On 15 September 1947 in Nowy Sącz, the Municipal Court in Nowy Sącz, with Judge A. Benirk presiding and with the participation of court reporter St. Węgrzyn, heard the person named below as a witness, without taking an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the wording of Article 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Jan Krokowski|
|Parents’ names||Jan and Zofia, née Kosiały|
|Place of residence||Nowy Sącz, Żywiecka Street 25|
|Occupation||student of education|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Relationship to the parties||none|
From 14 June 1940 until 28 October 1944, I was a political prisoner in the Auschwitz camp. At that time, I met some members of the armed camp crew mentioned in the list shown to me [numbers] 1, 28, 37, 72 and 83 – that is Hans Aumeier, Max Grabner, Heinrich Josten, Ludwig Plagge and Paul Szczurek, whom I already knew by name.
Hans Aumeier was the commandant of the camp in Auschwitz I from the spring of 1942 until the summer of 1943. At that time I was serving in officers’ mess no. II for a period of about five months and while serving this function I came across Hans Aumeier several times.
As I personally noticed, Hans Aumeier was violent and brutal in his treatment of the prisoners. With my own eyes I saw Hans Aumeier repeatedly punch and kick some prisoners, and I also know that he was involved in all the executions of the condemned. Personally, I saw Aumeier assist in one execution by hanging. At the time of the execution, Aumeier mocked the prisoners and beforehand, at his command, the condemned were beaten by those who carried out the execution. I don’t recall the names of the victims.
Max Grabner served as the head of the Political Department in the Auschwitz camp from the beginning of the [camp] until its liquidation, or until 1944, because at this time, due to abuse, he was dismissed on disciplinary grounds. Although I did personally come across Grabner several times (the first time was in May 1943) in connection with cleaning the Political Department, I would not say that he mistreated the prisoners himself. However, it was known in the camp that Max Grabner took part in all the interrogations of the prisoners and that he personally gave orders to the interrogators to beat and mistreat the prisoners. I know this from what the prisoners themselves told me, but I don’t remember their names.
It was known in the camp that Grabner conducted every execution of the condemned.
Sometime in July 1943, I saw, from the windows of the canteen, Grabner personally direct the gassing of about 300 Jews in the crematorium.
Heinrich Josten, as I know, was the head of the sentry guards in 1943, and in 1944 the chief of labor and deputy commandant of the camp. Personally, I didn’t come into contact with him, but in 1941 I saw him commanding a firing squad that executed prisoners in the courtyard of block 11. Josten had the reputation among the prisoners of being a brutal, ruthless executioner.
I met Ludwig Plagge personally as soon as I arrived in the camp on 14 June 1940 when Plagge was serving as a Blockführer. As I could say myself, he abused the prisoners sadistically by beating and kicking them. He punched me, and some others, in the face so hard that I fell down to the ground several times, just because I was looking at the transport of Warsaw prisoners. One of Plagge’s methods of tormenting the prisoners was his gymnastics in which I took part, and which consisted of a sophisticated series of all-day exercises during which the prisoners would pass out.
When in 1940–1943 [?] Plagge supervised the punitive unit, with my own eyes I saw him beat and kick prisoners, whose names I don’t remember.
I didn’t have any contact with Paul Szczurek personally, but what I was told by Adam Gawda, who lives in Bochnia, and Stanisław Krzyżanowski, who lives in Lublin (I don’t know their exact addresses), I know that in 1943–1944 he was the Blockführer in the department for gassing the Jews. Presumably, he must have abused the prisoners because, as my fellow prisoners whom I mentioned above told me, he was seen in the morning after a night of service in rubber boots and clothes splattered with blood.
Beyond this, in the case presented to me, I have nothing [more] to add, although I would like to mention that long-time Auschwitz prisoner, Kazimierz Lichawa, a lawyer in Nowy Sącz, might have more to say.
The report was concluded and signed.