The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 16
(Part 1 of 6)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 16

10 Iyar 5721 (26 April 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the sixteenth Session of the trial open.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, insofar as the fact, whether a particular document was submitted or extracts therefrom were submitted to the Accused, will have an important bearing on your decision, I am bound to inform the Court that no extracts were read to the Accused from the particular document which I originally tried to submit yesterday, namely "Cell 133." From the second document known as "Cell 106" - extracts were read to the Accused. It is my intention to request the Court to admit both documents.

Judge Halevi: On what page of the interrogation of the Accused does the submission of the second document appear?

Attorney General: In the 63rd reel. One moment, I shall check this immediately.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, instead of calling this "Cell" perhaps you would quote the date - on what date was it read to the Accused?

Attorney General: The Court will find this on pages 2491...there were two statements - the one of 27 October 1946 - no portion of which was read to him; and the second was of 18 November 1946 - from which extracts were read to him. This is "Cell 106" and the Court will find it on pages 2491-2561 of the statement.

Presiding Judge: Decision No. 7

The Attorney General applies for the admission in evidence of two reports written by Dieter Wisliceny when he was in prison in Bratislava, on 27 October and 16 November 1946. In these reports there are accounts of facts relating to the Accused, in connection with matters under consideration in this trial. Wisliceny was tried by a court in Bratislava and executed. The Attorney General bases his application on Section 15 of the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950, which reads as follows:

(a) In an action for an offence under this Law, the Court may deviate from the rules of evidence if it is satisfied that this will promote the ascertainment of the truth and the just handling of the case.

(b) Whenever the Court decides to deviate, under sub-section (a) from the rules of evidence, it shall place on record the reasons which prompted its decision.

Counsel for the Defence objects to the submission of the reports on the grounds that they were written by Wisliceny in order to divert the blame from himself to the Accused, who is before us, and in the hope that by so doing he would be able to be released.

There exists a similarity between the idea underlying our Section 15 and the underlying Section 19 of the London Charter, according to which the Court at Nuremberg which tried the major war criminals was established, and similar provisions which came in the wake of the London Charter. See Criminal Appeal 232/55 Piske Din 12, page 2017 and page 2087.

Although it must be admitted that our provision is couched in less extreme language than Section 19 of the London Charter, we are of opinion that two important criteria ought to guide us in seeking to interpret Section 15, viz.:

Whether the evidence which is sought to be adduced is relevant to the subject of the trial, and whether it has probative value. Every case must be considered according to its circumstances, and further possible criteria in addition to these two. Of course, the weight of the evidence, even after it has been submitted, depends upon the evaluation of the Court according to its intrinsic value and how it compares with all the testimony before the Court when the stage of submitting the evidence at the trial has been completed.

These reports were written by a man who is no longer alive and there existed between him and the Accused close relations connected with the matters being examined in this trial. They were written fairly close to the events which are the subject of this trial, events that were spread over a number of years, and they occurred in various localities, and it is difficult to adduce more direct evidence about them from the people who were active together with the Accused. Moreover, according to the remarks of the Accused and his statement T/37, on page 307, the files of his office were destroyed under an order issued in the closing stages of the War, the Second World War in Europe. As stated, the evaluation of the weight of evidence is always in the Court's discretion, and in assessing the value of these reports, the Court will also certainly consider the arguments of Defence Counsel as to their authenticity and their value of evidence, and also other factors likely to detract from their probative value. However, this does not prevent their admission as evidence.

For these reasons we are of opinion that the submission of these two reports will be of help in arriving at the truth and in ensuring a just trial.

Accordingly, we decide to admit them as evidence, by virtue of our authority under Section 15 (a) of the aforementioned Law.

Attorney General: I accordingly submit to the Court the original manuscript of Dieter Wisliceny dated 26 October 1946, "Zelle 133."

Judge Halevi: Why does the word have to be "Zelle" and not in Hebrew?

Attorney General: It is written at the top.

Presiding Judge: Cell [in Hebrew] 133. This will be T/84.

Attorney General: I also submit the other evidence, which is also in the handwriting of Wisliceny, dated 18 November 1946, "Cell 106."

Presiding Judge: That is the original, and what am I being given here?

Attorney General: These are the copies, Your Honour - in the event of the Court's requiring copies, when the original is kept in the Court Secretariat.

Presiding Judge: The second report will be marked T/85. Is this the complete one?

Attorney General: Yes. There is an extra page bearing his signature.

Presiding Judge: Why was this page placed here separately?

Attorney General: This is how it reached us, Your Honour, from the archives of Yad Vashem. Your Honour will notice that there are some words in Czech on the outer cover. This was the way it reached us - in this form.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Judge Raveh: What are these letters, apparently in Hebrew, near the signature on Exhibit T/84?

Presiding Judge: This, evidently is merely the marking of the copy.

Attorney General: These are, Your Honour, evidently the initials of Mr. Hagag, who examined the signature.

With the Court's permission I shall read two short excerpts from T/84, firstly from pages 8-9 of the original.

"According to an order by Goering, the authority of all Jewish affairs was vested in the Head of the Security Police and the SD. In this way the power of Eichmann in this sphere was immeasurably increased. By virtue of this order, issued, as I recollect, in the summer of 1941, he could simply overrule all objections and attempts at interference by other ministries and authorities. Until the end of 1941 the preparations for the 'Madagascar Plan' continued to exist as the guideline. From 1941 onwards, Eichmann began the deportations from Germany, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia to Poland. From 1942 onwards [he began] the organized extermination in the camps at Lublin and Auschwitz and the extension of the deportations over the whole of Europe. As Eichmann himself acknowledged to me in 1944 in Hungary, this plan originated with him and with Globocnik, the former Austrian Gauleiter and Commandant of the SS and Police at Lublin, who had suggested the plan to Himmler. This order was given by Hitler personally. In 1942 Eichmann was promoted to the rank of Obersturmbannfuehrer. After Heydrich's death he became attached even more closely to Mueller for he assumed that Mueller would take the place of Heydrich. The appointment of Kaltenbrunner as Head of the Security Police and the SD strengthened Eichmann's standing even more because of the former relationship. Eichmann came to Himmler frequently after 1940, and especially after 1942. Apart from Globocnik in Lublin, he was in especially close contact with Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, and with Brigadefuehrer Glücks. About his other contacts I shall report later. In 1943 Eichmann was appointed by Mueller to be Head of a department at the Gestapo and the section of the Churches was also put under his control. He expected a promotion to the rank of Standartenfuehrer and Oberst of the Police in April 1945. He deliberately limited the circle of his assistants. Most of them were drawn from the Viennese Centre; after his transfer to Berlin, he took Rolf Guenther from Vienna to Berlin as his deputy, and transferred the Viennese Centre to Hauptsturmfuehrer Alois Brunner. Of his assistants only Rolf Guenther had any influence on Eichmann, that is to say the very worst.

"Rolf Guenther totally rejected any concession and even any negotiations over what was called the 'Final Solution.' As far as Guenther's desires were concerned, the rate the deportations were being carried out was always too slow. When Eichmann was in Hungary from March until December 1944, Guenther took his place in Berlin. Similarly, he was the one who, in September 1944, sent Hauptsturmfuehrer Brunner to Slovakia in order to deport those Jews who were still found there. Eichmann's principle in his personnel policy was not to release anyone who had once worked in his Section for other activities. Even applications to volunteer for service with the Army or the Waffen-SS - these, too, he rejected as a matter of principle. Once he told me, face to face in Hungary in the course of a heated discussion on this principle of his, 'We are all sitting in the same boat, no-one is allowed to step out. Anyone who wishes to part from me, will be forced by me to be an accomplice, so that for him there will be no way of retreat.' He applied this personnel policy also to his junior officers and to members of his staff whom he also did not release, even if there were no opportunities of giving them any employment whatsoever."

I shall read a few more lines from the same document, on page 16 in the original:
"When I proposed in 1942 negotiating with representatives of the Joint with the object of avoiding what was called the 'Final Solution,' he did not dare to reject these proposals out of hand, even though both he and Guenther were against making any concessions whatsoever. He first of all obtained the decision of Himmler. There was a similar case in 1944 in Budapest, when I served as intermediary in the talks with the Hungarian representative of the Joint, Dr. Kasztner. Here, too, Eichmann referred the matter to Himmler because he was afraid of the responsibility, but at the same time he endeavoured to counter all chances of an agreement by proceeding with the deportations at the fastest pace and by presenting exaggerated conditions."
This is the end of the extracts from this statement.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, Presiding Judge, may I be permitted to ask that from the same document a further ten lines may be read. As Defence Counsel I consider this to be important whether these words will be read by me or whether they are read by someone else.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, do you object to the reading of these lines by Dr. Servatius?

Attorney General: No.

Presiding Judge: Would you read these lines?

Dr. Servatius: "I am ready and will at all times have the possibility of cooperating in tracing Eichmann and identifying him. I would recognize him in any disguise or other change. For my own defence it is essential that Eichmann is discovered, without taking into account the legitimate international interest in doing so."

Attorney General: It says: "Even without taking into account."

Presiding Judge: The word "even" does not appear.

Dr. Servatius: "I am convinced that I could discover Eichmann within a few weeks, for I know exactly the members of his staff, his family and his connections. Therefore I suggest that you attach me to an American unit, which is to be entrusted with the special task of tracking down Eichmann."

Attorney General: For the sake of order, I would mention that T/84 bears our catalogue number 6. From T/85 I would request the Court to listen to what it says on page 8 and the beginning of page 9, paragraph 4 "The Commissar's Order" and the "Final Solution - (1941-1944)":

"Hitler's order to get rid of all the commissars and active leaders of the Communist Party, issued at the outbreak of the war with Soviet Russia, signals a new stage in the brutalization of the War. Hitler presumed that, insofar as Soviet Russia was concerned, he did not have to take care, as he did against the Western Powers which recognized the Geneva Convention and the Hague Rules regarding war on land. This 'Commissars' Order' was extended and applied by Himmler and Heydrich to all Russian Jews, in whom they saw, according to their ideology as described above, the exponents of the communist world outlook.

The extermination of Russian Jewry was effected through mass executions by shooting, the carrying out of which was allotted to the so-called Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police. It is not necessary to enter into the details of these matters, as they are well-known owing to the evidence of Ohlendorf at Nuremberg. In this 'Commissars' Order' Eichmann saw a possibility of exterminating the remaining Jews.

By agreement with Mueller and Heydrich he began, in the autumn of 1941, to expel Jews from the confines of the Reich, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia towards those areas in which the 'Commissars' Order' was valid, principally to Riga and to Minsk. In Riga, Eichmann's friend Stahlecker was the head of the Einsatzgruppe.

This deportation arose out of the personal initiative of Eichmann, as he himself admitted, and on the other hand Theresienstadt was established at that time as a 'model ghetto.' Already in view of this - out of this contradiction - all this development could be traced as part of a gradual process.

From the summer of 1941 Eichmann began in an increasing measure, to deal with the Jews of Poland. In various instances, he himself, apparently following an order by Himmler, carried out mass executions in Poland too. In particular his relations became closer with the 'Chief of the SS and Police' in Lublin, the man who had been the Austrian Gauleiter, Odilo Globocnik, whom Eichmann had already known from Austria.

According to the details which Eichmann himself related to me, Globocnik was the first person who operated gas chambers for the mass extermination of human beings. In the area under his command, Globocnik set up large work camps for Jews; he got rid of those who were unfit for work in the manner described. According to Eichmann's explanations, Globocnik's 'process' was 'less likely to attract attention' than mass shootings, seeing that in various instances units of the police refused to carry out the execution of women and children.

Furthermore, for the purposes of removing traces of the killings, a special unit was set up which was formally under the orders of Eichmann - the 'Commando 1005,' which was under the command of Standartenfuehrer Blobel. The second wave of intensification took place after the entry into the War of the United States. Even in the internal German propaganda it was possible to discern this clearly. Externally this found expression in the introduction of the 'yellow badge' as a sign for recognizing Jews."

Presiding Judge: In the original this is on page 5. You were referring to the page of the copy when you said 8 or 9.

Attorney General: That is very likely. I have a written marginal note 8 of the handwritten text.

Presiding Judge: This is page 5.

Attorney General: The following extract is a short excerpt and it appears on my page 12 - perhaps this, too, is on the copies, in the middle of the page:

"As the War progressed and it became clear that a German victory was not possible, Eichmann continued to press for the complete implementation of the deportations and exterminations. For this reason he even went himself to Budapest with a unit to which he attached most of his aides."
On our page 13 Wisliceny says the following:
"In conclusion I should like to define the reasons why Eichmann could have had such success in his operations:

(1) Eichmann enjoyed the confidence of Himmler, Heydrich and Mueller. Also when the Office was headed by Kaltenbrunner, he continued to preserve absolutely his standing of trust.

(2) On the basis of Goering's order of summer 1941, it was within Eichmann's power totally to nullify the objectives of the lower-ranking authorities.

(3) In regard to the occupied areas and the Allied countries, Eichmann's activities were not interfered with in any way by Ribbentrop and the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office completely subjected itself to Eichmann's initiative.

(4) The Reich Ministry of Transport always placed at Eichmann's disposal the requisite means of transportation by giving him priority, despite all the difficulties in securing the required rolling stock. The whole matter of the deportations depended entirely on the supply of railway waggons. This showed itself most clearly in the case of Greece and Hungary.

(5) Eichmann's aides were accustomed to obeying his orders blindly. Only Obersturmbannfuehrer Krumey in Hungary, apart from myself, tried to object. It was impossible to prompt these people, as I tried to do on several occasions by appealing to their intelligence into quiet sabotage or a slow-down which in view of the swift development of the War, could have meant saving thousands of people. Eichmann's personal influence over these men, most of them primitive, was too great."

Presiding Judge: Completely primitive.

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