Fifth day of the hearing
Presiding Judge: I hereby summon the witness Władysław Dudek.
(The witness Władysław Dudek presents himself.)
Presiding Judge: Please provide your personal details.
Witness: Władysław Dudek, 27 years old, religion – Roman Catholic, a student at the State Co-operative Secondary School, marital status – unmarried, relationship to the accused – none.
Presiding Judge: I hereby instruct the witness, pursuant to the provisions of Article 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, that you are required to speak the truth. The provision of false testimony is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to five years. Do the parties want to submit any motions as to the procedure according to which the witness is to be interviewed?
Prosecutors: We release the witness from the obligation to take an oath.
Defense attorneys: We likewise.
Presiding Judge: What information does the witness possess in the case against the accused?
Witness Władysław Dudek testifies: I arrived in Auschwitz on 7 January 1941, but was incarcerated there for only three weeks, for I was selected by Hauptscharführer Schurner to join a transport, and on 23 January I was taken to Flossenbürg in Bavaria, not far from Nuremberg. There I encountered the accused Aumeier. I will not describe the entirety of his actions, but instead limit myself to three events that I experienced firsthand. During the night from 14 to 15 June 1941, two Poles escaped from wing B, block 12, where only Poles were incarcerated (myself among them). They ran off near the kitchen and made their way through the gate. But they stumbled into the Baulager [labor camp] and made quite a bit of noise – the guards saw them and started shooting, and soon the whole camp was lit up.
Initially we did not know what was going on. A moment later the block leader burst into our block and herded us out to roll call. Nothing like this had ever happened at the camp before. We were stood in rows and numbered off; there were two prisoners missing from our block. Aumeier then ordered the whole block to stand to attention, while the Germans started looking for the escapees throughout the camp. They soon determined that the inmates had already got outside the facility. The search lasted until the wee hours. Finally, Aumeier ordered all the Germans, Czechs and Poles who had been incarcerated together with them [i.e. with the escapees] to go to their blocks, bring out chairs and blankets and sit down in the square. While he was walking past block 12, he shouted: “Block 12, fall flat”. It was a foggy, muddy June day, and I would also like to note that the roll call square was located in a mountainous area, at a height of more than 980 meters. Aumeier and his friends, Schreier and the others, whose surnames I do not know, then started jumping on the heads of the hapless prisoners from block 12, literally suffocating them. In the meantime we stood to attention, with no food. Worse still, no one was allowed to leave the line in order to go to the toilet. We stood like that until late evening, until 11.00 p.m. Thereafter Aumeier ordered that we be sent to the German block, while the next day we set off for work as usual, receiving only one half of our daily ration as punishment (even though the standard ration was completely insufficient). That was the first incident.
The second occurred during the night from 2 to 3 July 1941. Again, a Pole escaped from the camp. He had been locked up in block 4. He was from Warsaw. I do not know his surname, but I remember that he was a strong, broad-shouldered man, a shoemaker by occupation. He took a run at the barbed wire fence and jumped over it, thus managing to get outside. Yet again, roll call was ordered in the square. But this time it was worse. Aumeier took the roll call and ordered every Pole to step forward, while inmates of other nationalities were instructed to return to the block. Only we Poles were left. We were ordered to stand to attention – and so we stood throughout the day and the entire night, with no food, without being allowed to leave the line. Aumeier set a whole bunch of SS men onto us, and they busied themselves torturing the prisoners.
That day I received a terrible beating from Aumeier, so much so that I collapsed to the ground, but somehow I managed to get up, for my constitution was still rather strong. I stood in the third row and, unfortunately, I did not see that Aumeier was standing just behind the fifth, for during roll call we were not allowed to as much as move our heads. Aumeier then said in German: “This one still has not had enough” and ordered that I be dragged out of the line. The block leader of block 10 grabbed me by my collar, and he and Aumeier led me off to the Schreibstube [office] to receive punishment. The punishment itself was administered by a friend of Aumeier’s, Schriner. I was hit 15 times over the back with a shovel handle. I suffered partial damage to my kidneys. After I had received my beating, Aumeier ordered me back in line, all the while making fun of me. We stood for the whole night. The next day, all of us Polish prisoners were sent to work. Everyone else got a normal breakfast, while we were still hungry. Finally, after three days, we received our first meal: three small, unpeeled potatoes and a quarter liter of cabbage. That was dinner.
Some time later, another Pole escaped from the camp, from block 7. This prisoner had been working as a blacksmith in the camp smithy. During dinner, when the foremen went outside the fence, they left their civilian clothes in the workshops. The prisoner donned one such set of clothing and simply walked out of the gate and past the wire fencing, together with the foremen. During roll call – Grabner took it – it was found that a prisoner was missing. He ordered the kommandos to gather and we were all numbered off. Aumeier barged in, incandescent with rage. The search gave no result. We stood for two hours, whereafter we were let into the camp. Another roll call was held there. We Poles were ordered to step forward and march away in blocks. We stood all afternoon, again without food (for the prisoner escaped at a critical moment, just before dinner was issued), without supper, through the whole night, and went off to work in the morning hungry.
In all three instances Aumeier was the only one to be actively involved, for our camp commandant at the time was one Kögel or Keller (I do not remember his surname exactly), who was a very good man; he was not interested in the camp and did not come for roll call, and so all the orders to beat and torture prisoners came from Aumeier alone.
Presiding Judge: Are there any questions?
Judge Zembaty: How many Poles were there in the camp at Flossenbürg?
Witness: I arrived on 23 January. Apart from Austrians, there were also Czechs, and initially they enjoyed international rights – they kept their hair long and did not have to go to work. Later, their rights were changed.
When we arrived at the camp, there were no more than one hundred Poles. Before 1939, many of these people had been employed in the Reich as seasonal laborers, while some had been stranded abroad during the fighting of 1939 and sent to the camp for various minor offenses (for example wounding an ox in the leg). They were scattered throughout the German blocks.
Our group, transferred from Auschwitz to Flossenbürg, numbered around 700 people. I would therefore surmise that we occupied blocks 11, 12 and 13, more or less 200 – 500 to each.
Judge Zembaty: Were there any subsequent transports of Polish prisoners?
Witness: Two transports arrived in 1943.
Judge Zembaty: What was the largest number of Polish inmates, approximately?
Witness: I only know that the numbers went up to 90,000. The Soviet prisoners of war had numbers from the POW camps, while people of other nationalities were few, so that in the years 1943 and 1944 Poles made up some 60 or 70 percent of the total number of 90,000 inmates.
Judge Zembaty: Thank you.
Prosecutor Brandys: Were there also Jewish prisoners at the camp?
Witness: When we arrived, all the Jews – and these were only Czech and German Jews – were in the so-called SK – Strafkommando [penal squad].
Prosecutor: And how many were there?
Witness: A hundred and a dozen or so.
Prosecutor: How were Polish prisoners treated in the Strafkommando and was the mortality rate higher?
Witness: In 1941, there would be one death a day on average, while the mortality rate in the SK was even lower than in the other blocks; however this was not due to Aumeier, but to the German block elder, who cared for his men and ensured that they were provided with food.
Prosecutor: You mean to say that the prisoners themselves helped each other?
Prosecutor: Did the roll calls you mentioned concern only Polish inmates?
Prosecutor: Did these roll calls result in any fatalities?
Witness: Following the first roll call, after we had been tormented and tortured, in which Aumeier took an active part, ten people were carried away from our block to the Revier [hospital], where they died.
Prosecutor: What were the causes of death?
Witness: Beating, maltreatment, being poured over with water.
Prosecutor: Were there any instances of immediate death?
Witness: No, none were immediate.
Prosecutor: And how did the second roll call proceed?
Witness: After we had stood there the whole day and the whole night, Aumeier brought a large file, from the Politische Abteilung [political department] I think, and read out 53 surnames; all these prisoners were led away to the jail and shot the next day. During the second standing punishment there were seven hundred and eighty something of us Poles. Five or six people died in the roll call square, while many were transferred not to the Revier, but near to the Revier, for at the time it was forbidden to provide us Poles with any medical assistance. All this was ordered by Aumeier.
Prosecutor: As regards the third roll call ... was the prisoner caught and, if so, then what happened with him?
Witness: Following the first roll call, the two escapees were caught – in all probability by the dogs, for they were brought back in an ambulance with deep lacerations. Aumeier ordered two other Poles to pull them out by their feet, as if they were sacks, and drag them across the roll call square. He told us that the same fate would befall anyone who attempted to escape. He also added that no one had ever successfully escaped from a concentration camp in Germany. Next, some time after the third incident, maybe 16 days or three weeks later, after our standing punishment, we were all summoned in the afternoon to an additional roll call. A buck had been set up on the square, and the poor man was being brought in through the gate. In all probability he was the escapee. On his chest he had a placard with the following words written in German and Polish: Vom Urlaub zurück – I have returned from holiday. He was led into the camp by Aumeier, who proceeded to give a speech addressed to all of us prisoners. I do not remember the contents of this talk. The runaway was then placed on the buck and Oberscharführer Schmautz – for he hit people with his left hand – and another Oberscharführer, whose surname I do not know, carried out the sentence. He was to receive one hundred lashes, however the camp SS doctor was present at the beating and he ordered a stop after 75 blows, for you could see even from afar how the prisoner’s body had swelled, and there was a fear that he would die. The poor wretch was then taken away to the jail. Three weeks later we were summoned earlier to a morning roll call at which both Aumeier and the camp commandant were present. The commandant did not enter the camp, remaining next to the Blockführers’ [block leaders] block; only Aumeier walked in, and in his presence a sentence was read out condemning the poor man to death by hanging. Aumeier stated that instead of trying to run away, we should work, and that then nothing untoward would befall us.
Presiding Judge: Can the accused make a binding declaration concerning this part of his testimony?
The accused Aumeier: I only remember one roll call that was concerned – as I have already declared – with the said shoemaker. It is correct that he was brought back to the camp as a fugitive and was forced to wear a placard with the words Vom Urlaub zurück. It is also correct that – insofar as I remember correctly – he was hanged 14 days later. And insofar as I am aware, he was not hanged because of his escape attempt, but due to the fact that in the course of the attempt he assaulted some man and stabbed him with a knife, and also assaulted some peasant woman and tried to rape her.
Witness: Your Honor! I can provide additional testimony, for I have only just remembered.
The accused Aumeier continues: This is all that I wanted to say. I could not have given an order for the standing punishment – such orders were issued by the camp commandant, Künstler. This is my declaration in the case.
Witness: Regarding the declaration concerning the aforementioned shoemaker, I would like to add the following: the prisoner stabbed an SS man who lunged at him, but he was not hanged for this offense, for Aumeier told us that any escape would be punishable by death.
Presiding Judge: Do you gentlemen have any questions?
Prosecutors and defense attorneys: No.
Presiding Judge: The witness may step down.