Protocol Nr. 308
The person in question has given us the following information: The 18th of June 1944, two detectives captured me at home and took me to Hotel Lomnic in Svábhegy, where they interrogated me with regard to the issue of an unsigned letter that government commissioner in charge of Jewish affairs László Endre had received. This was a threatening letter. The interrogation lasted two and a half hours. When they finished, they led me into a 2x4 metre large room in the Majestic on Svábhegy, where sixty of us stayed for three days. Next, they interned me in the camp in Rökk Szilárd Street without further interrogations. A few days later, I went into the brick factory of Kecskemét together with another ca. 200 people, where they seized all my valuables and documents. The next morning, they put us in freight cars and after three days of horrible travel, on the 30th of June 1944, I arrived in Birkenau. In Birkenau, after the usual selections and bath I got into quarantine for two weeks. There were around 850 of us, mostly doctors, lawyers and pharmacists, living in a barrack that was originally meant to be a stable. We slept on the concrete floor, and it was deemed to be a great favour when they covered it with planks. I remember that 32 diabetic people died in comas during this time in the barrack, although Hungarian transports had taken great quantities of insulin of vital importance, and it was available also in the hospital of the camp. They simply did not get insulin. After these two weeks I got into the camp hospital as a nurse. That time the hospital had a Jewish and a Gipsy ward. It remained like this till the 2nd of August 1944, when several trucks appeared in front of the hospital, which took away all the gipsy patients including elderly people, patients with tuberculosis, with pox and starving children. At the same time they took away all Gipsy inhabitants of the camp, and as I came to know later from a reliable source, all of them, exactly 3451 of them, were gassed. The oft- mentioned Mengele’s favourite hobby was research in genetic inheritance; therefore he treated twins with special attention. Amongst the Gipsy children, there were also three pairs of twins, one in the hospital and two pairs in the kindergarten of the camp. In the morning of the 2nd of August 1944, Dr Mengele entrusted these children to the head doctor of the Gipsy barrack, Dr Rabinovits, and came to fetch them personally by car in the evening. Three days later, Mengele arrived in the hospital pretty upset and looked for the doctor responsible for the Gipsy children. He rapped him over the knuckles for not examining patients with attention, not caring about them, he claimed that doctors were interested only in extra food rations, and threatened them with severe reprisals because they had not noticed or registered on the card the easily recognisable symptoms of tuberculosis of one of the twins. As an answer to the question how this had been known, which was raised by the reproached doctor, Mengele produced with a matter-of-fact gesture a necropsy record, in which the results of a technically perfect autopsy were proficiently presented regarding the little child, who had been evidently killed earlier by gas. (When our transport arrived Mengele’s first question was whether there was a pathologist among us, and he kept repeating the same question till he found the pathologist of the public hospital of Szombathely, Dr Dénes Görög.) Basing my opinion on the two or three very short conversations that I had the opportunity to have with Mengele, I join the general opinion of the hospital’s doctors that Mengele had in fact neurotic disorders. Presumably spotted fever caused him maniac depression, and his obsession was to realise eugenic selections, which had been known on a theoretical level already for a long time. After the more or less six-week service in hospital, I became the Vertreter (second commander) of one of the blocks, and as such, I was in charge of around six hundred 14 to 18-year-old boys. In the first days of September, Mengele did selections among these boys and sorted out around 60 percentage of them, and closed them in a separate block. I do not know what happened to them in the end, because in the meantime I also left Birkenau, but I am convinced that they finished in the crematorium as well. In the middle of September, I arrived in Mauthausen with a transport of around 2,000 people. First, we were lodged in block 21, where the Blockältester and the others in “prominent” positions would beat us, causing us serious injuries for the most trivial reasons. They used their hands, feet, batons, chairs and any object that fell into their hands. For example, there was not a single evening when we managed to go to bed without someone being beaten up. Three or four of us lay in a bed. As a result of maltreatment and malnutrition soon I got into hospital, where treatment was not better at all. As a doctor I managed to enjoy certain privileges, so I was one of the few people who left the hospital recovered because most people were as sick if not even sicker when they left as when they were referred to hospital. I witnessed the so-called selections personally but also heard much about them from my friends in the place. On these occasions a prisoner doctor or one of the SS doctors picked the patient who had some organic or chronic diseases, and referred them to the Erholungslager, which usually meant the gas chamber. Together with the other “recovered” patients they took us into the baths of Mauthausen, where we had a hot shower and then a very short cold shower. Next, we stood naked and barefoot on the stone pavement of the courtyard for one and a half hours. We were put into a wooden barrack without heating, and stayed in a single shirt till next morning, when they gave us clothes of diverse qualities. During the four weeks I stayed there, I did not get shoes, there were only a few clogs placed at the entrance of the barrack that we could put on when we went out. The 2nd of January 1945, 500 of us were transported to Melk. Our job was to drill a hole into a sand hill where Germans wanted to set up a factory to produce ball bearings. During the year-long work of the camp, deported people, who were dragged here from all over Europe, drilled a tunnel which was 8 to 9 kilometres deep, 12 metres wide and 15 metres high. During the same period of time 13,500 people died in the camp, where the average number of labourers was between 10,000 and 12,000. In the majority of cases death was caused by insufficient nutrition and the unwanted tortures and torments that went together with the not really heavy work. (Three to four-hour roll calls during the night in light clothes.) When at the end of March, the Russians already endangered Melk, they decided to evacuate the camp. My group did the first part of the journey by ship. They crammed around 800 people onto a barge. This was how they carried us to Linz in three days. During the voyage we could stay up on deck only at mealtime. From Linz we walked till Ebensee. Ebensee was designed to lodge around 18,000 people and when we arrived, there were 18,000 people who lived there. Rations were in proportion with it: they were made up of daily 150 grams of inedible black bread and a litre and half of soup, in which they put the peels of potatoes that were cooked for German soldiers, and allegedly also meat. However, if people in the kitchen did not steal the meat, the leaders of the blocks stole it. So I did not find a single bit of meat during the three weeks I stayed there. Mortality in the camp was around a thousand times higher than in a little town with the same population where also children, women and elderly people lived, although we were all men fit for work in the best years of our lives. Allegedly it happened more than once that the cadavers of people who died in the block were found mutilated by the morning. I only know of one case. Whatever moment we might have picked we would have surely caught someone eating the most extreme things. For example, guards could not prevent people from eating in an alfalfa field, no matter how brutally they beat them. A brown type of coal was very popular. Excessive consuming of it led to the death of several people because it caused obstinate constipation, from which people died. I also ate edible snails and sorrel. About the real horrors of the camp in Ebensee I only know from the stories of others because I did not go out to work. On the tenth day of my stay, I got into the hospital of Ebensee with phlegmon, from which I have not entirely recovered yet. During these days eight of us lay on a bunk bed, and two others were placed under the bed. But not even in this way did everyone get a place. The rest stayed in the middle of the room on covers thrown onto the floor, or on the bare plank floor, and it was not unusual if someone died after three-four days of hospital stay before anyone would have asked his name or inquired about his problem, or given him a place in a bed. The American troops found us under these conditions when they liberated us on the 6th of May 1945. For two weeks, no matter hard they tried they were unable to reduce the mortality rate because patients were in such an extremely enfeebled and exhausted state. When I recovered I was in service on the tubercular ward of the reorganised hospital. I felt a particular compassion for 15 to 16-year-old Jewish boys. They had received tubercular infections still at home which flared up in the camp, or got tuberculosis here, and as far as I could see they were irremediably destined to die in a year or two. If these boys had remained at home nothing would have happened to them.