The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-088-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-088-02
Last-Modified: 1999/06/11

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you mean the general
instructions to senior SS commanders, or the special
instructions on Hungary?

Dr. Servatius:  There was a document which dealt generally
with instructions, and it said, "Senior SS and police
officers are to deal with Jewish matters."

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you would care to check.  I
remember general instructions, but I do not remember any
special reference to Jewish matters.  But you may be able to
find it.

Dr. Servatius:  I shall clarify the matter and inform the

Witness, General Winkelmann does not say that he reproached
you.  He says: "After the presentation I had my own thoughts
on the matter."  So he did not say anything to you.  Is that
actually what happened?

Accused:    The situation was that I received my
instructions and orders from him as my superior.  I have no
idea what sort of thoughts he had.

Dr. Servatius:  Now, let us turn to witness Huppenkothen.
Did you often come and see Kaltenbrunner without going
through Mueller, something which other people could not do?
In other words, were you in a special position, both with
regard to Kaltenbrunner, and Heydrich before him?

Accused:    No, I always went through the official channels,
and I always complied with official channels.  And precisely
when Kaltenbrunner became Chief of the Security Police and
the Security Service, I was extra careful to respect
official channels to the letter, so that, because of the
fact that it was general knowledge that both Kaltenbrunner
and I came from Linz on the Danube, in Upper Austria, people
would not get jealous or have some other feelings.  From
that point onwards, once he became Chief of the Security
Police and the Security Service, I was extra careful to make
sure that there was at least the same distance between him
and me as the other specialist officers had to respect.
There was just one exception to this attitude - in April
1945, at Altaussee, where there was a slight dropping off in
the rigid...when the rigid formalities which had been
observed until then were somewhat relaxed, but that was
already right at the end of the War.

Judge Halevi:  I have another question in this respect: Was
Mueller always in Berlin, or if he was not always available,
did you then not go directly to Heydrich or Kaltenbrunner?

Accused:    Mueller was practically always in Berlin.  As
far as I know, Mueller was never ill, and I was really
surprised that Huppenkothen says that Mueller was once ill
for a short time, and Mueller must have been away briefly
once, two or three days, say, and there is a document from
that time signed by Schellenberg, his deputy.  So I had to
go and see his deputy, and I was not able to go directly to
the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service.

Dr. Servatius:  A question about Juettner's deposition.
General Juettner intervened because of the foot march.  Did
he send for you, and did you get someone to say you were not
there, and send a young officer to see him?

Accused:    If an SS general or an army general had sent for
me, then I would have gone myself; there is no question of
my sending a substitute.

Dr. Servatius:  About Grell's deposition: In the late autumn
of 1944, did you have a conversation with Grell and make
comments on the extermination of the Jews, about numbers and
such like?

Accused:    I talked to Grell a great deal and very often,
and I cannot deny that it may have been in the late autumn.
But it is impossible that I would have talked about the
numbers of exterminated Jews, because I did not have the
figures myself.  As for the numbers who went off on the
transports, I had the documents there, that is possible, but
I could not have discussed any other definitions, because I
myself did not know.

Dr. Servatius:  In his statement he says: "Eichmann said he
was considered to be War Criminal No. 1 and had six million
on his conscience."  He was talking about enemies of the
state in the late autumn of 1944.

Accused:    I have never stated that I have anyone's death
on my conscience - that is something that I could and would
have had to do if I had given the orders, but I did not give
the orders.  I only talked about anything like that once,
and that was right at the end, before I was sent to the
Tyrol, around 10 or 15 April 1945.  Zoepf from Holland had
been at my Section that day, and he saw that everything was
about to collapse, and - to put it in vulgar parlance - he
blubbered just like a child, he was so frightened.

I then informed the officers present that in my opinion it
really was all over, that the Reich had collapsed - and I
admit what I read - that it would be correct if it said
that, as far as I am concerned, I could quite happily jump
into the pit in the knowledge that five million enemies of
the Reich are already inside, too.  In saying this word or
these words, I was not thinking of the Jews at all - that is
already made clear by the fact that the enemy who was
knocking at our gate then was the Russian and the American
bomber fleet - those are the enemies I was referring to, and
I stand by what I said, because those were my words.  But
those are the words which were subsequently hawked around
and twisted - everyone used them as he saw fit, and that is
how all these variations came about; I have no other way of
explaining it.

And finally I would also like to point out that one has to
understand the way I felt at the time. I admit it,
personally I was at the end of my tether, the Reich in which
I believed was about to collapse, there was nothing more I
myself could do, and quite obviously for a nationalist - and
at that time I was a nationalist - it was bitter to stand
there at such an hour, to look on helplessly at what was
happening, and I do not think I am the only person in the
world who uses such expressions at times like those.  I
think I would go so far as to say that if I had praised the
enemies of the Reich who were blasting the Reich to pieces
at that point, that would have been unusual.

Dr. Servatius:  As far as witnesses Kappler and Slawik are
concerned, I should like to ensure that, if necessary, I can
ask the Accused later ...

Presiding Judge: If you wish to do so now, there is no
objection to doing so; in any case, we will receive these
depositions later.  These are the depositions which have not
yet arrived, are they not?  You have not received them
either, have you?  Well, if that is the case, we have no
alternative but to ask the Accused for his position at some
later stage.  I did not quite understand the point.

Dr. Servatius:  I have a final question to the witness.  You
carried out the transports to the various camps, did you
not?  Did you know that at least some of these people were
killed in the camps?

Accused:    I had to carry out the transports in accordance
with my orders.  And I was also aware of the fact that some
of these people were killed in the camps.  That I must admit
according to the truth.

Dr. Servatius:  In your interrogation by the police you said
that you felt guilty; will you tell the Court what your
attitude to the question of guilt is now?

Accused:    In my case today, some sixteen to twenty-four
years have elapsed since the events, and a great deal that
was true then ceased being true quite a long time ago.  This
question of guilt feelings is a very difficult one to answer
today, and I think in my reply I really must distinguish
between the legal point of view and that of human guilt.

As for the deeds of which I am accused, they concern taking
part in the deportations.  Since this was a political
directive, I believe that only the person who bears or bore
the responsibility for this political decision can have a
guilt feeling in the legal sense, since in the absence of
responsibility, there can in the end be no guilt.  And so,
as a result of my reflections, I would conclude that
responsibility must be examined here in its legal sense.  As
long as there is no overall political solution to people
living together, I believe that the basis of all organized
states is order and obedience.  No political system can
seriously be based on spies and traitors.

In order to increase security, the leadership of the state
makes use of a compelling means, namely of the oath.  Thus
it is up to the head of state to take the responsibility, to
have a conscience, and we were constantly lectured - both
orally and in writing - on the fact that we must trust the
leadership.  Where the state leadership is good, the
subordinate is lucky; where it is bad, he is unlucky.  I was
unlucky, because the head of state at that time issued the
order to exterminate the Jews.  My participation in the
deportations resulted from the fact that the highest
authority for SS police jurisdiction, Himmler, gave the
orders for the deportations to the Chief of the Security
Police and the Security Service, who had judicial authority
over me.  He put my former chief, SS Gruppenfuehrer and
Police Lieutenant General Mueller in charge of
implementation.  And from him I received my orders in those
matters which were within the competence of my Section,
according to the organization chart.

The criminal code of the SS and police jurisdiction
specifies that the penalty for disobedience is death.  The
provisions concerning matters to be kept under lock and key,
for preserving state secrets, all have sections about terms
of imprisonment with hard labour and the death penalty.  I
had exhausted, on my part, all legal possibilities of
getting another posting.  Even my transfer from the Security
Service to Secret State Police Headquarters in the autumn of
1939 was against my own wishes, in accordance with an order
that was issued.  I had to obey.  I was in uniform.  It was
wartime.  Even when I was thinking in 1950 about leaving
Germany and going overseas, I was not thinking in terms of
feeling guilty in the juridical sense, but rather because of
the political situation and for family reasons.

My position was exactly the same as that of millions of
other people who had to obey.  The difference is simply that
I had a much more difficult task to perform, in accordance
with my orders.  All those who took part, and who maintain
that it was perfectly easy, or at least not particularly
dangerous, to avoid carrying out an order are not going into
detail about their own acts.  It is being said that there is
always the possibility of evading service by pleading
illness.  Well, a General, for instance, has many ways of
doing so; a subordinate cannot do so, because if it is found
out that this illness is a pretence, there will be
consequences, and anyway there is the oath against that sort
of thing.  For example, in his speech at Posen, Himmler says
- and he was only speaking of SS Generals - that they could
be transferred to another post, if they felt that they were
not up to it.  But if the order is maintained, it must be

Someone in an inferior position cannot shirk his duty,
particularly if he is a bearer of state secrets.  He could
shoot himself, that is true.  People who say that you could
oppose obeying an order mostly declare that they themselves
did not know anything about extermination of persons, so
they were not bearers of secrets.  The SS and police courts
used to apply very stringent standards to the lower
echelons, and if there had been any manifest disobedience to
orders, they had to give a correspondingly severe sentence.

As for guilt in the ethical sense, any admission of one's
own guilt to one's innermost self, that is something
entirely different. That lies in areas totally inaccessible
to the rules and regulations of a legal order.  Here you
argue with yourself, and you are your own judge.  I have
done it in my own case, and I am still doing it.

In conclusion, it remains for me, in reply to this question,
to make a statement and a confession.  I regret and denounce
the extermination activities against the Jews ordered by the
German leaders of that time.  However, I myself could not
jump over my own shadow.  I was simply a tool in the hands
of stronger powers and stronger forces, and of an inexorable
fate.  That is what I wanted to say on this question.

Judge Halevi:  Perhaps I could ask you why you did not
submit yourself to a court in Germany in 1950, instead of
leaving the country?

Accused:    In Germany... I had the impression and the
feeling - it was more than a feeling, it was something I was
convinced of - that I would not be judged fairly in Germany,
that I would be convicted first and foremost for political
reasons, and that I was not ready to accept, and that is why
I did not give myself up of my own free will.  It was not a
question of not having the courage.  I have also declared
that I would have been willing to submit myself to a court
at any time, as long as I was sure that it would be a proper
legal trial and not something dictated by some political
point of view of other.

Dr. Servatius:  I have no further questions to the witness.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Dr. Servatius.  Later this
morning we shall begin the cross-examination, and as you
know, there may yet be re-examination after the cross-

There is something else I should like to clarify at this
stage.  Dr. Servatius has mentioned that he would like to
submit part of his address to the Court - I am referring now
to the closing stages of the proceedings - in writing.  I
have already said that our law makes no provision for such a
written submission.  However, the Court is prepared to make
things easier for Counsel for the Defence, if that would
suit him better.  However, I should like to ask the Attorney
General for his opinion on the matter as well.  The reason
why I am doing this now is because I assume that if Dr.
Servatius wishes to prepare written pleadings, then he will
wish to begin now, and I do not want his work to be in vain.

Attorney General: I gather, Sir, that we are talking about
part of the summing-up.  The normal practice is such that if
differences of opinion on the accuracy of facts arise during
the summing-up for the Defence, I can get up and interrupt
Counsel for the Defence and indicate the way I see things.
I would not have such a possibility in respect of a document
which is submitted to the Court.  Consequently, if the Court
will allow me, after looking at the partial written summing-
up, I should like to be able to add my own comments on the
document, also in writing - they do not have to be made
orally.  On my part, I agree to this procedure, as long as
it is limited to part of the summing-up only, most of the
address being made orally, as prescribed by our legal

Presiding Judge: Indeed, I assumed that it was a question of
references from the evidence submitted, quotations and such
like.  We would also prefer the main body of the submission
to be made orally in court, in order to avoid deviating too
much from normal procedure.  I think your last requirement
is a reasonable one.  Naturally, it has to be added that
even in this procedure the Defence must have the last word.
That means that if the Attorney General makes written
comments on the written submission, then the Defence must
have a last opportunity of reacting to any such comments.

Attorney General: Yes, that is clear.

Dr. Servatius:  Your Honour, I was not thinking of a written
summing-up, but rather of a summary of the points at issue,
in the shape of a closing brief.  It would be a compilation
of the factual arguments of the Prosecution as against the
arguments for the Defence, without any further legal
submissions in the form of a written brief, but it is more a
question of giving an overview of all the material, to allow
ready identification of individual points, because otherwise
it will be very difficult for the Court to trace passages
referred to in the address, whether they are contained in
documents or were referred to in Counsel's arguments.

That then is the aim of this presentation: not a summing-up,
but rather so as to allow the summing-up to be relieved of
all these minor points of detail, so afterwards it might be
said: "Yes, that was...that is not disputed," whilst here,
by this comparison, it will be quite clear that this was the
view of the Prosecution, and that was the view of the
Defence.  It may not actually be possible to submit this at
the same time as the closing address. It may take a week to
complete.  But I think it is very useful, and will be
helpful to the Court as well, particularly if the case goes
further to another court, because otherwise it will be
hopeless to find one's way through this mountain of

Presiding Judge: All right, according to our criminal
procedure, we have to take this upon ourselves.  But as you
have put it now, I think this will be acceptable, and I
assume that the Attorney General will agree to what Dr.
Servatius has just now described as his final written

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: Very well, in that case I gather that after
the oral summing-up by Counsel for the Defence, with which
the public sessions will terminate, the Court will receive
this written addendum within a week or so, and then the
Attorney General will have some days to reply in writing,
and then Counsel for the Defence will have a short time to
reply to the Attorney General's comments, if he will find
that necessary.

Dr. Servatius:  I thank the Court.

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