Statement by Robert Lorent



lorent - belzec

Robert Lorent -(Holocaust Historical Society)


Robert Lorent, a member of the T4 organization, gave a statement regarding his visits to the Belzec death camp, which recalled a number of the camp garrison who were under investigation, on May 4, 1961, in the German city of Cologne:

In February 1942 I reported to the Community Charity Foundation in Berlin, which was then in the process of dissolution. The personnel was largely passed to the office of Globocnik. I need to amend this statement and say that about 20% of the personnel were thus transferred and of these a large part continued to be paid by the Foundation. These payments were made by a Loans Office of which I was in charge. My knowledge of the camp Belzec and its staff stem from this arrangement.

I went to Belzec twice. I no longer remember the exact dates. There was an interval of about six weeks to two months between these visits. The second visit in 1942, must have taken place before the weather turned cold, as I clearly recall that I spent the night in a PKW, near the railway station Rawa Ruska, there was a guarded market place - which i could not have done had it been really cold.


rawa ruska station 1944485

Rawa Ruska Train Station (Chris Webb  Archive)


The purpose of my visit was to deliver supplies to the camps in the Lublin region. I seem to remember that the goods train was shunted into sidings at the camp Belzec and that i spent the night in a sturdily constructed brick building on a road about 500 meters distant from the camp. Close to this was the billet of Wirth. The staff which accompanied the goods train became the responsibility of the administration staff member Fichtner. I already knew him from a previous meeting. I am of the opinion he must have been employed in another Foundation and that I must have got to know him when this was dissolved. 

From my two visits I clearly remember only Wirth and Fichtner. In the course of the dissolution of these organizations, mainly at evening get-togethers, I learned the names of other people and likewise because i was in charge of these organizations , but this did not mean i could recall individuals.

On one occasion - I no longer remember whether it was my first or second visit - a trainload of Jews arrived while i was there. Accompanied by a SS-man I was able to watch the unloading of the Jews. Who this SS-man was I cannot now say. I also do not know what rank he had. There would be no point in showing me photos of possible people for me to identify, nor any purpose in naming them. One has to take account that 20 years have since passed.

The question as to who were materially involved in driving the Jews out of their carriages, is not one I can give a straight answer. The train consisted of ordinary passenger carriages. The disembarkation of the Jews took place with relatively little trouble, and I gained the impression that after a long journey the Jews were glad to be able to breathe some fresh air. Where there was a certain melee, order was restored with the help of a Jewish working party and other volunteers. After a short while the Jews were addressed, possibly by Wirth, but I cannot be certain about this, as I was not interested in these details. The way I have put this, does not do justice to my attitude. I should like to reply to the question in a useful manner, but i found this experience too upsetting for me to be able to remember these things.

After the address, the Jews, though clearly disturbed went surprisingly peacefully along the way pointed out to them, which led to the huts. I do not believe that the Jews knew what was in store for them. I did see, for example, how an SS-man supervised the hut where the Jews had to undress and another SS-man then pointed them in the direction they had to follow, but I cannot say who these SS-men were. I mean that I am not in a position to say it was this, or other SS-men who carried out this given function.

I am unable to answer the question regarding the organization of the SS staff or which rank was responsible for which function. I never knew who was camp commandant  or his deputy, or who was chief NCO, or section leader. In my opinion the camp commandant was Wirth. I cannot say whether Wirth had an adjutant, or who he might have been.

According to my information after the closure of the camps in the Lublin area, four men belonging to the volunteer group went to Italy. I do not know their names. A number of names were mentioned to me, regarding which i can say the following:

Barbel - He probably came from Linz and was Austrian

Girtzig - I know his name, but i have nothing further to say

Groot - Came from Hamburg, was rather young, as i remember came from Hartheim Institution. I noted that he was unable or unwilling to reply to me in a low-German dialect.

Hausler - Was originally in the administration of T4 and later on the Lublin administrative staff.

Hodl - Was probably a driver in Hartheim. I do not know if he was posted to the East

Kriegas - or Kriegad - was possibly correct name Gringers. I know nothing more

Munzberger - Was possibly Austrian and to my knowledge was not posted to the East, as he was probably too old. He must now be in his early sixties.

Oberhauser - I do know but can no longer describe him. He was possibly a section leader.

Zierke - I have heard this name, but I cannot say if he belonged to the T4 office staff or was transferred to the East

I am unable to answer the question which actual duties were performed in Belzec by Oberhauser, Girtzig, Unverhau or Gley, as I do not know. I am unable to provide further information regarding the events and conditions in camp Belzec or about people on the camp staff.


Signed: R. Lorent


Sources

Robert Lorent Interrogation, Zentralle Stelle Ludwigsburg 208 AR-Z 252/59 on May 4, 1961

Photographs - Holocaust Historical Society and (Chris Webb Archive)


Copyright: Holocaust Historical Society -May 31 2019