The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 26
(Part 6 of 6)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Attorney General: The following document is our No. 1108. This is a letter sent from the central sorting office in Vienna on 6 September 1943. Its contents - a summary of a letter in Hebrew of the Jewish underground in which there is an account of the extermination in Poland and means of rescue. The letter was intercepted by the German censorship and it appears in a German translation on the censorship form. The sender was S. Mandelblatt, from Turkey who wrote the letter to Dr. Pozner in Geneva, Switzerland.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/264.

Attorney General: Perhaps the Court would permit me to read some extracts from this letter?

Judge Halevi: Where is this from? Is this a letter of the Jews from Bendsburg?

Attorney General: This is from Bedzin. Here the connection between the Jewish underground and other countries emerges. Dr. Pozner was the Jewish Agency's representative. They were bringing to the attention of the world that "they had established a network of agricultural training centres and strong youth movements, much stronger and better than in normal times. To our regret all possibility of regular work was stopped a year and a half ago. After the period when the ghettos were set up, the planned extermination began. It commenced in the Warthegau, the districts of Lodz and Posen. About 80,000 Jews were destroyed here by gas (officially this was called Aussiedlung).

In Lodz alone, a small and hermetically sealed group of about 40,000 Jews has remained, who will surely die of starvation and tuberculosis. At the moment we do not have any news from this area. The place of extermination is called Chelmno. In Lithuania they are carrying out the extermination of Jews by shooting, at Ponary; a total of 20,000 Jews are left in Vilna, Kovno and Shavli. For some months we have had no news from there also."

Presiding Judge: This was the letter written in Hebrew?

Attorney General: This was the letter written in Hebrew, translated into German and brought to the attention of the censorship.

Presiding Judge: Despite that, some Hebrew words were retained here, with a German glossary.

Attorney General: That is correct.

Presiding Judge: What was the reason?

Attorney General: We can only guess the reason, but I do not know why. Either the German censorship did not know the meaning of these words, or it wanted to bring the original expression to the attention of those in charge. At the end of the letter is says: "F.d.R.d.A." ("fuer die Richtigkeit der Ausfertigung" - (for the correctness of the rendering"), signed Gross, Oberstlieutenant (Lieutenant Colonel) and Head of Service.

Attached is a translation of the Hebrew terms "Als Anlage eine Uebersetzung der Hebraeischen Ausdruecke."

Judge Halevi: Was this intended for the censorship? Was this an internal German matter?

Attorney General: Yes. The writer says that probably the area is already clean of Jews. "We made plans to resist, to our regret without success. In the so-called "Government" (Warsaw, Lublin, Czenstochau, Cracow and the surroundings) there are, today, no more Jews. The extermination was carried out by gas at Bremblinki near Malkinia. This is a well- known place of extermination, not only for the Jews of Poland, but also for the Jews of Holland, Belgium and so on...

The finest chapter of the struggle was in Warsaw. We organized the defence (Zivia and Josef K. with the children). In the ghetto terrible battles took place. A pity that only several hundreds of our enemy (about 800) fell. The outcome was the destruction of all the Jews and the destruction of the ghetto. In the Government not a single Jewish settlement exists except for the three forced labour camps Trawniki, Poniatowa near Warsaw and Prokochin near Crakow) with a total of 35,000 persons.

Within a few weeks there will not be a trace of these either. In Warsaw there have remained - illegally amongst the non-Jews on the Aryan side - several thousand Jews, amongst them Zivia, Yitzhak, Geller, only one of the Yaari family (here follows a list of names).

Ukraine and Polesie are bereft of Jews. In Bialystok there have remained about 20,000 Jews, relatively under better conditions. In the district of Lublin, the murder was carried out by means of gassing in Belzec and Sobibor.

The last Jewish community which had been living under relatively good conditions was in Eastern Upper Silesia. About three weeks ago 7,000 Jews were removed from where they were and exterminated in Oszwiecin (Auschwitz). They were put to death there by shooting and incineration. In the next few weeks this area too will be left without Jews. By the time you receive this letter, none of us will still be alive. Out of all the passports we received via Switzerland, only a small number of people were imprisoned - none of us was amongst them." And finally:

"Our hopes of meeting our homeland will not be realized, to our regret. We are writing these lines in great haste, since our messenger has no time. We no longer have the energy and the patience to write to you about everything which should be very important to do and, indeed, would be our own wish...with this the signatories acknowledge the receipt of 50,000 Reichsmarks."
Amongst those signing is Frumka Plotnicka who was mentioned in this morning's evidence.

Judge Halevi: This letter, which comes from a German source, was found after the War?

Attorney General: It passed through Germany. It went from Turkey to Switzerland, passed through Germany, and the German censorship seized it, and one may assume that it did not forward it to its destination. At all events it made a report about it internally, and in this way the letter has been left to us.

Judge Halevi: That means the letter was discovered?

Attorney General: The letter was discovered amongst German documents.

Judge Halevi: And it did not reach its destination?

Attorney General: According to our information it did not reach its destination.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps this can be ascertained from Dr. Pozner.

Attorney General: The next document is our No.1534. This time they sent a translation of a Hebrew letter which was intercepted, to SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann.

Presiding Judge: T/265.

Attorney General: The subject of the letter: The smuggling of Jews from Poland to Rumania. This was evidently Eichmann's concern, for they bring to his attention the translation of a Hebrew letter sent from Rumania to Dr. Silberschein in Geneva. Again there is reference to the fact that they managed to establish contact with their comrades in Lvov, where 7,000 were Jews imprisoned. They mention the names of the youth movements - Gordonia and Maccabi.

There is reference to underground activities, to executions. Killinger of Bucharest writes the letter. He advises that he has already taken steps against means of smuggling, and in this matter he is collaborating with SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Richter. Richter was Eichmann's representative in Bucharest.

Judge Halevi: In connection with the previous letter, who was Mandelblatt?

Attorney General: To the best of our knowledge, Mandelblatt was the liaison who used to collect information in Turkey and pass it on through various channels.

Judge Halevi: It follows from this that Mandelblatt received the original letter from the area of Nazi occupation and passed it on for further information. But it is now clear that Mandelblatt had already received it from the occupied area. Accordingly it is not important whether it reached Geneva or not. The important thing is that it reached Istanbul.

Attorney General: Yes, it reached Turkey.

The next document is our No. 1498. This is a notification sent out by Department IVB4. The signature cannot be identified exactly, it is apparently that of Mueller. The date is 17 September 1942. But the content is important. The Department informs the Chief of the Personal Staff of the Reichfuehrer SS in Berlin concerning the solution of the Jewish question in the Generalgouvernement, that "further to our telephonic intimation regarding the evacuation of the Jews presently employed as labourers in the Beskiden oil company, I have given orders to instruct the commander of the security police and the SD in Cracow to put into effect the evacuation of these Jews only to such an extent that it will be possible to find manpower to replace them." We attach importance to this document, which amongst other things proves that instructions for evacuating or leaving persons in the area of the Generalgouvernement came from Department IVB4.

Presiding Judge: Who signed it?

Attorney General: Apparently Mueller, but as we shall prove to the Court, this is not of decisive significance. The question is: The signature is according to the addressee - SS Obergruppenfuehrer - General of the Waffen SS Wolff, Mueller had to sign. But the original document shows where it was drawn up, and this is the Department which drafted it and wrote it and placed it before Mueller for his signature, as the Court has already heard from the Accused's statement and as will still be explained to us in the course of the trial.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/266.

Attorney General: The following document deals with Eichmann's instructions concerning Jews possessing a foreign nationality, our No. 940. Eichmann writes on 18 February 1942 to the German Foreign Ministry:" Re - Treatment of Jews Possessing Foreign Nationality." "As we have come to know, there are still living in the Warsaw Ghetto various Jews possessing foreign nationality. The order issued by the officer in charge of the Jewish residential area in Warsaw, which was addressed to them, to leave and take up residence outside it in the city region of Warsaw, has been complied with by only a few so far. Special circumstances render essential the severest isolation of the residents of the ghetto from the rest of the population. Accordingly the question now arises how, in this respect, to deal with the Jews having foreign nationality. Before I myself take additional steps in this matter, I shall be glad to receive your observations in the matter. At the same time the following arrangement seems to me the most desirable from the point of view of the Security Police: Jews possessing neutral nationality should be dealt with from now on exactly as Jews possessing the nationality of an enemy country, and Jews possessing the nationality of a country which is an ally of the German Reich - exactly as Jews who previously held Polish nationality."

Presiding Judge: T/267.

Attorney General: The concluding part: "I shall be especially grateful for an early advice of your decision, in view of the fact that the necessary steps must be taken immediately."

Judge Halevi: What was the fate of Jews of enemy countries? Does he distinguish here between two categories?

Attorney General: We shall see this presently. There is a whole literature on all this treatment, an entire correspondence. The Accused was requested to comment on this document on pages 3118-3129. A continuation of the discussion on foreign nationals in the Warsaw Ghetto can be found in our document No. 941. This is an internal minute of the German Foreign Ministry which states as follows:

"In a discussion concerning the treatment of Jews possessing foreign nationality (neutrals) who perhaps are still to be found in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann as representative of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, asked us to take note of the following state of affairs: At the beginning of January 1942, approximately, Jews who were nationals of one of the foreign countries (neutrals) were ordered by means of notices to depart from the ghetto and to cross over to reside in another zone of the City of Warsaw."
The next extract:
"Because of the large number of residents (roughly 500,000) it is very difficult or almost impossible to determine whether Jews who possess nationality of foreign countries (neutrals) are still today hiding in the Warsaw Ghetto. Jews possessing the nationality of foreign countries who have not so far made use of the right to transfer from the ghetto, will accordingly be included in future in the police and security measures carried out for the defence and security and public order, for example for the prevention of disease in the Warsaw Ghetto."
The date is 21 April 1942. We know today what were those police and security measures that were carried out in the interests of security and public order in the Warsaw Ghetto in those days.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, despite the great importance of this letter, I see that we are gradually returning to the former situation of readings from the documents.

Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour. I would permit myself to point out further that at the end of the letter Eichmann wanted a declaration of agreement on the part of the Foreign Minister regarding the purge operations of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Presiding Judge: On what page?

Attorney General: On page 2 of the original. The Court will find the Accused's response on pages 3124-3129 of this document. The Court will also obtain proof from the statement that Eichmann was in the Warsaw Ghetto. He does not deny it.

An additional order regarding foreign nationals, including Warsaw, is in our document No. 942. I draw the Court's attention especially to this document.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/269.

Are these two letters?

Attorney General: Here we have internal memoranda. Rademacher writes that the instructions must be formulated because once Eichmann has signed the memoranda, the Foreign Ministry would no longer be able to insert any amendments, consequently they had to check the order before they got Eichmann to sign.

Presiding Judge: What does this mean?

Attorney General: We are talking of orders. Eichmann himself turns to the Foreign Ministry and says:

"Let us come to an arrangement concerning the foreign nationals." In Berlin discussions take place in the Foreign Ministry, and they say: "We must adopt a stand on these questions since this relates to foreign countries, and let us do this speedily, for once Eichmann publishes this order, the matter will be finished and we shall not be able to intervene any more."
Presiding Judge: Was D3 the Foreign Ministry?

Attorney General: Yes. This was Rademacher. But not only that - Rademacher requests that Eichmann should sign the memorandum so that he should be bound by it. The Accused's response to the document is on pages 3129-3134 of the statement.

A continuation of this matter of the Jews who were foreign nationals appears in our document No. 1086.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/270.

Attorney General: The Foreign Ministry stipulates that in regard to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, relying on the conversation with Eichmann, they presume that the ghetto has already been purged of Jews possessing foreign nationality, and that the necessary police and security measures in regard to the ghetto could be extended to all residents of the ghetto, that is to say it was possible to destroy the last of the survivors.

Presiding Judge: Have we reached, with this, the end of some chapter or subchapter?

Attorney General: Concerning the foreign nationals I would like to submit one further document, and that is our document No. 9. This was already 8 February 1943 - a draft was prepared by Eichmann dealing with the question of the treatment of Jews possessing foreign nationality in all areas of German rule. The draft was sent to a number of departments and branches for the sake of securing their opinion.

The Court should please take note of the countries to whose nationals reference was made, matters of property, designating the Jews, appointment of trustees of property, the deportation, the directives for the technical implementation of the deportations to the East. And Eichmann adds: "I reserve to myself the right to issue further instructions at the appropriate time." ("Weitere Anweisungen zur gegebenen Zeit behalte ich mir vor.")

Presiding Judge: Where does this appear?

Attorney General: It is at the end of the letter. That is the end of this chapter.

Dr. Servatius: Where does it say so? This has been signed by Mueller. I also do not find the original. And it says there "i.V. in Vertretung" (on behalf of) and not "i. A. im Auftrag" (per pro).

Presiding Judge: Does it bear a signature at all?

Attorney General: No.

Presiding Judge: Does the Accused mention this in his statement?

Attorney General: To the best of my knowledge, no.

But the draft bears the mark IVB4b and above it says Obersturmfuehrer Eichmann, Regierungsrat Hunsche. This was passed on to the Foreign Ministry and bears the stamp of the Foreign Ministry and was received there. And this was a proposal for an overall final solution of the problems of the Jews possessing foreign nationality in the Protectorate, in the Generalgouvernement and the occupation area in the West and the East.

Presiding Judge: It is not signed? This is a draft?

Attorney General: It reached the Foreign Ministry. But I do not have a signature here.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, President of the Court - But in three places it says "i.V." (On behalf of...) while it should have been "i.A." (per pro), so that it should have been signed by Mueller.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps written by Mueller and signed by Eichmann? Would that be correct?

Dr. Servatius: No. The letter was from the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and there Mueller, as head of the branch, could sign only "i.V." whereas Eichmann could sign only "i.A."

Attorney General: But documents signed by Eichmann were also issued on paper on which was written "Chief of the Security Police and the SD." Whether he signed "i.V." or "i.A. we shall still elucidate. At any rate we maintain that this letter went out from his Department and bore his name.

Presiding Judge: If this is a matter of controversy, we shall still have an opportunity of clarifying it.

Judge Halevi: I should like to receive an explanation: how do you, Dr. Servatius, account for the fact that at the head of the letter it says "Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, and Regierungsrat Hunsche" - two names?

Dr. Servatius: I, too, will have to clarify this.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/271.

Attorney General: Our document No. 1584 is very short. The Foreign Ministry brings to the notice of Eichmann the circulation of atrocity stories about the Warsaw Ghetto, by Jews of Switzerland.

Presiding Judge: his will be T/272.

We shall adjourn now. The Session will be resumed tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.

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