The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Sessions 14
(Part 1 of 7)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 14

9 Iyar 5721 (25 April 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the fourteenth Session of the trial open. We adjourned last night in the middle of an argument on the submission of two documents: one - the statement of Wisliceny, and the other - the affidavit of the investigator Brookhart. I asked you, Dr. Servatius, to clarify whether you could agree to the submission of the document bearing the Bureau 06 number 856. What have you ascertained?

Dr. Servatius: Meanwhile I have verified that document No. 584 is identical with the affidavit of Wisliceny in document No. 856, namely with the protocol of 2 November 1945, on page 3. These contain 32 items.

I have no objection to the submission of document No. 856 in which the affidavit is included, but I do not see any reason for the submission of document No. 584 as well.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, does this not help you?

Attorney General: This is important, and I shall explain right away why No. 584 is important. No. 584, as the Court will remember, is a statement by Mr. Brookhart to which is attached the original affidavit of Wisliceny signed by him. This signature, with its authentication by Mr. Brookhart, served as a basis for further verifications by Mr. Hagag of the Police Criminal Identification Department in regard to other documents of Wisliceny, which we intend to request the Court to admit.

And if the Court will kindly recall the evidence of Mr. Bar-Shalom, the identification teams operated in such a way that when we had one definite item on which to base the identification of handwriting or a signature, we asked the hand-writing expert to assist us in identifying other documents on the basis of that signature. And consequently, for this purpose alone, it is important for me to submit Mr. Brookhart's affidavit. Clearly the Court will view with some hesitation Mr. Brookhart's impressions of how Wisliceny impressed him and how he, Brookhart, regarded Wisliceny. This cannot serve as a basis for the finding of this Court as to whether to lend credibility to Wisliceny's affidavit or not, in any particular place. This can provide a general impression, but I shall not ask the Court at all to believe this affidavit simply because Brookhart believed it. On the other hand, the importance...

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you agree to the submission of document No. 584, for this purpose, for the purpose of authenticating the signature?

Dr. Servatius: I accept the affidavit for the purpose of identifying the signature, but I ask the Court to exclude and not to admit those extracts in which he expresses his opinion about the witness Wisliceny.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I should like as far as possible - naturally the time will always have to arrive when the Court will be required to give its ruling - but as far as possible it would be desirable to end these discussions in mutual agreement by the parties - I would appreciate that.

Attorney General: I willingly accept this.

Presiding Judge: After what you have said about those portions of Brookhart's affidavit, I think you may dispense with his general impression, and the document will be submitted only for the purpose of verifying Wisliceny's signature.

Attorney General: I shall proceed in accordance with this formulation.

Presiding Judge: We shall, accordingly, admit the document bearing the Bureau 06 number 856 as our T/56 and the document of Bureau 06 number 584 - as our T/57, solely for the purpose of verifying Wisliceny's signature and not in relation to what is said therein by Brookhart concerning his impression of the manner in which Wisliceny's answers were given.

Attorney General: If I may be permitted to request - No. 584 also contains Brookhart, and later on also the affidavit of Wisliceny. Perhaps I may be permitted to request that the Court should point out that it is the first page of No. 584, which consists of Brookhart's affidavit, which the Court has admitted for the purpose of verifying the signature, since the continuation consists of the affidavit itself.

Presiding Judge: This is not all necessary, since it is included in No. 856.

Attorney General: But afterwards, there is a signature here.

Presiding Judge: What is it that you want?

Attorney General: I want the Court, if it sees fit, to point out...

Presiding Judge: The verification of Wisliceny's signature which appears on page one of No. 584 which is now designated by us as T/57. And where is No. 856?

Attorney General: I have No. 856, Your Honour. We also have a translation of the appropriate sections of No. 856. This is a photocopy of the original of No. 856 and we shall presently obtain the original itself. I would ask the Court to mark this document in a few minutes' time, when the original will be brought to me.

At this opportunity I want to say that we shall ask the Court's permission to substitute photocopies for the originals, because we intend to deposit the originals with Yad Vashem.

Presiding Judge: After the trial is over.

Attorney General: As the Court deems fit.

Presiding Judge: I think that, as long as the trial is in progress, documents should be kept here, and I believe they are looked after well, and you will be able to return them to Yad Vashem upon the completion of the trial.

Attorney General: Thank you. With regard to the reading of documents in Court, the honourable Presiding Judge: asked us yesterday to restrict the reading of documents to a minimum. And this, indeed, was our intention. But we would ask to be guided in this matter, since there will be several exhibits. And if we were simply to table them without at the same time pointing out their purport, I am afraid that it would be very difficult to follow the line of argument. Moreover, when witnesses subsequently appear, whose remarks will have a bearing on the documents, if the Court will not know at the time of their appearance in the witness-box why, and for what purpose, they will be appearing, it will be hard to obtain a proper picture if the Court will not have heard the most relevant extracts.

And indeed, the identical question arose in the Nuremberg Trials. And if I may be permitted, I would draw the Court's attention to what is stated in volume 15 of the "Green Series" - this is the volume laying down the procedure - on pages 640 and 671. On page 640, it says, in the middle of the page:

"In most of the trials the party offering documentary evidence read parts of the documents which it considered of particular weight."
And on page 671, there is an exchange on the same point:
Judge Musmanno: Mr. Denney, it would appear to me, where you have a document of sufficient importance as to be studied by the Tribunal in analyzing all the testimony, that you read a substantial part of it into the record. Mr. Denney (Chief trial counsel for the prosecution):Yes, but if Your Honour pleases, that is exactly our intention. Judge Musmanno: So that the record of the proceedings in open court itself will be complete without having to leaf through a number of other documents. Mr. Denney Yes, Your Honour, that is exactly what I have in mind."
Presiding Judge: Here, evidently, the boot was on the other foot.

Attorney General: Exacty, it was the Judge himself who requested this: It is clear to us that we shall have to impose upon the indulgence of the Court for essential purposes only. And this is precisely our intention. But particularly at the beginning of the trial, in the first stages, before we start unfolding a broad canvas with the aid of the witnesses, there is considerable importance in the fact that we shall be able to read a somewhat greater number of extracts, and we shall request the Court's guidance in this matter.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you wish to raise anything in connection with this request of the Attorney General regarding the reading of extracts into the record?

Dr. Servatius: The suggestion of the Attorney General seems to be practical and I agree to it. I imagine the position to be such, that the document will be submitted in its entirety, and from time to time the relevant passage will be read. I would ask that it should also be made possible for me, as Defence Counsel, to read relevant extracts.

Presiding Judge: All right, Mr. Hausner and Dr. Servatius, I think that we shall not be rigid in this matter. In the case of anything that can assist the Court better to follow the evidence, we shall obviously not only permit it but we shall welcome that it be read out - but we shall obviously not forget that the intention always is for the understanding of the matter by the Court and the document is placed before the Court, and at the end of the trial you will always be able - and you will obviously do so - to refer to those portions which are important to you. And it is clear, too, that the entire document always remains in the Court's possession, and if Defence Counsel should require, then and there, the reading of other extracts, we shall also allow this, to the extent that it is necessary for the understanding of the matter by the Court. And at the end of the trial, both parties will be totally at liberty to refer to any part of the document, which seems to them to be important to their case. Of course, this Court is not bound by what the parties may refer to, but it will view the entire documents. That is obvious. Hence I do not think there will be practical difficulties in this matter.

Attorney General: I am most grateful, Your Honour. We shall proceed accordingly. In accordance to this I want to read the two pages...

Dr. Servatius: I don't know whether this matter was conveyed to me correctly in the translation. Did I understand it properly, that the Defence Counsel will be entitled, immediately after the reading from an extract from the document and continuing forthwith, to read other extracts, and does not have to wait until the end?

Presiding Judge: You will be entitled to do so, but you are not obliged to do so. You can defer this for your final argument in the trial.

Dr. Servatius: Thank you very much.

Attorney General: I accordingly request the Court to listen to the first 11 paragraphs; they are slightly more than two pages of the affidavit No. 584 of Dieter Wisliceny which was just admitted as an exhibit:

"I, Dieter Wisliceny, being duly sworn, declare: I am 34 years old and have been a member of the NSDAP since 1933 and a member of the SS since July 1934. I have been Hauptsturmfuehrer SS since 1940. From 1934 to 1937, I was stationed in Berlin and from 1937 to 1940 in Danzig. From 1940 to September 1944, I was stationed as a specialist on Jewish matters in Slovakia and my mission included service in Hungary and Greece. I have known Adolf Eichmann, the former Chief of AMT IVA4 of the Reichsicherheitshauptamt (RSHA), well since 1934 in which year we joined the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). Our relationship was so close that we addressed each other with the intimate "Du." We served together from 1934 to 1937 in Berlin and maintained friendly relations from 1937 until 1940 when he was in Vienna and I was in Danzig. Eichmann's mission in Vienna was to direct the Central Office for Jewish Emigration and he later came to Berlin with the RSHA to take charge of AMT IVA4 which was responsible for the solution of the Jewish question and for all church matters.

At Eichmann's suggestion, I accepted an assignment as expert for AMT IVA4 in Slovakia dealing solely with the Jewish question.

There were three distinct periods of activity affecting the Jews. The first period covered the time from 1937 when the Jewish Section was founded till 1940, during which the policy was to accelerate and compel Jewish emigration from Germany and Austria. Because of this, the Central Office for Jewish Emigration was founded in Vienna and later on a corresponding institution in Prague. After the victory over France, Madagascar was contemplated, but never used, as a site for the emigration. The second period during 1940 and 1941 covered the concentration of Jews in Poland and eastern territories, in ghettos and concentration camps. The last period, from beginning 1942 to October 1944, covered the evacuation of Jews from all Germany and German controlled territories to concentration camps and their biological annihilation.

I first became interested in the number of Jews effected by measures taken through the RSHA when I met other specialists on Jewish matters in Eichmann's office in Berlin. It was customary for Eichmann to call the specialists in for a meeting at least once a year, usually in November. Meetings were held in 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1943. I was present at all but the latter meeting. In these meetings each representative reported on conditions in his territory and Eichmann discussed the overall picture. He particularly stressed total figures and the use of charts which included the number of Jews in different countries, their occupations, their age groups, and statements showing the portion of Jews to the total population of each country.

These charts did not include the number of persons effected by evacuation and extermination activities since these figures were kept secret. However, from many discussions with Eichmann and specialists on the Jewish question, I learned the effects of the programme of the final solution in each of the countries concerned.

I was sent to Berlin in July or August 1942 in connection with the status of Jews from Slovakia, which mission is referred to more fully hereinafter. I was talking to Eichmann in his office in Berlin when he said that on written order of Himmler all Jews were to be exterminated. I requested to be shown the order. He took a file from the safe and showed me a top secret document with a red border, indicating immediate action. It was addressed jointly to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and to the Inspector of Concentration Camps. The letter read substantially as follows:

The Fuehrer has decided that the final solution of the Jewish question is to start immediately. I designate the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and the Inspector of Concentration Camps as responsible for the execution of this order. The particulars of the programme are to be agreed upon by the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and the Inspector of Concentration Camps. I am to be informed currently as to the execution of this order.
The order was signed by Himmler and was dated some time in April 1942. Eichmann told me that the words 'final solution' meant the biological extermination of the Jewish race, but that for the time being able-bodied Jews were to be spared and employed in industry to meet the current requirements.

I was so impressed by this document which gave Eichmann authority to kill millions of people that I said at the time:'May God forbid that our enemies should ever do anything similar to the German people.' He replied:'Don't be sentimental - this is a Fuehrer's order.' I realized at that time that the order was a death warrant for millions of people and that the power to execute this order was in Eichmann's hands subject to approval of Heydrich and later Kaltenbrunner. The programme of extermination was already under way and continued until late 1944. There was no change in the programme during Kaltenbrunner's administration.

After my meeting with Eichmann in July or August 1942, when I first learned of Hitler's order for the final solution of the Jewish question by extermination, I became particularly interested in the number of persons effected and at every opportunity made notes on the basis of information from other countries."

Presiding Judge: Is the map hanging over needed any longer?.

Attorney General: Not at this stage. It will be necessary at later stages.

Presiding Judge: Do you want it to remain hanging here?

Attorney General: If the Court sees it as a disturbance, we can remove it.

Presiding Judge: Very well - let it remain.

Attorney General: Incidentally, the Court has also not marked it as an exhibit.

Presiding Judge: I understand that this was an auxiliary illustration for the evidence of Professor Baron.

Attorney General: But we shall still need to use it in the course of the evidence.

Presiding Judge: We shall see when the time comes.

Attorney General: I am continuing with the reading of Wisliceny's affidavit.

"In 1943, my interest was further accentuated by requests for information from the Joint Distribution Committee and I thereafter took particular pains to collect all information available as to the number of Jews effected in other countries. In Budapest 1944 I conferred with Dr. Rudolph Kastner, representative of the Joint Distribution Committee, and compared with him information on numerous occasions, particularly dealing with the total number of Jews effected. I was constantly in touch with Dr. Kastner after May 1944. I last saw him on 30 March 1945, in my apartment in Vienna.

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