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Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/staff/muench-testimony


Archive/File: camps/auschwitz/staff muench-testimony
Last-Modified: 1994/07/14

Testimony of Dr. Hans W. Muench 
[Trials of War Criminals, Vol. VIII. p. 313-321]
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Q. What was your first impression of Auschwitz when you arrived?

A. I had already heard about extermination camps, and particularly
   extermination camps for Jews, through reports over the Swiss radio
   that I listened to regularly in the preceding years, but since I
   considered this news to be propaganda, I did not believe it at the
   time, because the facts that were being described seemed too 
   terribly outrageous to me. When I arrived in Auschwitz, and had to
   convince myself personally that these reports were not exaggerated, 
   I was very much shaken emotionally.
 
 .
 .
 .


Q. Mr. witness, you were informed about the fact that human beings were
   gassed at Auschwitz?

A. Yes.

 .
 .
 .

Q. Mr. witness, for what reason did you not spread the fact that human
   beings were being gassed and exterminated?

A. I was asked this very often and also before the Supreme Court of 
   Cracow, and I can say in answer to it that that would have been a 
   completely useless undertaking which would have very shortly caused 
   me and my family to be liquidated very quickly, because the Gestapo 
   was so well organized and the threats for nonobservance of the 
   secrecy that surrounded the Auschwitz exterminations were so clearly 
   worded for members of the SS that everybody avoided telling even his 
   closest friend about it, because experience taught us that anybody 
   who talked about it in any way was very quickly found because the 
   Gestapo sniffed out every rumor very consistently that spread about 
   Auschwitz.

 .
 .
 .

Q. Mr. witness, what would you say if someone visited a plant in
   Auschwitz twice or three times a year for a period of one or two
   days? Would he then have to gain knowledge about these things?

A. I repeatedly witnessed guided tours of civilians and also of
   commissions of the Red Cross and other parties within the camp,
   and I was able to ascertain that the camp leadership arranged it
   masterfully to conduct these guided tours in such a way that the 
   people being guided around did not see anything about inhuman
   treatment. The main camp was shown only and in this main camp there
   were so-called show blocks, particularly block 13, that were
   especially prepared for such guided tours and that were equipped 
   like a normal soldier's barracks with beds that had sheets on them, 
   and well-functioning washrooms. 

 .
 .
 .

Q. Mr. witness, did you personally ever witness the gassing of human
   beings?

A. Yes, I saw one gassing at one time.

 .
 .
 .

Q. Mr. witness, you testified a little earlier that those who were sick
   in the camps, like in concentration camp Monowitz, would be sent to
   Auschwitz-Birkenau, but I wasn't quite clear as to why they were 
   sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. I'd like to put just a question or two 
   to you on that. Mr. witness, those people who were in the hospital 
   at Monowitz and were shipped to Auschwitz-Birkenau because of an
   edema or phlegmon, for what purpose were they shipped to Birkenau?

A. As far as these people were Jews, I must state that most of them
   were gassed.

Q. And, Mr. witness, if they were sent from the hospital in Monowitz to
   Auschwitz-Birkenau, and they were Jews; and they were sent because 
   of weakness and collapse, why were they sent to Birkenau?

A. Also to be gassed.


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