Q. Is bitter almonds the characteristic smell…?
A. This is the characteristic smell of cyanide. It was very
slight but we smelled it – exactly like bitter almonds. And
when I opened my eyes, I found myself lying down, in another
block obviously, and my colleagues were giving me artificial
respiration. The question that interested them especially
was: “How was it? As that is going to be our end, we would
like to know if it hurt?”
Q. And you knew they used Zyklon B in the crematorium?
A. Yes, it was in tins. Each tin, in my estimate, contained
five kilograms. On it there was a label which said: “Zur
Ausrottung von Schaedlingen und Ungeziefer” (for the
extermination of pests and vermin).
Attorney General [Shows the witness a book and points to one
of its pages.] Can you identify this?
Witness Beilin Yes. But here one cannot see the colours.
The tin was painted in gold colour. That is to say, it was
given a covering with some material which had the colour of
gold or copper. It shone.
Attorney General: I submit this book. This is the German
translation of the Polish Report on Auschwitz. We did not
prepare a Hebrew translation, as we knew there was an
official German translation, I shall submit it at this stage
and refer to it later.
Witness Beilin I would like to draw the Court’s attention
to the fact that, if this should be produced as evidence,
there are two kinds of containers here. One kind which has a
folding top is made of cardboard, and the second kind is of
tin. I saw the second kind.
Presiding Judge: On what page does it appear?
Witness Beilin Page 152.
Attorney General: Did you hear the expression “Pappendeckel”
(cardboard cover) applied to these containers?
Presiding Judge: Do you have another copy?
Attorney General: We shall give one to Dr. Servatius.
Presiding Judge: What about the two judges?
Attorney General: We do not have any. There are two copies
at Yad Vashem, and we were given these two booklets. I am
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1329.
Attorney General: These were cardboard containers, you say?
Witness Beilin I saw the other kind – of tin.
Q. You saw the tins, but not the “Pappendeckel?”
Q. When you were in the Gypsies’ camp did you see Jewish
boys on whose sexual organs experiments had been conducted?
A. Yes – on one occasion they were brought to us, and this
was an exceptional case, for generally they did not treat
non-Gypsies, nor did they come into the Gypsies’ camp; this
was an exceptional case in which they brought forty Greek
Jewish boys – very handsome and very young – evidently they
had been specially selected; the area around their genitals
had signs of burns – these were X-ray burns.
Q. What camp did they come from?
A. From Auschwitz 1. And then I heard from them, for the
first time, the name of Dr. Schumann. This name was
mentioned by them as the one who had performed it on them;
at any rate they came to us for treatment and were placed in
a special Stube (ward) – it was not a room but part of a
block with bunks, and there we tried all the limited
standard ointments in our possession, for even in normal
times X-ray burns did not generally heal. Some SS doctor
used to come together with Dr. Mengele and they would come
from time to time and order us to remove the bandages so
that they could inspect the condition of the wounds. One day
they took them to a truck, wrapped in blankets, and in this
way they disappeared.
Q. Where to?
A. I don’t know, but a naked person on a truck, wrapped in a
blanket in Birkenau invariably meant gassing.
Q. Do you also know about cases of castration?
A. I saw a healthy boy at work, and he told me that he had
been castrated; he even allowed me to examine him. I told
him that there was no possible help in such a case, but he
said: “I want you to see what they are doing to us.”
Q. Do you remember a Rapportfuehrer by the name of
Schillinger, an SS man?
Q. What did he do?
A. This Schillinger – in all the atrocities that existed in
Birkenau he was the limit – he was simply a murderer who
killed his victims with his own hands, and in particular, as
I have related, when food was distributed; he apparently
also took part in the reception of transports to the
crematorium, because something happened and it filtered down
to us via the Sonderkommando. I have only to point out that
the Sonderkommando was a closed unit with which we had no
contact apart from the doctor. The doctor had permission to
move around and he came to the clinic to put medicine into
his knapsack, and he used to accompany the Sonderkommando
each time at its work. And this doctor used to bring us
news, and brought us information that Schillinger had been
killed by a woman from one of the transports which,
according to accounts, was a transport of foreign nationals
who had been gathered together in Warsaw, in the Polonia
Hotel, and ultimately they came to Auschwitz.
A. Yes. Jews possessing foreign citizenship. And this
Schillinger told the women to undress, and one woman said
she did not undress in front of men. In consequence of this
he raised his whip, his cane – he always walked around with
a cane – and he wanted to strike her. At this point, she
drew a revolver and killed him with one shot. From the time
we received this information Schillinger never appeared in
the camp, naturally, because he had been killed. It was one
of the doctors who told us this.
Q. Was that Dr. Globersohn?
A. No, it was Dr. Pach.
Q. Was Dr. Globersohn the doctor of the Sonderkommando?
A. The second, yes.
Q. Tell us the story of Dr. Globersohn.
A. The commander of the Sonderkommando was Hauptscharfuehrer
Moll. He also received the transports for bathing in the
famous “Sauna” and he would beat those amongst them who
possessed too much jewellery and gold. I was with them and
heard him say: “As much as these Jews have been persecuted –
they nevertheless have too much money.” He was in charge of
crematoria Nos 1, 2, 3 and 4. Every three months, when there
was a roll-call before him, he would make a selection –
every three months he would liquidate the Sonderkommando and
choose a new Sonderkommando.
Q. Were those the men who dealt with the burning of the
A. Yes. Once I saw Hauptscharfuehrer Moll in the Gypsies’
camp from a distance – everybody recognized him for each
person knew that if he were to be selected that meant three
months and no more. On the other hand, the doctor of the
previous Sonderkommando had been lucky, in some way, in
being discharged from the Sonderkommando and he was
transferred with a transport to some kind of transport for
work. He vanished from the camp but we regarded him as one
who had been discharged from the Sonderkommando.
In the Gypsies’ camp I saw Moll walking and then I knew
that while he was going to select a Sonderkommando he
was not going to select it from among the Gypsies, for
only Jews were selected for that; apart from that there
was no time for a roll-call and he was not going just
to seize anybody in the blocks – he made his selection
in an organized way at the roll-call – but I
nevertheless preferred to hide. I hid in the toilet.
When I came out, I was told that Dr. Globersohn had
been taken by Hauptscharfuehrer Moll as the doctor of
the Sonderkommando. He asked him: “What are you doing
here, doctor? Come with me.”
Q. Two days later he returned to you?
A. Two days later Dr. Globersohn, who had been a doctor in
Belgium, a native of Pinsk, who had studied and had his
practice in Belgium, was brought to us, poisoned and
unconscious. We knew that he had taken an overdose of
sleeping-pills and he bore signs of having received blows,
terrible signs of hemorrhages and wounds. When they brought
him to the camp he was dying – there was no need to strike
him – he would have died anyhow. Moll came there and beat
him to death saying: “You want to avoid your duties and to
die, you Jewish swine (Saujude)?” That was how Gobersohn
Q. Do you remember what happened in January 1945?
A. After the camp was liquidated and after the Hungarians
were also no longer there, I was transferred to Section
(Abschnitt) F. This was opposite Section E where the Gypsies
were. That was the Krankenbau for all the other camps. I
worked there until 17 January 1945. I found there many
Polish medical colleagues, many friends whom I had first met
at university, fellow-students; amongst them there were also
some who today are in the Polish Government. On 17 January
1945…we knew that on 11 January the last Russian offensive
had begun and they had crossed the Vistula. We thought that
we were not far from the Vistula and that we would be
liberated, but that was a vain hope. On 17 January 1945 they
woke us during the night: “Alle Pfleger antreten” (All
medical orderlies are to report). Of course we all reported
and immediately they ordered us “Rechts um, Marsch!” (Right
turn – march); it was at the height of the winter.
Q. Where were you taken to?
A. They led us to the Stammlager (main camp) which was in
Birkenau, at a distance of some five to seven kilometres,
and that was where I saw Drechsler, the woman supervisor of
the women’s camp. She also stood there with a SS group, and
there they gathered together a group of 15,000 persons. That
is to say, there were ten groups of 1,500 each. In each
group the proportion of the guard to the group was one in
twenty-five, which means that there were 600 SS men in
charge of these groups. Along the road where we began
walking, the first station was Gleiwitz – we were walking
through Lower Silesia. The second station was Ratibor and
then we were joined by prisoners who had been evacuated from
camps in the vicinity – from Laurahuette, Koenigshuette,
Jaworzno, Janina, Czechowitz…
Q. Were all these branches of Auschwitz-Birkenau?
Q. In your opinion how many people did this complex of
Auschwitz-Birkenau contain, with all its satellite camps?
A. In my modest estimate, about 160,000. My calculation is
based on the number of groups that were evacuated. In my
group there were 25,000 persons, I heard, after the
liberation, of other death marches containing 25,000, and
the women’s camps. In my opinion there ought to have been
there – that was also the number generally accepted amongst
the prisoners – 160,000 in constant rotation. After all,
everything was in transit – transports departed and new ones
And here began the tragedy of those 25,000 people of whom I
Q. Perhaps you could describe it briefly?
A. Those who could not walk were shot. That was called a
“mercy shot”; a man would leave the ranks, sit down at the
edge of the road and he would be given a “mercy shot.” In
Auschwitz, generally speaking in Birkenau, they were not
shot – they said “it is a pity to waste a bullet on a Jew,”
but on the march – they were shot.
And we started to count the shots. The column was a long
one, 25,000 persons. We could only judge by the number of
shots, and we knew that each shot meant a life. There were
days when the number of shots reached five hundred and the
further we marched, the number of shots increased. We had no
strength left, we were without food, we slept in stables and
not only in stables. And there were people who had been
through all the seven stages of hell and who were on the
verge of liberation. On one occasion they put us into a
certain bunker in Landeshut in Lower Silesia – today it is
called Kamienna Gora in Polish. On the entrance to the
bunker it said “Entry forbidden by order of the Police.”
Since it was almost sunset we did not notice this sign – we
did so only on the morning after the tragedy. It was a very
long bunker like a labyrinth with lanes leading off to the
Presiding Judge: A bunker for what – against air-raids?
Witness Beilin A concrete bunker.
Q. But a bunker for what purpose?
A. We subsequently learned that this was a bunker for
uranium mines, but we only learned that later, after the
tragedy. Half-an-hour after we entered – the door was closed
and locked, it had a very narrow door – we began feeling
that we had no air, that there was a lack of air there. The
groups which were far from the door felt this much more and
then the tragic shouts began – “Luft” (Air) – and naturally
the SS men did not open the door until six a.m. We remained
shut in there until six in the morning. We were then about
5,000 out of the 25,000.
Q. Did they put all 25,000 in there?
A. By then we were only 5,000. And the next morning, when
they opened the doors, we removed 1,000 bodies from there.
It was truly death by suffocation, in horrible positions,
naked, on their knees and with their mouths on the concrete
floor, where they tried to breath in air, since the concrete
was porous – amongst them there were many doctors. In our
transport, when we set out, there were twenty-seven doctors;
three of us remained and all of us are in Israel. Very few
survived from this entire transport, since we left, along
the way, many frozen to death; many were shot and died on
the way. This I learned subsequently, for I was separated
from this transport in a group of chemists. I saw that if I
continued with this transport it would be the end of me, and
I decided to get away from this wretched march. At one of
the places, the commander of the march called for chemists,
and I said that I was a chemist. He asked me: “What is the
formula for water?” I replied to him: “H2O,” and he said
“That’s fine – you may go.” In this way I became a chemist.
The transport commander was Hauptscharfuehrer Schultze and
he annihilated these 25,000, he and his men, he and his
guards. After we had removed the bodies from this bunker, a
police officer arrived and I heard how the police officer, a
lieutenant, shouted at the transport commander: “How could
you dare put people into a bunker on which it says expressly
‘Entry forbidden by order of the Police’?” He said this in
great anger. The commander of the march answered him with a
smile: “Lieutenant, they are only Jews.” And then he said:
“I see – that’s in order,” and he went away.