The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

And in the same manner the operation was also transferred to
the West.  Dr. Wellers gave evidence about the round-ups in
France, about the compulsory registration, about the acts of
violence aimed at the Jewish intelligentsia, about their
being concentrated together and cut off from the outside
world, to the extent that a man was not even allowed to
receive a letter from his wife.  The same stratagems of
cheating and deceit were applied.  Dannecker, Roethke and
Brunner, members of Eichmann's Section, dealt with these
people.  Jewish children arrived at the assembly camps.
These were the children who, according to Eichmann's orders
to Dannecker, would soon be able to move towards Auschwitz.
And, meanwhile, his emissaries, as already mentioned, dealt
with them.  And what did they do, as Dr. Wellers recounted?

     "...There were infants two, three, four years old who
     did not even know what their names were. When trying to
     identify them, we sometimes asked a sister, an older
     brother - sometimes we simply asked other children if
     they knew them, in order to find out what they were
     called... These children arrived at Drancy after having
     been completely neglected for two or three weeks at
     Beaune-la-Rolande and Pithiviers - they arrived in
     dirty, torn clothes in a very bad condition... In one
     of these rooms, when we entered this room, right next
     to the door stood a little boy - I think he must have
     been seven or eight years old; he was remarkably
     handsome, with a face which was very intelligent, very
     lively.  He wore clothes which must have been of very
     good quality...he wore only one shoe and had a torn
     jacket... Rene Blum was a very large man, thin but very
     tall...he spoke to the boy and asked him how old he
     was... He asked him what his parents did.  The child
     answered: My father goes to the office and Mummy plays
     the piano.  She plays very well, he added... The boy
     turned to both of us and asked if he would soon be
     leaving to join his parents.  I should tell you that we
     told these children that they would be leaving the camp
     of Drancy in order to rejoin their parents.  We knew
     very well that it wasn't true, not because we knew what
     happened to Jewish children at Auschwitz - not at all -
     but we had seen in what circumstances they had been
     brought to Drancy and in what condition they left, and
     we were sure that they would never rejoin their parents
     at their place of arrival.  So I answered this boy:
     Don't worry, in two or three days you'll  rejoin your
     mother. He had a little jacket with little pockets, and
     from one pocket he took out a little half-eaten
     biscuit in the shape of a soldier which had been given
     to him.  And he told us: `Look, I'm bringing this to
     Mummy.'  Rene Blum...bent over the boy, who looked very
     happy, very engaging. He took his face in his hands and
     wanted to stroke his head, and at that moment the
     child, who only a moment ago had been so happy, burst
     into tears, and we left...  They were all deported in
     the second half of August and the beginning of convoys consisting of one thousand
     children and five hundred adults taken from Drancy..."

Dr. Wellers spoke of those selections performed by
Eichmann's emissaries there, of their decisions as to who
would be deported, and who would go to the East.  Brunner
and Roethke dealt with that, while Dannecker would intervene
from time to time in order to add more to the list.  We also
heard about premeditated violence against Jewish children
from other witnesses - from Dr. Dworzecki of Vilna and Dr.
Peretz of Kovno, from all regions of this inferno - about
the Jewish child, the future of the nation, the "biological
material" - to use Eichmann's expression - that was destined
for immediate annihilation.  The tortures and the atrocities
were part of the general programme in the West as well.
Brunner, whom Wisliceny described as one of Eichmann's
favourites, occupied himself with that especially.  And here
is an account, taken from the evidence of Dr. Wellers:

     "...They placed a rod not very high - about that height
     - and then the victims were forced to touch it with the
     right hand, with their heads bent low and their left
     hand behind their backs, and, without letting go of the
     rod with the right hand, they had to spin around it;
     only, they had to do it fast Brunner and Weisel, who
     always walked around the courtyard and the camp with
     sticks in their hands, hit them on the body, in order
     to force them to spin around quickly... It was very
     difficult to make more than three or four turns around
     the rod while being whipped, since one's head was bent
     low over the body.  But these two were not satisfied
     with three or four turns but forced the victims to make
     at least ten turns, before falling unconscious.... This
     was wanton torture, a special form of amusement for
     these SS officers... This Brunner was a very strong,
     stout man, with a very unpleasant appearance and nasty
     eyes, his lips were thick and moist, and it was his
     specialty to deal out blows - hence we called him

     "He used to go down into the cellar.  In the cellar
     there were special detention cells, a prison within a
     prison, and they used to reserve the tortures here for
     special persons.  There he would exercise himself on
     "...After Brunner arrived at the camp, he organized it
     on the lines of a typical German camp, with his typical
     German methods, which were intended to mislead and
     deceive us... After the arrival of Brunner at the camp,
     who organized everything in his own manner and on the
     model which I subsequently saw at Auschwitz, Buchenwald
     and other concentration camps - a special team was set
     up of Jews, inmates of the camp, who were given the
     task of conducting searches on other Jews arriving at
     the camp..."
So much for Dr. Weller.

The idea to use the Jews themselves as instruments in the
hands of the Gestapo against their brethren - one of the
most satanic devices in this entire plan - which we got to
know of for the first time when Eichmann cajoled Loewenherz,
by a slap in the face here and smooth talk there, to comply
with his orders in Vienna - was employed later on as
standard practice throughout the occupied lands.  Eichmann
admitted that the same system was applied in Poland, and
thereafter also in Hungary.  It facilitated the matter and
"simplified" it.  Eichmann knew how to streamline the

And in the same way that they explained in Warsaw that Jews
were being transferred to the East, so they stamped Haim
Behrendt's ticket in Berlin "evakuiert nach Minsk"
(evacuated to Minsk), and as they promised the Jews of
Holland after each round-up that there would be no more
deportations, as Dr. Melkman testified, the same misleading
and false story was heard by the witness Gurfein in Sanok,
in western Poland.

The practices of that terrible camp Janowska, in Lvov, which
was described by Leon Wells, were the same practices that
were subsequently applied in the camps of horror.  This is
what Wells had to say:

     "...The men were frozen to death.  They were finished,
     they were one with the ice.  A week later SS
     Untersturmfuehrer Wilhaus joined the concentration
     camp.  At this time a shooting competition was begun
     between Gebauer and Wilhaus; the two of them would
     stand at their windows, and while the prisoners were
     marching to and fro carrying stones, they chose as a
     target the tip of a nose here or a finger there and
     fired.  In the evening they would walk around the camp
     and pick out what they called "damaged" people (kaput),
     since injured and wounded people were no longer fit for
     work, and would finish them off with a last shot.
     "Gebauer had a reputation of enjoying strangling
     people.  There was the case of a man who was looking
     aside, he did not seem to be as busy as he should have
     appeared to be.  Gebauer came along and with his bare
     hands choked him to death.  And Wilhaus, whom we knew
     to be the brother-in-law of SS General Katzman, came
     once or twice a week following his arrival at the camp,
     to visit him there.  His hobby was not strangling but
     shooting, or what they called sniping..."

And here, too, the band played as the people went out to
work and returned, as in the death camps of which we heard
from witnesses.

Rudolf Hoess begins his chapter on the extermination of the
Jews in his book Commander of Auschwitz (T/90) with the
following passage:

     "In the summer of 1941 - at the moment I cannot state
     the exact time - I was ordered to appear before the
     Reichsfuehrer-SS in Berlin... Contrary to his usual
     practice, he confided to me, in the absence of his
     adjutant, roughly the following: `The Fuehrer has
     ordered the Final Solution of the Jewish Question; we,
     the SS, must carry out this order.  The extermination
     camps existing in the East are incapable of
     implementing the planned extensive operations.
     Consequently, I have made Auschwitz my objective for
     this purpose, firstly because of the convenient
     transportation situation, and secondly because it would
     be easy to close off and camouflage... This is hard
     work, demanding of a man his entire self, without
     taking into account the difficulties... You will hear
     more precise details from SS Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann,
     of the Head Office for Reich Security, who will come to
     you shortly'."

And, as we know from Wisliceny, Eichmann devoted special
attention from that time, 1941, to the annihilation
operation in the East.

Let us now follow this operation of his - his collaboration
with the Einsatzgruppen, and the extermination camps.

There were a number of aspects to direct collaboration with
the Einsatzgruppen, and a variety of evidence was given
about it.

Schellenberg told Justice Musmanno that Eichmann was in
control of the Einsatzgruppen in everything related to the
extermination of the Jews, that he was present when they
received their orders - and Schellenberg saw him there -
that he visited them during the course of a killing
operation.  Eichmann acknowledged - he did the same here -
that he was present at a large meeting before the
commencement of the top-secret Barbarossa campaign, at
which, as he said in his police interrogation, the
organizational preparations were reviewed.  He sought to
convince the Court that at that time only the appointments
of the commanders of the Operations Units were announced,
and that for this purpose he himself, his deputy, and others
had been troubled to attend, only in order to inform them of
matters which were not their concern, over which they had no
authority, and which were closely guarded state secrets.

But what really happened at the meeting at the Prince Albert
Palace - this we know from the statement of Walter Blume
(T/306).  We know that there Heydrich and Streckenbach
reviewed the orders to destroy the Jews.  Wisliceny relates
that when the Commissars' Order was extended so as to apply
to the destruction of all Jews, Eichmann saw in that a way
of liquidating other Jewish groups.  We know that his
Section received the reports - this, too, he admits; and
from Noske's declaration - which I have already mentioned -
we know that the reports on Jewish affairs were, according
to special orders, to be sent specially to Eichmann's
Section.  Defence witness von dem Bach-Zelewski testified
that, if indeed Eichmann's Section received the reports of
the Einsatzgruppen, that would emphasize its importance.

In his cross-examination Eichmann made an important
admission, namely that he had arranged reception centres for
deportees from the Reich in the camps of the Einsatzgruppen
commanders Nebe and Rasch (Session 98, Vol. IV, p. xxxx),
that he had been in communication with them by telegram, and
after the number of deportees from the Reich for these camps
was determined, his Section dealt with their transportation
to those camps.  Here, there was clearly collaboration
between them, and they acted on a common design.  In the end
he admitted, after his usual evasions under cross-
examination, that when he dispatched the Jews of the Reich
to them, he knew what lay in store for them.

The instructions to the commanders of the Einsatzgruppen
also went out from his Section.  Since documents of the
Foreign Ministry have been preserved, there is again written
evidence about Jews who were foreign nationals.  And again,
after pressure and questioning, the Accused acknowledged
that his Section sent out those instructions.

He also confirmed that he had personally witnessed the
Operations Units in action near Minsk and Lvov.  How were
the Jews of the Reich deported there?  This we have heard
from several witnesses who were survivors.  Liona Neumann
told us about the expulsion from Vienna in sealed rail-cars,
in which they travelled for eight days.  A report on the
deportation from Duesseldorf was sent to Eichmann.  We
produced and submitted to the Court a report verifying the
horrors of the deportation.

Presiding Judge: Did that go to the Operations Units?

Attorney General: It went to Riga, to Operations Unit `A'.

Liona Neumann described how the deported persons were housed
in the homes of Jews who had been executed earlier, how they
were ordered there to patch the clothing of persons who had
previously been murdered, so that the clothes might be sent
to the Reich.  And in the course of this work, she recalled,
some man would cry out bitterly from time to time, while
holding in his hands a coat drenched in the blood of his
little daughter who had been shot.

She spoke about the executions five days after their
arrival; only about three hundred were left of the one
thousand deportees from Vienna.  And these, too, were
gradually destroyed.

We recall the report of the commander of Einsatzgruppe `A,'
about those Jews arriving from the Reich with naive hopes
concerning their future, for they had been told before their
expulsion that they were leaving for an agricultural
enterprise in the East.  The apparatus of deception
functioned well.

Haim Behrendt also heard, in Minsk, that in order to receive
the deportees from the Reich there, 28,000 of the local Jews
had been shot a few days before.

So this was the arrangement: Corresponding with the pace at
which Nebe and Rasch managed to liquidate the Jews of Soviet
Russia, Eichmann sent them Jews from the Reich.  And then
the direct murders began, and, out of the huge concentration
of about one hundred thousand Jews in the Minsk district,
only some tens remained.

Avraham Aviel described the lust for life that took hold of
those marked out to be murdered.  Their main thought was
"ueberleben" (to come through alive).  And he spoke about
the town of the "Hafetz Haim,"* {* Rabbi Israel Meir Hacohen
of Radun (Lithuania), a famous rabbinical authority} how
they marched to their death reciting "Shema Yisrael";** {**
"Hear O Israel," the prayer to the Almighty recited on the
verge of death} how a Jew tried to produce his
"certificate," his work permit, and the German stuck his
revolver into him and shot him in the nape of his neck;
about the groups numbering one hundred men each who marched
to the pits, and all of them were shot, to the last man.

There appeared here before you Rivka Yoselewska, who dressed
her little girl in Sabbath clothes before they set out on
their way, and who witnessed with her own eyes the murder of
her father and mother, her sister and her daughter.  It
appears that it was an act of mercy to be killed right away,
for the drunken murderers used to wound their victims,
forcing them down into the grave, throwing a second layer of
bodies over them, and letting them expire slowly over a
period of hours and days.

Rivka Yoselewska embodies in her person, all that was
perpetrated, all that happened to this people.  She was
shot.  She was already amongst the dead in the funeral pit.
Everything drew her downwards, to death.  Wounded and
wretched, with unbelievable strength she arose out of the
grave.  Her physical wounds healed, but her heart was torn
asunder and broken forever.  She found asylum in our
country, established her home here and built her life anew.
She overcame the evil design.  They wanted to kill her, but
she lives - they wanted to blot out her memory, but she has
brought forth new children.  The dry bones have been given
sinews, flesh has grown upon them and they have taken on
skin; they have been infused with the spirit of life.  Rivka
Yoselewska symbolizes the entire Jewish People.

But murder in this manner did not appear to be elegant.
Eichmann said that such actions educated people towards
sadism.  That is what he told us.  Accordingly they explored
other methods.  Hoess confirmed, in his writings and in his
evidence, the role of Eichmann in the decision to use the
Zyklon B gas.  This appears in his autobiography, in the
chapter on the Final Solution.  He states that, as a result
of Eichmann's search for a suitable gas, and on the occasion
of Eichmann's second visit to Auschwitz, the decision was
taken.  Eichmann wanted a gas that was easily obtainable,
and which would not necessitate special installations.  It
was planned exactly how the extermination would be effected,
where the various buildings were to be constructed, and
where the bodies were to be buried.

During Eichmann's following visit, as already mentioned, he
was told about the experiments with Cyclon `B,' and the two
of them - Eichmann and Hoess - decided there and then to use
this gas from then on.

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