The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-083-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-083-03
Last-Modified: 1999/06/09

Accused:    "Great indignation was felt in Berlin by the
Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Dr.
Kaltenbrunner, and by the Chief of Department IV,
Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, against Dr. Best and myself.  Hitler
and Himmler were said to have been in a fury, so Eichmann
and Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther, Eichmann's deputy, told me."

I have read it and this is how it was written.  I also read
it in Reitlinger's book, but at the time I had heard nothing
about it.  I believe that this is also borne out by the
official documents of the Representative of the Reich, Dr.
Best, which later confirm my presence in Copenhagen to the
Foreign Ministry, where Dr. Best specifies the reason for my
presence there.  This is perhaps a slight reference to, it
may give some slight support...if I say that I heard nothing
about the fury and the indignation, etc.

Judge Halevi:  Even though he is said to have heard it from

Accused:    Even though Mildner refers to me, I think that
this statement was given by Mildner when he was himself, I
think, in prison awaiting trial or somehow...and his main
emphasis in this report, as far as I can see, is that before
the operation was set in motion, he immediately flew to
Berlin in order to remonstrate, and report his misgivings to
the Chief of Department IV, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller.

Judge Halevi:  In short, you told him nothing about Hitler
and Himmler, that they were so furious?

Accused:    No, because at that time I could not have known
anything about it.

Judge Halevi:  All right.

Dr. Servatius:  I should like to refer to the last sentence,
where it says: "Ribbentrop initiated the measures against
the Jews and bears the responsibility for them."

The next exhibits are T/587 and T/588, document Nos. 1077
and 1078.  The first is a communication from Dr. Best, the
Representative in Denmark, to the Foreign Ministry, dated 3
November 1943.  It tells of suggestions for alleviating the
measures in Denmark after the operation had practically
failed.  It says at the bottom: "I request to be informed if
the Head Office for Reich Security is going to act according
to Eichmann's suggestions."  The second document merely
draws the conclusion and says: "Consent was given for it to
be handled like that now."

Judge Halevi:  Were you authorized to make proposals in
favour of the Jews?

Accused:    No, I could definitely not do that, but I was
ordered to travel to Copenhagen to discuss with the
Commander of the Security Police and Security Service and
with the Representative of the Reich, the causes that led to
this excitement and to smooth it out.  There and then, I
received the suggestions put forward by the authorities
there, since I could not, after all, myself decide, and I
took them to Berlin, where I put them before the Department
Chief, who...where the matter was decided either by him or
by his superior.

Judge Halevi:  Then these were suggestions made by those in
charge in Denmark, correct?

Accused:    I imagine so, Your Honour; it does, after all,
follow from the document.

Judge Halevi:  Thank you.  All right.

Dr. Servatius:  The next exhibit is T/584, document No. 816.
This is a statement by von Thadden, dated 16 April 1948, at
the Nuremberg Trial, against the accused Steengracht, the
State Secretary at the time.  It says at the bottom of page

     "I know that the Foreign Ministry adopted Mr. Best's
     presentation of the case and declared the requests of
     the Head Office for Reich Security for the immediate
     deportation of the Jews to be not viable politically."

It continues:

     "It seems that the Head Office for Reich Security was
     not willing to be satisfied with this position, because
     the expert from Eichmann's Section explained to me
     ironically that the Foreign Ministry would soon enough
     be brought to revise its position."

Witness, do you know about a visit by Dr. Best to your
Section and about this incident with the expert?

Accused:    No, Dr. Best was never in my Section, and I know
nothing of this incident where a member of my Section could
have said anything like that.  Other documents, which have
also been submitted here, show the exact opposite of what
Thadden claims here.  For example, at the bottom of page 2,
where von Thadden says that he was reproached for having
engaged in sabotage on account of the directive to keep the
apartments locked, and that keeping the apartments locked
could lead to failure, I should once more like to refer to
the report by Dr. Best, himself a member of the Foreign
Ministry, the representative of the Reich in Denmark, in
exhibit T/585, document No. 757, quoted earlier on.  Here,
on page 1, point 2, Dr. Best himself confirms that: "It is
correct that the Commander of the Security Police had
ordered that locked apartments were not to be broken into."
Thus, a member of the Foreign Ministry confirms that this
was not an act of sabotage on the part of the Foreign
Ministry, but an order by the Security Police itself.

This is an attempt by von Thadden to relieve the Foreign
Ministry of responsibility, but a document in Poliakov's
"Red Book," on page 102, states that there is a
communication from Hencke to the Representative of the
Reich, dated 17 September 1943, which says:

     "The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs requests you to
     put forward detailed suggestions as to how to implement
     the deportation of the Jews which has been decided on
     in principle, in particular they should stipulate the
     police force required, so as to make those police
     details available here in consultation with the SS."

Presiding Judge:  I read here in this same document on page
2 that Guenther said: "Eichmann had already reported to the
Reichsfuehrer and would demand the head of the saboteur."
That refers to the German legation in Denmark.  What do you
have to say about this?

Accused:    What I have to say about this, Your Honour, is
that this is not correct, nor true.  If it were correct,
then Dr. Best would have reported to the Foreign Ministry
accordingly in his report about my visit there, and my
conversation with him.  But Dr. Best reported from
Copenhagen, after I had been there, the subject of our
discussions which I had been ordered to hold with him.

Presiding Judge:  All right.

Dr. Servatius:  I now come to the chapter of Norway.

Judge Raveh:   I should like to know if the Head Office for
Reich Security was, or was not, satisfied with the course of
events in Denmark?

Accused:    Your Honour, there was no satisfaction, though I
can no longer remember details.  However, the study of the
documents enables me to recall things that are clearly the
result of dissatisfaction, for otherwise I would not have
been ordered to Denmark in order to...the unpleasantnesses
caused to the Head Office for Reich Security...that the
police, which was to implement what had been initiated by
others, was now obliged to endure, namely the reports
abroad, etc.  I think that was partly what prompted my
superiors to order me to travel to Denmark, and that was
also part of the reason - this actually follows from the
documents - to tone down what could still be toned down.

Judge Raveh:   As far as the effect on the outside is
concerned, the results can be seen in the documents.  But
what were the results as regards the inside?  With regard to
the people of the Head Office for Reich Security, etc.

Accused:    Your Honour, today I can no longer remember
those details; that I do not know.  But since the Head
Office for Reich Security - at least Department IV - was not
the determinant here, then, as I see it today, the whole of
this quarrel took place outside of Department IV, and within
the ranks of the higher authorities.

Judge Raveh:   You cannot remember if Mueller or
Kaltenbrunner or you yourself or others in your Section,
attempted to saddle someone else with the responsibility?

Accused:    No, neither I nor my Section made this attempt.
Whether the Chief of Department IV was involved in this is
beyond my knowledge.  Neither I nor my Section were able to
initiate anything.

Judge Raveh:   Did it come to your knowledge whether Mueller
or Kaltenbrunner placed the responsibility on somebody?

Accused:    No, I don't know that.

Judge Raveh:   Then what did you travel to Denmark for?

Accused:    I have already said that, Your Honour.  Probably
to counter the unrest which was now bound to surface abroad.
In order to tone down whatever could still be toned down.
In my opinion, this emerges from the documents.

Judge Halevi:  What do you mean by abroad?

Accused:    The neutral and enemy countries.

Judge Halevi:  Not Denmark?  Denmark was an occupied area,
wasn't it?  But did you not travel to Denmark in order to
investigate the causes of the failure, to investigate the

Accused:    No, Your Honour, that could not have been my
task.  Had it been, then Dr. Best would most certainly have
dealt with it as the first point in his report to the
Foreign Ministry, because it was bound to have been of
immediate, personal interest to him.

Judge Halevi:  I would have thought that the possible
results abroad would have been a matter for the Foreign
Ministry and not for your office.

Accused:    But there were the executive measures, such as
the decision about Theresienstadt and the relaxations, etc.,
those were matters for the Head Office for Reich Security.

Dr. Servatius:  Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I now come
to the subject of Norway.  To begin with, exhibit T/604,
document No. 198.  This is a communication from von Thadden
of the Foreign Ministry to the Reich Commissioner for the
Occupied Norwegian Territories in Oslo, Oberregierungsrat
Schiedermair, whose name comes up repeatedly.  The
communication is dated 15 April 1943.  The introductory
paragraph shows that the laws constitute the basis for all
measures taken.  In the first sentence it says: "The Foreign
Ministry extends its thanks for the transmission of the copy
of the Norwegian laws concerning the obligation on the part
of the Jews to report."  Some observations follow as regards
changes in the law in comparison with the German law.

Next we come to exhibit T/591, document No. 1622.  This
consists of several communications.  They show that the navy
carries out those transports - a co-operative effort -
without any problems.  The second communication, signed by
Reinhard, to the regional headquarters of the Gestapo,
Stettin, dated 25 November 1942, says (in the middle of the
telegram) that "after its arrival, the ship provided by the
navy, etc..."  On the opposite page it says: "I request, in
any event, to utilize the possibilities suddenly offered by
the navy to remove the Jews from Norway."

The next exhibit, T/595, document No. 491, is from the Reich
Commissioner for the Occupied Norwegian Territories to the
Foreign Ministry, dated 18 February 1943.  It says in the
introductory paragraph: "...On the basis of the Norwegian
law concerning the compulsory registration by Jews of 17
November 1942, a comprehensive recording of the Jews has
been carried out, with the aim of deporting the Jews from
Norway."  This is followed by a reference to the subject of
passports and to demands for the return of Jews to Sweden.

I should just like to refer to the last sentence in the
communication.  It says:

     "A member of the Swedish Consulate General in Oslo, in
     answer to a question, privately explained to the
     official in charge of the German civil administration
     that the conduct of the Swedish Consulate General was
     based on a directive of the Swedish Government who
     wants to help `the poor Jews who, after all, are also
     human beings'."

The next exhibit, T/606, document No. 493, is a minute,
dated 11 October - the year cannot be deciphered - it deals
with the intervention by the Swedes.  It says here: "The
Chief of the Security Police and the SD has reservations
concerning this permission to leave for Sweden."  And in the
last sentence: "The Inland Section of the Foreign Ministry
suggests informing the Swedes that they are not authorized
to intervene on behalf of these Jews in Norway."

The next exhibit, T/607, is a communication from the special
Westphalia train - this is Reich Minister Ribbentrop's
train.  It suggests how the Security Service is to react if
approached by the Swedes:

     "The German Foreign Minister asks you to reply to the
     communication of the Security Service, of 2 October
     1944, concerning the transfer of sixty-four Norwegian
     Jews to Sweden along the following lines: `...The
     Foreign Ministry is not going to reply to the Swedish
     Government, because the Swedish Government did not
     officially apply either to the Foreign Ministry or to
     the German Embassy'."

It goes on to say:

     "It might be advisable to instruct the Commander of the
     Security Police and the Security Service in Oslo not to
     revert to the subject of his own accord."

With this I conclude the chapter of Norway.


Presiding Judge:  Please continue, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius:  I now come to the chapter of Serbia.  Here,
too, there is a chart which I submit.

Witness, was the chart drawn by you, and is it correct?

Accused:    It was drawn up by me, but copied by a

Presiding Judge:  N/51.

Dr. Servatius:  I come to the documents in List 28.  They,
too, are considerably reduced in number.

I will begin with exhibit T/867, document No. 1043.  This is
a communication from Eichmann to the Foreign Ministry, dated
25 April 1940.  It refers to a note verbale which is not
included here.  It deals with illegal crossing of the
border.  The reference is: "Illegal border crossing by
German Jews to Yugoslavia."  The last two sentences of the
document state:

"Every now and then Jews are being sent back across the
border by the Yugoslav authorities.  So far, an official
handing over of Jews by the Yugoslav authorities has not
taken place.  The Jews sent back in this way are brought to
emigrate in the normal way as quickly as possible."

Witness, how are the words "to emigrate in the normal way"
to be understood here on 25 April 1940?

Accused:    At that time, normal emigration was still in
full swing and not yet prohibited, so that this was regular
emigration with the preparation of the necessary emigration
papers, and in this way those in question were brought to
emigrate through the Central Office.

Dr. Servatius:  The next exhibit is T/869, document No.
1339.  This is a communication from the military commander
in Serbia, Administrative Section, dated 11 May 1941.  The
military commander invites all relevant departments to a
discussion on Jewish matters.  The result is not known.

The next exhibit is T/870, document No. 642.  This is a
telegram, signed by Veesenmayer and Benzler, to the Foreign
Ministry.  Veesenmayer is the representative of the Foreign
Ministry, and Benzler probably the ambassador.  The text is
interesting for the relatively rigorous attitude which it

     "It can be proved that in numerous acts of sabotage and
     revolt Jews have appeared as accomplices.  It is,
     therefore, an urgent necessity to see to the speedy
     seizure and removal of at least all male Jews.  The
     number in question is probably about eight thousand.  A
     concentration camp is at the moment in the process of
     being constructed.  However, in consideration of future
     developments, it seems advisable to remove those Jews
     from the country as quickly as possible.  This means,
     with empty barges downstream on the Danube, in order to
     unload them on the island, the Danube Island, which is
     in Romanian territory.  I ask that the conditions
     needed for acquiescence on the part of Romania be

The next exhibit, T/872, document No. 644, is the reply from
the Foreign Ministry, signed by Dr. Luther.  It says:

     "The deportation of Jews to the territory of a foreign
     state cannot be agreed to.  That is not the way to
     solve the Jewish Question.  It is being suggested to
     take them into custody in work camps, and to conscript
     them for necessary public works."  Signed: Luther.

The next exhibit, T/873, document No. 645, continues this
correspondence.  Once again Veesenmayer and Benzler write to
the Foreign Ministry:

     "The speedy and laconic settlement of the Jewish
     Question in Serbia is the most urgent and the most
     effective measure.  Request appropriate instructions
     from the Reich Foreign Minister, in order to exert the
     utmost pressure on the Military Commander, Serbia. No
     opposition whatsoever is to be expected on the part of
     the Serbian Government and population, especially since
     partial measures have already proved themselves.  An
     order in the same vein from the Reichsfuehrer-SS to the
     Chief of the Operations Group of the Security Police
     and the Security Service, Standartenfuehrer Fuchs,
     would advance this matter considerably."

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