The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 61
(Part 8 of 9)

Q. Where did they place the woman?

A. She was lying on the floor, amongst the others. He would stand in this position (his hand on his hips) opposite her. He said he wanted to see how a human being was born and brought into the world. The children who were born did not survive. They lived for an hour or an hour and a half, for one bite of a louse would be enough, and this spelt death for them.

Q. What happened to the women?

A. I think one of them came back home. They were not given any attention.

Q. What was the attitude to those men who were also in the camp?

A. The same thing. They worked at the cleaning up. It can be said that the men held out less than the women did.

Q. Why?

A. They weakened more rapidly. Spotted typhus was accompanied by a high temperature, and it generally affected the brain. The doctors said afterwards that it was called meningitis, they went insane from it, and they collapsed and died.

Q. Do you remember an incident where you wanted to give someone water?

A. That was not there - it was in another camp.

Q. When you left that place, where were you transferred to?

A. In January 1944, in the second half of January, they took from our number a group of about thirty to thirty-five people - those of us who at that time were still healthy - and then, together with the Lagerfuehrer, we walked for about three hours along the road and we came to a village called Felixdorf. I remember the name well. There was a factory building there which had already been bombed several times. They took us inside in order to clean a number of halls which had remained more or less intact. They said that a transport of men was due to arrive there that day.

In the afternoon, several freight cars arrived. The railway line passed by in the vicinity. I don't remember the number of persons - there were between five and eight hundred - who once had been human beings. We took them out of the freight cars. They were covered from head to toe with running sores caused by the frost, their clothes were torn and threadbare, and they were half naked. The Lagerfuehrer would not even allow us to bring them into the halls which we had cleaned; we merely laid them down on the ground in the courtyard in their dying condition. He had told us before that we were forbidden to give them water. As for them - all they asked for was a drop of water.

I came across the husband of a girl friend of mine there. He was a young man, but at that stage he was on the verge of death. The whole of his body was one big wound. He caught sight of me and begged me so much for "just water" - I took his water bottle and went up to the well in the yard. By working the pumping handle water could be drawn. I thought they would not see me, but the Lagerfuehrer saw everything. He jumped on me, kicked my hand, and the water bottle fell. He said, "I told you it was forbidden to give them water." I could not go back to him, for I did not have any water to give him.

Q. Where did these people come from, this group?

A. From work on fortifications.

Q. Were they all Jews?

A. They were all Jews from Hungary.

Q. How many people from this group were left?

A. When we were liberated, we enquired especially about that, and we were told that about twenty people survived.

Q. Out of how many?

A. Approximately eight hundred.

Q. When were you liberated?

A. On 2 February 1945.

Q. By Russian soldiers?

A. By the Russians. And I went back on foot to Budapest. I thought I might find my mother.

Q. Did your father remain alive?

A. Yes.

State Attorney Bach: Thank you.

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

Dr. Servatius: No, I have no questions.

Judge Raveh: Just one question, Mrs. Fleischmann. How long did you live in the house from which you were taken to the brick factory?

Witness Fleischmann: We moved there on the last day, on the last date when it was possible to move to a Jewish house. I think it was on 16 June, but I do not recall the exact date. It was not our apartment where we lived all the time.

Presiding Judge: Who was this Lagerfuehrer whom you mentioned?

Witness Fleischmann: I don't remember his name.

Q. What uniform was he wearing?

A. The uniform of the SS - the same colour, that greyish- green, and he had the emblem of the SS, an officer.

Q. You are not familiar with the ranks?

A. No.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mrs. Fleischmann, you have concluded your testimony.

State Attorney Bach: In connection with this march, the Court will permit me to draw Your Honours' attention to some items of evidence that have already been submitted. In the Kasztner report, there is reference to this on pages 126- 128, where he says:

"On 16 November, high-ranking German visitors arrived in Budapest, the head of the Waffen-SS, Generaloberst Juettner, who came to Budapest following an invitation from Becher, accompanied by Krumey and by the commandant of Auschwitz, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Hoess. On the way from Vienna to Budapest, they witnessed the foot march which was full of horrors. The corpses piled up on the road, the exhausted people made a very unpleasant impression upon the German gentlemen. On arriving in Budapest, they expressed their indignation to Becher at what they had observed. In the course of the conversation - at which Billitz was also present - the commandant of Auschwitz expressed himself as being particularly shocked.

"Juettner gave immediate orders to the Judenkommando Budapest to put a stop to the foot march. This was on 17 November. On that day they managed to bring back about 7,500 Jews who had been put on the road.

"Eichmann was absent at that time. Before he left, he tried once again to get around the agreement on the age limit.

"On 13 November, he changed the orders which had been given by providing that all children above the age of ten were to be deported. As soon as we got to know this, we alerted Becher, who telephoned Eichmann in my presence.

"At first, Eichmann did not want to admit it; he denied having given such an order and spoke of 'horror tales.' Becher threatened in the end that he would send a cable to Himmler, if Eichmann did not stop interfering each time with his functions. This threat proved effective. Eichmann yielded and rescinded this order.

"On 21 November Eichmann came back to Budapest, after a temporary absence, and immediately gave instructions to continue the foot march. This was characteristic of him all along, how he wanted, at the same time, to prepare his defence against my anticipated protests. He summoned me and announced that it was not true that he wanted to interfere with Becher's negotiations.

Despite that, he gave orders, after his return, that 'additional contingents would be put on the march' (weitere Kontingente in Marsch gesetzt wuerden), for he assumed that the order halting the foot march had been given on the basis of the mistaken impression of 'some gentlemen' who were not capable of judging whether people who had been on the road for about seven or eight days could be regarded as being fit for labour or not. He would be obliged to place the responsibility on his colleagues who carried out the order (that is to say, the order to stop the foot march).

"Wisliceny, too, who had refused to accept sick Jews on to the German side, would be brought to a court-martial by him. And then he went on:

"I need, under any circumstances, 65,000-70,000 Hungarian Jews. So far, only 38,000 have been received at the German border. I need at least another 20,000 'Fortification Jews' for the south-east wall at the Ostmark (the eastern marches).

"After that, he went on to discuss the 'abuse' of protective passports; he would attribute the responsibility to the consul Lutz and to Wallenberg for this swinish behaviour. But he had a suggestion. He would not concern himself any longer with the holders of these certificates, if, on our part, we would voluntarily place 20,000 'Fortification Jews' at his disposal. Otherwise he would be forced to put all the Jews, without exception, on the march."

This matter of Wisliceny's refusal to accept these Jews is discussed on page 128 of the Kasztner report. Here Wisliceny, in commenting on the Kasztner report (T/1116) on page 16, says
"Eichmann's contention, made to Kasztner, to the effect that he wanted to court-martial me, was correct; he also removed me from my post at the border. I was told that I had to travel to Vienna, and Eichmann had placed me at Mueller's disposal. I informed Eichmann that in the course of the proceedings I would have an opportunity of bringing to Himmler's knowledge the 'march scandal' which violated Himmler's orders. Then Eichmann waived the legal proceedings against me."
Juettner's statement has already been submitted to the Court and was given exhibit number T/692. Here he describes how he went to Budapest and learned from Becher about the "Fussmarsch," and at first he could not believe what he was told - he did not think such a thing was possible - but afterwards he saw these occurrences himself and was shocked. He went to Winkelmann and asked Winkelmann to put a stop to it. And then Winkelmann said to him that the person responsible was Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann. Juettner asked for Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann to be brought before him, but he was not in his office, and one of his officers there replied arrogantly that he had no authority to give him orders. Juettner then protested to Himmler on what he had seen.

When Eichmann himself was questioned about this "Fussmarsch," he answers about it on page 929. When he was asked how many Jews, in all, reached the border, he said: "Mr. Superintendent, Sir, not many died, apart from the fact that a few died naturally; I do not think that they were many." He was asked: "I thought that you said previously that this was a very sad business?" His reply:

"Yes, it is sad when citizens walk in this manner, stagger along in this fashion, is that not so, for the final kilometres? I personally - I said this, Sir, in this conversation, that I myself did not look at such wretched scenes on principle, unless I received an order to do so."
One further document on this subject, Your Honours, document numbered 974. Kaltenbrunner writes to Wagner on 11 November 1944:
"According to my information, the columns of Jewish marchers towards the Reich were sent off, emissaries of the Swiss legation followed one of the columns and distributed protective passports to the marching Jews in such large numbers that by the end of the day's march, most of the column had disappeared, since the accompanying Honved guard units honoured the protective passports which had been distributed. Heil Hitler! Kaltenbrunner."
This is a document which was submitted to the Accused and was given the number T/37(284).

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1238.

State Attorney Bach: The following document is our No. 221; it, too, was submitted to the Accused and was given the number T/37(115). Here, again, Wagner reports the position in Hungary, on the number of deportees, on the numbers that Hitler had consented to set free at the request of the Swedes, the Swiss and the Americans. He says:

"Our offices request that, at all events, there should be no more concessions over and above those made hitherto, and that there was no need to go beyond those concessions which had already been made."
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1239.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, our next document is our No. 1018. Here, von Thadden, in October 1944, writes to Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann in Berlin and says that a representative of the Hungarian embassy had approached him regarding the return of an "Aryanized" Jew by the name of Stefan Kemeny who was in the Waldsee camp. After the word "Waldsee," there is a question mark. It is known that the man is at Waldsee, and von Thadden clearly does not know what this is, and hence he adds a question mark after the word "Waldsee."

Presiding Judge: "Am Waldsee."

State Attorney Bach: Yes, "Am Waldsee." This used to appear on all the postcards, as we have heard, and the family approached the Hungarian Government and wrote that this man is being held in Waldsee. Von Thadden apparently did not know what it meant and turned to Eichmann in this connection.

Presiding Judge: This question mark can also refer to something else. I would not jump to the conclusion from this that von Thadden did not know.

Judge Halevi: He will have to be interrogated on this issue. Or has he already been questioned?

State Attorney Bach: He has already been questioned. I do not believe that he gave an answer on this point. It says here:

"The Hungarian legation requests, on the special application of the Royal Hungarian Honved (Army) Ministry, that the above-mentioned" - the reference is to Kemeny - "be released as quickly as possible. He is the chief engineer at the MRRT Works, who are the manufacturers, first and foremost, of short-wave instruments for the Hungarian Air Defence. According to what they maintain, Kemeny is an outstanding expert in the field of technology of microwaves. As a result of his departure from the MRRT Works, the production of these instruments, which are urgently required by the Honved Ministry, declined substantially."
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1240.

State Attorney Bach: The reply comes in document No. 1019; it is Guenther's reply, saying that although the application was received on 25 October 1944, the first memorandum was dated 29 September. Hence he believes that, owing to the changes that had meanwhile come about in Hungary, it should be possible to regard this matter as settled. He says, by the way, seeing that this man was of Jewish origin, there was anyhow the fear that his services in an essential war enterprise of this kind would only be exploited for purposes of sabotage.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1241.

[ 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.