The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 47
(Part 5 of 8)

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 238, an order from Merten dated 25 February 1943, addressed to the Governor General of Macedonia, Salonika and the Jewish Community of Salonika concerning membership of Jews in various organizations.

Judge Halevi: Was Merten the representative of the Wehrmacht or of the SS?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He was the representative of the Wehrmacht - Kreigsverwaltungsrat - and acted in the name of the German Military Commander in Salonika-Aegeis.

Judge Halevi: Is this a special kind of cooperation between the Wehrmacht and the SS?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes. That is correct, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/964.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I go on to document No. 240, which was shown to the Accused and marked T/37(99). The Accused speaks about it on pages 1352ff. of his Statement. This is about the establishment of an office for the winding up of Jewish property in so far as it is cash property ("Abwicklungsstelle fuer das juedische Barvermoegen"). The letter is signed by Wisliceny.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/965.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 427 - an order from Merten dated 13 February 1943, about the restriction of movement of Jews in his area, prohibition of the use of public or private telephones, etc.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/966.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I proceed to document No. 428, an order from Wisliceny to Chief Rabbi Dr. Koretz in Salonika, in which the obligation to wind up the accounts of the Jews is imposed upon the Community itself.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/967.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I go on to document No. 429, a letter of 21 March 1943, from Merten to the Community in Salonika, which refer to the fate of Dr. Cuenos who had represented the Red Cross and had escaped, and what happened to him.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/968.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I go on to document No. 430, an order from Wisliceny to Dr. Koretz as Head of the Community who is to be responsible to the Security Police and the Security Service for all the Community's affairs. He refers to the Ghetto which was set up in Salonika in a locality known as "Baron Hirsch."

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/969.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I go on to document No. 1003, a letter from German Consul General Schoenberg to the Foreign Ministry dated 26 February 1943, which the Ministry passed on to the Accused (see page 3 of our document). Schoenberg reports about the first steps, the designation with the yellow Star of David and the concentration of the Jews in ghettos. He speaks of Wisliceny's role and about the participation of the German Security Service in all these activities. He also reports that the registration shows the number of Jews resident in Salonika to be 56,000.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/970.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I pass on to document No. 1004, another letter from the Consul General in Salonika to the Foreign Ministry. He speaks of "Aussiedlung," the expulsion of local Jews of Greek nationality (mentioning the number of 56,000), which began with a transport of 2,600 persons from Salonika to the Generalgouvernement.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/971.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I go on to document No. 1005, a letter by von Thadden to the Accused dated 4 May 1943. The Italians are given permission, at their request, to repatriate Italian Jews of foreign nationality living in Salonika to their country of origin. This step is of course similar to steps taken in other areas.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/972.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I pass on to document No. 1006, a letter from Wagner to the Accused of 21 May 1943, passed on to him for his information and with the request that he issue suitable orders to the Special Operations Detachment. This again concerns Jews who cannot be seized in the course of the general deportation of the Salonika Jews because of special nationality problems.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/973.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I shall now call Mr. Itzchak Nechama.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness: Yes.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: Please answer Mr. Bar-Or's questions.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Where were you born, Mr. Nechama?

Witness Nechama: In Salonika, in 1910. I am 50 years old.

Q. Were you in the Greek Army, Mr. Nechama?

A. Yes.

Q. When were you recruited?

A. I was recruited just in time for the war with Italy, on 24 October 1939.

Q. Which front were you at?

A. I was on the Tepelenee front, if you know this area in Albania.

Q. What was your state of health when you were released?

A. It was very bad, but I was very lucky to be in a hospital. I worked as a male nurse in the military hospital and therefore I was lucky I was not up at the front. I was in Korytsa. There were casualties, quite serious casualties.

Q. When were you released from the army?

A. When the Greeks left everything, when the Germans came.

Q. When was that approximately?

A. Approximately at the end of March 1941.

Q. At which front were you released?

A. At Ioannina.

Q. Did you return home from the front?

A. I walked for 28 days. This is easily said, but hard to do. When I arrived at home I was exhausted. While I was on my way home we had trouble with the Greeks all the time - they wanted to take us for work, to help them and be forced to work for 24 hours. I had to work, I had no choice. So when I arrived at home my situation was very bad.

Q. After the 28-day march, were the Germans already in Salonika?

A. They were already there and when I came home I was told that our radio had already been handed over. I had a very good radio.

Q. So when you came home the radio had already been handed in?

A. Yes.

Q. To whom?

A. There was an order that all Jews had to hand over their radios within twenty-four hours, otherwise they would be executed, and because they were afraid they did not even wait for me before handing over the radio.

Q. Did other things also have to be handed over in those days?

A. Every day there was something new. Next one had to hand in the pianos; most Jews owned pianos and every Jew had to give up his piano. Then the telephones. Jews were forbidden to use the telephone. It had to be handed over to the Company. One day three trucks arrived and took the complete library of holy books which we had in the Community, books from before the time the Jews left Spain. Our Rabbis cried so much when they took those books, I remember it to this day. I recall the tears of these learned men who said: Nothing matters to us, only these books.

Q. Mr. Nechama, you were in the army, are you familiar with uniforms?

A. Yes.

Q. You were able to recognize uniforms. These people who took the books, or those who occupied themselves with the delivery of the pianos and all the things you mentioned - how were they dressed?

A. That was the Gestapo.

Q. What does that mean?

A. How can I tell you?

Presiding Judge: What colour were their uniforms?

Witness Nechama: The colour was brown, a kind of brown.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Could you distinguish them from German army personnel?

Witness Nechama: No.

Q. How did you know that they were not soldiers of the German Army?

A. That is hard to say. At that time I was a complete stranger.

Q. Were there German Army personnel walking around in Salonika?

A. Of course.

Q. Were there also soldiers from the German Navy?

A. Salonika was the military centre and soldiers came there every day from all kinds of units.

Q. When you returned did you continue to go about your business?

A. Of course.

Q. What was this?

A. A stationery business. I had a partner who was a Yugoslav citizen and did not go to the front. He did not go to the front because he was a Yugoslav citizen.

Q. And he remained and ran your business?

A. Yes.

Q. In which quarter was this? Was it a Jewish quarter?

A. No in a Greek quarter.

Q. Tell the Court what happened to the Jewish businesses in Salonika in those days.

A. I shall tell you, there were troubles for the Jews every day. They would come and take merchandise without paying, without anything. In Salonika there were very rich Jewish businessmen, one can definitely call them rich, one can call them millionaires. There was a shop for glassware there - they took the very last glass.

Q. They took things and did not pay?

A. They did not pay. There were shops, iron warehouses - they took all the iron and did not pay anything. Perhaps they "bluffed," giving out chits as they did for the radios. They gave us slips of paper which were not worth anything.

Q. What can you tell the Court about the concentration of Jews in certain quarters in Salonika?

A. We had a very hard life. We had difficulties in every way...

Presiding Judge: Mr. Nechama, do not give a general description. What did the Germans actually do to you?

Witness Nechama: They made every kind of trouble for us. Sometimes we had to go and look for food.

Presiding Judge: This is not what you were asked. Did you understand the question? Were you concentrated in a certain quarter, in one neighbourhood?

Witness Nechama: This is just what I want to recall - on 11 July 1942 - there was an official newspaper they had, Das neue Europa (The New Europe).

Presiding Judge: A newspaper belonging to the Germans?

Witness Nehcama: A newspaper belonging to the Germans. It was a morning paper. And there was another newspaper in the afternoon, and there appeared an order that all the Jews aged 18 to 45 had to report on the morrow, Saturday (this appeared on Friday) at "Liberation Square," a very large square.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Mr. Nechama, I show you document No. 1117. Please look, there is something in Greek and underneath is the Hebrew translation. Please look at it and tell the Court if you remember this.

Witness Nechama: Of course I remember this.

Q. What is it?

A. This is the order which I am talking about.

Q. Is this the order about which you were telling us?

A. Exactly.

Presiding Judge: Let us see it. [The document is handed to the Bench].

This will be marked T/974.

State Attorney Bar-Or: This was on Saturday. You were ordered to report at the...

Witness Nechama: "Liberation Square," (Plaza Elefteria).

Q. Did many Jews come?

A. 9,000 Jews reported there.

Q. At that Square?

A. Yes.

Q. And you were among them?

A. Certainly.

Q. And what happened at the Square?

A. I shall tell you. I had hardly managed to get there - I was wearing my Sabbath clothes - when they started beating us, at once, at once, at once!

Q. Who were "they"?

A. They must have been the SS.

Q. I show you a picture. Look at it and tell us what it is.

A. This is Liberation Square, exactly.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.