The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Judgment
(Part 13 of 70)


68. When war broke out in early September 1939, and Poland was immediately divided between Germany and the Soviet Union, persecution of the Jews reached a new stage which was continued until Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941. At this stage, there are various conflicting attitudes in regard to this matter amongst the German rulers. It soon became evident that there was no hope of "purging" the German-ruled territory of its Jews by emigration across the seas, after masses of Jews had been added to them in the Eastern Occupied Territories. This was a period of mass deportations without a uniform aim, except the desire to get rid of the Jews by all means.

69. In September 1939, Polish Jewry as far as the demarcation line were handed over to the Germans, over two million souls, and the first wave of mass murders and other atrocities was set loose, carried out mainly by the SS Operations Units of the time, who entered Polish towns and villages in the wake of the advancing army. We heard about these atrocities from the witnesses Ada Lichtmann, Zvi Pachter and others (see also T/358). This was the first implementation of Hitler's threat in his speech to the Reichstag on 30 January 1939 (T/117):

"If international financial Jewry, in and outside Europe, should succeed in plunging the nations once again into a world war, then the result will not be a Bolshevized world and thereby a victory for the Jews, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."
This trend is confirmed by the testimony of Lahousen, of the German counter-espionage, at the trial of the major war criminals at Nuremberg. He said there that, already in September 1939, Hitler decided upon the massacre of Polish Jewry (N/109, N/109a).

The truth seems to be - and the Attorney General did not contend otherwise - that Hitler had already decided to exterminate European Jewry as soon as he laid hands on them, and the decision was already known to a small circle at the head of the regime, but it had not yet been finally crystallized, and the explicit and comprehensive order for its implementation had not yet been given. This conclusion is confirmed by a minute of a meeting convened by Heydrich on 27 September 1939 and attended by his chief assistants (T/164).

Another document was also submitted to us, addressed to the heads of the Operations Units of the Security Police, in which Heydrich sums up the directives he gave at that meeting (T/165). Heydrich distinguishes there between "the final aim (requiring longer periods of time)" and "the stages for achieving this final aim (to be carried out within short periods)." The final aim must be treated as top secret (vide, p. 1). What this "final aim" meant was not said there. It is possible that this referred to mass expulsion of the Jews from German-ruled territory. This is hinted at by the words on page 3 of T/164: "Expulsion [of the Jews] across the border was confirmed by the Fuehrer."

But there is ground also for another and more far-reaching assumption, viz., that the aim at the time was already the future physical extermination of the Jews. The Accused supports this latter view in his Statement before Superintendent Less, as follows (T/37, p. 3141; Session 91, Vol. IV, p. xxxx9):

"...After I read through this, I say to myself today that, according to this, the order for the physical extermination of Jewry was given by or came from Hitler, not near the beginning of the German-Russian War, as I had believed until now, but this basic idea was already rooted in the minds of the higher leaders of the men at the very top at the time these directives were drafted" (this in reference to the above-mentioned directives of Heydrich).
70. The Accused appears in the list of those present at the consultation held by Heydrich as "SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Eichmann (Central Office for Jewish Emigration)." The Accused did not deny his presence there in his Statement to Superintendent Less ("I cannot recall that I took part in this consultation. Of course, there can be no doubt of it, since my name appears there"; p. 3151). In Court, after he had had time to realize the serious implication of this matter, he tried to exclude himself from this meeting, by denying the correctness of the document, and using the excuse that at the time he had not yet been transferred to Berlin (Session 88, Vol. IV p.xxxx32; Session 91, Vol. IV p.xxxx9). We do not accept this excuse.

In either case, whether the regular place of residence of the Accused on that day was Berlin or not, he was already handling the affairs of the Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration, and his presence at this consultation was natural, even though he held the lowest rank of all the participants.

The final aim had not yet reached the stage of implementation, and these are the directives which Heydrich announced were to be acted upon within a short time:

(a) the concentration of the Jews in ghettos in the large cities, "in order to have better control, and later for evacuation" (T/164, p. 4);

(b) the setting up of Councils of Jewish Elders;

(c) the deportation of Jews from the Reich to Poland (the area of the Generalgouvernement) on freight trains.

71. From amongst these objectives, the Accused was to be charged with a central task of organizing transports from the Reich to Poland, as we shall see presently. In the meantime, he continued to direct the activities of the Central Office for Emigration in Vienna, Prague and Berlin, through the organization of emigration overseas (T/798 of 19.12.39, section 5). After the outbreak of war, emigration possibilities became limited. During the first few months, an opening for emigration still remained via Russia and Japan, and also via Sweden (T/665, p. 4).

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