|Name and surname||Erwin Olszówka|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic|
|Occupation||clerk at Central Board of the Steel Industry|
|Place of residence||Chorzów, 1 Maja Street 34|
From 25 June 1940 until 20 January 1945, that is, until the evacuation of the camp, I was detained at the Auschwitz camp and later transported to Mauthausen. From the list that was put forward I recall Hans Aumeier (No. 1), Bogusch (No. 7), Therese Brandl (No. 9), Wilhelm Gehring (No. 23), Grabner (No. 28), Josten (No. 37), Kraus (No. 44), Liebehenschel (No. 53), Lissner (No. 54), Ludwig (No. 57), Maria Mandl (No. 59), Möckel (No. 63), Müller (No. 65), Plagge (No. 72), Schumacher (No. 80) and Szczurek (No. 83).
Re 1) Aumeier, Hauptsturmführer, came from Flensburg to replace Fritzsch, and around the winter of 1941 he took over the post of Lagerführer [head of the camp]. Aumeier hated and abused the Poles. He kicked them and beat them with his hand. As a short man, he would jump up to hit someone in the face. Around the autumn of 1942, after an execution, I saw him fire “honorary shots” from a pistol at the dead or dying prisoners. I do not recall anything more specific. In any case, I remember him as a sadistic abuser.
Re 7) August Raimond Bogusch, Unterscharführer, administered the camp office under the Lagerführer. He was hostile toward the Poles. He would kick and hit prisoners with his hand, but he generally had little contact with them. I do not know anything more specific.
Re 9) Therese Brandl was an Aufseherin [overseer] at the Birkenau camp for women. She was the second Lagerführerin. She would hit prisoners with her hand frequently and hard. Several times I saw her beat up women who were going to work – for lagging or falling out of line while walking out. Female prisoners complained about her a lot.
Re 23) Wilhelm Gerhard Gehring, Hauptscharführer, oversaw block 11 (the so-called death block) and the bunkers. I think he treated prisoners decently. I never saw him beat anyone. He was not a national socialist by conviction. He treated prisoners that he encountered well and allowed those who worked under his supervision some leeway. I saw him every day.
Re 28) Max Grabner, Untersturmführer, the head of the political department at Auschwitz. After Höß, he probably has the most victims on his conscience. Merciless, he beat prisoners and selected which prisoners from bunkers in block 11 were to be killed whenever the block was overcrowded. He, Höß and Aumeier decided whether a prisoner was to be shot immediately or left alive a bit longer. Grabner was very committed to carrying out his duties. I witnessed a confrontation between Höß and Grabner. Grabner wanted to shoot Stanisław Dubiel, Höß’s gardener, but Höß protested. In the end, Dubiel was not shot. Grabner was arrested in 1944 for his misconduct in the political department and taken from Auschwitz, apparently to Vienna.
Re 37) Josten, Obersturmführer, held the post of the second Lagerführer from 1 July 1944 until the evacuation of the central camp in Auschwitz. Apart from that, he was the Luftschutzleiter [head of the air-raid defense]. He behaved mercilessly toward the Poles, kicking them and beating with his hands. You could tell he enjoyed abusing prisoners. I do not recall more specific details. I also got beat up by him around November 1943, back when he was only the Luftschutzleiter. He hit me in the face with his hand for failing to report properly while walking through the gate.
Re 44) Kraus, Sturmbannführer – he briefly substituted for the first Lagerführer Hössler around April 1944. He was always drunk. He kicked and beat the prisoners with his hand for no apparent reason. I remember that around April 1944 he beat up my colleague Kazimierz Szelest for coming to the Schreibstube [administrative office] to see me in the late hour. Szelest was sober, yet Kraus thought he was drunk and put him in the bunker for three days. I recall no other details.
Re 53) Liebehenschel, Obersturmbannführer, was sent from Lublin at some point in the autumn of 1943, and for half a year, he was the [garrison] commander (Standortältester) and commandant at all three of the camps in Auschwitz. When he was in command, the relations in the camp improved. The administration adopted a somewhat more lenient approach, and the prisoners began to feel a bit less oppressed – if only slightly. Beatings became less common and he also abolished the rule which said that prisoners from work columns had to take their hats off as they were walking through the gate. He also forbade searching prisoners while they were getting back to the camp from work. Liebehenschel apparently had been very strict as the head of all political departments in the camps in Germany. I do not know why he changed at Auschwitz – perhaps in reaction to the defeats suffered by the Germans at that time.
Re 54) Lissner was the Blockführer at block 6 or 6a from 1943 until the liquidation of the camp. He treated prisoners decently. I never saw him hit a prisoner. For the sake of appearances, he would often have to raise his voice when a prisoner deserved to be reprimanded. He held the rank of Rottenführer.
Re 57) Ludwig, Unterscharführer and Blockführer, treated prisoners mercilessly and exploited them. He ordered them to steal sausage for him and so on, threatening them with grave consequences for refusing him. He took advantage of me in this manner many times. He was a fanatic nationalist. He would kick prisoners and hit them with his hand or a whip. I do not recall any details.
Re 59) Maria Mandl, Oberaufseherin [head overseer] and Lagerführerin at the Birkenau camp for women. She was merciless toward the female prisoners, especially the Jews. She hit them with her hand and kicked them all over the body. She terrorized the camp. She and Therese Brandl tormented the prisoners the most. I no longer remember the details.
Re 63) Möckel, Obersturmbannführer, head of the administrative department at Auschwitz. I never saw him beat anyone. He was even-tempered.
Re 65) Kurt Müller, Unterscharführer, former Blockführer, later became the third Arbeitsdienstführer [head of the camp labor service]. He assigned prisoners to work. He had a gentle disposition but when angered, he kicked and beat prisoners with his hand furiously. I do not recall any specific details about the way he abused prisoners.
Re 72) Ludwig Plagge, Oberscharführer. I remember him from the time when he was commandant of the prison in block 11, around 1942. He behaved calmly in block 11, but I recall that in June 1940, when we were going through four-week quarantine, he tormented us with the so-called “sport” – he ordered us to run for 12 hours straight, without breaks or food, and in the worst heat. Many people collapsed during such torture.
Re 80) Hans Schumacher, Rottenführer at first, later Unterscharführer. He was the head of the 3rd food warehouse. The warehouse was next to the camp office, where I worked as Rapportschreiber [reporting clerk]. I saw many times, almost daily, as he abused people who worked unloading food from the trucks. He beat the people who worked in his warehouse with a whip. He was merciless toward the Poles. I cannot provide any details.
Re 83) Paul Szczurek, Unterscharführer. At first, when he was Blockführer at block 25 in Auschwitz, he would go easy on the prisoners, obviously in exchange for something like sausage, vodka and so on. At the end of 1943, he was transferred to a subcamp in Świętochłowice. I heard that he was supposedly brutal toward Jews. He spoke with prisoners in Polish. I do not know other details with regard to Szczurek.