The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-065-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-065-02
Last-Modified: 1999/06/07

Q. In the casino you were engaged in cleaning, cooking and serving?

A. Yes.  I was engaged in cleaning, cooking and serving.  I
also had a special uniform, and I used to change it twice
daily, and I also took a shower before serving.

Q. On the day the plane arrived, did the Jews go out to

A. No.  Again, they did not go out to work.  We prepared
special food, and I remember that they ate horse-flesh -
that was something "special".

Presiding Judge: Was this prepared for the officers?

Witness Bahir:   No, for the Jews, a festive meal.  On that
day - the day of Himmler's second visit - the Jews did not
go out to work.

Judge Halevi:  On the second occasion was it without

Witness Bahir:   Himmler was there also.

Q. Exactly the same officers?

A. Not exactly the same officers.  On the first occasion, I
saw Himmler, Eichmann; the three civilians were not present
on the second occasion.  They were escorted on the second
occasion by officers armed with guns.  I did not notice any
guards on the first visit.  This was apparently Himmler's
personal guard.

Presiding Judge: How much time elapsed between the two

Witness Bahir:   About seven months, from July 1942 to
February 1943.

Q. Did these officers, Himmler and the others, go into the

A. On the first occasion, they did not enter the casino.

Q. And when you worked in the casino?

A. Yes.  On the day of that visit, when he had already
returned from Camp 3.  He visited only Camp 3, accompanied
by Franz Reichleitner, who was camp commander at that time.

Q. Where did you see them?

A. My immediate superior in the casino, Paul Breidorf, heard
from Unterscharfuehrer Beckmann, who had returned from Camp
3, that the visitors were soon coming back from there.  He
was not even aware that the plane had already landed; as
soon as he heard this, he sent me hurriedly to the camp with
my friend, Joseph Pines.  When I arrived there, the gate was
locked, and by the time the Ukrainian guard opened the gate
they had already come quite near, two or three metres away,
and then I recognized them.

Attorney General: Mr. Bahir, at what intervals did the
transports arrive at Sobibor - roughly, as far as you are
able to remember?  Did a train arrive every day?

Witness Bahir:   I remember certain periods.  I remember a
period when there were fewer trains; during the first
period, when I was selected for work, fewer transports
arrived - two transports came daily; perhaps there had been
an instruction not to send so many.

Q. I am not asking you about instructions.  My question is:
What did you see?  Who arrived?

A. Later on, there was a time when many transports arrived -
two each day, sometimes three.  One at night, which had to
wait until morning, and two more during the day.  There were
several such periods.  The peak period which I can remember
was from May to July, August 1942.  The second period was
from October 1942 to the beginning of January 1943, when
there were again many transports, two, and sometimes three,

Q. May I have exhibit T/1294, the photograph which the
previous witness identified?

[Shows it to the witness.] Can you identify the man in this

A. Yes.  He was called "Hauptmann" - I remember him well. He
was the first commandant, before Franz Reichleitner.

Q. What was his name?

A. I don't remember his name exactly - Waran or Wirren; They
called him Hauptmann, he was always riding on horseback with
a long cape in the direction of Camp 3.  Wiron, or something
like that.  I don't remember his name.

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

Dr. Servatius:  Witness, you said you recognized Eichmann in
a photograph that was shown to you in Lublin.  In which
office was that?  Perhaps it would be possible to obtain the
photograph some time today?

Witness Bahir:   Certainly.  I saw the picture at the
Institute of Documentation in Lublin and a second time about
one and a half or nearly two years afterwards.  A book was
published in Poland in three languages.  The title of the
book was We Shall Never Forget - both in English and French.
It consists of photographs only, and amongst them there is
one on which I recognized Eichmann.

Q. Would that be a photograph from the camp at Sobibor?

A. No.

Q. You said that a luxury train arrived - approximately how
many officers alighted from that train?

A. I don't remember the exact number, perhaps eleven or
twelve, together with civilians, I mean.

Q. What kind of uniform were the military men amongst them
wearing - black or green?

A. The army men wore green SS uniforms.  Himmler wore a long
leather coat over his uniform.  The civilians were wearing
Bavarian caps with feathers.

Q. Did the man whom you thought was Eichmann wear

A. I do not remember.

Dr. Servatius:  I have no further questions to the witness.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, do you have any further
questions to put to the witness?

Attorney General: I have nothing more to ask.

Judge Raveh:   I believe you said that in Lublin you
identified four or five men.  Did you say that?

Witness Bahir:   Correct.

Q. Whom did you identify?

A. From the second visit, in February 1943, I identified in
the photograph Himmler, Eichmann and Kaltenbrunner.  I don't
remember the name of the fourth man.  That was on the second

Q. That means that both Himmler and Kaltenbrunner, as well
as Eichmann, took part in the second visit?

A. Yes, but there were also others.

Q. And of the men who took part in the first visit you
identified only Himmler and Eichmann, or was there anyone

A. Only Himmler and Eichmann.

Judge Halevi:  You were asked by Defence Counsel whether you
saw that photograph again - the one in which you recognized
or identified them in 1945.

Witness Bahir:   I do not understand the question.

Q. I only want you to understand this properly.  You
identified Eichmann only after the event, in Lublin, in the

A. In 1945.

Q. You were asked: You saw it in an album, in a set of
photographs - did you see the same picture, the same
photograph, the photograph in the album, another time, at
any time, again?  I understood you to say "yes".  Did it
appear in some collection?

A. Yes.  It appeared in a book entitled We Shall Never
Forget, which was published in three languages.

Q. Where is the book to be found?

A. Here, in Israel.

Q. Can you produce it here?

A. Yes. There is a copy in the library of the Gymnasium
"Ohel Shem" in Ramat Gan.  A neighbour of mine was a pupil
there a year or eighteen months ago, and he was the one who
brought me the book from the school library.

Q. Are you prepared - should anyone make such a request - to
bring the book here?

A. Definitely.

Q. Is that a copy of the same photograph which you saw in
Lublin in 1945?

A. Yes.  It was the same photograph I saw in Lublin in 1945.

Q. And you then identified Eichmann according to it?

A. Yes.  By means of this photograph, I identified both
Eichmann and Himmler.

Q. You said it was a photograph which shows four officers,
if I understood you correctly.

A. No.  The photograph showed more, but I identified the
four officers in it.  There are more in the photograph.

Q. That means you identified Eichmann there as one of a

A. Yes.

Q. In other words, it was not a photograph of one

A. The photograph I saw at the Institute of Documentation
was not taken at Sobibor.  In this photograph I saw some of
the officers who visited Sobibor.

Q. did you see anyone else in this picture of those who were
on that visit - apart from Eichmann?

A. Yes, I identified Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, Eichmann, and I
don't remember the name of the fourth.  That was in February

Q. They were there?

A. Yes.

Q. And they are in the photograph which is at Ramat Gan?

A. Yes.

Attorney General: I believe this is the book - if the
witness is able to identify it.

Witness Bahir:   Yes - that is the book.

Judge Halevi:  Please look at it and see whether you can
find the photograph.

Attorney General: I am not sure that this is the same

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bahir, have you found it?

Witness Bahir:   Yes.  This is the photgraph, but not the
complete one.  Perhaps there is another one.

Presiding Judge: Please sit on that chair next to the wall.
Keep looking for the photograph until you find it.
Meanwhile, let us continue with another testimony.

Attorney General: I call Mr. Biskowitz.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Ya'akov Biskowitz.

Q. You are a policeman?

A. I am a constable employed at the National Headquarters of
the Israel Police.  My number is 8877.
Presiding Judge: Please answer Mr. Hausner's questions.

Attorney General: Mr. Biskowitz, at the beginning of June
1942, you were taken with your family from Hrubieszow to the
Sobibor camp?

Witness Biskowitz:   Correct.

Q. What was the distance from Hrubieszow to Sobibor?

A. The distance from Hrubieszow to Sobibor was about sixty

Presiding Judge: How old were you at that time?

Witness Biskowitz:   Fifteen and a half.

Attorney General: How long did the journey take?

Witness Biskowitz:   Perhaps I was wrong, and the distance
was slightly longer.  The journey continued all night, but
we were also kept in the freight cars for a whole day.  The
train also halted at times on the way.  When we arrived at
Sobibor - and we were not yet aware of that - we travelled
back and forth, until we came right into the camp.

Q. When you got there, you met a number of SS men.  Do you
remember their names?

A. More or less, but not all of them.  There I came across -
this I learned afterwards - Tomella, Wagner, Fraenzel, Paul
Grott and others - Gerchow, Hermann Mueller.

Q. You were asked if there were any carpenters amongst the
arrivals - is that so?

A. Yes.  As it happened, they selected carpenters from our

Q. And your father and you stated that you were carpenters?

A. It was not exactly like that.  They chose my father who
was a carpenter.  I, who was a young boy, was taken along by
my father.  Out of that transport, they took about twelve
men, three carpenters, three builders, and also a number of
men for other tasks.

Q. What happened to all the others?

A. As for the others, I saw that the women were sent to the
right-hand side, and the men to the left.  I saw the women
being taken rapidly, urged on by blows, in the direction of
Camp 3.  Two hours later, more or less, the same thing
happened to the men.

Q. What kind of work did you do at Sobibor?

A. At the outset, from the first day, I worked together with
everybody else.  We were engaged in constructing the camp,
putting up barbed-wire fences; we dragged branches from a
distance of about three kilometres at the double.  There
were eighty men, and almost all of them worked on this.
They selected two hundred men from the transports which
arrived.  And when the men from the transport had finished
the job, they were all exterminated; they were taken to the
Lazarette - which means a hospital - in a small forest, and
there they were put them to death by shooting, so that they
fell into the pits.

Q. Was it really a hospital?

A. No, they gave it the name of Lazarette.

Judge Halevi:  What was Camp 3?

Witness Biskowitz:   Camp 3 was a camp which contained dead
men only.  About eighty men, who had been selected from my
transport, worked there; they worked there for approximately
eight months.  There was not a living soul there, apart from
the eighty men who were working.

Attorney General: Were the gas chambers there?

Witness Biskowitz:   Precisely.

Judge Halevi:  And what did these eighty men do?

Witness Biskowitz:   These eighty men who had been chosen
from the transport, were transferred to Camp 3 and worked
with the bodies which fell out of the gas chambers; they
burned them.

Attorney General: Were you also engaged in this work for some time?

Witness Biskowitz:   No, I worked at Camp 3.

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