The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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From!hmazal Tue Jun  6 11:59:02 1995
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 13:51:43 -0500
Message-Id: <9506061851.AA05753@legend>
Subject: Re: calories

The Belsen Trial, Pages 30-33:

Second Day - Tuesday, 18th September, 1945

---Brigadier Hugh Llewelyn Glyn Hughes, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., sworn, examined 
by Colonel Backhaus -  I am Vice-Director of Medical Services, British Army of 
the Rhine, and in April of this year was Deputy Director of Medical Services, 
2nd Army. Shortly before 15th April of this year, certain German officers came 
to the Headquarters of 8 Corps and asked for a truce in respect of Belsen 
Camp, which was arranged.  On 15th April Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor took over 
the administration of the camp and I followed him there. Whe I arrived I found 
him interrogating Kommandant Kramer, and later on the same evening I saw the 
medical officer,  Dr. Klein.  I identify these accused.  We made a preliminary 
survey of the camp straight away and on the next day a complete investigation. 
  For the next two or three days I was engaged in organizing relief measures.

[Note: Several paragraphs describing the apalling conditions of the camp are 
deleted in this exercise.  HWM]

---Could you give details of the medical supplies? - There were quite large 
stocks in the store [Note: Within the camp. HWM] but one issue, I was told by 
the chief doctor there, was 300 aspirin tablets for 17,000 people for one 
week. I do not think that there were any larger quantities of disinfectant 
available, and no anti-louse powder was issued.  I found a large number of Red 
Cross boxes sent by Jewish Associations for the Jews. I was told that no issue 
of the contents had been made except an occasional  issue of sweets to the 
children.  The boxes contained meat extracts and food of all kinds, bisquits, 
milk. There was some stealing  of meat by the Hungarian soldiers while I was 

---What was the food supply in the camp? - At the time of entry practically 
nil - at the most, one meal a day of watery stew made of vegetables.

We now turn to pages 54-56, and continue with the evidence given by Major 

Fourth Day - Thursday, 20th September, 1945

---Cross-examined by Major Winwood - Do you speak and understand German? - No

---How did you converse with the Wermacht Captain in the Wehrmacht store? 
Through and official Belgian interpreter.

---Was your first question to the Captain, "What camps do you supply from your 
food in the stores? - No. My first question was "Are you the officer in charge 
of the stores?"
---Was the phrase "Camp No. 1" first mentioned by you or the Wehrmacht 
Captain?  - The phrase "Camp No. 1"was not mentioned because at the time I did 
not know it was called "Camp No. 1" We both referred to it as the 
concentration  camp. In fact there were two concentration camps
---Did the Wermacht Captain indicate which other units he supplied rations to? 
-  Yes, the Hungarian regiments, their families AND THE WEHRMACHT TROOPS IN 
THE CAMP.  (Emphasis mine- HWM)
---Did he mention that German units as far away as Hanover were supplied by 
tthat store? - He said nothing about Hanover

---Did you get details of daily issues from this store? - No
---Was the Captain also in charge of the bread store? - I do not know exactly, 
but I gather he was. I got no details of the daily issues of bread.

---Did you have any expert advice that was not available to the Germans with 
regard to the water supply? - We pumped the water from the river using the 
S.S. men. Later a R.E.M.E. Major arrived to get the water supply working. The 
water in the river was fit to drink."

---"Cross-examined by Major Munro - Does all your evidence refer to what is 
now known as Camp No. 1? -  No. Some of my evidence refers to the German army 
rations store at the north of the camp, which was neither Camp No. 1 nor Camp 
No. 2. I gathered from the German Captain that both concentration camps were 
fed from his store."

---"Cross-examined by Captain  Neave - Can you give us some idea of what 
German transport there was in running order in Camp No. 1?  -  I cannot 
remember any transport in running order except trailers.
---Did you find out how the rations got from the German food store to Camp No. 
1? - No.   (NOTE: This question is resolved in other testimony below - HWM).

---"Cross-examined by Captain Phillips -  You told the court that various 
other units were being supplied from the ration point; have you any idea of 
the total number of rations that had been drawn? - No. I have no idea.

---Did you ask the captain in charge on what scale he was supplying the 
concentration camps? - No."

---"By the Judge Advocate -  Were you questioning the Wehrmacht Hauptmnann to 
find out what stores were available the the British to be used for the benefit 
of the interneees, or were you questioning him to find out what stores had 
been available to Kramer when running the camp?  - The former is correct.

---There was a sort of main store in the barrack area from which a number of  
different organizations had to be fed? - Yes that is correct.

---Was there any substantial number of mouths that had to be fed in the 
barrack area as distinct from what we have called No. 1 and No. 2 
Concentration Camps?  -  The Hungarian and Wehrmacht troops, numbering in all 
about 3000.

---Did the Hungarian or Wehrmach troops get priority over the internees if 
there was not sufficient food for everybody? - I know nothing about that.

---Did you inquire from the Hauptmann whether Kramer could demand the rations 
he wanted, and if the Hauptmann would not give him them for the internees, 
could he over-ride the Hauptmann, or had he (Kramer) to take from the 
Hauptmann what the latter liked to give him?  - My conversation with the 
Hauptmann did not touch on that subject.

---Did you get anything from the conversation, or did you form the impression 
when talking to this Hauptmann that Kramer indented for what he wanted or that 
the Hauptmann sent down such food as he did when and how he liked? - I cannot 
remember the exact words of the conversation, but the impression that I got 
 (Emphasis mine: HWM).

From pages 145-183   (extracts referring principally to food):

Nineteenth Day - Monday, 8th October 1945

--- The Judge Advocate advised the accused that, if they wished, they could 
take the oath and give evidence to the court, in which case  they would be 
treated like any other witness. If they preferred not to give evidence on oath 
they could make a statement to the court, but that common sense would tell 
them that as this evidence could not be tested by cross-examination it would 
not carry so much weight. If they did not wish to give evidence on oath they 
were not obliged to, and in any event they would be allowed to call witnesses 
on their behalf.

---The interpreters asked each accused in turn whether he or she desired to 
give evidence on oath, and all answered in the affirmative.   ...


---Major Winwood -  .... (Long speech by the defending attorney Winwood 
deleted up to page 153) On 15th April Belsen was liberated. Kramer, as 
Kommandant, is right in being held responsible for the general administration 
of the camp, and he has no intention whatever of shifting that burden onto 
anyone else.  One of the most important things when you are looking after 
internees is to feed them, and Kramer will teel you that when he arrived at 
Belsen he was told that food for the winter for 15,000 internees had been 
indented for; only a small part of that food had actually arrived on the spot, 
and he will tell you what his stores of food were during the period he was at 
Belsen.  The authority for issuing food came from the local food people at 
Hamburg head office, and Celle which was a sub-district head office.  At the 
beginning food was sent to him either by rail or by transport, and, when due 
to bombing, transport services were not running to normal, he himself had to 
send out his troops to collect the food. [Note: Thereby admitting that Kramer 
had the authority to collect food. HWM]  He has said in his statement that he 
got some food from the Wehrmacht depot in Bergen-Belsen barracks, and we have 
had a glowing picture of the conditions in the food stores when the British 
took over:  sacks of sugar, tinned milk, tinned meat, flour,  and various 
other things.  Kramer will tell you that at no time did he receive from that 
store any of these articles.  The only thing he got from the barracks was 
bread from the bread store, and when he says he got food there, that was the 
food he got.  He also got bread from a big bread factory in Hanover, but with 
the advance of the British and the accuracy of the R.A.F. bombing, that 
factory was put out of commission and bread from there finished. [Note: It 
might be important to pin down the date of the Hanover bombing that destroyed 
the bread factory. The inmates at the camp had to be deprived of food for an 
awfully long time to be in the condition that they were on the date of 
liberation. HWM]. He also got bread from a bread factory at Soltttau, near 
Belsen.  In his letter of 1st March he says at that date he had potatoes for 
eight days and turnips for six days.”  ... 


(page 156) ---Josef Kramer, sworn, examined by Major Winwood - I was born in 
Munich on 10th November, 1906, and Joined the National Socialist Party on 1st 
December, 1931 and the S.S. in January, 1932.  [long questioning by his 
attorney Winwood follows. extract resumes on page 160. HWM] ...

---What was the situation with regard to the food in the camp? - When I came 
[December 1, 1944 - HWM] the food situation was quite all right because there 
were only about 15,000 prisoners. Later on, when new transports arrived, the 
food situation became more serious. Food came from Celle and Hanover, and I  
had to provide, partly, my own transport. A firm in Hamburg, with a small 
branch in Bergen, supplied part of the food and the [page 161] bread supply 
came from the Truppenübungsplatz in Bergen, but when my strength increased I 
was told by the authorities that I could only have 10,000 loaves of bread a 
week. During the winter months it was hardly possible to get any potatoes or 
vegetables, and although I had been getting bread from Celle and Hanover the 
air raids destroyed part of the bakeries and the road and rail system. It was 
when the air raids started that, for the first time, bread did not arrive at 
the camp. I got in touch with the bakery at Saltau and got a few thousand 
loaves per week, but with the increasing number of prisoners the bread 
supplies were certainly not sufficient.  As my strength was between 30,000 and 
40,000 prisoners I tried to get supplies from Hanover by sending out my whole 
transport of five vehicles day and night. On account of the cold weather these 
supplies were even more difficult to obtain and my administrative staff was 
HWM].  At last I lost patience, and told them, through my administrative 
officials, that if I did not get any potatoes or vegetables sent, I would hold 
them responsible for any sort of catastrophe which might happen.  On 20th 
January I was handed over a sort of P.O.W. camp which became, later on, the 
woman’s compound. I took over all the supplies which were there for the winter 
and these helped me just a bit to bridge over this very difficult period.

---What was the food situation at the end of March and the beginning of April? 
- The rations I was provided with would have been quite sufficient for healthy 
people for a few weeks [!!!:HWM], but for these sick people who came into my 
camp these rations were not sufficient. The supplies and stores in the 
Wehrmacht barracks were really for the Wehrmacht, and my supply system 
depended upon an entirely civilian basis. I was not entitled to apply to the 
Wehrmacht for reserves and they were not forced to give them to me. I had meat 
twice a week from Celle and I had no reason to ask the Wehrmach for it, and I 
obtained milk and potatoes, which I had the right to apply for, from the 
civilian authorities. I do not think that if I had gone to the Wehrmacht 
stores and asked for food at the beginning of April I would have got it.

---How were the internees fed who came into what we call No. 2 Camp? -  They 
arrived in the last week before the British came and for these prisoners I had 
nothing at all, apart from two wagons of potatoes and six or eight wagons of 
turnips. Then the Platz Commandant gave orders that they were to be fed from 
the supplies of the Wehrmacht, but that later these rations were to be 

(to page 173)

---Cross-examined by Colonel Backhouse -  Do you believe in God?  -   Yes.

---You remember the oath which you took when you first went into the witness 
box. Do you realize that to lie after you have taken the oath is deliberate 
perjury?  - Yes. [Cross examination continues until page 178 when the food 
question comes up again: HWM]

---Was the reason that you did not go to the General [Glücks ? - HWM] and tell 
him exactly what was happening because you were frightened to tell any decent 
person what was going on in your camp? - No.

---There was a bakery in the Wehrmacht barracks capable of making 60,000 
loaves a day. Do you  not think that the General or any other decent person 
would have helped you with food if you told them  of the way in which these 
people were dying and shown them the living skeletons that were in the camp?  
- The General would not have helped me as the food that was in the stores 
could only be obtained by means of special indents and I could only get my 
food from the civilian adminsitration. He was not allowed to give me anything. 

---Did you ever ask him? -  No. The food that was stored there was only for 
the Wehrmacht and the only thing I received from him was 10,000 loaves a week.

(page 179)  ---Did you not get vegetables from the  Wehrmacht stores?  -  No, 
but Camp No. 2 received some.

---Is it not the truth of the matter that you never tried in any way to help 
these people at all?   -  That is not true. I have written to several firms to 
get  additional food.

(page 182) --- [cross examination continues] By a Member of the Court - Can 
you tell us what was the normal system of rationing at concentration camps, 
apart altogether from any emergency that might have arisen in March and April? 
- I do not know the exact ration system, but it was approximately 
three-quarters of the amount  civilians got.

---Did camp authorities put in indents for their requirements?  - Yes, to the 
Wirtschaftsamt at Celle, from whom I got the ration cards. 

--- Were the camp authorities those responsible for making the ontracts for 
food supplies? -  The firms with whom we had to deal were already giving 
through the Wirtschaftsamt, and there were firms who were delivering already 
in former times to the camp and carried on.


(page 183) ---Fritz Klein, sworn, examined by Major Winwood. - I was born on 
24th November, 1888, at Zeiden near Kronstadt in Rumania. ...

[questioning continues. - page 185] What was the position with regard to 
medical supplies at this time? - At that time I was not doing that duty, but 
about three days before the British troops entered the camp [i.e. April 12: 
HWM] , and when I took over, I was surprised at the comparatively huge amount 
of supplies which were there. ...

---What was the first thing you did as senior and only doctor?  -  I called a 
meeting of all the internee doctors -- a large number, about 80 to 100 --    
..  On the same day I took over from the stores a huge amount of tinned milk, 
meat, cake or biscuits and told the doctors that these should be distributed 
among the children, women and sick prisoners who really did require them. I 
also told the doctors [page 186] and orderlies that they should take a tin of 
each of these things between every two of themselves as they seemed also very 
much in need of nourishment. This distribution, however,  was  not much use 
and could not improve the situation very much. ...

(page 187) --- Cross examined by Colonel Backhouse ...  Where did you find 
this huge supply of medical stores? - There was a chemist's shop in the camp. 
Until I distributed the medical stores hospitals had been short of supplies.

(page 188) ---By the Judge Advocate - Could you give the court any indication 
of the quantity of medical supplies you found shortly before the British came? 
 -  The least we had was dressing material. All the other things would have 
been sufficient for a period of five days to a week if we had distributed them 
very carefully.
---How many sick people were there requiring attention in the camp? - Three to 
four thousand. I speak only of those who were in need of medicine.

---Could you give us any idea of the quantity of stocks of milk, meat and 
biscuits? - These tins were packed and filled a room 4 metres in length, 5 
metres in width and approximately 3 metres in height.

---Do you know whether they had come from Red Cross parcels?  -  I did not 
look myself, but I was told that all that amount came from the Red Cross. ...

[From the "Closing Speech for the Prosecution," by Colonel Backhouse, pages 585 
- 629]

Fiftieth Day - Tuesday, 13th November 1945

(page  604) ...---  You have to consider also what attempt was made with 
regard to feeding. It looked as if Kramer was really saying that owing to the 
breakdown in supplies he did not get enough food for these people, but then 
Müller said that the prisoners got all they were entitled to apart from bread. 
 You have heard  what the people in the blocks and in the kitchens thought of 
that.  Is it not quite obvious that these people were being starved, and if 
they were not being deliberately starved, at least there was not the slightest 
care as to whether they were starved or not?  There was no attempt to 
torganize the feeding of the weak, and the food went to the strong.  You have 
this extraordinary position that in this camp, which is alleged to have been 
for the sick, it was the strong who were given extra rations. If Zoddel is to 
be believed, he had no difficulty, and if short of rations he asked for more 
and got them.  One after the other the accused have said that they looked 
after their party and gave them double rations.  If you accept that, it simply 
leads you to deliberate starvation if that story is really true that double 
rations were being given to the healthiest and single to the weakest. ...

(page 605) --- If of course, you are satisfied that this [the lack of food: 
HWM] was due to a breakdown in organization, then a different situation 
arises. But the evidence you have to fall back on is that of Müller, who 
produced some figures from a mixture of indents, receipts and various other 
things [Exhibit 145 : HWM] to show that the internees got what they were 
entitled to. That is his opinion. Kramer says he sent Müller to Celle and 
Hanover imploring the depots to do something and putting the responsibility on 
them.  Müller denies this.

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