The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-042-04

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-042-04
Last-Modified: 1999/06/01

Q. When you arrived, were your possessions taken away?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you have a receipt from Ravensbrueck Camp for certain
items handed over?

A. Yes.

Q. This is again in your sister's name, is it not?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/701.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Did you hold on to this receipt
during all the time of your stay there?

Witness Salzberger:   No.  The receipt was returned to us
when we were released from Ravensbrueck.

Q. You stayed in Ravensbrueck, all three of you, till...?

A. Till February 1945.

Q. Did the three of you live together?

A. Most of the time, but not during the last few months.

Q. Mrs. Salzberger, please describe to the Court the living
conditions, the work conditions, and everything connected
with this, in Ravensbrueck Camp; whom did you see there, who
was together with you, the types of prisoners, if you can
remember, etc.

A. The Women's Concentration Camp Ravensbrueck was a
concentration camp along the lines of the classic German
model.  It was actually called "Schwesterlager" (sister
camp) of Buchenwald and Dachau and had been in existence
since the early thirties.  When we arrived, there were
60,000 women, and no Jews at all.  The population consisted
of completely different and strange groups.  There was a
very large contingent of "politicals," women who had been
active in the various underground movements in the occupied
countries, and also in Germany.  There were well-known women
bearing famous names, such as Jeanette (Genevieve) de
Gaulle; there was Odette Churchill, there was the sister of
the then mayor of New York, LaGuardia, and other very well-
known women in the various underground movements.

Then there was another large group which was completely
different: The serious criminals from Germany.  The German
prisons (Zuchthaeuser) were emptied, and these women were
transferred to Ravensbrueck.  A third group was called "the
Antisocials," mainly prostitutes or women who were not
regarded as fit to live in normal society under the German
regime.  Then there were smaller groups, such as the
Jehovah's Witnesses.  Each group wore a very clear
identification mark: The political women wore a red
triangle; the German criminal women a green triangle; the
Bibelforscher an orange or pink triangle - I do not remember
exactly.  And there was another small group, the Mischlinge
(of mixed parentage) who had been transferred to
Ravensbrueck from Auschwitz; they were children of mixed
marriages who had been sent to Auschwitz and from there to

Q. Did they also wear a special marking?

A. Yes.

Q. I see here a sign bearing the number 28081.  Do you see

A. Yes.

Q. Whose is it?

A. This is my number.

Q. This is the number you were given in Ravensbrueck?

A. This is the number we wore on our camp clothes.

Q. And you brought it out from the camp in the end?

A. Yes.  This was the mark we wore.

Q. The Court will find this mark on the same sheet which
shows the Jewish Star from Holland.  Underneath it there is
a badge composed of two triangles.  Is this a photograph, in
the album, of the badge you were given in Ravensbrueck?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it a red triangle on top of a yellow one?

A. Yes. The yellow means "Jew" and the red "political."

Q. Is this the badge you wore in Ravensbrueck?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Why the addition "political" in your case?

Witness Salzberger:   We were active in the Dutch
underground, and we do not know to what extent the Germans
knew this, but our whole transport received this badge.

Q. Were there Jews who had only the yellow triangle?

A. No, not from our transport.  Later on, yes.  But when we
arrived, there were no other Jews at all.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  What was the everyday routine during
the first months after you arrived there?

Witness Salzberger:   There was a regime of suffering, of
slavery and hunger, the conditions were inhuman, and
personal relations were extremely bad.  There was a lot of
tension between the various groups which the camp management
exploited.  For example, we were put into a hut of
Ukrainians, women from the Ukraine who were very anti-
Semitic, and we suffered from this in particular.

The daily routine was as follows: We got up at 3 o'clock in
the morning and had to appear for Appell (roll- call) from 4
to 6.  At 6 we were taken to work, twelve hours of work at

Q. Where did you work?

A. During the first two months I did various jobs, what was
called unskilled labour.  We were "verfuegbar" (available).
We were taken to roadbuilding, to all kinds of extremely
hard jobs.  After two months they took us away from there
and assigned us to the Siemens-Halske factory, which was
next to the camp and was staffed by the prisoners.

Q. The whole factory?

A. Yes.

Q. There were no other workers there?

A. There were German civilian workers who supervised the

Q. But the real work was done by the women prisoners?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: What was produced in this factory?

Witness Salzberger:   The factory produced electrical parts
which were needed for the German war machine.  In the hall
in which we worked resistors for aeroplanes were produced.

Judge Halevi:  The supervision was in the hands of German
civilians and not in the hands of the SS?

Witness Salzberger:   There was parallel supervision.  The
supervision over the work was in the hands of German
civilians, the control over our conduct, that we should not
come into personal contact with the German civilians, was
the responsibility of the SS personnel.  This control was
extremely strict.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Was the control in Ravensbrueck
itself carried out by SS personnel?

Witness Salzberger:   Yes.  This was a camp which trained SS
women for their tasks in all the various camps.  It was
actually a training camp.

Q. For?

A. For SS women soldiers, for all kinds of duties.  From
there they were sent to various other camps.

Q. Was there a punishment regime in the camp?

A. A very strict one.

Q. Who imposed it?  By whom was it carried out?

A. Commandant Suhren, the commandant of the camp.  He was
actually responsible for the regime.  But there was also a
director - her name was Binz, and she, too, was an extremely
sadistic person.

Q. Were corporal punishments imposed?

A. Very severe ones.

Q. When you say "severe" - what does it mean?

A. People were made to stand for twelve hours in cold and
heat, people were beaten to death.  There was a very large
hut for women on whose bodies various experiments were
carried out, and they used all the means already known to
the Court.

Q. What were the crimes for which such punishments were

A. The crimes - according to German concepts - were not
defined at all.  It could be that someone was not standing
properly at roll-call, or that someone was not walking
properly on the camp road.  It depended on chance.

Q. On 25 September 1944, a letter was sent to you to
Ravensbrueck by the Palestine Office in Geneva.  Can you
find this letter here?

A. Yes.

Q. You have it before you.  Will you please identify the

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/702.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Tell me, please, was it possible to
receive, and send, mail to and from Ravensbrueck?

Witness Salzberger:   Yes.  According to the camp
regulations, it was permitted to receive letters once a
month, and also write once a month.  I have here a copy of
the camp regulations concerning outgoing mail.  These
letters were delivered.  After the War we received letters
which we had sent to Holland from Ravensbrueck.

Q. Was this permitted to all prisoners without distinction
of category?

A. Up to a certain time, until the middle of 1944.

Q. Until the middle of 1944, and what happened after that?

A. At that time the entire Ravensbrueck regime changed or
collapsed, because other camps were evacuated near the
Eastern front and also near the Western front.  From
Holland, for instance, a transport of women evacuated from
Vught arrived in June 1944.  Vught was a concentration camp
for Netherlanders who were active in the underground.  They
were evacuated from this camp before the eyes of the British
soldiers.  This was at the time of the British invasion.

Q. And they were transferred to Ravensbrueck?

A. They were transferred to Ravensbrueck and arrived there
in fairly high spirits, because they thought that this was
already the end of the War.

Q. Did transports from the East also come to Ravensbrueck
later on?

A. During the second half of 1944, transports arrived in
Ravensbrueck all the time.

Q. Where did they come from?

A. They came from Auschwitz, they came from Birkenau, they
came from Mauthausen, they came from all the camps vacated
before the Russian occupation in the East, and before the
Anglo-American occupation in the West.

Q. Did you come into contact with these women prisoners?
They were women prisoners, were they not, and not men?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you have contact both with those from the West and
those from the East?

A. Yes.  Jews also began to arrive, many Jews from Hungary
who had gone through Auschwitz and were evacuated from there
to the centre of Germany and arrived in Ravensbrueck.  It
was a situation in which Ravensbrueck Camp could not absorb
these people who were in a dreadful state, not even in the
open air.  Very many of them were hardly alive any more, but
they sent them on.  Many transports were not accepted and
were sent on.

Q. Did you speak to these women who came in transports from
the East?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you learn from them?

A. I received a full picture of all the extermination

Q. Both in Auschwitz and in Birkenau?

A. There were people who came from Theresienstadt and who
reached Ravensbrueck via Auschwitz.

Q. Were there people who came to Ravensbrueck after they
were in Theresienstadt, from there to Auschwitz and back to

A. Yes.

Q. Did you hear what happened to them, both in
Theresienstadt and in Auschwitz?

A. Yes.

Q. You said that because of these transports from the East
and from the West to Ravensbrueck the regime changed; in
what way?

A. The camp regime changed.  Before, the Germans had been
very pedantic, so to speak, cleanliness, order, conduct,
about the whole exterior form of the camp.  It was a very
small camp, perhaps of a square area from here to Keren
Kayemet Street.  It held 60,000 women.  To preserve order of
any kind, they really had to be extremely strict.  When
these transports arrived, and they were no longer able to
maintain this regime, they began also to exterminate the
women, to build extermination installations there, gas

Q. When did they begin to build these installations?

A. At the end of 1943.

Q. End - that means December?  1944?

A. I do not know exactly.

Q. 1943 or 1944?

A. 1944.

Q. Did you see these things?

A. No.  The management of Siemens-Halske, which was
interested in keeping its work force fit, built, next to the
big camp, a small separate camp which housed the worker-
prisoners who worked in the factory, and we were transferred
there.  And we were separated, my sister and I, from my
mother, in November 1944.

Q. The two sisters went to the small camp to work at Siemens-
Halske, and your mother remained at Ravensbrueck Camp?

A. Yes.

Q. When did she die and where?

A. She died on 8 January 1945, in the big camp at

Q. And how old was she then?

A. 52.

Q. Did you see her during her last days?

A. Yes.

Q. What state was she in?

A. In a state that resulted from these terrible conditions.

Q. Hunger?

A. Hunger and typhoid.  There was a very serious typhoid
epidemic at that time.

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