The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-023-05

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-023-05
Last-Modified: 1999/05/31

Attorney General: If Defence Counsel is able to help us - we
shall be very glad to receive his help. As far as we know,
Hoefle was in Lublin. But it is possible that the Accused
knows this better than we do.

The following document is No. 1248. This is a cable of 9
October 1941 from Litzmannstadt, addressed to Himmler, in
which the Head of the district Uebelhoer,
Regierungspraesident und SS Brigadefuehrer, complains that
SS Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann has evidently concealed the
correct facts regarding the situation in the Ghetto of Lodz
and supplied false data (falsche Angaben), because there is
no more room there to place people, and the conditions are
most dangerous and most difficult, and the danger of plagues
does not exist any longer since the plagues already exist
there, even without placing another twenty-five thousand
people in Litzmannstadt.

The reference was to Eichmann's plan to put into Lodz
another twenty thousand Jews and 5,000 gypsies.

He writes that out of 160 thousand Jews who were in the
Ghetto on 30 April there remained only 145 thousand on the
day the cable was sent.

Presiding Judge: Was the Regierungspraesident an official of
the Ministry of the Interior?

Attorney General: So we believe. And he asks that these
people should not be sent to Lodz. He castigates Eichmann's
methods of handling this matter by using the term "methods
of crooked horse-trading."

The next document...

Judge Raveh:   Is there a reply to this document in the
Accused's statement?

Attorney General: Yes. We shall see this directly.

The following document is No. 1247. This is the report of
Ventzki, the official who dealt with the affairs of the
Litzmannstadt Ghetto. He reports on the problem of the
dispatch of 20,000 Jews and 5,000 gypsies; he analyses the
position in the Ghetto, points out the terrible rate of
mortality there, and at the end reaches the conclusion: "We
have countless problems to solve, even without receiving the
gypsies here."

Presiding Judge: Who was Ventzki?

Attorney General: We believe that he was the assistant of
Uebelhoer who sent the cable. I draw the Court's attention
to what is said on page 13 regarding Ventzki's conclusions.

The following document is No. 1544, in which Heydrich states
that despite all the complaints and objections and despite
the remarks of Brigadefuehrer Uebelhoer, 20,000 Jews and
5,000 gypsies would be sent to the Ghetto at Lodz. But the
heading of the letter, Your Honour, is IVB4 - Eichmann's

Presiding Judge: It says IVB4a.

Attorney General: This is sub-unit a. The letter is
addressed to Himmler himself, in reply to the reservations
of the Governor of Lodz. On page 2 Heydrich states that
Eichmann examined the situation and that the persons in
charge of the Ghetto had agreed to accept these 20,000 Jews.

Dr. Servatius:  In order to clarify these documents, I wish
to bring the following matters to the attention of the
President of the Court. These remarks are based upon a
quarrel which had arisen between the Generalgouvernement and
this province. For the Governor of the Generalgouvernement,
Frank, did not want the Jews and he opposed their transfer
to this area. In consequence thereof they remained en route
and this brought about the fact that they were taken to

Attorney General: I must, to my regret, dispute the remarks
of Defence Counsel. At all events, a factual explanation
should be given under oath. It does not emerge from the
document. Litzmannstadt was also not in the area of the
Generalgouvernement. On this there is certainly no

Presiding Judge: This will be T/222.

Attorney General: The Court will notice that in paragraph 2
Heydrich writes about the fact that Uebelhoer demanded that
the name of the official in question should be mentioned and
that a complaint should be lodged against Sturmbannfuehrer
Eichmann with the Reichsfuehrer SS in this matter.

Presiding Judge: Did he reject this, since he was
responsible for his subordinates and it was possible to make
the complaint to him?

Judge Halevi:  Heydrich goes further. He accuses the
complainant of unpatriotic behaviour, behaviour that was not
in keeping with the SS - with membership of the SS.

Attorney General: The Court will notice where the document
came from, and what its source was, in the heading. Clearly
when the letter was addressed to Himmler himself, Eichmann
would not sign it, but Heydrich. But the letter originates
from him and from his Department.

I call now our next witness, Mr. Henryk Ross. Mr. Ross will
have to testify in Polish, and Advocate Riftin will be able
to assist us in translating from Polish to Hebrew and vice
versa. I would be grateful to the Court, if it will swear in
Advocate Riftin as a interpreter.

[Advocate Riftin is sworn as interpreter.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

A. Avraham Riftin.

Q. Are you an advocate? An Israeli?

A. An Israeli advocate, previously a Polish advocate until

[Witness Ross is sworn]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Henryk Ross.

Attorney General: Do you live in Jaffa, Rehov 402/6?

Witness Ross: Yes.

Q. Do you work at Orit Zincography in Tel Aviv?

A. Yes.

Q. You were born in the year 1910?

A. Yes. On 1 May 1910.

Q. When the Second World War broke out, you were in the
Polish army. In November 1939 you moved to Lodz where you

A. Yes.

Q. The Ghetto at Lodz was established in 1940, is that

A. Yes. That is correct. The Ghetto was established in 1940.
Notices about the Ghetto appeared beforehand, but the Ghetto
was closed off on 1 May.

Q. Were food ration cards distributed to the population?

A. Yes.

Q. Was it possible to exist on the food rations that were

A. It was impossible.

Q. What food  was given to the Jews of Lodz?

A. It was precisely this: We received a loaf of bread for
eight days. Apart from this there were food rations in small
quantities, which were sometimes rotten. Everyone rejoiced
at the prospect of potatoes, but finally it became clear
that they were all rotten and unfit to eat.

Q. What did the people eat?

A. Those who worked received an extra ration of soup. The
soup consisted of 800 grams of water, 60 grams of potatoes,
3 grams of some cereal and 50-60 grams of what was called in
German Kiloriben Here in Israel there is no such thing - I
haven't seen it. When there were no potatoes, they added
this to the soup.

Presiding Judge: Aren't you referring to Kohlrueben or beet?

A. Yes, Kohlrueben.

Attorney General: By the way, it exists in Israel. You
worked before the War as a journalist and photographer, and
at the time of the occupation you worked in the statistical
department of the Ghetto management?

A. Yes, before the year 1939 - that is to say before the
outbreak of the War - I was employed as a photographer for
more than ten Polish newspapers in Poland. When the War
broke out and I returned from the War, when the Ghetto was
established, I was given the post of photographer in the
statistical department. I worked there from the year 1940,
approximately until August 1944.

Q. We shall soon come to your photographs, Mr. Ross. But
meanwhile tell us something about the statistics, how many
Jews were there in Lodz at the time the Ghetto was set up?

Presiding Judge: When, Mr. Hausner?

Attorney General: He told us, in May 1940.

AWitness Ross: In May 1940, when the Ghetto was officially
sealed, 203,000 Jews were registered, according to what I
saw in our department.

Presiding Judge: When the Ghetto was established?

Witness Ross: Yes, when the Ghetto was sealed and closed

Attorney General: After this were Jews from other places
added to the Ghetto?

Witness Ross: Afterwards more Jews arrived who had been
transferred from small townlets such as Zdunska Wola,
Pabianice, and other townlets. In 1942, Jews who had been
expelled from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg and
Austria were brought into the Ghetto. They numbered 21,000.
Most of them consisted of the intelligentsia. Amongst them
were also rich people as well as non-Jews, whose forefathers
of the third preceding generation only were Jewish.

Q. Perhaps you would tell us something about these offspring
of mixed marriages who reached the Litzmannstadt Ghetto?

A. There were women who, according to the German racial law,
were pure Aryans, but they came to the ghetto together with
their Jewish husbands. According to the German racial law,
the fourth generation was already exempted from being in the
ghetto - they were pure Germans. There were cases where
people did not even know where they were travelling to. And
they even had with them children who, already of the fourth
generation, were not Jews, so to say cleansed of Jewish

Q. Were there also members of the "Hitler Jugend" (Hitler
Youth) amongst them?

A. Yes. There were instances where the children arrived
together with their parents and walked around for the first
days in the uniform of the Hitler Jugend.

Q. What was the attitude of these children to the Jews of
the ghetto?

A. In the first two or three days they went around in the
streets singing "Hei-li, hei-la" in German, and naturally
beating up the Jews. This thing continued for two or three
days. Afterwards they understood, their parents explained to
them that things were not good for them. They did not have
anything to eat.
Q. You said that at the beginning there were in the ghetto
203,000 Jews. 21,000 persons were added from the villages
and from abroad. What happened to this quarter of a million
Jews, approximately, during the years 1940-1944?

A. Throughout this time, during the five years of the
ghetto, they died from starvation and they worked very hard.
The food rations were not adequate. People either swelled up
from hunger or became emaciated. There were cases of people
collapsing in the street; there were cases where they
collapsed at work and at home because of the difficult
conditions. We were 6-8 persons to one room, depending on
the size of the room. People froze from the cold. There was
no heating. The hunger and the frost caused much distress.

I saw instances while at work where men collapsed, and help
that could have come, arrived too late. Matters reached such
a state that during a single day they used to bring 120
people to the cemetery. There was a Burial Society with its
vehicles. To begin with they were taking for burial two or
three victims of starvation. But afterwards, when the number
reached 120, it became necessary to construct special carts
to transport the bodies. I saw entire families, skeletons of
people, who during the night were dying with their children.
When the neighbours entered in the morning, they saw that
all of them had died from frost and starvation. Surrounding
the ghetto was a fence guarded by Germans. In the beginning
they were Volksdeutsche police in blue uniforms. Afterwards
there were other guards on behalf of the German ruling power
- amongst them men of the NSDAP.

Q. Mr. Ross, you dealt with statistics?

A. I worked in the statistical department.

Q. Do you know how many people, roughly, died from
starvation in Lodz?

A. More than 120,000 people, approximately, died of

Q. What happened to the remaining 100,000?

A. Meanwhile, from 1940 to 1944, there were deportations.
Already in 1940 there were deportations of 1,000, 500
persons in each operation.

Q. Mr. Ross, at the beginning were the deportations
voluntary? Were the people invited to register for

A. Yes. After the year 1940, the Germans wrote to the
Judenrat the Jewish Council, asking them to register for
departure, saying that it would be good for them and that
they would receive work and good food.

Q. Did you in the ghetto know at that time where the
transports were going to?

A. In the year 1940, it was still not known, but in 1941, at
the time of the further deportations, the Jews began to make
enquiries and it became known to them that they were going
into the "frying pan."

Q. What was the "frying pan?"

A. This was a routine expression of the people in the
ghetto. They knew they were going to be burned, they used to
call this "going to the frying pan." The largest deportation
was in 1942. Then many Germans of the SD came in, they
conducted an operation (Aktion). They took people from
blocks of houses, surrounded them, removed from the
apartments children and aged people through a process of
selection, loaded them on to carts; they even loaded them on
to tramcars, sometimes making them run on foot. During this
time of deportation in 1942, they expelled from the ghetto
more than 20,000 Jews, snatched children from the arms of
their mothers; I do not have to say that this was not
voluntary, and I do not see the necessity for talking here
about the shouts and the blows. I saw an instance where they
collected children in a particular hospital in Drewnowska
Street. Drewnowska Street was partly in the ghetto and
partly in the city. There was a fence on the pavement. The
hospital was in the ghetto and the street was in the city. I
once saw  vehicles come up with two trailers, large vehicles
with eight wheels. These were open trucks, they called them
"Roll Kommando," I do not know if this was only a nickname
used by the people of the ghetto or whether this was the
official name - I had no knowledge of this. In these
vehicles there were sick people, women and men. The Germans
concluded that too few people were riding in the vehicles.
They said they had to load more. The trucks came to the
front of the hospital where the children were assembled.

The Germans threw the children from the second floor and
from the balconies. The children were of various ages, from
one year to approximately ten years. The Germans threw them
from the balconies on to these open trucks, on top of the
sick people. A few children wept, but most of them were
already not crying . The children scratched the walls with
their fingernails. The children did not cry any more, they
knew what awaited them, they had heard about it. They could
not cry. The Germans were running around in these rooms,
they beat them and threw them from the windows and the
balconies into these trucks. I was not there for a long
time, for it was dangerous even for me to be there. But
seeing that I had the instinct of a reporter, of a
photographer, I went in there and took the risk. But I
quickly fled from there for the sight was not a pleasant

Q. Mr. Ross, you were a photographer in the ghetto?

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, what is the position? Will
this witness be able to complete his testimony in a short

Attorney General: I am not sure, Your Honour. The witness
was a photographer and I want to submit a number of the
illegal photographs he took. The legal pictures are not in
our possession. I would like him to identify them and
explain them. This can take about half an hour.

Presiding Judge: We shall continue with this evidence in the
afternoon, and thereafter we shall hear the application of
Dr. Servatius for hearing witnesses from abroad.

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