The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 85
(Part 4 of 7)

On Question 12:
"Mueller often insisted on deciding himself on matters of varying degrees of importance. Sometimes they were inconsequential routine matters. This would interfere time and again with the proper running of departments, and other Group Leaders also complained about this.

"I also found that he was not particularly keen on taking decisions himself, and in non-routine matters would often obtain instructions for himself from his superiors in many cases. He was exaggeratedly cautious vis-a-vis his superiors. You could say he was over- anxious. The result of his behaviour was a considerable restraint on the departments under his control. Until I became aware of this idiosyncrasy of his, it also happened that, when I had taken decisions on my own, he would remonstrate with me. He would reproach me for having decided on my own initiative, rather than criticizing the substance of my decision.

"I do not know whether - and if so, to what extent - this behaviour was true of his attitude to the Accused's Section as well. There were general complaints about it, but I cannot remember whether the Accused also complained.

"Frequently Mueller would not accept the decisions submitted to him as they stood, but would modify them or refer to higher authority."

Then, further down on page 10, the reply to Question 14:
"If in my affidavit, document No. 874, page 6, I said that, apart from his Section, the Accused was in charge of an office in Prague, the only thing I remember today is that I know that he often had business in Prague. I am unable to say whether the Accused had this position at the same time as his Section, or whether he was in charge of this office earlier. I cannot today say whether the office in Prague was the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. I know there was such an office. I know that the Accused was often away. However, I know nothing about this having been in connection with any business in branch offices."
Page 11:
"I was not in any way close to the Accused, and I also had practically hardly any official contacts with him. The only time I remember getting to know him slightly better was when we travelled together - I believe to Prague. If I am not mistaken, we were going to Heydrich's funeral. I travelled in the Accused's official car, because I had no car of my own."
Presiding Judge: Is that all?

Interpreter: Yes.

Presiding Judge: All right. We shall now turn to von Thadden's testimony. I mark this III. Dr. Servatius, what do you wish to stress in this testimony?

Dr. Servatius: Record of 18 May 1961, Court of First Instance, Neuss. One of the important passages for the Defence would seem to be page 4, the last sentence:

"While I was working with the Special Plenipotentiary for Economic Affairs, I never heard of Eichmann visiting Greece."
Then, page 7, the last paragraph: "I cannot say anything about the Accused's powers to take decisions; I do not remember any cases" to (at the bottom) "which were signed by his superior, Mueller."

Page 8, at the bottom: "I was unable to understand from whom basic orders on the treatment of Jews emanated" - to the end of the paragraph on the next page: "had originated with him."

Then, page 10, the penultimate paragraph: "I received Veesenmayer's reports to the Foreign Ministry on the deportation of Jews from Hungary, for information." The next sentence: "In the light of these reports it is quite obvious that Veesenmayer played a decisive role in these deportations." Up to there.

Then, on page 15, the third paragraph: "I know that in principle any projects proposing the emigration of Jews to Palestine were foiled by the Foreign Ministry, in view of the Arab-oriented policy" to the end of the paragraph.

These are all the passages to which I wished to relate.

Presiding Judge: And now, the Attorney General.

Attorney General: We have already provided the marked passages.


"I am Dr. jur. Eberhard von Thadden. I was born in Berlin on 17 November 1909; I live in Buederich, Kreis (District) Grevenbroich, von der Leyenstrasse 4. I am married, have two children, and am a businessman by profession."
Page 3:
"In the spring of 1943 - I think it was in April - I was ordered back to Berlin by telegraph and assigned to Department II Inland. The Chief of this Department was Legation Counsellor - subsequently Senior Legation Counsellor - Horst Wagner. The Department was subordinate to State Secretary Steengracht, who in turn was directly subordinate to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 1943 or 1944, I became Legation Counsellor, First Class. I was a member of Department II Inland until the collapse."
Page 4:
"In the Personnel Department, I dealt with a group of senior officials in the Foreign Ministry. At this time there were not yet Specialist Officers on Jewish Affairs or Advisers on Aryanization with the German diplomatic agencies, but there were Police Attaches - positions created at that time. The Police Attaches were proposed and also appointed on the basis of proposals from the Head Office for Reich Security or the Ministry of the Interior - I cannot say today which of these two bodies was responsible for such appointments - after the approval of the host country had been obtained by the Foreign Ministry. The Police Attaches were subordinate to their organization at home. In accordance with service regulations, the Legation Head was the administrative superior of the Police Attache, but in matters of discipline his home organization was in charge of him. When it came to actual work, in practice the Police Attache received instructions from his home organization. In theory, as far as I am aware, the Mission Head was entitled to cause the recall of a Police Attache who did not prove amenable, or to ask for his recall."
Page 5:
"In Department II Inland, I was mainly involved with maintaining contact with the various German offices of the SS, i.e., those offices which were subject to the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police. My connections in the course of this activity of mine were with the central offices only, while my Department Chief reserved for himself any dealings with members of those offices who had the rank of an SS Gruppenfuehrer or Obergruppenfuehrer. In terms of rank, my Department Chief was of lower rank than the SS Leaders I have just referred to. As part of my job, I also had to deal with assignments which were really part of the duties of other specialist officers of the Foreign Ministry, but were concentrated in Inland II, because the offices under the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police were engaged in handling these assignments. As part of my duties, as described, I also had to make contact with German missions abroad and with foreign missions in Germany, in order to execute specific tasks."
Page 6:
"In the course of my duties I became aware of the extent of the deportations of Jews in the various occupied and allied countries. I only had access to the records existing in the Department relative to Jewish Affairs which originated before I joined the Department, when I had to use such records in order to deal with tasks with which I was charged. Rademacher, my predecessor, did not personally hand over the field of work to me, because, when I joined Department II Inland, Rademacher was already in the army.

"In the course of my work in Department II Inland, I was continuously in contact with the Accused. During the period in question, I was initially Legation Counsellor, i.e., Government Counsellor, and subsequently promoted to Legation Counsellor, First Class, i.e., Senior Government Counsellor. As far as I am aware, Eichmann was an SS Obersturmbannfuehrer. To the best of my knowledge, this rank is equivalent to that of Senior Government Counsellor."

Page 7:
"I had constant dealings with the Accused and his office, particularly by word of mouth and by telephone with Guenther and Moes, or by written correspondence with his office. I think it was possible for a specialist officer of a central body to have personal contacts with Ministers or Secretaries of State of foreign countries, when he was abroad, but it was not customary. For example, while I was stationed in Greece, I once had dealings with the Greek Premier.

"In the course of my consultations with the Accused and the Section of which he was in charge, I was authorized to decide myself only in the case of minor matters; otherwise I had to submit the matter for decision, either to the Head of another Section which was involved, or to my superior. By submission I mean the official procedure which passes through normal channels in order to reach the authority which finally takes the decision. In the case of the authorities superior to me, these were the Chief of Department, the State Secretary and the Minister.

"I cannot say anything about the Accused's powers to take decisions; I do not remember any cases in which the Accused took a decision about which I would say that it exceeded the competence of a specialist officer, according to the concept with which I was familiar in my own job. However, from the reports and opinion of the Accused, bearing his own signature, which I received, I was not always able to deduce whether he had taken the decision himself on his own responsibility, or whether he was acting in accordance with instructions. I also remember documents, the contents of which as such concerned Eichmann's Section, but which were signed by his superior, Mueller. For example, I remember a decree about the possibility of repatriating foreign Jews, signed by Mueller. This was a circular issued by the Head Office for Reich Security to the offices under its control, which was sent for information to the Foreign Ministry. This circular did not deal with individual instances.

"Most of the documents which reached me from the Accused's Section were signed by him or by his subordinate assistants. I do not remember getting my Department Chief to deal directly with Mueller in matters which involved Eichmann's Section, in the disposal of which he was to be circumvented. I think that this would have been quite out of the question, because if anything affecting Eichmann's Section was to be reversed, this, in my opinion, could only have been done by the top echelons (State Secretary or Minister).

"I recollect more particularly now the case of the Bondi children. Sweden had requested exit permits for these children. Despite repeated representations, the Accused's office refused such exit permits. Shortly before the collapse - as far as I remember, it was in April 1945 - permission was nevertheless granted by Eichmann's Section. My impression of the whole case was that this was a decision which was handed down to the Accused by his superior as a result of intervention by the State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry. I cannot remember right now other instances where a decision by the Accused's Section was reversed; but by that I do not mean to say that this was the only case.

"The Foreign Ministry demanded, as a matter of principle, to take part in questions affecting the treatment of Jews holding neutral or enemy nationality. When it came to the power of decision between the Head Office for Reich Security and the Foreign Ministry, the seat of power was weighted clearly against the Foreign Ministry. However, I am unable to remember any case where a dispute arose because of this between the Foreign Ministry and the Head Office for Reich Security."

Page 9...

Presiding Judge: We will stop here for a recess. Mr. Hausner, perhaps you could consider somewhat abridging this process and following in Dr. Servatius' footsteps, except where you consider certain passages to be particularly significant.

Attorney General: Yes. I shall use the recess to this end.


Presiding Judge: We have not yet finished von Thadden's statement. Attorney General, what have you managed to do in the meantime?

Attorney General: I have dropped certain passages from this testimony, and I have also asked my colleagues to drop passages from other testimonies still to be referred to.

Presiding Judge: In that case, I would ask the interpreter to continue, on page 9, I believe.

Interpreter: Page 9, the second paragraph:

"Requests from the Foreign Ministry for approval of exceptions to general rules were also directed through me to the Accused's Section. As to whether the Accused was able to decide on his own initiative on these requests, I am unable to say. As I have already said elsewhere, it was not possible to determine from the position taken by his Section whether the decision in question had been taken by Eichmann himself. As part of my activities, I did learn of positive decisions as well - positive in the sense of members of the Jewish population - on the part of the Accused's Section. I do not know whether the Accused obtained these positive exceptions by intervening personally. Eichmann spoke in very negative terms about requests for approval of exceptions. I remember that when I approached Eichmann about approving an exception, he said my attitude was `weak-kneed.' Eichmann did not mince his words."
Then we go on to page 11, in the middle:
"It is correct that I did once make a journey to Hungary in the spring of 1944. On behalf of my organization, I visited then not only the Eichmann Special Operations Unit, but other offices as well. These were offices which concerned my Section. The real reason for this journey was that my superior wanted to give me a few peaceful days, because of the constant air raids on Berlin at that time.

"I wrote two reports about this visit: A copy of one report went to the Head Office for Reich Security, while the second report was for internal use in the Foreign Ministry. In these reports I indicated that the Eichmann Special Operations Unit in Hungary was acting in accordance with a definite plan. I could not determine to what extent Eichmann had co-ordinated this plan with other authorities. I myself was horrified at the plan which Eichmann had disclosed to me. I was in agreement with other staff of the Foreign Ministry that the implementation of the plan must be prevented, at least by gaining time. As far as I know, the plan was not implemented in the form disclosed to me originally by Eichmann when I saw him in Budapest. According to the original plan, the Jewish population of Budapest was to be herded together one night on an island in the Danube and interned there, without adequate preparations."

Further down, on page 12:
"Regarding the evacuation of Jews from Hungary, it was always said that they were to be deported to the Eastern Occupied Territories. The name of the Auschwitz camp was also mentioned in this context."
Attorney General: That concludes von Thadden's statement.

Presiding Judge: Let us now turn to other statements.

Attorney General: Statements concerning Hungary.

Presiding Judge: Here, too, we must first turn to Dr. Servatius - perhaps we should start with Juettner. I mark this testimony IV. Dr. Servatius, which passages in Juettner's testimony do you wish to highlight or include in the record?

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