The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-048-06

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-048-06
Last-Modified: 1999/06/02

Q. Dr. Safran approached the Catholic clergy.  What were Dr.
Filderman's activities?

A. Dr. Filderman approached the Romanian Minister of the
Interior, and he was told, by the minister among others,
that this was German pressure.  The minister told Dr.
Filderman that his power extended as far as the river Prut.
Several embassies also intervened - the Swiss ambassador,
Rene de Weck, the Swedish ambassador, the Turkish charge
d'affaires, as well as the representatives of the
International Red Cross, Charles Kolb and von Steiger.

Q. What did these people do?

A. First of all they approached Queen Helena, the mother of
King Michael I.  They also turned to some ministers, and to
Antonescu.   After a short while, after a few hours, both
Dr. Safran and Dr. Filderman were informed that the
deportation had been stopped.

Q. Perhaps you will tell the Court again who was Dr.

A. Dr. Filderman was the president of the Union of Jewish
Communities in Romania and also the president of the Board
of the Jews of Romania.  He had great political experience.
He was also a deputy in the Romanian parliament.

Q. What was his position in general in Romanian political

A. He had been at high school together with Ion Antonescu.
Antonescu once told him that he was the only politician
within the Axis powers who still received a Jew.  Filderman
was constantly sending memoranda to Antonescu, also to Mihai
Antonescu, on all matters.

Q. Are you aware that at a certain stage Dr. Filderman was
arrested and deported?

A. Yes, he was finally deported to Transnistria at the
initiative or Radu Lecca, or Richter.  Radu Lecca was all
the time in league with Richter.  Dr. Filderman had been in
a meeting with Radu Lecca.  He objected to a tax of four
billion Lei.  He said that it was impossible - this was 1943
- to collect such an amount from the Jews; it was a very big

Presiding Judge: How much is four billion Lei?

Witness Loewenstein:  It is a huge sum.

State Attorney Bach:  About how much, compared to our money?

Witness Loewenstein:  I am unable to tell you now.

Q. Comparatively, at that time?

A. Several million dollars.  With all their pressure they
collected no more than seven million Lei, they did not get
even one billion.

Q. And because of his objection to this, Filderman was
arrested and sent to Transnistria?

A. Yes.

Judge Halevi:  When was this?

Witness Loewenstein:  In 1943, in May 1943.

State Attorney Bach:  We shall submit more detailed
documents about Dr. Filderman and about the activities of
Richter and Lecca with respect to this matter.

[To the witness] At the beginning of your evidence, you
mentioned a visit to your office by Richter and Lecca, when
you actually saw them.  Can you give the Court details about
this visit?

Witness Loewenstein:  This was in the summer of 1942.
Suddenly Richter and Radu Lecca came into my office. Richter
did not speak to me, only Lecca said a few words.  I heard
that they had visited all the offices of the Jewish Centre.
Some time later a very strongly-worded article against me
appeared in the Bukarester Tageblatt.  It spoke of "Dr.
Loewenstein - Juedischer Scribent und Gegner des
Nationalsozialismus" (Dr.Loewenstein - Jewish penpusher and
enemy of National Socialism).  That same day I was forced to
leave my work there.

Q. Perhaps you will explain why you had to leave your work
on the same day?

A. Dr. Gingold, the head of the Jewish Centre, said that
after that article, it was impossible for me to continue.

Q. What were you accused of in the article, what did it say
about you?

A. It quoted all the articles I had written against the
National Socialists, and also my book against National
Socialism, and said that my place was not in the office of
the Jewish Centre, but in a concentration camp.

Presiding Judge: When did you write the book against the

Witness Loewenstein:  In 1939.  But I wrote articles against
Nazism even before Hitler came to power, not only in the
Jewish press, but also in leftist democratic papers of that

State Attorney Bach:  How long were Richter and Lecca in
your office?

Witness Loewenstein:  Fifteen minutes, I think, not more
than fifteen minutes.

Q. What was your occupation after you had to leave your

A. I returned to my position of school director and teacher.

Q. Can you also tell the Court something about the
underground halutzic activities of the Romanian Jews during
that period?

A. After the liquidation of the Zionist Organization, the
Zionist leadership also went underground, and so did the
"Brit Hanoar Hahalutzi" (Federation of Pioneer Youth), in
other words, all the youth organizations.  They started by
organizing assistance for Transnistria, and then they
organized different work places.  It was possible to have
special groups of halutzim within the forced labour
batallions.  It is interesting that one of these groups
worked on Radu Lecca's estate, naturally without payment.

Later on, rescue points were organized on the Hungarian
border and also on the border with Poland.  Several of the
halutzim crossed the border into Hungary and also into
Poland, wearing German uniforms, and returned with refugees
from there.  They paid the drivers of the "Todt
Organization" for these trips and brought back the refugees.
In 1944 Antonescu's Law was published - the death penalty
for every refugee from Poland or Hungary.  The president of
the Aliyah Committee, Sissu, then went to see Mihai
Antonescu, and he repealed this law in a secret circular.
From Hungary there came about two thousand refugees - and we
have figures - and from Poland even more.  There was a
constant stream, even before the occupation of Poland, there
was a stream of refugees.

In the spring of 1944, the halutzim organized for self-
defence.  They bought weapons from the Germans and the
Italians and prepared strongholds, in order to defend the
Jewish quarter.

Presiding Judge: In Bucharest?

Witness Loewenstein:  Yes, in Bucharest.  There were almost
200,000 Jews in Bucharest at that time, and they were
concentrated there.  We heard that the final operation by
the Germans would be some pogrom in Bucharest.

State Attorney Bach:  Dr. Loewenstein, I still have two
questions for you: Can you tell the Court what was the scale
of Jewish forced labour in Romania, what was the size of the
forced labour camps, what was the extent of recruitment for
this labour?

Witness Loewenstein:  At first this was introduced without a
law, that is from September until January 1941 the
Greenshirts organized such batallions.  Then the law
appeared: Instead of the army, instead of belonging to the
Romanian army, one had to be in these camps.  But some of
these batallions worked for the Germans, for example, in the
Danube ports or on German airfields.

Q. One final question: Was there a large Jewish population
in Arad?

A. Yes.

Q. About how many Jews lived there?

A. I have no idea now, I don't know.

State Attorney Bach:  Thank you very much.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions
for the witness?

Dr. Servatius I have only one question.  At the beginning of
your interrogation you said that the first pogroms were
started by the Iron Guard.  Can you say what was the origin
of the anti-Semitic mood in Bucharest?

Witness Loewenstein:  Even before Hitler came to power many
anti-Semitic newspapers began to appear suddenly, with
German financing, that was clear.  And all the time there
was a lot of incitement and defamation.

Q. Were there also before, prior to this, excesses against
the Jews?

A. There were persecutions, but pogroms on such a scale did
not occur in Romania.  I do not remember any.

Dr. Servatius I have no more questions.

State Attorney Bach:  Were the earlier persecutions which
you have mentioned organized by the government?

Witness Loewenstein:  What period are you referring to?

Q. To the pre-German period.

A. Yes, there were cases when the government organized these
pogroms in order to divert public opinion from some
difficult social or economic problem.  But that was anti-
Semitism of quite a different kind.

Q. Thats what I wanted to ask you: What is the difference
between various kinds of anti-Semitism?

A. Anti-Semitism has always existed in Romania.  That is the
truth.  That is correct.  But Romanian anti-Semitism was in
particular economic anti-Semitism, based on a sense of
competition, of envy, not to let the Jews get ahead in the
professions, etc.  And even after Hitler came to power, the
race theory was almost non-existent.  The Iron Guard also
used religious superstitions.  They were a Christian
nationalist movement.  That was also the name of Professor
Cuza's movement, but without the race theory.

State Attorney Bach:  Thank you very much.

Judge Raveh:   Dr. Loewenstein, you have mentioned Hoettl's
memoirs.  Have they appeared as a book, or in any other

Witness Loewenstein:  As a book.  I have a page from it

State Attorney Bach:  The book appeared under the name 5Die
geheime Front (The Secret Front), ostensibly by Willi Hagen,
but in fact the author was Hoettl; he published the book.

Judge Raveh:   When was the book published?

Witness Loewenstein:  Some years after the War.

Q. Do you know when he wrote these memoirs?

A. I presume it was after the War.

Q. I should like to hear if you know whether he wrote the
book immediately after the War or after many years had

A. I do not know.

Q. Can you tell me what period these memoirs cover, to what
years they refer?

A. He was the commander of South-East Europe.

Q. The commander of what?

A. Of the Security Service.

Presiding Judge: That is, in fact, the counter-espionage.

State Attorney Bach:  Actually he was in Department VI of
the Head Office for Reich Security.

Witness Loewenstein:  He says, more or less, that in October
1940 they sent instructors to organize the Greenshirts.

Judge Raveh:   Perhaps one can see in the book when it was
published.  Perhaps it says when it appeared?

Witness Loewenstein:  I do not have the book here.

State Attorney Bach:  We have the book, and we shall gladly
put it at the disposal of the Court.

Judge Raveh:   You have used the expressions SA and SS of
the Iron Guard.  What did you mean by this?

Witness Loewenstein:  I meant the military arm of the Iron
Guard party.

Q. All of them Romanians?

A. Yes.

Q. You did not mean Germans?

A. No, the Greenshirts were the SS of the Romanians, of the
Iron Guard.

Q. The information which you yourself, or all of you,
received from Transnistria - when did you receive it?

A. Still during the War.

Q. How?

A.  We also managed to send representatives of the
Assistance Committee.  There was an official Assistance
Committee in Transnistria, and the Zionist Organization also
sent representatives to this committee who travelled to
Transnistria.  That was in 1943.  Members of the youth
movement as well as adults were on this committee.  I
remember what they told us when they returned.

Q. Were they allowed to travel?

A. Yes, officially.

Q. Who gave the permission?

A. The government of Romania.  The heads of the
International Red Cross, Charles Kolb and von Steiger, also
received permission, and the Nuncio, Umberto Cassulo, was
also in Transnistria.  And then - this is very interesting -
the Romanian Ministry of the Interior transmitted a million
and a half Lei to the Central Board of the Jews from the
Pope for the Assistance Committee, for the purpose of
assistance activities in Transnistria.

Q. Did they have free access there?

A. Yes.

Q. My last question: You said about the losses in the
Holocaust in Romania that your estimate is 300,000, but you
also said that there is a dispute about the figures.
Perhaps you can tell us what is the lowest estimate and what
is the highest?

A. The lowest estimate is a quarter of a million.  Where
does the difference stem from?  From the fact that we use
the last demographic count, of 1930.  Obviously, the number
of Jews must have grown over the ten-year interval.

Q. Is there an estimate of more than 300,000?

A. No.

Q. Is this the highest estimate?

A. Yes, this is the highest estimate.

Judge Halevi:  Dr. Loewenstein, you said that you received
Jewish refugees from Poland and from Hungary.  I assume that
those from Hungary came only in 1944 and that those from
Poland arrived already earlier?

Witness Loewenstein:  They arrived after the occupation of
Poland in 1939, and there was always a great struggle with
the Romanian Government, or rather with the Germans.  The
Germans wanted to receive these refugees and return them to
Poland.  That is when Filderman and the other Jewish leaders
intervened.  They said that these were political refugees,
and that the government of Romania was responsible for them
as political refugees.

Q. Did the refugees bring you information about the

A. Yes.

Q. Did you know exactly what was happening in the area
occupied by the Germans?

A. We not only knew, we also sent [information].  There are
copies in Richter's file.   We sent information through a
messenger from the Swiss embassy about the operations in
Sugatin, Kolomyia, Lemberg, and also about the revolt in the
Warsaw Ghetto.

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