Nineteenth day of the hearing, 30 January 1947, session begins at 9.45 a.m.

Presiding Judge M. Günter: I resume the session of the Supreme National Tribunal in the trial of Ludwig Fischer, Ludwig Leis, Josef Meisinger and Maks Daume, charged in accordance with the provisions of the decree of 21 August 1944 concerning sanctions for fascist-Nazi perpetrators.

Defense Attorney Węgliński: I’d like to speak.

Presiding Judge: Gentlemen, motions and statements later, I would like to make full use of the evidence first.

Please call witnesses Brzeszczyński and Falkowska.

The Judge decides to hear the witness Brzeszczyński’s testimony, who will be interviewed at the request of the prosecutor.

Witness: I’d like to correct my surname – my name is Julian Brześciański.

(The Judge decides to hear the witnesses without an oath, however the Judge advises the witnesses of the obligation to speak the truth and of the criminal liability for making false declarations).

Witness Julian Brześciański, born in 1908, state clerk, residing in Pruszków, no relationship to the parties.

Presiding Judge: Please, may the prosecutors ask questions of the witness.

Prosecutor Sawicki: Were you detained in the Treblinka camp?

Witness: As a City Council clerk I was sent to Treblinka camp in 1942.

Prosecutor: By whom?

Witness: By defendant Leist.

Presiding Judge: How does the witness know that he was sent to the camp by defendant Leist?

Witness: Because I was arrested at home. After my deportation my family, that is, my wife, received a notice from the Polish Council, that is, the city mayor, that due to the German authorities’ ordinance Brześciański had been sent to the Treblinka camp.

Presiding Judge: Due to German authorities’ ordinance?

Witness: Yes.

Presiding Judge: Are these the exact words from the notice?

Witness: Yes.

Presiding Judge: How does the witness know that the ordinance was issued by Leist?

Witness: Because all the accused parties, that is, city workers, were sent to the camp by defendant Leist, he being the German mayor of the town. I had seen a notice issued by the Stadthauptmann, with a footnote by mayor Kulski, which stated that for minor offences like being late to work the city workers would be sent to the camps.

Presiding Judge: On what basis? Was the witness informed about the reasons he was deported?

Witness: I wasn’t told anything. I was sent together with a colleague, and when I wanted to know the reason, I was told it was for exceeding my level of competence, but which exactly – I do not know. I was an economic clerk in the vocational education department at the time, because it was the only schooling that existed.

Prosecutor: Was vocational education under the City Council’s supervision?

Witness: Not when it came to matters of the curriculum …

Prosecutor: So for matters of the budget.

Witness: If it came to the budget, it was without a doubt subordinate to the German authorities, the Schulrat.

Prosecutor: So to the German city authorities, the Stadthauptmann?

Witness: Yes.

Prosecutor: The starost?

Witness: Yes.

Prosecutor: Did the witness see the official letter from the district office warning that in cases of exceeding their competences, clerks would be detained in Treblinka?

Witness: I did.

Prosecutor: Who was it issued by?

Witness: By the Stadthauptmann, that is, the present German council.

Prosecutor: And the warning was that you could go to Treblinka?

Witness: Yes, it said we could go to Treblinka.

Prosecutor: Before being placed in Treblinka, had the witness been told of specific competences that the witness might have exceeded?

Witness: No, even the chief city controller, Mr T… and his equivalent in the economic department that I worked for, Mr Brabander, were astounded.

Prosecutor: Doesn’t it occur to the witness that it was the police who sent him to the camp?

Witness: No, it was clear to me that it wasn’t the police. Had Warsaw not been destroyed, I would be in possession of all the documents proving that I was imprisoned on the German authorities’ orders.

Prosecutor: Which authorities – the police or the administration?

Witness: The administration, the Stadthauptmann.

Prosecutor: Did you receive the notice from Mr Kulski?

Witness: Yes, it was passed on to me by the acting mayor.

Prosecutor: How was your detainment in Treblinka justified?

Witness: With absolutely no reasons. No explanations were provided to my family, the procedure itself lasted one day.

Prosecutor: And how long did the witness stay in the camp?

Witness: Two and a half months.

Prosecutor: And then the witness returned to work?

Witness: No, there was a certain pathway, one would travel to Germany as an unemployed person straight after being released from the camp.

Prosecutor: And did the witness go?

Witness: No, I was extremely lucky to have avoided this, thanks to the kindness of people who provided me an employment card at the station, which stated that I was employed in the General Governorate.

Prosecutor: Is the witness aware of any other people from the City Council who had been placed in Treblinka?

Witness: Yes, there was the solicitor in the camp, I don’t recall his surname right now.

Prosecutor: Szyszkowski, maybe?

Witness: Yes. He had already been there when I came. Supposedly, he had been sent to Treblinka because when the tram drivers gave out free tickets and had a case before the solicitor, they received a sentence which was not strict enough.

When it comes to city workers, I met about 50 people.

Prosecutor: Was the camp in Treblinka overflowing with city workers?

Witness: Yes.

Prosecutor: What was the general situation in the camp?

Witness: The camp was organized in this way, there were ten SS men…

Prosecutor: I meant in terms of population.

Witness: There were 300-400 Poles.

Prosecutor: Among that number, how many were Warsaw City Council employees?

Witness: Around 20 per cent. They were mostly tram drivers. Apart from that, when they needed a doctor, who initially had been a Jew of German origins – I encountered German Jews there, too – they would send a Polish doctor, a detainee.

Prosecutor: Do you remember any colleagues’ surnames apart from those mentioned before?

Witness: I remember Adam Słoniewski.

Prosecutor: Is he in Warsaw?

Witness: Yes.

Prosecutor: Does the witness know who sent him [Słoniewski] to the camp?

Witness: Defendant Leist.

Presiding Judge: What were the conditions in the labor camp? What were the internees doing?

Witness: We were working in the gravel pit. The camp was supplying gravel supervised by German authorities. It was placed in a valley. We were loading gravel and sand onto wagons. We were required to load 20 tons of gravel or sand a day. The work lasted from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., but if one hadn’t loaded [the required amount], he could be beaten up and left on the spot until he had done the job.

Presiding Judge: What were the food rations?

Witness: Rations were shockingly poor. Soup in the morning – truly slop, leftovers that weren’t eaten by the SS men – coffee in the evening and a piece of bread, about 200 grams every 24 hours.

Judge Grudziński: When were you taken to Treblinka?

Witness: On 17 April 1942.

Judge: Had there been a notice informing the city workers they would be sent to Treblinka before you were taken?

Witness: Yes, the one I mentioned.

Judge: So it was a notice concerning not your individual case, but a general one?

Witness: Yes. I kept it, but unfortunately it was burnt.

Judge: Who signed it?

Witness: Defendant Leist as Stadthauptmann – copied to acting mayor Kulski.

Judge: Was the notice in your possession?

Witness: Yes.

Judge: And when you were being deported to Treblinka, did you receive a notice that you would be taken away?

Witness: No, I didn’t. The police came from Dworcowa, because I was living on the corner of Rakowiecka, took me to the station, and deported me in the morning.

Judge: Did your wife receive a notice?

Witness: She did, later, after my departure, from the Polish Council.

Judge: Was it referring to the previous notice?

Witness: No. It only said that by order of German authorities, her husband had been sent to the camp.

Judge: Who signed it?

Witness: Kulski.

Defense Attorney Śliwowski: The witness has met Attorney Syszkowski, who was one of the magistrate’s solicitors. Is the witness aware that Attorney Szyszkowski was also sent to the camp by Leist’s orders?

Witness: That’s what he said when we talked. We formed a small group of intelligentsia, which the Germans weren’t happy about. We intended – all us City Council workers – to stick together. I talked to Counselor Szyszkowski and he told me that he’d been deported by Leist’s orders.

Defense Attorney: Had Attorney Szyszkowski already been in the camp long at that time?

Witness: Ha had been sent three months before I was.

Defense Attorney: How soon was he released after the city intervened?

Witness: Two or three weeks after I was.

Defense Attorney: Did the witness’s family request Kulski to intervene in that matter?

Witness: Yes, I myself turned to him in writing the day before being transported, because I had been suspecting I would be deported. I had a hunch it would be like this, because I’d received an anonymous phone call with a warning from the city office. So I issued a letter together with witness Słoniewski, but we weren’t offered a hearing by mayor Kulski.

Also, I’d like to mention that I saw defendant Leist in the camp in Treblinka.

Prosecutor: Was he inspecting the camp?

Witness: Yes, maybe not exactly inspecting, but just visiting the SS authorities.

Prosecutor: Did the conditions improve after that?

Witness: Absolutely not. A week after his visit, a cargo of people to be executed arrived. The ones who buried them told us they were from the Pawiak. Pawiak’s prisoners were often brought there.

We were being used to build Treblinka II camp. It was a special camp for Jews. I was one of the workers, forcibly, of course. We were installing the rails and doing some preparatory work.

Prosecutor: Does the witness happen to know who was responsible for the camp in terms of administration?

Witness: The district!

Prosecutor: That is, the administrative authority?

Witness: Yes, the SS men said they were supervised by the district.

Prosecutor: Your Honor, that would be in accordance with the documents I have presented to Your Honor, that it was a camp ruled by administrative authorities, not the police.

[Witness:] The SS men were saying that as soon as they finish that job, they would go to another district, Radomsko if I recall.

Judge: When it comes to city workers in Treblinka, how many employees of the city enterprises were there, and how many from the general administration?

Witness: There were six or seven employees of the general administration.

Judge: Do you know any other names apart from Słoniecki [Słoniewski]?

Witness: I’d have to think about it, I had it written down, but everything was burnt.

Defense Attorney: Which month did Leist visit Treblinka?

Witness: It was May.

Defense Attorney Chmurski: Who was managing the camp?

Witness: SS men.

Defense Attorney: Were they high-profile figures?

Witness: Yes, they were important people. The camp’s commandant even received some property near Ostrowia Mazowiecka in exchange for taking care of the camp.

Defense Attorney: And their subordinates were also SS men?

Witness: Yes, SS men, and later Ukrainians.

Prosecutor: In response to my question, the witness said the camp was subject to the administrative authorities, while answering their attorney’s question the witness claimed it was overseen by SS.

Witness: The SS men were supervised by the district’s governors.

Prosecutor: So, in other words, the SS men had their branches on the spot, while the camp was subordinate to the district?

Witness: Yes sir.

Defense Attorney: How does the witness know that the camp was subject to district administration?

Witness: I often saw high district officials visiting the camp.

Defense Attorney: Who would that be?

Witness: I do not know whether defendant Fischer was there. I didn’t encounter them directly, we weren’t allowed to walk there, but the ones who did, for example gardeners or cleaners, said that those were district officials or some important figures from the Brühl palace.

Presiding Judge: Didn’t the witness say that he knew that the camp was under the district’s dominion from conversations with SS men?

Witness: They told me they were going to another district, to Radomsko.

Defense Attorney: As far as I understand, the witness is attempting to conclude that the administrative authorities of the district were supervising the camp because he witnessed district officials on the premises of Treblinka?

Witness: Yes sir.

Defense Attorney: What were they doing there?

Witness: Planning the second camp. They looked at the sites for new gas chambers, talked about economic conditions of the camp, rationing, expansion – all kinds of subjects.

Presiding Judge: The witness is excused.