The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 20
(Part 3 of 7)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Q. You stayed in Lublin for only three days?

A. Yes, we wanted to move on, for everyone said that there was no future there and that one had to...

Q. Where did you want to continue to?

A. Eastwards, to get out of the reach of the SS men.

Q. What did you do after the three days?

A. We obtained a small cart.

Q. Always the same five people?

A. Yes. We obtained this small cart for which we paid in cash and a Pole rode with us towards the East, in the direction of Poldowa. On the way between Poldowa and Lublin there was a point on the highway - there was another road at that point and I don't remember where that place was. But suddenly there appeared a Schupo* {*Schupo: Schutzpolizei - a policeman.} and two SS soldiers. We got off from the cart, for they ordered us to get off. They asked whether we had any money. We gave them the money. They asked: Who has any more money? One of the group, who was not to blame for it, had some more money in his pocket. They searched him and found more money in his pocket. They told us to remove our clothes. We got undressed completely. All were made to lie on the ground, and we were given blows for fifteen minutes on end. They passed the stick from one to the other. They struck us and laughed.

Q. After that they left you?

A. After that they told us to kneel down and to sing Hebrew songs. We sang "Hatikva." After that they told us to crawl inside a concrete pipe which was next to the road. We did so. It was quite difficult. All the time we were in the pipe we were given more beatings.

Presiding Judge: Was it a closed concrete pipe?

A. No, a conduit. After that we returned and they left us. We noticed around there a mass of Jewish and Hebrew books, Siddurim (prayer books), half burnt.

Presiding Judge: Were these prayer books?

Witness Kratky: Yes. I thought that people who wanted to leave the place reached this point, and they treated them all in the same way.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Is that what you thought?

Witness Kratky: Yes.

Q. What did you do?

A. My friend fainted twice. He was very weak after these beatings. They were very hard blows. It is impossible to describe them in words. We went back to Lublin. It was impossible to go on. We had nothing and we were very weak. We went on the cart which had taken us in that direction, and we reached Lublin. We immediately went to the Jewish hospital at 54 Levertovska Street.

Q. How long did you remain there?

A. There we received good, excellent treatment and we were patients there for two weeks. We received a quite interesting visit from Edelstein.

Q. Ya'akov Edelstein came there?

A. Yes.

Q. Where did he come from?

A. From Nisko. He came to Nisko to see how the new State was developing.

Q. Did he tell you what he was doing in Lublin?

A. He told me that in Lublin he wanted to see Globocnik, who was the Governor of Lublin. Murmelstein was also there, but he didn't come to the hospital, but to a hotel.

Q. What happened in Lublin?

A. We remained in Lublin meanwhile.

Q. How long, in the end, did you remain in Lublin?

A. Until the end.

Q. What do you mean by "until the end"?

A. Until we returned again to the camp.

Q. When was that?

A. At the beginning of April.

Q. So you remained in Lublin until April 1940?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you work during that period?

A. Yes, I worked as a doctor.

Q. Where?

A. In the hospital. We remained there and we helped.

Q. Was it a Jewish hospital?

A. Yes. We assisted there - both the other doctor, Dr. Tasker, and I.

Q. Do you recall, during the period of your work at the hospital in Lublin, when a particular transport of Jews arrived from Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. Please tell the Court about it.

A. This transport of Jews from Stettin arrived in a very bad condition, and we received them. Some of them were in a very serious state. It was a very difficult winter. It was 25 degrees below zero.

Q. Do you remember the month in which the transport reached the hospital in Lublin?

A. It could have been roughly at the end of December.

Q. December-January?

A. Yes.

Q. What was the condition of the patients?

A. They told us in the hospital that eight persons had been taken from the train who had frozen to death.

Q. Who had frozen to death?

A. Both from the cold and also otherwise. I don't know. They were locked in. But we received many people at the hospital, approximately 60 persons; there was no room and they had to lie on the floor and in all kinds of places, and we treated arms and legs that had been frozen. It was a matter of luck that a good friend arrived from Nisko - I think they sent him - Dr. Grossmann, a famous operating surgeon, and he was of great help in this situation. We treated the people.

Q. You treated these people and you said that you remained at your post in the hospital until the month of April 1940?

A. Yes, we were in touch with the camp all the time.

Q. At Nisko?

A. Yes. People came there. Kramer, too, came there, the brother of Azariah Kramer who was also in the hospital. I spoke to him. People kept coming - this doctor and others.

Q. The contact between you and the camp at Nisko continued?

A. Yes. We heard that they were searching - they were trying to find people on the frontier who had no way of moving away from there. They had nothing. They were really hungry and without any money or food, and Edelstein was a very good man, and tried to help them. He went from place to place.

Q. To search for them?

A. Yes.

Q. You left Lublin in April 1940, and where did you go to?

A. I went the same way...

Q. Alone?

A. No, with Dr. Grossmann, Tasker and Frankel, and a few other men who, during that time, had come to Lublin from the camp and who were in contact, all the time...

Q. Where did you go?

A. We went along the same road, but by cart.

Presiding Judge: To the east?

A. No, no, to Nisko. We were told to come back to Nisko, for there was a possibility that the whole camp might be going back to Moravska Ostrava.

Q. Is that what you heard in Lublin?

A. Yes.

Q. So you returned to Nisko, in order to go back from there to Maehrisch-Ostrau?

A. We returned round about April 14...

Q. So you actually returned to Nisko, you remained for 14 days, roughly a fortnight more or less - is that right?

A. Yes. We travelled from Nisko by train.

Presiding Judge: To Maehrisch-Ostrau?

Witness Kratky: Yes.

Presiding Judge: Was the camp there dismantled?

Witness Kratky: Yes. All the people that were in the camp, about 280 persons.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Can you give the Court, very briefly, a description of the camp and its condition when you arrived back in April 1940?

Witness Kratky: There were already houses there, there was a shoe-repair shop, also a kitchen - I heard that there was a small hospital at Olnow, near the camp.

Q. Were all the people you found in the camp on your return from Maehrisch-Ostrau?

A. I don't know, but there were also people from Vienna.

Q. How many were there, in all, when you came back?

A. There were 280 of us who left there. I remember this number well.

Q. Do you know what happened to the others? After all, 1,000 left with you. Is that not so?

A. Yes.

Q. When you returned, in April 1940, did you see extensions to the camp?

A. We heard that some had actually left for the East, and that some had remained in Lvov, in that direction. We heard afterwards that my brother-in-law had left with that transport; he remained in Kolomyya, and was shot there after the Germans caught him.

Q. So ultimately, you returned to Maehrisch-Ostrau already in April?

A. Yes.

Q. How long did you stay there?

A. Until September 1942.

Q. When you were transferred to Theresienstadt?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you give the Court a brief description of your living conditions in Maehrisch-Ostrau during those two years?

A. Generally, or that part of the people who had returned from Nisko?

Q. No, all the Jews of Maehrisch-Ostrau, in general.

A. In August 1941, I believe, we had to wear the yellow badge.

Q. When were you obliged to wear it?

A. Approximately in August 1941. We Jews lived in Maehrisch- Ostrau near the Christian church, around the corner - one could say it was a small ghetto. This was done especially so that the Jews should be concentrated in their dwellings. In my apartment, too, the apartment of my parents, who were still living there, we received two families, and all were concentrated together.

Q. Was it necessary to be concentrated in a number of houses?

A. Yes, in a ghetto; it was not altogether closed off, it was not a prison, but nevertheless it was impossible to leave the house later than 7 or 8 in the evening, or before 7 in the morning.

Q. Were there restrictions on your movements?

A. Yes. It was impossible to leave the town of Maehrisch- Ostrau for Prague.

Q. And what about your movements inside the town?

A. They were free.

Q. You were able to move around freely?

A. Only that we could not use the bus.

Q. You were forbidden to use a means of transport?

A. Yes, but there were certain hours when we could buy goods, but also only in certain shops.

Q. Only at certain hours?

A. Yes. Doctors were allowed to treat Jews only. I no longer had my practice.

Q. You were permitted to treat Jews only?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember the name of Eichmann?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you come across this name for the first time?

A. Only in Nisko.

Q. Did you see Eichmann in Nisko?

A. I saw him that afternoon on the hill.

Q. You told us about someone who made a speech before you, whose words you gave in brief in German. Was that Eichmann?

A. Yes, that was Eichmann. I heard that from the people around me who had already had some contact with him, some meeting with him on the train, or...

Q. You heard that from people who had already met him and they told you he was Eichmann?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you be able to recognize him today?

A. No, not at all.

Q. Did you see that man, who they told you was Eichmann, again after that speech?

A. No.

Q. Do you remember the name Guenther?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see him?

A. I don't remember whether I saw him. I hear that he was in Moravska Ostrava several times. That I remember very well. In 1939, in the summer. That I remember.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions?

Dr. Servatius: Yes. Moravska Ostrava used to belong in those days to what was called the Protectorate?

Witness Kratky: Yes. It was a town in Northern Moravia, and it was in the Protectorate.

Q. Who was the Protector, the Governor of the Protectorate, there, when this Nisko affair was initiated?

A. Neurath, I believe, and afterwards Heydrich, or Heydrich first. I think it was Neurath.

Q. Wasn't Heydrich there already?

A. I don't remember whether it was Heydrich first, or Neurath first. Neurath was also in Czechoslovakia. Heydrich was there. I am confused on this.

Presiding Judge: Very well, one or the other, either Neurath was first, or Heydrich.

Dr. Servatius: Do you remember that he made some speech. According to the rumour, it should have been Heydrich who gave the speech, and who promised the population that he would cleanse the area of its Jews within three months?

Witness Kratky: I don't remember.

Dr. Servatius: I have no more questions.

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