The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 72
(Part 8 of 8)

Judge Halevi: And also after the crime was committed? I am referring to the interim period.

Attorney General: And even after the commission of the crime, before he has been charged. Certainly before he has been caught. For example, a letter specifying how the booty of thieves is to be divided - would not such a letter be fit evidence in a trial for theft? Even if no one saw the accused signing it, I believe that this would be valid evidence for all purposes.

Presiding Judge: It would appear that it is necessary to clarify what is a statement for purposes of Section 37(2). Possibly, there is further judicial authority on this point, which has not yet been brought before us.

Attorney General: By all means.

Presiding Judge: Meanwhile, Dr. Servatius, what do you have to say?

Dr. Servatius: I am of the opinion that this section does not apply here.

Presiding Judge: Why do you say that, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: We also do not have to concern ourselves with expert opinions, since the crux of the objection is to be found in a totally different direction. There is nothing here to prove that the Accused has acknowledged that the written material is a statement made by him. He merely declared repeatedly - also in his interrogation by the police - that there was a recorded conversation, but he did not say that what was written down was the substance of the recording.

Presiding Judge: I thought he said that it was for publication in Life.

Dr. Servatius: That is not the case. The article in Life is based on these alleged recordings.

Presiding Judge: Did he ever say that the transcript which was made from these recorded tapes were not accurate - in the material that we have before us, which is our T/48-51?

Dr. Servatius: The Accused was not aware at the time of the contents of the recordings and has seen it only now. In File 17, he expresses his comments on seventy pages. It is possible to see from a study of the sixteen files that at first he made only slight alterations, and, subsequently, he added numbers in the margins and prepared detailed corrections. Of course, there is only a small part here. The rest is missing. But there exists better evidence - the witness Sassen himself, who can be questioned as to whether he truthfully noted down what was said. I shall be able to prove that he twisted matters in accordance with his own tendency. After all, he wanted to publish a tendentious book. It will be possible to prove how he changed matters.

Presiding Judge: Are these remarks of his in writing a criticism of the accuracy of the transcript of the tapes, or are they substantive remarks concerning the contents of the written account?

Dr. Servatius: They are corrections of the text which he believes to be false. There are additional passages there by Sassen. There he says: "This is the way we shall put this," but these are passages which were never shown to Eichmann.

Presiding Judge: But you have not yet replied to my question - were these substantive amendments, or alterations to the written text of the tapes?

Dr. Servatius: These are, in the main, substantive amendments, but there are also, if my memory serves me well, remarks where he says: "This is nonsense - I never said that." I merely want to point to one fact - that is on page 6. There he says: "I shall gladly jump into the pit, in the knowledge that five million Jews or enemies of the Reich have perished." There is a discussion on that, and on page 6 he says: "That makes no difference - it ought to be 'enemies of the Reich,' since I hated the Jews like the others." In the rest of his remarks, on no occasion can one find such an expression coming from him. I do not know whether I should weary the Court with the details of these arguments of mine or submit them in writing.

Presiding Judge: We have not yet seen the transcript at all, and hence there is no point in going into all these details.

Dr. Servatius: May I sum up shortly?

Presiding Judge: Please do. We have also not heard your views on Section 37.

Dr. Servatius: This section refers to someone confirming what he has read. Here, after all, he only confirms or confirmed that he once recorded something, but not the contents of the recording in detail.

Presiding Judge: You have read section 37(2), have you not?

Dr. Servatius: I would ask you to allow me a moment to study it.

[After perusing it.] It says here that a statement by an accused person, which has been made otherwise than at the preliminary examination, can be proved by the evidence of the person who recorded this statement, namely by Sassen himself, and not by means of submitting a document. And it says here: Whether it is in writing or a written statement, or whether it is signed or otherwise verified by the accused person himself.

Now, here, the Accused did not confirm the contents, but simply the process connected with it.

Presiding Judge: I understand, therefore, that you are saying that the conditions required according to Section 37(2) do not exist here. Previously, I did not understand that.

Dr. Servatius: Yes. These documents are incomplete; proof of the alterations is lacking. One hundred and ninety five substantial amendments were made. We have before us here File 17 with minor alterations, with about twenty small alterations to details, but not complete. On examining and analysing File 17, it seems to me that some forty amendments, which someone has removed, are missing. I gather from the remarks of the Prosecution that the recorded tapes are still in existence, and they should have been brought here, in order to check whether they correspond to the transcript, the recorded notes. The best witness should have been brought here, namely the witness Sassen, and those who were present. May I be permitted to point out that this entire recording was made in the course of a conversation which was the result of provocation in a bar, where the Accused was plied with a lot of alcohol, in order to get at the truth for the sake of humanity.

Presiding Judge: Where is Sassen now - or one of the others who was present?

Dr. Servatius: I have the addresses of two witnesses.

Presiding Judge: In what country?

Dr. Servatius: One is in Austria and the other is to be found in Argentina, if he is not on one of his journeys to Europe for the purpose of publishing his memoirs, Sassen's memoirs. I can give you their addresses. I do not have them here with me at the moment.

Presiding Judge: And these are the men you would like to hear - I want this to be clear - in the case of its being admitted?

Dr. Servatius: Yes.

Attorney General: If the Court would like to hear my reply, I shall be brief.

With regard to the legal question, we shall furnish authorities. I remember one authority, from the time of the Mandate, I believe, for Section 37(2), but I shall check these matters. We are not aware of any recorded tapes, there is no obligation to preserve tapes, it is known that a tape can be used several times, and I don't know whether those mentioned in those conversations preserved those tapes, or whether they used those tapes a number of times for other recordings.

Defence Counsel acknowledges that there was a link between the Accused and the transcripts, he says it was obtained under the influence of alcohol; those matters can be explained to us, if necessary. There is an old adage which says, "In vino veritas," and an old Hebrew saying, "When wine goes in, the secret comes out." Hence, perhaps, I do not know, this must be gone into, but it surely can be explained, in the same way as other matters can be explained, by means of witnesses, by means of a document.

I can promise Defence Counsel that I am submitting, I have submitted to him, and I want to submit to the Court, everything I have. I have not concealed from him any parts of this statement and parts of these remarks. Whatever I have, whatever has come into my possession - this is what I wish to submit.

Presiding Judge: Is it complete?

Attorney General: The only information on this which is not complete relates to the internal description of these matters, since every tape is designated by a number. We have tape No. 5, and, after that, there is a jump, and it says tape No. 11. Hence, I do not know if there were five tapes which it was decided to destroy, or which are in existence somewhere or other. All that I know is that, I have, after tape No. 5, the tape described as No. 11. It is true that there are numbered comments. With regard to some of these numbers, there appear comments which are in my possession. It is true that there are numbers where I do not have the corresponding pages of the comments, which were likely, or had to, or were intended to follow; whether they were made or not - that I do not know.

And thirdly: The amendments in handwriting which Inspector Hagag found and identified are spread over all the pages - they begin on page 18 and end on page 667. Out of a total of 716 printed pages, it would be inconceivable that the Accused only made a number of corrections in a number of places and afterwards despaired of making these corrections, and reserved his main corrections for a manuscript which is not before you. The opposite is true: the corrections, more than eighty in number, in his handwriting, are scattered throughout the entire transcript.

Attorney General: We have sixty-seven tapes.

Presiding Judge: The transcripts of sixty-seven.

Attorney General: Out of these, we have to exclude tapes 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 which are not in our possession - that is to say, we have tapes 1-5 and 11-67.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, what about this possibility of hearing witnesses, one of them from Argentina - where will that lead us?

Attorney General: That will lead us to many difficulties.

Presiding Judge: Can you object to such an application?

Attorney General: I am very much afraid that I shall be obliged to examine once again the past of Sassen. I do not know about the second man who was mentioned, and I do not know who he is, and it may well be that he is the right man to bring to Israel; as far as I know, Mr. Sassen should stand trial here, on the basis of his past.

Presiding Judge: So how do you view the procedure in this trial?

Attorney General: I apply to have the transcript admitted in evidence.

Presiding Judge: After that, Dr. Servatius will apply to hear Mr. Sassen in Argentina, and we shall sit here and wait.

Attorney General: We shall send the material to Argentina, and we shall take evidence on commission. From the point of view of taking evidence on commission, Argentina is not any further away than Germany, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: First of all, that is not altogether correct, but we are in a more advanced stage of this trial.

Attorney General: The transcript is of such great importance that I think it justifies not to take into account the advanced stage of the trial, and to make every effort, in order that this document should be brought in evidence before the Court.

Presiding Judge: It is, of course, your duty to make the effort.

Attorney General: Yes, and we have definitely decided to make every effort in this matter. In order that there should be no misunderstanding, Mr. Sassen can be a defence witness, and then the question should be asked whether he can testify here, or whether his evidence must be taken somewhere else. But, in regard to the admissibility of the document at this stage, this should not be linked necessarily to Sassen's evidence.

Presiding Judge: I link it from the practical point of view now; that also has legal significance.

Attorney General: Your Honour, I certainly acknowledge that this is likely somewhat to protract the proceedings, and possibly to take us to a later date, but I would very much ask the Court to prefer giving weight to the possibility of examining this document, which, in our opinion, is most important, in order to establish the Accused's connection with the offences attributed to him - that is most important. And I ask you to prefer this consideration to the practical consideration of saving time.

Judge Raveh: In fact, according to what Dr. Servatius had to say, it appears that, actually, he relies on Section 37(2) and maintains that the document must not be admitted except through the man who heard what was said.

Attorney General: That is a completely different problem, and I understand that His Honour, the Presiding Judge, wishes to hear us separately on that point.

Presiding Judge: I see that Dr. Servatius, by legal instinct, has arrived at the contents of Section 37(2); this is how one could describe his objection.

Attorney General: If the Court wishes to hear a legal argument on this point - certainly, I am fully prepared. There is no problem at all as to that.

Presiding Judge: It is not that we want it - I think it is your obligation to present the legal argument, and not only because it is a very important document.

Dr. Servatius: Regarding the importance of the document, it is not all that important, since the Accused himself declared what is important, before he knew about the publication.

Presiding Judge: We cannot know until we have read the document.

Dr. Servatius: Only the accompanying remarks are of interest - those that the journalist added, in order to carry it closer to the circle of his customers - the nationalist Peronists.

Presiding Judge: Our difficulty lies in the fact that we have not read the document. And I, for my part, believe that we ought not to read it at this stage. Hence, it is hard to judge this issue.

We shall adjourn now, and the next Session will be held next Monday at 8.30 a.m. Then you will complete your legal argument, Dr. Servatius will reply, and we shall also give our decision in the course of the morning; we shall endeavour to give our decision during the morning. Please bring the remainder of your evidence on Monday, so that we may be certain of finishing on Monday afternoon. How much time do you estimate you will need - apart from the question of Sassen?

Attorney General: Two hours.

Presiding Judge: Then we at least have a good chance to finish on Monday.

Judge Halevi: There has been reference to two witnesses. Who is the second potential witness?

Attorney General: I do not know.

Judge Halevi: Perhaps you, Dr. Servatius, would care to say. You are not obliged to do so. Is it the same Mildner who is mentioned in Eichmann's statement? I say this only because the Attorney General raises the question whether the potential witness will be able to testify in Israel or not, and he does not know his identity. If you, Dr. Servatius, are interested, you can tell us who he is.

Dr. Servatius: I did not understand properly to which second witness you are referring. Is that in respect of the document?

Judge Halevi: Did I understand you correctly, Dr. Servatius, to say that you thought it was necessary, from your point of view, to call two witnesses? One of them, as far as I have understood, is Sassen, and the second is not known. Someone from Austria.

Dr. Servatius: No, he is not unknown. I have the address. He is in Austria.

Judge Halevi: I wanted not the address, but the name.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, the name is Fritsch - his full name I do not have - but his name is Fritsch.

Presiding Judge: We shall adjourn now. The next Session will be on Monday, at 8.30 in the morning.

[ 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.