The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 54
(Part 2 of 9)

Q. And where did you see him?

A. I saw him for the first time when he was sitting on the balcony and drinking, sipping drinks. I saw him a second time during a bombing, an air raid. On that occasion he was walking around, strolling in his garden, and we were carrying on with our work on the trenches. He started shouting at us to get into the trenches. And Slawik came after him.

Q. Did he himself also get into a trench?

A. No, he did not get into a trench.

Q. What did Slawik do?

A. Slawik stood next to him.

Q. How many times, in all, did you see Eichmann?

A. I the next time I saw him was when I was working in one of the trenches and I suddenly heard shouts. I saw Eichmann's chauffeur, who was a young man.

Q. What was his name?

A. I remember his name as Teitel.

I saw and heard this soldier approaching one of the Jewish boys working with us. I knew him by the name of Salomon.

Q. Was that his surname or his first name?

A. I don't know. We knew him by that name.

Q. When you say "boy" - how old was he?

A. He was our age, 16 years old, 17 at most.

Q. Tell us in your own words what happened.

A. I saw how this soldier, Teitel, went up to this boy and shouted at him. I saw how Slawik also appeared suddenly, clad in his short trousers, as I remember it, and half- naked.

Q. What do you mean by "half-naked"?

A. Without a shirt or vest.

Q. That means that the upper half of his body was completely exposed?

A. Yes.

Q. And so, what were they shouting?

A. They were shouting something like: "You have stolen cherries from the tree!" (as if it were so in fact). Eichmann was standing on the upper floor balcony. Apparently some conversation between then had taken place.

Presiding Judge: Between whom?

Witness Gordon: Between Slawik and Eichmann above.

State Attorney Bach: Before you refer to that conversation - where was this Salomon boy working at that time?

Witness Gordon: I was working on the trench in the centre, and it seems to me that he was working on the trench to my right - a distance of 10-15 metres from me.

Q. were there trees there, cherry trees?

A. I don't remember whether there were cherry trees in that garden. But close to this villa there was an orchard of fruit trees, and this orchard also formerly belonged to the owner of the villa, Aschner.

Q. Tell me further: When Slawik and Teitel shouted at Salomon, how did the boy react?

A. He began shouting: "I didn't do it, I am innocent." After that I saw how Slawik and Teitel were leading the boy, holding him...

Q. Before you come to that - you said there was a conversation between them and Eichmann who was standing on the balcony. Did you hear what they were saying?

A. I heard Teitel say that the boy had stolen fruit, cherries - had stolen them from the trees. Apparently he asked what should be done with him. This I could no longer follow. That apparently is my conclusion.

Q. Did you hear the reply?

A. I did not hear the reply.

Q. What was the next thing you saw?

A. I saw how the boy was taken by Slawik and Teitel towards the tool shed, the shed from which we used to take out work tools for our work. I saw how they shut the lad in, pushed him. They were leading him on against his will. They forced him into the shed and locked him in there. After that I saw that the chauffeur went away. I did not notice where he was after that. I noticed Slawik returning, going round the building, suddenly he disappeared from my view. Afterwards I saw that he returned with Eichmann, and the two of them entered the toolshed.

Q. Now please explain something to me: You said that he returned with Eichmann; from what direction did they come - Eichmann and Slawik?

A. They came round the building.

Q. Was it not possible to reach the toolshed from inside the house? Did they have to leave the building?

A. This toolshed, which I have referred to, was to the rear of the building, and there was only one entrance - from the road. In order to get to the shed, they had to go right round the house.

Q. Mr. Gordon, would you kindly make a sketch of the building, showing where the front was, and where was the rear, where was the balcony you mentioned, where was the toolshed, and where were you standing when you saw all those things happen. I think this will make it clearer to the Court. It doesn't have to be exactly to scale - we require to see the various directions so that we may understand your story.

Your Honour, the exhibit, which was previously submitted by me, has already been marked T/37(7).

Witness Gordon: [Shows the sketch he has drawn].

State Attorney Bach: Perhaps you would explain what you were doing, and whenever you come to a particular place, mark it with a letter, so that the Court may know what you are referring to.

Witness Gordon: [Pointing to the sketch he has made] The entrance to this building was on Apostol Street - that was the name of the street where Eichmann lived. I don't remember the exact number, but I think it was No. 13. Here is the entrance to the front garden - the building begins here - this is the front of the house, the main entrance. In order to reach the place where we were working, we had to pass on this side and to go in through the back entrance. This is the entrance to a small cellar - it was not really a cellar. We had to go down a few steps. On the right hand side there was a door, and that is where the toolshed was. This is the garden of the villa. This lay in the direction of the Danube. It was a very large garden. I don't think that there are gardens of this kind in Israel. Our task was to prepare some rows of trenches. I have not sketched in all the trenches. Here, roughly, is the set of trenches, the place I am speaking of is this entrance here. One had to go down two or three steps. The corridor is narrow and the entrance on this side - that is the place I am talking about. Here is the toolshed.

Q. Would you please mark this with the letter "A"?

A. I have marked the place with the letter "M."

Q. Where is the corridor you are talking about?

A. This part here.

Presiding Judge: And what is that on the side?

Witness Gordon: This is also a balcony, on the side of the building, its side facade. There were also balconies on the front side, but I do not remember them.

State Attorney Bach: Would you please mark, with an "A," the balcony where you saw the Accused?

Witness Gordon: [Does so].

Q. Were these orchards in the direction of the Danube?

A. Both the building and the orchard led towards the Danube. It was a slope, a decline in the direction of the Danube. This is the orchard. The building and the fruit orchard did not have a common fence. In order to get to the orchard, one had to pass along a narrow path.

Presiding Judge: Please explain why it was necessary to go around this shed?

Witness Gordon: This shed ended against a wall. There was no entrance at all from the front side. To get to the shed one had to go right around for there was no entrance from the back.

Q. From which orchard did they say that this boy stole fruit? Was it from the orchard to the side or from another one?

A. We did not believe for a moment that this boy stole the cherries.

Q. I am saying that they said that he had stolen. From which orchard?

A. I don't know, I don't remember.

State Attorney Bach: By the way, were all the fifteen young men working there all Jewish?

Witness Gordon: Yes.

Q. Including this Salomon?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: I have marked the sketch T/1153.

State Attorney Bach: Do you know anything at all about this boy, where he came from?

Witness Gordon: We knew about him. He didn't tell us, but it was said that he had escaped from the zone of Carpatho- Russia, the region of Munkacs. He fled to Budapest and was accepted for work on the Schwabenberg.

Q. You told us that you saw Eichmann and Slawik coming together towards the shed. How was the Accused dressed?

A. He wore long trousers and a light-coloured shirt. He was not in uniform. Perhaps the trousers were part of a uniform, but I cannot say this with any certainty.

Q. What kind of shirt was it?

A. A light-coloured shirt - that I remember.

Q. Would you kindly tell the Court what happened after that?

A. The boy was locked up in the shed. I saw the two of them going into the toolshed.

Q. Where, precisely, were you standing when you saw it?

A. On the sketch I have shown a trench opposite the back entrance. I was working in this trench.

Q. What distance was that trench from the door of the shed?

A. Ten to twelve metres.

Presiding Judge: Would you, perhaps, show us to what trench you are referring, and mark it, let us say with the Hebrew letter "Bet."

Witness Gordon: I have already marked it, in error, with the Roman letter "B."

Q. These circles, are they the trenches? What were the trenches for?

A. At that time we did not know why we were digging these trenches but, later on, it became clear to us that these were apparently positions for mortars. I am not absolutely sure of this, that was the conclusion we reached later.

Q. What was roughly the size of the trench?

A. I think 150 centimetres deep and about 160-180 centimetres wide. At any rate we were able to stretch out our arms inside the trench.

State Attorney Bach: Now tell us, in your own words, what happened afterwards, exactly as you saw and heard it.

Witness Gordon: I was standing in the trench and I saw Slawik and Eichmann open the door and go in.

Q. Who was with you in the same trench?

A. There was a Jewish boy, whose name - I am not sure that I remember this correctly - was Bruck. I think that was his name.

Presiding Judge: Are you sure, or not sure?

Witness Gordon: I am not sure of this. We worked there in all kinds of pairs. Generally I used to work with this boy and I presume that, on that day as well, I was working with him.

State Attorney Bach: Were there other young men together with you or near you who were also able to see and hear what was going on there?

Witness Gordon: Yes, it was nearby, they could hear what was going on there, and from some of the trenches they could also see.

Q. But you were together with one other young man in your trench?

A. Yes. I saw Eichmann and Slawik entering the toolshed. The door closed. After that I heard terrible screams, beatings, blows and crying.

Q. Did you identify the screams?

A. Yes - it was the voice of the boy who had been taken, and whom we knew by the name of Salomon. These screams lasted about 10-15 minutes - I didn't measure the time, but I assume that it was so. Suddenly there was silence. And after I didn't hear the shouting any more, the door opened and Eichmann came out. I saw him, his clothing was dishevelled, he looked wild, his shirt was sticking out - I noticed stains on his shirt and I thought that these were bloodstains. I didn't only think so, I knew, almost for certain that these were bloodstains.

Q. Were these stains also on his shirt when he went in?

A. No. He went away quickly, and at the moment he passed by us he muttered words which I heard quite clearly. He said: "Uebriges Mistvolk." I have remembered these words for seventeen years.

Presiding Judge: How would you translate that? You know Hebrew quite well.

Witness Gordon: I would translate it "Superfluous dirty people, superfluous garbage people."

State Attorney Bach: Do you know German?

Witness Gordon: I understand some German.

Q. Are you fluent in the German language?

A. No, I can read a little German. I understand it fairly well.

Presiding Judge: Did you learn German at school?

Witness Gordon: At the age of 17 I knew German far better than I do now.

Q. Up to that age, in how many grades had you learned German?

A. Eight grades - during the whole period of the Gymnasium. Those were the words which I remember - I didn't want to change them.

State Attorney Bach: You said that he looked wild, and you told us about his shirt. What can you tell us in general, what did you notice in his external appearance that was different from his earlier appearance?

Witness Gordon: I came to the conclusion that he had taken an active part in beating the boy.

Q. Was that the conclusion you came to?

A. Yes.

Q. On the basis of what facts did you reach these conclusions?

A. First of all, there could have been only two persons there.

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