Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

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Eye-witness evidence from camp officials and employees

7.28 In his report van Pelt identified a number of those employed at Auschwitz in various capacities who have given accounts of the use of gas at the camp.
7.29 The principal of these Rudolf Hoss, the Auschwitz Kommandant, was captured by the British on 11th March 1946. In the course of his interrogation at Nuremberg Hoss produced a detailed list of the numbers of people transported to Auschwitz from various countries in Europe. The list totalled well over one million. When asked how so large a number could be accommodated at the camp, given that Hoss had said that there were facilities for only 130,000 at the camp, Hoss answered that most of those transported to the camp were taken there to be exterminated. Hoss later swore an affidavit in which he admitted that he had overseen the extermination, by gassing and burning, of at least two and a half million   people. He stated that Zyklon-B was dropped into the death chamber through a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill those in the chamber. After half an hour the bodies were removed. Sonderkommandos or Special commandos removed their rings and extracted the gold from their teeth. Hoss described the process by which those to be gassed were selected. He stated that attempts were made to deceive the victims that they were going to be deloused. He said that the gas chambers were capable of accommodating 2,000 people at one time. Dr Gustav Gilbert, the Nuremberg prison psychologist, recorded in his diary an account of a conversation with Hoss in which he confirmed that two and a half million people had been exterminated under his direction.
7.30 Dr Johann Paul Kremer worked as a physician at Auschwitz from August to November 1942. He kept a diary in which he recorded evidence of activities of what had taken place at Auschwitz. He recorded being present at a "special action" by comparison with which "Dante's inferno seems almost a comedy". The diary contains an entry that Auschwitz is justly called an extermination camp. Prior to his trial before the Supreme National Tribunal in Cracow in November and December 1947 Kremer was interrogated. He admitted that he had taken part in gassing people on several occasions in September and October 1942. He too described the selection process, after which the selected victims were required to undress before being lead into the gas chamber. He described how an SS man threw the contents of a Zyklon tin through a side opening. He mentioned an occasion when about 1,600 Dutch people were gassed.
7.31 Pery Broad was an officer in the Auschwitz Political Department. He voluntarily wrote a report of his activities whilst working for the British as a translator in a prisoner-of-war camp after the war. Broad's report corroborates Dragon's account of the extermination installations and of the burning of the corpses. He described how the area surrounding the crematorium was kept closed. The Jews arrived in columns. They were told they were going to be disinfected. After they entered the chamber, the door was bolted. The contents of tins of Zyklon-B were thrown into the chamber through six holes in the roof. The screaming of the victims quickly ceased and was followed by complete silence. Broad gave evidence of how bodies were removed and burnt after they had been gassed. In addition Broad reported that the reason for building the four new crematoria in Birkenau was that the Nazis were finding it difficult to keep the killings at Bunkers 1 and 2 a secret. In the two underground gas chambers 4,000 people could be   killed at a time. He described the layout of the new installation, including the ovens, each of which he said was equipped to hold four or five corpses.
7.32 SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer (Captain) Hans Aumeier became the Lagerfuhrer (Camp Leader) of Auschwitz in 1942 and was responsible for the inmate compound of the concentration camp. He remained in that job until the end of the year and so, according to van Pelt, was present during the transformation of Auschwitz into an extermination camp. Arrested shortly after the end of the war, he claimed that during his time at the camp 3,000-3,500 prisoners died there. Initially he denied the existence of gas chambers. But later, in the summer of 1945, he admitted that gas chambers had been in operation in Auschwitz and that on many occasions they had been used for killing Jews. He stated that everyone was sworn to secrecy. (In a later statement he added that there was a Reichsfuhrer-SS order which banned written reports, counts and statistics of the activities). He described the initial gas chambers in Bunkers 1 and 2 at Birkenau, where, he said, each chamber accommodated 50-150 people. He gave a further account of the construction of crematorium 2 and crematorium 3 and their gas chambers which had a much larger capacity and began operating in April and May 1943 respectively.
7.33 Dr Ada Bimko, a Polish-Jewish physician, arrived at Auschwitz in August 1943 with 5,000 other Jews. According to her account, of these 4,500, including her close relatives, were sent straight to the crematoria. She later described to a British Military Tribunal the methods of selecting those who were to be gassed. She said that she had worked as a doctor in the hospital at the camp. She gave evidence that she was present at several selections of those who were to be exterminated. She stated that the condemned women were ordered to undress. She had not witnessed the victims enter the buildings. But she stated that she had seen one of the gas chambers when she was sent to recover hospital blankets used by those about to be killed. She described in some detail the chamber which had rows of sprays all over the ceiling but no drains.
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