Oświęcim, 7 August 1946. Regional Investigative Judge Jan Sehn, acting in accordance with the Decree of 10 November 1945 (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 51, item 293) on the Main Commission and Regional Commissions for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, as a member of the Main Commission, pursuant to Article 255, in connection with Articles 107 and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, interviewed the person specified below, who testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Stanisław Dubiel|
|Date and place of birth||13 November 1910, Chorzów|
|Parents’ names||Klemens and Anna Pietrzak|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Place of residence||Chorzów I, Powstańców Street 49|
I was in the Auschwitz concentration camp from 6 November 1940 to 18 January 1945. My number was 6059. Almost from the beginning, I worked as a gardener – first for Lagerführer Fritzsch, who held that position until the end of 1941, and later on for his successor Lagerführer Aumeier, who took over that post in January 1942, when Fritzsch was transferred to Flossenbürg.
On 6 April 1942, I was sent as a gardener to the house of the camp commandant, Rudolf Höß. I worked there until the end of his stay in the camp, or even longer – until his family left Auschwitz. Höß was transferred from Auschwitz to the headquarters in autumn 1943, and his family left Auschwitz in the summer of 1944. When I worked in the garden and in Höß’s household, I had a chance to closely observe both him and his family. Höß came home during the day very often. He frequently rode around the camp on horse or by other means of transport. He looked about everywhere and was interested in all camp matters. He spent the least amount of time in his office. Files requiring his signature were brought to his house, where he took care of such matters. In his house, he often received visits from SS dignitaries. For example, Himmler visited him twice.
During his first visit, Himmler spoke very warmly to Höß and his wife, took Höß’s children upon his lap, and the children called him “Onkel Heini.” Such scenes were captured in photographs – enlargements hung on the walls in Höß’s house. During Himmler’s second visit to Auschwitz, shortly before Höß left the position of commandant, Himmler told Höß in the garden that the latter must leave the camp because there was too much talk on English radio about the extermination of prisoners in Auschwitz. Discussing that subject, Höß stated that he was convinced that his work in Auschwitz greatly benefited his homeland. He said this directly after Himmler had touched on the issue of the gassing of people. I personally heard a part of that discussion, and we heard the rest from the Bible Students, female prisoners employed in Höß’s household. They were both German, fierce opponents of the Nazi system. One of them – Sophie Stipel – came from Höß’s hometown, that is from
Mannheim-Ludwigshafen. She had known him since childhood because they used to live on the same street. She told me that during the second conversation with Himmler, Höß literally said: „Ich dachte ich werde meinem Vaterlande damit einen Dienst erweisen” [I thought I was doing my country a favor]. I believe Sophie Stipel currently lives with her daughter in Heidelberg. Both Stipel and her friend always told us about conversations concerning the camp which they had overheard. They warned us when we had to be especially careful to avoid being given away. Thanks to their help, in many cases we managed to prevent great evil.
Obergruppenführer Schmauser was also a frequent visitor to Höß’s home, and the head of Wirtschafts und Verwaltungshauptamt [SS Main Economic and Administrative Office], SS-Obergruppenführer Pohl, visited him several times – I believe five. Pohl’s visits took place in a very cordial atmosphere. It was obvious that Höß and Pohl were friends. It seemed to us that Höß gave Pohl gifts.
During all those visits, the Höß family hosted wonderful parties for their guests. Höß’s wife instructed me to organize the necessary food supplies. Before each such party, she listed the foods she would need or she told me to speak about it with the cook, Sophie. She did not give me any of the money or ration cards necessary for doing the groceries. I arranged it in the following way: thanks to my friend Adolf Maciejowski, who was a Kapo in one of the prisoners’ food storehouses, I contacted the head of that storehouse, SS-Unterscharführer Schebeck. I went to him every week for the food rations allocated to the female prisoners employed in Höß’s household. While talking to Schebeck, I mentioned that I had overheard a conversation during which Höß said something about Schebeck’s promotion. Schebeck really wanted to get promoted, so he asked me if I needed anything for the Höß family – in this way I came to an understanding with him. When I collected food rations for the prisoners, I always took food items needed in Höß’s household. Thanks to Schebeck’s help, I was able to transport these goods to Höß’s house. In this way, I provided them with three bags of sugar, 85 kg each, in just one year. Höß’s wife made it clear to me that no SS man could know about the errands I was running. I assured her that I had an arrangement with a friend. I also agreed with Schebeck that he would behave as if he did not know anything about the matter, and I assured him that Höß did not know about those transactions. Finally, I told him the truth – that I acted with Höß’s consent – but if Schebeck or I said anything, it would certainly end very badly for us, because Höß would surely deny everything. I told him so because I wanted him to know that if we were discreet, Höß would do us no harm.
I also used this situation to benefit my colleagues, namely I convinced Schebeck to give me more food, part of which I could later smuggle into the camp and feed prisoners who needed it, especially sick inmates. Initially, I carried those items in a basket, and later on I used a trolley for that purpose. At that time, the food warehouse was well stocked, because it contained products taken away from Jews who arrived at Auschwitz in mass transports, the majority of whom went straight to the gas chambers. From that warehouse, I took the following items to Höß’s private household: sugar, flour, margarine, various types of baking powders, soup seasonings, pasta, oatmeal, cocoa, cinnamon, semolina, peas, and other products.
Höß’s wife was never satisfied. She constantly talked to me about what was still missing in her household, implying what I should try to get her. Not only did she supply her own kitchen with these products, but she also sent some of them to her relatives in Germany. In the same way, I provided Höß’s kitchen with meat from the slaughterhouse and constant milk supplies. I would like to point out that Höß and his family were entitled to a liter and a quarter of milk per day based on his milk ration cards. Every day, I took five liters of milk from the prison dairy to Höß’s kitchen, and often some cream at Höß’s wife’s request. The dairy was paid for a liter and a quarter of milk. The Höß family did not pay for any other products, namely for anything that I brought to their kitchen and household from the prison food warehouse and the camp slaughterhouse.
Höß’s household also had another supplier – the head of the canteen and the head of the camp slaughterhouse, Engelbrecht, who during his stay in Auschwitz was promoted from an Oberscharführer to an Obersturmführer. He provided them with meat, sausages and cigarettes from the canteen. I saw in Höß’s house boxes of Yugoslavian “Ibar” cigarettes, containing 10,000 cigarettes each. Those were cigarettes that could be purchased only in the canteen for prisoners. Höß’s wife offered me those cigarettes and also used them as payment for prisoners who had to perform secretive tasks (Schwarzarbeiten) for her, putting themselves at risk for the toughest punishments. It is worth mentioning that Höß issued an order prohibiting such jobs. As far as his household was concerned, he did not observe that order. I believe he knew that I supplied his household with food. It happened many times that he found me in the kitchen while I was unpacking goods I had just brought in. He also saw the supplies piled up in the chamber and pantry of his house, and he himself used them and hosted receptions. He knew how to take care of his household, which was also evidenced by the fact that when he traveled to Hungary, after he left the position of commandant, he sent his family whole crates of wine. He traveled to Hungary as a special representative in charge of the extermination of Jews in Europe (Sonderbeauftragter für die Judenvernichtung in Europa) – this is how his wife officially called him. She told me that Höß’s enemies had not managed to destroy him, but on the contrary – he was promoted and got an even more important mission to fulfill.
I would like to emphasize once again that I had to organize for Höß even the smallest things needed at home, like shoe polish or shoe brushes. It is worth mentioning that Höß’s wife swapped underwear that was intended for female prisoners employed in her house. The underwear, from the Canada warehouses, had been robbed from gassed Jewish women, and was given to those servants from time to time. Höß’s house was furnished in the same way. Also in this way everything was done through prisoners who smuggled things from the camp. The house was furnished with the most exquisite furniture: leather-padded desk drawers from the warehouses of the leather factory (Lederfabrik), where leather items looted from mass Jewish transports were stored.
Leather and leather items were delivered to Höß’s house by a former prisoner and a professional criminal, Erich Gronke. Thanks to Höß’s efforts, he was released and employed as director of the leather factory. Every day, Gronke came to Höß’s house and brought accessories and shoes of all kinds: for women, men, and children. All clothes for the commandant and his sons were made at Gronke’s leather factory. For this purpose, the best tailors were assigned to work for him: first Poles, and then world-famous specialists – Jews from France, Belgium and other countries. For about a year and a half, two Jewish seamstresses worked in Höß’s house. They made clothes for Höß’s wife and daughters from fabrics provided by Gronke, that is from supplies robbed from Jews. I would like to point out that in the tannery warehouses (Lederfabrik), clothes and other items, previously belonging to Jews who had been gassed, were searched for hidden valuables, especially gold, valuable currencies and diamonds. Gronke himself told me that there were lots of those items. A colleague of mine, Stanisław Jarosz, who worked in the tannery, also confirmed this. They worked in a special closed room. The valuables found were given to Gronke without any receipt. I suppose that both Gronke and Höß – through Gronke – made use of those valuables.
It is worth mentioning that I cultivated the most exquisite flowers in the garden and greenhouse for Höß’s wife, but she was not satisfied with what I was able to grow using the resources available in the camp. She would send SS men to the house of an inmate who worked with me in the garden, Roman Kwiatkowski from Będzin (Łąki Street 1), from where they would bring seeds and seedlings she had ordered them to fetch. Kwiatkowski’s son would also bring us those plants. They were ordered to do so by Höß’s wife’s helpers.
I also have to mention the following observation that I made. Höß instructed a prisoner from the slaughterhouse to prepare canned pig meat for him. Those canned foods were not prepared properly and they went bad. When Höß found out about it, he gave an order to transfer the spoiled canned food to the prison kitchen, in exchange for which he took fresh products from Engelbrecht’s slaughterhouse. By using prisoners’ labor and camp resources for his own purposes, Höß made his household so magnificent and so well equipped that his wife declared: „Hier will ich leben und sterben” [here I want to live and die]. They had everything in their household and there was no way they would lack anything with the enormous supplies of all kinds of goods accumulated in the camp.
In addition to the already mentioned suppliers, I should also mention Rottenführer Hartung, who was employed in the gardening unit in Rajsko. From that camp, he smuggled for Höß thousands of flowerpots, seeds, seedlings and vegetables in autumn for winter storage, which he kept secret from the head of the camp agricultural sector, Dr. Caesar. For every winter, I had to organize 70 tons of coke for heating the house and, above all, the greenhouses – of course cooperating with my colleagues. Höß saw all the things accumulated in his household, he knew I supplied them, but he never asked me where I got those things from and how I paid for them. It is no wonder then that the Höß family had accumulated so many goods in their so-called [illegible] that they needed four train cars to transport them after Höß was transferred. Based on what Höß’s wife said, I realized that Höß really wanted to stay in Auschwitz. Despite having been promoted in the Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt hierarchy, he was not satisfied with the transfer to the headquarters. He believed it was caused by intrigues on the part of the head of the camp farms, Dr. Joachim Caesar, with whom he did not get on well. Höß got on well with the head of the camp construction department, Bischoff.
As the camp commandant, Höß had power over the Political Department, and particularly over its head, Grabner, which was evidenced by the fact that I was released from the bunker and crossed off the list of people chosen for execution by that department. Since I was arrested on the suspicion of belonging to a Polish underground organization, which must have been stated in my personal files kept by the Political Department, I was placed on the list of people chosen for execution by shooting three times. The first time was on 12 June 1942, when I was chosen from the block, along with 172 other inmates, and from the Schreibstube I was to be sent, just like the others from that group, to the yard of block 11. Höß then demanded that I be released and return to work, which of course took place. On the same day in the afternoon, Grabner, accompanied by Höß’s aide and Hössler, came to Höß’s garden, where I worked at that time, and demanded that I be shot dead. Höß, and especially his wife, were categorically opposed to it and put their foot down. I was placed again on the list of people to be executed in July or August 1942, and for the last time on 28 October 1942. That third time I was to be executed by firing squad with a group of 280 prisoners from the Lublin area. This time Höß also objected to my execution. Höß’s wife repeatedly reminded me about this, forcing me in this way to zealously perform the tasks that I have briefly described above. I would like to point out that neither Höß nor his wife supported me on moral grounds, as they were both fierce enemies of Poles and Jews. They hated everything that was Polish. Höß’s wife very often told me: „Die Polen müssen alle zusammen für die [illegible] in Bromberg bezahlen. Sie sind nur dazu da um zu arbeiten bis zum verrecken” [Polish people have to pay for what happened in Bydgoszcz. They’re here to work until they die]. As for Jews, she believed that they all must disappear from the surface of the earth, and that some day the time would come even for English Jews.
The report was read out. At this point, the interview and the present report were concluded.