Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-053-06 Last-Modified: 1999/06/13 Q. Were you deported together with your family? A. Together with my family and all the members of my community. Q. All the members of your community? A. Yes. Q. How many of you were in one railway waggon? A. We were more than one hundred persons in the waggon. Q. How do you remember that? A. I remember it because our community numbered 103 souls, and all the members of our community were in that waggon. It was clear to me that there were more than one hundred souls there. Q. Were you given any food during the journey? A. No - neither food nor water. Q. Did you have water inside the railway waggon? A. We were not given any. I can well remember a case where we - the young people - tried to prepare some supply of water. We took buckets, went to the nearest pump, although there were no taps there, we went to the nearest pump, and when we carried the water to the waggon, SS men came and poured it out. We were left without any water. If I may be permitted to describe the terrible conditions that prevailed in that waggon in the course of this journey to Auschwitz...? Presiding Judge: Yes. Witness Sapir: First of all, there were more than one hundred people, as I mentioned previously. There was not even room to stand. Towards evening the train began its journey. We did not know where it was bound for. When morning came, we saw that it was making its way to the east. We passed small railway stations, forests, mountains, we did not know where we were. We wanted to read the signs on the stations, but we knew that it was forbidden to be too inquisitive, for the sentry standing on the roof above us was likely to make use of his arms. We knew - there had also been an instruction to this effect - that it was forbidden to peer outside. With regard to the state of affairs inside the waggon - I have no words to describe them: Women were fainting; in one corner of the truck people were shouting "Wasser" (water), but there was no water - we could not provide water for there was none. In another corner of the truck a mother was comforting her child; I remember the words well: "Schlof, mein kind" (Go to sleep, my child). But the child could not fall asleep, for it was hungry, it was very hungry. It had not had any food for two days already, since our departure from the town. State Attorney Bach: Mr. Sapir, did you ultimately reach some place in this train? Witness Sapir: In the end, after three full days, the train was shunted into a siding, but we did not know where we were, what was the name of the place. Q. When did you find out where you were? A. After the train had stopped there for three hours, with us sitting inside, we got off and then we saw the fiery chimneys, and we noticed a very strange smell. We asked prisoners who had been there for some time: What is this smell? And they said: Here they are burning all sorts of "Lumpen"(rags). But afterwards we found out; for the ritual slaughterer of the community - suddenly I heard his voice, saying: "Alas, I have forgotten my prayer-shawl and phylacteries in the waggon." A prisoner said to him there: "What do you need these for - soon you will be going, and he pointed to the chimney, soon you will be going there." Judge Halevi: Who said that to him? Witness Sapir: One of the prisoners. State Attorney Bach: In that same place? Witness Sapir: Yes. Q. So perhaps tell the Court what was that place? A. This place was Auschwitz. Then we at last knew what was in store for us, what our fate was, where we were. Q. You were there together with your parents? A. Yes, I arrived there together with my parents. Q. Did you also have brothers and sister? A. I arrived together with my four brothers and one sister. Q. How old were your brothers? A. One brother was born in 1929 - he was then 15; another brother was born in 1933 - he was then 11; my sister was born in 1936 - she was then 8; another brother was born in 1938 - he was then 6; and there was a little baby brother who was born in 1941 - he was then 3. Q. What happened to your parents and to all your brothers and your sister whom you have mentioned? A. After the selection had been made...the selection was very simple. A doctor stood there and merely with a slight movement of his hand, people were to go to the right or to the left. My parents went to the right. I did not have time to take leave of them. I was amongst those who, for some reason, were destined to live: I went to the left. Q. And your brothers and sister? A. All of them went with my parents. Q. Did you see them again, after this? A. No I did not see them at all, after this. Q. Of all the members of this community, how many remained alive? A. Eighteen survived. But I must add that, of these eighteen, six were in the Hungarian labour camp; that is to say, of all those who went to Auschwitz, exactly 10 survived. Q. Where else where you, after Auschwitz? A. I was in Auschwitz for two days. A. And after that? A. After that I was transferred to the Jaworzno labour camp, near Auschwitz. In that camp, if I may describe the life... Q. No - perhaps, you would only tell us this: In the end, did you reach the camp at Gleiwitz? A. Yes. This was on 16 January 1945. When we returned from the mine...I was working in a coal mine, Dachsgrube it was called, it was in Upper Silesia, I was working then on the day shift at the time. Generally we worked in shifts, a day shift, one at night and one in the morning - that is to say, day, night and noontime. But at that time I was working on the morning shift. We got back in the evening. They did not even allow us to wash, nor eat - nothing - there was an order to move, to line up and to move. Where to - we did not know. We left, the entire camp numbering 3,000 people, and went along an unknown road. We walked for 24 hours. It was cold, there was snow, there was no food. On the way people reached total exhaustion and were unable to go on. Those who could not continue were shot, of course. Their bodies remained strewn along the road. Q. How many were you at the start? A. Three thousand. Q. How many survived? A. After walking for 24 hours we came to a town called Beuthen, in Upper Silesia. It was already evening and they sat us down at the side of the road, in the snow, and told us to wait. We waited about two hours and after that the commanding officer came to us - it was either the commanding officer or his deputy, I cannot be positively sure about this now - and announced: "Whoever is unable to continue will remain here, and he will be transferred by truck." I was amongst those who remained, for I knew that if I went on with this march it would end in my death, I could not carry on with it. And this I knew...although I did not do much thinking then. We remained, about two hundred persons. And we stayed there until morning in that place, at the side of the road, in the snow, the cold, without food. In the morning they came to take us. They put us in some kind of dining room, where the mineworkers of that place used to eat, and we were told to wait. We waited. And after that, they came and took us all out. Here I should like to mention something. Q. Perhaps you would first tell us what was the ultimate fate of those two hundred? A. They came and took us out of the town, a short distance from this dining room - about five kilometres if I estimate it correctly, and they gave us working tools, spades pick- axes, hoes, and implements of this sort, and told us to dig pits. We could not do so. We were absolutely at the end of our strength. Our oppressors stood over us, with whips, and struck us. Q. How many of those two hundred remained alive? A. When we were digging the pits, we still numbered almost the full contingent. Q. But would you, perhaps, tell us how many of these two hundred remained in the end? A. In the end a total of eleven persons remained. We dug these holes for the whole day, until the evening. We all believed that this would be the end of us. But, towards evening, they came and took us back to that place from which we had set out in the morning. We did not know what was happening there. In the morning an SS man named Lausmann come in. I actually remember his name very well. He said: "Yes, I know that you are so hungry." It was, in fact, already three days that no food had passed our lips. Then he said: "I know, you are so hungry, but soon the mineworkers who are working the night shift will come here. Something will surely be left over, and this we will divide amongst you." We felt some kind of more humane tone, that here was something humane. But disappointment was not slow in coming. Straightaway, as he finished these words, a pot was brought into the room, and we all thought that there was food inside the pot. But he took us, one by one, bent each down into the pot and shot him in the back of the neck. He continued shooting in this way, and shooting and shooting without end, until he got to somebody and in the middle some other officer came in and said something to him. What he said I do not know. He stopped. I was amongst those who remained alive out of all those two hundred. In addition there was a young man there who, in the middle of it all, while Lausmann was firing, when this was going on, began making a speech in German - I do not remember that speech but I remember well that he said to him, in his concluding sentence: "The German people will answer to history for this." This sentence I remember well. But this young man was shot immediately - he did not remain alive. Q. Please tell us how, in the end, you escaped from these SS men. Please tell us that in one sentence only. A. Since there were only eleven of us who remained, and those who were killed were taken out to those graves that we had dug the previous day, we did not participate in their burial - apparently the others did so. There were more prisoners there - there were other "Haeftlinge" as they called them. Haeftlinge is a very common name. Presiding Judge: Please reply to the question you were asked. I understand that this is very painful for you, but we have to come to the end of this evidence. Please say how you, personally, escaped. State Attorney Bach: I am prepared to waive the question. Presiding Judge: If you can finish the evidence now, let us do so. Otherwise - we shall continue tomorrow morning. State Attorney Bach: In fact, I am ready to waive this question. Presiding Judge: If you, Dr. Servatius, have a question, we shall stop now. Otherwise let us end this evidence now. Dr. Servatius: I have no questions. Presiding Judge: Are you in a position to reply to one further question? The last question was: How did you ultimately escape from all this? You may sit down, if you please. Witness Sapir: It is easier for me to answer standing up. After the eleven of us remained alive, we were transferred to the Gleiwitz camp. In that camp there were then, as I heard, 14,000 people. We, the eleven of us, were placed there into a cellar containing frozen potatoes. We ate these potatoes for we had not eaten anything for four days. That was in the evening. We were there the whole night. They took us outside in the morning. I was amongst those who approached the gate. Presiding Judge: Mr. Sapir, it would be much easier to complete your evidence, if you would reply to the question you were asked. State Attorney Bach: I know that you have much to relate - it is simply impossible to ask you about those matters. Therefore tell us only about the final stage of your escape. Witness Sapir: We were in Gleiwitz. Here I do not know exactly what was the intention of the Germans, what they were thinking. But they put us into open railway waggons and we began our journey. We travelled for half a day, and the waggons came to a halt at midday. No one knew why they had stopped. In the afternoon we were taken off the waggons and they took us to a German village called Stein. Near this village was a forest. They took us into this forest and there they began to shoot the people. I fled from that place. Obviously, since I am here, this is a sign that the bullet did not strike me. And in this way I wandered around in that forest for two more days. After that, the Russian army arrived, and in this way I was liberated. Q. I have one last question: When you came to Auschwitz, what was the number that you were given and which appears on your arm? A. A3,800 [Witness shows the tattooed inscription on his left forearm]. Q. Do you know the significance of the letter "A"? When was the series A started? A. There is nothing authentic that I can say. State Attorney Bach: Thank you very much. Judge Halevi: You said that they brought a pot and everyone bent down and was shot in the back of the neck. How many people were shot in the neck? Witness Sapir: If I subtract 11 from 200, the result is 189. Q. How many SS men were there? A. There were many of them. As assistants to them there were those in black uniforms - I do not know if it was exactly like that - but they called them "Volksdeutsche." There were also several in green uniforms and they took part in this action. Q. What is your present profession? A. My profession: I am working with Youth Aliyah as a youth leader and teacher. Judge Halevi: Thank you. Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Sapir, you have concluded your testimony. The next Session will be tomorrow morning, at 9 o'clock.
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