The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-Sixth Day: Thursday, 3rd January, 1946
(Part 13 of 15)


[Page 282]

Q. Considering now actions in Greece about which you have personal knowledge, will you tell the Tribunal of the actions there in a chronological sequence?

A. In January, 1943, I was summoned by Eichmann to Berlin, where he told me that I was to proceed to Salonika, there to solve the Jewish problem there in co-operation with the German Military Administration in Macedonia. Eichmann's permanent representative, Sturmbannfuehrer Wolf, had previously been to Salonika. My departure had been scheduled for February, 1942. At the end of January, 1942, I was told by Eichmann that Hauptsturmfuehrer Brunner had been nominated by him for the technical execution of all operations in Greece, and that he was to accompany me to Salonika. Brunner was not subordinate to me; he worked independently. In February, 1942, we went to Salonika and there contacted the Military Administration. As first action....

Q. With whom in the Military Administration did you deal?

A. War Administration Counsellor (Kriegsverwaltungsrat) Dr. Merten, Chief of the Military Administration with the Commander of the Armed Forces in the Salonika-Aegean theatre.

Q. I believe you used 1942 once or more in reference; did you at all times refer to 1943 in dealing with Greece?

A. That is an error. These events occurred in 1943.

Q. What arrangements were made through Dr. Merten and what actions were taken?

A. In Salonika the Jews were first of all concentrated in certain quarters of the city. There were, in Salonika, about 50,000 Jews of Spanish descent. At the beginning of March, after this concentration had taken place, a teletype arrived from Eichmann to Brunner, ordering the immediate evacuation of all Jews from Salonika and Macedonia to Auschwitz. Armed with this order Brunner and I went to the Military Administration; no objections were raised by the Administration and measures were prepared and executed. Brunner directed the entire action in Salonika in person. The trains necessary for the evacuation were requisitioned from the Transport Command of the Armed Forces. All Brunner had to do was to indicate the number of railway cars needed and the exact time at which they were required.

Q. Were any of the Jewish workers retained at the request of Dr. Merten or the Military Administration?

A. The Military Administration had requisitioned about 3,000 Jews for construction work on the railroad, which number was duly delivered. Once the work was ended, these Jews were returned to Brunner and were, like all the others, dispatched to Auschwitz. The work in question was carried out within the programme of the Todt Organisation.

Q. What was the number of Jewish workers retained for the Organization Todt?

A. Three to four thousand.

Q. Was there any illness among the Jews that were concentrated for transport?

A. In the camp proper, i.e., the concentration camp, there were no incidence of disease to report. However, in certain quarters of the city inhabited by the Jews there was a prevalence of typhus and other contagious diseases, especially tuberculosis of the lungs.

[Page 283]

Q. What, if any, communication did you have with Eichmann concerning this typhus?

A. On receipt of the teletype concerning the evacuation from Salonika, I drew Eichmann's attention over the telephone to the prevalence of typhus. He ignored my objections and gave orders for the evacuation to proceed immediately.

Q. Altogether, how many Jews were collected and shipped from Greece?

A. There were over 50,000 Jews; I believe that about 54,000 were evacuated from Salonika and Macedonia.

Q. What is the basis for your figure?

A. I myself read a comprehensive report from Brunner to Eichmann on completion of the evacuation. Brunner left Salonika at the end of May 1943. I personally was not in Salonika from the beginning of April until the end of May, so that the action was carried out by Brunner alone.

Q. How many transports were used for shipping Jews from Salonika?

A. From 20 to 25 transport trains.

Q. And how many were shipped in each transport?

A. There were at least 2,000, and in many cases 2,500.

Q. What kind of railway equipment was used for these shipments?

A. Sealed freight cars were used. The evacuees were given sufficient food to last them for about ten days, consisting mostly of bread, olives and other dry food. They also received water and various sanitary facilities.

Q. Who furnished this railway transportation?

A. Transport was supplied by the Rail Transport Command of the Armed Forces, i.e., the cars and locomotives. The food was furnished by the Military Administration.

Q. What did the Subsection IV-A-4 have to do with obtaining this transportation, and who in that sub-section dealt with transportation?

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Brookhart, you need not go into this in such great detail.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BROOKHART: If Your Honour pleases, this particular question, I believe, will have a bearing on the implications involving the military; I can cut down on the other details.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you spent some considerable time in describing how many of them were concentrated. Whether it was 60,000, or how many were kept for the Todt Organisation -- all those details are really unnecessary.


THE PRESIDENT: I mean, you must use your own discretion about how you cut down. I do not know what details or what facts you are going to prove.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BROOKHART: If Your Honour pleases, this witness, as he has testified, is competent to cover practically all details in these Balkan countries. It is not our wish to add cumulative evidence, but his testimony does furnish a complete story from the Head Office of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt through the field operations to the "final solution."

THE PRESIDENT:. Well, what is he going to prove about these 50,000 Jews?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BROOKHART: Their ultimate disposition at Auschwitz, as far as he knows.

PRESIDENT: Well, you can go on to what ultimately happened to them then.

[Page 284]


Q. What was the destination of these transports of Jews from Greece?

A. In every case to Auschwitz.

Q. And what was the ultimate disposition of the Jews sent to Auschwitz from Greece?

A. They were without exception destined for the so-called "final solution."

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