Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Judgment/Judgment-054 Last-Modified: 1999/05/27 168. We have before us the following material, proving the Accused's part in the introduction of the system of killing by Zyklon B at Auschwitz, and in the supply of this gas to Auschwitz: (a) In his autobiographical notes (T/90), Hoess describes his conversations with the Accused on the preparations for mass extermination operations at Auschwitz and, inter alia, he mentions a conversation in Berlin at the end of November 1941 (supra, p. 4). They spoke about various matters, but "I could not secure information about the date the operation was to begin. Eichmann had not yet managed to obtain suitable gas." Later, Hoess' deputy came across Zyklon B gas and used it to execute Russian prisoners, as mentioned above. And Hoess continued (supra, p. 5): "When Eichmann visited [Auschwitz] again, I told him about this use of Zyklon B and we decided to introduce this gas in future for the mass exterminations." (b) When Superintendent Less showed these excerpts to the Accused (T/37, p. 287), the latter reacted with a vigorous denial but continued: "All the time, this comes back to the gas. I never had anything to do with gas. The first time that I heard anything at all about gas in my Section was when I was in Hungary. Then Guenther ordered gas for himself somehow, this I do know, and I also said to Guenther, I say: `What on earth have you got to do with gas, man? We do not have anything to do with gas. It is not my concern.'" The Accused emphasizes that at the time of this incident it was not he who was in charge of the Section, because of his absence from Berlin. Superintendent Less asked him (apparently because of other material which was in his possession, and which we shall mention presently) about March-April 1942, and the Accused confirmed that at that time he was in Berlin. (c) Again the Accused returned to the same subject quite spontaneously and said (p. 933 et seq.): "I had a row with Guenther because he, sometime or other - I do not know when, at any rate it was during the time that I was away from Berlin, I think - he had begun to do something in connection with gas." At this point Superintendent Less reminded the Accused that he had spoken about this earlier in connection with the Hungarian period, and the Accused continues: "It is possible that when I was in Hungary, apparently this was so. Matters of this kind, you see, Guenther never weighed up in his mind...why he interfered in matters which were no concern of his...that, altogether the Section was not geared for this. For how could I bring this matter now to the head of the office - he would tell me to go to hell. He reprimanded me severely for much less serious offences." Later, Superintendent Less asks the Accused if he had had any connections with a man called Gerstein, and if he had sent Guenther to him. The Accused replies in the negative and adds that he now heard the name Gerstein for the first time. (d) We have already mentioned Gerstein elsewhere and the exhibits connected with his name. The reference is to exhibits T/1306-T/1315, manuscripts by engineer Kurt Gerstein, who wrote them in April 1945, and statements which he gave in May 1945 to a British officer and an American officer; also a manuscript dated 4 May 1945, which reached his wife a year later (T/1310; T/1311). Gerstein was later detained by the French and examined by them (T/1313/b and T/1313/c). In July 1945 he was found dead in a French prison and apparently had committed suicide, though his wife doubts that this was so. From 1941 Gerstein worked in the Medical Technical Service attached to the SS Command, and in January 1942 he was appointed Technical Director for Disinfection, and during his service he handled highly poisonous gases for disinfectant purposes. It appears that the supply of gas to Auschwitz went through him. In the summer of 1942, on his return from the extermination camps, he met a Swedish diplomat on the train and, according to his statement, poured out his heart to him and confessed to what he had seen. He also tried to pass information on this subject on to church and neutral circles. The Swedish diplomat confirmed that in August 1942 Gerstein gave him a detailed report on the extermination procedure at Belzec, and thus this part of Gerstein's statement received confirmation from a trustworthy source (T/1312). According to Gerstein, Guenther ordered 100 kilograms of potassium cyanide from him on 8 June 1942 (T/1309, p. 4 of the English document, p. 3 of the German document). Elsewhere (T/1313/a, p. 3) he says that Guenther on this occasion ordered 260 kilogrammes. Gerstein also relates (T/1309, p. 8 of the English document, p. 12 of the German document) that at the beginning of 1944 Guenther again requested very large consignments of potassium cyanide for an unknown purpose (see also T/1313/a, p. 11). Gerstein attached to his statement accounts from February to May 1944 relating to a quantity of gas of more than 2,000 kilogrammes, and in a handwritten document in French he wrote that these quantities had been ordered by Guenther. (e) Gerstein's documents were submitted to the Accused (T/37, p. 2256), and he denied all knowledge of their contents. He admits that at the beginning of 1944 he was in Berlin (p. 2260), but emphasizes that he was away from the office very frequently (p. 2268). He mentions the possibility that a special assignment had been given to Guenther, though such a matter also should have come to his attention (p. 2269). However, it is a fact, states the Accused, that not all Guenther's special duties came to his knowledge. And how does he explain such a possibility? "Possibly this was a case where Mueller had assigned a duty to Guenther directly...since Mueller knew me generally as a more sensitive person than Guenther... I am not trying to say that I displayed the sensitivity of a girl, but I was much more sensitive than Guenther, for example." (p. 2274) Elsewhere the Accused surmises that possibly Guenther had direct contact with Globocnik and ordered the material for him (p. 2340). The Accused thought that this possibility was more likely, because Mueller would not decide on a matter of this kind on his own responsibility but would receive instructions from the head of the Security Police, in which case he, the Accused, would have known of it, because during that period in 1942 he was not away from Berlin for more than eight days at a time, and during such a short period a matter of this nature would not have been completed (pp. 2246-2347). At this stage, the Accused mentions yet another possibility, namely that he had not heard about the whole matter from Guenther but only read about it in the literature, in the books of Poliakov or Reitlinger (p. 2346, p. 2488). On pp. 935-936, supra, he even argued that he heard the name Gerstein then for the first time. In his evidence before us, he repeated his general denial, but here he already remembers that he had heard about Gerstein and his report while he was still in Buenos Aires (Session 95, Vol. IV, p. xxxx16). 169. As already stated, exhibit T/1312, with regard to Gerstein, was submitted to us. Though it does not provide corroboration of the contents of Gerstein's statement, because it only proves that as far back as 1942 Gerstein disclosed particulars which also appear in his statement in exhibits T/1309 and T/1313, still this fact adds weight and credibility to this statement of his. We do not doubt the accuracy of his statements with regard to Guenther's visit and the requisitions made by the latter. In our view, there is also sufficient corroboration of Hoess' statement on his discussions with the Accused on the subject of introducing Zyklon B gas for the mass execution of Jews at Auschwitz, and also of Gerstein's statement about the supply of gas by the Accused's Section. Corroboration of Hoess' statement on this matter can be seen in the fact that the Accused visited Auschwitz in the autumn of 1941 (see section 143 above), i.e., during the period in which preparations were being made there for mass extermination of Jews, and at that time the question of executing by gas occupied the Accused, and he also took part in the preparations for execution by means of gas vans, as we have seen. As for the supply of gas to Auschwitz, we see corroboration in the fact that the Accused made a partial admission, namely that he had heard at the time of Guenther's activity in connection with the supply of gas. As we shall make clear below, the acts of Guenther - his permanent deputy in charge of Section IVB4 - are prima facie to be regarded as the acts of the Accused himself, and we do not accept the Accused's allegation that he had no connection with this activity and did not know about it. The Accused admits that, as Section Head, Guenther's activities should have come to his knowledge, and he also admits that even had he been away from Berlin temporarily, a matter of this kind would not have been concluded prior to his return. There remains, therefore, only his assumption that there was some kind of secret negotiation between Globocnik and Guenther - so remote a possibility that it cannot be seriously considered. And again, in the first part of his Statement, the Accused said spontaneously that he had been informed of the matter at the time and had discussed it with Guenther. Only at a much later stage did he try to alter his version and contend that he had learned of the whole matter only in recent years from the literature. We reject this attempt on the part of the Accused, and consequently, as stated, we do not accept his version, with the exception of his statement as mentioned above, which in fact lends further weight to our acceptance of the statements by Hoess and Gerstein. Accordingly we find that Hoess' deputy began to use Zyklon B in Auschwitz for the execution of Russian prisoners. Hoess informed the Accused of this, and jointly they decided to introduce this method for the mass killing of Jews in Auschwitz. Guenther - with the knowledge of the Accused - made an attempt to introduce this system also in the other extermination camps, and to that end ordered a quantity of Zyklon B from Gerstein in June 1942. But this plan was not implemented, and in the other camps the use of motor exhaust gas was continued. In 1944, the Accused's Section ordered additional large quantities of Zyklon B for use in Auschwitz, possibly also in other places, such as Terezin, where in the end the gas chambers were not put to use. We have said that the activities of Guenther, the Accused's deputy, are to be attributed prima facie to the Accused. This finding requires further elaboration, together with discussion of the Accused's contention that everything he did was not on his own initiative but solely on the basis of, and in accordance with, the instructions regularly received from his superiors. At this point, we return to the general subject of the Accused's status within the apparatus of the RSHA.
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