KL Buchenwald: Testimony of Dr. Victor Dupont

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KL Buchenwald: Testimony of Dr. Victor Dupont

Post by David Thompson » 02 Nov 2004 07:15

This testimony is taken from the Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), vol. 6, pp. 242-262. The proceedings are available on-line at the Avalon Project of the Yalue University Law School at:


This is part 1 of 2 parts.
M. DUBOST: I shall request the Tribunal to authorize us to hear the French witness, Dr. Dupont.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Very well.

[The witness, Dupont, took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Is your name Dr. Dupont?

DR. VICTOR DUPONT (Witness): Dupont, Victor.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me? I swear that I will speak without hate or fear, that I will tell the truth, all the truth, nothing but the truth.

[The witness repeated the oath in French.]

THE PRESIDENT: Raise your right hand and say, "I swear."

DUPONT: I swear.

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

M. DUBOST: Your name is Victor Dupont?

DUPONT: Yes, I am called Victor Dupont.

M. DUBOST: You were born on 12 December 1909?

DUPONT: That is correct.

M. DUBOST: At Charmes in the Vosges?

DUPONT: That is correct.

M. DUBOST: You are of French nationality, born of French parents?

DUPONT: That is correct.

M. DUBOST: You have won honorable distinctions. What are they?

DUPONT: I have the Legion of Honor, I am a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. I have 2 Army citations, and I have the Resistance Medal.

M. DUBOST: Were you deported to Buchenwald?

DUPONT: I was deported to Buchenwald on 24 January 1944.

M. DUBOST: You stayed there?

DUPONT: I stayed there 15 months.

M. DUBOST: Until 20 May 1945?

DUPONT: No, until 20 April 1945.

M. DUBOST: Will you make your statement on the regime in the concentration camp
where you were interned and the aim of those who prescribed this regime?


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DUPONT: When I arrived at Buchenwald I soon became aware of the difficult living conditions. The regime imposed upon the prisoners was not based on any principle of justice. The principle which formed the basis of this regime was the principle of the purge. I will explain.

We -- I am speaking of the French-were grouped together at Buchenwald almost all of us, without having been tried by any Tribunal. In 1942, 1943, 1944, and 1945, it was quite unusual to pass any formal judgment on the prisoners. Many of us were interrogated and then deported; others were cleared by the interrogation and deported all the same. Others again were not interrogated at all. I shall give you three examples.

On 11 November 1943 elements estimated at several hundred persons were arrested at Grenoble during a demonstration commemorating the Armistice. They were brought to Buchenwald, where the greater part died. The same thing happened in the village of Verchenie (Drome) in October 1943. I saw them at Buchenwald too.

It happened again in April 1944 at St. Claude, and I saw these people brought in in August 1944.

In this way, various elements were assembled at Buchenwald subject to martial law. But there were also all kinds of people, including some who were obviously innocent, who had either been cleared by interrogation or not even interrogated at all. Finally, there were some political prisoners. They had been deported because they were members of parties which were to be suppressed.

That does not mean that the interrogations were not to be taken seriously. The interrogations which I underwent and which I saw others undergo were particularly inhuman. I shall enumerate a few of the methods:

Every imaginable kind of beating, immersion in bathtubs, squeezing of testicles, hanging, crushing of the head in iron bands, and the torturing of entire families in each others' sight. I have, in particular, seen a wife tortured before her husband; and children were tortured before their mothers. For the sake of precision, I will quote one name: Francis Goret of the Rue de Bourgogne in Paris was tortured before his mother. Once in the camp, conditions were the same for everyone.

M. DUBOST: You spoke of racial purging as a social policy. What was the criterion?

DUPONT: At Buchenwald various elements described as "political," "national"-mainly Jews and Gypsies-and "asocial"-especially criminals--were herded together under the same regime. There were criminals of every nation: Germans, Czechs, Frenchmen, et cetera, all living together under the same regime. A purge does


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not necessarily imply extermination, but this purge was achieved by means of the extermination already mentioned. It began for us in certain cases; the decision was taken quite suddenly. I shall give one example. In 1944 a convoy of several hundred Gypsy children arrived at Buchenwald, by what administrative mystery we never knew. They were assembled during the winter of 1944 and were to be sent on to Auschwitz to be gassed. One of the most tragic memories of my deportation is the way in which these children, knowing perfectly well what was in store for them, were driven into the vans, screaming and crying. They went on to Auschwitz the same day.

In other cases the extermination was carried out by progressive stages. It had already begun when the convoy arrived. For instance, in the French convoy which left Compiegne on 24 January 1944 and arrived on 26 January, I saw one van containing 100 persons, of which 12 were dead and 8 insane. During the period of my deportation I saw numerous transports come in. The same thing happened every time; only the numbers varied. In this way the elimination of a certain proportion had already been achieved when the convoy arrived. Then they were put in quarantine and exposed to cold for several hours, while roll call was taken.

The weaker died. Then came extermination through work. Some of them were picked out and sent to Kommandos such as Dora, S III, and Laura. I noticed that after those departures, which took place every month, when the contingent was brought up to strength again, truck-loads of dead were brought back to Buchenwald. I even attended the post-mortems on them, and I can tell you the results. The lesions were those of a very advanced stage of cachexy. Those who had stood up to conditions for one, two, or three months very often exhibited the lesions characteristic of acute tuberculosis, mostly of the granular type. In Buchenwald itself prisoners had to work; and there, as everywhere else, the only hope of survival lay in work. Extermination in Buchenwald was carried out in accordance with a principle of selection laid down by the medical officer in charge, Dr. Shiedlauski. These selections ...

M. DUBOST: Excuse me for interrupting. What is the nationality of this medical officer in charge?

DUPONT: He was a German SS doctor.

M. DUBOST: Are you sure of that?

DUPONT: Yes, I am quite sure.

M. DUBOST: Are you testifying as an eyewitness?

DUPONT: I am testifying as an eyewitness.

M. DUBOST: Go on, please.


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DUPONT: Shiedlauski carried out the selection and picked out the sick and invalids. Prior to January 1945 they were sent to Auschwitz; later on they went to Bergen-Belsen. None of them ever returned.

Another case which I witnessed concerns a Jewish labor squad which was sent to Auschwitz and stayed there several months. When they came back, they were unfit for even the lighter work. A similar fate overtook them. They also were sent to Auschwitz again. I myself personally witnessed these things. I was present at the selection and I witnessed their departure.

Later on, the executions in Buchenwald took place in the camp itself. To my own knowledge they began in September 1944 in room 7, a little room in the Revier. The men were done away with by means of inter-cardiac injections. The output was not great; it did not exceed a few score a day, at the most. Later on more and more convoys came in, and the number of cachexy cases increased. The executions had to be speeded up. At first they were carried out as soon as the transports arrived; but from January 1945 onwards they were taken care of in a special block, Block 61. At that date all those nicknamed "Mussulmans" on account of their appearance were collected in this block. We never saw them without their blankets over their -shoulders. They were unfit for even the lightest work. They all had to go through Block 61. The death toll varied daily from a minimum of 10 to about 200 in Block 61. The execution was performed by injecting phenol into the heart in the most brutal manner. The bodies were then carted to the crematorium mostly during roll calls or at night.

Finally, extermination was also always assured at the end by convoys. The convoys which left Buchenwald while the Allies were advancing were used to assure extermination.

To give an example: At the end of March 1945 elements withdrawn from the S III detachment arrived at Buchenwald. They were in a state of complete exhaustion when they arrived and quite unfit for any kind of exertion. They were the first to be re-expedited, two days after their arrival. It was only about half a mile from their starting-point in the small camp, that is, at the bark of the Buchenwald Camp, to their point of assembly for roll call; and to give you an idea of the state of weakness in which these people were, I need only say that between this starting point and their assembly point, that is, over a distance of half a mile, we saw 60 of them collapse and die. They could not go on further. Most of them died very soon, in a few hours or in the course of the next day. So much for the systematic extermination which I witnessed in Buchenwald, including ...


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M. DUBOST: What about those who were left?

DUPONT: Those who were left when the last convoy went out? That is a complicated story. We were deeply grieved about them. About the 1st of April, though I cannot guarantee the exact date, the commander of the camp, Pister, assembled a large number of prisoners and addressed them as follows:

"The Allied advance has already reached the immediate neighborhood of Buchenwald. I wish to hand over to the Allies the keys of the camp. I do not want any atrocities. I wish the camp as a whole to be handed over."

As a, matter of actual fact, the Allied advance was held up, more than we wanted at least, and evacuation was begun. A delegation of prisoners went to see the commander, reminding him of his word, for he had given his word emphasizing that it was his "word of honor as a soldier." He seemed acutely embarrassed and explained that Sauckel, the Governor of Thuringia, had given orders that no prisoner should remain in Buchenwald, for that constituted a danger to the province.

Furthermore, we knew that all who knew the secrets of the administration of Buchenwald Camp would be put out of the way.

A few days before we were liberated 43 of our comrades belonging to different nationalities were called out to be done away with, and an unusual phenomenon occurred. The camp revolted; the men were hidden and never given up. We also knew that under no circumstances would anyone who had been employed, either in the experimental block or in the infirmary, be allowed to leave the camp. That is all I have to say about the last few days.

M. DUBOST: This officer in command of the camp, whom you have just said gave his word of honor as a soldier, was he a soldier?

DUPONT: His attitude towards the prisoners was ruthless; but he had his orders. Frankly, he was a particular type of soldier; but he was not acting on his own initiative in treating the prisoners in this way.

M. DUBOST: To what branch of the service did he belong?

DUPONT: He belonged to the SS Totenkopf Division.

M. DUBOST: Was he an SS man?

DUPONT: Yes, he was an SS man.

M. DUBOST: He was acting on orders, you say?

DUPONT: He was certainly acting on orders.

M. DUBOST: For what purposes were the prisoners used?

DUPONT: The prisoners were used in such a way that no attention was paid to the fact that they were human beings. They were


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used for experimental purposes. At Buchenwald the experiments were made in Block 46. The men who were to be employed there were always selected by means of a medical examination. On those occasions when I was present it was performed by Dr. Shiedlauski, of whom I have already spoken.

M. DUBOST: Was he a doctor?

DUPONT: Yes, he was a doctor. The internees were used for the hardest labor; in the Laura mines, working in the salt mines as, for instance, in the Mansleben-am-See Kommando, clearing up bomb debris. It must be remembered that the more difficult the labor conditions were, the harsher was the supervision by the guards.

The internees were used in Buchenwald for any kind of labor; in earth works, in quarries, and in factories. To cite a particular case: There were two factories attached to Buchenwald, the Gustloff works and the Muhlbach works. They were munition factories under technical and non-military management. In this particular case there was some sort of rivalry between the SS and the technical management of the factory. The technical management, concerned with its output, took the part of the prisoners to the extent of occasionally obtaining supplementary rations for them. Internee labor had certain advantages. The cost was negligible, and from a security point of view the maximum of secrecy was ensured; as the internees had no contact with the outside world and therefore no leakage was possible.

M. DUBOST: You mean leakage of military information?

DUPONT: I mean leakage of military information.

M. DUBOST: Could outsiders see that the internees were ill-treated and wretched?

DUPONT: That is another question, certainly.

M. DUBOST: Will you answer it later?

DUPONT: I shall answer it later. I have omitted one detail. The internees were also used to a certain extent after death. The ashes resulting from the cremations were thrown into the excrement pit and served to fertilize the fields around Buchenwald. I add this detail because it struck me vividly at the time. Finally, as I said, work, whatever it might be, was the internees' only chance of survival. As soon as they were no longer of any possible use, they were done for.

M. DUBOST: Were not internees used as "blood donors," involuntary of course?


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DUPONT: I forgot that point. Prisoners assigned to light work, whose output was poor, were used as blood donors. Members of the Wehrmacht came several times. I saw them twice at Buchenwald, taking blood from these men. The blood was taken in a ward known as CP-2, that is, Operation Ward 2.

M. DUBOST: This was done on orders from higher quarters?

DUPONT: I do not see how it could have been done otherwise.

M. DUBOST: On their own initiative?

DUPONT: Not on the initiative of anyone in the camp. These elements had nothing to do with the camp administration or the guards. I must make it clear that those whom I saw belonged to the Wehrmacht, whereas we were guarded by SS, all of them from the Totenkopf Division. Towards the end, a special use was made of them.

In the early months of 1945, members of the Gestapo came to Buchenwald and took away all the papers of those who had died, in order to establish their identity and to make out forged papers. One Jew was specially employed to touch up photographs and to adapt the papers which had belonged to the dead for the use of persons whom, of course, we did not know. The Jew disappeared, and I do not know what became of him. We never saw him again.

But this utilization of identification papers was not confined to the dead. Several hundred French internees were summoned to the "Fliegerverwaltung" and there subjected to a very precise interrogation on their person, their connections, their convictions, and their background. They were then told that they would on no account be allowed to receive any correspondence, or even parcels those of them who ever received any. From an administrative point of view all traces of them were effaced and contact with the outside world was rendered even more impossible for them than it had been under ordinary circumstances. We were deeply concerned about the fate of these comrades. We were liberated very soon after that, and I can only say that prisoners were used in this way, that their identification papers were used for manufacturing forged documents.

M. DUBOST: What was the effect of this kind of life?

DUPONT: The effect of this kind of life on the human organism?

M. DUBOST: On the human organism.

DUPONT: As to the human organism, there was only one effect: the degradation of the human being. The living conditions which I- have just described were enough in themselves to produce such degradation. It was done systematically. An unrelenting will seemed


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to be at work to reduce those men to the same level, the lowest possible level of human degradation.

To begin with, the first degrading factor was the way in which they were mixed. It was permissible, to mix nationalities, but not to mix indiscriminately every possible type of prisoner: political, military -- for the members of the French resistance movement were soldiers -- racial elements, and common-law criminals. Criminals of all nationalities were herded together with their compatriots, and every nationality lived side by side, so conditions of living were distressing.

In addition, there was overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and compulsory labor. I shall give a few examples to show that prisoners were mixed quite indiscriminately.

In March 1944, 1 saw the French General Duval die. He had been working on the "terrasse" with me all day. When we came back, he was covered with mud and completely exhausted. He died a few hours later.

The French General Vernaud died on a straw mattress, filthy with excrement, in
room Number 6, where those on the verge of death were taken, surrounded by dying

I saw M. De Tessan die ...

M. DUBOST: Will you explain to the Tribunal who M. De Tessan was?

DUPONT: M. De Tessan was a former French minister, married to an American. He also died on a straw mattress, covered with pus, from a disease known as septicopyohemia.

I also witnessed the death of Count de Lipkowski, who had done brilliant military service in this war. He had been granted the honors of war by the German Army and had, for one thing, been invited to Paris by Rommel, who desired to show the admiration he felt for his military brilliance. He died miserably in the winter of 1944.

One further instance: The Belgian Minister Janson was in the camp living under the conditions which I have already described, and of which you must have already heard very often. He died miserably, a physical and mental wreck. His intellect had gone and he had partially lost his reason.

I cite only extreme cases and especially those of generals, as they were said to be granted special conditions. I saw no sign of that.

The last stage in this process of the degradation of human beings was the setting of internee against internee.

M. DUBOST: Before dealing with this point, will you describe the conditions in which you found your former professor, Leon Kindberg, professor of medicine?


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DUPONT: I studied medicine under Professor Maurice Leon Kindberg at the Beaujon Hospital.

M. DUBOST: In Paris?

DUPONT: Yes, in Paris. A very highly cultured and brilliantly intelligent man. In January 1945 1 learned that he had just arrived from Monowitz. I found him in Block 58, a block which in normal circumstances would hold 300 men, and into which 1,200 had been crowded-Hungarians, Poles, Russians, Czechs, with a large proportion of Jews in an extraordinary state of misery. I did not recognize Leon Kindberg because there was nothing to distinguish him from the usual type to be found in these blocks. There was no longer any sign of intellect in him and it was hard to find anything of the man that I had formerly known. We managed to get him out of that block but his health was unfortunately too much impaired and he died shortly after his liberation.

M. DUBOST: Can you tell the Tribunal, as far as you know, the "crimes" committed by this man?

DUPONT: After the armistice Leon Kindberg settled in Toulouse to practice the treatment of pulmonary consumption. I know from an absolutely reliable source that he had taken no part whatsoever in activities directed against the German occupation authorities in France. They found out that he was a Jew and as such he was arrested and deported. He drifted into Buchenwald by way of Auschwitz and Monowitz.

M. DUBOST: What crime had General Duval committed that he should be imprisoned along with pimps, moral degenerates, and murderers? What had General Vernaud done?

DUPONT: I know nothing about the activities of General Duval and General Vernaud during the occupation. All I can say is that they were certainly not asocial.

M. DUBOST: What about Count de Lipkowski and M. De Tessan?

DUPONT: Nor has the Count de Lipkowski or M. De Tessan committed any of the faults usually attributed to asocial elements or common-law criminals.

M. DUBOST: You may proceed.

DUPONT: The means used to achieve the final degradation of the internees as a whole was the torture of them by their fellow prisoners. Let me give a particularly brutal instance. In Kommando A. S. 6, which was situated at Mansleben-am-See, 70 kilometers from Buchenwald, there were prisoners of every nationality, including a large portion of Frenchmen., I had two friends there: Antoine d'Aimery, a son of General d'Aimery, and Thibaut, who was studying to become a missionary.


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M. DUBOST: Catholic?

DUPONT: Catholic. At Mansleben-am-See hangings took place in public in the hall of a factory connected with the salt mine. The SS were present at these hangings in full dress uniform, wearing their decorations.

The prisoners were forced to be present at these hangings under threats of the most cruel beatings. When they hanged the poor wretches, the prisoners had to give the Hitler salute. Worse still, one prisoner was chosen to pull away the stool on which the victim stood. He could not evade the order, as the consequences to himself would have been too grave.

When the execution had been carried out, the prisoners had to file off in front of the victim between two SS men. They were made to touch the body and, gruesome detail, look the dead man in the eyes. I believe that men who had been forced to go through such rites must inevitably lose the sense of their dignity, as human beings.

In Buchenwald itself all the executive work was entrusted to the internees, that is, the hangings were carried out by a German prisoner assisted by other prisoners. The camp was policed by prisoners. When someone in the camp was- sentenced to death, it was their duty to find him and take him to the place of execution.

Selection for the labor squads, with which we were well acquainted, especially for Dora, Laura, and S III - extermination detachments - was carried out by prisoners, who decided which of us were to go there. In this way the internees were forced down to the worst possible level of degradation, inasmuch as every man was forced to become the executioner of his fellow.

I have already referred to Block 61, where the extermination of the physically unfit and those otherwise unsuited for labor was carried out. These executions were also carried out by prisoners under SS supervision and control. From the point of view of humanity in general, this was perhaps the worst crime of all, for these men who were constrained to torture their fellow-beings have now been restored to life, but profoundly changed. What is to become of them? What are they going to do?

M. DUBOST: Who was responsible for these crimes as far as your personal knowledge goes?

DUPONT: One thing which strikes me as being particularly significant is that the methods which I observed in Buchenwald now appear to have been the same, or almost the same, as those prevailing in all the other camps. The degree of uniformity in the way in which the camps were run is clear evidence of orders from higher quarters. In the case of Buchenwald, in particular, the personnel, no matter how rough it might be, would not have done such things


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on their own initiative. Moreover, the camp chief and the SS doctor, himself, always pleaded superior orders, often in a vague manner. The name most frequently invoked was that of Himmler. Other names also were given. The chief medical officer for all the camps, Lolling, was mentioned on numerous occasions in connection with the extermination block, especially by an SS doctor in the camp, named Bender. In regard to the selection of invalids or Jews to be sent to Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen to be gassed, I heard the name of Pohl mentioned.

M. DUBOST: What were the functions of Pohl?

DUPONT: He was chief of the SS administration in Berlin, Division D 2.

M. DUBOST: Could the German people as a whole have been in ignorance of these atrocities, or were they bound to know of them?

DUPONT: As these camps had been in existence for years, it is impossible for them not to have known. Our transport stopped at Treves on its way in. The prisoners in some vans were completely naked while in others they were clothed.

There was a crowd of people around the station and they all saw the transport. Some of them excited the SS men patrolling the platform. But there were other channels through which information could reach the population. To begin with, there were squads working outside the camps. Labor squads went out from Buchenwald to Weimar, Erfurt, and Jena. They left in the morning and came back at night, and during the day they were among the civilian population. In the factories, too, the technical crew were not members of the armed forces. The "Meister" were not SS men. They went home every night after supervising the work of the prisoners all day. Certain factories even employed civilian labor -- the Gustloff works in Weimar, for instance. During the work, the internees and civilians were together.

The civil authorities were responsible for victualling the camps and were allowed to enter them, and I have seen civilian trucks coming into the camp.

The railway authorities were necessarily informed on those matters. Numerous trains carried prisoners daily from one camp to another; or from France to Germany; and these trains were driven by railway men. Moreover, there was a regular daily train to Buchenwald as a terminal station. The railway administrative authorities must, therefore, have been well informed.

Orders were also given in the factories, and industrialists could not fail to be informed regarding the personnel they employed in their factories. I may add that visits took place; the German prisoners were sometimes visited. I knew certain German internees, and I know that on the occasion of those visits they talked to their


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Last edited by David Thompson on 02 Nov 2004 07:40, edited 1 time in total.

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 02 Nov 2004 07:18

Part 2 (final):

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relatives, which they could hardly do without informing their home circle of what was going on. It would appear that it is impossible to deny that the German people knew of the camps.

M. DUBOST: The Army?

DUPONT: The Army knew of the camps. At least, this is what I could observe. Every week so-called commissions came to Buchenwald, a group of officers who came to visit the camp. There were SS among these officers; but I very often saw members of the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, who came on those visits. Sometimes we were able to identify the personalities who visited the camp, rarely so far as I was concerned. On 22 March 1945 General Mrugowski came to visit the camp. In particular, he spent a long time in Block 61. He was accompanied on this visit by an SS general and the chief medical officer of the camp, Dr. Shiedlauski. Another point, during the last few months, -the Buchenwald guard, plus SS-men...

M. DUBOST: Excuse me for interrupting you. Could you tell us about Block 61?

DUPONT: Block 61 was the extermination block for those suffering from cachexy -- in other words, those arrived in such a state of exhaustion that they were totally unfit for work.

M. DUBOST: Is it direct testimony you are giving about this visit to Block 61?

DUPONT: This is from my own personal observation.

M. DUBOST: Whom does it concern?

DUPONT: General Mrugowski.

M. DUBOST: In the Army?

DUPONT: A doctor and an SS general whom I cannot identify.

M. DUBOST: Were university circles unaware of the work done in the camps?

DUPONT: At the Pathological Institute in Buchenwald, pathological preparations were made; and naturally some of them were out of the ordinary, since -- and I am speaking as a doctor -- we encountered cases that can no longer be observed, cases such as have been described in the books of the last century. Some excellent pieces of work were prepared and sent to universities, especially the University of Jena. On the other hand there were also some exhibits which could not properly be described as anatomical.

Some prepared tattoo marks were sent to universities.

M. DUBOST: Did you personally see that?

DUPONT: I saw these tattoo marks prepared.


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I M. DUBOST: Then how did they obtain the anatomic exhibits, how did they get these tattoo marks? They waited for a natural death, of course.

DUPONT: The cases I observed were natural deaths or executions. Before our arrival -- and I can name witnesses who can testify to this -- they killed a man to get these tattoo marks. It happened, I must emphasize, when I was not at Buchenwald. I am repeating what was told me by witnesses whose names I will give. During the period when the camp was commanded by Koch, people who had particularly artistic tattoo marks were killed. The witness I can refer to is a Luxembourger called Nicolas Simon who lives in Luxembourg. He spent 6 years in Buchenwald in exceptional conditions where he had unprecedented opportunities of observation.

M. DUBOST: But I am told that Koch was sentenced to death and executed because of these excesses.

DUPONT: As far as I know, Koch was mixed up with some sort of swindling affair. He quarrelled with the SS administration. He was undoubtedly arrested and imprisoned.

THE PRESIDENT: We had better have an adjournment now.

[A recess was taken.]

M. DUBOST: We stopped at the end of the Koch story and the witness was telling the Tribunal that Koch had been executed not for the crimes that he had committed with regard to the internees in his charge, but because of the numerous dishonest acts of which he had been guilty during his period of service.

Did I understand the witness' explanation correctly?

DUPONT: I said explicitly that he had been accused of dishonesty. I cannot give precise details of all the charges. I cannot say that he was accused exclusively of dishonest acts by his administration; I know that such charges were made against him, but I have no further information.

M. DUBOST: Have you nothing to add?

DUPONT: I can say that this information came from Dr. Owen, who had been arrested at the same time and released again and who returned to Buchenwald towards the end, that is, early in 1945.

M. DUBOST: What was the nationality of this doctor?

DUPONT: German. He was in detention. He was an SS man and Koch and he were arrested at the same time. Owen was released and came back to Buchenwald restored to his rank and his functions at the beginning of 1945. He was quite willing to talk to the prisoners and the information that I have given comes from him.


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M. DUBOST: I have no further questions to ask the witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any member of the Defense Counsel wish to ask any questions?

DR. MERKEL: I am the Defense Counsel for the Gestapo.

Witness, you previously stated that the methods of treatment in Buchenwald were not peculiar to the Buchenwald Camp but must be ascribed to a general order. The reasons you gave for this statement were that you had seen those customs and methods in all the other camps too. How am I to understand this expression "in all the other camps"?

DUPONT: I am speaking of concentration camps; to be precise, a certain number of them, Mauthausen, Dachau, Sachsenhausen; labor squads such as Dora, Laura, S III, Mansleben, Ebensee, to mention these only.

DR. MERKEL: Were you yourself in those camps?

DUPONT: I myself went to Buchenwald. I collected exact testimony about the other camps from friends who were there. In any case, the number of friends of mine who died is a sufficiently eloquent proof that extermination was carried out in the same way in all the camps.

HERR BABEL: I should like to know to what block you belonged. Perhaps you can tell the Tribunal -- you have already mentioned the point -- how the prisoners were distributed? Did they not also bear certain external markings, red patches on the clothing of some and green on that of others?

DUPONT: There were in fact a number of badges, all of which were found in the same Kommandos. To give an example, where I was in the "terrasse-kommando" known as "Entwasserung" (drainage) I worked along side of German "common-laws" wearing the green badge. Regarding the nationalities in this Kommando, there were Russians, Czechs, Belgians, and French. Our badges were different; our treatment was identical, and in this particular case we were even commanded by "common-laws."

HERR BABEL: I did not quite hear the beginning of your answer. I asked whether the internees were divided into specific categories identifiable externally by means of stars or some kind of distinguishing mark: green, blue, et cetera?

DUPONT: I said that there were various badges in the camp, triangular badges which applied in principle to different categories, but all the men were mixed up together, and subjected to the same treatment.


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HERR BABEL: I did not ask you about their treatment, but about the distinctive badges.

DUPONT: For the French it was a badge in the form of a shield.

HERR BABEL: For all the prisoners, not only the French.

DUPONT: I am answering you. In the case of the French, who were those I knew best, the red, political badge was given to everyone without discrimination, including the prisoners brought over from Fort Barraut, who were common-law criminals. I saw the same thing among the Czechs and the Russians. It is true that the use of different badges had been intended, but that was never put into practice in any reasonable way.

To come back to what I have already stated, even if there were different badges, the people were all mixed up together, nevertheless, and subjected exactly to the same treatment and the same conditions.

HERR BABEL: We have already heard several times that prisoners of various nationalities were mixed up together. That is not what I asked you. You were in the camp for a sufficiently long period to be able to answer my question. How were these prisoners divided? As far as I know, they were divided into criminal, political, and other groups, and each group distinguished by a special sign worn on the clothing-green, blue, red, or some other color.

DUPONT: The use of different badges for different categories had been planned. These categories were mixed up together. "Criminals" were side by side with prisoners classed as "political." There were, however, blocks in which one or another of those elements predominated; but they were not divided up into specific groups distinguished by the particular badge they wore.

HERR BABEL: I have been told, for instance, that political prisoners wore blue badges and the criminals wore red ones. We have already had a witness who confirmed this to a certain extent by stating that criminals wore a green badge and asocial offenders a different badge and that the category to which they belonged could be seen at a glance.

DUPONT: It is true that different badges existed. It is true that the use of these badges for different categories was foreseen; but it I am to confine myself to the truth, I must emphasize the fact that the full use was not made of these badges. For the French, in particular, there were only political badges; and this increased the confusion still more since notorious criminals from the ordinary civil prisons were regarded everywhere as political prisoners. The badges were intended to identify the different existing categories, but they were not employed systematically. They were not employed at all for the French prisoners.


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HERR BABEL: If I understand you correctly, you say that all French prisoners were classified as political prisoners?

DUPONT: That is correct.

HERR BABEL: Now, among these French prisoners, as you said yourself, is it not true to say that there were not only political prisoners but also a large proportion of criminals?

DUPONT: There were some among...

HERR BABEL: At least, I took your previous statement to mean that. You said that quite definitely.

DUPONT: I did say so. I said that there were criminals from special prisons who were not given the green badge with an F, which they should have received, but the political badge.

HERR BABEL: What was your employment in the camp? You are a doctor, are you not?

DUPONT: I arrived in January. For 3 months I was assigned first to the quarry and then to the "terrasse." After that I was assigned to the Revier, that is to say the camp infirmary.

HERR BABEL: What were your duties there?

DUPONT: I was assigned to the ambulance service for internal diseases.

HERR BABEL: Were you able to act on your own initiative? What sort of instructions did you receive regarding the treatment of patients?

DUPONT: We acted under the control of an SS doctor. We had a certain number of beds for certain patients, in the proportion of one bed to 20 patients. We had practically no medical supplies. I worked in the infirmary up to the liberation.

HERR BABEL: Did you receive instructions regarding the treatment of patients? Were you told to look after them properly or were you given instructions to administer treatment which would cause death?

DUPONT: As regards that, I was ordered to select the incurables for extermination. I never carried out this order.

HERR BABEL: Were you told to select them for extermination? I did not quite hear your reply. Will you please repeat it?

DUPONT: I was ordered to select those who were dangerously ill so that they might be sent to Block 61 where they were to be exterminated. That was the only order I received concerning the patients.

HERR BABEL: "Where were they to be exterminated?" I asked if you were told that they were to be selected for extermination.


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Were you told "They will be sent to Block 61?" Were you also told what was to happen to them in Block 61?

DUPONT: Block 61 was in charge of a noncommissioned officer called Wilhelm, who personally supervised the executions; and it was he who ordered what patients should be selected to be sent to that block. I think the situation is sufficiently clear.

HERR BABEL: I beg your pardon. You were given no specific details?

DUPONT: The order to send the incurables.. .

HERR BABEL: Witness, it strikes me that you are not giving a straightforward answer of "yes" or "no," but that you persist in evading the question.

DUPONT: It was said that these patients were to be sent to Block 61. Nothing more was added but every patient sent to Block 61 was executed.

HERR BABEL: That is not first-hand observation. You found out or you heard that those who were sent there did not come back.

DUPONT: That is not correct. I could see for myself, for I was the only doctor who could enter Block 61, which was under the command of an internee called Louis Cunish (or Remisch). I was able to get a few of the patients out; the others died.

HERR BABEL: If such a thing was said to you, why did you not say that you would not do it?

DUPONT: If I understand the question correctly, I am being asked why, when I was told to send the most serious cases...

HERR BABEL: When you received instructions to select patients for Block 61 why did you not say, "I know what will happen to those people, and therefore I will not do it."

DUPONT: Because it would have meant death.

HERR BABEL: And what would it have meant if Germans had refused to carry out such an order?

DUPONT: What Germans are you talking about? German internees?

HERR BABEL: A German doctor, if you like, or anyone else employed in the hospital. What would have happened to him if he had received such an order and refused to carry it out?

DUPONT: If an internee refused point-blank to execute such an order, it meant death. In point of fact, we sometimes could evade such orders. I emphasize the fact that I never sent anyone to Block 61.

HERR BABEL: I have one more general question to ask about conditions in the camp. For those who have never seen a camp it is difficult to imagine what conditions were actually like. Perhaps


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you could give the Tribunal a short description of how the camp was arranged.

DUPONT: I think I have already spoken at sufficient length on the organization of the camp. I should like to ask the President whether it will serve any useful purpose to return to this subject.

THE PRESIDENT: I believe it is not necessary. [To Herr Babel] If you want to put any particular cross-examination to him to show he is not telling the truth, you can, but not to ask him for a general description.

HERR BABEL: The camp consists of an inner site surrounded and secured by barbed wire. The barracks in which the prisoners were housed were inside this camp. How was this inner camp guarded?

THE PRESIDENT: Will you kindly put one question at a time? The question you just put involves three or four different matters.

HERR BABEL: How was the part of -the camp in which the living quarters are situated, separated from the rest? What security, measures were taken?

DUPONT: The camp was a unified whole, cut off from the rest of the world by an electrified barbed wire network.

HERR BABEL: Where were the guards?

DUPONT: The guards of the camp were in towers situated all around the camp; they were stationed at the gate and they patrolled inside the camp itself.

HERR BABEL: Inside the camp? Inside the barbed wire enclosure?

DUPONT: Obviously, inside the camp and inside the barracks, of course. They had the right to go everywhere.

HERR BABEL: I have been informed that each separate barrack was under the supervision of only one man, a German SS man or a member of some other organization, that there were no other guards, that these guards were not intended to act as guards but only to keep order, and that the so-called Kapos, who were chosen from the ranks of the prisoners, had the same authority as the guards and performed the duties of the guards. It may have been different in Buchenwald. My information comes from Dachau.

DUPONT: I have already answered all these questions in my statement by saying that the camps were run by the SS in a manner which is common knowledge and that in addition the SS employed the internees as intermediaries in many instances. This was the case in Buchenwald and, I suppose, in all the other concentration camps.


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HERR BABEL: The answer to the question has again been highly evasive. I shall not, however, pursue the matter any further, as in any case I shall not receive a definite answer.

But I should like to put one further question: You stated in connection with the facts you described that a professor, whose name I could not understand through the earphones and who was, I believe, a professor of your own, was housed in Block 53. You stated in connection with the question of degradation that at first 300 people, I think, were housed there and later on 1,200. Is that correct?

DUPONT: There were 1,200 men in Block 58 when I found Dr. Kindberg there.

HERR BABEL: Yes. And if I understood you correctly, you said that in this block there were not only Frenchmen, but also Russians, Poles, Czechs, and Jews and that a state of degradation was caused not only through the herding together of 1,200 people but also through the intermingling of so many different nationalities.

DUPONT: I want to make it clear that the intermingling of elements speaking a different language, men who are unable to understand each other, is not a crime; but it was a pre-disposing factor which furthered all the other measures employed to bring about a state of human degradation among the prisoners.

HERR BABEL: So you consider that the intermingling of Frenchmen, Russians, Poles, Czechs, and Jews is a degradation?

DUPONT: I do not see the point of this question. The fact of intermingling ...

HERR BABEL: There is no need for you to see the point; I know why I am asking the question.

DUPONT: The fact of putting men who speak different languages together is not degrading. I did not either think or say such a thing; but the herding together of elements which differ from each other in every respect and especially in that of language, in itself made living conditions more difficult, and paved the way for the application of other measures which I have already described at length and whose final aim was the degradation of the human being.

HERR BABEL: I cannot understand why the necessity of associating with people whose language one does not understand should be degrading.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Babel, he has given his answer, that he considers it tended to degradation. It does not matter whether you understand it or not.

HERR BABEL: Mr. President, the transmission through the earphones is sometimes so imperfect that I, at least, often cannot


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hear exactly what the witness says and for that reason I have unfortunately been compelled to have an answer repeated from time to time.

M. DUBOST: I should not like the Tribunal to mistake this interpolation for an interruption of the cross-examination; but I think I must say that some confusion was undoubtedly created in the mind of the Defense Counsel just now in consequence of an interpreter's error which has been brought to my notice.

He asked my witness an insidious question, namely, whether the French deportees were criminals for the most part, and the question was interpreted as follows: whether the French deportees were criminals. The witness answered the question as translated into French and not as asked in German. I therefore request that the question be put once more by the Defense Counsel and correctly translated.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you understand what Mr. Dubost said, Dr. Babel?

HERR BABEL: I think I understand the substance. I think I understand that there was a mistake in the translation. I am not in a position to judge; I cannot follow both the French and German text.

THE PRESIDENT: I think the best course is to continue your cross-examination, if you have any more questions to ask, and Mr. Dubost can clear up the difficulty in re-examination.

HERR BABEL: Mr. President, the Defense Counsel for Kaltenbrunner has already explained today that it is very difficult for the Defense to cross-examine a witness without being informed at least one day before as to the subjects on which the witness is to be heard. The testimony given by today's witnesses was so voluminous that it is impossible for me to follow it without previous preparation and to prepare and conduct from brief notes the extensive cross-examinations which are necessary.

To my knowledge, the President has already informed Defense Counsel for the organizations that we shall have an opportunity of re-examining the witnesses later or of calling them on our own behalf.

THE PRESIDENT: I have already said what I have to say on behalf of the Tribunal on that point, but as Counsel for the Defense must have anticipated that witnesses would be called as to the conditions in the concentration camps, I should have thought they could have prepared their cross-examination during the 40 or more days during which the Trial has taken place.

HERR BABEL: Mr. President, I do not think that this is the proper time for me to argue the matter with the Tribunal, but I


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may perhaps be given the opportunity of doing so later in a closed session. I consider this necessary in the interests of the rapid and unhampered progress of the Trial.
I have no desire whatsoever to delay the proceedings. I have the greatest interest in expediting them as far as possible, but I am anxious not to do so at the cost of prejudicing, the defense of the organizations.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Babel, I have already pointed out to you that you must have anticipated that the witnesses might be called to state the conditions in concentration camps. You must therefore have had full opportunity during the days the Trial has taken place for making up your mind on what points you would cross- examine, and I see no reason to discuss the matter with you.

HERR BABEL: Thank you for this information. But naturally I cannot know in advance exactly what the witness is going to say, and I cannot cross-examine him until I have heard him. I know, of course, that a witness is going to make a statement about concentration camps but I cannot know in advance which particular points he will discuss.

M. DUBOST: I would ask the Tribunal to note that in questioning the French witness the Defense used certain words the literal translation of which is "for the most part." This applied to the character of the French deportees. The question was, "Were they criminals for the most part?" The witness understood it to be as I did: "Did you say that they were criminals?" and not "that the convoys were for the most part composed of criminals." His reply was the natural one. The Tribunal will allow me to ask the witness to give details. What was the proportion of common-law criminals and patriots respectively among the deportees? Was he himself a common-law criminal or a patriot? Were the generals and other personalities whose names he has given us common-law criminals or patriots, speaking generally?

DUPONT: The proportion of French common-law criminals was very small. The common-law criminals came from Fort Barraut in a convoy. I cannot give the exact figures, but there were only a few hundred out of all the internees. In other incoming convoys the proportion of common-law criminals included was only 2 or 3 per thousand.

M. DUBOST: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

[The witness left the stand.]

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