The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-017-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-017-02
Last-Modified: 1999/05/30

Presiding Judge: As whose witness would he appear there?

Attorney General: He will appear as a witness for the
Defence. I have his affidavit making a statement and I am
entitled in terms of paragraph 15 to submit it. If the
Defence wishes to refute the statements, it may bring him as
a witness.

Presiding Judge: This appears to be a kind of irregular

Attorney General: I shall not accept von Thadden as my
witness - not in any circumstances.

Presiding Judge: Owing to the fact that you will be
submitting his affidavit, you will virtually be calling him.

Attorney General: I accept his affidavit.

Presiding Judge: His affidavit does not exist on its own.
But this is not important - I understand.

Dr. Servatius:  The difficulty is rooted in the fact that we
are applying two different legal systems. The German legal
system does not recognize a witness for the prosecution and
a witness for the defence, but the witness is that of the
Court and accordingly one cannot talk of the possibility of
a cross-examination. We should have thought of a way
according to the English system of taking evidence, by means
of a visit to Germany by a representative for the taking of
evidence which he would take there. The simplest way would
be for an Israeli Judge to travel to Germany - that is a
possibility. But even more simple would be for the witness
to come here.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, let us not lose sight of the
practical difficulties in this matter. We all visualize
these difficulties, it seems to me.

Dr. Servatius:  I am only afraid that the Court will not
then be able to ascribe to that evidence the weight which it
would have ascribed to it if the witness could have been
cross-examined here by the Defence - if he gave evidence

Attorney General: I would not like to prolong this argument.

Presiding Judge: It is important. We want to hear about it.

Attorney General: It would have been preferable, if Defence
Counsel would have submitted to us a list of the persons
whom he wishes to call and then, instead of a hypothetical
debate on the principles, we would know of what and whom we
are talking, and we would be able to weigh up what was our
knowledge of the past of these people and whether we are
able to declare that they can enter the State and depart
from it. But thus far we are talking of principles and
eventualities and on what is good and what is bad, and we
have not even received the name of one witness.

Presiding Judge: At the present time we are speaking of
certain names.

Attorney General: Then I would ask that Defence Counsel tell
us whom he wants. Does he only want these two, or...

Presiding Judge: At the present time it is still premature
for him to require anything. You want us, for the time
being, to accept the two affidavits. But we are examining
all kinds of possibilities how to cope with the difficulties
inherent in the situation.

Attorney General: If Defence Counsel says that he insists
that Hoettl and Huppenkothen should specifically give oral
evidence, and also von Thadden, I suggest he give notice of
this publicly, and I shall consider whether I can bring them
here and give them an undertaking of immunity. Von Thadden
will not be given a promise of immunity - this we declare in
advance. If he should come here, a warrant of arrest will be
issued against him and he will stand trial. I declare this
in advance. It is not worthwhile to conceal these matters.

Presiding Judge: This, at least, means one problem less.
What do you say to this idea of Dr. Servatius' of sending an
examining officer from here to those countries?

Attorney General: I should not like to take a stand on this
at the moment. There are all kinds of considerations - both
political and security - and I shall express an opinion
after going into the question and being guided by the
opinions of other authorities.

Judge Halevi:  This is also a question of sovereignty.

Presiding Judge: Naturally it can only be done with the
consent of those countries.

Attorney General: Assuredly.

Presiding Judge: How much time will you require in order to
formulate the views of the others and of yourself?

Attorney General: Would it be acceptable if I do so by
tomorrow afternoon?

Dr. Servatius:  I have not yet burdened the Court with
applications since I do not know whether the witnesses will
come. The question is dependent upon this fact - whether
they will be promised freedom of movement. Even if they are
to be promised free passage, I still do not know whether the
witnesses will come, and I shall have to clarify this. But
if I know this, then I shall submit applications and I shall
not bother you with applications beforehand.

Presiding Judge: At any rate it would be desirable for you
to consult between you, for the question of free movement
also depends upon the personality of the witness. The
Attorney General will not be able to give a general answer.
If you would turn to him and say: I would like to have this
witness here - are you prepared to guarantee him free
movement - and should the answer be affirmative, then the
application can come before the Court. But someone must set
the ball rolling.

Dr. Servatius:  The provision of the law does not
differentiate in this way. In order to ascertain the
readiness of the witnesses, my assistant has gone to Germany
for one week to check whether each individual witness is
ready to give evidence. If they are ready to testify I shall
be able to notify the Attorney General specifically to what
extent the witnesses are prepared to appear and whether the
evidence they are due to give is relevant.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, in order that everything may
be before us as far as possible at the time of making the
decision - we shall postpone making the decision and we
shall give it not tomorrow but on the morning following.
Meanwhile kindly take your stand regarding this latest idea
of Dr. Servatius and advise us thereon during the course of

Attorney General: I shall do so Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: This applies, therefore, to the three
decisions which we have meanwhile promised for tomorrow
morning. The handing down of the decisions will be deferred
until the morning of the day after tomorrow.

Now we may continue with the evidence of Mr. Fleischmann.
Mr. Fleischmann, you are still giving evidence under oath.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  You told the Court before the recess
that after the meeting at the Metropol Hotel with Eichmann,
Rothenberg on behalf of the Palestine Office and Dr.
Loewenherz on behalf of the Jewish Community of Vienna were
appointed to be liaison officers for purposes of conducting
the affairs of the Jews in Vienna, or more correctly in
Austria, between the Jewish organizations and Eichmann's
office. Tell the Court what happened after that.

Witness Fleischmann: May I say one word so that there should
not be a misunderstanding. I said that at this meeting Mr.
Rothenberg was appointed as the administrator of the affairs
of the Palestine Office, and Dr. Loewenherz was appointed
thereafter, but not at this meeting, to be administrator of
the affairs of the community.

Q. In fact, where was Dr. Loewenherz on the day of the

A. Under arrest.

Q. When was he released?

A. Perhaps two or three weeks later.

Q. Who was the man in the community with whom you maintained
contact until the release of Dr. Loewenherz?

A. The community [offices] were closed. There was no person
there with whom it was possible to talk matters over.

Q. Do you recall that in those days, as you say, the offices
of the Kultusgemeinde (Community) were closed? Do you
remember who occupied these offices?

A. The Gestapo; the place was occupied by the entertainment
force of the SS.

Q. Are you referring to the Vergnuegungstruppen?

A. I am referring to the Vergnuegungstruppen (entertainment
forces). Their name was Verfuegungstruppen (standby forces)
but since they excelled in sadism and cruelty, they were
given the nickname Vergnuegungstruppen.

Presiding Judge: Who gave them this name?

Witness Fleischmann: The Jews of Vienna.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Do you remember a meeting with these
so-called Vergnuegungstruppen, outside the office of the
community after the meeting with Eichmann?

Witness Fleischmann: I had unfortunately more than one
encounter. I first met them several days after we had our
Session or meeting with Eichmann at the Metropol Hotel. I
had to speak urgently with the Director of the Office, Emil
Engel, who lived in the community building. I came to the
building. Two men of the standby units of the SS were
standing there, marked out from the others by their field
uniform, steel helmets and armed with rifles; picked
soldiers, none of them less than 1.78 metres tall, with very
remarkable hands, powerful and long, such as can be found
only in a choice of athletically built men. I came close to
the entrance, and the wife of the caretaker, Mrs.
Serakowitz, noticed me and wanted to warn me off. But one of
these sentries, one of these guards, had already noticed me
and called out to me to enter. He gave me a bucket of water,
hot boiling water, and a rag, and ordered me to scrub the
pavement before the door of the community building. I lay
flat on the floor and began to scrub. The bucket was half-
full of corrosive acid and my hands soon became swollen and

Q. Do you recall an incident connected with the Great
Synagogue on the Tempelgasse after that?

A. After this incident, Dr. Loewenherz had already been
released, the first assault on the Synagogue in Tempelgasse
was carried out.

Q. Approximately when was this?

A. It was in May, approximately. At that time, surprise
raids were already taking place. The raid which I personally
recall was on Taubergasse, when young boys and men were
rounded up like dogs and loaded onto refuse carts, not cars,
and taken to Dachau. At the end of May death notices began
to arrive. In this way our friend, the wife of the paprika
manufacturer of Vienna, Kotani, who had been taken to
Dachau, received notice that her husband was no longer alive
and that she should send 10 marks as the cost of an urn, for
his ashes. She sent 10 marks and received a lead box with
the ashes.

Q. Did you see the notification the lady received?

A. Yes, it was in my hand.

Q. Where did it come from?

A. It came from Dachau camp. A second notice reached my
colleague Koerber, who was one of the directors of the firm
"Klein-Koerber" in Vienna on Kaiserstrasse in the Seventh
District. They were taken away and a strong light focused on
their eyes, and they were compelled to look directly into
it. When he tried to turn his gaze aside he was shot down by
an SS man. His wife received the notice and showed it to me.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you would clarify what was the
source of the witness' information?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Were you told about this?

Witness Fleischmann: I met him as I met many people and
heard many things.

Presiding Judge: Was KLein also in this transport?

Witness Fleischmann: No, he was in another transport. He was
in a concentration camp and afterwards migrated to South

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Before his emigration did he return
to Vienna?

Witness Fleischmann: Yes.

Q. Do you remember special incidents concerning the houses
which were occupied by Jews in those days?

A. Prior to this Moshe Schapira of the Jewish Agency came to
Vienna, and I was with him and Dr. Lindenfeld, of the
Mizrachi, in Tempelgasse on Tishah be-Av.* {*The Ninth of
Av, traditional Jewish day of mourning for the destruction
of the Temple in Jerusalem.} I had extremely bad forebodings
and I conveyed them to Moshe Schapira and Dr. Lindenfeld.
They said I was taking a gloomy view of things. To my
regret, however gloomy my view was,  what actually happened
was much worse than I had predicted. This was in August. One
evening, in the Seventh District, all the keys were taken
[from the owners], the houses closed, searches were made in
them for money and jewellery which were taken without any
acknowledgement, and everything was plundered. People were
left in the streets, where they were assaulted and beaten
up. Dr. Loewenherz went out on the road to Canossa - a long
road of degradation, to Eichmann. Every approach to Eichmann
was the road to degradation. He asked him to stop this. He
returned at one o'clock at night, broken and crushed, and
informed us that Eichmann had promised that he would give
orders to stop it.

Q. What happened to you at the beginning of September 1938?

A. At the beginning of September I entered the Community
Hospital, in order to undergo an operation for a double
hernia, as I did not want to emigrate with a hernia. I lay
there together with Dr. Plaschke who was suffering from very
serious diabetes and with Dr. Oskar Gruenbaum who had also
entered the hospital in order to undergo a hernia operation.
Some days later there was a first attempt at a so-called
black-out which was intended for assaulting people in the
dark, to throw them off tramcars and so on. Throughout the
night, severely wounded people were brought to the hospital.
There was no more room in the wards and the corridors, and
it became necessary to put people with broken limbs and
mutilated faces down in the garden.

Q. Do you remember the 9th of November 1938?

A. I was the sole volunteer officer in the Palestine Office
not receiving a salary. On the 9th of November we received
the news of the murder of vom Rath. On 10 November in the
morning my friend and colleague, Berthold Bremer, called me
and asked whether anything was happening at our end. I
called up the Palestine Office in order to hear what was
happening. I asked the telephonist: Has anything happened?
He said: "Yes," and cut off the connection. I did not like
his reply. I called up a second time and received the same
answer. I said to my wife that something was wrong. I rang
up my son who was then undergoing a retraining course. I
told him to leave at once together with his friends, but
advised him not to come home but to go in the opposite
direction, to the house of a friend and a brother mason.

Presiding Judge: Where were your son and his friends at that

A. This was in the Third District on Wasagasse, and my
friend's house was in the Third District at the Neulinggasse
20. He is today a man of eighty, who now lives in Jerusalem,
after I had brought him illegally to Palestine, having
bribed the SS man who arrested us.

I came to the gate of the Palestine Office at Marc Aurel
Strasse 8. The gate was closed. A notice was hung up there:
"Owing to building alterations there will be no admission of
the public today." I thought that this applied to the
visiting public only, and I tried to reach my office. I
tried to open the gate. It opened and after I saw that
behind it were standby forces of the SS, I tried to back
away. But one of them called out to me: "Come in." The
building was full of SS men. Next to each window stood two
men of the standby forces of the SS, so that no one would be
able to jump out of the window. I proceeded to the office on
the first floor. All the telephone wires had been cut, and
some of the officials had already been taken from their
houses in the morning.

Q. You say all the officials in the Palestine Office...

Presiding Judge: [correcting] Not all the officials; some of
the officials had already been taken from their homes.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  How did you come to hear about it
that day?

Witness Fleischmann: Because they were not present, and
myself found them subsequently in Karajangasse after my

Presiding Judge: Was there anyone else in the Palestine
Office apart from the SS men?

Witness Fleischmann: There was a large crowd of visitors who
had earlier been herded together tightly in the large hall.
An hour later Eichmann came and delivered a speech the like
of which I had never heard.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Did you hear the speech?

Witness Fleischmann: I heard the speech myself since I was
there. Immediately afterwards vehicles arrived and the
visitors were loaded on to these transports and driven away.

Q. Before this, perhaps you would tell the Court what
Eichmann spoke about.

A. He spoke about "the unsatisfactory rate of the
disappearance of the Jews from Vienna." He said "This can't
go on, the situation has to be changed by totally different
ways and means and I shall see to it." This was the
substance  of his speech.

Q. Where were you taken to?

A. Who?

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