The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-034-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-034-02
Last-Modified: 1999/06/01

State Attorney Bach:  Herewith, subject to the Court's
decision on the statement by Gutmacher which will be given
after the intermission, I have concluded the evidence about
the holocaust of the Belgian Jews.

Now I pass on to the description of the holocaust of the
Jews of Holland.  First, I shall submit only three
documents.  The first one is Prosecution document No. 582.
It is a memo by an official of the German Foreign Ministry
on a telephone report from Ambassador Otto Bene, the
representative of the German Foreign Ministry in Holland at
that time.  It speaks of the first physical assault on the
Jews.  In the telephone conversation it is reported that:
"As a result of the murder of a WA man by Jewish assailants,
who could not be found, 400 Jews will be brought from
Holland to Germany, who will have to 'work' here."  (The
German Foreign Ministry official himself put the word work
in quotation marks.)  "The situation in Holland is unusually
tense, a general strike has been proclaimed in Amsterdam,
there is a strike in Groningen, and in Rotterdam a strike
was expected.  The attitude of the population was
unfriendly," says Mr. Bene.

Presiding Judge: Woermann.

State Attorney Bach:  Woermann passes on what he has heard
from Bene over the telephone and he reports to his

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/521.

State Attorney Bach:  I should like to submit a few
photographs to the Court relating to that first incident.
Here we have confirmation from Baron van Tuyll van
Sarooskerken, Delegate of the Government of the Netherlands
with the office of the Chief of Counsel for War Crimes.  He
confirms that the documents marked in red in Latin figures
I-X are photographs taken at the time of the attack on the
Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam on 22 and 23 February 1941.
These pictures are part of a film included in one of the
"N.G. Books" which were photographed and brought to this
country in the way we described at the beginning.

Presiding Judge: These pictures are marked T/522.

Judge Halevi:  These pictures show Wehrmacht soldiers, not
SS men?

State Attorney Bach:  I think these were men of the
Wehrmacht, although I cannot say so with certainty.  I think
this operation was not carried out by SS men, certainly not
the whole of it.  Now we shall only show, with the help of
the next document, who initiated this operation and what
happened to these Jews.  We shall in fact prove that these
Jews, and also those of the second operation, were
transferred to Mauthausen, and I think that not one of them
remained alive.

In connection with this operation I submit one more
Prosecution document, No. 1627.  Here Foreign Ministry
official Rademacher contacts Mueller and reports about an
intervention by the Swedish Minister, who informed him that
in February and in June 660 Dutch Jews had been transferred
to concentration camps in Germany, and that he had learnt
from the Jewish Committee* {*of Amsterdam} that 400 of these
had died so far.  The Swedish Minister had added that from
the lists of the dead it appeared that the cases of death
always occurred on the same day, in spite of the fact that
the dead were usually young persons.

The Swedish Embassy, representing the Protecting Power of
the Netherlands, had approached the German Foreign Ministry
several times, asking for permission to visit these camps,
but had not been allowed to do so.  Mr. Rademacher suggests,
first of all, that it is undesirable, in future, to bring
such persons into the area of the Reich because, if they are
not brought to the Reich area, the Swedish Protecting Power
has no authority in the matter.

     "Furthermore when cases of death are reported this has
     to be done in a way that will not create the impression
     that the deaths always occur on certain days.  In
     principle, the Foreign Ministry holds the same opinion
     as the Head Office for Reich Security and supports, on
     its part, the reprisals against the Jews as the
     originators of the disturbances.  However, in order to
     protect German is nevertheless necessary
     to deal with these matters in the manner mentioned

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/523.

State Attorney Bach:  With the Court's permission, I shall
now call Dr. Joseph Melkman.

The witness is sworn.

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Joseph Melkman.

Presiding Judge: Doctor?

Witness Melkman: Yes.

State Attorney Bach:  Dr. Melkman, you were born in Holland?

Witness Melkman: Yes.

Q. When did you come to Israel?

A. In May 1957.

Q. Apart from the fact that you suffered personally from
what happened to Dutch Jewry during the War, you also
conducted some research on this subject?

A. Yes, especially when I was the Director of Yad Vashem, I
went into it more fully, but also before that, as editor of
the Jewish weekly, I had to go into it from time to time in
some depth.

Q. When were you the Director of Yad Vashem?

A. From 1957 to 1960.

Q. When the Second World War broke out, where were you
living in Holland?

A. Im Amsterdam.

Q. What was your occupation?

A. I was a teacher at a private gymnasium (grammar school),
a teacher of Latin and Greek.

Q. A Jewish or general gymnasium?

A. Non-Jewish.  And I was also editor of the Zionist weekly.

Q. Apart from the fact that you were the editor of the
Zionist weekly, were you active in any Jewish movement?

A. Yes.  I was very active in the youth movements.  For some
time I was chairman of all the youth movements in Holland,
and for this reason I was also co-opted to the Executive of
the Zionist Federation, upon the outbreak of the War.

Q. What was your family status then?  Were you married when
the War broke out?

A. Not yet.

Q. Perhaps just tell us when you married?

A. I married in September 1940.

Q. When did the Germans enter Holland?

A. On that day, 21 years ago, on 10 May 1940.  We awoke in
the morning to the sound of the bombing of the airport in
Amsterdam, and then the Germans came in.

Q. What was the first thing that you, as Jews, felt about
this change that occurred following the entry of the

A. The first thing was a ban on Jews continuing to serve in
the guards against air attacks.  But immediately thereafter
came much severer regulations.  The main one was that the
Germans demanded that every civil servant sign a declaration
to the effect that he was a so-called "Aryan" - at any rate
that he was not a Jew, and in consequence of these
declarations all Jewish civil servants were dismissed, and
also teachers, including myself.

With me it took a little longer, because this was a private
gymnasium and the principal objected to my being dismissed,
and I was dismissed only after they forced him to do so, and
he also closed the gymnasium.

Q. When were you dismissed?

A. It was in December 1940.

Q. When you talk about the issue of such regulations - who
gave this instruction, in what way was it published; was it
published in a particular place or was it merely an
administrative order?

A. This was a circular to principals and to all...

Presiding Judge: Who issued the circular - do you know?

Witness Melkman: This circular was an instruction to the
remaining Netherlands authorities from the Germans, if I
remember rightly...

State Attorney Bach:  And so this was the first

Witness Melkman: Yes

Q. What was the next step?

A. The next step consisted of many minor matters, but the
major event was the round-up of Jews in 1941.  Prior to
that, the Germans had tried to provoke the population of
Holland against the Jews and made use of fascists who came
into the Jewish quarters - in particular in one large
neighbourhood - and there they tried to organize anti-Jewish
demonstrations, to smash windows and so on.  And when they
encountered resistance - not only from the Jews, for non-
Jews also came to the aid of the Jews - they proceeded
differently.  And on the Sabbath day - this was 22 February
- a search was organized for Jews, in the Jewish quarter -
and they were taken...

Q. In the Jewish Quarter - where?

A. In Amsterdam.  And then on the Sabbath and on the
following day, Sunday, more than 400 young people were
arrested.  They simply took them from the streets, beat them
up, lined them up in a large square between the Amsterdam
synagogues, and took them afterwards to a camp not far from
Amsterdam, Schoorl, and from there they were transferred, as
was already said at that time, first to the Buchenwald camp
and subsequently to Mauthausen.  The name Mauthausen...the
Germans even told the Jews then that no one emerged alive
from Mauthausen, in order to instil terror into the Jews of
Amsterdam.  Every time someone committed an offence, or a
regulation was issued, they announced that anyone committing
such an offence would be sent to Mauthausen.

Q. I wanted to ask you: When you said "they took these 400
young people," - who carried out this operation?

A. The "Gruene Polizei."

Q. The Green Police?

A. Yes.

Q. What did that mean?

A. The German police stationed in Amsterdam.  As was
established subsequently by the findings of the Red Cross,
in fact out of all these people there remained only one,
whose comrades in the camp - not Dutchmen - had hidden him.

Q. That means that out of this first group of 400 only one
man survived?

A. Yes.  Afterwards there was another group, in June...

Q. This was my next question: What were the circumstances
which led to the seizure of the second group in June?

A. The circumstances were not immediately clear, but they
said that there had been some attack on a house in South
Amsterdam.  But this time they took only 300 young people.
Perhaps it would be worth my mentioning that, after the
first occasion, the first round-up, the Germans promised the
heads of Dutch Jewry that such a thing would never happen
again.  In June 1941, again 300 young people were detailed;
amongst them there were very many comrades of mine, members
of the Zionist youth movement.  As it happened, I was
supposed to give a lesson that evening, and they did not
come and they were also sent off in the same way and did not
come back.  Not one of them returned.

Q. Not one of them returned?

A. Not one.

Q. And also those who were sent to Mauthausen?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Where is Mauthausen, in Holland or Germany?

Witness Melkman: In Austria.

State Attorney Bach:  Dr. Melkman, when the 400 Jews were
arrested in February 1941, what was the reaction of the
Dutch public?

Witness Melkman: A general strike broke out then; it began
with the tram workers, but it developed later and embraced
many other concerns and factories; water works were rendered
idle; also elsewhere, not only in Amsterdam, but also in the
towns surrounding Amsterdam, there were general strikes
which were subsequently put down.

Q. Would you be able to tell this Court what were the main
anti-Jewish directives decreed by the Germans and which you
personally experienced?

A. Anti-Jewish directives...

Q. Directives, by-laws, regulations.

A. Laws, regulations - there were very many.  Most were not
even published, but simply came as an instruction to the
Jewish leadership, and they were also occasionally published
in the Jewish weekly.

These were in economic affairs.  For example, the Jews had
to register their lands, and afterwards all their lands were
expropriated.  The Jews had to hand over their property to
some German service.  The Germans at that time stole the
Jewish name of a bank, Lippmann-Rosenthal, in order to cheat
the Jews; the Jews had to deposit their money there.  Each
person received from this bank not more than 250 Florins a
month, and anybody who was obliged to pay any sum of money
to Jews, had to transfer the amount to this bank.  Apart
from this, there were many other regulations: It was
forbidden to go out after 8 - to be found in the street
after 8 and before 6; it was forbidden to buy in non-Jewish
shops - for a certain time only at the end of the day when
everything was already sold out, since in general there was
a shortage of food and, of course, the Jews did not receive
any.  Certain foodstuffs were altogether banned for Jews.
Special markets were set up for Jews, and so on and so

Q. What about the use of public transportation?

A. Vehicles were altogether prohibited, unless you received
a particular permit from the German authorities, but these
were very scarce, that is to say, the tram or the train -
these were prohibited.

Q. What about entry into public places, cinemas, gardens,
bath-houses etc.?

A. This was forbidden to the Jews right from the beginning -
also cafes, gardens, public gardens, cinemas.  The cinemas
were banned, because they said that Jews became noisy when
pro-German films were shown, but of course this was merely a

Q. Dr. Melkman, you said earlier that the Germans, at a
particular stage, promised the Jewish Council that this
would be the last time, that these things would not happen
any more.  Can you tell us when this Jewish Council was

A. The first talks about setting up the Council were at the
beginning of February, still before the strike.

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