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VRBA's TESTIMONY: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ]


p. 1465

THE WITNESS: As I explained to you as your question, or as the question of Mr Crown Attorney, all prisoners, apart from the number, were marked. The political prisoners were marked with a red triangle. The Jews were marked with a red triangle over which was overlaid a yellow triangle, so that the whole thing, together, makes -- I don't have yellow colour -- a Jewish star. This meant a Jewish prisoner.

Q. A Jewish political prisoner.

A. It meant a Jewish prisoner. However, it was the habit , when one spoke about prisoners, it didn't say there were five hundred prisoners, but used the word Schutzhäftlinge. This is a German Nazi euphemism which, translated, means preventive imprisonment. And in my original I have said that we were Schutzhäftlinge which, due to the several translations, obviously, by the time it was translated, meant political prisoners; but notice that the word "political prisoners" is written in quotation marks. So because Washington, they didn't have a dictionary which didn't contain the Nazi lingo, they translated freely as political prisoners and put on it quotation marks, a sign that they are not quite sure of the translation. And this, you can see, I would like to present that -- to whom should I present this evidence?

THE COURT: If you are finished with that, you can come back to the box, please. Now you can finish your answer.

THE WITNESS: You will agree with me that the word "political prisoners" in this American translation is in quotation marks, whatever that means.

Q. Yes, I will agree with you. I will

p. 1466

just ask you if you were a political prisoner, and your answer is no.

A. No. I was a Jewish prisoner.

Q. Your answer is that it is a mistake by those of the War Refugee Board in English?

A. Schutzhäftlinge into English, and translated it into "political prisoners", and my answer is that they didn't know how to translate it.

Q. Now, we are talking about the Gralinski book about Fighting Auschwitz. Have you heard of this book?

A. I have heard about the book.

THE COURT: Just a moment. You were asked, Doctor, whether you were familiar with the book.

THE WITNESS: I am not familiar with the book, but I heard about the book.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: I wonder if I can ask you if you could address your mind to this particular statement in the foreword to the book, and maybe I can quote it to you.

A. Yes, please do.

Q. Okay. It says:

"Escape from Auschwitz was more common than from camps that were within German-speaking territory. Over 600 escapers are recorded of whom about one third got away."

Is that true or false?

A. This means that Mr Gralinski is saying in his book?

Q. I didn't say Mr Gralinski said

p. 1467

that. It is printed in the book by M.R.D. Foot.

A. Yes.

Q. I want to know if it is a false or true statement.

A. It might be true or it might be false. Ask Mr Foot.

THE COURT: We will adjourn till two thirty.

--- The jury retires. 1:00 p.m.

--- The witness stands down.

--- Luncheon adjournment.


--- Upon resuming.

--- The jury enters. 2:35 p.m.

--- The witness returns to the stand.

THE COURT: Go ahead, Mr Christie.

MR CHRISTIE: Thank you, sir.

Q. I'd like to now produce and show to you what appears to be a drawing that was made, I suggest, by you in your 1944 War Refugee Board Report; is that correct?

A. Yes. I have shown it yesterday.

Q. Would you look at each one and make sure that they are all identical? Then I may ask another question.

A. You say they are identical?

Q. I am suggesting they are.

p. 1468

A. Okay.

Q. Okay? I've made many copies.

MR CHRISTIE: Your Honour, may I give one to each of the jurors?

THE COURT: Have you seen these, Mr Griffiths?

MR GRIFFITHS: Yes, Your Honour. I am familiar with the drawing. I have no objection if my friend wishes to do that.

MR CHRISTIE: It's just a diagram made, I think, in 1944.


THE COURT: Yes. One of them may be made an exhibit, and then they can be distributed.

THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 22.

--- EXHIBIT NO. 22: Diagram from War Refugee

Board Report.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: That's your best recollection when you were giving your report to the Czechoslovak authorities. Right?

A. Yes. That's about how I recollected the situation.

Q. Would you like to keep it?

A. Yes. Thank you.

Q. I'd like to distribute one of these to each member of the jury.


Q. MR CHRISTIE: Now, you agree with me, sir, that that's quite different than the evidence you

p. 1469

presented in-chief as your recollection of the camp; would you agree?

A. No. Not at all.

Q. Okay.

A. That's untrue.

Q. I now produce and show to you what appears to be a photographic kind of schema of the camp as I believe you presented it on your overhead projection. Was that not the way you presented it before, sir?

A. That's right. Except that this is dated 25th April, 1944, and this is a later graph which I have taken out from the literature, because it shows certain developments which took place after my escape.

However, at the same time, the two graphs are not significantly different, considering that this is done by engineers and this by an amateur from memory.

Q. Recollection, yes.

A. Yes.

THE COURT: The second document you showed him, Mr Christie, is what?

MR CHRISTIE: Actually, Your Honour, I can tell you that it is a photocopy out of the book, "Eye Witness Auschwitz" by Filip Müller, "Three Years in Gas Chambers", published Stein & Day, New York, 1979. And with your permission I'd like to show that to the jury as I have several copies of that as well.

THE COURT: As I recall it, Dr Vrba has identified it as being, in his view, at least, accurate.


THE COURT: Is that correct, Doctor?

p. 1470

THE WITNESS: I said that in my view this has been done after my escape, this second map, and with considerable changes which I was not aware my map. However, the changes were not so significantly different so that the pictures were a reasonable semblance.

THE COURT: Yes. All right. Then you can do that, Mr Christie.

THE WITNESS: It is like looking, if I may add, of a picture of a three or four-year-old child. You can recognize both, but it's not the same.

THE COURT: All right. Thank you.

MR CHRISTIE: I then would offer this Madam Registrar, this copy, and if I may I would like to show copies of this to the jury.

THE COURT: Exhibit 23.

--- EXHIBIT NO. 23: Map of Auschwitz II-


Q. MR CHRISTIE: Now, if I could, Doctor ---

A. Yes, please.

Q I think maybe there is an extra one.

A. Thank you very much.

Q. I'd like, if you would, to put this one in your right hand, and the one that you drew in 1944 in your left hand, so we can discuss them in that way.

A. Yes.

Q Is that all right, then? Okay. Now, looking at the right hand, sir, I put it to you that the actual location of the bathhouse is No. 9, called the Sauna.

A. Yes.

Q. You have indicated a bathhouse on the diagram in that general area.

A. Yes.

Q. On your diagram of 1944; is that right?

A. Right.

Q. Yeah. So at least as far as that is concerned, we are not talking about something that wasn't there at the time, are we?

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. When we talk about a bathhouse, we are talking about only one in that area of the camp, which in the righthand drawing is No. 9. Right?

A. Yes.

Q. And it seems to be drawn in your diagram in 1944. Right?

A. Yes.

Q. It is drawn in a totally different place, though, isn't it?

A. No, it's not drawn in a totally different place. You've got, excuse me, you've got there quite clearly on the righthand side shown that the two crematoria and the one bathhouse are in one complex, and the same you can see on my drawing, that the two crematoria and the bath are in one complex.

In other words, my drawing hasn't got the engineering precision of fifty or sixty yards, but

p. 1472

these two pictures both identify that the two crematoria and the bath are enclosed in barbed wire electric fences together.

Q. Yeah. I put it to you that the area just below the number 9, sauna, or bathhouse, is the area known as Kanada in the drawing; isn't it?

A. That's right. And that area was not there when I was escaping on 7 April, or at least, I couldn't see it because it is a long time before my escape that I visited the crematoria.

Q. Oh, you visited the crematoria.

A. Yes.

Q. When?

A. On several occasions.

Q. Where did you go?

A. I went to have a look between the two crematoria and have a look what is happening there.

Q. Oh, yes. And what was happening there?

A. I could see people being taken into the crematoria.

Q. And this is not the occasion when you were at Fred Wetzler's mortuary. This is another occasion, is it?

A. Perfectly another occasion. There was occasion when I was in -- Registrar in "BIIA", and my job was to go to "BIID", and because I am a little bit of an inquisitive nature, and also took a little bit of a risk, I am simply pretended that I've got some business there and walked on.

Q. Oh, so you walked between the two crematoria.

p. 1473

A. That's right.

Q. Between Krematorias I and II?

A. No. Between Krematoria III and IV.

Q. Oh, between Krematoria III and IV, down the roadway.

A. That's right.

Q. They are marked 5 and 6 on diagram, aren't they, on the righthand diagram.

A. I think that the right, or the righthand diagram, the crematoria are denoted as 4 and 5, whereas in my diagram they are denoted as III and IV. Now, this is because there were two types of nomenclature of crematoria in Auschwitz. There was a smaller crematorium in Auschwitz I.

Q. You saw that one too?

A. I saw, yes. I was inside there.

Q. Were you inside that, too?

A. Yes, being inquisitive, I was in there on occasion.

Q. And were the people gassed at one time?

A. Just a moment, please. Don't interrupt me. I would like to explain to you the nomenclatures, because there is a discrepancy between nomenclatures on your and my graph.

Now, the habit was that when crematoria were built in Birkenau, the prisoners called them I, II, III, IV in the order in which they were built, but the Bauleitung this means the Official Administration of Builders took into consideration that there is already one crematorium in Auschwitz and called the new crematoria

p. 1474

II, III, IV and V.

Consequently, on my map what is called III and IV, which is unofficial map because I gave it my own nomenclature, there is a small difference between the map, the more official map and which denotes the crematoria on the northern side of the map as IV and V, whereas I denote them III and IV.

Q. I'm sorry, I don't think you've given me the answer to my question as to whether you were in Krematorium No. I in Auschwitz.

A. No, I was not in Krematoria -- oh, in Auschwitz.

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, I was.

Q. Were people being gassed there at the time?

A. No, they were not gassed, and there was a particular occasion when I went into that crematoria and ---

Q. I see.

A. There must have been a particular reason, because it was not a walking sort of distance.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. When I was working in Kanada, in November 1942, I have been taken to the dumping truck to Krematoria I in Auschwitz. The Krematoria I in Auschwitz was on yard -- that yard on the lefthand side had, to my recollection Krematorium I, and to the righthand side there was a hospital for S.S. The best would be, again, if I show it on a -- do I have permission?

Q. What I would really like to do is

p. 1475

deal with the diagram we have in our hands. This is Birkenau we are dealing with.

A. Yes.

Q. I asked you if you had been in Krema I in Auschwitz when people were being gassed, and I think the answer is no. Correct?

A. The answer is no. I went there for collecting their clothes from the gas chamber in Krematorium I.

Q. From the gas chamber?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you inside?

A. Yes.

Q. What did the gas chamber look like?

A. It was originally a garage which connected the S.S. barracks with that small crematorium.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. And there were garage doors.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. And the roof was reinforced with earth. The inside was dark. The door was opened ---

Q. How wide were the doors?

A. Like a good garage door, and two side opening to two sides.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. We went in under the pretext that we are collecting -- not under the pretext, under the order to collect the clothes which were there.

Consequently, as I understood, the people had to undress before they went into that gas chamber.

p. 1476

Q. You are telling us ---

A. Then they were gassed, and then, because there were clothes in the yard in front of the hospital, they were shoved in the gas chamber before they were taken out. So I understand that was my job at that time, so I collected the clothes.

Q. The clothes were in the gas chamber.

A. Right.

Q. Yes.

A. So we collected the clothes from there, and at that moment I saw through the window of the crematorium a friend of mine from Slovakia, Phillip Mueller.

Q. Who was he?

A. Phillip Mueller.

Q. Phillip Mueller in Auschwitz I?

A. . In Auschwitz I crematoria.

Q. Yes.

A. And I was also very well acquainted with his father.

Q. Yes.

A. Consequently, there was sort of an affinity between us because I took a little bit care of his father before he died in Auschwitz. We came together from Maidanek. I spoke with Phillip Mueller through the window. Phillip Mueller explained to me ---

Q. Is this the crematoria part, or the gas chamber part?

A. No. On the yard, between the -- on the yard in front of the crematorium, in front of the

p. 1477

gas chamber, and in front ---

Q. Now, let's go to find on the map on Auschwitz I where this is then.

THE COURT: That's Exhibit 21, I believe, isn't it?

MR CHRISTIE: Yes, sir. I'm sorry. It is marked "F" for identification. Maybe we can deal with that now.

Q. Would you like to show us on this map where the crematorium was in Auschwitz I?

A. On this map, which is not dated, it would be here, in this region.

Q. All right. Let's mark that.

A. And it is marked something like KI.

Q. KI.

A. Yes. In this region.

Q. Would you like to just mark an arrow and mark it to that area there?

A. Yeah. Not to that area there.

Q. Well, you do it.

A. I will show you this area.

Q. Okay.

A. Because I don't know the date of the map, and how many building changes have been made since.

Q. Sure.

A. So since I have saw it in 1942 and since this map is not dated, there might have been certain changes which I cannot clearly recognize.

Q. But you are prepared to identify

p. 1478

that building.

A. But I would prefer to say that the crematorium, here is the entrance to Auschwitz, here is a Block 1, here is Block 22. Yes, it was here in this region.

Q. Okay. So you just draw a circle on there, then, eh?

A. Yeah. And you can now mark it, please.

Q. So you want to put a mark on it to identify it?

A. What would you like me to write? Region of Krematorium I and gas chamber I?

A. Yes. Go ahead.

Q. And you don't mind if I add that this was as recollected from November 1942.

Q. Put it down.

A. Because how it look in November 1943, I don't know.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

THE COURT: Exhibit 24.

--- EXHIBIT NO. 24: Large map of Auschwitz I (Formerly Exhibit "E")

Q. MR CHRISTIE: How do you explain the fact that you've drawn on the diagram that I showed you every crematorium the same shape in 1944, when you drew the diagram upon your escape.

A. Because I had only two days to write the whole report, and to try to depict the crematoria.

p. 1479

There was a great urgency with that plan, because the objective of the plan was to get it to Hungary and to use this whole report towards the Hungarian Jews of imminent deportation.

Under that circumstance I didn't lose much time with details like what is the difference between Krematorium I and II and Krematorium II and III, but I limited myself to depict the position of the gas chambers and crematoria one side, and the geographic position of the whole murderous complex on the other side.

Q. Sure. I now produce and show to you a diagram which came from, I suggest, your War Refugee Report of 1944 in which you depicted a crematoria. Correct?

A. That's right.

Q. Is it accurate?

A. This I cannot say. It was said that as we were not in the large crematoria, we reconstructed it from messages we got from members of the Sonderkommando working in that crematorium, and therefore, that approximately how it transpired in our mind, and in our ability to depict what we have heard.

Q. That is what you depicted, though?

A. Yes.

Q. And it is accurately depicting what you depicted?

A. That's right. It is accurately depicting what I heard that it might look like.

Q. Okay. So you were never inside any of the crematoria, then?

A. Except for Krematorium I in Auschwitz.

Q. Krematorium I in Auschwitz.

p. 1480

A. Yes.

Q. So this wasn't a drawing of that. This was supposed to be crematoriums, two types, I and II, in Birkenau. Right?

A. That's right. And this was much more important because Krematorium I in Auschwitz, at that time was of minor importance. It had a capacity in several hundred people a day. This one had a capacity of two thousand people a day, and there were two of them.

Q. Two thousand people a day?

A. That's right. Capacity. And there were other two that had a capacity of thousand people a day. This is all written in my report.

Q. Yes. And in your report you say twelve thousand people a day were killed at Birkenau. Right?

A. You will have to show me a passage before we draw some conclusions.

Q. I will. Let's deal with this. Can I ask you if that accurately sets out what you reported at that time?

A. Yes. In scheme.

Q. In scheme, yes.

MR CHRISTIE: Could I file this, please, Your Honour?

THE COURT: Yes. Exhibit 25.

MR CHRISTIE: I've got copies for the jury, if I may.


--- --- EXHIBIT NO. 25: Map of Krematorium I and II, Birkenau.

p. 1481

MR CHRISTIE: And a copy for the witness.

Q. I put it to you that you did say in your book in 1944 that twelve thousand bodies were dealt with in twenty-four hours.

A. Could you please show me which page?

Q. I don't know, because it's in the first chapter, page ten my book, but you've got a hard cover edition.

A. First chapter?

Q. Do you remember saying that?

A. Well, I do not have the whole book by heart and I first would control what you are saying if it is true.

Q. Okay.

A. Or how far it is away.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. Would you please kindly turn to the chapter you've got in mind?

Q. I think it is the first chapter. That is where you were.

A. First chapter. Chapter 1.

Q. Just before the Heinrich Himmler incident.

A. Yes.

Q. Now, top of the page, Chapter 1, page 10:

"And so he gave orders for the greatest, most efficient extermination factory the world has ever known. For the modern concrete gas chambers and the vast crematoria that could absorb as many as 12,000 bodies in twenty-four

p. 1482

hours and, in fact, did so. For the machinery that sucked in 2,500,000 men, women and children in three years and puffed them out in harmless black smoke."

Have you got that paragraph? Do you recall writing that?

A. I would like to see if there are no changes from your version and mine.

Q. Okay. Now, it's before, "Commandant Hoess's brand new toy".

A. Is it on the end?

Q. No. Before that.

A. Yes. You see, if you don't find it in my original, then I will have doubts about the papers which you present.

Q. I see.

A. With all respect to you.

Q. Sure. Now, we will have to find it for you.

What I am going to suggest to you is that your diagrams presented at the time are certainly not consistent with your knowledge related in your later book. Would you agree? Do you understand the question?

A. Yes. Please. I am listening to you.

Q. I said your diagrams presented in 1944 are totally inconsistent with the information you presented in your later book. Would you agree?

A. No, it is not true.

Q. All right. I now present and show to you the portion of your book.

A. Yes.

p. 1483

Q. Dealing with the twelve thousand bodies a day.

A. Mm-hmmm.

Q Right there. Page 15.

A. Page 15. Right. Yes:

"For the modern concrete gas chambers and the vast crematoria that could absorb as many as 12,000 bodies in twenty-four hours and, in fact, did so. For the machinery that sucked in 2,500,000 men, women and children in three years and puffed them out in harmless black smoke."

Q. Right. Now, you said in your book further on that there were fifteen ovens that could burn three bodies each simultaneously in twenty minutes.

A. Where is it written in the book?

Q. Next. Two paragraphs down from the one that you just read.

A. Two paragraphs.

Q. Three paragraphs down.

A. "And so he gave orders for the greatest, most ...." "Heinrich Himmler visited Auschwitz Camp again ....", next paragraph, "This time I was glad to see him arrive ...."

THE COURT: A little louder, please. I can't hear, Doctor. The jury has to hear this and so do I. The jury is more important than I am.

THE WITNESS: Next paragraph:

"Once more we were lined up spic and span ...." Next paragraph, "Though he conducted his tour of the camp with his usual thoroughness ...." Next paragraph, "He was to watch the world's first conveyor belt

p. 1484

killing ...."

Q. Okay. That's the paragraph. It says in there:

"It was a truly splendid affair, one hundred yards long and fifty yards wide, containing fifteen ovens which could burn three bodies each simultaneously in twenty minutes ...."

A. Yes.

Q. That is what you said when you wrote your book.

A. Yes.

Q. When you prepared your report to the War Refugee Board, you described a gas chamber with a railroad track leading to nine ovens. Right?

A. A railroad track leading to several ovens ....

Q. Just a moment. You drew the diagram to indicate nine ovens.

A. Mm-hmmm.

Q. With four openings each, or how many?

A. There are no openings recorded.

Q. None, eh?

A. None.

Q. But you say in the report four openings each.

A. Do I say it in the report?

Q. Well, it's in your report. Don't you remember?

A. Well, I do remember. I've got a reasonably good memory, but if I mention a report which I

p. 1485

wrote exactly forty-two years ago, I'd like to check on it, if you don't mind.

Q. Yes. But the point is, Doctor, that at the time you made the report you were supposed to have a better memory, I suggest, because of the closeness to the event, than you had when you wrote the book.

A. Not necessarily, because at the time when I wrote the report I was not interested in the details too much, but I was interested in getting the message that crematoria exist, gas chambers exist, and the henchmen's axe is prepared for a million Hungarian Jews. So I gave some sort of depicting of geographic situation as well as I could, some of my memory, like this exhibit here. I saw things from inside and from friends got some rough idea what is inside. I saw it from outside. I added to it what it might look like, and in principle it is that the message was right. The crematoria were there. They had roughly the capacity described in the report. The geographic position of the crematoria was depicted with great exactness.

Q. In the Refugee Board Report I suggest to you that it indicates that it took an hour and a half to burn a body.

A. One moment. In which page?

Q. Well, first of all I ask you, do you not recall writing that?

A. Well, I recall, and it is in the files of the Crown Attorney, that there was a German publication recently published by somebody very similar to your defendant in which his paragraph was grossly distorted and embellished with lies which I have never written.

Q. Well, did you or did you not say that it took an hour and a half to cremate a body?

A. I will first find it. If I said so, if you claim that I said it in my report, then find it.

Q. Look at page 14, last paragraph of your report, War Refugee Board Report:

"Each opening can take three normal corpses at once, and after an hour and a half the bodies are completely burned."

Is that in your report now I found it for you?

A. "Each opening can take three normal corpses at once, and after an hour and a half the bodies are completely burned."

Q. Yeah.

A. Right.

Q. Now, is that correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. Why do you say in your book that it takes twenty minutes with fifteen ovens and three bodies each, in twenty minutes you can burn them all? Why do you say two different things at two different times?

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. Why do you say two different things at two different times?

A. I say one thing. What is the second thing?

Q. One thing was nine ovens.

A. Yes.

Q. The other thing was three bodies in an hour and a half.

p. 1487

A. Yes.

Q. Now, in your book you say fifteen ovens, and three bodies in twenty minutes.

A. I don't see those three bodies in an hour and a half. Excuse me.

Q. All right. Well, we will go over it again. The War Refugee Board Report made in 1944:

"Each opening can take three normal corpses at once, and after an hour and a half the bodies are completely burned."

A. Right.

Q. The book which we were reading together yours is a different page than mine:

"....fifteen ovens which could burn three bodies each simultaneously in twenty minutes ...."

Now, do you see the difference?

A. No.

Q. None. You don't see the difference?

A. No, no. In both cases I estimated that one crematorium of that type can burn at full capacity two thousand people per day.

Q. I am not talking about two thousand people. I am talking about the number of furnaces which in one case, in the WRB, is nine furnaces, and in the book is fifteen ovesn. In the WRB it says nine furnaces each having four openings, which is four nines, as far as I can figure, is thirty-six, and according to your book, made some fifteen, twenty years later, fifteen ovens which could burn three bodies each simultaneously in twenty minutes. You can't see the difference?

A. No, I can't even see where it is written.

p. 1488

Q. You can't see where it is written one hour and a half the complete burning of three bodies in the WRB, and you can't see that that's different than saying you can burn three bodies simultaneously in twenty minutes?

A. No. Will you show me on my copy if you have it?

Q. Page 14, if you've got it, on your WRB report. Last paragraph. All right? It says:

"Each opening can take three normal corpses at once ...." You got it?

A. Each opening.

Q. Yes.

A. Can take three normal corpses.

Q. At once.

A. At once.

Q. ".... and after an hour and a half the bodies are completely burned."

A. Yes.

Q. Now, your book which we discussed -- have you lost your page?

A. Yes. One moment. This corresponds a daily capacity of two thousand bodies.

Q. Yes. Now, we go back to your book.

A. Yes.

Q. And we read the paragraph where you said, "He was to watch the world's first conveyor belt killing, the inauguration of Commandant's Hoess' brand new toy". We were over this quite a few times now. You lost the part?

p. 1489

A. Yes. Okay.

Q. All right.

"It was a truly splendid affair, one hundred yards long and fifty yards wide, containing fifteen ovens which could burn three bodies each simultaneously in twenty minutes ...."

A. Yes.

Q. Now, fifteen ovens which could burn three bodies each simultaneously in twenty minutes ....

A. Yes.

Q. So it seems from the time you were giving your best recollection, shall we say, to the War Refugee Board, it changed substantially to, from an hour and a half, to twenty minutes. Right? Do you understand that?

A. Hour and a half.

Q. Yes. An hour and a half becomes twenty minutes.

A. Is ninety minutes.

Q. An hour and a half is ninety minutes. Twenty minutes is twenty minutes. So there is a difference of seventy minutes. A little problem?

A. One moment. I'm calculating something. I would think that what I had in mind wasn't perfectly formulated, but my experience was that knowledge, not experience, but my knowledge was that three bodies were being burned always simultaneously, and that this took about an hour more. That's what I recall.

Q. Not twenty minutes.

A. Now, if you divide an hour by three, because three bodies were burned, you might come

p. 1490

to the result of twenty minutes.

Q. Okay. And as far as the difference between four times nine are thirty-six ovens, and fifteen ovens, how do you explain that difference?

A. Which difference?

Q. Well, in the book, you agree, you say it's fifteen ovens, and I suggest to you that's exactly what it was fifteen ovens.

A. Yes.

Q. Because you've had a chance to read some of the literature from Phillip Mueller and others you knew you the plans when you wrote your book. Right?

A. Well, I wrote the book twenty years before Phillip Mueller did, so how could I consult Phillip Mueller?

Q. Because the plans were known to exist before you wrote your book.

A. That's right.

Q. So you consulted the plans finally, didn't you?

A. Well, if I had consulted the plans, I would have published the book at that time, but my intention was to keep the book as free as possible from technical detail ---

Q. How about facts?

A. --- and giving the fundamental facts. The fundamental facts was that there were four crematoria, that two were large and two were small, that the large could consume two thousand people a day and the small consumed a thousand people a day, and that the theoritical capacity of all four crematoria, provided there is no breakdown and provided that there is constant influx of victims, is six thousand per day. And that is exactly the same in the book and in the report.

Q. Is it?

A. Yes.

Q. Let's go back and find out, then, about that, because I think you are wrong. Let's go back to the previous paragraph in your book that we discussed where you say twelve thousand bodies in twenty-four hours.

A. Yes.

Q. Well, you say six thousand bodies in the WRB Report, the paragraph that says and we've read it once ---

A. One moment. Where is the twelve thousand bodies?

Q. Well, we'll just have to go back. Three paragraphs before the one we just finished reading.

A. Yes. That's perfectly all right.

Q. Is it?

A. Yes.

Q. Tell me ---

A. Because when I was writing this book, as I explained to you at the start, I was not writing only what I saw, but I included also things which I heard or learned from reliable sources.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. And we know that although the theoretical capacity of all the crematorias are depicted in my original report in '44, before the annihilation of Hungarian Jews, could consume maximum only twelve thousand victims a day, it became known later that Hungarian Jews

p. 1492

were transported at such a speed to Auschwitz that some days up to twenty thousand units were, if I may paraphrase the Nazi vernacular lingo were processed. And this is perfectly true.

In other words, I included into this twelve thousand not just what happened during my time, but also during the time following shortly my escape.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. And sufficiently information for a young person who has never heard about such things to understand that the murder was in many thousands. And I will leave it to you to decide if it is five thousand four hundred or seven thousand three.

Q. Why did you say in 1944, at the time of your escape, on page 16, at the bottom of the first paragraph:

"Thus the total capacity of the four cremating and gassing plants at Birkenau amounts to about six thousand daily"?

A. That's right.

Q. Then why did you say in your book:

"For the modern concrete gas chambers and the vast crematoria that could absorb as many as 12,000 bodies in twenty-four hours and, in fact, did so"?

A. What I had to add, that it did so with the help of additional equipment which has been build up in May and June 1944, after my escape. You might blame me that I haven't this made quite clear in this introductory chapter, but as I told you, this book is an artistic sort of conveying of the facts ---

Q. I am inteested ---

p. 1493

A. --- and is sufficiently giving the picture of what actually happened, without going into the fine toothpoint number game of which I have seen is a neo-Nazi literature ridiculous examples.

Q. Well, is your book classified as fiction, or is it classified as history?

A. My book is classified as recollections of Rudolf Vrba, free recollection of Rudolf Vrba as an educational book for young people who should realize what Nazi depravity is able to. It is not supposed to be a textbook of how to build crematoria.

Q. Well, your explanation, then, for the doubling of the numbers from the WRB to the book you wrote later is basically that it was from information acquired of the existence of some of the apparatus.

A. Right, which has been added after my escape.

Q. Yeah. With these new buildings.

A. No.

Q. No new crematoria?

A. No.

Q. Okay. Are they the six meter deep crematorium pits? Is that what you mean?

A. New pits were build.

THE COURT: Excuse me. Yes.

MR GRIFFITHS: Your Honour, I hate to interrupt, but the drawing of the crematoria that the jury has, we have heard it was based on hearsay at the time from Dr Vrba, not an eye witness. Now he is being cross-examined about things that happened after he was there and again he is not competent to talk about these things.

p. 1494

He wasn't there at the time. He may have acquired information from books subsequently, but that really isn't his function here, and I object to these questions.

THE COURT: Mr Christie?

MR CHRISTIE: I was trying to look at the realm of credibility and the basis of statements made by this witness in other circumstances. Often, this does involve a fact. In this case I don't think it is represented as hearsay, but now the War REfugee Board Report is the subject of the cross-examination, and it's not put forward as hearsay. In fact, if you look at the front of it, it says, "Nothing passed on from hearsay".

My friend knows that because he gave me a copy. It says, "Nothing passed on from hearsay".

MR GRIFFITHS: That was not written by Dr Vrba what my friend is describing. It is in a foreword.

MR CHRISTIE: Well, I took it that it was to be the truth.

THE COURT: Any ruling that I could make, gentlemen, would, on this subject, when the issue is cross-examination, would, in my view, be dangerous and might appear as if I were restricting the right to cross-examine.

I have no intention of doing that. You may proceed. Crown counsel may employ, if he so wishes, his thoughts in this regard when his turn comes to address the jury.

MR GRIFFITHS: Thank you, Your Honour.

MR CHRISTIE: Thank you, sir.

Q. Do you adopt the War Refugee Board Report as being true?

p. 1495

A. As being true as close to the truth as I was able.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. With best of my knowledge, ability and conscience and responsibility to reproduce, while aided minimally with other normally used aid. This means that the report consists of a complex statistics which has been produced in a clandestine way and manner by observing the misdeeds of Nazis in Auschwitz, and under conditions that, if something would transpire that I am recollecting such a statistic, it would cost me at least my life.

Q. Why would it cost you your life?

A. Because anybody who was compiling anything about Auschwitz was punished by death, to say the least.

Q. You left Auschwitz, you say, on April 7, 19 ---

A. It was considered espionage.

Q. You said you left Auschwitz on April 7, 1944.

A. Perfectly right.

Q. You said you left with Alfred Wetzler.

A. That's right.

Q. And at that time you were known as Walter Rosenberg, according to you.

A. That's right.

Q. And you, at that time, left in the nighttime.

A. I didn't say that it was in the nighttime on 7 April. I started my manouvres of my escape

p. 1496

at two o'clock p.m. on Friday, and left Auschwitz after nine o'clock p.m. on Monday, the 10th.

Q. Of April 1944.

A. Of April 1944. In other words, it wasn't ---

Q. What time?

A. 9:00 p.m.

Q. Just after dark.

A. I would say I waited well after dark.

Q. So it was well after dark on the 9th of April, 1944, when you left and you are hiding in the woodpile.

A. That's right. When I opened the woodpile.

Q. Did you carry lights?

A. Of course not.

Q. And no doubt, you'd managed to acquire a watch.

A. Yes, I had a watch.

Q. Aha. That is how you knew you crossed the Czech border at ten o'clock on a given day, I suppose.

A. No. By that time I didn't have the watch any more.

Q. Well, you told us you crossed the Czech border at ten o'clock one day.

A. That's right.

Q. How did you know when you crossed the border?

A. Because when I was crossing the

p. 1497

border I knew that I am very close to the border, and I didn't know if I am still on the Polish or on the Czechoslovak side, but on both sides were working farmers of the border, and to ask a farmer what is the time in Polish, it is half past nine. I continued my journey and I asked a farmer again, "What's the time?" And he answers me in perfect Slovak, "It is ten o'clock."

Q. I see. That's how we know you crossed the border at ten o'clock.

A. Right. In the morning on Friday 21st January.

Q. Of what?

A. On Friday, 21st April.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. I beg your pardon for that.

Q. So you were travelling at night and you had a watch when you left the woodpile which you hadn't when you crossed the Czech border?

A. That's right.

Q. And you had a compass, too?

A. No.

Q. No. You were travelling in unfamiliar territory.

A. Yes.

Q. In the dark.

A. Yes.

Q. And you certainly didn't want to go near the camp.

A. Yes.

Q. And you didn't have a compass.

A. No.

p. 1498

Q. And you hadn't been over the ground that you went over that night before, because you had never been outside the inner circle, or the outer circle of the guards.

A. That's right.

Q. But you were outside the outer circle.

A. That's right.

Q. And was it a moonlit night?

A. I appreciate that you can see the difficulties of this manouvre.

Q. Well, you are so far ahead of me, you know what the problem is, don't you?

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. You know what the problem is, don't you?

A. No. I know what the problems were that night, and I wonder which particular one you were interested in.

A. Well, just wait for the question before you give us the answer. Would you agree that in those circumstances it would be difficult to be sure precisely over what ground you had passed?

A. Not quite.

Q. Oh?

A. Because -- not quite sure, but not quite unsure, either, because the camp Birkenau and this again I could use a map, please. May I -- may I project the trip how I went?

THE COURT: Well, just a moment. You certainly can if you must answer it that way and you

p. 1499

should answer it that way. Mr Christie, do you seek the answer?

MR CHRISTIE: Yes. He has given it once, but if he wants to give it again.

THE COURT: Well, I don't know about that. That is why I am asking you.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: Well, it seems to me you drew a diagram once where you went. Isn't that right on the big screen over here?

A. No, I didn't do a diagram. I gave an indication.

Q. You moved your hand around and said ---

A. That's right.

Q. You said, "I went this way and ---"

A. That's right.

Q. Without a compass.

A. That's right.

Q. In the dark.

A. That's right.

Q. Over territory you had never been before.

A. That's right.

Q. I don't think I need to ask you to show us again.

A. Oh, yes, you should. You might learn something, how one has to behave in a Nazi-occupied territory and what one can do in order to beat the Nazis, no matter how clever they are. You might learn something. I am perfectly prepared to show it how it's done.

Q. You consider you are still able to

p. 1500

beat the Nazis at everything, I suppose?

THE COURT: Apart from what I consider that to be a supercilious exchange, gentlemen, do you want the answer or don't you, Mr Christie?

MR CHRISTIE: No. I am satisfied with the answer.

THE COURT: Then it is your cross-examination and you proceed with the next question.

MR CHRISTIE: Thank you, sir.

Q. Let's go back to this diagram, sir, that you have drawn in 1944. You agree that as far as the crematoria is concerned, you've given us a diagram with a railroad track.

A. Which diagram are you talking about?

Q. This one that has the crematoria in it. There.

A. Yes.

Q. You have given us a diagram in 1944 with the railroad track leading right to the ovens.

A. No, it wasn't meant to be a railroad track.

Q. What was it meant to be?

A. If you read carefully that report, which I hope you did, you will find that this is an indication of the fact that the bodies inside the crematoria were shifted from the gas chambers to the ovens using an inside narrow-gauge rail with wagons on which the bodies were loaded in the gas chamber, and then pushed to the ovens.

Q. Yeah.

A. And this was schematically depicted

p. 1501

this information as being inside the crematoria, a narrow-gauge line for manual propulsion of little wagons ---

Q. Rather than go too far, would you just tell me, then, that you mean that all of the furnaces and the gas chambers were on the same level?

A. No. This I couldn't assume, but I knew that there were involved partially lifting of bodies on lifts, and partially shifting of bodies to and from the lifts and to and from the ovens on narrow-gauge lines. This position of those lines was not known to me and I have given the whole crematoriums the picture in more or less a schematic which have sufficed at that time, being such a great novelty.

Q. Have you seen the plans, sir, of the crematoria?

A. No, I have not.

Q. Okay. I'd just like you to correct me if I am wrong, but is the calendarium on the 11th of November, does it indicate that there were eight boys born in the gypsy camp?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. Children were born in Auschwitz?

A. In fact, would you think it unusual that 3,000 or more babies could be born in Auschwitz?

Q. There were not only born there in this particular case, they were also gassed there.

THE COURT: They were ....

THE WITNESS: They were gassed there. Yesterday you asked me if there were any children in Auschwitz,

p. 1502

and I assure you that there weren't, but before I could specify to details, because if I go to details I am accused of being longwinded and if I am not going to details you will come up with some missing detail, so now I want to explain it to you in a complete detail sorry to be so longwinded.

It will involve the deaths of eight or ten thousand people, most of them children, and you will understand, sir, what I have been missing yesterday with two words when you interrupted me and I was stopped from specifying certain exceptions.

I would like this occasion, Your Honour, the permission to show on the map the fate of those 3,000 childrens to which the counsel is referring here.

THE COURT: We will take a recess, before that is decided, for fifteen minutes.

--- The jury retires. 3:30 p.m.

--- Short adjournment.

--- Upon resuming.

--- The jury returns. 3:55 p.m.

THE COURT: I believe, gentlemen, there was a question put and not answered concerning children in Auschwitz. Is that correct?


THE COURT: Would you like to go to the screen, Doctor?

MR CHRISTIE: My specific question, for the record, is whether the witness considered it likely that there could be three thousand children born in Auschwitz.

p. 1503

THE COURT: Yes, sir. Go ahead.

THE WITNESS: So it was, as I yesterday mentioned, a rule that all children or old people who arrived to Auschwitz on the ramp, which I showed yesterday, that rule had two prominent exceptions from using, from sending the children straight into the region of crematoria and gassing. There's two exceptions.

The first exception took place on September 7, 1943. As I had the honour to explain yesterday, on June 8, 1943, this male camp, IB, Birkenau IB, has been transferred to IID, and after a short time in IID I was transferred to IIA as a Blockschreibe, translated barrack scribe, in one of the barracks there. Interestingly, at that time, the camps "B", the camp IIB, camp IIC and camp IIE were completely empty, and we didn't know what they are for. Also, during the months that I was since June in this camp, I have seen every day, as usual, the women, children, old folk being trucked into this road which was shorter than a mile, perhaps a kilometer long, into this crematorium complex, or they went in front of my eyes not here into the gate, but went down here there was no other road at that time and down here, and went into this block of Krematorium IV and V. On September 7, 1943, I was woken up in the midnight ---

Q. MR CHRISTIE: That's September 7, 1943, you were woken up at midnight. Did you ever make a note of this?

A. Will you please kindly leave your questions when I finish?

THE COURT: Doctor, please listen to me. I will decide when counsel can ask questions, and if

p. 1504

I don't say anything, you don't say anything.


THE COURT: You will please answer his question and continue with your narrative.

What was the question again?

MR CHRISTIE: I just wondered if he had made a note of that at the time.

THE WITNESS: Mental note.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: And you escaped without a note, either.

A. That's right.

Q. Go ahead. September '43.

A. And because between Block 2A and -- Camp IIA and Camp IIB there was nothing but an electric fence, I could see that they are bringing in families. These families were speaking in Czech language. There were 4,500 people.

Q. You counted them?

A. No, but I was one of the parts of the people who were present, you know, in block scribes, and I know immediately that the number went up to 4,500 people being a block scribe myself and having access to the Chief Block Scribe. The number was roughly 4,500, but it might have been 4,700, in this region. And here were two barracks and there's people went into the camp with their luggage, with their children, with their grandchildren, with everything, and started something which was called family camp.

THE COURT: Something what?

THE WITNESS: Family camp. It was a considerable surprise and something completely new, and

p. 1505

especially interesting for me because people were from Czechoslovakia. They were my countrymen and they were for several years in the ghetto of Theresine where it was still accumulated, as it was understood from them, well over a thousand Jews who were become nervous over the fate of deported people.

Q. You are talking about the 7th of September, 1943, now? I just wanted to confirm that.

A. Yes. Quite right.

Q. The 4,500 people that arrived.

A. I guessed, to my recollection, around 4,500 people.

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. In those barracks. And here up on Barrack 15 they made a special barrack for children. There were approximately a hundred children there of age two to ten, or two to twelve, and these children were supplied with a special diet. This means they got milk and they got white bread and sort of a human, more human attitudes was prevailing in that camp, especially because the women and the men were not shorn; they could keep their hair, and cremation or deportation camp was suddenly created.

Mind you, the next day, as the next camp the children went here and were here, were leaving and starting to create their own life. This was going on until December, I would say now, 21 or 22 when another transport, also from Theresine, also having approximately 3,000 people, here I might be mistaken but in the region of three or four thousand, was added to this transport so that on the whole we had in this family camp

p. 1506

up to seven or eight thousand people to start with.

In spite of them being given a little bit better treatment and they could keep their things, due to the general -- there were a lot of criminal Kapos and so on -- in other words, the mortality was considerable, even in spite of the better treatment.

Another thing which was peculiar was that I've heard that they had on their cards written, especially mark -- I have to write this down ---


MR CHRISTIE: Your Honour, I don't really mind the lecture, but I did ask a specific question as to whether there was a likelihood in his mind of three thousand children born in Auschwitz. I really don't like to interrupt, but I don't want to go on more than fifteen minutes on this.

THE COURT: Are you able to answer that question, Doctor?

THE WITNESS: Yes. In fifteen minutes.

THE COURT: What is the answer to the question?

MR CHRISTIE: I don't want the answer in fifteen minutes.

THE WITNESS: The answer to the question is that these people were having -- please, the picture -- they were having Sonderbehandlung, which means special treatment after six months quarantine.

Q. Okay. I assumed this is the answer, because I would really like to get on with another question.

THE COURT: You can return to the box now, Doctor.

p. 1507

Q. MR CHRISTIE: You specifically mentioned the 7th of September, 1943, and I put it to you that on that date no transports arrived from Theresienstadt, and no transports involving 4,500 people or anything approaching that number. Would you like to take a look? Now, we agree, you are talking about the 7th of September, 1943.

A. Right.

Q. Okay. I put it to you that the Calendarium does not indicate from Theresienstadt or anywhere else a transport of 4,500 people on that day.

A. Well, it was not on the 7th September, but it was recorded here on the 8th September, and it is written here that on 8th September that there were deported, brought to Auschwitz, five thousand Jews from the ghetto in Theresien, out of the 2,293 men and boys who received the numbers 146694 until 168986.

Q. Yes.

A. And the women and girls were 2,713 and were women and girls, and they got the numbers 58471 up to 61183.

So I have made, to summarize, an error of one day in my memory, and instead of four thousand five hundred, the real number is five thousand or six.

Q. Thank you very much. So you say they were to be Sonderbehandlung in six months.

A. Right.

Q. It doesn't sat that in the Calendarium at all.

A. This is not my fault what is missing from the Calendarium.

p. 1508

Q. Well, with respect to this, particular people more proficient than the notes you made at the time ---

A. Because previous to decisions of S.S. men and ---

Q. And they confided it into you?

A. And they confided it into lower commissioned S.S. men, and they were taking money from us and diamonds in the crematorium and they were talking.

Q. And you, as a prisoner, knew that.

A. I was that clear to collect it.

Q. I see. Can we put the same thing back on that the good Doctor had on a minute ago? I will stay here and ask you the questions. You stay here.

Using your pointer, because it happens to be simple, you gave us this as the location for the bath, sir.

A. Excuse me, please. Now, I am a little bit confused. Are we talking about the family camp or about baths?

Q. I am talking about the baths.

A. So we are not talking about the family camps.

Q. You can understand what I mean. I am speaking about the bath.

A. I see.

Q. The baths ---

A. Nothing with family camp any more.

Q. No. We are talking about baths.

A. Thank you.

Q. We understand each other.

p. 1509

A. I hope so.

Q. Well, the bath is located this end of the camp; is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. There is only one bath we are talking about, not ten baths we are talking about.

A. That's right.

Q. Now, actually, the picture that you prepared didn't have a bath marked or sauna on the Phillip Mueller one.

A. Yes.

Q. So it was really not actually there. This is just a rough approximation. Right?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, if you look at the Phillip Mueller diagram, I suggest to you that the transported people had to go down there, actually, between these two Krema where the road went and to the bath, or they can go down this way through the Scribe and down here and to the bath, on the actual map that you agree is the correct one. That is where they had to go, isn't it, to have a bath?

A. Those who were going to have a bath.

Q. Right. And after everybody got off the train, that is where they went, isn't it?

A. Well, I wouldn't quite agree with you.

Q. No, I am sure you wouldn't; but tell me, sir, if there was any other bath in the camp, where do you put it now?

A. That's correct.

p. 1510

Q. It is here, isn't it?

A. I can show it to you.

Q. Just tell me before you get off the stand, is there some other bath in the map that you drew in 1944?

A. In 1944, yes, there was a bath in Camp IB.

Q. Right there?

A. Right in that corner.

Q. And when the camp was divided into these areas, this bath was used, right?

A. Very likely.

Q. So when you left the camp that was the bath you were using?

A. In that region was the bath.

Q. You don't know where it was?

A. It was in the region where the Krematorium I and Krematorium II were positioned.

Q. Right. So you were in this camp here?

A. Yes.

Q. You couldn't go out there except to report to the Chief Scribe.

A. Pardon?

Q. You couldn't go out of this area except to report to the Chief Scribe?

A. Up to "D".

Q. Up to "D". You couldn't go here or here or where?

A. Unless I risk something.

Q. Yes. Well, let me put it to you

p. 1511

that these people that got off the trains could very well have gone to the bathhouse which we now recognize to be No. 9, and no other 9, in this picture of Phillip Mueller. Right?


Q. Thank you.

A. Some of them actually went there.

Q. Well, you ---

A. And the rest went to the gas chamber.

Q. Well, you, from your position, wouldn't be able to tell us whether they went there or not, sir.

A. Certainly I would. I will explain it to you later.

Q. Well, yes. You do that.

THE COURT: Do you want him to do it now or later?

MR CHRISTIE: If he could now, sir, is it too late?

THE COURT: Go ahead, Doctor.

THE WITNESS: Then I would, if you kindly permit, Your Honour, to return to the previous question about the children, about the three thousand children.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: No. You want to tell us if there is any other way to return to the bath.

THE COURT: Is there a connection, Doctor?

THE WITNESS: Yes, there is a connection.

p. 1512

THE COURT: Then you may give the answer.

THE WITNESS: Thank you.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: Do you want to look at the diagram? Here is the pointer.

A. All those people, after six months, the children, the grown-ups, the old and the young, were on March 7 transferred to "IIA" where I was Blockschreibe.

Q. March 7th of what year?

A. 1944.

Q. You are sure of the date?

A. I am quite sure it was the 94th birthday of the founder of the Czechoslovakian leader ---

THE COURT: The answer is yes, Doctor. Proceed, please.

THE WITNESS: On the night from 7th to 8th March, these people who were transferred here, the first transport from Theresienstadt who were here stayed here one night in the Camp IIA, then trucks came and they were taken to their execution from here; here into the Krematoria III and IV were all children, etcetera, etcetera, were gassed.

Q. I put it to you, sir, that you didn't draw any lines for roads on that map in 1944 because you didn't know where the roads were in 1944.

A. I knew perfectly well where the roads were in 1944, but my draftsmanship was not very good, I assure you, and I accept the criticism of that.

Q. I put it to you that actually you were unsure as to where Krematoriums No. I and No. II

p. 1513

on that diagram were because you put them on the same side of the railroad track area when, in fact, they were on opposite sides.

A The railroad track when I escaped Auschwitz wasn't even there.

Q. It wasn't even there?

A. No. It wasn't there on 7 April, 1944. And as I told you, this whole map is giving only a rough scheme, without detail, that there are four crematoria and bath, and that they are in this region.

Q. Just let me ask you this. In 1944 you couldn't provide us with the detail, but in 1984 you are going to tell us about it. Right?

A. That's right.

Q. You may go back to your seat.

A. Thank you. May I add something, Your Honour?

THE COURT: Up here first, Doctor.

THE WITNESS: Yes. In 1944 ---

THE COURT: Just a moment. Just come up here first.

Now, then, Mr Christie, do you have any further questions on this subject to put to this witness?

MR CHRISTIE: Not really, Your Honour, no.

THE COURT: The answer is no. If you want to add something, I'm sure Crown counsel will make a note of it and if it becomes appropriate at the time he will, undoubtedly, ask you the question. In the event that it is not, he won't and you may not.


p. 1514

Q. MR CHRISTIE: Did you ever go back to look at the Auschwitz Museum of anything like that?

A. In 1949, as a student in Prague, I was studying chemical engineering and I was interested in a new drug which was called paramine acetacelic acid.

Q. Please answer my question. Were you ever ---

A. Please don't tell me what to answer with what words to choose.

Q. I don't have time to find out what drug you discovered. I just want to know whether you went to Auschwitz after the War or not. Simple.

A. I was taken to Auschwitz as a student on that occasion for my education.

Q. All right. Did you go to Krema I, II, III or IV according to the diagram?

A. No.

Q. You didn't. All right. What partisan group were you in in Bohemia after you escaped?

[A] I was in the Czechoslovak party in group of Captain Milan Uher. He was a sergeant when he started, and the brigade was called Hurban Brigade.

Q. Thank you. Were you in Prague at the time of the Prague revolution, May 5th and May 9th, 1945?

A. No, because my group operated in Western Slovakia, and the operation of the group were brought to a halt on 7 April, 1945, when the Russian units reached us and send us immediately into hospitals.

Q. Thank you. Do you speak Czech?

A. I speak Czech, Slovak, Polish,

p. 1515

Hungarian, Russian, German and a little bit of English.

Q. Yeah. Did you live in Prague after 1945?

A. That's right. I studied in Prague chemistry.

Q. Which part of Prague?

A. I lived in various places as a student for the first four years, in digs, and it was every year another place. Would you like all the addresses?

Q. No. Thank you very much. Do you believe, sir, that it is possible that a thousand children left Auschwitz and went to Buchenwald? Among them was -- well, do you believe that's possible?

A. Not to my knowledge. And not during the time I was in Auschwitz.

Q. I see. So not before April 7th, 1944?

A. That's right.

Q. And after you arrived ?

A. Not before 30 June, 1942 and not up to 7 April, 1944, not to my knowledge.

Q. There were thousands and thousands of people in that camp; right?

A. That is quite right. The amount varied, of course, from time to time. Depend how many died and how many were added to it; and if it was called typhus or what it was, or vermin.

Q. And you got typhus?

A. I got typhus only once. You don't survive two.

Q. Thousands of people got typhus?


A. In 1942 there was a typhus epidemic during which thousands of people died from prisoners.

Q. You don't know how many died, I suppose?

A. No, I couldn't say because the death was mixed with selection. They tried to ---

Q. Well, you say that somebody selected groups of people and you went through a typhus test of running twenty-five yards, as you said in your book.

A. That's right. That's right.

Q. But you don't know how many people died of typhus in 1942.

A. No, but I would say several thousand.

Q. Several thousand. Right. You say also that your document, the War Refugee Report, was used at the International Military Tribunal, and I think you are right, in Document L022. Is that correct?

A. That is quite possible.

Q. You don't know?

A. I wasn't on the tribunal present.

Q. You weren't a witness.

A. No.

Q. You didn't testify then, and you didn't testify at the Eichmann trial, even though you were in Israel, I believe, at the time?

A. No, I wasn't in Israel during the Eichmann trial. I was a member of Scientific Staff of the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom.

Q. You didn't testify at the American

p. 1517

Military Tribunal or the International Military Tribunal?

A. At which tribunal, you mean, in which year?

Q. 1945, '46.

A. No, I didn't.

Q. And in fact, you didn't reveal your identity publicly as being Walter Rosenberg until some time considerably later. I think probably when you wrote your book; is that right?

A. I don't understand this question.

Q. When did you reveal your identity as being actually Walter Rosenberg, the escapee of Auschwitz on April 7, 1944?

A. In 1944, '45, after the War, my friend, Wetzler, has written a report about Auschwitz for the general public, and he wrote it in general terms and under a pseudonym, Joseph Lanik.

Q. In fact, there were two other Jews beside yourself who participated in forming or writing the War Refugee Report there was Mr Wetzler, yourself, Mr Rosen and Mr Mordecai.

A. No. Mr Mordovitch not Mordecai.

Q. Well, none of them were identified in the report, right?

A. In the report they were not identified because against each of us there were international warrants issued which were, a copy of it is in Crown prosecutor's hand, in Crown Attorney's hands, in Auschwitz and Allies reproduced, in which these warrants say that the escape from Auschwitz, that we should be caught for that, and in the case of success Himmler should be notified immediately. So under those conditions we didn't use our

p. 1518

previous names under which the warrants were issued.

Q. And you never used that name again, ever, I gather.

A. Oh, no, of course not, because the warrant was valid as long as was valid a German rule in Slovakia.

Q. Well, after the War that certainly didn't exist.

A. No. After the War that didn't exist, but under the name of Rudolf Vrba I fought the Nazis and was given under that name the medal for bravery, the Order of Slovak National and the medal of honour of Czechoslovak partisan for my services to my country in fighting the inhuman enemy, and they were given to the name Rudolf Vrba alias Walter Rosenberg. The document is here.

Q. So that's the proof that you actually are Walter Rosenberg.

A. That is the proof that I was Walter Rosenberg before I changed my name officially by an official act.

Q What official act?

A. Official act of the Ministry of Interior.

Q. Of Czechoslovakia.

A. of Czechoslovakia, that it was incompatible with the honour of a Czech soldier to have a German-sounding name who murdered in the camp and robbed us. In other words, it was an act of the de-Germanization of my name.

Q. Well, your name was German, wasn't

p. 1519


A. Walter Rosenberg, a nice German name.

Q. Well, isn't it the case that there was a German Major who was involved in the escape and who has never been identified -- sorry, a Polish Major?

A. He is Professor Tabeau, doctor of medicine in the University of Krakow. I can show you his picture, if you wish.

Please, Mr Crown, can I have the book which I brought with me, because I might give him a wrong name.

Q. You need the book to be sure of the name?

A. Yes, because I didn't know him personally.

Q. Don't worry about it, I am not going to worry whether you gave me the right name or not.

A. Certainly.

Q. But can you tell me something else, sir? Can you tell me if you, yourself, believe what was written by him in that part of the report?

A. Mm-hmmm.

Q. You take that as true, too?

A. Well, I studied this part of the report the first time in 1975.

Q. Yes.

A. It was given to me in the Department of History. I didn't know about this report or anything until 1975.

Q. You mean to tell me, sir, that this

p. 1520

report, which was sent to the President of the United States, didn't have this portion on it when you completed it?

A. When I completed it, no.

Q. So it was added by somebody else later, right?

A. This portion came to the Office of the President of the United States, to the office of Strategic Services, by different ways about which I have no idea.

Q. I see. And it became a famous document and made you a famous person, right?

A. I don't know if you would like to consider me famous.

Q. Well, it made you, certainly ---

A. But the Bible says that the fame doesn't last longer than grass, and I don't like such words.

Q. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply anything by calling you famous, but isn't it true that you, at nineteen years of age, having escaped from Auschwitz, became somewhat of a celebrated person?

A. I am not aware that I have been somewhat celebrated, because I went immediately after I have done my job and notified the proper authorities in Switzerland and in England and in United States about the misdeeds of Nazis in Auschwitz, I took up the gun and joined the fight of all civilized people against an uncivilized enemy.

Q. Do you think the Polish Major's report is correct when he talks about a hydrocyanic bomb being thrown in the gas chamber?

A. I have studied the report of the

p. 1521

Major in 1975 and was asked by the Department of History to give my opinion.

Q. Yes, your opinion. I am interested in your knowledge and your experience.

A. And in my experience the report of the Polish Major was excellent as far as Auschwitz I is concerned, but from reading the report, I could see that he was not in Auschwitz II, in Birkenau, and therefore knew Birkenau only from hearsay.

Q. Yes. Well, now ---

A. Therefore his information about the hydrocyanide bomb was hearsay and obviously a distorted information.

Q. So that distorted information was inaccurate but the rest of the report is correct?

A. His report of the description of Auschwitz I I found creditable.

Q. Right. I want to refer you to your declaration sworn and exhibited in your book, sworn on the 16th of July, 1961.

A. Yes.

Q. In which you say that your statistics compiled during the War were part of the material of the prosecution at Nuremberg under document NG1061.

A. Mm-hmmm.

Q. That's what you say.

A. Yes.

Q. You swore that to be true.

A. Yes.

Q. And I put it to you that NG1061 has nothing to do with Auschwitz, but is a letter from -- have

p. 1522

you seen that document that you swore about?

A. I swore to the document of my document of the Auschwitz report which we can call now Vrba-Wetzler report, which Vrba and Wetzler together compiled.

Q. But I think in the affidavit that I showed you ---

A. And the affidavit was to the Israeli Embassy, and I had to make an affidavit in a hurried way and I was told that a number of the document in which the Court in Eichmann is interested, and which refers to my report, has got such a number.

Q. Yeah.

A. So I put in such a number which they suggested.

Q. All right. Let me correct you.

A. It might be an administrative error.

Q. So because somebody told you it was the right number to put in, you put it in and you swore it to be the truth?

A. In that case I made an error in good faith, that I can't see why it should distort the oath, because nobody had any difficulty, during the Eichmann trial, to find the document, in spite of the wrong number of the document.

Q. Now, I want to just go over one point with you. You say that when you left Auschwitz you had nothing but a watch.

A. That's right.

Q. Which you later lost. No compass,

p. 1523

no light.

A. I didn't lose it. I gave it as a present.

Q. You gave it away. Now it, in fact, the last page of your report, the War Refugee Board Report itself, contains numerous statistics, numbers, information of a detailed nature, doesn't it?

A. It does.

Q. Yes. And on the last page you give what's called the careful estimate of the figures, and you come to a total of 1,765,000, which you now tell us you counted going into the area of the two crematoria and never returned. Right?

A. That's right.

THE COURT: Show him the document.

THE WITNESS: Quite right.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: And I'm sorry if I haven't shown you this, but this is the last page, isn't it, of the WRB Report?

A. This page, this last page, has not been done by myself, but when I have written the full report, the lawyers who were there calculated what I have written in the full report and made this final statistic.

Q. So is that the same kind of information you provided when you provided the wrong document number that the lawyers gave it to you and then you say that's it?

A. I don't understand your question.

Q. Okay. When we were discussing this document number you referred to in your affidavit and swore that was the document ....

p. 1524

A. Yes.

Q. You told me that the lawyers or somebody gave you that information and you stuck it into there and you made a mistake. Right?

A. Well, it's not quite so, you see, because a real number, NG -- a real number as I know now might be NG 1062, so it might be a typing error.

Q. You think it is?

A. It might be.

Q. Well, I suggest to you it isn't. What do you say?

A. Well, that suggestion suits you better than me.

Q. Well, let me put it to you this way. The "NG' stands for "Nazi Government", and nothing about concentration camps came into that document at all.

A. So perhaps it was "NL".

Q. So you guess and tell me it was something else?

A. So it is quite possible that the typist made an error.

Q. So what I am asking is, do you swear by these statistics here?

A. That they are right?

Q. Yes.

A. I would swear that within ten per cent they are right.

MR CHRISTIE: May I then exhibit this, then, Your Honour?

Q. You swear that they are correct within ten per cent, and they are the back page that you

p. 1525

used in your report.

A. That's right. So I didn't make the final statistics.

THE COURT: I wonder if the Doctor write in correctly "within ten per cent", so that when they are reviewed they won't necessarily be taken at their face value.

THE WITNESS: This is specified in the document, Your Honour.



THE COURT: Where? On the page that we are looking at?

THE WITNESS: Not on that page, but in the document from which this document has been torn out.

THE COURT: Doctor, I don't want to write it on myself. I do not want a document coming in that you say is within ten per cent unless the document shows it on its face.

Q. If you want to write on there, as long as I can get the photocopy back.

A. What are you asking? What is the question? What is your problem?

Q. I am asking you if you accept those or swear those to be true, and you say within ten per cent. So write on it, "within ten per cent", and we will file it.

THE COURT: You don't have to do that. If you don't want to do it, Doctor, please don't. I will ask our Clerk to clip something onto it so that when it comes time for the jury to look at that document, if they wish to do so, they won't look at the face -- they will look

p. 1526

at the face and they look at your evidence that it is within ten per cent right.

Do you see what I mean?

THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Lord, and I would like also to turn your attention that counsel didn't sort of inform us that it is written here not 1,765,000, but approximately 1,765,000. So he tried to imply me an absolute count when I made it clear that it was an approximate to the best of my knowledge and ability.

THE COURT: Madam Clerk, would you please mark that as the next exhibit, and add to it these words that I will dictate to you:

"According to the evidence of the witness, correct within 10% of the figure."

Do you agree to that?


THE COURT: Thank you.

THE WITNESS: If I may add, Your Honour, that also, in the original, it was written, "approximately".

THE COURT: Yes. It says that right on the face of it.


THE COURT: Members of the jury, it's been a long day. Have a good evening. Please keep an open mind. The puzzle does not become clear until the last word has been said. Please don't discuss the case with anyone beyond your number. Ten fifteen tomorrow morning, please.

--- EXHIBIT NO. 26: Document (estimate of number of

(Jews gassed in Birkenau

(April 1942 1944).

--- The jury retires. 4:50 p.m.

---The witness stands down.

--- Whereupon the hearing is adjourned to January 24, 1985.

January 24, 1985

--- Upon the hearing resuming.

--- The jury enters. 10:40 a.m.

RUDOLF VRBA , previously sworn


Q. Witness, you told us that you had been to what you called the gas chamber in Auschwitz I and you had been inside and saw some clothes. You told us that you saw the crematorium in Birkenau. I am now going to specifically ask you to name one specific instance in which you saw one single Jew gassed. Tell us.

A. May I have, please, the map of Birkenau projected?

All the people who were brought to Birkenau in order to be gassed during the time I was in building Section 2a went to the crematorium either by this route or entered -- did not enter the gate, went by this route, went by this route, and entered these two places. They was led into the crematoria. They were ordered to enter that building, Krematorium II and ---

Q. Did you see them ordered from here -- did you see them ordered from here?

A. No, I wouldn't see them ordered from here.

Q. Did you hear them ordered from here?

A. No, but I saw them going in.

Q. Just a moment. You saw them going

p. 1528

in here from here?

A. That's right, because I was quite frequently, not only here, but I was frequently also here. I moved quite freely along these roads, relatively freely.

Q. So you say ---

A. And in Auschwitz there was a habit that nobody went where he wants, but everybody goes where he's ordered to go. Consequently I made a logical assumption that the people in the mind of Nazi supervisors, they all decisions what to do to enter the crematoria, and the crematoria they never left.

Q. You watched them come in and watched them not coming out?

A. Yes. A quarter million people go in and I never saw one civilian come out. So it is possible that they are still there, or that there is a tunnel and they are now in China; otherwise they were gassed.

Q. You say you saw ---

A. I have not been invited to be present.

Q. You say you saw 1,765,000 people go into one of these four buildings and not come out.

A. That's right.

Q. You watched them all go in and no one came out.

A. That's right.

Q. So I think, if you are answering my question as to whether you saw anyone gassed, the answer is no, but you say you saw 1,765,000 people go into those four buildings and not come out.

A. That's right. And since there was

p. 1529

no way out of those buildings because they were surround by electrical wires and by watch towers --

Q. Mm-hmmm.

A. --- and during the twenty-one months and seven days, I never saw one civilian walk out from these perimeter.

Q. You never saw one civilian walk out.

A. That's right.

Q. What is a civilian?

A. A civilian is a person who is not a prisoner in the camp, don't wear prisoner garb, don't have a registration number, is brought into the camp and disappears into one of those four buildings and is never seen again.

Q. Well, I put it to you that it is patently ridiculous for you to tell this jury and this Court that you could see 1,765,000 people go into those buildings on any day or all the days you were in there, the four months you were in Auschwitz and the seven months you were in Camp B on the top and other times you were in Camp A on the far left, and unless you maintain you were standing by the four crematoria, I suggest to you it is ridiculous that you say you saw 1,765,000 people going into those crematoria.

A. It is your statement that it is illogic, because when I was in Camp B, I was not further away from here than a hundred yards, and when I was in Camp A I saw them going in big truck either this way or this way, a distance of not more than five hundred yards; furthermore, I saw the trucks going back from there, so that if I wasn't present exactly when they marched into the crematoria,

p. 1530

I could have observed it either from here or from here or from those roads or from the ramp where I worked. Please, can I have the ....

Q. How long were you in the hospital?

A. Please let me finish.

Q. You were going to tell us about the ramp where you met the prisoners as they came off the train. How long were you in hospital --

A. Moreover, the distance from here to here is not bigger than about three quarters of a mile. So if I see that the trucks go with hundreds and hundreds of people in this direction and come empty back, my logical conclusion was what we all knew, and you can only blame me that the S.S. didn't invite me in, like they invited Himmler.

Q. Yes. Well ---

THE COURT: All right, Doctor. You can come back now.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: Doctor, you say that you were in the hospital for a while what, a couple of weeks?

A. No.

Q. How long were you in the hospital after your operation?

A. I would think that the whole would last about ten days.

Q. Ten days. All right. And you painted skis, I understand, although you never told us about that before. Is that true? You were painting skis for some time? That was your job?

A. It is quite clear that I was in

p. 1531

Kanada. I painted skis in the first two months and was in Buna in Auschwitz, and that my recollection is of direct observation of the mass murder which took place in Birkenau started.

Q. I just asked you if you painted skis.

A. Don't confuse me, please.

Q. Did you paint skis?

A. Yes, I did paint skis.

Q. How long did you paint skis?

A. Two or three days.

Q. Two or three days?

A. Yes.

Q. How long were you in Buna?

A. Perhaps ten days. Perhaps three weeks.

Q. That's where you told us that the death rate was ten per cent a week?

A. Roughly.

Q. Or was it a day?

A. A day.

Q. Oh, that's right, a day. What did you do in Buna besides twist wire?

A. Carrying cement.

Q. Did you carry cement all the time?

A. Yes.

Q. You never twisted wire?

A. I did occasionally twist wire. I worked on a building site.

Q. Yes, I understand.

A. Various things. I did what I was

p. 1532

ordered to do because who didn't do what he was ordered to do was dead.

Q. And if someone didn't work he was killed, right?

A. Not necessarily killed. There were the special German word which was called Fertigmachen; this is a contribution of the Nazis to the German language. This means to beat somebody so long that he is not dead but he will die translated it means to finish him off.

Q. Now, did you say you were witness to a visit by Heinrich Himmler in January 1943?

A. I was witness to two visits by Heinrich Himmler one was in July 1942 when I saw him from quite close.

Q. Where?

A. In Auschwitz I. And the second visit took place some time in '43, but I did not see him directly. I saw his cavalcade, so if it was Hitler or someone else sitting in the car of similar significant dignitary ---

Q. Well, I put it to you that Heinrich Himmler, in the Calendarium of the camp that you so far accepted as accurate, visited on the 7th of March, 1941, and the 17th of July, 1942, but he did not visit the camp of Birkenau or Auschwitz in 1943, as you allege in your book.

A. I was informed at that time by the grapevine in the camp that Himmler is coming to visit the camp again, and then there was a cavalcade equipped as if it would be Himmler in other words, the standard Mercedes and the standard sycophants constantly around, but he didn't

p. 1533

come to shake hands with me and to introduce himself to me or to say, "I am Himmler", or he didn't tell me, you know, "Himmler didn't come this time but I am instead of his and this is my name."

So you might be quite right that that information might be not perfectly exact, only close to exact.

Q. You prepared also and agreed with the contents of the War Refugee Board Report, and it says, and I show you page 38 and I quote:

"According to the statement of a Jew from a special kommando, Reichsfuhrer Himmler was said to have visited Birkenau on the 16th or 17th of May."

A. Right.

Q. Right? And this is from the War Refugee Board Report of which you were the co-author.

A. Now, yesterday you have shown me -- I have to check on this because yesterday you have shown me a report which contradicted my statement ---

Q. Never mind yesterday. Just read that.

A. --- of the 7th of September, and then it turns out on the next page it was explained that it was on the 8th of September. So I would prefer, dealing with you, to check on every word.

Q. Do that. Page 38.

A. "According to the statement" ---

Q. "According to the statement of a Jew from a special Kommando, Reichsfuhrer Himmler was said to have visited Birkenau on the 16th or 17th of May."

A. Yes, but here it said in my

p. 1534

testimony that I do not guarantee for it, but I say, according to the statement, you know, it was War time, and one had to collect each statement very carefully if one wanted to inform a foreign government of what is happening there. One can rely only on your own two eyes with limited movement.

Consequently it was quite right of me to have specified the same as with Wetzler, because we are the author of this report both, what we saw directly and what was according to some statement.

Q. Well, in your book you say that you saw Heinrich Himmler visit the camp in January '43; you were glad to see him arrive not because of any faint hope that he would improve your lot, etcetera; and now you say, well, it could be and it might not be.

A. What?

Q. It might be Himmler and it might be somebody else.

A. Which passage are you reading now?

Q. I read it yesterday from page 10 of the book that I have, attributed to you, although it's not the hardcover edition. Are you denying that is what you wrote in your book?

A. Excuse me. This is first of all, there is a considerable difficulty. I suggested yesterday that the book should be shown first to the jury in order that they can see through the manipulations which you are making by tearing out individual sentences out of its context.

I have read quite a few of products of Neo-Nazi literature, and this is standard method to take

p. 1535

out one sentence or two sentences completely off its context, quote only this and not quote what was before and after and twist those things and then say that because a sentence is not perfectly logical, nobody was gassed.

Q. Dr Vrba, excuse me for interrupting your speech, but all I wanted to deal with was whether you said that in your book. If you feel that I have taken it out of context, I will read the whole thing again.

A. Please read three paragraphs before and three paragraphs after so I'll know what you are saying.

Q. All right. I will read three paragraphs before that remark, and three after.

A. And can I have, please, a copy?

Q. In your book, the hardcover edition, I think my friend says it's page 15. In mine it's page 10. In order to get three paragraphs before the reference to Himmler, I will start in my page 9 with reading the statement:

"In fact he was far from satisfied with what he had seen, but it was not the appalling conditions which worried him. It was the grossly inefficient methods which were being used to exterminate the Jews who were beginning to arrive in their thousands from all parts of Europe.

"The gas chambers were no more than make-shift affairs. The burning of the bodies in open trenches wasted valuable fuel and caused the Germans who by that time occupied the nearby Polish town of Auschwitz to complain of the stench. To a former teacher of mathematics, the whole business was just too haphazard for words.

p. 1536

"And so he gave orders for the greatest, most efficient extermination factory the world has ever known. For the modern concrete gas chambers and the vast crematoria that could absorb as many as 12,000 bodies in twenty-four hours and, in fact, did so. For the machinery that sucked in 2,500,000 men, women and children in three years and puffed them out in harmless black smoke.

" Heinrich Himmler visited Auschwitz camp again in January 1943. This time I was glad to see him arrive, though not because I still nursed any faint hope that he would improve our lot through benevolence or any sense of justice. His presence was welcome to us all merely because it meant that for one day there would be no unscheduled beatings or killings.

"Once more we were lined up, spic and span, with the sick in the rear and the healthy well to the front. Once more the band played and the heels clicked and the jack boots danced in the luster shed by the master. Once more he inspected the camp inch by inch running a podgy pedantic finger over the mantlepiece of Auschwitz and examining it for dust. And this time there was no Yankel Meisel to drop his tiny personal grain of sand into the smooth machinery.

"Though he conducted his tour of the camp with his usual thoroughness, it was, however, no more than an aperitif for the meal that was to follow. The main purpose of his visit was to see for himself the bricks and mortar which had sprung from the plans he had outlined in Auschwitz seven months earlier.

"He was to watch the world's first conveyor belt killing, the inauguration of Kommandant Hoess'

p. 1537

brand new toy, his crematorium. It was truly a splendid affair, one hundred yards long and fifty yards wide, containing fifteen ovens which could burn three bodies each simultaneously in twenty minutes, a monument in concrete, indeed, to its builder Herr Walter Dejaco."

Now, I read three paragraphs before the paragraph in question, the three paragraphs after. Do you still maintain there is any danger about the context?

A. No. I think the context ---

Q. Then I am going to ask you a question. All right?

A. Yes.

Q. Good. Now, you say as a fact that Heinrich Himmler visited the camp in January 1943. Yes or no?

A. I say that I was informed that he visited the camp in January 1943, but I would like to turn your attention ---

Q. I would like to turn your attention to a question.

A. I am answering your question.

Q. Well, I am asking you another.

A. You are asking me another question before I answer the first question. Don't try and confuse me, the Court and the jury. I cannot work this way. You are in the court. I cannot work this way.

Q. I am and so are you, sir. And I am asking you a question as to whether you said it was a fact that Himmler was in the camp in January 1943, and I want a simple answer.

p. 1538

A. To my information he was there.

Q. All right. Did you write it as if it was a fact?

A. I wrote it that it was to my information a fact.

Q. Where does it say to your information it was a fact?

A. This is understood in a book which doesn't claim to have scientific significance, but it is meant to give to a population which is not versatile in all details of this complex mass murder.

Q. Yes. Thank you.

A. A general idea.

Q. Good.

A. But I would like to add, to make your question more clear, the following:

Heinrich Himmler's visits were not always done in such a public way that they could be recorded. For instance, his first ---

Q. Was this one public?

A. I can give you an example when others were not public.

Q. Well, this is the one I am asking about. Was this public?

A. Well, probably it was not published in general press.

Q. You said, "I was glad to see him arrive".

A. Yes.

Q. Did you say that in public?

A. All I can say is that he didn't

p. 1539

shake my hands, so I saw him on the second occasion only from a distance of three or four hundred yards, but as far as his first visit is concerned, not only I saw him from a distance much closer than you are from me, but his adjutant general, Herr Berg (phonetic) who was the head of the German spy organization, and his closest adjutant who published a book after the War, after he was imprisoned by the Allies, and in a book which has five hundred pages, he claims that in July, in 1942, he was every day, together with Himmler, but he was never in Auschwitz. So it is characteristic for the murderers that they try to obliterate their traces as much as possible.

The fact that you don't have recorded where Himmler was on a particular day doesn't mean that my information was wrong.

Q. Well, I am just interested in whether you claim your information is right or wrong.

A. In the first case I saw Himmler from three steps, and therefore I am quite sure that I am right. In the second instance I saw him from a larger distance, and therefore I can only say that it is likely that I am right, or possibly that I am right, because the information which I received pointed to that , that it is him, and the general cavalcade looked like Himmler's cavalcade which I saw as the first occasion.

Q. You gave us to believe that there was forty-six ovens in the Krematoria No. II in your War Refugee Board Report in 1944. Isn't that right?

A. In the War Refugee Board of 1944 I made it quite clear to you, and we made it quite clear that that report, that we know the exact location of the

p. 1540

crematoria, but we were not allowed to go inside because usually who was inside didn't come alive out from there.

Consequently, we had to rely on rough information which we got from the Sonderkommando who worked inside; and to reproduce a map without being trained in architecture, from hearsay descriptions of the other eye witnesses, of course, is not such a simple thing.

I think that the War Refugee Report, or the Vrba-Wetzler Report, if you wish to call it that, for which we two are responsible, has given reliable information where the crematoria are, and roughly how they are equipped, without claiming that we were inside.

Q. Did the people in the camp with whom you lived that is, the secret international resistance group referred to in some of your correspondence, regard you as a person who is a volatile, impulsive individual, who is unreliable?

A. Well, when I was of the opinion that it is not possible further to wait ---

THE COURT: Just a moment.

I wonder, Mr Christie, if you could rephrase that. The way you have put it makes it very difficult.

MR CHRISTIE: I appreciate that. I am going to refer to a book in which this statement is made.

Q. Is it attributed to you, Dr Vrba?

A. First kindly explain to the jury whose book it is.

Q. "Auschwitz and the Allies" by Martin Gilbert.

p. 1541

A. Who is Martin Gilbert?

Q. Well, you mentioned him before in your evidence-in-chief. Don't you know who it is?

A. No. Please explain.

Q. I am not interested in ---

A. Perhaps the jury ---

THE COURT: Doctor, I don't have to ask this jury to leave again while you and I have a talk, do I?

THE WITNESS: I got the hint, Your Honour.

Q. MR CHRISTIE: Now, if I ask you if he says, and I quote:

"Now, together with a fellow Slovak, Fred Wetzler, he contacted the secret international resistance group within the camp and put his plan of escape to David Szmuleuwski."

Do you know who that is?

A. Yes. He was a general.

Q. One of the representatives of the resistance leaders. Then there is a quote:

"I have been told Vrba later wrote that, 'Due to my inexperience, personal volatility, impulsiveness and other factors the leadership dismissed my intentions as unreliable.' "

Did you admit that about yourself?

A. I didn't admit about myself.

Q. So that is a misquote of you?

A. That is a distortion of facts which you are here again attempt, because what is written there is that I suggested that it is necessary to escape from

p. 1542

Auschwitz into the world, and I attempted to do so, and the resistance organization, after considering my request, said that it is unlikely that I may succeed when others did not succeed who are more experienced than I am, that I am risking unnecessarily my life, and therefore my ideas are probably motivated by impulsiveness.

Q. Well, what it says here ---

A. He was wrong and I was right, because I escape and I warned the world.

Q. You warned the world.

A. That's right.

Q. And it is true that, what is written here, that they considered you volatile, impulsive and unreliable?

A. That's right, because they refused that moment to assist me, considering that my enterprise to escape from Auschwitz is completely hopeless, in contrary to my views.

Q. Yeah. You were ---

A. The proof of the pudding is, of course, in the eating, so it was not as hopeless as they thought ---

Q. You were nineteen years old?

A. --- otherwise I wouldn't be here.

Q. And is it the case that nobody who was in the camp at that time survived?

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. Is it the case that nobody who was in the camp when you escaped survived?

A. I don't understand your question.

Q. Is it the case that nobody who was

p. 1543

in the camp when you escaped survived?

A. Many survived who were living still at the time.

Q. Thank you. Now, you told us about Primo Levy being in the camp.

A. That's right.

Q. You know who Primo Levy is?

A. Yes.

Q. He escaped.

A. Yes.

Q. He was a survivor?

A. Yes.

Q. He was not in Auschwitz I or in Birkenau.

A. Right.

Q. He was in a satellite camp?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, people came to the Auschwitz ramp and went to satellite camps such as Raisko.

A. Yes.

Q. There were other camps ---

A. One moment. Raisko. No, I never heard about it.

Q. All right. There were other satellite camps?

A. There were twenty-seven satellite camps.

Q. So all of the people who got off at the siding in Auschwitz didn't have to go to Birkenau.

A. This I can explain you quite clearly from a graph which I have shown here before.

VRBA's TESTIMONY: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ]
This is part 4 of the Testimony of Dr Rudolf Vrba: pages 1244-1644 of the transcript of the 1985 Ernst Zündel trial in Toronto, hereinafter reproduced verbatim and containing numerous instances of defective grammar, syntax, and spelling. Suggested editorial corrections , written with bold letters, are put in brackets.

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