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Herr B. was arrested on 10th November and in the first instance brought to Hahngasse (Vienna IX., auxiliary prison to the central Vienna police prison), where he was accommodated with 200 other Jews in a room ten metres long and five metres wide. Whilst the treatment by the police during the day was very friendly, this changed when at half past nine in the evening the SS-Verfügungstruppe took over command. Herr B. literally declared that he did not believe he could survive the night. The prisoners had to do “gymnastics” in the manner described in a previous report; in addition to the “gymnastic exercises” referred to there, Herr B. also listed as particular harassments kissing ground and boots, indeed even licking up sputum, and mentioned that the following “exercise” was particularly gruelling: the Jews were ordered to mass in the corner of the room at a given signal, and anyone who did not reach the corner quickly and was considerate towards the next man in the dense mass forming there, was beaten until they bled. Frightened of these beatings, everyone ran into the corner and had to push and shove the next man, which was extremely painful.

On 11th November the prisoners were brought to the Vienna Westbahnhof in order to be transported to Dachau, where they were met by the escorts with rifle butts. Every twelve men were accommodated in a very cramped train compartment, so that one man had to sit on another. During the whole journey for 14 hours they were forced to stare into the compartment light, and they were not allowed to move. According to B.‘s statements one man was shot and two were beaten to death during the journey.

In Dachau, where at the time of their arrival there were only Aryans – the Jews who had been imprisoned there previously had been taken to Buchenwald – they were given thin, blue and white striped, Zwilchanzüge. One man had gone to relieve himself on arrival and had then stood back in line, which was noticed without the man himself being identifiable. As he did not come forward when ordered, and his companions did not point him out, everyone had to do “Strafexerzieren” from Saturday morning until Monday evening without food whilst the SS men consumed their food in a particularly provocative manner in front of the Jews.

In terms of general living conditions, B. reported that the living quarters were halfway fit for human habitation, the prisoners liked the food especially as they were always very hungry from all the Exerzieren, that waking was at 5 o' clock, that they were allowed to smoke in their free time. Treatment by doctors was extremely inadequate; even with a high temperature they had no objection to the patient reporting for Exerzieren, so that one prisoner, a Herr Wellisch from Graz, with a temperature of 40 degrees did actually collapse and die during Exerzieren. The prisoners suffered from the cold mainly due to their thin clothing, even in the lowest temperatures they had to do Exerzieren, which because of the movement was still halfway acceptable; worse was standing to attention for hours in snow and ice. Each day there were roughly twelve deaths.

Herr B. claims that his release was brought about as a result of his status as a front-line soldier, on the basis of which his wife submitted a hastily agreed plea to the Vienna Gestapo; in fact he spent only four weeks in Dachau. He was released together with 240 other Jews, nine of them from Vienna. On release they still endlessly had to go through numerous formalities which went on for a long time, e.g. they were weighed, whereby it was established that he had lost six kilos during his imprisonment. A Reichsdeutsche prisoner, on whose imprisonment RM. 500.- had been found, had to use this money to pay the fare to Munich of all those released. They still remained under supervision until the arrival of the train, then they were free. In Munich they were met by representatives of the local Jewish community who organised their onward journey to their respective destinations very well. Those released had to declare how much cash they had on them and according to what each had, pay towards their onward travel expenses, however in such a way that everyone still had RM. 2.- for the rest of the journey.

The Jews placed in Dachau were, according to Herr B., referred to as “Aktionsjuden oder Schutzhaftjuden” , whilst those placed in Buchenwald were spoken of as “Hochverräter”, although vast numbers were amongst them who were all indiscriminately captured on the street, in particular during the Aktion at the end of May. Only recently has the release of the latter category begun.


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