The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 71
(Part 2 of 7)

Attorney General: Do you remember the notorious Dr. Mengele?

Witness Alexander: To my sorrow - very well indeed.

Q. We have already heard about him, but there is one matter which we have not yet heard about. Do you remember the experiments he used to conduct on twins?

A. I only witnessed one experiment.

Q. What did you witness?

A. There was a set of twins, Gypsies, whom he took away one day from the block where I was - that was the Zigeunerlager - the Gypsy camp. Some days later, he returned them, with veins in their arms and their backs sewn together.

Presiding Judge: I did not understand that.

Attorney General: He sewed them.

Presiding Judge: Sewed the veins together?

Witness Alexander: Yes.

Q. Did he turn them into Siamese twins?

A. He sewed their arms together - they were already full of pus, and full of wounds.

Attorney General: And they did not live much longer?

Witness Alexander : I succeeded in getting out of there, before...I asked the Lagerfuehrer who had transferred me there to send me back to the women's camp.

Q. Do you remember the period of the Hungarian women in 1944?

A. I remember.

Q. Perhaps you will tell us something about this?

A. After leaving the Gypsy camp - the children's block - I again entered Camp A. Sometime later, I was again chosen to be Blockaelteste to the Hungarian women, in the Gypsy camp. There were six blocks. When I received this task, the next day, the Lageraelteste called us - she was a Jewess - and told us that these women did not know anything about what was happening in Auschwitz, and they were not to know. If we were able to remain silent and not tell them - we should do so. I did not remain silent.

Q. What did you tell them?

A. I asked them not to say that they were feeling unwell, for we knew that a selection would take place. I asked them not to say that they wanted to see their children or their parents.

Q. Why? What was likely to happen to them if they said this?

A. I told them that if they were to ask for that - it would cost them their lives.

Q. If they were to say that they wanted that?

A. Yes. Later on, when the doctor, Dr. Klein, came - he was from Romania, an SS man who spoke Hungarian - one of the women jumped up from her bed and said to him that everything that he had promised them, namely that they were going to a camp where they would not have to work, and where conditions would be easier for them - these words were, evidently not true. She pointed to me and said: "This woman told us a different story." He took me out of the block. Why he did not kill me, I do not know.

Q. But you were beaten?

A. Yes, but that was not important.

Q. Did you see children being taken away to be killed?

A. A Hungarian woman with a little girl came into my block - I don't know how. I kept her in the block for several weeks. I don't know how this became known to Irma Grese. One day, SS men, not of our camp, came there, and then they took the child. Subsequently, we learned from men who worked in the Sonderkommando that the little girl had been thrown into the fire.

Q. To keep a child at its mother's side entailed a risk to one's own life? Was it forbidden to do so?

A. Of course. That night, the mother went to the electrified fence.

Attorney General: I would ask you to identify a number of pictures I have which were drawn after the liberation, and to tell me, if you are able to remember, whether they mean anything to you.

May I approach the witness?

Presiding Judge: Yes. If you want us to see them at the same time, perhaps you would approach us, together with the witness. You may come here, Mrs. Alexander.

Attorney General: What does this picture convey to you? [Shows the witness a picture.]

Witness Alexander: Flight from a freight car on the way to Auschwitz.

Q. What does this picture convey to you? [Shows the witness a picture.]

A. This is the entrance to Auschwitz. When they shaved our heads, when we ceased being women altogether.

Q. Is that what it looked like?

A. Yes.

Judge Halevi: Who was this?

Witness Alexander : The SS.

Presiding Judge: And who was the woman barber?

Witness Alexander: At the time we entered the camp, they were Jewish women. At that time, there were only a few German women there - they were the Vorarbeiterin (worker in charge) and Kapo.

Q. We have heard that this task was also performed by a man. Do you know about that?

A. That came at a later stage.

Q. But that happened?

A. Yes, when we came to Birkenau.

Q. In this way?

A. Yes.

Attorney General: What does this convey to you? [Shows the witness a picture.]

Witness Alexander : These were the Kojen, the bunks.

Q. Is that what they looked like?

A. Yes.

Q. What does this mean to you? Was it the Revier?

[Shows the witness a picture.]

A. Yes - that was the Revier.

Presiding Judge: Who is this nurse? A Jewess?

Witness Alexander: Either a Jewess or some other prisoner.

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

Witness Alexander : The sign of the SS on a dog - that I never saw.

Q. But what does the picture as a whole remind you of?

A. Beatings.

Q. This is what it looked like?

A. Yes, and worse than that.

Judge Halevi: Is this woman a Kapo?

Attorney General: Yes - here it says "Kapo". They used to wear an armband with the inscription "Kapo". What is this? [Shows the witness a picture.]

A. The distribution of food. It was not always so peaceful - at times, it was accompanied by many beatings.

Q. Like it is here?

A. More or less.

Presiding Judge: What happened here? Can you tell us? It surely says so in the caption.

Attorney General: The caption says: "Here is a little soup for you - this evening you will receive some more." What is this? A punishment roll-call? [Shows the witness a picture.]

Witness Alexander: Sometimes we had to stand like that, on our knees.

Presiding Judge: With your hands raised?

Witness Alexander : Yes.

Attorney General: What is this? A medical examination of someone who has a rash? [Shows the witness a picture.]

Witness Alexander: That could be.

Q. Do you remember such things - a bodily examination while you were kneeling down and leaning on your hands, with your heads down, with an SS man passing by and examining?

A. Yes.

Q. And, at the side, a flogging?

A. Apparently, she escaped from the ranks.

Q. And what is this? [Shows the witness a picture.]

A. A selection.

Presiding Judge: Was that called a "Sortierung"?

Witness Alexander: That was called a "Sortierung."

Attorney General: Was this the ride on the trucks to the gas chambers? [Shows the witness a picture]

Witness Alexander: Yes. I myself was once on such a truck.

Q. This is a prisoner giving a slice of bread to a woman prisoner. Did such things happen?

A. They happened. Both men and women prisoners gave bread.

Q. Is this what the punishment by flogging looked like?

[Shows the witness a picture.]

A. Yes. And also with an "Ochsenschwanz" - an ox-tail.

Presiding Judge: A whip?

Witness Alexander: A real ox-tail. I once got twenty-five such lashes.

Attorney General: Do you recall a case of an electric current being passed through a man's body?

Witness Alexander: No.

Q. If you did not witness it, you cannot identify it. Is this the carrying out of punishment by lashes during a roll- call? [Shows the witness a picture.]

A. Yes.

Q. Is that what it looked like?

A. Yes.

Q. In the case of women, too?

A. Yes.

Q. With the body exposed?

A. Yes.

Q. And here?

Presiding Judge: Actually, I should have asked whether Dr. Servatius has seen these pictures.

Attorney General: Dr. Servatius has seen the pictures.

Dr. Servatius: It will suffice for me if I glance at them afterwards.

Presiding Judge: I really forgot this time - I am sorry.

Attorney General: Is this gymnastics - the well-known sport? [Shows the witness a picture.]

Witness Alexander: Yes.

Q. Is this suicide by touching the wires? [Shows the witness a picture.]

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see many such cases?

A. Yes.

Q. Almost daily?

A. Almost every day.

Q. The hanging of women at roll-calls. Is this what it looked like? [Shows the witness a picture.]

A. I once saw how they hanged a woman who had escaped from Auschwitz and was captured.

Presiding Judge: Why are these women not wearing prisoner's clothes? Is this correct?

Witness Alexander: This girl who escaped was also not wearing prisoner's clothes. She was in SS uniform, and they caught her and brought her back to Birkenau, where they hanged her.

Attorney General: And is this the evacuation march from Auschwitz which you also saw? [Shows the witness a picture.]

Witness Alexander I did not take part in the march from Auschwitz. I was in another march, from Breslau to Mauthausen.

Q. Was this how it looked, roughly?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Who drew this?

Attorney General: We received it from Mr. Dobkin, a member of the Executive of the Jewish Agency. It was given to him as a gift. It was drawn by a woman prisoner.

Presiding Judge: It says here "Sophia Rosenstock."

Attorney General: We did not succeed in tracing her. For this reason, we want to authenticate the drawings in this way.

Presiding Judge: I have marked the collection of pictures T/1346. [The album is handed to Dr. Servatius for perusal.]

Attorney General: I have completed my questioning, Your Honour.

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

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mrs. Alexander, you have concluded your testimony.

Attorney General: I call Mr. Hoch.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Hoch: Yes.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Witness: Nachum Hoch.

Attorney General: Mr. Hoch, you live at 49 Ben Yehuda Street, Haifa?

Witness Hoch: Yes.

Q. Were you born in Romania?

A. Yes.

Q. And in 1944, you were deported from Transylvania to Auschwitz?

A. From the village of Borsa in Transylvania.

Presiding Judge: Did it belong to Transylvania?

Witness Hoch: Yes. It belonged to Transylvania.

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