Auschwitz statement of Hans Stark

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Auschwitz statement of Hans Stark

Post by David Thompson » 10 Jun 2004 23:35

This is an excerpt from a statement made by Hans Stark, a defendant in the Auschwitz trial conducted by a West German court at Frankfurt-am-Main Dec 1963-Aug 1965. It was scanned from The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders, ed. Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen and Volker Riess, The Free Press, New York: 1991, pp. 252-55:

2. `Grabner ordered me to pour Zyklon B into the opening'
Statement of Hans Stark, registrar of new arrivals


The Political Department (PD) of Auschwitz concentration camp was effectively independent and did not come under the authority of the camp commandant. The camp commandant was, however, the disciplinary superior of all the members of the Political Department apart from Grabner and Wosnitza. The PD took its instructions and orders either from the Gestapo regional headquarters in Kattowitz (Katowice) or directly from the RSHA. Reports and communications were sent directly to the RSHA from the PD. My job in the reception department entailed registering newly arrived prisoners and giving prisoner numbers to them.
The prisoners' personal details were also taken down. The reception department would notify the relevant headquarters about the prisoners who had been delivered by them.

The reception department was involved with executions in so far as it had to take the newly arrived transports earmarked for execution to be shot instead of registering them. I was entrusted with this task.

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After receiving telephoned instructions from Grabner I had to take such new arrivals to the small crematorium near by, where they were shot in a special room by Rapportführer Palitsch.

A small-calibre rifle was used for these executions that was always kept in the Blockführer's hut, which was also where we were accommodated. If there were several new arrivals to shoot I would take them all to the small crematorium. On the way I would tell them that they were going off to have a bath. In an ante-room of the execution room I would ask them to get undressed and I then went into the shooting room with the first one. Palitsch was always already there with the rifle. There were often other Blockführer or Schutzhaftlagerführer present as well. Palitsch would keep the rifle hidden behind his back so that the prisoner could not see it. Then Palitsch or I would say to the prisoner, `Look over there!', whereupon Palitsch would take the rifle and kill the prisoner with 'a shot in the neck. Palitsch would hold the rifle a few centimetres from the prisoner's neck. This was how those earmarked for execution would be killed, one after the other. The bodies were then carried out of the room one after another by prisoners who would be waiting next door, in the crematorium. I do not think that the prisoners waiting in the ante-room could hear the gunfire, as there were double doors leading to the shooting room. After individual new prisoners or groups had been executed, their bodies were incinerated in the small crematorium. This was occasionally supervised by Unterscharfuehrer Quakernack... .
After each execution a written report was submitted to the RSHA using the following formula: `such and such a number of people have been found special lodging' ['soundsoviel Personen gesondert untergebracht worden seien']. This type of action was mainly directed against persons of the Jewish race and was called a `Special Treatment' [Sonderbehandlung]. An order concerning these `Special Treatments' had been issued by the RSHA at the beginning of the Russian campaign which had been verbally transmitted to us members of the Political Department.

As I have already mentioned, I used to receive my orders to take the newly arrived prisoners to the shooting room by telephone from Grabner. Sometimes he would come and tell me in person. I never attempted to avoid carrying out such an order. It never entered my head. I had been a member of the SS for a long time and my whole outlook was coloured by the training I had received during this period. I certainly felt that these orders were an injustice and also tried repeatedly to volunteer for service at the front; however, I was

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only able to leave Auschwitz when my request to continue my studies was finally approved.

On one occasion I took an active part in an execution. This was in the autumn of 1941 in the yard of block 11. At that time some twenty to thirty Russian Commissars had been delivered by the Gestapo regional headquarters in Kattowitz (Katowice). Grabner, Palitsch and, if I remember correctly, a Blockführer from block 11 and I took them to the execution yard. The two rifles were already in block 11. The Russian Commissars were wearing Russian army uniforms — there was nothing that particularly distinguished them as Commissars. Who had established they were Commissars I do not know, but I assume that this was done by the Gestapo in Kattowitz, as many of their officials attended the execution as observers. I do not know whether or not these Commissars were sentenced to death in a regular fashion. I do not think so, for in my opinion Russian Commissars were executed by firing-squad almost without exception. The Russians were killed in pairs in the yard of the block while the others awaited their execution in the corridor of block 11. Grabner, Palitsch, the above-mentioned Blockführer and I took it in turns to shoot these twenty to thirty Commissars one after the other. Their bodies were piled up in a corner of the yard by prisoners from the bunker, if I remember correctly, and put into chests. Two bodies were put in one chest. These chests were taken to the small crematorium in a farm cart drawn by prisoners. I no longer know exactly how many of them I actually shot myself. . . .

As early as autumn 1941 gassings were carried out in a room in the small crematorium which had been prepared for this purpose. The room held about 200—250 people, had a higher-than-average ceiling, no windows and only a specially insulated door, with bolts like those

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of an airtight door. There were no pipes or the like which would lead the prisoners to believe that it was perhaps a shower room. In the ceiling there were two openings of about 35 cm in diameter at some distance from each other. The room had a flat roof which allowed daylight in through the openings. It was through these openings that Zyklon B in granular form would be poured... .

As I have already mentioned, the first gassing was carried out in the small crematorium in autumn 1941. Grabner ordered me to go to the crematorium in order to check numbers, just as I had had to do with the shootings. About 200–250 Jewish men, women and children of all ages were standing at the crematorium. There may also have been babies there. There were a great many SS members present, though I could not say what their names were, plus the camp commandant, the Schutzhaftlagerführer, several Blockführer, Grabner and also other members of the Political Department. Nothing was said to the Jews. They were merely ordered to enter the gas-chamber, the door of which was open. While the Jews were going into the room, medical orderlies prepared for the gassing. Earth had been piled up against one of the external walls of the gassing room to ceiling height so that the medical orderlies could get on to the roof of the room. After all the Jews were in the chamber the door was bolted and the medical orderlies poured Zyklon B through the openings... .

At another, later gassing – also in autumn 1941 – Grabner ordered me to pour Zyklon B into the opening because only one medical orderly had shown up: During a gassing Zyklon B had to be poured through both openings of the gas-chamber room at the same time. This gassing was also a transport of 200–250 Jews, once again men, women and children. As the Zyklon B – as already mentioned – was in granular form, it trickled down over the people as it was being poured in. They then started to cry out terribly for they now knew what was happening to them. I did not look through the opening because it had to be closed as soon as the Zyklon B had been poured in. After a few minutes there was silence. After some time had passed, it may have been ten to fifteen minutes, the gas-chamber was opened. The dead lay higgledy-piggledy all over the place. It was a dreadful sight.

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Stark, Hans (1921-?) [SS-Untersturmfűhrer] -- guard, concentration camp (Konzentrationslager - KL) Buchenwald 1937; guard, KL Dachau 1938; service, KL Oranienburg 1938; guard, KL Auschwitz 1940-1943 {indicted and put on trial by a West German Court at Frankfurt-am-Main Dec 1963 for joint murders at Auschwitz on at least 44 separate occasions, one of which involved the death of 200 persons and another involving the death of at least 100 persons (NYT 17 Jan 1964:7:6; NYT 9 May 1964:2:5; NYT 16 May 1964:2:7; NYT 23 May 1964:7:3; NYT 6 Jun 1964:21:4; NYT 17 Jul 1964:2:6); convicted and sentenced to a term of ten years imprisonment 19 Aug 1965 (NYT 20 Aug 1965:8:4; JuNSV Verfahren Lfd.Nr.595; LG Frankfurt/M. 650819; BGH 690220; Good Old Days 301; Snyder Ency p. 99; Auschwitz Chronicles pps. 822-3; Camp Men p. 228); case unsuccessfully appealed by prosecution on grounds of lightness of sentence (NYT 26 Aug 1965:11:1).}

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Helly Angel
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Re: Auschwitz statement of Hans Stark

Post by Helly Angel » 05 Jul 2011 21:10

Stark died as free man in March 29, 1991, in Darmstadt.

David Thompson
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Re: Auschwitz statement of Hans Stark

Post by David Thompson » 05 Jul 2011 21:58

Thanks, Helly. Do you have a source for the information?

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Helly Angel
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Re: Auschwitz statement of Hans Stark

Post by Helly Angel » 06 Jul 2011 04:43

Ohh sorry friend, I forget the mention of the source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Stark

All the best!

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Re: Auschwitz statement of Hans Stark

Post by David Thompson » 06 Jul 2011 08:39

Thanks, Helly.

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