On 30 August 1947 in Kraków, member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, municipal judge Dr Stanisław Żmuda, acting at the written request of the first prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal, this dated 25 April 1947 (file no. NTN 719/47), in accordance with the provisions of and procedure provided for under the Decree of 10 November 1945 (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 51, item 293), in connection with articles 254, 107, and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, heard as a witness the below mentioned former prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who testified as follows:

Name and surname Michał Skawiński
Date and place of birth 17 March 1919 in Kraków
Parents’ names Michał and Maria, née Olesiak
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Marital status single
Occupation student
Citizenship and nationality Polish
Place of residence Kraków, Friedleina Street 16a
Criminal record none

I was arrested by the Gestapo on 12 April 12 1940 near Czorsztyn on the way to Hungary. I was first detained in Nowy Targ until 18 May 1940, then transferred to a prison on Montelupich Street in Kraków, from where I was transported by car on 20 June 1940 and sent to Auschwitz. At the Auschwitz camp I was imprisoned until the end of October 1944, and then transferred to the Oranienburg camp, where I worked first in the Heinkel factory, then in Klinkerwerk [brick-work factory] until 18 April 1945. On 3 May 1945 I was freed by American troops.

I arrived at the Auschwitz camp on 20 June 1940 and received the number 1023. I didn’t go through quarantine, but I was assigned to work immediately, first in Gliwitz-Kommando, followed by various earthwork, transport, demolition work, etc. For a longer period, I worked in Malerei-Bauleitung [construction management] as a painter. In the summer of 1943 I was sectioned in the punitive unit (SK [Strafkompanie]) in Birkenau for two months.

During my stay in the Auschwitz camp, I encountered various SS men, and I was familiar with the activities of some of them. I’m very familiar with SS man Plagge both by sight and by name; he was known among the prisoners as “Little Pipe”. He was the Sportführer, and manifested great sadism and cruelty towards the prisoners, whom for no reason he would beat with a stick at the drop of a hat and tormented the prisoners with exhausting exercises. Personally, I didn’t experience this “sport” with Plagge, but I saw him put other prisoners through their paces, and I saw him walk around the prisoners as they rolled on the ground and kick sand in their eyes. Plagge was the nemesis of the prisoners throughout the camp, and he belonged to the rank of the senior SS men, with whom he would associate, but I don’t know his exact rank. I know he was a Blockführer in the parent camp for some time, but I didn’t come into contact with him during that period, and finally he was Rapportführer in the Gypsy camp, and I saw him there in connection with my painting work at the delousing place and Gypsy camp hospital. I saw him there often walking with a stick and beating prisoners, and the prisoners of the Gypsy camp were afraid of him.

I am also familiar, by name and by sight, with Aumeier, who was the first Schutzhaftlagerführer [head of the camp] of the Auschwitz camp. He was a man of small stature, known among the prisoners as “Łokietek” [“Elbow”]. Throughout almost the entire day, you could see him in the camp, holding his gun, threatening the prisoners with it, shooting in the air; moreover, he beat and kicked the prisoners. He was in good shape and used to do jump kicks on the prisoners. At his command the block leaders had the task of observing the activities of the prisoners and to report the slightest misdemeanor to him, and after the evening roll call, he would mete out the punishments, usually beating the prisoners on a vaulting horse.

At the time when I worked as a painter in the kitchen for prisoners I used the opportunity to organize myself some food from the supplies taken from the Jews, and as a result I was reported to Aumeier, who immediately sentenced me to 15 lashes. Stiwitz and Schulz carried out the punishment in his presence. Then Aumeier assigned me a criminal report in which Palitzsch gave me a penalty: two months in the punitive unit.

I saw some public executions by hanging on the gallows in front of the prison kitchen. These executions took place on the order and in the presence of Aumeier. He also took part in the shooting of prisoners in block 11, as I was told by my late colleague Szostak, a functionary in the bunkers of block 11. I sometimes saw Aumeier in action while entering or leaving block 11.

In connection with my painting work, in 1944 I also met SS man Kurt Müller, who then served as Arbeitsdienstführer [work manager]. I often saw Müller punch prisoners, mostly in the face, and conduct spot inspections among prisoners on smaller, external kommandos and my fellow prisoners often complained to me that for the slightest thing Müller would report on them, which would entail various punishments, even the bunker.

I also know the then head of the Malerei-Bauleitung, SS-Unterscharführer Fritz Taddiken, since he was my superior from (the end of) 1941 until my departure from Auschwitz. I know him well both by name and by sight. He was a tall, blonde man. In the area of painting he was a real expert and he delegated and supervised the painting work both inside and outside the camp. He was a fervent party loyalist, and wore an embroidered V on his shirt sleeves, which meant several years of party membership. In his conversations with the prisoners he always emphasized his party allegiance and worshipped Hitler. Regarding the prisoners under him, he behaved, for an SS man, quite decently. I didn’t notice him hit a prisoner, report anyone or interfere in organizing food. He was a balanced, calm kind of man, only concerned with his profession.

I am also familiar, by name and by sight, with Josten, an SS officer, who was the commanding officer of the guard company and the controller of the guards and the various kommandos that worked outside the camp. He was a man of medium height, thin, with a long face and protruding cheekbones, always pale, with lots of wrinkles on his face; he wore glasses with black frames. I watched him sometimes during spot inspections of prisoners outside the camp, and moreover I heard from my fellow prisoners that during all such inspections he made criminal reports, which always entailed severe penalties. He terrorized the prisoners. A few times he also checked the workplace where I was employed and screamed at the prisoners, checked whether the prisoners were working hard or neglecting their job, as well as whether they were making contact with civilians or organizing anything. Besides this, I have no direct knowledge of Josten’s activities.

At this the report was concluded, read out and signed.