Testimony of Pedro Gomez given on June 16, 1947

                                                            Summarized by Sundeep Srivastava

                                                            Translated into Spanish by Marcos Higuera

 

Biographical Information

 

A 28 year old Spanish mechanic living in Linz, Austria, Gomez was in Gusen I from 17 February 1941 to 5 May 1945 where he worked as a stonemason, at the smith shop, and as water-pipe installer (90). When asked why he was in the camp, he replied, “We were working in France after having fought in Spain and when the German entered France we were promised work in Germany as free workers and we were brought to concentration camps” (99). When asked which side he was on, Gomez replied, “On the side of the Republic, my government (99). “Against Franco” (113).

 

Grill and Bathing-to-Death

 

Gomez remembers Grill from his first day in camp as a detail leader and the man in charge of the post office. He recalls seeing Grill lead invalids to the showers (90) in 1943 or 1944 (92). First the healthy men would be taken to the showers “in order to go to work,” and afterwards, the invalids (107). Gomez recalls seeing from Barracks 12 or 13 Grill and other SS lead men of all nationalities to the showers, hearing screams, and then seeing the SS return alone. A Spaniard named Marino who worked in the crematorium told him many died as a result of being bathed to death (92). Gomez saw Grill pass by on his way to the showers with invalids quite frequently in 1943 and 1944 “during the extermination of invalids,” and although he never saw Grill in the showers directly he had no reason to doubt that he was involved (102). Gomez personally saw the bodies leaving the shower (104) and in the crematorium (103).

 

As he was lined up outside Barracks 2, the post office, waiting for a package (99), Gomez saw that half the contents of the Polish packages were taken (23) (99) When asked by Defense Attorney Kluge if he knew that there was an order that extra food should be distributed to those doing hard work, Gomez replied that he had never heard this and that the hungry did not get the food (99). SS mechanics and electricians would come for extra rations. Waiting for more food, prisoners would push and shove and the SS would grab whatever was near and beat randomly at the men (93). Grill beat men only with one hand, as the other was injured (99). In April 1945 a large number of Red Cross packages from France arrived and these were also pilfered by the SS men and Grill. Gomez also remembers a Spaniard named Cinca who worked in the post office. As punishment for writing down the names of all the towns mentioned in the newspapers as overrun by the Russians (94). Grill beat Cinca and took him to the camp commandant (unnamed) who ordered him to be killed the next day. Second-in-Command Beck intervened and got the sentence reduced to 25 lashes and three days in “confinement” (95).

 

On page 108, Gomez explains that Oskar, from Hamburg, whose job it was to turn the showers on and off, explained to him the process by which invalids were murdered. “...the showers had three drains. Then the pavement would slant slightly. At the side of the showers there was a step about twenty-five or thirty centimeters high. Then as the invalids arrived, and this was only for the invalids, they were given a bar of soap. They would cover the three drains and then they would let the water run more or less, until it was forty or fifty meters high. Then the invalids were forced to lie in the water, and they were induced to do this by leather whips that the guards had. If some did not do so, they would take their foot and put it over their face, and with their foot over the neck or the face, they were kept there until they drowned. After this, if some were still alive, they were again submerged and then they were taken out” (108).

 

Jungjohann

 

Jungjohann was in charge of masons at Gusen I (95). As an installer of water-pipes, Gomez could go about the camp with his toolbox and observed that Jung often beat prisoners by hand and boot (95)

 

Tandler and the Young Russians

 

Tandler was in charge of the 13, 14 and 15 year old Russians and was block führer to them. Gomez observed Tandler beating them when they marched out of formation or would not sing. He also testifies that these young men did very hard work crushing rock in the quarry. Tandler was supposed to ensure they got extra food, but even when this happened, he stole it from the boys (96). He recalls hearing the young Russians singing as they left for work and as they returned. While they were suppose to leave half an hour later than the other workers and return half an hour earlier, Gomez recalls they often returned from work with the others (99). Under no circumstances would the Russian youth have called Tandler “Father,” Gomez testified (100). Although Gomez did not know any German, he believes they were forced to sing in German, and if they did not, they were beaten (107).

 

Heisig

 

As foreman of the firemen and then the Messerschmitt factory (96) Heisig was feared for beating men for trivial reasons. One Sunday in February 1945, Gomez saw him beat a young Polish prisoner for taking three potatoes off a cart (97).

 

Schuettauf and the Chain of Guards

 

Cleaning Schuettauf’s room one day, Gomez learned he was leader of the guards, but Gomez himself did not witness any illegal behavior from Schuettauf. Since Gomez had access to the entire camp in his capacity as water-pipe installer, he observed that either Schuettauf or an SS “with three stars” would instruct the guard before they dispersed to their assigned posts by “way of the highway” or through the quarry, whichever appropriate. He also recalls them cutting across the quarry to return to their barracks after prisoners had left work (104).  The guards left for work half an hour before inmates left the inside of the “electrically charged wall” (106).

 

Gassing of Russians

 

When Gomez asked Spaniards in the crematorium why there was so much smoke one day (109) in February 1942 (98), they told Gomez that they had a large number of corpses, either 147 or 164 (Gomez could not recall exactly), because of a gassing of Russians (98) in Barracks 16 (109). Stupinski, (or Lupinski, used in the same context on 112) an Austrian civilian who released the gas in the barracks, told him that the windows and doors were first sealed with paper, the gas was released, and then the Russians were forced to enter. In 1945 when Gomez was staying in Barracks 21, a similar action took place with prisoners from Barracks 24 in Barracks 31 during “a disinfection” (109).

 

Gassing of Jews

 

At this time “Polish children and men from Gusen No. 2—children of 3 and 4 years old” (110) were brought to two “disinfections” on consecutive nights. The children were already dead, brought on wagons with all the other bodies. Gomez testifies that these children arrived toward the end of the war. The women, it was said, had been sent on to Mauthausen. Inmates could see the train station from the camp, and they could see what they were told were Polish Jews with their children by the hand or in their arms (110).

 

Gusen II

 

In answer to Court President Colonel Gardner’s question “What was Gusen II?” Gomez explains, “Gusen II was a new camp that was formed about the end of 1943 or the beginning of 1944 and then they started to send in prisoners.” (109)

 

Gardner: “Where any particular kinds of prisoners sent to Gusen II?”

 

“No. Some of them marched from our camp over to the other one. The only thing that can be said, it was a larger command and they were sent to work on the details in St. Georgen---” [dashes in transcript] (110).

 

Hartheim Castle

 

At the end of 1941 Gomez also saw invalid transports leave Gusen I who were said to be headed to Hartheim (110).