The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 85
(Part 2 of 7)

Presiding Judge: Please check who is being referred to.

Interpreter: In the previous paragraph, which was not marked, the reference is to Eichmann.

"...I think as a representative of an oil firm. Somehow, he must have been active in politics in Austria in 1932 or 1933, because he told me that in 1933 he fled Austria, going to Germany to the Legion (the Austrian Legion), and was then transferred by it to Berlin, where he was attached to the Head Office of the Security Service. In order to obtain promotion by way of specialization, he studied Jewish subjects, and when the German service units went to Austria, following the entry of German troops on the Anschluss in 1938, he accompanied them to Vienna and set up the office already referred to in Prinz Eugen Strasse. He also told me that he made an official trip to Palestine in 1937, and that he could speak some Yiddish and Hebrew."
On page 8:
"I myself remember having such dealings with Eichmann in Vienna until the end of 1938, or the beginning of 1939 at the latest. I would assume that he remained in Vienna when the rest of Bohemia was occupied, i.e., March 1939, whereupon he was transferred to Prague, where he set up the same type of Central Office for Jewish Emigration. I am not sure who was his successor in Vienna, and whether this was Guenther, whom I referred to above.

"As far as I myself was concerned, at the beginning of 1939 my activities increasingly tended towards Berlin, where at that time the Foreign Secret Service was being reorganized on a large scale. That was also when the Head Office for Reich Security (RSHA) was set up, including the previous Head Office of the Security Service, the Secret State Police Office and the Criminal Police Office. This was probably when Eichmann joined Department IV (Gestapo) as a Specialist Officer, so that this Central Office for Jewish Emigration - in the meanwhile, apart from the Prague office, one had also been set up in Berlin - was subordinate to the Head Office for Reich Security, and, as I assume more particularly to Department IV (Gestapo). The Chief of Department IV was SS General Heinrich Mueller; the Head of Department VI (Foreign Secret Service) was SS General Jost. Because of the different duties of the two Departments, there was obviously no direct official collaboration between their personnel."

On page 11:
"As to 6: As far as I know, Eichmann was a Specialist Officer in Department IV of the Head Office for Reich Security, but, in the meanwhile, there was a change in the names given to the departments. I must here state that Eichmann was also transferred to the Head Office for Reich Security, but independent of my transfer to Berlin, and not to Department VI like myself, but to Department IV, Gestapo. A department such as Eichmann had there, for Jewish Affairs, was more or less its own office or section. His superior chief, as has already been mentioned briefly today, was SS General Heinrich Mueller, but it is possible that there was another group leader (department chief) between them. Several departments would be subordinate to a single Group Leader, and there must have been four or five Groups altogether. Jewish Affairs were dealt with exclusively by the Eichmann Department, for the whole of Germany."
On page 22:
"With regard to the physical annihilation of the Jewish people, until I lost my post and was transferred to the Waffen-SS, the only thing that I knew was that the Einsatztruppen (sic: Operational Troops) of the Security Police and the Security Service had received orders to liquidate by shooting the supporters of Communist ideology, particularly the Jews. However, at that time, I was not aware of the details of this order and its origin. It was not until later that I heard from SS General Dr. Stahlecker, who in 1938 had briefly been my chief in Vienna, that this order came from Hitler himself and had been passed on by Heydrich to these Operational Troops."
On page 27:
"I would assume from the questions asked that, in the main, they refer to the SS Special Operations Units in Hungary. Although I am not familiar with precise details, yet I can state the following: The two largest SS Special Operations Units were those of the Security Police and the Security Service, and the Order Police. However, to some extent they formed a single whole, because they were both subject to SS and Police General Otto Winkelmann, who was then appointed `Higher SS and Police Leader in Hungary.' Regardless of this, however, and probably in actual fact to a far greater extent, the two Operations Units were under the control of their Berlin offices, i.e., the Head Office for Reich Security and the Head Office of the Order Police.

"The so-called Eichmann Sonderkommando was, it is true, part of the Sonderkommando of the Security Police and the SD in terms of provisioning, but was definitely in some sort of special position, with the precise details of which I am, however, not familiar."

On page 28:
"The overall operation in Hungary was influenced to the strongest degree by Himmler, who managed right from the beginning to exert a very considerable influence on the manning of leading positions. For example, he succeeded in ensuring that the Ambassador and Reich Plenipotentiary to be appointed would belong to the SS (overnight, Dr. Veesenmayer, who had been an SS Standartenfuehrer, received the rank of General in the SS), and he also had a Higher SS and Police Leader installed, as well as a Senior Commander of the Waffen- SS, even though at this point very few Waffen-SS units had taken part in entering Hungary.

"The chains of command were very difficult to grasp, even for an insider. In accordance with the Berlin offices' well-known craze for centralizing everything, every single office tried to control as completely as possible the unit working for it in Hungary, and to keep it free from other influences. Under these circumstances, the Higher SS and Police Leader mentioned before, General Winkelmann, was more or less a figurehead, while police units and Sonderkommandos, which were nominally subordinate to him, in actual fact received their orders from Berlin, and their reports to Berlin would often be notified to Winkelmann only in the form of copies."

On page 30:
"As to 27: Dr. Kaltenbrunner no doubt considered the operation in Hungary to be so important that he thought it necessary to take part in it personally. I remember that Dr. Kaltenbrunner not only came to Budapest immediately, on 19 March, but also remained quite some time in Budapest - perhaps even several weeks."
Page 31:
"In these circumstances, Kaltenbrunner practically had to conduct his official business as Chief of the Head Office for Reich Security from Budapest. Dr. Kaltenbrunner had originally been a lawyer in Linz, and, as a result of his illegal activity with the SS, had received an important position in 1938, when the annexation of Austria took place. However, despite the fact that both Kaltenbrunner and Eichmann were from Linz, as far as I could see Kaltenbrunner did not know Eichmann well. It is certainly not true that they used the familiar `du' form to address each other.

"When Dr. Kaltenbrunner occupied the post of State Secretary for Security Matters in the government of Dr. Seyss-Inquart, he became the Higher SS and Police Leader in Vienna. Because of the Berlin offices' mania for centralization, to which I have already referred, the position of a Higher SS and Police Leader had lost a great deal of weight, however, and it was therefore a great surprise even for those most in the know when, in January 1943, Hitler appointed Kaltenbrunner Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, as successor to Heydrich, who had been assassinated. This position which, after Goering's loss of power, was probably the most important one after those of Hitler and Himmler, was handed over to Kaltenbrunner, who was a decidedly average man."

"As to 28: On this question, I should like to refer to my previous comments, in which I tried to explain how difficult it was to have any clear view of the real chain of command in Hungary. Obviously, to some extent, Eichmann was subordinate to the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Hungary, and thus, in turn, also to the Higher SS and Police Leader in the country, but in practice he really came under his Department Chief, Mueller, in Berlin, and thus under Dr. Kaltenbrunner as well, as Mueller's superior."

On page 32:
"I already stated my view on this question when I gave a general description of conditions in Hungary. In this context, I should perhaps mention the fact that in my job, although I was a member of the staff of the Head Office for Reich Security, I was really not subordinate to any German office in Hungary, and answered only to my Berlin chief, Schellenberg. My official contacts with the Higher SS and Police Leader in Hungary, and the Senior Commanders of the Waffen-SS there, were limited practically to some courtesy visits and social invitations."
On page 53:
"On 4: To the best of my memory, as Inspector of the Security Police and the Security Service in Vienna, Stahlecker gave a great deal of support to Eichmann in realizing his plan to set up a Central Office for Jewish Emigration. If I am not mistaken - although I can only state this with due reservation, later - in Prague, Stahlecker was Eichmann's superior again."
On page 57:
"According to the reports available, the appointment in the Russian army of "Commissars," as they were known, was said to be restricted in the main to Jewish circles. In this instance, too, Hitler therefore doubtless equated `Communist official' with `Jew.' That would be the explanation for his `Commissars Order,' which, as I see it, is the initial foundation for the first mass destructions of the Jews. Thus the beginning of these mass destruction operations can be taken to be the beginning of the Russian campaign in the summer of 1941.

"I would understand the question about Heydrich's special assignment as his having received Hitler's order through Himmler, and being responsible subsequently for its implementation just like Pohl (SS Economic-Administrative Head Office).

"On the question whether the extermination order I have spoken of in connection with the Russian Commissars was also given secretly, and if not - what was the reaction on the part of Russia or world opinion: I am not aware of this order ever being made public at the time, or even reaching the general public. I do know that there were commanders in the German army who refused to fulfil the order in their area, and who treated the commissars as normal prisoners of war."

Page 59:
"As to 19: At the end of August 1944, after the Romanian revolt, Eichmann came to visit me in my flat in Budapest, in order to enquire about the most recent information on what was called the `enemy situation.' A few days earlier, there had been a revolt by young King Michael against Prime Minister Antonescu, followed by an armistice with the Red Army on the part of the Romanian army, which until then had fought with the Axis. These events undermined the stability of the entire German front in the area, which until then had not yet reached Romania. If Russian troops were to cross the Carpathian arch, the whole of Hungary would be practically defenceless before the attacks of the Russians.

"As I have already said, Eichmann asked me for the latest information from the front and explained that he was interested, because he was on his way to Romania. The information I had about the situation on the front was obtained not only from official German sources, but also from reports of our own agents who operated behind the Russian lines, as well as from monitoring Russian radio communications, for which I had, together with the Hungarian Counter-Intelligence Service, established quite a large office in Budapest. The actual operation of the radio counter-intelligence or listening service was run by the Hungarian military authorities, but the entire undertaking was financed by me - or rather, by my Department - which therefore also took part in determining the entire set-up. Thus I was the right person for Eichmann to approach, in order to get such information, and in the previous months he had already come to see me several times, in order to obtain genuinely objective reports, rather than the coloured ones which were often the practice on the part of the Germans.

"In reference to the related subsequent questions, I would give the following description of this conversation:

As far as I remember, Eichmann came to see me in the late forenoon. He was wearing battledress, i.e., not his dress uniform which he had worn on his other visits to me. He gave an impression of being very nervous, and this became even more marked when I told him about the disastrous situation on the German front. Doubtless I, too, was very dejected at the time, because I was afraid that there was nothing which would be able to stop the Russian advance through Hungary to my native Austria. Eichmann then swallowed several glasses of brandy, one after the other. As far as I remember, I set a bottle of arrack down with a glass, so he could help himself.

"I was alone in the room with Eichmann and, as far as I know, there was no one from my or Eichmann's staff around. The conversation on which I testified in 1945 before the Nuremberg Tribunal developed as follows, as I remember it: Eichmann stood up and said farewell with the following words: `We shall probably never see each other again,' or something similar. Then apparently he felt obliged to explain this pessimistic attitude and indicated that he was convinced that, with the German defeat, which was now to be expected, he stood no chance any more. When I asked him why he thought this, Eichmann said that, in view of his role in the programme to exterminate the Jews, the Allies were considering him to be a top war criminal. When he made this comment, I immediately grasped the opportunity to say that I had always wanted to hear reliable information about the extermination programme, and particularly about the number of Jews exterminated. To my surprise Eichmann responded to that, and said something along the following lines (in 1945, when I testified before the Nuremberg court, I obviously remembered the details more clearly than today, seventeen years later. I therefore apologize for any minor deviations)."

Page 61:
"He said that the number of murdered Jews was a very great Reich secret, but with the situation in which he, Eichmann, found himself today, he still could tell me anything about it, particularly since I was a historian. Eichmann then told me that, according to his information, some 6,000,000 (six million) Jews had perished until then - 4,000,000 (four million) in extermination camps and the remaining 2,000,000 (two million) through shooting by the Operations Units and other methods, such as disease, etc.

"I presumably reacted in a very shocked fashion to this figure, because Eichmann immediately commented that Himmler believed that the figure of six million Jews could not be correct, and the overall figure must be higher.

"I do not remember Eichmann making any form of personal statement or excuse. Eichmann also did not say that he felt himself guilty of the deaths of these six million Jews; as I have said, he simply answered my question how many Jews had actually been exterminated.

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