The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 47
(Part 4 of 8)

State Attorney Bar-Or: One question only should perhaps be asked: Why was the proposal made so seriously by the Foreign Ministry when it also knew of the prohibition. It seems to me that the answer is not complicated. The Germans were interested, that year, to meet the wishes of the Bulgarians as far as possible. Bulgaria was already under pressure from the approaching Russian front. In 1944 they were to lose Bulgaria and the Foreign Ministry felt that, if it was possible to compromise on this matter, that would be preferable. As we saw in these documents, it was in any case very difficult for the Germans to implement their policy in Bulgaria. This could explain why the Foreign Ministry deals so seriously with the proposals following the negotiations with the Mandatory Government.

Judge Halevi: But the position of the Foreign Ministry is totally negative.

State Attorney Bar-Or: For the reasons which it indicates.

On the chapter of Greece I ask you to accept, first of all, a report prepared by the Central Jewish Council for Coordination and Decision on 20 July, 1960.

Presiding Judge: "for Coordination and Decision" is this what it is called?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I have translated the words used in the official English translation. The document contains a list of the population of the main Communities in Greece before the German invasion and its numbers at the end of the War, both in absolute numbers and in percentages. I think that, although this document - which is not long - does not mention the Accused, it provides a background in place of some of the evidence we ought to hear, it puts the deeds of the Accused and his helpers in that country into a telling perspective. I should only like to add that this body, the Central Jewish Council, is actually an official council which acts in the name of the Kingdom of Greece. I therefore think that one has to treat it, and its findings, with trust, as an official report issued on behalf of the government.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any objection to this?

Dr. Servatius: I have no formal objection.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 43

It is decided to accept the Report of the Greek Jewish Council regarding the population figures in Greece.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The report is our No. 832 which, as I said, summarized the situation regarding the Communities in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, Central Greece, Peloponnesus, Epirus and the Greek Islands.

Presiding Judge: It seems to me that the document we have is the original and therefore there is no need for this photostatic copy. This document will be marked T/953.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I may perhaps interrupt the continuation of the Greek chapter for a moment. I have meanwhile received the necessary copies of Document No. 1039, the telegram relating to the previous chapter, on Bulgaria. In it there is mention of Beckerle's request to see whether it is possible to accommodate that particular Jewess in Thereseinstadt because of the Metropolitan's friendly attitude towards Germany.

Presiding Judge: The document will be marked T/954.

Judge Raveh: In connection with document No. 832: If we take the total number of 77,000 and then we find that 10,000 are left - can this be minus 98 per cent?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The sum total of the decrease is no doubt erroneous.

Presiding Judge: But are the absolute figures correct?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes. In general I checked the percentage of the population decrease for each Community and it matches the absolute figures. I do not know what happened in the end.

Judge Raveh: But the addition is reliable?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The addition is reliable. The sum total of 77,000 before the beginning of the deportations, and of the 10,000 who are left - this is reliable.

On the tragic chapter of Greece we have one crucial document which was saved, and found to our good fortune. It is the diary of a lawyer from Salonika, who was arrested by the Germans while he was in the middle of writing it. He was Advocate Yomtov Yekuel, who perished in the Holocaust. Until the arrival of the Germans, who took over the affairs of the Community themselves, Advocate Yekuel had acted as legal adviser to the Jewish Community in Salonika. In the diary he describes how the Germans introduced the racist laws against the Jews of the city. The diary was written in Greek and in Greek characters. We have translated it into Hebrew.

In Prosecution document No. 351 I wish to bring before the Court a sworn statement by the Greek Advocate Asher Rafael Moissis, in which he describes briefly how this diary came into his hands before its writer himself was seized by the Germans. There is no doubt that, if the statement in document No. 351 is accepted, we have Yekuel's original diary before us. As for its value - and I intend to submit the diary itself and not only Moissis' declaration on how it came into his possession - its value lies in the fact that the writer was, thanks to his position, thoroughly familiar with the affairs of the great Jewish Community of Salonika over a long period of time. Although he received no salary, he had a guiding hand in all Community matters.

Presiding Judge: What was his official position?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He was the legal adviser of the Community of Salonika. He does not speak about matters pertaining to the Accused, but mainly about matters connected with the military government, whose representative - on anything concerning the Jews at any rate - was Dr. Merten, although in the end it was also Wisliceny, the representative of the Accused. The latter had come in order to apply the policies of the Head Office for Reich Security to Salonika. We must remember that Greece was divided between the northern zone, occupied by the Germans and called "Salonika-Aegis" by the military government and the southern zone with Athens as its centre, which was under Italian occupation until the defeat of Badoglio.

At the end of 1943 the Germans tried to enter Athens also, but - for reasons which are very interesting from the historical point of view - they apparently did not succeed. They did achieve their object in the part occupied by them, in Salonika and in the small communities surrounding that Jewish metropolis. The author keeps a detailed diary of events as they happen up to the arrival of the Germans.

Attrocities did not start immediately. Social and relief services had to be organized, especially for children. He speaks at length about a child-feeding project. I think that a diary of this kind, which was actually kept for the purpose of historical documentation of these tragic events, has to be trusted, and that its content is relevant for us. Because Yekuel writes not only about what Merten did - who may not have been directly connected with the Accused - but about acts carried out in the final instance by two of the chief lieutenants of the Accused, none other than Wisliceny and Brunner. Brunner had arrived later to join Wisliceny, so Wislinceny maintains, in order to do himself what Wisliceny was unable to do.

Whether we believe him or not, these two worked in Salonika on behalf of the Accused. The writer did not come into direct contact with either Wisliceny or Brunner and he does not tell us anything they said. He sees far more the results of the German policy in Salonika, and he records how the Jewish organizations endeavour to avert the disaster, how they react and how in the end they do not succeed.

Presiding Judge: Where does Advocate Moissis live?

State Attorney Bar-Or: We obtained his sworn statement from Athens. He is a lawyer at the Court of Appeal in Athens and he signed his statement on 4 April 1961. I propose to the Honourable Court to accept this diary together with document No. 351, the statement by Mr. Moissis.

Presiding Judge: Do you have the original diary?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The diary is in our possession. If the Court so wishes I shall have it brought here so that it can be submitted. As I said, it is in Greek and here before me I have the translation into Hebrew.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any comment?

Dr. Servatius: I have no objection to the declaration of my Greek Colleague. But I should like to see a copy of this diary in order to examine it from the point of view of its credibility. We shall soon see whether it describes the facts.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bar-Or, do you have a translation into a language which Dr. Servatius understands?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Your Honour, I have to express surprise at myself: I was of course sure that a translation into German had been submitted to Counsel for the Defense long ago. I regret very much that this has not been done. As it is, I ask you to postpone the consideration of my request until Dr. Servatius will have received the German translation.

Presiding Judge: In this case we shall revert to the document later on.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 997, a letter dated 11 July 1942 from Suhr of the Accused's Section to Rademacher of the Foreign Ministry. He first mentions the very bad food situation in Greece. This remark is relevant because we shall see that 80 to 90 per cent of the Greek Jews who were deported and sent to Auschwitz go directly to the gas chambers - according to the evidence of Hoess, about the selection in Auschwitz - because of the fact which Suhr describes here. When the anti-Jewish measures started the Jews were in such a state of undernourishment that even Hoess and his helpers did not know what to do with them when they arrived in Auschwitz.

The problem of designation, always a first measure, is also mentioned. And the typical problems in Greece are: Italy is not ready to introduce designation, so that there is a danger of undesirable reciprocal influence. He therefore asks for a decision whether the Jews may be designated and arrested as a first step towards deportation.

Presiding Judge: The document will be marked T/955.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 998. Another letter from Suhr to Rademacher one month later - the date is 18 August 1942. He announces that the Military Commander of Salonika-Aegeis, in agreement with the Greek Governor General of Macedonia, has issued an order for the mobilization of Jews for work on the completion of roads in this district. This document also comes from IVB4.

Presiding Judge: The document will be marked T/956.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 999 is a telegram from Luther to Rome. What interests us appears on the second page, concerning Greece. There had of course to be coordination with the Italian authorities because of the area occupied by them in southern Greece. He speaks about a conversation with the Italian Representative, which he used "um ihm von dem Auftrag des SS Sturmbannfuehrers Guenther fuer die deutsche Besatzungszone Salonika-Aegeis bezueglich der Judenevakuierung Kenntnis zu geben" (in order to inform him of the instruction of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Guenther for the German zone of occupation Salonika- Aegeis regarding the evacuation of the Jews). "Guenther will fly to Salonika today and contact the Consulate General." The reference is to the permanent Deputy of the Accused.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/957.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I pass on to document No. 344. In this document Luther informs the Consulate General in Athens as follows: "SS-SturnbannfU267hrer Guenther has gone to Salonika on orders from the Head Office for Reich Security, in agreement with the Foreign Ministry, in order to conduct negotiations about Jewish matters there." The document was shown to the Accused and was marked T/37(103). The Accused refers to it on page 1378 of his Statement. He does not say much. He only says that for a long time he did not remember, that he did not remember at any rate, that Guenther was in Greece at all. When the document was shown to him he said: "It seems that Guenther was in Greece after all."

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/958.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The next document is No. 1,000, a letter from Guenther to the Foreign Ministry dated 25 January 1943. Guenther bases himself on a conversation between Dr. Klingenfuss of the Foreign Ministry and Hunsche from the office of the Accused. He announces that Wisliceny, who at the moment is working at the German legation in Bratislava, will come to Athens and work with the authorities in Greece.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/959.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now, in a number of documents, we shall find two kinds of instructions; guidelines from Kriegsverwaltungsrat Dr. Merten (War Administration Councillor), issued on behalf of the Military Government in connection with Jewish matters, and orders for the implementation of those guidelines which are given, over Wisliceny's signature, directly to the Jewish Community.

First of all, document No. 424. This is an order from Dr. Merten dated 6 February 1943. It is about the first step: Designating the Jews of Salonika with the distinctive star.

As a matter of interest, if the question should arise how these documents come into our possession at all: These are not documents from Germany, they are documents issued in Salonika and intended for Salonika. They are in our hands thanks to the work of Michael Molcho, the Rabbi of the Jewish Community in Salonika.

If the Court wishes to look at his work, which was published in 1948 together with a sworn statement, it will become apparent how these documents were preserved, how they were first brought before a Court in Athens whence they were transferred to us. This is the source of all those documents from Merten and from Wisliceny which show their activities in Salonika. If the Court wishes to see this document, it is at its disposal.

Presiding Judge: Is it only the authentication of the documents?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, your Honour.

Presiding Judge: There is no remark from the Defence. I think it is not necessary. This will be marked T/960.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I proceed to document No. 425. This is already an order for implementation signed by Wisliceny and addressed to Chief Rabbi Koretz who, at that time, represented the Community of Salonika. Wisliceny now says, not that the designation has to be worn, but what the size of the designation sign should be. Merten appears here as the chief legislator while Wisliceny issues secondary regulations. He also says in the same order who is to be regarded as a Jew, what are mixed marriages, how Merten's instructions are to be interpreted, etc.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/961.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 237 was shown to the Accused and marked T/37(100). The Statement of the Accused refers to it on pages 1361ff. These are Wisliceny's instructions of 17 February 1943, concerning the designation, not of Jews, but of Jewish shops and dwellings. I direct your attention, on this occasion, to the heading of the letter: Wisliceny writes in the name of "Aussenstelle der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD in Salonika IVb4," i.e. a field office of the Security Police and the Security Service.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/962.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 241 contains orders from Merten, dated 15 June 1943, about the treatment of Jewish property in the area under the Military Commander of Salonika-Aegeis.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/963.

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