The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-050-05

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-050-05
Last-Modified: 1999/06/02

State Attorney Bach:  He wrote a book on this subject.  He
is in Hungary; we have not summoned him as a witness in this
trial.  If Counsel for the Defence wishes to submit Levai's
book in evidence - the book which, as I said, he wrote on
this subject - there will be no objection to that by the

The rest of my argument I believe I have already put to the
Court.  I agree with Counsel for the Defence that large
parts of the report are of no concern to us in this trial,
but this, of course, does not invalidate the numerous other
parts concerning Dr. Kasztner's direct contact with the
Accused; these parts are extremely relevant, and they are
supported and explained by many other documents we shall
submit and which, no doubt, will shed much light on the
background of this chapter and on the chapter itself, and
will assist the Court in establishing the facts.  Therefore,
I ask the Court to accept this document as evidence.

I mentioned earlier that Kasztner had testified that he was
actually the author of the report; in the declaration made
by Mr. Tel, the Deputy District Attorney for Jerusalem, he
also confirms that this was the report from 1946 which was
written by the late Dr. Rudolf Kasztner.

Presiding Judge: Decision No. 5O

We admit as evidence the report which prima facie was
prepared by Dr. Kasztner, who is no longer alive, concerning
the activities of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee in
Budapest, by virtue of our authority under Section 15 of the
Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law, 5710-1950.  We
shall accept as evidence those parts of the report which
relate to the subject of this trial.

State Attorney Bach:  As I have mentioned, this was marked

Presiding Judge: Are you now submitting it again?

State Attorney Bach:  I am submitting it once again.  I have
attached a translation into Hebrew of those parts that are
relevant to our case.  I also wish to submit to the Court
the Hebrew translation of the whole report, the same
translation that served the Supreme Court in the case I
mentioned, if it should be needed, together with a
declaration by the person who made the translation.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1113.

I understand that you only have a single copy.  Actually we
do not need it, if we have the translation.

State Attorney Bach:  This is only in case the Court should
want to refer to parts which have not been translated.

Presiding Judge: What is this?  There is also a declaration
here by Dan von Weisl.

State Attorney Bach:  He made the translation at the time,
and he declares that he made it from the original.

Presiding Judge: Dan von Weisl's declaration will be marked
T/1114. Mr. Tel's declaration will be marked T/1115.

State Attorney Bach:  The report contains a number of
relevant parts.  With the Court's permission, I shall refer
to these parts when we come to a specific matter, when they
will be relevant.  At this stage, I wish to draw the Court's
attention perhaps only to those parts of the report which
deal with Gisi Fleischmann, who has already been mentioned.
The report begins with an introduction, and on page XI he
describes Mrs. Fleischmann's assignment who, at the risk of
her life, forwarded to addresses abroad the first
authenticated eye-witness reports on the massacres and the
use of gas.  It was she who organized the rescue of Polish
Jews to Slovakia.  She was arrested twice and managed to be
released; she did not heed repeated appeals to her to escape
to Hungary and join her children in Palestine.  She stayed
on, unwavering.  She was arrested while fulfilling her task,
writing her last report, which was to to be sent abroad.
During the short time of her arrest, Gisi Fleischmann
displayed the same courage, the same contempt of death,
which had characterized her throughout her work.  Gisi
Fleischmann earned a special place of honour among the great
women of Jewish history as a noble and wise woman,
warmhearted, courageous, truly a Woman of Valour!

Of what happened to her, we first read on page 99; there we
find a report on her meeting with Brunner, at which Brunner
asked her for details about her contacts with Jewish
organizations abroad and assured her that then nothing would
happen to her.  Her answer is: "I would do that gladly, if I
were sure that this would help my poor brethren; but just to
save myself is not worth that much to me."  Brunner's reply
was: "You better watch out, Fleischmann!  Even if nobody
else is taken away from here, I'll make sure that you are
sent to Auschwitz by a special train!"

Presiding Judge: Pages 90 and 91 are missing in our copy.

State Attorney Bach:  I will give you another copy.

Presiding Judge: Can we use it? It has your notes on it.

State Attorney Bach:  This is the copy von Weisl used when
he authenticated the translation; since this is the one that
should have been submitted to the Court in the first place,
Your Honour may use it.

To return to the Kasztner report.  It reports an escape
attempt by Gisi Fleischmann, but Brunner was careful and
foiled it.  She was deported to Auschwitz and taken to the
gas chambers.  On page 148 Kasztner states the following:
"The letter I had with me, from Sally Mayer, addressed to
Becher, contained at my request an inquiry about the fate of
Gisi Fleischmann.  In response thereto Becher sent the
following telegram to Eichmann, then in Berlin:
'Reichsfuehrer-SS wants to know the whereabouts of Mrs. Gisi
Fleischmann of Bratislava.'  On 8 January, Eichmann's
telegraphic reply to Becher: 'The Jewess Gisi Fleischmann
was caught by the Slovak police in the act of composing an
atrocity report about Slovak measures against Jews,
addressed to a Swiss Jew of the Joint, despite the fact that
she, that Jewess, had been assigned by Brunner to the task
of trust of looking after the Jewish detainees.  Moreover,
the Jewess Fleischmann had also told the Swiss consul in
Pressburg that the Germans were already so badly off as to
require the economic assistance of the Jews'."

Dr. Kasztner adds: "The telegram is clear, but I pretend
that I do not understand it, and I ask Becher to get a
straight answer from Eichmann."

Judge Halevi:  All this took place when she was already

State Attorney Bach:  Yes, Sir, I believe that at that point
she was already dead.

These are the items I wanted to quote from the report at
this stage.  I will come back to it later on.  By the way,
the Accused commented on the parts of the report from page
2917 and following pages.

With the Court's permission, I will now call on Dr. Bedrich
Steiner to take the stand.

Presiding Judge: [to witness]  Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Steiner:  Yes, I understand Hebrew.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Dr. Bedrich Steiner.

State Attorney Bach:  Dr. Steiner, are you a native of

Witness Steiner:  Yes, I was born in Nove Mesto nad Vahom.

Q. Up until 1939 you were in Prague, practising as a lawyer?

A. Yes.

Q. At the end of 1939 you went back to Slovakia?

A. In 1939 I went back to Slovakia, having received
permission from the Gestapo to do so, in the form of a
laisser-passer of the Gestapo, from the Central Office for
Jewish Emigration in Cechovice near Prague.

Q. Did you go through the regular process laid down by the
Zentralstelle fuer Juedische Auswanderung in Prague?

A. Yes.  We had to obtain questionnaires, fill them in and
deliver them, each questionnaire consisting of some
seventeen pages, with 15-20 questions a page.  The
questionnaires were divided into twelve parts.  We handed
them in, and two or three weeks later we had to report back,
and then we were told whether or not the laisser-passer was
being granted to us.  Obtaining the documents was not always
a pleasant experience.

Q. Were you allowed to take your money with you, or what
were the rules on that subject?

A. We were allowed to take with us what at that time was the
equivalent of 2,000 Czech kronen.

Q. What was the equivalent of that?

A. About 60 dollars.

Q. Later, when you were in Slovakia, did you work in the
Jewish Centre?

A. Yes, I went back to Slovakia.  When Czechoslovakia fell
apart, I became a Slovak citizen, since my home country at
birth was Slovakia.

Q. My question was whether you then worked in the Jewish

A. Yes, afterwards, after a while, I think in June 1940, I
began working in the Jewish Centre, where I was asked to
take charge of the statistical department.

Q. Were you at that time aware of Dieter Wisliceny's role in

A. The first time I heard about Eichmann...

Q. Not Eichmann, Wisliceny.

A. I heard about Wisliceny later on; this was, I think, at
the end of 1940, although it may have been earlier.  I
cannot remember that exactly.

Q. When did you really first hear about Eichmann?

A. I had already heard about Eichmann in Prague, in 1938.
Then Jews came back, mainly from Vienna, to Bohemia and
Moravia, and told us about the Emigration Office there, and
later in Prague.

Q. Did you have any personal contact with Wisliceny?

A. No.

Q. Dr. Steiner, in the course of your work in the
statistical section, did numbers and lists of Jews who had
been expelled from Slovakia come into your hands, during
that period?

A. Yes, they did.

Q. So these lists did get to you.  At a later stage, even
while the War was still on, did you have an opportunity to
verify whether the numbers you received were correct?

A. Yes, I was able to check these numbers as soon as the War
ended, i.e., after the liberation.

Q. How did you have this opportunity?  On what occasion?
Please tell the Court.

A. After the War an institute was founded, or rather an
operation for documentation, in Pressburg, Slovakia, by the
Zionist Organization and the Union of Jewish Communities.  I
was asked to take charge of this operation.  We undertook
the task of collecting all the statistical data.  We applied
to various institutions, among them the National Court, the
Prosecution, and asked them to put at our disposal all the
documents they had relating to the Jews.  I think we
submitted that request in writing.  Our request was
approved, and I was able to read all the documents, also
during court proceedings, and I was also permitted to
photograph the documents.

I should add that I had the support of a committee which
functioned during the operation, administered it, and laid
down the guidelines for our work.  The committee consisted
of Dr. Tibor Kovacs, Dr. Oscar Krasnansky and the architect
Andrej Steiner.

Q. In the course of this work, especially in the contacts
with the Czechoslovak State Prosecution, after the War, did
you see documents relating to the expulsion of the Jews from

A. Yes.

Q. Perhaps you could tell the Court in connection with which
trial in particular you saw these documents?

A. In connection with the trial of Dr. Vasek.

Q. Who was this Dr. Vasek?

A. Dr. Vasek was director of Section 14 in the Ministry of
the Interior, the section which was primarily charged with
the implementation of what was called "The Final Solution of
the Jewish Question."

Q. Based on this information, can you tell the Court what
were the numbers of Jews deported from Slovakia, first of
all in 1942?

A. Yes.  May I consult lists?

Presiding Judge: Yes.

State Attorney Bach:  You may refresh your memory with the
help of lists.

Witness Steiner:  In 1942, a total of 57,837 Jews were
deported, by 57 transports, divided as follows: To
Auschwitz, 19 transports with 18,746 Jews; to Lublin, four
transports with 4501 Jews, and to the Opole area, 34
transports with 34,590 Jews.  Each transport contained about
1,000 people.

Q. Do you know where Opole is?

A. I think it is somewhere near Warsaw, south of Warsaw, but
I am not sure.  There were children among the deportees.

Q. How many children?

A. 2,482 children up to the age of four, and 4,581 children
between four and ten.

Q. On the basis of these figures, do you know how many of
the deportees were exterminated?

A. Of those who were deported in 1942, 284 came back.

Q. Did you calculate how much that is percentage-wise?

A. About one half of one percent.

Q. Do you have the figures for the deportations in 1944?

A. Yes, in 1944 and 1945; it began in  September and ended
by the end of March.  In 1944, or rather in 1944-45, 12,306
Jews were deported, in 11 transports, the first five of
which with 7,936, and the other six to Sachsenhausen and
Terezin - 2,732 to Sachsenhausen and 1,638 to Terezin.  The
transports were divided up on the way; they included women
and men.  The women and children were sent to Terezin and
the men to Sachsenhausen.  That, at any rate, was the case
with my transport.

Q. Did you say how many went to Auschwitz?

A. 7,936 went to Auschwitz.

Q. Do you also have the figures for Jews who were murdered
in Slovakia, by German Einsatzgruppen?

A. After the War about 150 mass graves were found inside
Slovakia.  It was determined that 12,000-15,000 persons were
interred in those graves, amongst them women and children.

Presiding Judge: How many corpses were found, all in all?

Witness Steiner:  12,000-15,000.  I had the record of all
the graves before me, and I tried to estimate how many Jews
were among them and arrived at the figure 3,500; this
figure, I believe, is the correct one.

State Attorney Bach:  Dr. Steiner, we have heard that before
the War 89,000 Jews lived in Slovakia.

Witness Steiner:  Yes.

Q. How many of the 89,000 Jews of Slovakia were murdered by
the Germans during the Holocaust, by total estimate?

A. As I said, of the first deportations about 300 came back;
57,500 perished; 3,500 are estimated to have been killed in
Slovakia; of the 12,000 who were deported in 1944-1945 about
8,000 perished - that is also an estimate.  There is one
other element that has to be taken into account.  In 1942,
especially in that year, 7,000-8,000 Jews from Slovakia fled
to Hungary; some of these came back and were deported in
1944-1945 (also from Hungary).  Of these 7,000-8,000 it is
estimated that 2,000 did not come back.  The total losses,
therefore, add up to about 71,000 from among the 89,000,
which means about eight per cent.

Q. Dr. Steiner, can you tell us what is the total sum, the
total value of the Jewish property that was plundered in

A. In 1940, a census was carried out by the Government
Bureau of Statistics, according to which the total assets
owned by the Jews in Slovakia amounted to 4,300 million
kronen; that includes economic assets, houses, factories and
capital assets, all together.

Presiding Judge: Have we been told what the value of the
Czech krone was?

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