The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Testimony of Richard Baer

9 May 1961

The Competent Court of Justice, Frankfurt am Main
Re: Request for Legal Assistance

The main hearing in the criminal proceedings against the Accused Adolf Eichmann is at present taking place in this Court.

In the context of this main hearing, I request you to extend legal assistance to this Court by the examination on oath of the following witness:

Richard Baer, Remand Installation, Frankfurt am Main, Hammelsgasse.

The witness is to be examined as to the following allegations of the Accused:

(1) that he was the last Commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp;

(2) that he never met the Accused;

(3) that he never received any instructions from the Accused or his office to exterminate Jewish inmates of the camp.

To complete the testimony of the witness, I would request that the witness also be asked the following questions which were drawn up by Counsel for the Accused:

(1) What rank did you hold in the SS?

(2) What positions did you hold from 1939 to 1945?

(3) As Commandant of Auschwitz, to which SS Head Office were you subordinate?

(4) Did you have an official link with the Accused or his Section?

(5) Did you receive orders or instructions from the Accused?

(6) Was the Accused your superior?

(7) As far as you know, did the Accused ever intervene in the activities of the concentration camp?

I would also request that the witness be asked the following additional questions which were drawn up by the Attorney General:

(1) When were you transferred to Auschwitz?

(2) What was the scope of your duties during the time you served at Auschwitz?

(3) What was the meaning of the terms: Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II, Auschwitz III?

(4) Which of the camps referred to above was directly under your control?

(5) Who were your predecessors as Commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp?

(6) Was Auschwitz II under your control?

(7) Was Auschwitz II identical with the so-called "Birkenau"?

(8) Do you know of visits made by Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess to the Eichmann Operations Commando in Budapest?

(9) If so, what was the purpose of these visits?

10) Who or what was the so-called authority or office responsible for delivering Jews to Auschwitz?

(11) Did you know anything about the obligation to report to the delivering authority?

(12) If so, what was the content of such reports?

(13) Did you comply with the instructions which you found had been issued with regard to the obligation to report to the assigning authority?

(14) What special regulations were issued to you during your service at Auschwitz with regard to the treatment of Jewish prisoners?

(15) Which SS or Reich Head Office transmitted such instructions to you?

(16) What do you know about the political department at Auschwitz, and to whom was it subordinate?

(17) While you were serving in Auschwitz, did SS doctors or other SS personnel carry out so-called selections and subsequent gassings of Jews, Poles or Gypsies?

(18) If so, on the basis of what directions or instructions were such selections and gassings carried out?

(19) What were the main countries of origin of the transports of Jews which arrived at Auschwitz while you were serving there?

(20) On what date did the last gassings of prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp take place?

(21) When and from which office did you receive the order to cease gassings of concentration camp prisoners?

I would request you to summon to the examination of the witness the representative of the Attorney General of the State of Israel, c/o H.E. Ambassador Dr. F.E. Shinnar, Israel Mission, Cologne, as well as Counsel for the Accused, Advocate Dr. R. Servatius, Hohenzollernring 14, Cologne, and to afford them, on their part, the opportunity to ask the witness any questions which might arise from his answers.

There is no objection on the part of this Court to the aforementioned representatives of the parties obtaining copies of the record of the examination.

Please forward the original of the record of the examination to this Court.

(-) Moshe Landau,
President of the Trial Court

The Court of First Instance, Frankfurt (Main), 6 June 1961

- 932 Gs 1701/61-


Judge of First Instance Rieber as Judge

Court Official Schweidler as Authenticating Official at the Court Office

In the criminal proceedings against Adolf Eichmann there appeared:

1. Mr. Erwin S. Shimron as the representative of the Attorney General of the State of Israel;

2. Advocate Dieter Wechtenbruch, Munich, as Counsel for the Accused;

3. Advocate Dr. Hermann Stolting II as counsel for the witness whose name appears below in the criminal proceedings against him. He was authorized to be present at the examination of the witness, so that he would be informed about these proceedings, if consultations with his client should become necessary;

4. The witness whose name appears below.

The witness was instructed about the penalties and consequences of giving sworn evidence which is deliberately or negligently false or incomplete, and also of giving incomplete deliberately false or incomplete unsworn evidence, as well as about the significance of the oath, and the fact that he could refuse to provide information on questions by answering which he or his relatives could be exposed to the risk of criminal proceedings, and he was admonished to tell the truth.

Personal details:

My name is Richard Baer, I am 49 years old, I am a trained pastrycook, my last occupation was forestry labourer. I live in Dassendorf, District of the Lauenburg Duchy, currently in custody at the Frankfurt (Main) Remand Installation, Hammelsgasse, and am not related and not connected by marriage to the Accused.

On the matter in question:

From around mid-May 1944 until evacuation and dissolution, I was Commandant of the Auschwitz I concentration camp. Auschwitz I included only the camp which was situated close to the town of Auschwitz. I was therefore not the Commandant of all the camps which belonged to the Auschwitz complex, but merely Commandant of this one camp. In addition, during my time there were two other independent camps: Auschwitz II (Birkenau), under Commandant Hauptsturmführer Kramer, and Auschwitz III (Monowitz), under Commandant Hauptsturmführer Schwarz. As far as I know, this arrangement of these three camps, existing independently of one another, each under its own Commandant, was only introduced when I became Commandant of Auschwitz I; it certainly was not introduced later. As far as I know, the Commandants who had held office previously, Hoess and Liebehenschel, had been in charge of the entire complex, but I am not entirely sure of this. My rank was SS Sturmbannführer in the Waffen-SS, but when I took over the command, I was only a Hauptsturmführer. I do not remember what ranks Hoess and Liebehenschel held. They were either Sturmbannführer or Obersturmbannführer. The ranks I have indicated for Kramer and Schwarz are, I believe, ranks in the Waffen-SS. I do not know whether the two of them had a rank in the general SS. I myself did not.

When I took over the command, Hoess was there. However, at that time Hoess was a bureau chief in the Economic- Administrative Head Office, Bureau Group D. He was not a Commandant any longer. Before I arrived, Hoess had ceased being Commandant - Liebehenschel had taken over this post, previously occupied by Hoess. However, when I took up my office, Liebehenschel was not present and did not hand matters over to me.

I do not know the Accused, Adolf Eichmann, nor did I have anything to do with him. I also did not know of him as someone in the Head Office for Reich Security.

I do not wish to answer any further questions. This refusal to provide information also applies to answering point three of the topics of proof on which I am being asked according to the request for legal assistance.

All of the questions contained in the request for legal assistance have been read out to me, and I am not prepared to give any further information with regard to the questions put to me, other than that which I have already stated.

I have been asked whether, when I took up my duties at Auschwitz, I found warehouses containing goods and valuables there. I repeat that I am not prepared to give any further information in addition to what I have already said.

Read out, approved and signed
(-) Richard Baer

In accordance with Paragraph 60 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness was not sworn, as being suspect of complicity.

(-) Rieber, Judge of First Instance
(-) Schweidler, Court Official

I hereby certify that the attached photocopy corresponds to the original.

Frankfurt (Main), 9 June 1961
Court of First Instance, Dept. 932
(-) Rieber, Judge of First Instance

[ 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.