The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-042-06

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

Presiding Judge: The 100 Crowns will be marked T/706.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Point out 10 and 5 Crowns.

Witness Salzberger:   Yes.

Presiding Judge: Do you intend to deposit the whole of the
money here?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  That will be enough for me.

Presiding Judge: The 10 Crowns will be marked T/707 and the
5 Crowns T/708.

Witness Salzberger:   May I perhaps say something in
connection with the money?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Please do.

Witness Salzberger:   This money had no value at all.  One
could not buy anything with the money.  This was all for
external appearances.  Already after a few days we found out
that this was meaningless paper.  The bank issued money, and
handed out savings books, and entered the wages, but it was
impossible to do anything with this money.

Q. All this was only on paper?

A. Yes.  This was typical of Theresienstadt in general.

Q. I have two more questions to you.  In April 1945, did you
hear about a second transport being organized?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you hear about the first transport that went to

A. Yes.

Q. Did it leave before you entered (the camp)?

A. Yes.

Q. The organization of a second transport was begun,
ostensibly to Switzerland; when did you hear about it?  In

A. In April.

Q. Was it very easy to join this transport?

A. No.  It was very difficult.

Q. Everybody wanted to go?

A. Everybody wanted to go and places were limited.

Q. How many places were reserved there?

A. Three hundred.

Q. This was a transport intended for exactly 300 people?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you, your sister and yourself, manage to join the

A. Yes.  We received numbers 299 and 300.

Q. Can you see notifications dated 20 April 1945, telling
you to get ready for this transport?

A. Yes.

Q. Please identify the photocopies.

A. Yes.
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/709 and T/710.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Who organized this transport?

Witness Salzberger:   The Dienststelle organized this

Q. What is the "Dienststelle"?

A. The SS.

Q. Was it the SS in Theresienstadt which organized the

A. Yes.

Q. What was the destination of the transport - as you were
told?  Where was it supposed to go to?

A. To Switzerland.

Q. What happened to this transport in the end, Mrs.

A. This transport did not leave.  The reason was the
intervention of the Red Cross. That week, or some days
before the transport was supposed to leave, the
representative of the Red Cross, Mr. Dunot, came into the
ghetto.  He was conspicuous, he aroused attention, he drove
about in a white car.  There were already many rumours that
negotiations between the SS and the International Red Cross
were in progress for handing over the ghetto by the SS to
the Red Cross.  These negotiations ended, I think, after a
week or ten days, and the ghetto was handed over to the Red
Cross.  In return, all the SS were allowed to get away, and
they prepared themselves for that very thoroughly for days.
They prepared carriages, whole trains full of luggage and
equipment, they burned their archives, and a few days later
they disappeared.

Q. How do you know about the burning of the archives?

A. We saw it.  The Jews even had to help them with it.

Q. And they made off?

A. They made off.  Afterwards information came from the Red
Cross for the first time that this would have been the first
transport which was destined for extermination.  The
necessary installations were also found.  The plan seems to
have been to destroy Theresienstadt.  It should also be
mentioned here that during the last month, April, many
transports from various camps arrived in Theresienstadt,
shocking transports.

Q. Where did they come from?

A. They came from Bergen-Belsen and other camps whose names
I do not remember, but from very many camps, in shocking,
ghastly condition.  And in Theresienstadt, where the
situation had been very good before, a very serious epidemic
broke out.  And it turned out that there had been a plan for

Presiding Judge: What situation was good in Theresienstadt?

Witness Salzberger:   For us, who came from another
concentration camp, the situation in Theresienstadt was so
good, it was laughable.  There were 6,000 people with Jewish
institutions, a comparatively normal form of life, family
life, cultural life, an internal Jewish regime.  For us this
was laughable.  Of course, in reality everything was only
pretence.  Much was pretence.  But for those Jews themselves
who had been there all the time, this was, in fact, a kind
of existence without real foundation, an unreal reality
actually, but for them it was real.

Judge Halevi:  How did it become clear to them that a plan
to destroy them all existed?

Witness Salzberger:   The installations were found.  And
there was an official announcement from the Red Cross that
the population of the ghetto had really been saved from the
execution of the extermination plan of the SS.  Ten days
later the Russians took over the camp.

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

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

Judge Halevi:  So, what did you find out?  For what purpose
were you five women transferred from Ravensbrueck to
Theresienstadt under such unusual conditions?  What was the

Witness Salzberger:   We do not know, and this riddle has
remained a riddle, that at the end of the War they should
have treated some individuals in such a strange way.  We do
not know.

Q. And were you not presented to some outside visitors in
Theresienstadt, did they not show you to the Red Cross
people or others?

A. Not as individuals.  True, there was a visit from the Red
Cross, at the end of March, I think, and this visit was a
special occasion.  There was good food, the whole ghetto was
given a special festive appearance, so as to make a good
impression.  But we were not introduced to the Red Cross
people as individuals.

Q. And when you told the members of the Aeltestenrat, and
your Dutch friends, in defiance of the prohibition, the
truth which you knew - did nobody believe you, or did the
majority not believe you?

A. They did not believe it.

Q. Not one?

A. Not one.

Q. Did I understand you correctly to say that the transport
to Switzerland was also destined for extermination?

A. The last transport - yes.

Q. How did you come to know about this?

A. There was an official announcement by Dunot, who actually
intervened, in order that the transport should not leave

Q. Does this mean that they wanted to destroy both the
transport and the ghetto?

A. The annihilation of the transport was meant to be the
first stage of the annihilation of the ghetto.

Presiding Judge: That is to say, there was no transport at
all, and it was to stay where it was?

Witness Salzberger:   This was a first group which was
intended for extermination.  And it should be pointed out
that this very group contained what we called "prominent
personalities," including the Aeltestenrat.  Rabbi
Murmelstein was also in this transport and left it at the
last moment.

Judge Halevi:  Did he remain alive?

Witness Salzberger:   Yes.

Q. What is the meaning of "left the transport"?

A. He gave up his right to travel on this transport.  But
another interesting thing must be mentioned: Anybody who
asked to be accepted for this transport - once confirmation
had been given - could no longer give up his right.  And
this was in contrast to the earlier Swiss transport, which
had left in the beginning of February that year, if I am not

Q. Did the earlier one reach Switzerland?

A. Yes.  But at that time people could renounce their right,
they could leave the transport before it left.

Q. And when did the Red Cross receive the camp from the SS?

A. That was at the end of April, on 28 April, I think.  I do
not remember the exact date, but there are documents about

Q. Was this before the Russian occupation?

A. Yes.

Q. When did the Russians arrive?

A. The Russians arrived only on 10 May 10th, or 14 May,
rather late.

Q. And did you remain there until the Russian occupation?

A. Yes.

Q. Did everybody remain in the camp?

A. Yes.

Q. And at the time of the handing over of the camp, or about
that time - was there another visit from the SS?

A. What do you mean?

Q. Did some committee of high SS officers come to visit?

A. The high officers stayed on until the very end, when the
ghetto was handed over.

Q. That is, the camp commander, but from outside?

A. I did not see anything, but others said that there were

Q. You did not see the extermination installations with your
own eyes?

A. No.

Q. But you learned of this from the Red Cross?

A. No, there were people who were employed on the building
of these installations, and they told us later that they
worked on them.

Q. Do you mean gas chambers?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you hear this at that time, that they were working on

A., I heard it after the ghetto was handed over to
the Red Cross.  Before this they did not speak about it.

Presiding Judge: You mentioned the word "Sonderbehandlung,"
still in connection with Ravensbrueck Camp?

Witness Salzberger:   Yes.

Q. What was the meaning of this word, as far as you knew?

A. It meant death.  This was well-known.

Q. In what way did this become well-known?

A. In different ways.

Q. But did you know the methods for killing?

A. Yes, shooting.  Earlier, in the beginning of 1944, it
meant being sent to an extermination camp, and later on
there were bunkers in Ravensbrueck which served for killing

Q. And did you know all this already at that time?

A. Yes.  During that period, in June 1944, all the wives of
the German officers who had taken part in the revolt
(against Hitler) were brought in, and some of them were
given Sonderbehandlung.

Q. What was the origin of this term?  Where did it come
from?  Do you know?  Was it among the prisoners, or did you
hear about it from the guards?

A. This was an official term.  It was a term we had known
already in Holland, a term used by the SS.
Q. Already in Holland?

A. Yes.

Q. Already in Westerbork?

A. Yes, even in Amsterdam.  When somebody broke a law of any
kind, for instance, when somebody disobeyed the curfew for
Jews, he would be given Sonderbehandlung.  This was even
written black on white.

Q. And it was known that Sonderbehandlung was death?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember which of these officers, at the time of
this interview, used the expression "durch den Schornstein
gehen" (to go up through the chimney)?

A. As I remember it, it was the Accused, but I am not
absolutely certain.

Presiding Judge: Do Counsel for the parties have any more
questions on this?

Dr. Servatius:  I have no questions.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  None.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mrs. Salzberger, you have
completed your evidence.

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