The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 90
(Part 1 of 4)

Session No. 90

26 Tammuz 5721 (10 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the ninetieth Session of the trial open.

Dr. Servatius, you have submitted a request to examine Mr. Zvi Tohar and Mr. Jack Shimoni. Has the Attorney General received a copy?

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: Would you like to explain this application?

Dr. Servatius: I do not have it at hand at the moment, as I did not assume that it would be read out today. I could do so tomorrow morning.

Presiding Judge: All right. Therefore, we shall discuss this application tomorrow morning, at the beginning of the session.

We are now going to resume the cross-examination of the Accused. I draw your attention to the fact that you are continuing to testify under oath.

Accused: Yes, I am aware of this.

Presiding Judge: I would also like to tell you that during the translation you may sit down, to rest, without having to receive special permission each time. And if you feel tired, you may ask me for permission to give your entire testimony while seated, if need be.

Accused: Thank you.

Attorney General: Accused, when you joined the Nazi Party, were you familiar with its slogans, such as "Awake, Germany, Judea Perish!" and "When Jewish blood spurts from the knife..." etc.?

Accused: In Austria, where I made my first contacts with the Party, these songs were any event, I did not hear these songs in the mountain valley areas. And I have already said that I did not join the Party because it may have had the programme of combatting the Jews as its aim. Rather, the thought that motivated me was that this Party had inscribed on its banner the fight against Versailles. That alone was decisive for me.

Q. But you will agree with me that at least from 1937 on, the only front on which you were active was the front of the fight against the Jews, and not against Versailles.

A. That is correct; when I joined the Security Service Head Office, and then, actually, there was the fight against Jewry. But efforts were being made to find a solution, in different ways. I have already stated which direction I took.

Q. Do you know that your Fuehrer had declared, quite a long time before the War, that if a war broke out....the loser...whoever won the war, Jewry would be annihilated.

A. Yes, I am familiar with this statement. It is part of a speech in the Reichstag. But the expression "annihilated" was not seriously meant at that time. Rather, it was believed that this was more or less a political matter. In any event, at that time I did not think for a second that this referred to physical annihilation, and many others thought the same way.

Q. You told a story here to the effect that your hostility towards Jewry began after the late Dr. Weizmann had declared war against Germany. When did he make this declaration?

A. That is correct. From that moment on I, too, recognized Jewry as, shall we say, a potential opponent which could become dangerous to my fatherland. This declaration was made public a few days after the outbreak of war, in 1939. And that is, if I may say so, an understandable reaction on the part of any person who loves his fatherland.

Presiding Judge: It is not necessary to add an explanation to every answer. If an answer does require an explanation, you may add an explanation. However, the answer to the question "When was that?" must be brief. The explanation and everything else, were unnecessary.

Attorney General: How do you know that such a statement has ever been made? Who told you about it?

Accused: It was circulated in the Service at that time, and if I am not mistaken, it was also published. This I am not sure about, however. In any event, in the ranks of the Service it was made public.

Q. And from then on you regarded the Jews as an enemy who had to be liquidated, like any other enemy?

A. The word "liquidate" is not the right one here. An enemy you do not always liquidate, an enemy you fight. Q. I would like to draw your attention to what you have written with your own hand, in what we refer to as File 17, on page 734 - I will hand it to you, if you wish - that is on pages 734-735. The motto is: "The enemies are to be annihilated" (vernichtet).

A. Yes. I was writing here under the impression of the saying: "Woe to the vanquished," as I have indicated here. The motto on both sides was: "The enemy shall be annihilated."

Q. And Jewry all over the world - through its leader Chaim Weizmann - had evidently declared war on the German Reich. Therefore, the motto is: "The Jews shall be annihilated." Isn't that right?

A. But not the physical annihilation which Hitler later ordered.

Q. Ah, not the physical!

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, could you provide us with a list of the documents to which you plan to refer? This will make matters easier for us, for the interpreters, etc.

Attorney General: Certainly, but I cannot promise that I shall always follow the numerical order precisely, because matters develop according to the requirements of the examination.

Presiding Judge: You will do it as far as possible.

Attorney General: I shall do that.

Do you know of any annihilation that is not physical?

Accused: Oh, yes. Our struggle, for instance, against France, against England, etc. This is a process of putting the enemy out of action for the duration of the War, and once the War is over, any feeling of enmity is once more put aside.

Q. This is what you call annihilation (Vernichtung).

A. This was called annihilation during the War. One annihilated England as well, one annihilated any enemy within reach. This expression "annihilation" referred to the disarming of the enemy at the time of the War, but not the extermination or physical liquidation.

Q. You agree, don't you that you considered the Jew an opponent, simply an opponent, a long time before the War?

A. I did not consider him an opponent, if for no other reason then that through personal relations and contacts I felt differently. But I realized through the influence of the surrounding society, of course, that a mutual solution must be sought.

Q. Let us leave the solution aside for the moment; we shall come back to it. What I am referring to now is your attitude towards the Jews. When Wisliceny recommended you on 17 September 1937 as an expert on the organizational arrangements and ideology of the opponent Jewry (that is in exhibit T/55) - was that correct or not?

A. From the point of view of information, that was correct.

Q. And the war which Chaim Weizmann declared on Germany, was it, as you have stated here, also part of the war which was forced on Germany?

A. This declaration of war against Germany, decided on by Chaim Weizmann, is in my eyes part of a chain of mutual misconceptions. To be more explicit - I think both sides are to blame here.

Q. You have not answered my question. You have spoken here of the war that had been forced on Germany and of the fact that Chaim Weizmann, as it were, had declared war on Germany.

My question is this: Was the war which Weizmann had declared part of that war which had been forced on Germany?

A. Globally seen, yes.

Q. And if I tell you that this is a lie and an invention; that Weizmann never made any such declaration of war, and you have never heard such a declaration, and you have never in your war used this declaration as an argument - what is, then, your reaction?

A. In that case I can only state again that we had heard it, as it was officially dealt with. I personally actually had files about it.

Q. Can you point to any document among the documents concerning the annihilation and the discussions about annihilation, in which you people referred to the so-called declaration of war by Chaim Weizmann?

A. I must admit, as a matter of fact, that during the War I no longer heard anything about it.

Presiding Judge: Quiet! If this goes on, I shall have the court-room cleared. I am sorry, but I cannot allow this.

Attorney General: Among other things for which Wisliceny recommended you was your being a convinced National Socialist. I assume that his opinion was correct.

Accused: Yes.

Q. And you mean to tell me, us, that your superiors were afraid to let you - a convinced National Socialist - study Hebrew with a rabbi? With a rabbi?

A. I am sorry, I did not understand this.

Q. ...that your superiors were afraid that in the course of your Hebrew studies you would come into contact with a rabbi?

A. I do not know exactly which motives my superiors acted on, of course. All I know - and at present I know it only from the files, because I myself had forgotten it - that I had applied twice to receive Hebrew lessons from a rabbi.

Q. Perhaps they were of the opinion that the business which you had to perform, you could discharge without knowledge of the Hebrew language?

A. I do not think so, because at that time I was active mainly in religious-scientific matters and intelligence - all pertaining to Zionist organizations.

Q. You have told us of your programme to "put soil under the feet" of the Jewish people. I assume that this was not your personal invention. Could you tell us who were the righteous men who conceived this programme: Heydrich, Himmler, Streicher, Rosenberg - which one of them?

A. As far as I know, at that time, when I tried to sell this idea within the Service, no one else expressed it.

Q. Only you?

A. At that time, in any event, I did not hear it from anyone else and I also know that this idea was, at that time, ridiculed and scoffed at by some. My impetus came from Adolf Boehm's book, and there I recognized the root of all evil in the homelessness of this people, and I made no bones about it, within my official sphere of service.

Q. And a clear expression of the need to give this people a homeland, you gave, for instance, in the report about your journey to Palestine in 1939, correct?

A. This is not my report. I have said so myself, and it was confirmed recently in testimony by the person who had then been the superior in command of both myself and the author.

Q. That is not correct, but let me refer only to what you have stated. You have said, in your interrogation, that this report had been corrected by you in your handwriting. This appears on page 341 and 342 of your Statement, where you said that the report had been shown to you before being passed on. Is that correct?

A. I corrected it, but only the spelling, as one can easily find out.

Q. Your journey was designed among other things, to establish contact with Hajj Amin al-Husseini, isn't that correct?

A. The purpose was, first, to get to know the land and its people, and secondly, to establish contact with all kinds of persons.

Q. I am talking about Hajj Amin al-Husseini.

A. If this were possible, yes, that too, of course.

Q. One of the objects of your journey was to establish contact with Hajj Amin al-Husseini, is that correct? "Yes" or "no"?

A. Yes, that too.

Q. Do you admit to your responsibility for this report?

A. No, this responsibility I do not admit, as it was my chief who composed this report, and not I.

Q. During the police interrogation, at least, you had the courage to state that you admit this responsibility. Now you are going back on this again.

Presiding Judge: Let us take a look and find out precisely what was said there. This is page 342, isn't it? I see, Mr. Attorney General, that you have the German text.

Attorney General: Right, page 346: "Certainly. I can say nothing else today. I must assume responsibility. I have no other choice." This is what you said on page 346 of your police interrogation. Do you want to retract this now?

Accused: May I read the preceding sentence?

Q. Please do so. It begins in the middle of the page.

A. Certainly.

Q. Can you see it?

A. The point at issue in the interrogation was this: the interrogator could not believe that the author had a lower official rank than mine. At that time I was Hauptscharfuehrer and my Chief was Oberscharfuehrer, which is one rank lower. In order to counter this doubt and to weaken it, I assumed joint responsibility, inasmuch as I had, after all, made the spelling corrections. I had nothing to do with the substantive aspect, as was confirmed for me a few days ago by my chief, our chief at that time, Dr. Six, in his testimony. That is all I can say about this. And I did not, in fact compose it, this report.

Q. Professor Six did not say anything of the sort. He merely based himself on the initials H.G. which appear on the document, on top. He was not speaking from memory, or from his own knowledge. And I say to you that you composed this report. You appear in it first, and Hagen only after you.

Presiding Judge: What is the number of this report?

Attorney General: T/124, is that correct or not?

Accused: No, that is not correct. I must protest against this, because this is a false interpretation of the truth.

Q. In the police interrogation, several passages from this report were read to you. Thus, for instance, on pages 346- 397, entire passages of the report were read to you, and you replied: "Yes, that was my opinion, that was precisely the position of the Reich Economics Ministry." Well, is that correct or not?

A. I have no doubt that many passages in this report reflect my opinion to a large extent. However, the dictation- sign alone shows that I cannot have been the author of this report. The dictation-sign, as is well known, all over the world, shows the name of the person dictating a document. And this person was not I.

Q. Is there in this report one single sentence, one single paragraph, which indicates a positive attitude towards the Zionist constructive enterprise?

A. I do not remember the article any more, word for word. All I know is that there were differences about matters of substance between the conception of my Department Chief at that time, Hagen, and myself. That they existed, is quite evident from the documents, since my attitude towards the Zionists is, after all, documented here.

Q. But for some reason you forgot to say this in the police interrogation.

A. During the police interrogation I forgot quite a lot, confused quite a lot, and even testified to many things to my detriment which had, in reality, never occurred. Thus, I shouldered the responsibility for the arrest of Canon Grueber, who has testified here, although, as a matter of fact I did not arrest him, as I discovered here to my surprise, from his own mouth.

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