The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-026-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-026-02
Last-Modified: 1999/05/31

Q. You have there four boxes containing your manuscripts on
Treblinka? [To the Court] I do not intend to submit them - I
only want the Court to know about them.

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: What is it? Is it microfilm?

Witness Auerbach: There are microfilms and photostats.

Attorney General: Is this your handwriting?

A. This is my handwriting, of the first testimony I think.
In 1942 I wrote the first testimony of a man who had spent
18 days in Treblinka. I interviewed him, and on 320 pages of
exercise books I recorded that testimony, and stage by stage
I passed it on to our liaison men who delivered it to Dr.
Ringelblum. And part of what I passed on was found in 1946,
when I was still in Poland.

Presiding Judge: Where?

Witness Auerbach: Under the ruins of the house at 68
Nowalipski Street.

Q. What was in this house?

A. The centre of these archives. I was in Poland when two
milk jars were uncovered and in them was found the material
which had been buried by the archives workers in the period
between the first great "action" and the revolt.

Attorney General: Even on the Aryan side you continued to
keep a record, and the exercise books which are here with
you are notes of the history of the Holocaust which you
continued to record in Aryan Warsaw?

Witness Auerbach: I wrote in the winter of 1943...

Presiding Judge: When did you cross to the Aryan side?

Witness Auerbach: I crossed to the Aryan side on 9 March
1943, a few weeks before the outbreak of the revolt. And in
August 1943 I succeeded in obtaining an apartment in a house
which was half German. My name was then Ancila Dovrotchka.

Q. Did you have forged papers?

A. I had a forged birth certificate and I arranged all the
rest myself, so that they were both forged and not forged,
that is to say there were also certificates which the
authorities issued.

Attorney General: Mrs. Auerbach, later on you worked with
the Jewish Historical Committee which existed in Poland, you
collected evidence?

Witness Auerbach: After we remained alive. Ringelblum was
one of the last of the literary world to perish, of the
world of writers on the Aryan side. They discovered him in
his hiding place with the last 36 persons, and to his
beautiful life was also added the crown of martyrdom. But we
- allow me also to say that of all the workers of the
archives only three people survived, but amongst them there
was the secretary of the archives and they were discovered
according to his directives.

Q. Who was he?

A. Hirsch Wasser and his wife Bluma who was engaged in
Hebrew education within the Tekuma organization.

Presiding Judge: What was the last question, Mr. Hausner?

Attorney General: The question was: what did the Jewish
Historical Committee do after the liberation?

Witness Auerbach: The few persons remaining from amongst
those who were active before the War, and the historian, the
late Dr. Friedmann, and Dr. Ben-Shem and Dr. Kermish who is
working today at Yad Vashem and some others had got together
already in 1944 in Lublin after the liberation, and they
established the "Historical Committee" which was but a
resurrection of the Ringelblum enterprise, of that secret

Presiding Judge: Was that a Jewish institution?

Witness Auerbach: It was a Jewish institution.

Attorney General: But one that received official support?

Witness Auerbach: This organization cooperated with the
chief Polish Commission for Investigation of German Crimes
in Poland.

Q. You published many writings on aspects of the Holocaust,
amongst them Weliczsker's book on the Death Brigade?

A. That is right.

Q. You actually edited this book, so it says there?

A. Yes, I edited it. After the liberation of Western Poland
this Historical Committee moved to Lodz and there its
activity expanded. Again there were one hundred people,
approximately like the secret Institute in the Warsaw
Ghetto.  We also had editorial offices and archives, and we
carried out various activities, and in the course of two or
three years our publishing house published 36 books, which
to this day constitute an important basis for the study of
the Holocaust. I myself, together with Dr. Kermish and a
government commission, visited the fields of Treblinka -
this was the name of the book I wrote after this visit - in
other words, we began conducting research in a thorough
manner into the events and the manifestations and we arrived
at the first syntheses.

Attorney General: Thank you very much.

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

Dr. Servatius:  I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mrs. Auerbach. I would like you
to understand: you have abundant material, there is much to
tell, there is much to write about, but we are compelled to
restrict ourselves within our limits.

Witness Auerbach: I understand.

Attorney General: I call Dr. Adolf Berman. The witness
wishes to make an affirmation.

[The witness affirms.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Adolf Avraham Berman.

Attorney General: Doctor?

Witness Berman  Yes.

Q. Do you live in Tel Aviv at 11 Rehov Bar Kochba?

A. Yes.

Q. You are a doctor of psychology?

A. Yes.

Q. Before the Second World War, you were the director of the
head office of the Jewish psychological and psychotechnical
institutions in Poland - :"Centos"?

A. Yes.

Q. After the outbreak of the Second World War you were one
of the directors of "Centos" in Warsaw?

A. Yes.

Q. "Centos" attended to tens of thousands of Jewish

A. Yes.

Q. Tell us what the position was of children in the Warsaw
Ghetto in those years in which you served as director of the

A. The tragedy of the Jewish children began on 8 September
1939, on the day Hitler's forces entered Warsaw, the capital
of Poland. Then the position was such that the authorities
conducted a policy of systematic and planned starvation,
they conducted a policy which led to epidemics, first of all
to typhus and also to the spread of tuberculosis.

Q. Is it true that the incidence of death amongst the Jewish
children reached thousands per month?

A. Yes. This process of pauperization, of continually
increasing poverty of the masses, cast a multitude of
children on to the streets.

What did they turn into?

To street-children and little beggars.

Q. How many were there?

A. Several thousands.

Q. Can we say tens of thousands?

A. One can say tens of thousands.

Q. How many of them needed the help and care of "Centos"?

A. Generally speaking it may be said that within the Jewish
population of the Warsaw Ghetto, which at its peak period
reached almost half a million Jews - 450,000 to half a
million - there were more than 100,000 children. Of these
100,000 children, at least 75 percent were in need of aid.

Q. To how many of these did you manage to extend help in the
institutions of "Centos"?

A. As soon as we saw that a huge disaster was coming, we
decided to mobilize ourselves for an extensive operation for
the rescue of children, thanks to a great effort on the part
of the organized Jewish community in the Warsaw Ghetto,
thanks to the unity in this matter of all those involved,
from the left to the right, we managed to set up a large
network of institutions for the aid of children. We had
about one hundred institutions and we succeeded in giving
help to 25,000 Jewish children.

Q. Amongst these institutions there was one headed by the
well-known pedagogue Janusz Korczak - is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. You established tens of dormitories and kitchens for
children and day shelters and kitchens for children and

A. We set up 30 orphanages and dormitories also for the
street-children. In these dormitories and orphanages there
were about 4,000 children. Amongst these institutions there
was also the the well-known orphanage headed by that genius
educator and distinguished writer, children's writer, Janusz
Korczak, whose name used to be Dr. Henryk Goldszmidt, whose
books and whose methods were both exceedingly famous in
Poland. Apart from this, we established about 20 day
shelters, especially for the small children. In addition to
this, we set up about 20 kitchens for children. We also
established about 30 children's and youth clubs for the
children of the refugee' houses. We wanted to take advantage
of every corner of vegetation for the children who had never
known what greenery was, what a forest was, what a flower

Q. You maintained a widespread education network in the
underground, since education was forbidden?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Was all education forbidden?

Witness Berman  Vocational education was possible to some
extent, but general education was banned. Under cover of the
children's kitchens and other institutions, we maintained a
large network of secret underground schools, of all trends -
from the secular to the religious, from the left to the
right, in complete unity.

Attorney General: You observed children's festivals under
the slogan: "Give the child a little joy." Is that correct?

Witness Berman  Yes. I would like to say a few words about
this. We saw what the situation was, and we wanted to make
the melancholy and terrible life of tens of thousands of
children easier. We then decided to organize a month of the
Jewish Child in the ghetto and also a Jewish Children's
Festival in the ghetto. The last festival before the awful
"action" which commenced on 22 July 1942, we had already
celebrated on 5 May. And on that day - I remember this well
- in all our institutions, in all the orphanages, in all the
dormitories, in all the kitchens, there were celebrations.
There were performances of children, on that day the
children were given slightly more food, some sweets. And our
slogan was: "Give our children a little joy."

Q. But all this was in vain, Dr. Berman. You kept the
children busy so that they would be the victims of the
"actions," isn't that so? And the children were the first
victims of the "actions," is that correct?
A. Correct. I would like to say that almost from the outset
the tragic race began between the efforts of the Jewish
community in the Warsaw Ghetto and the policy of mass
impoverishment and general decline - the race between social
aid and starvation. Our watchword was naturally to save our
children from hunger and from death. We did not save them.
We did not succeed in saving them.

Q. Do you recall attacks especially directed against
children, on the part of German units?

A. Yes.

Q. Which units?

A. First of all, SS units. This I would like to describe
somewhat in detail. As is known, the first large "action" of
the extermination of Jews began on 22 July 1942. On that
day, the first victims of the "action" were the Jewish
children and I shall never forget the shocking, the
frightful scenes, when SS men together with their
collaborators cruelly fell upon the children, on the street-
children, and dragged them onto carts. And I remember, how
these children defended themselves. To this day I can hear
the crying of the children - I hear the screams "Mama, Mama!
Rette, rette!" (save us). They put up a struggle.

Q. Did they burst into your institutions?

A. On the same day also the expulsion from the refugee homes
commenced and especially from the death houses, as they
called them then, where there was the greatest mortality
rate. And amongst them they deported many, many thousands of
children to Treblinka. The inferno lasted thus for about a

Q. What happened to your institutions, those of "Centos"?

A. After one week the SS men and their collaborators began
to attack our institutions as well, including the orphanages
and the dormitories. We then informed all the institutions
in the name of the "Centos" management - all the
institutions in the ghetto and also Police Headquarters in
the ghetto, that the orphans must be saved, the children
must be saved. No entreaties on our part, no requests of
ours, saved them, and during these days long columns of the
children of our institutions, institution after institution,
together with their tutors, with their teachers began to
march through the streets of Warsaw.

Q. Where were they marching to?

A. To the Umschlagplatz, to the death waggons, and from
there to Treblinka.

Q. Do you remember Janusz Korczak marching at the head of
the procession?

A. Yes, I remember that well. One of those institutions
which they were leading off to the Umschlagsplatz, was this
outstanding and exemplary institution, the orphanage of
Janusz Korczak. It was a shocking procession.

Presiding Judge: You saw this with your own eyes?

Witness Berman  Yes. He walked at the head of the
procession, and next to him there were two small children.
Behind him was the chief woman tutor, Stefania Wilczynska,
together with little children. They marched together with
the huge crowd of Jews who had been caught in this blockade,
in this terrible siege in this quarter. When they reached
the Umschlagsplatz, there were certain policemen there who
ran to free Janusz Korczak. He was very well-known and

Attorney General: Polish policemen?

Witness Berman  Jewish. But then he said that he didn't want
to be separated from the children whom he had taught. The
sole worry of Janusz Korczak then was that the children who
were forced to get the shouts I remember to this
day:"Alle herunter, alle herunter, schneller, araus" (
Everybody down, everybody down, faster, out)  - this I shall
never forget, the "alle herunter;" at that time Janusz
Korczak's concern was that the children did not have enough
time to get dressed - they were barefooted. Stefania
Wilczynski told the small children that they were going on
an outing, that at long last they would see the fields and
the forests, and the flowers that they had never seen in the
ghetto. And there was a smile, a faint smile on her lips. Of
course, after he refused, after several hours, they made
them enter the death waggons, and this was the last journey
of this great educator.

Q. Dr. Berman, at the end only a few children remained in
the ghetto. There were many parents who also tried to hide
their children on the Aryan side of Warsaw - is that

A. Yes.

Q. And the children there were scattered, as little
peddlers, engaged in the sale of cigarettes, newspapers,
begging, but even there the SS pursued them. Is that

A. Correct.

Q. And when their fate overtook them, that, too, was

A. Correct. I should also like to add that, apart from these
institutions, our dormitories and our orphanages, within a
number of weeks all these one hundred institutions of ours
were liquidated and destroyed together with all the tutors
and teachers - and in the peak period we had about 1,000
workers, teachers, tutors, doctors, psychologists, nurses
and so on. All of them, all of them were killed, together
with the children. There were 4,000 children in the
dormitories and orphanages alone. But the tragic total was
- and this can be said without any exaggeration - 100,000
children of the Warsaw Ghetto were killed by the Nazi
murderers. More than 100,000 children met their bitter death
in the gas chambers.

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