The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-071-07

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-071-07
Last-Modified: 1999/06/08

Q. The real Canada?

A. Yes, the real Canada.  I fled together with him.  Escape
was not easy, for the Germans knew the number of people,
even in those difficult times: Whenever we were about to set
out in the mornings, they counted us twenty times, and this
was risky for us - they knew how many had been killed on the
way and how many there ought to be.  Order was preserved
even on this death march, and searches were conducted
throughout the vicinity.  A person who escaped did not find
it easy to conceal himself.  There was a special danger
involved in the fact that we had to cross the main road,
where the retreating Germans were passing.  We lay there in
the snow until a large contingent of retreating Germans had
passed, and we were able to cross the road.  We walked all
night until in the end we knocked on the door of the first
Polish farmhouse; we wanted to go inside, for we had no
alternative - either we would have to freeze outside, or to
obtain a little food and to warm ourselves.  As it turned
out, we were only one kilometre from the point from where we
had escaped.  This Pole told us he was very sorry, but we
would have to leave early the next morning, since he was
exposing himself to risk.  And in this way we wandered from
place to place, from farmyard to farmyard.

Q. Did this Pole speak to you in Polish?

A. We presented ourselves as Poles, and not as Jews.  This
was the advice of my companion who said that if we were to
introduce ourselves as Jews, we would be immediately handed
over to the authorities.  Since he knew Polish well, he
introduced himself as a Polish teacher.  In this way, we
managed, here and there, to get a little food and a place to
sleep, on condition that if by chance we were caught, we
would say that we had gone on our own accord into the barn
or whatever place we had entered, in order to sleep there.

I spent the rest of the time, until the Russians arrived,
until liberation came, wandering constantly from place to
place.  And, for about one month, or even longer, I stayed
with a certain Pole; I can even remember the name and the
fact that he endangered himself by keeping us, even when
searches took place.

Presiding Judge: Was that in the Polish corridor?

Witness Ben-Zvi:   It was in Wejherowo, far away from any
main road or any other place.  It was thirty kilometres from
Danzig.  Later, I was with the Red Army in Danzig.

Attorney General: What was the name of this Pole?

Witness Ben-Zvi:   Strangely enough, he had a German name -
his name was Franz Schmude.

Q. He must have been a Volksdeutscher - evidently, he must
have been regarded by the Germans as a Volksdeutscher.

A. He was considered as "eingedeutschte" (Germanized) and,
accordingly, it was easier for him to accommodate us.  But
there were instances when neighbours came to him -
Volksdeutsche or Eingedeutschte, when he hid us even from

Attorney General: Thank you very much.  That is all.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions?

Dr. Servatius:  No, I have no questions to the witness.

Judge Halevi:  Mr. Ben-Zvi, you spoke about a nightshift
(Nachtschicht) in which you took part.  Did the transports
always arrive at night, or did they arrive sometimes during
the day and sometimes by night?

Witness Ben-Zvi:   Most came at night, but in the peak
period, it was apparently both by day and by night.  But, in
most cases, the transports were directed so as to arrive at

Q. So that you and your companions had the special duty of
going out at night?

A. It was the special duty of the men who were engaged on
the night shift.  They were also allowed to remain during
the day inside those buildings.

Q. What was their duty at night?

A. Their duty at night was to go to that famous ramp, to
collect the personal belongings that the people were ordered
to leave near the freight cars - they were not even allowed
to take their belongings with them down to the area beyond
the slope, and these belongings were loaded on to trucks and
conveyed from there to that place called "Canada", where
they were sorted, collected, and disinfected.

Judge Halevi:  Thank you.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, you have concluded your

Attorney General: I call Dr. Mordechai Chen.

Presiding Judge: Will we complete this evidence today?

Attorney General: Yes - it is a very brief testimony.  In
point of fact, I have finished with living witnesses on
Auschwitz - this is now going to be evidence on what Dr.
Chen came across in other places.  What still remains as
regards Auschwitz is for us to submit a number of documents.

[The witness makes an affirmation.]

Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Witness: Mordechai Chen.

Presiding Judge: Doctor?

Witness Chen:   Yes.

Attorney General: Are you a medical man, Dr. Chen?

Witness Chen:   Yes.

Q. Where do you work?

A. In the Tel Aviv Municipal Hospital.

Q. What are your duties there?

A. I am the director of anaesthetic services.

Q. During the Second World War you were in the British army,
you served as a doctor, and, at the end of the War, you held
the rank of Captain?

A. That is correct.

Q. Some days after the Bergen-Belsen camp was liberated, you
requested permission to visit it?

A. Yes.

Q. You went there with a group of doctors from the British
military hospital in which you were serving?

A. That is correct.

Q. On your way, you met a B.B.C. photographer?

A. I met him there - in Bergen-Belsen itself.

Q. Did you talk to him?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see that he was shocked at what he had seen?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he tell you that he was taking these photographs so
that people should believe his story - for otherwise they
might possibly not believe him?

A. It was slightly different.  He was shocked and I was
shocked.  That was something understandable - for it was
impossible for a normal human being to believe it.  I said
to him: "I'm sure that in ten years' time nobody will
believe what we have seen, and we ourselves will also not
believe it."  And I asked him to give me photographs of what
we had seen, so that I could relate, ten years later, that I
had witnessed these scenes, and possibly one would be able
to utilize them against those responsible, against those who
were responsible for the situation we had witnessed.

Q. And you received a number of photographs from him?

A. Yes.

Q. Nine in all?

A. Yes.

Q. Do they depict the situation as you saw it with your own
eyes at the time, in Bergen-Belsen?

A. Yes - what we saw that day.

Q. A few days after the camp had been liberated?

A. Yes.  There is only one photograph which does not depict
exactly what we saw - it shows a number of bodies on a

Q. First of all, let us identify the photographs.  Are these
the nine photographs?  You have signed them on the reverse
side.  Do you verify your signature?

[Shows the witness a set of photographs.]

A. These are the photographs.

Q. Tell us what has been photographed here; what is in
photograph No. 1?

[Shows the witness a photograph.]

A. This is a heap of unburied bodies which we saw amongst
the trees at Bergen-Belsen.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1347.

Attorney General: The second photograph, if you please.

[Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Chen:   This is a collection of bodies inside a
large pit which we saw there.  There were hundreds or
thousands of corpses - these are they.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1348.

Witness Chen:   The third photograph shows the same pit.
[The photograph was handed to him by the Attorney General.]

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1349.

Attorney General: What is photograph No. 4?

[Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Chen:   Photograph No. 4 shows huts which we saw
there, together with a number of tents that were put up

Presiding Judge: Who put them up?

Witness Chen:   I do not know.

Q. At all events, it was not the British army?

A. I do not know.  I asked for this photograph since in the
background one can see a number of people wandering around -
amongst them there were some in a condition the like of
which I had truly never seen before.  They moved around -
that is to say they walked - but they had no human gaze
whatsoever, their facial expression did not change.  Amongst
them, I saw a few walking into each other.  They walked
backwards and, after that walked forward again, without any
change of expression and without any response, as if they
were incapable of understanding what they were doing.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1350.  Are they those
near the huts?

Witness Chen:   Yes.

Attorney General: And what is No. 5?

[Hands the witness a photograph.]

Witness Chen:   This is a further collection of bodies.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1351.

Witness Chen:   No. 6 is a similar picture.

[The photograph was handed to him by the Attorney General.]

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1352.

Attorney General: And what is photograph No. 7? [Shows the
witness a photograph.]

Witness Chen:   Here, there is a collection of bodies
indicating an exceptional degree of emaciation which I have
never encountered since.  I asked for this photograph for a
special reason.  There were many people in the hospital
where I worked, and also people to whom I spoke in the army,
who did not want to believe that victims had been starved to
such an extent that they died in such great numbers as we
had heard.  They expressed the opinion that, perhaps, they
had died of typhus.  But if one looks at this picture, one
sees a condition of almost one hundred per cent lack of
subcutaneous body fat.  There are even cases where the bone
had begun to cause ulceration of the skin, the laceration of
the skin.  It is not possible that such a condition could be
the outcome of typhus, for the patient would die of
poisoning, from the toxic effects of the typhus, before he
could reach such a stage.  It is conceivable that a man
could have died from typhus in addition, but a condition of
such emaciation cannot be caused by an infectious disease.

Presiding Judge: Are these bodies of adults?

Witness Chen:   Yes, of adults.

Q. How much do you estimate such persons weighed?

A. Thirty kilograms, thirty-four kilograms; there were some
even less than that.

Presiding Judge: This photograph will be marked T/1353.

Attorney General: And the eighth photograph?

[Hands the witness a photograph.]

Witness Chen:   This is a photograph showing how the bodies
were gathered together in the camp.  I also requested this
one for a special reason.  We were there altogether for
about four hours.  When we arrived, there was a truck - the
difference here is that a cart is shown, not a truck - at
the time I was there, there was a truck collecting the
corpses from each of the huts.  When the people died, they
were placed near the door of the hut.  They were collecting
them at the time we arrived.  By the time we left, at each
hut door there were again two or three new bodies that had
accumulated.  They died during the time of our visit.  It
was for this reason that I requested this photograph.

Presiding Judge: This will be numbered T/1354.

Attorney General: And the last photograph?

[ Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Chen:   This is a pile of bodies amongst the trees.
Despite the fact that at the time I was there five medical
teams were already in action, each camp was still full of
bodies in all kinds of places - wherever we walked.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1355.

Attorney General: Dr. Chen, at the time of your visit, were
there already a number of medical units of the British army
attending to these people?

Witness Chen:   Yes.

Q. And that was what the camp looked like eighteen days
after being treated by these units?

A. That is correct.

Q. Thank you very much.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions
for this witness?

Dr. Servatius:  No, I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Dr. Chen, you have concluded
your testimony.  Incidentally, Dr. Chen, pardon me, I notice
that your name is written here as "Chin."  Is that correct?
How do you spell your name?

Witness Chen:   Today I write it as "Chen".  Once it was
"Chein," but several years ago we changed it.

Presiding Judge: Thank you.  We can adjourn here.  The
Session tomorrow morning will again commence at 8.30 a.m.,
if that is convenient to you, and conclude at 12.30, I hope.

Attorney General: I was going to request that we start at
8.30 and perhaps continue longer, so that we may really
finish by tomorrow.

Presiding Judge: Do you still have so much more?

Attorney General: Yes, we do.  I also anticipate
consideration of the material of Sassen, which we intend to
submit tomorrow, and in view of the fact that a legal
argument may develop, I also wanted - in the event of the
material being admitted, as I hope - to read excerpts

Presiding Judge: This was not the purpose of advancing the

Attorney General: I am trying to do my best not to encroach
on next week, as I announced previously.

Presiding Judge: We shall help you in achieving that.

Attorney General: Thank you very much.

Presiding Judge: We shall adjourn now.  The next Session
will be tomorrow at 8.30 a.m.

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