The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 74
(Part 1 of 2)

Session No. 74

28 Sivan 5721 (12 June 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the seventy-fourth Session of the trial open.

Decision No. 79

We have decided, by majority vote, to accept in evidence, from the document which has been called by the Attorney General the "Sassen Document," only that part which, in the expert opinion of Superintendent Hagag, is described as "File 17," that is to say, the photocopies of the comments which were recorded by the Accused in his own handwriting. To the extent that File 17 included notes on what purports to be a transcript of the Accused's tape-recording, we also admit those sections of the transcript to which these comments refer, insofar as these sections may be required in order to understand the comments. We admit the expert opinion of Superintendent Hagag for the purpose of verifying the Accused's handwriting, since Defence Counsel did not object to the submission of that opinion. This opinion is marked T/1392. We reject the application of the Attorney General beyond what is stated in this decision.

Judge Halevi dissents from the aforegoing limitation and he is of the opinion that the entire "Sassen Document" should be admitted in evidence, apart from the transcripts of those tapes concerning which there are no corrections or comments in the Accused's handwriting.

Our reasons for this decision will be given at a later stage.

We have assumed that as a result of this decision, Mr. Hausner, you will be able to submit File 17 forthwith; thereafter you will have to undertake the special task of extracting from the transcript those portions to which File 17 relates.

Attorney General: I am also unable to say, at the moment, which excerpts we can attach or annex to the comments appearing in File 17. This requires a certain amount of arranging of the material.

Presiding Judge: Will you not be able to do that today?

Attorney General: We shall certainly not be able to do that today.

Presiding Judge: If you can submit File 17 separately...

Attorney General: File 17 is a separate document and it can be submitted; that presents no difficulty.

Presiding Judge: Do you have a copy of it?

Attorney General: We also have a printed copy of it, for we have deciphered it and made a printed copy thereof.

Presiding Judge: Very good - then you can submit it and you will still have something for yourself. Is this what it is, in three envelopes?

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: You have two copies of the photostats, I see.

Attorney General: Three.

Presiding Judge: Of the actual photostat?

Attorney General: Yes. There ought to be three copies of the photostat.

Presiding Judge: So far I have only received two.

Attorney General: There ought to be another one. We prepared larger packages - we planned to sort them out.

Presiding Judge: We shall call your File 17, T/1393.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, since I am not able to submit the remaining excerpts now, I would request some time to do so at a later stage; and I shall then draw the Court's attention to several extracts from those which the Court has admitted as evidence. But I shall not do so now, for I might introduce other extracts which are not admissible - I do not have it sorted out according to the Court's decision.

Since Superintendent Hagag is present, perhaps the Court will allow me to call him to the witness box, so that he may clarify for us those portions of the Mufti's documents that have remained obscure.

Presiding Judge: Has he something to say?

Attorney General: Yes, he has something to say.

Presiding Judge: How have those documents been marked?

Attorney General: Superintentent Hagag has them, I understand. Mr. Bodenheimer enabled Superintendent Hagag to examine them, and he will submit them, once again, to the Court.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bodenheimer, did you hand the Court's documents to Mr. Hagag?

Clerk of the Court: Yes.

[Mr. Hagag is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your first name, Mr. Hagag?

Witness: Avraham Hagag.

Attorney General: You are an officer in the Criminal Identification Department - Investigation Division - at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police?

Witness Hagag: Yes, Your Honours.

Q. Do you have a thorough knowledge of Arabic?

A. Yes, Your Honours.

Q. You have in your possession a number of documents which are Court exhibits. Please tell us what you can read in the Arabic writing in those documents. Kindly identify each document, which you mention, by its number.

Presiding Judge: Is Arabic your mother tongue, Mr. Hagag?

Witness Hagag: Yes, Your Honours.

Your Honours, amongst the documents I am holding is one that was given the number T/1267.

Dr. Servatius: May I ask that the original number of the document be mentioned also, since I do not have the exhibit numbers.

Attorney General: Do you have the number of Bureau 06?

Superintendent Hagag: No. 1036. Your Honours, this document is a photocopy of two pages of a diary, a Turkish "Agenda", of 1944. In these two pages the names are written in Latin characters, and opposite each name there is a remark in Arabic. In the section relating to 9 November, a Thursday, the name of Eichmann is written in Latin characters, and above it there are two lines of Arabic writing. I have deciphered the Arabic writing after comparing the characteristics of the handwriting of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, and according to these characteristics it was possible to decipher the Arabic writing above it in this manner.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps, now, you would care to approach us - this applies to you gentlemen also, if you so wish.

Attorney General: I rely totally on Superintendent Hagag.

Presiding Judge: As you please - whoever wishes to approach us, may do so.

Witness Hagag: our Honours, the first words are "fairus nadira jiddan." The translation is "a very rare diamond." In the second line: "Wa-Kheir Mukhlis lil-Arab" - "The best redeemer for the Arabs." Below it says: ""Dagobert von Mikusch," once in Latin characters and once in Arabic. It says 70 years, and there is also a remark in Arabic "to send greetings to him." Above that it says "Major Osterhof, Hotel Imperial." It says in Arabic "On the subject of Derna in its entirety."

Presiding Judge: What is "Derna"?

Witness Hagag: There is a town in Lybia called Derna.

Q. Could the first word be "Farouk"?

A. No. I have compared it, letter by letter, with the normal handwriting of the Mufti. In this handwriting there is a special characteristic, namely that the use of vowel points is not regular - sometimes it appears with vowels, sometimes without. The second characteristic - he joins together letters which in Arabic are not supposed to be joined together, such as the letter " r" with the final "h". This is something which is not joined together in Arabic, and he joins them together, in exactly the same way that their letter "w" does not link up with "d", as for example in the word "maudu'a."

Therefore it cannot be "Farouk." "Fairusa" is a sapphire, a diamond, a precious stone, a very rare stone. "Wa-Kheir Mukhlis" - here we have two loops which can be either "m" or "is" or "h" or "r". And here it is definitely "s", since three points appear here. We have, here, three points in Arabic, like an "accent" and here it is written diagonally, and he usually writes the three points diagonally.

Q. And now something is missing here.

A. Possibly it is blurred or...

Q. It is clear that it is a word.

A. It looks like an "n" or something.

Q. Here there are some letters.

A. No. These are the points of ""Mukhlis". Here there is a "Hamza". Your Honours, I have seen in the handwriting of Hajj Amin al-Husseini that he also embellishes his handwriting as in ornamental writing - sometimes marks are made above or below.

Q. As in the Koran?

A. Yes.

Q. In ordinary handwriting as well?

A. Yes.

Q. Where did you see this?

A. I am prepared to show the Court.

Q. Very well, give us just one example; we do not want to go into this too fully. In general, tell us what comparative material you used?

A. [Shows some pages to the Presiding Judge.]

Q. Is this from the same material?

A. From the same material and also from other material of his. This sign here, this "Hamza", does not belong either to the word above or to this word - it is a superfluous embellishment. One can find many such examples in Arab writing.

[The witness points to an extract from the left-hand column of T/1286.]

Presiding Judge: This example will be sufficient for us, Mr. Hagag.

The enlargement made of the diary will be marked T/1394.

Attorney General: Mr. Hagag, now, so that all of us may understand, what are the words in Arabic appearing above the word "Eichmann" written in Latin characters?

Witness Hagag: Your Honours, as we have deciphered it, relying on the regular characteristics of the handwriting of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, I have interpreted this writing to be "fairus nadira jiddan" and "Kheir mukhlis lil-arab" - a very rare diamond and the best redeemer for the Arabs.

Q. A very rare diamond and the best redeemer for the Arabs, and underneath that - in Latin characters - Eichmann.

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Is that the Arabic which is generally used: "Kheir mukhlis"? This is somewhat strange.

Witness Hagag: It is pure Arabic, good Arabic.

Q. Nachawi (literary Arabic)?

A. Yes, Nachawi. Hajj Amin always used flowery expressions.

Q. From a grammatical point of view does "Kheir mukhlis" sound correct?

A. Yes, we all remember, for example, his motto: "Takalam el saif" - "the sword has spoken." Such expressions appear in his handwriting.

Q. Should that not be "the best of the redeemers" - "Kheir mukhlis"?

A. "Wa-Kheir Mukhlis" - the best of the redeemers or the best redeemer for the Arabs.

Q. You say that, at any rate, this is correct from a grammatical point of view?

A. Yes, it is possible this way.

Q. Because it could possibly be the plural of the word "mukhlis" What is the plural of the word "mukhlis"?

A. "Mukhlisin."

Attorney General: Is there another Court document that has been handed to you?

Witness Hagag: I have already returned it.

Q. I believe we have already deciphered that other document. There was a word which was not important, regarding Tripoli. We did not bother Mr. Hagag with that.

A. I deciphered that, too.

Q. Please, read it to us.

A. This is document No. 1307, Exhibit T/1273. The translation is "the plan for cleaning up the Jews and confiscation of their property in Tripoli before the evacuation."

Presiding Judge: There was something else there about bombing the enterprises in Haifa. Were you able to read anything there?

Witness Hagag: Yes, Your Honour, that is another document, in document No. 1305, Exhibit T/1268. The translation is: "The bombing of Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea and Rutenberg and Haifa, and the war industries there."

Attorney General: Thank you.

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

Dr. Servatius: Sir, with regard to document T/1267, where Eichmann's name appears, are you able to determine whether that is the handwriting of Husseini or of someone else?

Witness Hagag: Hour Honour, I was not given comparative material written by Hajj Amin in Latin characters which would enable me to determine whether the name "Eichmann" was written by Hajj Amin al-Husseini or by someone else.

Q. Are the entries in Latin characters in that diary, namely those of 10 November, in the same handwriting as the name "Eichmann"?

A. No, Your Honours, that is not the same handwriting.

Q. Does that apply to the Latin characters of "7 November"?

A. The Latin characters of 7 November resemble the letters of 10 November and do not resemble the word "Eichmann."

Dr. Servatius: I have no further questions.

Judge Halevi: If I understand you correctly, Superintendent Hagag, the Arabic above the word "Eichmann" is in the Mufti's handwriting.

Witness Hagag: Yes.

Q. Did you have sufficient comparative material?

A. I had sufficient comparative material in Arabic characters, but not in Latin.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Superintendent Hagag, you have concluded your testimony.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, my colleague, Mr. Bar-Or, will now submit a number of documents - not many.

Presiding Judge: What has happened?

Attorney General: More material has reached us. I also said this morning, Your Honour, that we have more documents.

Presiding Judge: This is after sifting out or before?

Attorney General: Before sifting. We are troubling the Court at this late hour only with matters which appear to us to be important; had we not thought so, we would not be adding additional documents to the collection of documents which, as it is, is formidable.

State Attorney Bar-Or: First of all, let me fulfil my undertaking towards the Court. In Session No. 47, the affidavit was admitted of Mr. Erwin Lenz, which is T/999. I promised the honourable Court that I would go into the question of his address - if he is still alive - in order that Defence Counsel would be able to decide whether he would wish to question him. With the aid of the West German authorities, I have succeeded in obtaining the address of Mr. Erwin Lenz, and it is: 9 Tiesenhagenerstrasse, Spandau, Berlin. The matter relates to Decision No. 45.

Presiding Judge: In what sector of Berlin is Spandau?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I do not know, but Defence Counsel should be in a position to help in this connection.

Dr. Servatius: I also have not got to the bottom of the mysteries of that city.

Presiding Judge: Whas that T/999?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Correct.

The Court asked me to inform it of the address, if I were able to ascertain it, so that Defence Counsel could decide whether he wants to summon him. I presume Defence Counsel will let us know whether he wants to move the Court in this matter. The decision was that the statement of Lenz was admitted, with the right of Defence Counsel being reserved to interrogate him before the Court, after the Prosecution will have ascertained whether it was possible to trace him at present.

Presiding Judge: Is that in connection with the Aegean Islands?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Rhodes and the Islands in the Aegean Sea.

Presiding Judge: Let us hear Dr. Servatius' reply.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I have to study these matters - I do not remember all the instances by heart - perhaps I can submit my reply in writing.

Presiding Judge: I would ask that after you have gone into this matter, and if you want to examine Lenz abroad, to let us have your notification to that effect, and then we shall see what to do about it.

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