Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-038-08 Last-Modified: 1999/06/01 State Attorney Bar-Or: Dr. Max Plaut begins: "When I returned from London to Germany on official business at the end of June 1939, I was in the Gestapo Dienststelle in Hamburg, and I was interrogated by the Department for Jewish Affairs, as was usual in such cases." (Apparently when he had been abroad.) "I sensed that there was quite a strong war psychosis. He plunged straight into the subject with me and said: 'When war actually breaks out, the Jews will be the first victims. You will see miracles and wonders, for what happened in November 1938 was only a general rehearsal'." A little further on he says that Gestapo officials, who had good intelligence sources, and also party officials, had informed him that they were thinking of preparing concentration camps and special labour camps for all the Jews. On page 2, roughly at the end of the first third of the page, he says that, in fact, the Jews were in his charge in all matters affecting their welfare, namely the Jews of Hamburg, Bremen, Luebeck, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, Braunschweig, Schleswig-Holstein and the district of Hanover. Similarly, he had to deal with those Polish Jews who had been transferred to concentration camps; of these he testifies that, at the end of 1943, only three still remained alive. He refers to the early general regulations against the Jews; in particular he mentions that it was necessary to hand over all radio sets and their accessories owned by Jews. He states that this regulation came into force on the Day of Atonement. A little later he says that it soon no longer came as a surprise to him that Sabbath days, Festivals and Jewish Holidays were deliberately chosen for anti-Jewish operations by the State. "With devilish wickedness the Nazis studied the Hebrew calendar. Thus it happened that we waited for or anticipated all the Jewish Holidays with feelings of concern (mit Beklemmung), and we breathed a sigh of relief when these passed with only minor chicanery (mit kleinlichen Schikanen voruebergegangen waren). "Thus I remember that on the eve of Succot (the Festival of Tabernacles) 1940, we were summoned to the Gestapo. They told me that within two days we had to prepare special questionnaires to be signed by all the Jews, and this had to be done by the Jewish community office. When I asked that, in view of the impending Festivals, they should kindly extend the period for preparing the questionnaire by two additional days, I naturally received a negative reply." And now he quotes: "I am very sorry - this comes from above." Thereafter the Gestapo official speaks to him in a very personal way (persoenlich wendend). "There, in Berlin, they think of everything, so that you should not catch cold in your booths ('Succot')." "On this note, he ended the negotiations with me." Further on he says that, in Berlin, at Kantstrasse 158, in the office of the Reich Association of the Jews of Germany, a special department was hurriedly set up of statisticians, painters, graphic artists, and all kinds of people with special professions, upon whom were imposed the functions of special schools, according to orders which came from that omnipotent expert in the Gestapo, Eichmann, and his deputy, who held a rank equal to his, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Guenther. After that he mentions Dr. Eppstein and Dr. Meyer, who took upon themselves the work of translating all the details required by Eichmann into a graphic and statistical presentation. He quotes the decree of Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler of 1940 issued to the Reich Association, according to which Jews were forbidden to walk in the streets of cities between the hours of eight in the evening and six in the morning. He recalls that it was not allowed to print such orders - the notice concerning them had to be circulated verbally. At the top of page four he mentions that, in the first year of the War, an order was issued - I should like to emphasize this especially - which forbade the release of Jews from the prisons to which they were brought under court judgments, and that the Gestapo had orders that, when their criminal punishment had been served, these Jews were to be brought directly to concentration camps until the end of the War. He continues: "In view of the fact that the treatment in penal institutions was, generally speaking, correct, we attempted to secure the longest possible sentences for Jews who were brought before the criminal courts, so as to save them from the concentration camps." He refers to the general decree forbidding the emigration of Jews from Germany, which came into force with the entry of Germany into the war with Russia. Later on he begins to describe the evacuation of the Jews from Stettin and speaks of how he himself went to Stettin in February 1940, in order to take care of what remained there. He came into contact with the trustee, a so-called "Treuhaender" who had been appointed by the Gestapo, and describes the negotiations with him over the rest of the property which remained in Stettin after the deportation of these Jews. He mentions, at the beginning of the last third of page five, that all Jewish property in Stettin was in the possession of the Gestapo. The Gestapo also controlled their apartments and the institutions and homes belonging to the community. At the end of the page he begins to refer to postal communication which existed for some time between the Reichsvereinigung and these people, until, one day, the mail returned with the remark 205unbekannt verzogen (addressee moved to unknown destination). I am reading from the first section on page six. He now describes the condition of the Jews in Friesland and Oldenburg, two northern districts in Germany, for which he was also responsible. I quote from the last passage of page six: "The dispatch to concentration camps was usually carried out by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, as proposed by the Gestapostelle (Gestapo office). This proposal, the Schutzhaftantrag - a proposal for imposing 'protective custody' - could be carried out by any Gestapo official. These proposals, as a rule, received a positive response. When orders came from the Reichssicherheitshauptamt to concentration camps, they usually bore the signature of Heydrich, and later on that of Dr. Kaltenbrunner. From the beginning of the War, the following camps were mainly taken into account for the delivery of Jews to concentration camps: Buchenwald (near Weimar), Dachau (near Munich), Mauthausen (near Linz), Neuengamme (near Hamburg), Sachsenhausen (near Oranienburg), and subsequently Auschwitz. Women were usually sent to a concentration for women at Ravensbruck, in the district of Mecklenburg." He states that the camp with the worst reputation was the camp at Mauthausen. Experience had proved that delivery to this camp meant certain death. Judge Raveh: When Did Mr. Plaut record these remarks? State Attorney Bar-Or: In 1953, in Tel Aviv - he dictated them to Mr. Ball-Kaduri. He now speaks about the life of the Jewish communities. On page eight, he mentions Dr. Baeck and Dr. Eppstein, and their work in the Reich Association. On page nine, he refers to the ban issued by the Gestapo for the holding of "gottesdienstliche Veranstaltungen" - that is to say a ban on all prayers or any other ceremony that normally had to be observed in a synagogue; he adds that, nevertheless, they tried, and also successfully, to continue with regular prayer services in a limited way. At the end of that chapter he talks about the liquidation of the property of the Jewish community councils, and the institutions, the charitable institutions, attached to them. He says that, ultimately, the property of all of them, as we have already seen in the copies of laws which I submitted to the Court yesterday, had to be handed over to the National Union. He now quotes a letter from the Accused which apparently was typical. He says that the letterhead stated: "Ministry of the Interior, Reichssicherheitshauptamt - By virtue of Regulation 10 of the Law of Reich Citizenship of 1935, I hereby decree the incorporation of the German Jewish Orphanage of Hamburg (this was the former name of this institution) into the Reich Association of the Jews in Germany, Berlin. Signed: Eichmann." He mentions that the district office in Hamburg, alone, had eventually collected property worth approximately 58 million Reichsmarks. He points out that this property was ultimately transferred to the "Bank of Hausheinz, Tecklenburg and Co." in Berlin. On page 11 he talks of the liquidation of the Jewish Kulturbund, of the liquidation of the cultural activities which had to be stopped. Here he mentions mainly the influence of the Ministry of Goebbels. On page 12 he speaks of the private property of the Jews, as distinct from communal property. He relates that, in October 1940, all preparations were made by Gestapo offices for depriving the Jews completely of their property by means of Vermoegensausstellungen, (property statements). This was shown to the Court yesterday by Mrs. Henschel. On page 13 he mentions the strict prohibition of contact between Jews and non-Jews in all public parks; the notice on all the benches "Zutritt fuer Juden und Hunde verboten" - entry forbidden to Jews and dogs. Afterwards he refers to something which will be of interest to this Honourable Court. He says in the last third of page 13: "So as to make it possible at all to be in the fresh air, we helped ourselves in Hamburg by turning the cemeteries in Oldsdorf and Langenfelde into fields for games and sports for young and old." Presiding Judge: He does not say "cemeteries," but vacant lots within the cemeteries. State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, your Honour, "graeberfreies Feld." Perhaps now the Columbus operation on page 14 is of special importance. Let me perhaps sum up what happened there. An order was received that all the mental patients who were in the personal care of Plaut, and also in the personal care of other Jews, had to be transferred to Jewish institutions. The Gestapo announced: "The reason is that we have to separate Aryan mental patients from Jewish mental patients." Ultimately an order came to prepare a transport of all the Jewish patients through the Columbus Transportgesellschaft (a transport company) - hence the name "Operation Columbus" which was supposed to go to the Staatskrankenanstalt Cholm, to the government institute for the sick at Cholm. When Dr. Plaut says that these patients are not in contact with Jewish institutions, the Gestapo men in Hamburg begin talking to him with an evidently bad conscience. Eventually there had to be a transfer to the account of the Staatliche Krankenanstalt Cholm by the Preussische Staatsbank of the sums of money which were supposed to be paid for the maintenance of these patients in the East. And finally, on page 16, the Court will notice that the death certificates start to arrive. And now something, which was bound to occur, happens. One of these patients, who was in the care of Dr. Plaut, managed to escape from the transport. But he, too, this patient who was alive, received his death certificate: "Died following an intestinal disease." Presiding Judge: Was all this in Sobibor? State Attorney Bar-Or: In the vicinity, at any rate. We have said that it could be seen that this was the only place which was not obliged to report to the Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt on the transports that reached it. We want to deduce from this that there was nothing to maintain there, that there was no economic unit there which had to be maintained by the Amt of Pohl. I shall proceed now to document No. 1561. This is a report from the newspaper Politiken, which appeared in Copenhagen on 17 February 1940, and which was sent to the Foreign Ministry. The copy of what appears here came from the files of the Foreign Ministry. Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/666. State Attorney Bar-Or: The heading is: "Germany expels Citizens." The report comes from Stettin, on 16 February 1940. It states further that more than 1,300 people from Stettin and the environs were affected by this deportation, amongst them babies and aged people. Presiding Judge: Was this published before the Germans entered Denmark? State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, of course. In reply to a question whether a place had been prepared for the reception of these people in Poland, an SS Scharfuehrer answered: "That is not important. They will be off-loaded on to an open field. You will have to see for yourselves where they will remain." At the bottom of the page it says that, at the transit point at Schneidemuehl, about twenty hours after they had set out from Stettin, they had to remove the first corpses from the train. Later on it states that in diplomatic circles it was being said that President Roosevelt, through his Secretary of State Cordell Hull, had sent a report on the subject to the embassy in Berlin through Mr. Kirk, and it could be assumed that he would bring it to the notice of Foreign Minister Ribbentrop. And now, Prosecution document No. 507, which is also connected with these events. Here there was a press conference, on 15 February 1940, and there an internal instruction had been given to the German authorities on what was to be discussed there. It says here "Instruction No. 347. In the foreign press it is being alleged that 1,000 German Jews have been expelled to the Generalgouvernement (the reference, of course, is to Poland). The news item is correct but must be handled confidentially." ("Die Meldung stimmt, ist aber vertraulich zu behandeln.") Presiding Judge: What is this "Brammer materiell?" State Attorney Bar-Or: This is material which was evidently discovered in Bram by the American authorities after the War, and submitted in this form at Nuremberg. Presiding Judge: Where is Bram? Is it the name of a place? State Attorney Bar-Or: It seems to me to be the name of a place. The document is NG 4698 of the Nuremberg Trial. Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/667. State Attorney Bar-Or: And now to document No. 1172 of 17 February 1940. This document is signed by a man whose signature is very difficult to decipher. It states here that the Referent (official in charge) in the Foreign Ministry dealing with the matter was Bielfeld, and that the "Sachbearbeiter" (official dealing with the matter) was Dr. Neuwirth. It states here that following a question to the Reichssicherheitshauptamt Regierungsrat Schellenberg was informed that: "It has been made known that the operation at Stettin must be regarded as an isolated measure ('Einzelmassnahme'). 1,000 Jews were deported, in order to create space for Baltic Germans returning to their homeland." Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/668. State Attorney Bar-Or: And now the Prosecution document No. 795. Presiding Judge: Are all these from Wuerzburg? State Attorney Bar-Or: No. We shall come to the Wuerzburg file in chronological order; when there is a deportation from Wuerzburg, we shall come to Wuerzburg. Between deportation and deportation, obviously time passes. At present we are still in the period before the first general deportation to the East. These were the first deportations that were not general. For example, the one from Stettin was, in truth, restricted to Stettin and Schneidemuehl. The document is dated 28 March 1940. It is issued by Lammers, the Head of the Reich Chancellery, to Himmler. He informs him of a report that had come to Lammers secretly, and which describes the death march from Lublin, and speaks of many cases of death from the cold, and requests the intervention of Goering, in order to prevent the repetition of such deportations. The Court will remember the evidence of Dr. Kratki who found these people of Stettin and the surroundings in a Jewish hospital in Lublin and spoke about conditions caused by the cold. Here we have a document which corresponds with this part of his evidence. Presiding Judge: After he came from Nisko to Lublin? State Attorney Bar-Or: When he came from Nisko to Lublin and began to work in the Jewish hospital in Lublin, he found these Jews in the condition in which they arrived. This document, which I do not intend to read, gives a quite shocking picture of the manner in which these first deportations from Stettin and Schneidemuehl were carried out, deportations which eventually reached Lublin and the district. I shall read only a small part. Inter alia it says here: "From Lublin, the men, women and children were forced to march on foot, in a temperature of 22 degrees below zero and on roads covered in snow, up to these villages. On these marches shocking scenes occurred. Out of the 1,200 deported from Stettin, 72 people were left behind on the way during the course of the march, which lasted more than 14 hours. Amongst them were men and women up to 86 years old. The great majority of them suffered from frost-bite. Amongst them was a mother who held her little boy aged three in her arms; she tried to protect him from the frost with her clothes and was left behind lying in this position after superhuman efforts. There was also the body of a boy about five years old which was found in a semi- frozen state. He bore on his neck a cardboard sign with the name 'Renatta Alexander from Hammerstein in Pommern (Pomerania).' It turned out that this boy was deported when on a visit to relatives in Stettin, while his parents still remained in Germany. They had to amputate this boy's hands and feet in the hospital in Lublin. After the transport, the bodies on the roads were collected on sleds and brought to the Jewish cemeteries in Piaski and Lublin." And at the end: "The Generalgouvernement of the occupied Polish areas, and the district representative, Governor Zerner, denied any responsibility for these occurrences and their results. General Fieldmarshal Goering received notification about these events." Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/669. State Attorney Bar-Or: It is interesting that this report, as it describes itself, was based on the finding of the mixed Polish-Jewish Aid Committee in the Generalgouvernement, which functioned in cooperation with the American organization of Quakers, and similarly with representatives of the Red Cross, and the district authorities of the Governor General of the occupied Polish area. Judge Halevi: This is hard to understand. At first sight there seems to have been such a committee in the area, which acted in cooperation with the district authorities of the Generalgouvernement.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor