The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/05


Q. Were University circles aware of the work done in the
camps?

A. At the Pathological Institute in Buchenwald, pathological
preparations were made, and naturally some of them were out
of the ordinary, - since - I am speaking as a doctor - we
encountered cases that can no longer be observed, cases such
as have been described in the books of the last century.
Some excellent pieces of work were prepared and sent to
Universities, especially the University of Jena. On the
other hand there were also some exhibits which could not
properly be described as anatomical: some prepared tattoo
marks were sent to Universities.

Q. Did you personally see that?

A. I saw these tattoo marks prepared.

Q. Then how did they obtain the anatomic exhibits, how did
they get these tattoo marks? They waited for a natural
death, of course.

A. The cases I observed were natural deaths or executions.
Before our arrival, and I can name witnesses who can testify
to this - they killed a man to get these tattoo marks. It
happened, I must emphasise, when I was not at Buchenwald. I
am repeating what was told me by witnesses whose names I
will give. During the period when the camp was commanded by
Koch,

                                                  [Page 216]

people who had particularly artistic tattoo marks were
killed. The witness I can refer to is Nicolas Simon, who
lives in Luxembourg. He spent six years in Buchenwald in
exceptional conditions, where he had unprecedented
opportunities of observation.

Q. But I am told that Koch was sentenced to death and
executed because of those very excesses.

A. As far as I know, Koch was mixed up with some sort of
swindling affair. He quarrelled with the SS administration.
He was undoubtedly arrested and imprisoned.

THE PRESIDENT We had better have an adjournment now.

(A recess was taken)

BY M. DUBOST:

Q. We stopped at the end of the Koch story, and the witness
was telling the Tribunal that Koch had been executed not for
the crimes that he had committed with regard to the
internees in his charge, but because of the numerous
indiscretions of which he had been guilty during his period
of service.

Did I understand the witness's explanation correctly?

A. I said explicitly that he had been accused of
indiscretions. I cannot give precise details of all the
charges. I cannot say definitely that he was accused only of
minor misdemeanours in his administration; I know that such
charges were made against him, but I have no further
information.

Q. Have you nothing to add?

A. I can say that this information came from Dr. Owen, who
had been arrested at the same time and released again, and
who returned to Buchenwald towards the end, that is, early
in 1945.

Q. What was the nationality of this doctor?

A. German. He was in detention. He was an SS-man, and Koch
and he were arrested at the same time. Owen was released and
came back to Buchenwald restored to his rank and his
functions at the beginning of 1945. He was quite willing to
talk to the prisoners and the information that I have given
comes from him.

M. DUBOST: I have no further questions to ask the witness,
Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Are there any further questions?

MEMBERS OF THE BRITISH PROSECUTION: No.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any member of the defence counsel wish
to ask any questions?

BY DR. MERKEL: I am the defence counsel for the Gestapo.

Q. Witness, you previously stated that the methods of
treatment in Buchenwald were not peculiar to the Buchenwald
camp but must be ascribed to a general order. The reasons
you gave for this statement was that you had seen these
things in all the other camps too. How am I to understand
this expression "in all other camps?"

A. I am speaking of concentration camps; to be precise, a
certain number of them, Mauthausen, Dachau, Sachsenhausen,
and labour squads such as Dora, Lora, Mansleben, Ebensee, to
mention these only.

Q. Were you yourself in these camps?

A. I myself went to Buchenwald. I collected exact testimony
about the other camps from friends who were there. In any
case, the number of friends of mine who died is a
sufficiently eloquent proof that extermination was carried
out in the same way in all the camps.

BY DOCTOR BABEL: (Counsel for the SS and SD)

Q. I should like to know to what block you belonged. Perhaps
you can tell the Tribunal - you have already mentioned the
point - how the prisoners were distributed? Did they not
also bear certain external markings - red patches on the
clothing of some and green on that of others?

                                                  [Page 217]

A. There were in fact a number of badges, all of which were
found in the same commandos. To give an example, where I was-
in the "Terrassekommando" known as "Entwasserung" (drainage)
- I worked alongside German common law criminals wearing the
green badge. Regarding the nationalities in this commando,
there were Russians, Czechs, Belgians and French among us.
Our badges were different; our treatment was identical, and
in this particular case we were even under the orders of
common law criminals.

Q. I did not quite hear the beginning of your answer. I
asked whether the prisoners were divided into specific
categories identifiable externally by means of stars or some
kind of distinguishing mark: green, blue, etc ...?

A. I said that there were various badges in the camp,
triangular badges which applied in principle to different
categories, but all the men were mixed up together, and
subjected to the same treatment.

Q. I did not ask you about their treatment, but about their
distinctive badges.

A. For the French it was a badge in the form of a shield.

Q. (interpolating): For all the prisoners, not only the
French.

A. I am answering you: in the case of the French, who were
those I knew best, the red, political, badge was given to
everyone without discrimination, including the prisoners
brought over from Fort Barrault, who were common criminals.
I saw the same thing among the Czechs and the Russians. It
is true that the use of different badges had been intended,
but that was never put into practice in any reasonable way.

To come back to what I have already stated. Even if there
were different badges, the people were all mixed up
together, nevertheless, subjected to the same treatment and
the same conditions.

Q. We have already heard several times that prisoners of
various nationalities were mixed up together. That is not
what I asked you.

THE PRESIDENT: You are speaking too fast.

DR. BABEL: Yes. Thank you.

BY DR. BABEL:

Q. You were in the camp for a sufficiently long period to be
able to answer my question. How were the prisoners divided?
As far as I know, they were divided into criminal, political
and other groups, and each group was distinguished by a
special sign worn on the clothing - green, blue, red or some
other colour.

A. The use of different badges for different categories had
been planned. But these categories were mixed up together.
Criminals were side by side with prisoners classed as
political. There were, however, blocks in which one or other
of those elements predominated; certain specific groups were
distributed, but they were not divided up into specific
groups distinguished by the particular badge they wore.

Q. I have been told, for instance, that political prisoners
wore blue badges and the criminals wore red ones. We have
already had a witness who confirmed this to a certain
extent, by stating that criminals wore a green badge and
antisocial offenders a different badge, and that the
category to which a particular prisoner belonged could be
seen at a glance.

A. It is true that different badges existed. It is true that
the use of these badges for different categories was
foreseen, but if I am to confine myself to the truth, I must
emphasise the fact that the full use was not made of the
badges. For the French in particular, there were only
political badges, and this increased the confusion still
more since notorious criminals from the ordinary civil
prisons came to be regarded everywhere as political
prisoners. The badges were intended to identify the
different categories, but they were not employed
systematically. They were not employed at all for the French
prisoners.

                                                  [Page 218]

Q. If I understand you correctly, you say that all French
prisoners were classified as political prisoners

A. That is correct.

Q. Now, among these French prisoners, as you said yourself,
is it not true to say that there were not only political
prisoners but also a large proportion of criminals?

A. There were some among

Q. At least, I took your previous statement to mean that.
You said that quite definitely.

A. I did say so. I said that there were criminals from
special prisons who were not given the green badge with an
F, which they should have received, but the political badge.

Q. What was your employment in the camp? You are a doctor,
are you not?

A. I arrived in January. For three months I was assigned
first to the quarry, and then to the "terrasse". After that
I was assigned to the Revier, that is to say the camp
infirmary.

Q. What were your duties there?

A. I was assigned to the ambulance service for internal
diseases.

Q. Were you able to act on your own initiative? What sort of
instructions did you receive regarding the treatment of
patients in the Revier?

A. We acted under the control of an SS doctor. We had a
certain number of beds for certain patients, in the
proportion of one bed to twenty patients We had practically
no medical supplies. I worked in the infirmary up to the
liberation.

Q. Did you receive instructions regarding the treatment of
patients? Were you told to look after them properly or were
you given instructions to administer treatment which would
cause death?

A. As regards that, I was ordered to select the incurables
for extermination. I never carried out this order.

Q. Were you told to select them for extermination? I did not
quite hear your reply. Will you please repeat it?

A. I was ordered to select those who were dangerously ill so
that they might be sent to Block 61 where they were to be
exterminated. That was the only order I received concerning
the patients.

Q. "where they were to be exterminated." but I asked if you
were told that they were to be selected for extermination.
Were you told - according to what you said - "They will be
sent to Block 61." Were you also told what could happen to
them in Block 61?

A. Block 61 was in charge of a non-commissioned officer
called Wilhelm, who personally supervised the executions,
and it was he who ordered what patients should be selected
to be sent to that block. I think the situation is
sufficiently clear.

Q. I beg your pardon. You received no express orders?

A. The order to send the incurables

Q. (interrupting): Witness, it strikes me that you are not
giving a straightforward answer of "yes" or "no," but that
you persist in evading the question.

A. It was said that these patients were to be sent to Block
61. Nothing more was added, but every patient sent to Block
61 was executed.

Q. That is not firsthand observation. You found out or you
heard that those who were sent there did not come back.

A. That is not correct. I could see for myself, for I was
the only doctor who could enter Block 61, which was under
the command of a prisoner called Louis Cunish (Remisch?) I
was able to get a few of the patients out; the others died.

                                                  [Page 219]

Q. If such a thing was said to you, why did you not say that
you would not do it?

A. If I understand the question correctly, I am being asked
why - when I was told to send the most serious cases -

Q. (interrupting): When you received instructions to select
patients for Block 61 why did you not say: "I know what will
happen to those people, and therefore I will not do it."

A. Because it would have meant death.

Q. And what would it have meant if Germans had refused to
carry out such an order?

A. What Germans are you talking about? German internees?

Q. A German doctor, if you like, or anyone else employed in
the hospital. What would have happened to him if he had
received such an order and refused to carry it out?

A. If a prisoner refused point-blank to execute such an
order, it meant death. In point of fact, we sometimes could
evade such orders. I emphasise the fact that I never sent
any one to Block 61.

Q. I have one more general question to ask about conditions
in the camp. For those who have never seen a camp it is
difficult to imagine what conditions were actually like.
Perhaps you could give the Tribunal a short description of
how the camp was arranged.

A. I think I have already spoken at sufficient length on the
organisation of the camp. I should like to ask the President
whether it will serve any useful purpose to return to this
subject.

THE PRESIDENT: If you want to put any particular cross-
examination to him to show he is not telling the truth, you
can, but not to ask him for a general description.

BY DR. BABEL:

Q. The camp consists of an inner camp surrounded and secured
by barbed wire. The barracks in which the prisoners were
housed were inside this camp. How was this inner camp
guarded?

THE PRESIDENT: Will you kindly put one question at a time?
The question you have just put involves three or four
matters.

Q. How is the part of the camp in which the living-quarters
are situated separated from the rest? What security measures
are taken?

A. The camp was a unified whole, cut off from the rest of
the world by an electrified barbed wire network.

Q. Where were the guards?

A. The guards of the camp were in towers situated all round
the camp; they were stationed at the gate and they patrolled
inside the camp itself.

Q. Inside the camp? Inside the barbed wire enclosure?

A. Inside the camp and inside the barracks of course. They
had the right to go everywhere.

Q. I have been informed that each separate barrack was under
the supervision of only one man - a German SS-man or a
member of some other organisation, that there were no other
guards, that these guards were not intended to act as guards
but only to keep order, and that the so-called Kapos, who
were chosen from the ranks of the prisoners, had the same
authority as the guards and performed the duties of the
guards. It may have been different in Buchenwald. My
information comes from Dachau.

A. I have already answered all these questions in my
statement by saying that the camps were run by the SS in a
manner which is common knowledge, and that in addition the
SS employed the internees as intermediaries in many
instances. This was the case in Buchenwald and, I suppose,
in all the other concentration camps.

                                                  [Page 220]

Q. The answer to the question has again been highly evasive.
I shall not, however, pursue the matter any further, as in
any case I shall not receive a definite answer.

But I should like to put one further question.

You stated in connection with the facts you described that a
professor, whose name I could not understand through the
earphones and who was, I believe, a teacher of your own, was
housed in Block 59. You stated in connection with the
question of degradation - that at first 300 people - I think
were housed there and later on 1200. Is that correct?

A. There were 1200 men in Block 58 when I found Dr. Kindberg
there.

Q. Yes. And if I understood you correctly, you said that in
this block there were not only Frenchmen, but also Russians,
Poles, Czechs and Jews and that a state of degradation was
caused not only through the herding together of 1200 people
but also through the intermingling of so many different
nationalities.

A. I want to make it clear that the intermingling of
elements speaking different languages, men who are unable to
understand each other - is not a crime, but it was a pre-
disposing factor which furthered all the other measures
employed to bring about a state of human degradation among
the prisoners.

Q. So you consider that the intermingling of Frenchmen,
Russians, Poles, Czechs and Jews is a degradation?

A. I do not see the point of this question - the fact of
intermingling -

Q. There is no need for you to see the point; I know why I
am asking the question.

A. The fact of putting men who speak different languages
together is not degrading. I did not either think or say
such a thing, but the herding together of elements which
differ from each other in every respect, and especially in
that of language, in itself made living conditions more
difficult, and paved the way for the application of other
measures which I have already described at length and whose
final aim was the degradation of the human being.


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