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Cologne Judgment | Bielefeld Trial | Appendices
from the Bielefelf Trial
1. Final Verdict
In the name of the people!
The defendant Altenloh has been found guilty of being a joint accessory
to murder in two cases:
1. the murder of at least 6,500 persons from the Bialystok ghetto and 3,500
individuals from Ghetto 1 in Grodno (ghetto liquidations in February 1943);
2. the murder of at least 100 persons in the Bialystok ghetto.
The defendant Heimbach has been found guilty of being a joint accessory
to murder in three cases:
1. the murder of at least 6,500 persons from the Bialystok ghetto (ghetto
liquidations in February 1943);
2. the murder of at least 100 persons in the Bialystok ghetto;
3. the murder of at least 15,000 persons from the Bialystok ghetto (ghetto
liquidation in August 1943).
The defendant Errelis has been found guilty of being a joint accessory to
murder in two cases:
1. the murder of at least 3,500 persons from Ghetto 1 in Grodno (ghetto
liquidation in February 1943);
2. the murder of at least 15,000 persons from the Bialystok ghetto (ghetto
liquidation in August 1943).
The defendant Dibus has been found guilty of being a joint accessory to
murder in two cases:
1. the murder of at least 6,500 persons;
2. the murder of at least 15,000 persons, all from the Bialystok ghetto
(ghetto liquidations in February and August 1943).
The above accused have therefore been sentenced to the following penalties:
the defendant Altenloh to 8 (eight) years imprisonment;
the defendant Heimbach to 9 (nine) years imprisonment;
the defendant Errelis to 6 (six) years and 6 (six) months imprisonment;
the defendant Dibus to 5 (five years) imprisonment.
All defendants are hereby stripped of their rights as citizens, in the case
of Altenloh, Heimbach and Errelis for a period of 5 years, in the case of
the defendant Dibus for 4 years.
The accused have been acquitted on all other counts.
The period spent by them in detention awaiting trial will be credited against
their full term of confinement.
District Court, Bielefeld, April 17, 1967
(Source: Documents Concerning the Destruction of the Jews of Grodno, Vol.
IV, pp. 505-506).
2. Involvement of the Accused in the "Final Solution"
The primary charge against the accused Altenloh, Heimbach, Errelis and Dibus
is as fol1ows: as members of the local Security Police, they were actively
involved, in varying degrees and extent, in the destruction of the Jews
from Bialystok District within the framework of the co-called "Final Solution
of the Jewish Question," as ordered by the National Socialist leadership
(Hitler, Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, Mueller). They are accused of having carried
out, according to orders, the removal and transport of many thousands of
Jews to the extermination camps Auschwitz and Treblinka from the ghettos
of the district: Zambrow/Lomza (Altenloh, January 1943), Grodno (Altenloh,
Errelis, January/February 1943), Pruzana (Altenloh, January 1943), Bialystok
city (Altenloh, Heimbach, Dibus, February 1943; Heimbach, Errelis, Dibus,
August 1943). They perpetrated these acts while being aware and cognizant
of the fate of death awaiting the Jews in those camps.
In addition, the defendants are accused of having been instrumental in the
killing of individual Jews - in varying numbers and for various reasons,
acting under order or by their own will and decision - either by shooting
these persons themselves or ordering their murder.
Proceedings were originally also directed against two further defendants:
1. the former Oberregierungsrat (senior councillor, Higher Civil Service)
and SS Obersturmbannfuehrer (Lieutenant Colonel) Dr. Zimmermann, who served
as head of the Commander of the Security Police (KdS) in Bialystok beginning
in June 1943 at the latest;
2. the former Kriminalsekretaer (Detective Lieutenant) and SS Sturmscharfuehrer
(Sergeant-Major) Hermann Bloch, a member of the Gestapo in Zambrow in January
These two individuals committed suicide: Dr. Zimmermann on December 31,
1965, just before being rearrested, and Bloch on September 23, 1965, during
detention in Karlsruhe awaiting trial.
(Source: Documents, Vol. IV, pp. 516-517.)
3. Transports to the Death Camps after November
Removal and transport of Jews in individual instances was initiated shortly
after November 2. At the same time, Jews were deported from the Zichenau
ghetto at the nearby Gestapo border post of Zichenau-Schroettersburg. They
were transported to Auschwitz in eight trains, which arrived at their final
destination in the period from November 7 to December 11, 1942.
In Bialystok District, initial deportations were from the Grodno area. Ghetto
2 in Grodno and the greater proportion of the Kelbasin camp - which was
not designed to quarter persons during the winter months - were liquidated,
and persons were deported to Auschwitz before the end of 1942 in at least
six train transports. These trains arrived in Auschwitz on November 9, 14,
18 and 25, 1942, as well as on December 2 and 8, 1942. The first and last
two train transports were from the Kelbasin camp, with Jews from Skiedel,
Sydra, Lyda, Ostryna, Grodno, Lunna and Porzeze. The middle two transports
contained persons from Ghetto 2 in Grodno. Orders for the transports were
sent from the RSHA to Dr. Altenloh; Altenloh then passed on these orders
to his Grodno outpost, headed by Errelis. Trains and departure dates were
specified in the orders. The 'official' purpose of the operation was listed
as 'relocation' of Jews for the purpose of conscripted labor.
A temporary halt to transports was issued effective from December 15, 1942
to January 1, 1943, due to the primary logistic need of ensuring the flow
of supplies to Stalingrad. As far as can be ascertained, this transport
stoppage was circumvented only by two trains from Bialystok: train No. Pj
39 (Pj = Polnische Juden /Polish Jews) on December 17, 1942, destination
Treblinka, and the liquidation train from the Augustowo area, which arrived
in Auschwitz on January 7, 1943. Thus, Treblinka was already a final destination
for such transports in 1942, even though perhaps only on rare occasion.
In any event, it is possible to conclude on the basis of the empty train
No. LP Pj 30, from Treblinka to Biaylstok and Grodno on November 29, 1942
- by comparison of the routing number with the fully loaded train Pj 39
- that there were a number of transports in this series. Moreover, it is
clear that Centipolk was liquidated during this period, and probably on
into January 1943, and its inhabitants transported to Treblinka.
Basis for Proof. Evaluation of Evidence.
These findings are based, aside from the already mentioned documents, on
testimony presented by the defendants Altenloh, Errelis and Dibus, insofar
as this was credible, and testimony by the witnesses Graf von der Groeben,
Hieronymus, Tubenthal, Dr. Teichert, Dr, Bejlin, Dr. Datner, Karasik, Szacman
and the Friedel manuscripts, the Macholl manuscript of October 25, 1949
(Documentation Volume VI, No. 71), and the calender of events in the concentration
camp Auschwitz as contained in the publication Hefte von Auschwitz, Nos.
3 and 4 (Doc. Vol . I , No. 38a) , November/December 1942 and January/February
1943 (cf. below pp. 128 ff.), along with the prisoner personal data sheets
pertaining to a number of Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz (Doc. Vol. I, No.
39a-h) and testimony by the witnesses Dr. Danuta Czech, Regina Gercek, Moses
Gercek, Laka and Altschuld.
Dr. Altenloh's contention that he was unaware the concentration was a preparatory
measure for the later transport of Jews has been refuted. His subordinate
Errelis was aware of this fact, the Wehrmacht had been informed about this
(Dr. Teichert), and all Subdistrict Commissioners (Kommissare) involved
with the concentration operations derived their knowledge from the Gestapo
in Bialystok, under whose orders and direction they were acting in this
instance. They were told that the purpose of these measures was to deport
all Jews from Bialystok District. Moreover, the conditions in the assembly
camp Kelbasin excluded, right from the start, any possibility of quartering
persons there over the winter months.
Various testimony has indicated that Jews were also concentrated at assembly
points in or near Augustowo/Grajewo, Sokolka (though Altenloh claims he
no longer has any recollection of this), the camp Centipolk and in Pruzana.
The defendant Altenloh contends he heard about the latter two for the first
time in the course of the present trial proceedings. Data pertaining to
Augustowo and the Centipolk camp are contained in the Friedel manuscript
(Doc. Vol. VI, No. 70). The Centipolk camp is also mentioned in this connection
in testimony presented by the accused Dibus and the witnesses Dr. Bejlin,
Dr. Datner, Karasik and Szacman. The witness Tubenthal has given testimony
regarding Pruzana. The above-mentioned Hefte von Auschwitz list Augustowo,
Sokolka and Pruzana as points of departure for deportation transports of
Jews to Auschwitz.
Knowledge of the court about the train transports to Auschwitz is based
on the chronicle of events contained in these Hefte. These chronicles in
calendar form constitute reliable evidential basis for proof (see Sec. 7
below). The Polish historian Dr. Danuta Czech, staff researcher in the Auschwitz
Museum, compiled the transport lists in these calendrical chronicles strictly
on the basis of documents of the camp command found in Auschwitz. For all
train transports mentioned, there are lists with the name, birthdate and
number of each prisoner. It was therefore possible to infer the area of
origin of a given transport from the places of birth as listed for the prisoners
on the given train. In addition, prisoner personal data sheets exist for
a portion of the transports, such as for all trains to Auschwitz from the
district which have to date been definitely identified (see the selection
in Doc. Vol. I, No. 39 ff.). These data sheets even made it possible to
differentiate between Ghetto 2 and Kelbasin for transports from the Grodno
area in 1942. Although these transport lists may not be complete, the data
they contain are correct.
The copy of the Hefte von Auschwitz in the possession of the court was checked
by the witness against the Polish original edition. The absolute reliability
of the work and testimony of the witness Czech has been repeatedly confirmed
during these proceedings by the fact that the Auschwitz prisoner-numbers
tattooed on the arms of several of the Jewish witnesses can be found precisely
in the lists for those transports with which the witnesses testify they
were sent to Auschwitz.
There are only minor discrepancies in the data, since the lists usually
indicate the date of arrival of a specific transport in Auschwitz, while
the witnesses generally, if at all, are able to indicate only the departure
date, and nothing definite was determinable in most cases regarding the
length of travel time for a specific transport. In the instance of Zambrow,
for example, the witness Mrs. Gerzek, Auschwitz No. 29.507, claims she recalls
the arrival date of January 18, 1943, and this is confirmed by the list.
In regard to Pruzana, the witness Gercek, Auschwitz No. 97.939, stated that
this was the first transport from Pruzana to Auschwitz - this is confirmed
by the list. The witnesses Laka (Auschwitz No. 99.383) and Altschuld (Auschwitz
No. 99.222) stated correctly that they were on the final transport to Auschwitz
from Pruzana (see Doc. Vol. 1, No. 39n and 40a).
Spot checks of the railroad documents available to the court, such as that
pertaining to the composition of the train transport of January 15/16, 1943,
or documents on the Pruzana/Oranczyce transports, likewise confirm the reliability
of the Auschwitz chronicle of events contained in the Hefte.
This selection of the numerous confirmations should suffice. Moreover, it
is important to note that the reliability of the Auschwitz transport lists
was not challenged by those involved in these proceedings.
Data on the liquidation of Centipolk camp are based principally on testimony
given by the witnesses Karasik and Dr. Datner, as well as the defendant
Dibus. The Hefte von Auschwitz, which remain silent about transports from
Bialystok other than those of the partial liquidation undertaken in February
1943, also provide us with an indication that Centipolk was not evacuated
to Auschwitz. Despite the extensive testimony presented, there have been
no indications - and it can thus be safely excluded - that there were any
other Jews (aside from those who had gone into hiding or the underground)
in Bialystok District at the beginning of February 1943 except for the residents
of the ghetto in Bialystok city and the remaining reduced ghetto in Grodno.
(Source: Documents, Vol. IV, pp. 554-559.)
4. Transports to the Death Camps in January
The transport of Jews from Bialystok District was carried out according
to plan and with greater intensity during January 1943. The SS leadership
regarded the district thereafter as "judenrein" in accordance with Nazi
parlance, aside from the exceptions mentioned. From the numerous deportations
during this period, the prosecution chose to-include the transports from
Zambrow/Lomza (Dr. Altenloh) and Grodno (Altenloh and Errelis) in the charge
sheet. The liquidation of Pruzana (Dr. Altenloh) was likewise included among
the charges as a result of the supplementary suit filed by the head of the
Section for National Socialist Mass Crimes, State of North Rhine-Westfalia
in the office of the Senior State Prosecutor in Dortmund dated October 31,
1966, No. 45 Js 5/66. That charge was ruled on and allowed by the Third
Penal Chamber of the District Court in Hagen, November 30, 1966, and included
as part of the present proceedings (decison of January 4, 1967).
The Third Penal Chamber, District Court, Hagen, at the request of the state
prosecutor, declared Dr. Altenloh not subject to prosecution for deportations
from Sokolka, Wolkowysk and Centipolk (decision of November 30, 1966). It
remains an open question whether - and if so, to what extent and under what
presuppositions - it might be possible to include these acts within the
charges dealt with by this trial. A conviction of the accused in regard
to the entire complex of liquidations implemented in the district in the
month of January 1943 is not possible. It is true that Dr. Altenloh has
admitted being involved in the deportations from Zambrow/Lomza and Grodno,
and he has been convicted of participation in the liquidation of Grodno.
Moreover, the accused Errelis has admitted his part in the deportations
from Ghetto 1 in Grodno. However, both defendants have denied any knowledge
of the criminal intent of the transports they were ordered to carry out;
that contention has not been refuted for the time period in question here.
(Source: Documents, Vol. IV, pp. 560-561.)
5. Deportations from Grodno, January 18, 1943
The operation in Grodno began on January 18, 1943, immediately after the
liquidation of the army barracks in Zambrow. The large Ghetto 1 was still
in existence there at that time. It was liquidated and its residents sent
to Auschwitz, except for a small number of several thousand Jews. There
is definite knowledge about a total of five transports on subsequent days
from Grodno; these arrived in Auschwitz from January 20 to 24, 1943. The
Jews call this partial liquidation of Ghetto 1 in Grodno >Operation 10,000<.
This name is quite apt and can give some indication of the magnitude of
the operation. Exact figures cannot be determined. One can assume an absolute
minimum of 7,500 deported Jews. Errelis was responsible, in his capacity
as head of the post, for local organization and implementation of the transport.
Errelis had received the order from Dr. Altenloh. The former Detective Sergeant
Wiese played a primary role in the liquidation action.
The horrifying details of the implementation of this liquidation operation
are significant for - and characteristic of - the personality and state
of knowledge of the defendant Errelis. Correspondingly, these have been
described in detail and evaluated in the presentation of his legal responsibility.
At this juncture, only one general point should be underscored: the subordinates
of Errelis shot and killed at least 100 persons without sufficient reason
during this liquidation operation.
Basis for Proof
Findings in the first section are based on the calendar of events in Auschwitz
camp (Hefte von Auschwitz 4. Doc. Vol. I, 38a), as well as testimony presented
by the defendants Altenloh and Errelis.
(Source: Documents, Vol. IV, pp. 579-581.)
6. Deportations from Grodno and
A. The January Liquidation
This liquidation - the so-called >Operation 10,000< - was part of the evacuation
of the entire district, final destination Auschwitz. Both Altenloh and Errelis
admit their part in these operations. Errelis gave credible testimony that
he was frequently in the ghetto and supervised the composition of each individual
transport. However, he denies having had any knowledge of the destructive
intent of the order. As in the case of Altenloh, the court is not convinced
that it can be proven beyond doubt that Errelis was aware of this in January
1943. That is evident from the following findings and considerations regarding
the final liquidation of Grodno in February 1943.
B. The Final Liquidation and Removal, February 1943
On February 13, 1943, immediately after the partial liquidation of the ghetto
in Bialystok, the final liquidation of the remainder of Ghetto 1 in Grodno
commenced. Altenloh had received the liquidation order along with transport
documents from the RSHA together with the order for evacuating Bialystok
city. He passed this on immediately to Errelis. Treblinka was listed as
final destination. Errelis carried out the liquidation together with his
subordinates. He himself was frequently inside the ghetto, and supervised
the composition and departure of each transport. The principal person responsible
for implementation of the deportations in Ghetto 1 was Detective Sergeant
Wiese, especially in operations relating to rounding up of Jews. The assembly
point was the main synagogue. During >Operation 10,000<, Gestapo officials
killed at least 100 Jews - men, women and children without reason; at least
50 Jews were killed in this way in February. At least three transports were
sent to Treblinka on February 13, 14 and 16, 1943. Ghetto 1, and thus Grodno
town, was cleared of Jews as a result, except for a remaining 1,000 artisans.
The Jewish craftsmen had proved themselves to be excellent workers in duties
for the Gestapo, and were later transferred on March 12, 1943 to the ghetto
in Bialystok city. With these three train transports, a total of at least
3,500 Jews were sent to their death in Treblinka.
Altenloh and Errelis were cognizant of all this. They knew the intended
destination of the transports, the criminal intent of the order, the certain
destruction awaiting all deported Jews in Treblinka. Errelis was also familiar
with the type and extent of the excessive killings which took place during
these operations. Both defendants were aware of the gross criminal nature
of the deportations. It was also clear to them that racist reasons could
never justify such acts.
The Evidence and its Evaluation
These findings are based - aside from the statements by the defendants Altenloh
and Errelis, insofar as these were credible - on findings and considerations
in earlier sections of the proceedings, the expert testimony of the historian
Dr. Scheffler, the Hefte von Auschwitz already mentioned, testimony by the
witness Dr. Danuta Czech, Zabecki, Gnichwitz and Nowik, as well in particular
on evidence presented in the following individual descriptions.
The accused Altenloh and Errelis admit their participation to the extent
established. They did not make any statement regarding the number of transports
and the total number of deported Jews.
There were at least three transport trains. One train, No. Pj 163, left
Grodno for Treblinka on February 14. This can be derived from the schedule
No. 552 of the General Direction, Eastern Railway in Cracow of February
1, 1943. This train had been planned for a long time, since it is included
in the list of special trains agreed on January 15, 1943 in Berlin by the
General Direction, Eastern Railway (Jan. 16, 1943, Doc. Vol. IV-7, 117 ff.).
The train bears the serial routing number 122. An additional train, Pj 165,
left Grodno for Treblinka on February 16, 1943. This is indicated by two
railway telegrams (Doc. Vol. II-5, 11 f.). After this, the train Pj 163
was redirected back to Grodno as an empty train, LP Pj 164, and was not
sent to Ostrolenka, as originally planned (cf. list in Doc. Vol. V-7, 117
ff. , 121 ff.). On February 16, 1943, that same train, now designated Pj
165, brought a further transport of Jews to Treblinka. Only after this was
it sent on as an empty train, designated LP Pj 166, to Ostrolenka.
Moreover, the court is convinced that a transport train departed Grodno
for Treblinka already on February 13, 1943. This can be ascertained from
the following: according to the schedule No. 552 of February 1, 1943, the
special trains agreed upon on January 15, 1943 in Berlin and the associated
rerouting plan for the freight trains to be used in multiple fashion, Pj
135 was scheduled to depart Bialystok for Treblinka as a fully loaded train
on February 13, 1943. However, this did not occur. The partial liquidation
in Bialystok had been concluded already on February 12, 1943, one day earlier
than originally planned. The court considers it impossible that a train
already made available by the Reichsbahn was not utilized by SS officials
for deportation of Jews. The court believes that this train is indeed identical
with Pj 135, which was scheduled to depart Bialystok for Treblinka, but
was rerouted to Grodno, and then departed Grodno with a full load of deportees
for Treblinka on February 13.
This is a reasonable conclusion, since the date of February 13 was mentioned
in contemporary - and thus particularly reliable - statements as the day
on which liquidation operations in Grodno commenced. The diary of Tenenbaum-Tamaroff
(Doc. Vol. V, No. 7) contains the following entry for February 14, 1943,
p. 34: a certain person by the name of Chaim from Grodno said that they
had started there with the final liquidation of the Jews. Barrasch stated
that four members of the Judenrat, a few craft artisans and the factories
of the Grodno ghetto were to be transferred to Bialystok, and that several
machines had already arrived. If the dating for this entry is accurate,
i.e., February 14, it can be assumed that the liquidation in Grodno had
begun already before February 14, i.e., on the 13th at the latest. The court
is satisfied that the dating in the diary is accurate.
This was a relatively quiet period in Bialystok. Tenenbaum-Tamaroff had
time to write in his diary. Another entry tends to support the reliability
of these remarks on the Grodno liquidation: for February 17 (p. 37), the
diary notes that 15 freight cars containing Jews had passed Bialystok travelling
in the direction of Malkinia (i.e. Treblinka). This entry is confirmed by
the railway telegrams, according to which Pj 165 left Grodno on February
16 for Treblinka, i.e., via Bialystok. It is also confirmed by the freight
lading slip of Pj 129, which designates trains with the routing series no.
122 - and thus Pj 165 as well - as short-distance trains.
At least 3,500 persons were deported during these operations.
The Grodno Jews recall the February liquidation as the so-called >Operation
5,000<. That designation indicates that they believe this final liquidation
involved the deportation of some 5,000 persons to the death camp. The defendants
Altenloh and Errelis do not dispute the figure. It also is in agreement
with the plans as can be derived from the composition of the trains and
the routing plan, both put together by the General Direction, Eastern Railway
in Berlin. According to this, trains with the routing serial no. 122 transported
a total of 2,000 persons each. Trains with serial no. 122 included Pj 163
and Pj 165, which departed Grodno for Treblinka on February 14 and 16 respectively.
Since they had the same routing number, they consisted of the same freight
However, the court has doubts as to whether a total of 4,000 individuals
were in fact transported by these two trains. A lading slip from one of
the freight cars of Pj 129 has accidentally been preserved (Vol. B II-5,
p. 9). Pj 129 likewise had the serial routing no. 122. Thus, the same freight
cars were on trains Pj 163 and Pj 165, a total of 13 cars. Even if one proceeds
on the assumption that each car contained 80 persons, this gives a total
of just over 1,000 people transported by each train. The court has no reason
to doubt that an average of at least 80 persons per freight car were transported.
According to all testimony presented (cf. statements by the witnesses Frelichmann
for the transports from Grodno 1942, Regina Gercek for Zambrow/Lomza, Steinberg
for >Operation 10,000< in Grodno /Auschwitz prisoner no. 92 802, arrival
in Auschwitz on January 22, 1943, cf. Hefte von Auschwitz, ibid./ and Sol
Gelchinsky, Isaak Gielczynski for the August liquidation in Bialystok; there
are no known survivors of the February transports from Grodno), so many
Jews were packed into the freight cars that there was no room left to sit.
If one bears in mind that during World War II, a total of 40 men per freight
car was common practice in transporting infantry units, and that these 40
men had enough room to sit and even to stretch out, then a load of 80 persons,
densely packed and standing, seems a reasonable figure to assume.
There is no documentation on the number of cars in the train of February
13, 1943. According to the schedule, which lists the train as Pj 135 from
Bialystok to Treblinka, it should be recalled that this train was rerouted
to Grodno rather than Bialystok, and then on to Treblinka from Grodno; its
routing serial no. is 121. The schedule indicates the train had a planned
load of 2,000 persons. It is the opinion of the court that the number of
persons in fact transported was at least of this magnitude. In a diary entry
for February 19, 1943, Tenenbaum-Tamaroff notes reports on Grodno from "L"
and "Sch": they said that on Saturday, February 13, a total even of 2,500
Jews were deported from Grodno. In order to be on the safe side, however,
the court decided, to the benefit of the accused, that the three trains
had transported no more than a total of at least 3,500 individuals to Treblinka
from Grodno during the February liquidation operation.
Errelis, as local head of operations, had an exact picture of the extent
of the deportations. It was his responsibility to report on the operation
to his superior KdS. Dr. Altenloh knew how many Jews were still left in
Grodno. Not only the orders to Grodno passed through his hands, but also
the train documents with scheduling changes as well. Those changes were
probably even initiated by Bialystok with the consent of Grodno officials,
depending on local requirements. The figure of 3,500 deported Jews is such
a low estimate that one thing remains certain: Altenloh was undoubtedly
aware of the magnitude of the action (at least) in respect to deportation
operations from Grodno in February 1943.
However, Altenloh and Errelis deny they knew that the final destination
was Treblinka, and that the intent of the order was the extermination of
the Jews. They claim they believed the purported official motivation: relocation
of Jews for conscripted labor. Moreover, Errelis contends that only one
Jew died by violence during the entire period of his command in Grodno,
namely Dr. Brawer, and that his death had been due to an error committed
by a police officer.
That contention has been disproven. In the case of Altenloh, this is clear
from findings and considerations in earlier sections of the final verdict.
Errelis was also aware, at the latest when he received the order to proceed
with the final liquidation of Ghetto 1, that the deported Jews were being
sent to their death. However, the findings based on the hearing of testimony
below are insufficient to prove that he was already aware of this while
supervising >Operation 10,000<, even though there is a strong suspicion
of his guilt in this connection.
In order to substantiate his actual awareness of these facts, it is initially
necessary to recall the situation as it existed in Grodno during the period
from November 1942 to February 1943. After Jews throughout the district
were gathered together and concentrated in a small number of localities
on November 2, 1942, the responsibility of the Gestapo for the ghettos in
Grodno was also expanded. Up until that time, guarding of the ghettos had
been the responsibility of the local police, and essential supplies to the
ghetto had been handled by the local civil administration.
From this point onward, the Gestapo also took over these duties. The Jewish
inhabitants living in the vicinity of Grodno were gathered together in the
camp Kelbasin located near Grodno. This camp had served the Russian and,
at a later date, the Polish army as a base camp during manoeuvers. Trenches
big enough for a company of men had been dug. These trenches were fitted
on the inside with wood and covered by a wooden roof. After the Grodno area
was captured by the Germans, Russian POWs had been interned in this camp.
The camp had since been evacuated and placed at the disposal of the Gestapo
for concentrating Jews from the Grodno area. There were at least 8,000 Jews
in the Kelbasin camp. The witness Shulkes testified to the court that some
22,000 Jews had been quartered there. There were a total of approximately
20,000 to 25,000 Jews in Ghettos 1 and 2; Ghetto I was much more heavily
populated than Ghetto 2. Living conditions in the Grodno ghettos had been
poor since their establishment. Ghetto 1 was somewhat more privileged, since
it contained the so-called "useful" Jews. In contrast to Bialystok, however,
there was no armaments industry of any importance in the Grodno ghettos.
As far as is known, the only war industry factory was a plant for felt boots
in Ghetto 1. In addition, there were several other factories, but they were
not working for the German Wehrmacht.
The Gestapo outpost in Grodno was not divided into departments. Formally,
it was under the direct command of the head of Dept. IV (Gestapo) in Bialystok.
It carried out all the tasks of the Gestapo. Errelis, as head of the post,
was responsible for their implementation. Where necessary, he made use of
the 10-12 officers under his authority. Thus, Errelis was familiar with
all events concerning his post. Errelis' immediate subordinate in rank was
Detective Staff Sergeant Schott, who is no longer living.
Although the post was not structured into separate sections, Errelis had
designated several staff who had special responsibility for Jews. Thus,
the Detective Sergeant Wiese, with his corresponding SS rank, was responsible
for Ghetto 1. A certain Streblow, since deceased, was responsible for Ghetto
2. Responsible for Kelbasin were ei ther Best or another of f i ci al ,
Rinzer, likewise dead, who was assigned as translator. These three - Wiese,
Streblow and Rinzer conducted a reign of terror in the two ghettos and the
A short time after the concentration on November 2, 1942, there were small
numbers of deportations of Jews from Ghetto 2 in Grodno and the Kelbasin
camp to Auschwitz. During these transports, 1,000 Jews regarded as productive
workers were taken aside in Ghetto 2 before deportation and transferred
to Ghetto 1. Parallel with this, some 1,000 Jews deemed unable or unwilling
to work were transferred from Ghetto 1 to Kelbasin, and from there were
subsequently deported to Auschwitz. Only a few were successful, most probably
by bribery, in gaining transfer from Kelbasin back to Ghetto 1. At the end
of December 1942, the entire Ghetto 2 and the Kelbasin camp were completely
liquidated, except for a small remainder in Kelbasin. The few Jews remaining
in Kelbasin were transferred back to Ghetto 1 due to the extreme cold.
From January 18-22, 1943, during >Operation 10,000<, a total of at least
7,500 Jews - men, women and children - were deported from Ghetto 1 in five
trains to Auschwitz, where most of them were murdered. The aim of >Operation
5,000<, which began on February 13, 1943, was the total and complete liquidation
of the ghetto. On March 12, 1943, the Jews "useful" to the Gestapo, the
last Jews still remaining in Grodno, were transferred to Bialystok.
Beginning in November 1942, the subordinates of Errelis tortured or shot
numerous Jews in Grodno arbitrarily, without adequate reason. Such acts
were perpetrated in particular during liquidations in January and February
(Source: Documents, Vol. IV, pp. 583-597.)
7. Testimony of a Historian at the Auschwitz
My name is Dr. Danuta Czech, I am 44 years old and a researcher on the staff
of the Auschwitz Museum in Auschwitz.
At the Museum, I am department head of the Institute for the History of
Auschwitz Concentration Camp. I have edited publications on events which
occurred in the camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. These are based on documents
from our archives and trials which took place after 1945. The transports
of Jews were called RSHA transports, because they took place at the order
of the RSHA. The designation "RSHA transports" is an official German term,
and we are in possession of various original documents in which it appears.
The following RSHA transports, listed in No. 3 of the Hefte von Auschwitz,
are documented and can be proven:
November 7, 1942. Jews from the Ciechanow ghetto. 465 men with the numbers
73531-73995, 229 women with the numbers 23734-23962 were sent into the camp.1
The others were gassed.
November 9, 1942. Jews from Bialystok District. 190 men with the numbers
74199-74388, 104 women with the numbers 24046-24149 were sent into the camp;
the others were gassed.
November 14, 1942. Jews from Bialystok District. 282 men with the numbers
75378-75659, 379 women with the numbers 24659-25037 were sent into the camp.
Children, mothers and old men were gassed.
November 18, 1942. Jews from Grodno. 165 men with the numbers 75952-76116,
65 women with the numbers 25065-25129 were sent into the camp. Children,
women and old men were gassed.
November 25, 1942. Jews from Grodno. 305 men with the numbers 77720-78024,
128 women with the numbers 25793-25920 were placed in the camp. Children,
mothers and old men were gassed.
December 2, 1943. Jews from Grodno District. 178 men with the numbers 79390-79567
and 60 women with the numbers 26287-26346 were sent into the camp. Children,
mothers and old men were gassed.
December 8, 1942. Jews from Grodno. 231 men with the numbers 80764-80994
were sent into the camp. Children, mothers, and old men were gassed.
RSHA Transports noted in No. 4, Hefte von Auschwitz:
January 7, 1943. Jews from the ghetto Augustow. 296 men with the numbers
85525-85820 and 215 women with the numbers 28069-28283 were sent into the
camp. The others were gassed.
January 13, 1943. Jews from Zambrow. 148 men with the numbers 86785-86932
and 50 women with the numbers 28634-28683 were sent into the camp. The others
January 15, 1943. Jews from Bialystok. Four women received the numbers 28727-287301.
January 16, 1943. Jews from Zambrow. 211 men with the numbers 67168-87378
entered the camp. The others were gassed.
January 16, 1943. Jews from Lomza. 170 men with the numbers 88581-88750
were sent into the camp. The others were gassed.
January 17, 1943. Jews from Lomza. 255 men with the numbers 88751-89005
were sent into the camp. The others were gassed.
January 18, 1943. Jews from Zambrow. 164 men with the numbers 89845-90008
and 134 women with the numbers 29451-29584 were sent into the camp. The
others were gassed.
January 20, 1943. Jews from Grodno. 155 men with the numbers 90822-90976
and 101 women with the numbers 30035-30135 were sent into the camp. The
others were gassed.
January 21, 1943. Jews from Grodno. 175 men with the numbers 91115-91289
and 112 women with the numbers 30136-30247 were sent into the camp. The
others were gassed.
January 22, 1943. Approx. 3,650 Jews from Grodno. 365 men with the numbers
92544-92908 and 229 women with the numbers 30771-30999 were sent into the
camp. The others were gassed.
January 23, 1943. Jews from Grodno. 235 men with the numbers 92909-93143
and 191 women with the numbers 31000-31190 were placed in the camp. The
others were gassed.
January 24, 1943. Jews from Grodno. 166 men with the numbers 93313-93478
and 60 women with the numbers 31362-31421 were sent into the camp. The others
January 26, 1943. Jews from Sokolka. 161 men with the numbers 93755-93915
and 32 women with the numbers 31559-31590 were placed in the camp. The others
January 28, 1943. Jews from Wolkowysk. 280 men with the numbers 94196-94475
and 75 women with the numbers 31948-32020 were sent into the camp. The others
January 30, 1943. Jews from Wolkowysk. 140 men with the numbers 97685-97824
and 140 women with the numbers 32744-32883 were placed in the camp. The
others were gassed.
January 30, 1943. Jews from Pruzana. 327 men with the numbers 97825-98151
and 275 women with the numbers 32604, 32884-33157 were placed in the camp.
The others were gassed.
January 31, 1943. Jews from Pruzana. 249 men with the numbers 98516-98764
and 32 women with the numbers 33326-33357 were sent into the camp. The others
January 31, 1943. Jews from Pruzana. 313 men with the numbers 98778-99087,
99110-99112 and 180 women with the numbers 33358-33537 were placed in the
camp. The others were gassed.
February 2, 1943. Jews from Pruzana. 294 men with the numbers 99211-94504
and 105 women with the numbers 33928-34032 were sent into the camp. The
others were gassed.
February 6, 1943. Jews from Bialystok. 85 men with the numbers 100523-100607
and 47 women with the numbers 34728-34774 were sent into the camp. The others
February 7, 1943. Jews from Bialystok. 123 men with the numbers 100608-100730.
The others were gassed.
February 8, 1943. Jews from Bialystok. 75 men with the numbers 100731-100805
and 85 women with the numbers 34779-34873 were sent into the camp. The others
March 23(?), 1943. Gypsies suspected of having typhus from the Gypsy camp
in Birkenau. 1700 men, women and children - without numbers - were gassed.
April 19, 1943. One Jew from Bialystok with the number 41869.
May 12, 1943. Transport of prisoners from Bialystok. 971 Polish Gypsies.
468 men and boys received the numbers Z7666-Z8133; 503 women and girls were
given the numbers Z8331-Z8833.
RSHA Transports listed in No. 6, Hefte von Auschwitz:
August 29, 1943. Jews from Bialystok. 210 men with the numbers 143962-144171
and 17 women with the numbers 57015-57031 were sent into the camp. The others
August 31, 1943. Jews from Bialystok. 280 men with the numbers 144183-144462
and 795 women with the numbers 57033-57828 were placed in the camp. The
others were gassed.
October 7, 1943. 1,260 Jewish children with 53 accompanying adults from
Theresienstadt. They were gassed.
(From testimony given by the witness on October 3, 1966)
(Source: Documents, Vol. IV, pp. 500-504.)
Translated by Bill Templer
Institute for German History
Tel Aviv University