The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 84
(Part 1 of 6)

Session No. 84

19 Tammuz 5721 (3 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the eighty-fourth Session of the trial open.

Dr. Servatius, you have on several occasions made reference to books by Poliakov and Reitlinger, and the Accused has also referred to several pages from these books. If there is any intention to refer to the documents which appear there, it would be expedient for you to have copies made of such documents and submit such copies as exhibits for the Defence.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I have not yet had the time to discuss this matter in depth with the Accused - I shall check and then submit the relevant pages as special exhibits. Perhaps I will submit them after the examination is concluded, to avoid wasting time.

Presiding Judge: Very well, you can also do so after the Accused has finished his testimony, but if the Accused wishes to say something about these documents, that is to say, about these copies, then they must be submitted before he concludes his testimony, or rather before the end of the examination of the Accused.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I intend, at the end of the direct examination, to deal with a number of individual matters, amongst which I would also wish to touch upon this question.

Presiding Judge: Very well.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I am now concluding the documents on Greece and hope today to deal with Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Slovakia, and perhaps also to start on Hungary, so that tomorrow I can deal with Hungary and the concentration camp chapter. Then, depending on how fast we progress, I might use Wednesday morning for the general questions.

Presiding Judge: Very well. The Accused will continue his testimony in direct examination. I draw the Accused's attention to the fact that he is still testifying under oath.

Accused: I am aware of that fact.

Presiding Judge: Please proceed.

Dr. Servatius: I shall continue with my discussion of the exhibits and will present various passages as evidence.

First of all, exhibit T/973, document No. 1006. A communication from the Foreign Ministry, signed Wagner, to the consulate general in Salonika, dated 21 May 1943. It concerns the Jewish families holding French nationality who are to return from Salonika; the French Government is urging their return. In the second paragraph it says:

"Neither the German Embassy in Paris, nor the Foreign Ministry, is interested in repatriating these French Jews. Without going into the question of treatment of Jews possessing other nationalities, the Paris Embassy will notify the French Government in two weeks' time that deportation was necessary for military and security policy reasons and has already been carried out, so that the French enquiry is no longer relevant."
Then there is the direction: "Please notify the authorities at your end, so as to ensure that the deportation of French nationals is completed in time." In the cover note to Eichmann it says: "For your information, and requesting that corresponding instructions be issued to the Operations Unit."

Next exhibit - T/986, document No. 1008. Communication from the Foreign Ministry, von Thadden, dated 17 June 1943. This concerns Italian protests at operations in Greece. Reference is made to a complaint about Wisliceny's activities elsewhere in Greece. It says that the Foreign Ministry states its position on the matter. This shows how Wisliceny worked together with the diplomatic...with the missions. It says:

"Moreover Wisliceny is said to be making regular trips from Salonika to Athens, in order to contact the German authorities there, and in particular the Reich Plenipotentiary."
Next exhibit - T/963, document No. 241. Letter from the commanding officer Salonika-Aegaeis to the Macedonian Government General: it should read "Administration of Jewish Property, Salonika." It says: "In accordance with instructions from higher authority, the ownership of all Jewish property now or previously in the area of command of the military commander of Salonika-Aegaeis is hereby transferred to the ownership of the Greek state."

The next exhibit is T/993, document No. 421. Note from the Foreign Ministry, von Thadden, to Eichmann's office, dated 28 July 1943. It says that the Italian Government wishes to transfer Spanish Jews from Salonika to Athens. Then it says: "The Reich Plenipotentiary stated that he had the gravest objections to such a transfer, as it would markedly damage the Reich's reputation." At the end it says: "It is suggested that the Operations Unit in Salonika be given the requisite instructions, in order to avoid in time any transfer of the Jews to the area occupied by the Italians."

Next exhibit - T/988, document No. 1010. This is a communication from the Foreign Ministry, von Thadden, dated 24 July 1943, to Eichmann's office. It deals with foreign Jews in Greece, and proposes that these foreign Jews should not remain entirely unmolested, and proposes instead, at the bottom of the first page, "that these Jews be accommodated in something like an internment camp."

Next exhibit - T/996, document No. 176. This is a communication from Neubacher, Special Representative for the South-East, to the Foreign Ministry, dated 27 November 1943. He reports that the action planned against eight thousand Jews has lost its point, since they are in hiding - the Higher SS Leader is of the same opinion. The handwritten note on page 2 below the printed text is important; as far as I can make it out, it says - it is not very clear - "...settled by phone between himself, Kaltenbrunner and Neubacher, and therefore deportations would be carried out."

Presiding Judge: There is a figure, I believe, and the name Eichmann - "discussed on 4 December with Obersturmbannfuehrer..."

Dr. Servatius: "Discussed with Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann...Kaltenbrunner..." and then you can make out "not in agreement," but then at the end it says, "settled by phone between himself, Kaltenbrunner and Neubacher, and therefore deportations to be carried out."

Attorney General: I should like to point out that this is exhibit T/37(97); the document is possibly more legible in that version - we did decipher the entire note, and the Court can see in the Hebrew translation that we managed to decipher and translate the entire document.

Presiding Judge: We do not have the translation into Hebrew.

Judge Raveh: Dr. Servatius, on the first page there is a reference to the Jews who have been registered and who are the contingent of least interest (das uninteressanteste Kontingent). Perhaps, if you so wish, you could have the Accused explain to us what this means? Why are these people the "contingent of least interest"?

Dr. Servatius: Witness, have you read the document? Do you have it in front of you?

Accused: I do.

Dr. Servatius: As you see, it says that only twelve hundred of the eight thousand actually reported - the others were in hiding. Then it says that these twelve hundred are the contingent of least interest. You heard the Judge's question: Why is this called the contingent of least interest?

Accused: The only thing I can do is to try and imagine today how things were at the time. Instructions must have been issued with regard to deportations ordered, and, as a result, the remainder of the eight thousand, minus the twelve hundred, the young people probably, fled to the mountains or the vicinity and went into hiding - so that those who were not prepared or able to flee were those who remained. At that point the envoy, the Reich Plenipotentiary ...Neubacher realized that if these twelve hundred were deported, there would be no way of reaching the others, and he, therefore, sent a report to the Foreign Ministry with the request that the Chief of the Security Police and the SD take a decision.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, you have not replied to the question at all. Perhaps you did not understand it. It was why these twelve hundred who were the remainder are called here "of no interest" - they must have possessed some characteristic which led to this expression of lack of interest in them. Perhaps you should read this letter again, this time more carefully.

Accused: The reason why they are of no interest is because - this is what I would assume - they are people who are not fit, whereas those who - let us say in military terms - are more important have escaped to the hills or the vicinity. That is what I would assume to be the reason.

Presiding Judge: Very well.

Judge Halevi: It says there also: "Those who were of much greater interest politically." Not militarily, but politically more interesting.

Presiding Judge: Since the Accused did not write this letter, I do not consider that much significance is to be attached to the interpretations of the Accused.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to exhibit T/992.

Attorney General: I crave the Court's indulgence: we have in the meanwhile received the translation about which the Court enquired. If the Court is interested in seeing how we deciphered and translated the passage - we considered this to be two separate comments. The Accused himself deciphered the writing. It is referred to on pages 347 and following of his Statement.

Dr. Servatius: T/992, document No. 235. This is a solemn declaration by Wisliceny, dated 27 June 1946, drawn up in Bratislava. In it Wisliceny outlines his activities in Greece, and on page 3 he says that he went to see Eichmann, and asked him to call a temporary halt to deportations because of an epidemic of spotted fever. On the next page, page 4, he repeats this and says, "since the chief army doctor protested to the military commander against continuing the deportations because of the increasing number of cases of spotted fever, I sent a further telegram."

Witness, do you know anything about these steps on the part of Wisliceny to which he refers here?

Accused: No, I know nothing about this.

Dr. Servatius: He goes on to say that he left Greece, having reported sick with an eye disease. Do you know anything about that?

Accused: No, I know nothing about that either.

Dr. Servatius: On page 5 it says:

"At the end of September 1943 I was once again ordered to Athens, as the official in charge of Eichmann's Section, under the Senior Commander of the Security Police. Eichmann himself gave me the strictest orders that all Jews in Athens and the rest of Greece were immediately to be concentrated and deported to Auschwitz."
Witness, do you know anything about this operation?

Accused: This was the real reason why, on the orders of the Security Police or the Chief of Department IV, Mueller, Wisliceny had been dispatched to this area. The orders for deportation were issued, not by myself, but they were obtained by Mueller himself from his superior, and Mueller personally implemented this individual policy with these aforementioned instructions that the deportations be carried out in accordance with orders.

Because in Greece, Wisliceny was not acting in a vacuum, but was subordinate to the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the SD, as can be seen clearly from the documents available here.

Presiding Judge: The question is whether you spoke to Wisliceny and passed on this order to him or delivered it to him orally.

Accused: Your Honour, today I cannot reply exactly - it is possible that I did, but it is also possible that he received this order directly from Mueller.

Dr. Servatius: Exhibit T/999, document No. 1263. This is a sworn affidavit by one Erwin Lenz, dated 10 May 1947, with reference to operations on the island of Rhodes. On page 2 he says that in June 1944 two SS officers appeared on the island, and then the Jews were loaded on to boats and died at sea.

Witness, what do you know about the operation described here?

Accused: I know nothing at all about these local matters.

Dr. Servatius: With this I conclude the section on Greece. I turn now to Bulgaria. I would first submit a diagram outlining the chain of command.

Witness, is this diagram drawn according to your draft, and is it correct?

Accused: It is drawn according to my draft, and it is correct.

Presiding Judge: I shall mark this exhibit N/56.

Dr. Servatius: At the right it says "see accompanying text" - this text is not attached. The first exhibit I wish to discuss is T/929, document No. 1025.* {*Erroneously reffered to as document No. 1925 on page 843, Volume II} This is a communication from the Foreign Ministry to Eichmann, dated 23 November 1942. It is an enquiry as to whether, as proposed, Wisliceny can be assigned to Sofia as Jewish Adviser. It says, "in accordance with our proposal" the legation is putting pressure on the Bulgarian Government to state its position. It then continues: "More particularly, I would be grateful for an indication as to whether, in accordance with the proposal already made, Wisliceny can be assigned here."

The next exhibit is T/931, document No. 1026. The Foreign Ministry, Bergmann, to Mueller - communication dated 19 March 1942, agreement from that end to dispatch an Adviser on Jewish Affairs to Sofia gratefully acknowledged. Dannecker is being sent.

The next exhibit is T/932, document No. 1028, German legation, Sofia, Envoy Beckerle to the Foreign Ministry, dated 8 February 1943. In the middle it says that Beckerle presented Dannecker to the government, and he writes: "Before presenting Dannecker, I spoke with the Minister of the Interior on the matter; he confirmed his previously expressed firm intention to resettle all the Jews."

On the third sheet, page 2 of the second document, it says: "The (Bulgarian) Minister of the Interior stated lastly that planning and all individual questions should be discussed with the Commissioner for Jewish Affairs, Belev." It says that this Adviser on Jewish Affairs submitted to the Minister for the Interior for approval by the Council of Ministers the following proposal: (a) for the time being to deport twenty thousand Jews, and (b) later, total deportation.

On the last page of the communication, in the last paragraph, Dannecker writes: "It would be important to ascertain now what the arrangements for the accompanying escort for the transport will be. It would be highly desirable for the transfer to a German unit to take place already on Bulgarian territory." Signed: Dannecker, but also Beckerle.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.