Description of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp
1. Current prisoner number - 137,000.
2. Mortality of Poles in winter in the years 1940-1942 averaged
3. Deaths were caused predominantly through mistreatment by
the capo and guards, malnutrition and untreated epidemic diseases
/typhoid, diarrhea/, diseases spread by insects and as a result of unhygienic
4. Mortality diminished towards the end of 1942 and in 1943.
5. Approximately 80% of Polish prisoners were transferred in 1943 to Dachau,
Mauthausen and labour camps in Hamburg, Bremen, Wilhelmshafen and others.
Up to IX. 1942 - 468,000 unregistered Jews were gassed in Auschwitz. From IX.1942 to the beginning of VI.1943 around 60,000 Jews arrived from Greece /Thessalonica, Athens/, from Slovakia and the Protectorate of Czechia and Moravia - 50,000, from Holland, Belgium and France - around 60,000, from Chrzanó w - 6,000, from Kety, Zywiec, Sucha, Slemien(?) and environs - 5,000. Of these people only 2% are alive today. 98% of the predominantly healthy people destined for the gas chambers were burned half alive. Upon arrival in Auschwitz men were separated from women, and then loaded en masse without any selection (mainly women and children) on to trucks and delivered to the gas chambers in Birkenau; after indescribable tortures (suffocation) lasting 10-15 minutes, the bodies were thrown on to a pile and burned. It should be noted that before entering the gas chamber, there was a compulsory bath. Due to the lack of poison gas, some of the victims were burned half alive. Recently three large crematoria were constructed with a cremating capacity of 10,000 people daily operating non-stop. In the parlance of the local population they were referred to as the "Eternal flame". The remaining 2% are divided between the women's camp in Birkenau and the men's camp in Auschwitz and Birkenau. The women's camp in Birkenau was the most horrid place imaginable. There is neither any water nor the most basic hygiene essential for the most primitive survival. A man working outside the camp is unable to achieve any degree of cleanliness and perishes in a short time because he is deprived of the ability to overcome the slightest ailment. In addition, near the men's camp Rajsko, there is another crematorium used for disposing of people executed in the prisons of Katowice and others, on the average 30 bodies every 14 days. Exceptionally strong young women (Jewesses) are being used in the men's camp for experiments in artificial insemination and sterilization. With time those people also succumb.
Many Ukrainians were recruited as guards, and recently several hundred Slovak soldiers volunteered as SS-men for duty in Auschwitz.
The prisoners were forced to work without winter underwear and to wear wooden clogs in the open at 25 degrees below zero, as a result a lot of frozen corpses were dragged into the camp daily.
In the last few days numerous transports arrived - Poles from Radom, Lublin and Siedlce, who were not gassed but shot the next day in a forest near Birkenau for alleged serious political crimes.
In 1943 the Germans gathered about 10,000 Gypsies in the Birkenau Concentration Camp brought from all the occupied countries and from the Reich. They were assigned to heavy physical work because of their age. However, in the last few days they were also gassed en masse.
From the 20.VI., mass transports started to arrive at the C.C. Auschwitz/Birkenau/:
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one transport of 870 people from Nice (Southern France); over 500 people from Berlin, 900 people from Thessalonica, two transports from Bendsburg - 1,600 people, one transport from Sosnowiec, one transport from Lublin - 391 people. The break-down of these transports was 80% Jews and 20% Gypsies from Greece and Southern France. Out of these perhaps 10% survived in the camp, the remaining 90% were gassed immediately upon arrival. No women or children ever arrive in the camp.
Since that time numerous transports started arriving from Poland (women, children and old people). The majority of them were executed. The method of decapitation has also been introduced. Gassing of Poles has increased. Many prisoners who have been in the camp, some up to three to four years, who have successfully withstood terrible privations, also went to the gas chambers, only because they probably belonged to the intelligentsia class. At the gassing there seems to be no system, and people are dragged to the gas chambers randomly. The Polish transports originate mainly from Radom, Lublin, Tarnobrzeg and Sandomierz.
On 3/4 VII.1943, at night, sixteen Ukrainians, who were being trained as guards by SS Untersturmführer Lange, escaped with guns and plenty of ammunition. As a consequence all Ukrainian guards were arrested. The deserters took off in the direction of Gross-Chelm and were attempting to cross the river Przemsza to hide in the forests in the region of Jaworzno. The military police from neighbouring locations pursued and a regular battle ensued between the escaped Ukrainians and the police, who in the end got confused as to who was the escapee and who was not and suffered casualties through "friendly fire". Auxiliary troops had to be summoned from Katowice and Myslowice including SS-men manning armoured vehicles and a pitched battle took place. There were 2 SS-men killed, 4 were seriously wounded and 8 lightly wounded. On the Ukrainian side there were 11 killed, 4 were captured and were subsequently tortured to death. A few days later Untersturmführer Lange was also arrested. According to other Ukrainian sources the escapees were mostly Russian officers.
Whereas in the past the prisoners were always escorted by one Ukrainian and one German guard, now all the guards were disarmed. The Ukrainians were put in custody for four days. The entire company, from which the deserters came, was shot. From Friday 9. VII. the Ukrainians again were issued weapons and ammunition during the day and underwent further military training at the rifle range at Rajsk, but for the night the weapons are taken away from them. On the 5. VII. the Commandant of the camp, Obersturmbandführer Höss, issued a Garrison Order announcing that in the line of duty in fighting with the bandits SS Scharführer Reineke and Sch. Stephan Rahberger were killed.
In the women's camp in Birkenau in the last few days cases of typhoid fever were recorded; this caused the closure of entire blocks. Of course those infected, and even those only suspected of being infected, were gassed. The outbreak was no surprise in view of the conditions prevailing in the women's camp in Birkenau. There was a lack of water there, and no means of maintaining cleanliness.
Also the Gypsy camp was affected by typhoid fever, so much so that Commandant Höss issued an order that SS-men on duty in the Gypsy camp be quartered separately from other SS-men and at the end of duty they had to take daily baths and be examined for lice.
Description of Auschwitz Concentration Camp (Cont.)
Mass executions from 15.VII. to 8.VIII. 1943.
Poles - After 15.VII. mass transports of Polish hostages arrived. One came from Tarnow, one from Krakó w, one from Lublin, one from Radom and one from Warsaw. They were brought to Auschwitz in prison trains, the prisoners handcuffed and in leg irons. Upon arrival they were immediately executed.
After 17.VII. one prisoner escaped and in retaliation 12 Poles were shot. For execution were selected exclusively members of the intelligentsia, doctors, lawyers and engineers. In case of repetition the Germans threatened to execute 100 people.
Weekly there are 2-3 Polish transports of which the majority, men and women alike, were executed. Also executions of long-time Auschwitz prisoners are the order of the day.
On 28.VII. an evacuation of Poles from Auschwitz took place. Rounded up were mainly old people, and wives and children whose husbands/fathers fell in the war, were prisoners of war or inmates of concentration camps, or were executed. One part was sent to Oderberg, one part to the German-occupied Poland. A small number of very old people remained in the camp and was probably gassed and burned, because absolutely no news was ever received from them.
Czechs. In this period arrived two transports of 100 men each from Czechoslovakia, of whom 50% were executed for high treason and 50% remained in the C.C. Auschwitz.
Also two transports of old-time Czech prisoners in Auschwitz were transferred to Buchenwald.
Between 15.VII. and 1.VIII. there were sporadic transports of Jews from different labour camps in Germany. These people should be considered living corpses. They were so emaciated that they could not stand up. They were unable to walk from the train to the trucks and were thrown by the SS-men like so many pieces of wood on to the trucks. They were taken directly to Birkenau and gassed.
The days of the 1, 2 and 3. VIII. were declared as delousing days of the entire men's and women's camp. Delousing is none other than mass gassing. Everybody was taken, regardless whether Aryan or Jewish. Into the gas chamber was dragged everybody whose face did not meet a liking of an SS-man.
Simultaneously with the delousing took place the eviction of all Jews from Sosnowiec and Be dzin. In all, 15 full trains arrived with about 15,000 people. In addition, all night trucks circulated shuttling between the camp and those towns. 100 people were pressed into each truck: men, women and children. The same number of people on the trailer of each truck. They arrived in dehumanized condition, to be dumped in an open field, the children trampled underfoot, the women beaten close to death; they had to stand half naked the whole day in blazing sun, without a drop of water. Their suffering is unimaginable and words fail to describe their ordeal. Death was for them a welcome salvation.
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Innocent children, sick women unable to walk are tossed mercilessly around, beaten and kicked.
Such destruction of people was unknown in the history of mankind and was invented, ironically, by the Germans who consider themselves at the pinnacle of culture. They are not ashamed of talking about merciless bombardment of towns, churches and historical sites.
In view of the fact that the crematoria were unable to cope with the number of corpses, it became necessary to burn them in open pits dug out in a field near Birkenau, and for three days you could see nothing but flames bulging from the pyres.
Transports coming from France were treated in a similar way.
Birkenau celebrated its record of gassings in one day: 30,000 people.
Description of Auschwitz Concentration Camp (Cont.)
Names of war criminals of the Concentration Camp Auschwitz:
Obersturmführer Höss - Camp Commandant
Hauptsturmführer Schwarz, distinguished himself with exceptional
cruelty during evacuation of Poles from villages in the environs of Auschwitz
and is guilty of merciless excesses against Poles. To his credit have to be put
the biggest mass executions of Poles - an archenemy of the Poles.
Hauptsturmführer Aumeier - supervisor of executions through hanging and shooting.
Hauptsturmführer Sell, a man feared by the whole camp. Whenever he can harm a prisoner, he does not miss the opportunity. He does it with calculated cruelty, often, and without reason, especially in the women's camp.
In the segregation and gassing of Jews most active are:
Female Guard Drexler. This woman did a lot of harm in the women's compound of Birkenau. In the most scorching heat she would order the prisoners to work without a head covering, etc.
Upon arrival of Polish and Czech transports, there were present Schoppe and Stibitz. During unloading of the train cars, they would welcome handcuffed prisoners with blows and kicks in their stomachs. This only because they were not quick enough doffing their caps, did not step in line and did not know how to behave due to ignorance of the routine of the camp. They also treated women in the same merciless manner. The weaker and sicker the woman, the more the cruel guards relished in kicking her to death.
One of the most pernicious monsters of the women's camp in Birkenau was a senior female guard by the name of Mandrel. Her sadism is difficult to imagine. As a guard in the concentration camp in Ravensbrück in charge of a "punishment block" she caused the death of many women through starvation. This woman invented the most brutal punishments and with a clear conscience could watch as her victims fell at her hands from the blows and torturing, often dying on the ground. Her favourite punishment was meting out 25 truncheon blows. In Birkenau she became Senior Guard and had a free hand in giving vent to her sadism. She enjoyed particularly selecting victims for gassing and corporal punishment. The punishments were applied arbitrarily and only because one was not moving fast enough around her and for many other trifling reasons.
Special mention is due to the Auschwitz Political Department. Its head is Untersturmführer Grabner.
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He is in charge of all the punishments meted out and the signing of all death sentences. However this man would sign indiscriminately anything that is put in front of him. More vicious are the petty officials performing their duties more painstakingly.
At interrogations are present mostly Oberscharführer Krischner, Oberscharführer Boger, Lachman, and Untersturmführer Woznic. They are most feared in the camp. They torture prisoners extracting confessions of things they have not even dreamed of. They built a torture chamber equipped with instruments that were unknown even in the Middle Ages.
The worst contraption is the so called "cradle" out of which nobody gets alive. Only SS-men, who distinguished themselves with exceptional cruelty, as those mentioned above, are selected for this job. However, the main work of the Political Department is keeping a record of prisoners who died or were gassed. Gassed people are entered in the records with the notation "SS"- /special treatment/. The work of the Political Department is nothing but the last cry of the dead and gassed.
Translated by Stefan Poniecki
Calgary, February 1999.