The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 46
(Part 3 of 6)

Q. And therefore?

A. And therefore I sat down at my typewriter in the office of the prisoner-of-war hospital and wrote the following confirmation: There is a stamp at the top "Central Military Hospital, Belgrade, Prisoner-of-War Hospital," a German stamp - the paper said: "Confirmation, Dr. Hinko Salz was employed as physician and German interpreter" - I wrote German interpreter in order to leave a doubt whether I was perhaps a German - "He fulfilled his duty diligently and conscientiously at all times. The above is now released from service in this hospital in order to return home to Laibach-Ljubljana." With this paper I went to the general and asked him to sign it. Here is his signature: Chief Physician, Dr. Jerko Terpkovic.

Q. Do you wish to hand over these two documents? Do you wish to keep them?

Presiding Judge: Let him keep them.

Witness Salz: I only wanted to show my gratitude to Dr. Sprungmann. I shall conclude with a few more words about this paper.

State Attorney Bar-Or: On 31 July 1941 you left Belgrade, did you not?

Witness Salz: Yes.

Q. You escaped to the Yugoslav area occupied by the Italians?

A. Yes.

Q. You were taken to Italy?

A. Yes.

Q. By the Italians?

A. By the Italians.

Q. From there you reached Switzerland?

A. Yes, I reached Switzerland.

Q. When did you arrive in Switzerland?

A. On 18 or 19 September 1943.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Thank you very much.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions to the witness?

Dr. Servatius: I have no questions.

Judge Halevi: You said that you reported on that day because you knew that you were registered as a Jew in the card index?

Witness Salz: Yes.

Q. When were you registered and by whom?

A. I should like to correct a point of history: When I was registered, the registration took place not at Tasmajdan, as it says in certain documents which I have read, but at Kalamajdan. This was a fortress, and there was a ravine there, and in this ravine I was registered together with many other Jews. I remember that the man in charge was a Gestapo man named Vincent; this is where I learned his name.

Q. When were you registered?

A. It could have been approximately between the middle and end of April.

Q. That is to say, all Jews were registered at this time?

A. At this time the order was given to register all the Jews.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Dr. Salz, you have completed your evidence.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I should like to call Mr. Alexander Arnon.

[The witness is sworn].

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Alexander Arnon. Family name Arnon.

Presiding Judge: Do you understand Hebrew?

Witness Arnon: I request permission to answer the questions in Serbo-Croatian or German.

Presiding Judge: Where do you live, Mr. Arnon?

Witness Arnon: In Tel Aviv.

State Attorney Bar-Or: How old are you, Mr. Arnon?

Witness Arnon: Sixty-three.

Q. Where did you live until the outbreak of war with Yugoslavia on 10 April 1941?

A. In Zagreb.

Q. What did you do in Zagreb?

A. I had several occupations. At first I was secretary of the Jewish Community in Zagreb. Then I was director of HICEM, the emigration organization. Later I was territorial director of JOINT, secretary general of the territorial committee for aid to refugees.

Q. When you speak of "territorial committee" - do you mean of the whole of Yugoslavia?

A. Yes.

Q. I should like you to tell the Court, as briefly as possible, about this first year, after April 1941, about what you saw, what you did, what you learned at first-hand about persecutions of the Jews.

A. In order to be able to provide a clear picture of the events in Yugoslavia, I should like to be allowed to give an introduction about the structure of the Yugoslav Jewish community.

Before the Second World War, 75,000 Jews lived in Yugoslavia, that is one half of one percent of the total population of Yugoslavia. The 75,000 Jews were organized in 117 autonomous Jewish religious communities, which were united in the Federation of Jewish Communities in Belgrade, and the orthodox communities in the Federation of the Orthodox Jewish Communities.

The Jews of Yugoslavia played an important role in the economic, social and cultural life of Yugoslavia - less so in the political sphere, except in Serbia, where two Jews were members of Parliament representing the Yugoslav National Party before the First World War. The Jews of Yugoslavia had a healthy Zionist life - 102 Jewish communities had a Zionist majority. The Zionists had kindergartens and elementary schools, as well as a theological seminary in Sarajevo. There was latent anti-Semitism actually only in the Croatian part of Yugoslavia.

Presiding Judge: I think we shall shorten the general survey. We heard a comprehensive review at the beginning of the trial - the witness may not know this - not just about Yugoslavia, and we cannot go into these details. Surely this is not the purpose of the evidence.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I have now reached the point where I shall start my questions.

Presiding Judge: My remark was actually not meant for you, but for the witness, because I see that he also digresses from what you want to ask him.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I promise, Your Honour, that I shall interrupt him immediately if I shall see that he digresses. I actually wanted to speak about Croatia now, and I shall direct the witness to it. He has just said - and here I should really like to have him speak about these events - that latent anti-Semitism existed actually only in Croatia. My question is: Were you in Croatia on 10 April 1941?

Witness Arnon: Yes.

Q. What happened during the first days in Zagreb? Please tell the Court about the establishment of the independent state of Croatia, to the extent that the matter is connected with the persecution of the Jews there.

A. On 10 April 1941, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the German troops entered Zagreb. At 5 o'clock Marshall Kvaternik proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia. On 11 April, at 11 o'clock in the morning, the first Gestapo man arrived at the Jewish Community offices where I worked. It was the eve of Passover, and we were distributing mazot (unleavened bread) and charity.

Q. And he confiscated all the Community's money?

A. He proclaimed that the whole building, two floors, was confiscated, and that all those present were under arrest. He declared the same thing with regard to the Hevra Kadisha (burial society) next door, which was in a separate building, together with the refugee committee. An interrogation began which lasted for hours.

Q. What was the subject of the interrogation?

A. I knew at once that all the archives of the Community had been examined during the previous night, as he asked questions which related directly to the files on which I had worked.

Q. How about the money which was in the Community offices at that time?

A. There were about 700,000 Dinars in the Community offices. He confiscated these at once and sealed the cashbox with a red stamp, and on it the words "Gestapo - Geheime Staatspolizei" could be seen.

Q. Immediately after this strong measures began to be taken against the Jews in Croatia?

A. Not in actual fact. The papers began to incite against the Jews the very same evening. On shops one could see notices "Jews - Entrance Forbidden!" and similar things.

Q. Who were the active elements in the population in connection with anti-Jewish acts in Croatia?

A. They were the Ustashi, the so-called Croatian Fascists, who had remained in the country, had not emigrated, and had prepared the revolution inside the country.

Q. Who helped them?

A. Very many ethnic Germans.

Q. Residents of Croatia?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: What is the meaning of "had not emigrated" - I did not understand this expression.

Witness Arnon: The Croatian Ustashi, the members of the so- called Frank party. Frank was the founder of the party for an independent Croatia. They split into two groups. One group emigrated to Italy before the thirties, among them the so-called Poglavnik Pavelic with his band of 12,000 persons. And the others, who remained in the country and prepared the revolution.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Had these Ustashi also been in contact with Berlin before the War?

Witness Arnon: It seems to have been so, and we had proof for it.

Q. Was anti-Jewish legislation promulgated in Zagreb in April 1941, and then in June?

A. Before the promulgation of the first laws concerning Croatian citizenship, that is a week or two after the entry of the German troops, all Jewish lawyers in Zagreb had been arrested and taken to a camp in Kerestinetz near Zagreb. On 30 April the first law about Croatian citizenship was published. Shortly afterwards there appeared the laws about the protection of the Aryan race and of Croatian honour.

Q. Can you see this document, No. 1438?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. What is it?

A. These are the regulations about the so-called solution of the Jewish Question.

Q. What is their main contents?

A. This is the regulation which, first of all, blocked all bank accounts, confiscated all safes, and sequestered all storage depots, while prohibiting the handing over of anything to the Jews.

Q. What is the date of this legislation?

A. 26 June 1941.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/889.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Now I show you Prosecution document No. 1623 of 21 May 1941. What is it about?

Witness Arnon: Mainly about the establishment, or administration, of public order and security.

Q. Was this the administration which operated in the Ministry of the Interior?

A. Yes, within the Ministry of the Interior.

Q. Did this administration operate within the Ministry of the Interior?

A. Yes.

Q. This regulation is signed by the Minister of the Interior?

A. No, by the Minister of Justice.

Presiding Judge: I see the signature of Kvaternik here.

Witness Arnon: t is signed Dr. Mirko Puk.

Presiding Judge: Here it is signed Kvaternik. Perhaps we are not talking about the same thing. Where do you see the signature of the Minister of Justice?

The witness points to the signature.

Presiding Judge: But this has apparently not been translated; it has also not been translated into German.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The original, which will be submitted to the Court at once, also contains several additional provisions. I request that the witness be shown the regulation signed by Eugen Kvaternik on 13 May 1941, which carries the signature of approval of the Minister of the Interior.

Presiding Judge: Yes, this is what was translated into German. The approval is dated 14 May 1941.

State Attorney Bar-Or: It is signed by the Head of the Authority for Public Order and Security and approved by the signature of the Minister of the Interior, Artukovic.

Presiding Judge: Kvaternik was the Head of the Office for Order and Security?

Witness Arnon: Yes.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Was this the office responsible until the end for carrying out the operations against the Jews?

A. Yes, certainly.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/890.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Mr. Arnon, on 22 May 1941, Regulations appear which mention the Nuremberg Laws, about the wearing of the "Jewish Star," the prohibition of contact with Aryan personnel, etc., is this correct?

Witness Arnon: Modelled on the Nuremberg Laws, yes.

May I be permitted a digression. At the beginning of May a compulsory payment of 100 million gold dinars was imposed on the Jews. Simultaneously the first arrests were made, allegedly for the purpose of guaranteeing this compulsory payment.

Presiding Judge: What was the value of the dinar at that time?

Witness Arnon: Officially sixty dinars were equal to one dollar. Later on the contribution was raised by another fifty million gold dinars. The regulation about the wearing of the Jewish Star appeared on 11 May.

State Attorney Bar-Or: You can see here a yellow patch, and on it a Star of David. What is under the Star of David?

Witness Arnon: "Z" Zidov - Jew. All Jews had to wear this sign, including second and third generation baptized Jews; it had to be worn on the left breast and on the right shoulder.

Presiding Judge: Do you wish to submit this, or would you rather keep it?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Perhaps the Court would be satisfied with looking at it.

Presiding Judge: You could perhaps photograph it, if you wish. I understand that he wants to keep it.

State Attorney Bar-Or: We shall photograph it and submit the picture.

Witness Arnon: I may have another one at home. I am quite ready to hand it in. In actual fact it must be said that all Jews, even babies in prams, had to wear this sign. We had several cases in Zagreb where officers of the German army were indignant and tore the sign off the children.

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