The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 9
(Part 2 of 4)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
We give our Decision No. 5

We admit the statements of Dr. Verete and Dr. Kermish and statements of the same type as evidence of the place where the documents mentioned therein originated. We do so in order to facilitate the proceedings, on the basis of our authority under section 15 of the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950.

State Attorney Bach: With the Court's permission I shall read the affidavit of Dr. Meir Verete:

"I, the undersigned, Dr. Meir Verete, a Lecturer in Diplomatic History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, hereby declare as follows:

1. During the period between the autumn 1955 and Autumn 1956 I dealt, on behalf of Yad Vashem and in cooperation with the Israel Embassy in London, with the photographing of documents in the archives of the German Foreign Ministry, which were seized by the Allies and stored in Whaddon Hall, which is in England, under the auspices of a joint Institute of the British Foreign Office and the United States Department of State. The name of the Institute is the "Foreign Office/State Department German War Documents Project."

2. After receiving permission from the British and American Foreign Offices, I was referred to Miss Johnston, a librarian in the Library of the British Foreign Office. Miss Johnston placed at my disposal the original list of files of the German Foreign Ministry. Out of this list I selected such volumes and files as related to the history of the Jewish people and in accordance with my request these volumes and files were brought to the research rooms of the Library of the British Foreign Office.

"There I, together with my assistants, sorted out the files and the documents. I recorded in my notebook the files and the documents which I had selected. These notebooks have been produced to me now and I recognize them. I confirmed this fact by means of the initials of my signature on the inside cover.

3. Copies of these lists were made as an order for photographing at the aforementioned institute. The order was conveyed by the aforementioned Miss Johnston.

I am aware that the photographs were made under the supervision of Mr. Stambrook, assistant to the chief of the Archives at Whaddon Hall. The microfilms when ready were transferred in the course of the year 1956 via the Israel Embassy in London to Yad Vashem.

4. At Yad Vashem I made a general examination of the microfilms in order to satisfy myself that they had been photographed in accordance with my order and I found that the documents which were photographed tallied with the documents which were recorded in the said notebooks.

5. I declare that this is my name and this is my signature and that the contents of this affidavit of mine are true to the best of my knowledge and belief."

I submit to the Court the original and two copies of the affidavit and also the notebooks which were initialled by the declarant, as he states in fact in his affidavit. The Court will find his initials in the inside cover of each individual notebook.

Presiding Judge: And therein there is a list of documents?

State Attorney Bach: There is a list of all those documents which tally with the list which was ordered by him in London.

For the sake of an exact record I should like to add that the Prosecution's catalogue number in respect of Dr. Verete's affidavit is 1574. This is the number appearing in the upper right-hand corner in these documents.

Presiding Judge: I have in front of me a copy which does not bear this number.

State Attorney Bach: Because that is the original.

Presiding Judge: I shall record the number at the top. This will not be part of the affidavit.

State Attorney Bach: Perhaps it would be desirable that the original document be kept in a separate file of exhibits, and for the purpose of preparing the files we shall always hand a copy with the catalogue number to each of the three judges.

Presiding Judge: I understand that you have given much thought to this and this is the conclusion you have reached. I myself do not see the need for this. There will be a file for documents and two other sets. As it is, we will be inundated with documents. I want to restrict this as far as possible.

I have marked the affidavit as T/6 and will mark these notebooks T/6/1 and T/6/2, and so on. The Clerk of the Court, Dr. Bodenheimer, will mark the notebooks with the appropriate numbers.

State Attorney Bach: The second affidavit of Dr. Kermish bears our catalogue number 1577.

Presiding Judge: How many such notebooks were there?

State Attorney Bach: Fourteen.

The affidavit of Dr. Kermish, No. 1577, repeats many details which have already been included in Dr. Verete's affidavit. Consequently I shall only read those particulars which add to these facts:

"2. These microfilms were transferred by the British Foreign Office to the archives of Yad Vashem through the Israel Embassy in London. They are now stored in the Yad Vashem Archives in Jerusalem.

3. In the year 1956, when all the microfilms reached our archives, they were given a general examination by Dr. Verete, who found that they tallied with his order.

4. In the period between July 1960 and February 1961, I handed over to Bureau 06 of the Israel Police the microfilms specified in the list attached and confirmed by my initials.

5. Also during the aforementioned period enlargements were prepared, in the laboratories of the Yad Vashem archives, of documents from amongst these microfilms. These enlargements were also delivered by me to the Bureau 06."

I also submit the original together with two copies of that affidavit.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/7.

State Attorney Bach: With the Court's permission I should like to continue with my questions to the witness. Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom, did you examine the microfilms which reached Bureau 06?

Witness Bar-Shalom: I examined the microfilms. They were examined by the officers of Section 1 who were my subordinates, under my supervision. After the enlargements were made under their supervision and according to my instruction, I again examined all the documents and marked them. On the reverse side, in the bottom right-hand corner there is the number of the microfilms as it appears at Yad Vashem.

Presiding Judge: What is the actual document?

Witness Bar-Shalom: This is it now - it is called a "specification list," a list of the German files which were photographed and the number of each separate picture on the film relating to the document.

State Attorney Bach: That "specification list" which you mentioned - where did you find such lists?

Witness Bar-Shalom: On every film. They were usually at the beginning of the film and always before the beginning of a new file, I think, a new file of the German Foreign Ministry.

Q. In this list, in that document which you are holding in your hand, is there any list at all which gives additional corroboration of the affidavits which you have just submitted?

A. Yes. It says on the top of the document :"Foreign Ministry State Department - German War Documents Project." Thereafter there is the number of the department of the German Foreign Ministry and the number of the file that it refers to, the number of the picture, and below: "Filmed on behalf of Dr. Meir Verete, delegate of the Government of Israel, and signed "Prepared by Stambrook" with his signature.

State Attorney Bach: With the Court's permission, I should like to submit this document as a specimen.

Presiding Judge: This is marked T/8.

State Attorney Bach: Mr. Bar-Shalom - you said that on this document you made a certain mark in the right-hand corner of the reverse side of the document. Was it your practice to do so in regard to other documents which were prepared in Bureau 06?

Witness Bar-Shalom: This in fact was the system, to mark every photographic copy of the microfilms in this way, from whichever source it came, always in the lower right-hand corner on the reverse side of the document, the number of that microfilm as it was received, and from what source it was received.

Q. In most of the microfilms did you also note the number of the picture in the film?

A. In documents of the German Foreign Ministry, in certain numbers of series, the number of the picture was recorded in the body of the document itself, that is to say it was printed on the original and photographed with the number; but there were some documents where the number of the pictures appears between the two pictures. In such instances I recorded the number of the picture in the lower left-hand corner.

Q. Do you have in your possession a comprehensive list of all those documents contained in the evidence file of Bureau 06 and that were passed on to the Prosecution, all those documents whose verification is based on the category you have just now mentioned, which originated in the German Foreign Ministry?

A. I have such a list, drawn up according to the films - each microfilm separately. At the top of the list there is always the number of the film. Sometimes two films are recorded on the same page - if the space was wider. Thereafter, the first column - this is the serial number of that film. The second column is the catalogue number. The third column is for the number of the picture or the numbers of the pictures in the film of that document - if there were more than one picture there. The fourth column is the number of Yad Vashem - if the Yad Vashem laboratories prepared the enlargement. If this was not done in our laboratories, then they gave a number in their list, and this number appears. In the fifth column is the number of the Prosecution in previous trials, that is to say, mainly in the Nuremberg Trials. And in the last column - confirmation by means of the Accused's signature. (This confirmation does not say that the Accused confirmed the contents of the document but that he had signed on the reverse side of the document, on the back of the document, in fact to confirm that the document had been shown to him at the time of the interrogation.

Presiding Judge: Does this apply to all the exhibits?

A. No. What was shown to him - is marked. In certain instances one can see that he added that he acknowledges his signature.

State Attorney Bach: We shall prove these items at a later stage.

Presiding Judge: But for this purpose I have to know how many pages there are here. Please count them, Mr. Bodenheimer.

This will be T/9.

Is this is a comprehensive list of all the documents?

State Attorney Bach: Of all the documents which are included, whether Prosecution documents which have received a catalogue number, or Prosecution documents which have originated from documents of the German Foreign Ministry.

I should also like to mention that all the documents mentioned here have been passed on to the Defence, as well as the catalogue itself, which contains in summarized form the content of each individual document.

Presiding Judge: The catalogue of Yad Vashem?

State Attorney Bach: No. The catalogue which has been prepared in Bureau 06 and which listed in summarized form the contents of every document which had been included in the evidence.

Mr. Bar-Shalom, what is the second category of verifications to which you referred?

Witness Bar-Shalom: These are the documents originating in the trial of the major Nazi war criminals at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. They were published in 42 volumes in what was called the Blue Series in all the official languages in use there; from these we extracted a number of documents of the prosecution and of the defence, and excerpts of the records of the proceedings; we duplicated these by stencil and treated them as if they were documents which we knew to be verified in the Blue Series which was an official publication of the Tribunal's secretariat and in accordance with the Tribunal's instructions. We made copies of passages from these books, from the German edition.

State Attorney Bach: On this point I wish to point out that we intend to place at the Court's disposal the total series of 42 volumes of the Nuremberg Trials, not as proof of each individual item of evidence, but we shall make them available to the Court, and whenever we intend to rely on one or other item of evidence appearing in these volumes we shall point this out specifically - and then the Defence would have the opportunity to argue its case regarding the admissibility of such evidence before this Court. [To Mr. Bar-Shalom] Do you have in your possession a list of those excerpts or copies taken from those 42 volumes which were included in the file of 06?

Witness Bar-Shalom: I believe this was printed on the last page of this list.

Presiding Judge: T/9 has 35 pages.

Witness Bar-Shalom: The list includes: in column one - the serial number; in column two - the catalogue number given by us; in column three - a note of the reference number of the prosecution or of the defence in that trial, or the volume and the pages of the record, and the same thing again with the confirmation as to whether the item was shown to the Accused.

State Attorney Bach: I request that the Court accept this document in evidence.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/10.

State Attorney Bach: What is the next category of documents?

Witness Bar-Shalom: The next category consists of twelve Trials against War Criminals, which followed the major trial and which were called, generally, the "Subsequent Trials" where war criminals were judged in twelve groups, according to the subjects of their crimes, in twelve trials.

Q. Do you know anything regarding the nature of the documents which served the prosecution in those trials as evidence in those cases?

A. At the time of the withdrawal and at the end of the War the Nazi authorities destroyed many archives. Moreover the circumstances of the War contributed to the destruction of archives. There remained only remnants of various archives scattered throughout Germany and the occupied countries. At the end of the War the documentation department of the Allies assembled these documents and from these it prepared the documents for the prosecution. This fact emerges from the affidavits of Major Coogan and of Major Niebergall, which may be found in volume 15 of the Green Series, in other words, in fact, in an official United States publication of these trials.

Q. Are these actually the copies of those affidavits of Major Coogan and Major Niebergall to which you referred? Hands witness copies of the affidavits.

A. Yes.

State Attorney Bach: I wish to submit these documents also as exhibits in this case.

Presiding Judge: Are these the affidavits of the both?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, these are the affidavits of Major Coogan and Major Niebergall. In actual fact these are copies of the printed versions of these affidavits appearing in that volume 15 of the Green Series, on pages 124 and 127.

The witness explains that the particulars which he submitted previously were based on these affidavits.

Presiding Judge: Was this in all the Subsequent Trials, or only in one of them?

State Attorney Bach: Actually the affidavit of Major Coogan was submitted in connection with the trial of the Major War Criminals and the affidavit of Major Niebergall, which completes the picture, was submitted in regard to other trials, and in fact they served as evidence in all these trials.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/11.

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