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 9 of 9)

[DR. SAUTER continues]

[Page 219]

Q. Well, Dr. Blaha, when your hearing started and you were asked by the President or by the Prosecutor, you made a statement, I believe, in the Czech language.

A. No.

Q. What then?

A. In the German language.

Q. No, everyone heard that that was not German, but it was obviously Czech.

A. The first sentences only.

Q. The first sentences only; I therefore, ask that it also be included in the Court transcript for practical purposes. I ask you to state and to repeat quite literally, giving the true sense, that which you said then, because we are interested in that from the point of view of the defence.

A. I believe that it was included in the transcript because an English translation was added to my statement, and the Czech sentences were also translated.

Q. I do not believe that Czech is being translated. But please repeat what you said then; we did not hear it.

A. I said that I was ready, since it is technically impossible to use my native tongue in the hearing, to give my testimony in German, because I have lived through all these events which occurred during the last seven years and which are now the subject of this trial in German surroundings, and also the special and new expressions referring to life in the camp can be found only in German, and in no other dictionary can you find such suitable and expressive terms as in the German language.

DR. SAUTER: Then I have no further questions; thank you.

DR. THOMA (Counsel for defendant Rosenberg):

Q. Witness, were the inmates of the concentration camp Dachau bound to secrecy?

A. No. Of course, if someone was discharged from the camp by the Gestapo - those were very few cases-particularly in the case of the Germans who were then drafted, one had to sign . . .

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): More slowly, please.

A. ... one had to sign a so-called statement of secrecy.


Q. Could the inmates of the camp, those inside the camp, who worked on farms, etc. talk to the other workers about the conditions in the camp?

A. Yes, there were opportunities, because the people worked in the same rooms and factories with various other workers, civilian workers. That was so in the German armament industry, on the plantations, and in all factories, in Munich and surrounding districts.

Q. If I understood you correctly, you said previously that visitors, people who delivered things, and customers also, had an opportunity to observe these conditions in the camp without difficulty.

A. Yes. Many of these people went through all the plantation as well as the branches of the various factories and observed the life in these places.

Q. And what did they see there in the way of atrocities and ill- treatment?

[Page 220]

A. No, I believe they saw how the people worked, what they looked like and what was produced there. For instance, I can remember one example quite well. At that time I was working on the plantations. We were pulling a heavy steam roller, 16 men and a party of girls passed. When they passed, their leader said very loudly, so that we all could hear it, "Look, those people there are so lazy that it looks as if they'd rather have a team of horses pull it." That was supposed to be funny.

Q. Witness, when did you first have occasion, after your liberation from the concentration camp, to tell other people about those horrible atrocities which you related to us to-day?

A. I did not understand that; please repeat.

Q. When did you first have an opportunity, after your discharge or liberation from the concentration camp, to tell an outsider about these horrible atrocities?

A. Immediately after the liberation. I was at that time, as chief physician of the concentration camp, interrogated by the American Investigating Corps, and it was to this corps that I told this story for the first time, and I also gave them various proofs, diagrams, and the case histories, which I had saved from being burnt.

Q. That prosecutor believed the information you gave without further ado?

A. Yes.

Q. Witness, you said that the defendant Rosenberg was shown to you in the concentration camp Dachau shortly after you arrived there? When was that?

A. In the year 1941; first half of 1941.

Q. First half?

A. I believe so, yes.

Q. Can you perhaps remember the month?

A. I cannot remember. I arrived in April; that is why I assume it was perhaps from April to July, or so.

Q. To July, from April to July, 1941?

A. I believe so.

Q. Was Rosenberg at that time in uniform?

A. He was in uniform.

Q. In what uniform?

A. I believe it was an S.S. uniform.

Q. S.S. uniform?

A. It was a - I cannot say that very precisely - but he was in uniform.

Q. All right, you remember prima facie that it was an S.S. uniform, that is a black uniform?

A. No, at that time the S.S. did not any longer wear the black uniform, because after the beginning of the war they wore field uniforms and other similar uniforms.

Q. Then, you assume it was a grey uniform?

A. Something like that; whether it was grey or yellow or brown I do not remember any more.

Q. That is just the point: whether it was grey, brown, or yellow. Was it a field uniform?

A. I do not remember any longer, because from 1939 I was in the concentration camp, and anyway I am not familiar with the various German uniforms, ranks and branches of the Army, and so forth.

Q. But you just said that during the war they changed the uniform.

A. Yes, the people in the Gestapo also changed it. When I was taken prisoner in 1939, all Gestapo personnel wore this black uniform. After the beginning of the war most of them were either green or grey uniforms.

Q. May I ask you again: Now did Rosenberg wear a war uniform or a peacetime uniform?

[Page 221]

A. I believe it was a war uniform.

Q. War uniform? The defendant Rosenberg was pointed out to you by another comrade, was he not?

A. Yes.

Q. At what distance?

A. Well, he was just going down the camp street. That was perhaps 30 or 40 degrees.

Q. Thirty or 40 metres you mean?

A. Well, 30 metres; 30 paces I wanted to say, 30 to 40 paces.

Q. And had you previously seen photographs of Rosenberg? Did you connect any idea with the name Rosenberg?

A. Yes.

Q. And when this comrade showed you Rosenberg, was it then necessary for him to say: "This is Rosenberg"? Did you not recognise him already from having seen him in the pictures which you had previously

A. I cannot remember that. But when he showed him to me I did remember that I knew him already from the various pictures in the newspapers.

Q. May I ask you to describe the precise sequence of events, how it happened; where you were standing, where Rosenberg came from, and who was in his company.

A. Who was in his company? I knew only the Camp Commander.

Q. Who was it at that time?

A. Camp Commander was Pierkowski, Sturmbannfuehrer Pierkowski.

Q. Do you know whether he is still alive?

A. No, I do not.

Q. The Camp Commander?

A. Pierkowski.

Q. Yes?

A. Then the Lagerfuehrer Ziel and Hoffmann. I knew them.

Q. You knew them. Now were you in your room and looking out of the window?

A. No, we were in one of the so-called block streets. This led into another through which the visitors passed.

Q. And what was said to you?

A. "Look, there goes Rosenberg."

Q. Was Rosenberg alone?

A. No, he was with these other persons.

Q. That is to say, only with the Camp Commander?

A. No, there were many other people with him.

Q. That is to say, he had an escort, a staff?

A. I do not know whether that was Rosenberg's staff, but there were a number of persons.

Q. A number of persons? Witness, the defendant Rosenberg assures me most definitely that he has never been to the concentration camp at Dachau. Is no error possible here?

A. I believe I am not mistaken. Besides the German in question knew Rosenberg very well, I believe.

Q. How do you know that?

A. Because he told me so definitely. Otherwise, I have no way of knowing it.



THE PRESIDENT: You will forgive me if I point out to you that this is intended to be an expeditious trial and that it is not right to take up too much time upon small points like this.

[Page 222]

DR. THOMA: I ask your permission to remark that the question whether or not Rosenberg was in the concentration camp is a very important question of decisive significance. I thank you.

BY DR. PANNENBECKER (Counsel for defendant Frick):

The defendant Frick states that he has never been in Dachau Camp. I should like, therefore, in order to clarify the facts, to ask the following questions:

Q. Witness, at what distance do you believe you saw Frick?

A. I saw him from the window as he passed with a number of people.

Q. Did you know Frick before?

A. Yes, from pictures.

Q. From pictures? Did you recognise him yourself, or did some friend tell you that it was Frick?

A. A number of us saw him and I looked at him particularly because at that time he was already Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. For that reason I had a personal interest in recognising him.

Q. Did Frick wear a uniform?

A. I do not believe so.

Q. Did you recognise anybody who was with him, anyone from his staff or from the camp command?

A. From the camp command? I did not know his staff. Of the camp command there was Camp Commander Weiter, and his adjutant, Otto.

Q. Could you name anyone of your comrades who also recognised him?

A. There were many comrades of mine who at that time were standing at the window. Unfortunately, I cannot say who they were, because, as you will understand, so many things happened during life in the concentration camp, as on an assembly line, that one cannot record these things accurately in one's memory. One remembers only the more important events.

Q. Did you recognise him at once of your own accord when he passed by, or had it been talked over previously that Frick was expected?

A. No, it was not discussed then. It was simply said that a high- ranking visitor was to come, and we were waiting for this high- ranking visitor. We were not told beforehand who was to come.

Q. Did you recognise Frick immediately now in the Courtroom, or did you know beforehand that he was sitting in the fourth seat here?

A. No, I recognised him quite well, because I have already seen him repeatedly in various pictures.

Q. How did that happen?

A. Because he is a well-known person in Bohemia and Moravia.

Q. You then believe that any error is completely out of question?

A. I believe so.

DR. PANNENDECKER: May I then ask the Court whether Frick himself may take the stand to testify that he has never seen the camp Dachau? I want to make this motion now so that, if necessary, the witness might be confronted with Frick.

THE PRESIDENT: Counsel for the defendants will understand that they will have the opportunity, when it comes to their time to present their cases, to call all the defendants, but they will not have an opportunity of calling them now. They will have to wait until the case for the prosecution is over, and they will then have an opportunity, each of them, to call the defendant for whom they appear, if they wish to.

DR. PANNENBECKER: I simply thought, that since the witness is available now

(Dr. Kubuschok approached the lectern.)

THE PRESIDENT: It is now 5 o'clock, and unless you are going to be very short - are you going to be very short?

[Page 223]

BY DR. KUBUSCHOK (Counsel for the Reich Cabinet): Yes, Sir.

Q. Witness, you said that when prominent visitors came to the camp, for instance, Reich Ministers, extensive preparations were made beforehand. You also said that undesirable persons were removed. Maybe you could supplement that statement. I am interested to know the purpose of these preparations.

A. My meaning is that everything had to be in order. In our infirmary all the patients had to lie in bed quietly, everything was washed and prepared and the instruments were polished, as was usually the case when high-ranking visitors came. We were not allowed to do anything, there were no operations no bandages; and no food was given out before the visit had terminated.

Q. Could you perhaps tell me which undesirable persons were to be removed, as you said before?

A. Well, the Russians in particular were always kept strictly in their blocks. It was said that there was a fear of possible demonstrations, assassinations, etc.

Q. Were prisoners kept out of sight because they showed outward signs of any ill-treatment ?

A. It goes without saying that before visits nobody was struck, beaten, hanged or executed.

Q. Summing up, the purposes of these preparations were not to give the guests a view of the real concentration camp?

A. Not of the cruelties.

Q. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: The Court will not sit in open session to-morrow, Saturday, and will only sit in the morning on Monday because there is work to be done in the closed session to-morrow and on Monday afternoon. I thought it would be convenient for counsel to know that.

The Court will now adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 10.00 hours, on 14th January, 1946.)

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