The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 24
(Part 4 of 5)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Q. Did you ever witness a scene with another SS man - Keidash?

A. Yes. Keidash was an SS man who was a menace to the ghetto. Once, accompanied by another SS man he came near the place where I was concealed. There was a pit there, camouflaged with branches and leaves, and there were four women there and one little girl aged about seven. These two approached, noticed them and ordered them to come out. They began striking them with whips and asking them why they were hiding. They began to beg for mercy, saying that they were young women, wanting to live, wanting to work, and that was why they had hidden themselves. They began to strike them with whips with such force that it was possible to hear from a distance how their bones were being broken.

After that they ordered them to get up and run away. And then they took out revolvers and shot all four. Thereafter they again came up to them, examined them, and again tested with their feet to see whether the women were still alive, and fired a number of additional shots into them.

Q. Do you remember one other scene with Keidash, with a woman and a baby, a year or a year and a half old?

A. Yes.

Q. Please describe it to the Court.

A. The place where we had hidden bordered on the Aryan section. There was a fence there. This Keidash caught a woman there who had been hiding with a baby about a year and a half old. She held the child in her arms. She began to beg for mercy from Keidash, who shot her, leaving the baby alive. On the other side of the fence stood Poles who raised their hands with the intention of catching the child. She wanted to give the child to them. He snatched the baby from her, fired two shots into her stomach, and then he took the child in his hands and tore him apart the way you would tear up a rag. The baby yelled. He threw the child away and laughed. The mother drenched in blood crawled towards the baby and in this way they died together. He laughed and saw that an ownerless dog was passing, a stray dog. He took the dog, started patting it, took something out of his pocket, sugar or something like that, took the dog and went away with it.

Q. Please continue your description in reply to my questions, Dr. Buzminsky. In November 1942 they told you that they no longer needed you and that you should not come to work any more. Is that correct?

A. Yes. The ghetto commander was a man called Schwamburger, an SS man. At the place where I worked he gave orders to release everyone. It was necessary to concentrate all of them in the ghetto. I saw with my own eyes an old man, one of the ghetto inmates, who was walking and carrying pieces of wood taken from demolished houses. Collecting these was permitted. It was cold at the time. Schwamburger saw him, went up to him and asked where he had taken them from. The man replied: from a demolished house. He then took out a revolver, put it against his throat and fired. The bullet emerged near his eyes, and as a result he fell, with his blood pouring out. No one was allowed to approach him.

Q. Let us come to the operation of November, in which you, too, were deported. Do you remember this operation?

A. Yes. On 18 November the ghetto was surrounded and towards morning SS men entered. Together with 50 others, I sat in the bunker. The operation ended at approximately 3 o'clock in the afternoon. After 3 o'clock someone in the bunker pushed aside the sack which closed off the hatch of this bunker. We heard a voice and we saw a guard, an orderly of the "Ordnungsdienst," who said: If there is anyone here in the bunker - please come out for otherwise they are going to throw hand-grenades. Not far from there - about 50 metres away, SS men were walking. One of the women inside the bunker pushed her daughter out of the window of the bunker, so that she could save herself. When the daughter crawled through the hatch, the SS men spotted her, they began to hit her, to kick her and she showed them where the entrance to the bunker was.

Q. And then they took you out of the bunker?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Were you also in this bunker?

Witness Buzminsky: Yes. The SS men and the Gestapo stood in a row, and each one had a rod in his hand. Everyone who came out of the bunker received blows. Anyone who had the strength and managed to run - got his blows, but he managed to run. In the end he had to stand in line. The weak ones got their blows and were killed on the spot. Amongst them there was a girl, the daughter of a certain lawyer, who was ill. They brought us to the square, stood us in a line, took from us all the valuables that there were, and stood us up to kill us by shooting. I stood in line together with my brother and we deliberately tried to face the muzzles of their guns so that they would shoot us in the heart.

Attorney General: Why?

Witness Buzminsky: For we knew that normally they only shot one bullet, and anyone who still remained alive, was buried alive, and thereafter they added lime to the pit - to the grave. At the very last moment, a group of SS men came there and asked what was going on. One of the said that they had taken fifty Jews from the bunker and were shooting them, as they had been ordered to do. Then the commander said to them: "These are fat Jews. All of them will be good for soap." And then they took us to the train, to a transport that was still waiting there and had not left. The loading was done in the following way: These were high Russian freight-waggons; they had no steps and each one had to lift the other in order to put him into the waggon.

Surrounding us were the SS men with dogs, and a group of men stood before the entrance to the waggon. An elderly woman stood there and at a particular moment a SS man set his dog on her. The dog jumped on her and tore off a piece of flesh from her buttocks, and brought the piece of flesh to his master. She screamed in great fright and jumped into the high waggon, on top of the people. All these Germans laughed a great deal. We were loaded - more than one hundred people - into this waggon and they slammed the door.

Q. Dr. Buzminsky, did you know that this was a transport to death?

A. Yes.

Q. Why did you people enter the waggon?

A. We were helpless. They pushed us in there, and our morale was completely broken. They had prepared us for over many months. When we heard their voice, we lost all will-power. We trembled. It was a mass psychosis. People weren't able to overcome it. In the waggon we were all pressed together, we were crowded together, and in front of the waggon there stood Ukrainians who guarded us, and they laughed and said: "Very good, we will have a lot of soap." "All of them are going in order to be turned into goulash."

Q. Perhaps we can now make it short, Dr. Buzminsky. You jumped from this train?

A. Yes.

Q. You walked in the direction of the forest, you hid yourself and went back to Przemyzl?

A. Yes.

Q. After some time you entered a bunker together with a number of people, and there a Polish woman hid you?

A. I first returned to this Polish woman, for I had nowhere to go back to. She had been left on her own. They killed her father and transferred the remaining members of her family to Germany for labour. She remained with her small sister, aged 7, and when she saw me bleeding all over and broken, this woman, who had previously been my neighbour in the place where I lived, took me in, washed me and gave me a place where I could sleep.

Q. And you remained there until the Russian army reached Przemzl and liberated you?

A. Before that I went back to the ghetto, and in the ghetto I saw a German, Schamburger, who had shot and murdered people, beating up a young lad, giving him 80 lashes with a strap.

Q. Do you see here, in this Court, that same lad who received the 80 lashes?

A. Yes.

Q. Is he police officer Goldman, who is sitting at my side?

A. Yes. Normally a young man could not survive after 50 blows. And, generally, after 50 blows the young man would be dead. Since he survived 80 lashes, and he then ordered him to run and he ran, he let him remain alive. Thereafter I saw another member of the Gestapo, named Reisner, who came into the ghetto one evening in order to amuse himself with women. There he came across a Jewish lad about 18 years old and was about to shoot him. The lad attacked the Gestapo man, stabbed him with a knife, took his revolver away from him and fled. The Gestapo man was only wounded. They took him to hospital and took 50 Jews as hostages. The next day they caught the lad. They executed 25 of the hostages, and this young man, together with two others, as well as a dog, were hanged publicly in the ghetto.

Q. Afterwards you returned to the bunker, and hid there and hence you were saved?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: You clearly went through a great deal and you have much to tell, but this must suffice for us, since we have to continue within the limits of the trial.

Witness Buzminsky: I should like to add something more and then conclude.

Q. By all means.

A. When I was in the bunker, about three months before the liberation, we noticed a girl 6 or 7 years old playing in the yard. Men of the Gestapo and the SS arrived and surrounded the yard. This was a Polish family of eight souls. They began to beat the little girl with whips and they executed all of those who were in the yard. Afterwards my wife was informed that this was a Jewish girl whom this family had hidden and for this reason they executed the entire family.

Q. Subsequently you married the woman who saved you and she is now with you in Israel - and she is your wife?

A. Yes, I married her and took care of her little sister who is now a doctor in Poland, and I am here, now, with my wife.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions to this witness?

Dr. Servatius: I have no questions to the witness.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Dr. Buzminsky, you have concluded your testimony.

Attorney General: I call Judge Carmel. Until Judge Carmel arrives I shall submit two documents to the Court.

Presiding Judge: It occurs to me that I omitted to state that the picture, which was submitted by Mrs. Shiloh, was marked T/250.

Attorney General: I shall submit two documents; one speaks of deportations. A notice from the office of the German railways of 28 June 1942 about deportations from various places, amongst them a train with 5,000 Jews from Przemyzsl to Belzec.

Presiding Judge: This document will be exhibit T/251. Who signed it? Ganzenmueller?

Attorney General: Ganzenmueller - he was Reichsverkehrminister - (Reich Minister of Transport).

The other document is our No. 1537, in which Ganzenmueller is advised that "this information, that it will be possible to dispatch these trains, has been received for attention with special joy." The document was sent from the Führerhauptquartier (Fuehrer's Headquarters) on 13 August 1942.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/252.

Attorney General: I now call Judge Carmel.

[ The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: My name is Israel Carmel.

Attorney General: You are a Magistrate?

Witness Carmel: I am a Magistrate in Tel Aviv.

Q. Were you at one time Consul for Israel in Poland?

A. I was Consul for Israel in Poland.

Q. Did you interest yourself in the problems of the Holocaust?

A. That is correct.

Q. In particular you conducted research into the diary of Hans Frank who was the Governor General of Poland?

A. Yes.

Q. In the framework of this research did you also assemble certain extracts from the volumes of Frank's diary relating to the extermination of Jews in the area of the Generalgouvernement?

A. That is right.

Q. Did you work for some time on this?

A. I worked for a long time. For several months I read the microfilms, and I copied everything that related to the Jewish problem.

Q. Where is this microfilm?

A. The microfilm of the original document is kept in the archives of Yad Vashem. By their courtesy I was able to study it and conduct my research.

Q. And did you compare the microfilm with the copies?

A. Yes. And in addition to that I compared it with the corresponding passages in volume 29 of the International Military Tribunal.

Attorney General: The Judge compiled this collection from the diary of Frank on Jewish matters.

Presiding Judge: This volume of the International Military Tribunal - is that the protocol of the trial of the main war criminals?

Witness Carmel: Yes. Document PS 2233 which was submitted by the Polish and Soviet Prosecution, and also the American Prosecution, relating to the responsibility of Eichmann - pardon me - of Frank in the main Nuremberg trial, but it does not include all the material.

Q. How many volumes of Frank's diary are there, Judge Carmel?

A. Thirty-eight volumes, roughly about 11,000 pages, including the indices. I went through the whole of it.

Q. The Poles also published part of this diary, but not all of it?

A. Yes, by the historian, Piotr Petrovsky, but this was specifically related to the Polish problem and I dealt specifically with the Jewish problem.

Q. Did you compile the Jewish collection?

A. The Jewish collection.

Q. Do you wish to submit what you compiled to the Court?

A. I also translated it. I assembled all these extracts for I wanted to draw the attention of the Court to them, and with the Court's kind indulgence, if it should be possible, I shall also read certain portions.

Q. I shall ask you shortly to read out certain extracts.

A. I shall also submit to the Court a Hebrew translation which I have prepared.

Q. Did you yourself make the translation?

A. I am responsible for the exact translation and also for the photocopies of the corresponding pages, which I have verified and they are marked.

Q. Do you have a copy?

A. Yes - of the Hebrew translation and the original.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/253.

Attorney General: Judge Carmel, are you able to tell us in general terms what Hans Frank's diary contains?

A. The title, The Diary of Hans Frank, is likely to mislead. Actually this is a collection of minutes of meetings of the Generalgouvernement, all the activities, day by day of the Generalgouvernement, all the meetings of the Chief of Police of the Generalgouvernement with the heads of departments, and speeches having official importance. In fact this is a document containing everything that was done since the day he commenced his duties.

At the beginning of the compilation I indicated that he entered his office on 23 October 1939 and continued in that capacity until May 1945, until officers of the Seventh American Army discovered in Neuhaus volumes bound in red - these 38 volumes - received them from the hands of Frank, and used them in the main trial in Nuremberg. This includes all his activities. Here and there are also Jewish issues.

The most interesting thing is that I did not find in it decisions on the Jewish question, but only Berichte (reports) - as if the Generalgouvernement had a passive role and that in fact everything had been done by the Gestapo,which received regular reports.

Q. Please be good enough to turn to section 3 of your collection - this is the protocol of the second conference of the heads of departments, of 8 December 1939. Is that correct?

A. Yes. "Meetings of the Heads of Department 1939-1940. Minutes of the second Conference of Heads of Departments of 8 December 1939. Page 3 (page 4 in the Hebrew translation) "SS Gruppenfuehrer Krueger speaks of the questions arising out of the implementation of the resettlement of residence from their places of residence (Umsiedlung). From 1 December many trains move to the zone of the Generalgouvernement, each day carrying Poles and Jews from the areas recently annexed to the Reich. These deportations will continue until approximately the middle of December. From Berlin a centralized programme has been devised, so that the heads of the provinces will be able to act in accordance therewith and to operate for a long period. In this programme the number of the Poles and the Jews who are to be resettled from their places of residence in the year 1940 has been laid down."

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