The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 75
(Part 1 of 7)

Session No. 75

6 Tammuz 5721 (20 June 1961)

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

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, I shall first reply to a number of questions which were left open at previous sessions. We have shown to the Defence Counsel the passages from the book by Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel Out of Distress. As suggested by Judge Halevi, we have translated the passages relating to the late Shlomo Gross on pages 12-14 in the book. Counsel for the Defence objects to their submission. In the absence of agreement we cannot therefore submit them.

When I submitted Himmler's Posen speech, PS 1919, His Honour, the Presiding Judge asked me: What about the Nazi Party's programme regarding the Jews? I should like to ask the Court to accept as evidence the document which was No. PS 1708 in Nuremberg, published in IMG Volume 27, page 477; it constitutes the programme of the National Socialist Party. Paragraphs 4 and 8 of the Party's programme concern the Jews. We have also made typed copies of those paragraphs and I am ready to submit them as a separate exhibit for the convenience of the Court.

Presiding Judge: Have you any comments, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: I have no formal objection.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1403.

Attorney General: In the judgment of the International Military Tribunal, these paragraphs are mentioned in the first volume on page 193 and on page 278 (The reference is always to the German edition).

His Honour, Judge Halevi, asked me to find out whether the Swedish Government took action on the information it received from its representative in Berlin, von Otter, which was based on reports he had been given by Dr. Gerstein. The Israel Embassy in Stockholm applied to the Swedish Government and an official announcement was published in Stockholm on 8 June 1961. It says that von Otter reported orally about his conversation with Gerstein, that the Swedish Government knew about broadcasts over Radio London on 9 June 1942 by Sikorsky, President of the Polish National Council, and that in that broadcast attention had been drawn to the mass killings of Jews in Poland. The Swedish Government did not, therefore, think it proper to direct attention once again to the same subject since it assumed that the matter was already known to the world. In November 1942 the Swedish Foreign Minister was informed about a report by an eye witness to the atrocities in Poland, which had been published in London.

These are the contents of that official announcement. I have it before me and I am ready to have copies made if the Court so wishes. I am prepared to submit the text now in one copy.

Presiding Judge: Please submit it.

Attorney General: I ask you to disregard the emphases. They are mine, for the purpose of presentation to the Court.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, I assume that you have no comment in this matter?

Dr. Servatius: I have no objection. I only request that I receive a copy.

Presiding Judge: I have marked the text of the official announcement T/1404.

Attorney General: I was asked by His Honour, Judge Halevi, whether in the Weizmann Archives, or in the Archives of the Jewish Agency, there is any trace of a reaction from the Government of the Soviet Union to approaches made to it. After checking the matter, I have to inform you that no trace has been found either of an approach to the Soviet Union or of a reaction from it.

And now, a different matter: Last week we received the photostatic copy of a letter from Kappler - whose name has already been mentioned in connection with the extermination of the Jews of Italy - to Obergruppenfuehrer Wolff, a letter describing the operation against the Jewish Community of Rome. Since we have so far proved these matters through witnesses only, we request you to accept this document. We request the Court to accept it because it is one of the few documents we have about this operation.

Presiding Judge: This is a letter from Kappler to Wolff?

Attorney General: Yes, a letter from Kappler.

Presiding Judge: Wolff belongs to Himmler's headquarters?

Attorney General: To Himmler's headquarters. General of the Waffen-SS Wolff. The date of the letter is 10 October 1943. It describes the operation which started at 5:30 in the morning and ended at 2:00 in the afternoon. 1,259 persons were arrested in their homes. After the release of the offspring of mixed marriages, 1,007 remained under arrest. Their deportation was fixed for 18 October, the day after the arrest. Mention is made here of the resistance of an Italian fascist who faced the German search squad, dressed in his party's uniform, and tried to help the Jews.

Presiding Judge: What does Dr. Servatius have to say?

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I ask you not to accept the document, since the witness Kappler is being interrogated at the moment, and I am not able to have him state his position on this. I think that at the present stage of the proceedings this has been submitted too late.

Presiding Judge: When is he going to be interrogated?

Attorney General: He has not yet been interrogated. It is correct that he will be interrogated within the next few days and we have asked our representative at this hearing - to the extent that we shall be represented - to put this document before Kappler and to ask him for his reaction. The document is already in Rome in the hands of our representative who will represent me at the interrogation of Kappler.

Presiding Judge: Can you not be satisfied with that, Sir?

Attorney General: I could if I were certain that we would be represented there. But that is still in doubt.

Presiding Judge: But perhaps you could apply to the Court in writing. I would propose that this be done, if we could be certain that it will get there in time.

Attorney General: If the Court will kindly issue the correction to Kappler's questionnaire in the course of today then I might perhaps ask the embassy to delay the interrogation, if possible, until the arrival of the questionnaire.

Presiding Judge: What do you think about this proposal, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I received the document only half an hour ago. I ask you to give me an opportunity perhaps to propose a question to the Court, which would also be transmitted.

Presiding Judge: [After consultation] We think that the correct procedure is that this be submitted in Rome. We shall not ask for postponement of the interrogation there, but if you, Mr. Hausner, manage to include this in the examination there - we have no objection.

Attorney General: Will the Court correct the questionnaire?

Presiding Judge: Yes, we shall forward a correction to Italy. You will submit to us today this document together with the question you wanted to ask. I assume that the question will be whether the contents of the document are correct.

Attorney General: Yes, whether he signed this document.

Presiding Judge: And we shall ask Dr. Servatius to submit to us by tomorrow morning the question, or questions, he wishes to ask in connection with the document, but without any request on our part to delay the interrogation.

Attorney General: Very good, Your Honour.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I have taken a brief look at the document and in my opinion it is not relevant. The question at issue is not whether the persecution against the Jews occurred, but who caused it and on this the witness will be questioned, so that in my opinion the contents of the document is irrelevant.

Presiding Judge: This is a question we have already encountered before.

Decision No. 81

The Attorney General may ask for submission of the document in question during the interrogation of the witness in Italy. He is required to submit a suitable correction to his questionnaire today and Counsel for the Defence may submit his questionnaire by tomorrow morning. This Court will not ask the Italian authorities to postpone the interrogation of the witness on account of this matter.

Attorney General: I was asked about references to the Gerstein Report in other Nuremberg decisions. His Honour, Judge Halevi, asked me this question.

The answer is as follows: Part of the Gerstein Report was presented at the major trial as PS 1553 and was marked RF (Republique Francaise) 350 by the Court. It contains only the bills for the supplies of gas. The report in its entirety was submitted in Case No. 1 at the Doctors' Trial.

Presiding Judge: Was this report mentioned in the judgment in the major trial?

Attorney General: No. The Court will find it among the list of exhibits in the Doctors'Trial, in Volume 2 of the Green Series on page 347. It is marked "Prosecution Exhibit 428."

Presiding Judge: There, too, it is not mentioned in the judgment?

Attorney General: No, not according to my recollection. I am certain that it is not in IMT.

Presiding Judge: I think that this was really the question because of the difficulties of authentication.

Attorney General: I shall look into it again.

The Gerstein affair in general is mentioned in the judgment in the I.G. Farben case, in Volume 8 of the Green Series on page 1169. There is the conversation between Gerstein and Dr. Peters, the director of the Degesch Company, the suppliers of the gas, is mentioned, as for the judgment in Case No. 1 - I shall find out.

Presiding Judge: But in the I.G. Farben case the report is not mentioned in the judgment?

Attorney General: No, not the report.

Presiding Judge: In which volume did you say the I.G. Farben case was?

Attorney General: In Volume 2.

Attorney General: One more matter: At the Session of 26 May, Dr. Tibor Ferencz testified about his conversation with the Hungarian Under-Secretaries of State, Endre and Baky, a short time before they were executed. This appears in the record of Session No. 54. In the course of his testimony he was asked by His Honour, Judge Raveh, whether Endre and Baky mentioned Eichmann in their testimony; and His Honour, Judge Halevi, asked whether he knew where the record that was made of those conversations was kept.

In reply to the question of His Honour, Judge Halevi, we promised to make inquiries through the Government of Hungary and to try and obtain the record of the conversations. This is recorded on pages xx and xx of Session No. 54 of this Court. His Honour, Judge Halevi, remarked at the end that only in the event that the reply be in the negative would it be necessary to be content with the oral testimony.

I have to inform the Court as follows: Very recently, while the Court was in recess, Mr. Jenoe Levai arrived in this country, the author of the well-known book "The Black Book of Hungarian Jewry" and of other books about the Holocaust. He was present at the trials of Endre and Baky.

Presiding Judge: What is his name?

Attorney General: Jenoe Levai.

He can testify - if the Court will grant permission to hear him at this late stage - about the fact that Eichmann's name was indeed mentioned at the trials of Endre and Baky, and also that he heard from Dr. Tibor Ferencz about his conversations with Endre and Baky.

Presiding Judge: That he heard this from him?

Attorney General: Yes, that he heard this from Dr. Tibor Ferencz and that he was present when Dr. Ferencz read the record that was made of the said conversations. He also remembers the contents of the document which Dr. Ferencz read on that occasion.

Presiding Judge: The contents of a document which Dr. Tibor Ferencz himself did not remember, or about which he at any rate did not testify?

Attorney General: He testified that such a record was made, but he does not know the whereabouts of the record of his conversations.

Presiding Judge: That is to say, for the corroboration of Dr. Tibor Ferencz' testimony and nothing more?

Attorney General: Yes, nothing more. Except for one difference: While Dr. Tibor Ferencz Tibor was convinced that Eichmann's name was not mentioned, Dr. Levai recalls that the name was mentioned by the accused during their trial. Eichmann's name was mentioned by Endre and Baky.

As a result of our approach to the Hungarian Government, we were informed that something would be published in the Hungarian press and in fact, in Sunday's paper this week - the day before yesterday apparently - the record of the testimonies of Endre and Baky was published. From our first perusal this morning it emerges that the name of the Accused, Eichmann, is mentioned in the record of their evidence.

Presiding Judge: What is your request?

Attorney General: I shall come to my request at once. The record which Dr. Tibor Ferencz made and about the contents of which he testified, has not yet been published and has not yet been received by us.

I have an alternative application: I have said that I have no more witnesses and I do not want to change this announcement, unless the Court expressly decides otherwise. Dr. Levai is here at the disposal of the Court. If the Court is of the opinion this it is in order to hear him on those points which I have mentioned we shall be glad to comply and have him heard. Only if the Court does not wish to hear Dr. Levai, we would ask for permission to submit the Hungarian newspapers at a later stage; both the newspaper which has already appeared and the one which, we hope, will yet appear and will also contain the second document in which the Court was interested.

Presiding Judge: Is this being published in instalments?

Attorney General: It was stated that it would appear this Sunday, or rather, this is what we were told. But when we looked at what was published this Sunday we found the record of the proceedings of the trial, but we did not find the record of the conversation between Dr. Tibor Ferencz and the accused before their execution.

Presiding Judge: This is to say to that you did not receive a reply to the official request?

Attorney General: The reply we received was that this would be published in the press.

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