The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 53
(Part 5 of 6)

Q. One further question - my last - Dr. Foeldi. At the time the Jews were being loaded on to the trains at Uzhgorod, did you notice, at the time, Germans of the Gestapo or the SS as well?

A. Yes, they were there at the railway station, between the rails and the station; they were standing and watching and actively participated, I would say. They got hold of one who had not reported, they arrested him in the town and brought him to the railway station, and one of the Gestapo men beat him up.

State Attorney Bach: Thank you very much.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions to the witness?

Dr. Servatius: Yes. [To witness] Was the member of the gendarmerie whom you mentioned a Hauptmann by the name of Zoeldi?

A. I think so, with the rank of Captain - I think so.

Q. Did I understand correctly that he was the liaison officer to the Eichmann Kommando?

A. I did not say that. What I said was that I got to know subsequently that he fled from the Hungarian gendarmerie and went over to the German army already before the occupation of Hungary.

Q. Do you know the name Ferenczy?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was he?

A. He was an officer of the Hungarian gendarmerie - the commander of the gendarmerie.

Q. Did this Captain Zoeldi serve with Ferenczy?

A. I do not know. I cannot know that.

Dr. Servatius: Thank you. In that case I have no further questions.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach, do you have any questions?

State Attorney Bach: I do not wish to re-examine the witness.

Witness Foeldi: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I should like to add a few remarks.

Presiding Judge: After you have answered all the questions.

Judge Halevi: You said that, as was well-known, 4,000 Jews were killed in Sobotica. Perhaps you would tell us about it briefly, for nevertheless here not everybody knows, in which year and by whom?

Witness Foeldi: As far as I know, it was in 1942. The place was a military zone. Acting on their own, the army and members of the gendarmerie initiated an operation, rounded up Jews, killed them and threw them into the Danube.

Q. Was this in Hungary or outside its borders?

A. It was within the borders of Hungary, but without the government's knowledge. The government intervened only with difficulty, for they cut all communications with Budapest, the telephone and telegraph lines, and by the time the matter had become known in Budapest, several thousands had already been killed.

Q. Did you say that this Zoeldi took part?

A. He was one of the most active and cruel.

Q. And after that he fled to Germany, you say?

A. So we heard, for they were looking for him and wanted to bring him to trial. And we heard that he had fled to Germany and joined the service of the Gestapo.

Q. And you saw him again in the ghetto as an officer of the Hungarian gendarmerie?

A. No, I said that he was in the uniform of the German army.

Q. You said that there was a Council of Elders, which stayed outside the ghetto?

A. Yes, all the time, until the very end, for they concerned themselves with providing food for the people of the ghetto and, as far as they could, clothing and other articles. There was a Jewish soup-kitchen there, and every day they sent in food for the people who were inside the ghetto. They were outside the ghetto, and we - the three of us together with a number of others who dealt with matters of administration - were inside the ghetto.

Q. And finally did they put them, too, into the ghetto?

A. Yes. And subsequently, as far as I remember, all of us left together with all the members of the Council on the last transport.

Presiding Judge: The dates were not so clear to me. The date you gave for the ghettoization - was that after the occupation of Hungary by the Germans?

Witness Foeldi: Yes. It was after 19 March 1944.

Q. What was the situation, prior to that, in Carpatho- Russia?

A. Until that time the position was not bad, relatively, except for a section of the border where they began the evacuation a little earlier, but we did not see anything exceptional in this, since, with the approach of the Russian army, we thought that the citizens - and first and foremost the Jews - were afraid and therefore these people were moved away from the border.

Q. These events that you described - were they at the beginning of March, 1944?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: What did you want to add?

Witness Foeldi: I wanted to make three additional remarks.

Presiding Judge: Please make them briefly since, generally speaking, we do not allow this.

Witness Foeldi: Yes, I understand the position, but in order to complete the picture, the first question, which, in fact, Your Honour the Presiding Judge, has already asked, relates to the fact that the Russian army was on the border - 100 kilometres from Uzhgorod, and this affected the morale. We listened practically every day to the Czech radio which kept on saying: "Stand firm, we are 100 kilometres away." We thought that the Russians were likely to enter our zone any morning. That is the first remark.

The second remark: Perhaps the question of revolt can be raised.

Presiding Judge: We have already heard about that.

Witness Foeldi: I merely wanted to add that in the ghetto there were no youths and no men - there were only old people, above the age of 48 and so on.

My final remark: In connection with the committee whose function it was to preserve order, as I stated, I related that in the course of the evacuation, whether intentionally or not, it was carried out in certain places in such great haste that people arrived at the ghetto without any personal effects, and the Council had to take care of them with the result that when fresh transports entered the ghetto, for instance in the evening, people fell upon them and deprived them of all kinds of things which they needed for their children and themselves. And it was for this reason that it was necessary to keep order and also see to the fair distribution of food.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Dr. Foeldi, you have concluded your testimony.

State Attorney Bach: We shall still have time for the evidence of Ze'ev Sapir.

Presiding Judge: [To witness] Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Sapir: Yes.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Ze'ev Sapir.

State Attorney Bach: Where were you born, Mr. Sapir?

Witness Sapir: I was born in the village of Dobradovo, near the town of Munkacs, in Carpatho-Russia.

Q. How old were you when the Germans entered Hungary in March 1944?

A. 20 years old.

Q. Do you remember when you and your family were confined to the ghetto?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: When did the Germans arrive there?

Witness Sapir: The Germans occupied our zone on 19 or 20 March 1944, I do not remember the exact day.

State Attorney Bach: At that time did your zone belong to Hungary?

Witness Sapir: Yes - from 1939 to 1944, that date I mentioned, our zone was annexed to Hungary. I well remember the day on which we were all brought - my family and I and the members of our community, all of us - into the ghetto of Munkacs; it was on 17 April 1944.

Q. How many were there in the ghetto?

A. In the ghetto we entered - it was actually a brickyard in the name of Kalush in the town of Munkacs - we were some 14,000 people. Apart from this ghetto, there was another one in the same town, the ghetto of Sajovits - I do not remember the number who were kept there.

Q. Before this, were you living in the town itself or in a townlet or in a smaller place?

A. On 17 April the Hungarian gendarmerie came to our village and also to adjoining villages, and we were brought in on the same day, 17 April, reaching the ghetto towards evening.

Q. How many Jews were you in your village?

A. One hundred and three souls, including children of all ages.

Q. When you were in the ghetto, do you recall an occasion when Adolf Eichmann visited this place?

A. Yes - one day the Hungarian gendarmerie informed us that one of the SS high command was about to visit us; they also mentioned the name of Adolf Eichmann two weeks before we entered the ghetto - that was at the beginning of April. And when the Hungarian gendarmerie announced the visit of Adolf Eichmann, an order was issued to clean the ghetto area and to do everything necessary to welcome him. To this end an instruction was given - perhaps it would be more correct to say an order - that precisely the older Jews - particularly those over the age of 50 - should be obliged to perform this work. Since I was a young man, I did not participate in this work. But my father did.

Q. How old was your father?

A. My father was then over 50 - he was born in 1895.

Q. Did the name of Eichmann also appear in the local newspaper at the time?

A. Yes, the day after his visit.

Presiding Judge: Your father was 49 then, to be exact?

Witness Sapir: Yes. The visit was featured the following morning in the local Nazi-Fascist press. It expressed its joy in honour of the visitor, and a pro-Nazi article appeared there written in an extremely liberal tone - naturally, when I say "liberal," I mean in quotation marks.

Presiding Judge: Please, do not quote anything in quotation marks - simply give us the facts.

Witness Sapir: They said that he was concerned for the Jews, that he had visited the Jews in the ghetto, and that was enough for us to know that he was the man who had been with us the previous day, because he had been there the day before.

State Attorney Bach: Was his name also mentioned in the paper?

Witness Sapir: Yes, his name was given in the paper on that day.

Q. And did his picture appear as well?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see this man at the time of his visit?

A. I also saw this man at the time of his visit. A roll-call took place in which, I think, everyone over the age of 16 had to participate, and we all took part in this roll-call.

Q. How many officers took part in this visit?

A. It was a fairly large party of about thirty SS officers.

Q. Whereabouts in the party, did this man, who you later knew to be Eichmann, walk?

A. The following morning, according to what we saw in the newspaper, it was clear to all of us - at any rate to all those people who were standing near the newspaper and read it - that he was the man who walked at the head of this party.

A. You identified him afterwards, after you had seen the article and the photograph in the newspaper, you remembered that this was the man who walked at the head of this party?

A. Yes.

Q. How many days before the commencement of the deportations did this incident, this visit, take place?

A. Two days in all, two days before the deportations. And, if I may point this out here, when the deportations began, it was the talk of the day of everybody in the ghetto, that it was precisely this man who had visited the ghetto who had been instrumental in organizing these deportations.

Presiding Judge: We do not want to hear this. What the topic of conversation was of that day, is of not much value.

State Attorney Bach: You see the Accused here. Can you identify him as being the man whom you saw then?

Witness Sapir: It is hard to compare. After all, 17 years have elapsed since then.

Q. By the way, that man whom you saw - how was he dressed?

A. In a green uniform.

Q. Of what army?

A. Of the SS.

Q. Do you remember on which date the deportations began?

A. I think that the deportations began on 16 or 17 May 1944.

Q. Were you amongst those deported?

A. Yes.

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