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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/k/kremer.johann/kremer-frankfurt

From Naumann, Bernd, _Auschwitz:  A Report on the Proceedings Against
Robert Karl Ludwig Mulka and Others Before the Court at Frankfurt_,
trans. Jean Steinberg, 1966.  The Auschwitz trial at Frankfurt of
1963-65 charged "a handful of intolerable cases" who had escaped
prosecution after the war.  Naumann's book is simply an accounting of
the testimony and events of the trial, told dispassionately, direct
quotations mixed with paraphrase.

Page 75;  the defendent Klehr is being examined:

   Kremer had been condemned to death in Poland, later pardoned, and
   after twelve years deported to Germany.  He subsequently was
   sentenced to ten years by a court in Muenster.  The journal of the
   former SS doctor repeatedly cropped up in the interrogation of
   Klehr.  The court, the prosecution, and Klehr himself as well --
   all cite it.
   Kremer wrote that on September 5, 1942, he had had an excellent
   lunch of tomato soup, cold chicken, red cabbage, and "marvelous
   vanilla ice cream." According to the next sentence, there had been
   a "special action" at 8 P.M.  Prosecuting attorney Vogel makes a
   point of this entry to Klehr because under the same date there is
   mention of the arrival of the new chief medical officer, Dr.
   Wirths, and Klehr claims to have been a medical orderly in the base
   camp only until Wirths's arrival.

Page 160;  Kremer takes the stand:

   The eighty-year-old former professor and chief of anatomy at
   Muenster Johann Kremer tells the jury how he selected victims for
   Klehr and supervised gassings in Auschwitz.  Not one word of
   regret.  The former doctor, who was stripped of his academic
   degrees, considers it "humanly understandable" that the
   executioners asked for special liquor and cigarette rations.
   "After all, it was war, and cigarettes and liquor were in short
   supply.  So they were after it.  They saved the coupons and then
   they went over to get their bottles filled."
   "You too?"
   "Yes, everyone went over."
   Kremer can afford to speak the unadorned truth.  Nothing can happen
   to him anymore.  The Poles condemned him to death for crimes
   committed in Auschwitz.  On the day he was to have been executed
   his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and in 1958 he was
   deported to West Germany. There he faced another trial and was
   sentenced to ten years for complicity in murder;  the time served
   in Poland was credited against the sentence. Since then former camp
   doctor Kremer has been a pensioner in his native city.
   His name popped up repeatedly during the trial, when portions from
   his journal, primarily a record of what the SS officers ate at
   their meals, were read.  For example, one entry says that the
   dessert was excellent and then, quite incidentally, mentions that
   Klehr had "inoculated six women" before dinner.
   "What was your job?"
   "Mainly clerical work in the outer office of the chief medical
   officer. There I had to serve out my time and make out mountains of
   death reports. I never saw the bodies."
   "Were you present at selections?"

[Note:  a selection is the process of choosing which inmates live and
which die.  It does not refer to the actual gassing process itself,
several of which Kremer did attend;  see the file kremers-diary for
information on this.]

   Hofmeyer tells Kremer that earlier he had said and described how
   Dr. Entress ordered him to select the victims for Klehr and how he
   had fought this.
   "Yes, that wasn't at the hospital.  I refused.  Thereupon Klehr was
   assigned to me as assistant.  Entress even said that he himself
   would take another look at the selected sick-callers."
   The witness asserts that he had selected only moribund patients and
   had relied on Entress' promise that he, Entress, would look at them
   once more.
   On being reminded, KRemer recalls that Klehr always added to the
   "group of victims."  One day Klehr would add many, and another day
   "Klehr said, nothing doing, they belonged there."
   "You didn't fight this?"
   "There was nothing I could do."
   Had the witness ever seen a murder by phenol injection?
   "Yes, once I had to go there."
   "Klehr put on his doctor's coat and told the girl:  'You have a
   heart condition.'  Then came the injection and I bolted."
   "Was Klehr alone?"
   "Was the woman held down?"
   "No, she let him do it."
   Judge Hummerich is not satisfied with this reply:  "It seems
   improbable that you, a university professor and SS officer, would
   let a shoemaker from Uper Silesia -- as you yourself once called
   him -- lead you by the nose."
   "Civilian position did not matter.  I had no authority over Klehr. 
   He was under the command of the chief medical officer.  I was
   merely a fifth wheel on the cart."

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