Q. During the journey did you not receive food?
A. We received neither food nor water. Only when we left
Auschwitz, each one got a loaf of bread, and again at night,
accompanied by an orchestra, they put us into a cattle
freight car. There we remained without water or air. Each
one wanted only to get a drop of the little water that
seeped in from the window, which was not altogether shut,
for our lips were dry and our tongues were sticking to the
Presiding Judge: From the rain?
Witness Ansbacher Yes, from the rain.
State Attorney Bar-Or: How long did you remain below in
Witness Ansbacher We remained in Dachau until, some days
later, they decided that they would detail us for labour.
Q. To what kind of work were you assigned?
A. We were distributed amongst all kinds of jobs. My first
assignment was to the cement works. When I joined the
commando, I did not know what cement works were. While I
was working there, they did not send me home at all, that is
to say, to the camp, and for 24 hours, day and night, we had
to carry sacks of cement on our backs for a distance of
thirty metres, each one weighing fifty kilograms, by running
from the railway freight cars to the works and putting the
sack on to the conveyor. There was a German there from the
labour battalions, and he held in his hand a sharp
instrument shaped like a hook, with the aid of which he
quickly opened the sack of cement which poured off my back
on to the conveyor. Sometimes, when the work was not
progressing fast enough, he threw the iron instrument at his
victim and drew blood, and shouted out to those present:
“Faster, faster, and get back to work!” So we went back. I
was cold, so I took a cement bag from there and put it on
like a shirt.
Q. When you say “I was cold,” did you not have any clothes
on your back?
A. I only had a shirt and pants of the type of a pyjama,
which I received in Auschwitz, no underpants nor anything
else. My socks were made from prayer shawls, and on our
feet we wore heavy wooden shoes; I could not walk in them,
for I developed corns and my feet hurt.
Q. You walked barefoot?
A. Yes, I walked barefoot.
Q. How long could you carry on like that?
A. I cried all night, for I could not stand it any longer –
nothing could help me. They shouted at me: “Nothing is
going to help you here – whoever remains here will die.
Carry on!” And so, running all the time, I carried sacks on
my back. The next morning, to my great fortune, I was sent
to other work. In general, we had already learned from
Theresienstadt and Auschwitz that it was always desirable
for two or three companions to keep together and help one
another. There was strong egotism, and we had learned that
if some kept going together, somehow we would see it
through. There was one young man who had come together with
me from Theresienstadt. His name was Liben. This young man
kept together with me, and together we went to work. As a
rule we managed to remain in the same commando. There was
forced labour for the firms “Moll” and “Holzmann.” We
constructed huge buildings, in which war materials and fuel
for the German army were concealed. Going to work and
coming back was a story in itself.
Q. Did an epidemic of Flecktyphus, spotted typhus
break out in the camp?
A. It seems to me that they called it Bauchtyphus (stomach
typhus). I had Flecktyphus. There is a difference between
the two. Bauchtyphus was what we got in Theresienstadt.
The Flecktyphus that almost all of us contracted in the camp
was due to lice. We looked like animals – we could not
shave, the conditions did not enable us to look after our
bodies, we could not wash ourselves, since it was so cold
that it would have torn the skin.
Q. Did this sickness spread from person to person by means
of the lice?
Q. What was the mortality rate?
A. The mortality rate was very high. In figures, I would
say hundreds each week. Each day there was a huge pile of
bodies alongside the camp gate. The ordinary members of the
Totenkommando (the death commando) threw the bodies on top
of each other. At first, when the mortality rate was not so
great, before the Flecktyphus broke out, they still buried
these bodies in a common grave. Later on, they did not even
bother to bury them, they left them piled up and did not
attend to them at all. In the camp, there was also a man
who had previously been a dentist, and he had to remove all
the gold teeth from the dead.
Q. When did you leave Dachau?
A. I left Dachau shortly before the liberation, and I was
transferred to the camp at Allech.
Q. Approximately when?
A. Then they told us…
Q. Mr. Ansbacher, approximately when?
A. In April 1945.
Q. I have one more question, Mr. Ansbacher. I asked you to
bring with you drawings by artists of Theresienstadt from
the Yad Vashem collection?
Q. To bring them so that you could identify to the Court
what they illustrate. Did you bring the drawings?
A. Yes. Drawings, and also three photographs.
Q. Please give them to me.
Witness hands over the drawings and the photographs to Mr.
Q. Can you see this photograph? What can you identify here?
(Shows the witness a photograph.)
A. This is a transport.
Presiding Judge: Is it a photograph or a drawing?
State Attorney Bar-Or: This is a photograph.
Witness Ansbacher The photograph shows a transport arriving
at Theresienstadt. This here, to the best of my knowledge,
is the Hamburger Kaserne. I have only one doubt, concerning
the building actually adjoining the Hamburger Kaserne, which
was the house where I lived, L206.
Presiding Judge: Who photographed it?
Witness Ansbacher I do not know.
State Attorney Bar-Or: Did it reach the archives of Yad
Witness Ansbacher Yes.
State Attorney Bar-Or: Everything that I am submitting,
Your Honour, is from the material which reached the archives
of Yad Vashem, and it is being shown to the witness, first
of all, for the purposes of identification.
Presiding Judge: Were there once military barracks in this
Witness Ansbacher Yes.
State Attorney Bar-Or: It was a military fortress of the
Presiding Judge: The photograph will be marked T/651.
State Attorney Bar-Or: I show you a drawing signed by Leo
Haas. What does it depict? (Shows a drawing to the
Witness Ansbacher: Here we see a transport arriving at the
station at Bauschewitz. We also came at first to the
station at Bauschewitz, and it was only then that the doors
were opened. This was the railway station near
Q. Who built it?
A. I do not know who built the station at Bauschewitz. In
1943 the people of the camp continued with the building of
the station from Bauschewitz to the ghetto at
Theresienstadt. This was the route from Bauschewitz to
Theresienstadt. This first photograph already shows the
transport arriving at the site of the Schleuse , in the
Presiding Judge: Did you know Leo Haas?
Witness Ansbacher: As far as I know, he was a painter who
worked in Theresienstadt. He signed most of his works and
wrote the exact date. He was sent to Auschwitz together
with other artists. To the best of my knowledge, he now
lives in Prague, and he is one of the few who survived.
Presiding Judge: This drawing will be marked T/652.
State Attorney Bar-Or: I will now show you a drawing, again
by Leo Haas, of a cart bearing below the sign SS. Perhaps
you would describe what is shown here? (Shows a drawing to
Witness Ansbacher: In this drawing, we see the only truck
that came to the station at Bauschewitz, before it was
actually a station – in fact it was the ghetto itself. In
this truck they removed from the station only those who were
already dead or who were close to death, who were dying.
The driver drove in a wild fashion. He was an SS driver who
drove on purpose in zig-zags. On the way from the station
at Bauschewitz to the ghetto, many of these sick and feeble
Q. Did you see this.
A. I saw it many times.
Q. And what is depicted here?
A. What is depicted here are dead bodies, sick people, and
people still alive, and parcels – all together on the cart.
And this is the SS truck which was known to every person in
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/653.
State Attorney Bar-Or: I now show you another drawing by
Leo Haas, evidently from the year 1944. I would ask you to
describe what you see.
Witness Ansbacher: To the best of my knowledge this drawing
shows the Schleuse.
Q. What is the Schleuse?
A. The Schleuse was the place to which people were taken
after they arrived on the transport. They conveyed them
into a closed courtyard where they were classified according
to work potential, according to sex and age. Everyone had
to pass by a check post of Czech gendarmes who seized any
article which had some value, such as thermos flasks,
cigarettes, writing paper, and even toilet paper.
Q. Was this immediately after the transport arrived at
Q. Even before the transport went in?
A. Before they went into the truck they did not have any
contact with those who had been there some time. This place
in the picture – where we also arrived – shows the Schleuse
in the Kavalier Kaserne which was next to the Hohen Elbe
hospital. From there we could see the faces of the people
of Theresienstadt, who looked at us in alarm. This was our
first welcome into the ghetto.
Presiding Judge: I see here a signboard on the neck of each
one. What is it?
Witness Ansbacher: Every Jew sent from Germany had a number,
as in the case of cattle, and there we bore the number of
the transport. Those who came from Germany also received a
Roman numeral. Those who came from Berlin and Prussia were
given the Roman numeral I, those who came from Bavaria the
Roman numeral II, and those who came from Czechslovakia did
not have Roman numerals, but simply the letters and numbers
of the transport.
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/654.
Witness Ansbacher: In the case of the Jews from Germany, it
also said “Kennort” (place of identity) and “Kennnummer”
(identity number). For it was known that all the Jews of
Germany had, apart from their date of birth, a number of
other essential particulars which had to be quoted on every
State Attorney Bar-Or: I see here something that appears to
be a death waggon. Perhaps you can say: Was this in
Theresienstadt in 1943? [Shows a drawing to the witness.]
Witness Ansbacher: When we reached Theresienstadt, we saw
carts for the dead everywhere, and we did not know exactly
what they were. Later on, we understood. These were not
carts for dead people but were the only means of conveyance
in the ghetto, and instead of horses, they were drawn by two
men. For example, they took the sick and the elderly from
the Schleuse to the blocks or barracks on these carts for
Q. And did they transport goods on these carts?
A. Goods as well, mainly food, and also the parcels of
people who were still left with something in their
Q. We shall come to that presently.
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/655. What was this
previously – this cart?
Witness Ansbacher These were death carts of non-Jews which
were used in the Protectorate, and usually they also had the
names of the burial societies and all kinds of inscriptions
State Attorney Bar-Or: A painting by an artist, from 1943,
apparently his name was Nagl. Again that same cart, but
apparently for other purposes. Please tell the Court what
is happening here.
Witness Ansbacher: This depicts one of the death carts I
mentioned, carrying bread from the Zentral Proviantur, the
central place from which they distributed all the food to
the buildings. In the Zentral Proviantur, there was also
the bakery of the ghetto.
Q. Were you, yourself, also occupied in this?
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/656.
State Attorney Bar-Or: Again a drawing by Leo Haas. I see
here, too, a death cart, but there is also a different
scene. Can you describe it? [Shows the drawing to the
Witness Ansbacher This is a terrible, realistic picture,
which nobody who has not been in Theresienstadt can
understand. But anyone who was there will immediately
recognize a death cart around which scores of people have
crowded. One could think that this was possibly a funeral,
but it was not. These people are looking for bread crumbs,
remnants of food or bread inside the cart which had been
transporting food. This is a picture of daily life as it
was there. Here is the barrel from which soup was
distributed, and occasionally there remained at the bottom a
few more crumbs or potato peels, food residue. In their
hunger, the people – sometimes they were very distinguished
persons – would jump into the barrel in order to grovel for
remnants of food. We could never have imagined to ourselves
that starvation could have affected these people in such a
way. Amongst them were doctors, millionaires, business men,
very distinguished people. Sometimes we ourselves – for I
worked for some while in transporting potatoes and food from
place to place – had actually to speak strongly to these
people, in order to warn them, because this led to epidemics
and certain death. There were hungry people who grabbed the
food remnants or potato peels and swallowed them without
even cooking them.
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/657.
State Attorney Bar-Or: Mr. Ansbacher, this great “Apell”
(roll-call) at Theresienstadt in the Bauschewitzer Kessel
(the Bauschewitz Valley) – in what year did it take place?
Witness Ansbacher: To the best of my recollection, at the
end of 1943.
Q. I show you a drawing by Leo Haas from the year 1943.
What does it portray? Perhaps the drawing is connected with
something that happened?” (Shows the drawing to the
A. According to what I understand from the drawing,
according to what I see…
Q. First of all, can you identify the place?
Q. What is it?
A. Pardon me, I cannot identify the place one hundred
percent, but I recognize the incident.