The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Edmund_Veesenmayer-01

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

9 May 1961

To the Competent Court of Justice, Darmstadt

Re: Request for Legal Assistance

The main hearing in the criminal proceedings against the
Accused Adolf Eichmann is at present taking place in this

In the context of this main hearing, I request you to extend
legal assistance to this Court by the examination on oath of
the following witness:

Dr. Edmund Veesenmayer, Darmstadt, Rosenhoehweg 25 b.

The witness is to be examined as to the following
allegations of the Accused:

     (1) that the Accused did not propose or plan the
     deportation of Hungarian Jews;
     (2) that the deportations took place on his (the
     witness') initiative and on the initiative of the
     former Higher SS and Police Leader in Hungary,
     (3) that the concentration of the Hungarian Jews and
     their transport was organized and carried out by the
     Hungarian authorities; and that the Accused's duties
     were only to provide technical supervision and to
     manage the transports;

(4) that the foot march of a large proportion of the Jews of
Budapest to the Austrian border was the result of
intervention on the part of Winkelmann, who demanded fifty
thousand Jews for the construction of fieldworks on the

To complete the testimony of the witness, I request that the
witness also be asked the following questions which were
drawn up by Counsel for the Accused:

     (1) What were your powers and duties as the Reich
     Plenipotentiary for Hungary?
     (2) Were all the SS offices in Hungary under your
     (3) Was Higher SS and Police Leader Winkelmann attached
     to you?
     (4) Did you hold negotiations with Regent Horthy and
     the ministers of the Hungarian Government about
     implementing the deportations of the Jews?
     (5) Is it true that at the instigation of Higher SS and
     Police Leader Winkelmann you managed in October 1944 to
     have, initially, twenty-five thousand Jews set out on
     foot from Budapest for the Austrian border?
     (6) Is it correct that it was above all due to your
     influence that the Arrow Cross Party took over the
     government in Hungary?
     (7) What was the assignment of the Eichmann Special
     (8) How many men did the Eichmann Special Commando
     (9) Who carried out the concentration and the transport
     of the Hungarian Jews?

I also request that the witness be asked the following
additional questions which were drawn up by the Attorney

     (1) During his posting in Hungary, was the Accused
     subordinate to you?
     (2) If not, were the Accused and the so-called
     "Eichmann Special Commando" in direct, regular contact
     with some superior authority in the Head Office for
     Reich Security in Berlin?
     (3) If so, which Department was this in the Head Office
     for Reich Security?
     (4) What were the special reasons for the Accused's
     appointment as commander of the Operations Commando in
     (5) With reference to the evacuation of Jews from
     Hungary, was the Accused in any way dependent on
     instructions from your own office?
     (6) If not, to what other German authority in Hungary
     was the Accused subordinate in his functions?
     (7) Was the Accused authorized to conduct negotiations
     directly with the State Secretaries in the Hungarian
     Ministry of the Interior?
     (8) If so, did he conduct such negotiations?
     (9) Were you, the Accused, or another German authority
     in Hungary entrusted with co-ordinating the duties of
     the Eichmann Operations Commando with the activities of
     the Hungarian gendarmerie?
     (10) Do you know of orders issued directly by the
     Reichsfuehrer-SS to the Accused?
     (11) If so, what was their content?
     (12) Do you know anything about the Accused's
     activities with the Waffen-SS on the Hungarian-Romanian
     (13) If so, when and for what purpose was the Accused
     detailed to the Waffen-SS?
     (14)  Are you aware of any intervention by the Regent,
     Admiral Horthy, in order to halt a train transporting
     Budapest Jews to Reich territory?
     (15) If so, what do you know of the Accused's
     activities in circumventing this intervention and
     preventing it from taking effect?
     (16) Which German authority was concerned in organizing
     the so-called "foot march" of Jews from Budapest in the
     direction of Austria?
     (17) What do you know of directives about labour
     service on the so-called "Ostwall," particularly with
     reference to age and fitness for labour?
     (18) Did you or any other German authority speak to the
     Eichmann Operations Commando about this foot march?
     (19) If so, what was the content of these comments?

I would request you to summon to the examination of the
witness the representative of the Attorney General of the
State of Israel, c/o H.E. Ambassador Dr. F.E. Shinnar,
Israel Mission, Cologne, as well as Counsel for the Accused,
Advocate Dr. R. Servatius, Hohenzollernring 14, Cologne, and
to afford them, on their part, the opportunity to ask the
witness any questions which might arise from his answers.

There is no objection on the part of this Court to the
aforementioned representatives of the parties obtaining
copies of the record of the examination.

Please forward the original of the record of the examination
to this Court,
(-) Moshe Landau
President of the Trial Court

The Court of First Instance, Darmstadt, 23 May 1961
File number: 24 AR 334/61

Assistant Judge Kollatz as Judge

Court Official Hunecke as Authenticating Official at the
Court Office

In the Criminal Proceedings of the Attorney General of the
State of Israel against Adolf  Eichmann for murder and other
offences before the Jerusalem District Court, File Number
40/61, there appeared at the time set, as a result of the
request for legal assistance dated 9 May 1961, for
examination the witness Dr. Edmund Veesenmayer of Darmstadt,
before the Court of First Instance, Darmstadt:

1. The witness Dr. Veesenmayer;

2. Dr. Erwin Shimron, representing the Attorney General of

3. Advocate Dieter Wechtenbruch with a sub-power of attorney
to represent Counsel for the Accused, Advocate Dr.

The sub-power of attorney was presented, perused and

It is determined that in an Order dated 13 May 1961 (93 E -
2982), the Prosecutor General in Frankfurt am Main, by the
powers vested in him by the Federal Government in the
Government of the State of Hessen, in accordance with an
agreement on jurisdiction, and transferred by the aforesaid
State to be exercised by the Prosecutor General, ruled that
the request for legal assistance was to be acceded to.  The
representative of the Prosecution was informed that the
Prosecutor General of Frankfurt am Main, Dr. Bauer, had by
the powers vested in him, authorized the presence in his
official capacity of the representative of the Attorney
General of the State of Israel at the session of the
Darmstadt Court of First Instance.  This authorization was
notified by telephone to the officiating judge by the
Prosecutor General at 12 o'clock on 20 May 1961.

The counsels for the Prosecution and for the Defence were
informed that the witness, Veesenmayer, would, in accordance
with German criminal law, be examined by the Court on the
questions posed in the request for legal assistance, but
that they would have the opportunity to propose further
questions to the court.

The witness was then instructed that he was obliged to give
complete and truthful testimony, that he was not permitted
to add or withhold anything, and that his obligation to tell
the truth included his personal details.

The witness was informed that he would have to take an oath
on his testimony, if no exception was laid down or permitted
by the law.  He was instructed that perjury could be
punished by hard labour, and negligently taking a false oath
by imprisonment, and any deliberately false unsworn
testimony could also be punished by imprisonment.

The witness was further informed that he could refuse to
provide information by way of reply to questions, answering
which would expose himself or a close relative to the danger
of criminal proceedings.

The witness was instructed that no further proceedings could
be instituted before the German courts for those crimes for
which the American Military Tribunal had already punished

The witness was notified that, according to the request from
the Jerusalem District Court in the criminal proceedings
against Adolf Eichmann, he was to be examined more
particularly on questions which related to deportations of
Jews in Hungary.  It was ascertained that, in a
communication dated 16 May 1961 to the Federal Minister of
Justice (101 - 80.13/1), an authenticated copy of which is
in the court file, the Foreign Ministry of the Federal
Republic of Germany has permitted the witness Dr.
Veesenmayer to testify where such testimony may refer to
matters arising from his employment in the former Foreign
Ministry.  A copy of the permission to testify was given to
the witness for his inspection.

Whereupon the witness gave the following personal details
when questioned by the judge:

My name is Dr. Edmund Veesenmayer, general agent, resident
in Darmstadt, Rosenhoehweg 25, 56 years of age, not related
and not connected by marriage to the Accused.  I was
sentenced by the American Military Tribunal to ten years in
prison for the occurrences in Hungary.  The sentence was
originally for a longer period, but was subsequently

The allegations of the Accused Eichmann listed in the
request for legal assistance were then read out in turn by
the judge to the witness and answered as follows by the

(1) I cannot say anything about this.  I did not know
Eichmann earlier and am not aware of such relationships.

(2) As regards myself, this allegation is not correct; as
far as Winkelmann is concerned, I am unable to say anything.

(3) According to my information at the time, the Hungarian
police and Hungarian gendarmerie were deeply involved in
deporting the Jews.  I am unable to say who initiated and
organized the deportations.  In the beginning, SS
Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner negotiated independently
with Hungarian authorities.  These were probably the basis
for the later measures.  The negotiations, I assume, were
more particularly with the Ministry of the Interior.  I was
informed subsequently, only very superficially, and did not
hear of things until weeks later.  I know that Eichmann was
there, but I had no idea about the nature of his duties.

(4) Whether this was Winkelmann, I do not know.  I know
about the foot march, but who issued orders or directives
for it, I do not know.

The representative of the Defence submitted to the court
copies of Prosecution documents Nos. 675 and 871.  The
representative of the Attorney General submitted to the
court copies of Prosecution documents Nos. 212 and 973.
Both proposed that the copies of the documents submitted by
them be shown to the witness to refresh his memory.  These
documents were shown to the witness.  The witness perused
the documents and then stated:

On document No. 675: I should first like to make the point -
and this applies to the other documents as well - that what
happened occurred seventeen years ago.  What took place in
Hungary has already been discussed in great detail at
Nuremberg.  At that time impressions were still relatively
recent.  Today, however, the environment is different, with
a different assessment of matters, and I, too, have been
subject to the effects of this lapse of time.

In a legation, things are organized in such a way that most
of the so-called routine work is prepared and drafted by
Specialist Officers, then first submitted for control to the
Legation Counsellor who deputizes for the Ambassador, for
his approval, and only then submitted by the Counsellor to
the Ambassador for signature.  At the beginning, the
legation did not have a special expert official for so-
called Jewish Affairs.  Special representatives would be
sent by the Foreign Ministry, and these would change
relatively quickly.  These special representatives were not
part of the legation.  They were directly subordinate to the
Foreign Ministry.

Later a Mr. Grell was sent to us, and he was made a member
of the legation staff.  I no longer remember what rank he
held.  I only remember vaguely that earlier he had been
consul somewhere or other.  He had been badly injured in the
war.  His face was disfigured.  I believe he had been shot
in the head and had suffered serious burns.  Grell suffered
from severe depression and had regular attacks.  He would
then tend to drink.  Legation staff repeatedly informed me
that he behaved improperly when he had been drinking.  I
therefore tried to get rid of him.  He met me half-way by
volunteering time and time again for combat duty.  He was
quite a military sort and wanted to overcome his inferiority
complex by more combat duty.  I remember how once he cried
like a child and said, "Let me go to the front."  However,
whether this was connected with his actual duties as the
person in charge of Jewish Affairs, or with private
problems, I do not know any more.

Grell had nothing to do with Prosecution document No. 675,
because he definitely had not yet arrived.  Whether he had
anything to do with the other documents (Nos. 212, 871,
973), I also cannot say definitely.  He was later sent to
the front, but I no longer remember when that was.

The legation was partially evacuated relatively early on,
and also distributed among various locations, owing to the
danger of air raids.

If today my comments on the various documents differ from
what I may have said about them previously in Nuremberg or
on other occasions, the reason is that, with the best will
in the world, I can no longer recall details.  However, I am
endeavouring to be truthful, just as I was when giving
previous testimonies.

With regard to document No. 675, I only remember that, right
from the beginning, the Foreign Ministry was demanding
manpower from the Hungarian Government.  These demands, too,
went only partly through myself.  There also came special
representatives sent by the ministry responsible for
armaments, and these were addressed to Hungarian authorities
directly.  As the Ambassador, it was my duty to report to
the Foreign Ministry about every such instance.  I had
problems in doing so, because often I did not hear of the
activities of such special representatives until later.
That undermined my position as Ambassador.

I am unable to say anything about the particular matter
dealt with in exhibit T/675, nor am I able to identify the
exhibit as a genuine document exchanged in diplomatic
correspondence.  I am not familiar with the internal
details.  I was not a career official in the Foreign
Service.  I was conscripted in 1939 and in the main worked
in conjunction with the Canaris Department for the Foreign

The following supplementary question was suggested by the
Defence representative:

     "The document says that the witness demanded fifty
     thousand Jews from the Hungarian Government.  Does the
     witness remember, in this instance or in other
     instances, making representations to the Hungarian
     Government with reference to large-scale contingents of

This question was addressed to the witness by the court, and
he answered as follows:

If I made such demands or representations to the Hungarian
Government, they would have had to have been preceded by
corresponding instructions from the Foreign Ministry.  The
telegram says "also for Ambassador Ritter"; when I was
posted to Hungary as Ambassador, I was made subordinate to
Ambassador Ritter's special right to issue instructions.
Today I can no longer say whether I received special
instructions to demand Jews from the Hungarian Government.
I do know whether there were special Jewish labour
battalions set up earlier with the Hungarian armed forces.

The representative of the Attorney General proposed to the
court to ask also the following supplementary question:

     "Does the witness know that until October 1944 Jews
     were de facto demanded by the German authorities not as
     manpower, but for deportation to concentration camps or
     extermination camps, the term `manpower' simply being
     used as a pretext?  If not, did the witness learn of
     this later?"

This question was addressed to the witness by the court and
answered as follows:

I was told that the men were urgently needed as labourers,
mainly in Austrian plants.  At that time I did not know
anything about extermination camps.  I was aware of the
existence of concentration camps and [other] camps.  It was
not until Nuremberg that I found out the full extent of
matters.  Partly I got to know that women and children, as
well as people too old to work, were also deported.  When I
asked about this, I was told that this was done in the
interest of the families, because they would otherwise fall
prey to starvation.  I did not, however, obtain any official
information about this.  I am unable to say which German
body dealt in detail with supplying "manpower."  There were
so many German authorities in Budapest which were not
subordinate to me.

On documents Nos. 212, 871, 973: The only thing I still
remember is that around this time (October, November 1944),
manpower was required for fieldworks on the so-called
Ostwall.  As far as I remember, practically the entire
population of Budapest was employed on this, at two
locations: a wall on the outskirts of Budapest, to protect
the city, and another wall on the Austro-Hungarian border.
This was connected with military decisions.  The wall on the
outskirts of Budapest was to be erected first, and then the
one on the Austro-Hungarian border a few weeks later.
However, the Budapest population was, in general, employed
only for the Budapest fieldworks.

For the reasons already mentioned, I cannot properly
identify the documents submitted to me for inspection.  It
is probable that they are correct.

The copies of the documents were then returned by the court
to the parties to the proceedings.

After the statement by the witness on these allegations by
the Accused, the questions conveyed by Counsel for the
Accused on page two of the request for legal assistance were
addressed to the witness one by one, and answered as

(1):The question contains an error.  I was never Reich

The representative of Counsel for the Accused submitted a
copy of document No. 272, with the request that it be shown
to the witness.  Prosecution document No. 272 was shown to
the witness, who made the following statement on it:

The document does apply to me.  I can only repeat that I was
never Reich Plenipotentiary.  When I was seconded to Hungary
as Ambassador, the occupation of Hungary occurred at the
same time.  Developments were initially not clear.  When a
new government could be set up, the structure of things
changed.  The German occupation forces were withdrawn, as
they were needed more urgently elsewhere.  As the German
Ambassador I duly - but later, in April - submitted my
credentials to Horthy.  However, I had been introduced to
him on 19 March on the special train bringing him back to
Hungary from Salzburg.

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.