Introduction by Philip Trauring:
In doing research on the Majdanek concentration camp I came across a reference to a document written by the committee of inquiry which was set up by the Soviets and Poles after the liberation of the Majdanek concentration camp to investigate German crimes at the camp. This is especially important considering that since Majdanek was one of the first camps to be liberated, it was captured relatively intact because the Germans did not have enough time to destroy it or cover up all their crimes. I tracked down only two copies of this document in English in the whole country(there are versions in Russian, Polish and French also), the one of which I used being at the Hoover War Library at Stanford University. Once I received a copy I decided it would be worth it to enter it into my computer, and once I started I decided to make it available to other researchers. I scanned in the text and corrected the mistakes made by the OCR software which was not so accurate because of the poor quality of the photocopy and of the original printing. This will hopefully be the first in a series of documents which I will be making available electronically. I am making this available through e-mail by request, in the various Holocaust archives, and in the original Macintosh document by request. If I ever get my WWW home page set up, it'll be available there too. If you have any questions about this text please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org (which should be active at least through 1997).
Feel free to distribute this but please make sure not to edit or change the text and to leave my intro in place. Thank you.
Format notes: I have tried as best I could to retain the format of the printed document. The original has pages which are about 4 inches wide and 6 inches tall. I separated the pages by dotted lines with the page number on the line preceding the page which it designates. I also, whenever possible, used accent marks and curly quotes to keep it exactly as I saw it on the page -- this means that if you received this document over e-mail without MIME encoding that you will see some strange characters in the middle of the document -- if your mail reader has MIME capabilities then I beleive everying should look okay.
The version of this which is available as a Macintosh document also uses different sized type, bold text and centered text to make it match the styles and such from the original.
[Archival note: I have reformatted this document for the archives. The changes are solely in format; i.e. paragraphs now contain spaces between them, and the right margin has been reset to 70 from 75. Mr. Trauring's original format has been preserved in Maidanek]
COMMUNIQUE OF THE POLISH-SOVIET EXTRAORDINARY COMMISSION FOR INVESTIGATING THE CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE GERMANS IN THE MAJDANEK EXTERMINATION CAMP IN LUBLIN
FOREIGN LANGAUGES PUBLISHING HOUSE MOSCOW 1944
I. The Majdanek Extermination Camp in Lublin................................................................2
II. The Categories of Prisoners in the Camp....................................................................3
III. The Tortures and Bloody Reprisals Practised in the Extermination Camp..............................5
IV. The Wholesale Shooting of Prisoners of Warand Civilians in the Camp................................9
V. Asphyxiation by Gas...........................................................................................13
VI. The German Butchers Tried to Cover up theTraces of their Heinous Crimes..........................18
VII. The Hitlerites Robbed the Prisoners in the Camp of their Valuables and Belongings................22
Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
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COMMUNIQUE OF THE POLISH-SOVIET EXTRAORDINARY COMMISSION FOR INVESTIGATING THE CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE GERMANS IN THE MAJDANEK EXTERMINATION CAMP IN LUBLIN
The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission for Investigating the Crimes Committed by the Germans in Lublin, consisting of Mr. A. Witos, Vice-Chairman of the Polish Committee of National Liberation (Chairman of the Commission); the Rev. Dr. Kruszynski, Dean of the Lublin Catholic Cathedral; Dr. Somerstein, member of the Polish Committee of National Liberation; Mr. Christians, Barrister, President of the Lublin Red Cross Society; Professor Bialkowski of the Lublin Catholic University; Professor Poplawski of the Lublin University; Mr. Balcerzak, Procurator of the Lublin Appeal Court and Mr. Szczepanski, Preeident of the Lublin Circuit Court (representing Poland); and D. I. Kudryavtsev (Vice-Chairman of the Commission), Professor V. I. Prozorovsky and Professor N. I. Graschenkov, (representing the U.S.S.R.), investigated the crimes committed in Lublin.
In the territory of Poland the Hitlerites set up an extensive network of concentration camps: in Lublin, Demblin, Oswiencim, Cholm, Sobibor, Biala Podlaska, Treblinka and other places.
To these camps they transported for extermination hundreds of thousands of people from the occupied countries of Europe-France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Denmark, Norway and others.
In these camps the criminal Hitler government organized the massacre of whole sections of the population whom they regarded as undesirable, primarily the intellectuals of the
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occupied countries of Europe, Soviet and Polish prisoners of war, and Jews.
The facts discovered by the Commission in its investigation of the crimes committed by the Germans in Lublin far exceed in brutality and barbarity the monstrous crimes committed by the German fascist invaders of which international public opinion is already aware.
I. THE MAJDANEK EXTERMINATION CAMP IN LUBLIN
In Majdanek, Lublin, the Hitlerite butchers built a vast slaughter house, which they themselves called 'Vernichtungslager,' i.e., 'Extermination Camp.'
The following two Germans, now prisoners of war, who served in this camp, testified:
Rottenfuhrer SS Theodor Schollen: "This camp was called 'Vernichtungslager,' i.e 'Extermination Camp'-precisely because a colossal number of people were exterminated here."
Kampfpolizist Heinz Stalbe: "The main purpose of this camp was to exterminate the largest possible number of people. That is why it was called 'Vernichtungslager' i.e., 'Extermination Camp.'"
The-Majdanek Camp, situated two kilometres from Lublin, occupies an area of two hundred and seventy hectares. Its erection was commenced at the end of 1940.
In the beginning of 1943 six fields of the camp were completed. In every field there were twenty-four barracks, making one hundred and forty-four barracks in all (not counting other buildings used as warehouses, workshops, etc.), each accommodating three hundred persons and over. The camp was surrounded by two rows of barbed wire. Furthermore, within the camp all the six fields were divided off by a whole network of barbed wire fences with a guard room at the entrance to each field. The barbed wire fences around these fields were charged with a high voltage electric current. All over the camp tall watch towers were erected in
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which sentries armed with machine guns were constantly posted. The camp was strongly guarded by SS troops. In addition there were two hundred German police dogs, which played an important part in guarding the camp, and an auxiliary force of police called Kampfpolizei, which consisted of criminal elements.
II. THE CATEGORIES OF PRISONERS IN THE CAMP
The camp was capable of accommodating from twenty five to forty thousand prisoners at a time. At some periods as many as forty five thousand prisoners were confined there.
The categories of prisoners confined in the camp varied at different times. The prisoners were systematically exterminated and fresh transports of prisoners arrived to take their place, so that for the overwhelming majority of persons sent here the camp was only a stage on the road to death.
The camp contained prisoners of war of the former Polish army captured as far back 1939, Soviet prisoners of war, and civilians from Poland, France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Norway and other countries.
This is established by:
a) the discovery within the precincts of the camp of a large number of passports and other documents belonging to citizens of different countries of Europe who perished in this camp.
For example: the passport of U.S.S.R. citizens Maria Timofeyovna Goryunova, Nikolui Frantsevich Mazurkevich, and others; documents belonging to Polish citizens Czeslaw Siedlecki, Wladyslaw Soniczny, Stanislaw Jankiewicz and others; documents belonging to French citizens Gabriel Labrouge, Emile Moltagne, Lucien Roi, Auguste Chirol, Andre Prinson, and others; documents belonging to Czechoslovak citizens Josef Hluce, Rudolf Feldinger and others; documents belonging to Italian citizens Gustav Muole, Guiseppe Music, Pio Tinozi, and others; documents belong-
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ing to the Netherlands citizens Berthus van der Palm, Andertinus van der Irimi, Petrus Jansen and others; documents belonging to Yugoslav citizens Stjepan Stepanovic, Rano Zunic and others; documents belonging to Belgian citizens Leon Bazeo, Theophil van Hauseran, and others; documents belonging to Greek citizens Ean Zurene, and others, and also documents belonging to people of other nationalities;
b) the register of deaths in the so-called "Lager-Lazarett," but actually the register of those exterminated, in which the names of a considerable number of dead persons of different nationalities are recorded. In March 1944 alone, of one thousand six hundred and fifty-four prisoners who died, six hundred and fifteen were Russians, two hundred and forty-seven Poles, one hundred and eight French, seventy-four Yugoslavs, whiIe the rest belonged to other nationalities inhabiting the countries of Western Europe;
c) the evidence of a number of witnesses:
former German prisoners of the camp aud prisoners of war who had served in the camp, and also the evidence of former prisoners in the camp: Le-du Corantin, a Frenchman; Tomasek, a Czech; Benen, a Netherlander, and others.
The list of prisoners exterminated in the camp was constantly augmented by the names of Soviet prisoners of war, sections of the population of occupied countries of Europe, different sections of the population captured by the Gestapo in the streets, railway stations and in houses during the systemic raids and searches constantly carried out by the Hitlerites in Poland and other countries of Europe, and also by the names of Jews brought here from the ghettoes set up by the Gestapo in Poland and different towns in Western Europe.
Among the prisoners there were numerous women, children and aged persons. Sometimes whole families were confined in the camp. The children were of different ages, including infants.
Thus, the camp was a place for the wholesale extermination of different nationalities of Europe.
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III. THE TORTURES AND BLOODY REPRISALS PRACTISED IN THE EXTERMINATION CAMP
The regime in the "Extermination Camp" served the object of accomplishing tho wholesale extermination of the prisoners.
The prisoners dragged out a miserable existence of starvation. The ordinary daily ration of a prisoner consisted of one issue per day of coffee made of roasted turnips, two issues per day of soup made of grass, and from one hundred and eighty to two hundred and seventy grams of bread, half adulterated with sawdust or chestnut flour. This led to the complete exhaustion of the prisoners, to the spread of tuberculosis amd other diseases and the wholesale dying out of the prisoners. For the slightest "offence" the prisoners were deprived of even this meagre food for several days at a stretch, which practically doomed them to death from starvation.
Tomasek, a Czech and a former prisoner of the camp, stated before the Commission:
"The people starved all the time. The wholesale exhaustion of the prisoners and death from exbaustion were observed. The prisoners ate offal, cats and dogs. Most of the prisoners looked like walking skeletons covered with skin, or were unaturally bloated due to swelling resulting from starvation."
Corporal Reznik of the Polish Army and former prisoner of the camp stated:
"I noticed that the Russian prisoners of war were hardly fed at all. They were reduced to an extreme state of exhaustion. Their bodies swelled, and they were not even able to talk. They died in large numbers."
Starvation was one of the important elements of the general system of extermination that prevailed in the camp.
The working day started at 4 a.m. The Germans burst into the barracks and roused the people with whips. The roll was called, at which all, sound and sick alike, had to be present. Those who had died in the night had to be taken out to the
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barrack square by those who had slept next to them to be checked. The roll-call lasted two hours and more, and was accompanied by the beating and tormenting of the prisoners. If a prisoner swooned and was unable to answer when his name was called, he was registered as dead and killed with clubs.
At 6 a.m. the prisoners were taken out to work. The work was exceptionally heavy and exhausting. It was accompanied by severe beating, torment and murder. The gangs of prisoners returning for their so-called dinner at 11 a.m., carried with them their fellow-prisoners who had been beaten, mutilated or killed. During the evening roll-call the SS men on duty read the names of those prisoners who had worked "badly," and these were tied to a form and flogged with whips, rods or birches. The number of strokes inflicted ranged from twenty five and over. Often, prisoners were flogged to death.
Zelent, Docent of the Warsaw University, formerly a prisoner of the camp, stated:
"I knew Barrister Nosek, from Radom, who was given one hundred strokes, from which he died three days later."
In the case of intellectuals and prominent persons among the prisoners, particularly refined methods of torture were adopted. The Germans compelled Professor Michalowicz, age seventy-two, the famous expert on infantile diseases, Professor Pomirowski, age sixty, of the Warsaw Politechnical Institute, Wazowicz, age seventy-five, a member of the Polish Supreme Court, and many others, to perform the most arduous work, and tormented them in every possible way.
Tadeusz Budzyn, M. Sc. Chem., a Pole, and formerly a prisoner at the camp stated:
"The Germans compelled a large group of professors, physicians, engineers and other specialists, numbering one thousand two hundred in all, who came from Greece, to carry heavy stones from one place to another, a task which was far beyond their strength. The scientists who dropped from exhaustion as a result of this heavy labour were beaten
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to death by thc SS men. Owing to the system of starvation, exhausting labour, beating and murder, the entire group of Greek scientists was exterminated in the course of five weeks."
The methods of torturing and tormenting prisoners varied to an extraordiuary degree. Many of them bore the character of alleged "jokes," which very often ended in the death of the prisoners upon whom they were played. Among these may be cited the mock shooting of a prisoner while simultaneously stunning him by a blow on the head with a plank or other blunt instrument, and the mock drowning of prisoners in the pool at the camp, which often ended in the actual drowning of the victims.
Among the German butchers in the camp some specialized in particular methods of torture and murder. They killed their victims by striking them with a club across the back of the neck, kicking them in the stomach or in the groin, etc,
The SS torturers drowned their victims in the filthy water that flowed from the bathhouse into a shallow ditch. The victim's head was forced into this filthy water and kept there with the jackboot of the SS man until he expired.
The favourite method of the Hitlerite SS men was to hang their victims by their arms, which were tied behind their backs. Le-du Corantin, a Frenchman, who had suffered this form of punishment, stated that when thus suspended the victim soon lost consciousness. When that happencd the victim was lowered, but was hung up again as soon us he recovered consciousness. This was repeatcd over and over again.
For the slightest offence, especially on suspicion of attempting to escape, the German fiends hanged prisoners in the camp. In the middle of every field there was a post with a cross-tree fixed to it about two metres high on which people were hanged.
"From my barrack," said the witness Domashev, a Soviet prisoner of war who was confined in this camp, "I saw people hanged on this post in the middle of the field."
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Near the laundry, in the space between fields No. 1 and No. 2, there was a special barrack with beams stretching from one end to another, from which people were hanged in whole groups.
Female prisoners in the camp were subjected to no less torment and torture: the same methods of roll-call, exhausting labour, beating and torment. The chief woman overseer Erich, of the SS, and the women overseers Braunstein, Anni Devid, Weber, Knobliek, Ellert and Redli, were distinguished for their cruelty.
The commission has established numerous cases of absolutely unprecedented cruelties on the part of the German fiends in the camp. At a plenary session of the Commission, the German Kampfpolizist, Heinz Stalbe stated that he saw the chief of the crematorium, Oberscharfuhrer Munsfeld, tie a Polish womam hand and foot and throw her alive into the furnace.
Witnesses Jelinski and Olech, who were employed in the camp, also testified to the burning of people alive in the crematorium furnaces.."A child was torn from a mother's breast and before her eyes was dashed against the wall of the barrack and killed," stated the witness Atrokhov. The witness Edward Baran stated:
"I myself saw little children torn away from their mothers and killed before their eyes: the child was held by one leg, the other was kept down by the foot and the child was thus torn in two."
The Deputy Chief of the camp, Obersturmfuhrer SS, Tumann, was notorious for his exceptional sadism. He forced groups of prisoners to stand in a row on thier knees and killed them by striking them on the head with a club; he set police dogs on the prisoners; he took a most active part in all the punishments and killing of prisoners.
Thus, starvation, exhausting labour, torment, torture and murder, accompanied by unprecedented sadism, were resorted to in the wholesale slaughter of prisoners in this camp.
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IV. THE WHOLESALE SHOOTING OF PRISONERS OF WAR AND CIVILIANS IN THE CAMP
The wholesale extermination of the civilian population of European countries, including Poland and the occupied regions of the U.S.S.R., was the deliberate policy of Hitler Germany, which logically followed from her plan to enslave and exterminate the progressive and active part of the Slavonic peoples.
The erection in enslaved Poland of camps for the wholesale extermination of European peoples and prisoners of war was prompted by the desire of the Hitlerite ruling clique to cover up and conceal their crimes in every possible way. These camps, including the Majdanek "Extermination Camp," were also places for the complete extermination of tho Jewish population. One of the methods of exterminating vast masses of people whom Hitler Germany regarded as undesirable was wholesale shooting, which was extensively practised in the Lublin "Extermination Camp."
The bloody history of this camp commences with the wholesale shooting of Soviet prisoners of war, which the SS men carried out in November-December 1941. Of a contingent of over two thousand Soviet prisoners of war, only eighty survived; all the rest were shot, except for a small group who were tortured to death.
In the period from January to April 1942 fresh contingents of Soviet prisoners of war arrived in the canmp and were shot.
Jan Niedzialek, a Pole, a hired waggon driver at the camp, stated:
"In the winter of 1942 the Germans exterminated about five thousand Russian prisoners of war in the following way: the prisoners were carted in motor trucks from their barracks to pits in the old quarry and there they were shot."
Prisoners of war of the former Polish army, captured as far back as 1939 and confined in different camps in Germany
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were already in 1940 collected iu the camp in Lipovaya Street in Lublin and soon after transferred in groups to the Majdanek "Extermination Camp" where they met with the same fate: systematic torment, killing, wholesale shooting, hanging, etc.
The witness Reznik stated the following:
"In January 1941, about four thousand of us Jewish prisoners of war were loaded into railway trucks and sent eastward. . . . We were brought to Lublin, told to get out of the train and handed over to SS men. Approximately in September or October 1942, they decided to leave in the camp in No. 7 Lipovaya Street only those prisoners who had factory qualifications and were needed by the city. All the rest, including myself, were sent to the Majdanek Camp. We all knew perfectly well that to be sent to the Majdanek Camp meant death."
Of this contingent of four thousand prisoners of war only a few individuals, who succeeded in escaping from their work outside of the camp, survived.
In the summer of 1943, three hundred Soviet officers were brought to the Majdanek Camp. Among them were two colonels and four majors. All the rest were captains and senior lieutenants. All the aforesaid officers were shot in the Camp.
During the whole of 1942, the wholesale shooting of prisoners in the camp, as well as of inhabitants brought in from outside, was carried on.
Tadeusz Drabik, a Pole, inhabitant of the village of Krembeck (eight kilometres from Lublin), one day saw the SS men bring up eighty-eight truck loads of people of different nationalities and ages-men, women and children. These people were taken to the Krembecki Woods were made to alight from the trucks, were stripped of all their clothing and valuables and then shot on the edge of pits which had been dug beforehand. During 1942 the Germans systematically carried out wholesale shooting in the Krembecki Woods.
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In the spring of 1942, six thousand persons arrived at the camp in one contingent; all were shot in the course of two days.
On November 3, 1943, eighteen thousand four hundred persons were shot in the camp. Of these eight thousand four hundred were camp prisoners and ten thousand were people who had been brought here from the city and from other camps. Three days before this wholesale shooting, large trenches were dug within the precincts of the camp, behind the crematorium. The shooting began in the morning and ended late at night. The people were stripped naked. The SS men led them to the trenches in groups of fifty and one hundred, compelled them to lie face downwards in the bottom of the trench and shot them with automatic rifles. On top of the corpses another row of living persons was laid and these were also shot. This went on until the trench was filled. The corpses were then covered with a thin layer of earth. Two or three days later the bodies were disinterred and burnt in the crematorium and on bonfires.
In order to drown the shrieks of the victims during the shooting, and also the sound of the firing, the Germans installed loudspeakers near the crematorium and in different parts of the camp, and all day long these loudspeakers blared forth jazz music.
This wholesale shooting became widely known among the inhabitants of Lublin. SS man Hermann Vogel, who served at the camp, stated:
"That day, in addition - to the people who were brought from the city, eight thousand four hundred persons were taken from the Lublin Camp and shot. I, know the exact figure because next day official information concerning the extermination of eight thousand four hundred persons was sent to the storehouse where I worked, as we had to check their clothing."
Stanislawski, a Polish prisoner who worked in the camp office, stated the following concerning the shooting on November 3, 1943:
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"The Germans called this shooting 'Sonderbehandlung' (special treatment), and it was under this heading that the report was sent to Berlin. This report contained the following statement-I quote literally: 'The difference between the number of prisoners in the camp in the morning and that of the evening arose as the result of the special extermination of eighteen thousand persons.'"
The inhabitants of the village of Dziesiata were frequent witnesses of wholesale shooting, including those carried out in 1944. From March to July 22 inclusive, the Gestapo brought up a large number of Polish inhabitants, men, women and children, in motor trucks and carts. They were taken to the crematorium, near which they were stripped naked and then shot in the trenches.
"There were days," stated the witness Niedzialek, who witnessed these wholesale shootings of Polish inhabitants, "when from two-hundred to three hundred and more persons were shot."
The Soviet prisoner of war Kanunnikov witnessed the shooting in July 1943 of forty women with little children in field No. 1. Early in the morning the bodies of the victims were taken to the crematorium to be burnt."
In the latter half of May 1943, the SS men brought to the Krembecki Woods two lorries drawn by a tractor and a motor truck, all loaded with the dead bodies of Polish children.
The witness Gangol stated:
"I remember another glaring case which I personally witnessed, and which I fully confirm today: in the latter half of May 1943 the SS men brought to the Krembecki Woods two lorries drawn by a tractor and a motor truck, all loaded exclusively with Polish children. They were entirely naked. All the bodies of these children were piled up in stacks in the woods and burnt."
The witness Krasovskaya informed the Commission of a case of the shooting, in April 1943, of three hundred women brought from Greece.
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The aforementioned cases of wholesale shooting represent only a small proportion of the cases collected by the commision.
A Committee of Medical Experts under the chairmanship of Professor Szyling-Syngalewicz, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at the Lublin Catholic University, and consisting of Dr. Rupniewski, Head Doctor of the Lublin City Administration; Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Medical Service Szkarabski, Medical Expert of a Front; Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Medical Service Krajewski, Dr. M. Sc., Chief Pathologist and Anatomist of a Front; Colonel Blochin of the Army Medical Service, Chief Toxicologist of a Front, and Captain Grafinska, Medical Expert of the First Polish Army, found as follows:
"The examination of four hundred and sixty-seven corpses and two hundred and sixty-six skulls revealed traces of firearm wounds to the number of three hundred and forty two, indicating that it was a wide practice in the camp to sho[o]t prisoners, mainly in the back of the head, at close range, with weapons of 0.9 cm. calibre."
Thus, the evidence of numerous witnesses as well as other proof (the exhumations carried out by the Committee of Medical Experts) prove that throughout the period of the existence of the Lublin Camp, the Germans carried out the wholesale shooting of prisoners, men, women and children, of different nationalities, some of whom were shot in the Krembecki Woods situated eight kilometres from Majdanek.
V. ASPHYXIATION BY GAS
One of the most widespread methods of exterminating people resorted to in the Majdanck Camp was asphyxiation by gas.
The Committee of Technical and Chemical Experts under the Chairmanship of Kelles-Krause, Engineer-Architect of the City of Lublin, and consisting of Engineer Major
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Telaner, Docent; Grigoriev, B.M.E.; and Pelkis, B.M.E., found that the chambers erected within the precincts of tbe camp were mainly utilized for the purpose of the wholesale extermination of people. There were six such chambers in all. Some of them were adapted to the purpose of putting people to death by means of carbon monoxide; the others were adapted to the purpose of putting people to death with the aid of a poisonous chemical substance known as "Zyklon."
Within the precincts of the camp were found five hundred and thirty-five canisters containing the substance "Zyklon B," and several containers with carbon monoxide. The chemical analysis revealed the following:
"The contents of the canisters were tested for the presence of prussic acid by the reaction of the formation of Prussian blue with the aid of benzidino-acinate indicator paper and picric sodium. Samples were taken from eighteen canisters and forty-eight-separate reactions were produced. All the tests gave positive results showing the presence of prussic acid with the aforesaid reagents. . . . Thus, the contents of the canisters that were examined consist of the substance 'Zyklon B' which is a specially prepared kieselghur in the form of granules up to one cm., impregnated with liquid stabilized prussic acid. The contents of the canisters found in large numbers in the camp bearing the label 'Zyklon' are identical with 'Zyklon-B'. . . . Samples of the gas taken from the containers were tested for carbon monoxide with the aid of reactions to iodinc pentoxide and palladious chloride indicator paper. In all, sixteen tests were made with iodine pentoxide and ten were made with palladious chloride indicator paper. All the tests made with the aforesaid reagents gave positive reactions to carbon monoxide."
On the basis of a precise calculation of a technical examination of the gas chambers, a chemical analysis of the carbon monoxide and the substance known as "Zyklon" the Committee of Experts found the following:
"The technical and sanitary-chemical inspection of the
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gas chambers at the Majdanek Concentration Camp wholly confirmed the fact that all these chambers, particularly I, II, III and IV, were intended and utilized for the purpose of the wholesale and systematic extermination of people by poisoning with the aid of poisonous gases such as: prussic acid (the substance known as 'Zyklon'), and carbon monoxide."
By utilizing all tbe chambers adapted for the purpose of poisoning simultaneously, it was possible to put to death one thousund nine hundred and fourteen persons at a time. It has been established that in these gas chambers were put to death all the prisoners who were exhausted by starvation and enfeebled by exhausting labour and the severity of the camp regime, all those unfit for physical work, all those who fell sick with typhus, and all others whom the Germans deemed it necessary to put to death.
During the course of investigation numerous cases of the wholesale poisoning of prisoners in the gas chamhers of Majdanek were established.
The witness Stanislawski informed the Commission of the following:
"In March 1943, three hundred Poles were put to death in the gas chamber. On June 20, 1943, three hundred and fifty persons were stripped naked in field No. 1 and taken to the bathhouse. From there they were taken into the gas chamber, where they were asphyxiated. On October 14, 1943, two hundred and seventy persons were put to death in this way."
The witness Zelent quoted the case of the asphyxiation by means of gas of eighty-seven Poles on March 15, 1944.
Another witness, Jan Wolski, a Pole, formerly a prisoner at the camp, testified to the wholesale asphyxiation of people with gas.
"In October 1942," he stated, "a large number of women and children were brought to the camp. The healthy ones were picked out for work, while the feeble ones, the sick and the children were asphyxiated in the gas chambers.
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In March l943, another two hundred and fifty women and children were exterminated in the same chamber, and several days later another three hundred persons of different nationalities were exterminated in this same way. On May 16, or 17, 1943, one hundred and fifty-eight children of ages ranging from two to ten were brought to the camp in motor trucks. These children were put to death in the gas chanber. In June 1943, the camp administration collected all the sick prisoners of war and civilian prisoners to the number of about six hundred and put them all to death the gas chamber."
Evidence concerning the wholesale asphyxiation of people by means of gases was given at the meeting of the Commission by German SS men who had served in the camp.
Rottenfuhrer SS Hensche stated that on September 15, 1942, three hundred and fifty persons including women and children, were put to death in the gas chambers.
Oberscharfuehrer SS Terner informed the Commission of the case which occurred on October 16, 1943, of the asphyxiation in gas chambers of five hundred persons, including many women and children.
The selection of people to be put to death by asphyxiation was systematically made by the German camp doctors Blanke and Rindfleisch.
The aforesaid Ternes stated:
"In the evening of October 21, 1943, camp doctor Untersturmfuehrer SS Rindfleisch told me that that day three hundred children of ages ranging from three to ten were asphyxiated in the gas chamber with the substance 'Zyklon'."
The corpses were systematically removed from the gas chamber to be incinerated in the crematorium, or on bonfires. The corpses were transported on special lorries hauled by tractors. This is testified to by numerous eyewitnesses.
German prisoner of war, Rottensfuehrer SS Theodor Schollen, who served in the camp, stated:
"I often saw this machine with trailers going to and fro
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between the gas chambers and the crematorium. It came from the gas chamber loaded with corpses and went back empty."
The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission has established that in addition to the gas chambers, the Germans in Lublin utilized special automobiles known as "murder vans" for the purpose of putting people to death.
The witnesses-Stetdiener, an ex-soldier of the Polish army, and Atrokhov, a Soviet prisoner of war, gave a detailed description of the machine in which the German fiends asphyxiated their victims with the aid of the exhaust gas from the engine.
The discovery within the precincts of the camp of a number of corpses bearing the characteristic symptoms of poisoning by carbon monoxide confirms the fact that the Germans utilized carbon monoxidefor the purpose of putting prisoners to death.
The aforementioned Committee of Medical Experts expressed theopinion that:
"The extermination of prisoners in the concentration camp was accomplished by different methods. In the initial period of the camp's existence the Hitlerites mainly resorted to wholesale shooting. Later, they also resorted to the wholesale poisoning of people in specially built gas chambers by means of powerful poisonous substances such as prussic acid (the substance known as 'Zyklon') and carbon monoxide."
Thus, the evidence of numerous eyewitnesses, the findings of the Committee of Medical Experts and the Committee of Technical and Chemical Experts prove that for nearly three years the Hitler butchers in the Majdanek Camp Systematically carried out the wholesale asphyxiation with the aid of gases of hundreds of thousands of totally innocent people, including aged people, women and children. 2-1966
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VI. THE GERMAN BUTCHERS TRIED TO COVER UP THE TRACES OF THEIR HEINOUS CRIMES
In the initial period of the existence of the Majdanek Camp the Germans buried the bodies of all those they shot and tortured to death. Later, and particularly in 1943 and 1944, they burnt the bodies, exhuming them from the pits in which the victims had been previously buried.
Already in the beginning of 1942 two furnaces for burning corpses were erected within the precincts ofthe camp. Owing to the extremely large number of corpses that had to be dealt with, the Germans, in 1942, began to erect a large new crematorium with five incinerators. This crematorium was completed in the autumn of 1943. The furnaces were in continuous operation. The temperature in them could be raised to 1500 C. To enable the largest possible number of corpses to he inserted into the furnaces thc corpses were dismembered, in particular, the extremities of the corpses were hacked off.
The Committee of Technical Experts which carefully examined the construction of the furnaces found as folIows:
"The furnaces were intended for the purpose of incinerating corpses and were calculated to work continuously. Each furnace was capable of holding four corpses at a time if the extremities were hacked off. The time taken to incinerate four corpses was fifteen minutes, which, working night and day, made it possible to incinerate one thousand nine hundred and twenty corpses in twenty-four hours. Judging by the large quantity of bones discovered in all parts of the camp (in pits, vegetable plots and under manure heaps), the Committee of Experts is of the opinion that bones were removed from the furnace before the time necessary for their complete incineration had expired, as a consequence of which the number of corpses incinerated in the twenty-four hours was far larger than one thousand nine hundred and twenty."
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The Committee established that for a long time, particularly during the past two years, the Germans, in addition to burning corpses in special furnaces, widely resorted to the practice of burning corpses on bonfires within the precincts of the camp as well as in the Krembecki-Woods.
On stacks of rails or on the chassis of automobiles, which served as grates, planks were placed; on the planks was placed a layer of corpses; then came another layer of planks and another layer of corpses, until from five hundred to one thousand corpses were piled up. An inflammable liquid was then poured over the entire pile and set alight. Each fire burnt for forty-eight hours.
The witnesses Hospodarek and Matyasek, inhabitants of the village of Dziesiata (near the Majdanek Camp) and the village of Krembec, stated that they had seen gigantic bonfires in the camp and in the Krembecki Woods on which the bodies of the people who had been shot and tortured to death by the Germans were burnt.
Within the precincts of the "Extermination Camp" and in the Krembecki Woods a large number of places was found where the burning of corpses had taken place. In one of the trenches within the camp the chassis of an automobile on which corpses had been burnt was discovered after excavation.
After the exposure of the atrocities perpetrated by the Germans in the Katyn Woods, the Hitlerites set to work with increased energy to disinter the corpses from the pits and trenches, and burn them. The Committee of Medical Experts opened twenty pits of this kind; eighteen within the precincts of the Majdanek Camp and two in the Krembecki Woods. In some of the pits a large number of corpses were found which the Germans had not managed to burn.
Thus, as the result of excavations made in pit No. 1 near the crematorium, forty two corpses were discovered; in pit No. 19 in the Krembecki Woods three hundred and sixty-eight bodies of men, women and children were found. 2*
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In other pits a large number of completely decayed corpses and skeletons were found. In a number of pits a vast quanitity of bones was found.
To conceal the gigantic dimensions of their wholesale massacre of human beings, the Hitler fiends buried the ashes in pits and trenches, scattered them over a large part of the camp vegetable plots, and, mixing the ashes with dung, used them as manure for the fields.
Within the precincts of the "Extermination Camp" the Committee found over one thousand three hundred and fifty cubic metres of compost consisting of dung, the ashes of incinerated corpses and small human bones.
The Hitlerites resorted to the grinding up of small bones in a special "mill." A detailed description of this mill was given by the witness Stetdiener, a Diesel mechanic by trade, whom the Germans compelled to work this "mill."
Lieutenant General Hilmar Moser, of the German army, ex-Military Commandant of Lublin, stated the following:
"I have no reasons for hushing or covering up the heinous crimes committed by Hitler, and I regard it as my duty to tell the whole truth about the so-called "Extermination Camp" the Hitlerites established along the Cholm Road, near Lublin.
"In the winter of 1943-44 a large number of the prisoners-among whom, to my great indignation, were women and children-were exterminated there.
"The number of killed was round about one hundred thousand.
"Part of the unfortunate people were shot and part put to death by means of gas.
"Furthermore, I was told more than once that condenmed people in the 'Extermination Camp' were compelled to perform extremely heavy work, far beyond their strength, and were goaded on by extremely cruel beatings.
"I learned with indignation that before they were put to death the prisoners in this camp were tortured and tormented.
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"Last spring an incalcuable number of corpses were exhumed and burned in furnaces specially built for the purpose, evidently with the object of wiping out the traces of the crimes committed by Hitler's orders.
"These huge furnaces were built of bricks and iron and constituted a crematorium of a large capacity. Often the stench from the corpses reached the city, at least the east end of it, and consequently, even less informed people realized what was going on in that frightful place. . . .
"The fact that the activities of the 'Extermination Camp' were directed by the Hitler government is proved by the visit Himmler himself paid to the camp when he came to Lublin in the summer of 1943."
The Committee established the fact that in the crematorium alone over six hundred thousand bodies were burnt; on gigantic bonfires in the Krembecki Woods over three hundred thousand corpses were burnt; in the two old furnaces over eighty thousand corpses were burnt; on bonfires in the camp near the crematorium no less than four hundred thousand corpses were burnt.
With the object of covering up the traces of their crimes the Germans killed the attendants, prisoners in the camp, of the gas chamber and crematorium.
As a result of a thorough investigation of numerous affidavits by medical experts and material proof, the aforesaid Committee of Medical Experts under the chairmanship of Professor Szyling-Syngalewicz, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at the Lublin Catholic Univcrsity, found that:
"During the whole period of four years that the Lublin Majdanek Camp was in existence, a deliberate and consistent system operated for the premeditated, wholesale extermination of people, both prisoners in the camp as well as people especially brought there for the purpose of extermination."
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VII. THE HITLERITES ROBBED THE PRISONERS IN THE CAMP OF THEIR VALUABLES AND BELONGINGS
The Hitlerites reduced the robbing of the prisoners and those they tortured to death in the camp to a regular system.
The material proof which the Commission discovered in the camp: the store of boots and shoes which had belonged to those who were shot or who died, the store of miscellaneous belongings of the prisoners, and also the Gestapo store in Chopin Street in Lublin, indicates that all the clothing and other belongings of thc prisoners were carefully sorted and shipped to Germany.
The huge shoe store discovered in field No. 6 at the camp contains boots and shoes bearing the labels of shops in Paris, Vienna, Brussels, Warsaw, Triest, Prague, Riga, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Kiev, Cracow, Lublin, Lvov, and many other towns, shoes of different shapes and sizes, men's women's, juveniles' and infants', army boots, civilian town shoes and peasants' topboots. In addition to boots and shoes a large quantity of ripped footwear (separate soles, uppers and heels) were fouud, sorted and piled in stacks ready to be shipped to Germany.
The Commission established that in the "Extermination Camp" alone the footwear of children, men and women who were tortured to death and killed in the camp runs into over eight hundred and twenty thousand pairs.
In an enormous warehouse of the Gestapo in Chopin Street, in Lublin, the Commission found large stocks of various kinds of men's, women's and children's underclothing, and also a large variety of other personal belongings. For example: several shelves of balls of knitting wool, thousands of pairs of spectacles, tens of thousands of pairs of various kinds of men's, women's and children's footwear, tens of thousands of men's neckties bearing the labels of shops in different cities, such as Paris, Prague,
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Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels, tens of thoueands of women's belts, part of which were sorted and ready for shipment, bath robes, pyjamas, bedroom slippers, numerous children's toys, rubber teats, shaving brushes, scissors, knives and a vast quantity of other household utensils. Here also were found numerous suitcases of various types belonging to Soviet citizens, Poles, Frenchmen, Czechs, Belgians, Netherlanders, Greeks, Croatians, Italians, Norwegians, Danes and also Jews from different countries.
In the same warehouse the Commission found some of the books and papers of the warehouse, from which it is evident that this warehouse in Chopin Street was a base where these belongings were sorted and prepared for shipment to Germany.
Concerning the shipment of the belongings of people shot in camps there was a special order couched in the following terms:
"SS-Head Office of the Economic Administration. Chief of tho Administration of D-Conc. Camp. D/l Az: 14 D 3 (Ot) I. Oranienburg, July 11, 1942.
To All Commandants Of Concentration Camps.
"The Chief Administration of State Security reports that parcels of clothing have been sent from concentration camps, addressed mainly to the Gestapo Administration in the city of Bruenn, and that in some cases this clothing was perforated with bullet holes and blood stained. Some of these parcels were damaged and strangers were thus able to ascertain the nature of their contents.
"In view of the fact that the Chief Administration of State Security will shortly issue regulations governing the handling of property left after the death of prisoners, the sending of articles must be stopped forthwith pending the final settlement of the question of how the property of executed prisoners is to be dealt with.
SS Brigade Commander and Major General SS Troops."
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The evidence of SS prisoners of war who had served in tho "Extermination Camp" proves that an organized system prevailed in the camps of robbing the prisoners of their personal belongings and property, and of the appropriation by camp officials of the property of prisoners who were tortured to death and shot.
At a plenary meeting of the Commission, Rottenfuehrer SS Vogel, a German prisoner of war, stated:
"I was Deputy Chief of the clothing warehouse at the Majdanek Camp. The clothing and footwear of exterminated prisoners was sorted and the best was shipped to Germany. In l944 alone, I myself shipped to Germany over eighteen carloads of clothing and footwear. I cannot say exactly how many pairs of boots and shoes and sets of clothing were despatched, but I assert that it was a very large quantity. What I sent off was only a part of what was shipped to Germany. Everything was shipped to the address: Ploetzensee-Berlin, Strafanstalt."
Obersturmfuehrer SS Ternes, a prisoner of war, officer of the German army, formerly a camp auditor, stated:
"I know personally that the money and valuables taken from the prisoners were sent to Berlin. The gold taken from the prisoners and sent to Berlin was calculated by weight. Virtually, all this stolen property constituted an item of revenue of the German government A very large quantity of gold and valuables was sent to Berlin. I know all about this because I worked as an auditor at the camp. I must emphasize that a great deal of the money and valuables that was taken from prisoners was not entered in the books, as they were appropriated by the Germans who took them from the prisoners."
Thus, the robbing of the tortured prisoners in the Majdanek Gamp, as well as in other camps, constituted a definite item of income of the Hitlerite robbers of various ranks.
On the basis of documentary evidence, the interrogation of witnesses and of eyewitnesses of the crimes committed
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by the Germans in thc city of Lublin, in the Majdanek Concentration Camp, in the Lublin prison and in the Krembecki Woods, on the basis of considerable material proof obtained by the Commission, and also on the basis of the findings of thc Committee of Medical Experts and the Committee of Technical and Chemical Experts, the Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission finds that:
1) The Majdanek Concentration Camp, which the Germans called "Vernichtungslager," i.e., "Extermination Camp," was a place for the wholesale extermination of Soviet prisoners of war, prisoners of war of the former Polish army, and of civilian inhabitants of different European countries occupied by Hitler Germany and also of the temporarily occupied regions of Poland and the U.S.S.R.
2) The prisoners at the Majdanek Camp were subject to a brutal system of treatment. The methods employed for the wholesale extermination of prisoners were: single and wholcsale shooting and killing, wholesale and single asphyxiation in gas chambers, hanging, torture, torment and organized starvation.
In this camp the SS butchers and the Gestapo carried out the wholesale extermination of Poles, Frenchmen, Netherlanders, Italians, Serbs, Croatians and persons of other nationalities, and also Soviet prisoners of war and prisoners of war of the former Polish army confined as prisoners in this camp, as well as those transported to this camp from other camps and places especially for the purpose of being exterminated.
3) In order to wipe out the traces of their criminal activities, the Hitler butchers resortcd to the following system of measures: burning the corpses of prisoners on gigantic bonfires in the Krembecki Woods and in the camp, burning the corpses in the crematorium especially built for the purpose, grinding up small bones, scattering ashes over the fields and vegetable plots belonging to thc Hitlerite officials of
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this camp, and preparing large manure heaps of human ashes and dung. The Hitlerite robbers operated an entire system of robbing the people they tortured for the enrichment of the rank-and-file SS and Gestapo men as well as of the leading officials of this robber gang. The system of robbing the prisoners in this camp constituted an important item of revenue of the Hitler-government.
The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission finds that during the four years the Majdanek Extermination Camp was in existence the Hitlerite butchers, on thc direct orders of their criminal government, exterminated by means of wholesale shooting and wholesale asphyxiation in gas chambers of about one million five hundred thousand persons-Soviet prisoners of war, prisoners of war of the former Polish army, and civilians of different nationalities, such as Poles, Frenchmen, Italians, Belgians, Netherlanders, Czechs, Serbs, Greeks, Croatians and a vast number of Jews.
The Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission for the Investigation of the Crimes committcd by thc Germans in Lublin finds that the principle culprits in these crimes are the Hitler government, chief executioner Himmler, and his underlings of thc SS and SD in the area of the Lublin Wojewdstwo.
The principal instruments of these atrocitics are Obergruppanfuehrer Globocnik-Chief of the SS and SD in Lublin; Wendler-ex-Governor of the Lublin Wojew=F2dstwo; Sturmbannfuehrer Dominnik-Chief of thc SS and SD in Lublin; Sturmbannfuehrer Liski-Chief of Prisoner of War Camps in Poland; Standartenfuehrer Koch-Chief of Camps; Obersturmfuehrer Kegel; Hauptsturmfuehrer Melzer-Deputy Commandant of the camp; Hauptsturmfuehrer Kloppmann; Obersturmfuehrer Tumann; Oberscharfuehrer Musfeld; Oberscharfuehrer Kostial; camp doctors Hauptscharfuehrer Erich Gruen, Hauptscharfuehrer Rindfleisch and Hauptsturmfuerer Blanke; Untersturmfuehrer Wende, Chief of the
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crematorium and all the other persons acting in the role of executioners and guilty of exterminating innocent people.
Chairman of Ihe Polish-Soviet Extraordinary Commission WITOS, Vice-Chairman of the Polish Committee for National Liberation
Vice-Chairman of the Commission D. I, KUDRYAYTSEV (U,S,S.R.)
SOMMERSTEIN, Member of the Polish Committee for National Liberatian
Prof. N. I. GRASCHENKOV (U.S.S.R.)
Prof. V. I. PROZOROVSKY (U.S.S.R.)
The Rev. Dr. KRUSZYNSKI, Dean of The Lublin Catholic Cathedral
CHRISTIANS, Chairman of the Lublin Red Cross Society
Prof. BIALKOWSKI, Professor of thc Lublin Catholic University
Prof. POPLAWSKI, Professor of the Lublin University
BALCERZAK, Procurator of The Lublin Appeal Court
SZCZEPANSKI, President of the Lublin Circuit Court