The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-026-05

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-026-05
Last-Modified: 1999/05/31

Attorney General: You were arrested in the middle of
November 1942?

Witness Kuper: At the end of November 1942.

Q. After you returned from a mission on behalf of the
headquarters to the Rudnik Ghetto?

A. Not to the Rudnik Ghetto but to our central post. We had
a central post, and I was sent there to stand guard, to
reestablish the links with our boys.

Q. Who interrogated you at the time of the arrest?

A. The Gestapo men whose names I remember, they were
notorious - Kunde and Koerner. There was another one but I
am not sure of his name. But these two were well-known
figures. And any appearance of theirs in the ghetto spelt

Q. Was the interrogation accompanied by blows and torture?

A. Yes. I was severely beaten, but I didn't lose
consciousness - but I was severely beaten.

Q. When were you released from the prison?

A. I wasn't released from the prison. I was transferred to
Auschwitz. I was there until the end of November, 1944;
thereafter they transferred me to five or six other camps,
and at each place, of course, for hard labour. In many of
the places we also tried to commit sabotage, to undermine
the work. I also want to point this out - even at Auschwitz
there was an underground. At Auschwitz, too, we tried to
disrupt matters and to interfere wherever we could. I point
this out because the role of the revolt in the story of the
Holocaust is a relatively small one, but the effort that was
made by those who rebelled was above anything imaginable.

Presiding Judge: What work did you perform in Auschwitz?

Witness Kuper: The destruction of buildings. I worked in
drainage operations. I stood in water up to my hips - I had
to dig canals. Afterwards I was caught inside the camp for
maintaining communications with our boys and for passing on
information. I mentioned that we had an underground, and we
had a conspiracy in Auschwitz. And then I was transferred to
the Strafkommando (penal detachment) inside Auschwitz. I had
to wear a distinct garment with a red patch on the back. I
was in prison inside the camp. We went out to do exceedingly
difficult work. They woke us up at three o'clock in the
morning. We stood until six in the frost, in rain, in snow.
They brought us back at sunset, and sometimes even later,
always with an escort of dogs. They set a dog upon anyone
who fell. Food they did not give us, they gave us less than
to the other prisoners. I was rescued from this abyss with
the aid of friends in Auschwitz who smuggled me from
Auschwitz into a transport going to Berchenbach.

Q. When you were in prison, did you get to know that your
husband had fallen in underground operations?

A. Yes. Prisoners who had taken part in the "operation" of
Christmas Eve, in December 1942, came to me. This was, in
fact, one of the largest, not the first, but one of the
largest operations for which they prepared for a long time,
and for the execution of which we endeavoured to acquire
arms, to manufacture bombs, to issue leaflets and calls to
the public. And on the night of Christmas, on Christmas Eve,
a group of our members approached the German cafe
"Cyganeria," a cafe for Nazi officers, and threw a bomb into
it which exploded and a score of Germans were killed and

Q. According to what you heard, there were exchanges of fire
with the Germans, and the hiding place, in which Dolek was
concealed, was discovered?

A. Before Dolek's hiding place was found, they discovered
the hiding place of the members who took part in the
"operation" and returned from it. And after all of them were
captured, they also came to the hiding place of Dolek. This
was the hiding place of the command post, where there were
arms, money, a duplicating machine for printing leaflets,
all kinds of other materials; there were also uniforms which
we used. And when it was attacked there were two of our
comrades, Dolek and Juda Tenebaum, inside. They were
surrounded, and they resisted, and only after exchanges of
fire in which Germans were also shot - the two committed
suicide; they were neither killed nor captured, they
committed suicide with their last bullets. But the
underground did not cease. Some members still remained and
they worked beyond the confines of Cracow. The aim of the
rescue movement was to erect bunkers, to set up hiding
places, to operate in the forests and to give Jews an
opportunity to hide. For it was hoped that the end of the
War would come after all and at least it would be possible
to save someone, the remnants, who would be able to tell the
story of these terrible events.

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

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

Judge Raveh:   In what year were you born?

Witness Kuper: In 1920.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Mrs. Kuper, you have
concluded your testimony.

Attorney General: I would ask to call the witness Batsheva

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Witness: Hela Batsheva Rufeisen.

Attorney General: You are a member of the settlement Bustan

Witness Rufeisen: Correct.

Q. On the outbreak of the Second World War, you were in
Cracow until the ghetto was set up. You didn't enter the
ghetto and acted as courier on behalf of the underground of
the Zionist youth movements then operating in Cracow?

A. Correct.

Q. And you maintained liaison between Dolek Liebeskind in
Cracow and the underground command in Warsaw?

A. Yes, I was the contact.

Q. What instructions did you obtain, from time to time, from
the underground in Cracow?

A. I came to Cracow in the period after the deportations
from the Warsaw Ghetto had begun. I went out on a mission
for my movement in order to be in touch with the leadership
then located in Cracow. In Warsaw the "action" was at its
height. The Jews rushed from the small ghetto to the large
ghetto without knowing where it would be possible still to
remain alive a little longer. Our group at that time
immediately lost its apartment owing to the fact that the
side of the street with even numbers on Nalevki Street was
cut off from the ghetto. Our people remained without a roof
over their heads and with difficulty we found cover inside a
cellar. Together with us there was also a totally paralysed
girl whom we took out of a hospital, since the inmates of
hospitals were the first to go to the "action." I was
helpless, without a roof over the heads of our people and
almost without food - the fighting force was then only in
its infancy.

Q. To which places did you go as an emissary of the

A. On underground missions I travelled mainly from Warsaw to
Cracow and from Cracow to Warsaw. In additon to this I also
went to other places. I went to Rzeszow in order to rent an
apartment there and to maintain it as a centre of refuge for
people who operated in the forests in the neighbourhood.

Q. Did you go to Sanok?

A. I went to warn Sanok and to call the people to join the

Q. Did you also go to Lvov?

A. I went to Lvov as well in order to be in contact with the
Jews in the ghetto and also to seek a rescue route, an
outlet to Hungary.

Q. You conveyed arms and ammunition and documents, such as
Aryan papers, labour certificates, and you delivered all
these to Dolek Liebeskind and to Draenger?

A. I conveyed many documents and certificates to Warsaw and
I didn't always succeed. Once they even caught me with these
papers, but I managed to destroy them. I transferred the
arms successfully.

Q. Did you transfer the explosives used to manufacture bombs
for the attack on Cafe Cyganeria?

A. Yes, that is correct. I transferred them.

Q. Where were you when the underground struck at Cafe

A. When the undergound struck at Cafe Cyganeria I was at
Rzeszow, as I was waiting there for the boys who were in the
forest. I was to wait for them there.

Q. And there you were told that the group had fallen?

A. The messanger came to me there and told me what had
happened. He told me that Laban had been captured there, and
they had found documents in his clothes containing his

Q. Laban was Avraham Leibovich?

A. Yes.

Q. This was the name mentioned by Yitzhak Zuckerman. By what
name was Zuckerman known in the underground?

A. Antek.

Q. You continued your activities in communications until
beginning of 1943 when you were arrested while leaving the
Warsaw Ghetto?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. What happened to you?

A. At that time I had come to Warsaw in order to obtain
money. Then Szymszon Draenger was captured in Cracow and
Laban also, and we had information that with the aid of
money we would be able to rescue them from prison. But we
had no money. There was still a small band of people who had
remained in the underground. I went to Warsaw and managed to
secure this money. I tried to get out with a group of Jewish
workers. When I reached the checkpoint, it turned out that
the policeman was especially cruel and the whole group began
to go back one by one, for each of us had something, a
little money in order to buy food outside. And I remained
there and was arrested by the policeman. He began making a
thorough search and in my haversack on my back he found my
identity certificate. Then an argument began as to whether I
was a Jewess or a non-Jewess.

Q. Which policeman was this?

A. A German policeman Schutzpolizei. I had one address with
me, that of Linka Dozhivrotzki; she was in Auschwitz at that
time, and I was supposed to obtain help for her. At the last
moment I managed to throw the address into the oven.

Presiding Judge: Where was the oven?

Witness Rufeisen: In the guard room, in a small hut, there
was an ordinary oven, and I managed to throw away the piece
of paper with the address into it. They subjected me to a
thorough search by a policewoman. I asked her to take the
large sum in my possession, for I didn't want it to fall
into the hands of the Germans. She was afraid to do so, and
then a young man came into the room whose task was simply to
sweep the room. I forcibly put the money into his pocket and
he went out. And then I was left alone, with the Germans
doubting as to whether I was a Jewess or a non-Jewess.

Attorney General: Towards morning you escaped?

Witness Rufeisen: Towards morning I decided that I would
have to escape. The ghetto was on the eve of the "action,"
and I was afraid that when my comrades learned that I had
been arrested (for these were comrades who had come with
me), I was afraid that they would do something in order to
rescue me, and I didn't want that as a result the time of
the "action" would be advanced. I decided that I had to
escape, and at four o'clock in the morning I managed to run
away, to penetrate into the ghetto. The place was very well
illuminated by a large reflector. Four German and two Polish
policemen pursued me and fired at me incessantly.

Q. You were wounded in your leg?

A. Yes, I was wounded in the leg, but I managed to get into
the ghetto and once again return to my comrades.

Q. Did you participate in the operations of the revolt?

A. Yes.

Q. On 8 May 1943, together with an underground group you
passed through the sewage canals and reached the Aryan side
of Warsaw?

A. Yes.

Q. You remained hidden for some time and afterwards you were
sent with a group of Jews of foreign nationality to Bergen-
Belsen and you remained there until you were liberated by
the American Army?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: How did you join this group of foreign

Witness Rufeisen: I simply had no strength. I was crushed.
After I had seen the Warsaw Ghetto in flames, and not one of
my dear ones remained, there was no longer anything to fight
for. At any rate I was broken. There was also little hope
that I would be taken into the forest. Although this was
what I wanted...

Q. That was not my question. My question was: How was it
that they attached you to this group of foreign nationals?

A. It was simple. I went there and they included me.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius - do you have any questions
to this witness?

Dr. Servatius:  I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: Thank you Mrs. Rufeisen, you have concluded
your testimony.

Attorney General: These were our witnesses for today. With
the Court's permission, I shall now submit a number of

Presiding Judge: Please proceed.

Attorney General: I didn' want to interrupt the continuity
of the evidence of the witnesses. Consequently I shall now
submit a number of documents referring to the evidence of
yesteday's witnesses and to part of today's evidence. The
first document is No. 1113. This document is a complaint of
the security police in the city of Przemysl against a German
army officer to the effect that he prevented members of the
police from making use of a bridge on the San river and thus
sabotaged the deportation operation from the Przemysl

Presiding Judge: This will be T/260.

Attorney General: The following document in connection
therewith is our No. 1114 - the police command passes on the
complaint on the same subject to the OKW (Oberkommando der
Wehrmacht - (high Command of the Armed Forces).

Presiding Judge: This will be T/261.

Attorney General: Would your Honour kindly note - the person
referred to in this document is SS Obersturmbannfuehrer
With, who was the SS liaison attached to the Oberkommando
der Wehrmacht. Here it says that it almost came to an
exchange of shots between the Army and the Police, and it
was only because of the caution on the part of the police in
refraining from opening fire on the German army that there
was no shooting. The affair enraged the Reich authorities to
such an extent that Himmler notified Reichsleiter Martin
Bormann that after the termination of the War he was going
to bring that officer, Dr. Albert Battel, who had been
responsible for this sabotage, before a party court and that
he would demand his expulsion from the party. Evidently
while the War was on, even Himmler lacked the authority to
harm an officer of the Wehrmacht, despite the fact that he
helped Jews.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/262.

Attorney General: The next document is our No. 1531. These
are the office  bearers in the Generalgouvernement who were
placed there by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt. I draw the
Court's attention to the following names which will be of
importance to us in connection with other documents. In
"List A" SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Witiska Commander of the
Security Police in Lvov, BdS of Lvov. In "List B" Birkner,
Wolfgang, whose name we shall encounter in connection with
the extermination of the Jews in Bialystok; Otto Burger who
was a member of Eichmann's Department; Kraus, Johannes, whom
we shall come across in Auschwitz; Leideritz, Peter, whom we
shall meet in the Kolomyia Ghetto in connection with the
extermination of Jews; Walter Liska, a member of Eichmann's
Department; Otto Mohl whom we shall encounter as the man in
charge of the incinerators at Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/263.

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