The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 36
(Part 2 of 6)

State Attorney Bach: This is the difficulty we face. Because sometimes these matters are connected with other testimonies and with documents connected with the same events. But we shall endeavour to put this material before the Court in summary form.

Here I should only like to draw your attention to two points in von Thadden's affidavit. First, when he describes Best's efforts prior to the operation, he reports that "the specialist in Eichmann's local office explained to me ironically that the Foreign Ministry will be made to change its attitude soon enough." And the second point: After the event, Guenther talked to him full of indignation, saying that Eichmann had already reported to the Reichsfuehrer, and that he was going to ask for the head of the saboteur. He relates the methods of the sabotage, the doors which were not broken down, etc. This was marked T/37(25), and the statement of the accused refers to it on page 3059.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/584.

State Attorney Bach: Now I should like to ask the Court to accept another affidavit, this one from Dr. Mildner. Our number is 251. This affidavit, too, was shown to the Accused and was given No. T/37(129).

Presiding Judge: Is Dr. Mildner still alive?

State Attorney Bach: But his whereabouts are unknown. Rumour has it that he is hiding in South America, but his address is not known. I understand that Counsel for the Defence does not know it either. But there is no doubt that we regard him as a criminal under the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law.

Judge Raveh: When was this statement made?

State Attorney Bach: On 22 June 1945.

Judge Raveh: Was he in prison then?

State Attorney Bach: I think so, but this is not evident from the document. He made the statement in Freising before an investigating officer, a Lieutenant Colonel. But he made it apparently as a witness, not as an accused under interrogation. We have here the stamp of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. This document was submitted and marked Exhibit No. 1503. It is actually a statement in Mildner's handwriting which he wrote and handed to this investigating officer. And here he explains what motivated him to take the action already mentioned in a letter, i.e., to ask the Reichsfuehrer-SS to cancel the operation and not to deport the Jews of Denmark, because of certain political reasons. He describes the arrival in Denmark of a special unit, the "Sonderkommando Eichmann" headed by Guenther, which took certain steps in connection with the Danish Jews. In the end he speaks of the investigation and the reaction of the Head Office for Reich Security about the failure of the operation.

Again, Your Honours, if we take into account that this declaration was made in 1945, i.e. sixteen years ago, when the events were much fresher in the mind than they are today, if we take into account that the Accused reacted to the declaration, which was shown to him, and noted his remarks on it, and taking into account also that in the documents I have submitted corroboration is to be found for all the facts related by Dr. Mildner - the Court will surely come to the conclusion that this declaration has probative value. Of course, the Court will only be able to decide on the weight of this evidence at the end of the trial. I therefore request you to accept this document, too, as evidence.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you wish to say anything in this matter?

Dr. Servatius: Under the circumstances, I have no objection to the submission of the document, but I should be grateful if two sentences in it were to be given special emphasis.

Presiding Judge: Very well, after it has been submitted, we can do this. I understand that you do not know Dr. Mildner's address either.

Dr. Servatius: It is not known to me.

Presiding Judge: Decision No. 22

We accept Dr. Mildner's statement for the reasons given in our Decision No. 7. This document is marked T/585.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, may I request that three more sentences be read into the record?

Presiding Judge: Yes, you may read them after Mr. Bach has mentioned the passages in which he is interested.

State Attorney Bach: I can save the Court time. I explained in my argument why this document should be admissible, and I have nothing to add to that.

Presiding Judge: So, Dr. Servatius you may go ahead.

Dr. Servatius: On page 2 of the document it says: "Dr. Best declared to me: Reich Foreign Minister Ribbentrop knew, of course, of Hitler's intention to destroy the Jews of Europe. He had given an expose before Hitler about the Jewish Question in Denmark and had requested that the Jews be removed from Denmark."

Then it says at the end of the document, in the last sentence: "Ribbentrop has introduced the measures against the Jews and is responsible for them."

State Attorney Bach: On page 6 there is a passage which says that Reichsfuehrer Himmler sent the "Sonderkommando Eichmann" there, in order to carry out the operation. In the Accused's statement referring to this affidavit we have his remarks, starting on page 1749. I should like to draw your attention to two paragraphs: One on page 1752, in which he says that he was himself in Copenhagen when the difficulties started there, as he puts it, he went there himself. Then, on page 1754, when Inspector Less asks him: "What is 'Sonderkommando' and why 'Sonderaktion'?" he says:

"No, it was no special operation, but an evacuation operation - a normal - in itself a normal evacuation operation, but it was actually not worthwhile. I said already, it was not worthwhile at all."

Our next document is our No. 757. This now is the reply from Best to Hencke's letter, containing his excuses. In this document there is again corroboration of the affidavits I have submitted. He explains why it was decided not to break into the apartments. He thought that, in any case, the Jews were not there; he thought the Germans would be accused of theft if some of the Jewish property were missing. And finally he says that actually the task he was given had been to clean Denmark of Jews, and he had achieved this. Denmark was "judenrein," there were no more Jews there. By the way, I should like to add that, in spite of all the criticism against them, Best and Dr. Mildner were not prosecuted, and to the best of my knowledge, they are alive in spite of the difficulties they caused, in spite of their resistance to the will of their superiors.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/586.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 1077. It is a report by Dr. Best about a meeting with SS- Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann in Copenhagen on 3 November 1943. Here there is apparently a certain concession by the Accused: From now on Jews over the age of 60 will no longer be deported. And those in Theresienstadt, too, will stay there. And I draw attention to some handwritten remarks in the margin of the document. One remark refers to a woman aged 102. In the next document we shall see that this is the same 102-year-old woman Texiere of whom the witness Melchior said yesterday that she was a friend of his grandmother's, and here it says that this woman of 102 may remain in Denmark. Then there is another marginal remark, from the Foreign Ministry, which received Best's letter.

Presiding Judge: Has this been translated?

State Attorney Bach: Yes. It says here: "Jewess aged 102 and Jewess aged 84 may remain in Denmark." And further: "Eichmann has informed me that Jews over 60, who are already in Germany, stay..." Nevertheless, Your Honours, it seemed surprising that they agree to let the 102-year-old woman stay. It was strange - until we saw the next document.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/587.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 1078, and it is signed by Wagner of the Foreign Ministry. It refers to the previous letter and says again that, in order to avoid all misunderstanding, it is clear that only those over 60 who will be caught in future may stay, and not those who are now in Germany. And as for the woman of 102, he says: "The Jewess Texiere, aged 102, may remain in Denmark. As Eichmann informs me, it is not known where she is at present; it seems that she is hiding in Denmark."

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/588.

State Attorney Bach: As the last document in connection with the chapter on Denmark, I ask you to accept a final report by the Danish government, dated 25 October 1945, about the acts of the Germans against Danish citizens in Denmark. This document was submitted at the Nuremberg Trials and published in I.M.G., Vol. 38, on pages 600, 629, 633 and 634. As already stated by the Court in Decision No. 12, this is, of course, only evidence concerning the fate of the Jews in Denmark in general, and there is no direct evidence here about the activity of the Accused or of his Section.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/589.

State Attorney Bach: With the permission of the Court, I shall now pass on to the chapter of the holocaust of the Jews of Norway. I should like to start on this subject by submitting two documents. The originals of these two documents are in East Germany in the archives of the Ausschuss fuer Deutsche Einheit (Commission for German Unity), the Official Document Centre of the German Democratic Republic for the Investigation and Detection of Nazi Crimes.

Photostatic copies of these documents were handed to us here by Professor Kaul who saw the original documents himself. The photocopies were made here at his request, and he confirmed this in a sworn statement. Therefore, I should like to submit first of all the sworn declaration by Prof. Kaul and then the two documents concerned. The declaration is marked with our No. 1635.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/590.

State Attorney Bach: The first of the documents is No. 1622, and it is actually composed of a number of papers concerning the same event. They are instructions concerning the deportation of Jews from Norway to Auschwitz by boat. The Court will see that the first document is a confirmation of the delivery of 230 Jews* {*According to the document: 532 Jews (302 men and 230 women).} in Stettin. On the second page there is a telegram sent by the Commander of the Security Police, Oslo, IVB4, and signed by a Sturmbannfuehrer named Reinhard, who announces that the ship "Donau" has left Oslo harbour with 532 Jewish prisoners on board.

Presiding Judge: This is not our second document. The second document is a receipt from the Commander of Auschwitz.

State Attorney Bach: Do you have perhaps the original in your hand, Your Honour. I have before me a typewritten copy where two documents appear on the same page. After that there is an additional document, confirmation in Auschwitz that 532 Jews have arrived. And here is a document from the same Reinhard, who is to take these Jews to Auschwitz, saying that the journey will take about three days. And now comes the main document - a long one. It is a telegram from Guenther, who gives the orders for this operation and decides who is to be deported, including Norwegian nationals. The Jews are to be searched, among other things for weapons and poison. He asks to see to it that the Jews shall lose their Norwegian citizenship after leaving Norwegian territory, and that the Norwegian Government will not raise any more claims with regard to individual Jews. He makes it clear that a return to Norway of the deported Jews is out of the question "in even one single case." He states that the forthcoming transport to Auschwitz is the one to which this consignment of Jews has to be attached. He points out that this opportunity of transporting Jews by ship has to be taken advantage of.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/591.

State Attorney Bach: The second document is our No. 1621. It also contains two documents, one from Wagner in connection with the movement of a ship which is due to arrive in Stettin. The second and main document is signed by the Accused, and in it he states that on 26 February 1943, 160 Jews from Norway will arrive in Stettin. In an addendum for the Headquarters of the State Police in Berlin he writes: "I ask you to include these Jews in the transport to Auschwitz envisaged for 1.3.43. These Jews are to be listed separately."

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/592.

State Attorney Bach: At this point, Your Honours, I should like to call the witness, Mrs. Henrietta Samuel.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew, Madam?

Witness Samuel: : German. I should like to give evidence on affirmation. I am Observant.

Witness affirms.

State Attorney Bach: Mrs. Samuel, you were born in Berlin?

Witness Samuel: I was born in Berlin.

Q. Did you come to Norway in 1930 together with your late husband, Rabbi Samuel?

A. Yes.

Q. What appointment was your late husband given in Norway?

A. My husband was called to Oslo as Rabbi in the year 1930.

Q. Was he in fact appointed Chief Rabbi for Norway?

A. He was called as Rabbi for Norway, and in the course of his tenure he officiated as Chief Rabbi.

Q. How many Jews were living in Oslo when the Germans entered Norway in April 1940?

A. At that time there were 1,700 Jews in Norway.

Q. Do you know how many lived in Oslo at that time?

A. n Oslo there lived about 1,200.

Q. What was the situation of the Jews in Norway just before the entry of the Germans?

A. The Jews had a free, unhampered life in Norway and felt at home there. They lived in good economic circumstances. There was no anti-Semitism.

Q. What was the situation of the Jews from 1940 until the beginning of 1942 during the German occupation?

A. At the beginning of the German occupation, from 1940 to 1942, the Jews lived in the illusion that in Norway, the country of Henrik Wergeland and Fridtjof Nansen, Hitler's Jewish laws could not be applied.

Q. What was the first anti-Jewish measure you experienced?

A. At the beginning of 1942, all Jews had to have their identity cards be stamped with "Jude." Some time later, the Jews had to hand over their radio sets. However, a month later, the Norwegian non-Jews also had to hand in their radios, with the exception only of the members of the Quisling's Norwegian Nazi Party; they were allowed to keep their radio sets.

Q. Mrs. Samuel, when did you first meet the Gestapo directly?

A. In Trondheim, the northernmost Jewish community in the world, there were about 500 Jews. The first Jewish victims died there.

Q. Can you tell us briefly in what circumstances this happened?

A. There was a curfew. One Jew returned home a little late and was shot dead in the street.

Q. When was your late husband first arrested by the Germans?

A. Shortly after this Trondheim affair it started in Oslo; all Jews named Bernstein - they were looking for a spy by the name of Bernstein - had to report to the police. The physician Dr. Paul Bernstein was arrested, while the others named Bernstein were sent home. During the summer, Dr. Paul Bernstein lived in Nersnes, a small village on the Oslo Fjord, and the result was that all the Jewish families who spent that summer in Nersnes on the Oslo Fjord had to report to the Gestapo when they returned home, among them my late husband.

Q. How many times was your late husband arrested after this incident?

A. My husband, together with the twelve men from Nersnes, had to report to the Gestapo five or six times. Once my husband came home and told me he had received hints that he should disappear.

Q. Who gave him the hint?

A. One of the Gestapo officials.

Q. And did he listen to this suggestion, to this recommendation?

A. My husband said to me, as he had already repeatedly said in 1940: "I, as Rabbi, shall not leave my community in this dangerous hour."

Q. What happened then?

A. The men in Oslo, among them my late husband, were again called to the Gestapo on 2 September 1942, and did not come home again.

Q. Does this mean all the Jewish men in Oslo?

A. No. On 2 September,it involved only the men from Nersnes.

Q. Did you find out where your husband was when he did not return?

A. The underground movement saw to it that the twelve families concerned were informed on the same day.

Q. And did they inform you where your husband was?

A. The men were taken to Grini, the Norwegian concentration camp near Oslo.

Q. Did you try to see him there?

A. All my efforts to get a visiting permit through the Gestapo were in vain. So were the requests of the Jewish Community to let the Rabbi officiate at least on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

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