The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Eberhard_Von_Thadden-02

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

In the course of my work in Department II Inland, I was
continuously in contact with the Accused.  During the period
in question, I was initially Legation Counsellor, i.e.,
Government Counsellor, and subsequently promoted to Legation
Counsellor, First Class, i.e., Senior Government Counsellor.
As far as I am aware, Eichmann was an SS
Obersturmbannfuehrer.  To the best of my knowledge, this
rank is equivalent to that of Senior Government Counsellor.
I cannot make a comparison on the basis of an official
position between my job as a Specialist Officer with that of
Eichmann as a Specialist Officer in the Head Office for
Reich Security, because I did not know what his official
powers were.  I also do not know how many subordinate
officials worked in Eichmann's Section, which would give me
some basis for comparison.  I also do not know whether
Eichmann's Section needed an entire building in Berlin.  I
am unable to reply to the question as to whether I know that
Eichmann's Section had its own branch offices abroad,
because I do not know whether offices abroad of the Head
Office for Reich Security belonged specifically to this
Section and were subordinate to Eichmann.  I was not
familiar with the working procedures of the Head Office for
Reich Security.

I had constant dealings with the Accused and his office,
particularly by word of mouth and by telephone with Guenther
and Moes, or by written correspondence with his office.

I think it possible for a Specialist Officer of a central
body to have had personal contacts with Ministers or
Secretaries of State of foreign countries when he was
abroad, but it was not customary.  For example, while I was
stationed in Greece, I once had dealings with the Greek

In the course of my consultations with the Accused and the
Section of which he was in charge, I was authorized to
decide myself only in the case of minor matters; otherwise I
had to submit the matter for decision, either to the Head of
another Section which was involved, or to my superior.  By
submission I mean the official procedure which passes
through normal channels in order to reach the authority
which finally takes the decision.  In the case of the
authorities superior to me, these were the Chief of
Department, the State Secretary and the Minister.

I cannot say anything about the Accused's powers to take
decisions; I do not remember any case in which the Accused
took a decision about which I would say that it exceeded the
competence of a Specialist Officer, according to the concept
with which I was familiar in my own job.  However, from the
reports and opinions of the Accused, bearing his own
signature, which I received, I was not always able to deduce
whether he had taken the decision himself on his own
responsibility, or whether he was acting in accordance with
instructions.  I also remember documents, the contents of
which as such concerned Eichmann's Section, but which were
signed by his superior, Mueller.  For example, I remember a
decree about the possibility of repatriating foreign Jews,
signed by Mueller.  This was a circular issued by the Head
Office for Reich Security to the offices under its control,
which was sent for information to the Foreign Ministry.
This circular did not deal with individual instances.

Most of the documents which reached me from the Accused's
Section were signed by him or by his subordinate assistants.
I do not remember getting my Department Chief to deal
directly with Mueller in matters which involved Eichmann's
Section, in the disposal of which he was to be circumvented.
I think that this would have been quite out of the question,
because, if anything affecting Eichmann's Section was to be
reversed, this, in my opinion, could only have been done by
the top echelons (State Secretary or Minister).

I recollect more particularly now the case of the Bondi
children.  Sweden had requested exit permits for these
children.  Despite repeated representations, the Accused's
office refused such exit permits.  Shortly before the
collapse - as far as I remember, it was in April 1945 -
permission was nevertheless granted by Eichmann's Section.
My impression of the whole case was that this was a decision
which was handed down to the Accused by his superior, as a
result of intervention by the State Secretary of the Foreign
Ministry.  I cannot right now remember other instances where
a decision by the Accused's Section was reversed; by that I
do not mean to say that this was the only case.

The Foreign Ministry demanded as a matter of principle to
take part in questions affecting the treatment of Jews with
neutral or enemy nationality.  When it came to the power of
decision between the Head Office for Reich Security and the
Foreign Ministry, the seat of power was weighted clearly
against the Foreign Ministry.  However, I am unable to
remember any case where a dispute arose because of this
between the Foreign Ministry and the Head Office for Reich

I was unable to discern from whom basic orders on the
treatment of Jews emanated.  I am also unable to state
whether I received a basic order that was signed by
Eichmann.  However, even had it been signed by Eichmann, I
would not have assumed that it had originated with him.

Requests from the Foreign Ministry for approval of
exceptions to general rules were also directed through me to
the Accused's Section.

 As to whether the Accused was able to decide on his own
initiative on these requests, I am unable to say.  As I have
already said elsewhere, it was not possible to determine
from the position taken by his Section whether the decision
in question had been taken by Eichmann himself.  As part of
my activities, I did learn of positive decisions as well -
positive in the sense of members of the Jewish population -
on the part of the Accused's Section.  I do not know whether
the Accused obtained these positive exceptions by
intervening personally.  Eichmann spoke in very negative
terms about requests for approval of exceptions.  I remember
that when I approached Eichmann about approving an
exception, he said my attitude was "weak-kneed."  Eichmann
did not mince his words.

As far as I know, the Foreign Ministry did not approach the
Head Office for Reich Security through me with the request
that measures be taken to eliminate stoppages which occurred
in persecution of Jews abroad.

On being shown Prosecution document No. 967 by Counsel for
the Accused present here, I wish to state that this concerns
a matter which I transmitted to the Head Office for Reich
Security.  My aim was to get the Head Office for Reich
Security to find out whether it was possible to prevent the
flood of refugees.  I also passed on to the Head Office for
Reich Security other reports from our missions abroad,
dealing with Jewish matters.  The Head Office for Reich
Security was the body in charge of the Jewish Question;
consequently we provided the Office with reports we received
from our missions, for their information.  In passing on
such reports, I was quite convinced that in any case reports
on Jewish questions from our missions abroad reached the
Head Office for Reich Security through other channels, so
that otherwise it would only have aroused attention that I
was not complying with my duty of reporting.  To be honest,
I must admit that by then I was already afraid that there
would be unpleasant personal consequences if I had attracted
attention in this connection.

What I have already said about general orders applies to
correspondence as well.  From the correspondence it was not
always clear whether the statements made originated with the
Specialist Officer or his superior.

As far as I know, the deportation of the Hungarian Jews was
agreed upon between Hitler and Horthy when they met at
Klessheim.  In any case, while I was working in Department
II Inland, I heard this either in a conversation with my
superior or during a consultation between heads of
departments.  Ribbentrop and Himmler were present at the
meeting at Klessheim between Hitler and Horthy.  I know
today that Horthy was given an ultimatum at the meeting;
whether I heard this already at the time, I am unable to say

I received Veesenmayer's reports to the Foreign Ministry on
the deportation of Jews from Hungary, for information.  In
the light of these reports, it is quite obvious that
Veesenmayer played a decisive role in these deportations.  I
do not know to what extent he coloured his reports, in view
of his position towards Ribbentrop.  According to the
reports, I also assume that he conducted the negotiations
with the Hungarian Government.  I cannot confirm whether the
negotiations took place at Klessheim on 16 April 1944.  I
also did not know that, as it is stated, a special commando
of Eichmann's Section had already left for Budapest before
the meeting between Hitler and Horthy.  I did hear later
that Eichmann was in Budapest.

I do not remember any more today whether at that time I also
knew whether - and if so with whom - Veesenmayer agreed on
the details for evacuating the Jews from Hungary.

I believe that the copy of Prosecution document No. 157,
just shown to me by the representative of Counsel for the
Defence of the Accused, is a correct reproduction of the

Apart from Veesenmayer, the Reich Plenipotentiaries for
Denmark and Greece were also subordinate to the Foreign
Ministry.  From what I know, the Reich Plenipotentiary for
Norway, Terboven, was not subordinate to the Foreign

Theoretically, the Reich Ambassador to for Hungary,
Veesenmayer, acted on instructions from the Reich Foreign
Minister.  As I have already said, he was under his control.
I also know only about his reports being sent to the Reich
Foreign Minister.  I do not remember his having addressed
the Reichfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police directly
on deportation matters.  I also know that the Eichmann
special commando operated in Hungary independently of
Veesenmayer.  But I am unable to say any more today, when I
got to know about this - before the collapse or later.  But
from something Veesenmayer himself said, I know that the
special commando acted independently of his office.  It is
correct that I did once make a journey to Hungary in the
spring of 1944.  On behalf of my organization, I visited
then not only the Eichmann Special Operations Unit, but
other offices as well.  These were offices which concerned
my Section.  The real reason for this journey was that my
superior wanted to give me a few peaceful days, because of
the constant air raids on Berlin at that time.  I wrote two
reports about this visit: A copy of one report went to the
Head Office for Reich Security, while the second report was
for internal use in the Foreign Ministry.  In these reports
I indicated that the Eichmann Special Operations Unit in
Hungary was acting in accordance with a definite plan.  I
could not determine to what extent Eichmann had co-ordinated
this plan with other authorities.  I myself was horrified at
the plan which Eichmann had disclosed to me.  I was in
agreement with other staff of the Foreign Ministry that the
implementation of the plan must be prevented, at least by
gaining time.  As far as I know, the plan was not
implemented in the form disclosed to me originally by
Eichmann when I saw him in Budapest.

According to the original plan, the Jewish population of
Budapest was to be herded together one night on an island in
the Danube and interned there, without adequate
preparations.  The photocopy of a telegram, Prosecution
document No. 630, just shown me at the request of the
representative of Counsel for the Defence of the Accused,
was the direct result of an official consultation about my
visit to Budapest.  In this consultation, I was asked to
pass on to Veesenmayer for his opinion a proposal from the
Head of the Press Department, Schmidt.  The content of the
photocopy of the telegram with my signature conforms to
Schmidt's proposal.  I do not believe that the explanations
I heard from Eichmann when I visited Budapest could have
indicated that he intended to disguise his planned round-up
of the Jews of Budapest in the same or a similar way as
proposed for discussion in the telegram just shown here.
The document shown to me in a photocopy as Prosecution
document No. 629 served me as the basis for the telegram
referred to.  The plan which Eichmann disclosed to me when I
visited Budapest concerned an operation against the Jews of
Budapest only.  Operations against the Jews in Greater
Hungary were mentioned only as regards Jews with non-
Hungarian nationality.  These discussions centered largely
on the repatriation decree and its implementation in Greater

Regarding the evacuation of Jews from Hungary, it was always
said that they were to be deported to the Eastern Occupied
Territories.  The name of the Auschwitz camp was also
mentioned in this context.

As to who gave the orders for the anti-Jewish measures in
Germany and the occupied territories, as well as in those
areas where the Reich Government had influence, I know
nothing at first hand.

I have already replied, as far as possible, to the questions
about the position of the Accused as a Specialist Officer,
and on his decision-making powers.  I am unable to make any
further statements about this, after having been referred to
the questions of the Accused under numbers (2) and (3).

The statement I made on 11 June 1946 as a witness for the
defence in the criminal proceedings against the SS, was made
according to the best of my knowledge.  I voluntarily made
myself available as a witness.  The reason why I did this
was that through my work in the Foreign Ministry I knew a
great deal, and nevertheless knew nothing at all until April
1945 of all the atrocities - i.e., the systematic
destruction of the Jews.

I have just perused the photocopy of Prosecution document
No. 984, shown to me by the representative of the Attorney
General.  As far as I can judge from this perusal, I can
fully confirm the content of the solemn declaration which is
the subject matter of photocopy No. 984.

I have now also perused the record of my interrogation dated
11.6.1946, shown by the representative of the Attorney
General in Prosecution document photocopy No. 453.  After
this perusal I can confirm that the information I gave there
is entirely accurate.

Having perused the photocopy of document No. 816, presented
by the representative of the Attorney General, concerning a
solemn declaration made by me on 16 April 1948, I wish to
state that I no longer have any recollection of many of the
facts mentioned in this declaration.  I am therefore unable
to confirm completely the accuracy of the contents of this
declaration.  In saying this, I am not trying to disavow the
content of the declaration, but simply to state that from my
own knowledge I can no longer testify today to all the facts
contained in this declaration.  I also do not remember any
longer whether I made the solemn declaration now shown to me
in photocopy in defence of former State Secretary Gustav
Steenkracht [Steengracht] von Moyland.  However, I think it
is absolutely certain that I made such a declaration.  In
this connection, I should also point out that I also have no
recollection today of making the solemn declaration dated 11
December 1947 in the criminal proceedings against Hoffmann.

The statement which, according to photocopy of Prosecution
document No. 816, I made about the conditions after the
imposition of a state of emergency in Denmark, and which I
have just been shown (point 3 in the photocopy), is correct.
I can also totally confirm it in the light of my knowledge
today of this state of affairs, in terms of the description
as such of the facts.  However, today I no longer recollect
the persons concerned.  I remember to this day that I
received the information referred to in the statement from a
member of the staff of Eichmann's office.   However, I
cannot say today whether it was Guenther.

I also maintain my statement that in my opinion the
plenipotentiary in Denmark was not in favour of the action
against Jews in Denmark, the representative of Counsel for
the Defence having shown me for perusal a photocopy of
Prosecution document No. 39.  I am unable today to state how
the communication contained in photocopy No. 39 originated -
i.e., what was the cause for drafting this document.  I
consider that the handwritten comments and the signature
visible in photocopy No. 39 are genuine.

I became a member of the NSDAP in 1933 - to be precise,
after 30 January 1939.  I joined the Schutzstaffel when, as
Secretary of the German-English Association, I was assigned
the duty of accompanying guests to the Reichsparteitag
(Reich Party Congress) in Nuremberg.  I was given the rank
of Oberscharfuehrer or Untersturmfuehrer.  My last rank was
that of Sturmbannfuehrer; I was still informed of my
promotion to Obersturmbannfuehrer (in accordance with my
last grade in the Foreign Ministry), but I did not receive
the written certificate of promotion.  Today, I no longer
remember whether I was ever sworn in to the SS.

I did not consider that my membership in the SS imposed any
special obligations on me in terms of fulfilling my official
duties.  I do not know whether as a member of the SS I was
subject to SS and police jurisdiction.

I know that, in principle, any projects proposing the
emigration of Jews to Palestine were foiled by the Foreign
Ministry, in view of the Arab-oriented policy, insofar as
such plans were made at all.  I assume that the political
department of the Foreign Ministry took part in foiling
these projects, because this department was negotiating
continuously with Arab representatives, such as the Grand

Having perused the photocopy of Prosecution document No.
667, I also remember that, on instructions from the Reich
Foreign Minister, talks were to be held with Antonescu on
the ban of Jewish children leaving Romania.  The Foreign
Ministry had planned to deal with these children in
accordance with the Feldscher Operation.  I believe
Prosecution document No. 667 to be genuine.

I remember that the Foreign Ministry corresponded with
Eichmann's Section - it might have been in 1943 - about the
internment of Jews with Spanish nationality who were in

The communication from the Foreign Ministry, the contents of
which I have just read through from the book shown to me by
the representative of the Attorney General, called Kempner,
Eichmann and Accomplices - published by the Europa
Publishing House, pages 312-313 - I consider to be genuine.
What I mean is that I believe the document to have been
written in this form.  I would also tend to assume that the
document originated with me.

Read out, approved, and given under my hand

(-) Dr. Eberhard v. Thadden

The oath was administered to the witness, as prescribed.

One copy each of the above record was provided, on request,
to the representative of the Attorney General and the
representative of Counsel for the Defence, after both
applicants had undertaken to ensure that no use would be
made of the record before the return of the request for
legal assistance to the Court in Israel in the criminal
proceedings in open court.

The witness then asked to be given a copy of the record.  He
was informed that under the German Rules of Procedure which
are applicable to the request for legal assistance, a
witness in criminal proceedings is not entitled to inspect
the record, so that a witness may not be given a transcript
of the record either.

The witness then asked for the examining judge to ask the
authorities who would in future still have to deal with the
request for legal assistance to consider whether he might be
given an ordinary copy of the record, in view of the
exceptional nature of the circumstances.

The witness was then released.

(-) Kowarzik, Judge of First Instance
(-) Otto, Court Official

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.