The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 75
(Part 3 of 7)

Attorney General: We followed the original transcript. There are places where the name was changed. Here it was not changed and we typed what we heard. But there is no doubt that Krumey is meant. The typist apparently made a mistake when listening to the tape. I continue reading:
"Theoretically, if there was a conspiracy between Wisliceny and Krumey at that time, if they tried their luck in contravention of the service directives, perhaps in co-operation with the Jews - if this is really so, then another question arises: Perhaps the trial now in progress against my permanent deputy in Frankfurt am Main, perhaps this is a prearranged game, not only in order to substantiate the theory about the five million Jews, as it were, and in order to increase the theory of five million perhaps to eight million and to extract further billions in reparations. An indication can perhaps be found, if one wants to take this into account at all as an element of truth, in Krumey saying to the Jew B. (that is, Joel Brand) at the time of his take-off: 'Apart from Eichmann, there are also Wisliceny and Krumey.'

"If this is not a lie, then Krumey and Wisliceny sinned against German blood; if this were the case, Wisliceny's reports contradicted the facts as he knew them; if this were the case, he obstructed me, as it were; if this were the case I really could not have reached deportation figures to be proud of in any way - as I would have wished, because of my uncompromising fanaticism. I could not then achieve my ultimate aim, which was to free Hungary of all its Jews. If that was so, then Wisliceny and Krumey are responsible, in the last resort, for the fact that the Hungarian nation of today is exposed to the terror of Jewish secret policemen.

"Question: Do you think this is possible - of course on the theoretical assumption that Wisliceny and Krumey gave you faked figures about the deportations?

"Answer: Yes, now I do!"

Presiding Judge: Does it say "question" and "answer" in the transcript, or as it appears here?

Attorney General: No, this has to be understood from the context only.

"Question: Do you think it is possible that when Wisliceny told you: 'today a transport of 12,000 persons was sent off' - that in reality only 6,000 left?

"Answer: Yes, now I do!

"Question: Did you not have a means of checking, that the place they were sent to would have informed you: Yes, 12,000 did in fact arrive?

"Answer: They were not counted."

The next passage is on page 432 and deals with the question which was of concern to the persons recording this tape: Who initiated the Wannsee conference. And here the Accused says - he begins with the Spanish word "bueno" (well):
"Answer : Bueno, it was Hitler himself - neither Heydrich nor Himmler, they were not the initiators. No, of this I am sure, and I could not say anything else. As things stood, and on the basis of my knowledge of my superiors - no, after all Heydrich was no actor and he always spoke frankly, he never kept anything from me. I had a very good relationship with Heydrich. He would tell me: At last, Eichmann, we have succeeded, we have acted and we have thrown out all the..."
Here follows a vulgar word which I might translate as "backsides" - the Court will know what expression is meant.

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Attorney General:

"Now we have thrown out all the 'backsides' of the Ministries, now we can rule to our heart's content - something like this Heydrich would have said to me. But Heydrich did not say that."
This is followed by the words of the Accused, and that is why we agreed with Counsel for the Defence to include these pages which you have before you, from page 492 onward.

Presiding Judge: Is this all that is left?

Attorney General: This and one more earlier passage. The method employed here was that the person talking with the Accused read passages from the Wannsee report and asked the Accused for his reaction. First the passage:

"State Secretary Dr. Buehler stated that the Generalgouvernement would welcome a beginning of the Final Solution of this Question in the area of the Generalgouvernement...

"Yes, now I can remember, I can remember Buehler."

Attorney General: Another passage is read to him:
"It is the Jew in particular who has to be removed from the Generalgouvernement, because as bearer of infectious diseases he constitutes a most serious danger, he causes disarray in the economy of the country through constant blackmarketeering. And apart from that, half of the two and a half million Jews in question are not fit for work."
Thus far the Wannsee report, and now the answer of the Accused:
"Answer This is of course an exaggeration. Especially in the Generalgouvernement the opposite was the case - the Generalgouvernement in particular provided most of the artisans."
Attorney General: And again an excerpt from the Wannsee report:
"Finally the various ways of possible solutions were discussed, and in this connection both Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and State Secretary Dr. Buehler were of the opinion that some preliminary work had to be done immediately in the areas concerned in preparation for the Final Solution, but that panic among the population had to be avoided. What does this mean?

"Answer: Perhaps liquidation. But this was being done already since 1941, in the occupied areas in the East. But this sentence has to be struck out, I cannot accept it although taken altogether these are mostly my words.

"Summing up, one has to say that this report is textually quite authentic, and that it misses the point only where it touches on the substantive part, i.e., the figures and also some hints about certain methods of solution of the problem by force. Or rather, this was surreptitiously introduced into the text."

Presiding Judge: Is this the report of the Wannsee Conference?

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: Does he not say somewhere in T/37 that he wrote this report?

Attorney General: No, he says that he wrote the main points for Heydrich's speech at the conference.

Presiding Judge: Not the report?

Attorney General: No, not that I remember, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: We shall check that.

Attorney General: Here he says that the report is authentic, but that the figures - the Court will remember that eleven million Jews were mentioned for the Final Solution. About that he says: This was surreptitiously introduced.

[Continues reading.]

"When you first mentioned 'Wannsee record' I said that I remembered almost nothing. But later, when I heard my own words, I understood what this was about. Well it was like this: After he was empowered by the Reichsmarschall, Heydrich ordered me to invite such and such persons to a meeting at which the questions would be clarified on a general basis. And there he firmly intended to have his own way.

I was ordered to write letters of invitation and he gave me key words, which I took down and he ordered me to compose a speech for him, as usual in such matters, such a speech had to be polished two or three times and in the end the speech was ready. As for the letters of invitation, I used the same wording in all of them. I obtained information about the marking of the various offices, and I also had to find out the correct way of address - either official or personal. Then I brought him the portfolio and he scribbled 'Heydrich' on one letter after the other, after which they were sent out. Some people declined and sent representatives for various official reasons, etc. And then the matter took its course.

"I remember that at the end of this Wannsee Conference Heydrich, Mueller and my humble self settled down comfortably by the fireplace and that then for the first time I saw Heydrich smoke a cigar or a cigarette, and I was thinking: Today Heydrich is smoking, something I have not seen before. And he drinks cognac - since I had not seen Heydrich take any alcoholic drink in years. After that I saw Heydrich drink once more, at some friendly get-together of the Security Service, where Heydrich, already in high spirits, introduced me to Pappenheimer, whom I had not known before. We sang a song, we drank, we climbed up on a chair and drank again and then onto the table and down again and so on - a type of merrymaking I had not known, it was a North German custom. And after this Wannsee Conference we were sitting together peacefully, and not in order to talk shop, but in order to relax after the long hours of strain. I cannot say any more about this."

The last excerpt concerns the visits to the concentration camps and is to be found on page 279.
"Question: And now the second point: Why did you go to the concentration camps?

"Answer: I visited Auschwitz, Oranienburg and the camp very near Lublin. I went to Oranienburg because of the Grynszpan affair. So this was an individual matter and therefore was of little consequence. But in the other concentration camps I visited Hoess several times. I had, of course, to keep in constant touch with the receiving camps, especially Auschwitz before the arrival of a large sector, let us say, Hungary. The escorting units reported about this."

Presiding Judge: Handed this over - apparently the transports.

Attorney General: They reported on the transports.

Presiding Judge: No, it seems that the escorting units handed over the transports.

Attorney General: Lastly, I should like to ask the Court to accept a number of documents, not very many, the result of the search we have carried out.

Presiding Judge: Have you informed Dr. Servatius in advance?

Attorney General: Yes, he has been notified.

First, still on the chapter of deportations of Polish and Jewish inhabitants from the areas annexed to the Reich, from the incorporated areas of former Poland, the areas called the Warthegau, - Wartheland - and others.

Our document No. 1461 is an interim report summing up the operation until 26 January 1940. It is signed by SS Sturmbannfuehrer Rapp and was written in Poznan. I shall not burden the Court with details. On page 5 he mentions that the first transport plan had been completed and that until 17 December 1939 eighty transports comprising 87,883 deportees had been dispatched to the area of the Generalgouvernement. He summarized the difficulties and problems with which the operation was faced.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/1405.

Attorney General: The next document our No. 1485, concerns the same subject. It is a memo by an official of the deportation office in Poznan. He summarizes a telephone call from Eichmann from Berlin on 8 March 1940. Eichmann informs him that an earlier instruction, according to which every deportee would be allowed to take with him food for two days, has to be changed and that now food for eight days has to be taken along. He insists that the deportation authorities should strongly demand provisions for eight days. He announces that he will supply a new schedule beginning on 1 April 1940, and that from that date daily transports will be arranged.

Judge Halevi: Does this concern Jews or Poles?

Attorney General: Poles and Jews. The Court can see this from the previous document I submitted.

Judge Halevi: It speaks of farmers who have food on their farm.

Attorney General: We have already submitted documents about the fact that, in the end, they did allow the Jews to take with them even the standard minimum quota in money. But this is just in order to complete the picture.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/1406.

Attorney General: Our document No. 1486 is a telegram from Eichmann to Rapp in Poznan. He demands a report on the progress of the settlement of Germans from Volhynia in the vacated areas. It is dated 30 March 1940.

Presiding Judge: this will be T/1407.

Attorney General: Document No. 1462 is a telegram signed by Eichmann, dated 15 February 1941 and addressed to several officers of the Security Police and the Security Service in Koenigsberg, Katowice, Gotenhafen, Posen and Litzmannstadt. What I want to point out here is the fact that this is also directed to Brunner in Vienna because it fits in with T/811, dated two days earlier - 13 February 1941 - about the deportation of the Jews of Vienna to the Generalgouvernement. Thus Brunner in Vienna also receives the announcement concerning the deportation arrangements, advance information to the office of the Generalgouvernement about the departure of the deportation trains, and indication of the addresses within the Generalgouvernement to which reports and information about the departure of transports have to be given.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/1408.

Attorney General: Our document No. 1110 is about another matter concerning the Generalgouvernement, but no longer the evacuations. Von Thadden writes to Guenther on 7 July 1943 that Jews of foreign nationality, who are in camps in the Generalgouvernement, are prepared to pay 100,000 dollars in foreign currency to redeem their lives with this ransom and to obtain transfer to a special camp in exchange for this payment. Von Thadden says that he does not regard this proposal as serious. At any rate, he is sending Untersturmfuehrer Boehm there to clarify the situation.

Judge Halevi: No, at first he did not think it was serious, but Boehm found out that apparently there really was a sum of money in foreign currency.

Attorney General: And therefore he sends Boehm to Switzerland in order to report back.

Judge Halevi: No, he has already sent him.

Attorney General: He will be enabled to go to Switzerland on official business.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/1409.

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