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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Wilhelm_Hoettl-07

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

(7): I have already indicated that only on one occasion,
when he was preparing a lecture or presentation, did
Eichmann ask me for information as to whether Napoleon had
actually envisaged deporting Jews to Madagascar, to which
enquiry I was, however, unable to reply, as I did not know.

(8): Here, too, I am only able to refer to what I have
already said.  I should, however, like to add that I have
learned from what I have read since that, as is generally
known, a special penalty was imposed on all Jews after
November 1938, i.e., the Grynszspan attack in Paris, levied
not by Eichmann's Central Office, but - as it did not apply
only to the emigrants - by the competent finance offices.
So the Accused can have had nothing to do with this.

(9): I have already stated on this that I was informed by
Schellenberg in Salzburg about Operation Margarethe I,
Hungary - this must have been in the middle of March 1944,
when Hitler and Horthy were holding consultations in

(10): Here I can only refer to the information I have
already given and simply add, if this question about staff
discussions should mean such matters, I did have discussions
in Salzburg with Schellenberg, Dr. Kaltenbrunner and
Ambassador Hewel.

It was my impression that the relevant operational plan had
been worked out months earlier by the General Staff, and
only then I was informed of part of it.  I did not get to
see the written plan itself, but was simply informed of its
political sections.

(11): From what I remember of the part of the operational
plan of which I was informed - its political part - the
Jewish Question was not referred to in it.  However, I do
not consider it impossible that, just as Schellenberg
informed me of the political part, he may have let other
advisers participate on the Jewish problems; possibly that
may have been the first Chief of the Special Operations
Group of the Security Police and the Security Service in
Hungary, SS Oberfuehrer Dr. Achhammer-Piffrader.  He was
originally destined to be only the Deputy Chief of the
Operations Group, which was to have been under the command
of Schellenberg.  However, since Schellenberg had shortly
before that taken over the Counter-Intelligence Bureau from
Admiral Canaris, he managed to make it clear to Himmler
that, under the prevailing conditions, he could not leave
Berlin.  Thus, at the last moment, Dr. Achhammer-Piffrader
became the head of the Operations Group.  He might possibly
have dealt especially with Jewish problems when the German
unit entered Hungary.

(12): As far as I know, in 1934 Eichmann joined the Head
Office for Security in Berlin, of which Heydrich was in
charge, as a clerk.  In 1939, when the Security Service Head
Office, as I have explained elsewhere, was merged with the
Police Offices into the Head Office for Reich Security,
Heydrich remained in charge of this Head Office, and
Eichmann worked for Department VI (Gestapo) as a Specialist
Officer.  In this way, therefore, until Heydrich's death in
1944,*{*Thus in the Report, but Heydrich was killed in 1942}
Eichmann was always his subordinate.

(13): I have already reported elsewhere on this question and
would like to add the following statement:

When I gave evidence to the Nuremberg court from 1945 to
1947, I had the opportunity of discussing this question as
well with many of the senior and highest-placed officials of
the Third Reich.  As a historian with a professional
interest, I wished first of all to identify the origin of
the order to destroy the Jewish People.  Although everybody
I asked stated that they were not familiar with the ultimate
context of this extermination order, they all, without
exception, believed that the idea of physically
exterminating the Jewish People came from Hitler himself,
who, when he included the war against Russia in his
programme, apparently believed that it would only be
possible to destroy Communism if, at the same time, the
entire Jewish People was also physically exterminated.

According to the reports available, the appointment in the
Russian army of "Commissars," as they were known, was said
to be restricted in the main to Jewish circles.  In this
instance, too, Hitler therefore doubtless equated "Communist
official" with "Jew."  That would be the explanation for his
"Commissars Order" which, as I see it, is the initial
foundation for the first mass destructions of Jews.  Thus
the beginning of these mass destruction operations can be
taken to be the beginning of the Russian campaign in the
summer of 1941.

I would understand the question about Heydrich's special
assignment as his having received Hitler's order through
Himmler, and being responsible subsequently for its
implementation just like Pohl (SS Economic-Administrative
Head Office).

On the question whether the extermination order I have
spoken of in connection with the Russian Commissars was also
given secretly, and if not - what was the reaction on the
part of Russia or world opinion, my reply is:

I am not aware of this order ever having been made public at
the time, or even reaching the general public.  I do not
know whether there were commanders in the German army who
refused to fulfil the order in their area, and who treated
the commissars as normal prisoners of war.

(14): I must answer this question in the negative; Eichmann
never spoke to me about any executive assignments.

(15): While Baky's appointment to the Sztojay Government as
State Secretary for Security was definite from the first
day, and I believe the new head of government himself
considered it most important to have this post filled by a
former high-ranking officer of the gendarmerie, Endre was
appointed as State Secretary probably more or less at the
wish of the Germans.  In fact, I believe that Endre was not
appointed State Secretary until several days later.

In answer to the questions, I add further:

The correct spelling is Baky, not Baki, and Sztojay, not

(16): I cannot give any details about this, but he
definitely had close contacts with Endre in particular, who
was the Hungarian Government official charged with Jewish
affairs.  There was necessarily collaboration with Baky,
because he had to make available the requisite gendarmerie
units for deporting the Hungarian Jews.

As to the practical details of such contacts - by phone, in
writing, orally, through visits or some other form - I had
no way of knowing, but I assume that, as a lower-ranking
official, Eichmann probably called on the State Secretaries
in question, presumably with an interpreter.

(17): I have to give a negative reply to this question.

(18): I have already stated above that Eichmann had to ask
for the gendarmerie units he needed from the Hungarian
authorities, since presumably he did not have sufficient
personnel of his own available for such tasks.  So there was
certainly a connection between him and the gendarmerie also
in this sense, either through the State Secretaries I have
referred to, or they gave him authority once and for all to
contact the relevant gendarmerie commander direct.  In any
case, I do not know any details about this.

I can only assume further that Eichmann and Endre worked out
a "cleaning-up plan," and that this was applied in stages,
according to komitat's or administrative areas, starting
with the most northerly komitat and finishing in Budapest

(19): At the end of August 1944, after the Romanian revolt,
Eichmann came to visit me in my apartment in Budapest, in
order to enquire about the most recent information on what
was called the "enemy situation."  A few days earlier, there
had been a revolt by young King Michael against Prime
Minister Antonescu, followed by an armistice with the Red
Army on the part of the Romanian army, which until then had
fought with the Axis.  These events undermined the stability
of the entire German front in the area, which until then had
not reached Romania.  If Russian troops were to cross the
Carpathian arch, the whole of Hungary would be practically
defenceless before the attacks of the Russians.  As I have
already said, Eichmann asked me for the latest information
from the front and explained that he was interested because
he was on his way to Romania.  The information I had about
the situation on the front was obtained not only from
official German sources, but also from reports of our own
agents who operated behind the Russian lines, as well as
from monitoring Russian radio communications, for which I
had, together with the Hungarian Counter-Intelligence
service, established quite a large office in Budapest.  The
actual operation of the radio counter-intelligence or
listening service was run by the Hungarian military
authorities, but the entire undertaking was financed by me -
or rather, by my Department - which therefore also took part
in determining the entire set-up.  Thus I was the right
person for Eichmann to approach, in order to get such
information, and in the previous months he had already come
to see me several times, in order to obtain genuinely
objective reports, rather than the coloured ones which were
often the practice on the part of the Germans.

In reference to the related subsequent questions, I would
give the following description of this conversation:

As far as I remember, Eichmann came to see me in the late
forenoon.  He was wearing battledress, i.e., not his dress
uniform which he had worn on his other visits to me.  He
gave an impression of being very nervous, and this became
even more marked when I told him about the disastrous
situation on the German front.  Doubtless I, too, was very
dejected at the time, because I was afraid that there was
nothing which would be able to stop the Russian advance
through Hungary to my native Austria.  Eichmann then
swallowed several glasses of brandy, one after the other. As
far as I remember, I set a bottle of arrack down with a
glass, so he could help himself.

I was alone in the room with Eichmann and, as far as I know,
there was no one from my or Eichmann's staff around.  The
conversation on which I testified in 1945 before the
Nuremberg Tribunal developed as follows, as I remember it:

Eichmann stood up and said farewell with the following
words: "We shall probably never see each other again," or
something similar.  Then apparently he felt obliged to
explain this pessimistic attitude and indicated that he was
convinced that, with the German defeat, which was now to be
expected, he stood no chance any more.  When I asked him why
he thought this, Eichmann said that, in view of his role in
the programme to exterminate the Jews, he was considered by
the Allies to be a top war criminal.  When he made this
comment, I immediately grasped the opportunity to say that I
had always wanted to hear reliable information about the
extermination programme, and particularly about the number
of Jews exterminated.  To my surprise Eichmann responded to
that, and said something along the following lines (in 1945,
when I testified before the Nuremberg court, I obviously
remembered the details more clearly than today, seventeen
years later.  I therefore apologize for any minor

He said that the number of murdered Jews was a very great
Reich secret, but with the situation in which he, Eichmann,
found himself today, he still could tell me something about
it, particularly since I was a historian.  Eichmann then
told me that, according to his information, some 6,000,000
(six million) Jews had perished until then - 4,000,000 (four
million) in extermination camps and the remaining 2,000,000
(two million) through shooting by the Operations Units and
other causes, such as disease, etc.

I presumably reacted in a very shocked fashion to this
figure, because Eichmann immediately commented that Himmler
believed that the figure of six million Jews killed could
not be correct, and that the overall figure must be higher.

I do not remember Eichmann making any form of personal
statement or excuse.  Eichmann also did not say that he felt
himself guilty of the deaths of these six million Jews; as I
have said, he simply answered my question as to how many
Jews had actually been exterminated.

As for the words I used in testifying about Eichmann's
statement that he was wanted as a war criminal, I should
like to add the following explanation:

It was said that at that time the BBC was already reporting
who on the German side was considered by the Allies to be a
war criminal; a list of these persons was being drawn up and
constantly updated, for use in later criminal proceedings
against such war criminals.  Dr. Kaltenbrunner had also once
made the same sort of comment, i.e., that he was considered
a war criminal by the Allies.  I do not know  where Eichmann
found out that he was on such a list of top war criminals.

This conversation, including the first part, where I
informed Eichmann about the situation at the front, went on
probably, as far as I remember, for more than an hour,
during which Eichmann drank at least four or five large
brandies, if not more.  The reason why I remember this fact
so precisely is that, when I said goodbye to Eichmann, I
asked him expressly not to drive his car himself.  However,
he did not give the impression of being drunk.  In fact, I
believe that at this time Eichmann was drinking a great deal
all the time; in any case, there was quite open talk about
that in German police circles in Budapest.

I cannot give any details as to where Eichmann was going on
his journey or what his assignment was; I can only repeat
that he said to me that he was leaving for Romania, which
seemed to be confirmed by the fact that he was in
battledress.  I cannot state exactly when Eichmann's visit
took place - at least not to the day.

Despite the fact that when we were having this conversation
Eichmann was in a very bad state mentally, and drank a fair
amount of alcohol in a short time, I did not have the
impression that the figures Eichmann gave me were the result
of something he had suddenly invented, but that he himself
was, subjectively speaking, convinced that the figures were

In reply to a question as to whether in this context I heard
Eichmann use the term "six million murdered Jews," I should
like to state that this term "murdered" was one which I
used, while, as far as I remember, Eichmann used an
expression such as "exterminated" or "liquidated" Jews.

I have no way of knowing how Eichmann arrived at these
figures of the number of Jews murdered, and he also gave me
no indications whatsoever about this.

I had never heard anything before that about the figures
quoted by Eichmann, and there was also nothing along these
lines which I could gather from the foreign broadcasts,
which were available to me extensively in my official
capacity.  Later on as well, until the collapse of the Third
Reich, I did not receive any information from any source
about this, although this question was naturally of very
great interest to me.

At this time, I was trying very hard to obtain statistical
material about the Jews; I found out that at the beginning
of the War there had been about fifteen million Jews in the
whole world.  If six million Jews had been murdered, that
would have meant a proportion of forty per cent.

During these investigations of mine, it also struck me that
the second-largest group of Jews, after those in Europe and
Asia, lived in America, so that these would practically
never have been within the grasp even of a victorious
Germany.  Even if one ignores the moral attitude to
genocide, this fact shows how senseless was Hitler's order
to destroy the Jews.

To conclude this point, I should like to add that the
conversation with Eichmann did not indicate whether this
figure of six million murdered Jews included only those who
were Jews by race and religion, or whether it also included
other categories, such as persons of mixed parentage, and
perhaps also other ethnic groups, such as Gypsies, who were
also within Hitler's extermination programme.

(20): I do not know anything about plans to deport Jews from
the Romanian part of Transylvania.  From my own observations
I also do not know whether the journey which Eichmann said
he was making to Romania was connected with this, nor
whether he actually made the journey.

(21): Yes; as I have said, he expressed his doubts, saying
that he did not know if we would see each other again,
immediately after I had described the situation at the

(22): I have already spoken in detail about the hierarchical

(23): Eichmann did not say anything directly, but it could
be assumed that he knew from the news broadcasts on the
English radio that he was considered to be a war criminal.

(24): Eichmann did not concede that this charge was correct.
I would refer here to my description of the conversation.

(25): I have already replied to this question as well.  I
cannot give any more details.

(26): These are the concluding sentences of a television
interview which, as far as I remember, I gave in March of
this year to the North German Radio.  I therefore answer in
the affirmative.

(27) and (28): I answer both questions in the affirmative.

As to whether the last sentence, quoted in the request for
legal assistance of the District Court of Jerusalem, of my
affidavit applies to Eichmann's activities generally or only
to his activities in Hungary specifically, I have the
following to say:

As can be seen from my statement so far, it was only in
Hungary that I was able to observe deportations of Jews with
my own eyes, and to ascertain who was responsible for them.
My statement at Nuremberg at the time is therefore primarily
based on Eichmann's activities in Hungary, but in the first
months of captivity I discovered in the meantime that
Eichmann had been active in other occupied countries in a
similar manner.

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