Auschwitz, 9 August 1946, District Judge Jan Sehn, acting on the basis of the Decree of 10 November 1945 (Journal of Laws No. 51, item 293) on the Main Commission and District Commissions for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, as a member of the Main Commission, heard in accordance with art. 255, pursuant to art. 107, 115 of the Criminal Code the person named below, who testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Wacław Weszke|
|Date and place of birth||5 September 1904 in Melburg|
|Parents’ names||Piotr and Józefa Wojtasik|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Nationality and national affiliation||Polish|
|Place of residence||Chorzów I, Toruńska Street 11|
I stayed in the concentration camp in Auschwitz from 12 January 1941 until 2 December 1944 as prisoner No. 9,530. I worked in the carpentry shop, in the Gemeinschaftslager kitchen, in the Grynke [Gronke] tannery, and from May 1944 as a block senior in block 15. This last assignment involved having to work every day in the home and garden of Commandant Höß. I had already had some contact with this house while working in the camp carpentry shop, where I was commissioned to make the bedroom, part of a children’s room, a children’s playroom, hall fittings, a greenhouse, a summer house (Gartenhaus) as well as garden furniture under the direction of the carpentry Oberkapo Balke. All these things were made without an official order. Höß was interested in the progress of the work, so he came to the carpentry shop and discussed the details with Balke. There was no SS officer in the carpentry shop, so its sole boss was Balke, who was later released from the camp for his zeal and for services rendered to Höß. He was a professional criminal with a green triangle.
I know with absolute certainty, and I strongly declare that neither did he pay the camp for making the furniture in the carpentry shop, nor for the materials used. The furniture was made of the best materials that the camp had at its disposal. Officially, these materials were distributed among other official orders.
After a short stint in the Gemeinschaftslager kitchen, I was transferred, thanks to the intercession of my friend Myszkowski, to the tannery, under the management of a professional criminal named Erich Gronke, who at that time had been released from the camp. For some time, the tannery was one of the storehouses for items looted from the Jews—in particular jewelry, clothing and leather goods were stored there. There, these products were inspected to determine whether or not any valuables were hidden inside them. A few separate kommandos were assigned to this work, in one of which my friend Jarosz worked. People from this kommando, as I know from personal conversations with them, found a lot of valuables. They handed them over to Gronke without a receipt. The fate of these treasures, I don’t know. It was generally assumed that Gronke took some for himself, and gave the rest to Höß.
On the premises of the tannery, Gronke arranged a kind of private artistic carpentry shop to serve the commandant and other leaders. In this carpentry shop, I personally created a decorative underwear box (trug) for Höß, three armchairs, a table, sconces, a couch with side paneling and a desk, and on Höß’s order for Himmler, a very richly decorated and intricate cabinet for a radio and adapter. Besides this, I used to craft and carve many other things for Höß’s farm.
On the tannery grounds, Gronke organized an artistic ironworks, a basketry shop and coach house to serve Höß and his home. He took the best professionals from the camp to this workshop. These people, each within his area of expertise, worked all day on orders for Höß. And here, neither for the material nor the work did Höß pay a thing. Other workshops too that had been set up on the tannery grounds, and therefore the tannery itself—a shoemaker’s and tailor’s—worked for Höß and his household. The best specialists were employed to carry out his orders. I know that one day, early in the morning, before the departure of the work kommandos, Gronke carried three chests of leather from the tannery to the Höß house. These skins were then sent by rail to the Reich. Everything for Höß had to be meticulously crafted from first-class materials. These were all exquisite products, and no expense was spared either in terms of the cost of the raw materials, or the labor of the prisoners. They were made with Höß’s knowledge.
In the final period of my stay in the camp, I worked for a long time in the garden of Höß’s house. There I was in contact with both Höß and his wife. Höß completely ignored the prisoners and didn’t engage in any discussions or conversations with them. Requests were met with silence. His wife was talkative and she helped out some of the people who worked for her—because they were useful. That was the case with Dubiel and Kwiatkowski, for example—the old gardeners employed by the Höß family. She was brutal towards other prisoners. I myself witnessed Höß’s wife beating some prisoners. She used a stick for this purpose. From how the Hößes behaved, I inferred that they hated Poles. Höß’s wife herself often said that the Poles must die. She spoke about the Poles constantly in an insulting and abusive way. Personally, I didn’t have any closer dealings with her; I suppose that more details about Höß and his family can be given by my friend Dubiel, who worked longer than me in Höß’s garden.
I recall that in the summer before Himmler’s sudden arrival in Auschwitz, Höß, while scouring the camp to check that everything was in order, personally shot at a prisoner he came across in the Holzhof, completely ‘Muslimified’, who couldn’t get up when Höß was passing through the Holzhof. Höß missed.
During the liquidation of the Hungarian Jews in Birkenau, Höß managed this operation on behalf of Berlin. He often came home spattered with blood, especially with blood-soaked shoes. He walked quickly through the garden to his home. The prisoners employed in the Höß household told us that Höß’s wife was aware of the commandant’s role in the campaign against the Hungarian Jews [and] she approved, saying that all Jews must die.
The Höß family had five children, raised as Nazis and in the spirit of neo-Paganism. Höß was himself a staunch SS man who followed all the customs practiced by members of this confederacy and ordered by his leadership. He liked Old Germanic motifs; he had paintings with this symbolism illustrating the supposed power of pra-Germanism.
The report was read out and thus concluded.