The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-016-06

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-016-06
Last-Modified: 1999/05/30

State Attorney Bar-Or:  With the Court's permission I shall
call Mr. Moritz Fleischmann. His evidence relates to the
document in the series numbered 1096.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew? Welche Sprache? Which

Witness  I prefer to testify in German - seeing that all
these events occurred in Austria. And if the Court decides
that I cannot testify in German, then in English. But I
prefer to give evidence in German.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness  Moritz Fleischmann.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Where were you born?

Witness Fleischmann: In Vienna, Austria.

Q. In what year?

A. On June 2 1889.

Q. Did you hold any public offices in Jewish life in Vienna
prior to the entry of the Nazis into Austria?

A. I did, constantly, until my departure from Austria.

Q. What were these offices?

A. Commissions of the Council of the Jewish Community,
Zionist National Committee, President of Charitable
Associations and of the Association of Furriers, and a
former member of the Presidium of the Jewish National Fund.
I also held public office outside the Jewish community.

Q. What were the bodies in which you were active?

A. I served on the executive of the Association of Austrian
Fur Manufacturers and Merchants and I was a member of the
City Council of Vienna - but not in the last period.

Q. Mr. Fleischmann, when did you leave Vienna?

A. On Sunday, 28 August 1939.

Q. Where were you bound for?

A. Without a permit, without a visa, without a transit visa
- for England.

Q. And you remained there until this day?

A. Yes, until this day.

Q. Thank you. Please tell the Court what you remember and
what you know since the day the Nazis entered Austria.

A. Upon the entry of the Nazis into Austria which was
greeted with tremendous enthusiasm by the Austrians, and
specially by the Viennese population, the Jewish
institutions were closed immediately and transferred to the
control of the Gestapo and the SS. The Jewish leaders were
arrested, at once. There were the President of the
Community, Dr. Desider Friedmann and Engineer Robert
Stricker, Vice-President of the Jewish Community, publisher
of the only Zionist Jewish daily newspaper Die Morgenzeitung
and the only Jewish member of the Austrian Parliament.

Q. Who else?

A. Dr. Yaakov Ehrlich, the only Jewish representative on the
City Council of Vienna and a member of the Executive of the
Jewish Community of Vienna, Dr. Joseph Loewenherz, Director
of the Jewish Community office in Vienna, and Dr. Oskar
Gruenbaum, who was then President of the Zionist
Organization of Austria.

Q. What happened to the Jewish Community services
immediately after these offices were closed?

A. They were closed down and they had no possibility of
meeting except in secret. Even the welfare office of the
Community was prevented from taking any action. They
couldn't give the poorest people any basic financial aid so
as to keep their heads above water.

Q. Mr. Fleischmann, you and the few others who were not
arrested - did you meet in those days, and how?

A. We met, my friend Dr. J.H. Koerner, who was the President
of the Sports Club Hakoah and also Mr. Leopold Foerster, and
Emil Engel, director of the Welfare Office of the community,
and I.

Q. Do you remember where and how you met?

A. We met a few houses away from the Metropol Hotel, where
the headquarters of the Gestapo were located. This was a
place where, a few weeks previously, the emissaries from
Israel and the Jewish Agency, Mr. Kurt Blumenfeld of the
Keren Hayessod and Mr. Natan Bistritzky of the Jewish
National Fund, had stayed. We met in the Cafe Rappaport and
there secretly distributed welfare funds for the poorest
people, who weren't able to receive anything from the
Community. We did so with the aid funds that were available
to us from private sources.

Q. Mr. Fleischmann, were you at the Headquarters of the
Gestapo at the end of March 1938?

A. We met secretly.

Presiding Judge: Is this a reply to your question, State
Attorney Bar-Or?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  No

Presiding Judge: Then ask him to reply to the question.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Mr. Fleischmann, please pay
attention to my question and please answer it directly.

Witness Fleischmann: I wanted to answer in this way, since
the reply is connected with the month of March.

Presiding Judge: Sir, you must follow State Attorney Bar-Or:
who is questioning you.

Witness Fleischmann: Towards the end of March we received a
notice that the representatives of the Jews of Vienna should
appear at the Hotel Metropol in the principal offices of the

Q. Did you hear at that time about the object of the

A. No.

Q. Were particular people invited?

A. Six of us were invited.

Q. Who were they?

A. They were: Adolf Boehm, President of the Jewish National
Fund, Dr. Leopold Plaschkes, who had been a member of the
City Council on behalf of the Jewish National Party and a
member of the Council of the Jewish Community, Dr. Leo
Goldhammer, who had been the President of the Zionist
Organization in Austria, Dr. Y.H. Kroerner, a member of the
Council of the Community and President of the Hakoah Sports
Club, Dr. Alois Rothenberg of the staff of the Palestine
Office in Vienna, and myself.

Presiding Judge: State Attorney Bar-Or, can we possibly
speed up this matter. I understand that the Witness would
like all these names to be entered into the protocol. And
clearly this is most understandable, but is it really

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Several of these names will come up
later on as well - and for good reason I have asked and
permitted the Witness to complete the list. Mr. Fleischmann,
who from amongst all these people is still alive?

Witness Flieschmann  It is my sad lot to say that I am the
only one of those who were in the delegation to have
remained alive.

Q. At the end of March you appeared at the Hotel Metropol?

A. Yes.

Q. Whom did you meet there?

A. We were led by an SS man who told us the he was taking us
to Adolf Eichmann. We entered. It seemed that he addressed
him as "Sturmbannfuehrer." The man wore uniform and sat
behind a large desk.

Q. Do you remember what was the nature of Eichmann's

A. A black SS uniform, which later became so well-known to
us. We had previously discussed amongst ourselves, for we
knew that something had to happen, that someone had to take
over the direction of Jewish affairs. Eichmann sat behind a
large desk. We had to stand. He asked our names and a
description of the sphere of our activities in Jewish life.
Adolf Boehm and the others introduced themselves. When
Eichmann heard the name Adolf Boehm, he asked: Are you the
Adolf Boehm who published the History of Zionism? When Adolf
Boehm answered affirmatively, the Accused replied: "Very
interesting. I studied this work in detail. In particular I
was interested in that passage on a certain page," and he
began to recite by heart the full contents of this page. We
exchanged amazed glances. Thereupon Eichmann made some
remarks in Hebrew, and said: "You should not be surprised, I
speak Hebrew and Yiddish fluently, since I was born in
Sarona" [German Templar Colony in Paletine].

Q. Did Eichmann speak some words in Hebrew?

A. Yes.
Presiding Judge: What did he say in Hebrew? Can you

Witness Fleischmann: No, I didn't understand them, but in
particular my colleague Goldhammer, who spoke Hebrew
fluently,  understood them.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Did the conversation, or whatever it
was that passed between you and Eichmann, begin with
Eichmann's performance in connection with the reading of the
page from the book, or did something take place previously?

Witness Fleischmann First of all he brought to our notice
the nature of his position. He was to administer and direct
all Jewish affairs in Austria. He was charged with solving
the Jewish Question in Austria completely. And he demanded
unwavering obedience and unfailing cooperation and
compliance with all his instructions and directives. He said
he was warning us not to do anything against this and not to
sabotage, for his unalterable intention was to perform what
had been assigned to him in the shortest and most efficient
manner. He would know how to deal and overcome any
resistance, and he would react sharply to any pretence at
concealment or evasion.

Q. Did he speak of Vienna in a special way?

A. He spoke of solving the Jewish Question in Austria and in

Q. Did he talk of the nature of the solution?

A. No, not then. Only as we were leaving, he again warned us
and told us he would do everything in order to solve the
question in the speediest manner, by any means he considered

Q. After quotating the extracts from Adolf Boehm's book,
what happened?

A. He made the observation that several weeks previously,
the second volume of that book had appeared, and he
regretted that he had not yet had the time to read it, that
he had been very busy. But he would hasten to correct that
in a very short time.

Q. And what happened after that?

Q. The influence of Eichmann's activities soon made itself
felt and led to alarm and a feeling of fear on the part of
Viennese Jewry. We sensed it at once.

Q. Was anyone from the delegation or someone else appointed
to direct Jewish affairs after the meeting?

A. Eichmann wanted Adolf Boehm to be responsible, on behalf
of the Jewish Community, for implementing his instructions.
Boehm was at that time more than sixty years of age and was
a sick man. And seeing that we had already discussed this
matter previously, he asked to be released from this duty.

So we had agreed between ourselves on Dr. Alois Rothenberg
who was the youngest amongst us, and he took upon himself to
be responsible for the affairs of the Palestine Office
before Eichmann.

Q. Were these matters concluded at the meeting with

A. At the same meeting with Eichmann.

Q. And since then Dr. Rothenberg was in charge of affairs?

A. In the Palestine Office.

Q. And in the Jewish Community?

A. Dr. Joseph Lowenherz - after he had been released from

Q. Did the meeting conclude with this?

A. The meeting concluded with this, but some days later...

Q. Did you see Eichmann at any other time after that?

A. I saw him, yes, but not directly in a personal

Presiding Judge: Have you any further questions for the

State Attorney Bar-Or:  This evidence will continue on
matters which followed this meeting. If Your Honour will
permit me one more question in connection with this meeting,
perhaps that would be a more convenient point to stop. Mr.
Fleischmann, I want to return once again to this first
meeting, at the end of March 1938, with Eichmann. Do you
recall, in connection with the matters that were mentioned
then, the word "judenrein"?

Witness Fleischmann: Definitely. His assignment was to make
Vienna and the whole of Austria, in the shortest possible
way "judenrein" (clean of Jews).

Q. When you say "his assignment," whose assignment was this,
who said it?

A. He, Eichmann.

Q. Do you remember Eichmann's face?

A. Yes. His face looked younger and he didn't wear

Q. When you say "younger," younger than what?

A. Younger than today.

Q. Do you see him today?

A. I believe he is here before me, and I also identify him.

Presiding Judge: We shall adjourn now. The Session will be
resumed at 15.30 hours this afternoon.

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