The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 46
(Part 5 of 6)

Q. Do you know a place called Sabac? What does it remind you of?

A. Austrian, German and Czech refugees, who were on their way to Israel via the Danube at the beginning of 1941, and who were stopped at the Yugoslav-Romanian border when war broke out between Germany and Yugoslavia, were taken to Sabac. In Sabac 900 of these refugees were shot.

Q. Mr. Arnon, do you remember an extradition request from the Zagreb authorities while you were in Ljubljana?

A. I was in hospital in Ljubljana after an operation when two Italian officials, one in uniform and one in civilian clothes, came and wanted to examine my status after an extradition request had been received from Zagreb. They asked me to report to the police station after leaving the hospital. When I appeared before the prefect, he told me that he had let my file disappear since, formally, the law had not been adhered to: The extradition request from Croatia was sent directly to the District Government in Ljubljana, without passing through the official channel via the Foreign Ministry.

Q. You were not extradited?

A. No.

Q. You told the Court how many Jews there were in Yugoslavia before the outbreak of the War in 1941. How many were left after the War?

A. As I said, there were 75,000 Jews in Yugoslavia, of whom 60,000 were killed. Thanks to the generous gesture of Marshall Tito, 8,000 Jews were able to come to Israel from Yugoslavia with all their movable property. 2,000 may now be in various parts of North and South America, Canada and Australia. 5,000-6,000 live in Yugoslavia today.

Q. I should like to remind you of an article. Tell the Court, please, whether you remember it. It is Prosecution document 1624. It is an article which was published by the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Artukovic, in the Croatian "People's Journal," No. 26, of 26 February 1942. It deals with the solution of the Jewish Question. Do you remember it?

A. Yes. I heard the speech by Andre Artukovic on the radio, and besides, I read it in the papers.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I should like to submit the text.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/891.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I have completed my questioning.

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

Dr. Servatius: Here, also, I have no questions.

Judge Raveh: You told us that you had to report many times to the Gestapo office in Zagreb. Was this the only Gestapo office in Croatia, or were there other offices in Croatia?

Witness Arnon: In Zagreb there was the central office of the Gestapo in the very well-known Nasicka building. In other parts of Yugoslavia we know only about Gestapo branch offices in Osijek and Sarajevo.

Q. Were there representatives of the Gestapo in the camps?

A. No.

Q. Did you remain in Ljubljana until the end of the War?

A. No. In August 1942 I was sent to the so-called Libero Confino, in Alba near Cuneo.

Q. Was this under Italian authority?

A. It was in Italy.

Q. And you remained there until the end of the War?

A. No. After the surrender of Italy I fled to a small village called Robbi near Alba and went into hiding with a peasant. On 20 September 1943 I escaped to Switzerland with my family.

Judge Halevi: Mr. Arnon, you mentioned Artukovic several times as a persecutor of the Jews. How did he escape from liberated Yugoslavia?

Witness Arnon: He fled like all other ministers of the Pavelic government, he reached Italy, obtained a passport under an assumed name and fled to South America.

Presiding Judge: Where are you living now?

Witness Arnon: In New York or in California.

Judge Halevi: Did he carry out the measures against the Jews at the order of the Germans?

Witness Arnon: I cannot say definitely that it was at the order of Germans, because I have no proof. But this was generally known.

Q. You mentioned your activities on behalf of the Joint several times. You visited the Representative of the Joint in Budapest three times. What was his name?

A. Mr. Blum, who lives now in Israel.

Q. You said that both he and Dr. Joseph Schwartz in Portugal gave you, or sent you, money?

A. Yes.

Q. And at the request of the Joint you were released from detention?

A. Probably.

Q. How could the Joint make that a condition? You say they made it a condition, that they would not give money unless you were released. Did the Gestapo have an interest in these funds which were to be turned over to the Jews in Croatia?

A. Yes, it did, because it was a matter of dollars.

Q. One more question: I am not sure that I heard correctly when you said that in one camp hundreds of thousands of Serbs were exterminated?

A. Hundreds of thousands.

Q. In what year was that?

A. Beginning in 1941, and until the end.

Q. And who killed them?

A. The Ustashi.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Arnon. You have completed your evidence.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I pass on to document No. 1432, and I request that it be admitted in accordance with Section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law. It is one of those government reports some of which have already been submitted to this Court. This time it is a report by the Staatskommission, the State Commission for Establishing the Crimes of the Occupiers and their Helpers. This commission was established by the Government of Yugoslavia, which had been reconstituted after the expulsion of the German occupier. The report was submitted in June 1945, and I should like to submit only that part which deals with the crimes of the Germans against the Jews.

We know the identity of the author of this part of the Commission's report; his name is Milan Marcovic. The importance of the report lies in the fact that it quotes figures on all parts of Yugoslavia and that it gives a survey about the development of the most important events. It does not primarily deal with the personal responsibility of this or that person from among the Germans and their helpers, such as the Ustashi, etc., but provides a good and exact general survey about the anti-Jewish activities in the various parts of Yugoslavia during the War. I request that it be accepted.

Presiding Judge: Yes. Dr. Servatius, what have you to say about this?

Dr. Servatius: I have no formal objection.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 41

We accept as evidence the part dealing with the fate of the Jews in the report of the commission set up by the Government of Yugoslavia.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Your Honour, I submit an original official photograph, together with a translation into German certified by the Yugoslav authorities. I have not been able to prepare a Hebrew translation in time, and I apologize. Counsel for the Defence has also received the German translation of the document which was made in Yugoslavia.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/892.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I shall not go into every detail of this important document. From the titles of the sections the Court will see that it deals with all the questions which also arose in the evidence of Mr. Arnon, and there are also some additional episodes. There are, of course, more details here, but Mr. Arnon actually went over most of the subjects described in detail by the commission.

I now have to ask your permission, Your Honours, to submit a number of additional documents which are only admissible under Section 15. A number of Gestapo personnel, the Nazis responsible for anti-Jewish and anti-Serbian activities, were in the end put on trial in Belgrade before a military court of the Yugoslav army. I have before me document No. 1434 which contains the Vernehmungsprotokoll, the record of the examination of Obersturmbannfuehrer Hans Helm. We located him on the organization chart of the operational groups; he was one of the chief subordinates of Fuchs, about whom we shall hear in a moment. It is a record dated 18 September 1946, which was drawn up in Belgrade.

Helm was not directly connected with the Accused; he was directly connected with Fuchs. He was Police Attache in Croatia - this will emerge from a number of documents bearing his signature, which I hope to submit to you in the course of this morning's sessions. It seems to me that Helm's evidence is of value, and I ask you to permit me to submit this record.

Presiding Judge: Is Helm still alive?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I am convinced that he is not alive. At any rate, we know nothing about him.

Presiding Judge: Are there more documents of this kind?

State Attorney Bar-Or: There are. If it is possible to combine my requests, I should gladly do so.

Document No. 1433 deals with the evidence of Dr. Wilhelm Fuchs, who was already mentioned, of 4 September 1946. Here the name of the Accused is already expressly mentioned. The man was executed. He had been Helm's superior.

Presiding Judge: Was the evidence given before that same court in Belgrade?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Before the same military court in Belgrade.

Presiding Judge: Does he mention the Accused?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He speaks about him, already in the second line he mentions the Accused.

A third request concerns document No. 1437. It contains the record of the evidence of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Ludwig Teichmann before the same Yugoslav military court, dated 17 September 1945; he was also one of the group active in Serbia on behalf of the Gestapo and the SS. He refers of course again to Helm and Fuchs. These things are all connected with one another to a certain extent.

Presiding Judge: What was the fate of this Teichmann?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I do not know his exact fate, I know that he is not alive.

The fourth request concerns document No. 1435. There are actually two records here from Senior Commander of the Police and the SS, August Meisner. From the administrative point of view, he was SS und Polizeifuehrer (Head of the SS and the Police), and he had therefore the highest rank of all those whom I have mentioned. His evidence was taken on 31 August 1946 before the same Yugoslav military court. The importance of this record lies in the fact that it is the only one that connects the actions of the SS in his region directly to Berlin.

Presiding Judge: What does Berlin mean here?

State Attorney Bar-Or: It means to the Head Office for Reich Security. He mentions the word "Kurfuerstenstrasse." The man was executed.

And finally document No. 1493, a record dated 26 May 1945 oft the examination of Aleksander Benak on the chapter of Croatia - this one relates to the Croatian side. The significance of the document lies in the fact that it mentions the representative of the Accused in this region.

Presiding Judge: What was Benak's position?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He was in contact with the Gestapo on behalf of the Directorate about which we have heard.

Presiding Judge: He, a Croat?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, in the main Directorate for Public Order and Security, the internal Croatian administration which acted parallel with the SS.

Judge Halevi: On behalf of Mr. Artukovic?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes. Or Kvaternik. The director was Kvaternik. He mentions Abromeit from the office of the Accused, who was active in this region. We shall see him appearing in a number of documents which I shall submit today.

Presiding Judge: Was this also before the same court?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Before the same court.

Presiding Judge: Is Benak alive?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Benak is not alive. He was executed.

These are the five requests. They all belong, in fact, to one group, the same personnel plus Benak, who are active in the area about which the Court heard witnesses this morning.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what about these five requests?

Dr. Servatius: In my opinion these testimonies are irrelevant, they only show the establishment, but not who operated it and bears the real responsibility. There will be other documents to show this. But I have no formal objection.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 42

We accept as evidence the testimonies of Helm, Fuchs, Teichmann, Meisner and Benak, according to the details given to us by Mr. Bar-Or. We do so by virtue of our authority under Section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950, for the reasons given in our Decision No. 7.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With your permission, I shall discuss them one by one. First, document No. 1434, the Helm record, in which I shall draw the attention of the Court to two passages.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/893.

State Attorney Bar-Or: One passage is in the middle of page 3. He speaks about a conversation between himself and Gruppenfuehrer Mueller in Berlin, actually about two conversations. In the first one there is mention of the need to proceed ruthlessly and resolutely against the Yugoslav population, against the Serb elements in Croatia. He says that, in 1944, he reminded Mueller of that conversation and told him that, already at that time (in 1941), he had objected to this, that there was no use, no sense, in this manner of proceeding; and that Mueller then agreed, that, indeed, in 1944 it seemed to him that in 1941 he (Helm) and not Mueller had been right. So much about the general activities of the Special Operations Group.

As for the Jews, he refers to them specially in the second passage on page 4 and says that "the Special Operations Group received orders from Berlin to transfer them to a ghetto, in cooperation with the Military Administration." He mentions the camp near Sajmiste, which was under the control of the Special Operations Group, by order of the Military Administration. He also mentions that sometimes Jews were chosen as victims from among camp inmates and executed, shot in reprisal.

Now, document No. 1433, the examination of Dr. Wilhelm Fuchs.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/894.

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