Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hoess Affidavit: NI-4434-A

Source:  Nuremberg Document NI-4434-A

Comment:  Given in Warsaw 12 March 1947


From May 1940, until 1 December 1943, I was commandant of the concentration camp at Auschwitz.  Thereafter I was Chief of Office of the Department I of Wirtschafts Verwaltungs Hauptamt.  Until 1 December 1943, one of my official functions was to inspect the use of labor (Arbeitseinsatz) of concentration camp prisoners from the Auschwitz camp and subsequently to inspect the use as labor of prisoners from all German concentration camps whenever Polh, the chief of the Main Office (Hauptamt); especially ordered me to do so.

According to my knowledge, the large scale use of concentration camp prisoners in the German private industry began in 1940/41.  The utilization increased constantly until the end of the war.

Towards the end of 1944, there were approximately 400,000 concentration camp prisoners used in the private armament industry and in establishments essential for armament purposes.  How many prisoners were used prior or after that time I cannot say.  According to my estimate, in enterprises with particularly severe working conditions - for instance, in mines - every month one fifth died or were, because of inability to work, sent back by the enterprises to the camps in order to be exterminated.

The concentration camps have at no time offered labor to the industry.  On the contrary, prisoners were sent to enterprises only after the enterprise had made a request for concentration camp prisoners.  In their letters of request the enterprises had to state in detail which measures had been taken by them, even before the arrival of the prisoners, to guard them, to quarter them, etc.  I visited officially many such establishments to verify such statements and this was always before the inmates would be sent.

The enterprises did not have to submit reports on causes for death, etc.  On the basis of reports which we received in the camps from the SS guard personnel and from the leaders of the labor details, on the decrease of the number of prisoners working in the respective enterprises, the number of deaths and of persons unable to work was communicated, and on that basis new prisoners were continuously sent out to the respective enterprises for replenishing.

During my official trips I was constantly told by executives of the enterprises that they want more prisoners.

In the beginning of the war the enterprises paid little for this labor, perhaps Mk.1.-, Mk 1.20.  Later on, they paid up to Mk 5.00 for skilled workers.  Among the prisoners sent out to be used as labor, there were
1) non-Jewish prisoners who were selected by reason of their professional training.
2)  Jews who were selected merely because of their ability to work.

The age of prisoners utilized for labor ranged from approximately 13 years upwards.  Prisoners over 50 years were but rarely utilized for labor - when they were particularly strong or were trained along special lines - otherwise they were exterminated at once.

Prisoners utilized for labor who every evening returned from the plant to the concentration camp, had to work in concentration camp, had to work in the concentration camp on the same evening whenever collective or individual punishment to this effect had been imposed.  Such additional collective or individual penal labor would be imposed because of minor offenses against the discipline, for instance, saluting not according to regulations.  In such cases the prisoners had to work as long as daylight would permit, in the summer for two to three hours.  In addition, the other customary punishments were imposed
[signed] Rudolf Hoess
[signed] John H E Fried
[signed] Hertha C Knuth

We, the undersigned, herewith declare that Rudolf Hoess signed his name on all three pages of this document by his own hand in our presence, after having carefully read, in our presence, every page including the corrections as they now appear.

John H E Fried
Consultant to the US Secretary of War
Warsaw 12 March 1947
Hertha C Knuth
Interpreter, OCCWC

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