The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

Judge Halevi: It would be something like registration, correct?

Dr. Servatius: It would not go as far as that; rather, there would first be questions as to the number of people in the place, quite generally, in order to go a step further later on.

Exhibit T/907, document No. 1081. Police Attache Helm writes here to a Serbian department - a Croatian department - concerning the removal of Jews in Croatia. It is a communication dated 27 January 1943, and says: "Meeting on 19 January 1943 with SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Abromeit. As arranged, I acknowledge the contents of our discussion of 19 January 1943 which took place in the presence of Dr. Kuehnel and summarized once more complete mutual agreement." There follows an enumeration of the individual operations: immediate operations, transfer to Germany, and at the end it says: "SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Abromeit assumes complete responsibility for the immediate transportation."

Witness, would you tell us what were the areas of responsibility here, what was the basis on which Helm, as Police Attache, gave instructions here, and what was Hauptsturmfuehrer Abromeit's position here?

Accused: Yes. The records already dealt with show that the subject of the willingness on the part of the Croatian Government to hand over the Jews had been dealt with by the Foreign Ministry. Other documents show that Ribbentrop and Himmler reached agreement as regards the transfer of Jews from the various European countries, and that the Foreign Ministry, for its part, received the relevant directives from Ribbentrop. Parallel with this, the departments of the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service also received corresponding directives.

Himmler is at the top here. The documents dealt with at the beginning of my testimony gave the composition of the personnel of the Police Attache's offices, as well as the jurisdiction of the Police Attache, both with regard to his immediate superior, the head of the mission, and for receiving directions from the departments of the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit, T/910, document No. 659, is also a communication which goes via the embassy - Foreign Ministry. It deals with the deportation of Jews from Croatia to Auschwitz.

Witness, here I would like to have a practical question solved: Who is it that can decide here that someone from Croatia will be sent to Auschwitz?

Accused: Only the Chief of Division D of the Economic- Administrative Head Office, Brigade-Gruppenfuehrer Gluecks, or else his representative, could decide that they were to be sent to Auschwitz. However, the decision to have them deported at all is not made by the Economic-Administrative Head Office but by Himmler, or else the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner.

Dr. Servatius: What is the route by which such a command reaches Abromeit? The initial instruction that the people were to come to Auschwitz?

Accused: In accordance with orders, my Section had to forward it to the Police Attache through the official channels.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/919, document No. 1094. This is a telegram, to be forwarded to Abromeit, and is signed by Attache Group Chief, Dr. Ploetz. It says: "I request to pass on the following telegram to Hauptsturmfuehrer Abromeit. It concerns evacuation of Jews. Reference: Current. In consideration of the changed situation in the coastal zones of Croatia, which were until now occupied by the Italians, I request that preparations for the evacuation of the Jews still remaining in these areas be initiated immediately. I request that the evacuation of the Jews be dealt with energetically, in order to have the Jewish Question in Croatia cleared up in the shortest time. I request an immediate report as to the number of Jews to be considered for deportation, when the deportation can be expected. Possibilities for reception exist."

Witness, would you explain who gave this order and who was to implement it.

Accused: Since this is a basic matter, Section IVB4 could not have given it on its own initiative. The Department Chief himself, no doubt, transmitted the order to the Attache Group, and the latter acted in this kind of transmission office for directives. I should still like to add that, since Dr. Ploetz was adjutant-general of Kaltenbrunner, and I think also of Heydrich, it may also be that Kaltenbrunner issued this order directly to Ploetz.

Presiding Judge: The Attache group mentioned here are the Police Attaches, are they not?

Accused: Yes, Your Honour, the Presiding Judge.

Dr. Servatius: The last document in this group is T/921, document No. 656. This is a communication from the German Ambassador in Zagreb, dated 22 April 1944, to the Foreign Ministry. The last paragraph on the first page says: "The Croatians, for their part, have shown complete understanding for the measures taken against the Jews. Intervention was limited to isolated cases. The Croatian police was extremely radical and swift in implementation." With this I end the chapter of Croatia.

Now comes the chapter of Greece. Here, too, I submit a chart.

Witness, was the chart drawn according to your draft, and is it correct?

Accused: Yes, it was drawn according to my draft.

Presiding Judge: The question was also whether the chart is correct, and I should like the answer to that.

Accused: Your Honour, I also said that it is correct.

Interpreter: I did not hear it.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/53.

Dr. Servatius: The first exhibit is T/957, document No. 999. This is a communication from the Foreign Ministry, addressed to the embassy in Rome. Its subject is the Jews in the Italian-occupied part of Greece. At the top of page 2 it says: "I utilized the conference with the Italian authorized representative also to inform him of SS Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther's instruction for the German- occupied zone of Salonika-Aegaeis regarding the evacuation of the Jews." Exhibit T/958, document No. 344, also belongs to this. It is a communication from Luther to the embassy in Athens. It says: "The consulate-general in Salonika received the following instruction: On the order of the Head Office for Reich Security, and in agreement with the Foreign Ministry, SS Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther has gone to Salonika in order to conduct negotiations there on Jewish matters."

And the last sentence: "...Guenther can obviously act only after agreement with Ambassador Altenburg."

One more exhibit, T/959, document No. 1000, belongs here. Guenther writes to the Foreign Ministry: "...The temporary transfer etc. of Wisliceny to Salonika is required for the preparation and implementation of the planned deportation of Jews from the Salonika area, within the framework of the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe. Agreement for this is being requested from the Foreign Ministry."

I now submit document No. 1001 which has no T number as yet. It is being submitted on account of its date - 5 February 1943 - which is significant because on 6 February these regulations against the Jews had already been issued in Salonika. The question is, who pressed for this, and is it possible that it was already issued on the 6th as the result of Wisliceny's action. The Foreign Ministry enquires at the embassy in Pressburg, where Wisliceny was at the time, whether he could be transferred. This was agreed to, for later on he appears in Salonika.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/54.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, would you explain why both Guenther and Wisliceny were sent to Salonika; what was the reason, and what were the instructions?

Accused: Yes, after the order was given to solve the Jewish Question also in Greece, Guenther was ordered to go to Greece to make the necessary investigations and study personally the subject of organization on the spot. Only Mueller could issue such an order; I myself could not authorize official journeys abroad, I myself had to travel on Mueller's orders, and was unable to decide on my own account.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, you have already told us that you could not give such instructions; however, the question was: What was it that those two did? Why were both of them sent? Surely, you know the answers to that?

Accused: Guenther had only been down there a few days and then returned to Berlin; having carried out his orders, he reported back, and then - this does not emerge from the records, but that is how I construed it - he then informed Mueller of the necessity to have someone from Department IV on the spot, and so Mueller decided on Wisliceny.

Dr. Servatius: I submit document No. 426, which has not yet been presented. This is a communication of 13 February 1943, on behalf of the Commander in Salonika-Aegaeis, Chief of Staff, War Administration Counsellor (Kriegsverwaltungsrat), Dr. Merten, to the President of the Jewish Community in Salonika.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/55.

Dr. Servatius: It says:

"In consideration of the fact that all Jewish questions in this area of command must be solved uniformly, you are commanded to look after the Jews not only in Salonika and the immediate surroundings, but after all the Jews within the entire area of the Commander of Salonika-Aegaeis.... You will receive detailed instructions as to your tasks from the Special Operations Unit for Jewish Affairs of the Security Police in Salonika."
Witness, was the Special Operations Unit subordinate to the military commander? Could it give instructions to him, or was it the other way round?

Accused: The Special Operations Unit obviously could not give instructions to the commander; it was the other way round, it was the military commander who gave instructions to the Special Operations Unit.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit, T/962, document No. 237, is a communication signed by Wisliceny to the Jewish Community in Salonika, for Chief Rabbi Dr. Koretz, 17 February 1943, concerning the marking of Jewish shops and apartments. It says: "On the basis of the decree by the Commander of Salonika-Aegaeis, dated 6 February 1943, you are informed as follows." What needs clarification here is how it was possible that there could be such a decree by the commander on 6 February 1943, when on 5 February Bratislava is being asked whether he (Wisliceny) may leave there.

Presiding Judge: But the actual document dates from 17 February 1943, does it not? I do not see the difficulty. What was the order of 6 February? It may have been a general order that authorization had been granted. My colleague is showing it to me; that is T/960. Apparently that is the order of the commander, signed by Merten for the commander.

Dr. Servatius: I must look at it.

Presiding Judge: T/960 is the order from the military commander.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, I've got it now. It partly corresponds in its contents to the one signed by Wisliceny. The question is whether the military authority acted immediately on its own initiative, or whether it was subjected to pressure and was obliged to adopt these measures.

Presiding Judge: All right, I understand.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/970, document No. 1003. The German Consul General in Salonika writes to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on 26 February 1943. This is a report about the anti-Jewish measures that have been taken. It says:

"The first measures against the local Jews have been decreed, to take effect on 26 February 1943. The two regulations are a distinguishing mark by means of a Yellow Star of David and ghettoization. Both measures were implemented with surprising speed by the representatives of the local Jewish community at the initiative of a commission that arrived here under Hauptsturmfuehrer Wisliceny, and with the collaboration of the local German Security Service, both of which keep me informed."
This as regards the second order signed by Wisliceny on 17 January, where it says: "The measures are to take effect as from 15 February 1943," while the first orders were from the military authority itself.

Presiding Judge: Here, in exhibit T/960, it also says that it takes effect on 25 February. That was given on 6 February, with effect from 25 February.

Dr. Servatius: "He has to report by 25 February," that is what it says there.

Presiding Judge: Yes, very well. It means that Wisliceny already somehow cast his shadow forward. Can you explain that, Mr. Hausner?

Attorney General: It says in part four of the document itself that the representative of the Security Service is being awaited.

Presiding Judge: If I understand Dr. Servatius correctly, he wants to say that meanwhile the military administration already acted and issued the order before Wisliceny's arrival.

Dr. Servatius: Yes. The next exhibit, T/991, document No. 685, is a minute dated 18 March 1943 for the Reich Foreign Minister, from Rademacher. It says here:

"In the opinion of the Reich Leadership of the SS (SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann), the measures against Jews in the telegram (from Rome), No. 1171, dated 12 March, as planned by the Italians for Greece, are insufficient because, on the one hand, they run parallel with equally unsatisfactory anti-Jewish measures in Italy, while, on the other hand, according to past experience, one would do well to doubt the honesty with which they are being enforced. This opinion is shared by D 3 on the basis of experiences gathered to date."
The Foreign Ministry is thus of the same opinion.

The next exhibit, T/971, document No. 1004, is a communication from the consulate general in Salonika of 15 March 1943, to the Foreign Ministry, about the beginnings of the deportations. It says there:

"The relevant German departments point out that the purpose of the transfer, to protect the German-occupied northern Greek territory, would not be attained if the Greek Jews were to remain there."
Presiding Judge: It says there "the non-Greek Jews."

Dr. Servatius: What is significant here are the words: "I share this view," in the second paragraph, in the middle of the page.

The next exhibit is T/968, document No. 429. The military commander writes to the Jewish Community in Salonika on 21 March 1943: "A Jewish doctor escaped, and expiatory measures are being ordered. To begin with, twenty-five Jews are immediately being arrested as hostages, to be shot at the least further infringement of the stipulated obligations by the Jews of Salonika." It also says that all Jews are permitted to leave their houses only between the hours of 10:00 and 16:00, otherwise they will be shot on the spot. In my view, this shows that the Commander of Salonika also acted on his own initiative.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps we can adjourn when you reach the end of the present list? Have you come to the end of your List No. 30, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: Yes, the end of Greece.

Presiding Judge: There is still one list with the heading "Greece," with which we shall continue to deal on Monday.

Mr. Hausner, since it is to be assumed that we shall get to the cross-examination in the course of next week, I should like to know whether you are prepared for sessions to be held both in the morning and the afternoon?

Attorney General: For my part I agree, in the hope, which I entertain, that afterwards the Court will grant me an interval prior to the summing-up.

Presiding Judge: That is a different matter. For the moment I asked about the examination.

Attorney General: I am prepared, so long as there is no obstacle from other factors.

Presiding Judge: What does that mean?

Attorney General: There is the Accused.

Presiding Judge: We made the present arrangement to enable Dr. Servatius to consult with the Accused.

Attorney General: That does not apply to me. Presiding Judge: Not to you, nor to Dr. Servatius during the course of the examination. As far as that is concerned, there is no obstacle.

Attorney General: I shall be ready for two sessions per day, for cross-examination.

Presiding Judge: The next Session will be on Monday at 8.30 a.m.

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