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Chelmno Wachtmeister Testimony, Protocol of the Interrogation of Accused – Suspect

Bruno Israel

Chelmno Wachtmeister - Testimony

Protocol of the Interrogation of Accused – Suspect  



Deportation of Jews from the Brzeziny ghetto to the Chelmno Death Camp

On October 29 1945 in Lodz


Examining Judge of the third region of the District Court in Lodz  - Wladyslaw Bednarz.


Assisted by Recording Clerk - In the presence of the parties -heard a defendant whose name is mentioned below.


The defendant is accused of committing a crime arising from Art. 1 of the PKWN decree (Polski Komitet Wyzwolenia Narodowego – Polish National Liberation Committee).


After being informed of the nature of the crime he is being charged with and of the right to refuse to answer the questions asked, the defendant testified the following:


The defendant claims to be not guilty of the crime.



Bruno Israel  

Military Service


Parents Names

Lukiusz and Linda Koenig


Lodz, 30 Szkolna St

Place of Birth



Volkdeutsch (blue list ) 75%






A Dyer


Completed 3rd grade of primary school

Marital Status


Financial Status


Member of RKU


Orders and decorations


Criminal record

No criminal record

Before the war I worked as a dyer in the “Leber & Lewandowski” company. I signed the Volksliste in 1940 and started working for the Hilfspolizei in 1941.


In 1943 I was drafted into gendarmerie as Wachtmeister. Later, after being assigned to the Sonderkommando Kulmhof, I was promoted to the rank of Oberwachtmeister.


I would like to point out that all the gendarmes assigned to Kulmhof (Chelmno) were at least Oberwachtmeister’s. Only two gendarmes had the rank of Wachtmeister. I can recognise them in photographs number 8 and 9(files: sheet 155). I cannot recollect their names. Besides, there was Rottwachtmeister shown in photographs number 1 and 2 on card 122.


In July or August 1944, while I was doing service at the fourth police-station of the State Police, I was assigned to the Sonderkommando Kulmhof. As far as I can remember, 22 gendarmes were assigned at that time.


Among them were Arthur Sliwke and Hutner (I cannot remember his first name) from Leipzig. The gendarmes in the photographs on card number 155 had been assigned earlier to the Sonderkommando and were already in Kulmhof when I arrived.


Hauptscharfuhrer Burstinge

The commander of the Sonderkommando Kulmhof was Haupsturmfuhrer Johann Bothmann (tall, red-haired, aged 36, with a slightly freckled face). His deputy was Hauptscharfuhrer Piller (it seems to me that his first name was Willi). He was a member of the SD and wore a relevant stripe on his sleeve.


In addition, he had a “Prinz Eugen” stripe on his sleeve. He was a stout blond man, aged about 36-40. Others who belonged to the Sonderkommando Kulmhof were: Untersturmfuhrer Heffele (Hafele), I do not know his name, tall, aged about 50, very stout. He was the commanding officer of the Hauskommando. The commanding officer of the Waldkommado was Lenz.


Hauptscharfuhrer Johann Runge (shown in photograph number 14 on card number 156 of the files) was a supervisor of one of the crematoriums. He was marked by extreme cruelty and I saw him hitting Jews on their backs with an axe. Where he came from – I do not know.


Here the defendant was shown photograph number 15 on card number 155. The photograph shows Unterscharfuhrer Kretschmer, he also worked at the crematoriums. Hauptscharfuhrer Gustav Laabs was a driver of the so-called Sonderwagen, cars used for gassing Jews.

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/trials/chelmnowachmeister.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team


Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto
H.E.A.R.T 2009

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