The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Gustav Krupp Von Bohlen Und Halbach

(Part 12 of 15)

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(6) The prisoners of war and foreign laborers used at the Krupp works were beaten, tortured, and subjected to inhuman indignities.

(a) In a sworn statement, Heinrich Buschhauer has stated:

"*** I admit that I hit Russians. The Russians were very willing and attentive. The clothing of the Russians was very bad and torn. Their feet were wrapped in rags. The appearance of the people was bad, they were thin and pale. Their cheeks had fallen in completely. In spite of this, I was forced to ill-treat the people on the orders of works manager Theile. I have boxed the people's ears and beaten them with a 3/4 rubber tube and a wooden stick. *** The more energetic I went against these people, the more the Works Manager liked it. I *** had to drive and beat the Russians in order to get increased production from them. At times, I had up to two thousand foreigners under me. The Russians could not possibly work more than they did, because the food was too bad and too little. The Works management, however, wanted to get still higher performance from them. It often happened that the Russians, so utterly weakened, collapsed. ***"


"The conditions which I have described above continued the whole of the years I was in the boiler making department. On 20 February 1943, I was transferred from the boiler making shop to Nidia." (D-105).

(b) Walter Thoene, a Krupp employee, likewise admitted in a sworn statement that he constantly beat foreign workers. He stated:

"I admit that I punched and beat Hungarian Jewesses who I had to supervise in No. 3 Steel Moulding Shop. I did not do this of my own free will but was ordered to do so by my works manager Reif, who was a Party Member like I was. Almost every day this unscrupulous man held me to it in no mistakable manner to driving on these Jewesses and getting

[Page 800]

better performances from them. He also always emphasized that I should not be trivial in the choice of means, and if necessary, hit them like hitting a piece of cold iron. As soon as I saw that these women were standing near the ovens, I had to drive them back to their work." (D-355)

Comparable admission were made by August Kleinschmidt, another Krupp employee. (D-306)

(c) Dr. Apolinary Gotowicki, a doctor in the Polish Army, who was taken a prisoner of war and in that capacity attended some Russian, Polish and French prisoners of war at the Krupp factories, has stated under oath:

"*** Every day, at least 10 people were brought to me whose bodies were covered with bruises on account of the continual beatings with rubber tubes, steel switches or sticks. The people were often writhing with agony and it was impossible for me to give them even a little medical aid. *** I could notice people daily who on account of hunger or ill-treatment, were slowly dying. Dead people often lay for 2 or 3 days on the pailliases until their bodies stank so badly that fellow prisoners took them outside and buried them somewhere. *** I have seen with my own eyes the prisoners coming back from Krupps and how they collapsed on the march and had to be wheeled back on barrows or carried by their comrades. *** The work which they had to perform was very heavy and dangerous and many cases happened where people had cut their fingers, hands or legs. These accidents were very serious and the people came to me and asked me for medical help. But it wasn't even possible for me to keep them from work for a day or two, although I had been to the Krupp directorate and asked for permission to do so. At the end of 1941, 2 people died daily and in 1942 the deaths increased to 3-4 per day." (D-313)

(d) A particular form of torture which was inflicted upon Russian workers was a steel cabinet specially manufactured by Krupp, into which workers were thrown after beatings. The cabinets are shown in photographs attached to a sworn statement wherein it is stated:

"Photograph 'A' shows an iron cupboard which was specially manufactured by the Firm of Krupp to torture Russian civilian workers to such an extent that it is impossible to describe. Men and women were often locked in one compartment of the cupboard, in which a man could scarcely stand,

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for long periods. The measurements of this compartment are height 1.52 meters, breadth and depth 40 to 50 cm. each. In fact, people were often kicked and pressed into one compartment in pairs. At the top of the cupboard, there were sieve-like air holes through which cold water was poured on the unfortunate victims during the ice-cold winter." (D-82; for further evidence of constant beatings of foreign workers, see D-253, D-312, D-354, and D-267).

(e) Records found in the Krupp files plainly indicate that the practice of beating and torturing prisoners of war and foreign workers was deliberately prescribed by Krupp officials. Steel switches which were used to beat the workers were distributed pursuant to the instructions of Kupke, head of the Krupp camps for foreign workers (D-230). In a memorandum dated 19 March 1942, from the Krupp Works Catering Department, it was said:

*** With regards to the times ahead it seems desirable to us, to draw attention to the authorities concerned, with the necessary pressure, to the fact that only severest treatment of the French prisoners of war will ensure that they maintain their performance even with the present food position, which is the same for German workers."

As previously shown, Hassel, an official in the Krupp works police, stated that the Russians "ought to have beatings substituted for food" (D-318).

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