The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 30
(Part 1 of 7)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No.30

22 Iyar 5721 (8 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the thirtieth Session of the trial open. Mr. Hausner, you wanted to inform us of your stand in relation to the evidence of Hoettl and Huppenkothen.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission. Since, in the case of these two, we are not aware of any crimes that they may have committed against the Jewish people and all that we know is that they belonged to criminal organizations, as defined in section 3 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Act - 5710-1950, and although this is also an offence with which they could be charged, should they be in Israel, I have nevertheless been authorized to state that, taking into account considerations which I shall enumerate later, Hoettl and Huppenkothen will be allowed to come to Israel in order to testify here, and they will be able to leave the country without being brought to trial here.

And these are the considerations: Firstly, as I have already said, we are not aware of crimes which they committed against the Jewish people. Secondly, the Prosecution takes into account, and pays attention to what the Court said in its Decision No. 11, that in principle the appearance of a witness before this Court is to be preferred. Thirdly, we bear in mind Defence Counsel's statement that, out of the ten witnesses whom he has applied to bring here, the witness Hoettl is the most important for him. Accordingly, in consideration of all these factors, I declare that these two will be able to come to Israel, they will be given entry visas and they will not be brought to trial for past deeds.

Dr. Servatius: May I be permitted to ask a question in clarification? Is a free exit ensured to this witness even in the event of his incriminating himself under cross- examination?

Attorney General: Yes. I said they would not be brought to trial as a result of acts they committed in the past.

Dr. Servatius: I have no further comments.

Presiding Judge: For the Court's part, too, no further reaction is called for, at this stage at any rate, in connection with these two witnesses.

Dr. Servatius: I have nothing more to submit.

Judge Halevi: There remains one question to be put to the Attorney General and to Defence Counsel. These men are not actually defence witnesses, but will come here to be cross- examined by Defence Counsel in connection with their previous statements which constitute part of the evidence for the Prosecution.

Attorney General: That is the position, Your Honour.

Judge Halevi: Consequently, perhaps, it would be possible to hear them before the end of the Prosecution's case.

Attorney General: I am quite ready, but I have no control over their movements. This will have to be gone into by Defence Counsel - their readiness to come to Israel.

Presiding Judge: I think we would be prepared to hear their evidence at any stage. If they arrive here before the end of the Prosecution's case - we shall hear them then; if they should arrive after the Accused has already commenced the Defence case - we would also hear them then.

Dr. Servatius: The matter depends on the speed with which I shall be able to obtain these witnesses.

Attorney General: I ask Mrs. Liona Neumann to be called as a witness.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Neumann: No, German.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Neumann, Liona.

Attorney General: Mrs. Neumann, you live in Ramat Gan, Shura Street, No. 20?

Witness Neuman: Yes.

Q. Where were you born?

A. In Vienna.

Q. And lived in Vienna until the beginning of 1942?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened on 18 January 1942?

A. On 18 January 1942 my mother and I were taken away from our home. My father was arrested earlier and transferred to the Sperlgasse.

Q. Who arrested you, who took you from your home?

A. Motor cars drove up with Jewish orderlies sent by the Gestapo.

Q. Where did they take you?

A. To the Sperlgasse, there I met my father.

Q. For how long did you stay at the Sperlgasse?

A. We stayed there until the transport to Riga was complete.

Q. When was this?

A. It was about the 24th.

Q. What happened then?

A. Trucks took us to the railway station where they crammed us into waggons.

Q. Who crammed you into the waggons?

A. Orderlies, railway employees and SS men.

Q. What happened to your luggage?

A. The Jewish Community supplied us with provisions, and we were allowed to keep the hand luggage, the other luggage remained at the railway station and in the Sperlgasse; we were told it would follow. We never saw it again.

Q. How long did the journey take from Vienna to Riga?

A. Six days.

Q. Did you get any food on the way?

A. No, only what we had taken with us. No water. The waggons were sealed and we couldn't get out. It was very cold. We knocked the ice off the windows and sucked it in order to moisten our mouths.

Q. When you arrived in Riga, what happened to your transport?

A. We got off in Riga. The SS had been waiting for us and immediately started driving us off the train and beating us. Vehicles were ready; they said children and old people would be transported to the ghetto, the others would have to walk.

Q. You walked, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever see the children or the old people again?

A. No.

Q. Do you know what happened to them?

A. Yes, we learned later that they starved to death in "Jungfernhof" near Riga.

Q. How many of you were there altogether in the transport?

A. About 1,500.

Q. How many were transferred to the camp?

A. Many died and many froze to death during the journey because there was deep snow, and many fell and were shot on the way.

Q. How many of your transport were taken to the forced labour camp in Riga?

A. About one thousand.

Q. What were you ordered to do there?

A. Once we arrived at the ghetto we were put up in the abandoned houses of Latvian Jews who had been killed. Three to four families lived in one flat.

Q. Were you ordered to work?

A. Yes, but not on the first day. During the first days we did clearing up work. The size of the ghetto was reduced. Formerly it was much larger, since many Latvian Jews had been there. At first we had to clear up the old ghetto, which was outside the new one.

Q. Thereafter you went to work at in Kommandogruppe, isn't that so?

A. Yes.

Q. Which one?

A. I was assigned to the SS disinfection unit.

Q. What did you do there?

A. There was a large Jewish hospital Linat Tsedek. We were ten women from the ghetto of Jews of the German Reich, and ten men from the Latvian Ghetto.

Q. What was your job there?

A. Clothing was brought there after all the "actions" that took place in Riga. Our fellow Jews had to strip before they were shot to death and buried at the Ninth Fort in a mass grave. Their clothing was collected and brought to the Jewish hospital for disinfection, and afterwards sent to the German clothing store.

Q. Do you remember one particular horrible instance involving one of the Latvian Jews who worked with you?

A. Unfortunately I remember it quite well.

Q. What happened?

A. How a man from Latvia began to scream holding up his little daughter's coat full of bullet holes and covered with blood. That was not the only case. Unfortunately, there were many cases like that.

Q. How long did you work there?

A. Some months. I don't remember exactly.

Q. Were there any "actions" in your group at that time?

A. Soon after our arrival in the ghetto, five days after we, the first group, reported for work, we were immediately sorted out, and of the one thousand who still were in the ghetto, perhaps only three hundred of our Vienna group were left.

Q. What happened to the others?

A. They, too, were never seen again, unfortunately.

Q. Where did you work afterwards, after the disinfection job?

A. I was assigned to a number of smaller detachments, like shoveling snow in Skirotawa. This was a railway station. There we were beaten quite a lot. It was a terribly cold winter. Many came back frozen stiff.

Q. Did you make any effort to organize young people to learn about Zionism, to study Hebrew in the evening?

A. Yes. The younger ones formed a group. We knew that bad times were ahead. We drew strength from the hope that we would live to see the day when we would reach our homeland.

Q. After that you were in Kaiserwald, isn't that so?

A. My father had earlier been taken to Kaiserwald, and we were transported to the Strassenhof labour camp through the Kaiserwald.

Q. Do you remember anything in Kaiserwald, Strassenhof that impressed you particularly?

A. When we arrived in Strassenhof, we met women of the Vilna Ghetto; there were four blocks, three for women and one for men. We were sent to work outside, some to Strassenhof. Despite the hard work we had to do, construction work, unloading gravel and stones from barges, we didn't get a night's rest. We were too hungry to sleep anyway. At night we were chased out of our beds into the cold and rain outside for a roll call. We had to lie on the ground in the wet, run three steps, and lie down again on the ground.

Q. Were there cases of people who froze to death?

A. There were some cases when people on outside jobs were given a piece of bread and had it taken from them when they came back to the camp, and as punishment they had to stand all night outside; cold water was poured over them, and then they died of pneumonia.

Q. Were they made to stand naked or were they dressed?

A. With their clothes on. There was a cable factory in the camp where some Jewish labourers were working. Some way or other, acts of sabotage were committed and naturally the Jews were blamed. They were hanged on the parade ground in the ghetto.

Q. Later you were in Stutthof, weren't you?

A. Excuse me please, before that there still were the "actions" in Strassenhof, first the sick and then the last remaining children were taken away. A few days later they took those aged 28 and above, they were declared old, the handsomest men and the most beautiful women in the full bloom of life, and they killed them, too. The rest were taken to Germany, to Stutthof.

Q. When you say "were taken," who took them?

A. The SS.

Q. At that time you were transported to Stutthof, is that right? The camp there was surrounded by an electrified barbed wire fence?

A. Yes.

Q. SS men guarded the camp?

A. SS men and women.

Q. Did you meet people there from other countries as well?

A. Yes.

Q. Which countries?

A. The Stutthof concentration camp was divided up. The men lived in several separate blocks. We women were even prevented from living together with other women. We weren't allowed to leave our blocks except for roll call. They were from Russia and from Poland, Bible scholars too, and from Hungary - they came later to Stutthof.

Q. Bible scholars, non-Jews?

A. They were from Denmark, non-Jews, political prisoners.

Q. Were there people from Lithuania?

A. From Kovno. After I had been in Stutthof a week, I fell ill with typhoid and I was hospitalized in the Revierhaus most of them, all the doctors and nurses there were from Kovno.

Presiding Judge: Jews?

Witness Neumann: Jews. The head of the Revier was an SS man.

Q. Revier means hospital?

A. Yes.

Attorney General: Jews from Hungary were also there?

Witness Neumann: Yes, they came from Auschwitz.

Q. When were you evacuated from Stutthof?

A. On 6 August.

Q. Of which year?

A. 1944.

Q. Where to?

A. I spent nine months in Stutthof, then we were taken by train to the Baltic Sea. There we were placed on freight ships, kind of tankers, the decks were pulled shut over us.

Presiding Judge: From which port?

Witness Neumann: That I didn't know.

Attorney General: Describe the voyage.

Witness Neuman: I was crammed into this ship together with nurses and doctors and all the sick. About 335 people.

Q. Did you have water?

A. No.

Q. What kind of water did you drink?

A. At first we tried drinking sea water. But when we approached the coast, the sea was full of blood and dead bodies, so that we couldn't drink it any more.

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