Testimony of He
Summarized by Amaris Diaz and Crystal Allen
Hartung testifies that SS Captain Chmielewski trea
Chmielewski’s group consis
Hartung as Detail and Block Leader in the Quarries
Hartung did not enter the protective custody camp until March 1943 when he was assigned as block leader and assistant detail leader in the stone quarries (440), the Kastenhof quarries, until September 1943, where he was in charge of between 400 and 500 prisoners. In the morning prisoners would move through “the second so-called Peek-door” after the large guard detail was at its posts. These work details were never accompanied by guards because the guard chain was already in place and the prisoners knew their work places and automatically went to them (441).
From September 1943, at the time when Kowalski testified about the murder of American prisoner [Willie Tuttas] for sabotage, Hartung says that he was actually in the Gusen Quarry and detail leader of the prisoners’ fire department (441). When asked if it was true that, as Kowalski said, Hartung was responsible for Tuttas’ death because Hartung had “led him away” (463) to the bunker, Hartung says he had “nothing to do with his death or his life” (463).
Hartung and the Prisoners’ Fire Brigade
He was in charge of the fire brigade beginning in March 1943, before the motorized equipment arrived in fall of 1943 (450). As detail leader for the prisoners’ fire brigade, Hartung was responsible for any fires in the entire camp. He was responsible for personnel and their training and “sports, gymnastics, as well as, in September 1943 we received motorized fire equipment” (442). These duties took up “all forenoon, nearly until . At I went to the stone quarry and took care of the roll call. And I wasn’t alone there either. Others were led to the stone quarries” (442). In 1944 two SS master Sergeants arrived to work as detail leaders (442). While he was working with the fire brigade, he says that either no one or a block leader took care of the quarry (442).
At the sound of an air raid, Hartung would go to the garage as quickly as possible and would be met there by ten prisoners. They would go out without an SS guard as escort and drive about two or two and a half kilometers to an unused stone quarry where (442) they would take cover (443). In 1944 the “neighborhood” [Defense Attorney Dr. Kluge’s term] experienced one to three air raids a day “without exception” (442). After September 1944 “or really already the summer of 1942” (446), Hartung testifies that he was nearly always on the fire brigade (446).
As leader of the brigade, he had access to all parts of the camp and was responsible for water mains and pipes inside the camp as well as the equipment in the garage. He was also responsible for finding fire hazards and making sure that every barracks had a bucket of water and a sandbox. He made these inspections “every two or three months” (464) throughout the camp (465).
The Bunker and Willie Tuttas
In answer to the question, “Was a key to the bunker ever in your possession and if so, in what capacity,” Hartung answers, “The block leader in charge had the key to the bunker in his office” (444). But Hartung denies ever hearing or seeing an American prisoner in the bunker who was starved to death over the course of nine or ten days (444-5). In his experience, prisoners were only kept in the bunker for “one or two days at the most” (445). He says he only had responsibility in the bunker when “two, three, or four prisoners were brought to the bunker for interrogation. Then the other prisoners were locked up in cells” (444).
He denies participating in gassing prisoners in 1945, saying
that he was transferred to the newly organized SS Tank Regiment No. 1 in March
1945 (445). He did not actually leave the camp until
Aside from his duties with the fire brigade and those
assigned by Chmielewski, he was also assigned to work with the women telephone
operators in the central office, and to transport prisoners to Mauthausen, or
to accompany prisoners outside the camp, or to work in the officers’ mess. “I
had a variety of duties” (446). In addition, he was sent to
Murder on the Electric Wire
He denies having thrown ten prisoners onto the electric wire on Chmielewski’s orders (445). Hartung says that Chmielewski did not return in 1945 and that Seidler was in charge after Chmielewski left in 1942 (446).
Beating of Russian Prisoners-of-War
Hartung denies beating Russian prisoners on
He admits to having beaten a prisoner once himself because the prisoner forged his name to receive a second extra ration from the post office. This beating took place in front of the stone-cutter’s hall in 1944 (453).
Causes of Death at Gusen
Hartung says he never saw any dead bodies brought back by
the work details in the evenings (453) and denies seeing any killings in the
quarry (454). He says that guilt for the deaths at Gusen should be placed on
the “higher headquarters starting with the Reich’s Economic Administration
Office, over the various administrative leaders. And as for Gusen itself, the
managers Walter, and Wolfram, they always reques
He says that the large number of deaths at the time the
crematory was built were due to poor food and the fog coming from the
Hartung says that he
was in the garage [presumably at Gusen I] when he received the order to escort
the prisoner with Poweleit. “Poweleit
and I grabbed a rifle [sic], as it was customary when prisoners were
transferred and went to Gusen II. That is approximately 600 meters from Gusen
I. At the Jourhaus of Gusen II the prisoner was handed over to us and that was
when I saw the prisoner for the first time” (457). “When one leaves Gusen II
one is outside the chain of guards. After one has marched about two-thirds of
the way, one returns automatically into the guard chain of Gusen I” (457).
After going one-third of the way, about fifteen meters from the Gusen I guard
chain, Leitzinger “jumped to the right to the area
which leads to the