On 27 August 1947 in Kraków, a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Magistrate Dr. Stanisław Żmuda, on the written application of the First Prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal 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 conjunction with articles 254, 107, 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||Zdzisław Mikołajski|
|Date and place of birth||28 September 1913 in Kraków|
|Parents’ names||Wincenty and Salomea, née Karzeńska|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Place of residence||Kraków, Świętego Krzyża Street 7|
I was arrested in July 1940 by the Gestapo in Kraków and imprisoned in Montelupich prison until 9 January 1941. On 9 January 1941, I was transported by rail to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where I stayed until 10 November 1944. From Auschwitz I was transported to the camp in Buchenwald, then to the mine in Wansleben – [then] during the transportation to Magdeburg I ran away.
In the Auschwitz camp, for the first three months I worked at the Bauhof [building yard] unloading bricks, then as the need arose, I was assigned to the [dental unit] of the SS hospital, the so-called Zahnstation SS-Revier, where I worked until the end of my stay in the camp. In the Zahnstation I worked in a building located next to the camp fence, outside the camp. Next to this building stood the Standortverwaltung [SS garrison administration] and headquarters buildings. The Zahnstation was located on the first floor and occupied two rooms: one for the reception, the other for the technical studio. The rest of the first floor was occupied by hospital rooms for SS men. On the ground floor of this building, the Political Department was located, whose head was Grabner. In 1942, the Political Department moved its headquarters opposite, to a newly built barrack. From the windows of the dental laboratory I had the opportunity to observe a part of the camp, and from the windows of the corridor, I had a view of the main entrance to the camp and the Fahrbereitschaft [transportation department], and from the attic window I could observe the crematorium area.
I know Hans Aumeier, Hauptsturmführer, by name and sight from the time of my stay in Auschwitz. He was the first Lagerführer [head of the camp] in Auschwitz and he took this post after his predecessor, Fritzsch. The prisoners called him “Łokietek” [Elbow-high] or “Bumbo” due to his small height. He was in good shape, and he wandered around the camp every day, always walking with his gun, often pulling it out, shooting or threatening with it, and pistol- whipping the prisoners on occasion. Aumeier’s specialty was also kicking the prisoners. If the prisoner was taller, [Aumeier] ordered the prisoner to bend down before the beating, or he bent him himself by grabbing him by the head or neck. He was a sadistic type, aroused by the sight of blood and all kinds of torture. He was so aggressive that he simply could not walk past a prisoner without giving him a beating or a kicking. Therefore, incidents of beating prisoners occurred every day with Aumeier. I often saw him take a jump to punch or kick a prisoner.
During Aumeier’s rule, surveillance and monitoring was tightened up, and the prisoners were punished with the bunker for the slightest misdemeanors. The regime introduced by Aumeier was much harsher than in the time of his predecessors. A system of informing was propagated in the camp. [Aumeier] rewarded informers in person at the Schreibstube [administrative office], handing them tobacco or groceries, requisitioned from packages intended for the prisoners.
From the windows of the Zahnstation for prisoners I had the opportunity to observe block 11 and the scenes [of] executions taking place there. Sometimes the gate to block 11 was temporarily open, because either some SS men were entering the yard, or the Leichenträgers [corpse carriers] were taking out the corpses after the execution, or a new party of prisoners was being brought in through the gate for execution. In this way, I often saw the bloody corpses directly after their execution, lying in the courtyard of block 11. In one case I saw Aumeier, coming out of block 11, while executions were taking place, and he was putting a revolver back in its case, which indicated that he had personally taken an active part in the execution. The Leichenträgers often said that Aumeier also personally shot prisoners in block 11, or killed off the wounded. Aumeier mostly participated in all executions in this block, as well as the public hangings. The latter were usually assisted – apart from Aumeier – by Grabner, Commandant Höß, SS doctors and SS men. I also heard a lot of screams, chants, prayers, shouting directed at the executioners, etc. coming from block 11 before or during the execution. I should add that I observed block 11 from a distance of about 20–30 m. The executors at that time were: Palitzsch, Stiewitz, Aumeier and Grabner. I also saw Blockführer Szczurek entering block 11 before or after an execution on several occasions.
During Aumeier’s rule, I often observed from the attic window of the building in which the Zahnstation was located various scenes taking place in front of the crematorium, as well as the moment when the victims were killed. Aumeier played an active role in this operation. I remember, among others, an incident when some people were killed in this crematorium: a father with two children, an older and a younger woman, then a mixed group of about 25 people including men and women with children in their arms. From the way they were dressed, you could think that they were from the countryside. The victims were shot with pistols in the crematorium hall, and then [the bodies] were burned in the crematorium oven. In the winter of 1942, or perhaps in the autumn, [there was] I remember a larger Lublin transport, numbering about 600 people, which was murdered in its entirety in the crematorium during one night. Before the execution, the entire transport was brought to the camp and crowded into block 11, from where they were taken in batches to the crematorium during the course of the night. The next day I was in the crematorium, guided by my curiosity as to what had happened to this transport, and I found that the huge crematorium hall was filled with corpses arranged six or seven layers deep, with signs that they had just been executed.
In the late autumn of 1942, I witnessed Aumeier in the parent camp detaining a kommando of female prisoners coming back from work, and for no reason he began to punch first the kapo, then the vorarbeiter [foreman], next a few of the prisoners standing the closest, then ordered the whole kommando to take off their shoes and walk barefoot to the camp even though it was snowing at the time. Aumeier was shouting that the kommando was coming back from work half an hour early. At that time, part of the parent camp was for women.
In Aumeier’s time, also in 1942, mass executions in groups of 40–60 prisoners took place almost every day, and Aumeier usually took part in these executions. I once saw Aumeier beat and kick a prisoner before he was hanged. Sometimes, a ruse was used before the execution in case the prisoners tried to put up a fight or rebel. For example, a group of 60 prisoners designated for execution would be split into three [smaller] ones. While the first twenty was led off to block 11, the second group would be taken to the Schreibstube and the third to the photographer. After the first twenty had been shot, the second and the third group were led off to block 11 in turn. [The whole group] was composed entirely of men in their prime, mostly occupying some positions in the camp and well-connected, which is why they feared resistance.
I know by name and by sight, and recognize from the photograph shown to me today, Wilhelm Gehring. I met him in the Auschwitz camp in 1942, when he was the head of the whole block 11. His direct subordinates were the SS staff in block 11 as well as the prisoners of this block. The general living conditions of the prisoners in block 11, as well as their food depended entirely on Gehring. He was a type of sadist who tormented the prisoners in his custody without any reason. I often saw him beat or kick prisoners caught in the passage next to block 11, and at the same time I saw how brutally he behaved in relation to prisoners who were brought in or out of block 11. Gehring participated in all executions taking place at block 11, but I would like to mention that it was the duty of the whole SS staff of this block to participate in the [local] executions. Gehring was known in the camp among the prisoners as the Blockführer of block 11, and in this capacity he really made his presence felt.
I knew Kurt Müller from the Auschwitz camp as Blockführer on several blocks – once SS-Rottenführer and then promoted to SS-Unterscharführer. For some time he had some duties at in block 11 that I didn’t know about. Moreover, I often saw him entering block 11, on several occasions bringing prisoners to this block for execution, as well as escorting prisoners from there to the Political Department for interrogation. Often I saw him entering block 11 in the company of Aumeier at the time of the executions. One day I saw him walking in there holding an automatic rifle; that day an execution took place. Müller was known as a sadistic Blockführer who tormented the prisoners and took it out [on them] by beating or kicking [them]. I myself received a few kicks from him for not reporting myself correctly at the entrance gate to the camp.
I knew Paul Szczurek is known to me as a Blockführer in the Auschwitz camp, first ranked SS-Rottenführer, and then promoted to SS-Unterscharführer. He was known in the Auschwitz camp as a Blockführer who would torment the prisoners at the drop of a hat for no reason. A day didn’t go when he would not severely beat a few or a dozen prisoners. He often stood at the entrance gate and carried out inspections of the prisoners, which would not take place without beating and torturing the victims. At the end of 1942, in the company of Aumeier and the rest of the Blockführers he participated in the so-called sport, remembered long afterwards throughout the whole camp and ordered by Aumeier for some minor offense reported by the respective Blockführer. As I recall, one prisoner was missing during the check, who – as it turned out later – had come back to the camp earlier and reported himself ill. This “sport” lasted a full hour, and all the prisoners from this kommando left after this “sport” with black eyes and injuries from being beaten up. The Blockführers and Aumeier were armed with cat-o-nail-tails and the officers with revolvers.
I know Ludwig Plagge by name and by sight, and I also recognize him from this photograph I have been shown; he was famous among the prisoners as a sadist who tormented the prisoners almost every day, beating and kicking his victims with apparent cold pleasure. I watched him while he was conducting a public flogging with a bullwhip in his left hand, for which he was famous. A blow from his left hand was very strong, as the prisoners were only too well-aware and they usually fell to the ground after such a blow. The prisoner whom Plagge was flogging – unless he received some help from his friends – died as a result of the phlegmons that were caused by the punishment. Plagge was called “Little Pipe” by the prisoners. I remember him initially as the one who did the so-called sport with the new arrivals to the camp, then acting as Blockführer in various blocks, including block 11, and finally as Rapportführer in the gypsy camp.
After reading the explanations of the defendant Plagge regarding his service in block 11, I testify that it is simply out of the question that in 1942 and until autumn 1943, which was exactly when Liebehenschel took over command of the camp, no prisoners were executed by shooting at block 11 at least once a week. At this block, civilians taken from outside the camp were also shot at that time, either for making contact with the prisoners or for helping them. I know this directly, because the civilian prisoners in block 11 were brought either to the Zahnstation for the SS staff or to the Zahnstation for the prisoners, where I met and talked with them, and obtained information from them about the conduct of the camp authorities towards them and about the punishments applied to them. In particular, they said that a civilian caught in contact with a prisoner within the so-called large Postenkette [guard chain] was brought to the bunker in block 11, then interrogated in the Political Department and tried there. As a result of the interrogation, this civilian would then either be released or sentenced to a several-month sentence in the camp, or shot at block 11. These people told me sometimes that on a given day, a few civilians were shot at block 11. I therefore rule out the possibility that Plagge didn’t see within a few weeks of his service there at block 11 at least a few executions by shooting, or that he himself didn’t play an active role in these executions.
I know Paul Götze as Blockführer of the Auschwitz camp, and I also recognize him in the photograph I have been shown. I saw him in service sometimes, and he was initially a member of the crew of guards of commandos who went outside the camp, and then he served as a Blockführer in the parent camp. He was the type of Blockführer who used to beat and abuse prisoners at the drop of a hat for no reason. Undoubtedly, he has many human victims on his conscience – either directly murdered or dead as a result of beating soon after. I would like to mention that it is impossible to know or remember the names of the prisoners who were beaten up or died as a result of a beating, especially since the beating and killing of prisoners was an everyday and widespread phenomenon in the camp, and while passing through the camp you would always see some victims of a beating lying on the ground. The prisoners themselves were numbed over time and didn’t respond to this cruelty, so even many drastic beatings escaped notice. Officially, you weren’t allowed to help out a beaten up prisoner, and it is not known how many prisoners beaten up by SS men died later on in the hospital.
I know by name and sight – as well as recognized them in the photographs shown to me – the following SS men, who served various functions in the Auschwitz camp: [Detlef] Nebbe, SS- Hauptscharführer, training instructor; [Werner] Blaufuss, SS-Unterscharführer; Wilhelm Zieg, SS-Rottenführer, prisoner’s escort; Lorenz Vehiclestensen, SS-Sturmscharführer, guard post inspector, sadist, some time commander of the Hundestaffel [dog leaders] platoon; [August] Bogusch, SS-Schütze, known to me from the Schreibstube for prisoners; [Franz] Romeikat, SS-Unterscharführer, known to me from his period of work at the SS-Bekleidungskammer [clothing storerooms], then in the Häftlingsgeldverwaltung [office for the administration of prisoners’ assets]; [Johannes] Lesch, SS-Unterscharführer, guard and escort, later held some function in the SS kitchen, where I went almost every day to collect dinners for my superiors. Lesch used to punch or hit the prisoners arriving in the kitchen with a ladle, including myself, whenever he could.
I know all the SS men mentioned above for their brutality and cruelty towards the prisoners, for abusing them at every occasion and beating them. Undoubtedly, each of them has a lot of human victims on their conscience; anyhow, it would be simply impossible for me to remember or outline their criminal activities in more detail. In any case, I often saw these SS men in the camp, I was in direct contact with them and I was a witness to their abuse of prisoners.
I know that in 1943 or later – at the time of “Operation Höß” as it was known throughout the camp and during the most intense period of gassing – the order went out that all SS officers performing functions in the various offices (e.g. SS-Zahnstation, SS-Revier, Geldverwaltung, Standortverwaltung, Bekleidungskammer, Effektenkammer) were to participate in the gassing as an additional crew, to bolster the permanent crew employed in the gassing at Birkenau. I know personally from my boss, Simon, that he was also in the crematorium in Birkenau and on his return he told the office in disgust about the horrible scenes taking place during the gassing operations, and declared that even if he were to be imprisoned, he wouldn’t go a second time to Birkenau for any gassing. Indeed, he managed to get out of this assignment – either by illness or substitution. I also know about it from my second boss, Mange, from the Zahnstation. The order from the headquarters in this regard concerned all the work facilities in the camp, which is why the SS men mentioned above must have taken part in the gassing operation and known about it firsthand. According to the orders, the SS men designated to Birkenau during the gassing period had to wear a helmet and gas mask. Bolstering the permanent crew employed in the gassing was thus aimed at facilitating the terrorization of the mass transports arriving at the ramp and maintaining order.
I know Herbert Paul Ludwig as a Blockführer in the Auschwitz camp who used to beat and abuse prisoners, took part in public executions and the transfer of prisoners to the gas from the KB [Krankenbau] blocks in 1944, because all the Blockführers took part in these transfers. From 1942, I lived in block 9, which was the KB’s Schonungsblock [convalescent block], and I state that Ludwig was not the Blockführer there, because on this block only an SS man from the SDG [Sanitätsdienstgrade, SS orderlies] could be the Blockführer. Ludwig distinguished himself while transporting the sick to the gas in Birkenau by beating and kicking the prisoners when they reluctantly boarded the cars. I observed such situations myself. The patients were transported to the gas among screams and beatings. All the camp SS staff took part in it. I remember one of these transport scenes from block 9, when the SS men pulled a prisoner, maybe 12 years old, from the block with only a small ulcer on his neck, and decided he would go to the gas. The boy, realizing that he was going to his death, wept, begged the SS and kissed them on their hands to leave him alone, but his supplications had no effect. I don’t recall which of the SS men was directly involved in this boy’s selection.
I recognize Kollmer from the photograph, and I knew him from the time of my stay in the camp as a company commander with the rank of SS-Obersturmführer, who usually rode a horse and supervised, in particular, the outposts and the sentries who guarded them. Several times I saw Kollmer in the area of the SS hospital striking a prisoner with his riding crop, if he either didn’t doff his hat in time or if Kollmer just didn’t like the look of him.
I know Grabner by sight and by name, as the head of the Political Department in the Auschwitz camp, with the rank of SS-Untersturmführer. I already came across Grabner in Auschwitz in 1941, and I know that he held his function until about the autumn of 1943 – i.e. until commander Liebehenschel came to the camp. In 1941, Grabner had his official offices in the same building in which the Zahnstation was located, on the ground floor. His closest associates were: Wosnitza, who was always dressed in civilian clothes, Stark, Boger, and Kirschner.
Grabner was known to the whole camp as the master of life and death for the prisoners, someone to be avoided and scared of; coming into contact with him almost always equaled a death sentence. While walking around the building of the SS hospital on duty, I often saw beaten or tortured prisoners lying on the ground in front of Grabner’s office, where the interrogations took place. The prisoners who had been beaten had to be carried off by their friends, because they were not able to stand on their own feet. During the interrogation, you could hear the prisoners groaning and shouting as they were beaten. I often heard Grabner’s voice during the interrogations, calling in the next prisoner, all indicative of Grabner’s direct participation in these interrogations. The prisoners often came out with broken bones, with twisted joints or with their body officially falling off its bones. I know that Grabner’s office where the interrogations were held was repeatedly redecorated and repainted to remove traces of blood, and when the Zahnstation took over the premises of the Political Department, I saw abundant traces of blood on the walls of this office, the apparent remains of recent interrogations.
I remember a group of about 60 civilians, men and women, brought in 1943 to the camp from Silesia and placed in block 3. They all had to lie on their stomachs, and they were guarded by SS men with weapons ready to fire. In this way, the victims lay on their bellies for several days and were brought in in batches to be interrogated in the Political Department, whose headquarters was already in the barracks. Grabner came several times to block 3 and checked whether the SS men were properly guarding the prisoners as they lay on the ground. I observed the interior of block 3 from block 4. I saw one group from this transport led out by the SS men for questioning in the Political Department and I noticed that these people walked unassisted. After the interrogation, however, which lasted for nearly half a day, I saw one of the women prisoners propped up under someone’s arms, because she could not walk alone, and two or three men literally dragged along the ground unable to move their legs, which showed that they their joints had been twisted or their legs broken, especially since one of them came back without shoes, only in socks, and the other one had his shoes completely undone. The rest of the prisoners from this group, beaten bloody, somehow managed to stagger on their own. After the interrogation, the entire transport was placed in the bunker and finished off without ever entering the victims into the camp records. I only heard that it was a group of people suspected of belonging to an underground organization in Silesia.
In 1943 several men were brought to the camp crematorium, whom Grabner, in the company of two more SS men from the Political Department, ordered to undress, after which he checked their documents or maybe the list he was holding. I observed this scene together with two other prisoners from the attic window of the building of the SS hospital, from which there was a view onto the crematoria courtyard, surrounded by a high wall of about 3 m. At some point Grabner turned his gaze to the attic window. Another colleague and I managed to duck down in time, but a third prisoner, a Jew whose name I don’t know but who was a tailor in the SS hospital and, in principle, a Reiniger [cleaner] there too, was spotted by Grabner. He ran upstairs immediately, asked the prisoner what he was doing there, and then dragged him away screaming, instructing him to be taken to the bunker in block 11. On the same afternoon in the Schreibstube the order was given that this prisoner be crossed off the list of the living, as this prisoner’s kapo – Ignacy Golik from Warsaw – was also informed.
Grabner took part in public executions together with an entire entourage of SS men, in the executions at block 11 and in all the operations aimed at nipping the alleged resistance movement among prisoners in the bud, as well as any interest shown by such people in politics. He was particularly hostile and spiteful towards Polish prisoners. It was significant that all the major executions of Poles took place on Polish national holidays. These executions were the result of the provocation of the Politic Department’s spies. Grabner used an entire network of camp spies, whom I knew by sight, because every day they came to the Political Department to report, and at the same time we were warned against them by our fellow prisoners working there. Of the many spies whom I came across personally was the highly trusted Bohdan Komarnicki – absolutely devoted to Grabner – who, at first, was a room supervisor in block 11, and then worked in one of the political departments in the main camp, and then moved to Birkenau.
Grabner was particularly dangerous for prisoners in the field, because the slightest suspicion of a prisoner having any kind of contact with a civilian or leaving the camp without special permission, or getting detached from a kommando, or being in possession of anything would always end up with the prisoner being sent to the bunker. Only some prisoners were lucky enough to get out of the bunker, but they usually died, condemned by Grabner or Aumeier, regardless of the severity of the alleged offense. From what my camp mates from the bunker told me, I know that both Grabner and Aumeier emptied the bunkers from time to time, usually in the following way: the bunker door opened and Grabner or Aumeier asked prisoners to state their nationality, then the crime for which they were being punished, then, according to the answers, more often, regardless of them, they would condemn the prisoner to death without any further ado. The shout of “Raus!” (which meant that a prisoner had to exit the bunker) meant a death sentence. For these reasons, it was very dangerous to be sent to the bunker, because the prisoner’s life depended on the humor or whim of the particular dignitary.
I often saw Grabner in the crematorium of the main camp during his gassing operation. Mostly, these were gassing operations for civilians brought to the camp. I remember one larger group of about 60 people, made up of Sonderkommando [special unit] prisoners from Birkenau, along with a block leader (who was leading a few-years-old boy by the hand) and a kapo. The entire kommando was led by just two or three SS men. On my way from the hospital to the camp, I came across this convoy and as I was passing by, I asked one of the prisoners where they were from, and he answered: “ Sonderkommando from Birkenau”. I then went back to the SS hospital building and watched the entire gassing operation of this kommando. The camp authorities used a ruse in this case, for they were afraid that the Sonderkommando, familiar with the gassing situation in Birkenau, would offer some resistance, which is why they were escorted by such a small convoy to the main camp, as if they were changing their place of work. When the kommando stopped at the entrance to the crematorium, the SS-Unterscharführer standing nearby whistled a signal to the troops standing “at ease” in groups to create a kind of casual appearance, some 100 m from the crematorium, then the squad ran up and drove the entire Sonderkommando into the crematorium yard, where the victims were ordered to undress and herded in groups into the crematorium. In the crematorium courtyard, the Blockführers made sure that the prisoners were undressing quickly, while the rest of the military crew terrorized them with screams and rifles, aiming the barrels directly at the victims – the entire Sonderkommando group. When part of the group had already been herded into the crematorium, Grabner, Aumeier and several officers from the Political Department entered the crematory courtyard. I saw, after the first group of prisoners had been driven into the crematorium, one of the SS men go up onto the crematorium roof, covered with soil and overgrown with grass, and sprinkle some cyclone into two holes in the roof, and over one of the holes where he dropped in the cyclone there was a greenish haze as it reacted with the air. After sprinkling in the cyclone, the holes were covered with boards. About half an hour later, one of the SS men with a mask in his hand entered the crematorium courtyard, and then opened the door and went into the crematorium. As I heard later from my fellow prisoners in Birkenau, the Sonderkommando was gassed under the suspicion of planning an escape or organizing a rebellion.
When visiting a camp mate named Mieczysław Gadomski, now living in Warsaw, and then employed in the soap house, located in the old theater building, outside the camp, I had the opportunity to watch the warehouses where the quilts, blankets, soap and toothpaste that used to belong to the Jews were stored after they’d been gassed, as well as crates of weapons in the cellars, probably put there temporarily for lack of space in the arms warehouses, and finally the “cyclone” crates, some of which were open and the cyclone cans were visible. This was the main cyclone store and the large cellar was filled with crates almost to the brim. When I once came to this warehouse for some Mattoni water, for the SS men to drink, a car arrived from Birkenau, onto which crates of cyclone were loaded.
From the prisoner Irena Siedlecka (formerly Abend), whom I knew before the war and who was employed in the Auschwitz camp in the political department, I know the selection procedure of selecting the prisoners to be sentenced to death. This prisoner worked in the secret office “A”. Her SS man boss – I don’t know his name – had the task of periodically reviewing the prisoners’ files and handing them over to Grabner. This boss was supposed to give Grabner any files which bore the annotation “return undesirable” made by the Gestapo regarding a particular prisoner. [He in turn] only had to sign them as reviewed and checked by his subordinate. On the basis of the files signed by Grabner, Siedlecka prepared a list of prisoners and sent it to the Häftling Schreibstube, following which notification was given to the relevant blocks with an order to transfer these prisoners the next day to the Schreibstube, where one of the officers from the Political Department, mostly Palitzsch, escorted the prisoners to block 11, where they were executed. Siedlecka’s SS man boss was a drunk and was negligent in the performance of his official duties. So, often, in order to show some fruits of his labor, at the end of the working day, he recommended that Siedlecka get hold of the first 20–30 personal files and present them to Grabner as checked. This is why some discrepancies arose in that people who were completely innocent were sent for execution. I often heard harsh exchanges between Grabner and Aumeier in the corridor of the SS hospital, or in other circumstances, when there was a negotiation about executions that had been carried out or were going to be carried out on the prisoners. These negotiations were of prestigious nature, because a prisoner spared by Aumeier for services rendered was, on the other hand, for Grabner an element to be disposed of.
Karl Teuber, SS-Hauptsturmführer, a dentist, was one of my bosses for half a year, more or less from late 1942 until mid-1943. I should mention that in the Zahnstation the bosses used to change very often and I don’t remember all their names. Teuber’s function was to manage the Zahnstation for the SS staff and [supervise] the Zahnstation for the prisoners, which was located in the main camp. Teuber also performed dental work for the SS men himself, and SS-Unterscharführer Zeiner and Mang helped him. The technical work was done by the prisoners. The head of the laboratory at that time was SS-Oberscharführer Simon, and later Unrath. I know that Teuber founded a dental clinic for prisoners in Birkenau, Monowitz, Goleszów and Jawiszowice. His conduct towards the prisoners was correct. Not only did he not insult or hit anyone, but on the contrary, he tried to give the prisoners a helping hand as much as he could. Also, as my superior, he was understanding and sometimes covered the shortcomings of the prisoners who worked under him.
As far as the practice of pulling out the gold teeth of gassed or dead prisoners is concerned, this underwent various phases and refinements. On the order of the first head of the Zahnstation, whose name I don’t remember today, the pulling of teeth in the crematorium of the main camp, from 1941 onwards, was dealt with by a Polish prisoner from Poznan named Sundmann, who walked over to the crematorium with pliers, pulled out the teeth of the dead and brought them upstairs to the Zahnstation along with remnants of gums, blood and cyclone. He gave these teeth over in the Zahnstation without signing anything. In the Zahnstation there were two toilets, one for SS men, the other for the technical studio. In this toilet for the technical studio, one of the prisoners would clean the teeth by scorching them with a gas lamp, and after cleaning they were picked up – in 1941 and more or less until mid- 1942 – by the Stabsscharführer Wilhelmy of the SS hospital, also without a receipt. The gold was transferred without melting. What happened with it next, I don’t know.
I remember the staffing changes regarding the position of head of the Zahnstation in the following order: SS-Untersturmführer Schulte, Schulz, Teuber, his deputy, Dr. Frank. As a result of our efforts and influence on our boss Schulte, we were given an extra room for the Zahnstation, where the technical laboratory was situated, and the original technical studio was designated as the so-called Sonderraum for melting gold. In this way, we wanted to avoid contact with melting gold, which was not only unpleasant for us, but also dangerous. At that time, a few Jewish prisoners (three) who belonged to the Sonderkommando and who were employed exclusively for the cleaning and melting of gold were brought to the Sonderraum. The Sonderraum was not particularly locked or guarded, and was accessible for Zahnstation employees. Around this time, the function of pulling out teeth in the crematorium was taken over by [another] prisoner, a dentist named Kuczbara from Gdynia, and gold began to flow out from the Sonderraum in larger quantities. Kuczbara reported to the head of the Zahnstation daily, took the forceps and went to the crematorium with Schulte and Schulz. After finishing his work, he brought the teeth to the Sonderraum in a bag or packet and handed them over without any written confirmation to the prisoners employed there, who then melted them down into nuggets, or a flat block of various weights: 0.5, 1 or 1.5 kg. Having been melted down in this way, the gold blocks were picked up by the head of the Zahnstation and given to the Stabsscharführer in the hospital, without a receipt. What happened to the gold next, I don’t know.
Under the leadership of Schulte and Schulz, an order came from Berlin, according to which all the gold had to be included in strict records entered on the forms sent especially for this purpose. The number of the prisoner, his name and the number of gold units taken out were to be written on them. The gold was to be sent to Berlin only having been cleaned, in its raw state, along with the attached forms. However, this approach proved to be impractical in a short time, generated a lot of work, and didn’t provide accurate records. For example, civilians from outside the camp were not numbered and [in their case] it was impossible to complete the form, [just] like [in the case of] a whole range of other corpses that didn’t have numbers. Schulte then wrote to Berlin asking them to cancel the order to fill out the forms, explaining in detail the impracticality involved. As a result of his presentation [of the case], SS-Oberscharführer Körfer arrived from Berlin to supervise the removal, melting and dispatch of the gold back to Berlin. Körfer, with instructions from Berlin, brought back the system of melting the gold into bars.
As a result of our efforts, the Sonderaum was transferred to Birkenau, where teeth were pulled out, cleaned and melted, and then transported in crates or suitcases to the Zahnstation, from where Körfer personally transported them to Berlin. With one such transportation, Körfer drove all the way up to Düsseldorf – i.e. his place of residence – and an urgent telegram arrived in Auschwitz asking what was happening with the gold. The Zahnstation explained that Körfer had left with it. After a few days, we found out that he had been caught with it and arrested in Düsseldorf, and he never returned to the Zahnstation. Since then, the head of the Zahnstation, Dr. Frank helped take care of the gold with Unrath’s help. The order came in that the melted gold should be transferred to the Verwaltung [administration], and this demand was caused by the Körfer scandal. From the Verwaltung the gold – brought there by Dr. Frank and Unrath – was sent along with an entire transportation of valuables in an armed convoy to Berlin. Whether or what role Möckel played in this transfer of gold, I don’t have any direct information.
At this the hearing and the report were concluded. The report was read out and signed.