Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Erich_Von_Dem_Bach_Zelewski-01 Last-Modified: 1999/06/14 ERICH VON DEM BACH-ZELEWSKI 29 May 1961 The Competent Court of Justice, Nuremberg-Fuerth Re: Request for Legal Assistance The main hearing in the criminal proceedings against the Accused Adolf Eichmann is at present taking place in this Court. 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: Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, in custody in Nuremberg_Fuerth. The witness is to be examined as to the following allegations of the Accused: (1) that the Operations Units of the Security Police and the Security Service were not subject to the Accused's orders; (2) that the Accused, as a Specialist Officer in the Head Office for Reich Security, was unable to influence the activities of the Operations Units; (3) that the Accused was not able to give instructions to Higher SS and Police Leaders by virtue of his official position. To complete the testimony of the witness, I would request that the witness also be asked the following questions which were drawn up by Counsel for the Accused: (1) What was your last rank in the SS and the Waffen- SS? (2) What official positions did you hold during the last World War? (3) Are you familiar with the activity of the so-called Operations Units (Einsatzgruppen)? (4) Where did you obtain this knowledge? (5) To whom were the Operations Units subordinate? (6) What was the assignment of the Operations Units? (7) Who gave the Operations Units the order to exterminate Jews, Gypsies and political commissars? (8) Who initiated these orders? (9) As a Section Head (Section IVB4) in the Head Office for Reich Security, was the Accused able to influence these extermination orders? (10) How large was the circle of those who received the activity reports of the Operations Units for information? (11) Does the fact that the Accused's Section received such reports mean that the Accused possessed powers regarding the activities of the Operations Units? (12) Were the Higher SS and Police Leaders subordinate to Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler himself? (13) Did they outrank the Senior Commanders of the Security Police and the Security Service? (14) Were the Higher SS and Police Leaders subordinate to the Head Office for Reich Security? (15) Did Higher SS and Police Leaders receive orders from the Head Office for Reich Security through the intermediary of the Accused's Section? I would also request that the witness be asked the following additional questions which were drawn up by the Attorney General: (1) What were the powers of a Higher SS and Police Leader with regard to Security Police and Security Service matters? (2) Did a Higher SS and Police Leader have direct authority over Senior Commanders of the Security Police and the Security Service, Commanders of the Security Police and their offices? (3) Are you familiar with the duties of the IVB4 Sections attached to the office of the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service? (4) Who were the Senior Commanders of the Security Police and the Security Service and the Commanders of the Security Police in Lublin in the years 1939-1944? (5) Did these commanders receive instructions from the Head Office for Reich Security? (6) If so, were such instructions, orders or directives the business of the Higher SS and Police Leaders? (7) What can you say about the manner of reporting by the Leaders of the Operations Units to the Head Office for Reich Security? (8) Are you aware that the Accused regularly received situation reports from the Operations Units in the Eastern Occupied Territories? (9) If so, what was the purpose of such reporting? (10) Were you acquainted with an SS Fuehrer Streckenbacher? (11) If so, what do you know of his collaboration with the Accused? (12) Did you meet the Accused when orders were issued to the Leaders of the Operations Units in Berlin in June 1941? (13) What did you know at the time about the area of activity and special duties of the Accused? (14) What was the role of the Accused in laying down directives and orders for the Leaders of the Operations Units? (15) When, and in what area, did Operations Units or Operations Commandos in the Eastern Occupied Territories organize themselves as Departments belonging to the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, and of the Commander of the Security Police? (16) Were such Departments in direct contact with the Head Office for Reich Security? (17) If so, which was the Department in the Head Office for Reich Security in charge of Jewish Affairs? (18) Do you remember the Accused in this connection? (19) Are you aware of visits by the Accused to the area of operations of the Operations Units? (20) If so, when and where? (21) What do you know about the Accused's special position and any special assignment? (22) Did you know of receipt of direct orders from the Accused through the Commander of the Security Police or the Reichsfuehrer-SS? 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 4AR 279/61 Record taken at a Closed Session of the Court of First Instance, Nuremberg Nuremberg, 25 May 1961 Present: Dr. Knorr, Judge of First Instance Ms. Achatzy, Court Official In the matter of an Israeli request for legal assistance, in the criminal proceedings against Adolf Eichmann for murder, the following appeared today at the hearing for taking evidence: Advocate Dieter Wechtenbruch, who produced a sub-power of attorney from Advocate Dr. Servatius; Mr. Erwin S. Shimron, who produced a power of attorney from the Attorney General of the State of Israel. Beginning of the examination: 10.10 a.m. The witness whose name appears below. The latter was instructed on the significance of the oath and the penalties for giving deliberately false unsworn evidence, and he was furthermore instructed, in accordance with Section 55 of the German Code of Criminal Procedure, that he may refuse to provide information on questions by answering which he would lay himself open to the risk of criminal proceedings. ------ Personal details: von dem Bach-Zelewski, Erich, married, General of the Waffen- SS and Police, residing at Roth bei Nuernberg, Weinweg 20, currently in custody in another matter in the Nuremberg Remand Prison, 62 years old, German national, not related and not connected by marriage to the Accused, Eichmann. On the matter in question: Until the end of the War I was not familiar with the organization of the Head Office for Reich Security. I also did not knowingly make the acquaintance of Eichmann in person. However, it is possible that he knows me and saw me once in Budapest, but he did not speak to me. I would know if he had. I have no information about Adolf Eichmann's powers to give orders. I do not know whether Eichmann was a Specialist Officer in the Head Office for Reich Security, nor can I say or judge whether he was able to influence the activities of the Operations Units. Until the beginning of this trial, I always assumed, on the basis of what I was told by Ohlendorf, with whom I shared a cell for a considerable time at Nuremberg, that the name Eichmann was fictitious. At the beginning of the Russian campaign, I served over a period of several months as Higher SS and Police Leader in Central Russia. At this time I never received an instruction from Eichmann, neither did I receive any instructions whatsoever from the Head Office for Reich Security. I would like to emphasize that I was Higher SS and Police Leader in the theatre of operations, and not in the area of civil administration. There were also Higher SS and Police Leaders in the area of civil administration, but I do not know to whom they were subordinate. Whether they received instructions from the Head Office for Reich Security, and more particularly from Eichmann, is something I do not know. ------ At which point the witness was asked the questions drawn up by Counsel for the Accused. On these he stated: ------ (051): My last rank was SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen-SS and Police. (052): From the outbreak of the War in 1939 until June 1941, I was Higher SS and Police Leader for Silesia, as well as Leader of the SS Main District South-East. My headquarters were in Breslau. At this time I was not subordinate to the Head Office for Reich Security. From June 1941 onwards, from the beginning of the Russian campaign, I was Higher SS and Police Leader, Central Russia, under the Senior Commander of the Central Russia Military Area behind the lines, General von Schenckendorff. It was from this position that, on 23 October 1942, by order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS, Himmler, I was appointed Plenipotentiary of the Reichsfuehrer-SS for combatting banditry. On 21 June 1943, I was appointed, by order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS, Head of the Units for Combatting Partisans. This assignment involved the planning and operational command of all of the military operations to combat partisan activity in Europe. This activity was interrupted several times by service on the front in the East and the West, and continued until 1945. (053 to 6): Because of my position, I received information about the activity of the Operations Units. Where these Operations Units carried out military duties, such as intercepting enemy news, within my Section, just like other parts of the Wehrmacht, I worked together with the Operations Units. At that time I also heard of illegal activity on the part of these Operations Units. I believe that all generals in the East knew about this. By illegal activity, I mean shootings by the Operations Units, which took place without any basis in law. I was not informed as to the complete extent of this activity. Only after the end of the War did I become aware of that. I should also like to stress that both the Generals and I did not approve of this illegal activity and were critical of it. As far as I know, for supply purposes the Operations Units were subordinate to the Army Groups or Armies. From conversations I had with Nebe and his successor Naumann, when I met them in Russia - both of whom led Operations Units - I got to know that they received their operational orders directly from the Head Office for Reich Security. I do not know any details as to how the orders were transmitted, nor do I know any details about the actual orders. At the time I understood the assignment of the Operations Units to be the liquidation of underground movements and the extermination of Jews.
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