On 29 September 1947 in Kraków, a member of the Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Municipal Court Judge Dr Stanisław Żmuda, acting upon written request of the First Prosecutor of the Supreme National Tribunal of 25 April 1947 (Ref. No. NTN 719/47), in accordance with the provisions of and procedure provided for under the Decree of 10 November 1945 (Journal of Laws No. 51, item 293), in relation to Articles 254, 107 and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, interviewed the person mentioned hereunder, former prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp, as a witness who testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Jan Podgórski|
|Date and place of birth||17 December 1901, Kraków|
|Parents’ names||Józef and Maria, née Trębacz|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Citizenship and nationality||Polish|
|Place of residence||Kraków, Mały Rynek 1|
I was prisoner no. 119543 in the Auschwitz concentration camp from the end of April 1943 until 11 July 1944. Then, I was transferred as a professional – an automobile mechanic – to the Płaszów concentration camp, where I stayed until the camp’s liquidation, namely 15 January 1945. In the Auschwitz camp I worked during the whole period, after I underwent quarantine, in the Fahebereitschaftsbauleitung kommando [car pool] at the Bauhof [builder’s yard]. From that period, I know very well, by name and by sight, and on 25 September 1947 I recognized in the Central Prison in Kraków, SS-Rottenführer Erich Dinges who worked as an SS man in the same kommando. He was a chauffeur who drove SS officers and the camp dignitaries in a passenger car. Apart from that, he also had a motorcycle at his disposal. He was known as a dealer of gold, which he exported from the Auschwitz camp to Wrocław, while he brought vodka into the camp. I saw a whip in his Mercedes. After every drive, he would order the prisoners working in his kommando to carefully clean and wash his car and boots. If he did not like how they worked, he would beat or kick them. I tried to stay out of his way. My colleagues told me that before my arrival at the camp Dinges would always carry around a riding crop, and he would use it just for fun to beat prisoners, usually Jews, on the hands or the nose, if they had a hooked nose, and wound them.
I saw Dinges, accompanied by SS man Schmidt and kapo Mańkowski, put a prisoner in the shower, just for fun, alternating hot and cold water until his entire body turned burning red. The prisoner, whose name I do not know, was a Jew transported to Auschwitz after the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto.
During my stay in the Auschwitz camp, I also met Schatzhaftlagerführer Hans Aumeier, who spread terror through the whole camp. He was said to beat or kick prisoners without any reason. If a prisoner was too tall, Aumeier would simply jump up to reach him. Prisoners called him “Łokietek” [the Elbow-high]. He would always carry a gun and use its handle to beat prisoners. He would also often shoot it to scare them. Aumeier was known for organizing searches of prisoners and flogging as an interim punishment resulting from informers’ reports. He would also assist in public executions by hanging. Under Aumeier, the bunkers of block 11 were constantly overcrowded, while prisoners’ executions took place on a daily basis.
When I was in the Płaszów camp, I met Alice Orlowski, a high-ranking SS woman, whom I recognized very clearly in the Central Prison. In the Płaszów camp, she was an Aufseherin [guard]. She organized roll calls of female prisoners and received reports from prisoner functionaries. I know that for some time she served in the camp laundry, but I do not know her activities from that period. In the camp, she was commonly known and nicknamed by the prisoners as “Tomboy”. She would usually carry around a riding crop, which she often used for beating female and male prisoners. She often wore top boots and would frequently kick prisoners. She often walked around the camp with a dog, but I did not see her set it on the prisoners. I know that she liked vodka. It often happened that she unexpectedly hit a prisoner with the riding crop. Once, I barely managed to avoid her blow. I saw Orlowski assisting in a public flogging of an entire group of female prisoners working outside the camp. She watched the flogging with visible pleasure and satisfaction, which revealed her sadistic streak.
At that the hearing and the report were concluded. The report was read out and signed.