The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-038-07

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-038-07
Last-Modified: 1999/06/01

Q. What was the Evidenz Abteilung (Registration Department)
that you mentioned?

A. Every person who reached the Schleuse went past a table,
a very elegant piece of furniture in the camp, and there
they made a note of the names, of all the particulars, and
completed a form.  This form served as a certificate in
Theresienstadt that the man was actually alive.  In the
"Evidenzkarte," or whatever it was called, it was recorded
where the man came from, his number, and on which transport.
This was the central office where they recorded all the
prisoners in the ghetto.  The persons in charge of the
Evidenz were also responsible to the Headquarters.

Q. Was the Headquarters the Gestapo - or what?

A. Yes.  In Theresienstadt it was called the "SS
Kommandatur" - it was in the centre of the ghetto.

Q. Was there, or was there not, a crematorium in the ghetto?

A. There was a crematorium where the dead bodies were

Presiding Judge: Were there visits from outside, for example
of the Red Cross?

Witness Ansbacher:  On two occasions there were visits from
outside.  Once there was also a committee of the Red Cross -
I think the Danish Red Cross.  Generally, when such visits
took place, we had to get the whole ghetto ready and turn
the place upside down.  Whoever lived in an unsuitable place
was not allowed to leave the building.  There were certain
areas where there was a total curfew, in other words it was
absolutely forbidden to go out of the building.  Only people
who had a more or less human appearance were allowed to show
themselves in the street at all.  Usually these were people
who had been prepared in advance.  Thus, for example, there
was a "Verschoenerungsaktion" (beautification drive), when
they turned the whole ghetto upside down.  This was a drive
for the beautification of the camp.

Q. Yes, to improve the appearance of the camp.

A. News was received that an international commission would
visit Theresienstadt.

Q. When was that?

A. If I am not mistaken, in 1944.  They got orders that the
buildings had to be cleaned up in an exemplary manner.
Those who were considered to be candidates for the
Krankenstube (sick ward) had to be moved to a special place.
Everything had to be cleaned up.  They painted the houses
outside, they prepared large signs on which it said
"Zentralschule" (Central School).  There was a special sign
on which it said "Ghetto Theater."  Elsewhere they got
children ready to participate in official football
competitions.  Special places were prepared for this.

Q. All these activities had never existed?

A. Never.  And perhaps the most shocking thing was that they
actually prepared a special play hall where there was a
skating rink, where there were ponies; they constructed
beautiful toys; they actually built a glass palace and
brought the children there, with little beds with a heart
engraved on them, really like some palace.  They prepared
all this in a special place and gave them food.  I remember
that I was then still in touch with the people in charge of
the children's home.  It then happened several times that
they summoned the children to a general rehearsal.  The
children fell upon the food which they were given.  They had
to do this repeatedly, and they always sent different
children, so that they could eat well at least once.

Q. Who else paid a visit from outside, apart from the Red

A. Apart from the Red Cross, there were always visitors from
the Dienststelle.  We did not know exactly who they were,
but we always saw uniformed people, and we called those
visits "Die hohen Tiere sind da!" ("The big shots are
here"). Then there was always a terrible mood in the ghetto.
They were seen going to the Kommandatur or to the "Sudeten
Kaserne," where there was the bridge, but not as in the
other ghettos.  In Theresienstadt the Germans crossed from
one place to another via the bridge, so that Jews should not
come into contact with Aryans.

Q. Who were they, these "hohe Tiere"?

A. I only noticed their uniforms.

Q. Uniforms of what?

A. Uniforms of the SS.  Often there were civilians among
them, and even women.

Q. Did they see these "Potemkin villages" or the true
position?  Did they see the make-believe or the real

A. I usually saw them outside the ghetto, but they also
walked along the path which passed through the entire
ghetto, along the length of the central main street of the
ghetto; this was regarded as out of bounds for the ghetto.
And on seeing them, one had to salute them by taking off
one's hat.

Dr. Servatius:  Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I should
be grateful if I could put one more question to the witness:
Were there gas chambers in Theresienstadt?

Witness Ansbacher:  Not to my knowledge.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Ansbacher, you have
completed your evidence.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Your Honours, I shall continue
submitting documents relating to events in Germany until the
end of the War.  First of all, I wish to place before this
Honourable Court the exhibit which was submitted by Mr. Bar-
Shalom and marked T/31.  This was an affidavit of Mr. Isaak
E. Wahler who, while serving with the American forces,
photographed the Gestapo file of Wuerzburg.  This morning we
shall submit several documents taken from this file.  The
special significance of this file lies in the fact that - as
the Honourable Court is already aware - hardly any of the
original documents of Gestapo offices are extant; they were
destroyed and were found only in a few small places.  One of
the most complete collections of the deportations of Jews in
the years 1941-1943 is the Aussenstelle (branch office) file
of the Gestapo Leitstelle (Regional Headquarters) in
Nuremberg.  Nuremberg was the Gestapo Leitstelle.  The
Aussenstelle was Wuerzburg.  We found the Aussenstelle file
in Wuerzburg.

Presiding Judge: What is the name of the man who took the

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Isaak E. Wahler.  His affidavit has
already been submitted as T/31.

Presiding Judge: Does he speak of what he photographed?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  He gives details of what he
photographed from the files.  All the books containing the
photographs of all the files that were discovered have been
submitted to the Court and are in our possession.  I shall
not rely on the whole file and on the pictures of the
deportations, and so forth, which are there, but only on
those documents which are really relevant to our case.

Presiding Judge: Are you submitting this affidavit?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  The affidavit was submitted in T/31.

The first document is our No. 1281.  These are guidelines
for the technical implementation of the deportation of the
Jews into the area of the Generalgouvernement at Izbica,
near Lublin.  From the document it seems that it came from
the head office of the Gestapo Leitstelle in Nuremberg to
its branch in Wuerzburg.  It was not possible to determine
its exact date, it is only possible to state that these were
directives that certainly came after Regulation 11 to the
Law of Reich Citizenship, since Regulation 11 itself is
mentioned here.  There is reference here to the measures
that have to be adopted in order to concentrate, and to
seize, the Jews according to the categories that were laid
down for certain transports, who was to be responsible, who
would escort them, what had to be done with their property.
We shall find that there is a certain scheme here which
reappears in every directive given from Berlin.  It does not
yet follow from this that these directives, in fact, came
from the Accused's office, but in the course of this morning
we shall see that the Accused's office indeed was the office
which laid down these directives to all the "Gestapo-
Leitstellen" in the German-controlled area of the

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/664.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Before I go on, perhaps it would not
be out of place for me to recall that, in the course of our
reply to the introductory arguments of Defence Counsel, we
also submitted a judgment of the District Court of

Presiding Judge: From Ulm?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  One from Ulm and one from Nuremberg.
This judgment that we submitted was a judgment summing up
judicially the story of most of the people who appear,
ultimately, in the Wuerzburg file, and who were involved in
the deportation of the Jews of Wuerzburg to the East.

Presiding Judge: How was this marked - do you remember? Or
was it not marked at all?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  This was on the basis of documents
that we submitted.  It seems to me that we submitted only
one judgment of the Nuremberg Court.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  With the Court's permission, I shall
now come to Prosecution document No. 1.  In regard to this
document, I shall ask for a decision of the Court under
Section 15 of the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment)
Law.  This is a report on German Jewry from 1939 to 1941, in
fact even up to 1941, which was dictated by Dr. Max Plaut to
Dr. Ball-Kaduri in the year 1953.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  He delivered the shorthand document
to Yad Vashem, whence it came to us.

Presiding Judge: Is this a report of the years 1939-1941?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  1939 to 1941-1942, on German Jewry.
Dr. Max Plaut, during the period covered by this report, was
the director of Jewish community affairs in Hamburg;  in
fact, he was also in charge, on behalf of the
Reichsvereinigung of the remaining smaller communities in
Northern Germany, up to Stettin.  He came to Palestine in
1944 and left the country after 1953.  Today he is the
director of community property affairs in Bremen.  I wanted
to bring him here, so that he could give evidence in court.
But I received a letter, already two weeks ago, from which I
learnt that he is suffering from heart disease and diabetes;
apparently his condition is serious.  Only today I heard
that he is in hospital in Bremen.  Accordingly, I shall not
be able - even if he recovers speedily, which I hope will be
the case - to bring him here as a Prosecution witness.

As grounds for my request, I would say that, in the
circumstances that have arisen, I shall not ask the Court to
admit this document except as evidence describing the
background against which Dr. Plaut was working.  The
Accused's name appears here and there in this document.  Not
only that, but one document is quoted here in its entirety,
word for word, and it says that at the time it was signed by
Eichmann.  But to the extent that something should be
implied from what is recorded here - I do not think it need
be implied - but if something should be implied from which

As grounds for my request, I would say that, in the
circumstances that have arisen, I shall not ask the Court to
admit this document except as evidence describing the
background against which Dr. Plaut was working.  The
Accused's name appears here and there in this document.  Not
only that, but one document is quoted here in its entirety,
word for word, and it says that at the time it was signed by
Eichmann.  But to the extent that something should be
implied from what is recorded here - I do not think it need
be implied - but if something should be implied from which

might be possible to learn of the Accused's personal direct
responsibility, as against a connection concerning the
events described here, I shall not rely upon it.  I presume
that, in these circumstances, the Defence will apparently
not object to my application that this document should be
submitted without the witness being present.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what is your position?

Dr. Servatius:  I have no objection.  I see from the
document itself that what it says about Eichmann personally
is not important in relation to the criminal liability of
the Accused.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 28

We decide to accept as evidence the report recorded by Ball-
Kaduri from the dictation of Mr. Max Plaut, with the
reservation mentioned by Mr. Bar-Or.

Mr. Bar-Or, it would be desirable in the future that in any
similar situation a medical certificate be produced.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  I requested a medical certificate.
I wrote to him about it.  All that I received was this
letter that I found on my desk this morning.  This letter is
signed by his wife, Ruth Plaut.  It was sent from Bremen on
8 May, and she writes "My husband has, for the last
fortnight, been in hospital in Bremen.  I hope that he will
come home, possibly by the end of the week, and then he will
immediately write to you."  It seems that she refers here to
a medical certificate.  I have not had time to obtain one.

Presiding Judge: And also a sworn statement of the witness?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  This I have, Your Honour.  I attach
to document No. 1 the affidavit of Dr. Max Plaut which was
presented on 22 February to the Israel Consul.  It is short
and says: "I, Dr. Max Plaut, swear by Almighty God that this
is my name and this is my signature, and that the contents
of the annexed report are true."

Judge Halevi:  In this instance, I think it is not necessary
to have reservations about parts of it.  For then it would
be possible to allow Defence Counsel, in case he should want
to interrogate him, to do so.  And if there is nothing for
him to question, it would be possible to accept the entire
contents as being the truth.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  With all due respect, the witness
is, of course, ready even today to be interrogated.  There
is no problem with that.  But I presume that the advantage
to the Defence emerging from the cross-examination will not
be so great as to justify my requesting the admission of
this report without any reservation.

Judge Halevi:  I did not really intend to suggest cross-
examination.  I did not know that there was a sworn
declaration.  You did not mention this beforehand.  But if
there is an illness preventing the witness from coming to
this country and he has confirmed the contents of his
statement made abroad under oath, then, as a rule, with the
Court's permission, it is possible to admit the entire
document, the whole affidavit, and this is subject to
Defence Counsel's right to apply for cross-examination
abroad - if he finds it necessary and relevant to do so.  If
you think that there is no point in that, it would be
possible to submit the entire affidavit without eliminating

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Does Your Honour think that I could
do so even without relying on Section 15?

Judge Halevi:  Yes, according to Section 15.

Presiding Judge: At all events have you taken your stand on
the matter?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Yes.

Judge Halevi:  There is also section 16 of the Law of
Evidence to which we have already referred once; taken in
conjunction with Section 15, this would have made this
procedure possible.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Thank you, Your Honour, we shall
take note of that.  In view of the fact that I assumed until
the last moment that the witness would be present, I did not
prepare a Hebrew translation, and I would ask for the
Court's indulgence with my impromptu translation: I shall
not read the report - I shall merely draw your attention to
some passages thereof.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/665.

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