Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Judgment/Judgment-037 Last-Modified: 1999/05/27 118. In connection with the Hungarian chapter, we will have to deal with the Attorney General's contention that, while in Budapest, the Accused took part in the murder of a Jewish youth named Solomon, who was engaged in forced labour in the garden of the house in which the Accused lived. One of the witnesses for the Prosecution, Mr. Avraham Gordon, testified on this matter that the Accused and his servant Slawik beat the boy to death in a tool shed at the house. This charge does not appear as a special count of murder in the indictment, but the Attorney General wanted to bring this incident as proof of the Accused's cruelty and his attitude to the life of an individual Jew, apart from his attitude to the lives of Jews in general. Although we have no formal accusation of murder before us, we think that we should evaluate the evidence in this matter according to a criterion befitting the nature of the deed attributed to the Accused (see C.C. 232/55, Piskei Din 12, 2017, 2064). We have examined the evidence according to this criterion, and although the impression made on us by Mr. Gordon's evidence is positive, we do not consider it safe to find facts against the Accused on the basis of this evidence alone, without any corroborative evidence as to the details of the incident. Eastern Europe 119. We must now go back and consider the stage of the Final Solution, from its beginning in mid-1941, and turn to Eastern Europe - Poland, the Baltic countries and Soviet Russia - the valley of death in which millions of Jews were slaughtered by the order of Hitler. This is where the Jews, who had been hunted down for this purpose in the other European countries, crammed into trains and brought to the East, were done to death in many different ways. Documents were submitted describing the Holocaust in the East, but the bulk of the evidence consisted of statements by witnesses, "brands plucked from the fire," who followed each other in the witness box for days and weeks on end. They spoke simply, and the seal of truth was on their words. But there is no doubt that even they themselves could not find the words to describe their suffering in all its depth. As one of them, Judge Beisky (Session 21, Vol. I, p. 346) said, in trying to describe his feelings whilst being forced to watch the hanging of a young boy in the presence of thousands of Jewish prisoners: First of all, I can no longer - and I acknowledge this - after eighteen years I cannot describe this sensation of fear. This feeling of fear, today when I stand before Your Honours, does not exist any longer and I do not suppose that it is possible to define it for anyone... It is not physically possible to present the conditions of those days in the courtroom, and I do not believe, Heaven forbid, that people will not understand this, but I myself cannot explain it and I experienced this on my own person." If these be the sufferings of the individual, then the sum total of the suffering of the millions - about a third of the Jewish people, tortured and slaughtered - is certainly beyond human understanding, and who are we to try to give it adequate expression? This is a task for the great writers and poets. Perhaps it is symbolic that even the author, who himself went through the hell named Auschwitz, could not stand the ordeal in the witness box and collapsed. Moreover, this part of the indictment is not in dispute in this case. The witnesses who gave evidence about this part were hardly questioned at all by Counsel for the Defence, and at a certain stage in the proceedings he even requested that the Court therefore waive the hearing of these witnesses. To this we could not agree because, since the Accused denied all the counts in the indictment, we had to hear also the evidence on the factual background of the Accused's responsibility, and could not break up the indictment according to a partial admission of facts by the Accused (see Decision No. 13, Session 23, Vol. I., p. 366). Accordingly, we are obliged to sketch the background at least in brief outline, so that a fitting picture may be revealed of the crimes in which the Accused was a partner. Here and there, we have interwoven verbatim passages from the evidence. We shall begin with a general description, and afterwards examine the Accused's part in the events described. Operations Units 120. The method used to put the victims to death varied according to the time and place at which the mass butchery was carried out. The murderers used shooting, asphyxiation by gas, fire, and such other cruel methods of killing as came to their minds. As has been mentioned already (section 69), the slaughter began by mass shootings to death right at the beginning of the war against Poland in September 1939, even before the order for total extermination was given by Hitler in 1941. Since the Accused's connection with killings in the East at this early stage is not evident, we shall pass over the descriptions of this period and come to the slaughters carried out by the Operations Units, which were set up on the eve of Hitler's war against Russia, and acted in the rear of the advancing German army and in co- ordination with the army. The witness Avraham Aviel testified to the mass murder of the Jews of his native village of Dowgaliszuk, near Radom, between Grodno and Vilna, in May 1942 (Session 29, Vol. I, pp. 496-497): "Germans arrived from the direction of Lida in battledress, equipped with automatic weapons, actually dressed as if they were at the battle front... I went outside. At the entrance to the house, I saw that a crowd of Jews were walking from the end of the ghetto and were being forced along the road leading to Grodno... At that moment, several Germans entered the house. One stood at the exit while the others spread out into the rooms and began chasing out those who hadn't managed to conceal themselves. Each one passing through the opening would receive a blow on the head from a rubber truncheon, and would fall down... I bent down and managed to get out without receiving this blow, and I joined the crowd which was being led in the direction along which the earlier groups had gone... Other Jews joined us on the way. They removed more and more Jews from every house ...about one thousand... I walked with my mother... I was on her right, my brother on her left. This is how we went... They brought us to the marketplace in the centre of the village and forced us to kneel with our heads bent downwards. We were not allowed to raise our heads. Whoever did so received a bullet in the head or blows with sticks... We saw that anyone who slackened his pace was shot on the spot. We sat in the centre of the village for about an hour... Afterwards they made us stand up and led us outside the town towards the cemetery - a kilometre and a half away. When we neared the cemetery...they took us off the road and they made us kneel again, he down again with our heads down. We weren't allowed to raise our heads nor were we allowed to glance to the sides. We only heard shots from the sides. Since I was small I was able to lift my head a little without being seen. I then saw, in front of me, a long pit, about 25 metres long - perhaps 30 metres. They began to lead the Jews, row by row, towards the pit. They made them undress, and as they mounted the embankment, rounds of shots were heard, and they fell into the pit. I saw one case of a Jewish girl who put up a struggle;, she did not want, under any circumstances, to undress. They struck her and she too was shot. Children, women, family after family. Each family went up together." The witness Rivka Yoselewska (Session 30, Vol. I, p. 516) gave evidence of the atrocities committed by an Operations Unit against the Jews of the village of Powost in the Pinsk district, about the same time as that to which the testimony of the witness Aviel refers. She, too, tells how the Jews were led to the place of slaughter some distance out of the village: "There was a hill, and a little below they had dug something like a ditch. They made us walk up the hill, in rows of four, and the four whom we likened to Angels of Death shot each one of us separately... They were SS men... When we arrived at this place, we saw naked people, standing there already... Parents took the children, took other people's children. This was to help get through it all; to get it over with and not see the children suffer. Mothers took leave of their children, the mothers, the parents... We were lined up in fours. We stood there naked. My father didn't want to undress completely and kept on his underwear... they tore the clothes off his body and shot him. Then they took Mother. She didn't want to go, but wanted us to go first... They grabbed her and shot her. Then came the turn of father's mother, a woman of eighty...my father's sister. She, too, was shot with children in her arms... My younger sister also. She had suffered so much in the ghetto and yet at the last moment she wanted to stay alive... She was standing there naked holding on to her girl friend. So he looked at her and shot straight at her and her friend. Then another sister, then my turn came... I turned my head, and he asked me: "Whom do I shoot first, your daughter or you?" I did not answer. I felt them tearing my daughter away from me, I heard her last cry and heard how she was shot. He grabbed my hair and turned my head about... I heard a shot but didn't move. He turned me around, reloaded his pistol. Then he turned me around and shot. I fell into the pit and felt nothing." The witness continues this tale of horror and relates how with the last ounce of strength she rose up from the grave, from amongst the corpses heaped above her. The Accused saw with his own eyes near Minsk a slaughter of this kind at the edge of a pit, as he describes it in his Statement to the police (T/37, p. 211 et seq.): "Young marksmen...were shooting into the pit... I can still see a woman, her arms behind her, and then my knees gave way, and I left the place... Q. Was the pit full of corpses? A. The pit was full." And on his way back, he saw blood spurting as if from a fountain out of another pit which had already been covered over (supra, p. 215). This was the fate which befell the Jews whom he sent to the Operations Units commanded by Nebe and Rasch, knowing full well that their end would be death at the hands of the Operations Units (Session 98, Vol. IV, pp. xxxx29-31). We also know from the testimonies of Eliezer Karstadt (Session 29, Vol. I, p. 490) and Haim Behrendt (Session 29, Vol. I, p. 503) that Jews were deported from German cities to Riga and Minsk (Behrendt himself was deported from Berlin to Minsk in November 1941), there to be slaughtered in mass actions immediately on arrival, or a few months later. We also heard from the witness Dr. Peretz about the deportation of Jews from Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt, Holland and Belgium at the end of 1941 to the Kovno Ghetto, where they were immediately taken to the Ninth Fort - the place of mass executions (Session 28, Vol. I, p. 481).
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