The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-015-05

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-015-05
Last-Modified: 1999/05/30

Q. Can you estimate the number?

A. I don't remember any more. One year 35,000* {* This is
evidently a gross overestimate. The official Jewish Agency
Statistics for 1935 reports 7,447 immigrants for Germany}.
Jews from Germany reached the country. That was in 1935. It
was the peak of the immigration from Germany. But after the
beginning of the Arab riots the number declined. The overall
British policy with regard to immigration, to aliyah
(immigration to Palestine), changed. This was connected with
the disturbances.

Q. What was the number of certificates in 1938 and 1939?

A. It was very small. I have to count it in tens. But we
resorted to other means, to circumvention, with the help of
Captain Foley.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Mr. Cohn, you have
completed your evidence.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  I ask to call Witness Aharon
Lindenstrauss. Your Honour, I propose to deal with a chapter
which I shall be able to conclude almost certainly by 6
o'clock, rather than start on the documents. I may have to
ask the Court to go back in time temporarily when we get to
the submission of the documents.

Presiding Judge: The documents that were discussed this

State Attorney Bar-Or:  No. Documents about which the
witnesses do not know, from the files of official

Presiding Judge: Never mind.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: Your first name?

Witness:  Aharon Lindenstrauss.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  You were born in Berlin, Germany?

Witness Lindenstrauss: Yes.

Q. What year were you born?

A. In 1904.

Q. You studied Law?

A. Law, Economics and Banking.

Q. At which university?

A. At Berlin University.

Q. What profession did you practice?

A. In 1932 I became an advocate in Berlin and before that I
worked in several banks. I had also been a Werkstudent (a
working student). In 1932 I became an advocate and I worked
in that capacity until 1933, until my licence was revoked in
the summer of 1933.

Q. This was about June 1933?

A. I am not certain. The licence was revoked between April
and June 1933.

Q. What did you do then?

A. Since I was a Zionist from childhood  and had always
belonged to the Zionist Organization, I already worked in
the Palestine Office in Berlin, Meinekestrasse, since
January 1933.

Q. What number?

A. Number 10.

Q. What was your specific field of work?

A. I was in charge of the Aliyah Department of the Palestine
Office in Berlin from 1933 till 1939.

Q. When did you leave Germany?

A. I left Germany on 1 March 1939.

Q. Since then you have been in this country?

A. Since then have I been in this country.

Q. What do you do now?

A. I manage an industrial bank in Haifa and am also a member
of the Haifa Municipal Council.

Q. Tell me please, Mr. Lindenstrauss, do you remember an
official journey you made from Berlin to Vienna in 1939
before you left Germany? Kindly tell the Court all the
details you know and remember.

A. Yes. This was after the pogrom in Berlin in 1938. In
October 1938, I had been on a visit to Palestine in my
official capacity in connection with negotiations with the
Jewish Agency in Jerusalem and I returned two or three days
before the pogrom. On that day I went straight to the
Palestine office in Berlin on Meinekestrasse. There I found
the whole building wrecked, typewriters in the courtyard and
chaos all over.  The only room that was left intact was mine
because I had gone to Palestine and repairs were being made
in the room while I was away. We assembled all the officials
in the building, the Head of the Zionist Organization, Benno
Cohn, and all the other officials from the Keren Hayessod,
the Jewish National Fund and the Juedische Rundschau. All
the officials gathered in my room. Benno Cohn advised me to
give a report on what was going on in Palestine - in order
to reduce the tension.  In the meantime various messengers
came from outside and reported that in one place a synagogue
was burning, in another a department store and somewhere
else a shop. We realized there was a danger that the
building in Meinekestrasse 10 would be attacked and we
dispersed and gathered again in private homes belonging to
some of the senior officials.

Meanwhile the validity of a great number of certificates was
about to expire in December 1938, mainly Palestine
immigration certificates for parents and there was a danger
that they would not be able to make use of them. We
therefore applied to the Gestapo and pointed out that this
could hold up the emigration. I still remember that one day
I met with two SS officers in front of the house in
Meinekestrasse 10 and they brought with them all the keys
from the Kristallnacht (night of the broken glass) when
everything there was turned upside down.

Q. Did you know these officers?

A. Not personally. They were holding a large envelope which
contained hundreds of keys to all the offices in the
building. I asked the housekeeper to go with the two SS
officers and look for the room where the certificates
expiring in December 1938 were kept. After a long search
they found the room. They opened it and we could continue
the preparation of the Aliyah of these parents, who reached
Palestine in December 1938.

After this, the situation of Aliyah from Germany became
quite hopeless; there were no certificates and of course
this influenced the mood among the Jews in Germany. For one
thing there was great pressure such as there had never been.
I remember that in the "British Passport Office" in Berlin,
Captain Foley's office, hundreds of people were queuing up
for visas to Palestine, but it was not always possible to
help although this man tried to help as much as he could.

At the end of January, I don't remember the exact date - it
must have been the end of January or the middle of February
- we suddenly received a telephone call at the Palestine
Office, I think it was from the Reichsvertretung der
Deutschen Juden saying that the Accused had instructed a
delegation from all Jewish institutions in Berlin to come to
Vienna immediately. We went the same day, four or five of
us, I don't remember exactly.

Q. Do you remember any of the names?

A. Yes.

Q. Which names do you remember?

A. I remember that the Head of the Jewish Community in
Berlin, Heinrich Stahl, went; Seide went, he died later in
the camp, I think; also the legal adviser of the Jewish
Community, Advocate Kotzover, who was also head of the
postal service in the camp and was later killed with his
whole family; there was also the head of the Reich
Representation of German Jewry, Dr. Franz Meier and myself
as representative of the Palestine Office in Berlin.

Q. You went to Vienna?

A. We went to Vienna. Yes.

Q. Describe what happened.

A. When we arrived in Vienna we were received immediately.
We were given rooms in some hotel under the control of the
Vienna Gestapo, who saw to it that we did not come in
contact with the public in Vienna.

Q. Did you know that contact between you and the Jews of
Vienna was forbidden?

A. We were told nothing about that. We arrived, we  were
met, we were taken to some hotel - I have forgotten the
name. There were Gestapo people there who assigned specific
rooms to us and specific waiters.

Q. Who met you at the railway station when you arrived in

A. I cannot tell you.

Q. But you were met?

A. Yes.

Q. And taken to the hotel?

A. We went to the hotel and the next day, or the same day,
we went to the headquarters of the Accused, to the
Rothschild Palais.

Q. Where was that? Do you remember the name of the street?

A. I think it was Prinz Eugen, I don't remember, at any
rate, it was the well-known Rothschild Palais, that is where
the headquarters of the Accused were.

Q. The members of the delegation arrived at the Palais

A. Yes. We went together and entered the gate. Two SS men
were standing next to it, very unpleasant types in steel
helmets. They phoned upstairs immediately, apparently to the
room of the Accused and announced, as I remember exactly,
that four persons had arrived. They said it differently:
"Vier Stueck aus Berlin sind angekommen" (Four pieces have
arrived from Berlin).

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