The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 47
(Part 6 of 8)

Q.Are these Jews at the Square, on that Saturday?

A. Yes.

Q.Do you know the place? Can you identify it?

A. Certainly.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/975.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I now show you a photograph of a man having water poured over him from a bucket. Maybe you can remember and tell the Court what this is?

Witness Nechama: There were many like this. He was not the only one.

Q.What is it?

A. I shall tell you. They dealt out so may blows that people fainted, so then they would lift them up, pour water over them and start again.

Q.What were they actually doing there?

A. I'll tell you: An order had been given to form lines without moving, and the sun was very strong and the Jews were not able to stand in the sun for a long time; but they were so slow making their arrangements, that many could not stand it. They also wanted to have fun, they did it for laughs. When they were in a certain row, an SS policeman would come and push them away and start hitting and fooling around. And at the windows there were Germans taking photos of them and applauding.

Presiding Judge: Who is pouring the water?

Witness Nechama: Soldiers from the SS.

Presiding Judge: And who was looking on? Show us the photograph again.

Witness Nechama: This is a soldier. He is pouring from the bucket and these are Jews who are looking on and who are afraid, Jews who were in that row.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/976.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I show you another picture. Tell the Court what you see.

Witness Nechama: They are tired already, the Jews, they are tired, and the SS man is showing them what to do. He is not tired and he wants to force them to copy his movements exactly and they have to go on until they fall.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/977.

Dr. Servatius: May I see it?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I am very sorry, I ask for a copy to be passed to Counsel for the Defence. [The copy is handed to Dr. Servatius]

State Attorney Bar-Or: I show you a photograph of a man being beaten with a whip, and in the background you can see people from the Navy. What was this? Can you identify it?

Witness Nechama: I'll tell you. You see one man is already down and the soldier has a stick in his hand and is beating him. You do not have to look hard to see it. And the German soldiers are there and laugh at that, also soldiers from the fleet, from the Navy.

Q.In white uniform?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/978.

Judge Halevi: Are there people from the Navy beating Jews here?

State Attorney Bar-Or: It seems that all kinds of different units took part in this spectacle.

Witness Nechama: [pointing to the photograph] It continued. You see that they cannot do it and they are "camouflaging," every one, they are no longer able to make this movement. This was not an hour or two, it was from 8:30 until 2:30 in the afternoon that this exercise lasted.

Presiding Judge: this will be marked T/979.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Another picture, please, Mr. Nechama [hands the picture to the witness]. Is this from the same event?

Witness Nechama: It is from the same event.

Presiding Judge: All this from the same Square?

Witness Nechama: All this at the same square. Those who wore hats had to take them off, it was forbidden to stand with your hat on.

Presiding Judge: This picture is marked T/980.

State Attorney Bar-Or: What is this, please? [handing another picture to the witness].

Witness Nechama: The same thing.

Q.The same Square?

A. Yes.

Q.Do you recognize the building?

A. Of course.

Presiding Judge: This picture is marked T/981.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Here [the picture he hands the witness] one can see a man lying on the ground, and in front of him people not in uniform motioning to the people in front of them. Will you kindly explain this? What is happening here, Mr. Nechama?

Witness Nechama: I'll tell you, it could be that the people from the army became tired and that they took Jews and put them in their place, so that they would show the others the movements they had to make.

Q.Who is demonstrating the movements here?

A. These are Jews.

Q.Who were forced to demonstrate this to other Jews?

A. The people from the Army had become tired and told the Jews to demonstrate it to the others.

Presiding Judge: This picture is marked T/982.

State Attorney Bar-Or: In this picture [which he hands to the witness] you see people standing in a line and in front of them a smaller number of people exercising. Will you please explain this.

Witness Nechama: These people were taken out of their lines and made to stand in the middle of the Square so that the others could see what they had to do, how the exercises were to be carried out.

Q.Were there special people who were taken out of their lines, or was this at random?

A. No, there were special guards there, special guards with rifles and other weapons. They were afraid that the Jews would revolt somehow, because there were so many Jews.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I understand.

Presiding Judge: I did not understand, Mr. Bar-Or. Would you explain, Mr. Nechama?

Witness Nechama: The soldiers took some Jews out of the rows and made them stand in the middle to do the exercises.

Presiding Judge: Why those and not others? This was Mr. Bar- Or's question.

Witness Nechama: Which?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I asked you: Were those Jews who were taken out in order to demonstrate the exercises, were they taken out at random, or...?

Witness Nechama: Any Jew, whichever, it was at random.

Presiding Judge: This picture is marked T/983.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Finally, Mr. Nechama, I show you a picture [handing it to him] exercising at the orders of a soldier - Army or SS, it is impossible to specify this here - who is standing in front of him. Do you recognize this picture?

Witness Nechama: It is me.

Presiding Judge: Is this you with your knees bent?

Witness Nechama: That is me. If you could have seen me on Saturday at 2.30, the state I was in after these exercises, the blows I got, why - I do not know. I did not do anything to them, I did not owe them anything and in the end they gave me a bloody thrashing. And not only me, but my family also.

Q.Who took these pictures, Mr. Nachama?

A. It could be that the German girls up on the balconies, that they photographed such things. There were girls standing there and every time there was a beating or something like that they applauded gleefully.

Q.You were at any rate not aware that pictures were being taken?

A. No, I was told about this later, because I was unconscious at the time.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Mr. Nechama, what happened after these gymnastics?

Witness Nechama: I will tell you, they took me and beat me and organized all kinds of exercises and after that there were more beatings and more. And then I was taken to a doctor. If I were in Salonika now I could bring the doctor; he is alive and well; it is Dr. Kopers.

Q.What happened?

A. The doctor was fetched and he treated me. I was sick for two weeks; for four days I was unconscious.

Q.Were you given special documents after that?

A. Yes.

Q.What were the documents you received?

A. After three weeks, when I was beginning to recuperate, there appeared a notice in the newspaper that numbers so-and- so had to report for work immediately. The notice was from Mueller.

Q.Did this follow the numbers of the personal papers?

A. No, it was by lot.

Q.How did you know that you had to go to work?

A. On the document I had there was a number, and if I am not mistaken, my number was 190, and in the newspaper this number was also listed.

Q.Was the number published in the newspaper?

A. Numbers, numbers, numbers. There were 540 of us. We reported at some community, our community, "Yosef Nissim," that was the name of the community.

Presiding Judge: You mean synagogue?

Witness Nechama: Yes.

Q.What is the name of the synagogue?

A. "Yosef Nissim." And there were two Greek doctors there. They were not really Greek, but German, they were only called Greek, and they had to confirm that they had examined us and that we were alright.

State Attorney Bar-Or: What really was the condition of the people who went to work?

Witness Nechama: They were weak.

Q.Why were they weak?

A. Because they had already suffered for a year under the Italians during the War. We had no food. We suffered from starvation.

Q.Did you suffer from starvation even before the Germans came?

A. Exactly. We suffered more than the whole of Europe.

Q.And in spite of this you were all summoned to work, and you went?

A. Yes. The Germans themselves did not think that we would go to work so quietly and willingly.

Q.Where did you go from there?

A. First we showered, then we reported for duty, and I went to Ueberland. The work was at some kind of factory. It was a firm of some kind.

Presiding Judge: Where?

Witness Nechama: It was at an aerodrome.


A. In Greece. I had to do quarrying there and preparatory work for an aerodrome.

Q.Could you give that name again?

A. Ueberland.

Q.Is this name Greek?

A. No, German.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Do you remember the name of the German who was in charge of all this work?

Witness Nechama: Mueller.

Q.How long did you work there?

A. I worked there for three weeks and there was no food. We had a hundred grams of bread every 24 hours and one litre of soup made of sour cabbage. Everybody had dysentery, and everybody's legs were swollen. It was impossible to work. And if you could not work, you were beaten. We had a foreman, a Croat, curse him - if he is alive!

Q.After these three weeks you returned to Salonika?

A. We did not return because we had many casualties; many people had died. So the women went to our Community, they cried and caused an uproar there. And the heads of the Community decided to buy off the work of the Jews. They paid about 10,000 dollars for it. If you want to know exactly, this was 2 1/2 billion drachmas.

Q.And the Community paid this?

A. Yes.

Q.To whom did they make the payment?

A. I'll tell you, the Community did not pay from its funds, the rich people paid, every one of them, until the whole sum was collected.

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