The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-042-05

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-042-05
Last-Modified: 1999/06/01

Q. Now, Mrs. Salzberger, when did you and your sister leave
Ravensbrueck, and how did you leave?

A. At one of the roll-calls, which were held in the small
camp, too, we were ordered, my sister and myself, to report
to the commandant's office.  That was at the end of January,
1945.  We thought - and at that time the atmosphere was
already so depressing, so utterly hopeless - that this was
the end, some kind of Sonderbehandlung (special treatment).
When we arrived at the office, we were told that we were
free.  We did not believe this and did not take it
seriously.  But to our great surprise, we were taken to the
clothing store, where each transport had to hand over all
personal belongings, and from where everyone entered the
camp naked.  First of all we were given back what we call
valuables, according to our personal number, personal file,
documents.  This is also why we possess...

Q. This is why you possess the documents?

A. Yes.

Q. Were all the documents returned to you?

A. Yes.  The complete personal file, our documents of
identification, a fountain pen, a watch, and all personal

Presiding Judge: What month was this?

Witness Salzberger:   The end of January, 1945.  They
dressed us as best they could in the clothes that were
there.  And they attached three more women to us, to the
same transport: A mother and daughter from Turkey, and a
single woman whose nationality I do not remember.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Were they also Jewish?

Witness Salzberger:   Yes.  From the same transport from

Q. From Westerbork?

A. Yes.  They put us under the supervision of an SS man and
an SS woman, who accompanied us on an ordinary civilian
train, first of all to Berlin.

Q. In an ordinary passenger carriage?

A. Yes.

Q. You travelled from Ravensbrueck to Berlin?

A. Yes.  In Berlin we changed trains.  The railway station
was already destroyed.  There was already panic.  Germans
were not allowed to enter the train.  There was no room for
them.  Only soldiers and officers could travel by train.  We
were put on a train of German officers which went to Prague.
We went to Prague on this train in the middle of the night,
and the two SS people saw to it that we did not talk to
anyone and that no one talked to us.  I happened to see the
papers in the hands of the SS woman, which she showed to the
commander of the train, in order to prove our right to
travel.  Our names were written there, and also my mother's

Q. Your mother's name, too?

A. Yes.  It said that we were being sent to Ghetto
Theresienstadt, following an order of the Head Office for
Reich Security in Berlin.

Q. From Prague you came to Theresienstadt?

A. We changed trains, and from there we were taken to

Q. What happened when you arrived in Theresienstadt?

A. We were handed over to the commandant's office in
Theresienstadt. Our papers were handed over there.  The two
SS people disappeared. We were put into a room in an
isolated house.  All five of us were accommodated there.
Outside the door of the room they put a Czech policeman.  We
were kept in isolation in this room for four weeks.

Q. Together?  Both of you together?

A. Five women - my sister, myself and the three other women.

Q. With no contact with anybody else?

A. At first we did not understand what was happening.  We
had been told that we would come to Ghetto Theresienstadt,
but in fact we did not enter Ghetto Theresienstadt, because
care was taken that there should be no contact with us.  We
were actually not within the ghetto compound.  Food was
brought to us; Czech policemen, gendarmes, brought us food
and guarded us day and night.  We were there for four weeks.

Q. What happened then?

A. After the first few days, Rahm, the Commandant of
Theresienstadt, paid us a visit, asked how we were, looked
at us and asked if we had any requests.  He came to visit
again after two to three weeks.

Q. The same Rahm?

A. The same.  We began to be very worried.  We thought that
there was a change of attitude of some kind, that they would
not allow us to enter Theresienstadt.  Theresienstadt was
regarded as a very good place, comparatively speaking.  We
could not understand what was the real intention.

Q. In what month was that?

A. At the beginning of March, 1945.  I think it was on 3
March 1945.  In that month the policeman told us that he had
to take us to the Dienststelle (office) - that is what it
was called - in Theresienstadt.  He said that at the
Dienststelle we would have an interview with some very
important people from the SS, among them the Accused.

Q. Did he mention Eichmann's name?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened?

A. When we came to the Dienststelle, all five of us were
separated, and a separate interview was held with each of

Q. Now tell us please about the interview with yourself.

A. First of all, four very high SS officers were present.

Q. Do you remember their names?

A. First of all, there was Rahm, the Commandant of

Q. Did you see him after that, too?

A. Both after and before that.  Then there were the Accused,
Guenther and Moes.

Q. Which of them took an active part in the interview?  Who
conducted it?

A. The Accused spoke a lot, and we identified him actually
by the manner of his speech.

Q. How was that?

A. We knew who Eichmann was.

Q. Why did you say "we"?  You said that you had separate

A. We compared notes afterwards.

Q. Was the contents of the interview the same for you and
for your sister?

A. Yes.

Q. You said it was possible to identify the Accused by the
manner of his speech.  What do you mean?

A. Already in Holland we had known who Eichmann was; he was
known to use many Jewish and Hebrew expressions.  We thought
- and that was the accepted story - that he knew Hebrew
perfectly, that he was born in Palestine.  And in his speech
this was immediately evident.  He took an interest in all
our past, the whole of our background, our experiences, also
in Holland.  He asked very detailed questions about
synagogues, about Zionist matters - we had our certificate,
too - about affiliation to the Zionist movement, etc.  But
the main subject of the interview was an attempt to find out
what we knew about the extermination, and whether, in
Ravensbrueck, we had come into contact with people who were
brought there from Auschwitz, especially those coming from

Q. In what way did you answer these questions about what you
knew in Ravensbrueck?

A. We immediately understood the purpose of the interview.
It became clear that we were isolated, that they did not
want to allow us to enter the ghetto, out of fear that we
might know too much, and that we might talk about it with
the inmates of Theresienstadt.  We were reserved; we said
that in Ravensbrueck we worked in the Siemens-Halske
factory, that we were in a separate camp, and that we did
not come into contact with the people who were brought to
Ravensbrueck.  We were very uncommunicative.  On the other
hand, we did not say that Ravensbrueck was a good place, as
it was known that it was a very bad one.  Apart from this,
my mother's death was mentioned in the interview.

Q. Did he ask about your mother?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he have her papers?

A. Yes.

Q. Did the Accused have them in his hand or someone else?

A. This I do not remember.

Q. Was it a file or papers?

A. It was a file.

Q. Did he ask about her?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he not know that she had died?

A. Apparently not.

Q. Did you tell him about her death in Ravensbrueck?

A. Yes, we told him.

Q. What was the end of the matter?

A. The interview was conducted in very polite language, and
our treatment was very polite, they addressed us as "Sie"
(polite form of address in German).  They treated us with

Q. Did the Accused also address you as "Sie," politely?

A. Yes. He expressed his regret that my mother had died.
But the essential meaning of the interview was not so
polite.  We were told that we would be allowed to come into
Ghetto Theresienstadt - "Juedische Selbstverwaltung
Theresienstadt" (Jewish Autonomous Administration
Theresienstadt) was the term he used.  But if we were to say
anything about our past experiences in Ravensbrueck, about
what we knew, then - and he used a very appropriate
expression: "Dann werden Sie durch den Schornstein gehen"
(then you will go through the chimney).  Next day, we were
actually taken into the ghetto.

Q. Do you have the so-called "Zentralevidenz" (Central
Registry) card dated 8 March 1945, in the name of your

A. Yes.

Q. Did you receive these cards from the Jewish Ghetto

A. Yes, that was the registry office of the ghetto.

Q. Was it run by the Jewish Ghetto Administration?

A. Yes.

Q. In the end you also received work cards, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you see the work card in your name?

A. Yes.

Q. Was this also issued on behalf of the Jewish Ghetto

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: The card from the registry office will be
marked T/703. The work card will be marked T/704.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Please open the work card in your
name.  What were the kinds of work in which you were
employed during these months, March-April?

Witness Salzberger:   I was a waitress.

Q. This is rather easy work?

A. All work connected with food was regarded as work with
special privileges.

Q. Do you have any explanation why you were employed on such
privileged work?

A. It seems that there was an instruction...I do not any rate, when we came to Theresienstadt, the
treatment we were given was very favourable.  First of all,
it should be stated here that it hardly ever happened that
anybody was transferred to Theresienstadt from another camp,
certainly not from a concentration camp.  And when we
arrived, we caused some sensation.  There were also many
people from Holland there whom we knew.

Q. Whom you met again?

A. Yes.

Q. You promised the Accused that you would not tell what you
knew from Ravensbrueck. Did you keep your promise?

A. No.

Q. You talked?

A. We talked immediately.

Q. To whom?

A. We talked about our experiences both to the responsible
persons there, to the members of the Aeltestenrat (Council
of Elders), and to our Dutch acquaintances, among them
highly educated, intelligent people.  As is well-known,
especially intellectuals from Holland were sent to
Theresienstadt, among others.

Q. Mrs. Salzberger, what was the reaction of the people when
they heard your stories about Auschwitz, about the
extermination campaign in the East and all the rest?  What
was the reaction of the Theresienstadt people?

A. They did not believe us; they said, in March 1945, that
we were out of our minds; they did not believe us.  It must
be said here that transports from Theresienstadt went to
Auschwitz already in 1944.  We knew from people whom we met
in Ravensbrueck from Auschwitz, or from Theresienstadt via
Auschwitz, that people in Theresienstadt still volunteered
for these transports in 1944.  Wives volunteered to go with
their husbands, and so on.  And when we told them what was
going on, people did not believe us.

Q. Could you please find your savings booklet, No. 77578,
which was issued in your name in Theresienstadt?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bar-Or, what is the situation, do you
have more questions?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  I ask for a few minutes.  I should
like to complete the direct examination today.  I am at the
end of this testimony.

Presiding Judge: Do not take this as an attempt to rush you.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  We can continue tomorrow.  The
witness lives in Jerusalem.

Presiding Judge: But if you want to finish, please (go on).

State Attorney Bar-Or:  I think it would be worth while
finishing, since we have reached the end of the direct

Presiding Judge: The savings booklet will be marked T/705.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Did you also receive internal
Theresienstadt money?

Witness Salzberger:   We received monthly wages.

Q. Did you receive your wages in Theresienstadt money?

A. Yes.

Q. And did you preserve the banknotes from Theresienstadt?

A. Yes.

Q. Please point to a 100 Crown banknote.

A. Yes.

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