Testimony of Heinrich Lutterbach
(June 18, 1947)
Summarized by Jan-Ruth Mills
Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona
Heinrich Lutterbach was a 38 year old German national from Munich. He is not sworn in as a witness but makes a statement instead (205). A Jehovah’s Witness (218), Lutterbach was an inmate of Gusen I from October 1941. He first worked in the stone quarry and then in the camp office (206) as a clerk (211). When he became ill in January 1942, he was transferred from the stone quarry office outside the camp to the administrative offices inside the camp (211).
Block 2 Main Office
The main offices of the Gusen I were in Barracks 2. “A small part of it was the office and then came the parcel distribution room and the rest of the barracks was taken up by living quarters for inmates” (211).
Lutterbach lived in Blocks 24, 1 and 3 (206). He first lived in Block 3, a stone quarry block, and then in Block 24 “where only young Russians lived” (12) although later Poles and Germans were added, and finally he lived in Block 1 (12). While the young Russians were originally spread over other blocks, eventually they were put in Block 24 where there were some Ukrainians and Poles, as well, who were put there because of their youth (212). Their ages ranged from 16-20, 21 or 22 (217). He reports that the Germans in Block 24 who were put in positions of authority over the other nationalities did not always treat them well. These Germans were also favored by the SS like Tandler, who was block leader, and Heisig (213). He knew Heisig as deputy block leader of Block 24, Tandler’s Block (208) and does not recall that he had a bad reputation in this block (209).
Lutterbach was a room eldest of Block 24 (216) but says that at Gusen, unlike other camps, the room eldest worked outside the block. The administration of the block was all done by the block eldest (217), in the case of Block 24, by a German a-social named Ernst Halle (217). Lutterbach also lived with the young Russians, and testified that he could say nothing against Tandler for his treatment of the young Russians (206-207) and that he was called “Father of the Young Russians.” Lutterbach, a musician, recalls teaching the young Russians songs which they sang on order of the camp administration (207). He taught them to sing different songs out of a song book at intervals over a period of months but could not remember which songs he taught them (213).
Grill and the Mail
Lutterbach also recalls that Ziereis “made known” on Roll-Call Square that inmates were not to get more than two days of food from their parcels (208).
Lutterbach testifies that most packages came into the camp unopened and were opened in the camp, but he does not know if the contents were given to the SS (214). Although he remembers Grill as an SS Master Sergeant, he has nothing to say against him (215).
Schuettauf and the Chain of Guards
He recalls that Schuettauf had the nickname “General Bauch” (209) and that he was in charge of the guards. There was an order that all SS but camp administrators, such as detail leaders and block leaders, were forbidden from entering the camp. Although these men also did guard duty at times outside the camp, they were directly under the “security camp headquarters” (210). Lutterbach seldom went on outside details himself and so could not testify as to Schuettauf’s treatment of prisoners, but said Schuettauf had a bad reputation in the camp (210). He believed Obermayer was Schuettauf’s superior over the guards (210-211).
He recalls SS Staff Sergeant Jungjohann as a block leader but has nothing to say against him. He also recalls SS Sergeant Hartung as a block leader and later the head of the camp’s fire brigade but cannot testify about his treatment of prisoners (216).
Gassings of Russian Prisoners-of-War
Lutterbach recalls hearing about gassings and beatings at Gusen I caused by the SS belief that prisoners should not live if they could not work. He also recalls a large transport of Russians arrived in the camp in November or December 1941. They were quarantined for “a while” (218) and then sent out to work after which a large number of them died. Tandler, because he spoke Russian, was block leader of this group. He recalls hearing that a number of them were concentrated into a block and gas canisters were thrown in, but he did not witness this himself (218).
Source: KZ Gusen Memorial Committee Digital Archive Project