The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 16
(Part 5 of 6)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Attorney General: My following request is to submit the declaration of Walter Huppenkothen, who was Regierungsdirektor (Head of Department) in the RSHA, Standartenfuehrer in the SS.

Presiding Judge: Before whom was the declaration made?

Attorney General: It was made in Nuremberg. This is a declaration under oath.

Presiding Judge: Before an interrogator?

Attorney General: Before an interrogator. He was in Department IVE which dealt with counterespionage and matters of Economic Frontier Control. The affidavit relates on the status of the Accused in Bureau IV and it speaks of his special status as the "Referent" ("Rapporteur," Head of Department) for Jewish Affairs. The Accused himself was also interrogated on this point, in extracts which have already been read. He said that he was responsible directly to Mueller. In other words, he in fact passed over the Head of Sub-Department B, for Mueller was the Head of Department IV. There was a man by the name of Hartl who was nominally in charge of Sub-Department B, and Eichmann was Head of SectionIV B 4.

We would like to be assisted by the affidavit of Huppenkothen so that we may show that Eichmann was directly responsible to Mueller...

Presiding Judge: Was this not mentioned in Eichmann's statement?

Attorney General: We must support the Accused's statement with other evidence, according to our judicial precedent, and I would like to do so, if I can.

He was interrogated on the question of Huppenkothen at two places in his statement. Firstly, he confirmed that he had, in fact, occupied a position that enabled him to be acquainted with the Accused's standing. The Court will find this on page 1056 of the statement. Later on he was again questioned on the same subject on page 1383 of the statement. And here that same passage from the declaration of Huppenkothen was read to him on which I wish to rely. I ask you to allow me to submit the declaration.

Presiding Judge: Is Huppenkothen still alive?

Attorney General: As far as I know, he is.

Presiding Judge: Do you know where he is?

Attorney General: I shall not try to guess any more, since Defence Counsel knows better where these people are to be found. I thought that Hoettl was in Germany and now it appears that he is in Austria. I shall not guess there whereabouts any more.

Judge Raveh: What was the Accused's reaction to this declaration?

Attorney General: He confirmed it. On page 1056 there appears the following exchange of questions and answers:

Less: What did Huppenkothen's Department deal with?

Eichmann: Captain, this too I know not any more, what Huppenkothen had...this, too, I know no longer now. But this is quite obvious from the organization chart.

L. Yes, but he, evidently, knew also the workings of your Department?

E. Yes, that was obvious, for at least once every 14 days we had, thus it was once said...

And on page 1385:
Less : Do you want to say something on this, and would you like to read it once again?

Eichmann: This too, this is a mixture of 'truth and fiction.' To some extent there is more truth, of course, than fiction."

And so on, and so on. Then he makes a comment on Huppenkothen's declaration.

Dr. Servatius: The Accused has just told me that Huppenkothen is alive and in the Federal German Republic. Here I want to voice the same objection regarding the affidavit of a witness, to the extent that it is possible to trace the witness. I shall still attempt to obtain his address.

Presiding Judge: On this matter, also, we shall hand down our decision tomorrow morning at 9.

Attorney General: Thank you.

The last documents I wish to submit, apart from those which depend on the Court's decision tomorrow morning, are the declaration and the interrogation of Eberhard von Thadden, of the German Foreign Office.

Presiding Judge: Was this also before the Nuremberg interrogation?

Attorney General: Yes. The affidavit was a defence document in the defence of Hoffmann in Case No. 8, and the interrogation - a defence document in the defence of Hermann Pohl in Case No. 4, the trial of Pohl and others. Our numbers are 984 and 453. No. 984, the affidavit, is referred to in the Accused's statement on pages 3183, 3189. The entire document was submitted to the Accused, he was asked to react to it, and he responded.

Presiding Judge: What is the content of the document?

Attorney General: The document speaks of the Accused's connections with the Foreign Office. Von Thadden was head of that Department which dealt with Jewish Affairs in the Foreign Office, and there was close contact between the Gestapo and the German Foreign Office in regard to foreign subjects, anti-Semitic propaganda and dealing with Jews who had foreign citizenships in the diverse countries. Many documents are going to be put before you in connection with the Accused's activity in regard to foreign citizens in the Warsaw Ghetto, in Auschwitz, Holland, France and in Hungary and consequently it is important that you should know how these relationships appeared according to the account of von Thadden, again with all the reservations that will arise concerning the weight of this material, its weight and its ultimate value. I am not aware what Mr. von Thadden is doing today, I am not aware whether he is alive or not. I request you to admit these two documents in evidence.

Judge Halevi: Was he a war criminal?

Attorney General: I cannot say at the moment, I do not know.

Dr. Servatius: May I observe something here in connection with this? Mr. von Thadden lives in the vicinity of Duesseldorf. He had to undergo a great number of investigation proceedings and these were stopped. I can inform you of the address of the witness and he can be brought (gestellt) before the Court.

Presiding Judge: What do you mean by this word "gestellt"?

Dr. Servatius: I did not express myself accurately. The intention was: The Prosecution will be able to bring him, it will be able to call him as a witness.

Presiding Judge: To summon him as a witness.

Dr. Servatius: This witness would be of great importance for the reason that he was in charge of the Department in the Foreign Ministry which corresponded to the Department of which the Accused was in charge in the Head Office of Reich Security. The two conducted direct negotiations and he is aware of everything. Towards the end of the War a meeting took place of all the officials in the Foreign Ministry who dealt with Jewish affairs in Krumhuebel, and there the witness gave a talk on the executions. For this reason he is of importance and he should have been summoned.

Judge Halevi: In Krumhuebel, during the Nazi regime after the War?

Dr. Servatius: I believe that this was in the year 1944 - it was then that this discussion took place in Krumhuebel of all the officials of the Foreign Ministry that dealt with Jewish affairs abroad.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, I gave a reserved reply to the question of His Honour Judge Dr. Halevi about our attitude to Mr. von Thadden and how we viewed him. In the light of what Defence Counsel has said then, if this indeed is a fact that von Thadden is an offender under Section 1(b)(7) in that he participated in the stirring up of hatred of the people of Israel, of hatred of the Jews, and he is a criminal against the Jewish people, if this is the case, I intend - if I am able - to put him on trial, whatever the results of investigations elsewhere may have been, if he should step on the soil of Israel. This is the section that emerges from the words of Dr. Servatius himself. And a person who is guilty of a crime against the Jewish people, and where the investigations will prove this, will stand trial in the State of Israel, if he enters the territory of the State.

Dr. Servatius: Perhaps I may be permitted to refer here to the agreement of judicial aid with the German Federal Republic under which a witness must be brought and given guarantee of free passage and immunity until eight days after his examination.

Presiding Judge: We have already asked Mr. Hausner to produce to us all the material on the arrangements for judicial aid, and I hope that this material will be in our hands in the afternoon so that we may peruse it and see whether there is some substance in it, as you maintain.

Attorney General: This will be so, Your Honour. I simply wish to say one thing. The Prosecution, at any rate, will not request the summoning of von Thadden to the State of Israel, even if there is such a provision as Defence Counsel states.

Presiding Judge: But first of all, let us see the section and thereafter you can say what you have to say.

Attorney General: But there are his declarations. And we wish to submit them, and the Court will decide if we shall be able to do so.

Presiding Judge: This was an affidavit, and there is also an interrogation.

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: What has been said here applies to both documents?

Attorney General: One of them was submitted to the Accused in its entirety - the second not.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you would describe the second document?

Attorney General: The second document is an interrogation which was made in regard to Trial No. 4 on 13 March 1946, before a Commission appointed by the Court to question the witness. The subject of the interrogation was "The treatment of Jewish questions in the Foreign Ministries on the basis of the intervention of foreign diplomats; reports that von Thadden received from Eichmann and from other authorities; visits which he conducted alone and in company with representatives of the Protecting Powers and the Red Cross in various places, including concentration camps; methods employed by Eichmann and other authorities for the maintenance of secrecy and camouflage." So it says at the beginning of the investigation. He was questioned by Herman Pohl's defence counsel. The Commission consisted of Captain Joseph Tubrich and Mr. George R. Taylor.

Presiding Judge: I presume, Dr. Servatius, that you have the same objections regarding this second document on von Thadden, as you had in respect of the first.

Dr. Servatius: Actually this was a discussion before a special Commission whose function it was to assist the International Military Tribunal. That same Commission dealt with the subject of the organizations. Here Defence Counsel argued in favour of people from the Foreign Ministry, I believe I remember that this contention was that these were the acts of the Government of the Reich itself, and not of the men of the Foreign Ministry.

Presiding Judge: Do you recall who Herman Pohl was?

Judge Halevi: [commenting on the translation of the remarks of Dr. Servatius] I believe that the intention was that the dispute was whether the Government of the Reich, including the Foreign Ministry as well, should be proclaimed as a criminal organization or not. The line of the Defence Counsel for the Government of the Reich was that the Foreign Ministry was innocent, and that all the guilt fell upon Eichmann and his colleagues. This was the gist of Dr. Servatius' argument.

Attorney General: Dr. Servatius is mistaken as to the facts. Whereas judgment in the Nuremberg Trial was given on 1 November 1946, this investigation was conducted on 7 July 1947, and on an entirely different matter.

Presiding Judge: Was the Foreign Ministry charged with being a hostile organization at Nuremberg?

Attorney General: No. Only the "leadership corps" of the Party were proclaimed a hostile organization.

Judge Raveh: Are you talking of an examination within the framework of the trial of Pohl and his associates?

Attorney General: That was in another case, at a later period, after the judgment which decided which of them were criminal organizations. Therefore I believe that Defence Counsel's remarks are erroneous.

Dr. Servatius: I am relying on the document itself. It appears from a punctilious reading of the text that it is a summary or a copy of an investigation before a Commission of the International Military Tribunal, and this is an interrogation by Defence Counsel. This is the way in which it is to be interpreted.

Presiding Judge: It appears from the quotation that this was an investigation that took place within the framework of the trial against the principal war criminals and thereafter Defence Counsel wanted to use it in the additional Trial No. 4.

Judge Halevi: But this is only an argument against the credibility of the witness.

Dr. Servatius: There was no possibility of hearing von Thadden under cross-examination. Had it been known at the time that his evidence would be used in another case, the Accused would have been able to defend himself through a representative, and he would have had an opportunity of examining the witness.

Presiding Judge: In the matter of the two documents of von Thadden too, we shall give our decision tomorrow morning.

Attorney General: These are the documents, apart from the passage from the "Final Solution" on which there is not yet a decision and for which Defence Counsel has been given an extension in order to check the handwriting of Hoess.

Presiding Judge: We shall finish that this afternoon.

Attorney General: That concludes my documents. I would ask the Court to allow us to continue with the hearing of evidence on the subject of Germany.

Judge Halevi: If you have now concluded the subject of the documents,I have a question concerning these documents. With regard to documents, you submitted the Accused's comments in response to the articles which appeared in the magazine Life. At that time the Court had not yet had an opportunity to examine the Accused's replies. Meanwhile I have cursorily perused the Accused's replies concerning the publication in Life and I gained the impression that the gist of his complaint was that Life published only a summary of his remarks, and that these words were taken out of their context. Consequently, their full significance, in the original, may have been different, and hence it was difficult for him to answer, and he could have had reservations about many matters as long as he was not required to reply to the original. It seems to me that he did not maintain that the original did not reflect his statement; he merely said that the summary in Life did not reflect his statement. He did not state that he had not said some such words at all, but that what he had said was much more detailed.

Attorney General: He also said, if I remember correctly, that the combination of passages, as they appear in Life, seeing that they had been taken out of context of other passages, appearing as they do in a new context, do not properly reflect what he said.

Judge Halevi: Did the Prosecution obtain the original and manage to submit it to the Accused?

Attorney General: No - we do not possess this original. There are various accounts concerning it. According to our information, it was recorded and given to a journalist in the Argentine, a Dutch Nazi - this is what we have been told - and that in some way of other the manuscript subsequently came into the possession of a representative of Life. But we do not have the full manuscript. All that we know is what is published in Life. And since this is what we knew, we interrogated the Accused in accordance therewith.

Judge Halevi: Is it not possible to procure the full text from Life? I understand that the Accused's complaint was that the editor of Life edited and shortened the Accused's manuscript - the original. That is to say, there ought to be in the possession of Life the original which served as the basis for the edited publication.

Attorney General: It never became clear to us whether the Accused maintained that it was Life that edited his statement in this manner, or that some person to whom the Accused, in his own words, entrusted the tapes, was the one who edited, shortened and altered the context of the remarks. At all events, if the Court deems fit, we shall approach Life. We did not think that this was necessary during the course of the interrogation. An article was published, we regarded it as our duty to place it before the Accused and to ask him for a comment - especially as the publication was so widespread - worldwide.

Judge Halevi: The significance of the publication seems to lie in the fact that it purports to be the words of the Accused, but at that time he was not yet under arrest. In other words, this was a spontaneous expression of his version.

Attorney General: Yes. But seeing that he does not maintain before this Court that what he said to the interrogators of Bureau 06 was against his will, under duress or pressure, the document we have submitted to you as Exhibit 37 is no less relevant to our argument than what was published in Life. Our experience, generally, in approaching the press to reveal the sources of its information is not encouraging nor does it hold out much hope in respect of an approach such as this.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any objection to an approach by the Attorney General to the editors of Life in this matter?

Dr. Servatius: This is a very complicated question. I, too, have made efforts to get to the original. These are what are termed "memoirs" which somehow came into the possession of that Dutch journalist who edited them in a way into the details of which I shall not enter now. The items were edited by him and handed over to Life with the right to additional adjustments. This was done, and hence the memoirs twice passed through other hands. I consider it to be unimportant, because the Accused himself expressed himself on these matters, before he was brought to trial.

Presiding Judge: Anyway, you would have no objection to Mr. Hausner's writing a letter to the editors of Life?

Dr. Servatius: I have no objection to an attempt to secure the original, but there arises here the question of copyright, which has barred the way, at any rate, for me. For the publishers know that I could demand certain rights here.

Presiding Judge: Very well. I understand that the Attorney General will approach the editors of Life in this matter.

Attorney General: I shall do so. I mentioned that the documents, the submission of which is dependent upon the decision of the Court, were the last of the personal file as we see it. I regret that this is not the end of the documents generally.

Presiding Judge: I had no illusions about that, Mr. Hausner. Who is the next witness?

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