The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad/Kurt_Becher-01

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

23 May 1961

The Competent Court of Justice, Bremen

Re: Request for Legal Assistance

The main hearing in the criminal proceedings against the
Accused Adolf Eichmann is at present taking place in this

In the context of this main hearing, I request you to extend
legal assistance to this Court by the examination on oath of
the following witness:

Kurt Becher, Bremen 1, Slevogt Strasse 56

The witness is to be examined as to the following
allegations of the Accused:

     (1)that the orders for the foot march (Fussmarsch) in
     November 1944 of part of the Jewish population of
     Budapest (more than 25,000 persons) were not given by
     the Accused;
     (2) that in November 1944 the Reich Plenipotentiary in
     Hungary, Ambassador Veesenmayer, induced the Hungarian
     Government to move thirty to fifty thousand Jews to the
     Austrian border, to be used for labour, and that the
     foot march of this population which was to be used as
     labour was the result of an order by the Hungarian
     (3) that the foot march referred to was guarded by
     Hungarian Honved soldiers;
     (4) that, as Reich Plenipotentiary in Hungary,
     Ambassador Veesenmayer had unlimited powers for the
     implementation of all measures by German military,
     Party and civilian authorities;
     (5) that in implementing measures, all units of the
     Security Police and the Security Service in Hungary
     were, for tactical purposes, under the orders of the
     Higher SS and Police Leader Winkelmann, to whom the
     Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service,
     Geschke, was also answerable;
     (6) that the office of the Accused Eichmann in Budapest
     was not able to issue instructions or orders to either
     Ambassador Veesenmayer or to the Chief of the Security
     Police and the Security Service, Geschke, nor did it
     issue any such orders, and that these office-holders
     received their instructions and orders directly from
     the German Foreign Ministry or from the Reichsfuehrer-
     (7) that the Accused Eichmann was the first person to
     propose through the official channels to his superior,
     Obergruppenfuehrer Mueller, that the deportation of
     Hungarian Jews be halted until negotiations were
     concluded on the supply of military equipment in return
     [for freeing Hungarian Jews];
     (8) that, in order to implement the projected plan, the
     Accused made arrangements for sending a Jewish
     negotiator to Constantinople, and that he proposed Joel
     Brand for this role;
     (9) that the Accused did not obstruct implementation of
     the operations referred to, but tried to facilitate
     things by proposing to his superior a lesser
     consideration than that demanded by Reichsfuehrer-SS
     (10) that later the Accused did not do anything to
     thwart implementation of the plan;
     (11) that also in other instances the Accused did not
     adopt any measures designed to obstruct transfer abroad
     of the Jews;
     (12) that the Accused did not refuse to implement
     orders to halt deportations.
To complete the deposition of the witness, I would request
that the witness also be asked the following questions which
were drawn up by Counsel for the Accused:

     (1) What rank did you hold in the SS at the beginning
     and at the end of the War?
     (2) Were you in a fighting unit?  If so, which one?
     (3) Did you take part in actual fighting?  If so, when,
     where and in what capacity?
     (4) Were you wounded?
     (5) Did you receive the Kriegsverdienstkreuz
     (Distinguished War Service Cross)?
     (6) Is the Kriegsverdienstkreuz an important
     (7) Is this decoration a more important one than that
     which you received?
     (8) After the fall of Stalingrad and the retreat of the
     German army from the Dnieper in January 1944, were you
     of the opinion that Germany had lost the war?
     (9) What special assignment in Hungary were you given
     by Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler?
     (10) Were you convinced that the implementation of your
     assignment was of considerable importance?
     (11) Did you carry out your assignment?
     (12) Did you endeavour to have the management of the
     Weiss-Manfred Works in Hungary transferred to yourself?
     Did you intend that the management of the concern
     should remain in your hands also after the War?
     (13) Did you confiscate factories and other
     (14) Did your measures - particularly your efforts to
     be put in charge of the Weiss-Manfred Works - serve to
     carry out the assignment given to you?
     How did this serve the war aim?
     (15) Are you familiar with what is known as the Brand
     Operation, under which, subject to certain conditions,
     one million Jews were to be sent abroad?
     Did the Accused Adolf Eichmann suggest this plan and
     submit it to his superior, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller,
     through official channels?  Did the Accused travel
     several times to Berlin for this purpose?
     (16) When and how did you become involved in this
     operation, and at whose initiative?
     (17) When and under what circumstances did you meet Mr.
     Joel Brand?  When did you first talk to him?
     (18) Were the Accused's proposals for implementing the
     operations more favourable than those of Reichsfuehrer-
     SS Himmler, with whom you talked?
     (19) Did Eichmann subsequently prevent implementation
     of the Brand Operation?  If so, by what means?
     (20) Did Eichmann attempt to obstruct other measures
     concerning the departure of Jews?  If so, by what
     (21) After the War, did you act as interpreter during
     the interrogation of fellow detainees in internment or
     prison camps or prisons?
     (22) Did you thus have the opportunity to hear the
     testimony of other prisoners?
     (23) During the time you were imprisoned, did you speak
     about the persecution of the Jews and the
     responsibility for such persecution with your fellow
     detainees Veesenmayer, Winkelmann, Geschke, Juettner
     and others?
     (24) Did you meet the above-mentioned persons also
     after the end of your imprisonment, or did you make any
     other contact with them, and did you talk to them about
     the subject of the Jews?  When did this occur last?
     (25) During your imprisonment, did you talk to Dr.
     Kasztner about Jewish matters?  If so, when was this
     and who initiated such discussions?  Did Dr. Kasztner
     make efforts towards this end?
     (26) After you were released from prison, did Dr.
     Kasztner come to see you?  If so, how often did you
     meet and for how long?
     (27) What was the purpose of these visits?
     (28) After you were released from prison, did Mr. Joel
     Brand come to see you, and did he talk with you about
     Jewish matters?  If so, when, how often, and how long
     did his visits last?  What was the purpose of the
     (29) When were you last in touch with Mr. Brand?
To complete the testimony of the witness, I would also
request that the witness be asked the following questions
which were drawn up by the Attorney General:

     (1) Did you have general conversations with the Accused
     about the Solution of the Jewish Question in Hungary,
     and what was the Accused's attitude?
     (2) Do the statements and evidence which you gave in
     1944,* {* sic. Should probably be 1946} 1947 and 1948
     in the witnesses' prison in Nuremberg, on oath and not
     on oath, conform to the truth?
     (3) With whom did the proposal originate that Jews be
     exchanged for goods?
     (4) How did you meet Dr. Rudolf Kasztner?
     (5) When did you suggest to Himmler that a stop be put
     to the deportation of Jews?
     (6) What was the result of your efforts to intervene
     with Himmler?
     (7) How did Eichmann sabotage your activities?
     (8) Who supported Eichmann in this affair?
     (9) Did you inform Eichmann of Himmler's orders, and
     what was his reaction?
     (10) What do you know of the "foot march" of the Jews
     of Budapest to the Austrian border?
     (11) Who was responsible for the foot march?
     (12) What impression did this foot march make on
     General Juettner?
     (13) How did Eichmann react to your intervention in
     order to put an end to the foot march?
     (14) Why did you complain to Himmler about Eichmann?
     (15) Describe in detail the joint discussion between
     Himmler, Eichmann and yourself.
     (16) How do you explain the fact that by awarding
     Eichmann a decoration Himmler tried to mollify him,
     although Eichmann had not followed his orders?
     (17) What was the relationship between Himmler and
     (18) Where did Eichmann live in Budapest?
     (19) Were you acquainted with Slawik, Eichmann's
     caretaker, and can you say what sort of a person he
     (20) Did you know the name of Eichmann's driver in
     (21) Did you know SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Wilhelm
     (22) Did you know of any connections between the
     Accused and Dr. Hoettl, and what type of connections
     were they?
     (23) Did you serve in Hungary as plenipotentiary of the
     SS Leadership Head Office?
     (24) Were you engaged in the purchase of war and other
     equipment for the SS?
     (25) How were Jewish assets in Hungary taken into
     safekeeping for the SS and transferred to Germany?
     (26) Did you yourself take part in carrying out such
     safekeeping operations?
     (27) What German personnel were available to you for
     carrying out your special assignment for the SS
     Leadership Head Office?
     (28) Which were the German authorities other than the
     SS to which Jewish goods and assets from Hungary were
     (29) What do you know about monies paid by Jews to the
     SS in order to be allowed to leave Hungary?
I request you to summon to the examination of the witness
the representative of the Attorney General of the State of
Israel, c/o H.E. Ambassador, Dr. F.E. Shinnar, Israel
Mission, Cologne, as well as Counsel for the Accused, Dr. R.
Servatius, Hohenzollernring 14, Cologne, and to afford them,
on their part, the opportunity to ask the witness questions
which might arise from his answers.

There is no objection on the part of this Court to the
aforementioned representatives of the parties obtaining
copies of the record of the examination.

Please forward the original of the record of the examination
to this Court.

(-) Moshe Landau
President of the Trial Court

TheCourt of First Instance, Bremen, 20 June 1961, Department
for Criminal Cases

File Number 19 AR 1851/61


Gerichtsassessor Elias (Assistant Judge) as Judge,
Justizangestellte (Clerk of the Court) Schriefer as Clerk of
the Court

In the criminal proceedings against Adolf Eichmann on a
charge of murder, there appeared:

The witness whose name appears below, as well as Mr. Erwin
S. Shimron representing the Attorney General of Jerusalem,
and also Advocate Dieter Wechtenbruch representing the
The witness was instructed to tell the truth, and was
informed that he would have to swear to his testimony in the
absence of any exception laid down or permitted in the law.
He was instructed as to the significance of the oath and the
penalties for giving false or incomplete evidence.  The
witness was then examined as follows:
Personal Details: My name is Kurt Andreas Ernst Becher, I am
51 years old, a businessman by profession, and live in
Bremen, Schwachhauser Heerstrasse 189.  I am not related and
not connected by marriage to the Accused.

On the matter in question:

In order to make my answers clearer, I should first of all
like to sketch my personal history.

After concluding my business apprenticeship in 1928 in a
Jewish firm of good repute dealing in the import of cereals
and foodstuffs, Herm. Simonis of Hamburg, I worked for a
year each in two firms in the same field as a commercial
clerk, and then, from 1930 until the outbreak of the War, I
worked first as a clerk and then as a managing clerk in the
firm of Friedrich Heins of Hamburg, cereals and foodstuffs
brokers.  Through my employer at the time, Mr. Heins, I
became interested in the sport of riding, and from 1932 to
this day I have been an active horseman.

In 1934 the horsemen of Hamburg with their own horses joined
forces to create an SS Reitersturm (mounted unit).  After
this SS Reitersturm was set up, my riding instructor
persuaded me to join it.  In 1937 the Reitersturm was
received into the Party.  At the outbreak of War, I had the
rank of SS Unterscharfuehrer in the Mounted SS (Reiter-SS).

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.