Franz Suchomel Statement

Franz Suchomel Testimony


September 14, 1967






Land Justice Commissioner as Investigating Judge


Employee of Justice Department as Records Clerk


In the Preliminary Investigation of Stangl


The under mentioned witness appeared.


He was informed of the relevant law, cautioned and instructed.


He stated as to his identity:


My name is Franz Suchomel


My age is 59. I am a self-employed master tailor living in Altotting, Muhldorfstrasse 61, at present in custody in Dusseldorf- Derendorf in connection with an investigation into a different matter.


I am not related to the accused either directly or through marriage.


As to the case


I went to Treblinka, end of August 1942. Before that I was at the Welfare Institute Hadamar and occasionally worked in Berlin at T4. As I remember I came to Treblinka with Hirtreiter, Post, Loeffler, Sydow and two people from Frankfurt, also with Matthes. One of the two Frankfurters could have been called Schuch, whose name has just been mentioned. I cannot remember the name of the other one. It was not Post.

When I arrived in Treblinka, Dr Eberl was still Commandant. I stayed in Treblinka until October 1943, when I was posted to Sobibor. I went several times on home leave from Treblinka. Once for the birth of my youngest daughter on September 18th, 1942. Altogether there were four occasions when I had home leave from Treblinka.  

From Sobibor I later went to Italy. At the end of the war I was captured by the Americans, but released as early as August 1945. Since 1949, I have lived in Altotting. I could of course not return to my hometown of Krummau/ Bohmerwald after the war.

Under Dr. Eberl there was chaos in the camp. So many transports were arriving that it was impossible to deal with them. In my opinion when these transports arrived, two thirds of those transported were already dead. At that time I had to work on the ramp and therefore I know this accurately.

After I had been in Treblinka quite a short time, one night Wirth appeared there. He had a fierce argument with Dr. Eberl. At that time my quarters and those of the other NCO's were in the Commandant's hut and so I heard what was going on. In the course of the dissension Wirth dismissed Dr. Eberl.

Wirth then went off for a day and returned accompanied by a detail consisting of Germans and Ukrainians. In Warsaw he arranged for a three day break in the arrival of transports and immediately commenced a total re-organization of the camp.

The method of operation was changed and the 'Tube' relocated. The erection of a new gas chamber was started. At that time Wirth stayed in Treblinka throughout and supervised the new arrangements which included the creation of Jewish work details in both the Upper and Lower Camps. Until then there had only been the so-called Court Jews, i.e. craftsmen and others who had to carry out personal services for the Germans.

As I remember it Stangl arrived in Treblinka at the beginning of September 1942. I know for certain that he signed my leave pass. That was on September 18, 1942. My daughter was born on September 19. I recollect that when I reached Berlin, my daughter had already been born.

I also remember the date because on the advice of a railway employee from Malkinia, I took a normal civilian train and not the train carrying personnel on leave. I learned later that this train had been in collision with a train from Lodz, and there had been many casualties. On my written application, Stangl also granted me some additional days of leave, as I needed to take my son to hospital.

When I returned to Treblinka on October 1, I ran into Hauptmann Schemmel. I assumed that Stangl was looking after Sobibor, or was himself on leave. At any rate he was not in Treblinka when I returned. I remember that the new gas chambers were completed and were in use.

I remember about the incident with Max Biela which happened before my leave. When informed that Biela had died on the evening of September 11, 1942, after being taken to the sick bay, and asked whether at that time Stangl was already in Treblinka, I made the following declaration.

I assume that this was the case but I cannot be certain. Certainly Wirth was there. As to Wirth I can state that when he issues a command, no-one had anything to say.

On that day Biela had been knifed, I was outside the camp with a work detail. When I returned I saw corpses of Jews on the reception square. I do not particularly recall the retribution action which took place the next day after an enquiry conducted on oath. I do know Wirth ordered apparently random shootings of worker -Jews, in order to spread shock and awe.

In the course of the re-organization of the camp, I was put in charge of the Gold-Jews. When I returned to Treblinka on October 1, 1942, Lindenmuller had been in charge and I was his deputy. Lindenmuller left at the start of February 1943. I remained the so-called boss of the Goldjuden for the rest of my time in Treblinka.

From November 1942, I was also put in charge of the Tailors and Shoemakers workshops. My orders concerning these workshops came from Stangl, Franz, Kuttner, and the senior NCO Stadie. As boss of the Goldjuden, I was only responsible to Stangl.

The seized articles of value, gold, jewellery, and money were packed into cases and ammunition boxes. The articles of value also included watches. Lists of contents were prepared for each case or munitions box. The individual articles were listed only by number, for example 1,000 gold watches, 500 alarm clocks, or so many thousand wedding and other rings. Paper money was sorted into separate denominations, bundled up and totaled. These cases and boxes were handed over to Stangl in his quarters. They were collected by an SS detail from Lublin and taken there. Any diamonds were kept separate and handed over to Stangl. I assume that inasmuch as the Goldjuden possessed diamond rings, they themselves removed the stones from the rings. In any event, I only ever handed diamonds to Stangl, which to my knowledge, he personally took to Lublin.

From the Upper Camp I received gold teeth and to a smaller extent also other valuables. I cannot now say who brought these individual items. It could have been Matthes or Lindenmuller. In a very few instances it could have been myself who collected the valuables from the Upper Camp if I knew that the transport for Lublin was already waiting in the camp.

Alfons Lindenmuller, at that time his age would have been mid-late-twenties. He had a lean narrow face, was taller than myself, about 1 meter 74. The color of his hair was darkish fair to brown. He was an Oberscharfuhrer of the Waffen-SS.

I cannot say if he came to Treblinka from Lublin. From conversations with him I knew that he had been with a formation at the front where he had a motorcycle accident which resulted in a torn cartilage and damage to his kneecap. When he was well again he worked in an accounting capacity for the Waffen-SS. He mentioned that he had served in Dachau after his accident. What kind of duty I do not know. It could not have been guard duty. He was still limping when in Treblinka, and complained of pain. In connection with Dachau, he spoke of speaking with  higher ranking SS officers.

The way he spoke pointed to a South German origin. He was not Austrian or a Sudeten-German. I do not know where he was before Treblinka. I assume he was with a unit at the front, which he also mentioned during conversations with me. He said that because of the ''shit' at Stalingrad there had been some weeding out. I have never heard of him since.

When he was in charge of the Goldjuden, it was his responsibility to deliver the valuables to Stangl. I hepled him with this from time to time. At the beginning under Dr Eberl, there was a big backlog to deal with, and there was a high yield from the transports as the Jews at that time apparently still believed that they were going to be resettled.

As far as I know, Lindenmuller was an active member of the Waffen-SS. He told me nothing about this, or that he had been a student.

I do know from questioning under oath about the witness Unger, that this man spoke of a German who had been a doctor of psychology, who had been a decent person, but had not stayed long. I stated that this man could have been Lindenmuller. As I have already stated, I know nothing about whether Lindenmuller was an academic. With Lindenmuller one could speak openly about the circumstances in Treblinka. He also made efforts to control the severity of some of his men. He particularly took a strong stand against the beatings meted out by Kutttner.

When I am informed that according to the verdict of the Court, Lindenmuller was said to have introduced the inspection of the genitals of naked Jewesses in the search for valuables, I have to state: If that was the case, that such a procedure was in place, it could only have happened on the orders of Wirth. As I know Lindenmuller, he would never have given such an order.

Kuttner was responsible for the allocation of duties in the Lower Camp. This had no significance for me because as boss of the Goldjuden, I had permanent duties and was responsible to Commandant Stangl. As for the other workshops: after Schiffner left , I was put in charge of the carpenters and the other tradesmen. As far as I can recall, Schiffner left Treblinka in May 1943, after falling out with Wirth. After the re-organization had been completed Wirth was in Treblinka for at least four weeks.

When in the winter of 1942/1943, the burning of corpses in the Upper Camp was introduced , Wirth was frequently in Treblinka. He came with Floss, a cremation specialist, I believe from Bełżec.I remember how horrified Stangl was when he first heard of this change. He told me about this and asked how it could happen that corpses already in a state of decomposition should now be burnt.

Wirth then sent Hackenholt with a digger to clear the graves. I further remember that one night at that time, an alarm was sounded. Under the leadership of Rakowski, the then Senior Jew, some worker Jews had been removing rails from near the Treblinka Labor Camp. I am convinced that the Jews did not take well the fact that Rakowski had participated in this.

Franz Suchomel