The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 21
(Part 5 of 9)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Attorney General: Let us leave the camp for a moment. Somebody else will speak about the labour camp. I want you to tell me now about the execution of Jews who were alleged to shirk work. Do you remember the hangings of the Jews in Ciechanow?

Witness Zabludowicz: Yes. I have already spoken about them.

Q. What was the charge?

A. The charge was that they evaded work. There were five Jews - the first to be hanged.

Q. Were there hangings also in Novidvor?

A. Yes, correct, there were the five Jews whom they brought from Ciechanow who were with me in prison, and they brought them from Novidvor to Ciechanow and hanged them.

Q. Who was in charge of these hangings?

A. The Gestapo.

Judge Halevi: When was this?

A. The second hanging, the great one, was in 1942.

Q. When was the first?

A. They hanged the first five Jews in 1941. I cannot remember the exact date. The second hanging was carried out in 1942 - they hanged these Jews in Novidvor. There was also a third hanging...

Q. Just a moment. The second...what month was that, do you remember?

A. I don't remember.

Q. How long before the deportation to Auschwitz?

A. A few months before the deportation, not long before. And there was a final hanging, a few days before the general deportation, there were these three Jews...

Attorney General: Let us leave details for the present. Do you remember the action against Jews who, they alleged, were concealing articles of value? What did they do to them?

Witness Zabludowicz: There was no such accusation.

Q. Please recall what happened on 5 November 1942?

A. Then they didn't hang them - they killed them, they murdered them.

Q. Who killed them?

A. The SS men who were guarding them.

Q. Do you remember the case of a Jewish baby?

A. That is right.

Q. Tell us in detail what you remember about it.

A. When we were lined up in rows on the day of the deportation, there was a woman who held a few months' old baby girl in her arms. The baby began to cry, to wail. One of the SS men turned to her and said: "Please give me the child." Naturally she resisted, but he said this in a very kindly way and she, despite herself, handed over the child - in fear. He took the baby in his hands and threw her down with her forehead hitting the road, and the baby died. The mother was not even able to cry out. And there were also instances in those rows where people were accused of allegedly possessing articles of value, and they shot them.

Q. How long was the journey to Auschwitz?

A. Two days.

Q. In closed railway carriages?

A. In closed carriages.

Q. They gave you food?

A. No.

Q. Where did you relieve yourselves?

A. In the carriage.

Q. Do you remember anything about invalids?

A. Yes.

Q. When was this?

A. It was at the beginning. I cannot give you the exact date, but there was an instruction from the men of the Selbstschutz, men of the Gestapo: please register all the invalids and cripples. They purported to be making provisions for a sanatorium - they wanted to send these people for recuperation. Whoever recovered - well and good; whoever did not - would remain in the sanatorium. At the outset people weren't suspicious and gave it no thought. People registered, for better or for worse. And on one of those days, they removed several hundred of the Jews, sent them to a place not far from the town, to a forest named Oshislovi, and they were all shot.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, have you any questions to the witness?

Dr. Servatius: I have no question to this witness.

Judge Halevi: You told us that for a period of two years you had German papers.

Witness Zabludowicz: Correct.

Q. And your name appeared as Robert instead of Noach?

A. Correct.

Q. What was your job?

A. I worked as a driver for Kessler. Kessler had several cars, not only one car. I was the Oberchauffeur (chief driver). I was responsible for all the cars.

Q. By what right did you receive the identity of a German?

A. I had heard that some German had come along and was looking for a driver. I left my work and came to him. He tested me - he had a car with three trailers.

Q. The Germans knew that you were a Jew? Were you an informer for the two years?

A. Informer?

Q. They wanted you to be an informer?

A. No.

Q. They proposed to you that you should be an informer?

A. The Germans?

Q. The Gestapo, so you said, demanded this of you.

A. This was at the time of the interrogation. After my arrest. When I began to work, I said to him: "Mr. Kessler, I cannot work for you." He said: "What's wrong, are you ill?" I said: "I am not ill, as you can see. I am fit and well. But I bear a stain, I am a Jew." And he said: What, you are a Jew! You have found yourself a good German." He went off and within two days arranged a certificate for me.

Q. When?

A. At that time, in May 1940.

Q. You received a document as a German?

A. More than that - after some time I received a call-up to the German army, and the Ministry of Transportation apparently requested a deferment on the grounds that I was an essential worker.

Q. I don't understand. At that time, in May 1942, it happened that you were under arrest by the Gestapo because you were a Jew, and at the same time they gave you the identity document of a German?

A. I should like to clarify to the Court. Throughout the week I did not wear the badge of a Jew. I always kept with me the certificate that I received from them, and this was my practice. But every week I did a lot for our people, a lot, moving Jews from place to place wherever they were looking for them. There was no mail for Jews and I established contact between ghetto and ghetto. No one knew what was going on 10 to 20 kilometres away, in another place, in the next village. I was a Jew and passed through all the ghettos, I maintained contact between the people, I took people from place to place. Every Saturday, when I was free from this work, I went into the residential areas where the Jews lived. I was living with my "Chief" outside the area restricted to Jews. When I reached the Jewish zone, I wore the Jewish badge. I couldn't move around amongst the Jews without it. I met with friends and gave them a weekly report. I received fresh instructions as to what I had to do. At that time, in 1942 in the month of May, when the incident which I have described occurred, I wore the Jewish badge to which I was not used.

Q. Did the men of the Gestapo, during these two years, know that you were a Jew, or did they think and believe that you were a German?

A. I was a "pure German."

Q. In the eyes of the Germans.

Presiding Judge: Did you yourself witness an instance where SS men entered an apartment?

Witness Zabludowicz: I was present.

Judge Halevi: When they separated husbands from wives and, as you related, they forced a man to have relations with another woman?

Witness Zabludowicz: I was present there, Your Honours.

Q. In one instance?

A. The instance where I was present. I could not see instances where I was not present.

Q. What happened in your case, the one you witnessed? For you were speaking in a general way.

A. I am describing only instances that I witnessed, instances that I myself saw. Not what I didn't see.

Q. You saw with your own eyes how they forced a Jewish man to have relations with another woman?

A. They forced the men to exchange wives.

Q. In the room where you were?

A. Yes.

Q. And the case of the baby girl that they threw down? This was in your presence?

A. This was in my presence, in the presence of all the people of Ciechanow.

Judge Raveh: Do you know how many Jews there were in Ciechanow at the outbreak of the War?

Witness Zabludowicz: 6,000 Jews.

Q. How many were transferred to Auschwitz?

A. All of them were transferred to Auschwitz.

Q. The same number?

A. The total number went to Auschwitz.

Q. That means that the number remained the same from the outbreak of the War until they were transferred to Auschwitz?

A. I would like to point out that there were many cases of people who were not of our town who joined us, in the same way as some of our people moved to another place. But the number of people who were in Ciechanow during that period was 6,000 Jews. All of them were transferred to Auschwitz.

Q. Perhaps you have an idea, with regard to the people of Ciechanow itself - not those who came from outside - how did their number change from the outbreak of the War until they were taken to Auschwitz?

A. It was approximately the same number all the time.

Q. That means that the number of Jews in Ciechanow did not decrease from the outbreak of the War until the transfer to Auschwitz.

A. What the number was before the beginning of the War - I don't know.

Q. You said that at the time of the outbreak of the War there were 6,000 Jews there.

A. There were 6,000 at the time of the Holocaust - how many there were when the War broke out - this I do not know. I beg you pardon - I didn't understand the question.

Q. This means that approximately 6,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz.

A. Yes.

Q. After the War, did you meet Jews from Ciechanow?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you have an idea how many survivors there were from Ciechanow?

A. Yes, actually I know this exactly. There were about 10 girls and about 70-72 men.

Presiding Judge: You said that you were in the underground. Perhaps you will tell us briefly about the underground.

Witness Zabludowicz: The underground in Ciechanow continued its activity even in the concentration camp. But this is not relevant to the matter before the Court. The underground in Ciechanow took the form of mutual aid to people and we achieved the impossible - in the surroundings there were no places for concealment. Each one of us helped the other. When they moved people to the ghetto of Nove Mesto, where there was sickness, we assisted a great deal by bringing additional supplies of food in whatever way we could. Officially this was mutual aid.

Q. Was this only in that town, or was this a more extensive organization?

A. It was a wider organization. I was in touch with a number of people in several towns. I was the only one in touch with them.

Q. You spoke of the interrogation where you were required to give information and you did not inform?

A. I did not inform.

Presiding Judge: Many thanks, Mr. Zabudlowicz.

Attorney General: I should like to submit to the Court two orders of execution by shooting in Ciechanow. These are our documents Nos. 1254 and 1255. This has already been referred to in the interrogation of the Accused.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/200 (1254) and T/201 (1255).

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