The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

Your Honours, this is not the first time we have come across
people who make a slip of the tongue, and say things which
they regret later on.  I should not be surprised if Adolf
Eichmann is today extremely sorry about his conversations
with Sassen, and about having permitted himself to talk so
much.  He asked [Sassen] not to include this in the book,
not to publish it during his lifetime, but those were only
his inner thoughts.  Therefore, when he comes here to
declaim about crime - this is what he calls it when asked to
define it clearly, in his own words - these are again only
empty words. He does not believe to this day that he has
committed any crime.  He knows that this contradicts all
moral standards, and that he has sinned against accepted,
hallowed principles.  But he thinks that he was serving the
Fuehrer, as well as his country and its destiny, when he
freed it of its Jews, in one way or another.

Judge Halevi:  Mr. Hausner, concerning the figures. I
believe that in File 17 there are quite different
statistics, and there he arrives at a total of less than one
million. Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour, I have given
this some thought.  But as the Accused did not mention it, I
did not think it necessary to relate to it, since he did not
revert to this matter.  I know that the neo-Nazi movement
throughout the world is trying to tell everyone that all
that is being said about millions of Jews who perished
isatrocity propaganda, and that a few hundred thousand Jews
were killed in the same manner as the others werekilled in
bomb attacks and by hunger during the War, and that all we
are doing is to trade in Jewish blood, in order to claim
reparations from Germany.  This is what the neo-Nazis tell
the world, and along these lines and in this sense they
reduce the number and declare that it is an invention, that
there were not so many who died, and that there was no
extermination at all.  But here, as you have seen, Eichmann
did not dare to revert to this matter.  Here he spoke about
the great crime, at least he pretended to.  He did not take
issue with all the evidence submitted about those millions,
and I think that I may safely regard this fact as

Judge Halevi:  All right, but the question concerns the
reliability of what he told Sassen, or of what he dictated
there.  It turns out that this part - according to the
Prosecutions' argument - were lies which the Accused told

Attorney General: But he did not say this to Sassen. This is
File 17, which he wrote himself.  Sassen - those are the
sixteen files of which there is a typescript.

Judge Halevi:  If that is so, what is the explanation? What
was his purpose in writing down those lies?

Attorney General: I have a very simple explanation.  It
follows the well-known neo-Nazi line: "The Jews tell horror
stories about millions who perished.  This is not correct,
here you have statistics, as Head of the Jewish Section in
the Gestapo I do the accounting, so and so many died."  This
is the explanation, and this is the meaning of the words.
He did not say this to Sassen.  If you look at the
conversations, at the questions which Sassen asked him, you
will see that Sassen was not ready to swallow his every
reply, or to accept as reasonable every version given him.
In the passages before you, you will also see that Sassen
asks and probes and enquires about the smallest details.
Sassen could, of course, put questions much more freely than
Inspector Less in the police investigation.

Finally, I might perhaps point to a number of small, but not
unimportant, incidents.  Eichmann has told you that
Edelstein, Storfer and Eppstein were executed by Guenther,
and I have already spoken about this from the point of view
of competence, but there is yet another aspect: Yehuda Bakon
heard from Mrs. Edelstein that Eichmann promised her to
enable her to meet her husband.  Wisliceny says that
Eichmann did not fulfil this promise, and that he gave the
order to execute Eppstein and other communal workers; they
knew too much.

 There was a struggle about Gisi Fleischmann's life, which
is reflected in Kasztner's Report, in the many telegrams
which went back and forth, and Kasztner describes how he
implored Becher to spare this noble woman, a Jewish woman of
valour.  Becher turned to Eichmann, and Eichmann ostensibly
telegraphed Brunner to spare her life, but afterwards he
sent a second telegram countermanding the first one.  The
tragic execution of this woman took place because she had
helped other Jews; they went so far as to deceive Himmler,
because Becher had turned to Himmler himself in order to
save her.  So they told Himmler:

     "The Government of Slovakia arrested her for spreading
     rumours, or for propaganda against the Slovak state."

And in the last, the very last stages: When Himmler issued
the well-known Stoppbefehl (order to halt), at that moment
Eichmann did not dare, of course, disobey him - as far as we
know from Kasztner's Report - but he sent instructions to
the commanders of the concentration camps that, in any case,
all transgressions by Jews were to be dealt with
unrelentingly.  Wisliceny further says how furious Eichmann
was, because he was under the impression that the camp
commanders had not taken his hint and did not understand
that he meant that they should seek every excuse to wipe out
the last remnants.

On page 149 of his report, Kasztner describes his
conversation with Wisliceny.  Eichmann was looking for ways
to sabotage the Stoppbefehl.  He sent telegrams to the
commanders of the Jewish concentration and work camps in
Poland, which were now likely to be occupied by the Soviets,
saying: Jewish lives must be spared, but if, in the course
of the evacuation, difficulties should arise, the Jews must
be given the severest punishment.  And now Eichmann was
annoyed and angry because the camp commanders had not
understood his orders.  And when Kasztner asked how Eichmann
could have tried to thwart an order given by Himmler,
Wisliceny replied:  "You can be sure that he was going to
draft a telegram in which Mueller or Kaltenbrunner would
back him up.  He was going to find the right way."  But
there were apparently also some camp commanders who
understood the hint.  You heard here from witnesses about
the marches westward from the camps and what went on there,
and about the horrors of extermination during the last days,
even in contravention of the order and instructions of
Himmler himself.

This does not mean that Himmler gave the order because he
wanted to save Jews.  He wanted to save his own skin, he was
looking for an alibi and nothing more.  And the letter he
wrote to Sweden, which I submitted to the Court, is the
height of cynicism and impudence.  But it is a fact that his
order was sabotaged and that, during the very last moments,
tens of thousands of Jews who could have been saved,

In the dark, horrible night which descended on Europe with
Hitler's rise to power, there are also some rays of light.
And the Jewish people will not forget its benefactors, just
as it does not forget its mortal enemies.  To this very day
we speak with gratitude and admiration of the ancient
Persian king, Cyrus, who made it possible for the exiles to
return to their country.  And we shall always remember those
benefactors who tried to save at least a few.

We shall never forget the noble-minded people of Denmark,
the entire people, who laboured at the risk of their lives,
in order to save the Jews of Denmark.  We shall never forget
the kindness extended to us by the Royal house of Belgium,
and by the Belgian underground, which tried to blow up
trains in order to save Jews from deportation.  We shall
remember the Norwegian underground, which smuggled Jews into
Sweden, while endangering their lives.  We remember with
gratitude how the Swedes granted asylum, and how their great
son, Raoul Wallenberg, saved thousands of Jews in Hungary.
We shall remember the French underground, which saved Jews.
We shall not forget the Dutch people's show of solidarity
when it put on the "mark of shame," as well as the strike it
proclaimed in order to show its solidarity with the Jews,
and the efforts of the Dutch Church, which acted openly,
exposing itself to great danger.  Nor shall we forget the
Italian officials who thwarted Mussolini's evil designs, the
Priors in the Italian monasteries, and the simple people in
that country, many of whom stood by the persecuted Jews.
And those kindly Poles who were hiding Jews right in the
middle of the valley of death, under fearful danger, braving
the wave of hellish hate which enveloped all Poland; there
were others also, there was the Polish underground, and
there were ordinary people who helped, who concealed, who
saved, who  kept others alive.  In Lithuania, also, we have
heard about such people, we have heard about farmers' wives
to whom Jewish mothers passed their children across the
fence: "Please hide them until the storm blows over!"

In Germany itself we heard about Dr. Grueber and his
friends, about the spiritual efforts and the physical,
deadly dangers braved by those who believed in man and in
love for one's fellow-men, and they were inside Germany,
they were common folk, as Grueber said, people who created
an underground movement, one of whose aims was saving Jews.
And since we do not condemn the righteous with the wicked -
we shall know how to count the few just men from sinful
Sodom.  Perhaps the Court will allow me to read some lines,
some verses about this chapter, which were written by a non-
Jew, and which I found in Kogon's book about the SS.  At my
request, they were translated into Hebrew by Mr. Ari Avner
and into English by Mr. Rosen.  Here, then, are the words of
a persecuted German:

     My heart I had opened to love of this country
     My messengers went there, again and again.
     Countless the shapes I took on, craving entry.
     None did you recognize.  All was in vain.
     At night, a pale Hebrew, I knocked at your gate.
     Pursued, I sought refuge.  My shoes were torn out.
     You called executioners, craftsmen of hate,
     And thought you were serving God, doing him proud.
     I came as an old, frightened, dim-witted creature,
     Speechless with anguish, dumb in her cry.
     But you had your eyes on the race of the future,
     And just for my ashes one could apply.
     In Eastern lands as an orphan I wandered.
     I knelt at your feet, and I begged for some bread.
     But fearful, on future vengeance you pondered,
     And just shrugged your shoulders, and wished I were
     I have been your prisoner, dragged to forced labour,
     Was sold into slavery, whipped, made to bow.
     Your eyes you averted,  you liked not the flavour.
     I came here to judge you.  You will know me now."

There also appeared lights out of darkness: The resistance
of the Jewish People, standing alone, beaten, surrounded by
hatred and hordes of hostile soldiers, as it rose to heights
of heroism, such as Europe had never witnessed in any of the
underground movements, in any country.  The revolt, the
partisans, the Jewish underground, the underground in
Poland, the underground in Hungary, about which we heard
from Rosenberg, which organized the escape, and also those
who marched singing "I believe with perfect faith."  "I
believe," they said to the very last moment, that death is
not in vain.  There is no consolation for the extinction of
one third of the nation, but there is consolation in the
knowledge that they knew how to stand up to the oppressor,
to the enemy. And in those hours they said:

     Oh, do not say this is my final way
     Dark clouds are hiding now the light of day
     The hour we long for surely will appear
The our steps shall thunder: We are here.

And to end this chapter, Your Honours, I should like to
mention what I may have left out before, when I spoke of the
righteous gentiles in other countries: the Yugoslavs, the
Greeks, and all those lovers of humanity in the conquered
countries who fought against Satan at the risk of their
lives, in order to save human beings from death.

Let us now proceed to the indictment and the law.  Adolf
Eichmann was put on trial under the Nazis and Nazi
Collaborators (Punishment) Law.  In its section 1(a) this
law specifies three offences, three crimes, which it defines
as "crime against the Jewish people," including any of the
acts enumerated hereafter, committed with intent to destroy
the Jewish People in whole or in part; killing Jews; causing
serious bodily or mental harm to Jews; placing Jews in
living conditions calculated to bring about their physical

Let us dwell on this for a moment, without proceeding to the
subsequent elements at this stage, since the first counts of
the indictment deal with these offences: "killing Jews" and
"causing serious bodily or mental harm to Jews."  We have
proved - and I understand that Counsel for the Defence does
not dispute this - that all these crimes, these and others
which are included in this section, were in fact committed.
We have proven the various positions and functions held by
Adolf Eichmann, starting with IVD4, which, from the
beginning, included "Ostraum," as we remember from exhibit
T/170, i.e., all the area of the East; the special
appointment given by Goering to Heydrich, that secret task
to devise a Final Solution which, Eichmann admits, meant the
extermination of the Jews.  It was not Himmler who appointed
Heydrich, but Goering.

Judge Halevi:  What is the difference?

Attorney General: The difference is that in this case a
special task can be discerned.  Goering, who is certainly
acting on behalf of the Fuehrer, since he himself did not
have such powers, goes and confers a unique task on a
certain person, and the chain is continued in this manner.
Heydrich does not order Mueller to inform Eichmann that he
will be the specialist for Jewish questions, i.e., also for
the Endloesung (Final Solution).  No, he brings Eichmann in
directly, as his specialist for this subject - which shows
that this is a special task, not necessarily fitting into
the framework of the usual division of powers and functions.
I have examined the Accused at length on this subject, and
he agrees that the extermination of the Jews does not appear
in the Geschaeftsverteilungsplan (office work plan) of the
Head Office for Reich Security.  This was a special task,
and he agrees that this function, although it coincided, in
fact, with the tasks of the Head of the Jewish Section in
the Gestapo, was not mentioned either explicitly or by its
gruesome epithets, not even in the form of camouflage, in
the list of functions of the Head Office for Reich Security.
But, he says, my task extended from the Reich westward; I
did not deal with the East, others did that.

I have already spoken in some detail about this, and I shall
not repeat my arguments.  But, in connection with the
appointment I have mentioned, I should like to say the
following: If the Generalgouvernement was a unit which
exterminated Jews autonomously, if it is maintained that
Krueger and Globocnik implemented this in Poland
independently of the Head Office for Reich Security, this
would be like giving the lie to Goering's order and to the
Wannsee decisions. For, it must be remembered, Your Honours,
that the chief of the Head Office for Reich Security had no
authority of command over Krueger.  The authority to give
commands to the Higher SS and Police Leaders was vested in
Himmler, as we know from exhibit T/98.  This means that, if
Krueger was independent and alone, and if he acted through
his assistant or deputy, Globocnik, or the rest of the
police apparatus in the Generalgouvernement, then Eichmann's
version - that there was some link between Heydrich and
Krueger - is not credible.  If we take Heydrich out of the
picture, then Goering's orders remained suspended, and the
Wannsee decisions were not carried out.  But we know, after
all, that one of the more important reasons for calling the
Wannsee Conference was, as it says in the note from IVB4
(exhibit T/182), to hold it because Frank, the Chief of the
Generalgouvernement, showed an inclination to act on his own
in Jewish affairs.  And, therefore, in order to stop Frank
from acting independently, he was forced to send Buehler
there, and Buehler made the announcement I have already
quoted, so I shall not repeat it.

Judge Raveh:   Was the appointment by Goering a personal

Attorney General: Heydrich's appointment was personal.  Just
as at first, in January 1939, there was a personal
appointment concerning the emigration of Jews, so it was a
personal appointment now: "I charge you with the task of
submitting to me proposals for the Final Solution.

Judge Raveh:   And what became of the appointment when
Heydrich was killed?

Attorney General: It naturally passed on to his successor.
In the end, when the subject became a matter for the Head
Office for Reich Security, it became part of its activities.
And in this respect Eichmann is right: At a later stage, all
branches were already involved.  It was natural that, in
order to carry out his special task, Heydrich should make
use of all the apparatus of the Head Office for Reich
Security, including Department II, Rauff's technical
department, the legal advisers; all these operated later on
within this framework.  When Heydrich was killed and
Kaltenbrunner was appointed, Kaltenbrunner continued to
carry out the task which Heydrich had taken upon himself.

Presiding Judge: In exhibit T/37, there is something about
this question.  Was there a new mandate for Kaltenbrunner?

Attorney General: He says there was not, since none was
needed, because in the meantime matters had reached the
practical stage.  There were executive measures, Eichmann
had things under control, and there was no need for an
additional appointment.

Judge Halevi:  But there is also no doubt that Himmler often
gave orders on matters concerning the extermination of Jews.

Attorney General: Of course, Your Honour.  If the Court
understood me to say that the appointment of Heydrich was
not on behalf of Himmler, and not in accordance with his
wishes, then I have not been understood correctly.  It is
clear to me that Himmler was in the know, and it is clear to
me that Himmler wanted this, and moreover it is clear to me
that Himmler was one of the chief conspirators, and at
Hitler's side certainly have been the second superior
conspirator,   as far as the issuing of this order is
concerned.  But this makes no difference.  As soon as the
matter reaches the routine of implementation, the executive
machinery, which happens to be under Himmler's supreme
authority, becomes an integral part of the network of his
powers, and Himmler could give orders to Heydrich, to
Mueller, and also to Eichmann.  He certainly becomes
involved in the matter, and he also receives reports about

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