The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 78
(Part 3 of 5)

Dr. Servatius: May I perhaps add something? Does the file reference show something? If I am not mistaken, there seems to be some difference according to the file references.

Accused: No, there is no distinction made or to be deduced from the file references of the Reich Ministry of the Interior, but in the letterheads of the paper used in the Head Office for Reich Security there is a difference, because there were three different letterheads: the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior; the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, and the Head Office for Reich Security. However, I am no longer able, today, to give a detailed presentation of the principles governing the choice of these various letterheads. I believe that it was also a legal interpretation - I just do not remember today.

Judge Raveh: If you would take document No. 503, the previous exhibit, the second letter from Lammers to Frank, where it says: "Since the Reich Minister of the Interior is in overall charge of dealing with the entire Jewish Question..." On the basis of what you have said, was it not clear from the outset that it meant Himmler or Heydrich, and not someone else?

Accused: It is my opinion that, where the legal foundations are basically concerned, the Reich Ministry of the Interior, and only the Reich Ministry, was responsible, and not the departments of the Chief of the Reichsfuehrer-SS and the Chief of the German Police. Many documents, or rather, several documents, show here that the overall authority lay with the appropriate chiefs in the Ministry of the Interior, and that, for example, the legal experts from the Head Office for Reich Security were invited to the discussions because they were marginally involved, but not because of their being in charge. In other words, these legislative preliminary measures fell under the primary responsibility of the departments of the Reich Ministry of the Interior, and not that of the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Security Police.

Dr. Servatius: To continue: the position as to exhibit T/682, document No. 197. This is a minute drafted by Rademacher in the Foreign Ministry on 21 August 1941 for his superior, Under-Secretary of State Luther. The Accused had enquired of the Foreign Ministry what their position was with regard to the foreign Jews in Germany, and whether marking should apply here, too. He suggests to his superior that they should be included, and, at the end, there is a notable sentence which sheds some light on the overall attitude of the Foreign Ministry to the Jewish Question. At the end it says: "In my opinion, we can quietly await a protest from the Swiss or Swedish Governments."

The next exhibit is T/684, document No. 948. This is a letter from Ribbentrop's office to Luther, dated 31 August 1941. Ribbentrop is asking Heydrich for a delay for taking a position on the marking of foreign Jews.

The next exhibit is T/685, document No. 949, 24 September 1941. This is a letter from Heydrich to Ribbentrop. Contents: Heydrich states that there is general approval for marking, which, therefore, includes foreign Jews as well, "but as regards internal relations, I wish to be conciliatory and will not insist on implementation."

Witness, the Prosecution has argued that this letter originated with you. Could you comment on this?

Accused: Yes. First of all, I would like to say that this letter dated 24 September 1941, which has just been referred to, is a formal answer by Heydrich to the presentation by the Reich Foreign Ministry of the wishes of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. The police regulations were issued in between these two exchanges of letters. I have already explained how all the central authorities involved worked on these police regulations, as is clearly shown by their contents. I happen to know that the various sections of the Party, particularly the Party Chancellery, adopted a rather - I think I would call it stubborn - attitude, and were not always prepared to recognize and approve the wishes of the various departments.

Looking at these records today, I think I can safely assume that the delegate dispatched by the Foreign Ministry for these departmental discussions - it may well have been Legationsrat Rademacher - might have felt too weak to stand up to this pressure as he should have, thus making it necessary for the Reich Foreign Ministry to issue a warning in a note to the Chief of the Security Police to the effect that "Jews of foreign nationality belong to my area, please keep away."

And in the meanwhile, on 15 September 1941, the police regulations were issued. Heydrich gave the order subsequently for a letter to be drafted following the key words he had ordered, and in this letter he informs the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs in triumph: "I have actually taken account of these wishes, see police regulation so-and-so, which exclude Jews of foreign nationality, but still, I would ask you if foreign policy considerations can be excluded, to discuss the matter with me again, for general application."

Presiding Judge: One moment, I believe you did not hear the question, and this is not the first time - you were not asked to give a general lecture on the letter, but you were asked a specific question: What about the Prosecution's statement with regard to your role in drafting this letter? Anything else is superfluous, at least at this point.

Accused: Instructions for drafting letters were normally issued by the Department Chief to his Section. These instructions had to be followed when the Section wrote the letter. Generally, it was altered several times, depending on the addressee, and, at the same time, the Department Chief informed the Section by a coloured mark whether he wished to sign this communication as Department Chief, or whether he wanted the Chief of the Security Police to sign the communication. The instructions were given by means of a blue or...

Presiding Judge: This is not of importance at the moment. There is no need to go into these details. I will explain it to you in German, because it is of general importance.

Now is not the time for general observations, unless you are asked to do so by the Defence or the Prosecution. Here you are asked specific questions, and you must give specific answers, where you can. That is the difference between this examination and the interrogation of Captain Less. He said to you, "Please comment generally." Here things are different. Do you understand?

Accused: Yes.

Presiding Judge: I gather that you meant to say that this letter, exhibit T/685, was drafted by you on the basis of Heydrich's instructions, and that you submitted it to Heydrich for his signature. Is that correct?

Accused: Yes, that is correct.

Presiding Judge: If it is convenient to you, Dr. Servatius, we shall now take a recess.


Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to exhibit T/685, document No. 949 - this is a letter from Heydrich to Ribbentrop, dated 24 September 1941. Contents: Marking [of Jews] has received general approval - Heydrich has issued the police regulations.

Presiding Judge: I believe that this exhibit has already been discussed.

Dr. Servatius: Then would you please take exhibit T/751, document No. 1027. This is a letter from Mueller to the various police departments and other departments, dated 4 September 1942. It supplements the marking regulations for Bulgarian Jews in Germany.

Witness, the communication is signed by Mueller - could you also have signed it?

Accused: No, the fact that it was signed by Mueller shows the limitations on the powers exercised by me.

Dr. Servatius: I come to exhibit 221, document No. s1247. This is a communication from the camp commander of Litzmannstadt to the Regierungspraesident (District Governor), dated 24 September 1941. The camp commander is complaining about the fact that the camp is overcrowded, as a result of the sudden direction to it of a large-scale Jewish transport. At the bottom of page 1 it says - I quote: "And now I am faced by an apparent fait accompli that, not only another twenty thousand Jews, but also five thousand Gypsies will have to be absorbed in the ghetto in the very near future." He refers to the difficulties thus created.

I now turn to the next exhibit, document No. 1248 - T/220 - which is a telegram from this District Governor to Himmler on 9 October 1941. The District Governor passes the complaint on to Himmler and, on the last page but one, he complains that the Accused acted there with the methods of a horse dealer (Rosstaeuschermanieren), as one behaves in trading horses. The matter referred to appears at the top of the last page. The situation was that the transport arrived without authorization; queries were addressed to Berlin, and the Accused maintained what it says here - that the camp commander, or a delegate of his, had issued the authorization.

Witness, is the complaint made about you justified?

Accused: Yes, it is a just complaint.

Dr. Servatius: Why did you use this method?

Accused: A little while before this time, on an official trip to the East, as ordered by my Department Chief, I saw the preparations for extermination. In this case, it was the first major wave of evacuations of the Jews from the area of the Reich - around twenty thousand Jews - if one disregards the Stettin transport. This was the first and the last time that I was given the choice by my chief between two points of destination, two destinations, one of which was Litzmannstadt or, if there were difficulties, to the East.

Now, as I have said, I saw the preparatory measures and, on the basis of these preparatory measures, I was resolved that this evacuation should be pushed through with Litzmannstadt as the destination, and I reached an agreement with the Head of the State Police Department, and we both worked on the ghetto administrator and made the appropriate report to Berlin, so that Litzmannstadt was approved as the destination. Later it was discovered that certain information given about Litzmannstadt was not entirely valid.

Dr. Servatius: As for the next letters, the next three exhibits to which I intended to refer, I can leave these out now - the army intervenes because of the armaments plants, although there were complaints because the deportation was interfered with, and finally the dispute is settled when Heydrich states that Eichmann had been acting according to his orders.

Judge Halevi: Do you mean to say that you used this system, described as the "Rosstaeuschermanieren" (methods of a horse dealer), in order to save Jews?

Accused: Since, in this case, I had the choice of selecting the destination, I personally did not want these twenty thousand Jews to be sent to the East, but to Litzmannstadt, because I knew that no means for extermination had been prepared there.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to exhibit T/714, document No. 504. The document consists of two letters: One is a letter from the Higher SS and Police Leader of Vienna, dated 27 October 1941, which is a covering letter to the next letter, from the Chief of the Order Police, Daluege, dated 24 October 1941. This latter communication from Daluege, of 24 October 1941, is an express letter about the evacuation of fifty thousand Jews from Bohemia and Moravia to be moved to the area around Riga and Minsk.

Witness, give us your position on this order, and tell us if you were involved in implementing this evacuation and deportation.

Accused: This evacuation was the second wave of evacuations. My superiors had given clear orders that here the destinations were to be Minsk and Riga and, in accordance with these orders, my Section had to work out the timetable, together with the Reich Ministry of Transport. The document in question simply shows the instructions of the Chief of the Order Police to the effect that units of the Order Police should be made available to accompany the transports. The documents under consideration do not show the document which indicates that this evacuation was ordered by Heydrich - I am sorry, by Himmler - and for the Security Police sector Heydrich issued operational orders, just as Daluege issued the operational orders for the Order Police sector.

Dr. Servatius: I turn now to exhibit T/294, document No. 1193. These are notes about a consultation presided over by Heydrich on 10 October 1941, with regard to solving the Jewish Question in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

The introduction lists the participants in the consultation. In the middle of page 2, it says - I quote: "In the next few weeks, the five thousand Jews should be evacuated from Prague. SS Brigade Commanders Nebe and Rasch could receive Jews at the camp for Communist prisoners in the operations area. This has already been initiated, according to information from SS Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann." Witness, give us your position on this statement in the document.

Accused: Yes. This involves the negotiations and discussions with the Reich Ministry of Transport on the drawing up of a timetable. These had been ordered, and were taking place at the time. As to the fact that the Jews evacuated to Riga or Minsk were killed, that is something of which Section IVB4 had no idea, neither was IVB4 told about this. In this connection, I should like to refer to an operational situation report; unfortunately, I do not have the T number, it is State Attorney No. 1092...

Presiding Judge: That is exhibit T/305.

Dr. Servatius: T/305, if the number is correct. I have noted document No. 192, which would be T/292.

Accused: No, 192 is wrong. It should be 1092. On the last page, in the last paragraph, it says that "the Higher SS and Police Leader in Riga, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Jeckeln, has, in the meanwhile, set in motion a shooting operation and on Sunday, 30 November 1941, eliminated some" - it is not very clear, it might be 14,000 - "14,000 Jews from the Riga Ghetto and an evacuation transport from the Reich. Originally the action should have..." etc. - the rest is... So here, the Higher SS and Police Leader in Riga made use of his powers and his authority on the spot.

At this time, Regulation 11 of the Reich Citizenship Law had not yet been issued. The Wannsee Conference had not yet taken place. And thirdly, I believe I remember that these transports were to be provided with all sorts of items of equipment. And lastly, I believe I remember the order stating at the time that in the East large camps were to be built to house the Jews from the area of the Reich, so that it was the understanding and opinion even of Section IVB4 that the Jews deported to the East from the Reich would be assembled in these camps.

Judge Halevi: Is that not in contradiction to your previous answer that you had seen the exterminations in the East.

Accused: Yes, it is really, but it was then that, in line with Heydrich's statement, I received information to the effect that it was the local Jews who were involved in the East, whereas everybody believed that, since in this instance, Jews from the area of the Reich with German Reich citizenship were involved, these Jews did not fall under the provisions which applied to the Special Operations Units.

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