The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/auschwitz.008

Archive/File: camps/auschwitz auschwitz.008
Last-Modified: 1993/12/07

From: (Danny Keren)
Date: 5 Dec 1993 22:39:04 GMT
Organization: Brown University Department of Computer Science
Message-ID: <2dtnu8$anv@cat.cis.Brown.EDU>

SS men Baretzki, Lucas, Kaduk, Stark, Hoffman, Broad, Klehr, Morgen, 
Kremer, Mulka, Bock, Glaser, Hess, Heger, Siebald, Wildermuth, Wilks, 
Wilhelmy, Hocker, Munch and others talk about the gassings in the 
Auschwitz death camp.

Summarized from "Auschwitz: the Proceeding Against Mulka and Others", by 
Bernd Nauman. The book surveys the trial and recorded testimony of SS men 
and witnesses who served in Auschwitz. Like most post-war trials of Nazi 
criminals, this one was held not by the Allies, but by the German 
government, according to the 1871 penal code. The trial lasted from 1963 
to 1965.

Baretzki talks about the gassings at length. He tells a macabre tale,
which best describes what kind of a place Auschwitz was: one day, the 
young son of SS officer Schwarzhuber walks through the camp to visit 
his father. However, since one of the laws of Auschwitz is that children 
have to die, he wears a sign around his neck to identify himself. As 
Baretzki says: "so they won't grab him, and into the gas with him".

Baretzki is annoyed that only the "little people" are standing trial:
"what could we do?". He asks SS-doctor Lucas to stop portraying
himself as a savior. He says Dr. Lucas sent 5,000 victims to the gas 
chambers in one day, and now he claims to have helped people. Dr. 
Lucas doesn't deny the accusation. Yes, he was forced to select on the 
ramp (where the newcomers were sorted out - fit for work into the camp, 
to be tattooed and enslaved, and the much larger group of the "unfit" 
sent directly to be gassed). But he couldn't take it, and eventually 
succeeded in having himself transferred. He says that while selecting, 
he tried to classify as many people he could as fit, and save them from 
being gassed immediately.

Kaduk insists that he never hit the victims he led into the gas 
chambers. He is also upset, and shouts "we are being blamed for
everything, and the medics. The doctors and all these officers sent
them into the gas and now we are being made responsible. The last
ones get it in the neck, right?".

Stark admits to have gassed people in Krema I; he says Grabner forced
him to go on the roof and pour the Zyklon-B in. Grabner told him "if you
don't do it, you'll join them inside". Stark wasn't happy then - he 
considered the use of gas "cowardly".

And Hoffman tells what a mess it was, when the people were pushed into
the chambers. He says the SS men had to watch out so that the working 
prisoners wouldn't be gassed by mistake. And, yes, he admits to have 
pushed people into the gas chambers. "Well, what were we supposed to 
do? We were under orders". He explains that when no additional workers 
were needed, whole transports were gassed, without any selection.

Broad tells at length about the gassing in Krema I; how Grabner 
conducted it, and how a lorry was placed by, its engine running in 
high pitch, to drown out the screams of those who were gassed
inside. He tells of how the single gas chamber wasn't sufficient
to handle the task, and about how the bigger gas chambers in Birkenau 
were constructed and operated.

Klehr says he never poured the Zyklon-B in, he only drew up the 
schedule for those who did it. He said he was forced to do so,
because so many transports were coming in, and there had to be 
order; sometimes, a transport came and the execution had to be
wait until the men who were trained to pour the Zyklon-B in could
be found.

Many witnesses accused Klehr of murdering thousands of people with 
phenol injections, during his stay at Auschwitz. No, he says, it was
only a few hundreds, and they were half-dead anyway. All those who
accuse him of killing numerous healthy people are lying, Klehr insists.

SS Judge, Dr. Konrad Morgen, says how shocked he was when he visited
Birkenau and learned of the mass gassings. He tells of how diabolically
the murder installations were set up, in an attempt to fool the victims,
so they will not suspect they are going to their death. Morgen, like
some other SS officers, claims he actually tried to stop the mass
murder. He was no less appalled at the fact that the SS executioners
were stealing the valuables of the victims.

And SS doctor Kremer tells how he selected victims to be killed by 
phenol injections, and how he supervised gassings. He tells of how
the executioners were given extra rations of liquor and cigarettes.

SS man Hykes tells of how he was assigned to sort out the belongings of
the victims who were gassed.

Mulka says he is not guilty of anything. Although he was in charge of 
all the traffic inside the camp, he couldn't have stopped the convoys 
that drove the victims from the ramp to the gas chambers, because Hoss
(the commandant) would not hear of it. He says it was Wiegand who 
ordered the huge trucks that were used to drive the victims in their 
last journey, not him. Mulka says he had nothing to do with the gassing;
however, when judge Hofmeyer shows him a document authorizing to bring
Zyklon-B to the camp, he embarrassingly admits his signature is on it;
the deadly poison is described as "material for resettlement of Jews".

SS man Bock, who was a driver in the camp, testified that when the mass
gassings began, six huge trucks were acquired to drive the victims from
the ramp to the gas chambers. Prosecutor Kugler asks Mulka who proposed
the acquisition of these trucks. Mulka says that since Kugler insulted 
him before, he will not answer the question.

Glaser, who was also a driver at Auschwitz, saw how the people were 
taken to be gassed, but he doesn't know if Mulka ordered this.

Hess incriminates Mulka. Since Mulka was camp adjutant, he says, his
attempts to deny responsibility are "childish and naive". He also tells
of a gassing he saw at Krema I.

Heger, who was the driver of commandant Hoss, says that the orders to 
take the victims to the gas chambers came from Hoss or Mulka.

Lorenz, another witness, is asked if he drove people from the ramp to 
the gas chambers. He refuses to answer.

Siebald, another driver, says the orders to drive the people to the gas
chambers came from the commandant via the motor pool. Yes, he also drove
the people on their last journey, but he was just following the other

Wildermuth also drove the people from the ramp to the gas chambers. 
Three or four times, he says. He saw the corpses being burned.

Wilks also tells of a gassing he witnessed at Krema I. He, too, mentions
how the people who worked at the ramp and those who killed the "unfit" 
in the gas chambers received extra rations. All the doctors worked on 
the ramp, he says. They didn't gas the people, however, only watched 
over those who opened the cans and poured the Zyklon-B inside:

"Why were they notified?"
"They were notified so they could do their job".
"What was their job?"
"Their job was to gas people".

Wilhelmy describes some gassings he witnessed at Krema I. He remembers
Theuer gassed the people once. Hoss was present at some gassings.

Hocker was camp adjutant for some time, after Mulka left. Yes, he knew
of the gassings, but didn't have anything with it: "all that happened
in camp II, with which I had nothing to do". Nobody in the camp ever
questioned the legality of the mass killing: the orders came from the
RSHA (Reich Main Security Office) and "whatever came from the RSHA was
legal order". 

"Why did you think these unfortunate people were brought there?"
"Well, I thought because they endangered public safety".
"Could you possibly believe that innocent children were being murdered
 in order to protect the public against acts of violence?"
"Well, there were the Jews".
"Weren't they human beings?"
"Well, that was a political belief of the leadership, of Hitler. But 
 all SS men had come to the conclusion that this was not the right way.
 But they did not have the power to change things".

SS medical officer Dr. Munch was sent to serve at Auschwitz in 
mid-1943. He tells about how, a few days after his arrival, Dr. Wirths, 
the chief medical officer, ordered him to report to the ramp and choose 
victims for the gas chambers. This deeply disturbed Munch, and 
eventually he succeeded in avoiding ramp duty; he asked a friend, the
head of the Hygienic Institute in Berlin, to intervene on his behalf.
The latter sent a teletype to the commandant of Auschwitz, and 
consequently Munch was not assigned either to the selections or to the

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.