 6 (women’s ward), 9, 10 (ward for male Durchfall sufferers), 11 (Schonungsblock), 12, 13, 14 (tuberculosis), 15 (internal diseases and surgery), and 16 (infectious diseases ward). The infectious diseases ward remained in block 16 until the liquidation of the camp. The wards in other blocks were shut down after some two and a half months, and the sick were transferred to sector BIIf.
After the Germans’ flight, 1200 sick remained in Auschwitz, 600 in Monowitz, and 5800 in Birkenau. 4000 of that last figure were women. In Auschwitz the Germans left behind 48 killed and dead, and 600 in Birkenau.
The Russians turned Auschwitz’s former hospital blocks and blocks 10, 16, 17, and 18 into a Soviet military hospital for prisoners, which was also used for the sick from Monowitz as well as patients requiring surgery and suffering from distrophia alimentaris [tissue degeneration from malnutrition] from Birkenau. Hospitals in sectors BIIe and BIIf remained in operation until the end of February of 1945. At that point, a second Soviet war hospital for prisoners was set up in Auschwitz, occupying blocks 12, 13, 14, 22, and 23. Convalescents were constantly being transported away, so the number of patients constantly decreased, so that at the end of March of 1945 both military hospitals were merged. The number of fatalities since the Soviet authorities took over charge of the sick is over a thousand. Those people died in spite of the most dedicated medical care. Currently there are still two or three patient deaths every week.
Under the Germans, the sick in camp hospitals were cared for by prisoners who were doctors, overseen by SS doctors and nurses of the SDG [Sanitätsdienstgrad, sanitary service]. Although there were very many doctors imprisoned in the camp, they were not [all] assigned to work in the hospital, so if we wanted to make use of their labour for the benefit of the sick, we had to bring doctors and nurses [into the hospital blocks] as patients.
After Auschwitz was taken by Soviet forces, we presented a Soviet courier with a memorandum dated 4 March 1945, which we addressed to international public opinion, condemning Nazi crimes in Auschwitz and presenting the names of the principal torturers. The memorandum was signed by all doctors and very many surviving prisoners. I present a copy of that memorandum, asking it be attached to the protocol (attachment no. 8).
As I mentioned in the beginning when describing the organisation of camp hospitals in Auschwitz, before the hospitals were set up, physically weak or sick prisoners were killed with phenol injections. I support the description heretofore provided in my testimony of the method of murdering prisoners through that procedure with details given to me by prisoner no. 32,635, Franciszek [Franz] Dannemann, Austrian citizen, born on 30 July 1905 in Lugos, and known to me personally. According to Dannemann’s account, based on information directly available to him, phenol injections were used to kill a large percentage of physically weak prisoners between late 1941 and late 1942. When the gas chambers were completed and put into operation in late 1942, that method was abandoned. Its inventor was the camp doctor SS-Obersturmführer [low-ranking officer] Dr Entress from Poznań. He commanded prison doctors to present him daily with a number of seriously ill, who were later killed with a phenol injection. In some days that number was more than 300. The injections were usually administered by both of the SDG (Sanitätsdienstgruppe) SS-Oberscharführers [non-commissioned officers]: Klehr and Scherpe, from Silesia. Their assistants in this craft were prisoners Stessel and Pauschik [Pauszik], both Poles. Stessel, allegedly a former Polish officer and prisoner executioner in the camp, bragged himself that he murdered 10,000 sick prisoners with phenol injections. After some time he was shot himself in block 11. His position passed to Pauschik [Pauszik], who killed up to 12,000 sick with phenol injections. Pauschik [Pauszik] was later transferred to another camp. At first, only phenol was injected. Later on there were “successful” experiments with injecting gasoline, oil, or even urine. As late as January of 1943, 90 children aged 6 to 14, from Poland, were placed in the hospital camp to be killed with phenol injections. At the last moment, Polish kapo Simkowiak [Szymkowiak?], tasked with administering injections at the time, refused to perform the procedure. Klehr and Scherpe therefore did the job themselves. Dannemann stressed that Klehr committed these repulsive crimes with particular gusto, and highlighted the fact that prisoners who allowed themselves to be used to perform these criminal procedures were later killed.
These details were also confirmed by Auschwitz prisoner no. 106,358, Dr Albert Wenger, United States citizen, resident in Vienna prior to his arrest, born on 3 September 1899 in New York, known to me personally, who, aside from the aforementioned specialists in phenol injections, also named SS-Unterscharführer [junior-ranking NCO] Hantel [Hantl], SS-Unterscharführer Nierzwicki, and prisoner Haustig as their less prominent accomplices. Wenger arrived in the Auschwitz camp on 6 March 1943. After a brief period, he fell sick with pneumonia and was transferred to hospital block 28. After returning to health he worked first as a Pfleger and room clerk, later as a block clerk, finally as room senior prisoner (Stubedienst, called Saalkommendant in the Auschwitz camp). He would pass on to me what he had observed during selections performed in the hospital by Entress. Every three weeks, Entress searched the camp for “Muslims” [prisoners exhausted and starved almost to death]. The next day, open-topped trucks would arrive in front of the hospital and the wretches were loaded onto them, often wearing nothing but shirts, and were carted off like cattle for the slaughter into Birkenau, where they were killed with gas in the gas chambers. Having seen the lists drawn up in the Hauptschrebstube [camp chief office], [Wenger] personally confirmed that within six days of the “Muslims” being taken away they were written down as dead. Among the gassed, he has named the following he had personally known: Józef Iratz from Vienna, Herbert Kohn from New York, and Burger Mayers, also from New York. In autumn of 1943, he witnessed Nierzwicki abuse a 28-years-old prisoner, Willy Kritsch, a German construction technician. Nierzwicki beat the prisoner so badly that he fell over. As he was still showing signs of life, Nierzwicki ordered him to be taken to the operating room, where he gave him a phenol injection. The cause of death given in the prisoner lists was Herzschwäche [heart failure].
Employed in the hospital as a Pfleger, it was possible for Wenger to look into what was happening in block 11 in Auschwitz. Based on what he had personally seen, he told me that every two or three weeks there were mass shootings in front of the “black wall” in the block yard. During such executions, a Blocksperra [lockdown] was called in the camp, so only hospital personnel had the right to go to block 11. In late 1943 or early 1944 he personally saw nurses load the corpses of those shot – stripped bare – onto trucks. The dead were young men and women. One car after another left, loaded to the brim with dead bodies. Fountains of blood flowed from the yard of block 11. The prisoners from the disinfection [detail] and from the hospital were scrubbing the blood away and shovelling dust and ash over the yard. In October of 1944, a Viennese trade official named Bertold Storfer was shot. He was called to block 11 and never came back. After a few days I noted in the Hauptschrebstube that Strofer’s record file had a date of death entered. Wenger also witnessed how, shortly before Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, SS-Hauptsturmführer [ranking officer] Krause, surrounded by SS men, shot two prisoners working in the kitchen, including the Dutch doctor Ackermann.
I have learned the following details regarding other experiments conducted on Auschwitz prisoners from Wenger. He believes the main perpetrator of experimentation on live humans to have been Prof. Klauberg [Clauberg], a German gynaecologist from Katowice, who worked with Dr Ghobel [Gobel], a chemist from Berlin. The goal of their experiments was to invent new contrast agents for X-ray photographs to replace iodipine, which was no longer being produced in Germany due to an iodine shortage. Clauberg was, however, a Geschaftsmann [businessman] first and foremost, he worked under contract from the German chemical industry, which paid him a lump sum for every woman he used in experiments. Clauberg’s close associate was the 21-years-old Slovak Silvia Friedmann, who knew how to gain his favour. The women were put on the X-ray table and then a thick concrete-like fluid mass was injected into their uterus and urethra with an electric needle. The pumping of the mass was controlled by X-ray, and photographs were then taken. After the photographs were taken, the women writhed in pain, often bled profusely and excreted that thick fluid mass.
Such experiments were conducted on the same women three to six times in intervals of three or four weeks. The women, completely spent through experimentation, were sent to Birkenau to be gassed. Some 400 women were victims of such experiments, including Retia Wattermann from Amsterdam, born in 1924, and Mina Lieber, from France. Due to the high pressure of the fluid mass injection into the women’s uteri, and perhaps also due to the chemical properties of the fluid mass itself, the women used for the experiments suffered from inflammation of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and peritoneum.
Further experiments were conducted by SS-Obersturmführer Weber and his associate SS-Oberscharführer Munch. Those experiments sought to mark blood types by using Standartserum (Tiefserum) to determine the amount of sulfonamides and salicylic compounds in the blood, and to determine the body’s response to injections of blood taken from malaria sufferers (Malariablut). There was also research into the construction of gypsum models of female reproductive organs, into artificial insemination, and into sterilization with X-rays. As I have already mentioned, my colleague Wenger was employed in block 9. Experiments were performed on women in the neighbouring block 10. Thanks to that he had a chance to speak clandestinely with the victims of the experimentation, and so his information came right from the source.
I know further details of the experiments conducted in block 10 from an account by Auschwitz prisoner Edward de Wind, born on 6 February 1916 in Den Haag [The Hague] in the Netherlands. He worked as a prisoner doctor in block 10 and therefore had an insight into the goings-on in experimental block 10. According to his account, the experiments conducted there could be divided into four groups: group one, experiments to research cancer; group two, sterilization experiments; group three, experiments to find a new contrast mass for X-ray photographs; and group four, experiments in haematology and serology. These were performed on women of Jewish origin, many of whom suffered through it several times. In March of 1943, some 50 women of various nationalities were transferred to Birkenau’s block 10. Some of these were: Irena Michael from Esso, daughter of a doctor there, Margit Neuman, and Sylvia Friedman from Czechoslovakia. Margit Neuman was the senior block prisoner, and Sylvia Friedman was Clauberg’s assistant. That same month, that is, in March of 1943, block 10 received 100 Greek women from a Salonika transport. In April of 1943, it received 110 Belgians, including Sonia Meisel, wife to a doctor. In July and August of 1943, 50 Frenchwomen were transferred to the block. Out of the transport arriving in Auschwitz on 15 September 1943, block 10 received 40 Dutchwomen, later on 100 Dutchwomen, including sculptress Margot Friedlender [Friedlander, Friedländer] from Amsterdam. In late September of 1943, 100 more Dutchwomen arrived at the block, and they were eventually joined by 12 Poles from Będzin. Block 10 briefly housed prostitutes, who were there for quarantine and were later moved to block 24.
Under orders from garrison doctor (Standardarzt) Wirths, Dr Samuel, a German Jew and gynaecology lecturer from the university in Köln [Cologne], also took part in the cancer research. He would sedate women and cut out part of their cervix. The amputated tissue was frozen and examined under a microscope. The goal was to investigate changes in tissues particularly likely to develop cancer. Samuel explained that he only took small parts of the mucosa. However, we were all profoundly convinced that he sampled quite a lot of tissue and cut deep, for further experiments on women mutilated in this way would show that their cervix was impassable for a probe due to serious scarring. Women unsuitable for further experimentation were sent to the Birkenau hospital six weeks after the surgery. Because they were not fit for work, they were then sent to the gas. One victim of such a death was Jerina Kasmann, born in 1907 in France. Among the women who survived these experiments, [de] Wind named Mina Herman, born on 27 December 1902 in Amsterdam.
Samuel’s associate was an electromechanical engineer from Prague, Maks Ippe, who built a camera for taking photographs of the interior of the vagina and from inside the vagina. Such photographs were exhausting and uncomfortable, as it took an hour to capture them and they had to be repeated several times. Ippe was of Jewish background, 30 years of age. Samuel was later cast out to Birkenau, where, as we all believe, he was shot.
Experiments with X-rays were conducted by Professor Schumann. He performed them on girls 17 or 18 years old. One of his victims was Bella Schimschi of Salonika, another was Dora Buyena, also from Salonika. Very few of them survived. Schumann conducted the experiments as follows: he placed one electrode on a girl’s belly, another on her backside, thus placing them in an ultrashort wave field, with the waves aimed at the ovaries, which burned as a result. Improper dosages of waves caused severe burns and ulcers on the bellies and backsides. One of the girls died as a result of such torture. Others were transferred to Birkenau. After three months, they were shipped back to Auschwitz and each of them was given two check-up surgeries. During those surgeries, the girls’ reproductive organs were removed so that they could be examined. Hormonal changes brought about as a result of these procedures were probably why the girls were not the same afterwards, appearing like old ladies.
Dannemann, Wenger, and de Wind were exhaustively interrogated by the Soviet Commission [Extraordinary Soviet State Commission for the Investigation of the Crimes of the German- Fascist Aggressors ] before leaving Auschwitz.
Between 17 and 21 April 1945, I was heard by the Commission for the Investigation of German-Nazi Crimes in Oświęcim. The protocol of my testimony was translated into German. I reviewed it carefully and conclude that its German version is a faithful rendering of what I had testified. I now present that protocol to the Commission so that it may be attached to the present protocol in order to supplement my testimony and properly explain it in the context of the general background I have outlined in my testimony to the Commission headed by the ministers.
The witness testified in German, understood by the Commission, and therefore was heard without a translator. After the protocol was read out and translated by a judge into German, the witness stated as follows:
Das vorstehende Protokol wurde mir vollnhaltlichin die deutsche Sprache ubersetzt. Ich annerkenne die Aufname als richtig, und meine Aussagen wort – und sinngemass wiedergebend. Die beigeschlossenen Arbeit uber Wasserversorgung etc. /Anlage Nr.3/ sowie das Protokol meiner Aussage vor der Hauptkommissionumfassend 184 Maschinschriftseiten, ist von mir persohnlich redigiert, und bin ich jeder Zeit bereit, fur die Richtigkeit der darin angefuhrten Tatsachen, voll und ganz einzustehen. Als Beweis dafur unterzeichne ich dieses Protokol und die beigeschlossene Arbeiten Blatt fur Blatt, eingehandig in Gegenwart der Kommission. Dasselbe betrifft die unter Anlage 6 dem Protokol beigeschlossenem Statistiken und das dazu gehorige Kommentar.
The protocol was read out. At this, the proceedings and the present protocol were concluded on 8 July 1945.