On 24 October 1946 in Kraków, a member of the Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Edward Pęchalski, a Deputy Prosecutor at the Kraków Appellate Court, acting in accordance with the Decree of 10 November 1945 on the Main and District Commissions for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland No. 51, Item 293), interviewed the following person under Art. 20 of the provisions introducing the Code of Criminal Procedure, in connection with Art. 107 and 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the witness testified as follows:

Name and surname Felicja Pleszowska
Date and place of birth 28 July 1913, Warsaw
Names of parents Antoni and Zofia
Religion Roman Catholic
Nationality and citizenship Polish
Marital status Married
Place of residence Kraków, Wita Stwosza Street 27, flat 7
I was arrested by the German police in Kraków on 28 December 1942 under suspicion
of political activity. I was placed in the local prison at Montelupich Street. On 18 January
1943, I was transferred to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where I was placed in the

women’s camp in Birkenau, receiving prisoner number 29875.

That same day I was sent to work at demolishing bombed houses 6 kilometers from the camp. I do not remember the name of the town where I worked. Four weeks later, in February 1943, I was transferred to block 30 of the women’s camp in Birkenau. Until then I had been kept in block 8 of the camp. Block 30 was a single-story wooden building. It housed the dentist’s office, an X-ray station, and a room for the crew of Professor Glauberg’s [Clauberg’s] experimental station, which soon was to be set up in the main camp. I was in block 30 until 3 April 1943. Apart from me, it also housed six or seven other prisoners, among who I remember Sylwia F[…]man, of Slovak nationality; Ryja Hans, also a Slovak; Sonia Fischer or Fischmann, a German from Vienna; Helena Frank, a Belgian; Ilona Vohrysek, a Czech; and Genowefa Białostocka, a Pole. The aforementioned prisoners and I were the crew of Glauberg’s future experimental station, and we were temporarily housed in block 30, waiting for the station to be opened in Auschwitz. At the time, we had next to no work to do. The dentist’s office was constantly at work doing regular dentistry, while the X-ray office occasionally employed SS Doctor Schumann, who was called “professor,” as well as Professor Glauberg. The latter started work in December 1942. As I later learned while conversing with Doctor Max Samuel, Glauberg was at the time trying to invent a temporary sterilization agent. Doctor Samuel told me that such an agent – iodipine – was already known to him and was used in Germany before the war. However, it was not produced in Germany, but imported from abroad, and therefore the Germans tried to find a replacement agent of their own. This was one of the subjects that Professor Glauberg worked on.

Professor Glauberg had his own large treatment facility in Królewska Huta [Chorzów], where he stayed. He came to Auschwitz only occasionally, for experiments. At first, in December 1942, Glauberg was given a few female prisoners for his studies. They were kept in block 27 and remained at his sole disposal. Glauberg injected their birth organs with something intended to cause temporary sterilization. Subsequently, the patients were radiographed at the X-ray post of block 30 to see how they responded to the injections.

Moreover, at the time, the aforementioned Schumann performed procedures at the X-ray office; he in turn was researching the sterilization of men. He attempted to cause sterilization by the appropriate irradiation of the testicles. To that end, he was assigned a specific number of prisoners. While I was in block 30, he sterilized a hundred men. Schumann’s procedures were very painful and life-threatening. Oftentimes men died immediately after these procedures. On 3 April 1943, Glauberg’s entire team was moved to the main camp in Auschwitz, to block 10. It was a two-story block built of bricks. It was separated from block 11 by a yard, where mass shootings of prisoners took place at the “death wall.” On the ground floor of block 10 there were two large hospital rooms, known as the Revier, an X-ray room, an operating theater, an office of the dentistry station, the hygiene institute, a room for the nurses, a room for an SS woman, and, finally, a bathroom and toilets. The upper floor housed 500 to 700 female prisoners earmarked for experiments. It also housed Weber’s so-called Blutspendung [Blutspende – blood donation], where blood was taken from prisoners and then sent in vials to the Institute of Hygiene in Rajsko.

The experiments conducted in block 10 were performed by Professor Glauberg and Hauptsturmführer Doctor Wirths, a gynecologist. Glauberg continued the experiments he had begun at block 30 in Birkenau. He would occasionally come to Auschwitz and would always conduct a few procedures just as he had at block 30, that is, he gave women injections into their genitals, and then radiographed them in the X-ray office and took photographs.

In February or March 1944, Glauberg arrived with his deputy, the chemist Doctor Goebel. He was an SS man of higher rank, he did not wear civilian clothes. He organized a chemical laboratory at block 10, where he made creams, toothpastes and other cosmetics. He also worked in that laboratory on his own replacement agent that would cause the temporary sterilization of women. To that end, he performed procedures on women in the same way as Glauberg did. Under Goebel, these procedures were performed on a mass scale. On average, he performed 30 every day, and one day he even got to 75. This state of affairs continued until the end of the camp’s existence. Acting independently of Goebel, Glauberg himself would sporadically perform the same procedures; he would come to the camp for that express purpose, and he also conferred frequently with Goebel.

According to my calculations, Glauberg and Goebel performed these procedures on about one thousand women. As the experiments were frequently conducted not only on younger women, but also older ones, oftentimes above 50 years of age, I doubted if it was all really about sterilization. Thus, I stole a few films from the X-ray office, which I then showed together with the surgical equipment used to Professor Max Samuel, who worked at Wirths’ experimental station. After reviewing the films, Samuel stated that Glauberg and Goebel’s procedures were undoubtedly aimed at causing sterilization and testing replacement agents for that purpose. After arriving at block 10, I was assigned to Dr. Wirths’ experimental station. However, I was allowed to enter Glauberg’s station as well and observe what was going on in there. As a nurse, I was quite frequently loaned out by Glauberg’s station from Wirths’, and I could watch the procedures conducted by Glauberg or Goebel in person. On that basis, and also having conversed with the “patients,” I can state that the procedures were not particularly painful. There were also no cases of people dying. Glauberg and Goebel’s experimental work was shrouded in secrecy, and none of the prisoner doctors were allowed to enter the experimental station or take part in the procedures conducted there.

However, Glauberg’s experimental station was frequently visited by Auschwitz camp commandants Rudolf Höss, Schwarz, Baer, and other senior SS dignitaries, who were present for the procedures and displayed great interest in Glauberg’s and Goebel’s work.

Glauberg and Goebel experimented on women not only to find a substance that would cause sterility in women, but also to try out various replacement agents that could be used as a contrast medium when X-raying the female sexual organs. If and to what degree their efforts were successful, I cannot say.

Dr. Wirths’ experimental station was set up at block 10 at the same time as Dr. Glauberg’s. It performed experiments on women with the objective of clarifying the incidence of cancer in the genital organs. I was assigned to that station from the first day as an Operationsschwester [surgery nurse] and my job was to assist during operations and provide the doctors with technical aid. I was also charged with taking care of the instruments and surgical equipment of the station. Finally, I would describe the medical status of the examined women and prepare samples to be sent from the research station to Germany. Thus, I am familiar, intimately and in detail, with everything that went on at Wirths’ station. In the first days of its existence, his younger brother arrived at the station; he had been employed as a gynecologist in Hamburg, performing medical and experimental work there. It was he who shaped the direction of research at Wirths’ Auschwitz station, and even personally conducted some of the first procedures on women. Once the station was operational, he left for Hamburg, claiming he would return soon. However, he never showed up again until the end of the station’s existence.

Procedures at Wirths’ station were performed as follows. The women assigned to it were first given an external and internal gynecological examination. Afterwards, they were subjected to a colposcopy, that is, they were examined with an apparatus called a colposcope to see if any locations in the female genitals appeared susceptible to the development of cancer, and if so, then which ones. The results were described in detail and, depending on the diagnosis, the women were sorted into two groups. One group included those who, as completely healthy, did not undergo further procedures. The women in the other group were operated on under anesthesia. During the surgeries, small biopsies were taken from locations on the cervix (Muttermund) determined in the course of colposcopy. These samples were then sent for further study in Hamburg. I heard from Wirths himself that it was his brother who performed the research in Hamburg. Initially, Dr. Wirths took great interest in the station – it was equipped with first-rate medical tools, and Wirths would perform surgeries as well as examinations in person, very frequently inviting various SS notables from the camp, especially Höss and Schwarz, to observe the procedures.

Unlike Glauberg’s station, Wirths’ station did employ prisoner doctors. During the initial stage of the station’s existence, a Frenchwoman by the name of Adélaide Hautval, a doctor who specialized not in gynecology, but psychiatry, was employed there. After receiving training from Wirths, she would fill in for him, performing colposcopies, examinations, and surgeries. Shortly afterwards, after no more than a few weeks, Dr. Max Samuel, a surgeon gynecologist, was brought to Wirths’ station; he was a prisoner of Jewish origin, and he held German citizenship. According to what I heard, he was a very famous physician and was treated exceptionally well by Wirths. It was clear that he considered Dr. Samuel as a scientific authority. Wirths even made attempts to have Samuel Aryanized. Dr. Samuel replaced Dr. Hautval, and she was then assigned to study the internal diseases of the “patients” of block 10. Dr. Wirths transferred all of his work to Dr. Samuel, and only supervised him and checked on his progress. This state of affairs lasted until May 1944. During that time, I befriended Dr. Samuel and we became completely honest with each other. Based on what I determined, I can state that Samuel not only showed no particular eagerness to run Wirths’ station, but to the contrary, he tried to limit himself to performing only that which was necessary.

I know for example that Wirths would order Samuel to conduct at least four procedures a day. Samuel, however, never did so, under the excuse that it was a technical impossibility, even though in reality he was capable of performing even more such procedures.

While working at Wirths’ experimental station, Samuel wrote a number of scientific dissertations devoted to gynecology. There were instances when Samuel was summoned to Glauberg’s station by Oberscharführer Bünning, who was one of its staff. Eventually, in May 1944, Samuel had an argument with Bünning in Wirths’ presence and this led to him being later shot dead on the orders of the camp authorities. The surgeries on women in Wirths’ station had already ceased some two months prior, and only gynecological and colposcopy examinations were still performed. At the time, Wirths seemed to have little interest left in the station, and, unlike in previous years, he would not mention his brother from Hamburg any more. It was commonly thought that Wirths’ brother must have died, and that therefore the experimental station had, in his eyes, lost its reason to exist. While after Samuel’s death Wirths’ station continued to exist in theory, in practice nothing was done there anymore. Dr. Alina Brewda, who arrived at block 10 as a gynecologist from the camp in Majdanek, where she had hitherto been held (she was a Polish citizen of Jewish origin), did not perform any procedures after Samuel’s death and only attended to the health of the women in block 10. She managed to survive Auschwitz, and she currently resides in Warsaw’s Praga district, at Szeroka Street 2. She has an excellent knowledge of what went on at Wirths’ station and could provide exhaustive professional testimony on the topic.

At Glauberg’s station, it happened more than once that the same woman was operated on several times. This did not occur at Wirths’ station. Women would be operated on only once. According to my calculations, at most some 250 women underwent such procedures at Wirths’ station. All the procedures, including biopsies of the cervix, were performed under anesthesia (Evipan). If sedating a patient failed, she was not operated on. None of the surgeries ended fatally. Following surgery, the patient would remain in the hospital ward for around 10 days, after which, having recovered, she would be moved to the general dormitory on the upper floor. Soon after, she would be sent to the women’s camp in Birkenau. However, thanks to some illicit machinations and fictitious register entries engineered by the personnel, which was made up of prisoners, many of these patients were successfully kept in block 10 for a greater length of time. In fact, some of them remained there until the liquidation of the camp. Glauberg’s experimental station was of some help to us in that regard: a patient who was no longer needed by Wirths would be listed as one of Glauberg’s patients and thus their stay in block 10 would be extended.

As I mentioned above, Schumann would perform sterilization procedures on women and men in the office of block 30 at Birkenau. He did not have an office in block 10 of the main camp, and did not conduct any procedures there. He would only send us his patients from Birkenau after he had performed sterilization procedures on them using X-rays, so that we would operate on them in block 10 to remove their ovaries which had been destroyed by radiation. Throughout the period of existence of the experimental block 10, he sent us 15 such patients. They had all been burned with X-rays – so severely in fact that some had even suffered burns to their coccyx. The first four of them were operated on by Dr. Samuel. The operations were successful and the patients made a recovery. The others were operated on by a prisoner doctor, Dr. Dering from Warsaw, who was the Lagerältester [senior block prisoner] in the Auschwitz main camp. These surgeries were performed ineptly and in haste, and some of the patients died after four or five days, while the others survived with unhealed wounds. What happened to them later, I do not know, for shortly after they were taken from block 10 to Birkenau. Schumann never performed such surgeries in person.

I can say little about the activity of the hygiene institute located at block 10. More specific information in that regard may be obtained from: Dr. Fleck and his wife, currently resident in Łódź, Dr. Zehman and his wife, and Lwów University Professor Umschweig and his wife. The exact addresses of these people may be obtained from the Provincial Jewish Historical Commission in Kraków.

Neither can I provide information about what happened in the Blutspende [blood donation] or Blutspendung station which was administered by Weber at block 10. Possibly Dr. Alina Brewda will know something on the matter.

As regards the dentistry station of block 10, it performed only technical work. The correct form of Glauberg’s name – is it as I have testified, or is it Clauberg or perhaps Kluberg – is not known to me.

In July 1944, all the experimental stations at block 10 were moved to block 1 in the new women’s lager in Auschwitz (Repräsentationslager [?]). The activities which had previously been performed at block 10 were continued in the new block until November 1944. At the time, the Germans considered liquidating the experimental station, and indeed medical procedures were soon replaced with theatrical events. These were held at the express orders of commandant Hössler, with the participation of some female prisoners. Hössler enjoyed the shows greatly, and he would turn up for them regularly in the company of his wife and invited guests. He ordered that a special event was to be held for his birthday in February 1945. The performances would take place on holidays and sometimes even on weekdays, after roll-call. Prisoners were also allowed to watch. This state of affairs continued until the final liquidation of the camp on 18 January 1945.

The interview and the report were concluded and read out.