Rudolf Hoess, former commandant of the Oswiecim death camp, on trial here for murdering 4,000,000 persons many of whom were Jews, today confirmed testimony by Dr. J.M. Blumenthal, director of the Jewish Historical Commission in Poland, that approximately 1,500,000 Jews were exterminated at Oswiecim.
Hoess, who has been described as “the greatest mass murderer in history,” revealed that shipments of Jews to the camp’s gas chambers and crematoriums included 110,000 Jews from France, 95,000 from Holland, 65,000 from Greece, 45,000 from Hungary and 20,000 from Belgium. He added that transports had also arrived from Yugoslavia, Italy, Russia, Rumania, Bulgaria and Spain, and that Finland was the only Nazi-controlled country which did not ship Jews to their death at the camp.
Dr. Blumenthal testified that Jewish historians had discovered that 4,200,000 of the 6,200,000 Jews murdered in Europe had been killed in Poland. Three million of these were Polish Jews. In addition to the Jews killed at Oswiscim, he said, 775,000 perished at the Treblinka camp, 330,000 at Chelmo, 400,000 at Majdanek and another 400,000 at Sobibor and Belzac.
Most of the witnesses during the last few days have been Jewish survivors from Italy, Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Norway. Two witnesses said they had seen the bodies of Dutch Jews boiled for soup which was fed to the prisoners. Another witness, Jan Grubowski, declared that 40,000 Hungarian Jews were burned alive. Others told of seeing children burned alive and of Hoess forcing mothers to strangle their own children.
One of the witnesses, Esthera Tencer of Belgium, turned in her chair and shouted at Hoess: “You murderer, why did you kill my mother and sisters.” Then she collapsed, sobbing. Hoess remained calm throughout the testimony.
Earlier, Polish Premier Josef Cyrankiewicz, who was an inmate at Oswiscim for a number of years, testified. He stated that the Nazis intended to establish an “extermination city” called Himmlerstadt on the site of the camp. It is expected that the trial will conclude shortly and a verdict will be handed down by April 2.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.