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During the night of 17th to 18th March 1933, the offices of the ADGB [Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund; German Trade Unions], which are located in Nurnberg, Breite Gasse 25/27, as well as the offices of the Builders' Union and the Unions of the Bookbinders, Bookprinters, Lithographers, Textile Workers and Carpenters were completely destroyed by the SA under the leadership of SA-Brigadier General [SA-Oberfuehrer] Wurzbacher. All the office furniture was smashed and thrown into the courtyard, the safes overturned, forced open from the back and robbed. The typewriters, adding machines, mimeograph machines, etc., were stolen.
The ADGB possessed a huge library of about 10,000 volumes for the use of its members. Every single book was torn and thrown into the courtyard.
The Workers' Secretariat, which was joined to the AGBD, had an extensive professional library of about 500 volumes, among them valuable works on literature of social security and labor legislation. These were also thrown out and torn to pieces. A similar fate met about 750 to 800 files covering the cases of beneficiaries of pensions (social, war and accident cases) whose claims for pensions were being worked on.
The SA posted continuous guards in the office building and nobody was permitted to enter. When I made the attempt to enter in spite of it, Wurzbacher said: "The Red rascal will get in but will not come out alive." When I got in later in spite of him, the SA tried to catch me, but I escaped.
In order to guarantee the continued function of the trade union, which was most urgently needed at that time, I set up an emergency office in Nurnberg, Hummelsteinerweg. This was occupied on 2 May 1933 by SA, led by Pessler who was the District-leader [Gauobmann] of the NSBO [National Socialist Factory Cell Organization; Nationalsozialistische Betriebszellen Organisation later DAF; the German Labor Front]. Erhardt Kupfer, the district secretary of the ADGB, was arrested at the time, kicked with rifle butts and led away by the SA in shackles. As the deputy of NSBO, a certain Mueller was appointed. Three SA men guarded the office day and night. Upon seizure, Pessler's first question to me was: "Where do you have your cars? I know you have three cars." When I answered that I never had a personal car, he threatened to put me in jail until I would confess. When he finally realized that I did not have a car, he asked me what funds the Nurnberg local committee of the ADGB possessed. I said truthfully: "235,000 RM minus the sum stolen by the SA from the safes when they broke into the offices on the breite Gasse and which amounted to about 4,000 RM." Whereupon he threatened again to have me arrested but he did not do so, probably on the basis of the general order not to arrest the chairmen of the local committees [Ortsausschussvorsitzende]. I learned about this order only a few days ago.
On 1 June 1933, the deputy Mueller came into the office and asked me whether I had not been arrested yet. I said no and indicated that the night before I had been in the apartment of my mother-in-law who was severely ill. I left the office without being noticed, hurried home, packed the most necessary things, and left by bicycle with my wife. We stayed away for about five weeks, traveling from one place to another.
After returning, I was arrested towards the end of August 1933, under the charge that I had agitated against the National Government and had conducted illegal recruiting for the forbidden ADGB and the Socialdemocratic Party. When no proof could be produced, I was released, but arrested again after 3 days. This time I was accused of having had knowledge of the arsenal of the Reichsbanner (Militant Organization of German Social democrats), and that I had organized the arming of the members of the Trade Union offices. In cross-examinations conducted over many weeks, they tried to force a confession out of me. When I did not confess anything, I was to go to the concentration camp in Dachau. However, my wife succeeded in preventing this. After 31/2 months, I was released again. After this release I tried to start a business, no matter of what kind. It was in vain. Similarly, it was impossible for me to find work in my former line as engine-builder. Reason: political unreliability. Thus I lived on a weekly unemployment benefit of 14.40 marks, with my wife, until my further arrest in August 1935. At this time I was charged with participation in the so-called middle-German insurrection of 1934, and with the smuggling of illegal writings from abroad. In spite of the greatest efforts and the application of the foulest methods, such as the poorest and most inadequate food, depriving me of fresh air, threatening me with being shot and beaten, again the Gestapo did not succeed in proving anything against me. I was again set free after 121/2 weeks. During this period of confinement, Kriminalrat Otto, the Gestapo-chief, tried to persuade my wife to convert me to National Socialism. He told her: "If your husband comes to us, this will be of greater value for us than the adherence of 1,000 other people. Your husband would get a position in which he would earn 3 times as much as ever before." My wife refused consistently.
The same story as before: unemployment, occasional meagre earnings, until the next arrest on 26 January 1938. This time they did a fullsized job and arrested my wife too. We were accused of preparing high treason against the country [Hoch-und Landesverrat] as well as maintaining connections abroad. The interrogations lasted until the middle of April. The Gestapo agent Beetz had a predilection for interrogations at night. Five searchlights illuminated the spot where you were sitting. Behind and before me, and on both sides, four men sat a distance of a few meters, pointing their revolvers at me and clicking the triggers. The interrogations, which were of course always fruitless, were repeated sometimes two or three times in one night. Terms like "Greatest scoundrel," "most common criminal," and others were used. One morning at five o'clock, Beetz called me and said: "You know your wife has been arrested too. She had a complete breakdown and struggles with death in her cell. She expressed the wish to see you once more before her death. I am willing to grant her wish, but only if you make a full confession." When I refused he had me taken back into my cell and in an indescribable psychic condition. Beetz asserted several times that the material at hand condemning me was sufficient for 5 years in the penitentiary. I then demanded to be taken before the investigating judge. This, however, was refused, and on 20 April 1938, I was shipped to Dachau Concentration Camp. There I came immediately into solitary confinement and had to undergo 32 days of severe bunker (strenger Bunker)-punishment. During this time I had to sleep on a wooden board without blankets, and received warm food only every 4th day. On 9 July, I was released from the bunker and taken into the camp. There I had to perform the heaviest work, in spite of my greatly weakened physical condition. One day I received from an SS guard a kick in the back which threw me against a lorry which was just passing by, and thus I broke my lower right rib. Once when a prisoner had escaped from the camp, all of the camp-inmates had to fall out after work and stand at attention in ranks throughout the night. There were 17 dead next morning. On 13 July 1939, on order of the Nurnberg-Gestapo, I was taken off work and again put into the bunker and received again 64 days of rigid bunker-arrest until 28 September 1939, and was then shipped to Buchenwald Concentration Camp. There I came into the bunker again and stayed there until my release. During the whole time in Buchenwald I had to sleep on a board without a blanket. The food in the Buchenwald camp was so inadequate and inferior that at the time of my release I was a skeleton with skin over it. I wish to add that during my transfer to Camp Buchenwald, I suffered an inguinal rupture on the left side when jumping from a railroad car.
The release from the camp was accompanied by the express warning not to reveal anything about happenings in the camp. Otherwise, I would be returned there and never would have a chance to get out again. After my return to Nurnberg, I had to report daily at 10 o'clock sharp at the main office of the Gestapo. From July 1941, I had to report twice weekly to the police station in my district. After I was completely bombed out, on 9 march 1943, the order to report was rescinded.
After this release from camp Buchenwald, I again could not find a job anywhere, although the Gestapo had told me that if I could not show that I had a job within 6 weeks, I would be returned to the camp, since my release was tentative only. It was only due to the kindness of a textile shop owner who employed me in spite of the warnings of the Gestapo that I was not taken into protective custody again.
On 22 August 1944, I was again taken to Dachau Concentration Camp because of the attempt against Hitler's life, and I remained there for six weeks.
I may add that I had to undergo 6 House-searches during which everything in my apartment was upset. In these instances, all books which seemed to be dangerous, magazines, pamphlets, etc., were taken away.
I was chairman of the A.D.G.B., Local Committee of Nurnberg, 1930-33.(signed) Lorenz Hagen
Today on the 17th of November 1945, I have reread each single page of the statement given by me on 19 October 1945 and I have signed it. I declare hereby under oath that this statement is true.Signed: Lorenz Hagen
When I arrived at the concentration camp at dachau, the manager of the Stokers and Machinists Union, Josef Staimer, who had been active in the above organization until 1933, was still in the Dachau camp. He had been arrested in March 1933 and shipped to Dachau. He was released from there near the end of 1938 or the beginning of 1939.
Karl Hermann, manager of the Union of Factory Workers, pay office [Zahlstelle] of Nurnberg, was for several weeks imprisoned in the same cell with me when I was taken into protective custody in 1935 in the prison of Nurnberg. The total period of his imprisonment was about 7 weeks at that time. The reason for his arrest was to force him to give his approval of the notarial transfer of the house of the Factory Union to the DAF. As private owner of the house, Hermann had been appointed together with another colleague of his organization to be the trustee of this house by the organization. In 1943 the two above mentioned men were taken to the Concentration Camp Flensburg. In 1944 they died in the camp.
During my stay in Dachau, we had brigadier-General [Oberfuehrer] Loritz, who was the commander of the SS-Death Head-Unit [Totenkopfstandarte] and chief camp commandant. He was a violent, brutal man. Here is only one example for this:
For a while I was occupied in an SS clothing camp with a prisoner-detachment. An SS 1st Lt. who was in the tailoring section, whose name I unfortunately do not recall, sent a prisoner to the gate of the building on which there was a clock to find out what time it was. Loritz caught sight of the man, struck at him with his riding-whip and had his name taken. When the detachment returned at noon, the man was led away and without being allowed to defend himself, he received 25 lashings [stockhiebe] and 3 days arrest with water and bread. The rest of the detachment had to stand at attention during the noon recess and return to work without eating. The camp commander of Dachau at that time was Captain Koegel, who was transferred in September 1938 to the concentration camp for women in Lichtenburg, near Parttin, where my wife was at the time of this transfer.
Captain Gruenewald followed him as camp commander. Gruenewald was transport commander when we were shipped to Buchenwald. I myself saw, during the unloading of the train at Weimar, how Gruenewald hit Czech arrestees, older people, in the face and neck with his fist. One of the men fell to the ground and could rise only with difficulty.
In my time, the SS-First Sergeants [Rapportfuehrer; work detail-leaders] were Hofmann from Bamberg and Luedtkemeyer, from Northern Germany. These two were also very brutal fellows, with whom beating and smacking on the pettiest grounds were the order of the day for satisfying their sadistic inclinations.[signed] Lorenz Hagen
Today, on the 17th of November 1945, I have reread a duplicate copy of the appendix, which is an exact copy of the appendix to my statement of 19 October 1945. I have found that this statement is true. I declare this hereby under oath.[signed] Lorenz Hagen
Sworn to before me this 17th day of November 1945 at the Justice Building, Nurnberg, Germany.D. A. Sprecher, O2055516
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946