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Last-Modified: 1999/06/09

Session No. 86
21 Tammuz 5721 (5 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the eighty-sixth Session of the
trial open.  The Accused will continue with his testimony in
direct examination.  I draw the Accused's attention to the
fact that he is still testifying under oath.

Accused:    I am aware of the fact.

Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius:  Your Honour, I should like, if I may, to add
a few more comments on Becher's testimony which was dealt
with yesterday.  I am here referring to exhibit T/689,
document No. 774.   This is a compilation of a series of
interrogations of Becher, including also a conversation with
Kasztner.  In the second half there is a record dated 10
July 1947.  I wish to refer there to the bottom of page 9,
continued on pages 10 and 11.  Becher states the following:

     "I would like to describe to you a violent outburst.
     Mr. Himmler received Eichmann for ten minutes while I
     was there and shouted at him: `If until now you have
     murdered the Jews and I now order you to foster Jews,
     tell me whether you are going to carry out this order
     of mine or not'."

I shall now skip a sentence.  It then continues:

     "I begged Himmler, practically on my knees, `for God's
     sake, straighten things out again with Eichmann before
     he leaves your quarters'."

This is Mr. Becher, on his knees before Himmler, begging for
the Jews.

The last sentence reads:

     "He was then awarded the Iron Distinguished Service
     Cross, First Class, with swords, and Eichmann was
     placated.  This is a `story' I have never told before."

Question from Kasztner: "Was he placated?" "You know what I
mean.  All the small things which he could still have done
he would have done, but more so, if this dreadful shit on
him by Himmler had stayed on."  Whereupon Kasztner says: "It
is a real paradox if, with the German concentration of power
at the time, little Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann could shit
on the all-powerful Reichsfuehrer-SS.  I am sorry, it was
not like that, and yet it was."  I think this characterizes
this story very well.

There is something else in the same document.  In the record
of the examination read out yesterday, on page 13, the
twenty-second question at the top of the page reads: "After
the War, did you act as interpreter during the interrogation
of fellow detainees in internment or prison camps or
prisons?"  Answer: "No."

In the record here, the witness answered otherwise. First of
all, the interrogation of 7 July 1947, page 3.  Someone
comes up to him during the interrogation, whereupon he
introduces himself and shows his qualities.  He says:

     "I have done fatigue duty here.  I have done
     translations and also acted as a messenger.  I recently
     spoke to Captain Binder, and he said to me: 'Collect
     all your documents which you need for your de-
     nazification.  You are not an Automatiker' (someone who
     is automatically released and will not later have to
     appear before the special court).  I understood your
     attitude perfectly - you could not believe who I was."

On the same topic, in the interrogation of 28 July, page 2
at the top, it says:

     "I am a sort of interpreter* {*This word is in English
     in the original} in the witnesses' wing, between the
     men in the witnesses' wing and the Prison Office (sic).
     I look after welfare.  I have already (the next part is
     illegible) been here a year."

It might still be argued that he is not claiming to be an
interpreter, but on page 12, at the bottom, in the first
record, dated 10 July, (there were two records dated the
same day; this is the second one) it says: "That is quite
true.  Mr. Becher, look here, today you know practically
everything that went on."

Answer: "Yes, I was an interpreter here for something like
ten months."

I continue now with Hungary and first submit document No.
676.  This is a communication from Veesenmayer to Ambassador
Ritter, dated 23 April 1944, and it deals with deportations.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/74.

Dr. Servatius:  In the middle of the last paragraph, it

     "So as not to jeopardize the operation, it would appear
     expedient to postpone somewhat the evacuation of the
     fifty thousand labour Jews from the area around
     Budapest, which was requested by me and already
     promised by the government, as would in any case be
     necessary, due to prevailing transport problems.
     Transport by trek on foot (Fusstrek) not feasible,
     since major problems would arise as regards
     provisioning, footwear and guarding.  Since the Jewish
     Operation is a total whole, I consider the plan cited
     above to be correct and request notice by wire if there
     are any objections and wishes at your end."
I would point out that the word Fusstrek is first used in
April by Ambassador Veesenmayer.

Judge Halevi:  It also says here, "Place of reception:

Dr. Servatius:  Yes, that is near the beginning of the first
paragraph.  I can read out the paragraph.  There is another
sentence first.  Then it says: "Place of reception:
Auschwitz.  It has been ensured that implementation of this
operation pays ample attention to economic requirements of
the war."

The next exhibit is T/1186, document No. 213.  This is a
most informative document, because it illustrates the
channel of command followed by the arrangements for
deportation.  This is a communication from Guenther,
Department IVB4, to the Foreign Ministry, dated 24 April
1944.  It says:

     "In the meanwhile, the Commander of the Security Police
     and the Security Service in Hungary has been notified
     by express teletype of the content of the telegram of
     the Plenipotentiary and Ambassador of the Greater
     German Reich in Hungary, according to which, in a
     consultation on 13 April 1944, the Hungarian Prime
     Minister gave his binding promise that, for the time
     being, fifty thousand able-bodied Jews would be made
     available by Hungary to the Reich."

There is then reference to implementation.  It says here:

     "Having regard to the transport problems referred to,
     at the same time enquiries were made as to whether, in
     order to remove them, it is considered necessary for
     the Head Office for Reich Security to take the matter
     up with the Reich Transport Ministry."

The last paragraph reads: "No further information can be
provided until receipt of the report called for by
Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann."  Eichmann is stationed in
Budapest, and the chain of command passes via Veesenmayer,
Foreign Ministry, Head Office for Reich Security, and now
enquiries are being made from Eichmann.

I now submit document No. 681, not previously presented; I
submit it as evidence.  This is a communication from
Ambassador Ritter in the Reich Foreign Ministry to
Veesenmayer in Budapest, dated 27 April 1944, dealing with
evacuation.  I refer to item II.  This reads:

     "If there is any further delay in the evacuation, I
     would recommend that in your telegraphic report you
     make it quite clear that, for your part, you have done
     everything possible and necessary, in order to ensure
     the speedy implementation of the operation, and that
     the reason for the delay in evacuating those Jews made
     ready, is that the authorities responsible for
     evacuating and taking charge of the Jews have not yet
     made the necessary arrangements."

Presiding Judge: The last words here have been erased.  One
can see that better in the photocopy.  It is correct that
someone must have prepared this as a draft.  It is clear
enough that someone changed the comma into a full stop.

Dr. Servatius:  It looks here as if there was something
wrong with the typewriter.

Presiding Judge: No, the change of the comma into a full
stop shows that this was really erased.

Dr. Servatius:  It does seem to me that it might have been
crossed out.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/75.

Dr. Servatius:  Witness, can you tell the Court which were
the competent authorities that had not made the necessary
arrangements, as stated in the document?

Accused:    Thinking back, these might equally well have
been Hungarian or German authorities.  Looking at the date,
from my own point of view I have to say that at that time I
was already negotiating with Brand.  I must also state that
both on the Hungarian side and on the German side, there
were departments which were constantly pushing and wanted
things done by tomorrow, if not by today, and did not have
the slightest idea of the fact that the Hungarian
gendarmerie also had to follow bureaucratic procedures in
its operations divisions. This document reflects the
impatience on the part of the various departments.  That is
my only way of explaining this.

Dr. Servatius:  The next exhibit is T/1188, document No.
227.  This is a communication from Veesenmayer to Ambassador
Ritter at the Reich Foreign Ministry, dated 4 May 1944.  It
is a sort of announcement of success in ghettoization in the
Carpathian area, concluded at that time.

     "Two hundred thousand Jews are being held in ten camps
     and ghettos.  In Transylvania/Zone II a start has been
     made today on concentrating some 110,000 Jews living in
     this area."

In the next paragraph it says that there will be a timetable
conference in Vienna on 4 May, and then, in the last

     "Since it is assumed that foreign Jews have also been
     seized in the concentration operations, Eichmann will
     visit eastern Hungary next week, and have the Jews from
     neutral and enemy states separated and placed in
     special accommodation.  Veesenmayer."

Judge Halevi:  Not Eichmann - I think it says the liaison
officer of the legation.

Dr. Servatius:  That must have been Grell.

Attorney General: It would seem that it would have been
Hezinger at that time, not Grell.

Dr. Servatius:  I submit as evidence document No. 374.  This
is a communication from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Ministry,
dated 8 May 1944, and is about the 100,000 Hungarian
labourers to be made available.  The departments involved
are listed in the first paragraph.

     "In a discussion on 1 May, where representatives were
     present from the O.T. (Organisation Todt)
     Plenipotentiary General for Labour Mobilization, the
     Security Police and the Wehrmacht, it was stipulated
     that in future all requests for Hungarian labour, both
     Jews and non-Jews, for employment in Hungary, are to be
     made to the O.T. representative at the Honved Ministry
     who, with regard to the non-Jews, will stay in close
     contact with the representative at this end of the
     Plenipotentiary General for Labour Mobilization."

The `Todt' Organization deals mainly with road building and
other construction jobs and projects.  When it says
Plenipotentiary General for Labour Mobilization, that means
labourers for the war industry.  The industry was, in turn,
answerable to the Plenipotentiary General.  The last
paragraph is important:

     "The 100,000 Hungarian labourers required by the O.T.
     for labour in the Reich would have to be requested from
     the SS Economic-Administrative Head Office, SS
     Gruppenfuehrer Gluecks, which office disposes of Jews
     from Hungary who are to be evacuated."

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/76.

Dr. Servatius:  The next document which I submit as evidence
is No. 529.  This is an enquiry from Pohl to Himmler about
transports of Jews - able-bodied women - from Hungary.  The
telegram reads:

     "The first transports of Jews from Hungary show that
     some fifty per cent of the able-bodied Jews are women.
     Since we do not have a corresponding amount of women's
     work for these large numbers of women, we have to use
     them for O.T. building jobs.  I request authorization.
     The O.T. agrees."  Signed: Pohl.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/77.

Dr. Servatius:  T/1194, document No. 678.  This is a travel
report by von Thadden about a visit he made to Hungary on 25
May 1944.  On page 2 he refers to "the departments of the
executive," and he says:

     "The job is an extraordinarily difficult one, and co-
     operation with the departments of the Security Service
     is not always the smoothest.  Hezinger managed not only
     to perform his duties outstandingly, but also to
     establish friendly relations with the departments of
     the executive."

Witness, can you say what is meant here by "the departments
of the executive"?

Accused:    The German departments of the executive which
operated in Hungary were the following: The Commanders of
the Security Police and the Security Service, who were
subordinate to the Senior Commander of the Security Police
and the Security Service, and the Commanders of the Order
Police, who were subordinate to the Commander - the Senior
Commander of the Order Police.  Both Senior Commanders were
subordinate to the Higher SS and Police Leader.  This was
the executive apparatus of the German police in Hungary.

Dr. Servatius:  At the top of page 3, under point 3, it

      "During the discussion on the question of assets under
     point 2, Ambassador Veesenmayer drew my attention to
     the fact that the matter under discussion in terms of
     scope, was out of all proportion to the fishing
     expedition initiated by the Reichsfuehrer's offices in
     Hungary.  He said that in this particularly delicate
     matter he was sending his best assistant, Consul
     Rekowski, straight to the Reichsfuehrer.  He did not
     give me any further indication as to what was involved.
     As far as I could tell from what he let me know, this
     would appear to involve secret agreements which
     Gruppenfuehrer Winkelmann has prepared behind
     Veesenmayer's back, and of which Veesenmayer does not

Witness, can you tell the Court what were these secret moves
which are here called a fishing expedition?

Accused:    It is quite obvious that this refers to the
activities of Himmler's Special Plenipotentiary in Hungary,
whose task here was to seize for Himmler assets to be used
for equipping divisions of the Waffen-SS.  And in his
efforts here Becher managed to extract (herauszuschaelen)
Hungarian heavy industry - what was called the Weiss-Manfred
Works - at Csepel, near Budapest, for the German sector.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you could use some word in German
which is easier to understand than "herauszuschaelen"?

Accused:    Herauszubrechen (to break out).

Presiding Judge: What does that mean?

Accused:    Getting rid of the owner, a Jew called Manfred
Weiss, and moreover eliminating Hungarian central management
of this Hungarian war production centre, and instead
installing a German - let us call him a Director General -
and here Becher fortified his position with a German Board
of Directors.

Presiding Judge: That is clear now.

Dr. Servatius:  Witness, do you know who was to be Chairman
of the Board?

Accused:    The names of several German gentlemen were put
forward, and I believe that SS General Juettner was also
designated to be on the Board.

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