The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 83
(Part 4 of 5)

Judge Raveh: Dr. Servatius, in Chart N/51 there is no connection between Himmler and this Special Operations Unit. Everything there revolves around the Foreign Ministry. Yet, according to this document, someone from the Foreign Ministry writes that he is applying for directives from Himmler to Fuchs. This does not somehow accord with the chart submitted.

Dr. Servatius: Perhaps the chart ought to be completed in this respect.

I come now to exhibit T/874, document No. 647; also exhibit T/875, document No. 1244, belongs to this. Benzler writes to the Foreign Ministry on 12 September 1941. This document is of particular significance on account of the handwritten remark at the bottom: "Eichmann suggests shooting," which is why I have to quote the text at greater length:

"Accommodation in labour camps is impossible under present internal conditions, because security is not guaranteed. Jewish camps actually impede and endanger our troops. The immediate clearance from the camp of twelve hundred Jews in Sabac is therefore necessary, since Sabac is in the battle zone, and the presence of revolutionary bands numbering several thousand has been established. On the other hand, as has been proved, Jews have a considerable share in the unrest in the country. Upon the removal of the Jews from the Banat region, the extremely harmful rumour-mongering in Serbia ceased immediately. The deportation, to begin with, of male Jews, is an essential precondition for restoring conditions of law and order.

"I therefore urgently repeat my request. If it should again be refused, there only remains the immediate deportation to the Generalgouvernement or to Russia, which might well involve considerable transportation difficulties. Otherwise, the operation against the Jews has to be postponed for the time being, which is against the instructions given to me by the Reich Foreign Minister." Signed: Benzler.

The handwritten lines, which are of importance here and appear to be by Rademacher, state:
"According to information by Sturmbannfuehrer RSHA IVD4, reception in the territory of the Reich and in the Generalgouvernement is out of the question; not even the Jews from Germany can be accommodated there. Eichmann suggests shooting."
To this belong...well, that is the next exhibit.

Presiding Judge: T/875, correct?

Dr. Servatius: And please look at page 3, it has the number at the top. These are declarations by Rademacher. It says on page 3:

"On the basis of Luther's minute of 12 September, I was summoned to report on 13 September - I still remember exactly that I sat opposite him when I telephoned to the Head Office for Reich Security, and that I wrote down the handwritten key words of Eichmann's reply and pushed them across to Luther during the phone conversation. The sense of Eichmann's words was that the military was responsible for order in Serbia and just had to shoot rebellious Jews. To my further question, he simply repeated 'shoot' and hung up."
Presiding Judge: There is something more about it in the middle of page 4.

Dr. Servatius: I was just going to read it out.

"I considered Eichmann's rude, offhand comment 'shoot' to be a harsh but permissible act of reprisal against rebels under international law, the decision and responsibility for which lay with the military occupation authorities."
Witness, would you state your position on this remark: "Eichmann suggests shooting."

Accused: I made no such comment and I could not have done so, because such a comment would have gone far beyond my area of competence. When I received these documents in order to work on them, I dealt very thoroughly with this matter, being well aware of the seriousness of the accusation. I first of all realized that considerably less important matters were handled reciprocally by the Foreign Ministry and the Head Office for Reich Security, with a bureaucratic meticulousness which at once made it look most peculiar to me that such an important matter as this was to be dealt with here merely by a simple marginal remark.

When I received document No. 1244 and read this passage, I thought the matter over and sort of pictured it to myself, because Rademacher says that he was summoned to report and still clearly remembers that he sat opposite Luther, and that during the telephone call he had pushed the handwritten key words across to Luther. I was known to Rademacher, personally, in fact, as well as to Luther, through professional contacts. In spite of that, Rademacher took the time to begin his key words by putting down: "According to information by Sturmbannfuehrer IVD4" - there he was wrong - etc. This introduction would be superfluous with hastily penned key words.

I then found documents in Poliakov's book, on pages 350 and 448. On page 350, a communication is quoted by the authorized commanding general in Serbia, dated 10 October 1941, where it says:

"The Balkan mentality makes it necessary to implement the orders of the High Command of the Armed Forces in the severest form. In every garrison in Serbia all communists etc., all Jews, and a certain number of others are to be arrested immediately by means of sudden operations. These hostages and the population are to be informed that they will be shot in the event of attacks on German soldiers or ethnic Germans."
The second order by the authorized commanding general in Serbia, dated 19 October 1941, concerning "expiatory measures" to the guard regiment in Belgrade, says: "The execution of sixteen hundred of those arrested is to be carried out by the guard regiment in Belgrade."

I myself am no longer mentioned in the following records of the Foreign Ministry, where the affair is portrayed in a most drastic manner. Had I given such an extremely important recommendation, the natural thing would have been that, in the mass of documents still in existence, I would have been mentioned somewhere at some time. On the other hand, I found a document, Prosecution No. 652, T/884, where Weizsaecker, the State Secretary at the Foreign Ministry, was apparently shocked by the tone and actions of his officials in the ministry, because it says there in the second paragraph: "However, it goes beyond the responsibility of Benzler and of the Foreign Ministry to take an active part as to how the appropriate military and interior authorities cope with the Jewish Question inside Serbia." And the last paragraph: "I told Benzler the same thing today. It would be advisable to inform him accordingly in writing also."

This rebuke appears to have been directed at officials of the Foreign Ministry, because their action had certainly been very undiplomatic, aggressive and out of turn. And since I am aware that, though that happened rarely, it was nevertheless customary with officials that when documents were put before the chief, they were gone through by the official in charge, and minor subsequent corrections were frequently made, I must assume that in this instance Rademacher added this comment in the margin subsequently, after he had learned of Weizsaecker's attitude to these matters. I can only state once more that I did not write such a recommendation.

Dr. Servatius: I now come to exhibit T/876, document No. 648. This is a minute by Rademacher from the Foreign Ministry for Under-Secretary of State Luther. In the second paragraph it says:

"In my view, with the necessary firmness and decisiveness, it ought to be possible to keep the Jews in camps also in Serbia. If the Jews there continue to stir up unrest, more stringent martial law must be imposed on them. I cannot imagine that the Jews will continue to conspire, once a considerable number of hostages have been shot."
The next exhibit is T/877, document No. 649. This is a communication from Ambassador Benzler to the Reich Foreign Minister Ribbentrop personally. He says:
"I repeatedly requested the support of the ministry for the immediate deportation of the local male Jews from Serbia, which was, however, refused. I should like to recall that in Fuschl you explicitly promised your help in housing the Jews, as well as also Freemasons and Serbs siding with England, be it down the Danube or in concentration camps in Germany or in the Generalgouvernement."
He continues:
"The immediate solution of the Jewish Question is momentarily the politically most important task, and a precondition for making a start on the removal of Freemasons and hostile intelligentsia."
He goes on:
"Moreover, General Boehme, as well as the military commander, made a renewed, insistent appeal to me, also in their names, to obtain as soon as possible the deportation of the Jews beyond the borders of the country."
The next exhibit is T/878, document No. 650. This is a minute by Luther of the Foreign Ministry, dated 2 October 1941. It says:
"My view on the enclosed telegram from Ambassador Benzler from Belgrade, dated 29 September, is as follows:

1. Benzler makes the removal of eight thousand Jews from the old Serbian territory a precondition for making a start on the removal of Freemasons and of the intelligentsia hostile to us.

2. Benzler considers the continued presence of these eight thousand Jews incompatible with the appeasement operation now planned by us, but remarks that he would have to put up with the remaining approximately twenty thousand members of Jewish families."

And further on:
"If the military commander is in agreement with Benzler that it is first and foremost these eight thousand Jews who prevent the appeasement operation in the area of the old Serbian state, then, in my opinion, the military commander has to see to the immediate removal of these eight thousand Jews."
And the following sentence:
"In other areas, other military commanders have coped with a considerably larger number of Jews without even talking about it."
Judge Halevi Please look at the last paragraph as well.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, it says here at the end:

"That in a short while one might well arrive at a clear- cut solution to this problem with Heydrich. Heydrich was being expected; he would shortly come from Prague to Berlin, where we can discuss it."
And then:
"I am convinced that in agreement with him we could very soon arrive at a clear-cut solution to this question."
The next two exhibits, T/880, document No. 1044, and T/881, document No. 1045, are concerned with sending a special emissary from the Head Office for Reich Security to Belgrade, in order to settle the question posed in the above- mentioned telegram. That was to be Eichmann, but in the end it was not he, but someone else who came, as emerges from exhibit T/882, document No. 1162.

Witness, what was this special mission, and what was the reason for this planned journey?

Accused: I cannot remember ever having had instructions to go to Serbia. Furthermore, I doubt whether Sturmbannfuehrer Suhr and Obersturmbannfuehrer Stuckart, who are named instead of me here by Luther, travelled together with Rademacher.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, the question is whether you know anything about the reason, the contents of these instructions.

Accused: No, I don't know that; the documents do not reveal anything either, I also checked on that.

Dr. Servatius: Next I come to Croatia, List 29. Here, too, I submit a chart to the Court.

Witness, did you draft the chart, and is it correct?

Accused: Yes, I drafted it, and it is according to my diagram.

Dr. Servatius: The remarks on the chart are from an earlier date, and were made on the basis of the books which were at the disposal of the Accused.

Presiding Judge: This chart will be marked N/52.

Dr. Servatius: To begin with, exhibit T/902. This is a minute by Luther of the Foreign Ministry and deals with removal [of population]. At the beginning of paragraph 2 it says: "There is a basic agreement in Croatia as regards the removal of the Jews. It is considered to be of special importance to transfer four to five thousand Jews from the Italian-occupied Zone Two of Dubrovnik and Mustar, which constitute a political burden." It continues: "However, the removal can be effected only with German assistance, since difficulties are to be expected from the Italian side."

The last paragraph on this page: "Since, according to a telephone message from Agram, the Croatian Government has given its written consent to the suggested operation - we have written confirmation - Ambassador Kasche is in favour of starting on the removal and, in principle, to include the whole of the state territory." The last sentence says: "One might take a chance as to whether difficulties will arise during the operation, as far as the Italian-occupied zone is concerned."

The next exhibit is T/903, document No. 87. This is a communication from Kasche to the Foreign Ministry and says: "Preparatory work for the removal of the Jews from the Italian-occupied zones, the confidential seizure of all Jews will be carried out by the Police Attache. Please notify Head Office for Reich Security." This is, therefore, a notification by Police Attache Helm to the Head Office for Reich Security, via Ambassador Kasche of the Foreign Ministry.

Judge Halevi It says there "Erfassung" (seizure), Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: Yes. Erfassung of all Jews will be carried out by the Police Attache.

Judge Halevi What is the meaning of the word "Erfassung" in German?

Dr. Servatius: What it means here, in practical terms, is "concentration," "bringing together," "apprehending." It can, of course, also mean the preceding stage, that of compiling a list. It is a fast word in fashion, used in the past few years for approaching a matter. It can be far away or, on the contrary, quite close.

Presiding Judge: What is the meaning of "Durchdruck als Konzept" (copy instead of draft), Dr. Servatius? I remember that we came across it once before. What does it mean in the administrative context? Perhaps, Dr. Servatius, if you do not know, the Accused should answer.

Dr. Servatius: I surmise that no special draft was made, but that it was dictated directly, with the copy remaining as a draft. I should, however, like to hear the Accused on this.

Accused: Yes. In contrast to the administrative customs in the Head Office for Reich Security, this way was customary in the Foreign Ministry.

Presiding Judge: Thank you.

Dr. Servatius: I should still like to add something as regards the word "Erfassung." I hesitated earlier on, upon reading "Vertrauliche Erfassung" (confidential seizure) - it makes it still very remote, as when one finds out secretly from neighbours who were the people who were to be seized. This is the very first step.

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