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Trial, sentencing and execution of Amon Goeth

The Trial of Amon Goeth Part 3


Sentencing, Execution and Conclusion



28th of September 1946



The Chairman summons all witnesses who are identified, he then instructs them as to their obligation to tell the truth, they are then taken out of the court hall, with the exception of witness Mr. Pemper who remains to give evidence.


Judge Zembaty: Is the witness able to establish the number of victims in the camp of Plaszow?


Witness Pemper: This would not be easy for me, as I have worked in the camp command office. I do not know that the mortality rate from natural causes was very low, even unexplainably low. As far as mortality due to non natural causes, there were approximately 500 persons killed due to repressive measures connected with escapes.


Judge Zembaty: In total, what does the witness estimate the number to be?


Witness Pemper: I am certain, that excluding the transport of 14th of May, the number exceeded 5-6,000. The victims resulting from the liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto, I estimate at 2,000 in the camp alone.


Including all the victims, also those connected with the action from the Ghetto of Tarnow, adding various selections, group incidents, and singles, I am certain the figure is well in excess of 5,000 persons.


Judge Zembaty: Whenever a prisoner was killed, for example, savaged by dogs, or shot, in what manner would this be recorded in the camp records, what reasons for such details were entered in the camp files?


Witness: Pemper: These records were only introduced in the period when the camp was functioning as a concentration camp, before that only files existed, 4 types of files. In those files, a death was noted with the word “Abgang” (departure) without any further clarification, as opposed to “Zugang” (arrival), the personal card would then be removed from the file, and placed in a separate file.


Judge Zembaty: No note was made that death was due to shooting?


Witness: Pemper: No. There were daily “appell” record sheets, which assisted in the keeping of the prisoners numerical control, and these sheets/lists, prepared daily, showed clearly all changes. Let us say, yesterday’s level was 9,500, today’s 9,550, the list or “appell” sheet, would be changed to 60 arrivals and 10 died of various causes.


Judge Zembaty: The witness mentioned that prisoners were killed by shooting, hanging, savaging by dogs. Were there in addition other methods of killing being used?


Witness: Pemper: The incidents of savaging by dogs, were in general rare. Hanging on the other hand, was a permissible way of killing in a concentration camp. In a forced labour camp it was applied when the death was intended to be used as a deterrent to others, as in the case of Hauberstock and Krautwirt.


I recollect the hanging of two prisoners for attempted escape. Various SS dignitaries from Krakow were invited, one of whom even read out a statement or announcement, to the effect, that they are being hung in order to deter others from attempting similar acts.


Judge Zembaty: Did other methods of killing exist, in addition to those mentioned so far?


Witness: Pemper: There were cases, where a prisoner could not take the beatings, following the application of 100 hits or more, was unfit for work, he would then be beaten further, and then finished. This happened in the action at the beginning of August.


Judge Zembaty: In what manner would such a prisoner be finished?


Witness: Pemper: By shooting.


Judge Zembaty: With regard to the matter of torture, the witness mentioned yesterday, that hanging by the arms was practised, you have mentioned the incident involving a person called Frenkel. How long did this take?


A dog (possibly Ralf) owned by Goeth at Plaszow

Witness: Pemper: Several hours


Judge Zembaty: Has the accused been present throughout that time?


Witness: Pemper: When I entered the office, they were waiting for me, as I had to be the interpreter during the interrogation, it took three hours.


Judge Zembaty: Without interruption?


Witness: Pemper: The stool was manipulated by hand, enabling the prisoner to regain consciousness, and induce him to provide information, every half an hour the stool was produced for this purpose.


Judge Zembaty: Did any one faint?


Witness: Pemper: Yes, they had water poured over them, terrible beatings took place. The accused conducted and controlled the interrogation. By the time I saw Frenkel I did not recognise him.


Judge Zembaty: What were the conditions in the camp in the winter, were the barracks the prisoners were sleeping in heated?


Witness: Pemper: In this respect there existed considerable limitations, but this became irrelevant as the overcrowding of the prisoners was so great, that the prisoners kept themselves warm, by their own heat.


Judge Zembaty: What about the nourishment of prisoners?


Witness: Pemper: The nourishment was very poor


Judge Zembaty: Did a possibility exist of food reaching the camp from outside of the camp?


Witness: Pemper: The answer is no, and that applies throughout the time. There were attempts, and at a later stage partially some success has been achieved, in the form of additional bread allocation. There existed also a very important channel of help, in the form of medicines from Jewish sources – specific medicines from the Ghetto until its destruction.


Chairman: Would you please summon witness Henryk Mandel


Witness - Henryk Mandel:


 In the first half of January 1943 I have been selected and sent from the Ghetto in Krakow into the camp in Plaszow. In the camp at that time, were approximately 2,000 persons, the commander was Muller.


Beginning of February, the accused arrived in Plaszow, the camp at time was comparatively small, a rumour spread that the new commander is from Vienna and that the conditions in the camp will improve. Within two days we were made aware what conditions we can expect.


The accused assembled all foremen, works directors and made a speech, he declared that he is taking over command of the camp in Plaszow and demands from all strict obedience in the execution of orders, and as evidence that he is not joking, all were ordered to be flogged with a certain number of strokes. Several days later, public hanging of two women was organised.


Chairman: Has the witness seen this?


Witness Henryk Mandel: Certainly, this took place beginning of March 1943, and with this, we have learned what treatment we can expect from this Viennese new commander.


Chairman: What was the reason for the hanging of these two women?


Jews from the Krakow ghetto, who have been rounded-up for deportation

Witness Henryk Mandel: They went into the Ghetto without permission, the accused learned this, had them brought to him from the Ghetto, and hung immediately.


Chairman: In that case they were hanged on orders of the accused?


Witness Henryk Mandel: The accused was there, and gave the order to hang them. On the 13th of March more Jews were brought from the Ghetto in Krakow into the camp and I will describe the methods that were used to conduct a search of them.


The accused was inside the barrack which housed the doctors, I overheard as he spoke to his men, “In this barrack we must conduct a very strict search, as here are Jewish doctors, who were very rich, and most probably they have brought this wealth with them from the Ghetto.”


Watches and various and other small items were being surrendered then, with the accused looking on. A few days later the “painting” took place, that is where we were painted with yellow and red stripes. Red stripes, those working in the camp, yellow stripes all those working outside of the camp. Whilst this painting was taking place a general “Appell” was called, we were prepared for something new.


And we were not disappointed; the accused walked with other SS officers along the lines and picked out various prisoners. After this he ordered tables to be brought out, and there and then flogging was ordered, across the bare buttocks, on the selected persons, men, women, with varying numbers of strokes. Goeth then announced to all, that he is not joking, we must all work as he orders, and that the work performed so far, was inadequate.


Chairman: In that case, this was a form of penalty?


Witness Henryk Mandel: No, this was an example to all prisoners, so that they should be aware, that he who does not work, will receive a beating.


Chairman: Did he assist in this himself?


Witness Henryk Mandel:  He did assist himself, the accused walked with a group of his men, and pointed out those who in his opinion needed more beating.


Chairman: How many strokes were given?


Witness Henryk Mandel: Between 25-50, the group for flogging consisted of several hundred persons. Several tables were used, and several persons did the beating.


Chairman: What was used for this beating?


Witness Henryk Mandel: Riding whips


Chairman: Were these beatings counted, was the prisoner required to keep the count or were these people beaten without an accurate count and did the witness see this?


Witness Henryk Mandel: I have seen all of this, as it was an “Appell”


Chairman: When was this?


Witness : In March or possibly beginning of April, going into town to work, these prisoners worked from 7am to 6pm. One day, upon returning in the evening, we were assembled again for work, and made to work until 12 at night, and from that day on, the afternoon shift continued until 12 at night.


We were told that the road must be finished with the utmost speed. One day I have been given permission for a day off work. I did not want to stay in the barrack, so I hid in a barrack of a friend and there, through a window I heard a shout and saw as the accused shot a young boy who was laying stones in the road construction. After shooting him, he moved the body about with his boot, to satisfy himself that he was dead.


Women at forced labor in Plaszow

Prosecutor Siewierski: For what reason was this boy shot by the accused?


Witness: This I cannot say, all I have seen is that the boy was bending, as if in a working position.


Chairman: The witness has seen this?


Witness: That is so.


Chairman: From what distance?


Witness: 25 meters


Prosecutor Siewierski:  Was the boy working at the time?


Witness: This I do not know. At another time one or two persons escaped from the camp.


Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/trials/goeth3.html


The Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team



Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

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