(18) Deposition of Regina Bialek (Pole, aged 28)
3. On 25th December 1943, I was sick with typhus and was picked out at a selection made by doctors Mengele and Tauber along with about 350 other women. I was made to undress and taken by lorry to a gas chamber. There were seven gas chambers at Auschwitz. This particular one was underground and the lorry was able to run down the slope and straight into the chamber. Here we were tipped unceremoniously on the floor. The room was about 12 yards square and small lights on the wall dimly illuminated it. When the room was full a hissing sound was heard coming from the centre point on the floor and gas came into the room. After what seemed about ten minutes some of the victims began to bite their hands and foam at the mouth, and blood issued from their ears, eyes and mouth, and their faces went blue. I suffered from all these symptoms, together with a tight feeling at the throat. I was half conscious when my number was called out by Dr. Mengele and I was led from the chamber. I attribute my escape to the fact that the daughter of a friend of mine who was an Aryan and a doctor at Auschwitz had seen me being transported to the chamber and had told her mother, who immediately appealed to Dr. Mengele. Apparently he realized that as a political prisoner I was of more value alive than dead, and I was released.
4. I think that the time to kill a person in this particular gas chamber would be from 15 to 20 minutes.
5. I was told that the staffs of the prisoners who worked in the gas chamber and crematorium next door changed every three months, the old staff being taken to a villa in the camp to do some repair work. Here they were locked in the rooms and gas bombs thrown through the window. I estimate that in December, 1943, about 7,000 people disappeared from Auschwitz by way of the gas chamber and crematorium.
Raymond Phillips, ed.
Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others (The Belsen Trial)
London: William Hodge, 1949
Appendix III, p. 657.
Webmaster note: This postwar affidavit was entered as prosecution evidence in the British military court trial at Lüneburg, Sept.-Nov. 1945, of former Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen camp personnel.