Maria Van Herwaarden

[Maria Van Herwaarden] The 'False News' Trial of Ernst Zündel -- 1988 

Herwaarden was transported to Vienna and from there to Auschwitz. There were about twenty other women on the train travelling from Vienna to Auschwitz. She could not say if any were Jewish. They received food on the train. A gypsy told Herwaarden that they were going to be gassed when they arrived at Auschwitz. They arrived in the camp on 2 December in the afternoon. (25-6625, 6626, 6627)
    That night the SS people came and took them to Birkenau. They were taken to a cold, windowless room and told that they had to take a cold shower. They handed over their clothes and all hair was shaved, both head and pubic. Herwaarden was "terribly scared" when she went into the shower room because "they said gas would be coming from the top but it was only water." They received soap, but the water was cold. When they finished, they received their numbers and prisoners clothing and were taken to the barracks. Herwaarden was listed as an Aryan. (25-6628, 6629)
......She saw very many prisoners die in the camp from diseases and also people who took their lives on the electric fence. But she never saw any prisoners killed by anyone in the camp. Of 1,000 Germans who had arrived in March of 1942, there were only three left when Herwaarden arrived in December. They had all died of black fever. There was nothing to do against the disease, although Herwaarden and other prisoners got very painful injections so that they couldn't get the disease. She thought the SS tried to stop the typhus but nothing was successful. (25-6636, 6637, 6647) The bodies were taken away in wheelbarrows, but she did not know how they were disposed of. (25-6638) Herwaarden never saw a crematorium at Birkenau. It was a big place. (25-6645)
....Herwaarden was next taken to Auschwitz to be a cleaning woman in the women's SS building. There were twenty girls who did the cooking and cleaning and the laundry. Herwaarden was in this building when Auschwitz was bombed. The air pressure broke all the windows. (25-6639, 6640)
.....Herwaarden confirmed many of the observations of Thies Christophersen quoted in Did Six Million Really Die?. In the period of time she was in the camp, she saw no indication of "millions" of people; nor did she ever see any indication of a mass murder or extermination of Jews. While gassings were talked about at the camp, she personally never saw anything of the sort. There was a terrible smell in the camp, however, and she confirmed that there was a horseshoe place on the way from Birkenau to the tree plantation. Herwaarden agreed that she had difficulty getting people to believe what she saw in Auschwitz-Birkenau: "Many don't believe that." (25-6643 to 6647)
.....Herwaarden was given a uniform with a half red and half black triangle. The red was political because the man she had relations with was Polish. The black was anti social. She emphasized that there were many, many Germans in the camp who had the same sign that she had. Jews had a star. (25-6649) [Maria Van Herwaarden] The 'False News' Trial of Ernst Zündel -- 1988