The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Otto Horn
Extracts from Deposition
In the Matter of John Demjanjuk
(Part 4 of 5)

The following are extracts from the Horn deposition in the Demjanjuk case.

MR. MOSKOWITZ: Let the record reflect that the witness has drawn three circles in three squares in the upper right-hand corner of the diagram; each of these rectangular areas says "Leichengrube".


Q. Mr. Horn, you stated that there were several hundred Jews living in the upper camp.
A. Yes.

Q. Among these, were there any women?
A. Yes.

Q. Approximately how many?
A. Six, in the washing room.

Q. Do you recall--
A. In the laundry.

Q. Do you recall the names of any of these women?
A. Names I don't recall, but one was present in the Du"sseldorf Trial.

Q. In what year was that?
A. That was from 1964 to '65.

Q. She was there as a witness?
A. This woman?

Q. Yes.
A. Yes.

Q. Mr. Horn, what were your duties in the upper camp?
A. Well there was no real assignment. Anybody could go where he wanted. This went automatically.

Q. Did you perform any duties?
A. Yes, supervision only.

Q. In reference to the gas chamber in the upper camp, Mr. Horn, who -- who was -- was there anyone in charge of the gas chamber?
A. Yes -- this Mathes and Schmidt. Mathes, as the Commandant, and Schmidt with the gas chamber always; operating the engines, Schmidt was.

Q. Was Schmidt a German?
A. Yes.

Q. Did anyone assist him at the gas chamber? Did anyone assist Schmidt at the gas chambers?
A. Yes. There were always Ukrainians there.

Q. Were there different Ukrainians? Or were these always the same two Ukrainians present there?
A. These were always the same.

Q. So it was two particular Ukrainians who were always stationed at the gas chamber?
A. Yes.

Q. Do you recall the names of these two Ukrainians?
A. One was called Ivan. The other I don't know.

Q. Would you spell the name "Ivan"?
A. I-w-a-n.

Q. And you do not recall the name of the second Ukrainian?
A. No. No.

Q. Would you describe the physical appearance of this "Iwan"?
A. He was tall and mighty.

Q. Approximately how tall was he?
A. Approximately one meter eighty.

Q. What was his build like?
A. Well it was staunch, corpulent.

Q. What did his face look like?
A. It was round, full.

Q. What was his complexion like?
A. Well normal. I wouldn't know.

Q. Well, light or ruddy, or dark?
A. Light.

Q. What color was his hair?
A. I think black -- but dark, at least.

Q. Was it long or short?
A. Not as long as today, but -- I can't recall, exactly.

Q. How was he dressed?
A. I think in black uniform.

Q. Was he armed?
A. With a pistol, yes.

Q. Can you physically -- can you describe physically the other Ukrainian at the gas chamber?
A. He was shorter --

Q. Was --

MR. MOSCOWITZ: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

A. [Continued] -- and otherwise -- Well, no.

Q. What color was his hair?
A. I don't recall. I can't say.

Q. Was he heavy? Or thin?
A. He was a bit shorter, a bit on the thin side.

Q. Why is it you remember Iwan?
A. He was always there. He was Schmidt's right hand.

Q. Do you recall anything generally about his attitude or behavior?
A. What he did, or something like that?

Q. How he conducted himself?
A. He was always present there when a transport came, in the anteroom of this cell building.


Q. Could you determine what his attitude was towards the German officers?
A. No, no, I couldn't. Well, he was rather -- well he was on -- he was on good terms -- with this Mathes and Schmidt.

Q. Was that unusual for the Ukrainians to be on good terms with them?
A. Yes, yes.

Q. So you're saying he was closer with Mathes and Schmidt than
the other Ukrainians were?

MR. MARTIN: Objection.
[To interpreter] Go ahead. Go ahead.

A. Yes, yes.

Q. Did this Iwan have any particular skills?
A. Well he could handle engines and drive a car, and such things.


Q. Mr. Horn, you stated previously that this Iwan was present at the gas chamber.
A. Yes.

Q. Do you recall seeing him at the gas chamber?
A. Yes.

Q. Where was he at the gas chamber when you saw him?
A. The anteroom to the gas chambers.

Q. Now when you say "anteroom", what part of the gas chamber is that? Is that the entrance?
A. Yes, the entrance here [indicating].

Q. Now at the time you saw him there, was he outside of the gas chamber, or was he inside of the gas chamber?
A. Inside.

Q. You were able to see him inside the gas chamber?
A. Yes.

Q. What was he doing there at that time?
A. He directed the prisoners, or he co-directed the prisoners, into the cells, into the chambers.

Q. Now was he helping to direct the people -- the Jews -- into
the gas chambers?

MR. MARTIN: Objection.

A. Direct them in, yes -- yes.

Q. Did there come a time when you saw him at any other part of the gas chambers?
A. At the place where the engines were.

Q. Which engines were these? These are engines of the gas

MR. MARTIN: Objection.

A. Yes.

Q. Let me direct you to Government Exhibit 1 and ask you to draw -- using this pen [handing pen to witness] -- an "M" on the part of the gas chambers where the motors were?
A. [Indicating.]

MR. MOSCOWITZ: Let the record relect that Mr. Horn drew an "M" on the right-hand side of the box which is labeled "Neue Gaskammern" -- which is in the upper right-hand part of the diagram, Government Exhibit 1. And his "M" is over to the right where it says "Moterenraum".


Q. Mr. Horn, were these engines outside or were they enclosed inside a room?
A. Inside. They were insides. Everything was built in.

Q. And did you see Iwan -- Was there -- Was there -- Strike that. Did you see Iwan go into this room where the motors were?

MR. MARTIN: Objection.

A. Yes. They spent most of their time there together with Schmidt.


Q. Mr. Horn, you stated before that you saw Iwan in the area of the motors of the gas chamber.
A. Yes.

Q. What if anything did you see him doing there?
A. No, I didn't see. I didn't go in there. I only saw him going in.

Q. You saw him going into where?
A. Into the gas chamber.

Q. At the entrance you've already marked with an "M"?
A. Yes.

Q. Was there anyone else with him at that time?
A. This Schmidt was always with him.

Q. And was Schmidt with him at the time that he would go into that entrance?
A. Yes. There were always in there. They were always there. They were always there.

Q. What would happen on such occasions after Iwan -- What if anything would happen in the gas chambers after Iwan and Schmidt entered into that motor room?

MR. MARTIN: Objection.

A. That was mostly when they were filled in the gas chambers. Then they went in -- into the gas -- that is, into the engine room.

Q. And what if anyting did they do in the engine room?

MR. MARTIN: Objection.

A. They certainly turned on the engines and gassed the people.

Q. How long would the process of gassing last?
A. Perhaps an hour.

Q. And what if anything happened after that hour was over?
A. Then after one hour only, the chambers were opened.

Q. And what happened then?
A. And then the corpses were carried away into the pits and partly for burning.

Q. Mr. Horn, were you tried in court for your activities at Treblinka?
A. Yes.

Q. Where was that?
A. At Duesseldorf.

Q. And what was the verdict concerning you at that trial?
A. I was acquitted.

Q. Completely?
A. Entirely, completely.


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