The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 66
(Part 5 of 9)

Q. Did you believe that you were in an extermination camp?

A. At the beginning I did not believe it. When I arrived, I saw what was going on there. Later on, the train again moved on, and we continued our journey for almost the whole night. Towards morning, we reached the station at Malkinia. By then, I was standing near the window, and I noticed that Polish men, railway workers, were making signs to us that we were travelling to our deaths. They drew their hands across their throats, as a sign for being slaughtered. At all events, no one wanted to believe it. "How could it be that they could take young, fit people and send them straight to their deaths?" We did not want to believe this.

Once again, the carriages moved, and we came to a certain place. Suddenly we heard shouts in German: "Everybody out, and take all your possessions and parcels with you." Of course, they began immediately hitting people with their rifles and clubs, shooting people who did not manage to get out quickly, most of them elderly people, sick persons, and those who had fainted, and those met their deaths in the freight cars or near the platform. And then we assembled on the platform, and they made us run in the direction of the gate. The gate led into a large yard.

Q. Was this already inside Treblinka?

A. Yes, this was inside the Treblinka camp.

Q. Please look behind you. Are you able to identify the illustration behind you?

A. Yes, only a certain part, not the whole picture.

Q. Do you recognize a certain section?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you recognize the part through which you entered?

A. Yes. I recognize it.

Q. Would you please show the Court where it is?

Presiding Judge: Perhaps it would be more convenient in the second illustration. Compare the two illustrations.

Witness Teigman: The train came in up to this point [he points it out on the sketch] in this direction, through the gate which was here. Here was the platform. From the platform, we continued walking towards the gate. At this point, there was a fence with a gate, and here was the yard. Thats right: Here there was a well, and two huts also stood here. These are the two huts which were placed inside the yard, and near them there was a well. I am almost certain that this is how it was. Here there was a garage, a motor repair shop, a hut where they repaired vehicles. Here, later, were the buildings in which we lived, the staff and the prisoners. Here were the workshops.

Q. What was the name of this section of the camp where you were? By what number was it called? Treblinka 1 or Treblinka 2?

A. They called it Camp 1.

Q. And the second section?

A. They called the second section Camp 2.

Q. And you were in No. 1?

A. Yes.

Q. You arrived at the platform. What happened to you at the platform?

A. As I have already said, they opened the freight cars and shouted at us to come out and take with us our personal belongings and parcels. A large number of people were killed on this platform or inside these freight cars, such as those who fainted or those who were not quick enough. On the double, at lightning speed, they made us run towards the courtyard in which those two huts stood. Next to the gate, men were standing, men of the SS and Ukrainians, and here, right away, the sorting began. They shouted to the women to go to the left, and to the men to go to the right. I did not want to part from my mother so soon. Precisely at the gate, I received a blow on my head from something, I think it was from a stick, and I fell down. I got up immediately, for I didn't want to receive another blow, and by then my mother was no longer at my side.

Q. After that, did you see your mother again?

A. After that, I did not see her again.

Q. How many young people were there with you?

A. When we entered the camp, out of the entire transport, they took four hundred people - of course, after sorting, after selection. Two hundred remained in Camp 1, and two hundred young people were sent to the camp where there were the gas chambers. This I learned afterwards, for I did not know about it at the beginning.

Q. Do you want to add something about the Lazarette? Did something happen in connection with the Lazarette immediately after you arrived?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Where was that?

Witness Teigman: I see it here. [He points it out]. And, in fact, it was here, at the end of the camp, next to the second gate. This Lazarette was a pit that had been dug out and fenced with barbed wire, and near it, at the entrance, stood a hut painted white, with markings of the Red Cross, and there was also a sign there, Lazarette.

Q. That we do not see here, so it seems.

A. We do not see it here, there is only a number here, 10 or something.

All these people who were killed on the platform, or those who fainted or who still showed signs of life but were unable to walk, we had to carry them to the Lazarette. They cynically gave it this name, as if they were going to the doctor. There was this pit, and we had to throw all these bodies into the pit. Those who were still alive were shot at the edge of the pit and were thrown inside.

Attorney General: You may now return to the witness stand. On the following day, you went out to work?

A. Yes.

Q. What kind of work?

A. At first, we had to take logs of wood and to carry them from place to place. Afterwards, they sent us to sort out personal effects.

Q. What personal effects?

A. The personal effects of the people they had brought there, the victims who had gone to the gas chambers. They left all these articles in our camp, Camp 1, before they entered the...

Q. What was the quantity of personal effects that you saw, when you first came there?

A. An enormous quantity. There were actually heaps outside on the ground, several storeys high.

Q. Clothes, personal possessions?

A. Clothes, personal possessions, children's toys, shoes. I think there was nothing that...everything that one could see was there - medicines and instruments, everything.

Q. Meanwhile, did further transports arrive on the day following your arrival?

A. Yes, all the time.

Q. Transports were arriving all the time?

A. At first, there were many transports, almost every day. There were also instances of two transports a day. Later on, after a number of months, the number of transports decreased, there were less.

Q. And so, you say, your work was to carry logs of wood?

A. It was only at the beginning that they gave us that work.

Q. Afterwards, what was your work?

A. We worked in sorting personal effects. There were also people whose work was in preserving fur coats; we also worked on renovating aluminium ware.

Q. Where did all these articles go to?

A. As far as we knew, as the talk went in the camp, all of it went to Germany.

Q. Who shot the people at the Lazarette?

A. There were SS men: Scharfuehrer Mentz or Minz - I do not remember his exact name; they called him Frankenstein, since he had a face which really was frightening to look at - I think his name was Scharfuehrer Minz. The second was Scharfuehrer Miete, he was from Berlin. The third was Scharfuehrer Blitz. And they were helped by one of the Ukrainians, but I don't remember his name.

Q. Once a transport of children arrived, do you remember?

A. Yes. A transport of children arrived. There were two freight cars. The children were almost suffocated, actually. We had to remove their clothes and take them - that is to say, we transported them - into the Lazarette, and there the SS men whom I have mentioned shot them. It was said that these were orphans who came from an orphanage. I don't know.

Q. Generally speaking, what was the size of the transports?

A. Generally, sixty freight cars would arrive, and into each freight car they put about one hundred persons. I imagine that there were up to six thousand persons, or even more.

Q. Was it always Jews only?

A. No. There was also a transport of Gypsies.

Q. One?

A. In fact, there were two, but I remember one well.

Q. Apart from the Gypsies, were all the others Jews?

A. They were Jews.

Q. Do you remember a transport of Jews from Grodno?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened?

A. The transport of Jews from Grodno arrived, that is to say, it was already the second transport. It arrived towards evening.

Q. Before that, was it preceded by another transport?

A. The transport that preceded it was much larger, apparently from the environs of Warsaw - I don't know.

Q. Did they go to the gas chambers?

A. They went to the gas chambers. After that, came the transport from Grodno. This was already towards the evening, and the people who entered the courtyard between those two huts refused to undress. They were told to remove their clothes, to tie their shoes well together; they were given rope, wire, and they were strict about that.

Q. That they should tie their shoes together?

A. That they should tie their shoes together.

Q. Were the people there told why they were being asked to do this?

A. Yes.

Q. What did they tell them?

A. There was also a large notice in the yard which said that all the people were going to take a bath, that they would be disinfected, and all their papers, valuables and money should be handed in to the camp safe which was there on this path that led to the gas chambers. They called it Himmelstrasse (Road to Heaven), or Schlauch (hosepipe), or Himmelallee (Avenue to Heaven). This building was a small hut. These people who had to receive all the papers, all the money, and all the documents stood there.

Q. Can you point out where this Schlauch or this Himmelallee was situated?

A. Yes. I can see it [points to the sketch]. Here we see a certain line, these two buildings. And here is the Schlauch, this Himmelallee.

Q. And here [pointing] the people walked after they had already undressed?

A. Yes. Here the people entered this path, it was called Schlauch or Himmelstrasse.

Q. Can you identify it in the second picture also?

A. In the second picture, one sees it differently from here [points to it]. The people inside the small building who received all the documents and money used to be called Goldjuden (gold Jews). The person in charge was someone named Scharfuehrer Suchomit. I believe he was from Sudetenland, for he spoke with a Viennese or Austrian accent.

Q. Was it there that they told the people that they would be taken to work, and that they had to take a bath?

A. First of all, they were going to take a bath, and afterwards they should come to retrieve their belongings, and then they would go out to work.

Q. Did the people who reached that point still believe that this was the truth?

A. There were some who, I think, still believed, for at first there was no reaction.

Q. Even after the blows at the railway station, after the whipping?

A. People were confused, for it was done at tremendous speed. I think the people did not even have time to think. Each one fled and ran fast, so as not to receive blows. But perhaps we can pass on to the transport from Grodno.

Q. Let us go back now to the transport from Grodno.

A. Amongst them there were men who called out to the others not to get undressed. Apparently, they realized what was going on and they knew. And so they refused. Then the Germans and the Ukrainians began beating them. They also shot them. I also remember SS men and Ukrainians who were sitting on the roofs on the two huts I mentioned, with automatic weapons, and they also fired into the crowd.

Despite all this, the people were not ready to undress. We stood some distance away and saw it all. We were near the yard. Later we heard an explosion. Apparently, someone had thrown a grenade or I don't know what. At any rate, they removed a seriously wounded Ukrainian from this yard. Afterwards, the Germans somehow overpowered them and put them onto this path by force. But most of them walked in their clothes.

Q. When was this?

A. This was several months after I reached Treblinka. I don't remember exactly when.

Q. In 1942?

A. Still in 1942.

Q. What did they do to the women, to the women's hair?

A. The women who came to the camp, as I have said, had to go to the left and to enter one of the buildings in the yard. There they had to undress and to continue walking. There was also a room there. In a section of the room, there men were who were called "barbers". They had to cut off the hair of these women before they entered this path.

Q. Please tell me, did the people who were brought in the transports undergo some kind of selection in the camp, either for work or dispatch?

A. There was no selection, apart from those who were taken out for work. Each time they took a number of people for work.

Q. For work in connection with the extermination?

A. Exactly.

Q. Was there no other work in this camp?

A. There was no other work. It was all connected with the extermination.

Q. Do you remember the late Dr. Chorazycki?

A. I remember him very well.

Q. Who was he?

A. He was a doctor. I think he came from Warsaw. I'm not sure. He attended to the Ukrainians and also to the Germans.

Q. Was he together with you in Treblinka 1?

A. Yes. I remember that, on one occasion, one of the commanders, named Kurt Franz - he was an Untersturmfuehrer, at first an Oberscharfuehrer and afterwards he was promoted - searched him. I don't know why he did this. Perhaps someone had informed against him, or perhaps this was just a routine search which they made on most of the inmates of the camp; money was found on his person. Chorazycki knew right away what was in store for him: Where money was found, people were instantly shot, killed or hanged.

Q. Do you know for what purpose he was keeping this money?

A. He was one of those who wanted to carry out an armed revolt.

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