The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 80
(Part 5 of 6)

Judge Raveh: I have another question with regard to this exhibit which I should like to put to the Witness. On page 6 there is an entry, Commando of the Representative of the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, etc. What is the meaning here of commando?

Accused: Your Honour, I am unable today to give you precise and detailed information about this, as I do not know; these provisions - that is to say, the distribution list was prescribed, and this provision included the commando of the representative which is mentioned here. From the text I gather that there was a General of the supporting forces, who was doubtless stationed in the military area at the rear, and to this General was assigned a commando of the Commander of the Security Police, and in order to ensure that all Jews of foreign nationality in all the territories would be covered in accordance with the order - which was the real reason for the constant discussions between my Section and the section of the Foreign Ministry - my Section could have been included in the distribution list.

There is another, more detailed explanation on page 10, where on the extreme right the name of two officials in charge in Section IVB4, that is my Section, appear, and then comes IVD, which was the Group in the Head Office for Reich Security responsible for the Occupied Territories, and in this case, this particular case, the formula for the distribution list was determined by IVD, on page 6. There is also reference to Department II of the Head Office for Reich Security, and on the left the Foreign Ministry is given as the co-signatory, this is the counterpart to what was mentioned earlier, when reference was made to the fact that I was co-signatory to some documents from the Foreign Ministry.

These sections referred to, that is to say the Heads of these sections determined the formula for the distribution list about which I was asked.

Judge Raveh: Do you remember a Hauptsturmfuehrer Plath?

Accused: No, I never saw him and do not know him.

Judge Raveh: And you do not know whether he was connected with your Section, or with Department IV?

Accused: I really cannot say whether he was connected with Department IV; he had no connection with my Section, as far as I know.

Dr. Servatius: I shall omit an exhibit, and come now to T/769, document No. 173. This is a communication from the Foreign Ministry to Eichmann, with reference to a communication dated 8 February 1943. On page 2 of the letter it says that the Foreign Ministry, therefore, asks for some 30,000 Jews to be made available, who appear suitable for any future exchange and have the nationalities referred to above. The countries concerned are listed above. The countries are listed in document 9 and I shall not read them out again.

Witness, did you have anything to do with the selection of these 30,000 foreign Jews?

Accused: I had no more to do with this than the actual processing of the paper work. I can well imagine that in accordance with the agreement between the Head Office for Reich Security and the Foreign Ministry, the relevant circulars were issued to the subordinate departments with orders to keep these categories of persons apart, and then in the end there was some transport, as was shown in a previous exhibit, where there were complaints from the Foreign Ministry about the running of the camps.

Judge Halevi: Who was responsible for the decision? On the second page it says that the Foreign Ministry proposes that Jews of this or that type be kept in reserve, and this proposal is made to the Accused. So who decided on the final selection?

Accused: In accordance with an order from the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, the final selection was decided on by the local headquarters of the Security Police in agreement with the local Representatives of the Foreign Ministry. Especially in the Generalgouvernement the representatives of the Foreign Ministry were called Plenipotentiaries of the Foreign Ministry. They had to determine the categories, which nationalities - not the staff of the Security Police which lacked the relevant expertise - but before that there had to be a general authorization. I remember that as far as this general authorization of the selection was concerned, that is making 30,000 Jews available for exchange, there had to be an arrangement between Himmler and Ribbentrop. Whether this preceded the original proposal of a subordinate section in the Foreign Ministry, or whether it was subsequent to it, is something which I can no longer say today.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to exhibit T/310, document No. 788. This is a communication from IVB4, dated 5 March 1943 about a decree on foreign nationals, signed by Kaltenbrunner. I also take the next exhibit, T/761, document No. 535. This is roughly the same decree with similar content. In one case the decree is headed "Reich Ministry of the Interior" while in the other case it is headed "Commander of the Security Police and Security Service."

Witness, can you explain the distinction between these two letterheads and the differences between the two decrees?

Accused: Today, I am not able to explain the distinction between the letterhead "Reich Ministry of the Interior" and that of "Commander of the Security Police and Security Service." This was laid down by ordinance, and I cannot give any further details on the matter. This, too, indicates IVB4 in the heading, which shows me that it was dealt with by the same official - a jurist - who in January carried out the preliminary work; he doubtless had various legal reasons.

Judge Halevi: Is this not the final version of the previous draft which was discussed? Is this not the final version of exhibit T/271, Prosecution document No. 9?

Accused: Yes, Your Honour, that is why I thought that IVB4b was the same jurist who worked on it previously, who worked on document No. 9, where I pointed out the letterhead IVB4, Regierungsrat Hunsche.

Judge Halevi: And there Dr. Servatius maintained that the i.V. (in Vertretung - on behalf of) in No. 271 meant that the Accused could not sign it, and in fact one finds here Kaltenbrunner's signature on the final version.

Dr. Servatius: The final version, indeed, bears the signature of Kaltenbrunner, but apparently there was to be some signing on behalf of - I assume that either Mueller or Kaltenbrunner was to sign on behalf of the Reich Ministry of the Interior, because he also would have had to sign if he was not the Reich Minister himself.

The next exhibit is T/790, document No. 1418. The Accused has already spoken about this. It concerns these camps for some 30,000 foreigners, who might be exchanged in return for Germans. At the end it reads:

"In conclusion it should be noted that both the Camp Commander and the person responsible for looking after the group of Jews now accommodated in the camp, SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Seidl, are entirely aware of the major inadequacies and weaknesses of the camp in its current form, and are trying with the means available to them to remedy the situation."
Then there is a sentence which reads:
"However, without the assistance from the central authorities it will be impossible to deal as required with the current inadequacies. The Foreign Ministry would ask to be kept informed about future developments in the matter."
I shall omit several exhibits and come now to document No. 298, which has no T number as yet.

Judge Halevi: Just to come back to the previous exhibit T/790. Did the Accused not say today that this was a matter for the Economic-Administrative Head Office and not for the Head Office for Reich Security? The exchange camp was Bergen- Belsen, that is what it says here - do you have the document? The Foreign Ministry addresses you, and criticizes Bergen-Belsen as a camp of this type. Why were you dealing with this matter?

Accused: Your Honour, I have already said that since all the correspondence passed through my Section, the Foreign Ministry continued to send these matters to me as well. Neither I, nor my Section, could take a decision as to which camp these exchange Jews were to be sent to. These matters had to be dealt with at the lowest rank between Mueller and Gluecks, but probably between the Commander of the Security Police and the Chief of the Economic-Administrative Head Office. In the Bergen-Belsen camp - I still remember this from then and I have also read about it in the post-war literature - this section was a specially segregated part of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. This camp really had nothing to do with the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. Different rules and regulations applied to it.

But in economic terms as well as with regard to board, lodging and accommodation, this part was also exclusively subordinate to the Economic-Administrative Head Office, since it was simply an exempted sector. However, as far as the personal aspect was concerned, this was something which was dealt with by the Commander of the Security Police, or the Chief of Department IV, or in the end also by my Section and the Foreign Ministry and not by the Economic-Administrative Head Office. Only right at the end of the War - so I heard after the War - did the situation in this camp also become unsatisfactory, as a result of the overcrowding resulting from the movement ordered by Himmler of prisoners from abandoned concentration camps, but that was in...

Judge Halevi: That was not the question. Thank you.

Dr. Servatius: I turn now to document No. 298 which has not yet been submitted, and which I offer as evidence. This is a communication from the Foreign Ministry to Eichmann, dated 22 December 1943. This is a communication in which the Spanish Embassy gives notice that it will recall the Spanish Jews.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/28.

Dr. Servatius: Von Thadden asks the Accused for a list of Jews interned in Bergen-Belsen.

Witness, did you draw up such a list?

Accused: Today, I do not remember, but I am sure that I drew up the list.

Dr. Servatius: Or was the comment in the communication on pages 3-4 of any significance? It says there "that the Ambassador had been told that no Jew, if he happened to possess a Spanish passport, was neutral, but must be considered to be an enemy of Germany, because as Jews they were notorious enemies of Germany."

Did that influence you in your further activities?

Accused: It was not a question of anything influencing me - I could not decide anything on my own authority, I received my orders, and the matter was dealt with in accordance with the orders.

Dr. Servatius: I would like to submit document No. 458, which has no T number as yet. This is the order of the Military Commander in France dated 4 February 1942, dealing with the deportation of Jews.

Witness, would you explain whether this order, or the content of the order, was of importance for your activities?

Accused: I should first of all like to correct something: It was not called "Deportation of Jews" but "Emigration of Jews." Naturally Himmler's ban was of major importance. First of all, this put a final stop to emigration, and secondly, it was important because subsequently the many requests for emigration all had to be turned down on the basis of this decree; whereas the chiefs could give final approval in exceptional cases - it says explicitly, if there was a positive or genuine interest for the Reich - the office, Section IVB4 had to give a negative answer. These were far-reaching consequences.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/29.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit I wish to discuss is T/1138, document No. 510. I would refer to page 2, where it says that "as in the case of the procedure applied in the occupied Dutch territories, well-to-do Jews of Slovak nationality, or if need be also their close relatives, should be allowed to leave Slovakia and enter the territory of the Reich; on payment of a suitable amount in Pengoe these Jews should be allowed to emigrate further."

Witness, what do you know of this practice in your Section?

Accused: This document was originally connected with the exhibit just dealt with, N/29, and it confirms what I have said. However the character here is rather different - on page 2 of this communication it says that the money which SS Gruppenfuehrer Berger requires for voluntary recruiting for the Waffen-SS in Hungary, etc. In other words, this Gruppenfuehrer Berger of the SS Head Office came to Mueller and discussed the possibility of proposing to the Reichfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police that he allow Jews, who had not so far submitted an application, to emigrate, up to a number required to obtained the amount of thirty million Pengoe. These matters exceeded the scale and capacity of Section IVB4, and could only be dealt with by the chiefs, and in accordance with the instructions of my Department Chief in this case I drafted this letter, which was then submitted to Himmler.

Dr. Servatius: Would the Witness look at the last sentence in the communication and comment on it?

Accused: Since the Chief of Department IV, Mueller, clearly had no one available to deal with foreign exchange aspects of this matter, Mueller and Berger agreed that Pohl, of the Economic-Administrative Head Office, should be the authority responsible for economic matters.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/928, document No. 127. This is a communication from Eichmann to the Foreign Ministry, dated 17 November 1942. In the first paragraph with regard to the emigration of Jews from Bulgaria, it says: "I believe that there is agreement to the effect that German authorities cannot generally be called upon to facilitate the emigration of Jews, but rather should be hindering such emigration in every way, or at least delaying it."

Would you comment on this statement which you made?

Accused: Since Himmler's ban, every matter which involved emigration had to be submitted to the Chief of Department, and a request made for instructions. He was the only person who could issue orders, being the lowest authority to do so, if he did issue orders by himself and did not pass the matter on in his turn. These instructions, and decisions of the Department Chief, were then passed on to the office which had submitted the application through Section IVB4, unless the situation was such that Mueller decided that he himself would sign.

Dr. Servatius: Exhibit T/946, document No. 830. In this the German Embassy in Sofia is informed that the British are promoting the emigration of 5,000 Jews to Palestine. The German Embassy in Sofia has been instructed to wait and see. Page 2 contains a handwritten note to the effect that this communication was sent to you for your reaction. Do you wish to comment on the document?

Accused: Certainly.

Dr. Servatius: First of all, did you reply at the time?

Accused: Whether I or my Section replied to this matter, or whether the Chief of Department IV himself replied I cannot say today.

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