Presiding Judge: Next witness: Stefan Maliszewski.
Witness: Stefan Maliszewski, 35 years old, metal panel worker by profession; religion: Roman Catholic; no relation to the defendants.
Presiding Judge: I remind the witness as per Art. 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that he is obliged to tell the truth. False testimony is punishable by incarceration for up to five years. Do the parties offer any motions regarding the manner of questioning of the witness?
Prosecution: We do not require the witness to swear an oath.
Defense: Nor do we.
Presiding Judge: Therefore the witness will be interviewed without an oath. Would the witness tell us what he knows about the case, particularly as it relates to the defendants? Can he give any specific facts relating to them?
Witness: In January of 1941 I arrived at the camp. There were 600 of us, mostly from the management of the city streetcar corporation. We were brought in at night, made to stand outside until morning, then sent back to block 2, for quarantine. Already on the next day I was sent to clean up coal. In the roll call square I saw a penal company standing on a heap of snow. As my hands were dirty with coal, I wanted to take some snow and wash them. Then I saw human heads were sticking out of the snow. I wanted to give them a better look, but then an SS man named Niks ran up to me and hit me in the face so hard I lost consciousness. My colleagues picked me up and took me back to the block. I did not see what was going on. Only later I learned that the prisoners who were slower workers were put up to their necks in snow and had to stand there until the workday ended, meaning that if they were put there in the morning, they stayed until the dinner roll call. They were then taken out, usually frozen to death, as the winter of 1941 was very harsh.
In October of that year I worked as a metal panel beater. On 1 October I was called to the administrative office, where I was given blueprints for a large fan. It was right before the evening roll call. We worked on that fan, not knowing its purpose. At 11.30 p.m., when we were preparing the fan, we had several visits from Höß, Grabner and the Bauleitung [construction management] SS men. Just before midnight we were told to take the fan and place it on the top of crematorium I in the central camp. During the first trial it turned out that it functioned poorly. I did not know why, we were screamed at horribly to hurry up, but the fan worked somewhat, so we went back to camp. A hundred completely naked people came running from the direction of the Bauhof [construction depot], and behind them another hundred. We heard Russian being spoken. The next day after arriving in the workshop we were sent to check why the fan worked poorly. The openings were about as high up as you can reach with your hand, and I looked inside and it was full of bodies piled up one on top of the other.
Later I learned why the fan had worked so badly. After a few days, one of my colleagues told me that prisoner 292 had pierced some cables with a screwdriver because he knew Soviet soldiers were to be gassed. On 19 July 1943, when I was in the workshop, we were sent a lot of rails, five to six meters long. Then a rumor started that they were setting up huge gallows and were going to hang a number of surveyors. Not believing it, I took my pass – I always had a right to pass through, because I worked on maintenance of all buildings – and I found out that the gallows were actually there. In the evening, after the roll call, when the prisoners to be killed were led outside – there were twelve of them – an order was read out that they were supposedly to be hanged by law, based on a sentence given in Berlin. The first one standing on the stool with a noose around his neck was engineer Krzetuski. Hearing the lie, he knocked the stool out from under his feet himself. Then defendant Aumeier quickly ran up and knocked down the stools for everyone else. It was punishment for three of their mates escaping and for an alleged poisoning of an SS man who, as it later turned out, was alive.
One time during the roll call I saw a very young boy from my transport, who, upon hearing the command Mützen ab [Hats off!], pulled out a [religious] medallion and kissed it. Aumeier dragged him out in front of the line and said: “Why are you crossing yourself, there’s nothing in it for you anyway!” and slapped him in the face with his gloves.
Since I worked not only in our camp, but also in the women’s camp, I was often there for the entire day when the women’s camp was expanding. I personally saw Szulz – the Arbeitsdienstführer [work leader] in the women’s camp – go while drunk into lager B, right behind the kitchen, where the civilians were working. They had dug a hole five meters deep there and were putting large pipes in it. Two women employed at that job did not move very much. Then he threw one of them down the hole, where she died instantly. Mandl was present for this.
In that same year, when the women left our camp, there was an execution. Prisoner 8040 was hanged – I do not know if that was his real number, but that was the one sewn onto his suit jacket. As the rope was hanging too low, Aumeier jumped onto the gallows and kicked his legs off. Then he gave us a speech about how he does not want our deaths, just our work, and that we must do everything for that work to bring positive results.
When typhus broke out in the camp, everyone – mostly older numbers [longtime prisoners] – fell sick. When we got better, we were told that everyone who had recovered from typhus was to be gassed. We took action to save some of them and as a result nine of our colleagues were saved.
I would like to mention my dear friend Galiński. He managed to escape the camp while at the same time leading a Jewish woman out of the Jewish lager. After a few days he was caught, and the Jewess was standing at the gate. She was beaten so cruelly that at some point she reached for a razor blade and cut her own wrists. After Galiński was caught, he was quickly sent on to the political department. I saw him later being led towards a crematorium, he was carrying his shoes, he could not walk, we guessed that he had been beaten on his feet. Galiński was hanged.
In 1943 I worked at block 10, fixing the roof. It was a block where women from the experiments lived. What happened there I cannot say, as I was shut out on the roof. From there I also saw a mother with a child of about six led outside. The child was shot in the courtyard. The mother fainted and fell onto the ground. This execution was attended by Aumeier, Kaduk, Grabner and specialist Klauss. The mother of the shot child fell onto the ground and started to pray. Kaduk, who was the one to shoot the child and understood Polish, said: “Pray, I have time to wait for your God”. The faces of Aumeier and Grabner were beaming with joy.
The political department did not want to perform its executions publicly. They hid them by forming the reaper kommando. Anyone who got [assigned to the] reaper kommando knew they were not coming back. After the evening roll call a cart usually approached the Rapportführer [roll call officer] and he called five, six, seven prisoners by name. I had a friend named Tadeusz Lacki whose actual first name was not Tadeusz, but Władysław. When his last name and first name were read out, he went pale.
Presiding Judge: The witness has mentioned the cruelty of defendant Mandl.
Witness: I recall an incident when one of my colleagues asked me, as I was allowed to go to the women’s section, to take a package for his sister, which I was forbidden to do. I was caught and taken to block 19, where Herschel dislodged my jaw. I was taken to the hospital block, where Mandl was, and she said that I should get punched again to even it out.
Prosecutor Brandys: Does the witness know anything about the shootings of penal companies in Birkenau? Did the witness see it happen?
Witness: I saw it from twenty meters away.
Prosecutor Brandys: Did the witness see how Aumeier behaved during the execution?
Witness: After a woman was shot Aumeier walked up to her and kicked her with his boot, as if he wanted to turn her over.
Prosecutor: Has the witness seen any manner of torture other from that at block 11?
Presiding Judge: The witness is excused.