The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 51
(Part 4 of 6)

Here, Your Honours, we have to distinguish between two periods - the first period, up to 19 March 1944, and the second from that date onwards, when the German army entered Hungary and the Accused operated within Hungary itself. At the outset I should like to submit a small number of documents relating to the first period, that is to say, until 19 March 1944.

The first document is our No. 163 - it was submitted to the Accused and was given the No. T/37(88). The question arose whether there was any point in deporting Jews who had fled to Hungary, from the region east of the Dniester river. And the Accused, as he had already done in the case of Romania, was opposed to a partial operation regarding Hungary, and he says: "It would not be appropriate to set the whole evacuation apparatus in motion in order to remove those Jews alone who escaped at the time to Hungary" - and subsequently this apparatus would have to be stopped again. He thinks it desirable to delay this operation until Hungary would be ready to include in these measures the Jews of Hungary as well.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1136.

State Attorney Bach: That was a letter to the Foreign Office, dated 26 September 1942.

Our next document is No. 1242. Here Luther writes a detailed note to the German legation in Budapest and asks that influence be exercised on the Hungarian Government to show understanding for the German plan for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question and to agree to the designation of the Jews and to their deportation to the east.

Presiding Judge: There is something missing here. This is a document of two pages, is it not?

State Attorney Bach: A document of three pages, actually three.

Presiding Judge: There are two incomplete copies here - one with the first page missing, and one with the second page missing. The Hebrew translation is complete.

State Attorney Bach: Perhaps I can submit at least one German copy intact.

Presiding Judge: We now have two and two-thirds copies. This document will be marked T/1137.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, may I be permitted to make a comment on this document? There is an important passage here. We have to treat this matter in the light of this passage.

Presiding Judge: From what page are you quoting?

Dr. Servatius: I was not quoting it - it is on the first page - it is merely in keeping with the meaning of the words. On page two it says:

"The handling of the Jews of Hungary itself appears to be more complicated, but even more urgent. Therefore, I would ask you to explain to the Hungarian Government the reasons that have motivated us to strive, in compliance with the wishes of the Fuehrer, towards an early and complete solution of the problem of the Jews in Europe, and to request the Hungarian Government, for its part, also to promote the operations necessary to that end."
State Attorney Bach: I am thankful to Defence Counsel for drawing your attention to this passage, which is also of importance in our view.

The next document is our No. 510. It was submitted to the Accused and was marked T/37(164). This document is signed by Mueller, but was drawn up in IVB4. Mueller here seeks authority to permit individual Jews to depart from Slovakia and Holland, in exchange for a payment of 100,000 Swiss francs. This money would enable the recruitment of volunteers for the Waffen-SS in Hungary.

Presiding Judge: One copy of the translation is missing here. Instead of the translation, we have an extra copy of the German original, but let us leave that. I have said this because I was unable to read the marking IVB4 on the original. Where did you get it from?

State Attorney Bach: I will tell Your Honour. The original is actually attached to the statement, and there, evidently, the mark IVB4 is very clear. It is only on this copy that it is somewhat blurred. But the number is evidently absolutely clear on the original.

Presiding Judge: How does it appear here in the translation?

State Attorney Bach: The translation was prepared according to the original - according to the photostatic copy which is to be found in T/37(164).

Presiding Judge: Yes, we can see it there.

State Attorney Bach: There we are able to see it clearly. Incidentally, Your Honour, it is also found in the supporting reference, where it says: "The order...IVB4a on the same subject."

Presiding Judge: Yes, that is clear. Will we receive a further copy of the translation at a later stage?

State Attorney Bach: We shall gladly let you have it, Your Honour. He also mentions that in Holland there were eight cases of this kind affecting 28 Jews who indeed made use of - let us express it this way - this right.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1138.

State Attorney Bach: The following document is our No. 972. Here Klingenfuss of the Foreign Office reports to Eichmann on 7 December 1942 on a debate in the Hungarian parliament on the question of labour camps for Jews and the work of Christian women in Jewish homes. He indicates that this legislation was not proceeding satisfactorily.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1139.

State Attorney Bach: The next document, Your Honours, is No. 1341. It is a letter signed by Guenther of IVB4a on 5 April 1943. This document illustrates the blind hatred of these people. It mentions the fact that 150 Jews, who included lawyers, factory owners, merchants, and other intellectuals - and this is what Guenther stresses - were working in a labour camp near the railway line, in a place not far from the border, and once a day they were allowed to purchase a hot meal in a restaurant, the same restaurant where German railway officials were also entitled to eat - they were obliged to have their meals there, at the same place. He asks them to take steps to put an end to this practice, both for security reasons and also - as he puts it - "since it is impossible to demand of these officials that they should be obliged to come into constant contact with Jews." The emphasis is on "Jewish intellectuals."

Presiding Judge: "Intellektuelle"?

State Attorney Bach: Intellektuelle, yes. He specially stresses "lawyers, factory owners, merchants and other intellectuals." I should like to emphasize that this was in the period when Hungary had not been occupied, and the German army was not yet there.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1140.

State Attorney Bach: Our following document is No. 519. It is a letter signed by the Accused, to the German Foreign Office, in connection with a Jew named Oskar Trenk, evidently of Hungarian nationality, so it says here. He says that there were no documents proving his Hungarian nationality. Consequently, such people were considered to be stateless and were sent to the east for "forced labour." Their whereabouts are not known at the moment.

Presiding Judge: Was this in the time of Horthy? Did it belong to the Horthy period?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1141.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 523, which was submitted to the Accused and given No. T/37(160). Here there is reference to methods of evacuating Jews possessing Hungarian nationality.

Presiding Judge: Evacuation from the German Reich?

State Attorney Bach: Here it talks of evacuation from the Reich. But evidently there was some intervention on the part of the Hungarian Government which, via the German Foreign Office, took an interest in these Jews. And it says: "The present whereabouts of the Jews who were sent to the east cannot be determined at present. It is not possible, for reasons of principle, to grant the demand of the Hungarian Consulate-General or the Hungarian embassy to repatriate those concerned to Hungary." Obviously the reference is to Hungarian nationals who were in the Reich at that time and who had been deported to the east.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1142.

State Attorney Bach: The following document is our No. 546, which shows the control of the Accused over the camps of Terezin and Bergen-Belsen. The issue here was whether Jews possessing Hungarian nationality ought to be in a detention camp in Bergen-Belsen, or whether they should be transferred to Theresienstadt. For various considerations of convenience and location, the Accused decided that there were more suitable conditions in Theresienstadt. And I especially underline the last sentence: "Accordingly I have instructed the Commander of the Security Police and the SD in Prague to leave the Jews in question in Theresienstadt for the time being."

Clerk of the Court: This document has already been submitted and was given No. T/851.

State Attorney Bach: If that is the case, I draw the Court's attention to T/851. Possibly it was submitted in connection with Theresienstadt.

The next document is No. 521 - it was submitted to the Accused and given No. T/37(157). Here the reference is to a Jew named Goldberger who, together with his family, emigrated to Belgium as Czechoslovakian citizens, and they were taken to the labour effort in the east. It is not possible to ascertain their present whereabouts. He, too, possesses Hungarian citizenship. This is a letter that Eichmann writes to von Thadden on 25 January 1944.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1143.

State Attorney Bach: The following document is our No. 1644. This is a rather lengthy report by Veesenmayer, dated December 1943. Its importance is actually in the very last page of this document, to which I draw your attention, in paragraph 7. In fact, throughout the document Veesenmayer hints that it is desirable that the German army - the German forces - should take control over the whole of Hungary. But the seventh paragraph indicates that one of the principal reasons for that proposed action is, as he calls it, the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Hungary.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1144.

State Attorney Bach: And now, Your Honours, we come to 19 March 1944, the day the Germans entered Hungary. Our document No. 1021 constitutes Veesenmayer's report to the Foreign Office, to the effect that he had safely reached Budapest and had taken over control of matters. He describes his entry into Budapest and adds: "After this I spent three quarters of an hour alone with the Regent; I introduced myself to him and informed him that I had been entrusted, together with him, with the task of setting up the new government. The spirit of the conversation with the Regent was a positive one - and we began making changes in the structure of the government."

Presiding Judge: Was there also an exchange of ambassadors here? Is it not it a fact that Veesenmayer was the ambassador later on?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour. Actually he had then arrived for the first time. He came together with the army. Prior to that the name of the ambassador was Jagow.

Presiding Judge: I see that here it says "through Minister Ritter."

State Attorney Bach: Yes, but I do not know if he was then in Budapest or whether this was simply a means of delivering the letter to Ribbentrop. For Your Honour will notice that in paragraph two it is stated that Ambassador von Jagow informed the Regent today of such-and-such. This means that the German ambassador was then von Jagow, but the notification to Ribbentrop was passed on by Ritter.

Judge Halevi: Did the meeting between Horthy and Hitler not precede this?

State Attorney Bach: Yes. Such a meeting had taken place. This episode is mentioned in the Kasztner report. This was on 19 March. I believe that the meeting took place on 17 March. Immediately afterwards there was this operation, the entry of the German army.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1145.

State Attorney Bach: At this stage, with your permission, I should like to lead the evidence of Mr. Pinchas Freudiger.

[The witness makes an affirmation.]

Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Witness: Pinchas Freudiger, previously Philip von Freudiger.

Presiding Judge: Please answer Mr. Bach's questions.

State Attorney Bach: Mr. Freudiger, you are a native of Budapest?

Witness Freudiger: Yes.

Q. You first studied in Budapest and then went to work at a factory which had been founded by your grandfather, of blessed memory?

A. Yes.

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