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Jewish Survivors of Chelmno Camp Testify at Trial of Guards

January 22, 1963
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

One of the three survivors of the Chelmno murder camp testified today in the trial of 12 former SS guards at the camp that Jews, stunned but not killed in the camp’s poison gas vans, were tossed alive into the furnaces. The defendants are charged with the murder of 180,000 Jews in the camp in Nazi-held Poland during the war.

The witness, Max Surawsky, an Israeli who came here to testify, said that such Jewish victims, revived by the fires, began to scream. Occasionally, an SS guard would shoot at such victims till complete quiet prevailed in the crematorium.

He said he survived because, in spite of chains on his feet, he was able to flee from the camp and hide the night before Russian troops arrived in January 1945. When he returned to the burning camp, he said, he found Simon Srebnik, then a 14-year old boy, badly injured.

Srebnik who also came from Israel to testify, told the court about the various cruelties inflicted on Jewish prisoners. He himself, he said, was forced to stand outside in the cold, at the suggestion of Alois Haefele, one of the defendants, while water was poured over him. He was forced to stand absolutely still, to the amusement of Haefele and a girl friend, until the water froze and covered him with ice.

After hearing the two Israeli witnesses, the court adjourned until the end of this month, when more witnesses are scheduled to testify.

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