As linked by Dan B, Mr NickTerry has written:
I came across a claim that there were at least 69 SS officers and men who testified after the war to witnessing the gas chambers and their use.....
Quick initial stab at this; i.e. some known witnesses.....
Confirmed Gas Chamber Witnesses
Dr Fritz Klein Bergen-Belsen trial
SS guard Peter Weingartner Bergen-Belsen trial*
Franz Hössler Bergen-Belsen trial
Josef Kramer Bergen-Belsen trial
Walter Dejaco Vienna trial
SS Private Hoelbinger
SS Private Boeck
SS guard Oskar Groening BBC interview
Dr Karl Kahr (Standortarzt) Nbg Affidavit NO-1948
NickTerry’s “intial stab” could be a useful basis for compiling a shortlist of SS eyewitness who stood up in any courtroom and described a gassing operation as seen with their own eyes or as ordered by themselves. A much longer and inferior “B” list could include all those who have given such testimony in a written or recorded statement which has somewhere been counted as evidence. It should not need emphasis, though it probably does, that affidavits, being a form of hearsay, are a lowly category of evidence and are recognised as such by Anglo-Saxon legal systems. You cannot cross-examine a piece of paper. The truth of direct testimony depends on truthfulness of the person under cross-examination, not the truthfulness of some absent person.
Inadmissible in English criminal law, hearsay was made admissible in the post-war trials, and quite explicitly, because convictions would be hard to obtain without it. However the prosecutors in their interrogation cells knew that the judges on their benches would hope to hear at least one SS witness who with his own eyes had seen or ordered a gassing operation at least one time. If Orthodoxy can prove its case with an A-list, it does not need the B-list. Otherwise it has to admit that the best was not good enough.
Lance-corporal Broad does belongs on List A, but only because during the British Tesch trial he described seeing with his own eyes, on only one occasion, a sinister operation at the Old Crematorium. Otherwise Broad would barely make the B-list, and then only because at 1964 Frankfurt trial he did not unambiguously repudiate the preposterous document known as The Broad Report. Richard Baer would enter neither list, unless Dan B is withholding an answer to my question. Any statement in which an SS merely acknowledged, or failed to deny, the existence of gas chambers (“everyone knew” “Wirths told me all about it”) belongs on a D list. Groening did not testify in a courtroom under oath, and his spoken BBC interview, unless I am mistaken, does not contain any reference to gas chambers. Our source for his gas chamber testimony, unless I am still mistaken, is a book edited by the same Laurence Rees who manipulated the BBC soundtrack. Until I stand corrected I would put Groening in that branch of fiction known as holocaust memoirs. Weingartner is hearsay. Kahr is hearsay at two removes. It’s news to me that Dejaco ever provided direct testimony, but I am ready to learn. Hans Stark clearly does belong on the A-list, as do Boeck and Hoelbringer. (Hans Stark appears as Willi Stark in ARC-type lists of all SS accused which NickTerry has reproduced on his link)
Hoess of course would top any bill, being both perpetrator and observer. Josef Kramer, like Hoess and Aumeier, began with flat-out denial. After re-interrogation he recanted it, however, testifying in open court that he had hitherto felt bound by a promise not to tell. Scrupulous fellow. (Aumeier apparently recanted his recantation in open court, so he does not belong. He is a flat-out denialist )
Klein? In my opinion it would be easy to show that his testimony was coerced, but that is not why I exclude him. His courtroom testimony simply does not go the distance. He cannot bring himself to say more than that “had a look at the gas chamber” when “it was not working”. ( How many times? Just once, of course.) A machine-gun can be identified as a weapon when it is not working, but a gas chamber, when it was not working, was a crematorium or a morgue or, at most, a hut with sealed windows. How did Klein know, on that just-once occasion, that he was looking at a homicidal instrument? The court did not press the point. It took what it could get.
On the other hand Hans Muench at the IG Farben trials (NMT vol VIII) and elsewhere did admit in open court that with his own eyes he saw a gassing operation. (How many times? Just once, of course). He also affirmed that the SS guarded their secret with such fanatical discretion that they were able to fool Red Cross visitors and keep the local population in ignorance. Locals might be excused for believing SS lies about trains being loaded with transferees, Muench says, because they would actually have seen trains loaded with transferees. Why do the locals have to be excused? Because they were Polish, of course; Muench is recycling testimony made for Polish consumption. At the Farben trial, this created an awkward moment because many Farben employees were Polish civilians. Note that I am not claiming that direct testimony is necessarily good evidence. I am claiming that it is necessarily the best sort of testimony within any given legal system. I am just making a tentative list of such testimony.
Muench: May I add one more thing, please. The SS spread again and again the news that the trains that came out of Auschwitz were loaded with inmates that were being transferred to other camps, and it happened frequently that transports were transferred to other camps so that one could see this actually to be true.
Q. Mr. Witness, did you personally ever witness the gassing of human beings?
Muench. Yes, I saw one gassing at one time.
Q. And before you actually — personally — saw this gassing, is it your testimony that all your knowledge of gassings was just rumor?
Muench. No. Not my knowledge. And as far as the SS in Auschwitz is concerned, one can assume that all of them knew about details even if they didn't all of them see it themselves.
Schwarzhuber’s name should be subtracted. He did admit to seeing by accident a gassing at Ravensbruck. (How many times? Once, of course). But he only said this in a written affidavit, the most serious piece of evidence for gas chambers at the main Ravensbruck trial. But when his turn came to take the stand, Schwarzhuber pleaded a mysterious accident in his cell and asked for a postponement. Later he declined to take up his option. The tiny few who might be interested in that tangled tale will have to wait for my book. Suffice it here that Schwarzhuber did not affirm in open court. He is a B-lister. However, the wardress Ruth Neudeck/Closius, did at the third Ravensbruck trial describe a gas chamber operation - and was hanged for it. Examining her case helped to persuade me that there was no gas chamber at Ravensbruck. But her testimony is nevertheless A-list material.
Another name I would add is that of Wilhelm Bahr, the half-witted medical orderly who in open court repeated his written confession that he had poured Zyklon through a window upon about 200 Russian prisoners.
To the British, Anton Kaindl denied any knowledge of a gas chamber at Sachsenhausen. But at his Russian trial he stood up and confessed to all manner of things. We do not need anyone to point out the obvious frailties of this evidence. We need to hear from someone willing to defend it. Be bold! http://www.scrapbookpages.com/sachsenhausen/Trials.html
I would tentatively retain Hoessler, even though he describes no crime.
Q.: "Did you later learn the real purpose of these parades?"
A.: "Yes, I heard about it and did not think that that was right. Once when Hoess arrived in his car I asked him if it was all right what was going on, and he just told me to do my duty. I received the order to go on selection parade personally and verbally from Hoess."
Q.: "Will you explain exactly what happened when transports arrived in the camp?"
A.: "The transport train arrived at the platform in the camp. It was my duty to guard the unloading of the train and to put the S.S. sentries like a chain around the transport. The next job was to divide the prisoners into two groups, the women to the left, the men to the right. Then the doctors arrived, and they selected the people. The people who had been inspected by the doctors and found to be fit for work were put on one side, the men and the women. The people who were found to be unfit for work had to go into the trucks, and they were driven off in the direction of the crematorium."
He does claim to have seen a suspicious circumstance: unfit prisoners driven in the direction of “the crematorium”. It is not much, but it is first-hand testimony uttered in a courtroom.
Moll I would exclude, unless someone can find a transcript of his Dachau trial. His interview at Nuremberg in the presence of Hoess is certainly interesting and incriminating, but it is pre-trial testimony recorded by prosecutors and made by a man under an unconfirmed death sentence.
So here is my “initial stab” at a shortlist. SS FIRST-HAND TESTIMONY RE GAS CHAMBERS Nuremberg or in British Trials
Rudolf Höss Nuremberg IMT,
Franz Hössler Bergen-Belsen trial 1945 British
Josef Kramer Bergen-Belsen trial 1945 British
Pery Broad Tesch Trial (British) 1946 British
Hans Muench NMT (Farben case)
Wilhelm Bahr Neuengamme trial 1946 (British)
Ruth Closius/Neudeck Third Ravensbruck Trial 1947 (British)Other ( less Anglo-Saxon) trials
Hans Stark Frankfurt trial 1964 (West German)
SS Private Hoelbinger ditto
SS Private Boeck ditto
Erich Fuchs Sobibor trial 1963 (West Germany)
Kaindl Sachsenhausen trial 1947(Russian)
Eichmann Jerusalem trial 1961.
I added Erik Fuchs on the assumption that his frequently cited testimony (that the carbon monoxide came from a captured Russian benzene tank which he helped to install) is viva voce affirmation, not some affidavit that was put in. The trouble with the West German trials is that we know nothing about them. The pre-trial statements are not verbatim records and the Justiz und NS-Verbrechen volumes are quite useless if you want to know what was said in court. We do possess fairly full accounts of the Frankfurt trial, but only because two rather biased chroniclers happened to write it up. Apparently a complete audio-record was found in a basement a few years back, and the fuss that was made of this now forgotten discovery implies that a complete transcript of the trial was never been made public. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be published. Fair trials beget full transcripts.
Unfair trials sometimes do as well, including the Jerusalem trial of a kidnap victim who was unable to call witnesses in his own defence. Eichmann’s courtroom testimony is very long, largely because the Prosecution wasted most of its time trying to prove that Eichmann was a bigger fish than he could ever have been. It is also rather tortuous, largely because Eichmann is usually being called upon to justify, not what he did during the war but what rather he said or corrected in pre-capture publications and pre-trial interrogations. So I cannot pretend to have yet read all the sessions of this trial. I may have missed the moment where Eichmann actually described a gassing as seen with his own eyes. Nevertheless, he seemed quite ready to do so. In court he reaffirmed that that he was sent by Heydrich in Autumn 41 to a place somewhere near Lublin to check up on Globocnik’s progress in getting the extermination programme up and running. Also Eichmann indicated readiness to stand by a pre-trial admission that he had seen a gassing at Chelmno. (As far as I have seen, the prosecution did not press him for details in either case, possibly because those details, as set out in the pre-trial statements, are ridiculous.)
No doubt other names can be suggested of SS, not prisoners, who stood up in a named trial and gave direct evidence of an industrialised extermination program. Date and trial would be welcome. IMT testimony is probably the best. I am not suggesting that any of the post-war tribunals was kosher; but some trials had a bigger streak of due process than others.