The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-069-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-069-03
Last-Modified: 1999/06/07

Q. Amongst the Gypsies there were also some who were brought
from German military service - is that correct?

A. They came to the camp and did not know what it was. They
arrived and greeted us, these German Gypsies, with "Heil
Hitler." Amongst them were young people in the uniform of
the Hitler Youth and the B.D.M., the German Girls' Union. My
first patient - a woman - did not want to be examined by a
Jewish doctor, after she glanced at my badge indicating that
I was a Jew, I was wearing a white coat, and when I wanted
to reach for my stethoscope which I had in my pocket, I was
obliged to open the coat and then she noticed my Juedischer
Winkel - the Jewish badge - she asked "Are you a Jew?" I
said: "Yes." Then she said: "I will not permit a Jewish
doctor to examine me." That was the first patient in the
tuberculosis block which was still empty. She was a
tubercular patient and was to be examined as to whether she
needed an additional injection of air, a pneumothorax
(injection of air into the pleural cavity).  I was in the
company of a Polish medical colleague, who was incidentally
a Polish friend of mine from the university. He asked me:
"What is she saying?" He did not speak German. I told him
she was saying that she did not want to allow a Jewish
doctor to examine her. He laughed and said to me: "Tell her
that three hundred meters from here there is a crematorium."
Naturally I was afraid and did not tell her that. I was
afraid that she might, in her present mood, go straight to
the Political Department and inform on us for carrying out
atrocity propaganda.

Six weeks after this I saw this same Gypsy woman - I was
working in another block. I heard that I was being called.
"Herr Doktor, Herr Doktor" from the top bunk of the block,
which had meanwhile been filled to capacity with
tuberculosis patients. I looked at her and I saw before me a
very emaciated face. I asked: "Do you mean me?"  And she
replied: "Yes - you don't recognize me - I was your first
patient in the tuberculosis block." I remembered the affair
and asked her how she felt. In reply she said: "Herr Doktor,
this is murder - we did not know that."

Q. Were there also Gypsies who arrived from Germany in
military uniform?

A. Yes.

Q. How did they get there?

A. They came on the same transports; they said they had been
registered in the Gypsies' department, the department of
registration of Gypsies. This is what they claimed and since
they came with all their possessions, they had photographs
and pictures - they arrived in uniform. I saw one of them
who showed me a photograph of himself participating in the
Polish campaign, and said that he had bombed Warsaw. He was
in army uniform without signs of rank and without a belt. I
also saw lance-sergeants and not only officers. They were
embittered and did not know what was happening. One said
that he had been so loyal to the German fatherland, to the
"great German Reich" and suddenly this was what they were
doing to him.

Q. How did the Gypsies live in Auschwitz? Were they in a
family camp?

A. Yes.

Q. Was that something exceptional in Auschwitz?

A. Yes. After the Czech camp in Theresienstadt, there was
this family camp in Auschwitz and that was the last; we
actually had a maternity home, where babies were born, and
they received their tattoo mark on the day of their birth,
on their little arms. A Politischer Aufnahmeschreiber would
come under SS supervision and made the tattoo mark. For
Gypsies there was a special numbering method with the letter
"Z" (for Zigeuner) Z1, Z2, 2000. When they made a tattoo
mark on me, I asked: "What is this for? I do not
understand." And then they told me: "So that your body can
be identified."

Q. What was your number?

A. Haeftling (Prisoner) 100736.

Q. What happened to the Gypsies in the camp?

A. It was obvious that diseases would break out in the camp.
And here I have to dwell on their specific illnesses,
illnesses that we did not come across with the "whites". In
contrast to the Gypsies in the camp at Birkenau, it was the
practice here to have a "camp for the whites" and a "camp
for the Gypsies," without any intention of discrimination.
There were illnesses that we had not encountered amongst the
"whites".  The doctors had never seen this in normal times
when they practised their profession.

Q. It would be better to refer to "a camp for others." There
is an unpleasant taste to it - let us rather talk of a camp
for Gypsies and camps for others, with your permission.
There were diseases amongst the Gypsies that you did not
come across with other prisoners. What were these diseases?

A. Apart from the so-called commonplace illnesses, which
destroyed and wiped out other camps, two illnesses broke out
in the Gypsies' camp which we did not understand and which
we could not explain. This has never been scientifically
diagnosed. One of them was diagnosed, but Mengele took the
documents with him showing why it was actually amongst the
Gypsies that the disease of varicella broke out. It was a
kind of chickenpox which resembled smallpox, with a fatal
process, which led to the deaths of hundreds. We stood by
helplessly, and apart from bandaging the entire body with
paper bandages, we could not do anything for them. It is of
interest that one doctor...we witnessed one such case in a
child recently, actually in May, and gave it publicity. It
is called "Varicella Varioloformis" - that is to say,
chickenpox resembling smallpox but it was not smallpox.

Presiding Judge: By chance these matters are of interest to
me, but I am doubtful whether this medical explanation is
relevant to our case.

Witness Beilin  Let us proceed to the second illness which
is more interesting.

Presiding Judge: All of it is interesting, but that is not
the issue.

Witness Beilin  This was, as it were, experimental work. The
second illness was "Noma" - in German it is called
"Wasserkrebs".  The illness is gangrene. It begins with an
inflammation of the mucuous membrane of the cheek and leads
to a gangrenous condition of the tissue and perforation of
the cheek through which the tongue and teeth are visible.
The problem is linked to external undernourishment and it
attacks children and young people.

Attorney General: Perhaps you would allow me somewhat to
guide you. The disease spread among the Gypsies. Mengele
suggested to the medical team that they should conduct some
scientific research, and was Professor Epstein of Oslo one
of them?

Witness Beilin  Not actually for this illness. He allowed
him to chose his subject. He said to him - this is what
Prof. Epstein told us - "We are enemies - you will not get
out of here. If you will perform scientific work for me and
I publish it in my name, you will prolong your own life."
And Epstein did not want to do so.

Presiding Judge: Who said that to him?

A. Mengele said so.

Q. Was this stated in your presence?

A. It was said when Epstein returned to us.

Attorney General: Epstein told you that a suggestion had
been made to him to undertake scientific work?

Witness Beilin  He did not want to do so. Until we convinced
him that this provided an opening for help. And if an
opening for help was provided, we should at least
concentrate on the children suffering from "Namo".

Q. Did you carry out some research work?

A. Mengele agreed. Epstein suggested to him that in
scientific work which was to have some basis, there ought to
be an increased diet and medicines, and Mengele provided

Q. And you treated these sick children with medicines and
food, until their fate was like that of all the inmates of
this camp?

A. There were some very successful cases. I remember one
Czech girl - Zdenka Ruzyczka - a girl aged eleven, where we
managed to achieve the closing of the perforation, a very
unusual and very rare achievement. Naturally all these
papers were taken away from Prof. Epstein that very day.
Incidentally, he was warned that if there should be a bomb
attack he would have to protect this work as he would his
life. And that morning, Mengele came and took all the papers
away from him. We were not at all aware of what was going

Q. What happened to the Gypsies' camp?

A. On that same morning Mengele selected about six hundred
Gypsies, those who were fit for work, or who were willing to
be separated from their families. They went to the transport
and even waved their hands from the train to the women and
children who remained in the camp. Mengele made a speech to
the families, saying that the men were going off to work and
that they would return and rejoin them.

Q. The six hundred?

A. Yes, the six hundred. He said: "You are in trustworthy
hands, you will be well looked after here."

Q. Did you personally hear this speech?

A. Yes. And the same evening trucks came and began emptying
out the camp. They started with the block which was called
"The Orphanage." There were many children whose parents had
died, and they were concentrated with their nurses in a
special block. It was immediately opposite the block in
which I worked. When the block had been emptied, an SS man
said to me: "Go and put out the light there." As long as
there was a light on the Lagerstrasse, the camp street of
the block, he could see who was a Jew, who was a doctor and
who was a Gypsy. As soon as I had put out the light and
wanted to cross the camp street which was immediately
opposite, I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder with the
command "Herauf" (Get up here). That was from the truck with
these children. At the last minute I said "Ich bin ein
Jude"(I am a Jew). The reply came "Also ein Jude, hast du
noch ein paar Wochen Zeit. Marsch ins Block!" (If you are a
Jew you still have a few weeks left. March to your block!)

Presiding Judge: Which unit did Mengele belong to?

Witness Beilin  SS.

Q. What was his rank?

A.  Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Josef Mengele.

Q. He was a doctor?

A. Although I did not hear it directly, it was said that he
had two doctorates - of philosophy and of medicine.

Attorney General: What happened to those who remained? What
happened to the Gypsies who remainded apart from the six
hundred who were sent off?

Witness Beilin  They did not survive.

Q. Were the others loaded on to trucks and transferred to
the gas chambers?

A. Yes, they were loaded on to the trucks and taken to the
gas chambers. The entire camp was emptied out. Thereafter,
Hungarian Jews came in their place. While it was still a
Gypsy camp, half of its capacity, the second row of blocks,
was filled by Hungarian Jews. As soon as all the Gypsies had
been liquidated, Hungarian Jews also came to the Krankenbau
(the sick ward) for treatment, together with Hungarian
doctors - I remember them from Klausenburg - they were very
nice people. Those were very traditional Jews, and on the
Day of Atonement - I was still with the remnants of the
Gypsies' camp - a public prayer meeting took place in the
block where they worked.

In Birkenau there was a "Goebbels Calendar." The "Goebbels
Calendar" implied that, on every Sabbath day and on every
Jewish Festival, the sick ward and also the blocks, the
resting blocks, with the Muselmann, who did not go out to
work, were emptied out. We had forgotten on the eve of the
Day of Atonement - this was the year 1944 - that this was
one of the days of the "Goebbels Calendar."

Presiding Judge: What did that mean?

Witness Beilin  It meant that on every Sabbath day and on
every Jewish Festival, including Purim and Hanukka, they
would always empty the sick ward of its patients, and also
the blocks for Muselmann, and thereafter transfer them to
the gas chambers.

This happened in the middle of the Kol Nidrei prayer, when
the trucks arrived. I remember the shouts of a youth aged
sixteen who was seized. He said something in Hungarian. A
Hungarian doctor translated the words into German for me. I
remember only that he said "Doctor Baczi" (these words meant
"Uncle Doctor" - whenever they used a respectful form of
address, they used the word "Baczi"). He said this, not to
me, but to the Hungarian doctor. He said to him: "Uncle
Doctor, if you meet my father, tell him that I died on the
Day of Atonement." When I asked for a translation of these
words and he translated them for me, I asked the doctor:
"What is the significance of the date?" He told me that,
according to Jewish tradition, righteous people died on the
Day of Atonement - that was his reply.

Attorney General: Dr. Beilin, had you already received
information that your wife was in the women's camp in
Auschwitz, and that she was very ill and needed medicines?

Witness Beilin  Yes.

Q. And you managed to pass on to her a drug for the
treatment of typhus?

A. No, it was a drug for strengthening the heart. There were
no specific drugs for the treatment of typhus.

Q. And that some Polish woman through whom you smuggled the
injection informed you the following day that your wife had

A. Yes. That was at Christmas time, the following day, 24
December 1943. Previoiusly a letter from my wife had been
smuggled to me. We had not been seized together and she
remained in the ghetto for another six months. As I
mentioned, I sent a postcard there - I took advantage of the
opportunity of its being "the day for writing for all the
prisoners except for Polish and Greek Jews." I went to the
writing room and asked for a postcard on the grounds that I
was a Jew from the Reich. I was given the postcard, since
Bialystok had been annexed to the Third Reich. This postcard
was received in the ghetto. My wife got to know that I was
in Auschwitz. She reached Auschwitz in a somewhat strange

Q. She belonged to the escort of 1,200 children from
Bialystok who went to Theresienstadt, some of whom were
later taken away to be exterminated?

A. Yes. The escort did not go into Theresienstadt but was
brought to Auschwitz. After the children had entered
Theresienstadt, when they alighted from the train under
guard, on the road leading to the crematorium, Mengele met
them and asked the guard: "What group is this?" He whispered
something into his ear. This is what my wife wrote in the
letter that was smuggled in by one of the doctors who was
allowed to move from one camp to the other. He asked: "Are
there any doctors here?" There was one doctor who,
incidentally, was the founder of the Hebrew gymnasium in
Bialystok, Dr. Katznelson. There were a number of female and
male nurses. My wife was a pharmacist. He separated this
party from the others and sent them back to the camp. That
was in August, and my wife died from typhus a few months
afterwards, in December 1943.

Q. Dr. Beilin, what means of disinfection were used in
Auschwitz for disinfecting bedding and sheets?

A. Zyklon B. Zyklon B was the "blue acid" - cyanide. This
cyanide was spread throughout the block after the prisoners
had been driven out. They used to close the block
hermetically, as far as possible, for the extermination of
mice and for disinfection. Even the chimney of the block was
covered with a blanket. An SS man would go inside with a gas-
mask, and spread the cyanide crystals in all corners. We
used to find them afterwards when we entered the block and
had to sweep it. The blankets were immersed in a water
solution of Zyklon B, and this solution was prepared in
rusty bath tubs outside. We had to take these blankets, to
remove them from the solution, to load them on to our
shoulders and then take them to the block where we had to
hang them up for drying.

Q. To whom does the "we" refer?

A. The Pfleger - the group of doctors and orderlies.

Q. Did something happen to you while carrying such a

A. Once my turn came to serve in this unit. I shouldered a
large bundle. I noticed a smell of bitter almonds, but it
was very slight, as I was in the open air.

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