Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Judgment/Judgment-047 Last-Modified: 1999/05/27 149. We have heard much testimony about the dreadful suffering which befell the Jews in the final days of the Third Reich, when the concentration camps in the East were evacuated. The exhausted and starving prisoners were marched westwards for many days, in the cold and snow, by SS guards. In those days, on the eve of liberation, tens of thousands of the survivors of the camps fell on the roads and in the fields, all along the way, from the camps in the north (evidence of Dr. Dworzecki, Karstadt, Ben-Zvi, Mrs. Neumann) to Auschwitz, which was evacuated in the middle of January 1945, when its last prisoners were led to other camps inside Germany (evidence of Professor Wellers, Sapir, Gutman, Bakon, Dr. Beilin and Mrs. Kagan). It is not clear to us that the Accused was personally concerned with the evacuation of the camps and with what happened in them during this last stage, except for Bergen- Belsen. The report of the International Red Cross representative of April 1945 (T/865) makes it clear that the control of Jewish prisoners in this camp, and also in the Terezin Ghetto, remained with the Accused until the end. Accordingly, he bears at least part of the responsibility for what happened in Bergen-Belsen towards the end of the Nazi regime, and for the conditions in which the camp prisoners were found by their liberators. 150. We must devote special consideration to two camps, both because of their special character and also because of the close connection which the Accused had with the administration of these camps: Terezin (Theresienstadt) and Bergen-Belsen. The Terezin Ghetto Terezin was originally set up as a ghetto for the concentration of the Jews of the Protectorate, following upon the conference held in Prague on 10 October 1941 and presided over by Heydrich (T/294). This we have already mentioned above in connection with the first deportations from the Reich after Hitler had given his order for the extermination of the Jews. In his Statement T/37, at p. 117, the Accused stated that it was he who suggested to Heydrich the idea of concentrating the Jews of the Protectorate in this manner, thus rescuing Heydrich from an awkward situation after the latter had publicly announced that the Protectorate would be purged of Jews within eight weeks. Within a short time, additional functions were allocated to the Terezin Ghetto. At the Wannsee Conference, Heydrich speaks of Terezin as a "ghetto for the aged" to which Jews above the age of sixty_five are to be sent, as well as war invalids and holders of distinguished service medals, together with their spouses and children up to the age of fourteen. Jews of these categories were indeed sent to Terezin, as well as other privileged groups, such as descendants of mixed marriages - as is apparent from the documents of the Duesseldorf Gestapo, dated July 1942 (T/1397). When Kaltenbrunner, in a letter dated February 1943, - reference IVB4 - seeks permission from Himmler to evacuate Jews over the age of sixty from Terezin to Auschwitz, he received the following surprising reply: "The Reichsfuehrer is not interested in the dispatch of Jews from Terezin, because this would interfere with the aim that the aged Jews in Terezin Ghetto should be able to live and die in peace." (T/858; T/859) We do not know what lay behind Himmler's reply. He certainly cannot be suspected of any human feelings towards Jews, of whatever age. In fact, sick and old people were deported from Terezin to Auschwitz at an earlier date (see, for example, T/848), and also later (evidence of Mrs. Henschel, Session 37, Vol. II, p. 674; evidence of Mr. Ansbacher, Session 38, Vol. II, pp. 683-684). Mr. Ansbacher describes the deportation of old people from Terezin to Auschwitz as follows: "Generally, people arrived there already at the end of their strength. There were those who were already dying, and the SS nevertheless shouted that the number had to be complete and that they should be put inside the freight cars." (Session 38, Vol. II, p. 690.) 151. The truth is that the Terezin Ghetto was established for large-scale propaganda purposes and for camouflage, so that it could be shown to foreign visitors to convince them that rumours about the extermination of Jews and the way they were maltreated in the camps were nothing but "atrocity propaganda." In the language of the Accused (T/37, p. 245), this was "only Himmler's exterior signboard (Aushaengeschild) for people abroad, and nothing else," and on the same page he called Himmler's idea of transforming Terezin into a ghetto for the aged "a devilish idea." We find full confirmation of this in the documents. Exhibit T/734 is a report of a consultation on 6 March 1942 in Section IVB4 of the RSHA, presided over by the Accused, when he himself explained that the transports to Terezin were made in order to "keep up appearances for the outside world." In exhibit T/537 (memorandum by Zoepf on a conversation he had with the Accused), Terezin is described simply as the "propaganda camp." The witness Ansbacher told us of the severe hunger, the frightful overcrowding, the diseases and general atmosphere of desolation which prevailed in Terezin, and the pictures of life in the ghetto (T/651-T/663) show all this to the full. In a single month (October 1942), more than three thousand persons died there (declaration by Seidl, the first commander of Terezin, T/842, second record of proceedings, p. 5). But, when foreign representatives visited the camp, such as the representatives of the Red Cross, the appearance of the ghetto changed beyond recognition. In his evidence, Mr. Ansbacher states (supra, p. 692): "...There were certain areas where there was a total curfew ... Only people who had a more or less human appearance were allowed to show themselves... They painted the houses on the outside, they prepared large signs which read: `Central School'...`Ghetto Theatre'... They prepared a special play hall...they constructed beautiful toys...they brought the children there in little beds with a heart carved on them, really like some palace." In 1942, the Terezin Ghetto population reached close to 60,000 souls (declaration of Seidl, supra, p. 4). From time to time the population would be "thinned out" by deportations, to make possible the reception of new Jews in the ghetto, so that Terezin in fact became an assembly point for deportation to Auschwitz, as Seidl says on page 8. He mentions February 1942 as the date of the first deportation from Terezin to Auschwitz (supra, third record of proceedings, p. 18), and estimates the number of persons thus deported during the period of his service there (December 1941 to July 1943) at 50,000. In the autumn of 1944, again more than 20,000 persons were deported from Terezin to Auschwitz (testimony of Viteslav Diamant, Session 45, Vol. II, p. 808). When the witness Mrs. Salzberger reached Terezin at the end of January 1945, she found only 6,000 people there. On the eve of the collapse of the Reich, the number again increased, because thousands of prisoners from other camps were transferred there. When they reached Auschwitz, some of the deportees from Terezin were housed in a special "Families' Camp" (evidence of Yehuda Bakon, Session 68, Vol. III, p. 12442; evidence of Hoess in Poland, T/1356, p. 52 on the eleventh day of the trial). The Accused ordered "Special Treatment after six months" for them, and during their stay in Auschwitz, they had to write letters to Terezin according to a prescribed text, to inform their friends that all was well with them (testimony of Hoess, supra). On this subject, the witness Bakon relates that he and others with him were also obliged, in January 1944, to write postcards bearing the date 25 March 1944 (Session 68, Vol. III, p. 1244). In February and March 1945, the construction of gas chambers at Terezin was begun (evidence of Engelstein, Session 45, Vol. II, p. 815), but work was abandoned before its completion, and these chambers did not reach the stage of being used. 152. The Accused was competent to give instructions on all matters connected with the administration of the Terezin Ghetto, and he also used this authority in practice and closely supervised what was happening there, to the point of intervening in current administrative matters. A sort of "local government" of the Jews was set up in the ghetto, in the form of a Council of Elders, which was, of course, subordinate to the commander of the camp (Seidl, and after him Rahm). The commander, on his part, used to receive his instructions from the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Prague, headed by Hans Guenther (the brother of Rolf Guenther, the Accused's permanent deputy). From an administrative point of view, the Central Office in Prague was attached to the office of the Commander of the Security Police (BdS) on the spot, but in fact, the Central Office was attached to the Accused's Section in the RSHA. The Accused's competence in regard to Terezin stands out clearly in all the testimonies as well as the "Orders of the Day" and the various memoranda of the Council of Elders which have been preserved. Rahm, who followed Seidl as commander of Terezin, gave evidence in his trial that the Accused himself told him that, from the point of view of technical administration, he was responsible to the BdS in Prague, but from a political point of view, to the RSHA in Berlin, and on questions of policy, he, Rahm, would receive instructions from Moes, one of the officials working with the Accused in Section IVB4 (T/864). In his evidence, the Accused tried to limit his competence to matters of state importance (Session 98, Vol. IV, p.xxxx5), but this cannot be accepted as an accurate description of the scope of his powers. He not only decided upon the transfer of Jews of foreign nationality from Terezin to Bergen-Belsen (T/851), but the above-mentioned Moes appointed the Council of Elders in the ghetto. The Accused organized the "Jewish Police" within the ghetto (T/37, p. 2028); approaches were made to him for permission to send letters from Terezin, and his interest even reached the matter of deciding what type of beds should be provided for the inhabitants of the ghetto (T/346). The Accused visited Terezin frequently. According to the evidence of Mr. Diamant, which we accept as correct, in spite of the Accused's denial, the Accused personally took part in a selection in Terezin, which preceded the deportation to Auschwitz in the autumn of 1944 (Session 45, Vol. II, p. 808). The Accused contends that during that period he was in Hungary, but the fact is that he used to travel quite often from there to Berlin and to other places. We shall discuss the instructions for the prevention of births in the Terezin Ghetto in a special section devoted to this subject.
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