On 23 September 1947 in Tarnów, Investigating Judge from the region of the District Court in Tarnów, with Judge Dr. J. Piec presiding and with the participation of a reporter, A. Kucharczyk, 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 provisions of Article 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness testified as follows:

Name and surname Franciszek Balzar, MA
Age 52 years old
Parents’ names Franciszek and Stanisława
Place of residence Mościce
Occupation legal specialist
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Criminal record none
Relationship to the parties none

On the basis of the list of the former members of the SS crew at the concentration camp in Auschwitz, which list was shown to me, I declare that I know the defendants Hans Aumeier and Max Grabner, whom I met during my stay in Auschwitz, where I was incarcerated as prisoner no. 969 from 20 June 1940 to 25 October 1944. I knew these defendants by name; Hans Aumeier was so-called Lagerführer [camp leader] and Max Grabner was the head of the Political Department. Hans Aumeier was very hostile towards all prisoners and harassed them at every opportunity, finding pretexts to torment them. I frequently saw him beating the prisoners with a hand about the face and kicking them. Once, when a larger group of prisoners gathered in the evening after their return to the camp from work, I saw that Aumeier ran to them and began to kick them, and then pulled out his revolver and shot at the crowd, wounding Władysław Czupta from Rabka in the hand.

This incident might have taken place in 1943.

I also remember that more or less at the same time, about 300 people were chosen from among the Auschwitz prisoners, mostly people from Silesia. Later on I learned from a reliable source that all of them had been transported to the Birkenau camp, where Aumeier organized a hunt for his fellow SS men, which was carried out in such a way that the prisoners were ordered to run away and the SS men shot at them from behind; in this manner, they shot all these people.

Although I didn’t witness that myself, this incident was widely known and discussed in the camp. When Aumeier was the Lagerführer, there were constant selections of prisoners who were then executed by shooting. The defendant Grabner enjoyed the reputation of the worst man in the camp, and he has on his conscience thousands of prisoners whom, as head of the Political Department, he sent to be shot. He was particularly hostile towards the Polish intelligentsia, especially the officers. I remember very well that on 25 September 1943, several dozen names were read out after the roll call, including mine, and we were taken to the bunkers of block 11 as arrestees suspected of establishing a political organization on the camp premises. Before that, we were gathered at the roll call square, where Grabner asked the brought men what their civilian professions were, and then ordered that we show him our hands, which was understood as an attempt to establish how many of us were members of the intelligentsia. Grabner was always present at public beatings in the roll call square, and he was always beaming with joy when the tortured victims screamed. He was a ruthless man and he used to send prisoners to death for no reason at all.

Heinrich Josten, also listed as a defendant, was an equally brutal man; he was hostile towards the prisoners, especially the Poles, and I often saw him beat prisoners with his hand and carefully check on SS men who were assigned to oversee the prisoners. The slightest transgression on their part, for instance, marching too close to the prisoners or failure to have the gun at the ready, resulted in severe reprimand by Josten, who would also take down the surname of the offender.

The following people, former inmates of the Auschwitz camp, might be able to provide further information pertaining to the behavior and activities of the defendants from the list of the former members of the SS crew in the concentration camp in Auschwitz: engineer Stanisław Kubiński, residing in Mościska in the PFZA [State Factory of Nitric Compounds], engineer Tadeusz Śledziński, residing in Mościska Osiedle, Edward Wrona residing in Tarnów, OZET company [District Power Distribution Company in Tarnów], Roman Zieliński, Wałowa Street, toy depot, engineer Jan Pilecki, Warsaw, Polish Radio, Paweł Zur, Chrzów-Batory, Biskupa Pawliny Street 6, engineer Artur Kszetuski and engineer Władysław Plaskura, both residing in Gliwice, Central Bureau for Investment and Reconstruction, engineer Stanisław Hipsch and Józef Plaskura, both residing in Oświęcim-Dwory.

The report was read out and signed.