The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 81
(Part 5 of 5)

Dr. Servatius: The last paragraph says:
"I have therefore instructed the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Prague, with regard to the Jews in question, to leave them until further notice in Theresienstadt."
Would you comment on your authority in the matter?

Accused: A Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service was not subject to a Section Head. He was, without any exception, subordinate to the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, and to his representative, which in my case was the Chief of Department, that is Gruppenfuehrer Mueller. If Mueller instructed me to reply in a particular way, I had to sign "by order." I here informed the Commander, by order, of what his superior had decided.

Dr. Servatius: I leave out two documents, and come to document No. 541, T/850. These are directives for the technical execution of the removal of Jews to Theresienstadt, dated 20 February 1943.

In paragraph 1, on page 1, there is a reference to the competence of various offices. It states "The execution is the responsibility of the Main Offices of the State Police in Vienna, as heretofore the liquidation unit of the Central Office for Emigration of Jews, and in the Protectorate the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service." Then it goes on to state: "The task of these offices is, in addition to seizing and concentrating the groups of people concerned, also their transport." Then, on page 4, under "Transport III" the following is stated: "The transport will take place either in special trains containing," it should be 1,000 each, but it says 100 each, "in accordance with the timetable set up in co-ordination with the Reich Transport Ministry."

Finally, on page 6, point 6, "Reporting System," it says: "The arrival and acceptance of the transports is to be reported, among others, to Section IVB4."

Witness, would you comment about your participation and responsibility concerning such evacuation transports?

Accused: In addition to matters strictly connected with drawing up the timetable, which have already been discussed, the second important task was the drafting of these directives. These directives were collated through a large number of contacts with my Chief of Department, through correspondence between the Department Chief, or the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, with Himmler, who reserved to himself even the issue of detailed orders for Theresienstadt. Once these points had all been clarified, Section IVB4 had to formulate them, and they were released and sent out.

On page 6, the first paragraph is, in my opinion, very significant, because it says: "The acceptance of the Jews in Theresienstadt Ghetto is within the competence of the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, and of the Central Office for the Solution of the Jewish Question in Bohemia and Moravia in Prague." It was not Section IVB4 that was competent in this matter, but even for the reception it was the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service who had authority.

Judge Halevi: This Central Office in Prague, was headed, as far as I recall, by Guenther, the second Guenther.* {*Hans Guenther} Was he not subordinate to you?

Accused: Guenther was not subordinate to me in terms of staff.

Judge Halevi: In what sense was he, nonetheless, subordinate to you?

Accused: For instance...he was not subordinate to me at all...for instance, the Head of the Office would give an order, and this order would go to the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, Prague - Central Office for the Settlement of Jewish Affairs or questions, which they direct...

Judge Halevi: That is to say, the official line of command was through Mueller to the Commander of the Security Service, to Guenther?

Accused: Yes, Sir. Because he was neither in terms of personnel or subject matter subordinated to me...

Judge Halevi: And who was at the head of the Central Office in Vienna?

Accused: After I was ordered away from Vienna, I think that for a short time Guenther - I do not know any more whether this was the Prague Guenther or the other Guenther; this was just a short time - and then, afterwards Brunner came there.

Judge Halevi: And this Brunner - was he also subordinate to you, or not?

Accused: Brunner also was not subordinate to Section IVB4, but rather - as far as I know - to the Inspector of the Secret Police and the Security Service in Vienna, or the Security Service at Vienna. In any event, not to Section IVB4 in the Head Office for Reich Security.

Judge Halevi: And here, too, the official channel was through Mueller?

Accused: Here, too, it had to go through Mueller. Yes, Sir. Incidentally this can be determined quite precisely from the staff lists.

Judge Halevi: Please look at the end of the first page of this document..."the responsibilities of these offices."

Accused: Yes, Sir.

Judge Halevi: Four duties are listed there: seizure of the group of persons, concentration, transports, seizure of assets.

Accused: Yes.

Judge Halevi: Do these four tasks not correspond to your duties?

Accused: These four tasks correspond to the duties with which the Commander of the Security Police - Central Office for Regulation was charged and in Vienna - the State Police Office Vienna and the Liquidation Unit of the Central Office for Emigration.

Judge Halevi: And who handled all of these tasks in the Head Office for Reich Security?

Accused: The Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service at that time, who availed himself for the implementation of the tasks assigned to him, of the local arrangements in his sphere of competence.

Judge Halevi: Does that mean that the Commander of the Security Service acted directly, or through you, in these matters?

Accused: The Chief of Security would issue his instructions through the Chief of Department, when this was necessary, and the Chief of Department IV would give me instructions to act in this or that way.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to a series of documents and weekly reports of the Jewish community of Prague. This is T/162, with a series of sub-numbers, police numbers from 1323 through 1336 and 1338. In the report, carrying the police number 1323, of 23-29 July 1939 it says, under point 1 - "Emigration: The Secretary of the Community was in Vienna, on 20 July, on Eichmann's instructions."

My Question is this: Why was this Secretary sent to Vienna?

Accused: This was the year 1939. At that time I had set up the Central office in Vienna, it was functioning, and when the order came to establish a similar institution in Prague, I summoned the Jewish functionaries repeatedly to Vienna so that they could look at the setup.

Dr. Servatius: Report No. 1324, covering 13-19 August 1939, says on page 2 that a certain Dr. Kafka and Mrs. Schmolka could travel to Paris and to London, respectively. Could you state what was the purpose of these journeys?

Presiding Judge: That is stated in the document itself - in order to carry on negotiations.

Dr. Servatius: That is true, but he can give additional facts, how it came about.

Accused: I think I can clarify this point from the next paragraph. Here the Managing Secretary of the Jewish community of Prague reports that in many cases persons who already had an possibility for immigration could not utilize it, because they could not obtain their departure documents in time, and the consulates often refused to extend the date for entry. In such cases, it may have been that I found out how many openings for immigration there could be altogether for a certain period, and whether it was worthwhile to set up such an apparatus there in order that these immigration documents, which, as the Managing Secretary found out, had been limited in time and had lapsed in the meantime - that these difficulties could be abolished through a tighter organization of all authorities concerned with the processing of such documents - and that may have been the purpose of these journeys abroad by these Jewish functionaries.

Dr. Servatius: Document No. 1329, weekly report of 10-16 November 1939. Under III, at the bottom, it says:

"On 10 November 1939, the directors of the Jewish Community and the Palestine Office were summoned to SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Eichmann and asked whether the daily quota of emigrants reaching the Central Office for Emigration of Jews - Prague could be increased? Otherwise the Central Office for Emigration of Jews in Prague would be closed."
Witness, would you say why this pressure was applied to the leaders of the Jewish community?

Accused: This passage is concerned with that which I have just explained, and it confirms what I have just stated. The date was 16 November 1939, and this was war time, and my superiors did not agree that officials of the Central Office sit behind their desks all day and just kill time and do nothing. In the course of manpower cuts, the Central Office for Emigration of Jews would then have to be closed, unless action was taken through appropriate immigration opportunities. I cannot say any more in this connection.

Dr. Servatius: Or was pressure applied because these Jews did not want to emigrate? And did they have to be forced to do that?

Accused: No, the Jews were quite anxious to emigrate, but the obstacles were created neither by the Jews nor by the German authorities. Rather, the difficulties lay on the part of the recipient countries' willingness to accept them.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to an exhibit number T/842, document No. 109.

Presiding Judge: This is about Theresienstadt, isn't it?

Dr. Servatius: Yes. It is the testimony of a witness, the former commander Seidl, dated 16 October 1945. He says here on page 2 of the document, at the bottom:

"Regarding the executions which took place at the beginning of March 1943, I state: This concerns persons who have violated the following regulations: bribing officials, smuggling letters. There was a regulation, issued by Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, that the above- mentioned violations be punished by death."
Did you issue such a regulation? Would you like to comment on this?

Accused: I neither issued such a regulation, nor did I have any death sentence carried out or signed. I was not authorized to do this. I was not authorized to do so in 1939, I was not authorized to do so in the year 1941, I was not authorized to do so in 1942. For security in the ghetto, and generally for the entire area of the Protectorate, there was exclusively one single office with the authority, and that was the State Secretary for Security Matters of the Higher SS and the Police Leader, K.H. Frank. Not even the Head Office for Reich Security, that is to say the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service.

The latter could make use of the police units active in the Protectorate, in a twofold respect: first as State Secretary for Security Matters of the government of the Protectorate, that is to say, of the German Government, as Minister of State, and secondly, as Higher SS and Police Leader and representative of the Reichsfueherr-SS and Chief of the German Police. He could, thus, issue his orders immediately and directly to the Commander of the Security Police, and that is what actually occurred.

Dr. Servatius: On page 3, Seidl says in the middle:

"On 15 March 1942, orders were received from Prague by telephone to carry out the executions of the further nine Jews, on the 16th. The written order existed in Prague but would not be conveyed to Theresienstadt for security reasons."
Would you state what you can about this affair?

Presiding Judge: This exhibit contains a number of documents, and you are now quoting from the second document, and that can cause confusion.

Dr. Servatius: It is the second part and it will be numbered anew.

Presiding Judge: And what is your question to the Accused? I see that the Accused has not grasped the question.

Dr. Servatius: Would you comment on this, whether these regulations, this description given by the witness here is correct?

Accused: I can no longer comment on this in detail, but one thing I know most certainly and concretely, that these orders must have come from Prague. To this extent the witness is correct, because Prague is where the office of the State Secretary for Security Matters was located, as well as the Office of the Chief of the Higher SS and Police Chief and his immediate subordinate - the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service.

Dr. Servatius: Would you now comment on the last part of the quotation - the written order existed in Prague and would not be brought from there for reasons of security. Was this the usual procedure?

Accused: It seems to me, on the face of it, to be an unusual procedure, but what may have induced the local authorities to do this, I do not know.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit, T/846, document No. 1198, is the copy of an order of the day from Theresienstadt, dated 16 January 1942. There is a reference here to an inspection which Eichmann carried out, and then of a change in the ban on mail.

Witness, why did you visit the camp? Was it under your jurisdiction, and what was the occasion of your visit?

Accused: The camp was not under my jurisdiction, as I have already indicated, but my Chief of Department, Department IV, would order an inspection on the part of the Head Office for Reich Security from case to case, from time to time, and in particular in the case of matters which were of importance throughout the Reich. Matters of local interest did not interest the Head Office for Reich Security.

Now, affairs which were of importance for the Reich were, to give an example, inspections, special enquiries from Himmler who kept close personal contact with Theresienstadt through the Head Office for Reich Security. In those cases, I had to present the result of the inspection to my Chief of Department, and the Jewish Elders' Council called the occasion of my visit there "inspection" - while ordinarily it would not use this description - surely because this inspection had been officially announced.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, can we break here?

Dr. Servatius: I would like to put one more question.

Presiding Judge: Please do so.

Dr. Servatius: You said that such inspections took place on special occasions. What was the special occasion here?

Accused: I can reconstruct this today only from the documents. In order to understand this quickly, one has to refer to exhibit T/845, and then the matter would seem to be clear. Specifically, in Order of the Day Number 23 of the Elders' Council, dated 10 January 1942, the Elders' Council states that nine inhabitants of the Jewish ghetto were sentenced to death by hanging at the order of the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service. This confirms again what I have said, that I was not the person who ordered something like that; it was the Commander of the Security Police who ordered this, as stated by the Elders' Council itself.

Now, in exhibit T/846 I am mentioned by the Elders' Council, as having carried out an inspection on 19 January 1942. It is also stated here, that on the occasion of this inspection, the Elders' Council petitioned me to order something concerning the relaxation of the ban on mail. That was the ban on mail which must have been caused by the smuggling of letters, on account of which the local authorities in Prague then demanded the death sentence.

Although I could discover no competence concerning the relaxation of the ban on mail, I must apparently have taken up this matter, since in the next Order of the Day, of 23 January 1942, the Elders' Council states, in point 1, that the request to relax the ban on mail has been granted in principle. This means that I must have taken this petition of the Elders' Council to Prague, to the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, and have told him that in my personal opinion a ban did not prevent smuggling, a personal opinion the validity of which the Commander surely could not gainsay. The fact that this order was not issued immediately by me, on 19 January, but that the decision came only on 23 January, proves that I passed this matter on.

Presiding Judge: The Court adjourn until tomorrow at 8:30 in the morning.

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