The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/05


Q. Do you know whether people who received leave, that is,
inmates who temporarily were permitted to leave the camp,
were allowed to speak about their experiences within the
camp and relate these experiences to the outside world?

A. All the concentration camps were, after all, vast transit-
camps. The inmates were constantly being exchanged and
replaced, passing from one camp to another, coming and
going. Consequently there were always new faces. But most of
the time these prisoners were, apart from those whom we knew
before or after our arrest, strangers, and generally we knew
nothing about those who came and went.

Q. Perhaps I did not express myself clearly. I meant the
following:

From time to time, as you said before, political inmates
were permitted to leave the camp temporarily. Did these
inmates know about these excesses, and if they did know were
they permitted to speak about these experiments in the rest
of Germany?

A. The political prisoners (very few and all of German
nationality) who had obtained leave were prisoners whom the
SS had entrusted with important posts in the camp and who
had been imprisoned for at least ten years in the camp. This
was the case, for instance, of Karl, the Kapo, the head of
the canteen of the Buchenwald camp, the canteen of the
Waffen SS, who had the responsibility for the canteen, and
who was given a fortnight's leave to visit his family at
home in the town of Zeitz. Consequently the "Kapo" was free
for these two weeks and was able to tell of anything he
wished, but I do not know, of course, whether he so did.
Evidently he had to be careful. In any case, the prisoners
who were allowed to leave the camp were old prisoners, as I
have said, who knew approximately everything that was going
on, including the experiments.

Q. Now I come to my last question. If I assume that the
people whom you have just described told anything to members
of their families, even on the pledge of secrecy, and the
leadership of the camp was informed of these indiscretions,
do you not believe that the death penalty might have been
incurred?

A. If there were indiscretions of this kind on the part of
the family (for such indiscretions may be repeated among
one's circle of acquaintances) or at least, if these
indiscretions came to the knowledge of the SS, it is obvious
that these prisoners risked the death penalty.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any other defence counsel who wants
to ask any questions?

DR. BABEL (defence counsel for the SS and the SD): I protest
against the declaration that I tried to confuse witnesses
with my questions. I am not here to worry about the good
opinion or otherwise of the press, but to do my duty as a
defence attorney ...

THE PRESIDENT: You are going too fast.

DR. BABEL (Continuing) ... and I am of the opinion that
things should not be complicated through the interference of
any one here - not even the Press.

This war has brought me so much misfortune and sorrow that I
have no reason to vindicate anyone who was responsible for
our unhappy fate or the misfortune that fell on all our
people ...

                                                  [Page 260]


THE PRESIDENT: Will you kindly resume your seat?

DR. BABEL (Continuing): . . . anyone who is guilty in this
respect, and I will not try to prevent any such person from
receiving his proper punishment. I am only concerned with
helping the Tribunal to determine the truth so that just
sentences may be pronounced, and that innocent people may
not be condemned.

THE PRESIDENT: I said kindly resume your seat. It is not fit
for you to make a speech. You have been making a speech, as
I understand it; this is not the occasion for it.

DR. BABEL: I find it necessary because I was not protected
against the Prosecution's reproach.

(Dr. Babel starts to resume his seat.)

THE PRESIDENT: One moment; come back.

(Dr. Babel comes before the microphone again.)

I do not know what you mean about not being protected.
Listen to me. I do not know what you mean by not being
protected against the Prosecution. The Prosecution called
this witness, and the defendants' counsel had the fullest
opportunity to cross-examine, and we understood you came
before the Tribunal for the purpose of cross-examining the
witness. I do not understand your protest.

DR. BABEL: Your Honour, unfortunately I do not know the
court procedure customary in England, America and other
countries. According to the German penal code and the German
trial regulations it is customary for unjustified and
unfounded attacks of this kind made against a participant of
the trial, to be rejected by the presiding Judge. I
therefore expected that perhaps this would be done here too,
but when it did not happen I was occasioned to ...

If by so doing, I violated the rules of court procedure, I
ask to be excused.

THE PRESIDENT: What unjust accusations are you referring to?

DR. BABEL: The prosecuting Attorney implies that I put
questions to the witnesses calculated to confuse them, in
order to prevent the witnesses from testifying in a proper
manner. This is an accusation against the defence which is
an insult to us, at least to myself - I do not know what
position other defence counsels will take.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid I do not understand what you
mean.

DR. BABEL: Your Honour, I am sorry. But I think I cannot
convince you, as you probably do not know this aspect of
German mentality, for our German regulations are entirely
different. I do not wish to reproach our President in any
way. I merely wanted to point out that I consider this
accusation unjust and that I reject it.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr Babel, I understand you are saying that
the Prosecuting Attorney said something to you? Now, what is
it you say the Prosecuting Attorney said to you?

DR. BABEL: The Prosecuting Attorney said that I wanted to
confuse witnesses by my way of questioning, and, in my
opinion that means that I am doing something improper. I am
not here to confuse witnesses, but to assist the Court to
find the truth, and this cannot be done by confusing the
witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: I understand now. I do not think that the
Prosecuting Attorney meant to make accusations against your
professional conduct at all. If that is only what you wish
to say, I quite understood the point you wish to make.  Do
you want to ask this witness any questions?

DR. BABEL: Yes, I have one question.

Q. You testified that weapons, fifty guns, if I understood
correctly, were brought into either Block 46 or 50. Who
brought these weapons in?

A. We the prisoners, brought and hid them.

                                                  [Page 261]

Q. For what purpose?

A. To save our skins.

Q. I did not understand you.

A. I said that we hid these guns because we meant to sell
our lives dearly at the last moment - that is, to defend
ourselves to the death rather than be exterminated as were
most of our comrades in the camps, with flame-throwers and
machine guns. In that case we would have defended ourselves
with the guns we had hidden.

Q. You said "we prisoners"; who were these prisoners?

A. The internees inside the camp.

Q. What internees?

A. We, the political prisoners.

Q. In the main they were supposed to have been German?

A. They were of all nationalities. Unknown to the SS, there
was an international secret defence organisation with shock
battalions in the camp.

Q. There were German inmates who wanted to help you?

A. German prisoners also belonged to these shock battalions
- German political prisoners, and in particular former
German Communists who had been imprisoned for ten years, and
who were of great help towards the end.

Q. Very well, that is what I wanted to know. Then with the
exception of the criminals who wore the green triangle, you
and the other inmates, even those of German origin, were on
friendly terms and helped each other; is that right?

A. The question of the "greens" did not arise, because the
SS evacuated the "greens" in the last few days before the
liberation of the camps. They exterminated most of them; in
any case they left the camp, and we do not know what became
of them. No doubt some are still hiding among the German
population.

Q. My question did not refer to the green-marked prisoners
but to your relations with the German political prisoners.

A. The political prisoners, whether they were German,
French, Russian, Dutch, Belgian or from Luxembourg, formed
inside the camp secret shock battalions which took up arms
at the last minute, and co-operated in the liberation of the
camp. The arms that were hidden came from the Guslow
armament factories which were located near the camp. These
arms were stolen by the workers employed in this factory,
who every day brought back with them either a butt hidden in
their clothes, or a gun-barrel, or a breach. And, in secret,
with much difficulty, the guns were assembled from the
different pieces and hidden. These were the guns we used in
the last days of the camp.

DR. BABEL: Thank you. I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other German counsel wish to ask
questions? Have you any questions, M. Dubost?

M. DUBOST I have no further questions, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT Then the witness can retire.

M. DUBOST These two days of testimony will obviate my
reading the documents any further, since it seems
established in the eyes of the Tribunal, that the excesses,
ill-treatment, and crimes which our witnesses described to
you occurred repeatedly and were identical in all the camps;
and therefore are evidence of a higher will originating in
the Government itself, a systematic will of extermination
and terror under which all occupied Europe had to suffer.

Therefore I shall only submit to you, without reading them,
the documents we have gathered and confine myself to a brief
analysis whenever they might give you ...

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, you understand, of course, that
the Tribunal is satisfied with the evidence which it has
heard up to date, but, of course it is

                                                  [Page 262]

expecting to hear evidence or possibly may hear evidence
from the defendants, and it naturally will suspend its
judgement until it has heard the evidence and, as I pointed
out to you, yesterday, I think, under Article 24E of the
Charter you will have the opportunity of applying to the
Tribunal, if you think it right, to call rebuttal evidence
in answer to any evidence which the defendants may call. All
I mean to indicate to you now is that the Tribunal is not
making up its mind at the present moment. It will wait until
it has heard the evidence for the defence.

M. DUBOST: I think that the evidence we submitted in the
form of testimony during these two days constitutes an
essential part of our accusation. It will allow us to
shorten considerably the presentation of our documents, of
which we shall simply submit an analysis or very brief
extract.

We stopped at the description of the prisoner's transports
and under what conditions they were transported, when we
started calling our witnesses.

In order to establish who, among the defendants, are those
particularly responsible for these transports, I present
Document UK 56, signed by Jodi and ordering the deportation
of Jews from Denmark. It will appear among the documents as
Exhibit RF 335.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you had better put your earphones on,
I have here two books before me, one of which ...

M. DUBOST: It is in the first book of documents.

THE PRESIDENT: On the deportation?

M. DUBOST: That is right, on deportation.

THE PRESIDENT: When were these books handed out? Because
apparently the United States members of the Tribunal ....

M. DUBOST: They were handed to you on Saturday(*) Mr.
President.

[(*) NB.  The French transcript reads "Saturday". As the
Court did not sit on Saturday, M. Dubost must mean
"Friday" since there was a recess from Friday 25 January
1700 hrs to Monday 28 January 1000 hrs.]

I now continue presenting a question which was interrupted
on Saturday(*see above) when the session was suspended at
1700 hours. This Document UK 56 is a telegram transmitted
"en clair" with the mention " Secret Document." It is the
eighth in the first book. Its second paragraph reads as
follows: "The deportation of Jews ..." It is the eighth in
your first book.

THE PRESIDENT: What page?

M. DUBOST: If the Tribunal thinks that our secretary
interpreter can be of help in finding the documents ...

THE PRESIDENT: Go on.

M. DUBOST: The second paragraph: "The deportation of Jews
must be undertaken by the Reichsfuehrer SS, who will send
two battalions to Denmark for this purpose.

For authorisation:

Signed: JODL."

Here we have the carrying out of a political act by a
military organisation or at least by a leader belonging to a
military organisation: The German General Staff. This charge
therefore affects both Jodi and the German General Staff.

We have submitted as Exhibit RF 324 in the Saturday (*see
above) afternoon session an extract from the report of the
Dutch Government. The Tribunal will find in this report a
passage concerning the transport of Dutch Jews detained in
Westerbork - which I quote: On the first page, second
paragraph ...

THE PRESIDENT: Is that in the same book?

M. DUBOST: In the same book, Mr. President.

                                                  [Page 263]

THE PRESIDENT: What Number? - 324?

M. DUBOST: 224-F which has become Exhibit RF 324 after
having been filed.

It is an extract from the report of the Dutch Government,
Paragraphs 2 and 3....

"All Dutch Jews seized by the Germans were assembled at the
camp of Westerbork" - Paragraph 3 - "little by little all
prisoners of Westerbork were deported to Poland."

Is it necessary to recall the consequences of these
transports (carried out in the conditions described to you),
when three witnesses have come to tell you that each time
the cars were opened numerous corpses had first to be taken
out before a few survivors could be found?

The French Document 115 which is the report of Professor
Charles Richest will also be found in your first document
book No. 115, the thirteenth in your document book, Page 6.
Professor Richest repeats what our witnesses have said, that
the deportees were -

THE PRESIDENT: What paragraph?

M. DUBOST: Last paragraph, Page 6. - There were 75 to 120
deportees in a car. In every transport men died. Arriving in
Buchenwald from Compiegne, after an average trip of 60
hours, at least 25 per cent of the men had succumbed. This
testimony corroborates those of Blaha, Madame Vaillant
Couturier and Professor Dupont.

Blaha's testimony appears in your document book as Document
3249-PS. It is the second statement of Blaha, the second
document in your book. We have heard Blaha. I do not think
it necessary to re-read what he has already stated to us.

THE PRESIDENT: No.

M. DUBOST: A horribly infamous transport was that to Dachau,
during the months of August and September 1944, when
numerous trains which had left France, generally from the
camps in Brittany, arrived in that camp with four to five
hundred dead out of about two thousand men per train. We
have this information from Document 140-F, which is in your
first document book. The first page of this document states
- and I quote so as not to have to return to it again - in
the fourth paragraph which deals with Auschwitz: "About
seven million persons died in this camp." This is Page 5 of
your document book, second to last paragraph, in the middle,
Document 406, which it is not necessary to submit, after the
testimony that was given; it only repeats the conditions
under which the transports were made and which Madame
Vaillant Couturier has described to you.

Document 174, Page 16, indicates that in the train of the 2
of July, 1944, which left from Compiegne, men went mad and
fought with each other and that more than 600 of them died
between Compiegne and Dachau. It is with this train that
Document 83-F deals - I repeat 83-F, which we submit as
Exhibit RF 337, and which reads in the minutes of Dr.
Louviers: Rheims, 12 February 1945. - (Page 5 of Document 83-
F, in the first document book) - which indicates that these
prisoners - (it is the fourteenth document in your first
document book) - by the time they reached Rheims -

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