Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-055-05 Last-Modified: 1999/06/02 Q. If so, it could not be said, as you previously supposed, that contacts between the witness wing and the prisoner wing were completely sealed off? A. Yes. I have already said, previously, that this was possible only in the case of consultation between the lawyer, the accused and the witness. Q. Would it be correct to say that, until Christmas 1945, supervision at Nuremberg was still very lax, so that the accused were all seated at one table, and the witnesses were also able to be in contact with them? A. Yes, that is correct. Q. Would it not be correct to say that they were all together in the same camp - I think it was in Neuendorf and in Luxenbourg, where they were not yet classified into who were to be the accused in the principal trial and the others, and did they not there have ample opportunity to arrange for their line of defence? A. Yes, of course, some of them were together, I remember, for instance at Neuendorf. Not all of them, but some were there and talked with each other. But they knew nothing about the indictment, about documents, etc. But very soon they were brought to Nuremberg, where they were held in solitary confinement during the trial. Q. You said that neither the accused men nor the main witnesses who were together with them were aware of the indictment. But did the accused not regard the charges of crimes against peace as a political gentlemen's crime, and was it not the charge regarding the persecution of the Jews which worried them most? A. Yes, that may be so. Q. Did they not always start to talk about this subject, without having to be asked about it? A. Yes, I myself, as Interrogating Officer, know that immediately after these men had been carefully interrogated and examined, I myself conducted many such interrogations. That is correct. Q. Was it not the main concern of these accused men to iron out - as it is called - this matter of the extermination of the Jews? A. When you say "to iron out," do you mean to evade responsibility? Q. That is to say, find a way in order to remove this ugly matter, by ironing over it as a housewife would do. A. Yes, of course, they all tried to evade the past, if that is what you mean. That was so from the very beginning. Q. Was it not, therefore, important to find a person who would alone bear the guilt, and was this not to be somebody who had disappeared or who, perhaps, even better still, was already dead? A. Yes, it is conceivable, but was hardly possible, because everybody... Q. Thank you, that is sufficient for me. Presiding Judge: Let us hear your full reply. Witness Gilbert: As I said, it is conceivable, but hardly possible, because everyone of those men tried to iron out his own guilt in a different way, because the one who was not an SS man could say simply: "It was for the SS to deal with that, I had nothing to do with it." Those who were in the SS based themselves on the chain of command within the SS. For instance, everybody knew that Kaltenbrunner was the Chief of the RSHA, that Pohl was the Chief of the WVHA, but all those men who headed the SS knew that Eichmann and Hoess were directly concerned with this extermination. Dr. Servatius: It is not important whether their plan to iron the matter out somehow was successful, but that they had such a plan, and that at first the statements by witnesses, such as the statement of Hoess here, were directed towards that end. Witness Gilbert: There was no question of a planned conspiracy to put all the blame on Eichmann. Q. But Eichmann was one of those who had disappeared? A. Yes, of course. Kaltenbrunner told me that Eichmann was amongst those who had disappeared and was counted amongst the dead. But I would like to say that Eichmann was not chosen at all by everybody to be the one to carry all the blame; but if there was such a man, then it was Hitler. Many told me that Hitler bore the guilt, he gave the order and then followed the question who carried this order out. And then it became gradually clear that it was Eichmann and Hoess. Q. What were the facts that were mentioned by those concerned, from which this was to follow? A. The fact is that Hoess, Morgen, Kaltenbrunner - who was not reliable - Goering and everybody who spoke of this extermination with knowledge of the facts mentioned Eichmann's name. And, finally, the main fact that Hoess named him as the chief of the extermination operation. Q. I have to state that all these are allegations which are being raised here, and not facts. I have no further questions. Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, have you any further questions to the witness? Attorney General: Was Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz, also amongst those who tried to evade personal responsibility and place it on others? Witness Gilbert: Well, it was known that Rudolf Hoess was the Commandant of Auschwitz. Have I understood your question correctly? Attorney General: Did he endeavour to shift the responsibility on to others? Witness Gilbert: No. And here, Your Honours, is where the psychological context is so important. I was not trying to find out who else was responsible. I wasn't a lawyer. I was interested only in finding out what makes a man like Hoess tick. And I find, incidentally, again and again, as though he can't avoid it - he repeatedly mentions Eichmann as the man who was the kingpin in the machinery, or you might say, the driving shaft in the whole machinery, without which the machinery couldn't work. The driving shaft, and not just a cog in the wheel. Judge Halevi: Did you think at the time that Eichmann was dead? Witness Gilbert: Yes, I did. All through the trial I thought he was dead. Q. You see that you were wrong. A. Yes, obviously. Q. You believed Kaltenbrunner on this? A. Yes, I had no reason not to believe it at the time. I thought he ought to know. Q. Do you think that, in this respect, you were a good psychologist? A. Yes, Your Honour. A psychologist judges from evidence that is before him, but he is not a magician nor a soothsayer. Presiding Judge: Just like a judge... Witness Gilbert: I was in no position to know whether Eichmann was alive and, for that matter, Kaltenbrunner himself may really have thought that Eichmann was dead. So I don't think this really indicates misinterpretation of the data at hand. Q. This supposition, too, is likely to be proved wrong in the trial; namely that Kaltenbrunner believed that Eichmann was dead - this assumption is likely to be proved false in this trial. A. I am relying on the wisdom of the Court to determine whether Eichmann is alive. Presiding Judge: [explains the meaning of Judge Halevi's question] Witness Gilbert: Oh, I would like to state that I don't really care what Kaltenbrunner believed, because I think he was a liar anyway. I mentioned this only because I wanted to explain why Justice Musmanno and I didn't discuss Eichmann - everybody thought he was dead, and there wasn't much to say about him. Q. What did you think about Mueller? A. I'm afraid I got no contact with Mueller. I can recall only one place where he is even mentioned, and I believe that is in Dr. Morgen's or Dr. Pohl's case...But Mueller is virtually a complete blank, and I cannot answer anything about what I could think about him. Q. You say that Kaltenbrunner's mentioning that Eichmann was dead is engraved in your memory in a special way, because on that day evidence had been given about the children who were thrown into the burning furnace at Auschwitz? A. That is correct. Q. You also said that this evidence was given about something which happened in 1944? A. Yes - I remember that day. The year 1944 was referred to. It was said that that was the "rush season." There were so many persons in the transports that they couldn't wait to gas the babies - they threw them into the ovens alive. It was for me the lowest point of the trial. On that day I spoke to Kaltenbrunner and got that answer. Q. And then you went to Kaltenbrunner and said to him: "I suppose that you also did not know about these matters?" And his reply was, according to what appears in your book on page 163: "Of course not, the people who did that are all dead - Hitler, Himmler, Bormann, Heydrich and Eichmann"? A. That's right. Q. And did it not occur to you then that Heydrich had already died in 1942, and it was none other than Kaltenbrunner who took his place - took the very place of Heydrich? A. Yes, I was aware of that, and this fitted in with Kaltenbrunner's allegation that when he became Chief of the RSHA, he didn't have anything to do with these things; but, of course, everybody there knew he was lying. Q. Are the entries in your diary more detailed than in the book? Or could you have a look at your diary at the place corresponding to page 163 of the book to see whether the description is more detailed? A. If I may have the date, I can do that easily. Attorney General: 27 February. Witness Gilbert: Well, may I just read it as it appears here? I haven't seen this in ten years. Judge Halevi: Perhaps you could pass it on to us - there is no need to read the whole of it. Witness Gilbert: I'll just take a quick glance then and let you know whether it corresponds to the book. There are more details in the original diary. Q. Would it be possible, in addition to the original book, to submit the original diary? A. Yes, certainly. Attorney General: If the Court so desires, we shall photostat a number of excerpts from the diary - of course we can do that. If the Court wishes to have the entire diary, naturally we can submit it. We have it here for the purpose of assisting the Court, but I think that Professor Gilbert would like to have it back as soon as possible. That is the main problem. But there would be no difficulty in making a photocopy of this chapter. Judge Halevi: Mr. Attorney General, are you ready to submit the original diary for the purposes of the trial? Attorney General: Certainly. Judge Halevi: This is only a technical matter, to make arrangements to return the book to the witness, possibly at a later stage. Attorney General: Certainly. It was for this reason that I asked the witness, after he had left the United States without bringing the diary with him, to ensure that it would reach us here in good time. Judge Halevi: It is simply fuller and more accurate than the book. Attorney General: As the Court pleases. The diary is here. Presiding Judge: Professor Gilbert, my colleague has asked for the entire diary to be submitted here. You will receive it back at the end of the trial. Witness Gilbert: All right, sir. It is in two volumes in G.I. bindings. Presiding Judge: You will allow me to mark them as exhibits? Witness Gilbert: Certainly, anything that will serve the cause of justice. May I merely explain to the Court that the transcript of the proceedings in the Nuremberg Trial represented a kind of supplement to the diary, which weren't always summarized on the pages. Sometimes they were, and sometimes they weren't, but you don't need the substantiation of the testimony in the trial. Presiding Judge: The first volume is marked T/1171 and the second volume T/1172. There are, in the meantime, two questions I should like to ask you. Does your personal diary contain any account of what you heard from Goering when he was asked by Justice Musmanno - when you were present as an interpreter? Witness Gilbert: No, I don't think so, Your Honour. These brief conversations when Musmanno was there were not part of my investigation, and they were of no importance to me, although of course they were important anyway. Q. As regards the statement made by Pohl about the liability for the extermination of the Jews, to which you referred in your main evidence, did he draw any distinction between the transport of the Jews and what happened to them inside the extermination camps? A. I don't recall any distinctions made by Pohl. I think he simply wanted to establish that he was not responsible for the extermination programme, and that other men were handling this, such as Eichmann, etc. I also have a written statement from him to that effect, and he goes on saying he simply can't understand how the thing came about. Of course, there were others doing it, but he admits that he knew it - he said everybody knew it. He was speaking of the SS. He said: "Of course, I don't mean that every little sergeant knew about it, but certainly all of the SS leaders knew that extermination was taking place." He did not, however, make the distinction that you asked about, as far as I can recall. Q. Do you have that written statement by Pohl here? A. I think I may - I know I have it, but it is not with me. Q. You have it here in Jerusalem? A. Yes, it is at the hotel now. Q. Would you be kind enough during the lunch interval to get hold of that statement and then produce it after the interval? A. Certainly, Your Honour. Q. And is there an account of your conversation with Pohl in the diary? A. In the diary, yes. Yes, there is. I noticed when I got the diary last night - as I said, by diplomatic pouch - for the first time in ten years, that this was one of the conversations which wasn't included in the published diary. The reason for it was that Sauckel's defence I considered too unimportant to include, and this was at that time... Q. Can you find it? A. Yes, there is a yellow tag on it. I'm sure I can. Q. If so, these are the two points. That will be the second point that you should look into during the midday break. A. All right, Your Honour. Q. Please bring it with you after the interval, and also the document containing the statement by Pohl. We shall take a recess now and resume at 3:45.
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