The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 29
(Part 1 of 8)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 29

19 Iyar 5721 (5 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the twenty-ninth Session of the trial open.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission I shall, first of all, submit a number of documents. This is Prosecution document No. 1102 - a report of a meeting which took place in the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, may I offer a brief explanation concerning the last document, which relates to the question of competence? In the first place, document No. 765 - the Brown File. Heydrich expresses this opinion on it in document No. 349 and refers to the allocation of functions which have meanwhile been approved. He appeals against this and in this connection mentions the Referent Eichmann. However, Eichmann's functions in practice were administrative, whereas the question here is of a legislative nature. For this reason the matter was transferred to Department SIIA2 - as is recorded there in the heading - and it was passed on to Bilfinger who retained it and dealt with it.

Presiding Judge: What was this Department SIIA2?

Dr. Servatius: As far as I know, it was a Department for Legislation and Administration. The result of it was document No. 1088.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, I would prefer that these explanations should be given by evidence under oath by someone who is familiar with them. I respect Defence Counsel's statement, but information to the Court must be given either by means of a document or by means of evidence, unless the matter is confined to an explanation.

As far as we are concerned, we maintain - and I am saying in advance how we will view these documents and how we intend to ask the Court to interpret them - the Reichsfuehrer SS acts under various separate capacities which he unites in his person. He is, at one and the same time, the "Commissar for the Strengthening of German Folkdom" and the "Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of German Police," in which capacity he also serves in the Ministry of the Interior by virtue of his previous appointment, prior to the War, and also the man in charge of the Security Police and the SD.

And the Court will notice, from the reports which I shall presently submit, that despite the fact that Himmler was at the head of the three offices, the three were represented by separate representative officials, whenever matters belonged to different administrative channels. Here, since Hitler appointed Himmler, according to the "Fuehrer-Erlass" (Fehrer's Decree) dated 17 June 1941, which I have already submitted - namely Prosecution document No. 1091 which was Hitler's appointment of Himmler to serve as "Reichsfuehrer SS of the German Police," that is to say, by virtue of the previous appointment in the Ministry of the Interior, all of Himmler's activities in this field, consequent upon the appointment of 17 June 1941, are included under this heading, and there is strict compliance with it, with the correct channelling of activities.

or this reason it always goes by the name of "The Reichsfuehrer SS Chief of the German Police in the Ministry of the Interior." The "Brown File," as I understand it, (for I do not have any supporting document) belonged to the Reichsfuehrer-SS in this capacity, in his capacity as "Reichsfuehrer SS Chief of the German Police." And it is to this that Heydrich responds on 10 January, 1942, on a letterhead bearing the same heading and the name of the official in charge, Eichmann. By virtue of this appointment, the appropriate alterations were made on the paper, to read "The Reichsfuehrer SS Chief of the German Police in the Ministry of the Interior."

With regard to what is mentioned here concerning Bilfinger, we maintain that he was only the person who sent the copy to Wetzel, for in exactly the same way as there were a number of officials in the Ministry who were in charge of Jewish affairs, there was a similar position in the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories, and there was such a person in charge, whose name was Dr. Wetzel. Bilfinger passes a copy on to him, with the request to receive this document for his attention. This is what we shall maintain, and if the Accused should have another explanation, we shall be ready to listen to him.

Presiding Judge: If that is the case, this will ultimately be a question of proof.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I do not attach much importance to this argument but I should like merely to explain the documents so as to save effort.

Presiding Judge: But I say that the Court will be able to come to a final conclusion for itself on this point, only after taking all the evidence and hearing the summing-up of the parties.

Dr. Servatius: I agree to that.

Attorney General: Prosecution document No. 1102 is a Minute of the consultation that took place in the Reich Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories on 30 January 1942. The participants were troubled by the question who was a Jew, so as to know to whom to apply the restrictive decrees. Hence, it also says in the heading: "Entwurf einer Verordnung ueber die Bestimmung des Begriffs 'Jude' in den besetzten Ostgebieten" (Draft Regulation for Determining the Term 'Jew' in the Eastern Occupied Territories).

I would ask the Court to glance at the list of those present. At the end: Present is SS Sturmbannfuehrer Neifeind. Whom does he represent? Reichsfuehrer SS and Commander of the German Police. Present is Suhr, a member of Eichmann's Department with whom we are already acquainted. Eichmann said of him: "He is my man." He represents the Reichsfuehrung SS, Chief of the Security Police and the SD. There is present Schubert, representing the Reichskommissar fuer die Festigung deutschen Volkstums, (Reich Commissar for the Strengthening of German Folkdom) a Himmler man. In other words, despite the fact that Himmler controls the three offices, since they are separate, and each one has its own functions, three separate representatives are present.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/299.

Attorney General: In this document there is a discussion on the problem of issuing an overall order which would include the regulations concerning the Jews in regard to border cases. The debate centres on who is to determine the border cases. There are various suggestions, and in the end they adopt Suhr's proposal that, in doubtful cases, the decision should be taken by the Generalkommisar, viz. the Commander of the Security Police and the SD, or a representative empowered by him.

Presiding Judge: Where is that?

Attorney General: It appears in the Minute on page 4, at the top. After that there come the definitions as to who is a Jew, in the case of offspring of mixed marriages.

First of all: "A Jew is a person who acknowledges, by declaration, that he belongs to the Jewish faith or to the Jewish community, or acknowledges his Jewishness, or a person whose adherence to Judaism is evidenced by other circumstances". "Sturmbannfuehrer Suhr requested that the question of mixed marriages should also be dealt with in the executory decree." It was resolved to continue further with the consideration of the order.

On 27 April 1942, the office of the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories issues a draft of the regulations; that is Prosecution document No. 1103.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/300.

Attorney General: In paragraph 2(3) of this document it is proposed that, in cases of doubt, the Generalkommissar will decide, and his decision will be binding and final, Heydrich comments on this in his letter of 17 May 1942.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/301.

Attorney General: I would ask you to take note of the heading of this letter. Again it reads "Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police of the Ministry of the Interior," and again it is Department SIIA, but the signature is that of Heydrich.

He says, in regard to that proposal for a definition of a Jew, that he does not agree. At the end of the first paragraph he says: "I ask you to amend the order, and I demand that, in doubtful cases as to who is a Jew, the Generalkommissar, the Commander of the Security Police and the SD should decide." " And if you do not accept my point of view," he says at the end, "I shall not agree to the publication of your order. ("Bitte ich meine Zustimmung als versagt anzunehen."

In other words, Heydrich says: "I, or the representatives of the BdS (Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei - Senior Commander of the Security Police) who represents the Head Security Office, should determine who is a Jew in the Eastern Zones.

Presiding Judge: Heydrich signs here "in Vertretung " (on behalf) - that is to say, not as the Head?

Attorney General: It is clear that he signs in the name of Himmler. Here he is acting on behalf of Himmler, who in turn operates on the strength of Hitler's appointment in July 1941. And, Your Honour, if we remember that all this happened about the time of Wannsee where it was decided, with the participation of these representatives of the Ministries, that the Head Office for Reich Security was the only agency authorized to deal with the solution of the Jewish question, without consideration of geographical boundaries - and this I already submitted to the Court a week ago - and furthermore, if we bear in mind that Heydrich appointed Eichmann to be the person to handle these affairs, and Eichmann acknowledges the fact, in the statement which I read out to you, that he is the appointed representative of Heydrich, it is clear why he deals with these questions, and the circle is closed from all directions.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/301.

Attorney General: The next document is our No. 138. This is a report sent to Eichmann on the evacuation of Jews from the Reich to Riga. This has already been submitted to the Court as T/37(38). The Court should kindly look at the report sent to Eichmann from Duesseldorf. A copy of the document goes to the ehlshaber der Sipo und des SD (Senior Commander of the Security Police and the SD) Einsatzgruppe A - in Riga, and the subject is the dispatch of 1,007 Jews from Duesseldorf to Riga. The report is a thorough one. We have, as an annex, particulars of these 1,007 Jews according to age - how many between the ages of 1-6, how many from 614, how many from 14-18 and so on.

We have a report according to the sexes. We have a breakdown according to profession. And the official in charge of the transport, evidently taking action on the spot, made a proper register, using four vertical lines and one diagonal line - these represent five people who have been loaded ("verladen"); so many men, so many women, so many children. This is followed by a breakdown according to professions: traders, skilled workers, labourers, professional men, agriculturalists and so on. All the 1,007 are described here in detail, how they were sent from Duesseldorf to Riga.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/302 - this "consignment note," if one may call it such.

Attorney General: The Court should kindly peruse the following document which is also linked to the evacuation to Riga - our document No. 138 which was submitted as Exhibit T/37(38).

Judge Raveh: In T/302, what is the significance of the letters after the name "Eichmann" - o.V.i.A. Do you know what it is?

Attorney General: Where Eichmann is not present, this stands for the person deputising for him: "oder Vertreter im Amt."

Presiding Judge: This will be T/303.

Attorney General: This is an account by the accompanying officer who describes that transport from Duesseldorf to Riga - the circumstances of loading from the platform at 4 o'clock, the difficulties consequent upon the fact that families were separated and the necessity which arose for reuniting the families en route. I shall not weary the Court by reading the details. At the end, in paragraph 2, on his stay in Riga, the reporting official says: "In Riga there were approximately 360,000 inhabitants, amongst them there were 35,000 Jews. The Jews were the ones who dominated the commercial life, as they did everywhere. Their businesses were closed and appropriated immediately after the entry of the German army. The Jews were housed in a closed ghetto, surrounded by a barbed wire fence, near the Dvina river. At present there ought to be in this ghetto, only about 2,500 Jewish men who were being exploited as labour forces. The remainder of the Jews were turned over to some other essential occupation or were shot by the Latvians."

Now I would ask the Court to admit our document No. 1363. This is one of the reports of the Einsatzgruppe, in which Stahlecker reports on Lithuania and Latvia.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/304.*

{*Published in the Blue Series, vol. XXXVII, pp. 670-711.}

Attorney General: In Lithuania, Stahlecker writes, on page 21 of the report - that is on our page 2: "We succeeded at the outset with the aid of the partisans. To our great surprise, it was not so easy to organize an anti-Jewish pogrom on a large scale. Klimatis, the leader of the partisan group, who was employed first of all for this purpose, managed to organize a pogrom with the participation of a small Vorkommando (Advance Unit).**

{**According to document T/304: "...on instructions given to him by the Vorkommando.".

Presiding Judge: Kauen - that is surely Kovno?

Attorney General: Yes.

And afterwards it says there: In the course of the pogrom during the night between 25 and 26 June, about 1,500 Jews were eliminated by the Lithuanian partisans ("beseitigt"). Many Jewish synagogues were set on fire; on the following nights another 2,300 were rendered harmless ("unschaedlich gemacht").

Judge Halevi: That is a stronger term than "rendered harmless."

Attorney General: I merely used this translation ironically.

Judge Halevi: Earlier on, perhaps, it should also have been pointed out that this Klimatis, who was the foremost collaborator here, succeeded in organizing a pogrom without it being known outside that the initiative came from the Germans.

Attorney General: I shall come to the German initiative right away. At the end of the paragraph Stahlecker says that, after the partisans had to be disarmed, the internal purging operations ceased in any case. It was much more difficult, he says, to organize purging operations and pogroms in Latvia. It is true that synagogues were burned, and that about 400 Jews were killed, but since the population was soon quietened down, further pogroms could not be organized. "As far as possible, it was documented, both in Kovno and in Riga, by means of films and photographs, that the first spontaneous executions of Jews and communists were carried out by Lithuanians and Latvians."

Presiding Judge: Does that mean that the first executions were carried out spontaneously by the Lithuanians and the Latvians?

Attorney General: Yes.

"In Estonia, owing to the small number of Jews, we were unable to organize pogroms."
Later on, in the paragraph "Bekaempfung des Judentums," (the Fight against Jewry): "Right from the beginning it was to be anticipated that the Jewish Question in the East would not be solved solely by means of pogroms."

And then Stahlecker gives an account of the executions, of the especially severe and thorough measures - "besondere scharfe und umfassende Massnahmen" - which he adopted in Lithuania, and of the fact that the number of Jews who were exterminated in Lithuania totalled 71,105.

At the end of the report there is a detailed account relating to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, about executions, as if he was talking of packages of sardines or salt herring - so many Jews, so many Communists, and the total. Please observe: In Lithuania 80,311 Jews, 860 Communists - together 81,171. In Latvia 30,025 Jews, 1,843 Communists - together 31,868. Only in Estonia did the Nazis succeed in executing more Communists than Jews. In all, this report includes the murder of 118,430 Jews and 3,387 Communists. To this he adds the Jews murdered in Lithuania and Latvia in the pogroms - 5,500, the Jews who were executed in the old Russian zone - 2,000, and Communists and partisans - 48. He arrives at a total 122,445.

Judge Halevi: What was the "old Russian zone"?

Attorney General: "Altrussland." They did not regard Lithuania and Latvia as part of the Soviet Union.

Presiding Judge: At that time they were not, actually.

Attorney General: They were annexed a short while before Hitler's invasion following a referendum which took place in those countries, and joined as Soviet Republics. On 21 June, from a theoretical point of view, they were Soviet Zones and not occupied zones.

Presiding Judge: This was also the case in eastern Galicia.

Attorney General: This was true also of that part of Poland which had been occupied by the Soviets. There, too, a plebiscite took place; the areas were annexed to Soviet Russia and they became one of the republics of the Soviet Union.

Thereafter he refers to the execution of 5,502 Jews and Communists in Tilsit, and we reach a total of over 135,000 persons executed. Please observe when this happened: it was up to 15 October 1941. This is the blood harvest of the first period of the occupation, and this is a general report on organizational activities, on operations against spies, on the state of the German army, on the general problems of the area; and included in it, as an integral part - and this you will notice in every report of the Einsatzgruppen there is reference to the crops, the weather, to agriculture, and then they talk about the complete systematic murder of the Jews.

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