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Report by Alfred Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba, two Escapees from Auschwitz (Late April 1944)

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The internal administration of the Birkenau camp is carried out by prisoners assigned to that work. Prisoners are not billeted by nationality, but by their labor assignment, that is, by Kommandos. Each block has five functionaries:

1 Block Inspector (Blockaeltester)
1 Block Clerk (Blockschreiber)
1 Block Nurse
2 Block Handymen

The block inspector wears on his left arm a white band showing the number of his block. He is responsible for order in his block, where he is, so to speak, master of life and death. Up to February 1944 almost half of all block inspectors were Jews. At that time an order from Berlin prohibited filling this office with Jews, following which the Jews were relieved from duty. Three Slovak Jews, however, are carrying on to this day. They are:


Place of Origin


Ernest Rosim


Inspector, Block No: 25, (cleaning crews, plus artisans from Benzburg)

Dr. Endre Mueller


Inspector, Block No. 15, quarantine camp

Walter Spitzer


Inspector, Block No. 14, hospital area

The block clerk is the executive assistant of the block inspector. He does all clerical work, keeps the roster up to date, and is in charge of a large file. His work is loaded with great responsibility since the roster has to be kept in order in a painstaking manner. Prisoners are recorded by their numbers only, not by their names, and consequently an error is easily made. Mistakes of this kind may be fatal. If by mistake the clerk reports an individual number dead by mistake, which can easily occur in view of the high mortality rate – and has in fact happened – such a mistake is simply corrected by executing the wearer of the number later. Once a report is forwarded, it cannot be corrected, and the reported roll must agree with the actual roster. The post of clerk confers great power within the block. Unfortunately there are often abuses.

The nurse and handymen perform manual work around the block. Naturally there can be no question of any nursing.

The camp inspector (Lageraeltester) is over the whole camp. He is also a prisoner. The present camp inspector is Franz Danisch, No. 11,182, a political prisoner from Koenigshuette, Upper Silesia. The camp inspector is absolute master of the entire camp. He is entitled to appoint and remove block inspectors and clerks, and can also assign men to labor crews, etc. Danisch is fair even to Jews; he is objective and incorruptible.

The camp clerk, who actually has the greatest power in the camp, is assigned to the camp inspector. He is the only man in direct contact with the camp command, receiving orders and handing in reports. As a result, he has a certain amount of influence with the camp command. Block clerks are his direct subordinates and make their reports to him. The present camp clerk is Casimir Gork, No. 30,029, a Polish political prisoner who was formerly a bank clerk. Although Gork has anti-semitic views, he does not molest the Jews.

Principal supervision of the blocks is exercised by six to eight SS block leaders. They call the roll nightly and report to the commander, Untersturmfuehrer Schwarzhuber, a Tyrolean whose title is camp leader (Lagerfuehrer). Schwarzhuber is a drunkard and a sadist.

The camp commandant is the superior of camp leaders of the Birkenau and Auschwitz camps, as well as the leader of the Auschwitz reception center. The name of the present camp commandant is Hoess.

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