TRANSLATION OF N° 229
Being aware of the criminal consequences of a false sworn statement, I, Franz Krause, born on 16 June 1904 in Gedaithen, Krs.Allenstein, East Prussia, residing at …, make the following report, the correctness and truthfulness of which I confirm under oath.
From October 1943 to March 1945, I was the chief squad leader (sergeant- major) of headquarters company 1st division of the tank regiment of the ‘Viking’ division. In early May 1944, I was assigned to the tank regiment as leader of the support point. ‘Support point’ means the management of material reserves, devices, clothing, etc. I received the order to construct the support point in the Auschwitz concentration camp, while the division was on the troop exercise ground at Heidelager (Debica, Poland). In the Auschwitz camp, a barracks, in which I could store the materials, was made available to me by the
My stay right there lasted 10 weeks, so that I used the opportunity to allow my wife and 5 years-old boy to come stay with me. The dwelling made available to me by the camp administration was located in an individual dwelling house. Since I had enough time, I walked around the camp to get to know it. No restrictions were imposed upon me by the camp administration.
I remember especially well that I heard music and went over to see where it came from. In front of the local administration building stood thousands of inmates standing in march formation and marching along the camp road to the armaments factories located outside the camp under the direction of Kapos (prisoners) to the sound of music. Towards evening, they returned to the camp. This was repeated every day during my stay. I have established that the inmates were well fed and their behavior was also good.
I made the same observation in the women’s camp. To the song of ‘High on the Yellow Wagon’, they marched to the local agricultural experimental installation, which was under the direction of Thies Christophersen. I remember that the women came from the adjacent camp of Birkenau.
During my inspections, I discovered a camp with suitcases. Since I had only escaped with my naked life from the Tscherkassy encirclement, I went to camp commandant Baer to ask if he could give me a suitcase. Baer refused. In a second conversation, he explained to me that the suitcase belonged to the prisoners and that he could not dispose of them. He reported to me upon the occasion a commission had examined the lodgings of the camp personnel a few weeks before. If anything was found which belonged to the inmates, the person was sent to the SS punishment camp at Matzkau near Danzig. Baer did not wish to risk such a punishment for the sake of a suitcase. I never forgot that statement.
During my wanderings through the Auschwitz camp, I never saw a gas chamber, nor did I perceive any stench of burnt corpses. The columns of smoke that I saw came from the surrounding armaments manufacturing plants.
If people object that thousands, or even tens of thousands, of prisoners were gassed or burnt during this period, ‘I must reply that such proceedings could not have remained concealed from me. At any rate, I never saw or heard anything about it! A sub-squad leader from the administration lived in our neighborhood, with whom I often conversed about everything possible. Our wives became close friends and visited each other. There was never any mention of gassing of inmates. We also visited a musical event in the camp.
On the whole, I got to know Auschwitz as a decent labor camp.
I had no contact with the inmates themselves, they were on labor service during the day, so that the camp was almost empty. I never saw anything in the way of brutality of the SS against inmates. Only once, I saw a labor commando hoeing weeds in the camp, the supervising Kapo was very aggressive and kicked several inmate.
This my report of the major impressions which have remained in my memory.
Signed, Franz Krause.
N° 11 of the role of sworn statements for 1991, notary public Helmut Meyer, Einbeck, 7 March 1991.
END OF TRANSLATION OF SWORN STATEMENT