The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Second Day: Friday, January 11th, 1946
(Part 7 of 9)

[MR. DODD continues]

[Page 209]

Q. Are you able to state how long these visits lasted on an average?

A. That depended on the sort of visits being made. Some lasted for half an hour to an hour, some for three or four hours.

[Page 210]

Q. Were there prominent Government people who visited the camp at any time while you were there?

A. While I was there many prominent people came to our camp: Reichsfuehrer Himmler came to Dachau several times and also was present at the experiments. I was present myself on three occasions. Others also were there. I myself have seen three Ministers of State, and of several others I have heard that they were in camp - through the political prisoners, Germans - who knew these people. I also twice saw high-ranking Italian officers and once a Japanese officer.

Q. Do you remember the names of any of these prominent Government people, do you remember more particularly who any of them were?

A. Besides Himmler there was Bormann, also Gauleiter Wagner, Gauleiter Giesler; Ministers of State Frick, Rosenberg, Funk, Sauckel; also the General of Police Daluege, and others.

Q. Did these people whom you have just named take tours around the camp while you were there?

A. In general the tour through the camp was so arranged that the visitors were first taken to the kitchen, then to the laundry, then to the hospital, i.e., usually to the surgical station, then to the malaria station of Prof. Schilling and the experimental station of Dr. Rascher. Then they proceeded to a few "blocks," particularly those of the German prisoners, and often they also visited the chapel which, however, had been furnished inside for German priests only. Often, also, different personalities were presented and introduced to the visitors. It was so arranged that always, first of all, a "green" (professional criminal) was selected who was introduced as a murderer; then the Mayor of Vienna, Dr. Schmitz, was usually presented as the second one, then a high-ranking Czech officer, then a homosexual, a gipsy, a Catholic Bishop or other high Polish churchman, then a university professor; in this order so that the visitors could amuse themselves.

Q. Now did I understand you to name Kaltenbrunner as one of those visitors there, or not?

A. Yes, Kaltenbrunner also came there. He was there, together with General Daluege. That was, I believe, in the year 1943. I was also interested in General Daluege who then, after Heydrich's death, had become Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, and I wanted him to be pointed out to me.

Q. Did you see Kaltenbrunner there yourself?

A. Yes. He was pointed out to me. I had not seen him previously.

Q. Did I understand you to mention Frick as one of those whom you saw there?

A. Yes, it was in the year of 1944, the first half of 1944.

Q. Where did you see him? Where in the camp did you see him?

A. I saw him from the hospital window as he was entering the hospital with his staff, and several other people.

Q. Do you see the man whom you saw there that day, by the name of Frick, in this Court-room now?

A. Yes. The fourth man in the first row from the right.

Q. I understand you also named the name Rosenberg as one of those whom you saw there?

A. I can recall that it was shortly after my arrival in the concentration camp at Dachau that there was a visit, and it was then that my German comrades pointed Rosenberg out to me.

Q. Do you see that man in this Court-room now?

A. Yes. He is two further to the left in the first row.

Q. I also understood you to name Sauckel as one of those who were present in the camp?

[Page 211]

A. Yes, but I did not see him personally; I merely heard that he had visited certain factories and armament plants, and that was in 1943, 1, believe.

Q. Was it general knowledge in the camp at that time that a man named Sauckel visited the camp, and particularly the munition plant?

A. Yes, that was general knowledge in the camp.

Q. I also understood you to name one of those who visited this camp as Funk?

A. Yes. He was also present at a visit, and II can remember that it was on the occasion of a State conference of the Axis Powers in Salzburg or Reichenhall. It was the custom on such occasions, when there was a Party convention or a celebration in Munich, Berchtesgaden, or Salzburg, that several personalities would come from the celebrations to Dachau for a visit. That was also the case with Funk.

Q. Did you personally see Funk there?

A. No, I did not see Funk personally; I merely heard that he was there.

Q. Was that general knowledge in the camp at that time?

A. Yes. We knew beforehand that he was to come.

Q. Were there any visits after the end of the year 1944, or in the months of 1945?

A. There were some visits still, but very few, because there was a typhus epidemic in the camp at that time, and quarantine was imposed.

Q. Doctor, you are now a director of a hospital in Prague, are you not?

A. Yes.

MR. DODD: I have no further questions to ask of the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other counsel for the prosecution wish to ask any questions?

(Colonel Pokrovsky indicated assent.) We will adjourn for a ten minute recess.

(A recess was taken.)

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I would like permission to ask this witness several questions.


Q. Tell us, witness, do you know what were the particular functions of the concentration camp at Dachau; was it really, so to speak, a concentration camp of extermination?

A. Until the year 1943 it was really an extermination camp. After the year 1943 a good many factories and munition plants were also established, inside the camp, and particularly after the bombardments got underway, and then it became more a work camp. But as far as the results are concerned there was no difference, because the prisoners had to work so hard while going hungry that they died from hunger and exhaustion instead of from beatings.

Q. Must I understand you this way, that, in fact, even up to and since 1943 Dachau was a camp of extermination and that there were different ways of extermination?

A. That is so.

Q. How many, according to your own observations, went through this camp of extermination, Dachau; how many internees came originally from the U.S.S.R.; how many passed through the camp?

A. I cannot state that exactly, only approximately. First, after November, 1941, there were exclusively Russian prisoners of war in uniform. They had separate camps, and were liquidated within a few months. In the summer of 1942, those who remained out of, I believe, 12,000 prisoners of war, were transported to Mauthausen, and, as I learned from the people who came from Mauthausen to Dachau, they were liquidated in gas chambers.

Then, after the Russian prisoners of war, the Russian children were brought to Dachau. There were, I believe, 2,000 boys, 6 to 17 years old. They were [Page 212] kept in one or two special blocks. They had to suffer extremely from the "greens," who beat them constantly. These boys also ...

THE PRESIDENT: You are going too fast.


Q. What do you mean when you refer to the "greens"?

A. Those were the so-called professional criminals. They beat these young boys and gave them the hardest work. They worked particularly in the plantations where they were used instead of horses and engines, to pull ploughs, machines, and steam rollers. Also in all transport commandos Russian children were used exclusively. At least 70 per cent. of them died of tuberculosis, and those who remained were then sent to a special camp in the Tyrol in 1943 or the beginning of 1944.

Then after the children, several thousand so-called Eastern workers were brought in. These were civilians who were removed by force from the Eastern territories to Germany, and then, because of so-called work-sabotage, were put into concentration camps. In addition there were many Russian officers and intellectuals.

Q. I would like to ask you to be more exact in your answers in regard to those people whom you call "greens." Did I correctly understand you when you said that those criminals had the task of supervising those internees arriving at the camp?

A. Yes.

Q. And that these professional criminals were given complete charge of the children so that they, those children of Soviet citizens, and arrivals at the camp could be beaten, ill-treated and sent to such unbearable work that they became tubercular?

A. Yes.

Q. What do you know in regard to executions of the citizens of the U.S.S.R. which were being carried on in this camp?

A. I believe that I am not far from the truth in saying that of all those executed, at least 75 per cent. were Russians, and they were men as well as women, who were brought to Dachau from outside to be executed.

Q. Can you give us more details in regard to the execution of 94 high field and staff officers of the Red Army, which you have already spoken about in reply to the question of my colleague? Who and of what rank were these officers? What were the reasons for their execution? Do you know anything at all about it?

A.In the summer or later spring of 1944 high-ranking Russian officers, generals, colonels, and majors were sent to Dachau. During the next few weeks they were investigated by the Political Department. That is to say, after each interrogation they were completely beaten up and brought to the camp hospital, so that I saw some of them and knew them well. For weeks they simply had to lie on their bellies; we had to remove the paralysed parts of their skin and muscles by operation. Many succumbed to these methods of investigation. The others, 94 people in number, were then, on orders from the R.S.H.A. in Berlin, brought to the crematorium in the beginning of September, 1944, and there, while on their knees, shot through the neck.In addition, later on in the winter and in the spring of 1945, several Russian officers were brought from solitary confinement to the crematorium and there either hanged or shot.

Q. The same kind of question I would like to ask you about the execution of the 40 Russian students. Is it possible for you to give us a few details about the execution?

A. Yes, these Russian students and intellectuals in general - I can recall that a doctor was also among them-were brought from the Moosburg camp to Dachau, and after one month they were all executed. That was in March of 1944.

[Page 213]

Q. Do you happen to know what the reason was for their execution? A. The order for it came from Berlin. We did not get to know the reason, because I saw the bodies only after the execution, and the reason had been read aloud before the execution took place.

Q. This execution produced the impression of being one of the stages of the general plan for extermination of the people who entered Dachau?

A. Yes. That was the plan in all executions, and in all transports of invalids, etc., as well as in the case of the epidemics. It was easy to see that this was all part of the general plan for extermination, and particularly - and this I must emphasise - the Russian prisoners were always treated the worst of all.

Q. Would you be so kind as to say what is known to you in regard to those internees who were in the category "Nacht und Nebel," night and fog? Were there many of these internees? Do you know the reason why they were sent to the concentration camp?

A. Many prisoners, so-called "Nacht und Nebel" (night and fog), came to the concentration camp; the people so designated were mostly from the Western countries of Europe, particularly Frenchmen, Belgians and Dutchmen. The Russian people-and this was also the case with the Czechs and also in my own case - frequently had the designation "return undesirable." This actually meant the same. Shortly before the liberation many of these people were executed on the order of the camp commander, that is, shot in front of the crematorium. Among these people, particularly French and Russians, many had serious cases of typhus and were carried on stretchers to the rifle range with a temperature of 40 degrees.

Q. I believe you mentioned something about a considerable number of prisoners who died of starvation. Could you tell me how large that number was, the number of people who died of starvation?

A. I believe that two- thirds of the entire population of the camp suffered from severe malnutrition, and that at least 25 per cent. of the dead had literally died of starvation. It was called in German "Hungertyphus." Besides, tuberculosis was the most widely spread disease in the camp and spread also because of malnutrition and found most of its victims among the Russians.

Q. I think you said, answering the question of my colleague, that the majority of those who died of starvation and exhaustion were French, Russians and Italians. How do you account for the fact that just those categories of internees died more than other people?

A. Yes.

Q. How do you explain that Russians, French and Italians made up the largest number of those people who died from starvation? Was there any difference in the feeding of internees of different nationalities, or was there some other kind of reason?

A. It was like this: the others, the Germans, Poles, Czechs, who had already been in the camp for some time, had had time - so to speak - to adjust themselves to camp conditions, physically I mean. The Russians deteriorated rapidly. The same was true of the French and the Italians. Moreover, these nationals for the most part arrived suffering from malnutrition from other camps, so that they then soon fell easy prey to the other epidemics and diseases. Also, the Germans, Poles, and many others who worked in the armaments industry had had, since the year 1943, the opportunity to get parcels from home. That, of course, was not the case with citizens of Soviet Russia, France or Italy.

Q. Can you answer the question about what Rosenberg, Kaltenbrunner, Sauckel or Funk saw when they were in the Dachau concentration camp; do you know what they saw and what was shown them?

A. I had no opportunity to follow the course of these visits. Such occasions were afforded only very seldom, when one could see these visitors from the window and could observe where they went. I seldom had the opportunity

[Page 214]

to be present, as I was in the case of Himmler's visits and those of Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl, and once at the occasion of Gauleiter Giesler's visit, when they were shown the experiments on the patients in the hospital. Of the others I do not know what they individually saw and did in the camp.

Q. Perhaps you had an opportunity to observe the length of the visit of those people in the camp, whether the visit was short, just for a few moments, or whether they stayed there for a long time. I have in mind Rosenberg, Kaltenbrunner, Sauckel and Funk.

A. That depended. Many visitors were there for half an hour, many, as I said before, spent as many as three hours there. We were always able to observe that quite well, because at those times no work could be done, nor was food distributed. We did not carry on our work in the hospital, and had to wait until the signal was given to us that the visitors had left the camp. Otherwise I had no means of finding out in the individual cases how long these visits in the camp lasted.

Q. Can you recall the visits of Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Funk and Sauckel? We want to classify them the same way as you mentioned just now, whether they were brief visits or whether those people stayed there for several hours. Did you understand my question or not?

A. Unfortunately, I cannot make a statement on that because, as I said, the visits took place so frequently that I have difficulty after these years in recalling whether they lasted for a shorter or longer time. Many visits, for instance, from schools, from military personnel, and police schools lasted a whole day.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: Thank you. I have no further questions of this witness at this stage of the sitting.


Q.You have alluded to a convoy of deported French people who came from Compiegne, of whom only 1,200 survivors arrived. Were there any other convoys?

A. Yes. There were transports, particularly from Bordeaux, Lyon, and Compiegne, all in the first half of the year 1944.

Q. Were all the transports carried out under the same conditions?

A. The conditions under which these transports were made were, if not the same, at any rate very similar.

Q. Each time upon their arrival you were able to see that there were numerous victims?

A. Yes.

Q. What were the causes of death?

A. The causes of death were that too many people had been packed closely into the cars, which were then locked, and that they did not get anything to eat or drink for several days. Usually they starved or suffocated. Of those who survived many were brought to the camp hospital, and of these again a large number died from various complications and diseases.

Q. Did you make autopsies of the people who died while en route?

A. Yes, my services were demanded particularly for the transport from Compiegne because the rumour was spread that the French, namely the Maquis and the Fascists, had attacked and killed each other in the cars. I had to inspect these corpses, but in no case did I find any signs of violence. Moreover, I took ten corpses as samples, dissected them thoroughly, and sent special reports on them to Berlin. All these people had died of suffocation. I could also note during the autopsy that these were prominent French people. I could tell from their identity papers and uniforms that they were high-ranking French officers, priests, deputies, and well-fed people who had been taken directly from civilian life to the cars to be sent to Dachau.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.