The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-106-04

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-106-04
Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

Q. And that you also confirmed these outlines by swearing to

A. Yes, that is also correct, the Defence then submitted it
to make things clearer and easier, so the Court would see
how things were in organizational terms.  But I am really
not able was a mistake on my part which I made, just
as the Statement to the police also contain many
inaccuracies which I did in fact imagine, but which are in
fact incorrect.  There are many things which I imagined, to
my own disadvantage, which never even took place, and which
I had included.

Q. That is all, thank you.

Presiding Judge: We shall now have a break for twenty


Judge Halevi:  I shall also permit myself to depart from the
normal practice, and to question the Accused in his own

Accused, you said, I believe, at some time in your cross-
examination, that you had in fact been brought to Israel
against your will, but subsequently did not regret that so
greatly, that in any case you welcomed the opportunity you
have here to tell the world the truth about your activities.
Is that correct?

Accused:    Yes, in human terms - well I would say,
considering my human side, I am even happy that the cross-
examination took so long.  I did at least have the
opportunity here to separate the truth from the untruth
which was heaped on me over fifteen years.

Q. I entirely understand that it is important to you, and
that you are not only interested in the truth for this
trial, not just because of this trial.  You are in fact a
well-known personality in the world now.  Do you want - are
you sure that you want the truth about you to be known?

A. Yes, indeed, and above all I also wish - I also had an
interest in my own family being able to say here, my own
sons being able to say to any people who might or could come
to them on the basis of the propaganda there has been: "You
see, he was cross-examined, in the longest known cross-
examination ever, and he said the truth so-and-so,"  and
that is why I was interested in there being a lengthy cross-

Q. You may be seated during the interpretation, it takes a
very long time.

A. Thank you very much.

Q. What you have said there about your family, that
complicates things somewhat, because you will probably be
interested in presenting yourself to your sons in the best
possible light, in a good light.  That might lead you away
from the truth, if the truth might be negative for you.  Do
you understand?

A. That is out of the question for me, because I endeavoured
during the cross-examination to be very precise and stick
entirely to the truth, even if it were to my disadvantage,
but I wanted...what I did, that I do not deny, I cannot deny
it, I had my orders...

Q. Yes, be brief.

A. ...and I would appear, in my own eyes, to be a coward if
I were to try here to take refuge in lies or other things.

Q. You see that you have not been interrogated here with the
methods of the Secret State Police, and that the Court does
not resemble a People's Court.

A. Yes, I have noted that.

Q. So that it depends entirely on you to what extent you
have the courage to tell the truth, to the extent that it is

A. Yes.

Q. You are not being forced in any way.

A. Yes, I have realized that.

Q. Since you yourself have just used the term "cowardice," I
would draw your attention to the fact that Wisliceny called
you a coward.

A. Yes.

Q. And that Winkelmann, for example, compared your
personality with that of Endre, with whom you were then on
close terms, to some extent to your disadvantage, when he
said that at least Endre had had the courage before a
Hungarian court to stand by what he had done, to take the
blame on himself and not shift it elsewhere.

A. Yes.

Q. He indicates this as a description of Endre, and it is
not an easy thing to do this.

A. Yes.

Q. There were other exceptions, such as the previous
Governor of the Generalgouvernement; I believe his name was
Hans Frank...

A. Yes.

Q. ...who said at the Nuremberg Trial that, while he had not
had any responsibility for the extermination of the Jews,
nevertheless he could not deny his guilt, and in fact went
so far as to say that a thousand years would pass and this
crime would not be expiated from the name of National
Socialist Germany, or could not be extinguished.  And he was
sufficiently courageous to take this upon himself, although
he denied the legal competence.

A. Yes, I am aware of this.

Q. But that was an exception.  Most...

A. Yes.

Q. ...of the accused at Nuremberg shifted it to others.

A. Yes.

Q. Part of the reason for this - and you have also said this
- is that generally an accused can lay claim to the natural
human right not to tell the truth.  And I entirely
understand this.  I do not expect an accused to incriminate
himself.  But you pride yourself on not acting according to
this principle, but rather having the exceptional courage to
disclose the entire truth here before this forum, and the
forum of world public opinion.

A. May I reply to this?

Q. Yes.  In actual fact, it is not so much a question as a
one-sided address to you.

Now let me complete my question.  You may be convinced that
the Court is entirely free of prejudice, that it has nothing
against you, although you are in Israel, and that we are
trying just as hard, if not harder, only to uncover the
truth.  So if you want the same thing, then the two of us
have exactly the same aim.  This is all we want.  But for
you obviously this is much more difficult than for us, it
takes far greater personal courage than for anyone else, and
I do not know if you are capable of really disregarding your
personal well-being and really wrestling with yourself
towards an acknowledgment of the whole truth.  And even if
the Court is objective, as I have said to you, that does not
mean that we are so naive as to believe everything that
every witness, or an accused as a witness, tells us.  You
can assume that we shall make every effort to sift the truth
from the falsehoods.

You see, you wanted to write a book, and you wanted to give
an example, an example of expiation to the generations to
come.  You were thinking more particularly of young

A. Yes.

Q. As you said, young people learn from the mistakes of the
generation before them, how not to do things...

A. Yes.

Q. And this was not to be a book for advertisement or
propaganda, but a frank book.

A. Yes.

Q. And as the Presiding Judge: has already said to you,
instead of writing a book, you are using the opportunity
here in your testimony to do the same thing as you would
write in your book.
A. Yes.

Q. But this can only be of value if you are convincing on
the strength of your candour - not only convincing as far as
the Court is concerned; you cannot even convince your sons,
if you are not frank.

Today, you will probably complete your testimony, and this
is likely to be the only public opportunity you will have of
showing the world where you stand and what sort of a man you
are, whether you are a man, or whether - as you said - you
want to evade the truth.  You can still do this now.  But
today may be the last day to do so!

A. Yes...

Q. First of all, as far as the substance of the matter is
concerned, I should like to say something to your advantage.
You referred to the so-called declaration of war by the
Jewish People against the German people, and your Defence
Counsel indicated - I believe it was yesterday - that
although this was possibly not correct, nevertheless you did
believe that, or might have believed that.   In fact, in the
meanwhile, I have been doing some reading, and in Chaim
Weizmann's memoirs, in his autobiography, there is
something, not as you put it, a declaration of war, but
something which might give rise to your understanding it in
that way.  He writes there, on page 509 of the English
edition, that at the Zionist Congress in August 1939 in
Switzerland - just before the outbreak of the War - there
were protests against the British White Paper, and he

     "Our protest against the White Paper ran parallel with
     our solemn declaration that in the coming world
     struggle we stood committed more than any other people
     in the world to the defence of democracy, and therefore
     to co-operation with England, the author of the White

However, that did not mean that your nation was justified in
treating our nation differently from any other nation, even
nations which were at war - officially - with Germany.

A. Yes, that is true, and I have said as much.

Q. For example, when you marched into France or Norway, the
Germans, who were in a state of war with these people, after
the nation concerned had been defeated, they specifically
singled out the Jews; or in Holland, you know perfectly well
that the Dutch said, there are - we recognize only Dutch and

A. Yes.

Q. And the Germans said, we distinguish between Jews and

A. Yes.

Q. And they did not deal equally with the Jews and the
Dutch, although at the time they were both enemies of
Germany, or the French, or Norwegians, or Poles.  The Jews
were sent to Auschwitz, and the other nations were not.

A. Yes.

Q. That has nothing to do with any declaration of war by the
Jewish People.

A. No, I said that also, didn't I?.

Q. The reason for this was Hitler's racial doctrine.

A. Yes.

Q. The distinction between Aryans and non-Aryans?

A. Yes.

Q. ...which was made years before war was declared.

A. Yes.

Q. ...which was embodied in law, in particular by the
Nuremberg Laws.

A. Yes.

Q. I assume that not only Germans belonged to the Aryans.

A. No.

Q. But nevertheless, further distinctions were drawn between
Aryans.  For example, the Slavs, who are probably Aryans
according to this racial doctrine, they were in fact a
second-rate nation, who received different treatment from
the first rate, the master race.

A. Yes, that distinction had been drawn by the authorities
responsible for racial policy.

Q. That was not your fault, these were the conditions for

A. Yes.

Q. And what was the race, for example, of the Mufti, who is
mentioned in your testimony?

A. The Mufti, in racial terms, belongs to the Semitic race.
That is why...

Q. Yes, "that is why"...?

A. ...the concept of anti-Semitism which was - I do not know
if it was coined by Schoenerer, but he certainly propagated
it - is incorrect.

Q. Incorrect? It is "Jew-hatred"?

A. Properly speaking, it should be "anti-Judaism."

Q. Yes, hostility to Jews, yes.

A. Or if one considers the entire race, then this would not
be restricted to Jewry alone, but would also have to include
the Arab peoples.  I do not know whether it would include
all of them, but at least a majority of the Arab peoples...

Q. But that was not applied consistently?

A. For certain reasons - I do not know how this came about -
this was not applied.

Q. Probably for political reasons?

A. Schoenerer's concept remained and...

Q. Yes, yes.  But in practical terms, for political reasons
this was not in fact applied to the Arabs - or was it?

A. No, no such plans existed, I believe.  I have never read
anything about that, and I believe that this whole matter
was adopted by Hitler from the...the other Schoenererian
memories, that there was a great to-do about this matter of

Q. Very well.  Now something else.  You often draw a
comparison between the extermination of the Jews and the
bombing of German cities, and between the killing of Jewish
women and children and the killing of German women and
children by bombing, particularly in the years - in the
final years of the War.  But you probably realize that there
is a basic difference, depending on whether the target is a
military target, an enemy who is resisting, forcing an armed
enemy by bombing into capitulation, as the Germans also
tried to force England by bombing into capitulating, and
after capitulation of course the bombing would stop -
between that on the one hand, and removing one by one, say
from every house, the Jewish men, women and children, or
having them summoned by the police and taken away from a
Gestapo district office and sending them to Auschwitz and
exterminating them there.  The difference, after all, is a
considerable one, is it not?

A. Of course this is an enormous difference, that is

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.