KL Buchenwald & Dora: Dr. Alfred Balachowsky's testimony

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KL Buchenwald & Dora: Dr. Alfred Balachowsky's testimony

Post by David Thompson » 02 Nov 2004 10:30

This testimony is taken from the Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), vol. 6, pp. 301-321. The proceedings are available on-line at the Avalon Project of the Yalue University Law School at:

[The witness, Dr. Alfred Balachowsky, took the stand.]


29 Jan. 46

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

DR. ALFRED BALACHOWSKY (Witness): Alfred Balachowsky.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you French?


THE PRESIDENT: Will you take this oath? Do you swear to speak without hate or fear, to say the truth, all the truth, only the truth?

[The witness repeated the oath in French.]

Raise your right hand and swear.


THE PRESIDENT: You may sit if you wish.

M. DUBOST: Your name is Balachowsky; Alfred B-a-l-ac-h-o-w-s-k-y?

BALACHOWSKY: That is correct.

M. DUBOST: You are head of a laboratory at the Pasteur Institute in Paris?

BALACHOWSKY: That is correct.

M. DUBOST: Your residence is at Viroflay? You were born 15 August 1909 at Korotcha in Russia?

BALACHOWSKY: That is correct.

M. DUBOST: You are French?


M. DUBOST: By birth?

BALACHOWSKY: Russian by birth, French by naturalization.

M. DUBOST: When were you naturalized?


M. DUBOST: Were you deported on 16 January 1944 after being arrested on 2 July 1943, and were you 6 months in prison first at Fresnes, then at Compiegne? Were you then transferred to the Dora Camp?

BALACHOWSKY: That is correct.

M. DUBOST: Can you tell us rapidly what you know about the Dora Camp?

BALACHOWSKY: The Dora Camp is situated 5 kilometers north of the town of Nordhausen, in southern Germany. This camp was considered by the Germans as a secret detachment, a Geheimkommando, which prisoners who were kept there could never leave.

This secret detachment had as its task the manufacture of V-1's and V-2s -- the "Vergeltungswaffen" (reprisal weapons)-the aerial torpedoes which the Germans launched on England. That is why


29 Jan. 46

Dora was a secret detachment. The camp was divided into two parts: one outer part contained one-third of the total number of persons in the camp, and the remaining two-thirds were concentrated in the underground factory. Dora, consequently, was an underground factory for the manufacture of V-1's; and V-2's. I arrived at Dora on 10 February 1944, coming from Buchenwald.

M. DUBOST: Please speak more slowly. You arrived at Dora from Buchenwald on ...?

BALACHOWSKY: On 10 February 1944, that is at a time when life in the Dora Camp was particularly hard.

On 10 February we were loaded, 76 men, onto a large German lorry. We were forced to crouch down, four SS guards occupying the seats at the front of the lorry. As we could not all crouch down, being too many, whenever a man raised his head he got a blow with a rifle butt, so that in the course of our 4-hour journey several of us were injured.

After our arrival at Dora, we spent a whole day and night without food, in the cold, in the snow, waiting for all the formalities of registration in the camp-completing forms, with names and surnames, and so on.

In comparison with Buchenwald, we found a considerable change at Dora, as the general management of the Dora Camp was entrusted to a special category of prisoners who were criminals. These criminals were our block leaders, served our soup, and looked after us. In contrast to the political prisoners who wore a red triangular badge, these criminals were distinguished by a green triangular badge on which was a black S. We called them the "S" men (Sicherheitsverband). They were people convicted of crimes by German courts long before the war, but who, instead of being sent home after having served their terms, were kept for life in concentration camps to supervise the other prisoners. Needless to say prisoners of that kind, these criminals with the green triangles, were asocial elements. Sometimes they had been 5, 10, even 20 years in prison, and afterwards, 5 or 10 years in concentration camps. These asocial outcasts no longer had any hope of ever getting out of the concentration camps. These criminals, however, thanks to the support and co-operation they were offered by the SS management of the camp, now had the chance of a career. This career consisted in stealing from and robbing the other prisoners, and obtaining from them the maximum output demanded by the SS. They beat us from morning till night. We got up at 4 o'clock in the morning and had to be ready within 5 minutes in the underground dormitories where we were crammed, without ventilation in foul air, in blocks about as large as this room, into which 3,000 to 3,500 internees were crowded. There were five tiers of bunks


29 Jan. 46

with rotting straw mattresses. Fresh ones were never issued. We were given 5 minutes in which to get up, for we went to bed completely dressed. We were hardly able to get any sleep, for there was a continuous coming and going, and all sorts of thefts took place among the prisoners. Furthermore, it was impossible to sleep because we were covered with lice; the whole Dora Camp swarmed with vermin. It was virtually impossible to get rid of the lice. In 5 minutes we had to be in line in the tunnel and march to a given place.

THE PRESIDENT: [To the witness] Just a minute, please. M. Dubost, you said you were going to call this witness upon experiments. He is now giving us all the details of camp life which we have already heard on several occasions.

M. DUBOST: So far nobody has spoken about the Dora Camp, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but every camp we have heard of has got the same sort of brutalities, hasn't it, according to the witnesses who have been called? You were going to call this witness because he was going to deal with experiments.

M. DUBOST: If the Tribunal is convinced that all the camps had the same regime, then my point has been proved and the witness will now testify to the experiments at the Buchenwald Camp. However, I wanted to show that all German camps were the same. I think this has now been proved.

THE PRESIDENT: If you were going to prove that, you would have to call a witness from every camp, and there are hundreds of them.

M. DUBOST: This question has to be proved because it is the uniformity of the system which establishes the culpability of these defendants. In every camp there was one responsible person who was the camp commander. But we are not trying the camp commander, but the defendants here in the dock and we are trying them for having conceived ...

THE PRESIDENT: I have already pointed out to you that there has been practically no cross-examination, and I have asked you to confine this witness, as far as possible, to the question of experiments.

M. DUBOST: The witness will then confine himself to experiments at Buchenwald as this is the Tribunal's wish. The Tribunal will consider the uniformity of treatment in all German internment camps as proved.


29 Jan. 46

[Turning to the witness] Will you now testify to the criminal practices of the SS Medical Corps in the camps, criminal practices in the form of scientific experiments?

BALACHOWSKY: I was recalled to Buchenwald the 1st of May 1944, and assigned to Block 50, which was actually a factory for the manufacture of vaccines against exanthematous typhus. I was recalled from Dora to Buchenwald, because, in the meantime, the management of the camp had learned that I was a specialist in this sort of research, and consequently they wished to utilize my services in Block 50 for the manufacture of vaccines. However, I was unaware of it until the very last moment.

I came to Block 50 on the 1st of May 1944, and I stayed there until the liberation of the camp on the 11th of April 1945. Block 50, which was the block where vaccines were manufactured, was under Sturmbannfuehrer Schuler, who was a doctor was with the rank of a Sturmbannfuehrer, equal to SS major. He in charge of the block and was responsible for the manufacture of the vaccines. This same Sturmbannfuehrer Schuler was also in charge of another block in the Buchenwald Camp. This other block was Block 46, the infamous block for experiments, where the internees were utilized as guinea pigs.'

Blocks 46 and 50 were both run by one office; it was the "Geschaftszimmer." All archives, index cards pertaining to the experiments-as well as Block 50, were sent to the Geschaftszimmer, that is, to the office of Block 50.

The secretary of Block 50 was an Austrian political prisoner, my friend, Eugene Kogon. He and a few other comrades had, consequently, opportunities of looking through all the archives of which they had charge. Therefore they were able to know, day by day, exactly what went on either in Block 50, our block, or in Block 46. I myself was able to get hold of most of the archives of Block 46, and even the book in which the experiments were recorded has been saved. It is in our possession, and has been forwarded to the Psychological Service of the American Forces.

In this book all experiments are entered which were made in Block 46. B lock 46 was established in October 1941 by a high commission subordinate to the medical service of the Waffen SS; and we see as members of its administrative council, a certain number of names, for this Block 46 came under the Research Section Number 5 (Versuchsabteilung Number 5 of Leipzig) of the Supreme Command of the Waffen SS. Inspector Mrugowski, Obergruppenfuehrer of the Waffen SS, was in charge of this section. The administrative council which set up Block 46 was composed of the following members:


29 Jan. 46

Dr. Genzken, Obergruppenfuehrer (the highest rank in the Waffen SS); Dr. Poppendiek, Gruppenfuehrer of the Waffen SS; and finally we see among these names also that of Dr. Handloser of the Wehrmacht and of the Military Academy of Berlin, who was also associated with the initiation of experiments on human beings.

Thus, in this administrative council there were members of the SS, and also Dr. Handloser. The experiments proper were carried out by Sturmbannfuehrer Schuler, but all the orders and directives concerning the different types of experiments, which I shall speak about to you, were issued by Leipzig, that is, by the Research Section (Versuchsabteilung) of the Waffen SS. So there was no personal initiative on the part of Schuler or the management of the camp.

As to the experiments, all orders came directly from the Supreme Command in Berlin. Among these experiments, which we could follow step by step (at least some of them) through the cards, the results, the registration number of people admitted to and discharged from Block 46, were, first of all, numerous exanthematous typhus experiments; second, experiments on phosphorus burns; third, experiments on sexual hormones; fourth, experiments on starvation edema or avitaminosis; finally, fifth, I can tell you of experiments in the field of forensic medicine. So we have five different types of experiments.

M. DUBOST: Were the men who were subjected to these experiments volunteers or not?

BALACHOWSKY: The human beings subjected to experiments were recruited, not only in the Buchenwald Camp, but also outside the camp. They were not volunteers; in most cases they did not know that they would be used for experiments until they entered Block 46. The recruitment took place among criminals, perhaps in order to reduce their large numbers in that way. But the recruitment was also carried out among political prisoners and I have to point out that recruits for Block 46 came also from Russian prisoners of war. Among the political prisoners and prisoners of war who were used for experimental purposes at Block 46, the Russians were always in the majority, for the following reasons:

Of all the prisoners who could exist in concentration camps it was the Russians who had the greatest physical resistance, which was obviously superior to that of the French or other people of western Europe. They could withstand hunger and ill-treatment, and, generally speaking, showed physical resistance in every respect. For this particular reason, Russian political prisoners were recruited for experiments in greater numbers than others. However, there were people of other nationalities among them, particularly


29 Jan. 46

French. I should now like to deal with details of the experiments themselves.

M. DUBOST: Do not go too much into details, because we are not specialists. It will suffice us to know that these experiments were carried out without any regard to humanity and on nonvoluntary subjects. Will you please describe to us the atrocious character of these experiments and their results.

BALACHOWSKY: The experiments carried out in Block 46 did without doubt serve a medical purpose, but for the greater part they were of no service to science.

Therefore, they can hardly be called experiments. The men were used for observing the effects of drugs, poisons, bacterial cultures, et cetera. I take, as an example, the use of vaccine against exanthematous typhus. To manufacture this vaccine, it is necessary to have bacterial cultures of typhus. For experiments such as are carried out at the Pasteur Institute and the other similar institutes of the world, cultures are not necessary as typhus patients can always be found for samples of infected blood. Here it was quite different.

From the records and the chart you have in hand, we could ascertain in Block 46 12 different cultures of typhus germs, designated by the letter BU, (meaning Buchenwald) and numbered Buchenwald I to Buchenwald 12. A constant supply of these cultures was kept in Block 46 by means of the contamination of healthy individuals through sick ones; this was achieved by artificial inoculation of typhus germs by means of intravenous injections of 0.5 to I cubic centimeter of infected blood drawn from a patient at the height of the crisis. Now, it is well-known that artificial inoculation of typhus by intravenous injection is invariably fatal. Therefore all these men who were used for bacterial culture during the whole time such cultures were required (from October 1942 to the liberation of the camp) died, and we counted 600 victims sacrificed for the sole purpose of supplying typhus germs.

M. DUBOST: They were literally murdered to keep typhus germs alive?

BALACHOWSKY: They were literally murdered to keep typhus germs alive. Apart from these, other experiments were made as to the efficacy of vaccines.

M. DUBOST: What is this document?

BALACHOWSKY: This document contains a record of the typhus cultures.

M. DUBOST: This document was taken by you from the camp?

BALACHOWSKY: Yes, I took this document from the camp, and its contents were summarized by me in the experiment book of Block 46.


29 Jan. 46

M. DUBOST: Is this the document you handed to us?

BALACHOWSKY: We have actually made a more complete document-which is in the possession of the American Psychological Service-as we have the entire record, and this represents only one page of it.

M. DUBOST: I ask the Tribunal to take note that the French Prosecution submits this document, Document Number RF-334, as appendix to the testimony of Dr. Balachowsky.

BALACHOWSKY: [Continuing] In 1944, experiments were also made on the effects of vaccines. One hundred and fifty men lost their lives in these experiments. The vaccines used by the German Army were not only those manufactured in our Block 46, but also ones which came from Italy, Denmark, Poland, and the Germans wanted to ascertain the value of these different vaccines. Consequently, in August 1944 they began experiments on 150 men who were locked up in Block 46.

Here, I should like to tell you how this Block 46 was run. It was entirely isolated and surrounded by barbed wire. The internees had no roll call and no permission to go out. All the windows were kept closed, the panes were of frosted glass. No unauthorized person could enter the block. A German political prisoner was in charge of the Block. This German political prisoner was Kapo Dietzsch, an asocial individual who had been in prisons and in camps for 20 years and who worked for the SS. It was he who gave the injections and the inoculations and who executed people upon order. Strangely enough, there were weapons in the block, automatic pistols, and hand grenades, to quell any possible revolt, either outside or inside the block.

I can also tell you that an order slip for Block 46, sent to the office (Geschaftszimmer) at Block 50 in January 1945, mentioned three strait jackets to be used for those who refused to be inoculated.

Now I come back to the typhus and vaccine experiments. You will see how they were carried out.

The 150 prisoners were divided into 2 groups: those who were to be used as tests and those who were to be the subjects. The latter only received (ordinary) injections of the different type; of vaccines to be tested. Those used for testing were not given any injections. Then, after the vaccination of the subjects, inoculations were given (always by means of intravenous injections) to everybody selected for this experiment, those for testing as well as the subjects. Those used for tests died about two weeks after the inoculation-as such is approximately the period required before the disease develops to its fatal issue. As for the others, who


29 Jan. 46

received different kinds of vaccines, their deaths were in proportion to the efficacy of the vaccines administered to them. Some vaccines had excellent results, with a very low death rate-such was the case with the Polish vaccines.

Others, on the contrary, had a much higher death rate. After the conclusion of the experiments, no survivors were allowed to live, according to the custom prevailing in Block 46. All the survivors of the experiments were "liquidated" and murdered in Block 46, by the customary methods which some of my comrades have already described to you, that is by means of intracardiac injections of phenol. Intracardiac injections of 10 cubic centimeters of pure phenol was the usual method of extermination in Buchenwald.

THE PRESIDENT: We are not really concerned here with the proportion of the particular injections.

BALACHOWSKY: Will you repeat that please?

THE PRESIDENT: As I have said, we are not really concerned here with the proportions in which these injections were given, and will you kindly not deal with these details?

M. DUBOST: You might try and confine the witness.

BALACHOWSKY: [Continuing] Then I will speak of other details which may interest you. They are experiments of a psychotherapeutic nature, utilization of chemical products to cure typhus, in Block 46, under the same conditions as before. German industries co-operated in these experiments, notably the I. G. Farben Industrie which supplied a certain number of drugs to be used for experiments in Block 46. Among the professors who supplied the drugs, knowing that they would be used in Block 46 for experimental purposes, was Professor Lautenschlager of Frankfurt. So much for the question of typhus.

I now come to experiments with phosphorus, particularly made on prisoners of Russian origin. Phosphorus bums were inflicted in Block 46 on Russian prisoners for the following reason. Certain bombs dropped in Germany by the Allied aviators caused bums on the civilians and soldiers which were difficult to heal.

Consequently, the Germans tried to find a whole series of drugs which would hasten the healing of the wounds caused by these burns. Thus, experiments were carried out in Block 46 on Russian prisoners who were artificially burned with phosphorus products and then treated with different drugs supplied by the German chemical industry.

Now as to experiments on sexual hormones ...

M. DUBOST: What were the results of these experiments?

BALACHOWSKY: All these experiments resulted in death.


29 Jan. 46

M. DUBOST: Always in death? So each experiment is equivalent to a murder for which the SS are collectively responsible?

BALACHOWSKY: For which those who established this institution are responsible.

M. DUBOST: That is the SS as a whole, and the German medical corps in particular?

BALACHOWSKY: Definitely so, as the orders came from the Versuchsabteilung 5 (Research Section 5). The SS were responsible as the orders were issued by that section at Leipzig and, therefore, came from the Supreme Command of the Waffen SS.

M. DUBOST: Thank you. What were the results of the experiments made on sexual hormones?

BALACHOWSKY: They were less serious. Besides, these were ridiculous experiments from the scientific point of view. There were, at Buchenwald, a number of homosexuals, that is to say, men who had been convicted by German tribunals for this vice. These homosexuals were sent to concentration camps, especially to Buchenwald, and were mixed with the other prisoners.

M. DUBOST: Especially with the so-called political prisoners, who in reality were patriots?

BALACHOWSKY: With all kinds of prisoners.

M. DUBOST: All were in the company of these German inverts?

BALACHOWSKY: Yes. They wore a pink triangle to distinguish them.

M. DUBOST: Was the wearing of this triangle a well-established custom, or on the contrary, was there much confusion in classification?

BALACHOWSKY: At the very first, before my arrival, from what I heard, order was kept with respect to triangular badges; but when I arrived at Buchenwald, in January of 1944, there was the greatest confusion in the badges, and many prisoners wore no badge at all.

M. DUBOST: Or did they wear badges of a category different from their own?

BALACHOWSKY: Yes, this was the case with many Frenchmen, who were sent to Buchenwald because they were ordinary criminals and who finally wore the red triangle of political prisoners.

M. DUBOST: What was the color of the triangle -worn by the ordinary German criminals?

BALACHOWSKY: They had a green triangle.

M. DUBOST: Did they not wear eventually a red triangle?

BALACHOWSKY: No, because they had more privileges than the others and they wore the green triangle distinctly.


29 Jan. 46

M. DUBOST: And in the working groups?

THE PRESIDENT: We have heard that they were all mixed up.

M. DUBOST: The fact will not have escaped the Tribunal that these questions are put to counter other questions which were asked this morning by the Counsel for the Defense with the intent to confuse not the Tribunal, but the witnesses.

BALACHOWSKY: I repeat that we had a complete conglomeration of nationalities and categories of prisoners.

THE PRESIDENT: That is exactly what he said, that these triangles were completely mixed up.

M. DUBOST: I think, that the statement by this second witness will definitively enlighten the Tribunal on this point, whatever the efforts of the Defense might be to mislead us.

[Turning to the witness] Do you know anything about the fate of tattooed men?

BALACHOWSKY: Yes, indeed.

M. DUBOST: Will you please tell us what you know about them?

BALACHOWSKY: Tattooed human skins were stored in Block 2, which was called at Buchenwald the Pathological Block.

M. DUBOST: Were there many tattooed human skins in Block 2?

BALACHOWSKY: There were always tattooed human skins in Block 2. I cannot say whether there were many, as they were continuously being received and passed on, but there were not only tattooed human skins, but also I tanned human skins-simply tanned, not tattooed.

M. DUBOST: Did they skin people?

BALACHOWSKY: They removed the skin and then tanned it.

M. DUBOST: Will you continue your testimony on that point?

BALACHOWSKY: I saw SS men come out of Block 2, the Pathological Block, carrying tanned skins under their arms. I know, from my comrades who worked in Pathological Block 2, that there were orders for skins; and these tanned skins were given as gifts to certain guards and to certain visitors, who used them to bind books.

M. DUBOST: We were told that Koch, who was the head at that time, was sentenced for this practice.

BALACHOWSKY: I was not a witness of the Koch affair, which happened before I came to the camp.

M. DUBOST: So that even after he left there were still tanned and tattooed skins?

BALACHOWSKY: Yes, there were constantly tanned and tattooed skins, and when the
camp was liberated by the Americans,


29 Jan. 46

they found in the camp, in Block 2, tattooed and tanned skins on 11 April 1945.

M. DUBOST: Where were these skins tanned?

BALACHOWSKY: These skins were tanned in Block 2, and perhaps also in the crematorium buildings, which were not far from Block 2.

M. DUBOST: Then, according to your testimony, it was a customary practice which continued even after Koch's execution?

BALACHOWSKY: Yes, this practice continued, but I do not know to what extent.

M. DUBOST: Did you witness any inspections made at the camp by German officials, and if so, who were these officials?

BALACHOWSKY: I can tell you something about Dora, concerning such visits,

M. DUBOST: Excuse me, I have one more thing to ask you about the skins. Do you know anything about Koch's conviction?

BALACHOWSKY: I heard rumors and remarks about Koch's conviction from my old comrades, who were in the camp at that time. But I personally was not a witness of the affair.

M. DUBOST: Never mind. It is enough for me to know that after his conviction skins were still tanned and tattooed.


M. DUBOST: You expressly state it?

BALACHOWSKY: Absolutely. Even after his conviction, tanned and tattooed skins were still seen.

M. DUBOST: Will you tell us now what visits were made to the camp by German officials, and who these officials were?

BALACHOWSKY: Contacts between the outside-that is German civilians and even German soldiers-and the interior of the camp were made possible by departures and furloughs that some political prisoners were able to obtain from the SS in order to spend some time with their families; and, vice versa, there were visits to the camp by members of the Wehrmacht. In Block 50 we had a visit of Luftwaffe cadets. These Luftwaffe cadets, members of the regular German armed forces, passed through the camp and were able to see practically everything that went on there.

M. DUBOST: What did they do in Block 50?

BALACHOWSKY: They just came to see the equipment at the invitation of Sturmbannfuehrer Schuler. We received several visits.

M. DUBOST: What was the equipment?

BALACHOWSKY: Equipment for the manufacture of vaccines, laboratory equipment.


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M. DUBOST: Thank you.

BALACHOWSKY: There were other visits also, and some German Red Cross nurses visited that block in October 1944.

M. DUBOST: Do you know the names of German personalities who visited the camp?

BALACHOWSKY: Yes, such personalities as the Crown Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, who was an ObergruppenFuehrer of the Waffen SS and the Chief of Police of Hesse and Thuringia, who visited the camp on several occasions, including Block 46 as well as Block 50. He was greatly interested in the experiments.

M. DUBOST: Do you know what the attitude of mind of the prisoners was shortly before their liberation by the American forces?

BALACHOWSKY: The prisoners of the camp expected the liberation to come at any moment. On the 11th of April, in the morning, there was perfect order in the camp and exemplary discipline. We hid, with extreme difficulty and in the greatest secrecy, some weapons: cases of hand grenades, and about two hundred and fifty guns which were divided in 2 lots, 1 lot of 100 guns in the hospital, and another lot of about one hundred and fifty guns in my Block 50. As soon as the Americans began to appear below the camp of Buchenwald, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the 11th of April 1945, the political prisoners assembled in line, seized the weapons and made prisoners of most of the SS guards of the camp or shot all those who resisted. These guards had great difficulty in escaping as they carried rucksacks filled with booty -- objects they had stolen from the prisoners during the time they guarded the camp.

M. DUBOST: Thank you. I have no further questions to put to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now for ten minutes.

[A recess was taken.]

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of-the defendants' counsel want to ask any questions of
this witness?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Are you a specialist in research concerning the manufacture of

BALACHOWSKY: Yes, I am a specialist in matters of research.

DR. KAUFFMANN: According to your opinion, was there any sense in the treatment
to which these *people were subjected?


29 Jan. 46

BALACHOWSKY: It had no scientific significance; it only had a practical purpose. I permitted the verification of the efficacy of certain products.

DR. KAUFFMANN: You must have your own opinion, as you were in contact with these men. Did you really see these people?

BALACHOWSKY: I saw these people at very close hand, since in Block 50 1 was in charge of a part of this manufacture of vaccine. Consequently, I was quite able to realize what kind of experiments were being made in Block 46 and the reasons for these experiments. Further, I also realized the almost complete inefficiency of the SS doctors and how easy -it was for us to sabotage the vaccine for the German Army.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Now, these people must have gone through much misery and, suffering before they died.

BALACHOWSKY: These people certainly suffered terribly, especially in the case of certain experiments.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Can you certify that through your own experience, or is that just hearsay?

BALACHOWSKY: I saw in Block 50 photographs taken in Block 46 of phosphorus burns, and it was not necessary to be a specialist to realize what these patients, whose flesh was burned to the bone, must have suffered.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Then, your conscience certainly revolted at these things.


DR. KAUFFMANN: Well then, I would like to ask you, how your conscience allowed you to obey orders to help these people in some way?

BALACHOWSKY: That is quite simple. When I arrived at Buchenwald as a deportee, I did not hide my qualifications. I simply specified that I was a "laborant"-that is a man who is trained in laboratory work, but who has no special definite qualification. I was sent to Dora, where the SS regime made me lose 30 kilos in weight in two months. I became anaemic...

DR. KAUFFMANN: Witness, I am just concerned with Buchenwald. I do not wish to know anything about Dora. I ask you ...

BALACHOWSKY: It was the prisoners at Buchenwald who, by their connections within the camp, were the cause of my return to the Buchenwald Camp. It was M. Julien Cain, a Frenchman, the Director of the French National Library, who called my presence to the attention of a German political prisoner, Walter Kummelschein, who was a secretary in Block 50. He drew attention to my


29 Jan. 46
presence without my knowing it and without my having spoken in Dora of being a French specialist. That is the reason why the SS called me back from Dora to work in Block 50.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Please pardon the interruption. We do not wish to elaborate too much on these matters. I believe everything that you have just said is true -- the reason why you were sent to Dora and why you were sent back to Buchenwald -- but my point is a completely different one. I would like to ask you once more: You knew that these men were practically martyrs. Is that correct? Please answer yes or no.

BALACHOWSKY: I will answer the question. When I arrived at Block 50 1 knew nothing, either of the Block 50 or of the experiments. It was only later when I was in Block 50, that little by little, and through the acquaintances I was able to make in the block, I found out the details of the experiments.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Very well. And after you had learned about the details of the experiments, as you were a doctor, did you not feel great pity for these poor creatures?

BALACHOWSKY: My pity was very great, but it was not a question of having pity or not; one had to carry out to the letter the orders that were given, or be killed.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Very well. Then you are stating that if in any way you had not followed the orders that you had received you might have been killed? Is that right?

BALACHOWSKY: There is no doubt about that. On the other hand, my work consisted in manufacturing vaccine, and neither I nor any other prisoners in Block 50 could ever enter Block 46 and actually witness experiments. We knew what went on concerning the experiments only through the index cards which were sent from Block 46 to be officially registered in Block 50.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Very well, but I do not think it makes any difference to one's conscience whether one sees suffering with one's own eyes, or whether one has direct knowledge that in the same camp people are being murdered in such a way. Now, I come to another question.

THE PRESIDENT: Was that a question you were putting there? Will you confine yourself to questions.

BALACHOWSKY: I beg your pardon. I should like to answer the last question.

DR. KAUFFMANN: That was not a question. I will put another question now.

BALACHOWSKY: I should like to reply to this remark then.


29 Jan. 46

DR. KAUFFMANN: I am not interested in your answer.

BALACHOWSKY: I am anxious to give it.

THE PRESIDENT: Answer the question, please.

BALACHOWSKY: Suffering was everywhere in the camps, and not only in the experimental blocks. It was in the quarantine blocks; it was among all the men who died every day by the hundreds. Suffering reigned everywhere in the concentration camps.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Were there any injunctions that there was to be no talk about these experiments?

BALACHOWSKY: As a rule the experiments were kept absolutely secret. An indiscreet remark with regard to the experiments might entail immediate death. I must add that there were very few of us who knew the details of these experiments.

DR. KAUFFMANN: You mentioned visits to this camp, and you also mentioned that German Red Cross nurses, and members of the Wehrmacht visited the camp, and that furloughs were granted to political prisoners. Were you ever present at one of these visits inside the camp?

BALACHOWSKY: Yes, I was present at the visits inside the camp of which I spoke.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did the visitors at this camp see that cardiac injections were being given? Or did the visitors see that human skin was tanned? Did those visitors witness any ill-treatment?

BALACHOWSKY: I cannot answer this question in the affirmative, and I can say only that visitors passed through my block. One had to pass almost through the entire camp. I do not know where the visitors went either before or after visiting my block.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did one of your own comrades tell you perhaps whether the visitors personally saw these excesses? Yes or no.

BALACHOWSKY: I do not understand the question. Would you mind repeating it?

DR. KAUFFMANN: Did perhaps one of your comrades tell you that the visitors at the camp were present at these excesses?

BALACHOWSKY: I never heard that visitors were present at experiments or witnessed excesses of that kind. The only thing I can say, concerning the tanned skins is that I saw, with my own eyes, SS noncommissioned officers or officers -- I cannot remember exactly whether they were officers or noncommissioned officers come out of Block 2, carrying tanned skins under their arms. But these were SS men; they were not visitors to the camp.


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DR. KAUFFMANN: Did these visitors, and in particular Red Cross nurses, know that these experiments were medically completely worthless, or did they just wish to inspect the laboratories and the equipment?

BALACHOWSKY: I repeat again that these visitors came to my laboratory section, where they saw what was being done, that is, the sterilized filling of the shears. I cannot say what they saw before or after. I know only that these visitors of whom I am speaking, the Luftwaffe cadets or the Red Cross people, visited the whole installation of the block. They certainly knew, however, what was the source of this culture, and that men might be used for experiments, as there were charts and graphs showing the stages of cultures originating with men; but it could have been from blood initially taken from typhus patients and not necessarily from patients artificially inoculated with typhus.

I really think that these visitors did not generally know about the atrocities in the form of experiments that were being performed in Block 46, but it was impossible for visitors who went into the camp not to see the horrible conditions in which the prisoners were kept.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Do you perhaps know whether people who received leave, that is, inmates who temporarily were permitted to leave the camp, were permitted to speak about their experiences inside the camp and relate these experiences to the outside world?

BALACHOWSKY: All the concentration camps were, after all, vast transit camps. The inmates were constantly changing, passing from one camp to another, coming and going. Consequently there were always new faces. But most of the time, apart from those whom we knew before our arrest, or a few other comrades, we knew nothing about those who came and went.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Perhaps I did not express myself clearly. I mean the following: As you said before, political prisoners were permitted to leave the camp temporarily from time to time. Did these inmates know about these excesses, and if they did know, were they permitted to speak about these experiments in the rest of Germany?

BALACHOWSKY: The political prisoners (very few and all of German nationality) who ever obtained leave were prisoners whom the SS had entrusted with important posts in the camp and who had been imprisoned for at least 10 years in the camp.

This was so, for instance, in the case of Karl, the Kapo, head of the canteen of the Buchenwald Camp, the canteen of the Waffen SS, who was responsible for the canteen. He was given a fortnight's leave to visit his family at his home in the town of Zeitz. Consequently this


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Kapo was free for 10 days and was able to tell his family anything he wanted to; but I do not know, of course, what he did. What I can say is that obviously he had to be careful. In any case, the prisoners who were allowed to leave the camp were old inmates, as I have said, who knew approximately everything that was going on, including the experiments.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Now, one last question. If I assume that the people you just described told anything to members of their families, even on the pledge of secrecy, and the leaders of the camp came to know of these Indiscretions, do you not believe that the death penalty might have been incurred?

BALACHOWSKY: If there were indiscretions of that kind on the part of the family (for such indiscretions may be repeated among one's acquaintances), or at least, if such indiscretions came to the knowledge of the SS, it is obvious that those prisoners risked the death penalty.

DR. KAUFFMANN: Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any other Defense Counsel who wants to ask any questions?

HERR BABEL: I protest against the prosecutor's declaration that I tried to confuse witnesses with my questions. I am not here to worry about the good opinion or otherwise of the press, but to do my duty as a defense attorney ...

THE PRESIDENT: You are going too fast.

HERR BABEL: [Continuing] ... and I am of the opinion that things should not be made more difficult by anyone taking part in this Trial -- not even the press.

This war has brought me so much misfortune and sorrow that I have no reason to vindicate anyone who was responsible for this personal suffering or for the misfortune that fell on all our people. I will not try to prevent any such person from receiving his proper punishment. I am concerned only with helping the Tribunal to determine the truth, so that just sentences may be pronounced, and that innocent people may not be condemned.

THE PRESIDENT: Kindly resume your seat. It is not fit for you to make a speech. You have been making a speech, as I understood it; this is not the occasion for it.

HERR BABEL: I find it necessary because I was not protected against the Prosecution's reproach.

[Herr Babel left the stand to resume his seat.]

THE PRESIDENT: One moment; come back. I do not know what you mean about not being protected. Well! Listen to me. I


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don't know what you mean by not being protected against the Prosecution. The Prosecution called this witness and the defendants' counsel had the fullest opportunity to cross-examine, and we understood you went to the Tribunal for the purpose of cross-examining the witness. I do not understand your protest.

HERR BABEL: Your Honor, unfortunately I do not know the court procedure customary in England, America, and other countries. According to the German penal code and to German trial regulations, it is customary that unjustified and unfounded attacks of this kind made against a participant of a trial are rejected by the presiding judge. I therefore expected that perhaps this would be done here too, but as it did not happen, I took the occasion to.... If by doing so, I violated the rules of court procedure, I beg to be excused.

THE PRESIDENT: What unjust accusations are you referring to?

HERR BABEL: The Prosecuting Attorney implied that I put questions to witnesses calculated to confuse them, in order to prevent the witnesses from testifying in a proper manner. This is an accusation against the Defense which is an insult to us, at least to myself -- I do not know what the attitude of the other Defense Counsel is.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid I do not understand what you mean.

HERR BABEL: Your Honor, I am sorry. I think I cannot convince you as you probably do not know this aspect of German mentality, for our German regulations are entirely different. I do not wish to reproach our President in any way. I merely wanted to point out that I consider this accusation unjust and that I reject it.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Babel, I understand you are saying that the Prosecuting Attorney said something to you? Now, what is it you say the Prosecuting Attorney said to you?

HERR BABEL: The Prosecuting Attorney said that I wanted to confuse witnesses by my questions and, in my opinion that means I am doing something improper. I am not here to confuse witnesses, but to assist the Court to find the truth, and this cannot be done by confusing the witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: I understand now. I do not think that the Prosecuting Attorney meant to make accusations against your professional conduct at all. If that is only what you wish to say, I quite understand the point you wish to make. Do you want to ask this witness any questions?

HERR BABEL: Yes, I have one question. [Turning to the witness] You testified that weapons, 50 guns, if I understood


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correctly, were brought into either Block 46 or 50. Who brought these weapons in?

BALACHOWSKY: We, the prisoners, brought them in and hid them.

HERR BABEL: For what purpose?

BALACHOWSKY: To save our skins.

HERR BABEL: I did not understand you.

BALACHOWSKY: I said that we hid these guns because we meant to sell our lives dearly at the last moment -- that is, to defend ourselves to the death rather than be exterminated, as were most of our comrades in the camps, with flame-throwers and machine guns. In that case we would have defended ourselves with the guns we had hidden.

HERR BABEL: You said "we prisoners"; who were these prisoners?

BALACHOWSKY: The internees inside the camp.

HERR BABEL: What internees?

BALACHOWSKY: We, the political prisoners.

HERR BABEL: They were supposed to have been mostly German concentration camp prisoners?

BALACHOWSKY: They were of all nationalities. Unknown to the SS, there was an international secret defense organization with shock battalions within the camp.

HERR BABEL: There were German concentration camp prisoners who wanted to help you?

BALACHOWSKY: German prisoners also belonged to these shock battalions-German political prisoners, and in particular former German Communists who had been imprisoned for 10 years and who were of great help towards the end.

HEAR BABEL: Very well, that's what I wanted to know. Then, with the exception of the criminal who wore the green triangle, you and the other inmates, even these of German origin, were on friendly terms and helped each other; is that right?

BALACHOWSKY: The question of the "greens" did not arise, because the SS evacuated the "greens" in the last few days before the liberation of the camp.

They exterminated most of them; in any case they left the camp, and we do not know what became of them. No doubt some are still hiding among the German population.

HERR BABEL: My question did not refer to those with the green badges, but to your relations with the German political prisoners.


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BALACHOWSKY: The political prisoners, whether they were German, French, Russian, Dutch, Belgian or from Luxembourg, formed inside the camp secret shock battalions which took up arms at the last minute, and took part in the liberation of the camp. The arms that were hidden came from the Gustloff armament factory, which was located near the camp. These arms were stolen by the workers employed in this factory, who every day brought back with them either a butt hidden in their clothes, or a gull barrel, or a breech. And, in secret, with much difficulty, the guns were assembled from the different pieces and hidden. These were the guns we used in the last days of the camp.

HERR BABEL: Thank you. I, have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other German counsel wish to ask questions? Have you any questions, M. Dubost?

M. DUBOST: I have no further questions, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can retire.

[The witness left the stand.]

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