The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-015-06

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-015-06
Last-Modified: 1999/05/30

Q. Did you know when you stood there in front of the steel
helmets why you had been asked to come to Vienna?

A. No.

Q. Nobody had informed you?

A. Nobody informed us what the purpose was. One of the
guards took us to the headquarters of the Accused in the
Palais. We passed through a courtyard. It was a rainy day, I
remember; hundreds of Jews were standing in the rain waiting
for the clearance of their passports. It was a depressing

Q. How did you know they were waiting for the clearance of
the passports?

A. I heard this later from the officials in the Palestine
Office, that that was where passports were distributed,
visas. Then we went upstairs. Behind the courtyard there
were more stairs, we walked up and came to a large hall, a
very beautiful one in the Rothschild Palais. There the
Accused was sitting at a handsome desk in civilian clothes.

Presiding Judge: You say: the Accused. Do you see him here,
in this hall?

Witness Lindenstrauss: Yes, I see him, he is facing me.

Judge Halevi:  Was he in civilian clothes?

Witness Lindenstrauss:  On that occasion he wore civilian
clothes. Opposite him a young man was sitting whose name I
didn't know. Next to them another man was standing, I think
even two, one of whom I got to know afterwards, that was the
head, or a senior official, of the Palestine Office in

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Do you remember his name?

Witness Lindenstrauss:  I think his name was Dr. Gruen, I
cannot say for certain today. There was one more person from
the Jewish Community whom I saw once more later on, but I do
not remember his name. We were immediately struck by
something peculiar: We were not used - in spite of the
troubles and the despair in the Altreich (the old Reich)
after the pogrom - at any rate, we saw an enormous
difference between our situation in the Altreich and the
situation in Vienna at that time. I remember that these
officials of the Jewish Community and the Palestine Office
seemed to me like disciplined soldiers who stood to
attention all the time and dared not utter a word. I had the
impression that the situation was very difficult for them
and that they were afraid to move.

These two men were standing next to the desk, then there was
the Accused and opposite him another man from the Gestapo.
We were standing next to the desk in a row, the four of us,
maybe there was one more, I don't remember exactly, after
all this time it is difficult to remember all the details.
But I know that we were standing next to the desk.

Q. Where were you standing?

A. I was the first one on the right. If the Accused was
sitting here, I was standing there - that is how the line
was arranged. This was very awkward for the Accused and he
shouted that I should step back three or four metres, that I
was too close to him. I did so of course and thus a strange
situation was created: It was a large hall - for those who
do not know it - one of the finest I have seen in any
palace, and I was now standing almost at the end of it.

Q. How far from the Accused?

A. Three, four, five metres. Even before, there had been a
distance but it had been too small and I had been the first
one in the line. So the strange situation was that we had to
straighten the line in order to adjust our position, so that
he would not have to talk to me there, while the others were
standing in line here.

Then Eichmann began: he said the situation in the Altreich
was not good, he was very dissatisfied with it, things were
not working properly, that the whole thing was moving too

Presiding Judge: What situation? With regard to what?

Witness Lindenstrauss:  With regard to emigration. The
situation was not as it should be. In his absence matters
were being held up. It seemed we were in collusion with the
officials in Berlin and the emigration had to be speeded up.

Q. With what officials?

A. Officials with whom we had day-to-day contacts,
government officials, police officers. He had the impression
that, because he was not on the spot, we could have had an
understanding with them and thereby hold up the process.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Was this really so?

Witness Lindenstrauss: Not at all.

Q. Did you have an understanding with anybody?

A. None whatsoever. The situation was objectively most
difficult. All the Jews in Berlin wanted to emigrate, and
from the provinces also we were under enormous pressure; day
and night we received telegrammes and telephone calls and I
had to work round the clock in order to cope. The demand for
emigration was enormous, but we could not meet it for lack
of possibilities. Then he said: "This has to be changed, the
emigration has to be speeded up by all possible means." His
words were: Ihr muesst auf Touren kommen (You have to go
into high gear). "I demand a thousand passports every day,
that is the minimum." The Head of the Jewish Community, the
late Dr. Stahl, explained, or tried to explain to the
Accused that there were many objective reasons which made
this impossible and that it was not lack of good will, on
the contrary, there was a fervent wish for emigration. The
Accused replied that this made no difference to him, that he
was not interested in this and did not concern himself with
details, that was our affair. If there were no possibilities
for emigration, we had to find solutions, we had to submit
the passports to him.

After this he passed on to another subject, the financial
aspect, and said: "If we correct the situation in Berlin you
have to accept in future some tax for fleeing the Reich, an
emigration tax." We said that, as we understood this, we had
to use these funds in order to finance the emigration of the
Jews from Germany. To this he answered shouting loudly:
"This is out of the question!" and here, too I want to quote
his words although they were very rude: "How should we pay
for keeping your old bags alive?" he shouted.

Then he said that the system in Vienna was very efficient.
He suggested that we stay one or two more days in Vienna in
order to get to know the conditions and to study the system
of which he was very proud and which led to much better
results in his opinion than ours. That was the end of the

Q. What was his way of speaking, how did the Accused behave
during the conversation you have just described?

A. The whole conversation was most vulgar. This was my
impression from the outset. The whole atmosphere was very
uncomfortable. All of us, the members of the delegation,
were disappointed, discouraged and very worried, because we
realized that the idea was that he wanted to introduce the
Vienna system in Berlin and we saw this as a change of
direction, affecting the future of emigration from Germany.
We looked at this with much concern.

At the conclusion of the meeting he said:"I invited you here
as representatives of the German Jews. You who are present
here, you will in future be responsible for carrying out the
operation in the spirit I have indicated. Otherwise you will
certainly understand what fate awaits you." Thus the
conversation ended.

We stayed another half day or a day in Vienna. We contacted
the Jewish Community and also the Palestine Office in order
to get some impressions and then we travelled back to
Berlin. We were actually all under the impression that,
however hard and desperate the situation was in the Altreich
there was an enormous difference in every respect between
the situation of the Jews in Vienna at that time and the
situation of the Jews in the Altreich. We had seen this at
every step. From further conversations too, we learnt with
how much force the Accused put his intention into effect.
While in the Altreich there had been a process lasting from
1933 until that time; there had been fairly quiet phases and
also less quiet ones.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Thank you very much.

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

Dr. Servatius  I have no questions to the witness.

Judge Raveh:   I didn't quite understand the matter of the
emigration tax. I am not interested in the actual words that
were used, but what was the idea?

Witness Lindenstrauss:  The idea was that every person
receiving a passport from the new institution - which
already existed in Vienna and which he wanted to introduce
in Berlin - that this institution should exact a special tax
from every Jew receiving a passport at the time of
emigration. And we requested that we should be able to

Q. Every emigrant? What was the purpose? Wasn't that

A. An emigration tax. He did not mention the purpose. This
is why the Head of the Community asked: "I assume that you
agree to our using this tax for emigration purposes, e.g. in
order to enable persons without means to finance their
emigration overseas."

Presiding Judge: I want to understand one more thing: You
said you regarded the idea to establish a central office in
Berlin according to the Vienna pattern, that you saw this as
a worsening of the earlier situation?

Witness Lindenstrauss:  Yes.

Q. Wasn't there also a positive side to this - if one can
speak of a positive side at all - since it would mean
centralization of all the activities connected with
emigration and a speeding-up of the process?

A. No. We realized at the meeting with the Accused that
there was no longer any consideration for objective factors
and that, on the contrary, there was an atmosphere of
deportation. We realized that this institution wouldn't lead
to dealing with orderly emigration, but to deportation. We
realized that the period of expulsion was approaching in all
earnest and this had not been on the agenda before in the
Altreich. During all my years in the Palestine Office we had
worked for selective Aliyah as we wanted to send the most
suitable people. Now we saw that this era had come to an
end. This was the serious impression at the end of the
Vienna visit, that the intention now was to bring about
organized deportation.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Mr. Lindenstrauss, you
have concluded your evidence.

[To State Attorney Bar-Or] Do you suggest that we finish for

State Attorney Bar-Or:  With the permission of the Court, we
could perhaps do one more thing before adjourning: I propose
to keep our promise and submit to this Honourable Court the
42 volumes of the Proceedings at Nuremberg.

Presiding Judge: As an exhibit?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  It is an official publication.
Actually, I do not know whether it is necessary. I propose,
for the purpose of our evidence, to submit to this
Honourable Court that part of the judgment of the
International Military Tribunal which refers to
organizations mentioned as criminal organizations under
paragraph 3, or organizations referred to under Section 3 of
our Law. These passages could perhaps be marked as exhibits
in the Record together with their Hebrew translation, so
that the other volumes do not have to appear as exhibits.

Presiding Judge: Will they be put at the disposal of the

State Attorney Bar-Or:  They will be put at the disposal of
the Court until the end of the Trial.

Presiding Judge: Very well. Do submit the...

State Attorney Bar-Or:  I propose to submit the part of the
judgment of Nuremberg which refers to the conviction of the
three organizations: the Gestapo, the SD and the SS.

I have to ask the indulgence of this Honourable Court with
regard to one point which might perhaps be confusing at
first sight. I said that we propose to the Court to accept
the set in the German translation, but the Hebrew
translation is based on the English edition of the I.M.T.,
pages 262-273.

Presiding Judge: Very well. I think we shall be able to sort
it out.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  The first volume of the English
edition will be at the disposal of the Court.

Presiding Judge: We have it. Does this contain the pages
referring to the three organizations?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Referring to the three organizations
mentioned in the indictment.

For the sake of completeness of the record I shall add that
in Bureau 06 the document was numbered 268.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/83.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Your Honour, the 42 volumes of the
German edition are on the table next to the witness stand.

Presiding Judge: Do you need them?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  No. From now on they are at the
disposal of the Court.

Presiding Judge:  We shall transfer them to the Judges'

We shall adjourn now, and the next Session will be tomorrow,
at 9 a.m.

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