Document D-288, sworn statement of Dr. Wilhelm Jaeger, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume VII: US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1947. pp. 2-7.
Essen. 15 October 1945
I, Dr. Wilhelm Jaeger, am a general practitioner in Essen, Germany, and its surroundings. I was born in Germany on 2 December 1888, and now live at Kettwig Sengenholz 6, Germany. I make the following statement of my own free will. I have not been threatened in any way and I have not been promised any sort of reward.
On 1 October 1942, I became senior camp doctor in Krupp's workers' camps, and was generally charged with the medical supervision of all of Krupp's workers camps in Essen. In the course of my duties it was my responsibility to report upon the sanitary and health conditions of the workers' camps to my superiors in the Krupp works. It was a part of my task to visit every Krupp camp which housed foreign civilian workers and I am therefore able to make this statement on the basis of my personal knowledge.
My first official act as senior camp doctor was to make a thorough inspection of the various camps. At that time, in October 1942, I found the following conditions:
The eastern workers and Poles who laboured in the Krupp works at Essen were kept at camps at Seumannstrasse, Spenlestrasse, Grieperstrasse, Heecstrasse, Germaniastrasse, Kapitan-Lehmannstrasse, Dechenschule, and Kramerplatz. (When the term eastern workers is hereinafter used, it is to be taken as including Poles). All of these camps were surrounded by barbed wire and were closely guarded.
Conditions in all of these camps were extremely bad. The camps were greatly overcrowded. In some camps there were twice as many people in a barrack as health conditions permitted. At Kramerplatz, the inhabitants slept in treble tiered bunks, and in the other camps they slept in double tiered bunks. The health authorities prescribed a minimum space between beds of 50 cm, but the bunks in these camps were separated by a maximum of 20-30 cm.
The diet prescribed for the eastern workers was altogether insufficient. They were given 1000 calories a day less than the minimum prescribed for any German. Moreover, while German workers engaged in the heaviest work received 5000 calories a day, the eastern workers in comparable jobs received only 2000 calories. The eastern workers were given only 2 meals a day and their bread ration. One of these two meals consisted of a thin, watery soup. I had no assurance that the eastern workers, in fact, received the minimum which was prescribed. Subsequently in 1943, when I undertook to inspect the food prepared by the cooks, I discovered a number of instances in which food was withheld from the workers.
The plan for food distribution called for a small quantity of meat per week. Only inferior meats, rejected by the veterinary such as horse meat or tuberculin infested was permitted for this purpose. This meat was usually cooked into a soup.
The clothing of the eastern workers was likewise completely inadequate. They worked and slept in the same clothing in which they had arrived from the east. Virtually all of them had no overcoats and were compelled, therefore, to use their blankets as coats in cold and rainy weather. In view of the shortage of shoes many workers were forced to go to work in their bare feet, even in the winter. Wooden shoes were given to some of the workers, but their quality was such as to give the workers sore feet. Many workers preferred to go to work in their bare feet rather than endure the suffering caused by the wooden shoes. Apart from the wooden shoes, no clothing of any kind was issued to the workers until the latter part of 1943, when a single blue suit was issued to some of them. To my knowledge, this represented the sole issue of clothing to the workers from the time of their arrival until the American forces entered Essen.
Sanitary conditions were exceedingly bad. At Kramerplatz, where approximately 1200 eastern workers were crowded into the rooms of an old school, the sanitary conditions were atrocious in the extreme. Only 10 children's toilets were available for the 1200 inhabitants. At Dechenschule, 15 children's toilets were available for the 400-500 eastern workers. Excretion contaminated the entire floors of these lavatories. There were also few facilities for washing. The supply of bandages, medicine, surgical instruments, and other medical supplies at these camps was likewise altogether insufficient. As a consequence, only the very worst cases were treated.
The percentage of eastern workers who were ill was twice as great as among the Germans. Tuberculosis was particularly widespread among the eastern workers. The T.B. rate among them was 4 times the normal rate (2% eastern workers, German .5%). At Dechenschule approximately 2.5% of the workers suffered from open T.B. These were all active T.B. cases. The Tarters and Kirghis suffered most; as soon as they were overcome by this disease they collapsed like flies. The cause was bad housing, the poor quality and insufficient quantity of food, overwork, and insufficient rest.
These workers were likewise afflicted with spotted fever. Lice, the carrier of the disease, together with countless fleas, bugs and other vermin, tortured the inhabitants of these camps. As a result of the filthy conditions of the camps nearly all eastern workers were afflicted with skin disease. The shortage of food also caused many cases of Hunher-Odem, Nephritis and Shighakruse.
It was the general rule that workers were compelled to go to work unless a camp doctor had prescribed that they were unfit for work. At Seumannstrasse, Grieperstrasse, Germanistrasse Kapitan-Lehmannstrasse, and Dechenschule, there was no daily sick call. At these camps, the doctors did not appear for two or three days. As a consequence, workers were forced to go to work despite illnesses.
I undertook to improve conditions as well as I could. I insisted upon the erection of some new barracks in order to relieve the overcrowded conditions of the camps. Despite this, the camps were still greatly overcrowded, but not as much as before. I tried to alleviate the poor sanitary conditions in Kramerplatz and Dechenschule by causing the installation of some emergency toilets, but the number was insufficient, and the situation was not materially altered.
With the onset of heavy air raids in 3 March 1943, conditions in the camps greatly deteriorated. The problem of housing, feeding, and medical attention became more acute than ever. The workers lived in the ruins of their former barracks. Medical supplies which were used up, lost, or destroyed, were difficult to replace. At times, the water supply at the camps was completely shut off for periods of 8-14 days. We installed a few emergency toilets in the camps, but there were far too few of them to cope with the situation.
During the period immediately following the March 1943 raids many foreign workers were made to sleep at the Krupp factories in the same rooms in which they worked. The day workers slept there at nights, and the night workers slept there during the day despite the noise which constantly prevailed. I believe that this condition continued until the entrance of American troops into Essen.
As the pace of air raids was stepped up, conditions became progressively worse. On 29 July 1944, I reported to my superiors that:
"The sick barrack in camp Rabenhorst is in such a bad condition one cannot speak of a sick barrack any more. The rain leaks through in every corner. The housing of ill is therefore impossible. The necessary labour for production is in danger because these persons who are ill cannot recover".
At the end of 1943, or the beginning of 1944, -- I am not completely sure of the exact date -- I obtained permission for the first time to visit the prisoner of war camps. My inspection revealed that conditions at these camps were worse than those I had found at the camps of the eastern workers in 1942. Medical supplies at such camps were virtually non-existent. In an effort to cure this intolerable situation, I contacted the Wehrmacht authorities whose duty it was to provide medical care for the prisoners of war. My persistent efforts came to nothing. After visiting and pressing them over a period of two weeks, I was given a total of 100 aspirin tablets for over 3000 prisoners of war.
The French P.O.W. camp in Nogerratstrasse had been destroyed in an air raid attack and its inhabitants were kept for nearly half a year in dog kennels, urinals, and in old baking houses. The dog kennels were three feet high, nine feet long, and six feet wide. Five men slept in each of them. The prisoners had to crawl into these kennels on all fours. The camp contained no tables, chairs or cupboards. The supply of blankets was inadequate. There was no water in the camp. What treatment was extended was given in the open. Many of these conditions were reported to me in a report by Dr. Stinnesbeck dated 12 June 1944, in which he said:
"315 prisoners are still accommodated in the camp. 170 of these are no longer in barracks but in the tunnel in Grunertstrasse under the Essen-Mulheim railway line. This tunnel is damp and is not suitable for continued accommodation of human beings. The rest of the prisoners are accommodated in 10 different factories in Krupps works. The first medical attention is given by a French Military Doctor who takes great pains with his fellow country men. Sick people from Krupp factories must be brought to the sick parade. This parade is held in the lavatory of a burned out public house outside the camp. The sleeping accommodation of the 4 French Orderlies is in what was the men's room.
In the sick bay there is a double tier wooden bed. In general, the treatment takes place in the open. In rainy weather it is held in the above mentioned small room. These are insufferable conditions: There are no chairs, tables, cupboards, or water. The keeping of a register of sick people is impossible. Bandages and medical supplies are very scarce, although badly hurt in the works are very often brought here for first aid and have to be bandaged here before being transported to hospital. There are many loud and lived complaints about food which the guard personnel confirms as being correct.
Illness and loss of man power must be reckoned with under these conditions.
In my report to my superiors at Krupps dated 2 September 1944, I stated:
Camp Humboldstrasse has been inhabited by Italian prisoners of war. After it had been destroyed by an air raid, the Italians were removed and 600 Jewish females from Buchenwald Concentration Camp were brought in to work at the Krupp factories. Upon my first visit at Camp Humboldstrasse, I found these females suffering from open festering wounds and other diseases.
I was the first doctor they had seen for as least a fortnight. There were no doctors in attendance at the camp. There were no medical supplies in the camp. They had no shoes and went about in their bare feet. The sole clothing of each consisted of a sack with holes for their arms and head. Their hair was shorn. The camp was surrounded by barbed wire and closely guarded by SS guards.
The amount of food in the camp was extremely meagre and of very poor quality. The houses in which they lived consisted of the ruins of former barracks and they afforded no shelter against rain and other weather conditions. I reported to my superiors that the guards lived and slept outside their barracks as one could not enter them without being attacked by 10, 20 and up to 50 fleas. One camp doctor employed by me refused to enter the camp again after he had been bitten very badly. I visited this camp with a Mr. Grene on two occasions and both times we left the camp badly bitten. We had great difficulty in getting rid of the fleas and insects which had attacked us. As a result of this attack by insects of this camp, I got large boils on my arms and the rest of my body. I asked my superiors at the Krupp works to undertake the necessary steps to de-louse the camp so as to put an end to this unbearable, vermin-infested condition. Despite this report, I did not find any improvement in sanitary conditions at the camp on my second visit a fortnight later.
When foreign workers finally became too sick to work or were completely disabled they were returned to the Labour Exchange in Essen and from there, they were sent to a camp at Friedrichsfeld. Among persons who were returned over to the Labour Exchange were aggravated cases of tuberculosis, malaria, neurosis, cancer which could not be treated by operation, old age, and general feebleness. I know nothing about conditions at this camp because I have never visited it. I only know that it was a place to which workers who no longer of any use to Krupp were sent.
My colleagues and I reported all of the foregoing matters to Mr. Ihn, Director of Friedrich Krupp A.G., Dr. Wiels, personal physician of Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, Senior Camp Leader Kupke and at all times to the health department. Moreover, I know that these gentlemen personally visited the camps.
[signed] Dr. Wilhelm JAEGER.