The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-106-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-106-03
Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

Q. Perhaps you still remember what was discussed there?

A. The various types of possible solutions began...there was
a review of the...

Q. No, no, before that it says: "The various State
Secretaries indicated their various opinions."

A. Yes.

Q. And then it says: "In conclusion, the various types of
possible solutions were discussed."

A. That was already after the dispute.  No, I remember now,
Your Honour.  I thought that it was at the beginning,
Heydrich's review after the dispute between the State

Q. You had better have a look at this.  Well then, perhaps
you remember what was talked about there?

A. The various possibilities for killing were discussed.

Q. Various possibilities for killing?

A. Yes.

Q. Now you must explain to me why, after the Conference, it
was precisely these three men - Heydrich, Mueller and
Eichmann - who remained behind and celebrated.

A. Why celebrated?

Q. Heydrich and Mueller, I understand.  Why Eichmann, why
also Eichmann?

A. Because I had to draw up the minutes.  In fact, all the
time I, together with the clerk, had to keep the minutes,
and after the discussion the minutes had to be drafted

Presiding Judge: Silence in Court!

Judge Raveh:   Just a moment, that is a new version.  Up to
now I, at any rate, understood that the three of you stayed
behind to relax, to unwind a little.  Heydrich was
satisfied; he had feared there would be problems, he smoked,
something you had practically never seen before then, and
you sat around the fireplace, and what you have said so far
had nothing to do with the minutes.

Accused:    Yes,, no, there was then that
time there was no work on the minutes.

Q. Very well.  So why was Eichmann included as the third man
in this sitting round the fire?

A. Because - we had only just been left alone, and no one
else was there, and then Heydrich said how he wanted the
minutes to be drafted, and after he had listed these items,
there was no further talk of these matters.  Instead I was
asked to drink a glass or two or three of cognac.  That is
how that happened.  And after that everyone went home, and I
sat down and followed Heydrich's relevant instructions for
the minutes, so that the words in the minutes are my words,
except for the passages which Heydrich then corrected,
expanded, or wanted to be corrected.

Q. Now we come to Pontius Pilate.  You told us that you felt
like Pontius Pilate.

A. Yes.

Q. The question of Pontius Pilate bothered you once more,
and I shall show you something, and I have underlined a
particular passage.  T/43(g).  Who wrote this?

A. I wrote this.

Q. When did you write this?

A. I no longer remember when I wrote this; I believe I wrote
it in Haifa.* {*Haifa, Israel - camp where Eichmann was kept
prior to the trial}

Q. Perhaps you wrote it there.  In any case, I am showing
you the passage.  Just read the passage out.

A. Certainly.  "Despite everything, I, of course, know that
I cannot wash my hands of this, because the fact that I was
a recipient of absolute orders definitely no longer means
anything today."

Q. So how can these two things be reconciled?

A. According to today's...and I also said this in my retrospect...obviously the fact that one
was a recipient of orders can no longer make any difference,
and consequently, according to the existing paragraphs, I
cannot wash my hands of things in innocence, but in fact am
incriminated under these paragraphs.

Q. But I had always understood that Pontius Pilate's washing
of his hands was based on an introspective process.

A. That is precisely what I wanted to refer to, Your Honour.
But when it came to my innermost self - I in fact now had to
search my soul, and of course one always searches one's soul
- and this is where man judges himself.  And I admit that
this soul-searching and judging oneself may be a hard thing,
depending on the mood and the prevailing influences on one -
sometimes one is inclined to personal cowardice, and one
would prefer to shirk this business of taking a clear-cut
decision about oneself.

I am aware of all this.  But if I say to myself, if I remind
myself how often I tried to get away and to obtain another
posting, and how I tried my level best not to go to Berlin,
if only because I would be separated from my family by this
posting, then I tell myself, when I carry out this soul-
searching, as one does time and again to oneself in hours of
quiet, I tell myself: Yes, I did everything I could have
done.  I was a tool in the hands of forces stronger than
myself.  I - let me put it in a somewhat vulgar way - I must
wash my hands of it in innocence, as far as my innermost
self is concerned.  That is how I would understand this.  As
far as I am concerned, this does not involve external
factors as much as my own soul-searching.

Q. As far as the washing of hands in 1942 was concerned,
this was a form of mental reservation?

A. 1942?

Q. Yes, Wannsee, at the Wannsee Conference.

A. Ah, the Wannsee Conference.

Q. Yes, was this a form of mental reservation?

A. Yes, well, here I said to myself - here are all the
bigwigs together - there is nothing to be done.

Q. You did not say that to Heydrich, and you did not say
that to Mueller.

A. No, no, I would not have been allowed to say that.

Q. And if you had said that, might you possibly have
finished up in the probation battalion?  Or what would have
happened to you?

A. I do not know.  Perhaps the "ascent to heaven" battalion
or prison.  I do not know what would have happened.  It
depends on which of Heydrich's feelings I would have

Q. You stated that you said on various occasions to Mueller
that you wanted to go somewhere else.

A. Yes, to Mueller, that is so.

Q. Did you also say why?

A. I said that, too.

Q. Look, someone - I do not remember if it was you or
another witness - said, "and there was a man called Hartl
(Hardy), and Mueller said to him, `Your name should not be
Hartl, but Weichl (Softy)'."

Did Mueller never tell you your name should not be
"Eichmann," but "Weichmann" (Soft Man)?

A. No.

Q. He said about you what we heard yesterday; your Defence
Counsel submitted a passage from the Sassen Document, where
Mueller speaks about the fifty Eichmanns.  Is that the

A. Yes, the opposite.

Q. So how does all of this fit?

A. But this does not refer to my official activities, that
is to say, my dealings with Jews.  This term, this was...the
reason and the fact was that in the totally bombed-out
district - I think it was called the Bavarian District -
that there were in fact few buildings, relatively few
buildings still intact, and one of those, for example, was
the office building where my Section was housed.  That was
completely intact, except for various corners and ends which
were burned down.

Q. My last question - did you want to say something else?

A. The background was this: Because I had chased after every
single incendiary bomb, and immediately cleared craters from
high-explosive bombs and so on, and when then, towards the
end of the War, a rather large number of Security Police
personnel, of Department IV for example, had to be assembled
and, as I have already said, for the purpose of issuing
false papers, apparently in all of his area Mueller had no
other office building than the office building at
Kurfuerstenstrasse 116, which I, together with my men, had
saved from destruction throughout the War by working through
the night during raids.  And this reason and everything
connected with it, the issuing of papers and so on, at this
discussion this thing about the fifty Eichmanns came about.
This was a - I think I would call it a form of comment in
the Bavarian manner.

Q. But not a commentary on all of your activity during the
whole time you were in contact with Mueller - it applied
only to this latest episode and not the entire period?

A. It applied to the current situation.

Q. My last question: Is it correct that the concept of the
physical extermination of the Jews had already gained a firm
footing by the end of 1939?

A. The end of 1939?  At that time I had not heard of any
physical extermination of the Jews.

Q. But look at what you said on pages 3141 and 3142.  I have
underlined it.

A. Ah, my own opinion, my - let us call it my - my analysis
of the plans before I was informed of them, yes, that is my
personal opinion, which strengthens me, because today I tell
myself...also Adolf Hitler's proclamations which at that
time were considered to be more of a - I would say a
propaganda matter, today, looking back, these have to must say that it appears somehow to have been a
firm idea and a firm plan of Hitler's, and not just a
propaganda matter, and that is how this must be understood
as well, what I more or less...

Q. Just a moment.  But at that time you did not yet
understand this in this way, or did you in fact understand
it in this way?

A. Yes, I already had...

Q. That in the highest circles there was the tendency, the

A. Then, at the end of 1939, I did not know anything about

Q. Look, there is a fairly flagrant contradiction about a
point which concerns this meeting of 21 September 1939.  Do
you know which one this is?

A. Yes.

Q. In the police interrogation you had no doubt at all on
the basis of the list of participants that you had been
present there.

A. Yes.

Q. It says so explicitly, you said so, and here in Court you
said you were not present and the list of participants was
not correct.  You will understand that, at first sight, what
you said to the police is more probable, because it is also
supported by the exhibit, by the document.

A. Yes.

Q. And if what you said to the police is true, then it is
very, very likely that on the basis of this meeting you
already understood at that time what the aim of the whole
business was.

A. Yes.  May I say the following, Your Honour?  In my
statement in Bureau 06 I mixed up all sorts of things.  I
made mistakes about times and so on, and I myself did not
even know when I actually came to Berlin.  I no longer had
any idea of a Reich Central Office and all of this, and all
these things I had to piece together for myself from the
files here.  But I received these files after I made my
Statement.  And here I drew up a timetable for myself, so
that first of all I would have a clear idea for myself as to
how the years had passed, and where in fact I was.  And
then, in studying this, I realized from Dr. Loewenherz'
report, for example, that at that time I could not actually
have been in Berlin at all, and then I started thinking
things over.  I said to myself, well damn it, this
Department Chief/Operations Units meeting - I cannot
remember the substance of it either - you cannot even have
been there.  And so I then - in order to deal with the last
lingering doubt, I then also asked my Defence Counsel to ask
Dr. Six, whose subordinate I had been for many years,
whether or not I had been there.  And Six said I had never
been at a Department Chiefs' meeting, and that is in fact
true.  I was never present there.  Now if that was a
Department Chiefs and Operations Units meeting, I was also
not present at that, because at that time I was in fact
still in Vienna and Prague, so what would I have been doing
in Berlin.  And then I looked at the document, the file is
one of Department II's, I think that is still the old
Security Service Bureau.

Q. Very well, that is what you said in your Statement, I

A. There really is nothing more I can say about this. I do
not know anything about the substance of it.

Q. Very well, that is in fact what you said in your
Statement.  I only have one last question I would like to
ask - still on this point, and then I have finished - just
another minute...

Although at the end you only indicate this, that in this
paper, N/2, which you drew up and submitted - I shall show
this to you in one moment - you wrote there: "Prague - until
September 1939; Berlin from October 1939," and you will
concede that the time difference from 21 September 1939 to
October 1939 is not so terribly large...

A. Yes... When I drew up these outlines - and this matter
was also part of it - I still had no files available to me,
just the few files which I had seen in Bureau 06 and
Reitlinger, and Poliakov, and a few other books as well, but
not the actual documents.  I must say, I myself was in fact
most surprised that I...when I saw the files here and then
drew up my timetable, which was totally different from how I
had remembered this...believed it in my own mind... And so
this was also one of the small errors which I had reserved
for myself, because I drew up these diagrams and outlines to
the best of my knowledge and belief - at that time I drew
them up for the Defence, in order to put some order into the
entire confusing material, and later I was set right by the

Q. But I had understood that you submitted this as part of
your testimony...

A. Yes...

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