The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 24
(Part 1 of 5)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 24

16 Iyar, 5721 (2 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the twenty-fourth Session of the trial open. We continue hearing the evidence of the witness Henryk Ross. Will the interpreter please tell him that he continues to testify under oath. [The interpreter tells the witness accordingly.]

Attorney General: Mr. Ross, you told us that you worked as a photographer in the Lodz Ghetto. Whom were you working for as a photographer?

Witness Henryk Ross: I was an official in the Department of Statistics and I worked there in the photographic section. This section operated legally, having been set up in accordance with an order of the Germans.

Q. What did you have to photograph?

A. Whatever the Jewish Council instructed us to do according to orders they received from the Germans. For example, everyone in the ghetto had to be photographed for identity cards signed by Amtsleiter Biebow. Every person who worked had to carry such an identity card and it had to have a photograph. Apart from this, we used to photograph people who died on the streets and on whom no documents were found, and under an order of the German authorities we had to mark them as "unidentified," without names. In addition to this, we photographed samples of products manufactured in the factories for the army, such as uniforms and shoes. When an order came from the Germans to destroy a particular building or neighbourhood, we had to photograph the building from all angles and to forward the photographs, as required by the Germans, to the headquarters in the market which was called Baluty market, where the German headquarters were situated.

Q. Did you say to destroy a building or a neighbourhood?

A. They used to destroy both buildings and neighbourhoods.

Q. Apart from the photographs you prepared for the Ghetto Council, did you also take other photographs?

A. When I had more free time, I also used to take photographs which it was forbidden to take.

Q. When, towards the end?

A. In July 1944, when I heard and saw that the ghetto was about to be liquidated, that they were going to expel all of us, I hid the negatives in barrels and concealed them in the ground. I only took them out after I had been liberated.

Q. Did you succeed in saving some of the negatives and bringing them with you to Israel?

A. Yes. Some were destroyed owing to water seeping in, but the greater part was saved. I hid them in the ground in the presence of several of my friends, so that if we died and one of us survived, the photographs would remain for the sake of history. Fortunately I remained alive and I dug them up.

Q. How much did you weigh when you were liberated after the War?

A. I did not weigh myself after the War, I was ill, but towards the end, when I was weighed for the last time in the ghetto, my weight was 38 kilograms. I even have photographs showing how I looked then.

Attorney General: [To Presiding Judge] May I approach the witness?

Presiding Judge: Certainly.

Attorney General: Thank you. [Approaches witness-box].

[To witness] What was this picture, Mr. Ross? [Shows the picture to the witness.]

Witness Ross: This is a child who was deported in the year 1941.

Q. Please submit it. I now submit some of your photographs. You gave us these - is that correct?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: This photograph will be T/223. Was this at the time of deportation? What does this picture show?

Witness Ross: At moments when no German was seen in the vicinity, when they had gone elsewhere to beat up people, I took advantage of that moment to take photographs.

Presiding Judge: This boy was about to be deported? This is what I understand.

Witness Ross: The deportation was on the same day, possibly a minute later, and on that same day the Germans entered the place and beat up and chased children and old people alike. The moment the Germans approached, I fled out of fear.

Attorney General: What is this picture, Mr. Ross? [Shows a picture to the witness.]

Witness Ross: I still want to explain what I said previously. A number of people have approached me who did not understand what I said previously regarding potatoes.

Presiding Judge: Let us come back to the potatoes after the photographs have been submitted.

Attorney General: Explain to us what this picture is.

Presiding Judge: If this correction relates to the picture, please proceed.

Witness Ross: I said previously that the potatoes were not fit to be eaten. I was wrong. They used to arrive in very good condition, but they were frozen, like stones. When they reached the kitchen and thawed, it was seen that they were not fit to eat. They then distributed the potatoes to the people, but they were not able to eat them; but despite everything, seeing that they were very hungry, they used to dig them up, since the ghetto authorities used to bury them in the ground in chlorine, as they were not suitable for use. The children knew where they were to be found and dug them up.

Attorney General: What does this picture show, Mr. Ross?

Witness Ross: This picture shows how the children were digging up the rotten potatoes from the earth - they were so hungry that it didn't matter to them what they ate.

Q. I see that even little children were wearing the Jewish badge. Where they also obliged to do so?

A. Even babies in their cradles were obliged to wear the badge on their right arm and on their back.

Attorney General: I submit the picture.

Presiding Judge: Has Dr. Servatius received copies of these pictures?

Attorney General: No. Dr. Servatius has received a list of the pictures and what they portray.

Presiding Judge: Very well. This will be T/224 - the children taking the potatoes out of the ground.

Attorney General: What is this? [He shows a photograph to the witness.]

Witness Ross: This is a picture of a woman who fell asleep, simply from hunger. The next morning she was no longer alive. She died in her sleep.

Q. Did you see her there, in her room? You photographed this?

A. I saw her and I took the photograph. I developed the picture myself.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/225.

Attorney General: What is this? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This is one of my many photographs showing how a person looks who has died of hunger. People like this used to die or become swollen from starvation or emaciated like skeletons as I said previously.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/226.

Attorney General: What is this? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This is a group being taken for deportation.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/227.

Attorney General: And what is this picture? This is also a picture of people on their way to deportation. Is that correct? [Shows the witness the photograph.]

Witness Ross: Yes, the same thing.

Q. And at the side, the Jewish police also with the same yellow badge. Is that correct?

A. The men in uniform are the Jewish police.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/228.

Attorney General: What is this? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This shows Jews who were brought into the ghetto. There was an order: all the Jews to the ghetto! The Jews in the town were robbed. They carried the remains of their possessions into the ghetto.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/229.

Attorney General: What is this, Mr. Ross? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This is a line of 200 or 300 people or more, for deportation.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/230.

Attorney General: And what is this picture? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This is also a deportation group. This picture shows the same scene as the previous picture. Thousands of people went.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/231.

Attorney General: What is this scene near the place on which it says "Central-Gefaengnis" ("Central Prison")? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: The Germans gave orders to build a prison in that ghetto. Criminals and smugglers were supposed to be there. In the picture, there are no smugglers or criminals. In this picture we see people who were expelled from their homes or who were taken from factories or from the street. When the people ended their work at five o'clock, they used to hurry home to their families, to their children and their wives to bid farewell to them or to take them along if they decided to go together with them.

Q. Does this show such leave-taking of members of a family?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/232.

Attorney General: What is this? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This is a mother who was deported. I didn't ask at the time whether it was from a factory or from the street. The mother is standing on the other side of the fence.

Q. And on the inside of the fence?

A. A child or two - I don't know exactly. The mother is no criminal. She is crying - she was carried off during the raid on the streets. The children are standing there, not knowing what to do.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/233.

Attorney General: What is this? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This is a family on the way to deportation, a father and mother and two children. Deportation in fact meant death.

Q. Deportation - where to?

A. This was deportation to Chelmno.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/234.

Attorney General: Did you manage to take a picture of the loading on to railway waggons? Actually two such pictures?

Witness Ross: There are more.

Q. But I have two here. How did you succeed in photographing this? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

A. On one occasion, when people with whom I was acquainted worked at the railway station of Radegast, which was outside the ghetto but linked to it, and where trains destined for Auschwitz were standing - on one occasion I managed to get into the railway station in the guise of a cleaner. My friends shut me into a cement storeroom. I was there from six in the morning until seven in the evening, until the Germans went away and the transport departed. I watched as the transport left. I heard shouts. I saw the beatings. I saw how they were shooting at them, how they were murdering them, those who refused. Through a hole in a board of the wall of the storeroom I took several pictures.

Q. Is that one of the pictures that you are holding in your hand?

A. Yes, this is one of those pictures.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/235.

Attorney General: And what is this photograph? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This, too, was taken on the same day - I was there only once - some time later.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/236.

Attorney General: What is this picture? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: This place marks where the ghetto ended, and where the road leading to the Radegast railway station began. It was along this road that the Germans conveyed the transports to Auschwitz.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/237 - (people marching on the way to deportation).

Attorney General: Is this a photocopy of the decree of the mayor of Lodz ordering the evacuation of the ghetto? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: Yes.

Q. And what is this?

A. The same thing. This is the order and the notice.

Q. Did you photograph it?

A. Yes. If the original notice will be required, it is in my possession.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/238.

Attorney General: This is the order of the Elder of the Ghetto, giving an instruction to greet anyone wearing a German uniform. Is that correct? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

Witness Ross: Yes. All these notices were sent by the Germans from the market at Baluty to the Council of the Jewish Elders. The Jewish Council was obliged to print them, to send them to the German censorship, and only after that was it permitted to paste them on the walls.

Q. I have here two more such orders. Were these also photographed by you? [Shows the witness two photographs.]

A. Yes. I also have the original notices.

Q. Was this the Allgemeine Gesperre (General Curfew)?

A. Yes.

Q. And is this an order to hand in and collect all rings - all articles of silver and gold?

A. Yes, to turn over all rings, all articles of silver and gold.

Presiding Judge: Do you have additional copies of this?

Attorney General: No. He brought these to us at the last moment.

Presiding Judge: These photographs have been marked T/239, T/240 and T/241.

Attorney General: [Receives the album from Mr. Bodenheimer.] Mr. Ross, you are acquainted with picture 34 on page 13. What is it?

Witness Ross: This is not my photograph, but I know what it is. The ghetto was in the old quarter of the town. Tramcars, motor vehicles and carts used to pass through the ghetto. In order to prevent contact with the Jews fences were erected on both sides of the road. We were obliged to pass over the road via a bridge built for this purpose, from one part of the ghetto to the other. This was an opportunity for the Germans to amuse themselves, to beat us in order to compel us to walk faster.

Q. This is the last picture we intend to show to you. This is a photograph of places of work in the Lodz Ghetto which you took. Is that right? [Shows the witness a photograph.]

A. This is an official list of all the places of work.

Presiding Judge: This picture will be marked T/242.

Attorney General: [To Presiding Judge] That is all, Your Honour.

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