The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-066-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-066-03
Last-Modified: 1999/06/08

Q. Where did the bullet come out?

A. Through my mouth.

Q. Do you have a mark on your mouth?

A. Yes, I have.  It shot out two of my teeth.

Q. What happened to you after that?

A. I remained lying down.  Each time he passed by, walking
with his ear to the ground so that he could hear whether
anybody was still moving.  When there was some kind of
movement, he would pull out his revolver and shoot once
again.  After several minutes, I regained consciousness, and
when I saw him approaching, I held my breath - I did not
breathe.  I lay there.  The second group of five came out.
They were shot; there was a third group, and they were shot.
There was a soldier standing near us to guard the dead; if
there was still someone who was alive or who wanted to
escape - then he would shoot him.  Then I escaped.  I
escaped and entered a stable belonging to some gentile
there.  I remained there until the liberation.  When the
Russians arrived, I was sitting there looking outside
through a hole in the stable wall.  I did not know whether
this was a dream or reality; then someone came inside and
opened the door - I did not have time to look.  He opened
the door, he had a large moustache, and he said to me: "You
can go out - the Russians have already arrived."  I went
out, and then the commander of the Russians who had occupied
Dabie brought a doctor.  The doctor said I had no chance of
survival, I could live another twelve or twenty-four hours -
"He has no chance of living, since he has received a bullet
in his spine."  At first sight, they thought that the wound
had passed near the spine.  Then they said: "He cannot live
more than twelve hours."  After thirty-six hours had passed
and I was still alive, they realized that the bullet had
penetrated not far from the spine.

Q. You were also wounded in the nose - is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. To this day you have a scar?

A. Yes.  My nose was cut open in two places.  I asked the
doctors how this happened, and they told me that when the
shot hit me, I must instinctively have raised my head,  and
afterwards it dropped downwards, and apparently there was
some piece of glass there, and I received these cuts.

Q. What happened to your mother, Mr. Srebrnik?

A. In one of the sorting operations in which I was engaged -
I used to sort bags which contained documents, gold and
silver - I was examining a particular bag, and there I found
photographs of my mother.

Q. Does this wound still bother you occasionally?

A. Yes.

Q. And have you managed to forget what you went through?

A. No.  I don't sleep at night, I cannot sleep at night.  I
am constantly being haunted.

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

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

Judge Raveh:   You said you were thirteen years of age.
When were you thirteen?  When you came to Chelmno?

Witness Srebrnik:   When I came to Chelmno.

Q. Who were bound by chains on their legs, in the way they
did with you?

A. All of them.

Q. What do you mean by "all"?

A. The entire Hauskommando and the Waldkommando.  All of
them were in chains, without exception.

Q. I understood that there were exterminations for about
nine months while you were there?

A. Yes, but I don't remember exactly.

Q. You said that you arrived there at the beginning of 1944,
and that you left at the beginning of 1945, and that they
had ceased the extermination three months before that.
According to this, I make it nine months.  Is my calculation

A. Correct.

Q. In your estimate, how many were exterminated during this

A. I don't know.

Q. How many, approximately?

A. I don't know approximately, either.

Judge Halevi:  Did they kill them all in gas trucks?

Witness Srebrnik:   Yes.

Q. And you built the crematorium?

A. Yes.

Q. How long were you in the stable until the Russians came?

A. Two days.  I was completely bloated.  Had they come one
day later, I would no longer have been saved - I was already
on the point of dying, on that last night.

Q. That is to say that the Nazis executed the last victims
two days before the arrival of the Russians?

A. There were some tailors on top of the building.  When the
last ones were being killed, the tailors were still on top
of the buildings; they saw what the Germans were doing and
did not want to come down.  The Germans brought petrol,
poured it out and set fire to the building, burning the
people alive.  The bodies which were below, of people who
had previously been killed by shooting, were also thrown
into the fire.

Q. When was this?

A. In 1945, two days before the entry of the Russians.

Presiding Judge: Did they put 1,200 people to death every
single day?

Witness Srebrnik:   That was more or less every day.
Sometimes they would have a break of one day, in order to
grind the bones.

Q. From this it follows that they exterminated many tens of
thousands there?

A. Yes, they exterminated many.

Q. One of the witnesses who preceded you gave much lower
figures.  Are you sure of your facts?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Srebrnik, you have concluded
your testimony.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, I shall now
submit the Polish Government's report on the extermination
camp at Chelmno.  The report deals with the two periods of
extermination and states that in regard to the first period,
it was possible to ascertain what had taken place from
Podchlewnik, and in regard to the second period, from
Srebrnik and Zurawski.  These were the sole survivors -
these three - of the extermination camp of Chelmno,
according to the facts found by the Polish Government when
it proceeded to draw up its official report.

Presiding Judge: This report will be marked T/1297.

Attorney General: The Accused's comments on Chelmno will be
found by the Court on pages 37 and 1221-1222, and also on
page 28.

We have in our possession a letter addressed to the Gestapo
of Lodz which contains the order required for the
construction of installations for Sonderkommando K.  The
Prosecution will submit that this referred to the
acquisition of materials for the Sonderkommando Kulmhof
(Chelmno).  The date is 11 May 1943, close to the time when
the operations in this extermination camp were about to be
renewed, and the document specifies what was required for
the executioners: the chains, the wheelbarrows, the hooks,
sixteen ovens, one safe, twenty beds.

Presiding Judge: I would request one or two more copies of

Attorney General: I regret that this document was not
catalogued.  We selected it only at the end, and I shall
prepare copies if the Court would kindly give me the exhibit
reference number.

Presiding Judge: It does not bear any number.

[Dr. Servatius hands a copy of the document to the Attorney

Attorney General: Defence Counsel has an extra copy - I can
supply one more.

Presiding Judge: On this occasion, I ask whether we have
received back the statements of Hoess and of Pohl which were
submitted by Dr. Gilbert - those you wished to have copied.

Attorney General: We are duplicating them.

Presiding Judge: At any rate, as I understand, the matter is
receiving attention.

Attorney General: We shall carry out what we undertook to

Presiding Judge: The letter to the Lodz Gestapo will be
marked T/1298.

Attorney General: Our next document is No. 1550.  This is a
notification from the personnel officer of the Reichsfuehrer-
SS, dated 29 March 1943, concerning the transfer of eighty-
five men under the command of Hauptsturmfuehrer Bothmann to
the "Prinz Eugen" volunteer division.  The Reichsfuehrer
requests that the Sonderkommando should "close the chapter"
of their past experience - (einen Strich zu setzen) - and
not talk any more about what they had witnessed.  The letter
is addressed to Gruppenfuehrer Dr. Kaltenbrunner.

Judge Halevi:  How do you explain this letter?  What is its

Attorney General: Its significance lies in the fact that at
a particular stage the extermination at Chelmno was
suspended, and the entire team was transferred to Yugoslavia
- to this unit.  Later on, when the extermination was
resumed, the team was brought back.  There is a further
significance to the document - that these men belonged to
the RSHA, and not to the Economic-Administrative Head Office
- the same Bothmann whose name is mentioned here.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1299.
Please be good enough to provide us with an extra copy of
each of the last two documents when you receive them.

Attorney General: We now come to the Treblinka extermination
camp.  I call Mr. Wiernik.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness: Yiddish.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Ya'akov Wiernik.

Attorney General: You live in Rishon leZion, 73 Rehov

Witness Wiernik:   Yes.

Q. And you are a carpenter?

A. Yes, and a construction worker.

Q. When did they bring you to Treblinka, Mr. Wiernik?

A. On 23 August 1942.

Q. And how long did you remain there?

A. Until 2 August 1943.

Presiding Judge: How old are you now?

Witness Wiernik:   Seventy-two.

Q. And are you still a construction worker?

A. No.  I am now living on a pension.  In Israel, I worked
for "Amidar".

Attorney General: Mr. Wiernik, when you came to Treblinka,
the camp was not yet in existence?

Witness Wiernik:   When I came there, there were only three
gas chambers.  The large kitchen was not yet there.  I
constructed various barracks, I built the guard room, I
built the door, the entrance gate.

Q. You built that?

A. Yes, I and my companions.

Q. After the War, immediately following the War, you drew a
sketch of Treblinka?

A. Yes.  This is it, here.  I drew it.  I prepared it when I
was still underground, after my liberation in 1943, I drew
it.  I was working in Warsaw, in the Tashitza Palace.  I
worked as a Pole.

Attorney General: I submit the sketch which the witness made
at the time.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1300.

Attorney General: At a later stage, when you were already in
Israel, you built a copy, a model, after the sketch, and
this exists in Kibbutz Lohamei Ha-Getta'ot?

Witness Wiernik:   Yes.

Q. And the photograph of this model, which is kept in the
museum of Kibbutz Lohamei Ha-Getta'ot, that is the
photograph which you see on the wall of the courtroom?
[Photographs of this model may be seen via
knm, 99/06/08]

A. Yes.  That is an exact photograph.

Q. And now, please tell the Court, what is in this picture?
[He points to the photograph.]

A. That was the entrance.

Q. Is this where people entered?

A. Yes.  This is where they remained standing.  In the
courtyard, there were the two large barracks, 1 and 2.  They
brought the women in to the left, and the men were kept
outside.  They made the women remove all their clothes.

Q. Did you say that the women went into the one barrack and
the men into the other?

A. The men remained standing outside.  On either side, there
were two large written notices to the effect that money and
valuables had to be handed over, and whoever failed to do so
would be put to death.

Q. What happened to the women?

A. Over here [he indicates] their hair was cut off.  At the
end, a small area was fenced off.  Here their hair was cut
off, and then they were taken to the gas chambers.  Here
[points to it] was a building with three gas chambers; in
the large building there were ten gas chambers.  The doors
were closed, and it lasted some forty to forty-five minutes.

Q. Were these the gas chambers? [Points to them.]

A. These were the ten gas chambers which they built when I
was there, and these were the three gas chambers.  The
machines stood at the edge.

Q. Is this the same building which we see here?

A. That is the same.

Q. It is the same, but here we see the Shield of David?

A. That was the front, the side where people entered.

Q. Who made the Shield of David?

A. That was made by the metal-workers of the first camp.

Q. You say there were two camps, Treblinka 1 and Treblinka

A. They were separated from each other.

Q. How were they divided?

A. Here was the entrance; here is the first camp [points to
it].  All this belongs to the first camp.  And here is the
second camp.  These were the barracks where we lived, and
there were the gas chambers.
Q. And the gas chambers were here?

A. The gas chambers were in the second camp.

Q. What is this?

A. These are the barracks where we used to live, three
hundred and fifty to four hundred men.

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