The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Attorney General: In any case, the Court will see that we received this as what is called an NG; the Court will remember that this was one of the exhibits at Nuremberg, NO, 4892, one of the documents of the Prosecution and this was in the "Office of Chief Counsel."

Presiding Judge: I can only see their thoroughness from the fact that the draft was not preserved and therefore they turned one copy of the letter into the "Konzept."

Attorney General: At any rate, we shall submit plenty of documents from each country about the territorial principle. This will come up again in the Court proceedings.

Now, just to complete the picture, a memorandum from Luther about the solution of the Jewish Question dated 21 August 1942, a survey of the measures taken, the activities of the Embassies, the scope of the involvement of the Foreign Ministry in the evacuation from the various countries, the pressure exerted on the satellite states, and, in conclusion I read from the last page:

"The planned deportations constitute a further step forward on the road to the comprehensive solution and they are very important in view of other countries (Hungary). The deportation to the area of the Generalgouvernement is a temporary measure. The Jews will be sent on to the occupied areas of the East as soon as the technical conditions will permit it."
In the document itself the close cooperation with the Head Security Office is mentioned.

Presiding Judge: This is a memorandum by Luther?

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: It is marked T/196.

Attorney General: And what does the German Minister of Justice do? This will become clear from the next two documents. Our document No. 501 is a note on a conversation with Himmler by Reichsjustizminister Thierack, the German Minister of Justice. Subject: "Handing over of anti-social elements from regular judical procedures to the Reichsfueherr SS for the purpose of extermination through work." At the top it says: 'Bericht des Reichsjustizministers Thierack ueber eine Besprechung mit Himmler am 18. September 1942' (Report by Reichsjustizminister of Justice Thierack on a conversation with Himmler on 18 September 1942)."

Judge Halevi: Are headings of this kind part of the document or did somebody else sum it up like that?

Attorney General: It is a summing up. It is not part of the original document. It is a summary for the Beweisstueck (document of proof) US 218 in Nuremberg. In the document itself, in paragraph 2, the Court will find "Handing over of anti-social elements from judical procedures to the Reichsfuehrer SS for extermination through work."

"In accordance with the decision by the Reichsminister of Justice...there will be handed over: all security detainees, Jews, Gypsies, Russians and Ukrainians, Poles sentenced to over three years, Czechs and Germans sentenced to over eight years. To begin with the worst anti-social elements among the latter are to be handed over. In this connection I shall inform the Fuehrer through Reichsleiter Bormann..."
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/197.

Attorney General: The last document in this series, No. 454, is the letter from the German Nazi Minister of Justice to Bormann dated 13 October 1942. This is continuation of the previous document.

"Being motivated by the idea of freeing the German people from Poles, Russians, Jews and Gypsies and by the idea of freeing the areas in the East which have been incorporated in the Reich for settlement for the German nation, I intend to leave the criminal prosecution of Poles, Russians, Jews and Gypsies to the Reichsfuehrer SS. In doing so, I assume that the regular system of justice will contribute little to the extermination of persons belonging to these peoples. There is no doubt that the courts now hand down severe sentences against those persons but this is not enough to contribute significantly to the implementation of the above-mentioned idea. Furthermore it makes no sense to preserve such persons for years in German prisons and penitentiaries, not even when their work potential is exploited for war purposes, as is largely the case today.

On the other hand, I believe that delivering up these people to the Police, which can then take its measures free from the legal conditions of criminal law and thus achieve much better results... as against this* {*"this" refers to two sentences not quoted which contain limiting conditions for Poles and Russians only.} the prosecutions of Jews and Gypsies can be carried out by the Police without these conditions."

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/198.

Attorney General: These are the documents we wanted to bring to the knowledge of the Court at this stage, in order to prove the plot for total annihilation. The means used will be proved for each region separately.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, I shall now call the first witness, Mrs. Ada Lichtman. The first testimonies are meant to prove the period of small-scale terror in the occupied areas in Poland.

Presiding Judge: [to witness] Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Lichtman: Not too well, perhaps Yiddish would be better.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Witness: Ada Lichtman.

Presiding Judge: And what is it in Yiddish?

Witness Lichtman: Ethel.

Attorney General: Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War you were living in the town of Wieliczka in Poland, is that correct?

Witness Lichtman: Yes. In Cracow and in Wieliczka. These places are near one another, it is a distance of 14 kilometres from Cracow. I was studying and working in Cracow.

Attorney General: Does the Court wish me to put the questions in Yiddish?

Presiding Judge: Perhaps, since it would be necessary to translate anyhow. But maybe this would be good for a direct contact with the witness, so she will understand directly.

Attorney General: I shall do as the Court orders.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps it should be right indeed to ask in Yiddish, for her to understand directly.

Attorney General: [Continues the examination of the witness in Yiddish.] Where were you when the Second World War broke out?

Witness Lichtman: In those days I was in Wieliczka.

Q. What happened in the first days after the Germans entered Wieliczka?

A. From the very first days the Germans were rounding up people for labour, especially men, they beat them up, they ordered them to clean up the marketplace, to pick up the trash with their hands.

Q. What men?

A. Jewish men. They ordered them to strip naked. And behind each man stood a German soldier with a bayonet on his rifle, and the Jewish men were forced to run with pails, and when a Jew stopped the bayonet would hit him in his back, so that almost all the men came home with blood running from them, and my father was one of them.

Q. Can you remember what happened in Wieliczka on the 12th of September 1939?

A. Yes. The soldiers stationed there at the beginning left the marketplace, and suddenly a large truck arrived. Frum that truck jumped out some eleven soldiers, in uniform, with steel helmets.

Q. What kind of uniforms?

A. Green uniforms.

Q. Do you know what kind of uniforms? German?

A. German. I saw the same uniforms later in the Sobibor Camp.

Q. Do you know what formation this was?

A. SS. The Germans went from one dwelling to another and took out the Jewish men from their homes, they did not select any particular age, from 14 up.

Q. And your father too?

A. And my father too. And all of them were lined up in the marketplace of Wieliczka. They were told to fold their hands behind their neck, and there was also, behind the truck, a passenger car with two officers.

Q. How many Jewish men were taken?

A. Thirty-two.

Q. And also Polish men?

A. Later on the way they caught men of the intelligentsia, a high school teacher, a priest, an officer. Four men.

Q. If you will answer my questions, Mrs. Lichtman, it will be easier. Did they take away the men in the truck?

A. Before that they wrote down the names and took pictures of all of them. And then they were marched to the marketplace with their hands on their necks and were forced to shout: "We are traitors to the people."

Q. In what language?

A. In the German language.

Presiding Judge: Madam, you may sit if you wish.

Witness Lichtman: I can stand.

Attorney General: Did you see all this with your own eyes?

Witness Lichtman: Yes.

Q. What happened to them after that?

A. After that they loaded them onto the truck and drove away.

Q. And what did you do?

A. I with my - she is no longer alive, she was to be my sister-in-law - I ran after the truck. They took away from her four men, her father and brothers and a brother-in-law. I followed running up to the little wood, called Taszyce.

Q. What did you see there, in Taszyce?

A. There were all the Jews, whom they took, lying dead already.

Q. Your father?

A. My father was also dead, shot in many places. And all were spread out in rows of five, one after another. Five men, and another five. To a side were lying the Polish men.

Judge Halevi: The Poles were the same four Poles you have mentioned?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you do?

A. We ran back to town. But first I kissed my father. He was already cold, ice-cold although it was only one hour since they took them, because his blood had run out. We came back to town, and I went into town and asked for help in burying all those killed in the Jewish cemetery.

Q. Did you bury your father?

A. On the morrow, the next day.

Q. And thereafter they took you to work in Wieliczka?

A. Yes.

Q. What kind of work did you do?

A. Sweeping the streets. Mostly sweeping the streets in Wieliczka.

Q. How did you do this?

A. They chased us out of our homes, gave us a broom and without pails we gathered the garbage with our hands.

Q. You escaped to Cracow?

A. Yes.

Q. When was this?

A. A few weeks after the execution of my father.

Q. Can you remember what happened to the Jews in Cracow in November 1939?

A. Yes. Suddenly, one day in the morning they closed off the Jewish quarter. There were streets where mostly Jews lived. And German soldiers and officers burst brutally into every home. At first they were shouting at the men to get out of the rooms, they threw everything out of the cupboards, destroyed everything and beat people up.

Q. Did they shoot?

A. They took out a neighbour of ours, a pious man, and they placed a hen in his hand. He wore the clothes of a Hassid. They ordered him to dance and to sing prayers, just as people pray, and they were taking pictures. After that a German soldier told him to pose as if he were strangling Germans.

Presiding Judge: And this they photographed?

Witness Lichtman: They photographed every single thing. Many people were shot that time, many killed.

Attorney General: Who did all this?

Witness Lichtman: Uniformed soldiers, German soldiers.

Q. Did you have to wear anything as a distinguishing mark?

A Yes, we had to wear white armbands with a blue Star of David.

Q. Do you know anything about the Jews' Council (Judenrat)?

A. Yes.

Q. What do you know?

A. Jews' Councils were organized everywhere.

Q. After that you moved to Mielec? When?

A. That was in winter.

Q. What were you doing there?

A. I went to do forced labour there, I worked at land amelioration and in building a road to the railway.

Q. Can you remember what happened there at the synagogue?

A. They gathered Jewish men, mainly older men, from their homes. They drove them all together into the great synagogue of Mielec, and there almost all the Jews were slaughtered and shot, and those who jumped out of the windows were shot at the wall.

Q. The Jews who had beards, what did they do to them?

A. A motorcycle with a sidecar could sometimes come through and they used to catch Jews with beards, or they used to drag them out of their homes for shaving, and they used to shave off half their beards or the entire beard with bits of the flesh.

Q. In 1941 was there talk of rendering Mielec judenrein? What did the Jews do to avert the doom?

A. Jews were saying that a forced payment had been imposed on the Jews, and then it would be possible to stay in our homes.

Q. Did they let you stay in Mielec?

A. No.

Q. What did they do to you?

A. First we had to give up whatever we had, the jewellery, coffee and furs, and they said we could stay. Before dawn next day military units, black-clad and green-clad, surrounded us and chased us out of our homes into the marketplace and assembled us there. Those people unable to run out at once, those who were sick, were shot on the spot or in bed.

Then they lined us up, all those who remained, in the marketplace. After that they selected young men, they put them on one side and women and children and parents they put in a line, on both sides went soldiers with ropes, clad in black and in green, and we Jews all were in the middle. That was how they drove us. Anyone who let anything drop they killed on the spot. With whips, with clubs, they were beating and shooting. This was how we went some distance from Mielec.

Outside the town there was a sort of factory of Polish airplanes called Berdychow. We arrived there at dusk, it was cold, snow, piled high. They crowded us all into the hangars, they didn't let anyone go out. Anyone who went out for a physiological need they shot dead.

Judge Halevi: You were a young girl, I suppose?

Witness Lichtman: No, I was at that time over 20, married. There, in the hangars, soldiers were going round and beating.

Attorney General: What kind of soldiers?

Witness Lichtman: Various, clad in yellow uniforms, in green and in black.

Q. In black also? From which formations?

A. I didn't know the formations, until later. There were SD and SA and all of them were beating. Many people went out of their mind at that time. We paid with our rings and jewellery for a bit of snow, some frozen ice, to melt it for a crying child to drink. And when someone went out, even with permission, they shot him after he had gone part of the way.

Q. Later you were in a village called Dubinka? Right?

A. Yes. They made it judenrein, they chased us.

Q. They chased you?

A. On the way we were also in a camp.

Q. Can you remember what happened in Dubinka during the Jewish Holidays?

A. That was about Pentecost, they took all young men 18-22- 25 years old, and led them into a wood just as into a battle. At that time the partisans were already active in the woods. So they photographed how the Jews fight as partisans, they broke hands and heads of the youths, and later they killed them all. I was present at the burying of all these Jews. I saw the mutilated bodies of the youths.

Q. Can you remember what they did there to religious Jews?

A. I was living in a house and in front of our window there was a hill. On that hill they drove together some twenty religious Jews, clad in the clothes of the religious, long caftans, with prayershawls and prayer books in their hands. They ordered all of them to sing religious songs and to pray, to raise their hands to God, and then some German officers came up and poured kerosene or petroleum over them and set them on fire with the prayershawls, everything.

Q. This you saw yourself?

A. Myself, because this was before our window. We, the others, weren't allowed to leave our houses. We sat in our house and I saw everything.

Q. Can you remember the old Jew who was carrying his paralyzed grandson? Tell us what happened to that Jew.

A. In Dubinka my in-laws lived with a family by the name of Lat. He was a religious Jew, he wore a small round cap - a Polish one, it used to be called - these were small black caps with a visor which the religious wore.

Q. What happened?

A. He was bringing up a grandson because his daughter was studying. That grandchild was in a plaster cast. And when they made Dubinka judenrein they were driving us, they drove us on a road to a camp at Chorbaszow. On the way they stopped the grandfather with the little child. The grandfather had to carry to child because it was not able to walk. And they shot first the grandfather although the child was crying "me first." But they first shot the grandfather and afterwards the child.

Q. What did they do to children who cried?

A. They shot them, too.

Q. What were the parents doing so the children should not cry?

A. The parents used to cover the mouths, to stop up the mouths of the children, that is what they could do.

Attorney General: With the permission of the Court, this will be all as to the part which we intended to put before the Court at this stage; but this witness is able to tell us about another chapter to which we do not have too many witnesses. That part is the Camp at Sobibor. I should like to request the permission of the Court to recall this witness, as the need be, when we come to the chapter of the Camps. I should not like to mix several subjects.

Presiding Judge: Allright. Does Dr. Servatius have any questions to this witness?

Dr. Servatius: I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mrs. Lichtman. You may have to come once more to give evidence on another subject. We shall adjourn now. Next Session on Monday, at nine o'clock in the morning.

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