The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-016-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-016-02
Last-Modified: 1999/05/30

Attorney General: "....On the basis of my personal
experience, I again assert that despite the fact that
Eichmann was covered by the orders of Hitler and Himmler,
his share in this deed, the decimation of European Jewry, is
decisive and the full responsibility for this must be
attributed to him, in view of the fact that other
possibilities existed for circumventing Hitler's order."

It is my request now that the Court permit me to submit the
declaration written by Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of
Auschwitz, which we possess in his own handwriting,
confirmed by the Polish Government Body for the
Investigation of Nazi Crimes. I submit here the Polish law
dated 10 November 1945, which set up this Supreme Committee
for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland. Amongst
its powers were the examination and gathering of material
relating to German crimes perpetrated in the years 1939-1945
in Poland or beyond its borders, affecting Polish subjects
or persons who belonged to the Polish nation and also
regarding foreigners who were in Poland at that time. A
further part of its functions was the conduct and co-
ordination of the activities of district committees and of
institutions carrying out similar activities, the
publication of material and the findings of its research
into German crimes. This was a Polish Government body, and
from it - and with its approval - we obtained Rudolf Hoess'
written statement on Eichmann. I shall first submit the
Polish law. This is our document No. 1374.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/86.

Attorney General: Now I would ask to submit the document
confirmed by this official body - the written statement of
Rudolf Hoess, who was also executed as a war criminal - he,
too, collaborated with Eichmann. His statement was written
close to the time of the events in November 1946, while he
was imprisoned in Cracow.

The Court will find that the complete autobiography of
Rudolf Hoess, including the portion which I mentioned, and
which I intend to read now, was published by that same
Polish governmental body in Bulletin No. 6.

Presiding Judge: He wrote an autobiography?

Attorney General: He wrote his autobiography while he was in
the Cracow prison.

Presiding Judge: In his handwriting?

Attorney General: In his own handwriting. It was published
by the Polish Government in its official translation into
Polish, and subsequently the statement was published in
other languages, including German and English. It will be
evident to the Court from the prefaces to the English and
German editions that the translators were able to refer to
Rudolf Hoess' original in German, since this is a
translation - albeit official - but a translation into
Polish. I am supported by this in proving all the material,
for it is an official publication. Apart from this I have in
my possession the extract on Eichmann in a photocopy of the
original itself. I would ask the Court to admit the volume.

Presiding Judge: On what page does it appear there?

Attorney General: In the seventh volume, from page 59

Judge Raveh:   At the time of recording this statement, did
they read from this book or from these extracts to the

Attorney General: They read to him extracts from the
writings of Hoess. They also read to him from the evidence
of Hoess at the trial, and we shall submit this later on.

Presiding Judge: They read him the whole of this section?

Attorney General: I am not sure of that. I am sure that they
read him extracts from Hoess' evidence.

Judge Raveh:   Can you tell us where this appears in the
statement of the Accused?

Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour, this appears on pages

Presiding Judge: In T/37?

Attorney General: Yes, in T/37. Part of the remarks of
Rudolf Hoess are to be found in a book which I ask to
submit. The Court will find that there are several
appendices to this autobiography on various persons, amongst
them on Eichmann. And this is what I request at the present
time to submit to you as part of the personal file.

Presiding Judge: Is this what appears there on page 59?

Attorney General: This is what appears on page 59 onwards.
It appears as an appendix. From page 59 the autobiography of
Hoess himself appears.

As justification for my application to deviate in this
matter from the rules of evidence, I would like to add that
this matter also links up with what is mentioned in the
statement of the Accused in regard to his visit to Auschwitz
- he spoke about his meeting with Rudolf Hoess, and what
according to him, was known to him about Auschwitz. Hence
there is also relevance to this matter and also probative
value to this document in the sense of the decision which
the Court gave here. I would ask you to admit the document.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have anything to say
in this matter?

Dr. Servatius:  For the present I have no objection to the
document as such. But I would be grateful to the Attorney
General if he could tell us whether he knows that together
with the submission of this account, there was attached a
request for clemency?

Attorney General: I must say that I have no knowledge about
that. From the autobiography itself it emerges, so Hoess
writes at any rate, that he had no hope of remaining alive
and he knew what lay in store for him. This he writes

Presiding Judge: [pointing to the photostatic copy] Is this
a photostatic copy of the manuscript?

Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour, this is a photostatic
copy of the manuscript under discussion.

Presiding Judge: [Pointing to the book] And is this the
chapter relating to the Accused?

Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour. There is another chapter
I shall wish to submit from that autobiography, "The Final
Solution of the Jewish Question in the Auschwitz
Concentration Camp," which is contained in that book.

Presiding Judge: Is that also a photostatic copy?

Attorney General: No, we do not have a photostatic copy of

Presiding Judge: It is only a translation?

Attorney General: What I have with me is a translation. And
that portion was translated into German from the Polish
translation of the official Polish edition.

Presiding Judge: Where was this translation made?

Attorney General: We were aided in this translation by the
German translation as well. This book was published both in
German and in English.

Presiding Judge: Is this actually the original?

Attorney General: The original was German. If the Court will
recall, Captain Less gave evidence about this here, when he
read extracts to the Accused from the book and he even
submitted the English version as an exhibit before the
Court. Captain Less produced extracts from it to the Accused
and asked him to react to it.

Presiding Judge: The German original was not in his
possession at that time?

Attorney General: The difficulty arises from the fact that
the German original was not published by the Polish
Government. The book was published in its Polish

Presiding Judge: And you did not receive the photostat of
the second part?

Attorney General: We did not obtain the second part.

Presiding Judge: If that is the case, this is a German
translation of the Polish translation?

Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour.

Dr. Servatius:  After the clarification of the manner in
which this was brought before us here, I must voice an
objection relating to the translation, and I request that
perhaps with the documents that have been submitted in
translation here, there should also be submitted a
photocopy, for I have doubts as to whether certain remarks
which were thought to be necessary, were not eliminated.

Presiding Judge: First of all we shall dispose of the two
first documents, and thereafter I shall make a note of these
remarks relating to the third document and we shall see what
to do about it.

Decision No. 8

We decide to admit the official Polish Bulletin containing
the autobiography of Hoess and the photostatic copy of the
manuscript of Hoess in regard to the Accused before us. We
do so for the same reasons we stated in our Decision No. 7
of today concerning the reports of Wisliceny.

The Bulletin will be marked T/87.

The photostat of the manuscript of Hoess will be marked

Attorney General: Perhaps I should read T/88. I request
permission to read some extracts, not many, from the book -
from T/88:

     "Eichmann was a man full of life, always active, at the
     age of 30 with his full energy. He always had new plans
     and always sought innovations and improvements. He
     never knew rest. He was wholly and compulsively
     obsessed with the Jewish Question and with the 'Final
     Solution.' Eichmann was obliged constantly to make a
     direct oral report to the Reichsfuehrer-SS on the
     preparations and implementation of individual
     operations. And only Eichmann had the ability to pass
     on exact information regarding numbers. He remembered
     almost everything. Amongst his files were a number of
     files with notes, with markings which were
     unintelligible to others, which he always carried with
     him. Even his permanent deputy, Guenther, could not
     always provide full information. Eichmann was always
     travelling on duty. Only on rare occasions could one
     meet him in Berlin in his office. His staff who were in
     the relevant countries had to supply Eichmann with the
     required data regarding the country in question for the
     purpose of preparing the operations against the Jews.
     Thus, for example, Wisliceny was active in Slovakia,
     Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and in Hungary."

Perhaps one other passage, the one before this:

     "I myself got to know him for the first time, after
     receiving an order from the Reichsfuehrer-SS to destroy
     the Jews, when he came to me at Auschwitz to discuss
     with me in greater detail the operation of

And later:

     "Eichmann's headquarters had to attend to transport
     trains and to fix the transportation charts with the
     Reich Ministry of Transport. On the orders of Pohl, I
     went to Budapest three times in order to determine on
     the spot the number of the people who were fit for
     work. On this occasion I was able to see Eichmann at
     the time of the negotiations with the Hungarian
     Government authorities and with the Hungarian Army. He
     behaved with decisiveness and with precision. Despite
     this he was pleasant in his manner and polite. He was
     liked and welcomed everywhere. The many private
     invitations from the heads of these authorities prove
     this. Only with the Hungarian Army Eichmann was not

I pass over a passage and read:

     "Eichmann was absolutely convinced that if he succeeded
     in wiping out the biological foundation of the Jews in
     the East by means of total extermination, Jewry as a
     whole would not be able to recover from a blow such as
     this, for it would not be possible for the assimilated
     Jews of the West, including America, to replace once
     again that tremendous loss of their blood, nor would
     they want to, especially when a natural increase worthy
     of the term could hardly be expected from such Jews. In
     this opinion he was strengthened over and over again by
     the Elder of Hungarian Jewry, who while being a
     fanatical Zionist always tried to obtain Eichmann's
     approval for the rescue of families with many children
     from being handed over. Eichmann used to talk at length
     with this Zionist leader on the Jewish Question.
     Incidentally it was interesting to hear that this man
     was exceptionally well-informed on the affairs of
     Auschwitz and the numbers of transports, the selection
     and the extermination."
Presiding Judge: Who was this, Eichmann?

Attorney General: I think the reference was to the Jewish

Judge Raveh:   The "fanatical Zionist."

Attorney General: Yes. The "fanatical Zionist."

[Continues reading]

     "Eichmann was totally obsessed by his mission and
     convinced that the campaign of extermination was
     essential in order to rescue the German nation in
     future from the desire of the Jews to destroy it. This
     is how he saw his mission and he devoted all his energy
     to the realization of the extermination plans of the

     "Eichmann was also a sworn opponent of the selection of
     Jews fit for work. He saw in this a constant threat to
     the 'Plans for the Final Solution' by means of mass
     escape or by means of some events that might occur. His
     view was that one had to operate with the maximum
     possible speed and in a decisive manner in order to
     implement all the operations against the Jews which
     could be included in any way, for one never knew how
     the War would end. In 1943 he already had doubts about
     the total victory of Germany and believed that it would
     result in a stalemate.
     "Because of this attitude I was not able to secure from
     Eichmann any help for Auschwitz. All the entreaties,
     all the reasoning, the evidence on the spot, were not
     able to change his opinion. He always sheltered behind
     the orders he had received from the Reichsfuehrer-SS to
     carry out the operations at the maximum possible speed
     and not to allow them to be delayed at all. Despite the
     fact that nevertheless I was on good social terms with
     Eichmann, we clashed on this subject, sometimes
     violently. Often I had to struggle over every transport
     train I wanted to delay, in most cases in vain.
     Furthermore, he often surprised me by transports over
     and above the quota. He did everything to implement the
     Final Solution of the Jewish Question with the greatest
     possible speed. Every day was vital for him. He did not
     allow himself to consider difficulties. This he learned
     from the Reichsfuehrer-SS. The Final Solution of the
     Jewish Question was Eichmann's life mission."
Presiding Judge: Would you please hand in a third copy of
the German original of the documents you submitted today?

Attorney General: We shall do so.

Now with regard to the second extract from the book by
Hoess, entitled "Die Endloesung der Judenfrage im K.L.
Auschwitz" (The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in the
Concentration Camp Auschwitz).

Judge Halevi:  This has already been referred to at length
in the first volume of T/37, on page 382. I asked you
whether this is exactly what was then shown to the Accused -
the extract beginning with the words  "Ich habe hier ein
Buch das heisst 'Kommandant von Auschwitz'," and thereafter
came the words "Autobiographische Aufzeichnungen
(Autobiographic Notes), Rudolf Hoess, 1959, Seite 153."

Attorney General: That is it exactly, but what happened
here? There are a number of appendices to the autobiography.
In the Polish and English editions all of them are included.
In the German edition published in Stuttgart, not all of
them were included, to the best of my knowledge. And this I
shall be able to clear up in the light of Defence Counsel's
objection. This appendix "Die Endloesung der Judenfrage im
K.L.Auschwitz" appears in its original German edition. This
is actually a reprint of Hoess' words.

Judge Halevi:  Is the book in your possession?

Attorney General: This book was in our possession. We
returned it to Yad Vashem, but we can obtain it in a short

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you can obtain it from them in
order that Dr. Servatius may be able to see it.

Attorney General: He received it some time ago. He examined
it a long time ago.

Presiding Judge: But in order that he may be convinced.

Attorney General: Very well. Meanwhile I shall submit other

Dr. Servatius:  Thank you.

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