The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 51
(Part 2 of 6)

Q. In what camp?

A. Sered.

Q. Was this at a later stage?

A. Yes.

Q. I would ask you to submit these three signs.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps he would like to retain them. We have already had a case such as this. He has shown them to us, and that is sufficient.

State Attorney Bach: But I think the witness should be able to get them is possible that the Court has already seen these signs previously.

[To witness] You mentioned here the camp at Sered. When were you taken to Sered?

Witness Rosenberg: I was taken to the camp at Sered at the beginning of September 1944.

Q. Who arrested you?

A. Men of the "Hlinka Guard" arrested me.

Q. When you reached Sered, did you arrive alone, or with your family?

A. Alone.

Q. Where was your family?

A. They were in a bunker.

Q. Outside the town?

A. Yes. Outside the town.

Q. Who was in charge of the camp of Sered when you arrived there?

A. When I reached Sered, the man in charge was Knollmeyer.

Q. Was he an SS man?

A. He was a young SS man, about 20 years of age.

Q. A German?

A. A German, from Bratislava.

Q. Please tell the Court how they behaved towards all of you at Sered at that time?

A. When they arrested me, they took us from the "Hlinka Guard" to the SD at Trencin, from there to Jihlava prison, and from Jihlava they took us to the Sered concentration camp. We arrived there at night. When we got down from the railway carriages, there were young German lads and also men of the "Hlinka Guard" standing on the sides; and anyone who did not jump far enough away from the carriage was beaten.

Presiding Judge: We have already heard of the Sered camp from Dr. Abeles, is that not so?

State Attorney Bach: Dr. Abeles was there only at the final stage. There we were told about his mother, but that was later on.

[To witness] Do you recall an incident with a Jew named Grossmann?

Witness Rosenberg: Yes.

Q. What happened to him?

A. Grossmann was a Jew approximately 50 years old. He was cleaning the courtyard with a broom. Knollmeyer passed by him and hit him. The Jew then stood up and raised his arm in order to protect his face. And Knollmeyer said to him: "You accursed Jew - you want to defend yourself?" and he shot him there, in the courtyard.

Q. And killed him?

A. Yes, he killed him.

Q. Please tell the Court what the "Schoener Abend" (beautiful evening) was?

A. Schoener Abend - this was the name which I gave it in my memoirs. This was on the Sabbath of Penitence (during the ten days of Penitence starting with Rosh Hashana), in 1944. It was after work, and all of us were already in the huts. Then the orderlies came and announced that there was an order for us to come out by nine o'clock, that all the prisoners had to assemble on the large square in the centre of the camp, and that all of us had to report there.

First of all the young people went there, and in the end, shortly before nine o'clock, they brought the elderly people and the children. From nine o'clock we were required to stand at attention there, all the time, and this lasted until midnight. Throughout that time we stood in one place.

And during this time, from the building which housed the German headquarters, we heard a loud order to bring a rabbi, with a prayer-book, and then one of the orderlies went and summoned a rabbi - one of the rabbis - it was Rabbi Unger, of blessed memory, of Piestany, who was the youngest of them - accompanied the orderly.

Q. Was he the brother-in-law of Rabbi Weissmandel?

A. Yes, he was the brother-in-law of Rabbi Weissmandel. He went there. They were having a party there. Later on, some time afterwards, we noticed that they had requested the orderlies to bring blankets. And subsequently we saw that they were carrying out someone's body inside the blankets.

When I was at home, in my town, I had worked as an assistant to the Burial Society. On the following morning, they summoned me, and I had to be one of the burial party. Then Knollmeyer gave orders that all these bodies should be buried there, in the camp, behind the bath-house.

Q. Was Rabbi Unger one of them?

A. One of them was Rabbi Unger, and there were two others whom they had killed that night.

Q. Do you know why they killed Rabbi Unger?

A. I heard it the following morning. At that time there was also Slovak gendarmerie in the camp, but they had no duties. One of the gendarmerie was an acquaintance of mine from our neighbourhood, and he told me they had seen everything. He had heard that they had told him to pray and to translate the prayers into German.

He then translated to them, but they told him that he was not translating correctly, and they began beating him, and in the end they took him to the toilet where they shot him. We heard this shot outside. The following morning I saw the body of this rabbi, and I observed that one ear - it was the left ear, if I remember correctly - was hanging only by a piece of skin; it was horrible to see what the body looked like.

Q. When did Brunner come to Sered?

A. After this "beautiful evening." I heard there that one of the citizens of the town of Sered had gone to Bratislava, in order to report on what had occurred at Sered. The following day - or a few days later - I heard that a new commander had arrived, and the entire command was changed; they also dismissed the Slovakian gendarmerie.

Q. So, in that case, who was in charge?

A. That was when Brunner arrived, with a new team, namely with the SS.

Q. When Brunner arrived, did the deportations begin?

A. When Brunner arrived, it was several days after this terrible evening, and five or six days thereafter the first transport started.

Presiding Judge: We have already heard about the Brunner period, anyway, Mr. Bach.

State Attorney Bach: We have heard about a particular action performed by Brunner. But I want to ask one further question. The witness was present on the occasion of a certain selection, of both Rabbi Weissmandel and Gisi Fleischmann, and I want to question him on this.

Presiding Judge: So please proceed with that - we have already heard a general description.

State Attorney Bach: When was the first transport?

Witness Rosenberg: On 30 September 1944.

Q. Who conducted the selection for each transport?

A. Brunner himself used to make the selection for each transport.

Q. Do you remember Rabbi Weissmandel?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see him at Sered?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you present when Rabbi Weissmandel was sent to a transport for deportation?

A. Yes. This was in the selection for the third transport, on 10 October. We, all the prisoners, stood outside, and Brunner began selecting. Rabbi Weissmandel had a large family. I do not remember exactly how many - Rabbi Unger's widow was there and the whole family. First of all he sent these large families to the right - this was the side for those destined for the transport, for deportation. He stood there with all his family.

Q. So he, too, as I understand, was sent to the right?

A. Yes.

Q. Where were you sent to?

A. I belonged to what they called the "Lagerinsassen" (camp inmates); as a carpenter, I worked in the carpentry shop. He himself did not only automatically give a sign regarding them - he also inquired as to their work. The Judenaeltester (the Jewish Elder) would stand at his side, and he would ask "Who is this?" "Who is this?" "Who is that?" Rabbi Friedel stood in front of me. There he was not the Rabbi Friedel, but "Friedel, the carpenter."

Q. Was that what the Judenaeltester called him?

A. Yes. He stood there like a labourer, like all of us, and the Judenaeltester said to him: "Obersturmfuehrer, Sir, this is my best mechanical carpenter" - that is what the Judenaeltester said to Brunner. He gave his sign for him to go to the left. I was the next to stand there after him. He asked about me, "Who is this?" I myself answered by saying "A carpenter, a bachelor," for I knew it was worth something not to have a family with me. Then he gave the sign to go to the right. Each one had to approach the SS and then to turn to the left or to the right. I came up and turned towards the left, and he asked me: "Hey, you, where are you going, where are you going?" I replied: "Over there." To this day I do not know how it happened, but that is how it was.

Q. Did you actually notice when Rabbi Weissmandel was put on to the transport?

A. I witnessed yet another incident with Rabbi Weissmandel. This was when Brunner and the Judenaeltester came and stood next to us, and then one of his deputies came along and said to him: "Obersturmfuehrer, Sir, there is a woman here who maintains that she is an Aryan." On hearing this, he said: "Call Rabbi Weissmandel." They fetched Rabbi Weissmandel, and Brunner said to him: "This woman maintains that she is an Aryan. What do you say about that?" To this Rabbi Weissmandel answered: "This can only be verified in the case of men."

On hearing this reply he struck him with the stick that he had in his hand and with which he used to indicate his selection - he gave him a blow on his head with the stick, and on one side, and the stick broke. At this, he then took the piece which remained and threw it at him.

Q. In spite of the fact that you were saved in that incident, were you assigned later for a transport, for deportation?

A. Yes. Some days afterwards, about two or three days later, they brought my parents to the Sered camp. I saw them as they stood there with the rest of the Jews near the entrance, and I gave them a sign so that they should understand that I was not supposed to be there. Later on they took them and placed them in huts which had been prepared for the reception of new guests, as we called them.. I waited until they had gone inside, and then I went up to them. At that very moment one of the orderlies came along and told me that I had to report to Brunner. I did not know what the reason was. When I came to Brunner, he said to me: "You swine, you sent a letter outside that we are sending off transports - how did you dare do such a thing?"

I told him that was not correct, that I had not written and that I had not passed on information to anyone. The truth was that I had indeed done so, and they had apparently found my note, for I had sent it with one of the guards.

Q. For this reason he gave an order to deport you?

A. Yes. Standing next to him was the deputy of my "Aryanizer," the deputy commander of the "Hlinka Guard" - and because I maintained that this was not true, he said to him: "Do you hear what he is saying?" The man stood at attention and said: "Hauptsturmfuehrer, Sir, I wish to state, with due respect, that it is true." With this, he summoned the orderlies and told them to take me away to solitary confinement.

Q. Was it clear to you, on that occasion, that you would now be included in the transport?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see Mrs. Gisi Fleischmann in the camp?

A. I not only saw her; I was together with her in that room for a day or a day-and-a-half, that is to say, until the night before the deportation.

Q. And were you, in fact, supposed to be in the same transport?

A. Yes, we were supposed to be in the same transport.

Q. And your parents were also supposed to be in the same transport?

A. Yes. We were, all of us, registered for the transport, myself included. Gisi Fleischmann stood there, behind me, and she tried to speak to Brunner. She wanted to speak to him several times. And then he turned around, turning his back on her. Subsequently she said to me: I have to try once more, and she suddenly stood before him. He said to her: Get away from here! This one, too, has deceived us.

Q. Mr. Rosenberg, how were you saved this time?

A. That night, before the deportation, we were together, all of us, in a part of the camp that was guarded by the "Feldgendarmerie," which did not belong to the camp itself, and which had come there during the night. One of the chief orderlies had brought with him the cap and stripes of an orderly and said to me, in Slovakian: "Adolo, come quickly!" I went back, kissed my parents, and fled to a place where I would be able to change... Previously I had had a moustache, and I removed it.

Presiding Judge: Is your name Adolo?

Witness Rosenberg: This is a nick-name.

State Attorney Bach: You said that you parted from your parents. Did your parents know at that time what fate awaited them?

Witness Rosenberg: Yes. My father said to me, in German: "Do something to get out of here. Outside you have a wife and child. I, too, would like to go on living - but what can I do? This will not last much longer."

Q. And then, by this means, you got out and were liberated?

A. I went back to the carpentry shop that same night, and there, in the carpentry shop, we had a place which we called our bunker. I went inside it. Some boards had been placed in front of it - they camouflaged the entire bunker, and I remained there until the transport left.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.