The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/25


Q. Well, Dr. Blaha, when your hearing started and you were asked
by the President or by the Prosecutor, you made a statement, I
believe, in the Czech language.

A. No.

Q. What then?

A. In the German language.

Q. No, everyone heard that that was not German, but it was
obviously Czech.

A. The first sentences only.

Q. The first sentences only; I therefore, ask that it also be
included in the Court transcript for practical purposes. I ask you
to state and to repeat quite literally, giving the true sense,
that which you said then, because we are interested in that from
the point of view of the defence.

A. I believe that it was included in the transcript because an
English translation was added to my statement, and the Czech
sentences were also translated.

Q. I do not believe that Czech is being translated. But please
repeat what you said then; we did not hear it.

A. I said that I was ready, since it is technically impossible to
use my native tongue in the hearing, to give my testimony in
German, because I have lived through all these events which
occurred during the last seven years and which are now the subject
of this trial in German surroundings, and also the special and new
expressions referring to life in the camp can be found only in
German, and in no other dictionary can you find such suitable and
expressive terms as in the German language.

DR. SAUTER: Then I have no further questions; thank you.

DR. THOMA (Counsel for defendant Rosenberg):

Q. Witness, were the inmates of the concentration camp Dachau
bound to secrecy?

A. No. Of course, if someone was discharged from the camp by the
Gestapo - those were very few cases-particularly in the case of
the Germans who were then drafted, one had to sign . . .

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): More slowly, please.

A. ... one had to sign a so-called statement of secrecy.

BY DR. THOMA:

Q. Could the inmates of the camp, those inside the camp, who
worked on farms, etc. talk to the other workers about the
conditions in the camp?

A. Yes, there were opportunities, because the people worked in the
same rooms and factories with various other workers, civilian
workers. That was so in the German armament industry, on the
plantations, and in all factories, in Munich and surrounding
districts.

Q. If I understood you correctly, you said previously that
visitors, people who delivered things, and customers also, had an
opportunity to observe these conditions in the camp without
difficulty.

A. Yes. Many of these people went through all the plantation as
well as the branches of the various factories and observed the
life in these places.

Q. And what did they see there in the way of atrocities and ill-
treatment?

                                                        [Page 220]

A. No, I believe they saw how the people worked, what they looked
like and what was produced there. For instance, I can remember one
example quite well. At that time I was working on the plantations.
We were pulling a heavy steam roller, 16 men and a party of girls
passed. When they passed, their leader said very loudly, so that
we all could hear it, "Look, those people there are so lazy that
it looks as if they'd rather have a team of horses pull it." That
was supposed to be funny.

Q. Witness, when did you first have occasion, after your
liberation from the concentration camp, to tell other people about
those horrible atrocities which you related to us to-day?

A. I did not understand that; please repeat.

Q. When did you first have an opportunity, after your discharge or
liberation from the concentration camp, to tell an outsider about
these horrible atrocities?

A. Immediately after the liberation. I was at that time, as chief
physician of the concentration camp, interrogated by the American
Investigating Corps, and it was to this corps that I told this
story for the first time, and I also gave them various proofs,
diagrams, and the case histories, which I had saved from being
burnt.

Q. That prosecutor believed the information you gave without
further ado?

A. Yes.

Q. Witness, you said that the defendant Rosenberg was shown to you
in the concentration camp Dachau shortly after you arrived there?
When was that?

A. In the year 1941; first half of 1941.

Q. First half?

A. I believe so, yes.

Q. Can you perhaps remember the month?

A. I cannot remember. I arrived in April; that is why I assume it
was perhaps from April to July, or so.

Q. To July, from April to July, 1941?

A. I believe so.

Q. Was Rosenberg at that time in uniform?

A. He was in uniform.

Q. In what uniform?

A. I believe it was an S.S. uniform.

Q. S.S. uniform?

A. It was a - I cannot say that very precisely - but he was in
uniform.

Q. All right, you remember prima facie that it was an S.S.
uniform, that is a black uniform?

A. No, at that time the S.S. did not any longer wear the black
uniform, because after the beginning of the war they wore field
uniforms and other similar uniforms.

Q. Then, you assume it was a grey uniform?

A. Something like that; whether it was grey or yellow or brown I
do not remember any more.

Q. That is just the point: whether it was grey, brown, or yellow.
Was it a field uniform?

A. I do not remember any longer, because from 1939 I was in the
concentration camp, and anyway I am not familiar with the various
German uniforms, ranks and branches of the Army, and so forth.

Q. But you just said that during the war they changed the uniform.

A. Yes, the people in the Gestapo also changed it. When I was
taken prisoner in 1939, all Gestapo personnel wore this black
uniform. After the beginning of the war most of them were either
green or grey uniforms.

Q. May I ask you again: Now did Rosenberg wear a war uniform or a
peacetime uniform?

                                                        [Page 221]
A. I believe it was a war uniform.
Q. War uniform? The defendant Rosenberg was pointed out to you by
another comrade, was he not?
A. Yes.
Q. At what distance?

A. Well, he was just going down the camp street. That was perhaps
30 or 40 degrees.

Q. Thirty or 40 metres you mean?

A. Well, 30 metres; 30 paces I wanted to say, 30 to 40 paces.

Q. And had you previously seen photographs of Rosenberg? Did you
connect any idea with the name Rosenberg?

A. Yes.

Q. And when this comrade showed you Rosenberg, was it then
necessary for him to say: "This is Rosenberg"? Did you not
recognise him already from having seen him in the pictures which
you had previously

A. I cannot remember that. But when he showed him to me I did
remember that I knew him already from the various pictures in the
newspapers.

Q. May I ask you to describe the precise sequence of events, how
it happened; where you were standing, where Rosenberg came from,
and who was in his company.

A. Who was in his company? I knew only the Camp Commander.

Q. Who was it at that time?

A. Camp Commander was Pierkowski, Sturmbannfuehrer Pierkowski.

Q. Do you know whether he is still alive?

A. No, I do not.

Q. The Camp Commander?

A. Pierkowski.

Q. Yes?

A. Then the Lagerfuehrer Ziel and Hoffmann. I knew them.

Q. You knew them. Now were you in your room and looking out of the
window?

A. No, we were in one of the so-called block streets. This led
into another through which the visitors passed.

Q. And what was said to you?

A. "Look, there goes Rosenberg."

Q. Was Rosenberg alone?

A. No, he was with these other persons.

Q. That is to say, only with the Camp Commander?

A. No, there were many other people with him.

Q. That is to say, he had an escort, a staff?

A. I do not know whether that was Rosenberg's staff, but there
were a number of persons.

Q. A number of persons? Witness, the defendant Rosenberg assures
me most definitely that he has never been to the concentration
camp at Dachau. Is no error possible here?

A. I believe I am not mistaken. Besides the German in question
knew Rosenberg very well, I believe.

Q. How do you know that?

A. Because he told me so definitely. Otherwise, I have no way of
knowing it.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma.

DR. THOMA: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: You will forgive me if I point out to you that this
is intended to be an expeditious trial and that it is not right to
take up too much time upon small points like this.

                                                        [Page 222]

DR. THOMA: I ask your permission to remark that the question
whether or not Rosenberg was in the concentration camp is a very
important question of decisive significance. I thank you.

BY DR. PANNENBECKER (Counsel for defendant Frick):

The defendant Frick states that he has never been in Dachau Camp.
I should like, therefore, in order to clarify the facts, to ask
the following questions:

Q. Witness, at what distance do you believe you saw Frick?

A. I saw him from the window as he passed with a number of people.

Q. Did you know Frick before?

A. Yes, from pictures.

Q. From pictures? Did you recognise him yourself, or did some
friend tell you that it was Frick?

A. A number of us saw him and I looked at him particularly because
at that time he was already Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. For
that reason I had a personal interest in recognising him.

Q. Did Frick wear a uniform?

A. I do not believe so.

Q. Did you recognise anybody who was with him, anyone from his
staff or from the camp command?

A. From the camp command? I did not know his staff. Of the camp
command there was Camp Commander Weiter, and his adjutant, Otto.

Q. Could you name anyone of your comrades who also recognised him?

A. There were many comrades of mine who at that time were standing
at the window. Unfortunately, I cannot say who they were, because,
as you will understand, so many things happened during life in the
concentration camp, as on an assembly line, that one cannot record
these things accurately in one's memory. One remembers only the
more important events.

Q. Did you recognise him at once of your own accord when he passed
by, or
had it
been talked over previously that Frick was expected?

A. No, it was not discussed then. It was simply said that a high-
ranking visitor was to come, and we were waiting for this high-
ranking visitor. We were not told beforehand who was to come.

Q. Did you recognise Frick immediately now in the Courtroom, or
did you know beforehand that he was sitting in the fourth seat
here?

A. No, I recognised him quite well, because I have already seen
him repeatedly in various pictures.

Q. How did that happen?

A. Because he is a well-known person in Bohemia and Moravia.

Q. You then believe that any error is completely out of question?

A. I believe so.

DR. PANNENDECKER: May I then ask the Court whether Frick himself
may take the stand to testify that he has never seen the camp
Dachau? I want to make this motion now so that, if necessary, the
witness might be confronted with Frick.

THE PRESIDENT: Counsel for the defendants will understand that
they will have the opportunity, when it comes to their time to
present their cases, to call all the defendants, but they will not
have an opportunity of calling them now. They will have to wait
until the case for the prosecution is over, and they will then
have an opportunity, each of them, to call the defendant for whom
they appear, if they wish to.

DR. PANNENBECKER: I simply thought, that since the witness is
available now

(Dr. Kubuschok approached the lectern.)

THE PRESIDENT: It is now 5 o'clock, and unless you are going to be
very short - are you going to be very short?

                                                        [Page 223]
BY DR. KUBUSCHOK (Counsel for the Reich Cabinet): Yes, Sir.
Q. Witness, you said that when prominent visitors came to the
camp, for instance, Reich Ministers, extensive preparations were
made beforehand. You also said that undesirable persons were
removed. Maybe you could supplement that statement. I am
interested to know the purpose of these preparations.

A. My meaning is that everything had to be in order. In our
infirmary all the patients had to lie in bed quietly, everything
was washed and prepared and the instruments were polished, as was
usually the case when high-ranking visitors came. We were not
allowed to do anything, there were no operations no bandages; and
no food was given out before the visit had terminated.

Q. Could you perhaps tell me which undesirable persons were to be
removed, as you said before?
A. Well, the Russians in particular were always kept strictly in
their blocks. It was said that there was a fear of possible
demonstrations, assassinations, etc.

Q. Were prisoners kept out of sight because they showed outward
signs of any ill-treatment ?
A. It goes without saying that before visits nobody was struck,
beaten, hanged or executed.
Q. Summing up, the purposes of these preparations were not to give
the guests a view of the real concentration camp?

A. Not of the cruelties.
Q. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: The Court will not sit in open session to-morrow,
Saturday, and will only sit in the morning on Monday because there
is work to be done in the closed session to-morrow and on Monday
afternoon. I thought it would be convenient for counsel to know
that.

The Court will now adjourn.(The Tribunal adjourned until 10.00
hours, on 14th January, 1946.)

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