Testimony of Alfons Hugo Heisig given on
Summarized by Amaris Diaz and Crystal Allen
Alfons Hugo Heisig,
a 40 year old German man, a chimney sweeper from Neesen, Westphalia, said that
he was draf
While serving with the guard company, he only entered the
protective custody camp once when he was ordered to be present at an execution by
Commander Ziereis. A prisoner
was hung on
In August 1943 after Waffen SS men from the headquarters
staff were transferred to active duty, he and six other men were assigned the
duty of block leader and detail leader. He repor
Duties of Detail Leader
In the morning, the entire headquarters staff would “fall out in front of the protective custody camp” (470). “And the roll-call leader would report the strength to the protective-custody leader” (470) who was in charge of roll call. At this time, special duties might be assigned, which was the only time Heisig had further contact with the headquarters staff (470). Detail leaders were on duty from when prisoners marched out of the camp until when they returned (477). He was a leader of one to two thousand men. His duties included bringing the men to their places of work. “There we were assigned to the details through the various civilian foremen and master mechanics” (469). Along with the guards, discipline was handled by capos and assistant capos and masters in the work halls (469).
Evenings for Non-Commissioned Officers at Gusen
Two or three men shared a single room. Their evening meal was served in the non-commissioned officer’s club where they all ate around a single table. After dinner “everybody went after his own hobbies or interests” (471). Heisig could not testify about the group that gathered around the commandant because he left immediately after the meal. He says that usually only the roll-call leader and the leaders of the guard companies, all officers, stayed with the commandant (471).
Heisig only saw Chmielewski when he was a guard. Chmielewski had already left when he joined the headquarters staff and became a non-commissioned officer (472). While still at Gusen, Heisig heard that Chmielewski returned to Gusen in 1945 for two short stays, although not as camp leader (472).
Defense Attorney Kluge: What was the position of the post
office there in camp and what kind of relationship exis
Heisig: In fact, the post office [headquarters is probably meant] had nothing to do with selection of the post office staff. Only when packages came directly from Mauthausen, these packages were handed out to prisoners directly in camp. (470)
Heisig had no contact with Grill at the post office. When he had reason to go to the post office, a corporal or a Sergeant was on duty behind the window. Heisig did not see Grill in the con-commissioned officer’s club at night. Married men were fed in St. Georgen, about four kilometers away (472).
Freezing Prisoners with Water or Bathing-to-Death
Defense Attorney Kluge asks Heisig if Kowalski was correct when saying that water was poured over weakened prisoners to kill them. Heisig says no. Then Kluge asks if it might be true that water was poured over prisoners in the summer heat to revive them. Heisig says he never heard or saw of such a thing (473). He says that “all the water trenches” (473) that came from the mountains were covered. There was no access to water in the stone quarry, “the closest water trench was alongside the fence that surrounded the non-commissioned officers club” (473).
Heisig heard of bathing-to-death but says this only happened under Chmielewski when he, Heisig, was still in the Third Guard Company. During this time, Heisig only entered the camp once (473). Heisig has no memory of any of the witnesses and says they have no reason to remember him. He passed by the bath house several times, but never entered it (473)
Defense Attorney Kluge: Furthermore, you are supposed to have
Heisig’s answer: I heard about gassings for the first time here during my interrogations. Before I didn’t hear about it. (474)
Heisig then says that at the time the bathing-to-death was supposed to have taken place, he had no duties in the protective custody camp at all but was still a member of the guard company. Accompanying prisoners to the bath was the duty of the block eldest (477) .
He heard about bathing-to-death from prisoners in his detail but never heard screaming coming from the bathhouse (478).
Gassing of Prisoners in Barracks
When asked if he ever heard about gassings in order to
delouse barracks, Heisig says that his barracks was gassed as well, sometime in
1941 and 1942 (474) while he was stationed in the guard barracks outside the
camp (475). He knew about the preparations for gassing barracks from the time
he was on guard duty, but never saw these preparations inside the camp (478). He heard about gassing of barracks for the
purpose of delousing inside the camp in 1943 or 1944, but not 1945, and never
heard of gassing prisoners (478). When he was on guard duty inside the camp
after 1943, he remembers gassing of barracks “for the purpose of delousing”
(475) after the block eldest repor
Asked by Defense Attorney Kluge if it is possible that that “such a gassing of barracks was misunderstood and some people saw not only the barracks were gassed but the people in there,” (476), Heisig says he believes it is possible. Asked if he has “any indication, any statement, any remark” as an evidence of this confusion (476), Heisig says, “The same way as it is now during our imprisonment that latrine rumors are coming up, it was the same at that time in the camp” (476).
Heisig admits to having beaten prisoners, but never to death
and only when they commit
In response to Gomez’ testimony that he was the most feared in the camp (480), he says that some prisoners were always trying to avoid work and therefore called attention to themselves. They would leave work, making things worse for their co-prisoners, and spend all their time trying to “organize” (481) food, thus drawing attention to themselves (481).
In his time as detail leader in the quarry, Heisig never saw a prisoner die in the quarry (478) and never saw a prisoner collapse (478-479). “Accidents happened and they were brought back to camp right away” (479). He did see dead bodies (479).
Three hundred prisoners lived in one barracks. As far as living conditions, Heisig says, “In my time, it was not so bad anymore, not as bad as in the time of Chmielewski” (479). Prisoners told him things were worse under Chmielewski (479).
He never saw a prisoner shot but heard of prisoners being shot for attempting to escape (479). He never saw execution squads and was only told about them by prisoners who did not tell him who was on the execution squads. The execution squads were drawn from the various guard companies (480).