The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 33
(Part 4 of 5)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1522. This is again a letter showing the coordination of activities in France and Belgium. It is from Roethke to Ehlers. Roethke tells Ehlers that Jews of French nationality have already been deported from France and that the French have introduced a law revoking the citizenship of French Jews who became nationalized after 1927. He also mentions the difficulties which the French Government attempted to cause in that regard. He then asks Ehlers to seize and deport French Jews from Belgium. He thinks this is desirable for two reasons: Firstly, it is desirable in itself, and secondly it will accustom the French to the idea that such Jews will also be deported. He hopes it will influence the French when they see that French Jews are deported from Belgium.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/484.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1217. Here Roethke - the letter is actually signed by Knochen - informs Mueller of the Head Office for Reich Security that Laval as well as the Minister of Justice have signed the draft law already mentioned. He is already planning the operation and says that at least 250 men from the Security Police have to be made available in order to seize those Jews who may now be seized in accordance with the new law.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/485.

State Attorney Bach: He also emphasizes that he does not have sufficient forces because of the activities of the underground in France.

Presiding Judge: Was this written by Knochen?

State Attorney Bach: Knochen wrote it, but Roethke drafted it, as the Court can see at the beginning of the letter.

Presiding Judge: How can this be? Roethke does not belong to the office of Knochen, does he?

State Attorney Bach: Roethke is the Specialist for Jewish Affairs attached to the Commander of the Security Police, namely Knochen.

Presiding Judge: Did not Roethke take Dannecker's place?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Dannecker had also been a specialist attached to Knochen. Knochen was the Commander of the Security Police and the SD in Paris. Dannecker, Roethke and Brunner were Specialist Officers for Jewish Affairs. Just as Eichmann was the Specialist Officer for Jewish Affairs in the Main Office, attached to Heydrich and Kaltenbrunner, so Dannecker, Brunner and Roethke were Specialist Officers for Jewish Affairs attached to the Commander of the Security Police. In professional matters they would receive instructions from Eichmann, because they belonged to Section IVB4, but from the local administrative point of view they were specialists attached to the Commander.

This is in fact the administrative structure we shall find in every single country. We shall see the same thing in Holland, where Eichmann's man on the spot, a man named Zoepf, is the specialist; he belongs to IVB4, corresponds with the Accused, receives instructions from him, drafts all the letters and deals with all Jewish affairs. But the Commander of the Security Police is always another person who also deals with other matters, not only with Jewish affairs.

Presiding Judge: Yes, thank you.

State Attorney Bach: On the reply it says: Signed - Mueller. Mueller is the one who actually signs, but we can see that IVB4 drafted the telegram. And it says here: "Final Solution of the Jewish Question in France. The renewal of the operation, on which you report, is very good news, especially as the Reichsfuehrer-SS has demanded a speeding up of the work during these very days." Then he says, it is difficult to send the reinforcement requested, but one officer and three SS N.C.O.s will nevertheless be made available.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/486.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1523. Here Laval's resistance to the German activities reaches its peak and he embarks on a strategy of delay. Roethke reports again that he has had a talk with Laval. We stress this point, too, that a man of Roethke's rank could have such a talk.

Presiding Judge: Roethke was in the company of a Hauptsturmfuehrer Geisler.

State Attorney Bach: Geisler apparently held a higher rank.

Presiding Judge: Was he from this office?

State Attorney Bach: No, he was apparently the KdS (Commander of the Security Police) in this zone, the Vichy zone. Here he describes the struggle, Laval's assertions that he did not know these Jews were liable to arrest and that Petain was very worried. There are all kinds of very typical marginal remarks here:

When Laval says that he did not know in advance what was to be expected as a result of the Law, it says here (in the margin): "The old fox has known this for a long time." And when Laval adds the following:

"If we wanted to proceed earlier against the Jews in the original occupied zone" (before the meeting with Petain) "he should have protested in his capacity of Head of Government. True, he knew what we did with his interventions (Laval was apparently thinking about the waste paper basket and rightly so) ...Therefore, also in the original occupied zone, he would be unable to put the French police at our disposal for the purpose of arresting these Jews. If we wanted to proceed on our own, he could not prevent us from doing so" - the person who reports this (and who also wrote the remark in brackets) adds in the margin: "Impertinence becomes method."
Presiding Judge: The marginal remark is apparently that of someone else, of the person to whom the report was submitted.

State Attorney Bach: And at the end it says: "In conclusion it can be said: The French Government is no longer willing to do its share in regard to the Jewish Question."

There is one more matter which he adds here: He says: "One gets the impression that Petain wants to prevent the adoption of the Law since numerous Jews have protested violently to him against the draft.

"(A few minutes before Laval received Geisler and me, he (Laval) had received the Jew Lambert, the President of the Union of the Jews in Southern France. The Jew Lambert informed Darquier's representative, who had also been briefly heard by Laval, that he had 'complained' to the President against the arrest of Jews by detachments of the Security Police (SD) - in the South of France."
Roethke adds: "Telegraphic order for the arrest of Lambert has been given in the meantime."

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/487.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 664. This is again an interim report by Roethke about the deportation of 52,000 Jews. But this is not the reason why I am submitting the document. It refers on the second page, first in the middle, then at the end, to:

"The arrest of all Jews who can be located through large-scale commitment of detachments of the Security Police (SD) and of special task force units with the help of German Army troops. By the end of 1943 the Jews shall and must, all of them, be deported to the East from the area occupied by us or they must be taken back by those states which are still dragging their feet." "Italian attitude continues to be one of lack of understanding. Italian army and Italian police protect the Jews by all the means at their disposal. Italian zone of influence, especially the Cote d'Azur (Riviera) have become a veritable promised land in France for the Jews..."
He talks about the mass escape, which is aided by the existence of thousands of secret passages and by the help of the French civilian population and authorities, who sympathize with the Jews.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/488.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1524. Roethke writes that, when Jews are arrested, there is no need to make records. "All family members are to be taken together with the person arrested, in order to prevent acts of revenge and possibilities of propaganda." This is an order, signed by Roethke, to the Einsatzkommando of the SD, Vichy.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit No. T/489.

Was all this after the occupation of the area which had previously been unoccupied?

State Attorney Bach: Yes.

The next document is our No. 1215. It deals with aged Jews in old age homes. Roethke writes:

"...With our consent, Jewish old people were allowed to be sent to the Rothschild Old Age Home in Paris. However, the Rothschild Old Age Home was to a large extent emptied during the last weeks through transfer of the Jews for the purpose of deportation from the Drancy Jewish camp. Jewish old people who were sent from there to the internment camp Ecrouves should not be transferred to Jewish old age homes in Nancy or Luneville but instead to the Jewish camp Drancy - to the extent that these Jews are still more or less fit for transport."
Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/490.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 132. A letter from the Accused to von Thadden, which refers to a Jew of Romanian nationality named Rosenthal, whom the Romanian Government has asked not to deport from France. The Accused says that:

" seems undesirable, from the point of view of the Security Police, and also within the framework of measures for ridding Europe of Jews, that the Jew Rosenthal should continue to remain in France, even if the Romanian Government accords the Jew Rosenthal a special position on account of alleged services to Romania."
Presiding Judge: We said - headings only. True, we said this many days ago, but it still stands. Not everything that has been translated need be read. The subject has to be seen in its general aspect.

State Attorney Bach: I am trying.

Presiding Judge: With all due respect, I do not think you are trying hard enough. This will be exhibit T/491.

State Attorney Bach: The documents which follow concern Monaco. I shall summarize their contents in two sentences. It may perhaps be possible to submit them together, so that they will receive one number. Our numbers of the documents are: 390, 392, 393 and 966. The Accused went to Monaco and there he learnt that there still were 15,000 Jews there. He reports and requests that they be expelled immediately. The Foreign Ministry investigates and comes to the conclusion that, on the basis of the data, there are only 1,000 Jews. The Ministry writes to Eichmann and asks: How is it possible, our information says there are only 1,000 Jews. Eichmann replies again that this is not possible. But in the end it turns out that there are only 1,000 Jews. And then Guenther writes and asks that these at least be deported at once.

Presiding Judge: Your document No. 390 will be exhibit T/492; document 392 will be exhibit T/493; document 393 will be exhibit T/494; document 966 will be exhibit T/495.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is a typical one; it is No. 665. The Accused has received secret information that in Switzerland attempts are being made to obtain citizenship of a South American country for the Jew Gollub, in order to enable him to go abroad. This Jew is at present in the Drancy camp. He passes this information on and requests the matter be investigated and that the Jew Gollub be arrested immediately and, if possible, to include him in the evacuation transport to the East, to reception camp Auschwitz. Signed: SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann. Only because in Switzerland efforts are being made to obtain for this man a visa to a South American country.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/496.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1520. It is a report by Roethke to the Accused, IVB4. He reports again about the activities of the Italians and mentions a Jew named Donati who is with the Italians in the South, has influence among the Italians, and is supposed to be doing much for the rescue of Jews. Roethke informs the Accused that an attempt was made by German agents to infiltrate into the Italian area and abduct Donati, but the operation did not succeed, especially as there had been instructions to act with the utmost care in view of the prevailing German - Italian relations.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/497.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1220. Brunner reports about a train containing 1,000 Jews. This is a report by Brunner. He reports about the train and he specifies what items of food were sent on this train - flour, potatoes, sugar, coffee, etc., but he adds: I request not to use high-value foods for KZ (concentration camp) prisoners.

Judge Halevi: Was this special food not usually carried on these transports?

State Attorney Bach: We do not know, this does not appear in the report. But since some of these foodstuffs might serve for those arrested, it was found proper to add this explanation. This document was also numbered T/37(309).

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/498.

State Attorney Bach: Now we have again one of those individual cases which are so typical, our document No. 1589. I shall only summarize the contents: A Jew named Weiss has made a certain technical invention which prompts Roethke - and we have seen his attitude - to write to the Accused:

"...Weiss has made this invention in connection with electric bulbs. He says that the invention may even be of importance for the war effort, because it can be used during alarms and blackouts. Roethke asks for instructions whether, in view of the fact that the invention may possibly be of great value, that Weiss be kept in Drancy, or whether he is to be sent to Bergen- Belsen."
And here is the short reply:
"Since, after examination of the documents transmitted, it was ascertained that Weiss has already registered his invention with the Reich Patent Office, there is no further interest in the matter here. I request that the aforementioned be included in the Jewish measures in accordance with the guidelines."
And at the end an annotation "Leaves on the next transport."

Presiding Judge: Who signed the annotation?

State Attorney Bach: That he is to leave on the next transport?

Presiding Judge: Yes.

State Attorney Bach: This is somebody in Paris, because it is already after Eichmann's reply that there is no further interest in the man, as he has already handed over the patent to the Reich Patent Office. Drancy is advised to deport him at once.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/499.

State Attorney Bach: The next document, No. 295, Your Honours, is a short telegram. "All Jews and Jewesses holding Argentinian citizenship are to be arrested immediately. These Jews are to be sent under guard to the holding camp Bergen-Belsen without delay, there to be handed over to SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dr. Seidl, who is in charge of Security Police matters. The property of the arrested is to be seized. Further instructions will be given after implementation report." Signed: Eichmann, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/500.

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