The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-037-05

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-037-05
Last-Modified: 1999/06/01

Q. German officials?

A. Yes.

Q. Did they all wear uniform, or were there also some in
civilian clothes?

A. I cannot tell you.

Judge Raveh:   Where was this roll call held?

Witness Henschel: In the great hall of the Jewish Community,
Oranienburgerstrasse 29.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Do you remember a special name for
this roll call or for a similar one?

Witness Henschel At this roll call we were, for the first
time, turned into hostages.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We were told: If you don't come, someone else will come
in your place, and what was supposed to happen to you will
happen to him.

Q. Did this threat become reality on 9 November 1942?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened?

A. Eight out of twenty hostages disappeared, and later it
transpired that they were shot.

Q. What happened to their families?

A. Their families were put on a transport to the East at the
same time.

Q. Do you remember the name Brunner from Vienna?

A. Yes.

Q. In what connection?

A. When it became clear to the authorities that the
evacuation was not proceeding with the desired speed, they
brought Brunner from Vienna, since he had achieved there,
through fast work, what the authorities also wanted to
achieve in Berlin.

Presiding Judge: Who used this expression?

Witness Henschel: This was talked about.  The whole of
Berlin talked about it.  He brought with him the notorious
Judenpolizei (Jews Police).

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Where did these Jupo people end up?

Witness Henschel: They were also deported to the camps later
on, and I remember some of them in Theresienstadt; they were
cruelly massacred by the other Jews there after the

Q. Those people who came with Brunner -  which town did they
come from?

A. They came from Austria, whether all of them were from
Vienna, that I cannot tell.

Q. Did the methods really change after the arrival of

A. They changed radically, because the SS in Berlin did not
fully cooperate in the evacuation of the Jewish homes.

Q. Do you know anything about arrests in the streets, about

A. Yes.  In order to speed up his work, Brunner began to
comb the streets in broad daylight and to arrest persons
wearing the Star.  Only employees of the Community were
exempt, as they were, after all, still needed.  They were
designated in such a way that the arresting policemen knew:
This person must not be touched.  The Star was worn here, on
the left, and on the left forearm an armband made of red
ticking cloth marked with a number and stamped with the
Jewish Community stamp.  They had a yellow permit, the size
of a postcard, which had to be shown in the tramway or the
bus together with the Jewish identity card.  And these
people were, in fact, not arrested.

Presiding Judge: Who is this Brunner, is that Alois Brunner?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  No, this is his brother.  He is no
longer alive; he was sentenced in Vienna.

[To the witness] What happened with the cases of suicide?
Did Brunner's appearance influence the number of suicides?

A. The rate increased to a frightening extent.

Q. When Brunner went on vacation in December 1942 - who took
his place?

A. Gerbinger or Gerblinger, I am not quite sure, but he was
not as rigorous.

Q. At the end of January 1943, people from the leadership of
the Community and the Jewish Organization were sent; who
were they?

A. What do you mean by "sent"?

Q. Deported.

A. Oh, yes, that was Dr. Eppstein.  He did not have a post
in the Community but in the Reichsorganisation; Rabbi Dr.
Baeck, Philip Kotzover, the Deputy President of the
Community, with three children, the youngest of whom was ten
weeks old.

Q. Philip Kotzover was deported together with his children,
wasn't he?

A. He was deported with his three children, the youngest of
whom was ten weeks old.

Q. What can you tell us about the yellow slip ("der gelbe

A. The yellow slip was connected with "Operation Brunner."
They were interested in keeping a staff of officials of the
Jewish Community, in order to wind up everything that could
not be done without them.  These people were given a yellow
slip of paper which said that, for the time being, they were
indispensible officials of the Community, and which also
contained exact details of birth, address, number of persons
in the family - signed by the President of the Community and
stamped with the Community stamp.  It was recommended to
post this on the wall at the entrance to one's dwelling, so
that the evacuation squads and the house search squads would
know: This family has still to remain.

Q. Mrs. Henschel, on 27 February 1943 mass arrests of Jews
began at their work places, did they not?

A. Yes, of those who were assigned to work, and this
operation was called "Operation Concert House Clou."

Q. What is the meaning of "Clou Operation?"

A. "Clou" was an amusement hall, an enormous concert house
and amusement hall in Berlin which could hold several
thousand people, and which was not in use at that time.

Q. Please tell the Court details about the events of that
day, 27 February.

A. The events began already the day before when my husband
was ordered to the Gestapo and told to assemble several sets
of equipment for small offices, and also a large contingent
of medical personnel.

Q. Office equipment - people or furniture?

A. Typewriters, desks, secretaries.  He was to have the
office equipment and the staff contingents ready for the
next day, so that they would be on call, to be taken to
where they would be needed.

Q. And this was done?

A. This was done.

Q. For how many people was the place prepared?

A. For about 8,000.

Q. Was this for Clou only or also for other places as well?

A. No, there was another camp, Rosenstrasse, for those
married to non-Jews.

Q. Were barracks also used?

A. No.

Q. Only those two places?

A. I think so.  I never heard of any other.

Q. And the next day?

A. The next day, quite early in the morning, SS lorries with
lots of SS people arrived at the factories and work places.
The SS took control of all the telephones, and the people
working there were chased into the street without their
coats, without anything, in their work clothes, their
coloured aprons, men and women, as they were.

Q. Where were they taken?

A. The majority doubtless to Konzerthaus Clou.  Some, who
said immediately that they had Aryan spouses were perhaps
taken to Rosenstrasse.  I cannot remember the other places;
there may have been some, but I do not remember their names.

Q. What happened to these 8,000 people?

A. The 8,000 persons were detained in these places, and they
began, of course, to ask questions: What is happening to my
children, my children are at home, and where is my husband,
he works in the factory, he is not here!  The Jewish
Community began to organize its staff, in order to gather
the families together at least.  The children were brought
from the homes, where some of them had been locked in by
their parents, since there was no school any more and many
people did not know where to leave the children.  Attempts
were also made to unite husbands and wives.  These efforts
were almost completely successful, as far as the children
were concerned, but with the grown-ups it was more

Q. Where did these people finally end up?

A. Insofar as they were not entitled to go to Theresienstadt
or were married to Aryans - in the East.

Q. This was in March 1943, wasn't it?

A. No, February 1943.

Q. Were there additional transports in March?

A. Yes, of Community employees.

Q. Please tell us in brief what happened.

A. After the majority of the Jews of Berlin had been
deported in February, there was no longer a need for so many
officials, and in March two large transports of Community
employees were recruited, one of which went to the East, and
the other to Theresienstadt.

Presiding Judge: How many Community employees were there
before these transports?

Witness Henschel: I cannot say.

Q. Was it a matter of hundreds or thousands?

A. Certainly thousands, since hundreds could not have
managed to do the work in the many different institutions.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  What happened on 10 June, 1943?

Witness Henschel: On 10 June 1943, at 10 o'clock in the
morning, an SS man came to my husband's office at
Oranienburgerstrasse 10 and told him he was under arrest
since the Jewish Community had ceased to exist.

Q. When were you sent to Theresienstadt?

A. On 16 June 1943, we were taken from the Grosshamburger
assembly camp to the Puttlitzstrasse station.

Q. Together with how many people?

A. Together with about 300 bedridden patients and some who
could walk.

Q. Are many of those who went with you then alive today?

A. No, very few of our transport survived.

Q. Did those who went with you remain in Theresienstadt?

A. No, the majority were deported to the East, e.g., in
October 1944 alone - 18,000 persons.

Presiding Judge: When you and your husband went - were these
the last Jews of Berlin?

Witness Henschel: No.

Q. Who stayed behind?

A. When we had been in Theresienstadt for two or three
months, another full Jewish transport arrived, and then,
much later, in 1944, the mixed couples also came.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have questions?

Dr. Servatius:  I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: I did not quite understand what you told us
about the lack of cooperation on the part of the SS people
in Berlin.  Would you perhaps explain what you meant by

Witness Henschel: To put it simply, the SS in Berlin did not
show the same exceptional cruelty as the Viennese.

Judge Halevi:   You mentioned the deportation of 18,000 Jews
from Theresienstadt in October 1944.

Witness Henschel: Yes. This was spread over three weeks
approximately.  These were the so-called "voluntary" work

Q. Where were they sent?

A. Without a doubt to Auschwitz, all of them.

Q. I read in the lecture by your late husband, which was
presented here, also about 18,000 Jews, and I understood
that, in October 1944, 18,000 people arrived in
Theresienstadt, so that it became so crowded.

A. That was much later.  On 15 April 1945, many thousands
arrived in Theresienstadt from other camps which had been

Q. Your husband also mentioned that gas chambers were built
in Theresienstadt.

A. Yes.

Q. Do you also know about this?

A. Yes.  At the time it was not known to me, but there were
people in Theresienstadt who knew about it.  They were
inmates of Theresienstadt who had to build them.  That was
on the so-called Bastei (bastion).

Q. When did they build this?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  We shall submit more direct proof on
this matter.

Judge Halevi:  Only the date, if she knows it.

Witness Henschel: What date?

Q. Of the building of the gas chambers.

A. This was going on all the time.  When I arrived, it was
already beginning.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Mrs. Henschel.  You
have completed your evidence.  We shall end the Session now.
The next Session will be tomorrow at 9 a.m.

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