Presiding Judge: The next witness, Izrael Steinfeld.
Witness: Izrael Steinfeld, 44 years old, tailor, Jewish, no relationship to the parties.
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 there any requests regarding the mode of hearing?
Prosecutors: No. We exempt the witness from taking the oath.
Defense: No. We exempt the witness from taking the oath.
Presiding Judge: Therefore, the witness shall testify without taking the oath, but he is still obliged to tell the whole truth. Will the witness please state what he knows about the case, which defendants he recognizes, and what facts he can provide regarding the individual defendants?
Witness: I arrived at the camp in Gliwice on 17 August 1944. Defendant Lätsch was Lagerführer [camp leader] at that time. I thought that what I witnessed at the beginning was the worst thing that could happen to us, but after some time it turned out that it was nothing in comparison with what happened later. At the beginning, the defendant just beat the prisoners, but later he killed them. Some of us survived, but only thanks to the functions we carried out.
We came there from Auschwitz in a group of 460 people. The defendant carried out selections almost every month. At one selection, from 40 to 50 people were taken away. Later on, Czech and French prisoners arrived. I doubt whether even 150 people from the group of 460 with whom I arrived at Auschwitz are still alive. And it is all because of the defendant. First, there were selections, and then he killed several prisoners with his own hands. On the day of the evacuation, from 60 to 80 people were left behind in the KB, that is in the infirmary. Only one of them survived; the rest were burnt alive. We were supposed to be taken to Wrocław, but two days later we stopped in Blechkammer [Blachownia Śląska]. While we were being transported, they gave us nothing to eat. We arrived at Blechkammer on a Saturday in the evening. We had not eaten during the journey, so we were starving. There was a warehouse and the prisoners wanted to go there. Those who did, never came back, because the warehouse was guarded by men armed with machine guns.
Later on, that Lagerführer became Rapportführer [report leader] and another Lagerführer came to the camp. The former left Blechkammer by car and the defendant took over the control over everything. At first, he beat and kicked us. When he came to the roll call square, we knew what it meant. A prisoner named Wiegelmann – a musician from Łódź – was killed by the defendant with a barrel. On the way to Blechkammer, he shot people who were unable to keep up with the rest. If I were to tell the whole story from start to end, I would not have finished till 2 o’clock, so I think that is enough.
Presiding Judge: Are there any questions for the witness?
Prosecutor Pęchalski: Will the witness please tell us if there were only Jewish people in the camp in Gliwice or there were also prisoners of other nationalities?
Witness: There were also French people.
Prosecutors: Were the French already there when you arrived?
Witness: No. The only people there were 460 Jews from the ghetto in Łódź.
Prosecutor: What did you do there?
Witness: We worked in different kommandos.
Prosecutor: How many prisoners were there?
Witness: At the beginning, 460.
Prosecutor: And later on?
Witness: 78 more came.
Prosecutor: And how many were left when the camp was liquidated?
Witness: No more than 300.
Prosecutor: Did new transports arrive in the meantime?
Witness: Yes, mainly French people.
Presiding Judge: Are there any more questions? (No answer.)