Protocol Nr. 254
The persons in question have given us the following information: We got to Birkenau from the brick factory of Munkács with the first group. We arrived after 2 days travel. They separated us from our families and led us into the baths in the group of women fit for work. After the baths we got prisoner’s clothes and were put in blocks. A few days later, we got tattoos and were assigned work. All of us were put into the so-called “White shawl” group. Our job was to sort out the clothes taken off by people of the transports and to pack them for transportation. We only had to pack the delicate and good clothes, and tore the rest into pieces to serve as rugs. This work was basically not difficult but the conditions under which we worked were awful. The crematorium was in front of us, and we could see how they selected each transport that arrived, we could see the elderly and children entering the gate of the crematorium, we could hear the horrible screams but we never saw anyone coming out. We also saw that people were burnt in the pits close to the crematorium when the work to do was too much for the crematorium because transports were too numerous. Once, when we were sorting out clothes we found a drowned baby in one of the suitcases. Her mother had hidden the baby there. On the whole, it was easy for us because we had great quantities of stolen food but no one could eat it hearing all those screams, breathing an air that was stinking of burnt human flesh. Not all of us worked in Brezinka for eight months: three of us got into the hospital as nurses (who continue to talk): We often witnessed how Dr Mengele selected patients in the hospital. Mengele did not do the selections on his own; he had constant companions and it appeared that he even had his superiors, SS- women called Greze (Grese) and Drechsler. These two women were even crueller than Mengele. Greze used to be an actress, she was a gorgeous, pretty young woman. Mengele was a classic example of the Germanic male beauty. Selections happened the following way: First, naked women scuffled in front of Mengele with arms raised; and then in front of Greze and Drechsler. Mengele did the first selections, while the women might select also people who Mengele left unselected. Selections did not only regard the crematorium: there were also selections of labourers but you could never tell what was the objective. It also happened that a group of young healthy women that appeared to be a transport of labourers was sent into the gas chamber. Block 7 in Camp C was the place where selected labourers were gathered. Departing transports of labourers but also transports for internal use left from here. The population of Camp C totalled 35,000. These people were lodged in 32 blocks with around 1,200 people in each block. Block 1 and 2 were empty; block 3 was for people from Pest, from the agglomeration of Pest and Pápa (naturally, not only transports from Hungary were put up in the following blocks, however the girls know only them); block 4 and 5 were bathrooms; block 6 was the clothes store; as we have said block 7 was the labourers’ block; block 8 was the children’s block; in block 9 Polish people were lodged mostly from Litzmannstadt; block 10 was for Carpatho- Ruthenians; no. 11 was for Polish; no. 12 was a bathroom; no. 13 was for Polish, in blocks 14 and 16 labourers for internal uses were lodged (yard Kommando and toilet Kommando), no. 15 was a HKB (“Häftlingkrankenbau”, infirmary), block 17 was for mangy people; until no. 31 there were living blocks; and finally, block 32 was a bathroom. Dr Mengele appeared in hospital 5-6 times a day to do selections and control whether his instructions were respected. Also in the blocks, selections – headed by Mengele – were done more than once a week. Probably the most terrible in the life of the entire camp were the roll calls repeated twice a day, when 35,000 people had to stand erect for hours in scorching sun or pouring rain while they finished counting them. If only a person was missing out of 35,000 (and it often happened that nobody was missing but they counted badly) all the people of the camp had to stay on their knees in the mud for hours. After the first baths we got torn, ragged, dirty clothes without any underwear. But we could not even have these clothes for a longer time because every fortnight (but sometimes every day) they disinfected us, and they seized all our clothes, especially the proper cloths we had stolen in the meantime, and it depended on luck what sort of clothes one got afterwards. In the freezing cold of the winter we went to work in a thin garment. No one had stockings and only a few had shoes. After 9 months of stay in Auschwitz, one day, we were selected for a transport of labourers, and left for Schlesiensee after disinfections. The camp in Schlesiensee was quite all right, treatment was not bad and we also got (proper) food. Our job was not easy. We dug trenches, and had to work in the open also in pouring rain. Later, the camp got worse and worse. We got an Oberscharführer who was very cruel; he demanded a lot of work. The winter became colder and colder and once we decided to strike, and that we would not go on working in flimsy little dresses without coats and stockings. Our strike had no results. When the Oberscharführer saw we were not working he almost beat a few of us to death, so we had to start working. After a few weeks stay we left for Bergen-Belsen on foot. We did 35 kilometres a day. During the whole journey that lasted almost 5 weeks they never bought bread for us, and hardly let us have a rest. We spent the nights in great cold in the open. Wherever we found turnips or frozen potatoes we jumped on them, while the SS escort would shoot in the midst of us. Whoever fell behind for whatever reason was shot dead. We arrived in Bergen-Belsen after 5 weeks of walk. This camp, if possible, was even worst than Auschwitz. There was horrible squalor everywhere; people in the blocks were full of lice; dead and living bodies stayed in the same bed often for days. Every day new meter-high heaps of corpses grew in the yard. People fell sick with typhus and because of starvation and died one after the other. For 3 weeks we got only water but no bread at all. Finally, three weeks later we got bread, but it was bread that the SS had poisoned and gave us like that. We got it on a Monday, while Germans expected Americans to arrive on Saturday; we would have certainly all died by the time. However, liberating troops arrived on Tuesday so we survived.