Presiding Judge: Next witness, Jerzy Pietrzyk.

Witness: Jerzy Pietrzyk, 32 years old, mechanic technician, Roman Catholic, no relationship to the parties.

Presiding Judge: I advise the witness to speak the truth. Making false declarations is punishable with a prison term of up to five years. Are there any requests regarding the mode of hearing of the witness?

Prosecution: No.

Defense: No.

Presiding Judge: The witness shall testify without oath. Will the witness please present to the Tribunal everything he knows about the case, and particularly concerning the defendants? Does the witness recognize any of them? What facts can the witness provide?

Witness: I came to the Auschwitz camp on 15 August 1940 and I stayed there till 17 January 1945. Until 1942, I was kept in the main camp, and then I was transported with one of the kitchen teams to the Birkenau camp, to the so-called Russen lager [Russian camp]. From among to the defendants, I recognize Aumeier, Buntrock…

Presiding Judge: Does the witness remember Medefind and Weber?

Witness: Yes, I do.

Presiding Judge: What can the witness say about Weber?

Witness: He was my direct supervisor in the Gypsy camp, where I worked in the kitchen warehouse. There, I met him in person.

Presiding Judge: Does the witness remember any facts concerning his behavior towards the prisoners?

Witness: Defendant Weber was a very short-tempered person. He was quite friendly towards us, and he would often tell us stories about his family, but when he burst into anger, he would beat us without restraint. One day in 1942, I saw him beat prisoners in the women’s camp. We cooked meat in the men’s camp and in the evening or at night we transported it to the women’s camp. In the women’s camp, there was no sewage system or water outlet, so the women would sneak to the kitchen to get a drop of water to drink or to wash themselves. One day in June or July, when we were transporting meat, there were many women standing under the kitchen. They were of different nationalities, so we heard them say “water” in many languages. There were three or four of us pulling the cart and it was Weber who let us in. He burst into the crowd of women, seized a stick and started beating everyone around him. All the women scattered. I also witnessed a different situation, which happened relatively often. When a prisoner came to the kitchen to get himself a potato or simply to talk with a friend, Weber would catch him red-handed and start beating him, first just for fun, but when he heard the prisoner screaming, he beat him without restraint.

I only met defendant Medefind when I went for food supplies to the kitchen in the Gypsy or men’s camp. I heard that he beat someone, but I didn’t see anything.

When it comes to other defendants, I remember Aumeier very well from the Birkenau camp. The same afternoon after an escape from the penal company in the Kiesgrube [gravel pit], a car drove up to the main camp, carrying four SS men, including Aumeier. Together with the men’s camp personnel – Hauptsturmführer Schwarzhuber and several Blockführers [block leaders] – they entered the penal company block. At that time, I was working in the kitchen, so I couldn’t see anything because of the wall, but through the gate, which was only slightly covered with ripped blankets, I saw a big group of people – more or less 300 or 400 prisoners – squatting with their hands on their necks. Then, defendant Aumeier said something to – if I’m not mistaken – Hoffmann, the interpreter from the Politische Abteilung [political department], who was standing with a ready list, and pointing his finger at red dots, he started selecting people from the lined-up prisoners. After he had gathered over 20 prisoners, a group of SS men stood at the entrance to the block, and when Hoffmann called out a number or name, the given prisoner went towards the block. Just as he entered the block, he was shot in the back of the head. They were shooting like mad: I heard two, three and five shots at once. When a pile of dead bodies was gathered at the entrance to the block, they stopped the shooting and Aumeier, accompanied by several others, came to the kitchen to Hauptscharführer Händler in order to wash their hands and partly wash the blood off themselves.

I met Aumeier personally when I was transferred to the Birkenau camp. I was hanging on a post. When Aumeier came to carry out an inspection, some prisoners were already waiting to be punished, while three of us were hanging. Two prisoners were unconscious with their heads dropped down. When Aumeier saw it, he asked the block leader why I wasn’t unconscious yet. The block leader explained it was because I was strong. Then Aumeier approached me and hit me hard in the jaw. My bones hurt like crazy, I closed my eyes, dropped my head down, and I do not know what happened next, because I woke up only when I was being lowered to the ground.

Defendant Buntrock was a Rapportführer [report leader] in the Gypsy camp. I do not remember exactly if he came there when the Gypsies were still present, or maybe after the camp’s liquidation. I did not see him beat any of the prisoners and he also never beat me.

Presiding Judge: Are there any questions?

Prosecutor Brandys: I have two questions. After the Gypsy camp’s liquidation, did that camp preserve its former name? I want to clarify a certain misunderstanding. It is said that Hoffmann worked in the Gypsy camp, where he carried out interrogations, so I presume that the Gypsies were no longer there, but the name stayed?

Witness: The camp was named like this in March 1943, and the name was preserved till the end of the camp’s existence.

Prosecutor: Even though the Gypsies were no longer there?

Witness: The Gypsies were exterminated in August 1944, but the name stayed.

Prosecutor: Did other prisoners occupy the place?

Witness: The camp was occupied by Hungarians and people of other nationalities, and later a hospital was established there.

Prosecutor: Does the witness know anything about Medefind stealing food items intended for the prisoners and directing them to the SS kitchen?

Witness: I was an ordinary prisoner. I knew and even saw that food supplies were taken away from the prisoners’ kitchen, but it is difficult for me to say what happened to them next.

Many times, it seemed mysterious to me that a car drove up very early to the camp, the food was hurriedly loaded into it, and then the car disappeared as quickly as possible. Sometimes sugar, margarine and other valuable products were taken away in the morning, and in the evening we received a new transport from the warehouse, but I do not know what those machinations meant.

Prosecutor: Did the machinations have any impact on the quality of food in the camp? On the amount of food, the amount of fats, and so forth?

Witness: I am not able to answer that question.

Prosecutor Szewczyk: Until 1942, the witness worked in the Stammlager [POW camp]. Was it also in the kitchen?

Witness: I worked there in the kitchen for two to three months.

Prosecutor: Does the witness remember what happened in the Entwesungskammer [disinfestation chamber] in 1941?

Witness: No.

Prosecutor: Does the witness remember Breitwieser from that period?

Witness: No.

Defense Attorney Rymar: Did the witness stay in Birkenau until the end of 1942?

Witness: Until 1945.

Defense Attorney: Did the witness ever meet defendant Kraus, who was considered the last head of the camp?

Witness: At that time, he was Lagerführer [camp leader] and he had his office in the men’s camp, while I was still in the Gypsy camp, so I do not remember that, but I often saw him visiting the Gypsy camp.

Defense Attorney: Could the witness say that with Kraus’ arrival at Birkenau the terror escalated?

Witness: I heard about it, but I never met him in person. I know, however, that during Lagerführer Schwarzhuber’s term, prisoners were allowed to carry food, while under Kraus it was prohibited to carry anything, and prisoners would throw their cigarettes away before entering the camp.

Witness: Did the witness see the defendant abuse prisoners?

Witness: When a kommando returned from work, which lasted 12 hours, and defendant Kraus found something in a prisoner’s pocket, he would force him to stand by the high- voltage wires till the next day.

Presiding Judge: Is that all? Defendant Buntrock.

Defendant Buntrock: Your Honor, please let me make a statement. As the witness has testified, the Gypsy camp was liquidated in August 1944. I would like to say that at that time half of the camp was murdered, and the other half was taken away from the camp. I do not know where they were taken. I am also not aware what happened to the rest, because I left the Auschwitz camp then.

Defendant Hoffmann: Your Honor, I would like to ask the witness a question. The witness worked in the Gypsy camp. Will the witness tell us who carried out the investigation and interrogation in the case of “Jurek”?

Witness: I do not know exactly. “Jurek” was in the Gypsy camp’s canteen, which was managed by three prisoners, one Pole and two Volksdeutschers, that is VD. It is difficult for me to say, they wouldn’t admit it. When those three prisoners were accused of attempting an escape, we knew they would be executed. I would like to stress that I do not know who contributed to their release – defendant Hoffmann, Grabner, or someone else.

Defendant: I have not asked who released them, but who carried out the investigation.

Witness: I do not know that.

Defendant: Is the witness familiar with the case of Frankiewicz?

Witness: At that time, I worked as a Schreiber [scribe] in the Gyspy camp. Frankiewicz was the Raportschreiber. One day, one of the SS men from the political department saw Frankiewicz drunk on the camp road. Frankiewicz was then sent to the SK [penal company]. After some time, he was released and sent to hospital, and then transported out of the camp, which was beneficial for Frankiewicz.

Defendant: And who carried out the investigation in the case of Frankiewicz?

Witness: I assume it was you, because you were the head of the political department in Birkenau.

Defendant: The witness has linked my name to Aumeier. Did the witness really mean it was I?

Witness: I am sure I did.

In 1941, two other gardeners and I, together with a Rottenführer who also was a gardener, went to tear off some garden fence pales. On the way, the Rottenführer told us not to even think about escaping, because ten prisoners would be punished for the escape of one. It was in June 1941. I do not remember the names. Two of us were tearing off the pales, and the third prisoner was carrying them. The Rottenführer, who was there with us, was searching the nearby houses. At some point, we realized that the prisoner who carried the pales was missing and we had to look for him. Three shots were fired. We went back to the camp and we were taken to Lagerführer Fritsch. He wasn’t the head of the political department, so he sent us there. The chief of the political department, that is Grabner, interrogated us, trying to force us to admit that the three of us had been planning the escape together. I spoke a little German, so I did not need an interpreter, but my colleague was interrogated by Hoffmann, who acted as an interpreter. However, it is difficult for me to say if it was this Hoffmann.

Presiding Judge: Does the witness know that there were two men named Hoffmann?

Witness: I know this one. I do not know if there was another one.

Presiding Judge: Are there any questions for the witness?

Defense Attorney Ostrowski: The event described by the witness took place in 1941. The witness said that defendant Hoffmann participated in that event as an interpreter. However, in 1941 Hoffmann was serving in the Yugoslavian army, and on 21 October 1942 he was drafted into the German army.

Witness: I saw Hoffmann there and I remember him best from that very event.

Defense Attorney Ostrowski: It is a fact that in 1941 he was a soldier in the Yugoslavian army. There are documents and proofs confirming that. Maybe it was the other Hoffmann?

Witness: I know this Hoffmann, and he should also know me.

Defendant Hoffmann: Your Honor, I would like to say something. The witness claims that in the years 1941 and 1942 I was in the camp. At that time, I was never in the camp and I lived a happy life.

Presiding Judge: Maybe the witness has mistaken the date.

Witness: I remember very well that the escape took place in June 1941. I also remember perfectly that it was this Hoffmann, although I did not know his name then.

Defendant Hoffmann: I would like to ask the witness if he knew Roman Hoffmann, who worked in the political department in the camp.

Presiding Judge: The witness has already been asked this question. The witness is excused. I order a 20-minute break.