The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 39
(Part 4 of 5)

Presiding Judge: On what page?

Attorney General: I only have here a note of the page of our stencil, but it must be in the very last pages of the questions of Dr. Markel: "Did you want to issue an order for the arrest on behalf of the SS Court against Eichmann?"

If I may be permitted to give the Court a transcript of this evidence which is in our possession, perhaps it would be easier to find the place.

Presiding Judge: This has so far not been submitted to us.

Attorney General: No. We still have only a part of the documents we intend to submit.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Merkel - was he one of the defence counsels there?

Attorney General: Yes, I think that he was the defence counsel for the Gestapo.

Did Schellenberg have any connections at all with the Einsatzgruppen?

Witness Musmanno: Yes, he did.

Q. How was that?

A. About a month or so before the beginning of the Russian campaign, Heydrich instructed Schellenberg, who was his deputy, to enter into negotiations with the army for the purpose of establishing cooperation between the army and the Einsatzgruppen organization which was about to be formed.

Q. Did the contact between Schellenberg and the German army ultimately crystallize to some extent?

A. Yes. Schellenberg then entered into negotiations with General Wagner, who was the Quartermaster General of the army; and Schellenberg, being an attorney, actually drew up a document in the nature of an agreement between the RSHA and the army under the command of General Brauchitsch of the Russian campaign as to what this Einsatzgruppen organization was to do.

This agreement then was signed by Heydrich and General Wagner, of course under the direction of Brauchitsch, and it provided briefly that the Einsatzgruppen organization was to protect the rear forces of the army in the conquered territory in the East.

Q. Was this, according to Schellenberg, the actual function of the Einsatzgruppen?

A. It was not. This agreement was a false facade, because the Einsatzgruppen organization was not a combat outfit. Hardly any one of the officers had any military training. The Einsatzgruppen organization, in point of fact, was a slaughter-house on wheels.

Q. Who staffed the Einsatzgruppen, Judge?

A. The Einsatzgruppen were staffed, of course, by Himmler. That is, he made the appointments very largely on the recommendation of Eichmann. Stahlecker, who was a friend of Eichmann, was appointed as commander of Einsatzgruppe A; Nebe went to Einsatzgruppe D.

Presiding Judge: Did you mention Eichmann's name here?

Attorney General: Yes. He said: "Himmler did it on the recommendation of Eichmann." That was the reply.

Presiding Judge: I did not grasp that.

Attorney General: And therefore Stahlecker, his friend, and Ohlendorf, who was connected...

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, it seems to me that now the witness is giving evidence about matters which are included in his own judgment, which are contained in this volume, and I presume that giving of such evidence is contrary to the Court's decision.

Attorney General: With the Court's permisssion, I am definitely within the limits of the decision. Eichmann's name was not mentioned in the judgment at all, and rightly so, for he was not an accused there and there was no reason to refer to him.

Presiding Judge: Are you sure that Eichmann's name is not mentioned in the entire judgment?

Judge Halevi: The question is whether he was mentioned in this context.

Attorney General: Justice Musmanno - was Eichmann's name mentioned in this context?

Presiding Judge: First of all, did you, in your judgment, mention the name of Eichmann at all?

Witness Musmanno: The name of Eichmann was mentioned several times in the Einsatzgruppen Trial.

Attorney General: Yes, but I am asking about your judgment.

Witness Musmanno: I did not actually refer to Eichmann, by name, in the written judgment.

Presiding Judge: But what you are now about to relate, that you took from the evidence heard in the Einsatzgruppen case. Is that correct? Or was it from other sources?

Witness Musmanno: This particular detail came from Schellenberg who was in the RSHA.

Judge Halevi: This was after you completed the Einsatzgruppen case?

Witness Musmanno: That is correct, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 30

We permit the evidence on the matters which the witness heard from Schellenberg.

Attorney General: Was Schellenberg familiar with the organizing of the Einsatzgruppen?

Witness Musmanno: He was, because he not only conducted these negotiations with General Wagner, to which I referred, but he was present in Berlin when Heydrich and Streckenbach, who was chief of the personnel of the RSHA, gave directions and instruction to the Einsatzgruppen personnel as to what they were to do in the East, and Schellenberg saw Eichmann at these conferences.

Q. That is what he told you?

A. That is what he told me.

Q. Did Schellenberg have any further connection with the Einsatzgruppen?

A. Yes, during the Russian campaign many hundreds of thousands of Russians were captured as prisoners of war. Schellenberg, as the head of the German Foreign Secret Service, initiated a project which was entitled "Operation Zeppelin."

Q. The purpose of which was to get Russian prisoners to spy on their fellow Russians?

A. That is correct.

Q. Now, in this operation, headed by Schellenberg, did he have any contact with Eichmann?

A. This operation was partially successful, but some of the Russian prisoners of war who became spies for the German forces were themselves executed by the Germans. And the executions were conducted by the Einsatzgruppen, and several of the Russian prisoners were done to death under the direction of Brigadier General Naumann, who was the chief of Einsatzgruppe B. In this Operation Zeppelin, Amt VI, headed by Schellenberg, worked hand in glove with Amt IV, the Gestapo, and because of that association, aside from the usual routine office camaraderie between individuals in the same organization, Schellenberg came into contact with Eichmann, who of course was heading IVB in the Gestapo.

Q. Now I take it, that the contact was in relation to Jewish matters?

A. That is true and also generally in cooperation between departments on all matters which could be germane to the individual departments and cooperatively.

Q. Now, but with regard to Jewish affairs, what was the principal purpose of these Einsatzgruppen?

Presiding Judge: We are still talking about Schellenberg's words, I take it?

Witness Musmanno: That is true, Justice. There may be here and there some reference to date and information which came to my attention from other sources. For instance, Justice, in the Ministries Case there was quite a discussion about this Operation Zeppelin.

Presiding Judge: I would be grateful to you if you would specify whenever you refer to the remarks of Schellenberg himself.

Witness Musmanno: [to Attorney General] You asked me a question there about the purpose.

Attorney General: Yes, about the purpose of the Einsatzgruppen, the principal purpose with regard to Jews?

Witness Musmanno: The main and principal objective of the Einsatzgruppen was to kill Jews and rob them of their property.

Q. Now, still within the general directive of the Court, what, if anything can you say about Eichmann's connection with the Einsatzgruppen?

A. The Einsatzgruppen was strictly a project of the RSHA, and Schellenberg said that Eichmann as chief of that part of the RSHA which dealt with Jews, supervised and directed the activities of the Einsatzgruppen in the extermination of Jews. In the field, of course, the Einsatzgruppen units were under the tactical command of the military units to which they were attached. From time to time Eichmann visited the Einsatzgruppen in the field and attended executions.

Q. Now Justice Musmanno, I won`t ask you any questions connected with the information you derived as the President of the Court which tried the Einsatzgruppen, because this is the directive of the Court.

Presiding Judge: That is not altogether accurate. We said that we would not admit it, unless you proved to us beforehand that you could not obtain such evidence in a more direct way.

Attorney General: Precisely. And now I come to a continuation of my question which proceeds in this direction. I would request the Court to permit me three questions which are not contained in the material before us. We attempted to obtain it after we learned from Judge Musmanno since his arrival here, about the existence of this material and which, to my regret, we have not obtained. I am afraid that in the time available to us, while Judge Musmanno remains in Israel, we shall not succeed in procuring it. It does not concern the Accused directly, it relates to two other persons, but it gives a picture of the activities of the Einsatzgruppen which, I believe, completes the matter.

Presiding Judge: Who are these two other persons?

Attorney General: One of them is Ernst Biberstein, who was a clergyman at one time and who left his position in order to join the activities of the Nazi party and who subsequently reached the Einsatzgruppen.

Presiding Judge: Was he one of the accused at the trial?

Attorney General: Yes. And I should like to ask the witness about the reply Biberstein gave Judge Musmanno when he was asked whether he tried to provide any spiritual comfort to people before they were executed - for Biberstein maintained that, in his heart, he still remained a clergyman.

Judge Halevi: But this is included in the judgment of the Einsatzgruppen. Is it not possible to agree here that part of the judgment should serve as adequate proof?

Attorney General: If Defence Counsel is agreeable that I could submit the entire judgment concerning the background to the operations - then there would be no difficulty at all.

Presiding Judge: At any rate, these are matters which appear in the judgment.

Attorney General: Yes. Except for those facts to which the first part of the Court's decision applies, the facts which refer to abstention from obeying orders. I shall still come to this.

Presiding Judge: Was, this, also in the evidence at the trial?

Attorney General: It was in the evidence.

Judge Halevi: But you referred to three questions?

Attorney General: The questions relating to Blobel, Ohlendorf and Biberstein which appear in the judgment.

Judge Halevi: And you merely want to prove that these three accused in the Einsatzgruppen Case gave their specific replies to specific questions which were put to them there, and that the replies are mentioned in the judgment, and all that is required is that Dr. Servatius should agree that these are the questions and the answers?

Attorney General: Not only that. There is also, for example, the background to the evidence of Blobel about the operation to obliterate traces. This is most vital to us, since we will argue that this obviously indicates, more than anything else, the pangs of conscience which these people experienced about leaving traces of the exterminations. And we shall adduce evidence of the link between Blobel and Eichmann. However, here we are talking of what Blobel said.

Presiding Judge: Is that mentioned in the judgment? You may ask the witness.

Attorney General: Judge Musmanno, perhaps you could enlighten me: Are there references in the judgment to the campaign of covering up the tracks carried out by Blobel? I do not remember exactly - I think this was so.

Witness Musmanno: My impression is that I do make some reference to it. I am not entirely certain.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I have here Volume 4 of the Green Series. There, on page 211 and the following pages, there appears a detailed reprint of Blobel's affidavit dealing with the whole chapter of facts on which it is requested to hear the witness. The witness, Justice Musmanno, himself apparently did not attach sufficient importance to the matter and, therefore, did not mention Eichmann in the judgment. Consequently I presume that Blobel's affidavit constitutes better and preferable evidence.

Presiding Judge: At first glance it does not seem that this affidavit of Blobel deals with this special operation of eliminating traces. It deals with the actual executions. All this appears from the first glance.

Dr. Servatius: I, too, in my hurry, could not find the details precisely. But, at any rate, in point no. 3 the facts relate to Einsatzgruppe C.

Presiding Judge: Yes, that is right.

Judge Halevi: But on page 479 of this volume there is a further mention of Blobel in relation to the operation of covering up the tracks and it says - evidently this was Blobel's second affidavit - it says there that this task was imposed upon him by Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, and he talks about it. Accordingly I do not know whether this is the same affidavit or an additional one.

Dr. Servatius: Yes. It seems to me that these are the grounds of the judgment. It is true that Mueller was the one who gave instructions to these groups, but these matters were not within the competence of Eichmann's office.

Judge Halevi: My question is simply this: Does Defence Counsel accept the affidavit mentioned in the judgment of the Einsatzgruppen and the testimonies of Blobel, Ohlendorf and Biberstein as evidence in this trial? In that case, it would not be necessary to question the witness about it now.

Dr. Servatius: I agree that all the affidavits which are included in this transcript here, in this volume, should be admissible as evidence in this Court.

Presiding Judge: Everything that is contained in the fourth volume of the Green Series? I referred not only to the judgment, but also the affidavit quoted in this volume. I should like this to be clear.

Dr. Servatius: Yes. To the extent that these affidavits have been published here, in this volume - I agree that they should be admitted as evidence. Of course it will still be a matter of discretion as to what value should be ascribed to them. But I agree that they should be submitted in evidence.

Presiding Judge: That solves the problem.

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