The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 66
(Part 1 of 9)

Session No. 66

22 Sivan 5721 (6 June 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the sixty-sixth Session of the trial open.

Attorney General: If it pleases the Court, before I proceed to lead evidence....

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I would ask that no arrangements be made in the courtroom without the Court's knowledge, and I regard this also - the display of photographs on the court platform - as being some sort of arrangement. I presume the intention was a positive one, but I must insist on this.

Attorney General: Of course, Your Honour. We can, of course, turn them around.

Presiding Judge: There is no need to do that now.

Attorney General: These are exhibits which we intend to submit.

Presiding Judge: So I presume.

Attorney General: There are two questions on which I would request the Court's decision. The one concerns the evidence of two witnesses, whom I intend to bring tomorrow, and on whose bodies sterilization was carried out in Auschwitz. These witnesses are ready to testify, but they request that the Court ban photographs and the publication of their names. One of them has an adopted child. Therefore, I ask that while their evidence is being heard, photographs should not be taken in Court, that television filming should also be stopped, and that the Court should agree to have their names handed in on a slip of paper, and to forbid publication, by virtue of its authority under sections 38 and 40 of the Courts Law.

Presiding Judge: Is it your intention to produce them tomorrow?

Attorney General: Tomorrow afternoon, but I must request the Court's directives, for if they are not given, I shall not be able to bring the witnesses. This is their stipulation, which I should like to honour.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I request that it be clarified whether this evidence is relevant. Testimonies on sterilization were submitted in the trial of the doctors at Nuremberg, but here the evidence can be relevant only if it were possible to link the Accused with these acts, and to prove that he issued orders in this connection. But the witnesses will certainly not be able to tell us anything on this point.

Attorney General: If it pleases the Court, we have already had to deal with this problem at an earlier stage in the trial, when Defence Counsel objected to the continuation of the evidence of Dr. Wells. The Court then ruled that there were two aspects to be proved - what took place and the Accused's responsibility. The Prosecution will contend that what happened to those people whom the Accused supplied to Auschwitz - we are going to prove that he did send them there; we have already proved, and we shall continue with proof, that he and his Department were responsible for the dispatch of all the Jews who were sent to Auschwitz - it is very relevant to show what befell them and what was done to them in those "death factories," to which he supplied the "raw material." Therefore, in accordance with the Court's decision in regard to the evidence of Dr. Wells, I would ask the Court to permit their evidence to be heard under the conditions I have requested.

Judge Halevi: Is there anything in the indictment regarding sterilization?

Attorney General: In the indictment there is specific reference to sterilization, and we have special documents on sterilization we shall submit, but I think that I shall not be discharging my duty by submitting only the documents, when I know that there are at least two witnesses who are prepared to testify.

Judge Raveh: Do you perhaps remember the section of the indictment dealing with the subject?

Attorney General: I know that the indictment should be here with me, but I do not have it here.

Judge Raveh: I see now that it is count four in the indictment.

Attorney General: We also have a set of documents on this subject, some of which have been submitted and some of which we shall yet submit.

Judge Raveh: This speaks of sterilization of the offspring of mixed marriages. Is there something more general?

Attorney General: There is one count which definitely includes among the persecutions and tortures also this aspect, and which mentions the Auschwitz camp in particular.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, would it not be more appropriate to hear such evidence altogether in camera?

Attorney General: As the Court pleases.

Presiding Judge: Was there any special reason which caused you to suggest this particular mode of restriction, and not the simpler course?

Attorney General: This was what the witnesses requested. Hence I quoted their limiting request. But I definitely agree that it would be better for this evidence to be heard in camera - unless the Court wishes to admit a certain category of the public, as it is entitled to do, or to exclude the entire public.

Presiding Judge: Passing the name on in writing would be in order, but in front of a large audience, such as that which assembles in this courtroom, it would be most difficult, subsequently, to preserve the anonymity of the witnesses.

Attorney General: It would be better this way, Your Honour, I agree.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, I presume you do not have anything to observe in connection with this aspect of the evidence?

Dr. Servatius: No, I have no objection to this procedure.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 70

We dismiss Defence Counsel's objection to the hearing of evidence on sterilization, for the reasons which were given for rejecting his objection to hearing the evidence of Dr. Wells (our Decision No. 13). We shall hear the evidence on sterilization in camera, and filming for purposes of television or otherwise will also be suspended during the presentation of such evidence.

Attorney General: I also request the Court's directive in regard to the screening of a film. We have shown Defence Counsel, and upon his request also in the presence of the Accused, a part of the films we intend to ask the Court to view. The second part of these films, which Defence Counsel has not yet seen, can be viewed by him here tomorrow evening, when we ourselves will also make a final examination to ensure that all the material is documentary and is fully capable of being authenticated. Insofar as it will be fully capable of substantiation by the witnesses, we request permission for it to be shown, in order to illustrate the evidence.

This issue was discussed at the Bergen-Belsen Trial. I have here the account of the Bergen-Belsen Trial from the series War Crimes Trials, edited by Sir David Maxwell Fife, and on page 222 the Court will find the discussion on the question of the screening of a film in the Courtroom when the Defence objected - not to the screening itself of the film - at that time it was already the usual practice, as I shall prove, that films could illustrate evidence - but for one reason only, namely that in the opinion of the Defence, the main purpose of showing the film would be to show that the Prosecution witnesses were telling the truth and that the camps, indeed, looked as they described them; after argument, and after the Military Court had heard the Judge Advocate, the screening of the film was permitted.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I have no objection in principle to the showing of the film. But I should like to know when and where the films were taken. It will be necessary, of course, to expunge portions intended to serve only as educational material, colour films and photographs that were made post factum. I would want to know, therefore, when and where they were made. The Prosecution promised me a summarized description of the films.

Attorney General: All background material to the films was removed from the film which we have requested to present to you here. With regard to some of the films, we know that they were taken immediately after the end of the War by the liberating armies, and they depict the camps in the same condition as the liberation armies found them. In the case of others, it followed from the contents that they were actually taken at the time of the events shown. We are unable to say when, exactly. But we shall only exhibit a film in a case where some witness or other will be able to appear and swear that what he saw with his own eyes at a particular place and at a particular time looked as the film shows.

We have a short film of an execution by the Einsatzgruppen. I do not know who filmed it, and I do not know when it was taken. But we shall produce a witness who will swear that this was what the execution looked like.

We have a film which was apparently taken at the time of a deportation to the Westerbork camp. We shall bring a witness who will swear that when people were deported, the scene looked like that, and this will illustrate the testimonies heard.

I cannot say anything further, for I do not know.

Presiding Judge: I think you have not yet completed what you wanted to say about the technical aspect.

Attorney General: In the major Nuremberg Trial, the Court will find - in passages which I shall immediately enumerate - the screening of films. I refer to the German edition of the Blue Series: Vol. 3, p. 448, Vol. 7, pp. 23, 24. There the question arose whether it was possible to remove the sound track which accompanied the film. The Court requested the removal of the sound. And when it became clear that this was not possible, they heard the film with its sound track. In our case it will not be a question of the sound track - in our case there will be only silent films. Reference material will also be found in Vol. 7, p. 221, Vol. 3, pp. 597, 598 - this was actually a film on atrocities against Jews; in Vol. 13, pp. 189, 620, and in Vol. 8, p. 115.

In view of the fact that the films were admitted in this way to illustrate evidence, and also that there is no objection on the part of the Defence to the screening of the films, and naturally I take upon myself the onus of proving their authenticity - I apply for approval of the showing of the films at any time the Court may find convenient.

Presiding Judge: What is the technical method of projection that you propose?

Attorney General: We propose showing the films on the wall to our right.

Presiding Judge: On the wall - or do you have a screen?

Attorney General: We shall bring a screen. We can project it on the wall to our right, and then, of course, Your Honours would remain in your seats. If Your Honours would be prepared to move to our table which would be more convenient for us, we shall go and sit in the rows for the public, and then it would be possible to show the film on the wall behind the Judges' seats.

Presiding Judge: Would that be more convenient from a technical point of view?

Attorney General: That would perhaps be more convenient from a technical point of view. Perhaps we ought to make further tests. In the tests we have made so far, we projected the film on this wall. Obviously, if we screen the film on the wall to our right, only part of the public - sitting on the left-hand side of the courtroom - will be able to see the film. We intend to request that while the film is being shown, since the hall will be in semi-darkness, the Court, for security reasons, should allow only the journalists to remain.

Judge Halevi: Arising out of the remarks of Dr. Servatius, do you maintain that amongst these films, there are no sections which were prepared merely for educational purposes after the War?

Attorney General: No. There are no such sections in what we are going to show.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have anything to add?

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I presume that there are, in fact, sections in the film which were made for educational purposes, and in order to influence the public subsequently. It is possible to identify them - they are colour films. I have been told, though, that they have been removed. It is possible to recognize the authenticity of the films through the events filmed which speak for themselves. It is impossible to stage events of this kind. The other sections should, therefore, be removed.

Presiding Judge: I see that your opinions differ as to whether everything has been deleted or not. What is the position?

Attorney General: In order to minimize the differences of opinion, I would ask Dr. Servatius to be present here tomorrow evening when the Prosecution will be showing the film for itself and its witnesses. And if he insists that a particular section, nonetheless, is not acceptable to him, we shall not insist that that particular section be shown. It is always easy to cut out a section and splice the film. Hence, if Dr. Servatius wishes to be present there, he is welcome. We shall arrange the screening tomorrow evening.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, we should still have in our possession a short numbered list, so that it will be possible to say, for example, that No. 11 must come out, and in this way to be able to reach an agreement in Court.

Presiding Judge: Were you planning to prepare a synopsis?

Attorney General: Yes. Tomorrow we shall note down for ourselves an exact description of the various scenes, and we shall submit it to the Court when the film is shown.

Presiding Judge: And if, afterwards, something should remain which only has - as you have put it - educational value and which does not serve the purpose of describing facts - we shall know how to ignore these portions. But I assume that you will reach general agreement on that beforehand.

Dr. Servatius: I thank you - we shall come to an agreement.

Presiding Judge: How long will the screening last?

Attorney General: An hour and twenty minutes. If the Court wishes to have this on Thursday after the break, it could occupy the time from the commencement of the proceedings after the break until the end of the morning session. It is possible to show the film during the morning session, after the break on Thursday.

Presiding Judge: We shall give our decision in this matter, and meanwhile you can already make preparations to show it at the time you have suggested, on Thursday after the break in the morning session.

Attorney General: I shall call the next witness - Shim'on Srebrnik.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Shim'on Srebrnik.

Attorney General: Do you live in Nes Ziona, Shikun Amami 22?

Witness Srebrnik: Yes.

Q. You work for a construction company, as a mechanic?

A. Yes.

Q. In the summer of 1943, you were in the Lodz Ghetto?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened on one of the Sabbath days, when you were walking with your father in the ghetto?

A. We left our house on the Sabbath, we went for a walk; suddenly I heard a shot, and my father fell down at my side.

Q. Did he remain alive after that?

A. No.

Q. Afterwards you were seized in the street and were loaded on to a truck?

A. Yes.

Q. You asked permission to enable you to go home and notify your mother?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you given permission?

A. No. They told me not to speak - that I should shut my mouth, "You swine."

Presiding Judge: How old were you at the time?

Witness Srebrnik: Thirteen.

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