On 17 September 1947 in Chorzów, the Municipal Court in Chorzów, Fifth Branch, with Judge A. Panek presiding, heard the person named below as a witness, without taking an oath. Having been advised of the criminal liability for making false declarations and of the wording of article 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:
|Name and surname||Henryk Liersch|
|Date and place of birth||11 December 1908 in Poznań|
|Parents’ names||Lucjan and Maria, née Słubicka|
|Place of residence||Chorzów, Lwowska Street 5|
|Occupation||clerk at the National Insurance office|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
From October 1941 to 18 January 1945 – i.e. until the evacuation – I was imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp. From the list of former camp crew members in Auschwitz I only recall the names of Hans Aumeier (number 1), Max Grabner (number 28), Heinrich Josten (number 37), Stefan Kirschner (number 38), Arthur Liebehenschel (number 53) and Kurt Hugo Müller (number 65). Perhaps if I saw the people listed on the list, I would recognize them. Currently, I don’t remember their names.
1) Hans Aumeier was the Lagerführer [head of the camp] in Auschwitz more or less during 1942 and 1943, and perhaps even in 1944. Even then I knew him by name. He was very unpredictable in his dealings with the prisoners. I remember one incident when a prisoner was reported by a block leader for stealing bread. The report was taken by Aumeier. He asked the prisoner what had prompted him to steal. When the prisoner replied that it had been because of hunger, not only did Aumeier not punish him, but he told the block leader to add a second piece of bread to the prisoner’s portion so that he wouldn’t be hungry. However, in my opinion, the described incident doesn’t testify to Aumeier’s good character, but rather his particular whims or wiles. Besides this one case I remember Aumeier as an absolutely obedient executor of his superiors’ orders. He had no scruples whatsoever.
At present, it is difficult for me to recall the details of specific criminal facts. I only remember that maybe in the summer of 1943 on the way out of the camp, in front of block 24, [Aumeier] was punching some prisoner and I even think he was kicking him. What this prisoner had done, I don’t know.
From my fellow prisoners – eyewitnesses – I heard that at the end of 1944 the then Lagerführer, at the time when five or six communists were being hanged, including Bernard Świerczyna, beat the condemned who, before the sentence was executed, had called out “Long live freedom” etc. Until now, I had been convinced that the Lagerführer was Aumeier, but I am not so sure now. I didn’t see this incident myself.
28) I personally didn’t come into contact with Max Grabner. He was the head of the Political Department and the terror of the entire camp. He was ruthless towards the prisoners. Almost an animal by nature. Unfortunately, I can’t give any details of his crimes. He was apparently the driving force behind the entire operation conducted by the Political Department.
37) Heinrich Josten I know only from hearsay. Allegedly, he was a tailor by profession. In the camp, he probably acted as a deputy to the head of the employment department (Arbeitseinsatz) for some time. He was characterized by his brutality towards the prisoners, and he was said to persecute the Poles in particular. I can’t give any specific criminal facts.
38) I remember Stefan Kirschner. I can’t give any details about his conduct in the camp. He worked in the post office outside the camp.
53) Arthur Liebehenschel, if I am not mistaken, was the Lagerführer directly after Rudolf Höß. Before his arrival in the camp, a rumor had spread that a mellower regime was to be followed in the camp, and in particular the gassing of the prisoners was to cease. In reality, however, nothing changed. I can’t give any specific criminal facts.
65) Kurt Hugo Müller I remember as Blockführer, and later as Arbeitsdienstführer (I’m not sure if he carried that title, but in any case he worked in the Arbeitseinsatz office, where jobs were assigned). I only know from hearsay that he used to be ruthless towards the prisoners. I don’t know any facts, however. The prisoners feared and avoided him.
More details about the camp crew could probably be provided by Erwin Olszówka and Stanisław Dubiel, both residing in Chorzów, I don’t know their exact addresses – they could probably be provided by the local branch of the Union of Former Political Prisoners (Chorzów, Wolności Street).
The report was read out before signing. At this the report was concluded.