Presiding Judge: The Court calls witness Stanisław Pająk.
Witness: Stanisław Pająk, 25 years old, student at the University of Mining, Roman Catholic, no relationship to the defendants.
Presiding Judge: I advise the witness to speak the truth. Making false declarations is punishable with a prison term of up to five years. Are ther e any requests regarding the mode of hearing of the witness?
Presiding Judge: The witness will testify without taking the oath. Will the witness please state what he knows about the case, if he recognizes any of the defendants and which one, and what precise facts the witness can provide to the Court regarding those defendants?
Witness: I came to the Auschwitz camp on 13 March 1942. On the very first day, we were told to stand in front of the Auschwitz camp’s gate, where I saw a column of 500 people, dressed in cloth, with no hats. They were Russian POWs to be transported to gas chambers in Birkenau.
In Auschwitz, I first worked in the sand mine, then in the political department headed by defendant Grabner. The political department consisted of the admission office, civil registration office, and the central political office; [it was situated] in the building of the camp headquarters. I worked in the registry office. The main registry office was divided between the dead and the living. My task was to register the dead in all camps and sub- camps of the Auschwitz camp. Apart from prisoners’ personal files, there was also the main register of the Auschwitz camp, which was divided between the living, the dead, those who had been released and those who had been transported to different camps. The register included data of individual prisoners. Some of those files were marked as, for example, R.U. Nicht überstellen [do not transfer]. I noticed that the prisoners whose files were marked in this way were usually chosen for execution by firing squad. The dead were registered based on the reports from the camp hospital through the SS hospital to the political department, where we transferred the files from the registry of living prisoners to the registry of the dead, and marked them with a special number for the deceased.
Prisoners executed by firing squad were registered as having “died of natural causes”, and the reports concerning those prisoners were marked with a red cross in the right corner. On 28 October 1942, for example, 280 residents of Lublin were executed by firing squad and registered in this manner. However, their number was too high to register them all on one day, so they were divided into several reports, more or less 60 people per day, and registered that way. The reports were incorrect, because those people had been executed on 28 October, but registered on 29 October and the following days. Transports of gassed prisoners and prisoners selected from the camp hospital were registered in the following way: the crematorium would send us lists including only the numbers of prisoners marked as SB in 1942 and 1943, and as GU in 1944. It meant Sonderbehandlung [special treatment] and Gesondert untergebracht [separately accommodated]. On the basis of those lists, the files were packed in separate boxes with an indication when the gassing had taken place.
More or less every two months, post addressed to Jews was delivered to the political department. What stroke me was the fact that the letters were not addressed to the Auschwitz camp, but to Arbeitslager Birkenau bei Reiberun. The post was monitored by the political department, namely it was checked whether a given prisoner was still alive and the letter was delivered to them. The rest was burnt in the crematorium. We would receive more or less two big suitcases of letters.
As far as defendant Grabner is concerned, he was the chief of the political department, and at the same time the head of Standesamt [civil registration office] and the admission office. He often carried out interrogations by himself together with SS men from the political department, who helped him beat the prisoners. He did not spend much time in the political department office. He would go there for about an hour or two, rarely for a whole day. He participated in the gassing of prisoners in crematorium I in Auschwitz, which was situated near the SS hospital. A few times, I saw a transport of civilians arrive: the person responsible for the transport of people from outside the camp would report to the political office or – if Grabner was not present – to Kwakernack [Quakernack], who was the head of Standesamt and reported directly to Grabner. Grabner and Kwakernack would escort the transport to the yard of crematorium I. After some time, the vehicle that delivered the transport would leave empty. Those transports were being described as transports of mentally ill people. I heard it from a prisoner who worked in the Standesamt.
In 1941 in one of the kommandos working in the mill, civilian clothes were found and the prisoners who worked there were accused of planning an escape. Before noon, they were transported to the political department, where their interrogation took place. In the afternoon, they were executed by firing squad. The investigation was performed by defendant Grabner.
As far as defendant Liebehenschel is concerned, he was the camp commandant from November 1943 to May 1944. Because I worked in an office of the political department situated in the camp headquarters, I often saw him; therefore I would like to draw attention to his official attitude towards prisoners. He claims that he treated prisoners like friends, but his attitude towards prisoners expressed in letters exchanged with Berlin was different.
In 1943, right after Liebehenschel’s arrival, Berlin issued and sent us an opinion regarding one of the prisoners. Then, Lagerführer [camp leader] Hoffman issued his own opinion, which was handed over to the camp commandant for revision.
Liebehenschel demanded to meet with the prisoner personally, crossed out the positive opinion and wrote that in order to preserve the safety of the Third Reich, the German nation has to be twice as careful with similar felons, that such people could not be released and had to stay under permanent supervision of the German nation.
The camp commandant issued orders for his subordinate SS men. I duplicated those orders in a duplicating machine. Usually an SS man from the camp headquarters would come and watch me so that I wouldn’t read anything while duplicating the papers. However, some waste paper would always be left, and one day I read how defendant Liebehenschel praised an SS man for capturing a prisoner, for which he was awarded with three days off, cigarettes, and chocolate. It was in the early spring of 1944 and I read it myself.
Unfortunately, I do not have much to say about defendant Aumeier, because since I worked in the political department, I did not participate in roll calls. Aumeier would often punish prisoners with flogging for the most trivial violations. In September 1942, some items from a transport were found. Aumeier punished the prisoners with 25 lashes each, while the kapo received 50 lashes. It happened in block 3.
I cannot say anything specific about defendants Mandl, Müller and Josten. I can only say what I heard.
Presiding Judge: Are there any questions?
Prosecutor Szewczyk: The witness mentioned that cases of unnatural deaths were registered with the use of fabricated forms. Were any deaths registered in accordance with their true cause?
Witness: There were also other files marked with “E X,” which meant, “executed sentences,” when Gestapo transported prisoners to the camp.
Prosecutor: Who decided about those incorrect executions?
Witness: All files were reviewed, and the files marked with “R U” were taken away.
Prosecutor: But who took the decisions?
Witness: The files were transported to the political department, but I cannot say if it was Grabner who took the decisions or if he consulted it with someone.
Prosecutor: Were executions marked with a special color?
Witness: I did not see such a thing.
Prosecutor: When it comes to the opinion issued by Liebehenschel, does the witness remember the name of that prisoner?
Witness: Yes, it was Piotr Datka.
Prosecutor: Did the witness know him? Did he deserve such an opinion?
Witness: He was an ordinary prisoner and Liebehenschel saw him for the first time.
Prosecutor: Did the Lagerführer write that opinion at random?
Witness: The Lagerführer couldn’t have known all the prisoners.
Prosecutor Pęchalski: Is it possible that Liebehenschel issued such an opinion regarding Datka, because he was a political prisoner?
Prosecutor: Does the witness remember when Grabner initiated the interrogation after the civilian clothes had been discovered in 1942?
Witness: On the same day.
Prosecutor: And the execution took place on the same day in the afternoon?
Prosecutor Brandys: The witness mentioned that Aumeier ordered the whole kommando or block to be punished with 25 lashes, and the kapo with 50. How much time passed between when the order was given and when the punishment was administered?
Witness: The order was approved in the afternoon, and the punishment was administered in the evening.
Prosecutor: Does the witness know defendant Bogusch?
Witness: He worked for the Lagerführer, and at the end of 1944 – in the registry office of the political department.
Prosecutor: What was his attitude towards the prisoners?
Witness: His attitude was very negative, but I never saw him beat anyone.
Defense Attorney Minasowicz: The witness testified about the situation involving prisoner Datka. Does the witness know that defendant Liebehenschel released dozens and hundreds of prisoners?
Defense Attorney: Did Liebehenschel do anything positive?
Witness: He was of course much better than Höß. For example, he decided that the prisoners were no longer obliged to take off their hats, but those were little things.
Defense Attorney: And what about the prohibition of beating, of throwing prisoners into the bunker or of forced standing? Were they also just trifles?
Witness: It didn’t matter, because SS men would apply such punishments when Liebehenschel was not there.
Defense Attorney Ostrowski: How long did the witness work in the political department?
Witness: From the end of March 1942 until 8 April 1944.
Defense Attorney: Does the witness remember who was the interpreter at that time?
Witness: Rottenführer Pyszny and Pach – as far as I know. SS men Florczyk and Witkowski interpreted from other languages.
Prosecutor Pęchalski: Does the witness remember that Rottenführer Hoffman was the Serbian interpreter?
Witness: I do not remember.
Defense Attorney Ostrowski: Is defendant Hoffman, sitting in the dock, the one whom the witness knew?
Witness: This man worked in the political department.
Defense Attorney Ostrowski: Does the witness remember what was his function?
Witness: He was an ordinary SS man.
Presiding Judge: The witness is excused.