The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 58
(Part 1 of 5)

Session No. 58

15 Sivan 5721 (30 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the fifty-eighth Session of the trial open. We have just received the application from Dr. Servatius to take Novak's testimony in Austria. Have you received this, Mr. Bach?

State Attorney Bach: No, not yet, unless it is in the file we have just received from Dr. Servatius and which I have not yet opened. I see here something about Kappler...There is also something here about Novak, but I have not managed to read it yet.

Presiding Judge: I should like to fix a time immediately for submission of your questionnaire - within a short time - since I should like to send these questionnaires together with the Hoettl questionnaire which, I should imagine, you will submit today.

State Attorney Bach: We promised the Hoettl and Huppenkothen questionnaires for this evening. As far as Novak is concerned, since I have not yet been able to read the questionnaires, I would ask the Court if we might set the final date for tomorrow morning.

Presiding Judge: Of course, if you surprise us with the questionnaire itself, we shall not object.

State Attorney Bach: Generally speaking, we refrain from surprising the Court, but I can understand that, in this particular instance, there would be no objections.

Presiding Judge: In any case, I am sure you understand what I am aiming at constantly.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honour, before I call the next witness, I should like to submit various documents, in order to be able to relate the testimony to the document. The first document is Prosecution No. 380.

Presiding Judge: What is the general description or the heading of the documents which you are submitting now?

State Attorney Bach: All the material relates to Hungary.

Presiding Judge: May I ask if there is some subheading to make things clearer?

State Attorney Bach: No, there is not. For the moment, I am submitting documents which relate to the Hungarian situation up to the beginning of the deportations, that is to say up to 15 May 1944. The Court will recall that I have already submitted the first set of documents, up to 19 March, i.e., up to the entry of the Germans into Budapest. I shall now submit the documents relative to the period up to the beginning of the mass deportations on 15 May 1944.

Judge Halevi: We have already had the reports of Ferenczy about the way in which the Jews were concentrated.

State Attorney Bach: I have submitted these reports separately. This was by way of preparation for the testimony of a witness relative to the evidence of Dr. Ferencz Tibor. I admit that, chronologically speaking, I did get a little ahead there. I am now submitting documents from German sources; these are mainly from the German Foreign Ministry and deal with the first period.

The first document, as I have already said, is No. 380. This is a telegram from Veesenmayer, dated 3 April 1944. He reports to the Foreign Ministry on the reactions of the Budapest population to the air raids, and he says that there is an increase of anti-Semitic tendencies, and that handbills were distributed the day before, demanding that a hundred Jewish lives be taken for every Hungarian killed in the bombing. He also says, "I would have no objections to shooting ten suitable Jews at the next air raid for every Hungarian killed." He asks for instructions from his ministry as to whether such retaliatory measures might be proposed for the next air raid.

Presiding Judge: I mark this T/1178.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is Prosecution No. 527. It consists of two parts: A letter from Veesenmayer, dated 12 April, in which he asks for Hezinger, who is the person in his office who preceded Grell as the official in charge of Jewish affairs in the embassy [to be sent to him]; then there is a memorandum from Ribbentrop's staff, also dated 12 April, describing efforts to prevent Jews escaping from Hungary to Slovakia and Romania. It says that Wisliceny states that thousands of Jews have managed to escape from Hungary to Slovakia, although the [German] minister thinks otherwise. It also says that there are plans to hold a meeting between Veesenmayer, Ludin and Wisliceny in Budapest, and it is claimed that the Slovak Government is interested only in Slovakian subjects in Hungary, and is not interested in other Jews.

Presiding Judge: This is marked T/1179.

Judge Halevi: If I might return to the previous exhibit, T/1178. I do not know if Mr. Bach dealt with the last lines of the document, in which something is said about suggestions from the German Foreign Ministry to the Fuehrer to offer all the Jews as a present to Roosevelt and Churchill. What is this about?

State Attorney Bach: This is not connected with the deal we have heard about here. We shall look at this in later documents, which show that the German Foreign Ministry knew nothing at all about these negotiations and asks for explanations from Veesenmayer.

Judge Halevi: I was not implying that this was connected with this deal. But were there in fact such proposals from the German Foreign Ministry to Hitler, offering all the Jews as a present? And under what conditions?

State Attorney Bach: We have no other evidence, apart from this document, about this proposal...I have just been informed by the Attorney General that there were proposals from Ribbentrop to scatter the Jews in various countries, also in order to spread anti-Semitism in various countries; but this proposal of making some kind of present to Roosevelt and Churchill, this we only know about from this document. However, we do not know of any details of the proposal.

Judge Halevi: In any case, Veesenmayer refers to this as a possible argument against his proposal with regard to executing Jews in Budapest, but he wishes to know if there is still...

State Attorney Bach: Veesenmayer wants to know. It is possible that he is here acting in opposition to the general approach, and it is possible that the general approach is to stop retaliatory action against the Jews, and therefore he asks for directives.

The next document is 361 - a letter from Guenther, dated 13 April. This is a reply to the Foreign Ministry to its enquiry with regard to a Jewish woman by the name of Magyar, in whom they were apparently interested. Guenther writes that, in the light of the changes which have occurred in the situation in Hungary - meaning, the German conquest - the enquiry is now irrelevant.

Presiding Judge: I mark this T/1180.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 157, which was shown to the Accused and given the No. T/37(89). This is a communication from von Thadden, dated 19 April 1944, to Eichmann in Berlin, notifying him that he has been informed that "the Hungarian Prime Minister is allocating fifty thousand Hungarian Jews to work in Germany." This was how the matter was camouflaged at the beginning, as if only fifty thousand Jews were being asked for as labour, thus hiding their intention, which was more far-reaching.

Presiding Judge: I mark this T/1181.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 366, a communication from von Thadden dated 22 April 1944. He refers to the preceding communication and reports here to the Foreign Minister that the Head Office for Reich Security has given final notification that the fifty thousand Jews will be sent from Hungary as labour in closed camps. He then refers to the proposed transport schedule and reservations of railway carriages - all of which is to be dealt with by the Head Office for Reich Security. He adds an interesting sentence: "Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, who is himself in Hungary, will today receive all the requisite instructions from the Head Office for Reich Security."

Presiding Judge: This is marked T/1182.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 381, a communication from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Ministry, dated 19 April 1944. This contains many details about arrests of Jews and where they are imprisoned. There is an interesting item in the second paragraph. This reads: "In Szegedin, there was the successful arrest of the sister of the Jew David Frankfurter, Ruth Loewi, a married woman. The father of the Frankfurters has apparently been missing since November 1941. Although it has not been possible to prove that Mrs. Loewi participated in the murder of Landesgruppenleiter (National Group Leader) Wilhelm Gustloff, she is to be transferred to the Reich. She has repeatedly visited her brother in Switzerland."

There follow reports about the first arrests of Jews and where they are being held. The Court will perceive that, inter alia, some five to six hundred Jews are being held in the factory of Manfred Weiss.

Presiding Judge: This is marked T/1183.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, may I point out that it says here, "The Higher SS and Police Leader reports" - in other words, not Eichmann, but the authority which, he maintains, was his superior.

Judge Halevi: Who was that - Winkelmann?

State Attorney Bach: That was Winkelmann. If the Defence wishes, I can say more than that, that actually all the reports by Veesenmayer to his office - when he reports to the Accused's Section - the information is normally transmitted to him through the Higher SS and Police Leader. In any case, Veesenmayer normally provides his information by saying "the Higher SS and Police Leader reports." We shall come back later to the significance of this.

The next document is Prosecution No. 771. This is a communication from Veesenmayer, dated 22 April 1944. This states that "Control of the implementation of Hungarian Jewish laws is ensured by the participation in an advisory capacity of an official drawing up and implementing regulations, and by permanent personal contact with Laszlo Endre, the Secretary of State in the Ministry for Home Affairs." He also refers to a liaison official between his office, Veseenmayer's office, and the SD. This is the Hezinger we have heard about, and later Grell who replaces him.

Presiding Judge: Is this a reply to the instruction from the Foreign Ministry.

State Attorney Bach: Apparently this is a reply to the communication dated 11th of the month.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit T/1184.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is Prosecution No. 151, which was shown to the Accused and given No. T/37(110). Von Thadden writes to the Accused on 24 April 1944, notifying him of the reports he has received from Veesenmayer. It says here that "on 15 April ghettoization began in the Carpathians. Meanwhile, one hundred and fifty thousand Jews have been seized. It is hoped that the action will be completed within the next week and will round up a total of some three hundred thousand Jews." It also says that as of 15 May, transports will start, and indicates that they will transport three thousand Jews daily, and that Auschwitz is to be the place of reception. Then there comes the following interesting sentence. The suggestion is to postpone slightly the dispatch of the fifty thousand Jews from the Budapest region for labour, which has already been promised by the government, in order not to endanger the implementation of the entire action. Planning aspects are already referred to here. This is the first time that mention is made of a foot march ("Fussmarsch"). It says that it is not possible to carry out the transport on foot, since matters of provisions, footwear and guarding involve major problems. Finally, the ambassador indicates that "he considers the plan outlined above to be correct, since the Jewish action is an overall whole."

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit T/1185.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is Prosecution No. 213, which has been presented to the Accused and received No. T/37(114). In it Guenther writes to von Thadden on 24 April about the allocation of Hungarian Jews for labour, about the promise of the Hungarian Prime Minister to make available fifty thousand Jews. He also says that it is possible to send these Jews to camps in the Reich. "What is called open allocation of labour in plants in the Reich cannot be considered for reasons of principle, as has already been stated in telephone consultations, since this would be in contradiction to the de-judaization (Entjudung) of Reich territory which has, by and large, been concluded, and would also run counter to the removal of Jews from plants, as accomplished already some time ago. Any further information should be kept back until the receipt of the report requested from SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann."

Presiding Judge: This exhibit is marked T/1186.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 180. This is a report from Veesenmayer, dated 29 April 1944, reporting on the first transport of eighteen hundred Jews which has left Budapest. The Court will recall testimony about the same first transport from the Kiskarcsa camp.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit T/1187.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 227, which was shown to the Accused and given No. T/37(116). In this Veesenmayer reports to the Foreign Ministry on 4 May 1944. He indicates that to date two hundred thousand Jews have been seized, and that the liaison officer of the embassy with the "Eichmann Sondereinsatzkommando" will take steps to separate Jews holding the nationality of neutral or enemy countries. He also reports for the first time on a plan to despatch twelve thousand Jews a day, four transports a day, three thousand Jews per transport.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit T/1188.

State Attorney Bach: There is another document, No. 158, which is a teleprint message from Veesenmayer, dated 11 May 1944. He already refers to the timetable conference, and says that deportations should start from the Carpathians and Transylvania, and that the plans are for three trains a day, each with three thousand Jews, so that by mid-June of this year the evacuation action from these zones should be completed.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit T/1189.

State Attorney Bach: As I have already indicated, these are our documents up to the date of 15 May. I should now like to call to the stand Mrs. Hansi Brand.

Presiding Judge: Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Hansi Brand: I speak Hebrew, but not very well.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: Which language would you like to speak?

Witness Hansi Brand: May I suggest, since I am excited, that perhaps I might speak German?

Presiding Judge: All right, you may speak in any language you feel comfortable with. You may sit down.

[ 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.