The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 47
(Part 1 of 8)

Session No. 47

7 Sivan 5721 (22 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the forty-seventh Session of the trial open.

Mr. Bar-Or, you had a question in connection with the taking of evidence in Italy.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Your Honour, the Attorney General will arrive in a few minutes and make an announcement to the Court on this matter. His car was apparently delayed. I shall then interrupt the submission of documents in order to enable him to make his statement concerning Italy. With the permission of the Court, I shall continue, if I may, and shall in fact conclude the chapter on Yugoslavia.

The first document is No. 660, an urgent teleprinter message signed by Helm and Kasche, addressed to the Foreign Ministry and dated 4 March 1943. Helm informs the Foreign Ministry, for the information of the Head Office for Reich Security, IVB4, Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, that preparations for the new action against the Jews had been completed that week and that the deportation would be by districts in groups of 20 to 150 persons. He says that in the operation a total of 2,000 Jews would be seized. He also asks to give the commander in Marburg information in connection with the deportation.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/908.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The next document is our No. 1161, a telegram dated 4 February 1943, signed by Kasche. He says that by the end of the week preparations for the action against the Jews in Croatia will have been completed and that the operation will begin in the middle of March. "Representative of the German Reich Railway Directorate in Agram has promised to supply carriages, which will be joined to scheduled trains. About 2,000 Jews will be seized in this operation."

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/909.

State Attorney Bar-Or: This document actually belongs, of course, to the previous document which we have submitted.

Judge Halevi: What is the difference? Is this not the same text?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1161 is the text as finally transmitted by the Foreign Ministry to the office of the Accused, whereas 660 is the version received by the Fernschreibstelle (teleprinter terminal) of the Foreign Ministry. The two demonstrate the procedure for information via the Foreign Ministry used in all cases where there was a Police Attache at the Foreign Ministry.

The next document is our No. 659. Here it was marked T/37(224). The Accused speaks about this document on page 2614 of his Statement. On 10 April 1943 Wagner asks the Police Attache about the deportation of Jews from Croatia to Auschwitz and says:

"With reference to the telephone message at the time, I am asking for information when the start of the announced deportation in groups of the remaining approximately 2,000 Jews from Croatia to Auschwitz may be expected. In this connection I further request a report on the negotiations with the Italian authorities concerning the deportation of the Jews living in the coastal areas occupied by Italy."
Presiding Judge: Please limit the quotations.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Very well, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/910.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The next document, No. 686, contains a request from the Italian Embassy dated 4 February 1943. It deals with the transfer from Zagreb to Auschwitz near Kattowitz of an Italian citizen of Jewish race. The request is that the matter be looked into with a view to preparing her return to Italy.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/911.

State Attorney Bar-Or: In document No. 687, on 13 April 1943, Guenther gives his reply to the Foreign Ministry. He says that, in accordance with the findings of the Camp Management, this Jewess was not in Auschwitz and that there was no way of ascertaining her present whereabouts.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/912.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 342, here marked T/37(104), was shown to the Accused; he speaks about it on page 1379 of his Statement. It is the copy of a letter to the Foreign Ministry dated 26 May 1943, which was also sent to Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann. It deals with the activities of the Croatian police following the action against the Jew Mario Sasson who was included in a transport to Auschwitz. There is a request to inform IVB4, Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann immediately. The telegram is signed by von Schubert. Here again we actually see a correspondence via the Foreign Ministry which is not intended for the Ministry at all, but rather for an office abroad of the Accused.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/913.

The document is not complete. There is only the first page here.

State Attorney Bar-Or: It is not complete. The second page starts with the word "nachtraeglich" (subsequently).

The following document is No. 343, which was here marked T/37(105). The Accused refers to this document in the pages of his Statement which I have already pointed out. Guenther informs von Tadden of the Foreign Ministry that the Jews Sasson was arrested by the Croatian police in the course of the action against the Jews and was transferred to the East for work assignment. No information was given to the authorities who have requested it.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/914.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1048, a letter from the Accused dated 2 July 1943 to von Thadden at the Foreign Ministry about another Jew named Viktor Guttmann. He informs the Foreign Ministry that he (the Accused) has ordered the Police Attache in Agram to bring about the release from custody of the Jew Guttmann and the members of his family and their transfer to the area of the Reich. Eichmann continues:"...I intend to have Guttmann accommodated under preferred conditions in the old-age ghetto Theresienstadt for the time being." The document is interesting in connection with the administrative relations between the Accused and the Police Attaches at the embassy outside Germany.

Presiding Judge: The document will be marked T/915.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 655, a letter from Wagner to the German legation in Agram. On this letter of 15 July 1943 we find the signature of Ploetz. This Ploetz was the head of what was called Attache-Gruppe (Group of Attaches) which worked within the Head Office for Reich Security and corresponded with the representatives of the Head Office for Reich Security, who were in fact its own representatives abroad. The correspondence is between the Group of Attaches and the department heads of the Foreign Ministry. This is also the situation here. At the top of the telegram it says:

"The Head of the Security Police for the Police Attache: According to strictly confidential information received here, about 800 Jews, mostly women and children, are said to be still housed in concentration camps, inter alia in Croatia. I request you to start immediately to arrange for the evacuation to the East of these 800 Jews, unless there are guidelines to the contrary."
Presiding Judge: The document will be marked T/916.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1082 is a letter from the Kriminalinspektor (Superintendent of the Criminal Police) in Zagreb, transmitted by the Police Attache and the Legation to the Foreign Ministry. The marking there is IVB4. The writer mentions a request by the Jewish Agency for Palestine to transfer to Palestine 400 of the Jews of Croatia.

He bases himself on instructions from the Head Office for Reich Security, IVB4 and says that the Jewish Agency is making efforts to enable 400 Jews to emigrate to Palestine because they are threatened with evacuation to the East. He goes on to say that, in the course of the continuing efforts for the emigration of these Jews and the prevention of their deportation, the Jewish Agency has approached the Swiss legations in Ankara, Budapest, Sofia and Agram.

Furthermore, the Vatican has also intervened in this matter. Among these Jews there are apparently a Rabbi and a communal public figure who are singled out for special mention. He is endeavouring to bring about the immediate deportation to the East of the 400 Jews and he is expecting a report. Finally he asks that the Head Office for Reich Security be informed about the issue of such instructions.

Judge Halevi: Who is writing to whom?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Agram writes to the Foreign Ministry for the information of the Head Office for Reich Security.

Presiding Judge: I see that there are two letters here. The first one is included in the second.

State Attorney Bar-Or: This is correct, Your Honour. It is actually an internal one. It was sent from that place to the BdS in Zagreb.

Presiding Judge: From what place? Who is this Kriminalinspektor?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He is actually under the BdS in Zagreb. He writes to him as his superior. The covering document to the letter from the Krininalinspektor is the document in which this report and the proposals of the Superintendent of the Criminal Police are transmitted to Berlin.

Presiding Judge: The first document looks like a draft, it has no address and no signature.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The first document is an original copy of a letter which was sent to Berlin.

Judge Halevi: What I do not understand is: Who asks that these Jews be sent to the East?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The Superintendent of the Criminal Police sums up the position when he says that, in order to avoid possibly successful interventions on behalf of the 400 Jews, it is necessary to head off the efforts by the Jewish Agency, the Vatican and others through the deportation of these Jews to the East.

Judge Halevi: The Superintendent of the Criminal Police is in Agram?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes.

Judge Halevi: And he is the emissary of the Accused, or who is he?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He is the emissary of the BdS. This is Helm's unit which we know. In order to give directives concerning cancellation of a transport or dispatch of a transport they depend of course on instructions from IVB4. These general instructions are those mentioned at the beginning of the letter, which begins with the words "Das Reichssicherheitshauptamt hat mit Erlass vom..." (the Head Office for Reich Security has, in its order of...).

Judge Raveh: Where were these documents received from?

State Attorney Bar-Or: These documents come from Yugoslavia. We have here copies of the Gestapo files in Yugoslavia.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/917.

State Attorney Bar-Or: 1083. That same Kriminalinspektor writes to Berlin on 19 July 1943. I think his name is Huebner. He writes directly to the Accused on the same matter and adds that the above-mentioned order was passed on to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD in Croatia, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Hermann, for the issue of further instructions. This Hermann had promised early implementation.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/918.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Ploetz, the Head of the Attachegruppe, telegraphs to Helm, the Police Attache in Agram on 16 September 1943, and asks that the text of the telegram be transmitted to SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Abromeit. He says that, in the light of the changes in the situation in the coastal region of Croatia which was until now occupied by Italian troups, the evacuation of the Jews still present in these regions must be prepared without delay. The change (in the situation) is of course the defeat of Italy in connection with the Badoglio affair.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/919.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1095 was shown to the Accused and given the marking T/37(305). The relevant pages in the Statement are 3464 ff. Ploetz telegraphs to Agram, again in connection with the technical implementation of the evacuation of the Jews in those areas of Croatia hitherto occupied by the Italian army. A special detachment under the command of Obersturmbannfuehrer Krumey is brought up here and this special detachment is instructed to carry out the deportation operations in cooperation with Helm. Ploetz asks on behalf of the Head Office for Reich Security that Krumey be given support in every way.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/920.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 656. Kasche transmits to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin a report dated 18 April 1944 by his Police Attache, Obersturmbannfuehrer Helm. Again on the question of disposal of the Jewish Question in Croatia which, in Helm's opinion, was already largely solved on 24 April 1944. He explains why there are still Jews in Croatia at all and cites in particular two factors: (a) The many mixed marriages, which are only to a small extent apprehended by the Croatians, (b) The influence of some Jews, especially in mixed marriages, on ruling circles in the government of the independent state of Croatia. Helm summarizes the situation as follows: "As is well known," he says in his letter to the Ambassador dated 18 April, "the evacuation of the Jews from Croatia was proposed late in the autumn of 1942 by the Croatian authorities in combination with advisory activities by the Police Attache. The implementation as such was satisfactory, so that Croatia - apart from some occupied areas - could be regarded as a country in which the Jewish Question has on the whole been solved."

At the end he suggests to propose to the Government of Croatia that stricter criteria be proposed for the award of the right of honorary Aryan ("Ehrenarier") and to re- examine this question from more exacting points of view. "On the basis of the order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS the Jewish Question is again being examined by the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in close cooperation with our Section." Croatia was one of these countries which coined the peculiar concept of "Arier," not real Arier, but quasi-Arier for this purpose.

Presiding Judge: Aryan honoris causa.

This will be marked T/921.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1049 - a letter from von Thadden to the Accused dated 17 April 1944. He mentions Guenther with respect to a possible attempt to reopen the Jewish Question. He transmits this for information and adds that in Croatia the main difficulties are apparently the family connections of Croatian leaders which are a serious obstacle to more incisive measures against the Jews.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/922.

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