The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Wilhelm_Hoettl-06

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

(36): Like the NSDAP, the Hungarian Arrow Cross Party had a
pronounced theory of "Masterman" (Herrenmensch).  The
founder and leader of the party, a former major with the
General Staff, Ferenc Szalasi, had put forward the thesis,
in speeches and writings, that south_eastern Europe belonged
to the sovereignty of the Magyar people, and later, after he
seized power, despite the prevailing situation on the war
front, he actually demanded that Romania, and also Bulgaria,
should somehow be declared as coming within the Hungarian
sphere of interest.  In accordance with the origins of the
Magyar people, Szalasi pursued pronounced pan-Turanian
ideas, and in certain Turkish circles he naturally found a
great deal of sympathy for these.  It is worthy of mention
that these pan-Turanian ideas received a great deal of
support from Japan, and here Szalasy took advantage of
playing the Japanese envoy in Budapest off against the
German partner in the Axis.

In domestic policy terms, this programme meant that the
Magyars were the master nation, and the minorities,
including the German allies and the Slovaks, had to submit
to them.  That was one of the main reasons why the German
and Slovak Folkdom Leaders (Volkstumsfuehrer) were so
violently opposed to the men of the Arrow Cross.

Where the Jewish Question was concerned, Szalasy, with whom
I had several in-depth discussions before he seized power,
had rather vague ideas.  I would tend to believe that he
would have been willing to recognize the Jewish minority,
had they been prepared to allow themselves to be thoroughly
Magyarized.  By the time he seized power, I believe that a
considerable proportion of Hungarian Jewry had already been
deported from Hungary, so that Szalasy, in the main, dealt
only with the problem of the Jews of Budapest.  In his
approach he wanted, on the one hand, to preserve the
considerable assets involved, but, on the other hand, to
obtain apartments, furniture and other assets for his
supporters who, to a large extent, were from the rabble
proletariat.  In any case, I know that the most difficult
thing in the diplomatic moves of the neutral states which I
have already mentioned was ejecting members of the Arrow
Cross Party who had on their own taken over Jewish
apartments and other Jewish property, because the new
leaders of the state did not feel themselves able to take
energetic steps against their "meritorious fighters."

Apart from this, I was able to make just one observation of
my own, which would allow me to answer question (36) in the
affirmative.  On one of my trips to Vienna at the end of
1944, I also saw transports of Hungarian Jews who were being
taken to Austria - on foot.  What struck me was that, in
contrast to the transports I had seen in Upper Hungary, the
guards were now only in part Hungarian gendarmes; quite a
considerable number of the guards were Hungarian civilians
wearing Arrow Cross armbands.  From this I concluded that
the Arrow Cross Party had been made an active part of the
deportations programme.

I am not aware that the Arrow Cross Party had made the
exclusion of the Jews a special point in its programme,
similar to the German NSDAP.  The Arrow Cross men were
thought of rather as over-valuing the Magyar element.

In contrast, the aims of the Iron Guard (Legion), also known
as the Green Shirts, were very different again.  I shall
return to this point when I discuss the Romanian situation.

(37): I believe this question has already been answered

(38): I have already given a general answer this morning as
to the question of who controlled the concentration camps.
If this question is asked specifically for Hungary, I can
only say that I know nothing of the existence of
concentration camps on what was then Hungarian territory.
The only thing along these lines that existed, on a smaller
scale, was at Kistarcsa, about the same size as the
detention camp of Woellersdorf, Austria, from 1933 to 1938,
where both right- and left-wing extremist opponents of the
Hungarian Government were kept in custody until the events
of March 1944.  However, if what is meant are the
concentration camps set up by the Germans, i.e., outside
Hungarian territory, I can state the following as to who
gave the instructions to exterminate the Jews in these
camps: This morning I already indicated that I know no
details about the use of German concentration camps
specifically for the concentration of the Jews as racially
persecuted persons.

I am quite unable to say who was empowered to give the
actual orders for the killings in the various concentration
camps.  I am also unable to guess how the relevant orders
were passed down the line from Hitler's basic order on the
matter right down to the last implementing body concerned.

(39): I cannot give an unqualified answer of yes or no to
the question as to whether Kaltenbrunner had any influence
on this order - and here I understand this question to refer
primarily to Kaltenbrunner's last position (Chief of the
Head Office for Reich Security).  Quite understandably, very
many investigations on this were carried out in the
Nuremberg Trials, but to this day no totally clear picture
has been produced, and my own impression is that he did have
some influence, being able to order detention in
concentration camps, and made actual use of that power.

(40): I have already given a statement in this morning's
session concerning to whom the Operations Units were

(41): This is not an easy question to answer.  From my
knowledge of the circumstances, Eichmann should have been
fully able to issue official instructions to the Specialist
Officers responsible for his field, i.e., Jewish matters or
deportation.  As for his being able, in addition, to direct
Operations Units as well, I consider this impossible.

In this context I should like to observe the following: As
far as I know, in the first phase of the Russian campaign
various men were the heads of these Operations Units, who
not long before had been Eichmann's superiors in Berlin and
Vienna, as well as in Prague.  For example, I quote the
names of SS Generals Ohlendorf, Dr. Stahlecker, Dr. Rasch
and Naumann.  It would appear to be highly unlikely that
Eichmann, as an SS Major or Lieutenant-Colonel - if he
already possessed that rank - would have given basic orders
to these SS Generals, who were each in charge of large
commandos.  He can also not have had any particular
influence on the assignment of personnel.

(42): I cannot say anything about this question.  The only
thing I know from Nuremberg is that Stahlecker sent activity
reports to Berlin, but I do not know whether Eichmann should
also have received copies of these reports through a
distribution list.

(43): As I mentioned already yesterday, in the (1938-1939)
period, Eichmann definitely did not feel any desire to
destroy the Jews, and I also did not hear any reports from
third parties about any comments by him along these lines;
so the impression I had was simply that of someone who was
obsessed by the Jewish problem, but not of a potential
exterminator of Jews.

Later on, when I, and subsequently he, were serving in
Berlin, I would not have been able to hear anything of this
nature from him, because I had practically no contact at all
with him.

The same is true, to be accurate, also for the final period,
i.e., in Hungary; that is to say, I did not actually hear
him say anything about his harbouring any intentions to
exterminate the Jews; anyhow, I shall later come back to my
conversations with Eichmann about this subject in Budapest.
As far as the Moser case is concerned, I would here like to
add that from the outset I did not appeal to any moral
feelings, but based my request on official or Reich
interests, in which cases Eichmann always immediately met my

When asked whether Eichmann was guided by certain unusual
motives, such as seeing the Jewish Question in terms of
Christian salvation - particularly since he was purported to
have studied Hebrew and Yiddish - I can state that that was
not my impression.  I really considered him to be a
genuinely uncomplicated person who was concerned only with
getting on in his career, and who only selected Jewish
Affairs - and thus the study of Hebrew and Yiddish as well -
because that enabled him to achieve his special position
relatively easily.  According to him, he did his linguistic
studies with a rabbi.

(44): The adviser to the German legation in Budapest was a
certain Mr. Grell.  Who appointed him to his job as Adviser
on Jewish Affairs I do not know, but I do know that Grell
also had a rank in the SS.  If I compare this case with the
Adviser on Jewish Affairs in the German legation in Romania,
I would tend to assume that Grell was appointed to his job
as Adviser on Jewish Affairs by agreement between the
Foreign Ministry and the Head Office for Reich Security, but
I can say nothing authentic on this.

Moreover, in reply to a question, I cannot actually explain
why an "Adviser on Jewish Questions" was assigned in those
years to the Hungarian, and, as far as I know, to the
Romanian diplomatic missions of Germany.  I can only assume
that the creation of this post had some sort of connection
with the notorious rivalry which I know for a fact existed
between Ribbentrop = Foreign Ministry, and Himmler = SS.  In
other words, Ribbentrop wished, so to speak, to show that he
could dispense with the co-operation of Eichmann's Section
when it came to his offices abroad.

(45): I know nothing about Eichmann's having received an
order from Kaltenbrunner to cease deportations of Jews, nor
about his having ignored this order to terminate operations.
I have only read of such allegations in reports about the
current trial in Jerusalem.

Whereupon the examination proceeded to the group of
questions: Allegations of the Accused, Nos. 1 to 11.

(1): I can answer this question in the affirmative and would
refer here to my comments yesterday, insofar as the Central
Office for Jewish Emigration set up by Eichmann really did
lead organizationally to a functional integration,
simplification and improvement of the possibilities and
speed of emigration.
At all events, I was able to ascertain from my own
observations that once this Central Office started
operating, Jewish acquaintances of mine who had previously
waited in vain for their emigration papers, received all the
requisite documents for their departure within a matter of
days.  In this connection I think I should also mention the
fact that the foreign consulates had links with this Central
Office and were doubtless extremely accommodating in the
issuing of visas.  According to my sources, the treatment in
this Central Office was completely decent.

(2): Whatever I know about this I indicated yesterday.  In
reply to questioning:

Anyhow, I know of nothing, from any of Eichmann's postings
in Vienna, Berlin or Hungary, which would indicate that he
obtained any personal advantages, particularly of a
pecuniary nature.  As far as I know, neither did he buy any
property at his last place of residence in Austria, i.e.,
Alt Aussee.  His family lived in very simple lodgings.

Conversely, I have not heard anything, and therefore am
unable to confirm, that the quantities of assets taken from
the more affluent Jews were actually allegedly in accordance
with regulations, used to assist poor Jews to emigrate.

Moreover, I can hardly believe that the German authorities
prevented poor Jews from leaving by prescribing a fee they
were unable to pay: I should imagine that their financial
difficulties were rather that they found it difficult to
find the money for the ticket for the passage by sea.

(3): This afternoon I have already mentioned that, according
to the literature I have seen since the War, allegedly two
thirds of the Jewish population of Austria were able to
emigrate or emigrated by 1939.  To what extent Eichmann was
responsible for or contributed to this, by means fair or
foul, I am unable to judge.  In any case, his main concern
was definitely to make Austria as free of Jews as possible.

(4): I cannot say anything more about this than I said

(5): Yesterday I said that, as far as I know, the
administration of the concentration camps fell under the
jurisdiction of the Economic-Administrative Head Office, and
that today I do not know who was responsible for the orders
to exterminate the inmates of the concentration camps,
particularly the Jews, or who actually issued these orders.

(6): As for the subject of this allegation, I have today
already indicated everything I know, particularly in this
afternoon's session, and as I have said, I actually consider
it unlikely that he (Eichmann) would have been able to give
orders to the Operations Units which were under the command
of officers senior to him.

(7): If today I were to say definitely that perhaps Eichmann
considered Hungary to be sufficiently important so  ask
Mueller, his chief, that he be personally detailed to
Hungary, this is simply an assumption; however, if he
(Eichmann) is claiming that he did not receive this command
at his own instigation, I can neither confirm nor contradict
this.  As to the question of why Eichmann has cited me as
witness for the Defence, if I do not know anything about
these matters, I cannot explain this.

(8): I have already given a sufficiently detailed reply to
this question.

(9): I have also replied to this question that I know
nothing about it.

(10): I have dealt with this question today precisely and in

(11): This question also has already been answered in

In reply to a question from the judge conducting the

I myself did everything in my power to help individual Jews,
and in addition I did not refrain from asking for foreign
diplomats to intervene.  What I have mentioned briefly in
this connection today was discussed in detail in Nuremberg
and was checked in great detail, and thus proved to be true.

In provisional conclusion to the examination up to now, I
again affirm that I did not in any manner work together with

It was decided to adjourn the examination until 21 June
1961, 9.30 a.m. The session ended at 5.00 p.m.

The examination on 21.6.1961 at 9.30 a.m.

The proceedings now arrived at the third group of questions,
i.e., the questions from the Attorney General, Nos. 1 to 30.

The witness states:

(1): As I have already indicated, I have never previously
heard the name Nisko mentioned, and therefore I cannot say
anything more about this.  I have also otherwise no
explanation as to what Nisko is supposed to stand for, and I
also do not know of any destination for deportation with a
similar name, or any such destination at all.

(2): I have already spoken on the background to the
deportations of Jews from Hungary.  I know nothing more
about deportations to Nisko-on-San - see my answer to
question 1.

(3): Dr. Stahlecker, who, as far as I know, was a career
policeman, came to Vienna in 1938 as the Inspector of
Security Police and the Security Service, a post which, as
far as I remember, he held for a few months.  I did not know
Dr. Stahlecker before that.  I had no more official dealings
with Dr. Stahlecker, but I remember meeting him again in
Vienna in 1942, when he was on a private visit.  With
several other gentlemen, we went to a pub and had lengthy
conversations in which Stahlecker spoke very negatively
about German methods in Russia.  At this time Stahlecker was
the leader of an Operations Unit in Russia and must have
been in Vienna on leave.

In reply to a supplementary question: I am not aware of any
instance - Rudolf Hess' well-known flight to England also
was not of that nature - where senior functionaries of the
establishment of the time, particularly the top SS echelons
- although they might have occasionally expressed some
criticism - committed direct acts of insubordination or even
took refuge abroad; it is necessary to bear in mind the
mentality of those days, where, increasingly, to express or
show any critical attitudes was dangerous for the person
concerned.  The fact that I managed to get off with demotion
to the Waffen-SS as a simple soldier, was an exceptionally
mild way of dealing with such cases.

I know that quite a few SS leaders, including high-ranking
officers, were transferred to penal units, usually in the
ranks, because they had criticized, or failed to follow,
orders which they considered it wrong to carry out.  The
most notorious of these penal units was the Dirlewanger
Brigade which, I believe, saw action mainly in Poland and
Russia.  Heydrich in particular liked to threaten transfer
to this Dirlewanger Brigade, because it had the worst
possible reputation.  In the legal proceedings against me, I
was also originally supposed to have been transferred to the
Dirlewanger Brigade, but as a result of intercession by SS
General Sepp Dietrich, head of the Leibstandarte (Hitler's
own unit), a personal acquaintance of mine, I was able to be
transferred to a normal unit serving at the front.

(4): To the best of my memory, as Inspector of the Security
Police and the Security Service in Vienna, Stahlecker gave a
great deal of support to Eichmann in realizing his plan to
set up a Central Office for Jewish Emigration.  If I am not
mistaken - although I can only state this with due
reservation, later - in Prague, Stahlecker was Eichmann's
superior again.  In any case, I do remember Dr. Stahlecker
telling me most indignantly of an order from Heydrich to
keep under surveillance Freiherr (Baron) von Neurath, who
was appointed Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia in
1939, because of his connections (I believe that Mrs.
Stahlecker was related to Neurath or to his wife).

(5): I have already indicated that I heard nothing about
putting the Madagascar Plan into effect.

(6): I am therefore unable to answer this question, either.

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