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-Fifth Day: Tuesday, 29rd January, 1946
(Part 2 of 9)

[Page 231]

THE PRESIDENT: Has this book been put in evidence yet?

M. DUBOST: This book has been submitted as evidence, as official evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Have the defendants got copies of it?

M. DUBOST: It was submitted as Exhibit RF 331. It is an official document which has been submitted to the defence also.

THE PRESIDENT: The document has been submitted by the French as Exhibit RF 331?

M. DUBOST: The defence have also received a copy of this book in German, I am not certain whether the German text has the pictures as well. No, the pictures are not in the German version, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: Well then, let this photograph be marked. It had better be marked with a French exhibit number, I think. What will it be?

M. DUBOST: We shall give it number 333, RF 333.

THE PRESIDENT Let it be marked in that way, and then hand it to Dr. Babel.

GENERAL RUDENKO: Thank you, Sir. I have no more questions.

(The document was handed to Dr. Babel.)

THE PRESIDENT: I think it should be handed about to the other defendants' counsel in case they wish to ask any question about it. M. Dubost, I think that an approved copy of this book, including the photographs, has been deposited in the defendants' Information Centre.

M. DUBOST: The whole book, except for the pictures.

THE PRESIDENT: Why not the pictures?

M. DUBOST: We did not have them at that moment to submit. In our exposition wehave not mentioned the photographs.

THE PRESIDENT: The German counsel ought to have the same documents as are submitted to the Tribunal. The photographs have been submitted to the Tribunal; therefore they should have been submitted to the Information Centre.

M. DUB0ST: Mr. President, the French text, including the pictures, was deposited in the defendant's Information Centre, and, in addition, a certain number of texts in German, to which the pictures were not added because we

[Page 231]

had that translation prepared for the use of the defence. But there are French copies of the book that you have before you, which include the pictures.


M. DUBOST: We have here four copies which we shall place before you, of the picture which was shown yesterday, which shows Kaltenbrunner and Himmler in the quarry of Mauthausen, in accordance with the testimony given by M. Boix. One of these pictures will also be delivered to the defence, that is, to the lawyer of the defendant Kaltenbrunner.

THE PRESIDENT: The photograph has now been handed around to the defendants' counsel. Do any members of the defendants' counsel wish to ask any questions of the witness upon this photograph? No question? The witness can then retire.

THE WITNESS: I would like to say something more. I would like to note that there were instances when Soviet officers were massacred. It is worth noting because it concerns prisoners of war. I would like the Tribunal to listen to me carefully.


Q. What is it you wish to say about the massacre of the Soviet prisoners of war?

A. In 1943 there was a transport of officers. They were Russian officers. On the very day of their arrival in the camp their massacre began by every means. But it seems that an order from higher authority had been received concerning these officers, saying that something extraordinary had to be done.So they put them in the best block in the camp. They gave them new Russian prisoner's clothing; they even gave them cigarettes; they gave them beds with sheets ; they were given everything they wanted to eat. Sturmbannfuehrer Krebsbach examined them with a stethoscope.

They went down in the quarry, but they carried only small stones, and in fours. At that time Oberscharfuehrer Paul Ricker, chief of the identification service, was there with his Leica taking endless pictures. He took about 48 pictures. These I developed, and five copies of each, 13 x 18, with the negatives, were sent to Berlin. It is a pity I did not steal the negatives, as I did the others.When it was all over, the Russians were made to give up their clothing and everything else and were sent to the gas chamber. The comedy was ended. Everybody could see from the pictures that the Russian prisoners of war, the officers, and especially the political Commissars, were well treated, and well cared for, worked hardly at all, and were in good condition. That is one thing that should be noted because I think it is important.

And another thing. There was a barrack called No. 20. That barrack was inside the camp, and in spite of the electrified barbed wire around the camp, there was an additional wall with electrified barbed wire around it, and in that barrack there were prisoners of war - Russian officers and commissars, some Slavs, a few Frenchmen and, they said, even a few Englishmen. No one could enter that barrack except the two fuehrer who were of the SD, that is, the commandants of the inner and outer camps. These internees were dressed, as we were, like criminal prisoners, but without any tag or identification of their nationality. One could not tell their nationality from their dress.The service "Erkennungsdienst " took their pictures. A tag with a number was placed on their chest. These began with a number over 3,000. There were numbers looking like No. 11 (two blue darts). Numbers started at 3,000 and went up to 7,000. SS Unterscharfuehrer Hermann Schinbauer was then chief photographer. He was from the Berlin region, somewhere outside Berlin, I do not remember the name. He had orders to develop the films and to do all work personally, but like all the SS of the internal camp services, they were men who knew nothing. They always needed prisoners to get their work done.

[Page 232]

That is why he needed me to develop these films. I made the enlargements, 5 x 7. These photos were sent to Obersturmfuehrer Karl Schultz, of Cologne, the Chief of the Polizeiabteilung. He told me not to tell anything to anybody about these pictures, and about the fact that we developed these films, and that if we did we would be liquidated at once. Without any fear of the consequences I told all my comrades about it. If one of us should succeed in getting out he could tell the world about it.

THE PRESIDENT: I think we have heard enough of this detail that you are giving us. But come back for a moment to the place you were speaking of where the Russian prisoners of war in 1943 - just a moment; I wish you would repeat the case of the Russian prisoners of war in 1943. You said that the officers were taken to the quarry to carry the heaviest stones.

THE WITNESS: No, just very small stones, weighing not even twenty kilos, and they carried them in fours to show on the pictures that the Russian officers did not do heavy work, on the contrary, very light work. That was only for the pictures, whereas in reality it was entirely different.

BY THE PRESIDENT: I thought you said they carried big, heavy stones.


THE PRESIDENT: Were the photographs taken while they were in their uniforms carrying these light stones?

A. Yes, Sir ; they had to put on clean uniforms, neatly arranged, to show that the Russian prisoners were well and properly treated.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Is there any other particular incident you want to refer to?

A. Yes, about Block 20. Thanks to my knowledge of photography I was able to see it; I had to be there to handle the lights while my chief took photographs. In this way I could follow, detail by detail, everything that took place in this barrack. It was an inner camp. This barrack, like all the others, was 7 metres wide and 50 long. There were 1,800 there, with a food ration less than one quarter of what we would get for food. They had neither spoons, nor plates. Large kettles of spoiled food were emptied on the snow and left there until it began to freeze; then the Russians were ordered to get at it. The Russians were so hungry, they would fight for this food. The SS used these fights as a pretext to beat up some of prisoners with bludgeons.

BY THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean that the Russians were put directly into Block 20?

THE WITNESS (M. Boix)The Russians did not come to the camp directly. Those who were not sent to the gas chamber right away, were placed in Block 20. Nobody of the inner camp, not even the "Blockfuehrer" was allowed to enter this barrack. Small convoys of 50 or 60 came several times a week, and always one heard the noise of a fight going on inside.In January 1945, when the Russians learned that the Soviet Armies were approaching Yugoslavia, they took one last chance. They seized fire extinguishers and killed soldiers, posted under the watch tower. They seized machine-guns and everything possible as weapons. They took blankets with them and everything they could find. They were 700, but only 62 succeeded in passing into Yugoslavia with the partisans.That day, Franz Ziereis, camp commander, issued an order by radio to all civilians to cooperate, "to liquidate" the Russian criminals, who had escaped from the concentration camp. He stated that everyone who could produce evidence that he had killed one of these men, would receive a special reward in marks. This was why all the Nazi adherents in Mauthausen went to work and succeeded in killing more than 600 escaped prisoners. It was not

[Page 233]

hard because some of the Russians could not drag themselves for more than ten metres.After the Liberation one of the surviving Russians came to Mauthausen to see how everything was then. He told us all the details of his painful march.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think the Tribunal wants to hear more details which you did not see yourself. Does any member of the defence counsel wish to ask any question of the witness upon the points which he has dealt with himself.

BY DR. BABEL (Counsel for SS and SD):

Q. One question only. In the course of your testimony you gave certain figures namely 105, 180 and just now 700. Were you, yourself, in a position to count them?

A. Nearly always, the convoys came into the camp in columns of five. It was easy to count them. These transports were always sent from the Wehrmacht prisons somewhere in Germany. They were sent from all prisons in Germany - from the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the SD or the SS.

THE PRESIDENT: Just answer the question and do not make a speech. You have said they were brought in in columns of five, and it was easy to count them.

THE WITNESS: Very easy to count them, particularly for those who wanted to be able to tell the story some day.

BY DOCTOR BABEL: Q. Did you have so much time, that you were able to observe all these things?

A. The transports always came in the evening after the deportees had returned to the camp. At this time we always had two or three hours when we could wander about in the camp waiting for the bell that was the signal for us to go to bed.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness may now retire.

M. DUBOST: If the Tribunal permits, we shall now hear M. Cappelen, who is a Norwegian witness. The testimony of M. Cappelen will be limited to the conditions that were imposed on Norwegian internees in Norwegian camps and prisons.


(HANS CAPPELEN, a witness on behalf of the French Prosecution, takes the stand.)

THE PRESIDENT: I understand that you speak English.

THE WITNESS: Yes, I speak English.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you take the English form of oath?

THE WITNESS: Yes, I prefer to speak in English.

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

THE WITNESS: My name is Hans Cappelen.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me. I swear that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

(Witness repeats oath in English)

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, can you spell the name?

M. DUBOST: C-a-p-p-e-l-e-n.


Q. M. Cappelen, you were born 18 December 1903?

A. Yes.

Q. In what town?

[Page 234]

A.I was born in Kvietseid, in the province of Telemark, Norway.

Q. What is your profession?

A. I was a lawyer; but now I am a business man.

Q. Will you tell us what you know of the brutalities of the Gestapo in Norway?

A. Your Honour, I was arrested 29 November 1941 and taken to the Gestapo prison in Oslo, Moellergata 19. After ten days I was interrogated by two Norwegian N.S., or Nazi police agents. They started at once to beat me with bludgeons. How long this interrogation lasted I cannot exactly remember but it led to nothing. So after some days I was brought to 32 Victoria Terrace. That was the headquarters of the Gestapo in Norway. It was about eight o'clock at night. I was brought into a fairly big room and they asked me to undress. I had to undress until I was absolutely naked. I was a little bit swollen after the first treatment I had had by the Norwegian police agents, but it was not so bad.

There were present about six or eight Gestapo agents, and their leader was - Kriminalrat was his title - Femer. He was very angry and they started to bombard me with questions which I could not answer. So Herr Fermer ran at me and tore all the hair off my head ; hair and blood were all over the floor around me. Then, suddenly, they all started to run at me and beat me with rubber bludgeons and iron wires. It hurt me very badly and I fainted. But I was brought back to life again by their pouring ice-cold water over me. I vomited, naturally, because I was feeling very sick. But that only made them angry, and they said, "Clean up, you dirty dog" and I had to make an attempt to clean up with my bare hands.

In this way they carried on for a long, long time, but the interrogation led to nothing because they bombarded me with questions and asked me of persons whom I did not know or scarcely knew.

I suppose it must have been in the morning that I was brought back again to the prison. I was placed in my cell and was very sick and ill. During all the day I asked the guard if I could not have a doctor; that was the 19th. After some days - I suppose it must have been the day before Christmas Eve, 1941 - I was again brought in the night to the Victoria Terrace. The same things happened as last time, only this time it was very easy for me to undress because I had only a coat on me; I was swollen up from the last beating.As last time, six, seven, or eight Gestapo agents were present.


Q. German Gestapo, do you mean?

A. Yes, German Gestapo, all of them, And Femer was present on that occasion as well, he held a rank in the SS and was Criminal Commissar. Then they started to beat me again, but it was useless to beat a man like me who was so swollen up and looking so bad. Then they started in another way: they started to screw and break my arms and legs. My right arm was dislocated. I felt that awful pain, and fainted again. Then the same happened as last time: They poured water on me and I recovered consciousness.

By now all the Germans there were absolutely mad. They roared like animals and bombarded me with questions again, but I was so tired I could not answer.

Then they placed a sort of home-made - it looked to me home- made - wooden thing, with a screw arrangement, on my left leg, and they started to screw so that all the flesh loosened from the bones. I felt an awful pain and fainted away, but I came back to consciousness again, and I have still big marks here on my leg from the screw arrangement, now, four years afterwards.

So that led to nothing, and then they placed something on my neck - I still have marks here (indicating) - and loosened the flesh here. But then I had a

[Page 235]

collapse, and all of a sudden I felt that I was paralysed in the right side. It has been proved since that I had a cerebral haemorrhage. And I got double vision; I saw two of each Gestapo agent, and everything was going round and round. That double vision I have had for four years, and when I am tired it still comes back again. But I am better now, so that I can move again in the right side, but my right side is still a little bit affected from that.

I cannot remember much more from that night, but the other prisoners who had to clean up the corridors in the prison saw them bring me back again in the morning. That must have been about six o'clock in the morning. They thought I was dead, because I had no irons on my hands. Whether I lay there for one day or two I can not tell, but one day I moved again and was slightly conscious, and then the guard came at once to my cell, where I was lying on a cot among my own vomiting and blood, and afterwards a doctor came to me.

He had, I suppose, quite a high rank; which rank I cannot exactly say. He told me that most probably I would die. I asked him, "Could you not take me to a hospital?' He said, "No. Such fools as you are not to be taken to any hospital before you do just what we say you shall do. Like all Norwegians, you are a fool."

They put my arm into joint again. That was very bad, but two soldiers held me and they drew it in, and I fainted away again. So the time passed and I rested a bit. I could not walk, because everything seemed to be going round. I was lying on the cot. It must have been at the end of February or in the middle of February 1942, when one night they came again. It must have been about ten o'clock at night, because the light in my cell had been out for quite a long time. They asked me to stand up, and I made an attempt and fell down again because of the paralysis. Then they kicked me, but I said, "Is it better not to put me to death, because I cannot move?"

Well, they dragged me out of the cell, and I was again brought to Victoria Terrace; that is the headquarters where they made their interrogations. This time the interrogation was led by an SS man called Stehr. I could not stand, so, naked as I was, I was lying on the floor. This Stehr had some assistants, four or five Gestapo agents, and they started to trample on me, and kick me. Then all of a sudden they brought me to my feet again and brought me to a table where Stehr was sitting. He took my left hand like this (indicating) and put some pins under my nails and started to break them up. It hurt me badly, and everything went round and round, the double vision came again but the pain was so intense that I drew my hand back. I should not have done that, because that made them absolutely furious. I fainted away, collapsed, I do not know for how long, but I came back to life again, to the smell of burned flesh or burned meat. One of the Gestapo agents was standing with a little lamp burning me under my feet. It did not hurt me too much, because I was so feeble that I did not care, and I was so paralysed that I could not speak, I only groaned a bit, crying, naturally, always.

I do not remember much more of that occasion, but this was one of the worst things I went through with respect to interrogations. I was brought back again to the prison and time passed and I attempted to eat a little bit. I vomited most of it up again, but little by little I recovered. I was still paralysed in the side, so I could not stand up.

But I was also taken to be interrogated again, and I was then confronted with other Norwegians, people I knew and people I did not know, and most of them were badly treated. They were swollen up, and I remember especially two of my friends, two very good persons. I was confronted with them, and they were looking very ill from torture, and when I came back again after my imprisonment, I learned that they were both dead; they had died from the treatment they had received.

Another incident of which I wish to tell - I hope your Honour will permit me

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concerned a person called Snerre Emil Halwuschen. One day - that must have been in the autumn, or in August or October, 1943, he was swollen and very distressed, and he said they had treated him badly, and that he and some of his friends had been in some sort of a court where they had been told that they were to be shot the next day. They had sentenced them, just to set an example.

Well, Halwuschen had, naturally, a headache and felt very ill, and I asked the guard to bring the head guard, who was a certain Herr Gotz. He came and asked what the devil I wanted. I said, "My comrade is very ill, could he not have some aspirins?" "Oh no," he said, "it would be a waste to give him aspirin, because he is to be shot in the morning."

Next morning he was brought out of the cell, and after the war they found him at Trondheim, together with other Norwegians in a grave there, with a bullet through his neck.

Well, the Moellergata 19, in Oslo, the prison where I was for about twenty-five months, was a house of horror. I heard people screaming and groaning nearly every night. One day, it must have been in December 1943, about the 8 December, they came into my cell and told me to dress. It was in the night. I put on what ragged clothes I had. Now I had recovered, practically. I was naturally lame on the one side, I could not walk so well, but I could walk, and I went down the corridor and there they placed me as usual against the wall, and I waited for them to take me away and shoot me. But they did not shoot me, they brought me to Germany together with many other Norwegians. I learned afterwards that we were called "Nacht und Nebel" prisoners, "Night and Mist" prisoners. We were brought to a camp called Natzweiler, in Alsace. It was a very bad camp.

We had to work taking stones out of the mountains. But I shall not bore you with my tales of Natzweiler, your Honour, I will only say that people of all other nations: French, Russians, Dutch and Belgians were there, and there are alive now about five hundred Norwegians who have been there. Between sixty and seventy per cent died, there or in other concentration camps. Two Danes also were there.

We saw many cruel things there, so cruel that they are well known. The camp had to be evacuated in September 1944. We were then brought to Dachau near Munich, but we did not stay there long; at least, I did not. I was sent to a Command called Aurich in East Friesland, that was an under-command of Neuengamme, near Hamburg. There were about fifteen hundred prisoners there. We had to dig tank traps. We had to work about three or four hours every day, and go an hour's journey by train to the Panzer Grabon where we worked. The work was so hard, and the way they treated us so bad, that most of us died there. I suppose about half of the prisoners died of dysentery or of ill-treatment in the five or six weeks we were there. It was too much even for the SS, who had to take care of the camp, so they gave it up, I suppose, and I was sent via Neuengamme, Hamburg, to a camp called Gross Rosen, in Silesia, near Breslau. That was a very bad camp, too. There were about forty Norwegians there, and of those forty Norwegians there were about ten left after four to five weeks.

THE PRESIDENT: You will be some little time longer, so I think we had better adjourn now for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken)

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