The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 62
(Part 2 of 6)

State Attorney Bach: As regards Kaltenbrunner's evidence, on page 370 of the same volume, Kaltenbrunner is shown Becher's affidavit to the effect that he secured Himmler's order in the middle of October 1944. According to this order, which was directed to Kaltenbrunner and Pohl, the murder and the extermination of the Jews was to cease immediately, and sick and weak Jews were to be attended to. This document was shown to Kaltenbrunner, and Kaltenbrunner made various comments on it. Inter alia, on page 371, he says the following about Becher:
"As far as Becher's personality is concerned, I must go back a little further into the past. Himmler did, through Becher, one of the worst things that can be disclosed and be brought to light here. Through Becher's instrumentality and that of the committee of the Joint in Hungary and in Switzerland, he released Jews - firstly, in exchange for military equipment; secondly, subsequently, for raw materials; and thirdly, for foreign currency. I became aware of this operation through the information services, and I immediately adopted a stand against it - that is to say, not with Himmler, where it would have been of no avail, but with Hitler. At that very moment, all the personal faith which Hitler had in Himmler became undermined, for this operation could have damaged most seriously the standing of the Reich abroad."
At the end he says:
"I hereby request you, Mr. Prosecutor, definitely to let this witness, Becher, confront me. I know that he is here in Nuremberg, and I can definitely prove to the public, by means of this witness, how, ever since he took over the so-called Weiss Share Corporation in Hungary and until this day, deals were made between Himmler, together with Pohl and Becher, and the two committees in Hungary and Switzerland, and how I protested against it."
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1248.

State Attorney Bach: And now, with regard to Schellenberg. It says here, in that same affidavit, that with the approach of the end of the War, Kaltenbrunner grew closer to Hitler. "Himmler said to me on 13 April 1945, when I asked him to receive the representative of the World Jewish Congress, Mr. Storch, from Stockholm, `But how shall I handle this with Kaltenbrunner? He would then have me completely in his hands'." This is our document No. 1470.

Presiding Judge: This is not testimony at all, but a statement during the investigation, as I can now see.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour. This is an affidavit of Schellenberg which was submitted to the Nuremberg Trial, a sworn statement dated 19 November 1945. Incidentally, our previous document was No. 1463. He says here, by the way, that at the end Kaltenbrunner had so much power that even Himmler was afraid of him.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1249.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, in conclusion, I merely want to draw the Court's attention to a few more important passages in the report of the Committee for Relief and Rescue, which I have not yet quoted. First of all, on page 18 of the report, at the end of the page, it says as follows:

"On the Jewish Question, the decisive factor was the sovereign will, unrestricted and absolute, of the monster who was at the head of the Judenkommando, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann. He had two devoted Hungarian assistants, Laszlo Endre and Laszlo Baky, both of them Secretaries of State in the Ministry of the Interior. The former, Laszlo Endre, a congenital drunkard, a former Vize-Ispan (Deputy District Governor), was appointed by the Germans to the Ministry of the Interior. His duty was the liquidation of the Jewish problem. Laszlo Baky, who was a former major in the gendarmerie and a member of parliament representing the Imred Party, became the commander of the Hungarian police and gendarmerie. He saw to it that both these bodies, particularly the gendarmerie, should be unreservedly at the disposal of Eichmann."
Dr. Servatius: I did not understand what report this was.

State Attorney Bach: Kastzner's report - our No. 900.

On page 31, Kasztner records a conversation with Krumey about Waldsee. He asked Krumey what was the meaning of the deportation from Kistarcsa.

"Haven't these people written yet?" Krumey asked Kasztner, feigning innocence. "And where should they have written from?" "From Waldsee. They will write soon." "Where is this Waldsee?" "Waldsee? I cannot give you any details about it. It is not far from here - to the west of Hungary. Apart from that, we have only taken professional workers." "What professional workers? The deportees were, without exception, of the bourgeoisie!" "Then they will learn a profession in the Reich...!" I said to Krumey: "Sir, Obersturmbannfuehrer, there is no point in playing hide and seek. We want to know where we stand. Wisliceny announced a month ago here, in this room, that you, the German authorities, were not interested in deportation. Surely you are not going to say that the Hungarian Government is sending Jews to Germany against your wishes."
Then Krumey referred him to Wisliceny.

On pages 35 and 36, Kasztner speaks of conversations with Eichmann and of all the attempts at psychological warfare, and of the fact that Eichmann did not want to have a second Warsaw in Hungary.

On page 47, when the deportations began, it says as follows:

"I pointed out to Hauptsturmfuehrer Hunsche, one of the men closest to Eichmann, that hundreds of Jews were dying already in the course of the journey in the sealed freight-cars, owing to the lack of food and drinking water. Hunsche promised `to investigate.' A week later, he told me: `Once and for all, stop your atrocity tales. I have gone into the matter. Here are the reports. There is a maximum of fifty to sixty persons dying on each transport'."
On page 69, Kasztner describes the Kistarcsa episode. I shall not repeat the details - the Court is already aware of them - but he describes them on that page.

On pages 86 and 87, Kasztner gives an account of Freudiger's escape and of Eichmann's fury at this escape. He says it was absolutely impossible to placate him. He held the Judenrat responsible for the escape of Freudiger, and this led to the immediate arrest of Hofrat Stern, of Dr. Karl Wilhelm, of Dr. Ernoe Petoe, and of Johann Gabor, who was the permanent liaison between the Judenrat and the Judenkommando. The first three mentioned were subsequently released, as a result of the intervention of Horthy, but Dr. Gabor remained in custody and was later deported.

On page 120 of the report, it says:

"Round about 10 November 1944, Wisliceny suddenly appeared in Budapest and drew my attention to the fact that Eichmann was more than usually agitated, since he had not found the anticipated number of Jews in Budapest. The deportations from the provincial towns had already disappointed him, for he had not even managed to gather half a million Jews. Thus he imagined that hundreds of thousands of Jews had escaped from the provinces to Budapest and were hiding there. He was now hoping to seize them."
On page 130, Kasztner describes the contacts between the Halutzic youth and the underground organization in Hungary, and he says:
"The committee's links with the underground movement became ever tighter. The left wing of the Zionist youth collaborated with the youth groups of the socialists and the communists. The leader of the Hungarian resistance movement, one of the heads of the Communist party, took refuge in our bunker. We placed at his disposal one of the permits prepared by Becher (naturally unknown to Becher), which enabled him to participate in the preparations for the revolt. With the assistance of this leader, we placed at the disposal of the Committee of the Resistance Movement considerable sums of money for the purpose of acquiring arms and ammunition."
On page 149 of the report, there is already reference to Eichmann's attempts to sabotage Himmler's orders.
"Wisliceny talks today with far fewer reservations than before of Himmler's ban on extermination and how it is to be implemented."
Judge Halevi: We can see this from the statements of Wisliceny himself that have been submitted here. Surely this is hearsay from Wisliceny - what we heard from Wisliceny.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, but that is what he heard then. Hence, if the Court has to weigh up, subsequently, the credibility of Wisliceny... It says here "on 9 January"; in other words, the remarks were recorded in the diary exactly as Wisliceny related them just before the end of the War. "Eichmann is making the greatest efforts to sabotage the implementation of the order. For example, he sent telegrams to the commandants of the Jewish concentration and labour camps in Poland which were threatened by the Russian advance."

And what was the content of his telegram?

"We must, in principle, respect Jewish lives. But if, upon the evacuation of the camps, they offer resistance or create difficulties, they must be punished with the utmost severity."
And now Eichmann is furious, because not all the camp commandants understood his intention, and many of them, at the time of the evacuation, left the Jewish prisoners behind for the Russians, or transported them back to the Reich. But there were also commandants who interpreted the order in accordance with Eichmann's intentions, and gave orders either to shoot the Jews immediately on the way back, while being evacuated, or who allowed them to perish on the endless footmarch.

Kasztner asks: "How could Eichmann dare to sabotage Himmler's orders?" And Wisliceny answers:

"He would show them his telegram, Mueller and Kaltenbrunner will cover him on that. I know, incidentally, that we shall have to pay for that. I can do very little against it. My mother is here, and my brother has been decorated with the Knight's Cross in the army. Do you know that even we, officers of the Judenkommando, were unaware until the spring of 1942 of the gas chambers? Then Eichmann invited us to a meeting in Berlin and informed us that now there had to be a speedy disposal of the Jews of Europe." And now a most crucial sentence:

"'The War is about to end shortly,' he said, 'and after the signing of a peace agreement, we shall no longer be able to make use of these methods. We have to hurry.' I had the courage to observe: 'May God grant that these methods will never be used against us'."

Incidentally, in connection with the Fussmarsch, Wisliceny relates:
"I also wanted to help in the matter of the wretched Fussmarsch from Budapest, but it was unbelievably difficult to achieve even the least against Eichmann."
On page 161, Wisliceny, who had returned two days previously from Berlin, says:
"I was appointed to be Inspector of Theresienstadt. I happened to be in Berlin precisely when Eichmann received a cable from Hunsche in Prague, asking what was to be done with Theresienstadt in the event of a Russian advance. Eichmann, of course, answered at once that all the Jews there would have to be exterminated."
And the last passage, on page 169, where there is also corroboration of our previous contention:
"On the arrival in Switzerland of twelve hundred Jews from Theresienstadt, the Reichsfuehrer was bitterly attacked by part of the Swiss press and accused of trading in human beings. Kaltenbrunner reported on that not only to Himmler, but also to Hitler. As a result, Hitler ordered immediate cessation of all negotiations and transports."
Your Honours, apart from the documents I shall submit at a later stage, by means of which I have to supplement the furnishing of information to the Court...

Presiding Judge: That is to say, if the Court will allow you to submit them.

State Attorney Bach: There is one matter which I promised the Court, and that is a statement in connection with that meeting which took place on 31 March, where I still have to submit confirmation as to the exact translation of the minutes of the discussion from Hungarian into German. This I must submit.

Presiding Judge: I thought you were speaking about the affidavit of Dr. Reiner.

State Attorney Bach: With regard to Dr. Reiner's affidavit, I shall supply additional information to the Court, and then I shall request the Court's decision.

With this, we have completed the chapter on Hungary.

Presiding Judge: Thank you Mr. Bach.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, we are now approaching the last stages of the Prosecution's case in this trial. At the outset, with the Court's permission, I shall submit a number of matters which are not linked to a specific place; the documents and the testimonies refer to various places. Accordingly, we have collected them all together, at this special stage.

I call Mr. Zvi Zimmerman.

Presiding Judge: May we know the subject of the evidence?

Attorney General: Certainly. Mr. Zvi Zimmerman was in Cracow; he was a member of the underground, he heard the name of Eichmann from the Gestapo men in Cracow. He heard from members of the Gestapo about the possibilities of avoiding this kind of work, if they were willing to be sent to the front, and so on.

[The witness is sworn.] Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Witness: Zvi Henryk Zimmerman. I emphasize my second name as well, since this is how, in fact, I was known abroad.

Attorney General: Mr. Zimmerman, you are a lawyer by profession?

Witness Zimmerman: Yes.

Q. You are a Member of the Knesset?

A. That is right.

Q. When the Second World War broke out, you were in Cracow?

A. Yes.

Q. You were there until March 1943?

A. Yes, I was in the Cracow Ghetto until March 1943.

Q. Do you remember when some deportees who had been expelled from Germany to Zbaszyn in Poland in 1938 reached Cracow. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you hear anything from them, at that time, about Eichmann?

A. The refugees told us about what they had endured before the deportation and at the time of the deportation; and amongst other things, they mentioned that they were aware that all matters appertaining to the expulsion of the Jews were concentrated in the hands of a special department consisting of experts on the problems of the Jews, which was headed by an expert who had studied all these questions to such an extent that he knew Hebrew and Yiddish. Furthermore, as the rumour went, he had been born, or had lived for a long time, in Sarona in Palestine.

Q. Did you hear his name?

A. I cannot say for certain that I heard his name.

Q. After the outbreak of the War, it turned out that persons who were not Jews had also been planted amongst these refugees.

A. That is right. Amongst them, there were people who knew much about Jewish affairs, about the Jewish way of life. There were those who knew nothing at all, and whom we could have suspected. Afterwards it became clear, from what we were told, and also from what we heard in the Cracow Ghetto, that amongst them there were people whom we would not even have suspected, for to some extent they were versed in Jewish affairs, and it became clear afterwards that they turned out to be Nazis. A few of them also took part in the seizure of Jews from Cracow, even before the labour ghetto had been set up, and in outrages, as this Honourable Court is certainly aware already. Also, one or two of them were pointed out when they moved around the streets of Cracow in German uniforms with swastikas on their collars.

Q. The Cracow Ghetto was set up in March, 1941?

A. That is right.

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