Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
The IMT Series
Report of My Activity by the SS Special Detachment in Kulmhof (Chelmno)
[photos added to enhance the text]
Rheinberg the 13.7.1945
Name: Fritz Hensen
Date of Birth: 29.11.1920
Profession: Police File Sergeant
From 25.4.1940 to 2.7.1940 Police Training Battalion in Pohrlitz
2.7.1940 to March 1941 SS Police Division at Katscher Oberschl.
25.3.1941 to January 1945 Police administration in Litzmannstadt
From the Police administration I was assigned in July 1942 to December 1943 to the Gestapo and came to the SS special detachment in Kulmhof District Warthbrucken in Poland.
15.4 1945 I came into captivity to Hagen at the Police Quarters.
From the beginning of the war until my enlistment by the Police, labourer at the West Wall
Exact statement of your activity and occupation
Police file sergeant at Pohrlitz Niederdonau
Were you a member of the NSDAP?
Last Service Rank
Police File Sergeant
Report of my activity by the SS Special Detachment in Kulmhof
Appears the police file sergeant Friedrich Hensen belonging to the SS Special detachment in Kulmhof, District Warthbrucken, in Poland and says after being made familiar with the subject of the interrogation and exhorted to deposit the real truth, what follows:
Personality: My name is Friedrich Hensen born the 29.11. 1920 in Hagen Westfalen living in Hagen Hagener Str 44. I am married with Charlotte Hensen, by birth Mittlestadt and have two children aged 2 years and 10 months.
Facts: In July 1941 I was assigned as Police member to the SS Special detachment to Kulmhof, District Warthbrucken in Poland by the Gestapo. This detachment composed of about 120 SD and Policemen. The leader of the Detachment was Criminal Commissioner Bodman. (authors note – should read Botthmann).
This camp was indirectly under command of SS Himmler – our mission consisted of extermination of Jews.
I myself was incorporated as guard. The extermination of the Jews went on as follows. The Jews were brought by lorry and train to Kulmhof. There all valuables were taken away from them by the detachment and then follows the undressing. After the undressing they came in closed boxlike lorries, which contained about 80 – 100 persons.
In the lorry a pipe went from the motor to the box in which the Jews were sitting. By starting the motor the gas went in the inside of the car and within 10 minutes the whole crew was dead. Correspondent they were buried in the wood. Mass graves with evaluation of 20 to 30,000 persons were turned out.
The Jews were comprised of men, women , children and aged. Also transports with syphilis and typhus diseased came in. They were not gassed but killed by neck-shot.
In the beginning of the year 1941* the Jews were not buried but burned. The buried were exhumed again and burned in the wood-ground built box-formed furnaces. My mission was to keep free the ways running by. I received 11 marks pay daily. The valuables, money jewels and textile articles were sent to the Ghetto administration of Posen.
Only young people came to this confinement detachment. The following SD men and Policemen of the Special detachment are known to me as those chiefly responsible
The above mentioned men during my presence at the SS Special detachment also by the same. Where the above mentioned men are staying now, I cannot state with the best knowledge. I became separated from these people afterwards. I still heard then that the detachment until December, one month before it was disbanded in January 1944**.I myself was one and a half years with this detachment until December, one month before it was disbanded.
The Jews were brought daily with 120 to 150 men in the cellars from a house which we called the Castle. They had to execute heavy work with a very small bread and soup portion. They had to sleep on the stone floor as the sleeping accommodation, the objects they had on their bodies in the daytime were used. Day and night the Jews were so vexed, thrashed and tortured that they committed suicide.
The photo news of Katyn in the newspapers are to our conviction pictures taken by the Germans of the Jews, who have been murdered by this SS Special detachment. It was only a propaganda purpose for the foreign countries. To take photos from the entire surroundings of Kulmhof was most severely forbidden. I cannot say further about this, while this notice contains everything what I have seen and experienced.
I have made these statements to the best of my knowledge and conscience, and I warrant with my own person for the justness of the same.
*As the mass gassings did not commence till December 1941 – this date is incorrect
**Possibly this date is incorrect – the unit was disbanded in 1945
This is a faithful transcript of the statement, sometimes the English is poor, but it is not his first language, and it is more important to record what he said.
National Archives Kew – WO 309/374
Holocaust Historical Society
Copyright: Chris Webb and Irene Seymour – H.E.A.R.T 2012