The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-Sixth Day: Thursday, 3rd January, 1946
(Part 12 of 15)


[The testimony of Dieter Wisliceny continues.]

[Page 279]

Q. Who was Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt at the time the order was first issued?

A. That would be Heydrich.

Q. Did the program under this order continue with equal force under Kaltenbrunner?

A. Yes; there was no alleviation or change of any kind.

Q. State, if you know, how long Kaltenbrunner knew Eichmann.

A. From various statements by Eichmann I gathered that Kaltenbrunner and Eichmann had known each other for a long time. Both came from Linz, and when Kaltenbrunner was made Chief of the Security Police, Eichmann expressed his satisfaction. He told me at that time that he knew Kaltenbrunner very well personally, and that Kaltenbrunner was very well acquainted with Eichmann's family in Linz.

Q. Did Eichmann ever refer to his friendship or standing with Kaltenbrunner as being helpful to him?

A. Yes, he repeatedly said that, if he had any serious trouble, he could, at any time, go to Kaltenbrunner personally. He did not have to do that

[Page 280]

very often, since his relations with his immediate superior, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, were very good.

Q. Have you been present when Eichmann and Kaltenbrunner met?

A. Yes; once I saw how cordially Kaltenbrunner greeted Eichmann. That was in February, 1945, in Eichmann's office in Berlin. Kaltenbrunner came to lunch every day at Kurfuerstenstrasse 116; there the Chiefs met for their mid- day meal with Kaltenbrunner; and it was on one such occasion that I saw how cordially Kaltenbrunner greeted Eichmann and how he inquired after the health of Eichmann's family in Linz.

Q. In connection with the administration of his Office, do you know to what extent Eichmann submitted matters to Heydrich, and later to Kaltenbrunner for approval?

A. The routine channel from Eichmann to Kaltenbrunner lay through Gruppenfuehrer Mueller. To my knowledge reports to Kaltenbrunner were drawn up at regular intervals by Eichmann and submitted to him. I also know that in the summer of 1944 he made a personal report to Kaltenbrunner.

Q. Did you have an opportunity to examine files in Eichmann's office?

A. Yes; I frequently had occasion to examine the files in Eichmann's office. I know that he handled all files pertaining to questions with this particular order very carefully. He was in every respect a definite bureaucrat; he immediately recorded in the files every discussion he ever had with any of his superiors. He always pointed out to me that the most important thing was for him to be covered by his superiors at all times. He shunned all personal responsibility and took good care to take shelter behind his superiors -- in this case Mueller and Kaltenbrunner -- and to inveigle them into accepting the responsibility for all his actions.

Q. In the case of a typical report going from Eichmann's department through Mueller, Kaltenbrunner to Himmler -- have you seen copies of such reports in Eichmann's file?

A. Yes, such copies were naturally very often in the files. The regular channel was as follows: Eichmann had a draft made by an expert or he prepared it himself; this draft went to Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, his Chief of Department; Mueller either signed this draft himself or left the signing to Eichmann. In most cases, when reports to Kaltenbrunner and Himmler were concerned, Mueller signed them himself. Whenever reports were signed unchanged by Mueller, they were returned to Eichmann's office, where a fair copy and one carbon copy were prepared. The fair copy then went back to Mueller for his signature, and thence it was forwarded either to Kaltenbrunner or to Himmler. In individual cases where reports to Himmler were involved, Kaltenbrunner signed them himself. I myself have seen carbon copies with Kaltenbrunner's signature.

Q. Turning now to areas and countries in which measures were taken affecting the Jews, will you state as to which countries you have personal knowledge of such operations?

A. Firstly, I have personal knowledge of all measures taken in Slovakia. I also know full particulars of the evacuation of Jews from Greece and especially from Hungary. Further, I know about certain measures taken in Bulgaria and in Croatia. I naturally heard about the measures adopted in other countries, but was unable from my own observations or from detailed reports, to gain a clear picture of the situation.

[Page 281]

Q. Considering the case of Slovakia, you have already made reference to the 17,000 Jews specially selected who were sent from Slovakia. Will you tell the Tribunal of the other measures that followed concerning Jews in Slovakia?

A. I mentioned before that these first 17,000 laborers were followed by about 35,000 Jews, including entire families. In August, or the beginning of September, 1942, an end was put to this action in Slovakia. The reasons for this were that a large number of Jews still in Slovakia had been granted -- either by the President or by various Ministries -- special permission to remain in the country. A further reason might have been the unsatisfactory answer I gave the Slovakian Government in reply to their request for the inspection of the Jewish camps in Poland. This state of affairs lasted until September, 1944; from August, 1942, until September, 1944, no Jews were removed from Slovakia. From 25,000 to 30,000 Jews still remained in the country.

Q. What happened to the first group of 17,000 specially selected workers?

A. This group was not annihilated, but all were employed for enforced labor in the Auschwitz and Lublin concentration Camps.

Q. How do you know this?

A. I know this detail because the Commandant of Auschwitz, Hoess, made a remark to this effect to me in Hungary, in 1944. He told me, at that time, that these 17,000 Jews were his best workers in Auschwitz.

Q. What was the name of that Commandant?

A. The Commandant of Auschwitz was Hoess.

Q. What happened to the approximately 35,000 members of the families of the Jewish workers that were also sent to Poland?

A. They were treated according to the order which Eichmann had shown me in August, 1942. Part of them were left alive if they were able to work. The others were killed.

Q. How do you know this?

A. I know that from Eichmann and, naturally, also from Hoess, during conversations in Hungary.

Q. What proportion of this group remained alive?

A. Hoess, at that time, in a conversation with Eichmann, at which I was present, gave the figure of the surviving Jews who had been put to work at about 25 to 30 per cent.

Q. Referring now to the 25,000 Jews that remained in Slovakia until September, 1944, do you know what was done with those Jews?

A. After the outbreak of the Slovakian insurrection in the fall of 1944, Huptsturmfuehrer [sic] Brunner, one of Eichmann's assistants, was sent to Slovakia. My wish to go to Slovakia was refused by Eichmann. Brunner then, with the help of German police forces and also with forces of the Slovakian Gendarmerie, assembled these Jews in several camps and transported them to Auschwitz. According to Brunner's statement, about 14,000 people were involved. A small group which remained in Camp Szered was, as far as I know, sent to Theresienstadt in the spring of 1945.

Q. What happened to these Jews after they were deported from Slovakia, this group of 25,000?

A. I assume that they also met with the so-called "final solution," because Himmler's order to suspend this action was not issued until several weeks later.

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