The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Tell us, how old was this girl?

A  Eleven. I must state that the Germans had established the
ghetto only to exterminate the Jewish population with
greater ease. The head of the ghetto was the expert on
Jewish questions, Muhrer, and he issued a series of mad
orders. For instance, Jews were forbidden to wear whiskers.
The Jews could not pray in the ghetto. When a German
entered, they had to take off their hats, but were not
allowed to look at him.

                                                    [Page 5]

Q. Were these official orders?

A. Yes, issued by Muhrer.

Q. Were they posted?

A. Yes, they were posted in the ghetto. The same Muhrer,
when he visited the ghetto, went into the shops where the
Jews were working for him and ordered all workers to fall
down on the ground and bark like dogs. On Atonement Day in
1941, Schweineberg and the same Sonderkommando broke into
the second ghetto and seized all the elders who were in the
synagogues, and drove them to Panarai. I remember when
Schweineberg went to the second ghetto
and the "grabbers" seized the Jews.

Q.  Who were these hunters?

A. The soldiers of the Sonderkommando who seized the Jews
and whom the population called the "grabbers".

Q. So they were soldiers of the Sonderkommando, whom the
population called "grabbers"?

A. Yes, that is so. These grabbers dragged the Jews out of
the cellars and tried to drive them away. But the Jews knew
that nobody returned alive and did not want to go. Then
Schweineberg began to shoot at the inhabitants of the
ghetto. I remember that there was a big dog at his side, and
when this dog heard the shots, it jumped at Schweineberg and
began to bite his throat like a mad dog. Then Schweineberg
killed this dog, and told the Jews to bury it and to cry
over its grave. We really cried then - we cried because it
was not Schweineberg but the dog that had been buried.

At the end of December, 1941, an order was issued in the
ghetto, which stated that the Jewish women must not bear

Q. I would like you to tell us how, or in what form, this
order was issued by the German fascists.

A. Muhrer came to the hospital in Street No. 6 and said that
an order had come from Berlin to the effect that Jewish
women should not bear children, and that if the Germans
found out that a Jewish woman had given birth, the child
would be killed.

Towards the end of December, in the ghetto, my wife gave
birth to a child, a boy, I was not in the ghetto at that
time, having escaped from one of these so-called "actions".
When I came to the ghetto later I found that my wife had had
a baby in a ghetto hospital. But I saw the hospital
surrounded by Germans and a black car standing before the
door. Schweineberg was standing near the car and the
grabbers of the Sonderkommando were dragging sick and old
people out of the hospital and throwing them like logs into
the truck. Among them, I saw the well-known Jewish writer
and editor, Grodninsky, who was also dragged and dumped into
this truck.

In the evening when the Germans had left I went to the
hospital and found my wife in tears. It seems that when she
had had her baby, the Jewish doctors of the hospital had
already received the order that Jewish women must not give
birth and they had hidden the baby, together with others
newly born, in one of the rooms. But when this commission
with Muhrer came to the hospital, they heard the cries of
the babies. They broke open the door and entered the room.
When my wife heard that the door had been broken, she
immediately got up and ran to see what was happening to the
child. She saw one German holding the baby and smearing
something under its nose. Afterwards he threw it on the bed
and laughed. When my wife picked up the child, there was
something black under his nose. When I arrived at the
hospital, I saw that my baby was dead. It was still warm.

On the next day, I went to my mother in the ghetto and I
found her room empty. A prayer book was still open on the
table and a glass of tea, not yet touched. I learned that in
the night the Germans had surrounded this house, seized all
the inhabitants and driven them off to Panarai. In the last
days of December, 1941, Muhrer gave a present to the ghetto.
A carload of shoes belonging to the Jews

                                                    [Page 6]

executed at Panarai was brought into the ghetto. He sent
these old shoes as a gift to the ghetto. Among them I
recognised my mother's.

Shortly afterwards, the second ghetto was liquidated and the
German newspaper in Vilna announced that the Jews from this
district had died of an epidemic.

On 23rd October, 1941, in the night, Muhrer came to the
ghetto and distributed among the population of the ghetto
three thousand yellow tickets, the so-called "Ausweise".
Those who had these tickets were allowed to register their
relatives; that meant some 9,000 persons. At that time about
eighteen to twenty thousand people lived in the ghetto.
Those who had these yellow tickets went to work the next
day, and the others, not having these tickets, were
slaughtered in the ghetto itself or driven away to Panarai.

I have a document which I found after the liberation of the
city of Vilna, concerning the Jewish clothing from Panarai.
If this document interests you I can show it to you.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you the document?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: I do not know this document either, Mr.

A. (continuing). This document reads as follows. I will read
only a few lines. (Reads in German. At the beginning there
is no translation.)

  "Raw Materials Centre of Vilna.
  Vilna, 3rd November, 1941.
  To District Commissar in Vilna:
  Pursuant to your order ."

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Witness, as you have read this document,
you must hand it over to the Tribunal, as otherwise we
cannot assess it.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you tell us first of all where the
document was found?

A. I found this document at the District Commissar's
building in Vilna, in July 1944, when our city had been
already liberated from the German invaders.

BY THE PRESIDENT: Where did you say it was found?

A. In the building of the District Commissar in Vilna in
Gedemino Street.

Q. Was that the building occupied by the Germans?

A. Yes, it was the headquarters of the German District
Commissar of Vilna. Hans Hincks and Muhrer lived there.

Q. Well, read the part of the document you were reading just
now; we did not hear it.

A. Certainly.

  "To District Commissar in Vilna
  Pursuant to your order, the old Jewish clothing from
  Panarai is at present being disinfected by this
  establishment and delivered to the administration of

THE PRESIDENT: Will you hand it in, please? (identified as
Exhibit USSR 444).


Q. Please, witness, I am interested in the following
question. You said that at the beginning of the German
occupation 80,000 Jews lived in Vilna. How many remained
after the German occupation?

A. After the occupation about 6oo Jews remained in Vilna.

Q. Thus, 79,400 persons were exterminated?

A. Yes.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Your Honours, I have no further questions
to ask of the witness.

THE PRESIDENT : Does any other Chief Prosecutor want to ask
any questions?


MR. DODD: No questions.

                                                    [Page 7]

THE PRESIDENT: Does any member of the defendants' counsel
wish to ask any questions? No? Then the witness can retire.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Mr. President, I would like to modify the
plan of my statement and leave out that chapter of my
statement which is entitled "Religious Persecutions" to
which I shall come back a little later. I would now like,
with your permission, to take up that part of my statement
which is entitled "Experiments on Living Persons". It is on
Page 47 of the Russian text.

Before reading this part of my statement, I would like to
quote only a few short extracts from a document, which have
not as yet been read into the record by our American
colleagues, because the main part of this document refers to
experiments which were described in detail by the American
Prosecution with the help of other documents. This document
presented by the American Prosecution and registered as
Document 400-PS is Exhibit USSR 435. It refers to
experiments by Dr. Rascher. It is submitted to the Tribunal
as a photostat copy, which includes a series of documents. I
quote two paragraphs only from this Document 400-PS. These
two paragraphs testify to the very particular interest taken
by Dr. Rascher in the Auschwitz Camp. This extract is on
Page 149 of the document book, last paragraph:-

  "It would be simpler if I were transferred to the Waffen-
  SS and could visit the Auschwitz Camp with Neff, where I
  could by a series of large-scale experiments, solve the
  problem of reviving people who had been frozen on land.
  For these experiments Auschwitz is in every respect
  better adapted than Dachau, for the climate is colder
  there and as the camp area is larger, less attention will
  be attracted. The victims sometimes yell when they are
  being frozen."

This is a letter to the Reichsfuehrer SS.

  "If it is agreeable to you, Reichsfuehrer, to have these
  experiments, so important for our land-forces, quickly
  carried out at Auschwitz (in Lublin or any other Eastern
  camp) I would respectfully beg you to give the necessary
  orders for my transfer in the near future, so that we
  could still profit by the cold winter weather.
  "With most respectful greeting, I am, in sincere
  gratitude, with Heil Hitler, your always devoted ever-
  obedient servant, S. Rascher."

I would like to remind the Tribunal that this special
interest of Dr. Rascher in the Auschwitz Camp was not
accidental. In Auschwitz cruel experiments on live persons
were carried out on a scale greatly exceeding all that was
done in Dachau or other concentration camps of the Reich.

Our Exhibit USSR 8 has already been added to the file of the
case. It is the Report of the Extraordinary State Commission
on the Monstrous Crimes of the German Government in Oswiecim
(Auschwitz). The introductory part of this report contains
the following excerpt, which the members of the Tribunal
will find on Page 196 of the document book. I read one
paragraph only:

  "Special hospitals, surgical blocks, histological
  laboratories and other departments were set up in the
  camp. But they were intended not for the treatment but
  for the extermination of people. Here the German
  professors and doctors carried out mass experiments on
  men, women, and children, who were in perfectly good
  health. They carried out experiments in sterilisation of
  women, in castration of men, experiments on children,
  artificial infection of masses of people with cancer,
  typhus and malaria, who were afterwards subjected to
  observation. They tested the action of poisonous
  substances on living persons."

I would like to stress that experiments in the sterilisation
and castration of women and men were carried out on a
particularly large scale. Whole blocks in the camp were
especially designated for experiments using particularly
effective methods of sterilisation and castration.

                                                    [Page 8]

I will read two short excerpts from the Report of the
Extraordinary State Commission, which the Tribunal will find
on the back of Page 196 of the document book, paragraph

  "Experiments on women were carried out in the hospital
  blocks of the Oswiecim Camp. Up to four hundred women
  were detained simultaneously in Block 10 of the camp, and
  experiments in sterilisation were carried out on them by
  means of X-rays and subsequent removal of the ovaries,
  experiments in inoculation of cancer in the neck of the
  uterus and forced abortion, and in testing contrasting
  substances for X-raying the uterus."

I omit three sentences and proceed with the quotation:-

  "In Block 21 - that is another block, the women's block
  was No. 10 - mass experiments in castration of men were
  carried out for the purpose of studying the possibility
  of sterilisation by X-ray. The castration itself was
  carried out some time after the X-raying process. These
  experiments in X-raying and castration were carried out
  by Professor Schumann and Dr. Diering. It frequently
  happened that after the X-raying, one or both testicles
  of the subject were removed for examination."

I beg the Tribunal to allow me, in order to show the extent
of these experiments, to read short excerpts from the
testimony of the Dutch doctor, De Vind. It is contained in
Exhibit USSR 52 already presented to the Court. I will not
read the testimony in full, but will just quote the
statistics, which the Tribunal may find on the back of Page
203 of the document book, last paragraph. I repeat that
these numbers refer only to one block, Block 10. The
following women were interned in this block:-

  "50 women of different nationalities who arrived in March
  1943; 100 Greek women who arrived in March 1943;
  110Belgian women who arrived in April 1943; 50 French
  women who arrived in July 1943; 40 Dutch women who
  arrived in August 1943; 100 Dutch women who arrived on
  15th September, 1943, and 100 Dutch women who arrived one
  week later, and finally 112 Polish women."

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