The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-107-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-107-02
Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

Q. Now, in connection with the Wannsee record of proceedings
- in connection with the Wannsee Conference - you replied to
my colleague, Judge Raveh, that in the part not referred to
in the record, methods of killing were talked about.

A. Yes.

Q. Who spoke about this topic there?

A. Today, I no longer have any detailed recollection of this
matter, Your Honour, but I know that these gentlemen stood
together and sat together, and in very blunt words they
referred to the matter, without putting it down in writing.
I would definitely not be able to remember this, if I did
not know that at that time I said to myself: Look at
that...Stuckart, who was always considered to be a very
precise and very particular stickler for the law, and here
the whole tone and all the manner of speech were totally out
of keeping with legal language.  That is the only thing, I
would say, which has actually remained imprinted on my mind.

Q. What did he say about this topic?

A. In detail, Your Honour, I would like...

Q. Not in detail - in general.

A. There was talk about killing and eliminating and
exterminating.  I myself had in fact to make my preparations
for drawing up the record - I could not stand there and just
listen - but the words did reach through to me
because the room was not, in fact, such a big one that one
could not catch single words from the flood of words...

Q. I thought this was in the official part of the meeting?

A. The official part - that did not last very long, that was

Q. Was this in the official part or not?  I thought it was
in the official part, because it appears in the record

A. It was also in the official part, Your Honour, but the
official part, if you like, in turn consisted of two parts -
that is to say, the beginning, where everyone kept quiet and
had to listen, and then near the end, where everyone spoke
about the matter all at once, and where the whole time the
orderlies kept serving cognac or other drinks, and it got to
the stage of alcoholic influence...all I mean is that,
although it was an official matter, but still, it was not a
stiff official matter, where everyone is quiet and everyone
lets all the others have their say to the end, but at the
end everyone spoke all at once.

Q. But this was also taken down by the male or the female

A. Taken down by the male stenographer.

Q. And apparently you were instructed not to include that in
the official record of proceedings?

A. Yes, that was the case.  The shorthand-typist sat next to
me, and I had to ensure that everything was recorded.  And
after that the shorthand-typist typed this up, and then
Heydrich decided what should and what should not be included
in the record.  And then he, so to speak, polished it
further, and then it was ready, this record of proceedings.

Q. And what was said about this important topic, you have no
recollection at all of this?

A. Your Honour, this is not the most important point.  What
is the most important point in the record...

Q. Excuse me, I did not say the most important point, I said
"an important topic" - so important that it was then left

A. No, on the contrary, Your Honour, Heydrich wanted to make
sure that the main points were worked into the record.  So
it is in fact precisely the other way round.  The essential
points are in the record, and the non-essential points were
then left out by him, because here, so to say - how shall I
put it - he created a form of reinsurance, by pinning down
the State Secretaries separately.

Q. Does that mean, then, that the methods of killing were an
unimportant topic?

A. Oh, the methods of killing?

Q. That is what we are talking about.

A. He did not include those, no, no.

Q. At that time was there talk of killing by gas?

A. No, not by gas.

Q. Then how?

A. There was a discussion about the engine business.  I
remember that, shooting.  About gas I did not know anything,
I cannot remember.

Q. There was a discussion of the various methods of possible
solutions, and on that District Leader Meyer and  State
Secretary Dr. Buehler expressed the opinion "that some
preparatory work in the course of the Final Solution should
be carried out immediately in the relevant areas, but in so
doing any alarming of the population should be avoided."  Do
you remember that?

A. I am sorry, I did not understand that.

Q. If you did not understand, I shall read it out to you

A. Yes.

Q. What kind of operations were discussed here?  What was
the intention?

A. I cannot imagine anything else here, and that I...

Q. Not imagine, I am still asking you, as the Attorney
General also asked you all along, "What can you remember?"
This was a turning point here, was it not?

A. I had previously seen the preparatory work in the Lublin
district, I...where two huts were hermetically sealed,
during my...

Q. We have already heard this.  I want to know what happened
at this conference, what was said about this at that time.

A. Today, I no longer remember, but I am sure that this
matter was discussed.  Where it says, "on the spot, without
alarming the population," I cannot imagine the intention
being anything else other than such installations, which I
had seen shortly before that time.

Q. Did you at that time report at this meeting on what you
had seen?

A. I did not say anything whatsoever at the Wannsee
Conference.  I simply could not, neither did I have any
authority to do so.

Q. Who reported on these technical questions?

A. Actually no one reported.  Heydrich spoke, and then
everyone spoke together; it is possible that - it is
possible, but I do not know, that Buehler perhaps said
something, and Krueger will definitely also have spoken
here, because Krueger, as the Higher Police Leader for the
Generalgouvernement, he was in fact to some extent the head
of the entire business, on the spot.  Globocnik was in fact
subordinate to Krueger, so, as his boss, Krueger must
definitely have known about this in detail.

Q. But Krueger, according to the list of participants, did
not take part in the Wannsee Conference.

A. But he had previously already been to see Heydrich, and
arranged Buehler's participation.  And then Heydrich had a
lengthy discussion with Krueger; as a result of this I had
to send special letters of invitation to Krueger and

Q. Now, you have told us that you do not see yourself as an
anti-Semite, and also were never an anti-Semite.

A. I was never an anti-Semite, no.

Q. You will agree with me that at first sight this would
appear to be a paradox - a convinced National Socialist who
is not simultaneously a convinced anti-Semite.

A. It appears to be, but not necessarily.

Q. I saw in your memoirs that you write that you "devotedly
gobbled up the Voelkischer Beobachter newspaper, as you put

A. Yes.

Q. Is it correct that the Voelkischer Beobachter was full of
anti-Semitic propaganda?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. So you did not gobble this up devotedly?

A. The Voelkischer Beobachter was first and foremost the
largest newspaper we had, and it reported in detail on
political and overall current world events.

Q. So you read it as a source of information?

A. I, in fact, received it by virtue of my office and read
it as such.

Q. In your memoirs, you speak about the time before you
joined the National Socialist Workers' Party.

A. At that time I read it in coffee houses.

Q. What was your attitude, then, to that which you read in
it ?

A. During the so-called period of struggle ("Kampfzeit"), I
did not only read the Voelkischer Beobachter, I also read
the other National Socialist newspapers, and in them read,
above all, things about the terror exercised against the SS
and the SA...

Q. Just a moment, I thought you had understood my question.
The question was about the anti-Semitic material which was
printed in such large quantities in the Voelkischer
Beobachter.  What was your attitude to that?

A. In Austria this was probably the least-read material,
just as the principles of the Party program were hardly read
at all, because in Austria it was a question of matters
other than these.  They were intended for the national
student organizations, yes, that I admit, but the normal
professional scarcely bothered about these things.  I, in
fact, was one of them, after all, I was not a member of a
student organization.

Q. What was of concern to you, as you, I believe, said, was
the economic plight which was triggered by the Treaty of
Versailles.  That is roughly what you said.

A. Economic and national plight.

Q. Yes.

A. In addition, there was the fact that I did not become
acquainted with anti-Semitism through my parental home.

Q. If I am not mistaken, National Socialist propaganda
connected the economic plight with World Jewry.

A. Yes.

Q. What was your attitude to this part of the National
Socialist propaganda?

A. Basically, for the man in the street the deep roots and -
the cause - was in fact the least important aspect - it was
- this period of unemployment, this was the most important

Q. I do not consider you to be the man in the street.

A. At that time I was working professionally, for the Vacuum
Oil Company, and I had hardly concerned myself with - let us
say with intellectual values, except for...the only thing
was when I came home on Saturdays and Sundays, in the coffee
house - the reading material in the coffee house - but
nothing else.  I had no time for this.

Q. You were 25, 26 years old, when you joined the Party?

A. Yes.

Q. We have heard from you that you are someone who likes to
think things over - at that time was this not the case?

A. At that time, when I was travelling repeatedly, I hardly
concerned myself at all with all these things.  I pursued private interests, which were neither literature nor
similar intellectual matters.

Q. Did you know of those sections of the Party platform
which concern Jews - concern the Jewish Question - before
you joined the Party?

A. Before I joined the Party, practically nobody at all,
scarcely anyone concerned himself with this.

Q. Not "scarcely anyone."  Do not tell me now about
"anyone."  We are talking here about Adolf Eichmann.  Were
you familiar with this, "yes" or "no"?

A. No, because I was to some extent received into the Party
against my expectations, and also without making up my mind.
It went so quickly and so suddenly that fact, I knew
nothing at all about it beforehand.  I was, in fact, a
candidate some time before that.

Q. But you did know that Hitler was an extreme anti-Semite?

A. Yes, I knew that.

Q. Already at that time?

A. Everyone knew that.

Q. And that the Nazi Party was built on the Fuehrer
principle, I suppose you knew that as well?

A. Everyone knew that as well, yes.

Q. When you were already a member of the Party, in 1935, the
Nuremberg Laws were passed?

A. Yes.

Q. The trend of these laws was to remove the Jews from the
German national body?

A. Yes.

Q. What was your attitude to this legislation?

A. My attitude at that time was like that of many people -
the bark is worse than the bite.  That is the briefest way
of putting the thought that I could come up with.

Q. In other words, that Hitler did not intend to implement
this legislation which was passed by the Reichstag according
to his ideas.

A. At that time, like many people who had grown up in
Austria, I tended to think that things would not all be
implemented along the propaganda lines, and as things are
reported; rather, I thought, the bark is worse than the
bite.  That was the general point of view of everyone then
living in Austria, and in fact, at that time, I had just
come from Austria.

Q. But in 1934 you were already in Germany?

A. Yes, in 1934 I was in Germany.

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