The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 85
(Part 1 of 7)

Session No. 85

20 Tammuz 5721 (4 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the eighty-fifth Session of the trial open. We shall start with the statements taken abroad from persons who are to be considered as Prosecution witnesses.

Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour. If it please the Court, in the meanwhile we have now also received from the Israeli Embassy in Austria the record of the examination of Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, with the seal of the examining court. In order to avoid going over it twice, I would ask the Court to permit the reading today of passages also from this record which I managed to show to Counsel for the Defence already yesterday. I gather he has no objections, so that we could complete the matter this morning.

Presiding Judge: Does the document which you have show, on the face of it, that it really comes from the court? Because we have not received any notification through official channels.

Attorney General: It must be on its way.

Presiding Judge: We enquired this morning, and it had not arrived. Does Dr. Servatius agree to it?

Dr. Servatius: Yes, but perhaps I might make one comment. I have - I believe there are eighty pages, and I read through them yesterday evening. Some of them are very badly photocopied, but I am not raising any objections. There is just one thing I would ask, and that is that, for the time being, note be taken of the last pages, where the judge in the end had some misgivings, as no one appeared after the examination, and he found that no one availed himself of the opportunity to ask questions. In any case, I would like the Court to take note of the passage.

Presiding Judge: Very well, at the appropriate point we shall come to that.

I think, Mr. Hausner, that the correct order will be as follows - as was done for the questionnaires: First of all, since the witnesses are considered to be Prosecution witnesses, we shall hear from Dr. Servatius the particular points he wishes to make part of the record, and then what interests the Prosecution.

Attorney General: As the Court pleases.

Presiding Judge: I assume that Dr. Servatius has no objection to this procedure.

Dr. Servatius: I have no objection.

Presiding Judge: I have a list here of witnesses to be considered as Prosecution witnesses. They are: von

Thadden, Huppenkothen, Hoettl, Juettner, Grell, Becher, Krumey. As far as Krumey is concerned, we shall yet clarify that. He appears in my notes, but I am prepared to discuss it.

In connection with Krumey, the Prosecution has submitted a statement about the Lidice children, T/1100, not in connection with the Hungarian chapter, and, according to the note I have, you attached particular importance to this.

Attorney General: But, with the Court's permission, if I am not mistaken, the request to examine Krumey came earlier, and it was not because of this statement that he was examined.

Presiding Judge: That may be so.

Attorney General: I would, therefore, request that Krumey should not be considered as a Prosecution witness for this purpose.

Presiding Judge: Very well, at present we shall leave the matter open. As far as Merten is concerned, I am not sure whether any statement has been submitted.

Attorney General: No, there is nothing.

Presiding Judge: I could not find anything either, but my clerk apparently heard that there was something. I think we can delete Merten from this list.

Is it correct, Dr. Servatius, that Merten is to be considered as a Defence witness?

Dr. Servatius: Yes, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: [to the Clerk of the Court] You have the file; see what Dr. Servatius wrote in the request to take testimony from Krumey.

Dr. Servatius: I have the request here. I apply for him to be heard as a witness for the Defence.

Presiding Judge: Very well; I have added him to the list of Defence witnesses. If that is convenient for you, we shall divide the witnesses for the Prosecution into two groups: those whose testimony is particularly relevant to the Hungarian chapter, and those whose testimony does not apply to Hungary. As far as I can see, the others are the three statements of von Thadden, Huppenkothen and Hoettl.

Attorney General: We did, in fact, wish to start with Hoettl, if the Court pleases. My proposal would be that I should not read anything out, in order to save time. I shall give the record to the Court interpreter, with the passages marked within brackets which I wish to have read out. He can translate directly, so we can save the time required to read out the original.

Presiding Judge: That will obviously help. However, as I have said, we shall start with Dr. Servatius, as regards these witnesses. Dr. Servatius, which witness would you like to start with - von Thadden, Hoettl or Huppenkothen? I believe that the division into the two groups is useful.

Dr. Servatius: I agree with the request of the Attorney General - to begin with Hoettl.

Presiding Judge: Then I must ask the Prosecution to pass over to me what you have before you, so that the documents can be marked.

Attorney General: Certainly - this is the only copy.

Presiding Judge: I shall for the moment mark this copy. When the official copy is received, I shall return this copy to you and transfer the markings. I shall mark the record of the examination of Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl by the number `I'.

Dr. Servatius, what do you wish to draw attention to in this statement?

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I was only able to glance through the document. It seems to me that it is largely a statement in defence of Mr. Hoettl, which took several days. I intended to read out just one short passage by way of illustration, showing that he deviated considerably from the object of the examination. However, I should first like to draw the Court's attention to the statement by the judge, at the end. I believe that this is on the last page, or last but one - it is a most verbose examination.

Presiding Judge: Which page are you referring to?

Attorney General: I assume Dr. Servatius is referring to what it says on pages 70 and following.

Dr. Servatius: I do not have a copy before me at the moment.

Presiding Judge: That is really rather awkward. Very well, Dr. Servatius, if you could tell us what you wish to have read out, we shall make the necessary arrangements.

Dr. Servatius: I would wish to draw attention to pages 70 and 71. Shall I read it out?

Presiding Judge: As you wish. We shall obviously look at everything ourselves, but please, Dr. Servatius, if you wish to read out any passages, you may do so. I do not need to emphasize how important it is to save time, but I leave this entirely to you.

Dr. Servatius: It says here:

"Whereupon the witness was notified that, due to the non-appearance of the representatives of the parties, the court can consider his examination as concluded only provisionally."
The examination took three days, and I could really not expect my representative to wait outside for three days -
" that until the conclusion of the main hearing in Jerusalem he should remain available to the Bad Aussee Court of First Instance, i.e. if he intends to leave the district for an extended period, he must provide his address, in order to enable an early response to be made to any supplementary request which the Jerusalem District Court may yet transmit.

"This is particularly important since, in view of the failure of the aforementioned representatives to appear, there is no absolute guarantee that all questions have been asked in their entirety, and it cannot be assumed with certainty that the truth has been disclosed completely, having regard to the importance of the Eichmann trial."

Then there are some general observations.

Presiding Judge: But were the representatives of the parties not able to be present during the examination? What was the situation?

Dr. Servatius: The hearing begins with a public session, there is a roll call of those present, and then it says: Now the public will be excluded; and at the end it says: Now the hearing will be in public again - where are the representatives of the parties? And then there is the statement that this is only provisional, that this is not a sure basis, as questions which might have been put have not been asked. And then, at the end, it says:

"In the opinion of the Court to whom the request for legal assistance was addressed, the Eichmann trial is of such importance in terms of world history that it is vital to exhaust all means for ascertaining the truth."
Presiding Judge: Very well, we shall admit the examination, and if any of the parties wishes to make any comments on this aspect of the matter, we shall hear them.

Attorney General: If it please the Court, what happened in Austria was as follows: According to the reference from this Court, both parties were entitled to be present and to submit questions.

Presiding Judge: That is what we requested to the Austrian court to do. It could have given notice.

Attorney General: We were told by the administrative authorities which implement the request for taking evidence on admission, that this conflicted with substantive Austrian law, and after looking into the matter we decided not to send a representative. The Austrian judge apparently thought otherwise; he expected representatives to appear and even had them called. I would not wish to interfere in differences of opinion between the Austrian administration and the judiciary.

Presiding Judge: As I have already said, if this matter is at all important, we shall discuss it. These are the passages to which Dr. Servatius wished to draw our attention in particular, as I understand it. In addition, the entire testimony is, of course, part of the record of this Court. Naturally, both the parties and the Court can refer to any part of this testimony during closing speeches and in the judgment.

Dr. Servatius: If I might make a comment, Your Honour. In my opinion, this examination has no value at all as a cross- examination, and when one reads through these seventy pages, one wonders how one can reconcile these two legal procedures. The judge delves at great length into marginal questions, exhaustively, but he does not get to the crux of the matter, while the other examinations are very good and immediately provide the answer.

Presiding Judge: Very well. You will be able to refer to all of this in your closing speech, when we shall deal with weighing the evidence. What would you like to do now?

Attorney General: We would like the passages we have marked in red brackets to be read out by the interpreters, Mr. Dayan or Mr. Rosen. When such brackets appear at the bottom of a page, this means that the reading should continue on the following page.

Interpreter: On page 1, Record of the Court of First Instance, Bad Aussee, Austria, made on 19 June 1961. The witness, Wilhelm Hoettl, of Alt Aussee, appeared before us. On page 3:

"My name is Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, I am forty-six years old, Roman Catholic, married, director of the Bad Aussee Private Secondary School, born on 19 March 1915, in Vienna.

"In the course of my subsequent activities in the Foreign Secret Service, I met Adolf Eichmann, as far as I remember, in March or at the beginning of April 1938. In order to obtain an exit permit for Hungary for a Jewish colleague of mine, one Dr. Kauders, a lawyer who, I believe had his office in Mistelbach, I was directed by the Vienna Secret Police to Eichmann, who was said to be able to issue such exit permits expeditiously. Subsequently, I had frequent dealings with Eichmann in similar cases, and on each occasion he obliged me as I wished.

"Eichmann also worked in the Fourth District, in a similar office, situated in Prinz Eugen Strasse. It was in this building that Eichmann at that time set up the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, with which I intervened on various occasions over the following year, including contacts with Eichmann himself. I was basically interested in enabling Jews with Austrian nationality, with whom I had become acquainted both officially and privately, to leave the country expeditiously.

"On one of these occasions - I should think it was in the autumn of 1938 - Eichmann outlined to me his plan which he had realized by setting up the Central Office. He explained to me that, because of the red tape of the various authorities, and particularly their lack of co- ordination, Jews who were prepared to emigrate found it extremely difficult to leave the country. For example, when the Revenue Office had issued the requisite certificate of lack of impediment, the exit visa from the passport police would, in the meanwhile, have expired, or it was no longer possible to obtain passage by sea. It was because of such experiences that he (Eichmann) had for the first time set up in Vienna such a Central Office for Jewish Emigration, at which all authorities and offices which had anything at all to do with emigration, but also travel agencies, shipping companies, and so on, had to have a representative. He claimed that in this fashion he had managed to do away entirely with all red tape from the emigration of the Austrian Jews, and to speed up such emigration immensely."

Page 6:
"This field of Eichmann's activity extended certainly beyond Vienna, probably covering the whole of Austria, particularly since, as far as I am aware, there were no such Central Offices in other regional capitals.

"Eichmann represented himself before me as an Austrian - from Linz; but he spoke with a marked north German accent, in a very cheeky style. At the time, as far as I remember, Eichmann was an SS-Untersturmfuehrer or Obersturmfuehrer, and wore the appropriate uniform with the relevant insignia. The office, which was housed in a large mansion, probably had a staff of some thirty or forty, including numerous female clerks and some civilians who, in my opinion, were representatives of travel agencies, shipping companies, and so on. The only name I remember of the staff or others who worked there is that of Guenther, with whom I intervened later at a similar office in Prague and also in Berlin, for Jewish emigrants. However, judging from his manner of speech, he was not from Vienna, but rather from Saxony or Thuringia."

Page 7:
"In any case, never having completed his education properly, he worked in the private sector (his brother was a lawyer in Linz)."

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