The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/07

Attorney General: Here it says that the camp began operating
on 8 December 1941, that it was liquidated in the middle of
1943, and that the Germans succeeded in thoroughly covering
up their tracks.  Not one of the members of the staff was
caught.  The investigation was based, inter alia, on the
interrogation of Rudolf Reder, a former prisoner at the
camp, the only one they managed to trace.  He mentions here
the signs "Bathhouses," the "Inhalation", the flower pots
that decorated the place, the increased activity in the
second half of 1942, the fact that Jews from Czechoslovakia,
Austria, Romania, Hungary and Germany were exterminated

By the summer of 1943, not a trace of the extermination camp
remained.  In its place, a farming estate had been
established, and Volksdeutsche were settled there.  When the
great assault of the Soviet army began, after an interval of
less than a year, along the line of the River Bug, these
Volksdeutsche left and moved westwards, together with the
withdrawing army.  The farm buildings were totally
destroyed.  So much for the Belzec chapter.

Judge Halevi:  I have one more question relating to exhibit
T/1312, which you have submitted - the Swedish confirmation.
There it says, specifically, that Gerstein approached a
Swedish diplomat, Baron von Otter, in August 1942, after his
return from Belzec, and told him that he wanted it to be
known what was happening with gas in Belzec, so that all
this would come to the notice of neutral observers, and that
he was convinced that if they disseminated the information
about the extermination amongst the German population, and
if the truth of the story was confirmed by foreigners, then
the German people would no longer continue supporting the
Nazi regime even for a moment.  Half a year later, he again
met the Swedish diplomat and asked him: "Did you do anything
about it?"  This is here - in the last section.  No reply is
recorded here.  But is that not the same question as in the
Brand mission, in fact?  The Brand mission was two years
after that, and the question arose: What were the results?
What did they do?  Here it was at a much earlier stage and,
in fact, more important, and there was a specific purpose of
giving the matter publicity.

Attorney General: On the part of Gerstein?

Judge Halevi:  As an anti-Nazi, Gerstein risked his life,
according to what he says, by his contact with the Swedes,
and he asked them to take action.  And half a year later, he
asked: What did they do? I think that it would be possible
now to clarify what action they took then as a result of
Gerstein's approach.

Attorney General: What action was taken by the Swedes?

Judge Halevi:  Whether the Swedes notified other Powers, and
whether this was a basis for publishing the facts at that

There is another small detail here, namely that Gerstein's
address, according to the Swedish aide memoire in 1943 was
Buelowstrasse 49, Berlin.  That is to say, everything
relates to contact with him in 1942 and 1943.  This contact
had a certain purpose.  I think it would be important to
elucidate whether this purpose was achieved, and to what

Attorney General: It will not be easy to ascertain, but I
shall try to fulfil the Court's wishes.

Judge Halevi:  This is somewhat parallel to the Brand
episode, only in this case it was not a Jewish source - he
was not a Jewish emissary.  But that makes no difference -
he was an important anti-Nazi emissary.  That is, if all
this material is authentic.  The Prosecution maintains that
all this is true.  Can we rely on it?

Attorney General: Yes.  However, the difference, Your
Honour, lies in the fact that in the case of Brand we see a
direct link with the Accused and, for that reason, we dwelt
here on the sequel of Brand's mission, so that we should not
leave it shrouded in doubt and suspended in mid-air.  Brand
came and delivered a certain message.  So, what happened
afterwards?  I tried to explain, in outline, what happened
later.  Here there is no direct link with the Accused - here
there is a particular action of a man attempting to inform
the outside world.  This information to the outside world
has no direct connection with the Accused.  But, of course,
I shall carry out the Court's wishes, and I shall attempt to
ascertain to what extent the Swedish Foreign Ministry will
be prepared to respond to such an approach - what they did
with the reports of Baron von Otter, of Berlin, which
reached them.  All that we know is that in 1945 they
submitted a memorandum in London which included these

Judge Halevi:  That was after the War.

Attorney General: That was after the War. Incidentally,

merely for the sake of historical completeness, the Swedish
Forein Ministry confirmed this to the Israeli ambassador in
Stockholm on 17 February 1961 - that same document which I
submitted - and also confirmed it to the historian Poliakov,
who approached the Swedes in 1949 for purposes of his
researches.  They gave him the same confirmation.

Judge Halevi:  Perhaps it should also be pointed out that
the Swedish Foreign Ministry was very active in helping
persecuted Jews, for example Wallenberg in Hungary, so that
I suppose they took some action.

Attorney General: I shall go into this Your Honour, and I
shall report to the Court.

Dr. Servatius:  In document No. 185, which is the Nuremberg
annex 1553, it says, on page 16: "...that all these efforts
were in vain, nothing was achieved."  It also says here:
"They asked me whether I was a soldier, and then they
refused all contact with me."  That is on page 12 of the
German document.

Presiding Judge: This was asked by a representative of the
Pope, according to this report, and not by the Swedes - this
is how I read it.

Dr. Servatius:  "I subsequently met Baron von Otter on two
further occasions, and he informed me that the report on all
these matters had a pronounced effect on Swedish-German
relations, but the attempt to pass on the reports also to
the diplomatic representatives of the Vatican came to
nought, after I was asked whether I was a soldier."  Yes,
Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, that is correct - the
reference was to the Vatican.

Attorney General: If the Court would be prepared to prolong
the Session by a quarter of an hour, I shall manage to call
one further witness who passed through several camps and who
witnessed several important incidents, and then we shall be
able to commence tomorrow with the Auschwitz chapter.

Presiding Judge: Very well.

Attorney General: I call Dr. David Wdowinski.

Presiding Judge: [To witness) Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Wdowinski:   Yes.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: David Wdowinski.

Attorney General: Do you now reside in the United States?

Witness Wdowinski:   Yes, I live in the United States.

Q. You are  Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the
New School for Sociological Research in New York?

A. Correct.

Q. At the time of the Second World War, you were in Warsaw?

A. I was there from the beginning.

Q. And, at the time of the ghetto revolt, you were the
commander of the Irgun Zva'i Leumi (National Military
Organization)* {*Military organization affiliated to the
Revisionist movement} in the Warsaw Ghetto?

A. Correct.

Q. And you took part in the general uprising and in military
activities until, ultimately, your bunker fell?  When was

A. Yes, it was in the last week of April 1943.

Q. And then all the strongholds held by the Irgun Zva'i
Leumi in Warsaw fell?

A. There were still a few outposts that went on fighting and
as far as I know, a few units fought on for at least three
weeks more.

Q. When you came out of your bunker and were transferred to
the Umschlagplatz, you saw one of your strongholds?

A. I saw the outpost at Murinowska Square, 79 Murinowska
Street.  Our flag - the blue and white flag - was flying
over the building; the outpost was still fighting - I heard
the shots.

Q. From the Umschlagplatz, you were put into freight cars
and taken to Lublin?

A. Yes.  On the following day, the day after we were
captured - we waited a whole day, and on the following day
they took me and the remnants of my family - for a large
part of my family had been killed at Treblinka, and even
before Treblinka, in the first "action" between June and Yom
Kippur, 1942.

Q. And then you were brought to the camp at Majdanek?

A. Yes.

Q. There they separated you from your wife and the rest of
your family?

A. Yes, three or four days later.

Q. And where did they transfer you to?

A. They transferred me, together with 806 other Jews - we
numbered 807 together - to a camp which was not far from
Lublin - thirty-five kilometres away - to Budzyn.

Q. Did they select precisely 807 people?

A. Yes, we were already standing - the survivors of Warsaw
Jewry - near the gate where there were various units from
Majdanek, and they waited to send us to some field.
Suddenly, some SS man came there - afterwards we got to know
that he was Oberscharfuehrer Feiks - with some Ukrainians in
black, and demanded 807 Jews from the local commander,
because there were 1193 in his camp at Budzyn, and, for the
sake of his prestige, it was necessary for him to have two

Q. So he asked for exactly 807?

A. Yes.

Q. And this was the number he received?

A. Yes.

Q. What work was done at Budzyn?

A. In Budzyn, which was a Jewish labour camp, the work was
in a Heinkel aircraft factory.

Q. What was the regime in the camp like?

A. It is hard to describe; in one word, it was - terrible.
For example, when we reached Budzyn, on the first day (I
think it was 30 April or 1 May), the commandant Feiks told
us to stand in two rows.  Afterwards, he went up to one of
the Jews and told him to leave the rank and ordered him to
undress.  He then began undressing; he removed his overcoat
and Feiks started shouting: "Hurry up - undress completely!"
This went on until he was altogether naked, and then he drew
a revolver and killed this Jew and said: "This is what will
happen to each one of you if you do not hand over everything
you have, and this is only an example."  He demanded gold,
silver, good clothes, suitcases, and so on.

Presiding Judge: What was the name of this German?

Witness Wdowinski:   Reinhold Feiks.  He was from

Attorney General: Was there a further instance where he
murdered someone with his own hands?

Witness Wdowinski:   On the same day, he saw a man of
advanced age, an old man, and his first words were: "You old
dog - are you still alive?"  And he ordered the Ukrainians
to shoot him and kill him - and he went off.  Then we
surrounded the old man, and the Ukrainians were unable to
find him.  By chance, the commandant came back to the camp
half an hour or an hour later and saw the old man - he drew
his revolver and shot him.  He was a very popular doctor
from Warsaw, very much loved by the Jews of Warsaw - Dr.
Pupko.  He was well known, firstly because he was an
Orthodox Jew: he prayed every day with his phylacteries and
prayer shawl; he would not write any prescriptions on the
Sabbath, and, apart from that, he was known and loved, for
he had done a great deal as a doctor for the poor Jews and
had attended to them without payment.

Q. Did you work as a doctor in Budzyn?

A. I worked as a doctor in Budzyn.

Q. And did you have to take care of a common grave for those
who were killed there?

A. I had to supervise the cleanliness of the camp, to look
after the graves - that is to say, there was only one grave,
a common grave - and to see that it was kept clean.  And
whenever a Jew died - that means when he was killed - lime
had to be poured over him, because of the hygienic and
sanitary conditions.  Apart from that, before a Jew was
buried, his teeth were removed, if he had any gold teeth,
and so on.

Q. Do you remember an incident with a man named Bitter?

A. Of course, I remember this incident - it is an incident I
shall never forget as long as I live.  While Bitter was at
work, some cash fell out of his pocket, a few zlotys, and
the "Meister" (overseer) saw it.

Q. Who was this "Meister"?

A. His name was Mass. He reported it to the commandant,

and the commandant, first of all, gave him a thorough
beating, and then he decided that this Jew had to be hanged.
And they hanged him, but apparently the rope was weak, and
it broke.  Bitter fell down, still alive.  Then Feiks
decided that it was not necessary to hang him once again,
and it would be a pity to waste a bullet on the Jews; he
decided that the Jews themselves would have to kill him.  He
called a roll-call of two thousand Jews.  We, the doctors,
stood on one side.  There were a few doctors.  And the
Ukrainians gave a stick to each Jew, and the Jews had to
beat him; and he had to run around.  And two or three
Ukrainians ran behind him to see that he was really being
beaten very hard by the Jews.  And all the time this Jew was
running around, he kept saying, "I take it with love - if I
have to be sacrificed for the People of Israel, I take it
with love."  Ultimately, he fell down, and the commandant
called me to check whether he was alive or not.  And, in a
very weak voice, he said to me: "I don't feel any pain,
doctor, it does not hurt, I am suffering for the Jewish
people, and I take it with love.  But I would ask you, say
`Kaddish' (the mourners' prayer) for me."  I don't know how
long after that, whether it was a few minutes or half an
hour - they did not allow us to give him water, a cup of
water, or anything else - he died.

Q. To what German formation did Reinhold Feiks belong?

A. The SS.  He was an Oberscharfuehrer.

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