The Holocaust Historiography Project

Tijudar Rudolph

[Tijudar Rudolph was the tenth witness called by the defence. He testified on Monday, March 28, 1988.]

Rudolph testified that he was 77 years old and was born and educated in Lodz, Poland. He was trained from the age of 16 by Jewish bosses to be a businessman. Rudolph was trained three years, then worked selling kosher edible oils and coconut butter to Jewish shops. He spoke five languages: German, Polish, English, French and Yiddish. Before the war broke out, Rudolph worked for such Jewish companies as Imperial Chemical Industries and Unilever in Great Britain. (25-6651 to 6653)

At the beginning of August, 1939, Rudolph, who was a German, was arrested with many other Germans by the police and taken by train to Warsaw. From Warsaw they were marched to a Polish concentration camp. Rudolph escaped after a few days. He believed he was arrested because he was a German. (25-6653)

Rudolph made his way back to Germany but returned to Lodz within a matter of weeks working as an interpreter knowledgeable in the Polish and Yiddish languages with the security police, the SD. Rudolph worked for one year in the office at security headquarters translating documents and acting as an interpreter when Jews complained that they had been robbed by Germans. This happened very often in the first weeks after the Germans took over. Jews laid their complaints which would then be investigated and the culprits caught. Rudolph's superior in the office was an SS officer, Captain Schumann. His superior was a man named Schäfer. (25-6654, 6655)

Rudolph left Lodz a year later when a good friend of his in the same unit, Major Liska, asked him whether he would like to come with him to Cracow. Liska told him the job, in an anti- espionage division, was interesting and much better suited to Rudolph's knowledge. (25-6655) In Cracow, the office was concerned with Soviet counter-intelligence. Rudolph acted as an interpreter, filed all the letters and kept dossiers up to date. He also worked translating captured documents of Polish intelligence services. (25-6658, 6659)

It was during his time in Cracow, in the autumn of 1941, that Rudolph's superior was in contact with the Red Cross. Said Rudolph: "We had the first snow and Major Liska came to me and said, 'I will have to go the next ten days and to guide the Swiss delegates who have announced they are coming and guide them through our concentration camps', and he gave me some orders how to keep in his absence the correspondence and how to keep the filing operating and so on. And he gave me the copy of the letter written by the Swiss headquarters in Geneva, saying would you be kind enough to let our delegates come and see the concentration camps and guide them around." (25-6656)

After about ten days, Major Liska returned and dictated to Rudolph his report addressed to Hans Frank, the Governor General [of occupied Poland]. The report was written in German and Polish and copies were sent to Berlin and to other concerned officers. Said Rudolph: "…the contents was, in short, we have guided the Swiss guests through the concentration camps, and as far as I remember, it was Auschwitz and Majdanek for sure, and we have shown them everything they did want to — they have been entitled according to the Geneva Convention to go around the camps, freely, unhampered and ask people, but the main object was to ascertain whether the mailing and the parcels from Swiss did arrive in the camp and have been distributed correctly and equally to all inmates and this was a topic of their coming and at the end, they were dismissed by Frank at the castle where he had his headquarters, and the Swiss delegates did express their thanks." (25-6656, 6657, 6659)

Rudolph did not have a copy of the report: "I would be happy if I had." He had written several letters to the International Red Cross and asked why, as an international neutral body, it had never made reports about these visits. He never got a reply. (25-6657; 6659)

In Lodz, said Rudolph, there was contact and co-operation between the German administration and the Jewish ghetto workers. The Jewish elder, Chaim Rumkowski, told the Jews that it was suicide to combat the Germans and that they must co operate and that those who worked honestly with the Germans would not be deported.

Rudolph testified that those Jews who hated the Germans and refused to work were deported. Of 160,000 Jews in the Lodz ghetto, some 75,000 to 100,000 remained in Lodz during the war working in factories that produced such things as the German army steel helmet and winter white camouflage suits. The people deported were thieves, misfits, criminals and those who refused to work. (25-6661 to 6663)

In Rudolph's opinion, the book The Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto: 1941-1944 was a truthful account of what happened in Lodz during the war. It comprised a diary by Jews of the daily events of the ghetto and confirmed what Rudolph had experienced himself. (25-6666)

In 1942, Rudolph became a soldier himself. He served as a member of the Signal Corps with Rommel in North Africa. The entire unit was captured by the Americans in 1945. They were discharged after one month. (25-6667)

Rudolph met Ernst Zündel in 1969 and in the intervening years he had discussed his experiences with him very often, including his experience concerning the Red Cross visit. (25- 6654, 6656)

Rudolph did not believe that there was an extermination of Jews in Auschwitz Birkenau. He said: "…Germany had to fight a terrible fight against Bolshevism. They didn't fight against Jews. But the Jews did declare war on Germany in 1933 and so it has been known that they are enemies of Germany. They had to be kept close in any camp and this was done. It wasn't an extermination. I never have seen any Jews gassed. It's absolutely lie." (25-6658)

During the war, Rudolph never saw or heard anything that gave any indication there was any extermination in progress of the Jews of Europe. It was only after the war that he heard this allegation, and not by the Germans, but by the Jews themselves, such as Reitlinger and Hilberg. There were now legions of books and writers; Rudolph believed none of them. (25-6667)

Rudolph told Zündel that to cremate anyone took two hours. Thus, to cremate 6 million people in 16 ovens working 12 hours a day would take 171 years. No crematory could work 24 hours a day for even three months. After three months they would collapse because of the internal temperature of 1,200 degrees Celsius required to burn the human body. Rudolph told Zündel that the extermination allegation was technically impossible. At first, Zündel was skeptical. He attempted to find out if Rudolph had made any errors but there were none. (25- 6664)

The last time Rudolph had gone to Poland to examine the concentration camps was one month before. (25-6665)

Under cross-examination, Rudolph testified that he left Poland in about April of 1942 after training as a soldier. (25-6671)

The figures Rudolph had testified to regarding numbers of Jews deported from Lodz came from books which he read after the war. Those deported included women and children. He had no personal knowledge of the numbers himself as he was only an interpreter in the office. Nevertheless, he knew what was going on in the ghetto because he was interested; he had worked there before the war, knew many of the Jews and spoke Yiddish. (25-6672)

The SD, of which he was a part, had the role of protecting the soldiers at home and on the front. The Einsatzgruppen were a combat unit fighting with the army with the duty of eliminating partisans. The ordinary SD were police who had the duty of keeping order in the towns and cities. (25-6673)

Rudolph testified that the SD were trained to make accurate, truthful reports and had a strong sense of duty to report things as they really were. To a suggestion that the Einsatzgruppen reports therefore indicated things as they really were, Rudolph testified that it depended on whether or not the documents had been falsified. He pointed out that the documents had no signatures, no dates, no numbers; in Rudolph's opinion, these were not documents of Germany where every document had to be signed, numbered, and an indication given of the office from which it came and the office to which it was going. (25-6675, 6676)

Rudolph testified that when he said that the only Jews who were deported were thieves, misfits and criminals, he was using the words of Rumkowski, the chief and elder of the Jewish ghetto. (25-6677, 6678)

In the Lodz ghetto, Rudolph indicated there was a small lake district with some of the nicest houses in Lodz. Some of these villas were reserved for children and recreation and 1,200 children were kept there, fed, looked after and educated. (25 6677)


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