Q. How did you register the deaths?
A. We received the files of the people who died from the
Registratur. I worked at the first stage. For this reason,
I also received the complete files, together with everything
that was connected with them. In the case of Aryans, it was
sometimes more interesting, since the file contained all
sorts of confidential matters, which the prisoner had
probably not dreamt of; for example, correspondence which
was not delivered to him, his letters which were not passed
on to his relatives. In addition, there were all kinds of
reports on enquiries, which were attached. There were
persons who had come after investigations. There was a
statement attached from the Gestapo to the effect that
investigations had been made. There were cases where the
enquiries had been made in Auschwitz by the Gestapo of
Katowice, and then the enquiry form would also be attached.
In this way, it was possible to learn a great deal from the
Q. How were you ordered to record the cause of death?
A. We were given the cause of death together with the death
notice. In a very short time, it became clear to us that
all this was only camouflage, and that none of these causes
of death could, under any circumstances, be genuine.
Q. What did you write on the forms?
A. We wrote in the forms various kinds of illnesses.
Q. Such as?
A. Catarrh of the intestines, pneumonia, erysipelas (an
inflammation of the skin), general debility, dysentery, and
all kinds of other kinds. In addition, in brief, I learned
to draw conclusions, in the case of people where the cause
was stated to be “ploetzlicher Herztod” (sudden death from a
heart attack), that this was a case of killing, and not
death from so-called natural causes. We then recorded it in
such a way that it was clear from the entry that the person
had not died from illness, and not even from floggings and
tortures, but that he had been shot.
Q. Did you sometimes note down “shot” or “executed”?
A. Never, never.
Q. As far as the card index showed, nobody was ever hanged
or shot in Auschwitz?
Q. What happened to the people who were taken to the gas
chambers for extermination? What happened to their personal
A. These were the cards of the Sonderbehandelte (special
treatment). I wanted to stress here that, of course, we
were aware that “actions” were taking place and selections
were being made in the camp, and that people were being
taken away to be gassed. With us, such cases were marked
only by two letters: SB (Sonderbehandlung – special
treatment). When one of my colleagues working in the
Registratur said to the chief, “Herr Unterscharfuehrer, sie
ist doch tot” (Mr. Unterscharfuehrer, but she is dead), he
would reply, “Mensch, Sie sind wohl verrueckt, sie ist SB”
(You, are you crazy? She is SB – she has received special
Q. What used to happen to the personal cards of those people
who were transferred to “SB”?
A. Their cards were removed, they were marked “SB” and
Q. The cards were destroyed?
Q. There was no routine death notice concerning those
Q. If I understand you correctly, the death notice concerned
people who died in Auschwitz in other ways, and not those
who were put to death by gassing.
A. Not those killed by gassing.
Q. Who removed the cards of the people who were put to death
A. By the member of the Registratur, by Kirschner, and he
Q. By one of the prisoners?
A. Yes, by one of the prisoners.
Q. To whom did the prisoner hand them?
A. To Kirschner.
Q. What happened with the people who were brought directly
to the gas chambers? Did they undergo registration?
A. There was no record in the camp.
Q. As if they had not come there?
A. No record.
Q. They were not registered at all?
A. They were not registered at all.
Presiding Judge: That is to say – straight from the train?
Witness Kagan: Straight from the platform.
Attorney General: Were there also Jews who were sent there
by the “Kripo” – the criminal department?
Witness Kagan: Yes.
Q. How were they registered?
A. That was the great paradox of Auschwitz: People who had
been arrested for supposedly committing some criminal
offence were treated in a better way, for they were not
included in the transports of the RSHA, and they were not
regarded as “Transportjuden” (transport Jews). And this
manifested itself in the fact that when selections were
made, the cards of these Jews were not included in the
Q. And what happened to the cards?
A. They remained alive.
Q. The criminal offenders?
A. The so-called criminal offenders. We knew that their
crimes were possibly that they had used the telephone, or
were found in the street after curfew time. That, too, was
a criminal offence. That was one of the paradoxes of which
there were so many in Auschwitz.
Q. What number did you receive when you entered Auschwitz?
Q. And where did you live?
A. I came to Auschwitz at a time when the Birkenau camp was
not yet in existance, except the first ten blocks of the
men’s camp, of the first principal camp. They were
separated from the men’s camp by a wall. We lived in those
blocks. At first, I lived in a hut, when I came there, but
afterwards, due to the fact that I went to work in the
office, I was moved to Block 4.
Q. Together with other women prisoners who worked in the
Q. How many of you were there?
A. In the Standesamt, we were ten girls, in the Registratur,
there were a few more. But the Kommando grew. There were
times when there were sixty women. Apart from that, there
were also Polish men, who were so-called Volksdeutsche.
Q. What was the reason for their allowing you to live in
your place of work, and not inside the camp?
A. It was inside the camp, but in another block.
Q. Why did you not live in the regular women’s block, the
place where the women prisoners lived? Was there a reason
A. No. They simply wanted to concentrate the office workers
in one block.
Q. Was it not because of a fear of disease?
A. Not at that time. But when we were transferred to
Birkenau, and I was in Birkenau for seven nights and seven
days – it seemed like seven hundred or eight hundred years,
each day was like a hundred years – then the SS men became
alarmed and suddenly transferred us from Birkenau to
Q. Why did they become alarmed? At what?
A. Because there were epidemics there, and they, these
“heroes”, were also afraid for their own skins.
Q. You worked together with them, and they feared that you
were likely to infect them?
Q. And then they brought you in a hurry to other living
A. That was in the headquarters building – the
“Stabsgebaeude”. But I wanted to add how I was received at
the Standesamt – what a welcome I received.
Q. Please do.
A. I should like to describe the welcome I was given by
Untersturmfuehrer Grabner. Two of us entered, together with
an SS supervisor. He rose, looked at us, and said: “You are
now in the office of the Political Department; you will have
to carry out your work precisely and to maintain strict
confidence, not only in what you say; you are forbidden to
gossip, you are forbidden to talk among yourselves about the
work, you are forbidden to reveal anything of what you are
doing here in the camp, and if we get to know that even by
means of your Mienenspiel (facial expression) something has
leaked out into the camp, we shall not treat you lightly.”
One of the political SS men once told the girls, in a moment
when he was in a good mood: “Under the best of
circumstances, you will die here of old age, bowed down by
Q. In the prisoner’s personal file, was there also a record
of the condition of his teeth?
A. Definitely. I also went through that – I was required to
open my mouth and to show them the state of my mouth.
Q. And what did they note down?
A. In the file, they kept a record of good teeth, artificial
teeth, anything that could be of value.
Q. Did you meet women who worked in the Aussenkommando
A. When I was in the Auschwitz camp, before we were
transferred to Birkenau (this was on 9 August 1942), we were
in the company of these women. I still managed, at that
time, to see the Slovakian women intelligentsia, not merely
the Kapos, and not only the wild Blockaelteste (block
elders), but Slovakian women intelligentsia – the entire
Slovakian intelligentsia which was exterminated in the
summer of 1942.
Q. Were there also fair and honest women amongst the
A. Yes. There were Kapos like that, but that was
Q. Were there women who were fair, both in the role of Kapos
and the role of Blockaelteste?
A. More in the role of Kapos. There, the temptation in the
distribution of food was very great.
Q. And is this what you heard from people who worked in the
A. I had friends in the camp prison about whom I was
worried, and, whenever I had a free moment, I rushed to see
how they were.
Q. Did you hear from members of the SS that there was a
quota of dead persons that had to be produced?
A. I knew that, I was told that, before the Kommando left in
the morning for “Aussenarbeit”, the SS escort would go up to
the Blockfuehrerstube (office of the block leaders), and
there he would be given the number of dead that they wanted
him to bring back. He was also interested in that, since
then he was given leave, with all sorts of benefits.
Q. That he should bring back from work a fixed quota of dead
people after a day’s work?
Q. You said it was forbidden to react even by making a
facial expression at some news. What happened when someone
would come across a notice of the death of a person she
A. We had such cases. My colleague suddenly came across a
death notice of her brother. We were so terrified that she
was afraid to cry. She did, in fact, sob, but in such a way
that one could see that she was close to having a heart
Q. Do you remember Himmler’s visit to Auschwitz?
A. It was in the second half of July 1942, if I am not
mistaken. There was a roll-call, and we heard the shouted
orders Achtung! (attention!) – hysterical shouting from the
men’s camp which was nearby. After that, he came to us. In
his entourage, there were also people dressed in mufti, and
one of them went up to a Slovakian colleague of mine, a tall
and beautiful girl, and asked her: “Where do you come from?”
And she replied: “I am a Jewess from Slovakia.” He jumped,
as if he had been bitten by a snake, for making such a
mistake in not recognizing her to be Jewish.
Q. Shortly after this visit, you were transferred to
A. After this visit, we saw the reason, the direct
connection between Himmler’s visit and our transfer to
Q. You did not stay there long, for the reason which you
have already stated?
A. Yes. The whole transfer was horrible. For two days we
did not work, and for two days preparations were made for
this transfer. At the last minute, we were informed that
the sick women were to remain, including those who had
recovered from illness, but in the block there were some who
could not work – they also stayed behind. We were mortally
afraid that they would have a bitter end. And, indeed, some
of them were liquidated.
Q. Do you remember a Jewish girl named Ilona Brody?
A. Helena Brody. “Ilona” – that was her name in Hungarian.
Q. What happened to her?
A. She was a very good friend of mine, a girl who came to
Auschwitz close to the age of nineteen – she had parents and
a family in Kezmark, in Slovakia. Her parents were very
much concerned about her. Once, at the beginning of 1944,
she was suddenly summoned to the Political Department, to
Kirschner. We were trembling, for it was never certain how
an appearance before Kirschner would end. When she came
back, she reported that Kirschner had asked her what her
nationality was. She told him that, in fact, she herself
did not know – only that her father was Hungarian. He
looked at her for a long time and did not utter a word.
Later on, he asked who her father was, and so on, and then
told her to go.
Q. Did she remain alive?
A. She remained alive, to our good fortune. But we
subsequently got to know that this had been some outside
intervention – there was a demand that the camp should
release her. But we knew how easy it was to kill her and
then to say that she was not there.
Judge Halevi: But she survived?
Witness Kagan: Yes, she survived. She is now in Canada
and visited Israel a month ago.
Attorney General: I should like to draw the Court’s
attention to exhibit T/1133, relating to Ilona Brody – the
reply of the Accused’s office to the Foreign Ministry, in
connection with an application that had been received to
permit the transfer of this woman to Hungary, where he says
that for reasons of security the return of Ilona Brody
should not be approved.
Presiding Judge: What was the application – on what grounds
was it made?
Attorney General: This we do not know.
Witness Kagan: But I know.
Attorney General: He refuses to release her. Meanwhile,
conditions in Hungary have also changed.
Presiding Judge: Was that after the coup d’etat?
Attorney General: The letter is dated 24 April 1944, after
the German entry. This is T/1133.