Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
The IMT Series
A Collection of Statements to the War Crimes Team at Bergen–Belsen regarding War Crimes in Prisons and Concentration Camps
In the Matter of War Crimes and Atrocities at Drancy Prison, Paris and Auschwitz
Deposition of Renee Erman (Female) late of 80 Rue des Menilmonatre, Paris, sworn before me Captain ALFRED JAMES FOX, General List, D.A.P.M . 86 Special Investigation Section, C. M. Police.
I am 31 years of age and was arrested in Paris in April 1943 by the Germans because I was a Jewess. I was then taken to Drancy Prison in Paris and on the 20th July 1943 I went to Auschwitz. I was transferred to Belsen on the 25th January 1945.
Whilst at Drancy Prison there was an SS man named Brunner in charge. This man was responsible for many deaths. In my presence I have seen him beat, kick and throw stones at prisoners for no apparent reason apart from the fact that they were Jews.
I know that two prisoners at whom this man threw stones died as a result of the injuries they received. I called at the Hospital on one occasion to see some friends and I was told by them that prisoners admitted the day before, suffering from head wounds inflicted by this man, were dead. I cannot state whether they were men or women who had died. It was not an unusual occurrence to see persons severely wounded by this man’s brutality.
On arriving at Auschwitz I worked as a nurse in the experimental laboratory in Block 10. I was present on many occasions when SS Doctor Weber experimented by taking blood from women for soldiers at the front. This process was often repeated until the person became very weak.
He also took blood from a woman of one blood group which he injected into a woman of a different blood group. This often caused very serious illness. In one case a woman died in the laboratory due to this operation. This doctor also carried out experiments in rheumatism and I know that one woman had 45 injections the Doctor measuring the change of her heart. This made her very ill.
Persons coming into Block 10 were always the fittest and sometimes up to 300 were in this block. They were kept whilst a course of experiments was carried out and then sent away. I should state that the camp in which this experimental block was situated was a men’s camp and women were only brought there for experimental purposes.
When they left this block they were sent to Birkenau where a selection was made to find those fit for work. Most of the people who left this experimental block were not in a fit condition for work. I have been told by friends that these sick people were always sent to Block 25 which meant that they subsequently went to the gas chamber.
I also knew a Dr Schumann who experimented on young Greek girls (virgins) for sterilisation. These girls were taken to another block where they were subjected to very strong X-rays which resulted in their sexual organs being dried up.
These operations did in fact sterilise these girls and many of the weaker ones died as a result of them. Those that survived were brought back in batches of 10 and 12 for inspection. They were again operated on and the female sex organs removed which resulted in their deaths in 4 or 5 days.
I did not see the actual operations performed but I did see the results as it was my duty to dress the wounds of the women. The girls who had these operations carried out on them only came to block 10 after the operation, the operations having been carried out in a different block. I saw 4 Greek girls die as a result of operations by this Doctor.
There was also an SS Doctor Wirths. He used to experiment on women between the ages of 40 and 50 who were having their menopause, apparently looking for a kind of cancer, i.e. Fibrom.
He used to take part of the womb out for examination under the microscope. The women became very ill as a result of this. I did not see any of these operations carried out but heard of them from patients who had been experimented on and nurses who were present at the operations. These operations were carried out in Block 10 but not in my part of the Block. Similar operations were carried out by Doctor Samuel a prisoner.
There was also another SS Doctor by name Professor Clauberg who carried out experiments. This man was a famous Doctor from Berlin. I have been present during his experiments and have seen him inject something into the womb of women and then place an electric plate on their stomachs. The current was then turned on. This was done while the patients were still conscious and no anaesthetic was used.
This experiment did not take long but must have caused a great deal of pain to the person experimented on because I have heard them shout and cry with pain. Many found it impossible to walk afterwards and had to go to bed. None of these people died in hospital as a result of these experiments but as I have said before it is certain that when they went to Birkenau they went to the gas chamber, as I am sure they could not work.
Many prisoners who were in this block were very sick but tried hard not to show it as they knew they would be sent immediately to Birkenau and then to the gas chamber. Those that remained in the Block had this experiment made on them two or three times. Four or five injections were also given to the prisoners by this Doctor.
The object, according to Professor Clauberg was to sterilise but I cannot say whether it did in fact result in sterilisation. Most of this Doctor’s experiments were carried out on the younger and more beautiful women, so that when photographs were taken the best results were obtained.
The photographs were of the lower part of the trunk and it is natural that from an experimental point of view they would be better on the young than the old. These photographs were taken 24 hours after the experiments. Professor Clauberg was assisted by an SS Doctor Gebel in these experiments. Gebel was also responsible for carrying out similar operations.
In the summer of 1944 I witnessed the public hanging of 4 women under the supervision of SS man Hoessler whom I identify as No 1 on photo 9. At this time Block 10 had been moved from the men’s camp to a women’s camp nearby and re-named Block I women’s camp. Hoessler was in charge of this camp.
The persons hung were accused of assisting other persons to destroy the crematorium. Some explosives had been stolen from a store outside the camp and the four girls were the persons in charge of this store. They were therefore held responsible for the loss and were hung.
In prison Block 11 at Auschwitz were kept political prisoners including women and children. I myself have seen on many occasions batches of about 100 taken out naked and put against the wall and shot. The shooting was done by SS guards on the orders of Commandant Schwartz
Sworn by the said Deponent Renee Erman at Belsen Camp this 26th day of May 1945 before me A.J. Fox, Capt General List.
I hereby certify that, the said deponent not understanding English, this affidavit was translated in my presence to the said Deponent before swearing and I am satisfied that its contents are fully understood by the said Deponent.
Dated this 26th day of May 1945.
I hereby certify that I have accurately translated this Affidavit to the said Deponent
Dated this 26th day of May 1945
I recognise SS Dr Klein in photo 9 No 5. In my presence at Auschwitz he selected victims for the gas chambers. The said Deponent Renee Erman was at Belsen this 31st day of May 1945 examined by me and re-sworn before me, paragraph 10 being added.
Legal Staff No 1 War Crimes Investigation Team
I certify that I accurately interpreted at the examination by Major S.G. Champion. 31/5/45
-Traute Neumann, civilian interpreter
Notes: The execution of the four women took place not in the summer of 1944 but in October 1944, following the Sonderkommando revolt on the 7 October 1944.
Amalie Wernecke A Gypsy – Survivor of Many Camps
Summary of Examination of Amalie Wernecke of Germany, duly sworn states:
I am 33 years of age of German nationality born at Berlin – Weissensee. My permanent address is Banhofstrasse 88 Munchen Germany. I am now living at Block RB1, Room 8, Hohne (Belsen) Camp Germany.
I was arrested by the Nazis at my home on 7th March 1943, because I am a Gypsy and was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In August 1944 I was transferred to the Isolation Camp (Quarantine) Auschwitz, where I remained until October 1944 when I was sent to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. On the 28th March 1945 I was taken to the Belsen Concentration Camp where I was liberated on 15th April 1945.
I have today been shown a number of photographs and from these have picked NO.1 on Photograph FC/4 as being a man I know by the name of Schwarzhuber. He was Deputy Camp Commandant of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp and I also saw him later at Ravensbruck.
At Auschwitz- Birkenau I was employed as a nurse at the Revier. I was frequently on night duty and nearly every night between midnight and 2 o’clock in the morning Schwarzhuber came to the Revier, carrying a pistol in one hand and a heavy walking stick in the other.
He went into the rooms where the nurses slept and there he raped whoever pleased him. He was nearly always drunk when he came in and usually stayed for one or two hours. During one of his nightly visits in May 1943, he came up to me, gave me a cigarette and told me that he would send a sentry to take me to his quarters as he wanted to sleep with me.
When the sentry came for me about half an hour later, I refused to go. The following night Schwarzhuber came up to me and asked why I had not come. I told him I was married and that my husband was at Auschwitz.
He then shouted “You are a prisoner and as such have no rights, but must do as I say,” and beat me severely with his heavy stick. My back bled a lot and I collapsed. Schwarzhuber told me to get up but I was unable to do so. He then kicked me with his heavy boots all over my body. I was confined to bed for six weeks after the beating.
When I was not on night duty I slept with my husband in Block 4, Schwarzhuber would often come into our Block at night and make the married women get up from the beds they shared with their husbands. They then had to strip completely and in full view of their husbands were made to dance before Schwarzhuber. He then would pick out the one who was best looking and take her into the room of the Block Leader for immoral purposes.
One night in early May 1943 Schwarzhuber came into the Revier round about 1 o’clock. I was on duty at the children’s ward. The children were very restless and some cried.
Two little boys of about 4 were sitting on a chamber relieving themselves and they started to cry too as Schwarzhuber came in. I saw him go up to them shouting, “You brats, you should not be alive,” and hit them savagely with his heavy walking stick over the head.
Their heads split wide open and they both died instantaneously. Schwarzhuber then ordered me to pick up the dead bodies and carry them to the death hall at the Revier, which I did so. He also told me that I must not mention the fact that he had killed the children to anyone.
I certify that I duly translated the above summary to the witness in the German language prior to her signature which appears above.
In the Matter of War Crimes and an SS Man Named Schreier
Deposition of Sophie Seyfarth commonly known as Sascha (Female) late of 47 Werderstrasse Bremen, sworn before Captain Alexander MacKinlay Forbes, Royal Artillery Legal Staff No 1 War Crimes Investigation Team
I am of German nationality and my age is 25. I was arrested at Bremen on 5th August 1941 by the Gestapo. I was put in a cell in the local police prison at Bremen where I remained for about a month. The reason for my arrest was that I refused to work at the Focke Wolfe factory. I was then transferred to Ravensbruck where I remained until 26th March 1942.
From there I was taken to Auschwitz and I remained in Auschwitz until January 1945 when I was transferred to Ravensbruck for a short time and was finally brought to Belsen in March 1945. On the 17th June 1945 I was arrested by the British and confined in the local prison. In the year 1943 I was employed as a Kapo at Auschwitz and I recognise No 1 on Photograph Q/4/1 as an SS Oberscharfuhrer whom I knew as Spezi. I have now been told that he is known as Heinrich Schreier, but I do not think that is his real name.
When I first met Schreier he was in charge of the arrest block and on one occasion in or about the end of March 1942 Schreier was present when a group of men were lined up for selection. I saw the men selected taken upstairs into a certain room where it was well known that shootings took place. On this occasion I saw that when Schreier and the other SS men returned from the room one of them was still wearing a glove which was covered in blood.
I was told by another Kapo whose name is Jacob that the men selected by Schreier and other SS men were taken up and shot. I did not see any of the selected men again. In the first week of February 1943 I was questioned by an SS man named Hoyer about an escape I had made from Auschwitz in October 1942. I was recaptured in December 1942.
Hoyer attempted to find out who had sheltered me during that period and I refused to tell him. I was bent over a table and given a large number of strokes across my back with a heavy wooden club. Schreier and some other SS men carried out the beating. I was then placed in the bunker and remained there until the end of March 1943.
I was very ill and I still have scars on my back. It was necessary for me to have an operation in June 1943 as a big wound on my back had not healed properly. Schreier was generally very bad to the internees and I have often seen him give frequent beatings.
Hoyer was an SS-Unterscharfuhrer at Auschwitz and I would describe him as age about 30, height 5ft 7 inches weight 130lbs approximately, hair dark brown, thick, face oval shaped, complexion brown, brown eyes, straight pointed nose, high pitched voice and good teeth. Jacob was a Kapo at Auschwitz.
I would describe him as aged about 35, height 5ft 11 inches, weighed 200lbs approximately, dark hair, round face, brown complexion, dark blue eyes, flat nose, small ears with slight cauliflower, deep voice, good physique. He stated that he was a professional boxer.
Sworn by the said Deponent Sophie Seyfarth at Belsen this 30th Day of June 1945, before me.
I hereby certify that, the said Deponent not understanding English, this Affidavit was translated in my presence to the said Deponent before swearing and I am satisfied that its contents were fully understood by the said Deponent.
Dated this 30th Day of June 1945
I hereby certify that I have accurately translated this Affidavit to the said Deponent
Dated this 30th day of June 1945
The National Archives Kew
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Ghetto Fighters House
Holocaust Historical Society
Copyright. Rachel Morgan & Chris Webb H.E.A.R.T 2009