Jan. 13, 1964 - Two former Nazi guards at the Auschwitz camp testified today at their trial in Frankfurt that many inmates had been executed solely because the camp was overcrowded and their cells were needed for other prisoners. The two former noncommissioned officers, Klaus Dylewski (top), 47, and Pery Broad (bottom), 42, admitted that they were present when prisoners were shot at what became known as the “black wall.” However, both denied that they had ever participated in the killing. Asked to describe the procedure at the wall, Dylewski told the court trying 22 former camp guards: “The prisoners were ordered to strip in a washroom at Barracks 11. A guard would then lead them, two at a time, to the wall and hold them while another guard shot them in the back of the neck from close range with a small caliber rifle.” Dylewski estimated that a minimum of 10 persons were shot each day at the “black wall.” Dylewski and Broad concurred that executions were often ordered to make room in the crowded basement cells of Barracks 11. The Nazi guards called this “dusting of the barracks.”
The dreaded procedure of “selections,” the system by which new arrivals at Auschwitz were picked for immediate gassing, was also covered in today’s testimony. The Frankfurt trial for crimes committed during World War II results from a search for Nazi war criminals that began with the opening in 1958 of a central office for coordination of efforts toward this end by various West German agencies. The office has been credited with obtaining more than 100 convictions in 1961 and 1962 and has started proceedings against 590 other suspected war criminals.