Testimony of Franz Blaha. Note how many times he mentions gas chambers in Dachau (marked). How many people were convicted based on Blaha testimony or affidavits?
MR. DODD: May it please the Tribunal, we would like to call at this time the witness, Dr. Franz Blaha.
[The witness, Blaha, took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT [To the witness]: Is your name Franz Blaha?
DR. FRANZ BLAHA (Witness) [In Czech.]: Dr. Franz Blaha.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath: "I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient - that I will speak the truth, the pure truth - and will withhold and add nothing."
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You can sit down if you wish.
MR. DODD: You are Dr. Franz Blaha, a native and a citizen of Czechoslovakia, are you not?
BLAHA: [In Czech.] Yes.
MR. DODD: I understand that you are able to speak German, and for technical reasons I suggest that we conduct this examination in German, although I know your native tongue is Czech; is that right?
BLAHA: [In Czech.] In the interest of the case I am willing to testify in German for the following reasons: 1. For the past 7 years, which are the subject of my testimony, I have lived exclusively in German surroundings; 2. A large number of special and technical expressions relating to life in and about the concentration camps are purely German inventions, and no appropriate equivalent for them in any other language can be found.
MR. DODD: Dr. Blaha, by education and training and profession you are a doctor of medicine?
BLAHA: [In German.] Yes.
MR. DODD: And in 1939 you were the head of a hospital in Czechoslovakia?
MR. DODD: You were arrested, were you not, by the Germans in 1939 after they occupied Czechoslovakia?
MR. DODD: And were you confined in various prisons between 1939 and 1941?
MR. DODD: From 1941 to April of 1945 you were confined at Dachau Concentration Camp?
es, until the end.
MR. DODD: When that camp was liberated by the Allied Forces?
MR. DODD: You executed an affidavit in Nuremberg on the 9th day of January of this year, did you not?
MR. DODD: This affidavit, if it please the Tribunal, bears the Document Number 3249-PS, and I wish to offer it at this time. It is Exhibit USA-663. I feel that we can reduce the extent of this interrogation by approximately three-fourths through the submission of this affidavit and I should like to read it. It will take much less time to read this affidavit than it would to go through it in question and answer form and it covers a large part of what we expect to elicit from this witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
MR. DODD: I wouldn't have read it if we had had time to have a Russian and French translation, but unfortunately that wasn't possible in the few days we had.
"I, Franz Blaha, being duly sworn, depose and state as follows:
"1. I studied medicine in Prague, Vienna, Strasbourg, and Paris and received my diploma in 1920. From 1920 to 1926 I was a clinical assistant. In 1926 I became chief physician of the Iglau Hospital in Moravia, Czechoslovakia. I held this position until 1939 when the Germans entered Czechoslovakia and I was seized as a hostage and held a prisoner for co-operating with the Czech Government. I was sent as a prisoner to the Dachau Concentration Camp in April 1941 and remained there until the liberation of the camp in April 1945. Until July 1941 I worked in a punishment company. After that I was sent to the hospital and subjected to the experiments in typhoid being conducted by Dr. Muermelstadt. After that I was to be made the subject of an experimental operation and succeeded in avoiding this only by admitting that I was a physician. If this had been known before, I would have suffered, because intellectuals were treated very harshly in the punishment company. In October 1941 I was sent to work in the herb plantation and later in the laboratory for processing herbs. In June 1942 I was taken into the hospital as a surgeon. Shortly afterwards I was directed to perform a stomach operation on 20 healthy
prisoners. Because I would not do this I was transferred to the autopsy room where I stayed until April 1945. While there I performed approximately 7,000 autopsies. In all, 12,000 autopsies were performed under my direction.
"2. From the middle of 1941 to the end of 1942 some 500 operations on healthy prisoners were performed. These were for the instructions of the SS medical students and doctors and included operations on the stomach, gall bladder, and throat. These were performed by students and doctors of only 2 years' training, although they were very dangerous and difficult. Ordinarily they would not have been done except by surgeons with at least 4 years' surgical practice. Many prisoners died on the operating table and many others from later complications. I performed autopsies on all of these bodies. The doctors who supervised these operations were Lang, Muermelstadt, Wolter, Ramsauer, and Kahr. StandartenfÅhrer Dr. Lolling frequently witnessed these operations.
"3. During my time at Dachau I was familiar with many kinds of medical experiments carried on there on human victims. These persons were never volunteers but were forced to submit to such acts. Malaria experiments on about 1,200 people were conducted by Dr. Klaus Schilling between 1941 and 1945. Schilling was personally ordered by Himmler to conduct these experiments. The victims were either bitten by mosquitoes or given injections of malaria sporozoites taken from mosquitoes. Different kinds of treatment were applied including quinine, pyrifer, neosalvarsan, antipyrin, pyramidon, and a drug called 2516 Behring. I performed autopsies on the bodies of people who died from these malaria experiments. Thirty to 40 died from the malaria itself. Three hundred to four hundred died later from diseases which were fatal because of the physical condition resulting from the malaria attacks. In addition there were deaths resulting from poisoning due to overdoses of neosalvarsan and pyramidon. Dr. Schilling was present at my autopsies on the bodies of his patients.
"4. In 1942 and 1943 experiments on human beings were conducted by Dr. Sigmund Rascher to determine the effects of changing air pressure. As many as 25 persons were put at one time into a specially constructed van in which pressure could be increased or decreased as required. The purpose was to find out the effects on human beings of high altitude and of rapid descents by parachute. Through a window in the van I have seen the people lying on the floor of the van.
Most of the prisoners used died from these experiments, from internal hemorrhage of the lungs or brain. The survivors coughed blood when taken out. It was my job to take the bodies out and as soon as they were found to be dead to send the internal organs to Munich for study. About 400 to 500 prisoners were experimented on. The survivors were sent to invalid blocks and liquidated shortly afterwards. Only a few escaped.
"5. Rascher also conducted experiments on the effect of cold water on human beings. This was done to find a way for reviving airmen who had fallen into the ocean. The subject was placed in ice cold water and kept there until he was unconscious. Blood was taken from his neck and tested each time his body temperature dropped one degree. This drop was determined by a rectal thermometer. Urine was also periodically tested. Some men stood it as long as 24 to 36 hours. The lowest body temperature reached was 19 degrees centigrade, but most men died at 25 or 26 degrees. When the men were removed from the ice water attempts were made to revive them by artificial sunshine, with hot water, by electro-therapy, or by animal warmth. For this last experiment prostitutes were used and the body of the unconscious man was placed between the bodies of two women. Himmler was present at one such experiment. I could see him from one of the windows in the 'street between the blocks. I have personally been present at some of these cold water experiments when Rascher was absent, and I have seen notes and diagrams on them in Rascher's laboratory. About 300 persons were used in these experiments. The majority died. Of those who survived, many became mentally deranged. Those who did not die were sent to invalid blocks and were killed just as were the victims of the air pressure experiments. I know only two who survived, a Yugoslav and a Pole, both of whom are mental cases.
"6. Liver puncture experiments were performed by Dr. Brachtl on healthy people and on people who had diseases of the stomach and gall bladder. For this purpose a needle was jabbed into the liver of a person and a small piece of the liver was extracted. No anaesthetic was used. The experiment is very painful and often had serious results, as the stomach or large blood vessels were often punctured, resulting in hemorrhage. Many persons died of these tests for which Polish, Russian, Czech, and German prisoners were employed. Altogether about 175 people were subjected to these experiments.
"7. Phlegmone experiments were conducted by Dr. Schuetz, Dr. Babor, Dr. Kieselwetter and Professor Lauer. Forty healthy men were used at a time, of which twenty were given intramuscular and twenty intravenous injections of pus from diseased persons. All treatment was forbidden for 3 days, by which time serious inflammation and in many cases general blood poisoning had occurred. Then each group was divided again into groups of 10. Half were given chemical treatment with liquid and special pills every 10 minutes for 24 hours. The remainder were treated with sulfonamide and surgery. In some cases all the limbs were amputated. My autopsy also showed that the chemical treatment had been harmful and had even caused perforations of the stomach wall. For these experiments Polish, Czech, and Dutch priests were ordinarily used. Pain was intense in such experiments. Most of the 600 to 800 persons who were used finally died. Most of the others became permanent invalids and were later killed.
"8. In the fall of 1944 there were 60 to 80 persons who were subjected to salt water experiments. They were locked in a room and for 5 days were given nothing for food but salt water. During this time their urine, blood, and excrement were tested. None of these prisoners died, possibly because they received smuggled food from other prisoners. Hungarians and Gypsies were used for these experiments.
"9. It was common practice to remove the skin from dead prisoners. I was commanded to do this on many occasions. Dr. Rascher and Dr. Wolter in particular asked for 'this human skin from human backs and chests. It was chemically treated and placed in the sun to dry. After that it was cut into various sizes for use as saddles, riding breeches, gloves, house slippers, and ladies' handbags. Tattooed skin was especially valued by SS men. Russians, Poles, and other inmates were used in this way, but it was forbidden to cut out the skin of a German. This skin had to be from healthy prisoners and free from defects. Sometimes we did not have enough bodies with good skin and Rascher would say, 'All right, you will get the bodies.' The next day we would receive 20 or 30 bodies of young people. They would have been shot in the neck or struck on the head so that the skin would be uninjured. Also we frequently got requests for the skulls or skeletons of prisoners. In those cases we boiled the skull or the body. Then the soft parts were removed and the bones were bleached and dried and reassembled. In the case of skulls it was important to have a good set of teeth. When we got an
order for skulls from Oranienburg the SS men would say, 'We will try to get you some with good teeth.' So it was dangerous to have good skin or good teeth.
"10. Transports arrived frequently in Dachau from Struthof, Belsen, Auschwitz, Mauthausen and other camps. Many of these were 10 to 14 days on the way without water or food. On one transport which arrived in November 1942 I found evidence of cannibalism. The living persons had eaten the flesh from the dead bodies. Another transport arrived from Compiegne in France. Professor Limousin of Clermont-Ferrand who was later my assistant told me that there had been 2,000 persons on this transport when it started. There was food available but no water. Eight hundred died on the way and were thrown out. When it arrived after 12 days, more than 500 persons were dead on the train. Of the remainder most died shortly after arrival. I investigated this transport because the International Red Cross complained, and the SS men wanted a report that the deaths had been caused by fighting and rioting on the way. I dissected a number of bodies and found that they had died from suffocation and lack of water. It was mid-summer and 120 people had been packed into each car.
"11. In 1941 and 1942 we had in the camp what we called invalid transports. These were made up of people who were sick or for some reason incapable of working. We called them 'Himmelfahrt Commandos.' About 100 or 120 were ordered each week to go to the shower baths. There four people gave injections of phenol, evipan, or benzine, which soon caused death. After 1943 these invalids were sent to other camps for liquidation. I know that they were killed, because I saw the records and they were marked with a cross and the date that they left, which was the way that deaths were ordinarily recorded. This was shown on both the card index of the Camp Dachau and the records in the registry office of Dachau. One thousand to two thousand went away every 3 months, so there were about five thousand sent to death in this way in 1943, and the same in 1944. In April 1945 a Jewish transport was loaded at Dachau and was left standing on the railroad siding. The station was destroyed by bombing, and they could not leave. So they were just left there to die of starvation. They were not allowed to get off. When the camp was liberated they were all dead.
"12. Many executions by gas or shooting or injections took place right in the camp. The gas chamber was completed in 1944, and I was called by Dr. Rascher to examine the first
victims. Of the eight or nine persons in the chamber there were three still alive, and the remainder appeared to be dead. Their eyes were red, and their faces were swollen. Many prisoners were later killed in this way. Afterwards they were removed to the crematorium where I had to examine their teeth for gold. Teeth containing gold were extracted. Many prisoners who were sick were killed by injections while in the hospital. Some prisoners killed in the hospital came through to the autopsy room with no name or number on the tag which was usually tied to their big toe. Instead the tag said 'Do not dissect'. I performed autopsies on some of these and found that they were perfectly healthy but had died from injections. Sometimes prisoners were killed only because they had dysentery or vomited and gave the nurses too much trouble. Mental patients were liquidated by being led to the gas chamber and injected there or shot. Shooting was a common method of execution. Prisoners could be shot just outside the crematorium and carried in. I have seen people pushed into the ovens while they were still breathing and making sounds, although if they were too much alive they were usually hit on the head first.
"13. The principal executions about which I know from having examined the victims or supervised such examinations are as follows:
"In 1942 there were 5,000 to 6,000 Russians held in a separate camp inside Dachau. They were taken on foot to the military rifle range near the camp in groups of 500 or 600 and shot. Such groups left the camp about three times a week. At night we used to go out to bring the bodies back in carts and then examine them. In February 1944 about 40 Russian students arrived from Moosburg. I knew a few of the boys in the hospital. I examined their bodies after they were shot outside the crematory. In September 1944 a group of 94 high-ranking Russian officers were shot, including two military doctors who had been working with me in the hospital. I examined their bodies. In April 1945 a number of prominent people were sh
ot who had been kept in the bunker. They included two French generals, whose names I cannot remember; but I recognized them from their uniform. I examined them after they were shot. In 1944 and 1945 a number of women were killed by hanging, shooting, and injections. I examined them and found that in many cases they were pregnant. In 1945, just before the camp was liberated, all 'Nacht und Nebel' prisoners were executed. These were prisoners who were forbidden to have any contact with the outside world. They
were kept in a special enclosure and were not allowed to send or receive any mail. There were 30 or 40, many of whom were sick. These were carried to the crematory on stretchers. I examined them and found they had all been shot in the neck.
"14. From 1941 on the camp was more and more overcrowded. In 1943 the hospital for prisoners was already overcrowded. In 1944 and in 1945 it was impossible to maintain any sort of sanitary conditions. Rooms which held 300 or 400 persons in 1942 were filled with 1,000 in 1943, and in the first quarter of 1945 with 2,000 or more. The rooms could not be cleaned because they were too crowded and there was no cleaning material. Baths were available only once a month. Latrine facilities were completely inadequate. Medicine was almost nonexistent. But I found after the camp was liberated that there was plenty of medicine in the SS hospital for all the camp, if it had been given to us for use. New arrivals at the camp were lined up out of doors for hours at a time. Sometimes they stood there from morning until night. It did not matter whether this was in the winter or in the summer. This occurred all through 1943, 1944, and the first quarter of 1945. I could see these formations from the window of the autopsy room. Many of the people who had to stand in the cold in this way became ill with pneumonia and died. I had several acquaintances who were killed in this manner during 1944 and 1945.
"In October 1944 a transport of Hungarians brought spotted fever into the camp, and an epidemic began. I examined many of the corpses from this transport and reported the situation to Dr. Hintermayer but was forbidden, on penalty of being shot, to mention that there was an epidemic in the camp. He said that it was sabotage, and that I was trying to have the camp quarantined so that the prisoners would not have to work in the armaments industry. No preventive measures were taken at all. New healthy arrivals were put into blocks where an epidemic was already present. Also infected persons were put into these blocks. The 30th block, for instance, died out completely three times. Only at Christmas, when the epidemic spread into the SS camp, was a quarantine established. Nevertheless, transports continued to arrive. We had 200 to 300 new typhus cases a day and about 100 deaths from typhus daily. In all we had 28,000 cases and 15,000 deaths. Apart from those that died from the disease my autopsies showed that many deaths were caused solely by malnutrition. Such deaths occurred in all the years from
1941 to 1945. They were mostly Italians, Russians, and Frenchmen. These people were just starved to death. At the time of death they weighed 50 to 60 pounds. Autopsies showed their internal organs had often shrunk to one-third of their normal size.
"The facts stated above are true. This declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion. After reading over the statement I have signed and executed the same at Nuremberg, Germany, this 9th day of January 1946."* --Signed-- "Dr. Franz Blaha.
"Subscribed and sworn to before me this 9th day of January 1946 at Nuremberg, Germany. 2d Lieutenant Daniel F. Margolies."
MR. DODD: [Continuing the interrogation.] Dr. Blaha, will you state whether or not visitors came to the camp of Dachau while you were there?
BLAHA: Very many visitors came to our camp so that it sometimes seemed to us that we were not confined in a camp but in an exhibition or a zoo. At times there was a visit or an excursion almost every day from schools, from different military, medical, and other institutions, and also many members of the Police, the SS; and the Armed Forces; also...
THE PRESIDENT: Will you pause so as to give the interpreter's words time to come through; do you understand?
BLAHA: Yes. Also some State personalities came to the camp. Regular inspections were made month by month by the Inspector General of Concentration Camps, ObergruppenfÅhrer Pohl; also by SS ReichsfÅhrer Professor Grawitz, Inspector of Experimental Stations; StandartenfÅhrer Dr. Lolling; and other personalities.
MR. DODD: The presiding Justice has suggested that you pause, and it would be helpful if you paused in the making of your answers so that the interpreters can complete their interpretation.
MR. DODD: Are you able to state how long these visits lasted on an average?
BLAHA: That depended on the sort of visits being made. Some were inside for half an hour to an hour, some for 3 or 4 hours.
MR. DODD: Were there prominent Government people who visited the camp at any time while you were there?
* The last paragraph of this affidavit appears in the English translation signed by Dr. Blaha bu not in the original German version.
BLAHA: While I was there many personalities came to our camp: Reichsfuhrer Himmler came to Dachau several times and also was present at the experiments. I was present myself on these occasions. Other personalities also were there. I myself have seen three ministers of state, and from political prisoners who were Germans and therefore knew these people I heard that several other personages visited the camp. I also twice saw high-ranking Italian officers and once a Japanese officer.
MR. DODD: Do you remember the names of any of these prominent Government people, or do you remember more particularly who any of them were? '
BLAHA: Besides Himmler there was Bormann; also Gauleiter Wagner; Gauleiter Giesler; State Ministers Frick, Rosenberg, Funk, Sauckel; also the General of Police Daluege; and others.
MR. DODD: Did these people whom you have just named take tours around the camp while you were there?
BLAHA: Generally the tour through the camp was so arranged that the visitors were first taken to the kitchen, then to the laundry, then to the hospital, that is, usually to the surgical station, then to the malaria station of Professor Schilling and the experimental station of Dr. Rascher. Then they proceeded to a few "blocks," particularly those of the German prisoners and sometimes they also visited the chapel, which, however, had been fitted up inside for German clergy only. Sometimes, too, various personalities were presented and introduced to the visitors. It was so arranged that always, first of all, a "green" professional criminal was selected and introduced as a murderer; then the Mayor of Vienna, Dr. Schmitz, was usually presented as the second one; then a high-ranking Czech officer; then a homosexual; a Gypsy; a Catholic bishop or other Polish priest of high rank; then a university professor, in this order, so that the visitors always found it entertaining.
MR. DODD: Now did I understand you to name Kaltenbrunner as one of those visitors there or not?
BLAHA: Yes, Kaltenbrunner was also present. He was there together with General Daluege. That was, I believe, in the year 1943. I was also interested in General Daluege because it was he who, after Heydrich's death, had become Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, and I wanted to see him.
MR. DODD: Did you see Kaltenbrunner there yourself?
BLAHA: Yes. He was pointed out to me. I had not seen him previously.
MR. DODD: Did I understand you mentioned the name Frick as one of those whom you saw there?
BLAHA: Yes, it was in the year of 1944, the first half of 1944.
MR. DODD: Where did you see him? Where in the camp did you see him?
BLAHA: I saw him from the hospital window as he was entering with his staff, with several people.
MR. DODD: Do you see the man whom you saw there that day, by the name of Frick, in this courtroom now?
BLAHA: Yes, the fourth man from the right in the first row.
MR. DODD: I understand you also named the name Rosenberg as one of those whom you saw there?
BLAHA: I can recall that it was shortly after my arrival in the concentration camp at Dachau that there was a visit and it was then that my German comrades pointed Rosenberg out to me.
MR. DODD: Do you see that man in this courtroom now?
BLAHA: Yes. He is the second farther to the left in the first row.
MR. DODD: I also understood you to name Sauckel as one of those who were present in the camp.
BLAHA: Yes, but I did not see him personally; I merely heard that he had also visited certain factories and armament plants; and that was in 1943, I believe.
MR. DODD: Was it general knowledge in the camp at that time that a man named Sauckel visited the camp, and particularly the munition plant?
BLAHA: Yes, that was general knowledge in the camp.
MR. DODD: I also understood you to name one of those who visited this camp as Funk.
BLAHA: Yes. He was also present at a visit, and I can remember that it was on the occasion of a state conference of the Axis Powers in Salzburg or Reichenhall. It was the custom on such occasions, when there was a Party convention or a celebration in Munich, Berchtesgaden, or Salzburg, for several personalities to come from the celebrations to Dachau for a visit. That was also the case with Funk.
MR. DODD: Did you personally see Funk there?
BLAHA: No, I did not see Funk personally; I merely heard that he was there.
MR. DODD: Was that general knowledge in the camp at that time?
BLAHA: Yes. We knew beforehand that he was to come.
MR. DODD: Were there any visits after the end of the year 1944, or in the months of 1945?
BLAHA: There were some visits still, but very few, because there was a typhus epidemic in the camp at that time and quarantine was imposed.
MR. DODD: Doctor, you are now director of a hospital in Prague, are you not?
MR. DODD: I have no further questions to ask of the witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any other counsel for the Prosecution wish to ask any questions? Colonel Pokrovsky? [Colonel Pokrovsky indicated assent.] We will adjourn for a 10-minute recess.
[A recess was taken.]
COLONEL Y. V. POKROVSKY (Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): I would like permission to ask this witness several questions.
[Turning to the witness]: Tell us, witness, do you know what was the particular purpose of the concentration camp at Dachau; was it really, so to speak, a concentration camp of extermination?
BLAHA: Until the year 1943 it was really an extermination camp. After 1943 a good many factories and munition. plants were established, also inside the camp, particularly after the bombardments started, and then it became more of a work camp. But as far as the results are concerned there was no difference, because the prisoners had to work so hard while going hungry that they died from hunger and exhaustion instead of from beatings.
COL. POKROVSKY: Must I understand you this way, that, in fact, both before 1943 and after 1943 Dachau was a camp of extermination and that there were different ways of extermination?
BLAHA: That is so.
COL. POKROVSKY: How many, according to your own observations, went through this camp of extermination, Dachau; how many internees came originally from the U.S.S.R., how many passed through the camp?
BLAHA: I cannot state that exactly, only approximately. First, after November 1941, there were exclusively Russian prisoners of war in uniform. They had separate camps and were- liquidated within a few months. In the summer of 1942, those who remained of these - I believe there were 12,000 prisoners of war - were
transported to Mauthausen; and, as I learned from the people who came from Mauthausen to Dachau, they were liquidated in gas chambers.
Then, after the Russian prisoners of war, Russian children were brought to Dachau. There were, I believe, 2,000 boys, 6 to 17 years old. They were kept in one or two special blocks. They were assigned to particularly brutal people, the "greens," who beat them at every step. These young boys also...
COL. POKROVSKY: What do you mean when you refer to the "greens"?
BLAHA: Those were the so-called professional criminals. They beat these young boys and gave them the hardest work. They worked particularly in the plantations where they had to pull ploughs, sowing machines, and street rollers instead of horses and motors being used. Also in all transport Kommandos Russian children were used exclusively. At least 70 percent of them died of tuberculosis, I believe, and those who remained were then sent to a special camp in the Tyrol in 1943 or the beginning of 1944.
Then after the children, several thousand so-called Eastern Workers were killed. These were civilians who were removed from the Eastern territories to Germany and then because of so-called work-sabotage were put into concentration camps. In addition there were many Russian officers and intellectuals.
COL. POKROVSKY: I would like to ask you to be more exact in your answers in regard to those people whom you call "greens." Did I correctly understand you when you said that those criminals had the task of supervising those internees arriving at the camp?
COL. POKROVSKY: And these professional criminals were given complete charge of the children, and they beat and ill-treated these children of Soviet citizens and put them to work far beyond their strength, so that they became tubercular?
COL. POKROVSKY: What do you know about the executions of the citizens of the U.S.S.R. which were carried out in this camp?
BLAHA: I believe I am not far from the truth when I say that of all those executed, at least 75 percent were Russians, and that women as well as men were brought to Dachau from outside to be executed.
COL. POKROVSKY: Can you give us more details in regard to the execution of 94 high field and staff officers of the Red Army, which you already spoke about in reply to the question of my
colleague? Who were these officers, and what rank did they hold? What were the reasons for their execution? Do you know anything at all about it?
BLAHA: In the summer or late spring of 1944 high-ranking Russian officers - generals, colonels, and majors - were sent to Dachau. During the following weeks they were examined by the political department; that is to say, after each interrogation they were brought to the camp hospital in a completely battered condition. I myself saw and knew well some who for weeks had to lie on their bellies, and we had to remove by surgical operation parts of their skin and muscles which had become mortified. Many succumbed to these methods of investigation. The others, 94 people in number; were then brought to the crematory in the beginning of September 1944 on orders from the RSHA in Berlin and there, while on their knees, shot through the neck.
In addition, in the winter and spring of 1945 several Russian officers were brought from solitary confinement to the crematory and there either hanged or shot.
COL. POKROVSKY: I would like to ask you the same kind of question about the execution of the 40 Russian students. It is possible for you to give us a few details about the execution?
BLAHA: Yes, those Russian students and intellectuals - I can recall that a doctor was also among them - were brought from the Moosburg Camp to Dachau' and after 1 month they were all executed. That was in March of 1944.
COL. POKROVSKY: Do you happen to know what the reason was for their execution?
BLAHA: The order for it came from Berlin. We did not get to know the reason, because I saw the bodies only after the execution and the reason was read aloud before the execution took Place.
COL. POKROVSKY: This execution produced the impression that it was one of the stages of the general plan for extermination of the people who entered Dachau?
BLAHA: Yes. It was easy to see that these executions, these transports of invalids, and the way epidemics were dealt with, were all part of the general plan for extermination; and particularly, and this I must emphasize, it was the Russian prisoners who were always treated the worst of all.
COL. POKROVSKY: Would you be so kind as to say what is known to you in regard to those internees who were in the "Nacht und Nebel" (night and fog) category? Were there many of these internees? Do you know the reason why they were sent to the concentration camp?
BLAHA: Many so-called Nacht und Nebel prisoners came to the concentration camp. The people so designated were mostly from the western countries of Europe, particularly Frenchmen, Belgians, and Dutchmen. The Russian people - and this was also the case with the Czechs and also in my own case - frequently had the designation "return undesirable." This actually meant the same. Shortly before the liberation many of these people were executed on the order of the camp commander, that is, shot in front of the crematory. Many of these people, particularly the French and Russians, were serious cases of typhus and with a temperature of 40 degrees were carried on stretchers to the rifle range.
COL. POKROVSKY: It seems to me that you mentioned something about a considerable number of prisoners who died of starvation. Could you tell me how large that number was - the number of people who died of starvation?
BLAHA: I believe that two-thirds of the entire population of the camp suffered from severe malnutrition and that at least 25 percent of the dead had literally died of starvation. It was called in German "Hungertyphus." Apart from that, tuberculosis was the most wide-spread disease in the camp and it spread also because of malnutrition. Most of its victims were Russians.
COL. POKROVSKY: It seems to me that you said, answering the question of my colleague, that the majority of those who died of starvation and exhaustion were French, Russians, and Italians. How do you account for the fact that in just these categories of internees more people died than in other categories?
COL. POKROVSKY: How do you explain that especially Russians, French, and Italians made up the largest number of those people who died from starvation? Was there any difference in the feeding of internees of the different nationalities, or was there some other reason?
BLAHA: It was like this: The others, the Germans, Poles, and Czechs, who had already been in the camp for some time, had had time, if I may say so, to adjust themselves to camp conditions, physically I mean. The Russian deteriorated rapidly. The same was true of the French and the Italians. Moreover, these nationals for the most part arrived from other camps suffering from malnutrition so that they then soon fell easy prey to the other epidemics and diseases. Also, the Germans, Poles, and many others who worked in the armaments industry had since the year 1943 been able to get parcels from home. That, of course, was not the case with citizens of Soviet Russia, France, or Italy.
COL. POKROVSKY: Can you answer the question about what Rosenberg, Kaltenbrunner, Sauckel, or Funk saw when they were in
the Dachau Concentration Camp? Do you know what they saw and what was shown them?
BLAHA: I had no opportunity of seeing what happened during these visits. Only on very rare occasions did one have the opportunity of seeing these visitors from the window and observing where they went. I seldom had the opportunity to be present as I was in the case of Himmler's visits and those of ObergruppenfÅhrer Pohl and once on the occasion of Gauleiter Giesler's visit, when they were shown the experiments or the patients in the hospital. As to the others I do not know what they individually saw and did in the camp.
COL. POKROVSKY: Perhaps you had an opportunity of observing the length of the visit of those people in the camp, whether the visit was short just for a few moments - or whether they stayed there a long time. I have in mind Rosenberg, Kaltenbrunner, Sauckel, and Funk.
BLAHA: That varied. Many visitors were there for half an hour, many, as I said before, spent as many as 3 hours there. We were always able to observe that quite well because at those times no work could be done, nor was food distributed. We did not carry on our work in the hospital and had to wait until the signal was given to us that the visitors had left the camp. Apart from that I had no means of knowing how long these visits in the camp lasted in the individual cases.
COL. POKROVSKY: Can you recall the visit of Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Funk, and Sauckel? On the basis of what you said just now could you state whether they were brief visits or whether those people stayed there for several hours? Did you understand my question or not?
BLAHA: Unfortunately, I cannot make a statement on that because, as I said, the visits took place so frequently that I have difficulty, after all these years, in recalling whether they lasted for a short or longer time. Many visits, for instance, from schools from the military and police schools - lasted a whole day.
COL. POKROVSKY: Thank you. I have no further questions of this witness at this stage of the sitting.
M. CHARLES DUBOST (Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the French
Republic): You alluded to a convoy of deported French people who came from Compiegne, of whom only 1,200 survivors arrived. Were there any other convoys?
BLAHA: Yes. There were transports, particularly from Bordeaux, Lyon, and Compiegne, all in the first half of 1944.
M. DUBOST: Were all the transports carried out under the same conditions?
BLAHA: The conditions under which these transports were made were, if not the same, at any rate very similar.
M. DUBOST: Each time you were able to see on arrival that there were numerous victims?
M. DUBOST: What were the causes of death?
BLAHA: The deaths were caused by the fact that too many people were packed into the cars, which were then locked, and that they did not get anything to eat or drink for several days. Usually they starved or suffocated. Many of those who survived were brought to the camp hospital, and of these a large number died from various complications and diseases.
M. DUBOST: Did you make autopsies on the people who died while en route?
BLAHA: Yes, particularly for the transport from Compiegne my services were demanded because the rumor was spread that the French Maquis and Fascists had attacked and killed each other in the cars. I had to inspect these corpses, but in no case did I find any signs of violence. Moreover, I took 10 corpses as a test, dissected them thoroughly and sent special reports on them to Berlin. All these people had died of suffocation. I was also able to note during the autopsy that these were prominent people of France. I could tell from their identity papers and uniforms that they were high-ranking French officers, priests, deputies, and well- nourished people who had been taken direct from civilian life to the cars and sent to Dachau.
M. DUBOST: After the reports which you sent to Berlin did the conditions under which the transports were made remain the same?
BLAHA: Nothing happened, as usual. Always long reports were written but conditions did not improve at all.
M. DUBOST: You indicated that some French generals had been put to death shortly before the liberation of the camp. Do you know the names of these generals?
BLAHA: Unfortunately I have forgotten these names I can remember only what I was told by the prisoners who were kept in the bunkers with them that they were the prominent personalities from Germany and other countries: Pastor Niemîller was there, also a French prince, Schuschnigg was there too, and members of the French Government and many others. I was told that one of the generals who had been shot was a close relative of General De Gaulle. Unfortunately I have forgotten his name.
M. DUBOST: If I understood you correctly, these generals were prisoners of war who had been transported to this concentration camp?
BLAHA: These two generals were not in the concentration camp. They were kept, along with the other prominent personalities, in the so-called "Kommandantur-Arrest," that is, in the bunker separated from the camp. On various occasions when they needed medical attention I came into contact with them, but that was very seldom. Otherwise they did not come into contact with the other prisoners at all.
M. DUBOST: Did they belong to the category of deported 'people whose "return was undesirable" or were they in the Nacht und Nebel category?
BLAHA: I do not know. It was 2 days previously that all the others who were kept in the bunker were sent by special transport to the Tyrol. That was, I believe, a week or 8 days before the liberation.
M. DUBOST: You indicated that numerous visitors, German military men, students, political men, often toured the camp. Can you say if any ordinary people, like workers or farmers, knew what was going on in this camp?
BLAHA: In my opinion, the people who lived in the neighborhood of Munich must have known of all these things, because the prisoners went every day to various factories in Munich and the neighborhood; and at work they frequently came into contact with the civilian workers. Moreover, the various suppliers and consumers often entered the fields and the factories of the German armament works and they saw what was done to the prisoners and what they looked like.
M. DUBOST: Can you say in what way the French were treated?
BLAHA: Well, if I said that the Russians were treated worst of all, the French were the second in order. Of course, there were differences in the treatment of individual persons. The Nacht und Nebel prisoners were treated quite differently; likewise the prominent political personalities and the intellectuals. That was so for all nationalities. And the workers and peasants also were treated differently.
M. DUBOST: If I understood correctly, the treatment reserved for the French intellectuals was particularly rigorous. Do you remember the treatment inflicted on some French intellectuals and can you tell us their names?
BLAHA: I had many comrades among the physicians and university professors who worked with me in the hospital Unfortunately a large number of them died of typhus. Most of the
French, in fact, died of typhus. I remember best of all Professor Limousin. He arrived in very poor condition with the transport from Compiegne. I took him into my department as assistant pathologist. Then I also knew the Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand. There were other physicians and university professors whom I knew. I remember Professor Roche, Dr. Lemartin, and many others I have forgotten their names.
M. DUBOST: In the course of the conversations which you had with Dr. Rascher were you informed of the purpose of these experiments?
BLAHA: I didn't understand the question, excuse me please...
M. DUBOST: Were you informed of the purpose of the medical and biological experiments made by Dr. Rascher in the camp?
BLAHA: Well, Dr. Rascher made exclusively so-called Air Force experiments in the camp. He was a major in the Air Force and was assigned to investigate the conditions to which parachutists were subjected and, secondly, the conditions of those people who had to make an emergency landing on the sea or had fallen into the sea. According to scientific standards, insofar as I can judge, this was all to no purpose. Like all the other experiments, it was simply useless murder; and it is amazing that learned university professors and physicians, particularly, were capable of carrying out these experiments according to plan. These experiments were much worse than all the liquidations and executions, because all the victims of these experiments simply had their suffering prolonged, as various medicines such as vitamins, hormones, tonics, and injections, which were not available for the ordinary patients, were provided for these patients so that the experiments might last longer and give those people more time to observe their victims.
M. DUBOST: I am speaking now of the experiments of Dr. Rascher only. Had he received the order to make these experiments or did he make them on his own initiative?
BLAHA: These experiments were made on Himmler's direct orders; also, Dr. Rascher had close relations with Himmler and was like a relative of his. He visited Himmler very often and Himmler visited Dr. Rascher several times.
M. DUBOST: Have you any information as to the kind of physicians who were making these experiments? Were they always SS men or were they members of medical faculties of universities who, however, did not belong to the SS?
BLAHA: That varied. For example, the malaria station was under the direction of Professor Klaus Schilling of the Koch
Institute in Berlin. The Phlegmone station also had several university professors. The surgical station was manned solely by SS doctors. In the Air Force station there were exclusively SS and military doctors. It differed. Dr. Bleibeck from Vienna conducted the experiments with sea water.
M. DUBOST: Were the experiments for the Luftwaffe made on the order of Himmler only?
M. DUBOST: Do you know - this is the last question - how many Frenchmen passed through this camp?
BLAHA: I believe at least eight or ten thousand people arrived at the camp. Furthermore, I know very well that, particularly during the last period, several thousand French prisoners marched on foot from the western camps, especially from Natzweiler, Struthof, et cetera, and that only very small remnants of these ever reached Dachau.
M. DUBOST: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us to what branches of the German service those who were employed at the camp belonged?
BLAHA: If I understood you correctly, the highest authority on everything going on in the camp was the so-called Security Main Office in Berlin. All demands and directives came from Berlin; also the experimental stations received a definite quota of subjects for the experiments and the numbers were fixed by Berlin. If the doctors making the experiments needed a larger number, new requests had to be sent to Berlin.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but what I want to know is to what branch of the service the men belonged who were employed in the camp.
BLAHA: They were all SS men and most of them from the SD. During the last days, at the very end, a few members of the Armed Forces were there as guards but the men in charge were entirely SS men.
THE PRESIDENT: Were there any of the Gestapo there?
BLAHA: Yes, that was the so-called political department, which was directed by the chief of the Munich Gestapo. It had control of all the interrogations and regulations, and it proposed the executions, transports, and transports of invalids. Also, all the people who were provided for the experiments had to be approved by the political department.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendants' counsel want to cross-examine the witness?
DR. SAUTER: Witness, you told us that at one time the Defendant Funk also was at Dachau, and you informed us, if I understood you correctly, that this happened on the occasion of some celebration or state conference between the Axis Powers. Please think back a little and tell us when that was approximately. Perhaps - just a moment perhaps you could tell us the year, maybe also the season, and perhaps you could also state which political celebration it was.
BLAHA: As far as Funk is concerned, I can remember that it was, I believe, a conference of finance ministers. The papers had announced that it would take place and we were informed beforehand that some of the ministers would come to Dachau. Such a visit was actually made a few days afterwards, and it was said that Minister Funk was among the visitors. It was, I believe, during the first half of the year 1944. I cannot say that with absolute certainty.
DR. SAUTER: You mean to say: during the first half of 1944, on the occasion of a conference of finance ministers?
DR. SAUTER: Where did that conference take place?
BLAHA: If I remember correctly -- I didn't write that down, of course -- that was either in Salzburg or Reichenhall or Berchtesgaden, somewhere in the neighborhood of Munich, I believe.
DR. SAUTER: From whom did you learn at that time that on the next day, or the day after, high-ranking visitors would arrive?
BLAHA: We always received an order to prepare for such a visit. Elaborate preparations were always made; everything was cleaned up; everything had to be in order, as you will understand; and those people whose presence might be undesirable or those who, in a certain sense, might be dangerous, had to disappear. Thus, whenever such high-ranking visitors were announced we always received an order from the camp headquarters 1 or 2 days beforehand; and, also these visitors were always accompanied by the camp commander.
DR. SAUTER: By the camp commander? Now, if you know that the Defendant Funk was there and people talked about it, then I think they would have mentioned also what other persons were present at this visit made by the Defendant Funk
BLAHA: I cannot remember. There were always several important persons.
DR. SAUTER: The rest do not interest me. I am interested only in knowing whether or not at that particular visit, which was said to have been made by Funk, word was passed around the camp that such and such personalities were with him?
BLAHA: I cannot remember that now.
DR. SAUTER: You cannot remember. Can you remember afterwards, perhaps on the next day or the day after, something was said perhaps by people who had seen the visitors?
BLAHA: Yes, we always discussed that, but now I can no longer remember which personalities were mentioned.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, I am not interested in any other visit, but in this specific visit, as long as I do not say anything to the contrary. In this case I should like to know whether or not anything at all was said later on about the persons who were there with Funk.
BLAHA: That I do not know; there were so many visits. For instance, after one visit, the very next day already another visit would be announced.
DR. SAUTER: Now, you do also remember the visit that Funk made. Well, if other finance ministers were there, one would think that you would recall these other persons also.
BLAHA: I cannot remember that. It may be that the people with whom I talked did not know who these other persons were.
DR. SAUTER: Do you know why, or to put it differently, which departments of the camp were visited on the occasion when Funk was supposed to have made this visit. At any rate he did not come to you.
BLAHA: No; he did not come to the pathological department.
DR. SAUTER: He did not. But you were also prepared?
BLAHA: Yes. All departments had always to be prepared, even if no visitors came. It also happened at times that a visit was announced, and then, for one reason or another, nothing came of it.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, as regards these observations of yours that you have related to us today, have you been interrogated in regard to them many times already?
BLAHA: I was interrogated on these matters for the first time before the military court at Dachau.
DR. SAUTER: Did you also at that time say that Funk had been there? I repeat, did you before the military court at Dachau say anything to the effect that Funk had been present?
BLAHA: Yes, I said the same thing before the court at Dachau.
DR. SAUTER: About Funk?