Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-067-01 Last-Modified: 1999/06/07 Session No. 67 22 Sivan 5721 (6 June 1961) Presiding Judge: I declare the sixty-seventh Session of the trial open. Attorney General: With the Court's permission, I shall now submit the Polish Government's Report on Treblinka. That is our document No. 1378. Presiding Judge: That will be T/1304. Attorney General: I am holding one of the records of proceedings of the Polish examining Judge: who drew up this report - it is a report on the interrogation of a witness who was the railway stationmaster at Treblinka, and it is of importance for my purposes only in regard to two issues: to show that trains arrived from all parts of Europe, from Greece, Germany, Austria and other places. Since there is nothing special here about the Accused or his Section, I request to have it admitted without our being obliged to produce the witness himself; I do not know whether he is alive - and if so, where he is to be found. The document has been authenticated by the Polish Government Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes, and its signature has been verified by our legation in Warsaw. Presiding Judge: Was he the stationmaster or manager of ....? Attorney General: He calls himself Traffic Superintendent, that is to say Controller of Traffic at Treblinka, at the railway station of Treblinka, naturally not of the extermination camp. This is our document No. 1296. Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any remarks to offer in connection with this document? Dr. Servatius: At the moment I cannot find this document amongst those which have been mentioned to me by their number and heading. Presiding Judge: Is it possible to receive a further copy of this report on Treblinka? Attorney General: Yes [hands in a further copy]. Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I only have the Polish original. I would suggest that the document be admitted, and if I should later have any objection, that my right to voice it be reserved. I am still hoping to receive the translation, or at least a summary of it. Attorney General: Yes, we shall do so. Presiding Judge: Very well - that will be in order. Attorney General: There are three Hebrew translations. Presiding Judge: That is sufficient. It will be marked T/1305. Attorney General: I now turn to the extermination camp of Belzec. Here I have no witnesses; according to what appears in the Polish Government report, which I shall submit presently, there was only one survivor, on the basis of whose evidence also that report was compiled. We do not know his whereabouts. We shall ask the Court to admit written evidence - and that is available - about the extermination operations in that camp. This evidence also points to the connection of the Accused's Section with the supply of poison gas. It is contained in affidavits which were made by a man named Dr. Kurt Gerstein, who is no longer alive, in the closing stages of the Second World War, to two intelligence officers - one British and the other American - whom he happened to come across in the French occupation zone of Germany. Presiding Judge: Who was Dr. Kurt Gerstein? Attorney General: Dr. Kurt Gerstein belonged to the SS, as an Obersturmfuehrer, who dealt with matters of disinfection and the supply of gas for these purposes, who, throughout the period of the War, according to the documents I am about to submit, maintained contact with the Swedish embassy in Berlin and kept it informed of the extermination operations. We have the confirmation of the Swedish authorities to that effect. We have the written document he sent to his wife shortly before his death, which in general terms bears out what he said when he was questioned by the two officers to whom I have referred. We have a written statement - in his own handwriting - a kind of confession - on what he had seen with his own eyes in the camp at Belzec, and on his connections with Guenther, of the Accused's Section. We have confirmation of these written documents from two sources. Firstly, we have the sworn statements of the two officers themselves; we found them, we traced them, and they declared that, indeed, Gerstein signed these statements in their presence. Secondly, we made a request for legal aid from the West German authorities, and Dr. Gerstein's widow was questioned before a German judge; she verified his signature, and she also confirmed the written document which was addressed to her, and which contained the main contents of Dr. Gerstein's statement to those two officers. In the first place, I shall submit the confirmation of the death certificate of Gerstein, in order to prove that he is no longer alive. Gerstein was arrested by the Allies and shortly after that was found dead in prison, hanged. The investigation did not establish whether he committed suicide or whether he was murdered by other Nazi prisoners, in vengeance for the fact that it was known that he had revealed several Reich secrets. This is a photostatic copy of Gerstein's death certificate, Prosecution document No. 183. Presiding Judge: I noticed that he died in a military gaol in Paris. Attorney General: Yes. Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, the Prosecution says that it was not clear whether the man committed suicide or was murdered by other Nazis on account of the fact that he had revealed, or that he might reveal, secrets. But I should like to draw attention to page two of this document No. 183, which quotes the letter, that was apparently Gerstein's last letter, apparently a short time before he committed suicide, designed to justify his action. Attorney General: What matters in our case is that there is an official confirmation that Kurt Gerstein is no longer alive; that is the decisive point, and the cause of his death is not so important. Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1306. Attorney General: And now I wish to submit two affidavits, of Derek Curtis Evans and of John W. Haught. This is Prosecution document No. 1442. These officers confirm that Gerstein was brought before them; he identified himself, he handed over papers to them, that they had listened to what he had to say, and thereafter put a number of questions to him. The document itself is attached to the original affidavits. The copies are of the affidavits only - we shall submit the document itself, as a separate exhibit. Presiding Judge: To each of the affidavits? Attorney General: To each of the affidavits there is attached a batch of documents which Dr. Gerstein handed over to these two men. Presiding Judge: Evans' affidavit is marked T/1307. Haught's affidavit is marked T/1308. Attorney General: The affidavits themselves are our number 185, and I now submit them. I think it would be fitting if I were to request, at this stage, a decision from the Court, according to section 15 of the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law, to admit this document in evidence. Presiding Judge: Let us now see what we have here. Attorney General: This is Exhibit PS1553. Presiding Judge: What is this "Assessment Report"? Attorney General: This is the report that was sent by the officers who interrogated Gerstein. It is signed by Evans and Haught. Following that there is a summary of the report. Thereafter, invoices for the supply of gas from the firm of "Degesch". The Court will find at the end of the document, a number of invoices from the firm Degesch of Frankfurt, made out to Obersturmfuehrer Gerstein for the supply of "Zyklon B." The Court will see that the destination of the dispatch indicated by the firm is Oranienburg (in two of the invoices), Auschwitz (in the three following invoices), Oranienburg (in a further invoice), then Auschwitz, Oranienburg, Auschwitz, Auschwitz, Oranienburg and Oranienburg. After that, there is a typewritten statement here in French. It subsequently ends with Gerstein's handwriting in French and English. Presiding Judge: What is the meaning, in one of the invoices, of "Entwesung und Entseuchung?" Attorney General: Where does that appear, Your Honour? Presiding Judge: This is the invoice dated 30 April 1944. Attorney General: The same appears in Oranienburg. Apparently that is the name of the department. Presiding Judge: But you have examined the question of the meaning of the word "Entwesung"; it appears to be "killing." Attorney General: This can be presumed. Dr. Servatius: "Entwesung" is the pure German word for "disinfection". Presiding Judge: Is that so? I hear this for the first time - but I accept it. Attorney General: I thank Defence Counsel. Perhaps, before I ask for the decision, it would be right for me to submit our document No. 1564. This is a report of the interrogation in the Court at Tuebingen, which took place on 16 February 1961, in which Mrs. Gerstein confirmed her husband's signatures, his handwriting, and also his signature on the document itself. I understand that her signature on the document is with Mr. Bodenheimer, for it was submitted as one of the supporting documents together with the Accused's statement. Clerk of the Court: T/37(185). Presiding Judge: The batch of documents should not be separated, Mr. Hausner. Attorney General: There is no need to separate them - it bears her signature on the last page. Presiding Judge: But do you have additional copies? Attorney General: You have it in front of you. It is Prosecution document No. 185, where she confirms, in fact, that this is the handwriting and the signature of her husband. Presiding Judge: She confirms this on the document itself? Attorney General: She confirms this in the report of the interrogation which I have here, signed by her and by the judge before whom she was interrogated, and also on the document itself. She writes and confirms at the interrogation that this is her signature on the document itself. We also have here the certificate of the judge at the interrogation that the witness in his presence identified the document which was attached to this signature as a document which her husband had addressed to her. This is our document No. 1565. The director of the political department of the Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed to the Israeli ambassador in Stockholm on 17 February 1961 - in connection with a conversation between an anti-Nazi SS officer, Kurt Gerstein, and a Swedish diplomat, von Otter, in 1942 - that an aide- memoire had been sent on this matter to the British Foreign Office on 13 August 1945. We have a copy here of this aide memoire, and the political department of the Swedish Foreign Ministry adds: "We have no objection to the presentation of this report at the Eichmann Trial." This corroborates what Gerstein himself says in the document which I am requesting the Court to admit. Therefore, this is an additional verification of the contents of Gerstein's statement. Similarly, we have here a confirmation of the examination of Gerstein. This confirmation comes from the American Military Archives and is legally authenticated. I am submitting the original for the time being, for presently, when I shall refer to it, I shall submit the documents mentioned as three separate exhibits. Presiding Judge: Again, this is not merely evidence, but further documents. Attorney General: An examination. Presiding Judge: No, there is also more than that. Attorney General: There are a few duplicates, Your Honour. We authenticated the whole batch together, as it was supplied to us by the American Archives. But there is some duplication of documents. Presiding Judge: Photographs as well, or more correctly, negatives of photographs. Attorney General: Yes. Presiding Judge: I do not know whether we are proceeding in the correct manner. You have meanwhile placed a number of documents on our table. We have not yet heard... Attorney General: I would like to sum up why we request the Court to deviate from the rules of evidence. Presiding Judge: Are there no further papers? Attorney General: This is all. Gerstein is not alive. Gerstein gives detailed evidence on the death process at Belzec. Gerstein describes the connections between himself and Guenther, who brought him to Belzec. Presiding Judge: Where is that? Attorney General: It is in document No. 185. Perhaps we may begin with what I have just submitted as the affidavit of the archivist of the United States. If the Court would kindly look at the last portion of this affidavit, it says there, on page 12: "I have never known what class of people Guenther was still to kill on orders of his chief, Eichmann. Judging by the quantities, I thought at first of the internees." In that same document, in the first section on page 3, in the middle of the page, there is a question: "Do you know any other agents or officers of the Gestapo or SD who have a great responsibility in the organization of the camps and in the executions?" The reply was: "A certain Guenther and his chief, Eichmann, both in charge of the extermination of the Jewish race." And in the middle of the document, on 10 July 1945, at the bottom of page 4, Gerstein replies to the question: "When you left Berlin, were there other instructions given to you, apart from those concerning the transportation of cyanide?" Answer: "Yes. The officer of the SS, Guenther, ordered me once, at the camp of Belzec, to make all arrangements to replace the diesel engine as a method of extermination with the use of cyanide." So much for the last document.
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