Eleventh day of the hearing, 5 December 1947
Chief judge: The next witness, Jerzy Fliegel.
I must warn the witness of the necessity to speak the truth pursuant to article 107 of the Criminal Code. The submission of false testimony is punishable by imprisonment of up to five years. Do the parties submit any requests regarding how the witnesses should be interviewed?
Prosecutors: We would like the witness to be heard without oath.
The defense: We too.
The witness Jerzy Fliegel, aged 32, dentist, religious affiliation – Roman Catholic, relationship to the accused – none.
Chief judge: I ask the witness to give specific facts regarding the accused, particularly concerning their behavior.
The witness: First of all, Grabner. In 1943 some civilians from Silesia were brought to Auschwitz. There was an extraordinary court hearing. I was at the barracks, where I had to prepare the courtroom. At the court were Gestapo officers Grabner and Kirschner from the political department.
There were about 120 people: 80 men, several women and the rest, children. Each of the accused approached the barracks window, the Gestapo man read out the sentence and then he left. The whole trial of 120 people lasted an hour. When it was over, the defendant Nebbe, along with the SS men, escorted everyone to the crematorium. It was surrounded by the SS men. Cremation fans, car engines, and motorcycles were set in motion nearby to drown out the cries that came from the crematorium.
Schmidt, Kirschner and some Sturmmann came out after less than an hour, carrying short rifles which they used to shoot the victims. At the shooting at the crematorium, there were Gestapo officers, the defendant Grabner and Kirschner from the political department.
The second extraordinary court hearing was held in the SS building. There were 160 prisoners who had been interrogated by the Gestapo. In the same way, they came up to the window, and the whole court lasted an hour, and then they were all taken to block 11. What happened to them, whether they were shot or went to the gas, I don’t know.
Chief judge: And what about others?
The witness: As for Bogusch, he was always hostile to the Poles, although he was from Bytom. He spoke Polish, but didn’t admit it. In 1943, the Swiss and English Red Cross sent packages for Slovakian prisoners of Jewish descent but they were not issued to the prisoners. The packages were small, but substantial. The packages from the Swiss Red Cross contained two cans of sardines while the English ones had chocolate and cigarettes inside. These packages were transferred to the Lagerführer’s room. Unterscharführer Bogusch took these packages, because when I removed the ashes from the stove as a cleaner I could see the cans of these sardines.
As far as Josten is concerned, like all the officers of departments no. 3 and 3a he always came out foe selection on the ramp when the Hungarian transports arrived. There was a special Hauptscharführer sent from Berlin who brought these Hungarian transports. However, at that time, there was a special commission from Berlin, which was investigating the SS men, whether they had robbed the prisoners, so that Hautpscharführer was removed.
As for Breitwieser, he was the head of the Unterkunft [camp storerooms].
Chief judge: Does the witness know something specific about him?
The witness: I saw when the defendant Breitwieser beat my boss, who had caught him during some kind of theft.
Chief judge: What does the witness know about the defendant Ludwig?
The witness: He was the kind of person who always willingly carries out orders from above.
Chief judge: What can the witness say about the defendant Liebehenschel?
The witness: What I can say is that during his rule, the camp conditions improved a little. As I recall, in the Blockführerstube [camp manager’s office] there was Liebehenschel’s order saying that you must not speak to a prisoner in the second person singular, but the formal form of address should be used.
Chief judge: Are there any questions for the witness?
Prosecutor Szewczyk: The witness mentioned that the first executions took place on the basis of verdicts and referred to men, women and children. Who were these children?
The witness: These were the children brought with their parents from Pszczyna and Cieszyn. They were whole families.
Prosecutor Szewczyk: So was a verdict announced regarding these children?
The witness: They received the verdict and all together they went to the crematorium.
Prosecutor Szewczyk: How many of these children were there?
The witness: Around 16.
Prosecutor Szewczyk: What age?
The witness: Seven years old.
Prosecutor Szewczyk: How can the witness be sure that the children were also sentenced?
The witness: The mothers approached the window, took the verdict and went with their children to the crematorium.
Prosecutor Pęchalski: Does the witness know that Müller urged the prisoners who had to sort the prisoners’ belongings to steal these things and bring them to him?
The witness: I know this from my friend who worked with Breitwieser in the Unterkunfte. There was some upholstery there, and Müller ordered some armchairs for his home from the materials that were from the Jews.
Prosecutor Pęchalski: Did the witness see the defendant Josten beat and kick the prisoners?
The witness: No, I didn’t.
Prosecutor Brandys: As far as I understand, the convicted families were escorted by the defendant Nebbe?
The witness: Yes, the defendant Nebbe had his unit where the sentence was read and they escorted the families to the crematorium.
Prosecutor Brandys: Did the witness know that the defendant Nebbe beat and tormented the prisoners?
The witness: I know only from hearsay.
Prosecutor Brandys: Does the witness know where the Canadian packages, which were in possession of the defendant Bogusch, were from?
The witness: They weren’t Canadian packages, but Swiss.
Prosecutor Brandys: Did the defendant Bogusch take something from them?
The witness: Bogusch was a Schreiber [writer] and had access to these packages, so he chose things for himself.
Defense attorney Czerny: Does the witness know that there were two Kirschners in the camp? Which of them conducted the executions?
The witness: The one who is not here. However, he didn’t carry out the executions; he was only in the court, that is, when the verdict was read out. The executions was carried out by Schmidt, Christian, and Broe.
Chief judge: Do the accused wish to make any statements?
Defendant Nebbe: Supreme National Tribunal! I would like to ask for permission to ask the witness when I was supposed to have led the kommando that escorted people to the crematorium?
The witness: The court was held in block 4, and the defendant Nebbe lived in block 3. The distance from the crematorium was 300 m, and the SS man under Nebbe always led these people to the gas.
Defendant Nebbe: Please answer, in which year did I do this?
The witness: In 1943 in the spring, when there were interrogations of civilians in those barracks.
Defendant Nebbe: In 1943 I worked only in the Schreibstube and never led a kommando.
Defendant Bogusch: I would like to ask permission to ask the witness if the Red Cross packages were handed to me.
The witness: They were not given to Bogusch, but to the Lagerführer’s office, and Bogusch as the secretary had the keys and even took them from me when I was cleaning the room.
Defendant Bogusch: Receiving packages wasn’t my job. This was the duty of the Unterscharführer, the packages were to be given to the command. Besides, they were not packages, only sardines.
Chief judge: Doe the witness wish to maintain his testimony?
The witness: Yes.
Chief judge: The witness may stand down.