The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 20
(Part 6 of 7)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Attorney General: Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and Dr. Leibbrandt from the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Areas; State Secretary Dr. Stuckart from the Ministry of the Interior; State Secretary Dr. Freisler, Minister of Justice; State Secretary Neumann, in charge of the Four Year Plan; State Secretary Dr. Buehler, Office of the Governor General; State Undersecretary Luther, Foreign Ministry; SS Oberfuehrer Klopfer, Party Secretariat; Ministerialdirektor Kritzinger from Hitler's Office, the Reichskanzlei; SS Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann; Head Office for Race and Settlement; SS Gruppenfuehrer Mueller and Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann representing the Head Office for Reich Security. And then high officers of the Security Police and the SD.

At the beginning of the meeting Heydrich reviewed the problems on the agenda. Right at the start he announced that he had been appointed by the Reichsmarschall as the Commissioner in Charge of the final solution of the Jewish question in Europe and pointed out that the meeting had been summoned in order to clarify basic questions. On page 3 it says that "the responsibility for dealing with the final solution of the Jewish question lies with the Reichsfuehrer SS and Head of the German Police (Chief of the Security Police and the SD), without consideration for geographical borders."

Heydrich gave a short survey of the action taken so far against this enemy. The main points comprised: Forcing the Jews out of the various spheres of life of the German people; forcing the Jews out of the land (Lebensraum) inhabited by the German people. In implementing these measures, the speeding up of the emigration of Jews from the Reich area was intensified and tackled systematically as the only possible interim solution. Heydrich goes on to quote emigration figures and adds that the financing of the emigration is done by the Jews or the Jewish political organizations themselves.

Now, instead of emigration, there appears as a further possible solution, after the necessary prior approval by the Fuehrer, the evacuation of the Jews to the East. These operations must however be seen as possible alternatives only, but practical experience would be gathered here which would be of great importance for the coming final solution of the Jewish question. 11,000,000 Jews might be affected in the course of this final solution, their distribution over the various countries being as follows:

And then the following paragraph on page 7:

"In the course of the final solution the Jews are to be sent to work assignments in the East under appropriate direction. The Jews who are able to work are taken into these areas as road builders in large work columns, the sexes being separated; a large part will no doubt disappear through natural decrease. The remainder, if any, since this would no doubt be the most resistant part, will have to be suitably treated (entsprechend behandelt werden muessen07) because, being the result of a natural selection (natuerliche Auslese), it would, if set free, constitute the nucleus for a renewed Jewish reconstruction. (See the experience of history.)"
Here I may perhaps be permitted to leave the Wannsee Conference for a moment and to explain to the Court why we have submitted T/82, Kastein's book. These are Kastein's words, Your Honours, his book was required reading in the SD Hauptamt (Head Office) according to T/108.

Presiding Judge:What does he say? I do not remember these words. Did he use these words?

Attorney General: This passage precisely. This is the historical experience which Adolf Eichmann had acquired, the man who prepares the Wannsee principles, from reading Kastein's book. He speaks there of "natuerliche Auslese" and for this reason we have submitted the book.

Judge Halevi: Let the Wise be careful in choosing their words.* {*Quotation from Sayings of the Fathers, Mishna, Chap. I, v.11.}

Attorney General: There is no limit to distortion if you wish to distort. We thought it would be relevant to the trial to pursue that expression and to try and find out from where Eichmann quoted the "Erfahrung der Geschichte" (experience of history).

Presiding Judge:What page was that, 16?

Attorney General: Yes. May I point to the near-certainty that this is the source of that lofty idea.

Judge Halevi: Of this reasoning.

Attorney General: Of the reasoning.

And here Heydrich goes on to say: "In the course of the practical implementation of the final solution we shall comb Europe from West to East... In the occupied countries and the countries under our influence in Europe. The officer in charge on behalf of the Security Police will act in coordination with a suitable responsible officer from the Foreign Ministry."

There follows a detailed discussion of matters pertaining to mixed marriages and their offspring. The last pages are important for us and I should like to draw attention to them. In the original they are also underlined in several places.

"Secretary of State Dr. Buehler stated that the Generalgouvernement would welcome it if the final solution of this question were to begin in the Generalgouvernement for here, first of all, the problem of transport played no major role and considerations of labour employment would not impede the course of the operation. The Jews have to be removed from the area of the Generalgouvernement as fast as possible because it was particularly here that the Jew as carrier of epidemics posed a great danger, and, on the other hand, caused constant disorder in the economic structure of the country by his illicit trading. Furthermore, of the two and a half million Jews under consideration, the majority are unfit for work."

This is underlined in the original. State Secretary Dr. Buehler says further that "the solution of the Jewish question in the Generalgouvernement lies, from the point of view of executive authority, in the hands of the Security Police and the SD, whose actions will be assisted by the authorities of the Generalgouvernement". He has only one request: "To solve the Jewish question in this area as quickly as possible."

And finally the various kind of possible solutions were discussed, and at the same time Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and State Secretary Dr. Buehler held that certain preparatory work had to be undertaken immediately to further the process of the final solution in the regions concerned, but in any case panic must not be spread among the population.

The reaction by the Accused has already been related to you, Your Honours, and I shall not repeat it.

The next document is our No. 841. Heydrich sends the Wannsee Protocol to Luther at the Foreign Ministry: He is glad to say that the basic guidelines for the practical implementation of the final solution of the Jewish question have been adopted with the full consent of all the authorities concerned. He asks the Foreign Ministry to send its specialist for these matters for consultations on the details necessary for the elaboration of the proposal. He says: "I beg to request you to instruct your specialist to get in touch with my competent head of section, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann."

Presiding Judge:This will be T/186.

Attorney General: The next document is our No. 842. It is a communication from Rademacher of the Foreign Ministry to his dear Comrade ("Lieber Kamerad") Eichmann.

Presiding Judge:I see there is indeed a remark on it, apparently from Luther to Rademacher: "Bitte schriftlich mitzuteilen..." Please inform in writing...)

Attorney General: "Please inform in writing that you are the person dealing with the matter and will participate." From Luther to Rademacher. Accordingly, No. 842, which I have just submitted to you, is Rademacher's announcement to his good friend, "Lieber Kamerad," Eichmann, that, in response to Heydrich's invitation, he, Rademacher, has been delegated and that he will take part in the meeting called by Eichmann for 6 March 1942 at 10.30.

Presiding Judge:This will be T/187.

Attorney General: We have the record of proceedings of the meeting of 6 March 1942. It is our No. 446. This has already been submitted to you, Your Honour. Perhaps Mr. Bodenheimer will help us. How is our 446 numbered?

Clerk of the Court: T/100.

Attorney General: T/100, I submit it.

Presiding Judge:This means that it was already submitted without reference to T/37. There is no need to submit it again.

Attorney General: This cannot be. I think it is included in T/37.

Clerk of the Court: "Conference for Sterilization of Persons of mixed Parentage".

Presiding Judge:Yes. This is No. 446. We shall see immediately how this came about. You submitted this in connection with the organized structure of the various offices.

Attorney General: The Court will kindly permit me at this stage to state only that T/100 is the protocol of a meeting about the sterilization of Jews. This was a discussion of principles dealing with the most efficient method of sterilizing the offspring of mixed marriages. In the end it was decided to have a further discussion. In this protocol the Court will find an exchange of views between the various participants. The meeting took place in Referat IVB4, but Eichmann does not appear among the participants [although] the discussion was held in his Section.

The Court will note that those present were representatives of the Ministries of Propaganda and Justice, Dr. Feldscher from the Ministry of the Interior, Representative of the Reich Chancellery Boley, Dr. Wetzel, whom we shall meet again, Rademacher from the Foreign Office, and others.

And now document No. 876. It is a covering letter to the report of the meeting of 6 March 1942 from Department IVB4 signed by Suhr, a subordinate of the Accused, who submits the protocol of the meeting.

Presiding Judge:This will be T/188.

Attorney General: The next document is our No. 1206. Again an invitation on behalf of IVB4.

Presiding Judge:Excuse me. You are interested in the minute Sir. This is only a covering letter.

Attorney General: Yes. I am interested in the minute and also in the covering letter.

Presiding Judge:Where is the minute?

Attorney General: I have already submitted it. It is T/100, that is the record of proceedings.

Presiding Judge:Oh, this is a covering letter to T/100.

Attorney General: In the context of the implementation of the final solution, in the framework of the sterilization programme, the document which bears our No. 1206 was sent out and it is an invitation signed by Suhr to a further meeting in IVB4 on 27 October 1942. You have it already as T/37 (308).

Presiding Judge:This will be T/189.

Attorney General: This document is mentioned in the statement of the Accused from page 3510 onward. We have the record of proceedings of the meeting of 27 October 1942 in T/37 (94). The participants in this meeting in Eichmann's Department IVB4 represented numerous offices. This time Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann also appears. I submit it. The Court will again find Boley, Wetzel and Feldscher among those present.

Presiding Judge:This will be T/190.

Attorney General: "It was decided to perform sterilization on every consenting son of a mixed marriage. Those not consenting will be deported from the Reich. Deportation is preferable to sterilization."

Presiding Judge:What page was that?

Attorney General: I shall immediately indicate this to the Court. The document was shown to the Accused. At first it says: "The sterilization shall be carried out voluntarily. But it is a condition for the person remaining in the Reich area and it constitutes an agreement given in return by the offspring in the first degree of a mixed marriage for the favour of being allowed to remain in the Reich territory."

Judge Raveh: The choice is apparently mentioned on page 2 in the middle.

Presiding Judge:Who presided over this consultation? Is this known?

Attorney General: This is not clear to us from the document itself. It stands very much to reason that Eichmann presided since the consultation took place in his Referat. He was asked about it and the Court will find his reaction on page 1330 and following pages.

The next document is No. 829 of the Prosecution documents. Eichmann forwards the record of proceedings to the Foreign Ministry and asks the Ministry to take a stand on it within four weeks.

Presiding Judge:This document will be marked T/191.

Attorney General: Luther from the Foreign Ministry gives Eichmann his opinion. This is Prosecution document No. 878 and I submit it herewith.

Presiding Judge:This document will be marked T/192.

Judge Halevi: He mentions here a letter of 2 October 1942, a conclusive opinion concerning the final solution of the Jewish question, an opinion of the Foreign Ministry - will this still be submitted?

Attorney General: This has not yet been submitted, Sir.

Judge Halevi: He also says here that, in the opinion of the Foreign Ministry the less severe form of solution has to be chosen in each case.

Attorney General: We have a memorandum from the Foreign Ministry which I shall submit presently, but it is not dated 2 October. Among the documents before me I do not have this one.

Judge Halevi: Because the Foreign Ministry documents are the ones that have been preserved.

Attorney General: But the difficulty lies in the fact that these documents comprise 330 tons of paper and it is very difficult to get to any particular document. But I shall try and find out.

Judge Halevi: This may have a bearing on the question of the reliability of von Thadden.

Attorney General: That is quite possible, Your Honour. I shall try and find out.

We have just completed the question of sterilization and I pass on to documents dealing with the plunder of Jewish property. Prosecution document No. 908 is a note from Rademacher addressed to to several Reich offices, among them Eichmann, saying that in view of the progress of the expulsion of the Jewish population from the various countries of Europe and the experience gathered therefrom, the questions of mutual compensation for property have come to the fore again. He therefore calls for a meeting on this matter at the Foreign Ministry.

Presiding Judge:This document is marked T/193.

Attorney General: The meeting took place on 30 July 1942, and this is the report sent out as a result.

Presiding Judge:This document will be marked T/194.

Attorney General: On page 2 the Foreign Ministry lets it be known that it was agreed, in coordination with the Head Office for Reich Security that there would in principle be a mutual relinquishing of claims by the Reich and by the foreign countries, concerning the property of their Jews living abroad since this was the only way to achieve a quick and final settlement and to avoid an endless chain of difficulties as well as discussion in specific cases. "In order to enable the operation already begun to be continued and not to endanger the solution of the Jewish question which is under way in Europe, the negotiations with the Governments concerned are to be conducted on the basis of the territorial principle and the Ministry requests agreement thereto. In view of the urgency and far-reaching importance of a quick settlement of this question it is requested that possible misgivings on individual cases be disregarded and a decision formulated as quickly as possible."

And here is a document dated 24 October 1942 in which Klingenfuss from the Foreign Ministry informs the Head of the Security Police: "I confirm herewith that all the Authorities which took part in the consultation in the Department at the Foreign Ministry on 30 July agreed to the application of the territorial principle". This is the reply to the letter of IVB4 dated 22 October 1942.

Presiding Judge:This document will be marked T/195.

What is this? I see that on the document it says "Konzept" (draft).

Attorney General: "Durchdruck als Konzept" (copy as draft).

Presiding Judge:"Konzept" means draft?

Attorney General: It says here "Durchdruck als Konzept."

Presiding Judge:I don't understand. Yes, there is a signature.

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