The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-041-05

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-041-05
Last-Modified: 1999/06/01

Q. Dr. Grueber, can you tell the Court about the various
medical experiments carried out on the inmates of Dachau?

A. Yes, I myself almost underwent something of the sort.
Many of my friends and colleagues were - I cannot say used -
abused in such experiments.  There were all sorts of
experiments, injections of Phenol, malaria, cold-water
experiments, where they were thrown into ice-cold water, air-
pressure tests, where people were placed in a bell jar and
air was pumped in or out, and many died.  They were normally
people not capable of working, who were used as what we
called guinea pigs.

Q. When were these experiments carried out?

A. All the time we were in Dachau these experiments were
carried out.  I was once summoned myself.  I had suffered a
severe heart attack, I assume it was a coronary, and after
that I was not able to work.  The way things were, no one
was really supposed to die between the count at three
o'clock in the afternoon and the evening roll call.  Anyone
who did die then had to be taken out to roll call, placed at
a special place at the back, and included in the count.  And
I was with the corpses.  When friends saw that I was still
alive, they managed somehow to get me into the infirmary.
Afterwards I was not fit to work, and they came to get me.
It was a Dr. Rascher who carried out these experiments.  Dr.
Rascher, who received me with the usual greeting, told me
that his grandfather had also been a clergyman.

Q. Just a moment, please.  What do you mean by "the usual

A. The collective term for us was "pig."  It was the form of
address which was usually our lot.  When he said to me that
his grandfather had been a clergyman, I said to him that I
am, of course, prepared for anything, that according to my
religious beliefs his grandfather in eternity knows what his
grandson is doing, and that according to my religious
beliefs his grandfather in eternity may well not be able to
have a single second of rest, because he knows what his
grandson is up to.  I was prepared for anything - except
that he should suddenly address me with the polite, formal
"Sie" form and dismiss me.  The next day he summoned me,
ordered an ambulance, had me examined, ascertained that I
was suffering from all sorts of things and said that I was
no longer able to be in prison, which I already knew.  He
then said that he would try to have me released.

Q. And shortly afterwards you were actually released, were
you not?

A. A little later, but the truth is that I do not ascribe it
to him alone; I think that the main credit is due to my
courageous wife, who fought for my release right from the
beginning.  She went to the Accused as well, to his deputy,
to all the SS departments.  There was also something else of
which I was informed later.  There was a lawyer called
Langbehn, a deputy, at the time a representative of Himmler,
who attempted to make peace with America.  So perhaps it was
meant as a gesture to America, something like "you see, we
are not so bad after all, we even let people like Grueber

Q. In June 1943 you were already in Berlin, were you not?

A. I came to Berlin in June 1943.  On the 23rd of June, on
the eve of my birthday.

Q. Your office was locked up.  Where were your people?

A. My family was living in Karlsdorf, an eastern
suburb of Berlin.  In March 1943 there was a direct hit on
my house, my wife and my son, who was still at home, were
miraculously saved, and of course they were not provided
with substitute housing or clothing, since I was a
treasonous criminal, but then they found emergency housing
in Berlin.

Q. Did you continue with your relief activities after you
returned to Berlin as well?

A. I was the parson of a large parish of 8,000 souls.
Before I was arrested, I was also on the board of the
Bekenntniskirche, as well as being involved part-time with
the Dutch, and I managed all the work, but only because I
really did work day and night.  When I returned from the
camp, I was a broken man who could not even go down the
stairs without assistance.

I should like to add that, after my arrest, my work did not
come to a halt but continued illegally.  There were many
hundreds of people who were prepared to work illegally, in
order to procure food coupons and counterfeit identity
papers, to provide housing, and what was called "going
underground" (untertauchen); the driving force was
Oberregierungsrat Kaufmann, who was shot shortly afterwards
at the Wohlheide.

As far as I could, I reestablished contacts with these
people who were working illegally, and of course they came
to me with all sorts of questions, without the work actually
becoming public.

Q. Dr. Grueber, do you remember two young Jews who lived
with you after 1943?

A. Yes, if you mean the Neumann brother and sister, because
there were many young people whom I helped, but I published
the story of these two young people, not to relate anything
about myself, of course.  I should like to ask the Court to
understand that I am of no importance; what is of importance
is a Higher Being, on whose behalf I was acting, and if I
put anything in writing, then this was simply to show that
there was yet somebody else in control at that time, and
there were not only the godless who desecrated human beings,
but that there was also One who was taking care of people.

These were a young brother and sister, of the Jewish faith,
the girl was staying with a clergyman and the boy at a
market garden outside Berlin; every Friday evening they lit
their candles, and on Sunday morning they came to my church
in Karlsdorf.  The girl - I do not wish to give the details,
it was a very odd story which has been published, she had no
choice because she had false papers - went to the Wehrmacht
as a housekeeper.  Her brother was caught and admitted that
he was a Jew, and then he was maltreated until his skin was
hanging off him in shreds, and she went in her uniform,
still playing her role because she had no choice, to the
Gestapo and said, that is my brother.

Rita - that was the girl's name - asked to be locked up
together with her brother.  She nursed him back to health.
When he was well, they went on the transport.  When the
transport was being put together, there was an air raid
alarm, and instead of going down to the cellar, they ran
upstairs to the first open room, and there on the bed was a
rope.  They managed to climb down the rope, got through to
Berlin to me, and they stood there in front of me with
flayed hands, because they had not protected their hands,
and I took them to a member of the party.  He looked after
them until the occupying troops arrived, and both are now
happily married and living in America.

Q. Finally, Dr. Grueber, you have referred to the fact that
you hold office in Berlin today.  Is your congregation in
the western part of Berlin, or the east, or in both parts?

A. I am the dean for Berlin; neither the Protestant nor the
Catholic churches of Berlin are split.  The only divided
community in Berlin is the Jewish community.  The church of
my congregation is the Great Mary's Cathedral, and the
deanship is a resident post, but being a community of
persons, my congregation covers both parts of Berlin.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Thank you.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions to
the witness?

Dr. Servatius:  I do have a few questions.

Presiding Judge: Please proceed.

Dr. Servatius:  Dr. Grueber, you have said that you
repeatedly went to Eichmann's office in order to negotiate
with him.  What did you submit to him?

Witness Grueber:  I submitted to him all the distressing
facts confronting us: Matters of emigration, personal safety
and all the other matters which were very pressing ones as a
result of the Jewish laws.

Q. If I understood you correctly, you said: His replies were
either a "no" or "you must wait."

A. Yes, some days.

Q. Do you interpret his replies "you must wait" as meaning
that he wanted to ask his superiors?
A. In our dealings I never had the impression that the
Accused depended only upon the instructions of his
superiors.  I never wondered whether in certain cases he
might actually check with his superiors; from all of the
Accused's behaviour the only impression I ever had was that
he at least wished to give the impression of being the
person in charge.  Whether he was the person in charge, I
was obviously not able to judge.

Q. You have said that the Accused spoke in the first person
singular, that he was the mercenary trooper type.

A. Yes.

Q. Under such circumstances, is it customary for a person to
refer to other echelons, or is it customary for that person
to answer always in the first person singular, whether he is
a soldier or a mercenary?

A. The distinction I am making between a mercenary and a
soldier amounts to the following: When a German mercenary
puts on his uniform, he sheds his conscience and his reason
for the duration.  We say that he puts them into the depot
for the duration of his service.

Q. Witness, you have not answered my question.  I asked why
he uses the first person singular - let me make it clearer:
Did he say I have been empowered to say and do this and
that, or is it customary to say "I determine, I state," even
in the case of an N.C.O.?

A. As far as I am concerned, the mercenary type is not
specific to a particular military rank or other post; it can
be found right up to the highest echelons.  It is the sort
of person who wants to represent something towards the
outside world.  There is a German expression for people like
that,  we call them "bicyclists" because they are always
treading downwards, while upwards they bend their backs.  I
never saw him bend down, but I often saw him treading

Q. That was a most interesting psychological observation,
but you have not replied to my question.  I do not believe
you are capable of replying to it, and therefore I shall not
insist but shall ask another question.

A. Perhaps the Counsel for the Defence could ask the
question in a clearer form.  After all, you must bear in
mind the fact that I am only an old man, and I do not grasp
things as fast as young people, so perhaps you could ask the
question in a rather more precise form?  I shall be glad to
answer any questions.

[Laughter in the courtroom.]

Presiding Judge: We will have no demonstration of feelings.

Dr. Servatius:  I note that the witness has not answered my
question.  I have another question.  You said that the
Accused behaved like a block of marble and that it was
impossible to get through to him.  Did you try to influence
him as a cleric, by pointing out to him in no uncertain
terms that his behaviour was quite unsuitable, and that
everything that was going on was extremely immoral and

Witness Grueber:  On this, I would like to say that my
attitude has always been that actions speak louder than
words, and if the Accused realized from the way I behaved -
and he must have realized - that I was moving around
practically day and night, in order to help people - if he
did not draw any conclusions from my example, then I really
do not think that words would have got through to him, not
to the extent required.  Although I have had cases where I
used words in order to fulfil my pastoral role.

Q. You have given a reply to my question to the effect that
you did not remonstrate with him, and that your deeds alone
should have spoken for themselves.

A. In cases where you have the feeling that words will run
off like water off a duck's back, you do not even try.  On
the contrary, you are concerned that words might even widen
the gap between people.  But I would now like to relate
something which I really did not wish to tell, from a
personal encounter with the Accused.

Presiding Judge: Is what you are going to relate relevant to
the question you have been asked?

Witness Grueber:  Yes.

Dr. Servatius:  Are you going to reply about the
remonstrances you made to him?

Witness Grueber:  I have just replied to that question.

Q. You really must answer my question.  You were asked
whether you remonstrated with him.  You first answered "no."

Presiding Judge: I did not hear any answer "no."  I heard a
reply to the effect that, on the one hand, actions should
have spoken for themselves, but, on the other hand, things
were also said.  That is how I understood the witness'

Dr. Servatius:  The witness first said that he did not say
anything, but that his actions had already spoken for
themselves.  But then, at the end, he added that certain
things were said.  If he now wishes to briefly relate these
matters, I have no objections.

Witness Grueber:  When you remonstrate with someone, that is
not something which you do by means of orders.  A pastor who
uses nothing but imperatives is not a good spiritual
adviser.  One evening I arrived at the Kurfuerstenstrasse
absolutely worn out, and I had the impression that the
Accused, if I can put it this way, had had a good day.
Perhaps he also felt somewhat sorry for me.  I do not know
if the Accused remembers the circumstances.  He said: "Why
do you care about the Jews at all?  No one is going to thank
you for your efforts."  I replied, because I believed that
he, as a former Templar, had known this country: "You know
the road from Jerusalem to Jericho."  Then I said: "Once on
that road there lay a Jew who had fallen amongst thieves.
Then a man passed by, who was not a Jew, and helped him.
The Lord whom alone I obey tells me, 'Go thou and do
likewise,' and that is my answer."

Q. I am satisfied with this reply.  I have another question
to the witness: Were you ever in Switzerland in connection
with Jewish emigration?

A. Very frequently.

Q. How could you get to Switzerland?  Did you not require a

A. I had a valid German passport, and then, except for a few
countries which were out of the question for me, it was
still possible to travel everywhere, as long as you had a
valid passport.  I had a passport which was not stamped "J."

Q. At that time, were you not already under police

A. Not only was I under police surveillance - my phone was
tapped as well.  I do not know if people here are aware that
there was what was called the "Brown Post" - surveillance of
phone calls and telegrams, by means of tapping.  I had the
privilege later of spending years in Sachsenhausen with the
man who had spent years keeping me under surveillance.

Q. You have said that you felt unfathomable hatred emanating
towards you from Eichmann.  What did he say to give you that

A. I would like to say that hatred does not only take the
form of words, but that it can be expressed by someone's
entire behaviour.  That is not only my own experience, but
that was also my wife's experience when she intervened on my
behalf at the Kurfuerstenstrasse.  She was treated very
properly at Alexanderplatz, while she left the
Kurfuerstenstrasse in tears.

Q. You said that you made an application in order to be able
to operate with your relief organization under a church
designation.  Why did you make this application?  Were not
the churches themselves there, so that they could act on
behalf of Jewish welfare?

A. I was concerned with having my name no longer connected
with my activities, I was not trying to do anything for
myself or make myself prominent, but I hoped that if there
were some official title, that would be more useful for
things like shipping connections with countries abroad and
with other agencies - you must not forget that I dealt with
agencies abroad; there is scarcely a single country to which
I did not turn in order to open doors, and I think I can say
now, that if in those days there had been just a fraction of
the responsible attitude now shown towards refugees and
emigrants, millions would have been saved - but you see,
when I was dealing with bodies abroad, with ministries and
embassies etc., it would have been far better all around if
there had been some other letterhead.  However, when you ask
about the work of the churches, I would like to say that the
official church in Germany had, with the help of Herr
Hitler, got into the hands of what were known as German
Christians, while our group, the Bekenntniskirche, was a
group which for the most part worked illegally, because the
official church at the time went along totally in Herr
Hitler's wake.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, if you still have a number
of questions, it might be better to recess now and continue
the cross-examination this afternoon, because it is getting

Dr. Servatius:  My questions were just short ones, but the
answers have been lengthy.  I still have several more

Presiding Judge: Very well - quiet please, we will have
quiet until the Court retires.  We shall break off now until
this afternoon, at half past three.

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