Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Judgment/Judgment-057 Last-Modified: 1999/05/27 177. There is no contradiction between this kind of status and the constant anxiety to be "covered," to which so many of the above witnesses testified. And if Mueller, the head of the Gestapo, one of the key men in the Nazi security network - who sat in his office and was not prominent outside it, but pulled the strings from his office - if he, too, took care to be "covered" from above, this tendency is certainly understandable in the Accused. When he was already "covered" by an existing instruction, he acted without asking questions, and if he had before him a new question of principle, he prepared a draft order, approached his superiors - first of all, of course, Mueller, and Mueller approved it, or, as Huppenkothen said, did not approve it without further discussion, altered it or also addressed questions on it to those above him. 178. The Accused's Section also dealt with many individual cases of Jews who tried to escape from the jaws of death. Much evidence, from all parts of Europe, has been submitted to us on such cases. Nearly all of them had a tragic end, and in this, too, the Accused and the officials of his Section had a hand. Here we shall mention only one case out of many, to illustrate what has been said about the standing of the Accused in his Section - this time as seen by an outsider. In Holland, Professor Meyers, Professor of Law at the University of Leyden, was arrested together with his family and taken to Westerbork camp. His friends mobilized support and funds on his behalf, in order to secure permission for him to emigrate to Switzerland. This request was refused in letters (T/534, T/535) emanating from the Accused's Section - one signed by Guenther and the second by the Accused - because Professor Meyers was an "intellectual." His friends did not give up hope. Efforts for the rescue of Professor Meyers were concentrated in the hands of a Dutch lawyer, Mrs. Van Taalingen-Dols, who has also published a book on this matter, entitled The Battle for a Man's Life. Counsel for the Defence submitted to us an affidavit from Mrs. Taalingen-Dols, accompanied by extracts from the book (N/104). The intention of Counsel for the Defence was to prove that the Accused and his Section did not have authority to permit individuals to emigrate from the areas under German rule. Indeed, this was so: When emigration was stopped in 1941, Himmler reserved this power to himself and only permitted emigration in isolated and exceptional instances (and in return for the payment of a considerable sum in foreign currency). With the aid of influential persons, including a member of the SS, Mrs. Taalingen-Dols sought an interview with the Accused, of whom she says in her affidavit: "They always hinted to me that he was the supreme chief of Department IV (the group of `Jewish Departments') in the RSHA in Berlin). As such they described him to me as an important and extremely influential man." She was granted an interview in Section IVB4 and on 22 July 1943 visited the Section, accompanied by a member of the SS. The Accused was on one of his service journeys, and she was received by Guenther who "according to what he said, was authorized to give a binding reply" (p. 214). Guenther repeated the prohibition on emigration, emphasizing that of late Himmler had rejected all applications of this kind. When the lawyer asked whether Guenther would object to her trying to take a certain step in SD quarters in Holland, Guenther replies that "all the activities against the Jews are decided in Berlin, and all operations must be subordinate to this" (p. 216). The decision, announced by Guenther on the spot, was: "The Reich...is prepared, as a special exception, to prevent the deportation of the Meyers family to the East, even though the professor is not yet 65, and up to this age all the Jews are evacuated to the East." (p. 217) Guenther was asked what would happen to Professor Meyers in the event of a general evacuation, and his reply was that in such an event there were two possibilities - one of them, his being deportation to Terezin. Counsel for the Defence informed us that the professor and his family were in fact sent to Terezin and survived. We shall also quote a statement by the same member of the SS who was present during this conversation (p. 218): "He says that, the fact in itself that I was allowed at all to appear personally at the RSHA -the holy of holies - and was permitted to speak there to the deputy of the supreme chief for Jewish affairs, must be regarded as an exception to basic procedure, because outsiders have no access there." From this case we have learned about the powers which existed in regard to emigration, and we have also learned that Guenther - and how much more so the Accused - had the power to decide upon the exceptional treatment of a specific Jewish family. We have learned further that this decision could only be made in Section IVB4 in Berlin, and not on the spot, at the office of the Adviser on Jewish Affairs in Holland. Finally, we must point out with what fear and trembling all of them, including the SS man, mentioned the name of the Accused, the arbiter of life and death. 179. Also with regard to the scope of the duties, which were placed within his competence, the Accused made an attempt, in his Statement to the police and in his testimony before us, to play down his own personal involvement, in contradiction to the truth. His repeated contention was that he was no more than an official dealing with the preparation of timetables for the trains which carried the deportees from their various countries to the East. There is no doubt that even obtaining the necessary railway freight cars called for much effort, in view of military needs at a time of total war. But it cannot by any means be said that here the Accused's duties ended. His main work lay not in obtaining the freight cars, but in obtaining the Jews to fill them, in order to deport them for extermination and everything connected with this. One cannot summarize the nature of this work by detailing his duties. The purpose was a single one; the duties were many and varied, according to the constantly changing circumstances in any given place. As the Accused said in his Statement on p. 2408: "As far as evacuation was concerned...it was the duty of IVB4, as it were, to set the pace, for two reasons: first, the clear and resolute orders which had been given by the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Head of the German Police to carry out the matter energetically. This was a permanent standing order. Secondly, as I said before, IVB4 was dependent upon means of transport. If there were periods when it was easier for IVB4 to obtain the freight cars, IVB4, in accordance with the general order from the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Head of the German Police, had to make strenuous efforts to ensure that the freight cars should be used to their maximum capacity. This is what IVB4 did, of course...these were the two hinges on which the whole matter turned." "That the maximum capacity of the freight cars should be used" - thereby, in effect, everything has been said, and there is a vast difference between this and the mere arrangement of timetables. This called for the creation of all the conditions preliminary to hunting down Jews wherever they lived and rounding them up for deportation. At the other end also, attention had to be paid to the "reception" of the transports at their destinations, so that the deportation machinery should not be halted halfway; and it is clear, for example, that the speeding-up of the extermination process facilitated the reception of fresh transports at peak periods, such as the period of deportations from Hungary to Auschwitz. Thus both the speed and methods of extermination also became part of the field of interest of the Accused and his Section. The Accused's key position in everything relating to the deportations of the Jews from the Reich and the Protectorate stands out from the facts which we have found. This is true also of all the European lands in which the Advisers on Jewish Affairs were active, and whose steps he used to control from his seat behind the desk in Berlin, with the aid of modern means of communication and through his frequent journeys to the focal points of operations throughout the length and breadth of Europe. We have also noted his special activity in Hungary. As to the plundering of the property of the deported Jews, this went side by side with the deportation itself and was handled by the Accused's Section, especially through its jurists, Suhr and Hunsche. We have quoted the evidence for this in detail above, and finally the Accused also admits that his Section was involved in the plunder ("dass das Dezernat IVB4 hier seine Finger schwerstens drin gehabt hat") (T/37, p. 2872). 180. To sum up this section: We reject absolutely the Accused's version that he was nothing more than a "small cog" in the extermination machinery. We find that in the RSHA, which was the central authority dealing with the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, the Accused was at the head of those engaged in carrying out the Final Solution. In fulfilling this task, the Accused acted in accordance with general directives from his superiors, but there still remained to him wide powers of discretion which extended also to the planning of operations on his own initiative. He was not a puppet in the hands of others; his place was amongst those who pulled the strings. It should be added - and we have already given the details in the appropriate place - that the Accused's activity was most vigorous in the Reich itself and in the other countries from which Jews were dispatched to Eastern Europe; but it also ranged widely in various fields of activity in Eastern Europe. The question arises: If such was the Accused's status, why was he not promoted to a higher rank, after his last appointment at the end of 1941, in spite of his rapid advancement in the preceding years. The Accused gives the answer to this (T/37, p. 250): "And it was virtually impossible to promote me further because the post of Section Head, according to the establishment, was that of a Regierungsrat or Oberregierungsrat, and the equivalent SS rank...to Regierungsrat was Sturmbannfuehrer, and to Oberregierungsrat - Obersturmbannfuehrer. Therefore, so long as I was a Section Head in the RSHA, I could not go any higher, even if I stayed there for twenty years." And it should also be remembered that in 1944, three decorations were conferred on the Accused, one after the other, including the "Distinguished War Service Cross, First Class, with Swords" (T/55 (13)). It is not rare for a man in an important position - and especially in a position such as that of the Accused - to be unwilling to be prominent or for the ruling powers to wish him not to be prominent.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor