The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-047-07

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-047-07
Last-Modified: 1999/06/02

Q. To whom was this sum paid?

A. To the Commandant's office.

Q. And after this payment you were freed and returned to

A. Yes.

Q. And you remained in Salonika?

A. But there were still problems. There were young men,
blessed be their memory, and among them was my brother...The
partisans appeared on the scene and they wanted to take
their revenge on the Germans. And who were the victims? -
the Jews. So the Germans decided to put Jewish guards in
places where the railway had to pass. Every 20 kilometers
there had to be a guard manned by young Jews, who were
replaced every 24 hours. And they let it be known that if,
heaven forbid, something were to happen along the railway
line they would kill the entire Jewish guard. Imagine under
what conditions the Jews lived then! The partisans knew
about this and they refrained from doing anything.

Q. Were you in Salonika at that time?

A. I was in Salonika. I am telling you things which I know.

Q. Until when did you remain in Salonika?

A. I remained in Salonika until 26 April 1943.

Q. And what happened then?

A. They started the transports.

Q. And then what happened?

A. Before the transports, after we were finished with the
work, we were left in peace for a short while. Then,
suddenly, they announced that the Jews had to have a
designation. First of all a sign had to be posted on every
Jewish business saying "Juedisches Geschaeft" (Jewish
business) - I myself had to do this...

Q. In Greek and German?

A. In Greek and German. And any German soldier could walk
into the shop and take whatever he wanted without saying a
thing. Next they announced that the Jews had to be put into
a ghetto. But there were 60,000 Jews in Greece and it was
difficult to put them all into a ghetto. So what did they
do? They employed special engineers to prepare plans for
constructing ghettos, and they put up six ghettos. Those
people whom they could not crowd into the ghettos were
ordered to leave their homes and move into some shed or
wherever, only they had to be in the ghetto.

Q. But not in their home?

A. Not at home; the homes were taken over by the Germans. I
have to mention an important event prior to that: There was
a Rabbi Gaon of blessed memory in Salonika, who lived on the
ground floor of a house occupied by Germans, and on the
third floor of that house there lived a German General.
Suddenly one day, at 5.30 in the morning, he sent a soldier
to call the Rabbi upstairs. An hour and a half later the
children downstairs heard a noise. What happened? Father has
not come down?  When they opened the door they found the
Rabbi lying on the floor unconscious, and with no hair. His
hair and beard had been shorn off. And this was such a
disgrace for him, that he wanted to live no longer.

Q. Now we shall perhaps come to April 1943. What happened

A. Do you wish to hear about the ghettos?

Q. No. We have already heard about the ghettos.

Presiding Judge: You were asked what happened in April 1943,
that was the question. Please reply to it.

Witness Nechama:  Do you want me to tell you what happened
to me, or what happened to all the Jews.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  To you, Mr. Nechama.

Witness Nechama:  I remained in my home in Salonika because
in my house there was typhoid, the neighbour upstairs had
typhoid and the building had been put in quarantine. The
Germans had heard about the quarantine and kept kilometers
away. They were afraid and did not come to me. The
quarantine was to be for 21 days. Meanwhile there were no
Jews left in Salonika. They were all gone, partly on
transports and partly to "Baron Hirsch," which was the
centre, the ghetto.

Q. They had to be collected there?

A. Yes. I was sure that my house in Salonika would be
spared, and I made all kinds of plans to escape. I had a
brother-in-law living outside Salonika and he made all the
preparations so that I would be able to stay with him.

Presiding Judge: Were you a bachelor?

Witness Nechama:  No, I was married - I had a plan how to
escape the next day. At 6 o'clock in the morning they came
from the Gestapo with a list and said: In half an hour you
have to be ready to go to "Baron Hirsch."  So I called the
Police Commander in my district and he started to argue.

Presiding Judge: Was he Greek?

Witness Nechama:  Yes, Greek. He started to argue with the
Gestapo Doctor. At that time I did not know German at all,
but he knew it well. There was quite a serious discussion,
but then he said: Itzchak, nothing can be done, you have to

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Did you go?

Witness Nechama:  Yes.

Q. What happened?

A. When I came to "Baron Hirsch," it was full of lice. My
wife began to cry. What was I to do? One had to be patient.

Q. How long did you stay there?

A. Only 24 hours, one night. Then (we had to go) to an
office where we were told that we would have to change all
our money and that we would get zlotys "because you are
going to Poland to a place named Beserko." I do not remember
exactly, near Sosnowiec. They said this was in Cracow. They
told us that we had to hand over our money and receive

"and you will be in communities, the Greeks separately, like
a Jewish state it will be there." I said to myself: It is no
good dying, we shall live there. If I had known the
conditions in which I would live I would rather have died on
the spot, I would not have lived at all.

Presiding Judge: What happened? Did they deport you?

Witness Nechama:  Yes, they deported me.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Where did you get to?

Witness Nechama:  Do you want to know exactly?

Q. Where did you get you? Where did the train go to?

A. To Auschwitz.

Q. How long did you remain in Auschwitz?

A. I stayed 38 days in Auschwitz.

Q. And from there you were sent to work?

A. Yes, to a factory for anti-aircraft tanks.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps artillery?

Witness Nechama:  Artillery, perhaps that was it?

State Attorney Bar-Or:  And from there?

Witness Nechama:  I worked there for 18 months.

Q. Where were you sent after that?

A. To Mauthausen.

Q. And from there you went to...

A. Gusen 1.

Presiding Judge: Where is this?

Witness Nechama:  It must be in the neighbourhood of Vienna.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  When was this?

Witness Nechama:  This was in March 1945.

Q. Where were you released?

A. I was released in Wels near Vienna on 4 March 1945.

Presiding Judge: That is to say, you were outside of Greece
for two years?

Witness Nechama:  Exactly.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  When you arrived at Auschwitz and
climbed down from the train - what happened? Not what
happened the next day, but what happened when you actually
left the train? How many of you were from Salonika?

Witness Nechama:  We were exactly 78. That was the smallest
number. The situation was terrible. Imagine, men and women,
young men and girls, how could they live in such conditions.
We had been told we were going to Cracow, take with you what
you want. Some people took umbrellas because it snows there
and rains, so one needs an umbrella. There was so much
baggage that one could not move. We did not sleep at all.

Q. When you climbed down from the train in Auschwitz - what

A. I shall tell you. I was one of the first to climb down.
When I came down I saw immediately people wearing pyjamas. I
was lucky they were French and I understand French quite
well. I said to them: "What is going to happen here?" "You
will find out later," they replied. "Alright, explain!" "It
is forbidden to explain now!" I did not even manage to see
my wife. The beating went on, the crying, father looking for

Q. Did you know the people who came with you from Salonika
to Auschwitz?

A. Certainly.

Q. As far as you know, are there others still alive, and how

A. I'll tell you, 56,000 Jews left Salonika on the
transports and only 1,950 of them returned.

Presiding Judge: How many of those who went with you and
whom you knew returned?

Witness Nechama:  I can tell you exactly: Four live here.

Q. In Israel?

A. Yes. Three live in America. Altogether there must be ten.

Q. Out of the 78 whom you mentioned?

A. In our transport there were 2,700.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  What does the figure 78 you
mentioned - persons in one carriage?

Witness Nechama:  Yes. On the whole transport there were

Presiding Judge: And out of these, out of those who went
with you, only 10 are alive today?

Witness Nechama:  I am talking of the whole train.

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

Dr. Servatius:  No, I have no questions to the witness. I
just wanted to explain, with reference to the pictures, that
there is no SS man here, these are German soldiers and it
seems that some wearing foreign uniforms are also among
them. But that I cannot explain exactly from this (from the

Judge Halevi:  Were you sent to Auschwitz together with your
wife and your family?

Witness Nechama:  Only with my wife, since my parents had
left before me. I told you that I should have escaped. My
parents had already left two weeks before me.

Q. Did you wife travel together with you?

A. Yes. Only I remained alive. Of the whole family, my
father, my mother, four sisters, my brother and my wife, I
alone remained.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Mr. Nechama, you have
completed your evidence.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  With the permission of the Court, we
shall continue with the documents concerning Greece. I now
come to Wisliceny's attempt to penetrate also into the area
occupied by the Italians. That is our document No. 1007. It
is a report by Hencke of the Foreign Ministry dated 3 June
1943. He transmits to the Staatssekretaer (Secretary of
State) at the Foreign Ministry a complaint from the Italian
Embassy which was again raised in the context we know
already. In the process of rounding up the Jews of Salonika,
Jews who are not Greek citizens are also being seized. Here
this concerns Italian citizens. The Italians insist on
maintaining their prestige. In spite of the Italian
interventions with the German authorities in Salonika the
competent military commander had informed the Italian Consul
General on 21 May that, to his regret, and an official
promise not withstanding, a certain family of Italian*
{*Should be Greek nationality, but vide Exh. T/985 for
particulars.} nationality had been deported on the most
recent train which left for Poland.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/985.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Our document No. 1008 is a letter by
von Thadden, who has asked Secretary Lanza of the Italian
Embassy to visit him in order to receive explanations about
this Wisliceny affair. Lanza has called and it turns out
that the Italians have complaints about the intrusion of
Wisliceny into the area occupied by Italy, against which he
protests energetically. This can be seen in particular in
the passage which appears in the attached translation on
page 2 under letter "a" and which speaks about the Accused.
The Accused saw this document and it was marked T/37(276).
He speaks about it on page 3341ff. of his Statement and what
is important for us appears on page 3344, where he says:
"Von Thadden puts things into my mouth which I would never
have done." The Accused maintains that von Thadden reports
here about things which are complete fabrication. However,
in the same breath, he gives Wisliceny, his subordinate, a
testimonial of good conduct in no uncertain terms.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/986.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Our document No. 1009 is a complex
one. It was sent by the Foreign Ministry to the Italian
Embassy in Berlin on 24 June 1943, again about the same
subject, about Wisliceny. The Foreign Ministry rejects the
Italian protests and copies of its reply are sent to the
Accused and to the German Consul General in Salonika.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/987.

State Attorney Bar-Or:  Our document No. 1010. Von Thadden
sends an urgent letter to the Accused about the negotiations
with the Spanish Government concerning Spanish Jews in
Salonika. There was a possibility that Spain might grant
them permission to return to Spain. This concerns about 600
Jews and the matter has in fact been turned over to
Eichmann, as can be inferred from the marginal remark dated

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