Auschwitz Trial Told Gestapo Guard Showed How to Kill a Jew

One of the defendants in the Auschwitz camp personnel war crimes trial once beat a Jewish prisoner to death to demonstrate to a camp trusty how it was done, a Polish former clerk at the camp testified this weekend.

Erwin Bartel, 41, the former clerk, said that, one day in 1942, defendant Hans Stark, a Gestapo man, took him to one of the Jewish barracks. Bartel said the Gestapo guard selected two Jews and told them to kneel. Then Stark told the chief barracks trusty to kill them. Bartel said that the trusty asked how it was done, and Stark picked up a chair leg and smashed away at the neck of one of the Jewish prisoners until he was dead. Bartel testified that Stark then said to the trusty “Now you know how.”

The court also heard testimony that the horrors of Auschwitz once proved more than even an SS man could stand. Tadeus Szewczuk, a Polish witness, testified that a non-commissioned SS officer suffered a nervous breakdown while selecting victims for gassing on the Birkenau ramp of the camp. The witness, now a Krakow pharmacist, testified that the officer walked away from his post, yelling “do with me what you like but I won’t do any more ramp duty.” He said the officer stripped off his belt, gun and steel helmet and threw them away.

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