The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
21st January to 1st February, 1946

Forty-Fourth Day: Monday, 28rd January, 1946
(Part 9 of 9)

[DR. BABEL continues his cross examination of the witness Victor Dupont]

[Page 220]

Q. I cannot understand why the necessity of associating with people whose language one does not understand should be degrading.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Babel, he has given his answer, that he considers it tended to degradation. It does not matter whether you understand it or not.

DR. BABEL: Mr. President, the transmission through the earphones is sometimes so imperfect that I, at least, often cannot hear exactly what the witness says and for that reason I have unfortunately been compelled to have an answer repeated from time to time.

M. DUBOST: I should not like the Tribunal to mistake this interpolation for an interruption of the cross-examination; but I think I must say that some confusion was undoubtedly created in the mind of the defence counsel just now in consequence of an interpreter's error which has been brought to my notice.

He asked my witness an insidious question, namely, whether the French deportees were criminals for the most part, and the question was interpreted as follows: whether the French deportees were criminals. The witness answered the question as translated into French and not as asked in German. I therefore request that the question be put once more by defence counsel and correctly translated.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you understand what M. Dubost said, Dr. Babel?

DR. BABEL: I think I understand the substance. I think I understand that there was a mistake in the translation. I am not in a position to judge; I cannot follow both the French and German text. THE PRESIDENT: I think the best course is to continue your cross-examination, if you have any more questions to ask, and M. Dubost can clear up the difficulty in re-examination.

[Page 221]

DR. BABEL: Surely the point is that as counsel for the defence we reserved the right - (M. Dubost approached the lectern.)

THE PRESIDENT: What is the matter, M. Dubost? Why do you come forward again?

M. DUBOST: I repeat that the question was translated as follows -

THE PRESIDENT: I have said that Dr. Babel can continue his cross-examination.- You may clear up this point about the translation in re-examination.

M. DUBOST: Thank you.

DR. BABEL: Mr. President, defence counsel for Kaltenbrunner has already explained to-day that it is very difficult for the defence to cross-examine a witness if they are not informed at least one day before as to the subjects on which the witness is to be heard. The testimony given by today's witnesses was so voluminous that it is impossible for us to follow it without previous preparation, and to prepare and conduct from brief notes the extensive cross-examinations which are necessary.

To, my knowledge, the President has already informed defence counsel for the Organisations that we shall have an opportunity of re-examining the witnesses later or of calling them on our own behalf.

THE PRESIDENT: I have already said what I have to say on behalf of the Tribunal on that point, but as counsel for the defence must have anticipated that witnesses would be called as to the conditions in the concentration camps, I should have thought they could have prepared their cross- examination during the forty or more days which the trial has taken.

DR. BABEL: Mr. President; I do not think that this is the proper time for me to argue the matter with the Tribunal, but I may perhaps be given the opportunity of doing so later in a closed session. I consider this necessary in the interests of the rapid and unhampered progress of the trial.

I have no desire whatsoever to delay the proceedings. I have the greatest interest in expediting them as far as possible, but I am anxious not to do so at the cost of prejudicing the defence of the Organisations.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Babel, I have already pointed out to you that you must have anticipated that the witnesses might be called to state the conditions in concentration camps. You must therefore have had full opportunity during the days the trial has taken for making up your mind on what points you would cross-examine, and I see no reason to discuss the matter with you.

DR. BABEL: Thank you for this information. But naturally I cannot - I do not agree with you. I cannot know in advance exactly what the witness is going to say, and I cannot cross- examine him until I have heard him. I know, of course, that a witness is going to make a statement about concentration camps but I cannot know in advance which particular points he will discuss.

M. DUBOST: I would ask the Tribunal to note that in questioning the French witness the defence used certain words, the literal translation of which is "for the most part." This applied to the character of the French deportees. The question was: "Were they criminals for the most part?" The witness understood it to be as I did: "Did you say that they were criminals?" and not "that the convoys were for the most part composed of criminals." His reply was the natural one. The Tribunal will allow me to ask the witness to give details. What was the proportion of criminals and patriots respectively among the deportees? Was he himself a criminal or a patriot? Were the generals and other personages whose names he had given us criminals or patriots, speaking generally?

A. The proportion of French criminals was very small. The criminals came from Fort Barreau in a convoy. I cannot give the exact figure, but there were

[Page 222]

only a few hundred out of all the internees. In other incoming convoys the proportion of criminals included was only two or three per thousand.

M. DUBOST: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

M. Dubost, are you proposing or asking to call other witnesses on concentration camps? As I have already pointed out to you, the evidence, with the exception of Dr. Babel's recent cross-examination, has practically not been cross- examined, and it is supported by other film evidence. We are instructed by Article 18 of the Charter to conduct the trial in as expeditious a way as possible, and I will point out to you, as ordered under 24-E of the Charter, you have the opportunity of calling rebutting evidence, if it were necessary, and, therefore, if the evidence. which has been so fully gone into as to the condition in concentration camps. Is what I say not coming through to you?

M. DUBOST: The witness whom I propose to ask the Tribunal to hear will elucidate a point which has been pending for several weeks. The Tribunal will remember that when my colleagues were presenting their evidence, the question arose of ascertaining whether Kaltenbrunner had been in Mauthausen. In evidence of this, I am going to call M. Boix, who will prove to the Tribunal that Kaltenbrunner had been in Mauthausen. He took photographs, and the Tribunal will hear his statement and see the photographs which the witness has brought with him.

(FRANCOIS BOIX took the stand.)


Q. Very well. What is your name?

A. Francois Boix.

Q. Are you French?

A. I am a Spanish refugee.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me. I swear to speak without hate or fear, to speak the truth, all the truth, only the truth.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT Raise your right hand and say, "I swear."


THE PRESIDENT You may sit down. M. Dubost, will you spell the name.



Q. You were born on 14 August 1920 in Barcelona?

A. Yes.

Q. You are a news photographer? and you were interned in the camp of Mauthausen, since ...?

A. Since the 27 January, 1941.

Q. You handed over to the commission of inquiry a certain number of photographs?

A. Yes.

Q. They are going to be projected on the screen and you will state under oath under what circumstances and where these pictures were taken?

A. Yes.

Q. How did you obtain these pictures?

A. Owing to my professional knowledge I was sent to Mauthausen to work in the identification branch of the camp. There was a photographic branch, and pictures of everything happening in the camp could be taken and sent to the High Command in Berlin.

(Projection of the pictures.)

This is the general view of the quarry.

[Page 223]

Is this where the internees worked?

A. Most of them.

Q. Where is the stairway?

A. In the rear.

Q, How many steps were there?

A. 160 steps at first; later on there were 186.

Q. We can proceed to the next picture.

A. This was taken in the quarry during a visit from Reichsfuehrer Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, the Governor of Linz, and some other leaders whose names I do not know. What you see below is the dead body of a man who had fallen from the top of the quarry, as some did every day.

Q. We can proceed to the next picture.

A. This was taken in April 1941. My Spanish comrades who had sought refuge in France are dragging a waggon loaded with earth. That was the work we had to do.

Q. By whom was this picture taken?

A. At that time by Paul Ricker, a professor from Essen.

Q. We may proceed to the next one.

A. This is a picture of an Austrian who had escaped. He was a carpenter in the garage and he managed to make a box, a box in which he could hide and so get out of the camp. But after a while he was recaptured. They put him on the wheelbarrow in which corpses were carried to the crematorium. There were some placards saying in German: "All the birds are back again." He was sentenced, and then paraded in front of 10,000 deportees to the music of a gipsy band. When he was hanged, his body swung to and from in the wind while they played the "Beer Barrel Polka."

Q. The next one. In this picture the Spaniards are on the left; they are smaller.

A. The man in the front with the beret is a criminal from Berlin by the name of Schulz, who was employed on these occasions. In the background you can see the man who is about to be hanged.

Q. Next one. Who took these pictures?

A. The SS Oberscharfuehrer Fritz Kornac. He was killed by American troops in Holland in 1944.

This man got a bullet in the head. They hanged him to make us think he was a suicide and had tried to hurl himself against the barbed wire. The other picture shows some Dutch Jews. That was taken at the quarantine barracks. The Jews were driven to hurl themselves against the barbed wire on the very day of their arrival because they realised that there was no hope of escape for them.

Q. By whom were these pictures taken?

A. At this time by the SS Oberscharfuehrer Paul Ricker, a professor from Essen, assistant SS leader.

Q. Next one.

A. These are two Dutch Jews. You can see the red star they wore. That was an alleged attempt to escape "Fluchtversuch."

Q. What was it in reality?

A. The SS sent them to pick up stones near the barbed wire, and the SS guards at the second barbed wire fence fired on them, because they received a reward for every man they stopped.

The other picture shows a Jew in 1941, during the construction of the Russian camp, which later became the sanitary camp. He hanged himself with the cord which he used to keep up his trousers.

Q. Was it suicide?

A. It was alleged to be. It was a man who no longer had any hope of escape. He was driven to desperation by forced labour and torture.

[Page 224]

Q. What is this picture?

A. A Jew whose nationality I do not know. He was put in a barrel of water until he could not stand it any longer. He was beaten to the point of death and then given ten minutes in which to hang himself. He used his own belt to do it, for he knew what would happen to him otherwise.

Q. Who took that picture?

A. The SS Oberscharfuehrer Paul Ricker.

Q. And what is this picture?

A. Here you see the Viennese police visiting the quarry. This was in June or July 1941. The two deportees whom you see here are two of my Spanish comrades.

Q. What are they doing?

A. They are showing the police how they had to raise the stones, because there were no other appliances for doing so.

Q. Did you know any of the policemen who came?

A. No, because they only came once. We just had time to glance at them.

The date of this picture is September, 1943, on the birthday of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Franz Ziereis. He is surrounded by the whole staff of Mauthausen camp. I can give you the names of all the people in the picture.

Q. Pass the next photo.

A. This is a picture taken on the same day as Obersturmbannfuehrer Franz Ziereis's birthday. The other man was his adjutant - I forget his name. It must be remembered that this adjutant was a member of the Wehrmacht and put on SS uniform as soon as he came to the camp.

Q. What is this picture?

A. That is the same visit to Mauthausen by police officials in June or July 1941. This is the kitchen door. The prisoners standing there had been sent to the disciplinary company. They used that little appliance on their backs for carrying stones up to a weight of 80 kilos, until they were exhausted. Very few men ever came back from the disciplinary company.

This particular picture shows Himmler's visit to the Fuehrerheim at Camp Mauthausen in April 1941. It shows Himmler with the Governor of Linz in the background and Obersturmbannfuehrer Ziereis, the commanding officer of Camp Mauthausen, on his left.

Here is another picture which was taken in the quarry. In the rear to the left you see a group of deportees at work. In the foreground are Franz Ziereis, Himmler and Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner. He is wearing the gold Party emblem.

Q. This picture was taken in the quarry? By whom?

A. By the SS Oberscharfuehrer Paul Ricker again. This was in April or May 1941. This gentleman frequently visited the camp at that period to see how similar camps could be organised throughout Germany and in the occupied countries.

Q. I have finished. You give us your assurance that it is really Kaltenbrunner?

A. I give you my assurance.

Q. And that this picture was taken in the camp?

A. I give you my assurance.

Q. Were you taken to Mauthausen as a prisoner of war or as a political prisoner?

A . As a prisoner of war.

Q. You had fought as a volunteer in the French Army?

A. In Infantry battalions, in the Foreign Legion, in the pioneer regiments attached to the Army to which I belonged. I was in the Vosges with the 5th Army. We were taken prisoner. We retreated as far as Belfort where I was taken prisoner in the night of 20 to 21 June 1940. I was put with some

[Page 225]

fellow Spaniards and transferred to Mauthausen. Knowing us to be former Spanish Republicans and anti-fascists, they put us in among the Jews as members of a lower order of humanity. We were prisoners of war for six months, and then we learned that the Minister for Foreign Affairs had had an interview with Hitler to discuss the question of foreigners and other matters. We knew that our status had been among the questions raised. We heard that the Germans had asked what was to be done with Spanish prisoners of war who had served in the French Army - those of them who were Republicans and ex-members of the Republican Army. The answer ...

Q. Never mind that. So although you were a prisoner of war you were sent to a camp not under Army control?

A. Exactly. We were prisoners of war. We were told that we were being transferred to a subordinate command like all the other Frenchmen. Then we were transferred to Mauthausen, where, for the first time, we saw ...

THE PRESIDENT: Speak more slowly.

A. ... we saw that there were no Wehrmacht soldiers, and we realised that we were in an extermination camp.

Q. How many of you arrived there?

A. There were 1500 of us, and 8,000 Spaniards altogether.

Q. How many of you were liberated?

A. Approximately 1,600.

Q. I have no more questions to ask.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you want to ask any questions?

GENERAL RUDENKO: I shall have some questions. If the President will permit me I shall present them in tomorrow's session.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 29th January 1946 at 1000 hours.)

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