Boeck testimony 2, Boeck Richard

The prosecution also took great care to stress the terrible cruelty of the
gassing operations in Auschwitz, as evinced by the following statement from
former SS-Unterscharfuehrer Richard Boeck: “I simply cannot describe how these
people screamed. That lasted about eight or ten minutes and then everything was
quiet. A short while later, some inmates opened the door and you could still
see a blue fog hanging over the giant tangle of corpses. The corpses were
cramped together in such a way that you could not tell to whom the individual
appendages and body parts belonged. For example, I noticed that one of the
victims had stuck his index finger several centimeters into the eye-socket of
another. This gives you a sense of how indescribably terrible the death throes
of this person must have been. I felt to ill that I almost vomited.” The
visceral physicality of this description is immediately striking. These victims
are no mere statistics; they suffered terribly in acute, bodily ways. This
description makes it plain that killing people with gas was not, at its point
of application, a bureaucratic operation conducted with cold detachment but an
excrutiatingly brutal form of murder.

Work Cited

Pendas, Devin O. “The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, 1963-1965,” New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2006. pp 112-113