The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

We gather from Wetzel's letter, that Eichmann gave his
approval in principle to the use of gas as early as October
1941.  In this letter, mention is also made of Eichmann's
action in dispatching Jews from the Reich to the camps in
Minsk and Riga.  His claim that one page attached to that
letter, which contains a note in handwriting, ought to be
examined by a graphologist - cannot be entertained.  If
Defence Counsel had wanted to do so, he had the opportunity
of having such an examination made.  At any rate, the letter
in its final form, and also the typewritten draft, contain
Eichmann's name twice; and the letter was submitted without
objection or argument.  Eichmann does not deny his contacts
with Wetzel who handled Jewish affairs in the Ministry for
the Eastern Occupied Territories.  He admits, in the end,
that the subject of gases was considered at a meeting of the
Heads of Sections in Department IV.  He acknowledged all the
time that he had witnessed the use of gas in the
extermination vans at Chelmno.

Weighty corroboration of the evidence on the supply of gas
by Eichmann's office is to be found in the Gerstein
documents.  He was the man who tried, already during the
War, to alert the whole world, through the Swedish
Government, against the crimes of the Nazis, and who
committed suicide in a French gaol after the War.  He
confirms that Guenther, Eichmann's deputy, twice ordered
poison gas from him - for the first time in 1942 - and in
1944 consulted him about the possibility of killing the
remnants of the inmates of Theresienstadt.  Gerstein gave a
detailed account of the scene of extermination at Belzec, of
the tasks assigned to him in connection with the supply of
the gas and, at the end of document T/1313(C) he added that
Guenther demanded of him to make arrangements to replace the
method of killing at Belzec with cyanide gas, instead of
using the exhaust of a Diesel engine.

This is additional testimony in the chain of evidence on the
direct responsibility of Eichmann and his Section in regard
to the supply of the gas.  Here, it was difficult for
Eichmann to claim that the evidence was false, or that
Gerstein had tried to ascribe the guilt to others.
Accordingly, the story was concocted here, in our honour,
about the secret mission which Mueller supposedly entrusted
to Guenther on the subject.  However, he does have a
somewhat "foggy" recollection on the question of the gases
in which Guenther was involved - so he says - but he does
not remember anything, and he can only give evidence in
accordance with the documents.

Eichmann admitted that he knew in advance that he was going
to be questioned on the subject of the gas.  He admitted
that he had heard about the Gerstein report while he was
still in Argentina.  The whole story of the "special
mission" by Mueller is pure invention. It is possible that
Mueller indeed was in the habit of assigning special
missions to his deputies, or to Section Heads, but - as
Huppenkothen testified - he did so mainly as regards
communist affairs.

Rudolf Hoess made it clear, in the chapter in his biography
that he wrote about Mueller, that in regard to Jewish
affairs Mueller used to give the Section a free hand.  It
could have been that Mueller, at some time, would impose a
limited, one-time assignment on some minor official, if he
had reason to conceal the assignment from the Head of the
Section, if the minor official was more loyal or more versed
in the matter; but Eichmann actually acknowledges himself
that he was aware throughout all these years of the use of
gas.  Why should they conceal from him the fact that it was
being supplied?  Surely he knew that the gas was arriving
from some place or other.  And if, as he said, the Head
Office for Reich Security did not have any connection at all
with the conduct of the camps, and if they did not have any
part whatsoever in the methods of extermination - what
purpose was there at all for any action by Mueller - by
means of a special secret mission or otherwise by Guenther
or by Eichmann?  What did Mueller have to do with the supply
of gas?

The conclusion which emerges irresistibly, from all these
facts is that Wetzel's letter, in conjunction with Gerstein
Report, the testimonies of Hoess and Wisliceny, Eichmann's
search for a solution that did not turn men into sadists,
prove his role in the matter of extermination by gas in two
respects: the suggestion to use gas and its supply to the
death camps.

The operation "Removing the Traces" of the murder was also
dealt with by him.  Wisliceny bears witness that the Death
Brigade 1005 was subject to Eichmann's orders, despite the
fact that its commander, Blobel, was one rank higher.  Von
dem Bach-Zelewski - a Defence witness - testified that, in
allocating tasks to men, Himmler had regard to their
personal abilities, that it was not the rank but the
standing that mattered.  Accordingly, it was not surprising
that Blobel, who was stationed with Eichmann - as the latter
himself confirmed - should be placed under his command at
the last atrocious stage of opening the graves and burning
the corpses.  Blobel was the same man who, according to
Hoess, showed him, Hoess, the extermination installation at
Chelmno. on the instructions of Eichmann.  Hoess also
confirmed that Blobel was subordinate to Eichmann and that,
while in this position, he carried out the great operation
of  removing the traces.  He again confirms this in the
chapter dealing with the Final Solution.

The Court will recollect the testimonies of Dr. Leon Wells
about the operation of opening thousands of graves, the
cremation of the bodies and the grinding of the bones.  The
account which Dr. Wells gave of the opening of the grave in
which his own body was supposed to have been buried, and how
he and his companions searched for a long time for body
number 182, this story sounded like a nightmare in a lunatic

The witness Reznik described the same operation.  The Court
will remember the description of the mother who was
discovered in her grave with a two-year old baby, wearing a
white smock and white shoes, lying on top of her.

I shall not add to these quotations, but would ask the Court
to peruse these testimonies, together with the rest of the

Another chapter of which Eichmann would like to wash his
hands, is the demand by the Head Office for Reich Security
addressed to Rosenberg, the Minister for the Eastern
Occupied Territories, in connection with the treatment of
the remnants of the Jews in that region.  The instructions
are contained in the "Brown File."  The Head Office for
Reich Security notified Rosenberg that there was a need for
"amendments" in the Brown File.  Heydrich gave orders that
Adolf Eichmann, "the official dealing with Jewish affairs"
(Sachbearbeiter fuer Judenfragen), should formulate these
amendments.  Now Eichmann wants to escape from the affair,
as if he were running away from a fire.  For the
"amendments" were terrible, dealing with death and
announcing destruction, and they join him through an
additional link to the extermination in the eastern regions.
In his evidence he tries to throw dust in our eyes.  He
relates that Heydrich, in fact, did write the letter wherein
he assigned this task to him, but in the draft there appears
a correction of two words in handwriting, and now he
identifies this handwriting as that of the secretary of
Department II.  Here, according to him, is the proof that
Wilfinger of Department II, and not he, framed the
"amendments" to the Brown File.

However, it is clear that this time, too, he is lying.  The
"amendments" were worded according to the decisions of the
Wannsee Conference, and they were written nine days after
it.  Eichmann, and not Wilfinger, took part in the Wannsee
Conference.  It was Department II that informed Rosenberg
that Eichmann, and no one else, would draw up the
amendments, and this was signed by Heydrich.  And why should
there be any doubt of the fact that the person dealing with
Jewish affairs - the "Referent" for implementing the Wannsee
decisions - would also convey the wishes of the Head Office
for Reich Security to Rosenberg?

And who was Wilfinger?  He was a member of the legal
Section, and, according to the scheme for the division of
duties, he co-operated with all the Sections; he certainly
participated in meetings at which documents were drafted, at
which legal problems arose, and certainly he, too, had a
share and took part in this murderous activity; but the
policy of direct extermination, the practical part of the
Final Solution - that was Eichmann's business and not that
of the legal adviser of the Head Office for Reich Security.

And in the countries of Western Europe, to the north and to
the south, the widespread campaign continued where, in every
capital of a satellite country or in every centre in the
occupied territory, there was a representative, subject - it
is true - in a formal sense to someone else, but who
received direct instructions from Eichmann.

Presiding Judge: Referring once again to the "Brown File,"
is there any proof of what ultimately happened to the Brown
File?  Was it completed, and did it serve as directives in
the Eastern Occupied Territories?

Attorney General: Your Honour, there were several files, as
we know from the Nuremberg documents.  There was a Green
File; there was, so I believe, a file of another colour, the
name of which I cannot recall at the present moment, and
there was the "Brown File."  Later these were, in the end,
the instructions according to which Rosenberg operated.

Presiding Judge: Do we have any proof of that?

Attorney General: Yes, in Rosenberg's trial.

Presiding Judge: The judgment in that case was not
submitted.  Was Rosenberg one of the accused in the main

Attorney General: In the I.M.T. - certainly.

There was a co-ordinated assault on ancient Jewish centres
in France, Holland, Belgium and Slovakia, on the communities
in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania, of Norway, Denmark,
Greece and Italy.  And simultaneously, activity continued in
the Reich and in the Protectorate.  The net of round-ups was
spread throughout occupied Europe, and Jews were caught up
in it in hundreds of thousands.

From these countries, a wealth of documents has been
preserved, to some of which we shall refer in the written
summing-up which we shall submit.  Suffice it to point out
here to the conferences that Eichmann summoned, in order to
give instructions, to exercise control, and to lay down
directives which were binding on all the Jewish advisers.
He admitted in his interrogation that these men, who were
summoned by him and who operated throughout the length and
breadth of Europe, were indeed engaged in marking the Jews,
locating them, and speeding up their dispatch to the East.

It was not enough for Eichmann that those engaged in the
operation came to him from time to time.  He went to them.
He visited all the countries where Jews were being hunted
down and deported - at least the more important ones amongst
them - and ordered these men to remain in contact for the
purpose of carrying out his instructions; he worked hard
with them, and stimulated them into activity.  He denied
ever meeting Naumann, but document T/563 refutes this.  It
proves that he participated in a meeting together with
Naumann, at which there was a consultation on the
deportations, the directives and the increase of rewards to
informers who handed over the Jews who were in hiding.  He
laid down the instructions as to where the Jews should be
taken.  We know of three destinations from these documents -
Auschwitz, Trawniki near Lublin, and Izbica near Lublin.

When questioned about the aim of his deportations, Eichmann
said - and I quote his words from Session 93, (Vol. IV, p.
xxxx: "Anyhow, I, at any rate, never denied that, to my
great regret, the deported Jews were sent to their death. I
could not deny that."

Indeed, Eichmann could not deny that, since it is impossible
to deny the validity of tens and hundreds of documents by
allegations of forgery, errors or inept wording. In his
police interrogation he admitted that he was the authority
for deportation to extermination camps (T/37, p. 1766).

Sometimes he was the one who determined the destination -
whether it was to be Auschwitz or in the direction of Cholm,
as it says in many documents.  The meaning of "the direction
of Cholm" emerges from the geographical situation of the
town of Chelm, in the centre of Globocnik's district, from
where it was easy to distribute the deportees to various
extermination camps in that area.

In the official Polish report on the extermination camp,
Sobibor, it says that it is situated on the Chelm-Woldowa-
Brisk line.  Whoever gave orders to send Jews in the
direction of Cholm, or in the direction of Auschwitz, signed
their death warrant.

The tremendous quantity of documents testifies to the
eagerness, the method and the guiding hand - not only does
he write and speak in the form of "I" - and there is no
indication that the "I" refers to someone else - but he also
writes "my office in Paris," "my office in Oslo," "my office
at The Hague."  This is how he writes and expresses himself
about his various branch offices.  From the Sassen Document
- from that part which was admitted in evidence for the
purpose of testing the credibility of his testimony - we
learned how he ruled over Richter in Romania - and we know
how this Richter operated - in dealing with the Jews of
Romania, and also in bypassing the German Foreign Ministry.
Dannecker did not sign the contract to receive the twenty
thousand Jews of Bulgaria until he obtained Eichmann's
confirmation on the telephone.  Incidentally, in his
interrogation, Eichmann acknowledged also the accuracy of
the passage dealing with Richter.

He pulled all the strings, he executed all the operations of
locating, concentrating and dispatching.  When I asked him
what was his concern with postal arrangements in the
Westerbork camp in Holland, he agreed in the end that he
dealt with that because it had to do with Jews, and after
evasions under cross-examination, he finally admitted that
every individual item which related to Jews and which
reached the Gestapo was his Section's affair. (Session 98,
Vol. IV, p. xxxx). "This office was declared by all the
relevant parties to be the recognized institution for the
solution of the Jewish Question."  This is how Dannecker
expressed himself in his letter in which he crowned Heydrich
with the title "Commissar of the Jews in Europe" (T/400).

Again we realize the powerful status of Eichmann's Section.
His representative, Roethke, goes to conduct negotiations
with Pierre Laval, Prime Minister of France at the time, in
matters concerning the expulsion of the Jews.  He threatened
Roethke once, when there had been a hitch in the dispatch of
a particular train to the East, that he would be obliged to
consider whether, in these circumstances, he should not
remove France from the list of countries destined for the
deportation of Jews.

Roethke's file minute, which includes this threat, has the
weight of a hundred witnesses; for Roethke was perfectly at
home in Gestapo affairs, and the very fact that he was taken
aback by the threat and that he begged for mercy, lest
Eichmann carry out this terrible threat, and that he
promised that, from then on, everything would be in order -
this fact testifies that in Roethke's view Eichmann could
have implemented his threat, and that his fear was a real
one.  From this minute, we also obtain additional
corroboration, both on the reports of the Jewish conferences
which he summoned, with the participation of his advisers in
the countries of occupation, and also on the statement which
Goering made to Justice Musmanno, to the effect that
Eichmann was able to determine the order of the countries
whose Jews were destined for deportation.

 We heard the same account from Eichmann himself in the
passage which appears in the Sassen Document I have already
mentioned, how he was obliged to struggle against
difficulties in every single country, and how he had to
pressure the countries of the West, in order to squeeze the
Jews out of them.

In his Statement to the police, he admitted that his
emissaries in foreign countries were bound, in the first
place, to obtain a legal basis everywhere for carrying out
the deportations.  That was their first task, he said:
Roethke strove to achieve that with Laval, and in the East,
Richter negotiated with Antonescu; and Dannecker contended
with the Bulgarian Government; Wisliceny arranged matters
with the Slovak Government; in Hungary the task fell to the
lot of Eichmann himself.  Eichmann's domination in these
matters was so great that the German Foreign Ministry was
obliged to apologize to him, on one occasion, for dealing
with Jewish matters in an urgent case in an emergency in
Vichy France, without consulting him, since at that time he
was away on an official journey.  When he was questioned on
this point by his own counsel, he was full of astonishment
and said that such a step was not customary...and when he
was cross-examined, his astonishment vanished, and he said
that this was the practice and that they were, indeed,
obliged to have him take part in that operation.

The appointment of Du Paty de Clam, the general commissar
for Jewish affairs in Vichy France, was also his concern,
and he recommended his appointment most enthusiastically.
Thus we see the web of direct action, the active assistance,
everywhere in fulfilling the task of the Jewish Section of
the Gestapo.

Presiding Judge: Have you managed to cover more than was

Attorney General: No, but this is the end of this chapter,
and I shall not be able to commence another chapter and end
it.  I shall complete my plan, as I explained in chambers.

Presiding Judge: If that is so, let us adjourn now. The next
Session will be tomorrow morning at 8.30.

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