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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Wilhelm_Hoettl-03

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

After my general comments on Eichmann's activities in
Vienna, I shall now add, in reply to the specific questions
asked by the representative of the Accused Eichmann in the
criminal proceedings, i.e., Nos. 1 to 45, the following:

(1): In accordance with my rank, I was taken on as SS
Untersturmfuehrer on a full-time basis, and then, at the end
of 1939, I was promoted to SS Obersturmfuehrer, in 1940 or
1941 to SS Hauptsturmfuehrer, and in November 1943 to SS
Sturmbannfuehrer.  At the end of the war in 1945, I was also
demobilized with the rank of Sturmbannfuehrer in the Waffen-
SS (the Armed SS).  The reason was that, while I was given
the first ranks within the SS (Security Service), I received
the last rank as part of the Waffen-SS, because in the
meanwhile - and I shall return to this later - legal
proceedings had been taken against me in the SS and Police
Court, as a result of which I was transferred to the Waffen-
SS.  The rank of a Sturmbannfuehrer in the SS, including the
Waffen-SS, corresponds to that of a major in the army.

(2): As to whether I worked in an official capacity in the
Head Office for Reich Security, my answer is as follows:

While my initial activities, described this morning, did not
belong directly to this area (the Security Service District
Office was merely subordinate to the Head Office for Reich
Security), as of the autumn of 1939 I was transferred to the
Head Office for Reich Security in Berlin, to Department VI
(Foreign Secret Service); this office was located at Berlin
W., Berkaerstrasse.  I worked there until October 1941.  In
October 1941 my activities were interrupted, or rather
terminated, as a result of the legal proceedings mentioned
before.  I shall return to this later.

(3): My first position in Department VI of the Head Office
for Reich Security was that of a "Delegate South"
(Beauftragter Sued).  In practical terms this meant secret
service activities in South and South-Eastern Europe.  My
last position, from 1 February 1943 until the end of the
War, was that of a Specialist Officer (Referent) and deputy
group leader (department head) in Department VI, with almost
the same duties.

In answer to the questions:

Because of the distance from Vienna (or Prague, where, as
has been mentioned, Eichmann was transferred in March 1939),
I was no longer in touch with him as I had been in Vienna,
and also our respective official duties did not give
occasion for any further contacts.

In terms of rank, my position in Berlin was equivalent to
that of an Oberregierungsrat (senior government counsellor),
and my pay was in accordance with the position; thus, it was
a position provided for in the office work plan.  Such posts
required, in principle, an academic degree; in the case of
special services to the Party, however, this requirement
could be waived.  Neither in Vienna nor in Berlin did I
receive an official dwelling, but made my own private

As to( 4): I assume that the question about the
Abteilungsleiter (department head) relates to the Amtschef
(bureau chief), because, as far as I know - at least in
Department VI - department head was a purely honorary title
for Specialist Officers (Referenten) who had a particularly
large scope of duties.  My Department Chief was SS
Brigadefuehrer and Major-General in the Waffen-SS, Walter

(5): On this question, when did I become acquainted with the
Accused, I have already given a detailed statement.

(6): As far as I know, Eichmann was a Specialist Officer in
Department IV of the Head Office for Reich Security, but in
the meanwhile there was a change in the names given to the
departments.  I must here state that Eichmann was also
transferred to the Head Office for Reich Security, but
independent of my transfer to Berlin, and not to Department
VI like myself, but to Department IV, Gestapo.  A department
such as Eichmann had there, for Jewish Affairs, was more or
less an office or section of its own.  His superior chief,
as has already been mentioned briefly today, was SS General
Heinrich Mueller, but it is possible that there was another
group leader between them.  Several Sections would be
subordinate to a single Group Leader, and there must have
been four or five Groups altogether.  Jewish Affairs was
dealt with exclusively by Eichmann's Section, for the whole
of Germany.

(7): As I have said, there were several groups, and several
sections in each group; each individual section dealt with a
particular category of people: one, for example, would deal
with Communists and another with political suspects, and so
on.  I am not aware of Eichmann having special powers for
the running of his Section, or whether these differed from
the powers or authority of other Specialist Officers in
their work.  I consider it highly improbable that Eichmann
would have received any written power - some official
appointment or whatever - authorizing him as a Specialist
Officer to exterminate the Jews, just as other Specialist
Officers were most definitely not authorized to liquidate or
exterminate the groups they were called upon to monitor.  If
any orders to such an effect were given, then, at the very
most, they would have been given orally and in complete
secrecy.  But I do not know anything about such secret

(8): I have already answered this question in my general
description of Eichmann's activities in Vienna.

However, I know nothing about the time after the period I
have referred to, i.e., from March onwards, and so cannot
provide anything concrete from March to July 1939.  I can
only understand the question about dates by assuming that
the person asking the question was perhaps not aware of the
fact that the actual date of the transfer to Prague and the
date of the order for the transfer were at variance.
Whatever the explanation behind the question, I am  unable
to provide any more information in this context.
(9): In Vienna, Eichmann was a Specialist Officer with the
Inspector (Inspekteur) of the Security Police and the
Security Service.  In the first phase (from March 1938 on),
this office was actually called the SD Oberschnitt (Security
Service District Office).

(10): This morning I gave an affirmative answer to the
question as to whether he was in charge of the Central
Office for Jewish Emigration, with full details.

(11): I answered this question also this morning, i.e.,
about the duties of this Central Office.

(12): It is not simple to answer this question; the main
point is that I do not know how long the Central Office in
Vienna set up by Eichmann continued to operate, and I would
tend to assume that, in the nature of things, it was closed
down at the beginning of the War, i.e., in September 1939,
because when the War broke out, any legal emigration had to
stop.  As I have said, however, I am not sure about this.  I
only know that also after Eichmann left for Prague, the
Central Office in Vienna carried on its work.  I would
assume that also after he was moved to Prague he continued
to be in overall charge of the Vienna Central Office, and
occasionally may have come to Vienna, where a deputy of his
ran the office.  I would also assume that a similar
relationship existed between him and the Berlin Central
Office for Jewish Emigration, which I referred to this
morning, and which was set up later than in Vienna.

If you take this assumption or restriction up to September
1939 (the beginning of the War), I can only say that,
according to my own personal observations, there was a rapid
emigration of those Jews who were interested in emigration.
I do not know what this would be in terms of numbers; I can
only refer to the relevant publications which have been
published since the end of the War.

(13): The developments in Germany actually followed the
relevant developments in Austria, because as far as I know,
despite the Machtergreifung (Hitler's coming to power) in
1933, there was no such furtherance as yet of emigration in
1933, but that took place in Berlin only, so to speak, after
the Viennese example.  Moreover, since I had almost no
private connections in Berlin, unlike in Vienna, where I had
friends from former times, I know nothing from my own
observations about the activities and results of the Berlin
Central Office.

(14): That also replies to this question.

(15): This question was dealt with in detail and fully this

(16): On this point as well I have already indicated
everything I know about the period in Vienna.  Insofar as
this question may relate to any later conversations, I shall
come back to it later.

(17) to (20): The only thing I can say about these four
questions relative to a territorial solution of the Jewish
Question, is to answer in the negative - that I have never
heard of any "Judenstaat Nisko" - but in the affirmative
that Eichmann did once ask me in Vienna, at the end of 1938
or the beginning of 1939, whether, as a historian, I could
tell him on what occasion Napoleon proposed the plan of
shipping the Jews off to Madagascar.  I replied to him,
according to the truth, that I was not aware of any such
historical fact.

Did he develop any activities in this respect?  I know only
that he said he needed the reply for some lecture or
presentation he was to make.  I have no first-hand
information about anything else which Eichmann did in order
to implement a Madagascar Plan.

(21): This question has already been answered.

(22): Subject to more detailed statements about Eichmann's
activities in Hungary, when the relevant subsequent
questions will be asked, I can here state that I know
nothing about Eichmann's having participated at all in the
seizure of Jewish property in Hungary.

(23): I can reply in the affirmative to the first part of
the question insofar as Eichmann, as I have said, was the
head of the Central Office which co-ordinated a number  of
authorities and offices, including the Finance Offices, in
relation to Jewish emigration.  So if, as I gathered from
hearsay, Jews who needed to emigrate had to obtain a
certificate from the competent Finance Office, attesting to
their having paid a special levy, this aspect of financial
administration would definitely have been under the control
of the Central Office run by Eichmann.

However, I am not aware that beyond this, on a personal
level, Eichmann had anything to do with imposing these
levies on Jews, or even being the initiator of this levy on
Jews; as far as I know they were decreed by Goering after
the murder, I have already mentioned, of the legation
counsellor in Paris.  As I have said, I only know of this
levy on assets from hearsay; and also from hearsay I know
that the assets handed over were to be used to finance the
emigration of propertyless Jews.  In fact, I am not entirely
sure whether the levy on assets decreed by Goering - i.e.,
the generally known penalty applied to German Jews for the
murder of that legation counsellor by Grynszpan - was the
same as that special levy which I heard about, which, as I
have said, was supposed to be used to finance the emigration
of propertyless Jews.  As to whether the levies, paid in
money or valuables or whatever, went to Eichmann's office as
the central body, or whether they were passed on, I do not

(24 ff): Since what follows concerns matters related to
conditions in Hungary, I shall, at the request of the Court,
make a short general presentation - as I did this morning
with regard to the situation in Austria - of the main
circumstances in Hungary which are of importance to the
questions that follow.

First of all, I would like to state that from October 1941,
that is when I was removed from my post, until the invasion
of Hungary by German troops in March 1944, I had practically
no contact at all with Eichmann.  During that  period I
became involved in proceedings before the SS and Police
Court in Berlin, where the three points of the charge
against me were as follows: (a) ideological unreliability;
(b) religious commitment; (c) association and friendships
with Jews.

In the course of these proceedings, I joined the Waffen-SS
as a simple soldier, and it was not until after Heydrich's
death - who had in the main been the cause of these legal
proceedings against me - that my chief, Schellenberg, took
me back into his bureau, but until the end of the War I
remained a member of the Waffen-SS.  The proceedings were
stayed in January 1943 with a warning.  At the Nuremberg
Trial, Lieutenant-Colonel Brookhart showed me the original
documents of my trial.

I trust that the preceding comments make it sufficiently
clear that I had nothing at all to do with Eichmann's
activities during this phase.

At the end of February 1944, the German Secret Service in
Hungary found out that the then Hungarian Government under
Kallay was trying to arrange discussions with authorities of
the Western allies designed to get Hungary out of the War
through a separate peace.  The Operations Division of the
German General Staff drew up a plan providing for such a
case, a plan for the military occupation of Hungary by
German troops, which bore the code name "Margarethe I".  (At
the same time, a plan called "Margarethe II" was drawn up to
deal with a similar suspected defection of Romania.)

Around the middle of March 1944, when I was in Vienna, my
chief, Schellenberg, summoned me to Salzburg, where he
disclosed to me the plan for "Operation Margarethe I."  Like
me, Schellenberg considered that it was absurd in military,
political and economic terms to occupy Hungary - in other
words, to treat this country as an enemy power - and agreed,
therefore, that efforts should be made to reach an agreement
with Regent Horthy to set up a different government in
Hungary, under a premier who would be acceptable to Germany.
Schellenberg asked me to draw up a memorandum on the matter,
which he wanted to submit to Hitler, but not through
official channels.  According to what Schellenberg himself
said, at this point it was no longer possible to inform
Hitler of such a compromise solution.

So I drafted this memorandum that night in my hotel room in
the Oesterreichischen Hof in Salzburg, and then I personally
supervised the preparation of the final version in Himmler's
special train which had stopped at Hallein, and then
finally, in the evening of 17 March 1944, I handed it over
to Ambassador Dr. Hewel in Schellenberg's presence, and he,
as we found out later, was in fact able to give it to Hitler
in private.

The result of this memorandum - but obviously also of
Ambassador Dr. Hewel's presentation - was that the plan for
"Operation Margarethe I" was not implemented in the original
form of occupation by German troops, but was simply carried
out by agreement with Regent Horthy, who indicated his
readiness to set up a new government agreeable to Germany,
under the leadership of Lieutenant-General Doeme Sztojay,
who at that time was the Hungarian envoy in Berlin.

I myself was instructed by Schellenberg to represent the
interests of Department VI in Budapest and the "Mil."
Office, which had meanwhile also been put under his charge
(that was the former Military Intelligence which, until
February 1944, was under Admiral Canaris), in Budapest.
More particularly, I was assigned to work together with
Department II of the Hungarian Honved General Staff (Counter-
Intelligence), and to undertake joint secret service

I immediately left Salzburg for Budapest, where I arrived
during the night of 18 March, and in the morning of 19 March
I reported to the head of Department II, to whom I have
referred, a colonel on Kuthy's General Staff.  Regent
Horthy, whom Hitler had invited to his Berchtesgaden
headquarters, arrived in Budapest on the morning of 19
March.  In his train there were the new German Ambassador to
Hungary, Dr. Edmund Veesenmayer, as well as the chief of the
Head Office for Reich Security, Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner.

The meeting at Berchtesgaden referred to above between
Hitler and Horthy was the reason why the urgent action I
mentioned seemed expedient in order to revise the plan for
"Operation Margarethe I." This was to be done before
Horthy's return to Budapest, so as it would serve as the
basis for impending German operations in which I was to play
the aforementioned role, and which were to be approved by

From then on, except for minor interruptions, I remained in
Budapest until November 1944 and then moved to my offices in
Oedenburg on the Hungarian border, from where, in March
1945, I moved to alternative emergency quarters at
Steyerling in Upper Austria.

As I have already said, my activities in Hungary were only
of a secret service nature.  Schellenberg had assigned as my
main duty the setting up, together with the Hungarian
counter-intelligence services, of what were called "message
centres," units of intelligence agents infiltrated behind
the Russian front.  My office had a very small staff: three
male employees, a chauffeur and a secretary.   It was
located in a private house in Disz-ter.  The Hungarian
counter_intelligence services arranged this accommodation
for me.

My activities there were limited to collecting and passing
on information about domestic conditions in Hungary, except
for the special assignment I have referred to.  My duties
certainly did not include developing positive activities in
order to influence Hungarian policy, nor did I try to do
anything like that, except indirectly, when I urged the
German Ambassador not to support the Arrow Cross people's
plans to come to power.

I can, therefore, state in advance here that I was not
involved in any way, and certainly not actively, in the
subsequent Arrow Cross revolt.  The opposite is true: When
Veesenmayer did not listen to me and ignored a detailed
memorandum, I broke off contact with his office, already
before the Arrow Cross revolt took place.  From then on I
only maintained normal contacts with Berlin and
Schellenberg.  Because of the events which began at that
time, Veesenmayer's plan was implemented anyhow, since, in
view of the ever worsening military situation, Horthy had
contacted the Western Allies - and even Russia - and, since
this was never a secret as far as the Germans were
concerned, it gave rise to the taking of energetic measures,
and thus to approval of Veesenmayer's intentions.

In practical terms, the mitigated version of "Operation
Margarethe I," as approved in March 1944, was now
implemented, with all the attendant consequences.  Horthy
was put under pressure to resign and to appoint the leader
of the Arrow Cross Party, Major Ferenc Szalasi, to the post
of premier.  A few days later, Szalasi let himself be
elected Leader of the "Hungarian Nation" by the Hungarian
parliament (the upper and lower houses).

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