The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Eighteenth Day: Wednesday, 12th December, 1945
(Part 5 of 9)

[MR. DODD continuies]

[Page 319]

I refer to Document D-316, which is Exhibit USA 201. This document was found in the Krupp files. It is a memorandum upon the Krupp stationery to a Hert Hupe, a director of the Krupp Locomotive Factory in Essen, Germany, dated 14th March, 1942. I wish to refer to Page 1 of the English text, starting with Paragraph 1, as follows, and I am quoting directly:-
"During the last few days we established that the food for the Russians employed here is so miserable, that the people are getting weaker from day to day.

Investigations showed that single Russians are not able to place a piece of metal for turning into position, for instance, because of lack of physical strength. The same conditions exist in all places of work where Russians are employed."

The condition of foreign workers in Krupp workers' camps is described in detail in an affidavit executed in Essen, Germany, by Dr. Wilhelm Jaeger, who was the senior camp doctor. It is Document D-288, which is Exhibit USA 202.
"I, Dr. Wilhelm Jaeger, am a general practitioner in Essen, Germany, and its surroundings. I was born in Germany on 2nd December, 1888, and now live at Kettwig, Sengenholz, Germany. I make the following statement of my own free will. I have not been threatened in any way and I have not been promised any sort of reward.

On 1st October, 1942, I became senior camp doctor in Krupp's workers' camp, and was generally charged with the medical supervision of all Krupp's workers' camps in Essen. In the course of my duties it was my responsibility to report to my superiors in the Krupp works upon the sanitary and health conditions of the workers' camps. It was a part of my task to visit every Krupp camp which housed foreign civilian workers, and I am therefore able to make this statement on the basis of my personal knowledge.

My first official act as senior camp doctor was to make a thorough inspection of the various camps. At that time, in October, 1942, I found the following conditions:

The Eastern workers and Poles who worked in the Krupp works at Essen were kept at camps at Seumannstrasse, Spenlestrasse, Grieper- strasse, Heecstrasse, Germaniastrasse, Kapitan- Lehmannstrasse, Dechenschule, and Kramerplatz." (When the term "Eastern workers" is hereinafter used, it is to be taken as including Poles.) "All of the camps were surrounded by barbed wire and were closely guarded.

[Page 320]

Conditions in all of these camps were extremely bad. The camps were greatly overcrowded. In some camps there were twice as many people in a barrack as health conditions permitted. At Kramerplatz, the inhabitants slept in treble-tiered bunks, and in the other camps they slept in double-tiered bunks. The health authorities prescribed a minimum space between beds Of 50 cm., but the bunks in these camps were separated by a maximum Of 20 to 30 cm.

The diet prescribed for the Eastern workers was altogether insufficient. They were given 1,000 calories a day less than the minimum prescribed for any German. Moreover, while German workers engaged in the heaviest work received 5,000 calories a day, the Eastern workers with comparable jobs received only 2,000 calories. These workers were given only two meals a day and their bread ration. One of these two meals consisted of a thin, watery soup. I had no assurance that they did in fact, receive the minimum which was prescribed. Subsequently, in 1943, when I undertook to inspect the food prepared by the cooks, I discovered a number of instances in which food was withheld from the workers.

The plan for food distribution called for a small quantity of meat per week. Only inferior meats, rejected by the veterinary, such as horse meat or tuberculin- infested, was permitted for this purpose. This meat was usually cooked into a soup.

The percentage of Eastern workers who were ill was twice as great as among the Germans. Tuberculosis was particularly widespread among these workers. The tuberculosis rate among them was four times the normal rate (2 per cent. Eastern workers, German, - 5 per cent.). At Dechenschule approximately 2.5 per cent. of the workers suffered from open tuberculosis. These were all active tuberculosis cases. The Tartars and Kirghises suffered most; as soon as they were overcome by this disease they collapsed like flies, The cause was bad housing, the poor quality and insufficient quantity of food, overwork, and insufficient rest.

These workers were likewise afflicted with spotted fever. Lice, the carrier of this disease, together with countless fleas, bugs and other vermin tortured the inhabitants of these camps. As a result of the filthy conditions, nearly all Eastern workers were afflicted with skin disease. The shortage of food also caused many cases of hunger- oedema, nephritis and shiga-kruse.

It was the general rule that workers were compelled to go to work unless a camp doctor had prescribed that they were unfit for work. At Seumannstrasse, Grieperstrasse, Germaniastrasse, Kapitan-Lehmannstrasse, and Dechenschule, there was no daily sick call. At these camps the doctors did not appear for two or three days. As a consequence, workers were forced to go to work despite illness.

I undertook to improve conditions as well as I could. I insisted upon the erection of some new barracks in order to relieve the overcrowded conditions of the camps. Despite this, the camps were still greatly overcrowded, but not as much as before. I tried to alleviate the poor sanitary conditions in Kramerplatz and Dechenschule by causing the installation of some emergency toilets, but the number was insufficient, and the situation was not materially altered.

[Page 321]

With the onset of heavy air raids in March, 1943, conditions in the camps greatly deteriorated. The problem of housing, feeding, and medical attention became more acute than ever. The workers lived in the ruins of their former barracks. Medical supplies which were used up, lost or destroyed, were difficult to replace. At times the water supply at the camps was completely shut off for periods of eight to fourteen days. We installed a few emergency toilets in the camps, but there were far too few of them to cope with the situation.

During the period immediately following the March, 1943, raids, many foreign workers were made to sleep at the Krupp factories in the same rooms in which they worked. The day workers slept there at night, and the night workers slept there during the day, despite the noise which constantly prevailed. I believe that this condition continued until the entrance of American troops into Essen.

As the pace of air raids was stepped up, conditions became progressively worse. On 28th July, 1944, I reported to my superiors that:

The sick barrack in camp Rabenhorst is in such a bad condition that one cannot speak of a sick barrack any more. The rain leaks through in every corner. The housing of the sick is therefore impossible. The necessary labour for production is in danger because those persons who are ill cannot recover.

At the end of 1943, or the beginning of 1944 - I am not completely sure of the exact date - I obtained permission for the first time to visit the prisoner of war camps. My inspection revealed that conditions at these camps were worse than those I had found at the camps of the Eastern workers in 1942. Medical supplies at such camps were virtually non-existent. In an effort to cure this intolerable situation, I contacted the Wehrmacht authorities whose duty it was to provide medical care for the prisoners of war. My persistent efforts came to nothing. After visiting and pressing them over a period of two weeks, I was given a total of 100 aspirin tablets for over 3,000 prisoners of war.

The French prisoner of war camp in Nogerratstrasse had been destroyed in an air raid attack and its inhabitants were kept for nearly half a year in dog kennels, urinals, and old baking houses. The dog kennels were 3 ft. high, 9 ft. long, and 6 ft. wide. Five men slept in each of them. The prisoners had to crawl into these kennels on all fours. The camp contained no tables, chairs, or cupboards. The supply of blankets was inadequate. There was no water in the camp. That treatment which was extended was given in the open. Many of these conditions were mentioned to me in a report by Dr. Stinnesbeck dated 12th June, 1944, in which he said:-

Three hundred and fifteen prisoners are still accommodated in the camp. One hundred and seventy of these are no longer in barracks but in the tunnel in Grunertstrasse under the Essen-Muelheum railway line. This tunnel is damp and is not suitable for continued accommodation of human beings. The rest of the prisoners are accommodated in ten different factories in the Krupp works. The first medical attention is given by a French Military Doctor who takes great pains with his fellow countrymen. Sick people from Krupp factories must be brought to the sick parade. This parade is held in the lavatory of a burned-out public house outside the camp. The sleeping accommodation of the four

[Page 322]

French orderlies is in what was the men's room. In the sick bay there is a double tier wooden bed. In general, the treatment takes place in the open. In rainy weather it is held in the above-mentioned small room. These are insufferable conditions. There are no chairs, tables, cupboards, or water. The keeping of a register of sick people is impossible. Bandages and medical supplies are very scarce, all those badly hurt in the works are very often brought here for first aid and have to be bandaged here before being transported to hospital. There are many loud and lively complaints about food, which the guard personnel confirm as being correct.

Illness and loss of manpower must be reckoned with under these conditions.

In my report to my superiors at Krupps dated 2nd September, 1944,I stated-:

Camp Humboldtstrasse has been inhabited by Italian prisoners of war. After it had been destroyed by an air raid, the Italians were removed and 600 Jewish females from Buchenwald concentration camp were brought to work at the Krupp factories. Upon my first visit at Camp Humboldtstrasse, I found these females suffering from open festering wounds and other diseases.

I was the first doctor they had seen for at least a fortnight. There was no doctor in attendance at the camp. There were no medical supplies in the camp. They had no shoes and went about in their bare feet. The sole clothing of each consisted of a sack with holes for their arms and head. Their hair was shorn. The camp was surrounded by barbed wire and closely guarded by S.S. guards.

The amount of food in the camp was extremely meagre and of very poor quality. The houses in which they lived consisted of the ruins of former barracks and they afforded no shelter against rain and other weather conditions. I reported to my superiors that the guards lived and slept outside their barracks as one could not enter them without being attacked by 10, 20 and up to 50 fleas. One camp doctor employed by me refused to enter the camp again after he had been bitten very badly. I visited this camp with Dr. Grosne on two occasions and both times we left the camp badly bitten. We had great difficulty in getting rid of the fleas and insects which had attacked us. As a result of this attack by insects of this camp, I got large boils on my arms and the rest of my body. I asked my superiors at the Krupp works to undertake the necessary steps to delouse the camp so as to put an end to this unbearable vermin-infested condition. Despite this report, I did not find any improvement in sanitary conditions at the camp on my second visit a fortnight later.

When foreign workers finally became too sick to work or were completely disabled, they were returned to the Labour Exchange in Essen and from there they were sent to a camp at Friedrichsfeld. Among persons who were returned to the Labour Exchange were aggravated cases of tuberculosis, malaria, neurosis, cancer which could not be treated by operation, old age, and general feebleness. I know nothing about conditions at this camp because I have never visited it. I only know that it was a place to which workers who were no longer of any use to Krupp were sent.

[Page 323]

My colleagues and I reported all of the foregoing matters to Herr Inn, Director of Friedrich Krupp A.G., Dr. Wiels, personal physician of Gustav Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach, Senior Camp Leader Kupke, and at all times to the health department. Moreover, I know that these gentlemen personally visited the camps.

Signed Dr. Wilhelm Jaeger."

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now until 2 o'clock.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours)

MR. DODD: May it please the Tribunal: We had just completed the reading of the affidavit executed by Dr. Wilhelm Jaeger at the noon recess. The conditions which were described in this affidavit were not confined to the Krupp factories alone but existed throughout Germany, and we turn to a report of the Polish Main Committee made to the Administration of the General Government of Poland, Document R-103, which is Exhibit USA 204. This document is dated 17th May, 1944, and describes the situation of the Polish workers in Germany, and I wish to refer particularly to Page 2 of the English translation, starting with Paragraph 2; in the German text it appears at Page 2, Paragraph 2, also. In quoting from the document, it reads:-

"The provision for cleanliness at many overcrowded camp rooms is contrary to the most elementary requirements. Often there is no opportunity to obtain warm water for washing; therefore, the cleanest parents are unable to maintain even the most primitive standard of hygiene for their children or, often, even to wash their only set of linen. A consequence of this is the spreading of scabies which cannot be eradicated.

We receive imploring letters from the camps of Eastern workers and their prolific families, beseeching us for food. The quantity and quality of camp rations mentioned therein - the so-called fourth grade of rations - is absolutely insufficient to maintain the energies spent in heavy work. 3.5 kg. of bread weekly and a thin soup at lunch time, cooked with swedes or other vegetables without any meat or fat, with a meagre addition of potatoes now and then is a hunger ration for a heavy worker.

Sometimes punishment consists of starvation which is inflicted, e.g. for refusal to wear the badge 'East'. Such punishment has the result that workers faint at work (Klosterteich Camp, Grunheim, Saxony). The consequence is complete exhaustion, an ailing state of health, and tuberculosis. The spreading of tuberculosis among the Polish factory workers is a result of the deficient food rations meted out in the community camps, because energy spent in heavy work cannot be replaced.

The call for help which reaches us brings to light starvation and hunger, severe stomach intestinal trouble, especially in the case of children, resulting from the insufficiency of food which does not take into consideration the needs of children. Proper medical treatment or care for the sick is not available in the mass camps."

We now refer to Page 3 of this same document, and particularly to the first paragraph. In the German text it appears at Page 5, Paragraph 1:-
"In addition to these bad conditions, there is lack of systematic occupation for and supervision of these hosts of children, which affects

[Page 324]

the life of prolific families in the camps. The children, left to themselves, without schooling or religious care, must run wild and grow up illiterate. Idleness in rough surroundings may and will create unwanted results in these children. An indication of the awful conditions this may lead to, is given by the fact that in the camps for Eastern workers (camp for Eastern workers, 'Waldlust', Post Office Lauf, Pegnitz) there are cases of 8-year-old delicate and undernourished children put to forced labour and perishing from such treatment.

The fact that these bad conditions dangerously affect the state of health and the vitality of the workers is proved by the many cases of tuberculosis found in very young people returning from the Reich to the General Government as unfit for work. Their state of health is usually so bad that recovery is out of the question. The reason is that a state of exhaustion resulting from overwork and a starvation diet is not recognised as an ailment until the illness betrays itself by high fever and fainting spells.

Although some hostels for unfit workers have been provided as a precautionary measure, one can only go there when recovery may no longer be expected (Neumarkt in Bavaria). Even there the incurables waste away slowly, and nothing is done even to alleviate the state of the sick by suitable food and medicines. There are children there with tuberculosis whose cure would not be hopeless and men in their prime who, if sent home in time to their families in rural districts, might still be able to recover. No less suffering is caused by the separation of families when wives and mothers of small children are away from their families and sent to the Reich for forced labour."

And finally, from Page 4 of the same document, starting with the first paragraph. In the German text it appears at Page 7, Paragraph 4:-
"If, under these conditions, there is no moral support such as is normally based on regular family life, then at least such moral support which the religious feelings of the Polish population require should be maintained and increased. The elimination of religious services, religious practice and religious care from the life of the Polish workers, the prohibition of church attendance, at a time when there is a religious service for other people, and other measures, show a certain contempt for the influence of religion on the feelings and opinions of the workers."

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.