The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-070-04

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-070-04
Last-Modified: 1999/06/08

Q. Please look at the rubber stamp: "SS
Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamt, Amtsgruppenchef D,
Konzentrationslager" (Economic-Administrative Main Office,
Chief of Section D, Concentration Camps).  On the surface,
this gives the impression as if it were signed, not inside
the camp, but elsewhere.  Perhaps you know what the practice

A. I see this for the first time, but I suppose it is a
general form for all the camps.  And afterwards, according
to the rubber stamps, it could be changed...that is to say,
if it says "Auschwitz" here, the rubber stamp was from
Auschwitz, and then it referred to Auschwitz.

Q. But here, in this stamp, the word "Auschwitz" does not
appear.  Accordingly, I am asking you whether it was
prepared in advance, for example, or whether it was sent to
some place outside Auschwitz for signature.  Do you know
anything about that?

A. No, I cannot express my opinion on that.

Judge Raveh:   Thank you very much.

Judge Halevi:  Mrs. Kagan, with regard to the registration
of deaths, you say there were many categories.  There were
all kinds of diseases on the form, in the registration I
mean, and, apart from that, there was "ploetzlicher Herztod
und SB" (sudden heart attack and S.B.)?

Witness Kagan:   "SB" did not belong to the death register,
definitely not.  There was no record of that - we did not
register it.

Q. What was "SB"?

A. "SB" meant a selection made inside the camp.

Q. Where did the letters "SB" appear?

A. There was a stamp on the form of the Aufnahme
(reception), and that was all.

Q. And this was a sign that the person had been sent to the
gas chambers?

A. Of course.

Q. And that, too, was discontinued from a certain date?

A. That continued all the time - not much work was involved
in it.  I have only explained the first stage in my work.
My task was to summarize the personal data on a small form,
and what was necessary in order to prepare the death
register.  We had a whole cabinet full of death registers,
and this furnished the particulars.  There were the personal
data, the profession and so on, and on every form it said:
"Died in Auschwitz, Kasernestrasse" (Barracks Street).

Q. What was the importance of that?

A. Kasernestrasse, Auschwitz, was the so-called main street
of Auschwitz, where the command headquarters were, and
opposite it were the house of Hoess, our department, the
crematorium, and the SS Revier.  All this was
Kasernestrasse, Auschwitz.  And if some unfortunate man died
in the mud at Birkenau - he obviously did not die in the
Kasernestrasse at Auschwitz.  There was a general distortion
of the facts.  And it is an interesting fact to notice the
German thoroughness in recording all the details, when they
knew from the start that they were falsified, and in sending
reports, month by month, to the statistical department of
the head office in Berlin.

Q. What was sent to Berlin?

A. Every month a form was sent with the number of deaths.
And from our material, we prepared a massive amount of
material, and there were huge death registers.

Q. How many deaths were there per month?

A. It is difficult to say.  I can, of course, point to the
most terrible period.  That was, of course, the second half
of 1942, since, after that by comparison Auschwitz was very
much better, as it were.  And I am referring to the
situation regarding the camp - I am not talking about the
transports which came from outside the camp.  From that
point of view, 1944 was the peak.  In November-December
1942, we registered about five hundred women alone, each
day, and the same number - or more - of men.

Q. And those who were sent straight from the railway

A. There was no sign of them.

Q. Then they also did not appear in the monthly statistical

A. Of course; Hoess said that only Eichmann knew these

Q. That means that in all your records in Auschwitz, not
only yours personally, but in all the records, the record
system, as far as you were familiar with the Politische
Abteilung and with all the departments, there was no
complete register of the deaths?

A. What do you mean by a complete register?

Q. In the sense that, if these documents were found, it
would have been possible to compile a reconstruction of how
many people died in Auschwitz.

A. No, that would not have been correct, since there were

Q. Leaving aside the errors?

A. For example, my friend came into the camp as a dead
person, and I registered her.

Q. These are isolated cases, but all those who were sent to
the gas chambers from the railway station - they were not
registered at all?

A. They were not registered at all - the "SB" were not

Q. But the "SB," you say, were registered in the
"Aufnahmebogen" (reception form).

A. They were registered on the form, but not in the
"Urkunde", not in the death registers.

Q. In such a way as to make it impossible to prepare a
reconstruction from these lists?

A. It would have been very difficult.  It would have been
possible to make a reconstruction from all kinds of entries
that these were people who died a "normal" death, and cases
of suicide and killing - those were the cases that were

Q. These were, in fact, not the usual cases of Auschwitz,
one could say?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know the date when the gas operations were

A. That was after the explosion, in November, that is my
estimate, in November 1944.

Q. What explosion?

A. The blowing up of the crematorium at the time of the
revolt.  The crematorium - that was the first sign.  And
after that came a notification from Berlin to stop the
extermination in the gas chambers.

Q. Do you know the date of the notification from Berlin?

A. No.

Q. But it was after the revolt?

A. Yes, after the revolt.

Q. Was the explosion at the crematorium an operation of the

A. Absolutely.  Four girls transferred the explosives on
their bodies and placed the explosive materials in cans, and
these cans caused the explosion.  They brought the explosive
materials to the Sonderkommando, and they carried out the

Q. That was in November?

A. No, it was in October. There was another interesting
fact.  They put to death all the members of the
Sonderkommando - only a small group of twelve men was left
alive.  And they were in a bunker in Auschwitz in Block 11,
so that they could give an account of this operation.  And
one of those who dealt with it, Unterscharfuehrer Broch, he
dealt with the revolt, he dealt with the girls - once he
wanted to see one of these men who had remained in the
bunker.  But, by that time, he did not find them alive,
since it was the practice to clear the bunker of people
every month.

These, too, I registered.  This I know for a fact, since in
the autumn of 1944 I translated - I translated a great deal;
I was also a translator - I translated for the Katowice
Gestapo, and for a long time, about two weeks, I translated
for a Pole from Auschwitz, and I remember that his name

Q. Pardon me, I did not ask you this.  I wanted to know
whether, after the explosion in October, they continued the
extermination by gas?

A. Yes.

Q. Until the order was received from Berlin?

A. Yes.

Q. And the order from Berlin came in November?

A. Yes, but I cannot say when, exactly.

Q. Did the order put an end to the use of the gas chambers
and the crematorium?

A. Yes.

Q. After that time, were there still other methods of

A. Yes.  But I can say this only with reservations.  I only
heard about it, and I did not see it.  One of my
acquaintances told me about it, a Russian girl, a chemist
who visited Auschwitz and who had a most interesting life

Q. Very well, but in brief.

A. This woman was being pursued by Mengele - there were
reasons for that.  She hid in all kinds of places, and once
she told me that she had found an empty block, the entire
floor of which was covered in blood; as she found out, the
men had been taken and were told that blood was needed for
the soldiers at the front, and they drew blood from them
and, since under the Auschwitz regime they could not
recover, they all died.  This blood was not dispatched - it
was poured out.

Q. I have not yet understood exactly whether your office -
or one of those offices with which you were familiar - if
the office received continuous information about cases of

A. Whether it received continuous reports?

Q. For example, "SB" - on what basis was it possible to
apply the stamp "SB"?  On the basis of information?

A. Let me explain to you how it was.  In Birkenau, a
selection was made, and the list of the people who were due
to die was passed on to the Politische Abteilung.  There the
cards were entered.

Q. Every selection, in fact, was passed on to you?

A. Not the Standesamt, only the Registratur.

Q. Then you could not know?

A. I only knew what I heard.

Q. Were there further selections in Auschwitz and in
Birkenau after November 1944?

A. It is difficult for me to say.  I do not think so, since
the camp also was emptied in the meantime, and very many
transports were dispatched, both of Jewish men and women, as
well as Poles, Russians and Czechs. For all the staff

Q. Did you remain in Auschwitz until the end?

A. Until 18 January.

Q. And then you were transferred - on a foot march or by

A. For four days and nights, we walked on foot.  In Loslau,
we were loaded on to open coal trucks.  I merely wanted to

Presiding Judge: Would you please confine yourself to the
questions that have been put to you.  After all, there was
an ocean of occurrences.

Witness Kagan:   I only wanted to add...

Presiding Judge: You did not want to add - that is to say,
you wanted to, but we could not permit you to do so.

Judge Halevi:  You do not know the number of people who left
Auschwitz ultimately, together with you?
A. I don't know.

Presiding Judge: I understood that, concerning those who
came from the ramp, as you have called it, from the railway
platform, there was no registration by names, as it was
called.  Is that correct?

Witness Kagan:   Yes.

Q. Have you heard of the initials RSHA?

A. Definitely.

Q. Was any report sent from your office to the RSHA, as far
as you know?

A. Possibly there was.

Q. Not "possibly".  I want to know...

A. I don't know about that.  The Standesamt did not report.

Q. You said you know something about the destruction of
documents in this office?

A. That is exactly what I wanted to add.

Q. All right then, be patient.  Please proceed.

A. On the 17th, a week before the evacuation, when the
Russians were close to Cracow, Schwarz, who replaced
Grabner, came to all the rooms and gave instructions what to
do, what to destroy.  And during that week, we removed all
the cards of the deceased, all the forms.  Of course, some
remained, fortunately, but there was plenty of work.  And
afterwards, on the 17th we formed a chain of all the workers
in the office, and all of us had to load all this material
on to trucks and, apparently, it was destined to be burned
at Birkenau.

Q. Hence, nothing remained of the documents that were in the
office, as far as you know?

A. I do know - I also pointed that out at the time.  I knew
that the death registers (Todesbuecher) were kept in
duplicate.  One was the main copy, the original, and the
other copy went to Bielsko, to the "Kreisgericht" (district
court), and I don't know what happened to all of them.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, are you going to lead special
evidence on the tattooing?  If not, I wanted to ask the
witness about it.

Attorney General: No special evidence.

Presiding Judge: Please tell us, when did they make the
tattoo mark, and who did it?

Witness Kagan:   With us, it was done at the beginning of
the autumn of 1942, when we were already back in the
Stabsgebaeude, that is to say in Auschwitz.  One fine day,
we went to have our lunch...

Q. Was it not immediately upon your entry into the camp?

A. No, perhaps later on it was done immediately, but not
with my transport.  An SS man, not an officer, came,
accompanied by two very young lads, Jews, and they did it.

Q. And did this go according to numerical order?

A. It went according to the numerical order, according to
our mark.  For everyone had several designations: this well-
known Star of David, yellow and red, with the number on top;
then there was a number here and a number there.

Q. Was that the registration number?

A. The registration number of the Aufnahme.

Q. So that it also conformed with your records?

A. Yes.

Attorney General: Perhaps I may be permitted to ask a
question in connection with this.  Those who were brought
directly from the ramp to the gas chambers did not get
numbers at all?

Witness Kagan:   Not only they.  There were Hungarian

Q. But before all those, they did not get numbers at all?

A. They did not.

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