Witness Karstadt Of the first transports, almost all came
to the ghetto. That was until the “action” in the ghetto
was over. Thereafter, only very few out of a transport
would arrive in the ghetto. They selected some skilled
craftsmen. They brought some two or three into the
ghetto, and shot all the others.
Q. And how many were in such a transport?
A. I suppose about one thousand people.
Attorney General: What did you do in the men’s ghetto?
Witness Karstadt We went out every day to work in various
German units. The ration was small. But as long as we
were sent to work in the town, we somehow had
opportunities to get nourishment for ourselves.
Q. In what places did you work?
A. I was working at the German
Schutzpolizei. Q. What work did you do?
A. Carrying wood, moving furniture, odd
jobs. Q. Did you move freely to work and
A. There was no freedom of movement.
Q. Were you taken there under guard?
A. Under guard.
Q. Were you paid for your work?
Q. Who provided you with food?
A. There were shops in the ghetto, where we received
Q. And was the ration?
A. 120 grams of bread per day, once a week 25 grams
margarine, once a month 120 grams meat.
Q. Were you able to sustain yourself on this?
A. No, not on this ration. But as I said, as long as we
were in Riga, we could get bread and other things for
money or gold.
Q. Were there any people of the German transports you
Q. What did the German Jews do in the ghetto of the Reich
A. They would go out to work just as we did. But their
situation was much worse than ours. First of all, they
were strangers who didn’t understand the language; and
almost everything they brought with them had been taken
away. They came into the ghetto without any of their
Q. Do you remember Rabbi Joseph Carlebach who was deported
A. No, I did not hear anything about him.
Q. There was a small concentration camp for German Jews
not far from Riga, where the commander was an SD man. Do
you remember his name?
A. His name was Sauer.
Q. Who was Lange?
A. Lange was the commander of SD Latvia. But Lange shot
many Jews himself, in an SD camp not far from Riga,
Q. You said that German Jews were also being executed. Do
you remember when they were executed?
A. The first German group was executed in February or in
Q. How many were executed? Hundreds? Thousands?
A. Two thousand.
Q. So this was how you lived until November 1942?
A. This was how we lived until November 1942.
Q. What happened in November 1942?
A. In November 1942 the SD conducted an “action” against
the Jewish Police, and they shot forty young men charged
with contacts with Communists, and after that our ghettos
were combined. Until then, the commander of the German
ghetto was an SD man, Krause, but we were not subject to
his authority. From the day he assumed power over us as
well, our situation began to deteriorate considerably. We
were forbidden to have money. We were forbidden to bring
any food whatsoever into the ghetto, and whoever was
caught with any was hanged. So thus it was every Saturday
that they would hang one, or two, or three persons.
Q. And the Jewish Police, did the population approve of
them? Were you on good terms with the Jewish Police or
did you hate them?
A. No, we were on good terms with them.
Q. There was a case when 300 people were killed all at
once, because the Germans found that they had weapons. Is
Q. Did an internal movement begin to be organized?
A. Yes. An underground movement of sorts was there with
us all the time, and little by little weapons would be
brought in. I don’t know how or by whom, but the SD got
to know of it. Searches began, in April 1943, maybe when
it started in the Warsaw Ghetto – it was at the same time.
The uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto was in April 1943. They
found the weapons and, unfortunately, they also found a
list of all members of the underground. They arrested 300
Jews, and all
of them were killed.
Q. You did not belong to the underground?
A. Yes, I did belong, but I wasn’t on that list.
Q. When were those 300 put to death?
A. In April or in May, 1943.
Q. And after that you were transferred to
Kaiserwald? A. Yes.
Presiding Judge: Where is Kaiserwald?
Witness Karstadt Not far from Riga.
Q. Is that a forest or a place?
A. It was a nice place close to Riga.
Following the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto the SD Riga
decided, as it seems, to liquidate the ghetto, and they
established a concentration camp not far from Riga, under
the name of Kaiserwald. Not only Jews from Riga were
taken there, but also from Vilna and from Kovno, from
Shavli and from the entire Ghetto of Riga. At the same
time, when they closed the Riga Ghetto in October 1943,
some 3,000 Jews, or more, were transported to Auschwitz
and gassed there.
Attorney General: And what happened in the ghetto to the
German Jews who had been deported from the Reich?
Witness Karstadt They were taken to Kaiserwald as well,
just as we were, and among the 3,000 people there were
some from the German ghetto, too.
Q. Among the 3,000 sent to Auschwitz?
A. Yes. There were also German Jews.
Q. Who were the commanders of Kaiserwald?
A. All the commanders at Kaiserwald were commanders of
Sachsenhausen, all of them well-known SS men, and the
notorious Eiserne Gustav (Iron Gustav) who has just been
sentenced in Germany.
Q. What was life like in Kaiserwald?
A. Life was very hard there. That was the first
concentration camp. Roll call at five in the morning.
After work you had to work again in Kaiserwald. One had
to go again to work maybe at ten o’clock at night. Very
many perished there, very many died. This was a camp.
The result of that camp was that, of the 14,000 as we
were at Kaiserwald, only maybe 8,000 of us Jews reached
Germany in August 1944. And besides, people would be
taken from there to the so-called Sonderkommando. They
had to dig up the graves where the Jews had been buried
and to burn the corpses.
Q. Did anyone of those who had to obliterate the traces
and to burn the corpses return?
A. No, no one from Riga returned.
Q. How did you know they were taken to that work?
A. We heard about it.
Q. How? From whom?
A. We heard this from the Latvians.
Q. Jewish women came to Kaiserwald in the summer of 1944,
A. Yes, in the summer of 1944 Hungarian women from
Auschwitz came to Kaiserwald, and we heard then for the
first time of such a camp as Auschwitz, and that people
were burned there, and all those other atrocities.
Q. What did these women from Auschwitz look like?
A. They all wore KZ (concentration camp) clothing, their
hair had been cut – and they were dressed very differently
Q. Mr. Karstadt, how many Jews out of the forty thousand
who lived in Riga when the Germans entered survived, as
far as you know? And how many of all Latvia?
Presiding Judge: Forty thousand Jews in all of Latvia?
Witness Karstadt No, there were one hundred thousand. In
Riga alone there were forty thousand.
Attorney General: So how many survived? Witness Karstadt
I believe eight hundred. Presiding Judge: Of all the Jews
of Latvia? Witness Karstadt Yes.
Q. You said that 8,000 had been brought to Germany. Those
were not only Latvian Jews then?
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions?
Dr. Servatius: Yes, I have a short question. Do you
remember the occupation of Kurland by German troops in the
First World War?
Witness Karstadt The Jews were sent out of Kurland by the
Czar in the First World War.
Q. One moment, I believe you did not understand my
question. Do you remember that occupation? How old were
you at that time?
A. I was at that time maybe one year old. The Jews were
removed from Kurland by the Russian authorities, by the
Q. If you were one year old, you cannot answer my
Presiding Judge: What year were you born?
Witness Karstadt In 1914.
Judge Raveh: Could you perhaps explain: Those 8,000
people who were brought to Germany, where from, from what
different parts did they first come to Riga?
Witness Karstadt Those were Latvian Jews, German Jews,
Q. How many of each of these? From each country, if you
are able to tell us?
A. I suppose, some 2,500 Jews came from Germany, maybe
another 1,000 from Vilna, of other Lithuanian Jews another
1,000. When we came to Germany we were 2,500 from Latvia.
Q. So therefore, if I understand you correctly, of the
2,400 Latvian Jews some perished in the various camps in
Germany, so that finally only about 800 Latvian Jews
survived. Is this what you meant?
A. Yes. Thus we were in Bochum some 500 Latvian Jews, and
in April 1945 almost all perished, only 20 survived.
Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Karstadt. You have
completed your testimony.
Attorney General: At this stage I shall submit two
documents. Our document No. 844 is a sworn statement of
Walter Blume which was submitted in Trial No. 9. Blume
says that he took part in a meeting in the months May-June
1942, when Heydrich and Streckenbach gave instructions to
the officers of the Einsatzgruppen and the Commandos. I
shall read, in German, a sentence in paragraph 3: “Zu
dieser Zeit wurden wir bereits ueber die Aufgaben der
Judenvernichtung unterrichtet” (At that time we were
already informed about the tasks of exterminating the
“Es wurde ausgefuehrt, dass das Ostjudentum das
intellektuelle Reservoir des Bolschewismus sei und deshalb
nach Ansicht des Fuehrers vernichtet werden muss.” (It was
explained that East European Jewry provided the
intellectual reservoir for Bolshevism, and accordingly, in
the opinion of the Fuehrer, it had to be destroyed.)
Presiding Judge: Are you going to quote much of this?
Attorney General: One more sentence – but perhaps I shall
translate it myself.
Presiding Judge: I believe we have already decided to use
Hebrew with these documents.
Attorney General: Yes, but here they are so decisive,
remarkable and simple.
Presiding Judge: But there is so much of it, Mr. Hausner.
Attorney General: “This address was delivered to a small
circle only, but I presume that the order was passed on to
all the officers of the Einsatzgruppen and the Commandos.
The speech of Heydrich was made in the Prince Albert
Palace where we received the instruction.”
Presiding Judge: This will be T/306.