Archive/File: camps/auschwitz auschwitz.008 Last-Modified: 1993/12/07 From: email@example.com (Danny Keren) Date: 5 Dec 1993 22:39:04 GMT Organization: Brown University Department of Computer Science Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org.Brown.EDU> ------------------------------------------------------------------ SS men Baretzki, Lucas, Kaduk, Stark, Hoffman, Broad, Klehr, Morgen, Kremer, Mulka, Bock, Glaser, Hess, Heger, Siebald, Wildermuth, Wilks, Wilhelmy, Hocker, Munch and others talk about the gassings in the Auschwitz death camp. Summarized from "Auschwitz: the Proceeding Against Mulka and Others", by Bernd Nauman. The book surveys the trial and recorded testimony of SS men and witnesses who served in Auschwitz. Like most post-war trials of Nazi criminals, this one was held not by the Allies, but by the German government, according to the 1871 penal code. The trial lasted from 1963 to 1965. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Baretzki talks about the gassings at length. He tells a macabre tale, which best describes what kind of a place Auschwitz was: one day, the young son of SS officer Schwarzhuber walks through the camp to visit his father. However, since one of the laws of Auschwitz is that children have to die, he wears a sign around his neck to identify himself. As Baretzki says: "so they won't grab him, and into the gas with him". Baretzki is annoyed that only the "little people" are standing trial: "what could we do?". He asks SS-doctor Lucas to stop portraying himself as a savior. He says Dr. Lucas sent 5,000 victims to the gas chambers in one day, and now he claims to have helped people. Dr. Lucas doesn't deny the accusation. Yes, he was forced to select on the ramp (where the newcomers were sorted out - fit for work into the camp, to be tattooed and enslaved, and the much larger group of the "unfit" sent directly to be gassed). But he couldn't take it, and eventually succeeded in having himself transferred. He says that while selecting, he tried to classify as many people he could as fit, and save them from being gassed immediately. Kaduk insists that he never hit the victims he led into the gas chambers. He is also upset, and shouts "we are being blamed for everything, and the medics. The doctors and all these officers sent them into the gas and now we are being made responsible. The last ones get it in the neck, right?". Stark admits to have gassed people in Krema I; he says Grabner forced him to go on the roof and pour the Zyklon-B in. Grabner told him "if you don't do it, you'll join them inside". Stark wasn't happy then - he considered the use of gas "cowardly". And Hoffman tells what a mess it was, when the people were pushed into the chambers. He says the SS men had to watch out so that the working prisoners wouldn't be gassed by mistake. And, yes, he admits to have pushed people into the gas chambers. "Well, what were we supposed to do? We were under orders". He explains that when no additional workers were needed, whole transports were gassed, without any selection. Broad tells at length about the gassing in Krema I; how Grabner conducted it, and how a lorry was placed by, its engine running in high pitch, to drown out the screams of those who were gassed inside. He tells of how the single gas chamber wasn't sufficient to handle the task, and about how the bigger gas chambers in Birkenau were constructed and operated. Klehr says he never poured the Zyklon-B in, he only drew up the schedule for those who did it. He said he was forced to do so, because so many transports were coming in, and there had to be order; sometimes, a transport came and the execution had to be wait until the men who were trained to pour the Zyklon-B in could be found. Many witnesses accused Klehr of murdering thousands of people with phenol injections, during his stay at Auschwitz. No, he says, it was only a few hundreds, and they were half-dead anyway. All those who accuse him of killing numerous healthy people are lying, Klehr insists. SS Judge, Dr. Konrad Morgen, says how shocked he was when he visited Birkenau and learned of the mass gassings. He tells of how diabolically the murder installations were set up, in an attempt to fool the victims, so they will not suspect they are going to their death. Morgen, like some other SS officers, claims he actually tried to stop the mass murder. He was no less appalled at the fact that the SS executioners were stealing the valuables of the victims. And SS doctor Kremer tells how he selected victims to be killed by phenol injections, and how he supervised gassings. He tells of how the executioners were given extra rations of liquor and cigarettes. SS man Hykes tells of how he was assigned to sort out the belongings of the victims who were gassed. Mulka says he is not guilty of anything. Although he was in charge of all the traffic inside the camp, he couldn't have stopped the convoys that drove the victims from the ramp to the gas chambers, because Hoss (the commandant) would not hear of it. He says it was Wiegand who ordered the huge trucks that were used to drive the victims in their last journey, not him. Mulka says he had nothing to do with the gassing; however, when judge Hofmeyer shows him a document authorizing to bring Zyklon-B to the camp, he embarrassingly admits his signature is on it; the deadly poison is described as "material for resettlement of Jews". SS man Bock, who was a driver in the camp, testified that when the mass gassings began, six huge trucks were acquired to drive the victims from the ramp to the gas chambers. Prosecutor Kugler asks Mulka who proposed the acquisition of these trucks. Mulka says that since Kugler insulted him before, he will not answer the question. Glaser, who was also a driver at Auschwitz, saw how the people were taken to be gassed, but he doesn't know if Mulka ordered this. Hess incriminates Mulka. Since Mulka was camp adjutant, he says, his attempts to deny responsibility are "childish and naive". He also tells of a gassing he saw at Krema I. Heger, who was the driver of commandant Hoss, says that the orders to take the victims to the gas chambers came from Hoss or Mulka. Lorenz, another witness, is asked if he drove people from the ramp to the gas chambers. He refuses to answer. Siebald, another driver, says the orders to drive the people to the gas chambers came from the commandant via the motor pool. Yes, he also drove the people on their last journey, but he was just following the other trucks. Wildermuth also drove the people from the ramp to the gas chambers. Three or four times, he says. He saw the corpses being burned. Wilks also tells of a gassing he witnessed at Krema I. He, too, mentions how the people who worked at the ramp and those who killed the "unfit" in the gas chambers received extra rations. All the doctors worked on the ramp, he says. They didn't gas the people, however, only watched over those who opened the cans and poured the Zyklon-B inside: "Why were they notified?" "They were notified so they could do their job". "What was their job?" "Their job was to gas people". Wilhelmy describes some gassings he witnessed at Krema I. He remembers Theuer gassed the people once. Hoss was present at some gassings. Hocker was camp adjutant for some time, after Mulka left. Yes, he knew of the gassings, but didn't have anything with it: "all that happened in camp II, with which I had nothing to do". Nobody in the camp ever questioned the legality of the mass killing: the orders came from the RSHA (Reich Main Security Office) and "whatever came from the RSHA was legal order". "Why did you think these unfortunate people were brought there?" "Well, I thought because they endangered public safety". "Could you possibly believe that innocent children were being murdered in order to protect the public against acts of violence?" "Well, there were the Jews". "Weren't they human beings?" "Well, that was a political belief of the leadership, of Hitler. But all SS men had come to the conclusion that this was not the right way. But they did not have the power to change things". SS medical officer Dr. Munch was sent to serve at Auschwitz in mid-1943. He tells about how, a few days after his arrival, Dr. Wirths, the chief medical officer, ordered him to report to the ramp and choose victims for the gas chambers. This deeply disturbed Munch, and eventually he succeeded in avoiding ramp duty; he asked a friend, the head of the Hygienic Institute in Berlin, to intervene on his behalf. The latter sent a teletype to the commandant of Auschwitz, and consequently Munch was not assigned either to the selections or to the gassings.
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