The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 88
(Part 6 of 6)


Q. I shall help you to remember. For example, in your letter of 8 December 1942 about the Jews of Persian nationality, which contains your foolish expert opinion about Queen Esther and Purim, you said, referring to the few Jews who wanted to save themselves: "This is just another Jewish attempt at camouflage and deceit." Look at the first paragraph of the letter, in document T/437.

Accused: That is a memorandum, as I have said before, which did not come from my Section, nor from the Department to which I belonged, but we received this memorandum from Department VII, and Department VII was called "Scientific Study of Adversaries." Such a memorandum from Department VII, being a department of the Head Office for Reich Security, was, of course, accepted in full.

Q. I am not referring to the contents of this memorandum, I am talking about the attitude towards those few Jews who attempted to save themselves, and it is you who wrote this.

A. I signed the letter, but the text did not come from me; that is understandable, for such texts used to be exchanged between the various departments.

[Laughter in the audience]

Presiding Judge: I will not have such reactions. If you want to hear the evidence, you must preserve silence.

Attorney General: Take File 17, page 719. You write there: "I am afraid that the Krumey affair in Frankfurt was a plot; that would have been very cunning on the part of the Jews." Isn't that clearly anti-Semitic language? You wrote this in Argentina.

Accused: Yes, I wrote this in Argentina, but I find nothing anti-Semitic in these expressions.

Q. This remark refers to what I have read to you just now, about the Magyar people suffering, according to you, under the terror of the Jewish secret police.

A. Even if that is true - I haven't read it - it is not anti-Semitic, for steps taken by the police do not imply whether something is in general anti-German, anti-Semitic or anti-Argentinian.

Q. I see that we do not agree on what is anti-Semitism. I realize that for you the word has a very unequivocal meaning. We shall pass on to another subject.

When you started your career in the SS you submitted your curriculum vitae, on 19 July 1937. That is T/55(6). Is that so?

A. Yes, I submitted such a curriculum vitae in my handwriting.

Q. And writing about the period you worked in Austria you said - in the second paragraph - that you were dismissed by the Vacuum Oil Company because you were a member of the NSDAP. Is that correct? Did you write that?

A. Yes, but I have to make an observation on that.

Q. I want to know if you wrote that.

Presiding Judge: He has already said so.

Attorney General: That is not correct. Here you told us that you were not dismissed because of your membership in the Nazi party.

Accused: I had two versions. One was the letter of dismissal of the Vacuum Oil Company, which said that I was dismissed because of the general economic situation and because I was single; that I was the only single employee, and that it was therefore my turn. And I also had a letter of recommendation from the German consul in Linz confirming that I was dismissed because I was a member of the NSDAP. The former was official, the latter unofficial.

Q. And which was the truth?

A. I had to give preference to the letter from the company, which gave the reason for my dismissal, and the second letter was a letter of convenience, as was common practice in those days, and I could not check it, for he also wrote that he had heard it from a third party.

Presiding Judge: You were asked what the truth is, and that does not depend on these letters. What was the reason for your dismissal, in your own opinion?

Accused: I was dismissed because I was the only single person, and the Vacuum Oil Company had to reduce the number of its employees.

Attorney General: The document you submitted to your superiors in the SS, with the reason of your dismissal, was thus a lie?

Accused: No, it was not a lie, either, for I had with me the original letter of the German consul in Linz.

Q. But you wrote it, and not the consul, is that not so? And what you wrote was not true?

A. The real reason, as I have just said, was the general reduction of staff at the Vacuum Oil Company; that can still be checked today. But since the German consul had confirmed that he heard from a third party that I was dismissed because of my NSDAP membership, I, of course, used this convenient document, for I had no reason to go into this matter any deeper. The real reason can be easily cleared up with the Vacuum Oil company, for the company still exists. It is a large, world-wide concern.

Q. In other words, you began your career with a request for a higher rank under what you knew to be a false pretence?

Presiding Judge: What does "a higher rank" mean?

Attorney General: That was in connection with that curriculum vitae. That we know already.

Presiding Judge: But we are now referring to the dismissal from Vacuum Oil.

Attorney General: No, that was a letter which he wrote as a false pretence in his curriculum vitae in order to further his career, and in this manner he began his career in the SS.

[To the Accused]Under a pretext which you knew to be a lie?

Accused: It was neither a lie nor a pretext on my part. I appended the letter of the German consul in Linz. I also had, at the same time, the letter of dismissal from the Vacuum Oil Company. It was, therefore, from my point of view, in no way untrue or incorrect.

Q. The declaration of the German consul in Linz was thus enough to turn a lie into truth?

A. I did not use that confirmation to distort the truth, but I just had to believe that the reason - for that was entirely clear - was the general economic crisis, and on the other hand, I had no reason to doubt that the German consul had heard from a third party that the real reason was perhaps my belonging to the SS. I don't know, I don't know where the German consul got his information.

Q. Here, in the Court, you declared under oath that you were not dismissed because of your membership in the NSDAP. And here, in a document in your handwriting, it says that you were dismissed because of that. So what is the truth?

A. I learned directly from my superior in the Vacuum Oil Company that I was dismissed because a general staff reduction had been ordered, and I was single and therefore the obvious choice. Indirectly, I heard from the German consul that he had learned through other channels - I did not know which channels - that it was because of my membership in the NSDAP. It is possible that both versions are true. I don't know, I can neither check nor judge it.

Q. Did you join the NSDAP out of your own free choice and free will?

A. Yes.

Q. And you joined the SD also out of your own free choice and free will?

A. At the time I thought that the SD was the Reich Security Service, there was some confusion of the SD with the Reich Security Service, the SD was not known at all at that time. And I applied, therefore, following a call for recruitment which was announced in the SS battalion I.

Q. I want to know in the first place whether you joined this organization voluntarily, or whether someone forced you to do so.

A. Nobody forced me; I joined the SS in the belief that it was the Reich Security Service.

Q. When did you join the Nazi Party?

A. In April 1932.

Q. Before Hitler's seizure of power?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you know the Party program? Did you know what you were joining?

A. Nobody cared about the Party program, but one knew what one was joining.

Q. When did you join the SS?

A. On the same day I joined the Party.

Q. And when did you join the Security Service you mentioned earlier?

A. I did not join the Reich Security Service, I wanted to join it, but I came to the SD. I don't remember by heart, it appears in my personal file, I believe it was towards the end of 1934.

Q. But in any case you also joined the SD voluntarily, as you have told us?

A. Without knowing that it was not the Reich Security Service.

Q. When did you find this out?

A. I realized this fact after I had been there for a few weeks, more or less, for we were housed in barracks.

Q. And you remained in this service of your own free will?

A. Yes, I had to, since I had already taken the oath.

Q. Was that still in Austria?

A. No, that was in Berlin.

Q. When did you take the oath?

A. I took the oath several times. I took the oath of allegiance for the first time immediately after the death of Hindenburg, in Munich, as an oath to the Flag, for at the time I served in SS Battalion I which was stationed near Dachau, but which had nothing to do with the Dachau concentration camp. It was an independent unit of the predecessor of the Waffen-SS.

Q. I would like to know whether you ever tried to leave the Nazi Party or the SS.

A. I never tried to leave the Party or the SS.

Q. And you stayed there out of your own free will and choice?

A. In the organization of the SS and the Party - yes, but not in the post to which I was later assigned.

Q. We shall return to this subject. But tell me, when did you try for the first time to be relieved of your post, as you claim you did?

A. The first time was when I received the order to come to Berlin from Prague, and the order of transfer came to Berlin, that was in the autumn of 1939, for my family lived then...

Q. All right, I have received my answer. Where were you on the day the War broke out?

A. On the day the War broke out I was either in Prague or in Vienna, as far as I remember. I rather think, in Prague.

Q. And where were you during the first days of the War?

A. During the first days of the War I also was either in Vienna or in Prague. In September it was still a long time before my transfer to Berlin. There is thus no other possibility.

Q. During your interrogation by the police you said, on page 3152, bottom, that on 1 September, the day of the outbreak of the War "when the wheels began to roll," you travelled with Stahlecker to the Generalgouvernement. Is that correct?

A. No, that is not correct, for on 1 September, when war was declared, I could not have travelled to the Generalgouvernement, for the fighting troops had first to open the road to the Generalgouvernement.

Presiding Judge: Where does it say this?

Attorney General: Yes, here at the bottom.

Did you go with Stahlecker to the Generalgouvernement?

Accused: Yes, I went there. After having seen the documents today, I see that it must have been certainly two, or three, or five weeks after the beginning of the War that I went to the Generalgouvernement to set up, somehow, what I then called "a Jewish state in Radom."

Q. Did you attend the Party Congress in Nuremberg in 1937?

A. I have read a document here...

Q. I want an answer, "yes" or "no."

Presiding Judge: The question requires a short, a very simple answer.

Accused: I attended one Party Congress. I don't know whether this was in 1937.

Attorney General: And there you recruited a certain American, named Elmhurst, because you had discovered, according to your own words, that he was a practising anti- Semite, and you asked that he be financially supported to enable him to publish an anti-Semitic pamphlet entitled The World Hoax. Did you ask the SD to allocate one thousand dollars for this purpose?

Accused: Yes, that is true. This Elmhurst was the only person among the Stuermer people attending the congress who did not represent the Stuermer line, and I had been assigned to build up the intelligence service against North America in that field. And in intelligence one employs various agents from every country in the world.

Q. Did you make the remark that he was the right man because he was an anti-Semite?

A. From the intelligence point of view the man was a reliable...

Q. "Yes" or "no," first of all.

I appeal to the Court to tell the Accused that he must first answer the question, and only then give his explanation.

Presiding Judge: The Attorney General is right. The answer must come first, and only then may you explain.

Accused: May I hear the question again?

Attorney General: The question was whether the reason for recruiting Elmhurst was, as you wrote, that he was a good and reliable anti-Semite.

Accused: What I have written is in any case in accordance with the truth, and I must explain that.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Accused: We were dealing at the time with providing intelligence about the North American anti-German boycott. And in recruiting agents we could not look at the person as such, but as in every intelligence service in the world, we employed the agents who promised the best results. That was the reason.

Attorney General: During your service in 1937 you already regarded the Jews as adversaries, is that correct?

Accused: I regarded them as adversaries, if I may explain why.

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Accused: I did not regard the Jew as an adversary who had to be liquidated, but I did regard him as an adversary, that is true, for whom a solution had to be found which was just to both sides. And I consistently related to the aspirations and wishes of Jewry itself, to have their own land, a country of their own under their feet, and I wholeheartedly agreed with this view. My co-operation, my glad co-operation, with the effort to find a solution to this matter, was based on this view.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, can we stop here?

Attorney General: I would like to ask a few more questions.

Presiding Judge: No. The Court will adjourn till Monday. Next week the same arrangements will be followed, with a minor change. The morning sessions will begin at 8.30 a.m. as usual, but they will end at 12.30, thus making the luncheon intermission longer.

The next Session will be on Monday morning at 8.30.


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