The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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COLONEL AMEN: This, if the Tribunal please, we have in four

Q. Some of the matters covered in this affidavit you have
already told us about in part, so I will omit some parts of
the affidavit. If you will follow me as I read, please.
Do you have a copy of the affidavit before you?

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 359]

Q. I will omit the first paragraph and start with paragraph

  "I have been constantly associated with the
  administration of concentration camps since 1934, serving
  at Dachau until 1938; then as Adjutant in Sachsenhausen
  from 1938 to May 1st, 1940, when I was appointed
  Commandant of Auschwitz. I commanded Auschwitz until 1st
  December, 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000
  victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing
  and burning, and at least another half million succumbed
  to starvation and disease making a total dead of about
  3,000,000. This figure represents about 70 per cent or 80
  per cent of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners,
  the remainder having been selected and used for slave
  labour in the concentration camp industries. Included
  among the executed and burnt were approximately 20,000
  Russian prisoners of war (previously selected and taken
  out of prisoner-of-war cages by the Gestapo) who were
  delivered to Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated
  by regular Wehrmacht officers and men. The remainder of
  the total number of victims included about 100,000 German
  Jews, and great numbers of citizens, mostly Jewish, from
  Holland, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary,
  Czechoslovakia, Greece, or other countries. We executed
  about 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone at Auschwitz in the
  summer of 1944."

That is all true, witness?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. Now I omit the first few lines of paragraph 3 and start
in the middle of paragraph 3:

  "Prior to establishment of the R.S.H.A., the Secret State
  Police Office (Gestapo) and the Reich Office of Criminal
  Police were responsible for arrests, commitments to
  concentration camps, punishments and executions therein.
  After organisation of the R.S.H.A., all of these
  functions were carried on as before but pursuant to
  orders signed by Heydrich as Chief of the R.S.H.A. While
  Kaltenbrunner was Chief of R.S.H.A. orders for protective
  custody, commitments, punishment and special executions
  were signed by Kaltenbrunner or by Muller, Chief of the
  Gestapo, as Kaltenbrunner's Deputy."

THE PRESIDENT: Just for the sake of accuracy, the last date
in paragraph 2, is that 1943 or 1944?

COLONEL AMEN: 1944, I believe.

Q. Is that date correct, witness, at the close of paragraph
2, namely, that the 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone at
Auschwitz in the summer of 1944 were executed? Is that 1944
or 1943?

A. 1944. Part of that figure also goes back to 1943; only a
part. I cannot give the exact figure; the end was 1944,
autumn of 1944.

Q. Right.

  "Mass executions by gassing commenced during the summer
  of 1941 and continued until autumn, 1944. I personally
  supervised executions at Auschwitz until 1st December,
  1943 and know by reason of my continued duties in the
  Inspectorate of Concentration Camps W.V.H.A. that these
  mass executions continued as stated above. All mass
  executions by gassing took place under the direct order,
  supervision, and responsibility of R.S.H.A. I received
  all orders for carrying out these mass executions
  directly from R.S.H.A."

Are these statements true and correct, witness?

A. Yes, they are.

  Q. "5. On 1st December, 1943 I became Chief of Amt I in
  Amt Group D of the W.V.H.A., and in that office was
  responsible for co-ordinating all matters arising between
  R.S.H.A. and concentration camps under the administration
                                                  [Page 360]
  of W.V.H.A. I held this position until the end of the
  war. Pohl, as Chief of W.V.H.A., and Kaltenbrunner, as
  Chief of R.S.H.A., often conferred personally and
  frequently communicated with each other concerning
  concentration camps."

You have already told us about the lengthy report which you
took to Kaltenbrunner in Berlin, so I will omit the
remainder of paragraph 5.

  "6. The 'final solution' of the Jewish question meant the
  complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I was
  ordered to establish extermination facilities at
  Auschwitz in June, 1941. At that time, there were already
  three other extermination camps in the Government
  General: Belzek, Treblinka and Wolzek. These camps were
  under the Einsatzkommando of the Security Police and S.D.
  I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried out
  their extermination, The Camp Commandant at Treblinka
  told me that he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of
  half a year. He was principally concerned with
  liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He used
  monoxide gas, and I did not think that his methods were
  very efficient. So when I set up the extermination
  building at Auschwitz, I used Cyclon B, which was a
  crystallised prussic acid which we dropped into the death
  chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15
  minutes to kill the people in the death chamber,
  depending upon climatic conditions. We knew when the
  people were dead because their screaming stopped. We
  usually waited about half an hour before we opened the
  doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were
  removed our special commandos took off the rings and
  extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses."

Is that all true and correct, witness?

A. Yes.

Q. Incidentally, what was done with the gold which was taken
from the teeth of the corpses, do you know?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you tell the Tribunal?

A. This gold was melted down and brought to the chief
medical office of the S.S. at Berlin.

  Q. "Another improvement we made as compared with
  Treblinka was that we built our gas chamber to
  accommodate 2,000 people at one time whereas at Treblinka
  their 10 gas chambers only Accommodated 200 people each.
  The way we selected our victims was as follows: we had
  two S.S. doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the
  incoming transports of prisoners. The prisoners would be
  marched passed one of the doctors who would make 'spot'
  decisions as they walked by. Those who were fit for work
  were sent into the camp. Others were sent immediately to
  the extermination plants. Children of tender years were
  invariably exterminated since, by reason of their youth,
  they were unable to work. At Treblinka the victims almost
  always knew that they were to be exterminated. We
  followed a better policy at Auschwitz by endeavouring to
  fool the victims into thinking that they were to go
  through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they
  realised our true intentions and we sometimes had riots
  and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women
  would hide their children under the clothes, but of
  course when we found them we would send the children in
  to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these
  exterminations in secrecy but naturally the foul and
  nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies
  permeated the entire area and all of the people living in
  the surrounding districts knew that exterminations were
  going on at Auschwitz."

Is that all true and correct, witness?

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 361]

Q. Now, I will omit paragraphs 8 and 9, which have to do
with the medical experiments as to which you have already

   "10. Herr Rudolf Mildner was the Chief of the Gestapo at
   Kattowicz from approximately March, 1941, until
   September, 1943. As such, he frequently sent prisoners
   to Auschwitz for incarceration or execution. He visited
   Auschwitz on several occasions. The Gestapo Court, the
   S.S. Standgericht, which tried persons accused of
   various crimes, such as escaping prisoners of war, etc.,
   frequently met at Auschwitz, and Mildner often attended
   the trial of such persons, who usually were executed in
   Auschwitz after being sentenced. I showed Mildner over
   the extermination plant at Auschwitz and he was directly
   interested in it since he had to send the Jews from his
   territory to Auschwitz for execution.
   I understand English as it is written above. The above
   statements are true; this declaration is made by me
   voluntarily and without compulsion; after reading over
   the statement I have signed and executed the same at
   Nuremberg, Germany, on the fifth day of April, 1946."

Now I ask you, witness, is everything which I have read to
you, true to your own knowledge?

A. Yes.

COLONEL AMEN: That concludes my cross-examination, except
for one Exhibit that our British Allies would like to hand
in, which is a summary sheet of the Exhibits which I
introduced at the commencement of the cross-examination.
That will be Exhibit USA 810. It is a summary of the earlier
exhibits that I put in with respect to the Waffen S.S. at
the commencement of my cross-examination.

Now, I understand, your Lordship, that both the Soviet and
the French delegations have one or two questions which they
consider peculiar to their country ,which they would like to
put to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, you will remember that the
Tribunal was assured by counsel for the prosecution that, so
far as witnesses were concerned, with the exception of one
or two particular defendants, the prosecution would have
only one cross-examination and, now, since that assurance
was given, this is the second instance when the prosecution
has desired to have more than one cross-examination.

GENERAL RUDENKO: That is correct, Mr. President, that the
prosecution did make that statement at some time; however,
the prosecution has reserved the right on certain occasions
when deemed necessary to do otherwise. Since, in this case,
the prosecution represents four different countries,
occasions do arise when each of the prosecutors feels that
he has the right to ask the defendant or witnesses for the
latter questions particularly interesting to the country of
the prosecutor.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you indicate the nature of the questions
which the Soviet Prosecution desires to put: I mean the
subjects upon which they are relevant. I don't mean the
exact questions but the subject.

GENERAL RUDENKO: Yes, I understand. Colonel Pokrovsky, who
intends to ask the questions, will report on the subject to
the Tribunal.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: May I report to you, Mr. President, that
the questions of interest to the Soviet prosecution are
those dealing specifically with the annihilation of millions
of Soviet citizens and some details connected with that
annihilation. At the request of the French Prosecution, and
in order to clarify the contents I would also like to ask
two or three questions connected with the documents, which,
in due course, were submitted as Document F 709-a to the
Tribunal by the French Prosecution. This is really all there
is; however, these questions do have great importance for
the Soviet and French Prosecutions.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, the Tribunal, as has just
been stated, made the rule, with the assent of the
prosecutors, that in the case of the witnesses there should
be one cross-examination. There is nothing in the Charter
which expressly

                                                  [Page 362]

gives to the prosecution the right for each prosecutor to
cross-examine and there is, on the other hand, Article 18
which directs the Tribunal to take strict measures to
prevent any action which will cause unreasonable delay, and,
in the opinion of the Tribunal, in the present case the
subject has been fully covered and the Tribunal therefore
thinks it right to adhere to the rules which it has laid
down in this case. It will therefore not hear any further

Do you wish to re-examine, Dr. Kauffmann?

DR. KAUFFMANN: I will be very brief.


Q. Witness, in the affidavit which was just read, you said
under point 2 that "at least an additional half million died
through starvation and disease." I ask you, in what period
of time did this take place? Was it towards the end of the
war or was this fact observed by you already at an earlier

A. No, it all goes back to the last years of the war, that
is beginning with the end of 1942.

Q. Under point 3 - do you still have the affidavit before

A. No.

DR. KAUFFMANN: May I ask that it be given to the witness


Q. Under point 3, at the end you state that "orders for
protective custody, commitments, punishments, and special
executions were signed by Kaltenbrunner or Muller, Chief of
the Gestapo, as Kaltenbrunner's Deputy." Thus, do you wish
to contradict that which you stated previously?

A. No, this only confirms what I said before. I repeat again
that I saw only very few decrees signed by Kaltenbrunner;
most of them were signed by Muller.

Q. Under point 4, at the end, you state, "All mass
executions through gassing took place under the direct
order, supervision and responsibility of the R.S.H.A. I
received all orders for carrying out these mass executions
directly from R.S.H.A." According to the statements, which
you previously made to the Tribunal, these orders came to
you directly from Himmler through Eichmann, who had been
personally delegated. Do you maintain that now as before?

A. Yes.

Q. With this last sentence, under point 4, do you wish to
contradict that which you testified

A. No. I always mean, regarding mass executions,
Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann in connection with the

Q. Under point 7, at the end, you state - I am not going to
read it - you say that even though exterminations took place
secretly, the population in the outlying districts knew
something of this extermination of people. Was there not at
an, earlier period of time - that is, before the beginning
of this special extermination action - something of a
similiar nature taking place as regards the bodies of people
who had died in a normal manner in Auschwitz?

A. Yes, even before the crematoria were built, we burned
large numbers of those who had died, and who could not be
cremated in the provisional crematoria of the camp, in large
pits; a large number - I don't recall the figure any longer
- were buried in mass graves and later also cremated in
these graves. That was before the mass executions of Jews

Q. Would you agree with me if I were to say that from the
fact which is described here, we cannot conclusively prove
that this was concerned with the extermination of Jews?

A. No, this could in no way be concluded from that. The
population -

THE PRESIDENT: What was your question about?

DR. KAUFFMANN: My question was whether one could assume from
the established facts, especially at the end of paragraph 7,
that this concerned the so-called exter-

                                                  [Page 363]

mination of Jews. This question followed upon the previous
answer of the witness. It is my last question.

THE PRESIDENT: The last sentence of paragraph 7 is with
reference to the foul and nauseating stench. What is your
question about that?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Whether the population could gather from
these things that an extermination of Jews was taking place.

THE PRESIDENT: That really is too obvious a question, isn't
it? They could not possibly know who it was being

DR. KAUFFMANN: That is enough for me. I have no further

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