Archive/File: camps/maidanek maidanek.004
In doing research on the Majdanek concentration camp I came
across a reference to a document written by the committee of inquiry which
was set up by the Soviets and Poles after the liberation of the Majdanek
concentration camp to investigate German crimes at the camp. This is
especially important considering that since Majdanek was one of the first
camps to be liberated, it was captured relatively intact because the
Germans did not have enough time to destroy it or cover up all their
crimes. I tracked down only two copies of this document in English in the
whole country(there are versions in Russian, Polish and French also), the
one of which I used being at the Hoover War Library at Stanford University.
Once I received a copy I decided it would be worth it to enter it into my
computer, and once I started I decided to make it available to other
researchers. I scanned in the text and corrected the mistakes made by the
OCR software which was not so accurate because of the poor quality of the
photocopy and of the original printing. This will hopefully be the first in
a series of documents which I will be making available electronically. I am
making this available through e-mail by request, in the various Holocaust
archives, and in the original Macintosh document by request. If I ever get
my WWW home page set up, it’ll be available there too. If you have any
questions about this text please feel free to e-mail me at
[email protected] (which should be active at least through 1997). Feel
free to distribute this but please make sure not to edit or change the text
and to leave my intro in place. Thank you.
Format notes: I have tried as best I could to retain the format of the
printed document. The original has pages which are about 4 inches
wide and 6 inches tall. I separated the pages by dotted lines with
the page number on the line preceding the page which it designates. I
also, whenever possible, used accent marks and curly quotes to keep it
exactly as I saw it on the page — this means that if you received
this document over e-mail without MIME encoding that you will see some
strange characters in the middle of the document — if your mail
reader has MIME capabilities then I beleive everying should look okay.
The version of this which is available as a Macintosh document also
uses different sized type, bold text and centered text to make it
match the styles and such from the original.
[Archival note: I have reformatted this document for the archives.
The changes are solely in format; i.e. paragraphs now contain spaces
between them, and the right margin has been reset to 70 from 75. knm]
COMMISSION FOR INVESTIGATING
THE CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE
GERMANS IN THE MAJDANEK
EXTERMINATION CAMP IN LUBLIN
FOREIGN LANGAUGES PUBLISHING HOUSE
I. The Majdanek Extermination Camp in Lublin……..2
II. The Categories of Prisoners in the Camp………3
III. The Tortures and Bloody Reprisals Practised
in the Extermination Camp……………….5
IV. The Wholesale Shooting of Prisoners of War
and Civilians in the Camp……………….9
V. Asphyxiation by Gas………………………..13
VI. The German Butchers Tried to Cover up the
Traces of their Heinous Crimes………….18
VII. The Hitlerites Robbed the Prisoners in the
Camp of their Valuables and Belongings…..22
Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
OF THE POLISH-SOVIET EXTRAORDINARY COMMISSION
FOR INVESTIGATING THE CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE
GERMANS IN THE MAJDANEK EXTERMINATION CAMP
The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission for Investigating
the Crimes Committed by the Germans in Lublin, consisting of Mr. A.
Witos, Vice-Chairman of the Polish Committee of National Liberation
(Chairman of the Commission); the Rev. Dr. Kruszynski, Dean of the
Lublin Catholic Cathedral; Dr. Somerstein, member of the Polish
Committee of National Liberation; Mr. Christians, Barrister,
President of the Lublin Red Cross Society; Professor Bialkowski of the
Lublin Catholic University; Professor Poplawski of the Lublin
University; Mr. Balcerzak, Procurator of the Lublin Appeal Court and
Mr. Szczepanski, Preeident of the Lublin Circuit Court (representing
Poland); and D. I. Kudryavtsev (Vice-Chairman of the Commission),
Professor V. I. Prozorovsky and Professor N. I. Graschenkov,
(representing the U.S.S.R.), investigated the crimes committed in
In the territory of Poland the Hitlerites set up an extensive
network of concentration camps: in Lublin, Demblin, Oswiencim, Cholm,
Sobibor, Biala Podlaska, Treblinka and other places.
To these camps they transported for extermination hundreds of
thousands of people from the occupied countries of Europe-France,
Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece,
Denmark, Norway and others.
In these camps the criminal Hitler government organized the
massacre of whole sections of the population whom they regarded as
undesirable, primarily the intellectuals of the
occupied countries of Europe, Soviet and Polish prisoners of war, and
The facts discovered by the Commission in its investigation of
the crimes committed by the Germans in Lublin far exceed in brutality
and barbarity the monstrous crimes committed by the German fascist
invaders of which international public opinion is already aware.
I. THE MAJDANEK EXTERMINATION CAMP IN LUBLIN
In Majdanek, Lublin, the Hitlerite butchers built a vast
slaughter house, which they themselves called ‘Vernichtungslager,’
i.e., ‘Extermination Camp.’
The following two Germans, now prisoners of war, who served in
this camp, testified:
Rottenfuhrer SS Theodor Schollen:
“This camp was called ‘Vernichtungslager,’ i.e ‘Extermination
Camp’-precisely because a colossal number of people were exterminated
Kampfpolizist Heinz Stalbe:
“The main purpose of this camp was to exterminate the largest
possible number of people. That is why it was called
‘Vernichtungslager’ i.e., ‘Extermination Camp.'”
The-Majdanek Camp, situated two kilometres from Lublin,
occupies an area of two hundred and seventy hectares. Its erection
was commenced at the end of 1940.
In the beginning of 1943 six fields of the camp were
completed. In every field there were twenty-four barracks, making one
hundred and forty-four barracks in all (not counting other buildings
used as warehouses, workshops, etc.), each accommodating three hundred
persons and over. The camp was surrounded by two rows of barbed wire.
Furthermore, within the camp all the six fields were divided off by a
whole network of barbed wire fences with a guard room at the entrance
to each field. The barbed wire fences around these fields were
charged with a high voltage electric current. All over the camp tall
watch towers were erected in
which sentries armed with machine guns were constantly posted. The
camp was strongly guarded by SS troops. In addition there were two
hundred German police dogs, which played an important part in guarding
the camp, and an auxiliary force of police called Kampfpolizei, which
consisted of criminal elements.
II. THE CATEGORIES OF PRISONERS IN THE CAMP
The camp was capable of accommodating from twenty five to
forty thousand prisoners at a time. At some periods as many as forty
five thousand prisoners were confined there.
The categories of prisoners confined in the camp varied at
different times. The prisoners were systematically exterminated and
fresh transports of prisoners arrived to take their place, so that for
the overwhelming majority of persons sent here the camp was only a
stage on the road to death.
The camp contained prisoners of war of the former Polish army
captured as far back 1939, Soviet prisoners of war, and civilians from
Poland, France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia,
Greece, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Norway and other countries.
This is established by:
a) the discovery within the precincts of the camp of a large
number of passports and other documents belonging to citizens of
different countries of Europe who perished in this camp.
For example: the passport of U.S.S.R. citizens Maria
Timofeyovna Goryunova, Nikolui Frantsevich Mazurkevich, and others;
documents belonging to Polish citizens Czeslaw Siedlecki, Wladyslaw
Soniczny, Stanislaw Jankiewicz and others; documents belonging to
French citizens Gabriel Labrouge, Emile Moltagne, Lucien Roi, Auguste
Chirol, Andre Prinson, and others; documents belonging to Czechoslovak
citizens Josef Hluce, Rudolf Feldinger and others; documents belonging
to Italian citizens Gustav Muole, Guiseppe Music, Pio Tinozi, and
others; documents belong-
ing to the Netherlands citizens Berthus van der Palm, Andertinus van
der Irimi, Petrus Jansen and others; documents belonging to Yugoslav
citizens Stjepan Stepanovic, Rano Zunic and others; documents
belonging to Belgian citizens Leon Bazeo, Theophil van Hauseran, and
others; documents belonging to Greek citizens Ean Zurene, and others,
and also documents belonging to people of other nationalities;
b) the register of deaths in the so-called “Lager-Lazarett,”
but actually the register of those exterminated, in which the names of
a considerable number of dead persons of different nationalities are
recorded. In March 1944 alone, of one thousand six hundred and
fifty-four prisoners who died, six hundred and fifteen were Russians,
two hundred and forty-seven Poles, one hundred and eight French,
seventy-four Yugoslavs, whiIe the rest belonged to other nationalities
inhabiting the countries of Western Europe;
c) the evidence of a number of witnesses:
former German prisoners of the camp aud prisoners of war who
had served in the camp, and also the evidence of former prisoners in
the camp: Le-du Corantin, a Frenchman; Tomasek, a Czech; Benen, a
Netherlander, and others.
The list of prisoners exterminated in the camp was constantly
augmented by the names of Soviet prisoners of war, sections of the
population of occupied countries of Europe, different sections of the
population captured by the Gestapo in the streets, railway stations
and in houses during the systemic raids and searches constantly
carried out by the Hitlerites in Poland and other countries of Europe,
and also by the names of Jews brought here from the ghettoes set up by
the Gestapo in Poland and different towns in Western Europe.
Among the prisoners there were numerous women, children and
aged persons. Sometimes whole families were confined in the camp.
The children were of different ages, including infants.
Thus, the camp was a place for the wholesale extermination of
different nationalities of Europe.
III. THE TORTURES AND BLOODY REPRISALS
PRACTISED IN THE EXTERMINATION CAMP
The regime in the “Extermination Camp” served the object of
accomplishing tho wholesale extermination of the prisoners.
The prisoners dragged out a miserable existence of starvation.
The ordinary daily ration of a prisoner consisted of one issue per day
of coffee made of roasted turnips, two issues per day of soup made of
grass, and from one hundred and eighty to two hundred and seventy
grams of bread, half adulterated with sawdust or chestnut flour. This
led to the complete exhaustion of the prisoners, to the spread of
tuberculosis amd other diseases and the wholesale dying out of the
prisoners. For the slightest “offence” the prisoners were deprived of
even this meagre food for several days at a stretch, which practically
doomed them to death from starvation.
Tomasek, a Czech and a former prisoner of the camp, stated
before the Commission:
“The people starved all the time. The wholesale exhaustion of
the prisoners and death from exbaustion were observed. The prisoners
ate offal, cats and dogs. Most of the prisoners looked like walking
skeletons covered with skin, or were unaturally bloated due to
swelling resulting from starvation.”
Corporal Reznik of the Polish Army and former prisoner of the
“I noticed that the Russian prisoners of war were hardly fed
at all. They were reduced to an extreme state of exhaustion. Their
bodies swelled, and they were not even able to talk. They died in
Starvation was one of the important elements of the general
system of extermination that prevailed in the camp.
The working day started at 4 a.m. The Germans burst into the
barracks and roused the people with whips. The roll was called, at
which all, sound and sick alike, had to be present. Those who had
died in the night had to be taken out to the
barrack square by those who had slept next to them to be checked. The
roll-call lasted two hours and more, and was accompanied by the
beating and tormenting of the prisoners. If a prisoner swooned and
was unable to answer when his name was called, he was registered as
dead and killed with clubs.
At 6 a.m. the prisoners were taken out to work. The
work was exceptionally heavy and exhausting. It was accompanied by
severe beating, torment and murder. The gangs of prisoners returning
for their so-called dinner at 11 a.m., carried with them their
fellow-prisoners who had been beaten, mutilated or killed. During the
evening roll-call the SS men on duty read the names of those prisoners
who had worked “badly,” and these were tied to a form and flogged with
whips, rods or birches. The number of strokes inflicted ranged from
twenty five and over. Often, prisoners were flogged to death.
Zelent, Docent of the Warsaw University, formerly a prisoner
of the camp, stated:
“I knew Barrister Nosek, from Radom, who was given one hundred
strokes, from which he died three days later.”
In the case of intellectuals and prominent persons among the
prisoners, particularly refined methods of torture were adopted. The
Germans compelled Professor Michalowicz, age seventy-two, the famous
expert on infantile diseases, Professor Pomirowski, age sixty, of the
Warsaw Politechnical Institute, Wazowicz, age seventy-five, a member
of the Polish Supreme Court, and many others, to perform the most
arduous work, and tormented them in every possible way.
Tadeusz Budzyn, M. Sc. Chem., a Pole, and formerly a
prisoner at the camp stated:
“The Germans compelled a large group of professors,
physicians, engineers and other specialists, numbering one thousand
two hundred in all, who came from Greece, to carry heavy stones from
one place to another, a task which was far beyond their strength. The
scientists who dropped from exhaustion as a result of this heavy
labour were beaten
to death by thc SS men. Owing to the system of starvation, exhausting
labour, beating and murder, the entire group of Greek scientists was
exterminated in the course of five weeks.”
The methods of torturing and tormenting prisoners varied to an
extraordiuary degree. Many of them bore the character of alleged
“jokes,” which very often ended in the death of the prisoners upon
whom they were played. Among these may be cited the mock shooting of
a prisoner while simultaneously stunning him by a blow on the head
with a plank or other blunt instrument, and the mock drowning of
prisoners in the pool at the camp, which often ended in the actual
drowning of the victims.
Among the German butchers in the camp some specialized in
particular methods of torture and murder. They killed their victims
by striking them with a club across the back of the neck, kicking them
in the stomach or in the groin, etc,
The SS torturers drowned their victims in the filthy water
that flowed from the bathhouse into a shallow ditch. The victim’s
head was forced into this filthy water and kept there with the
jackboot of the SS man until he expired.
The favourite method of the Hitlerite SS men was to hang their
victims by their arms, which were tied behind their backs. Le-du
Corantin, a Frenchman, who had suffered this form of punishment,
stated that when thus suspended the victim soon lost consciousness.
When that happencd the victim was lowered, but was hung up again as
soon us he recovered consciousness. This was repeatcd over and over
For the slightest offence, especially on suspicion of
attempting to escape, the German fiends hanged prisoners in the camp.
In the middle of every field there was a post with a cross-tree fixed
to it about two metres high on which people were hanged.
“From my barrack,” said the witness Domashev, a Soviet
prisoner of war who was confined in this camp, “I saw people hanged on
this post in the middle of the field.”
Near the laundry, in the space between fields No. 1 and No.
2, there was a special barrack with beams stretching from one end to
another, from which people were hanged in whole groups.
Female prisoners in the camp were subjected to no less torment
and torture: the same methods of roll-call, exhausting labour, beating
and torment. The chief woman overseer Erich, of the SS, and the women
overseers Braunstein, Anni Devid, Weber, Knobliek, Ellert and Redli,
were distinguished for their cruelty.
The commission has established numerous cases of absolutely
unprecedented cruelties on the part of the German fiends in the camp.
At a plenary session of the Commission, the German Kampfpolizist,
Heinz Stalbe stated that he saw the chief of the crematorium,
Oberscharfuhrer Munsfeld, tie a Polish womam hand and foot and throw
her alive into the furnace.
Witnesses Jelinski and Olech, who were employed in the camp,
also testified to the burning of people alive in the crematorium
furnaces..”A child was torn from a mother’s breast and before her eyes
was dashed against the wall of the barrack and killed,” stated the
witness Atrokhov. The witness Edward Baran stated:
“I myself saw little children torn away from their mothers and
killed before their eyes: the child was held by one leg, the other was
kept down by the foot and the child was thus torn in two.”
The Deputy Chief of the camp, Obersturmfuhrer SS, Tumann, was
notorious for his exceptional sadism. He forced groups of prisoners
to stand in a row on thier knees and killed them by striking them on
the head with a club; he set police dogs on the prisoners; he took a
most active part in all the punishments and killing of prisoners.
Thus, starvation, exhausting labour, torment, torture and
murder, accompanied by unprecedented sadism, were resorted to in the
wholesale slaughter of prisoners in this camp.
IV. THE WHOLESALE SHOOTING OF PRISONERS
OF WAR AND CIVILIANS IN THE CAMP
The wholesale extermination of the civilian population of European
countries, including Poland and the occupied regions of the U.S.S.R.,
was the deliberate policy of Hitler Germany, which logically followed
from her plan to enslave and exterminate the progressive and active
part of the Slavonic peoples.
The erection in enslaved Poland of camps for the wholesale
extermination of European peoples and prisoners of war was prompted by
the desire of the Hitlerite ruling clique to cover up and conceal
their crimes in every possible way. These camps, including the
Majdanek “Extermination Camp,” were also places for the complete
extermination of tho Jewish population. One of the methods of
exterminating vast masses of people whom Hitler Germany regarded as
undesirable was wholesale shooting, which was extensively practised in
the Lublin “Extermination Camp.”
The bloody history of this camp commences with the wholesale
shooting of Soviet prisoners of war, which the SS men carried out in
November-December 1941. Of a contingent of over two thousand Soviet
prisoners of war, only eighty survived; all the rest were shot, except
for a small group who were tortured to death.
In the period from January to April 1942 fresh contingents of
Soviet prisoners of war arrived in the canmp and were shot.
Jan Niedzialek, a Pole, a hired waggon driver at the camp,
“In the winter of 1942 the Germans exterminated about five
thousand Russian prisoners of war in the following way: the prisoners
were carted in motor trucks from their barracks to pits in the old
quarry and there they were shot.”
Prisoners of war of the former Polish army, captured as far
back as 1939 and confined in different camps in Germany
were already in 1940 collected iu the camp in Lipovaya Street in
Lublin and soon after transferred in groups to the Majdanek
“Extermination Camp” where they met with the same fate: systematic
torment, killing, wholesale shooting, hanging, etc.
The witness Reznik stated the following:
“In January 1941, about four thousand of us Jewish prisoners
of war were loaded into railway trucks and sent eastward. . . . We
were brought to Lublin, told to get out of the train and handed over
to SS men. Approximately in September or October 1942, they decided
to leave in the camp in No. 7 Lipovaya Street only those prisoners
who had factory qualifications and were needed by the city. All the
rest, including myself, were sent to the Majdanek Camp. We all knew
perfectly well that to be sent to the Majdanek Camp meant death.”
Of this contingent of four thousand prisoners of war only a
few individuals, who succeeded in escaping from their work outside of
the camp, survived.
In the summer of 1943, three hundred Soviet officers were
brought to the Majdanek Camp. Among them were two colonels and four
majors. All the rest were captains and senior lieutenants. All the
aforesaid officers were shot in the Camp.
During the whole of 1942, the wholesale shooting of prisoners
in the camp, as well as of inhabitants brought in from outside, was
Tadeusz Drabik, a Pole, inhabitant of the village of Krembeck
(eight kilometres from Lublin), one day saw the SS men bring up
eighty-eight truck loads of people of different nationalities and
ages-men, women and children. These people were taken to the
Krembecki Woods were made to alight from the trucks, were stripped of
all their clothing and valuables and then shot on the edge of pits
which had been dug beforehand. During 1942 the Germans systematically
carried out wholesale shooting in the Krembecki Woods.
In the spring of 1942, six thousand persons arrived at the
camp in one contingent; all were shot in the course of two days.
On November 3, 1943, eighteen thousand four hundred persons
were shot in the camp. Of these eight thousand four hundred were camp
prisoners and ten thousand were people who had been brought here from
the city and from other camps. Three days before this wholesale
shooting, large trenches were dug within the precincts of the camp,
behind the crematorium. The shooting began in the morning and ended
late at night. The people were stripped naked. The SS men led them
to the trenches in groups of fifty and one hundred, compelled them to
lie face downwards in the bottom of the trench and shot them with
automatic rifles. On top of the corpses another row of living persons
was laid and these were also shot. This went on until the trench was
filled. The corpses were then covered with a thin layer of earth.
Two or three days later the bodies were disinterred and burnt in the
crematorium and on bonfires.
In order to drown the shrieks of the victims during the
shooting, and also the sound of the firing, the Germans installed
loudspeakers near the crematorium and in different parts of the camp,
and all day long these loudspeakers blared forth jazz music.
This wholesale shooting became widely known among the
inhabitants of Lublin. SS man Hermann Vogel, who served at the camp,
“That day, in addition – to the people who were brought from
the city, eight thousand four hundred persons were taken from the
Lublin Camp and shot. I, know the exact figure because next day
official information concerning the extermination of eight thousand
four hundred persons was sent to the storehouse where I worked, as we
had to check their clothing.”
Stanislawski, a Polish prisoner who worked in the camp office,
stated the following concerning the shooting on November 3, 1943:
“The Germans called this shooting ‘Sonderbehandlung’ (special
treatment), and it was under this heading that the report was sent to
Berlin. This report contained the following statement-I quote
literally: ‘The difference between the number of prisoners in the camp
in the morning and that of the evening arose as the result of the
special extermination of eighteen thousand persons.'”
The inhabitants of the village of Dziesiata were frequent
witnesses of wholesale shooting, including those carried out in 1944.
From March to July 22 inclusive, the Gestapo brought up a large number
of Polish inhabitants, men, women and children, in motor trucks and
carts. They were taken to the crematorium, near which they were
stripped naked and then shot in the trenches.
“There were days,” stated the witness Niedzialek, who
witnessed these wholesale shootings of Polish inhabitants, “when from
two-hundred to three hundred and more persons were shot.”
The Soviet prisoner of war Kanunnikov witnessed the shooting
in July 1943 of forty women with little children in field No. 1.
Early in the morning the bodies of thc victims were taken to the
crematorium to be burnt.”
In the latter half of May 1943, the SS men brought to the
Krembecki Woods two lorries drawn by a tractor and a motor truck, all
loaded with the dead bodies of Polish children.
The witness Gangol stated:
“I remember another glaring case which I personally witnessed,
and which I fully confirm today: in the latter half of May 1943 the SS
men brought to the Krembecki Woods two lorries drawn by a tractor and
a motor truck, all loaded exclusively with Polish children. They were
entirely naked. All the bodies of these children were piled up in
stacks in the woods and burnt.”
The witness Krasovskaya informed the Commission of a case of
the shooting, in April 1943, of three hundred women brought from
The aforementioned cases of wholesale shooting represent only
a small proportion of the cases collected by the commision.
A Committee of Medical Experts under the chairmanship of
Professor Szyling-Syngalewicz, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at
the Lublin Catholic University, and consisting of Dr. Rupniewski,
Head Doctor of the Lublin City Administration; Lieutenant Colonel of
the Army Medical Service Szkarabski, Medical Expert of a Front;
Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Medical Service Krajewski, Dr. M.
Sc., Chief Pathologist and Anatomist of a Front; Colonel Blochin of
the Army Medical Service, Chief Toxicologist of a Front, and Captain
Grafinska, Medical Expert of the First Polish Army, found as follows:
“The examination of four hundred and sixty-seven corpses and
two hundred and sixty-six skulls revealed traces of firearm wounds to
the number of three hundred and forty two, indicating that it was a
wide practice in the camp to sho[o]t prisoners, mainly in the back of
the head, at close range, with weapons of 0.9 cm. calibre.”
Thus, the evidence of numerous witnesses as well as other
proof (the exhumations carried out by the Committee of Medical
Experts) prove that throughout the period of the existence of the
Lublin Camp, the Germans carried out the wholesale shooting of
prisoners, men, women and children, of different nationalities, some
of whom were shot in the Krembecki Woods situated eight kilometres
V. ASPHYXIATION BY GAS
One of the most widespread methods of exterminating people resorted
to in the Majdanck Camp was asphyxiation by gas.
The Committee of Technical and Chemical Experts under the
Chairmanship of Kelles-Krause, Engineer-Architect of the City of
Lublin, and consisting of Engineer Major
Telaner, Docent; Grigoriev, B.M.E.; and Pelkis, B.M.E., found that the
chambers erected within the precincts of tbe camp were mainly utilized
for the purpose of the wholesale extermination of people. There were
six such chambers in all. Some of them were adapted to the purpose of
putting people to death by means of carbon monoxide; the others were
adapted to the purpose of putting people to death with the aid of a
poisonous chemical substance known as “Cyklon.”
Within the precincts of the camp were found five hundred and
thirty-five canisters containing the substance “Cyklon B,” and several
containers with carbon monoxide. The chemical analysis revealed the
“The contents of the canisters were tested for the presence of
prussic acid by the reaction of the formation of Prussian blue with
the aid of benzidino-acinate indicator paper and picric sodium.
Samples were taken from eighteen canisters and forty-eight-separate
reactions were produced. All the tests gave positive results showing
the presence of prussic acid with the aforesaid reagents. . . .
Thus, the contents of the canisters that were examined consist of the
substance ‘Cyklon B’ which is a specially prepared kieselghur in the
form of granules up to one cm., impregnated with liquid stabilized
prussic acid. The contents of the canisters found in large numbers in
the camp bearing the label ‘Cyklon’ are identical with ‘Cyklon-B’. .
. . Samples of the gas taken from the containers were tested for
carbon monoxide with the aid of reactions to iodinc pentoxide and
palladious chloride indicator paper. In all, sixteen tests were made
with iodine pentoxide and ten were made with palladious chloride
indicator paper. All the tests made with the aforesaid reagents gave
positive reactions to carbon monoxide.”
On the basis of a precise calculation of a technical
examination of the gas chambers, a chemical analysis of the carbon
monoxide and the substance known as “Cyklon” the Committee of Experts
found the following:
“The technical and sanitary-chemical inspection of the
gas chambers at the Majdanek Concentration Camp wholly confirmed the
fact that all these chambers, particularly I, II, III and IV, were
intended and utilized for the purpose of the wholesale and systematic
extermination of people by poisoning with the aid of poisonous gases
such as: prussic acid (the substance known as ‘Cyklon’), and carbon
By utilizing all tbe chambers adapted for the purpose of
poisoning simultaneously, it was possible to put to death one thousund
nine hundred and fourteen persons at a time. It has been established
that in these gas chambers were put to death all the prisoners who
were exhausted by starvation and enfeebled by exhausting labour and
the severity of the camp regime, all those unfit for physical work,
all those who fell sick with typhus, and all others whom the Germans
deemed it necessary to put to death.
During the course of investigation numerous cases of the
wholesale poisoning of prisoners in the gas chamhers of Majdanek were
The witness Stanislawski informed the Commission of the
“In March 1943, three hundred Poles were put to death in the
gas chamber. On June 20, 1943, three hundred and fifty persons were
stripped naked in field No. 1 and taken to the bathhouse. From there
they were taken into the gas chamber, where they were asphyxiated. On
October 14, 1943, two hundred and seventy persons were put to death in
The witness Zelent quoted the case of the asphyxiation by
means of gas of eighty-seven Poles on March 15, 1944.
Another witness, Jan Wolski, a Pole, formerly a prisoner at
the camp, testified to the wholesale asphyxiation of people with gas.
“In October 1942,” he stated, “a large number of women and
children were brought to the camp. The healthy ones were picked out
for work, while the feeble ones, the sick and the children were
asphyxiated in the gas chambers.
In March l943, another two hundred and fifty women and children were
exterminated in the same chamber, and several days later another three
hundred persons of different nationalities were exterminated in this
same way. On May 16, or 17, 1943, one hundred and fifty-eight
children of ages ranging from two to ten were brought to the camp in
motor trucks. These children were put to death in the gas chanber.
In June 1943, the camp administration collected all the sick prisoners
of war and civilian prisoners to the number of about six hundred and
put them all to death the gas chamber.”
Evidence concerning the wholesale asphyxiation of people by
means of gases was given at the meeting of the Commission by German SS
men who had served in the camp.
Rottenfuhrer SS Hensche stated that on September 15, 1942,
three hundred and fifty persons including women and children, were put
to death in the gas chambers.
Oberscharfuehrer SS Terner informed the Commission of the case
which occurred on October 16, 1943, of the asphyxiation in gas
chambers of five hundred persons, including many women and children.
The selection of people to be put to death by asphyxiation was
systematically made by the German camp doctors Blanke and Rindfleisch.
The aforesaid Ternes stated:
“In the evening of October 21, 1943, camp doctor
Untersturmfuehrer SS Rindfleisch told me that that day three hundred
children of ages ranging from three to ten were asphyxiated in the gas
chamber with the substance ‘Cyklon’.”
The corpses were systematically removed from the gas chamber
to be incinerated in the crematorium, or on bonfires. The corpses
were transported on special lorries hauled by tractors. This is
testified to by numerous eyewitnesses.
German prisoner of war, Rottensfuehrer SS Theodor Schollen,
who served in the camp, stated:
“I often saw this machine with trailers going to and fro
between the gas chambers and the crematorium. It came from the gas
chamber loaded with corpses and went back empty.”
The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission has established
that in addition to the gas chambers, the Germans in Lublin utilized
special automobiles known as “murder vans” for the purpose of putting
people to death.
The witnesses-Stetdiener, an ex-soldier of the Polish army,
and Atrokhov, a Soviet prisoner of war, gave a detailed description of
the machine in which the German fiends asphyxiated their victims with
the aid of the exhaust gas from the engine.
The discovery within the precincts of the camp of a number of
corpses bearing the characteristic symptoms of poisoning by carbon
monoxide confirms the fact that the Germans utilized carbon monoxide
for the purpose of putting prisoners to death.
The aforementioned Committee of Medical Experts expressed the
“The extermination of prisoners in the concentration camp was
accomplished by different methods. In the initial period of the
camp’s existence the Hitlerites mainly resorted to wholesale shooting.
Later, they also resorted to the wholesale poisoning of people in
specially built gas chambers by means of powerful poisonous substances
such as prussic acid (the substance known as ‘Cyklon’) and carbon
Thus, the evidence of numerous eyewitnesses, the findings of
the Committee of Medical Experts and the Committee of Technical and
Chemical Experts prove that for nearly three years the Hitler butchers
in the Majdanek Camp Systematically carried out the wholesale
asphyxiation with the aid of gases of hundreds of thousands of totally
innocent people, including aged people, women and children. 2-1966
VI. THE GERMAN BUTCHERS TRIED TO COVER UP
THE TRACES OF THEIR HEINOUS CRIMES
In the initial period of the existence of the Majdanek Camp
the Germans buried the bodies of all those they shot and tortured to
death. Later, and particularly in 1943 and 1944, they burnt the
bodies, exhuming them from the pits in which the victims had been
Already in the beginning of 1942 two furnaces for burning
corpses were erected within the precincts ofthe camp. Owing to the
extremely large number of corpses that had to be dealt with, the
Germans, in 1942, began to erect a large new crematorium with five
incinerators. This crematorium was completed in the autumn of 1943.
The furnaces were in continuous operation. The temperature in them
could be raised to 1500 C. To enable the largest possible number
of corpses to he inserted into the furnaces thc corpses were
dismembered, in particular, the extremities of the corpses were hacked
The Committee of Technical Experts which carefully examined
the construction of the furnaces found as folIows:
“The furnaces were intended for the purpose of incinerating
corpses and were calculated to work continuously. Each furnace was
capable of holding four corpses at a time if the extremities were
hacked off. The time taken to incinerate four corpses was fifteen
minutes, which, working night and day, made it possible to incinerate
one thousand nine hundred and twenty corpses in twenty-four hours.
Judging by the large quantity of bones discovered in all parts of the
camp (in pits, vegetable plots and under manure heaps), the Committee
of Experts is of the opinion that bones were removed from the furnace
before the time necessary for their complete incineration had expired,
as a consequence of which the number of corpses incinerated in the
twenty-four hours was far larger than one thousand nine hundred and
The Committee established that for a long time, particularly
during the past two years, the Germans, in addition to burning corpses
in special furnaces, widely resorted to the practice of burning
corpses on bonfires within the precincts of the camp as well as in the
On stacks of rails or on the chassis of automobiles, which
served as grates, planks were placed; on the planks was placed a layer
of corpses; then came another layer of planks and another layer of
corpses, until from five hundred to one thousand corpses were piled
up. An inflammable liquid was then poured over the entire pile and
set alight. Each fire burnt for forty-eight hours.
The witnesses Hospodarek and Matyasek, inhabitants of the
village of Dziesiata (near the Majdanek Camp) and the village of
Krembec, stated that they had seen gigantic bonfires in the camp and
in the Krembecki Woods on which the bodies of the people who had been
shot and tortured to death by the Germans were burnt.
Within the precincts of the “Extermination Camp” and in the
Krembecki Woods a large number of places was found where the burning
of corpses had taken place. In one of the trenches within the camp
the chassis of an automobile on which corpses had been burnt was
discovered after excavation.
After the exposure of the atrocities perpetrated by the
Germans in the Katyn Woods, the Hitlerites set to work with increased
energy to disinter the corpses from the pits and trenches, and burn
them. The Committee of Medical Experts opened twenty pits of this
kind; eighteen within the precincts of the Majdanek Camp and two in
the Krembecki Woods. In some of the pits a large number of corpses
were found which the Germans had not managed to burn.
Thus, as the result of excavations made in pit No. 1 near the
crematorium, forty two corpses were discovered; in pit No. 19 in the
Krembecki Woods three hundred and sixty-eight bodies of men, women and
children were found. 2*
In other pits a large number of completely decayed corpses and
skeletons were found. In a number of pits a vast quanitity of bones
To conceal the gigantic dimensions of their wholesale massacre
of human beings, the Hitler fiends buried the ashes in pits and
trenches, scattered them over a large part of the camp vegetable
plots, and, mixing the ashes with dung, used them as manure for the
Within the precincts of the “Extermination Camp” the Committee
found over one thousand three hundred and fifty cubic metres of
compost consisting of dung, the ashes of incinerated corpses and small
The Hitlerites resorted to the grinding up of small bones in a
special “mill.” A detailed description of this mill was given by the
witness Stetdiener, a Diesel mechanic by trade, whom the Germans
compelled to work this “mill.”
Lieutenant General Hilmar Moser, of the German army,
ex-Military Commandant of Lublin, stated the following:
“I have no reasons for hushing or covering up the heinous
crimes committed by Hitler, and I regard it as my duty to tell the
whole truth about the so-called “Extermination Camp” the Hitlerites
established along the Cholm Road, near Lublin.
“In the winter of 1943-44 a large number of the
prisoners-among whom, to my great indignation, were women and
children-were exterminated there.
“The number of killed was round about one hundred thousand.
“Part of the unfortunate people were shot and part put to
death by means of gas.
“Furthermore, I was told more than once that condenmed people
in the ‘Extermination Camp’ were compelled to perform extremely heavy
work, far beyond their strength, and were goaded on by extremely cruel
“I learned with indignation that before they were put to death
the prisoners in this camp were tortured and tormented.
“Last spring an incalcuable number of corpses were exhumed and
burned in furnaces specially built for the purpose, evidently with the
object of wiping out the traces of the crimes committed by Hitler’s
“These huge furnaces were built of bricks and iron and
constituted a crematorium of a large capacity. Often the stench from
the corpses reached the city, at least the east end of it, and
consequently, even less informed people realized what was going on in
that frightful place. . . .
“The fact that the activities of the ‘Extermination Camp’ were
directed by the Hitler government is proved by the visit Himmler
himself paid to the camp when he came to Lublin in the summer of
The Committee established the fact that in the crematorium
alone over six hundred thousand bodies were burnt; on gigantic
bonfires in the Krembecki Woods over three hundred thousand corpses
were burnt; in the two old furnaces over eighty thousand corpses were
burnt; on bonfires in the camp near the crematorium no less than four
hundred thousand corpses were burnt.
With the object of covering up the traces of their crimes the
Germans killed the attendants, prisoners in the camp, of the gas
chamber and crematorium.
As a result of a thorough investigation of numerous affidavits
by medical experts and material proof, the aforesaid Committee of
Medical Experts under the chairmanship of Professor
Szyling-Syngalewicz, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at the Lublin
Catholic Univcrsity, found that:
“During the whole period of four years that the Lublin
Majdanek Camp was in existence, a deliberate and consistent system
operated for the premeditated, wholesale extermination of people, both
prisoners in the camp as well as people especially brought there for
the purpose of extermination.”
VII. THE HITLERITES ROBBED THE PRISONERS
IN THE CAMP OF THEIR VALUABLES AND
The Hitlerites reduced the robbing of the prisoners and those
they tortured to death in the camp to a regular system.
The material proof which the Commission discovered in the
camp: the store of boots and shoes which had belonged to those who
were shot or who died, the store of miscellaneous belongings of the
prisoners, and also the Gestapo store in Chopin Street in Lublin,
indicates that all the clothing and other belongings of thc prisoners
were carefully sorted and shipped to Germany.
The huge shoe store discovered in field No. 6 at the camp
contains boots and shoes bearing the labels of shops in Paris, Vienna,
Brussels, Warsaw, Triest, Prague, Riga, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Kiev,
Cracow, Lublin, Lvov, and many other towns, shoes of different shapes
and sizes, men’s women’s, juveniles’ and infants’, army boots,
civilian town shoes and peasants’ topboots. In addition to boots and
shoes a large quantity of ripped footwear (separate soles, uppers and
heels) were fouud, sorted and piled in stacks ready to be shipped to
The Commission established that in the “Extermination Camp”
alone the footwear of children, men and women who were tortured to
death and killed in the camp runs into over eight hundred and twenty
In an enormous warehouse of the Gestapo in Chopin Street, in
Lublin, the Commission found large stocks of various kinds of men’s,
women’s and children’s underclothing, and also a large variety of
other personal belongings. For example: several shelves of balls of
knitting wool, thousands of pairs of spectacles, tens of thousands of
pairs of various kinds of men’s, women’s and children’s footwear, tens
of thousands of men’s neckties bearing the labels of shops in
different cities, such as Paris, Prague,
Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels, tens of thoueands of women’s
belts, part of which were sorted and ready for shipment, bath robes,
pyjamas, bedroom slippers, numerous children’s toys, rubber teats,
shaving brushes, scissors, knives and a vast quantity of other
household utensils. Here also were found numerous suitcases of
various types belonging to Soviet citizens, Poles, Frenchmen, Czechs,
Belgians, Netherlanders, Greeks, Croatians, Italians, Norwegians,
Danes and also Jews from different countries.
In the same warehouse the Commission found some of the books
and papers of the warehouse, from which it is evident that this
warehouse in Chopin Street was a base where these belongings were
sorted and prepared for shipment to Germany.
Concerning the shipment of the belongings of people shot in
camps there was a special order couched in the following terms:
“SS-Head Office of the Economic Administration.
Chief of tho Administration of D-Conc. Camp.
D/l Az: 14 D 3 (Ot) I.
Oranienburg, July 11, 1942.
To All Commandants Of Concentration Camps.
“The Chief Administration of State Security reports that
parcels of clothing have been sent from concentration camps, addressed
mainly to the Gestapo Administration in the city of Bruenn, and that
in some cases this clothing was perforated with bullet holes and blood
stained. Some of these parcels were damaged and strangers were thus
able to ascertain the nature of their contents.
“In view of the fact that the Chief Administration of State
Security will shortly issue regulations governing the handling of
property left after the death of prisoners, the sending of articles
must be stopped forthwith pending the final settlement of the question
of how the property of executed prisoners is to be dealt with.
SS Brigade Commander
and Major General SS Troops.”
The evidence of SS prisoners of war who bad served in tho
“Extermination Camp” proves that an organized system prevailed in the
camps of robbing the prisoners of their personal belongings and
property, and of the appropriation by camp officials of the property
of prisoners who were tortured to death and shot.
At a plenary meeting of the Commission, Rottenfuehrer SS
Vogel, a German prisoner of war, stated:
“I was Deputy Chief of the clothing warehouse at the Majdanek
Camp. The clothing and footwear of exterminated prisoners was sorted
and the best was shipped to Germany. In l944 alone, I myself shipped
to Germany over eighteen carloads of clothing and footwear. I cannot
say exactly how many pairs of boots and shoes and sets of clothing
were despatched, but I assert that it was a very large quantity. What
I sent off was only a part of what was shipped to Germany. Everything
was shipped to the address: Ploetzensee-Berlin, Strafanstalt.”
Obersturmfuehrer SS Ternes, a prisoner of war, officer of the
German army, formerly a camp auditor, stated:
“I know personally that the money and valuables taken from the
prisoners were sent to Berlin. The gold taken from the prisoners and
sent to Berlin was calculated by weight. Virtually, all this stolen
property constituted an item of revenue of the German government A
very large quantity of gold and valuables was sent to Berlin. I know
all about this because I worked as an auditor at the camp. I must
emphasize that a great deal of the money and valuables that was taken
from prisoners was not entered in the books, as they were appropriated
by the Germans who took them from the prisoners.”
Thus, the robbing of the tortured prisoners in the Majdanek
Gamp, as well as in other camps, constituted a definite item of income
of the Hitlerite robbers of various ranks.
On the basis of documentary evidence, the interrogation of
witnesses and of eyewitnesses of the crimes committed
by the Germans in thc city of Lublin, in the Majdanek Concentration
Camp, in the Lublin prison and in the Krembecki Woods, on the basis of
considerable material proof obtained by the Commission, and also on
the basis of the findings of thc Committee of Medical Experts and the
Committee of Technical and Chemical Experts, the Polish-Soviet
Extraordinary Commission finds that:
1) The Majdanek Concentration Camp, which the Germans called
“Vernichtungslager,” i.e., “Extermination Camp,” was a place for the
wholesale extermination of Soviet prisoners of war, prisoners of war
of the former Polish army, and of civilian inhabitants of different
European countries occupied by Hitler Germany and also of the
temporarily occupied regions of Poland and the U.S.S.R.
2) The prisoners at the Majdanek Camp were subject to a brutal
system of treatment. The methods employed for the wholesale
extermination of prisoners were: single and wholcsale shooting and
killing, wholesale and single asphyxiation in gas chambers, hanging,
torture, torment and organized starvation.
In this camp the SS butchers and the Gestapo carried out the
wholesale extermination of Poles, Frenchmen, Netherlanders, Italians,
Serbs, Croatians and persons of other nationalities, and also Soviet
prisoners of war and prisoners of war of the former Polish army
confined as prisoners in this camp, as well as those transported to
this camp from other camps and places especially for the purpose of
3) In order to wipe out the traces of their criminal
activities, the Hitler butchers resortcd to the following system of
measures: burning the corpses of prisoners on gigantic bonfires in the
Krembecki Woods and in the camp, burning the corpses in the
crematorium especially built for the purpose, grinding up small bones,
scattering ashes over the fields and vegetable plots belonging to thc
Hitlerite officials of
this camp, and preparing large manure heaps of human ashes and dung.
The Hitlerite robbers operated an entire system of robbing the people
they tortured for the enrichment of the rank-and-file SS and Gestapo
men as well as of the leading officials of this robber gang. The
system of robbing the prisoners in this camp constituted an important
item of rcvenue of the Hitler-government.
The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission finds that during
the four years the Majdanek Extermination Camp was in existence the
Hitlerite butchers, on thc direct orders of their criminal government,
exterminated by means of wholesale shooting and wholesale asphyxiation
in gas chambers of about one million five hundred thousand
persons-Soviet prisoners of war, prisoners of war of the former Polish
army, and civilians of different nationalities, such as Poles,
Frenchmen, Italians, Belgians, Netherlanders, Czechs, Serbs, Greeks,
Croatians and a vast number of Jews.
The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission for the
Investigation of the Crimes committcd by thc Germans in Lublin finds
that the principle culprits in these crimes are the Hitler government,
chief executioner Himmler, and his underlings of thc SS and SD in the
area of the Lublin Wojewdstwo.
The principal instruments of these atrocitics are
Obergruppanfuehrer Globocnik-Chief of the SS and SD in Lublin;
Wendler-ex-Governor of the Lublin Wojew=F2dstwo; Sturmbannfuehrer
Dominnik-Chief of thc SS and SD in Lublin; Sturmbannfuehrer
Liski-Chief of Prisoner of War Camps in Poland; Standartenfuehrer
Koch-Chief of Camps; Obersturmfuehrer Kegel; Hauptsturmfuehrer
Melzer-Deputy Commandant of the camp; Hauptsturmfuehrer Kloppmann;
Obersturmfuehrer Tumann; Oberscharfuehrer Musfeld; Oberscharfuehrer
Kostial; camp doctors Hauptscharfuehrer Erich Gruen, Hauptscharfuehrer
Rindfleisch and Hauptsturmfuerer Blanke; Untersturmfuehrer Wende,
Chief of the
crematorium and all the other persons acting in the role of
executioners and guilty of exterminating innocent people.
Chairman of Ihe Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission WITOS, Vice-Chairman
of the Polish Committee for National Liberation
Vice-Chairman of the Commission
D. I, KUDRYAYTSEV (U,S,S.R.)
SOMMERSTEIN, Member of the Polish Committee for National Liberatian
Prof. N. I. GRASCHENKOV (U.S.S.R.)
Prof. V. I. PROZOROVSKY (U.S.S.R.)
The Rev. Dr. KRUSZYNSKI, Dean of The Lublin Catholic Cathedral
CHRISTIANS, Chairman of the Lublin Red Cross Society
Prof. BIALKOWSKI, Professor of thc Lublin Catholic University
Prof. POPLAWSKI, Professor of the Lublin University
BALCERZAK, Procurator of The Lublin Appeal Court
SZCZEPANSKI, President of the Lublin Circuit Court