The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 91
(Part 2 of 6)

Dr. Servatius, would you obtain a sworn statement from this witness as early as possible. Time is very short now, and from that we shall see what position the Attorney General will take. We shall reserve his right to ask that the witness be brought here, to be examined.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, I agree. I shall immediately establish telegraphic communication with the witness, and in particular I want to find out whether he is prepared to come here.

Presiding Judge: Yes, would you check that, too. That might have an effect, too. The idea is - a notarized statement, apparently as practiced under Dutch law, with which I am not familiar - a statement which will specify all the facts known to this witness.

Judge Raveh: Including the sources of such knowledge.

Presiding Judge: Yes, including the sources of his knowledge; and get him to attach the documents which he has in his possession, if any.

Dr. Servatius: I shall take the necessary steps.

Presiding Judge: Thank you.

I see, Mr. Hausner, that this time you have submitted a list of the documents, and I thank you for this. But it has arrived late, and therefore we have not had a chance to prepare it. I have no doubt that you are doing the best you can.

Attorney General: Yes, this will be taken care of, as of this afternoon.

Presiding Judge: We shall now proceed with the cross- examination of the Accused. I remind the Accused that he is still testifying under oath.

Accused: Yes, I am aware of that.

Attorney General: Accused, last Friday you stated in your testimony that some time after the outbreak of World War II, you travelled with Stahlecker to the occupied part of Poland, to the Generalgouvernement. When did you make this journey?

Accused: I cannot remember today just when this took place, when exactly, but it was, at any rate, when that part which we visited was free of war; in fact, I actually went as far as the Russian-German demarcation line, as we had to travel through a section of the Russian-occupied zone, and I still remember that a commissar of what was then the G.P.U. travelled with us as an escort through this zone of joint occupation, or Russian zone. I don't remember which. That helps me in fixing the time when this must have taken place.

Q. At that time, how long did you stay in occupied Polish territory?

A. In my judgment, it was no more that two or three days.

Q. This was, then, prior to 19 September 1939, the day on which the border between the German Reich and the Soviet Union was demarcated.

A. I think it must have been after that date, because the demarcation line was already an established concept, except that in order to travel a certain route one had to cross the Soviet-occupied area, and there the commissar of the Soviet border patrol accompanied us. Therefore, it must have been after the date of that agreement.

Q. By what route did you travel?

A. I can't remember exactly. It was, in any event, the Radom sector of the Lublin district, in any case in that area, around the River San. Furthermore, I think the route can be determined pretty accurately, because I think, there weren't too many border crossings open for passage on foot or by vehicle, under the Soviet-German agreement.

Q. I do not want you to state anything for the future. I want to hear from you through which cities you passed, and which places you saw in occupied Poland.

A. At any rate I did get to Nisko on the San; this I remember vividly.

Q. And you saw the tortures, the butchering, the murders which the German occupiers carried out upon the Jews of Poland, beginning with the first days of the occupation.

A. I saw neither murders nor tortures. At that time I did not have any knowledge at all that such things were happening, and at this moment I cannot even say whether this had actually occurred at that time. At the time I was there, not only did I not see such things, I did not even hear anything.

Presiding Judge: I wish to say right away that I want no public participation in this trial. If anything like this should happen, I shall take the appropriate measures, and I do not want to repeat this.

Attorney General: We have heard a number of witnesses here as to what the armies of occupation did in the first weeks, on the first days. They saw it; they felt it in person. You did not see anything?

Accused: How should I hear things like that, or even see them, when I was sitting in Berlin at my desk, and had nothing at all to do with this?

Q. I am asking about your journey, on official business, from Berlin to Nisko. I am asking about your visits to the Polish cities - to Lublin, to the Silesian cities, to Katowice, to Sosnowiec. Didn't you see anything there?

A. I saw nothing there. Moreover, these visits did not take place at that particular time, but later. It is, of course, clear that en route to Lublin, I would have passed through other cities. In any case, as to that you alluded to, Mr. Attorney General, I have neither seen nor heard anything.

Q. Do you agree with me that the participants at the Conference which took place at Heydrich's office on 21 September 1939, heard from him about the plan which had already taken shape in his mind - which was a plan for the total extermination.

A. This is a meeting where my name was mentioned, but in which I did not participate, because I could not have participated since I was not Chief of a Department or Commander of a Special Operations Unit.

Q. I am not asking you about your participation, at this moment. Jump when your turn comes. At this moment I am not asking you about your participation.

Presiding Judge: What do you mean by "jumping"?

Attorney General: He is not replying to my question, Sir. He is talking about himself: He was not there. No one asked him about his participation.

[To the Accused) I am asking you: Was it clear to the participants of that meeting that Heydrich did, at that time, bring up a plan for a Final Solution?

Accused: I did not take part. I cannot say anything definite about it, but I can say one thing, after having read the document: I do not doubt that whatever is written there may be true and would have to be true, because it did, after all, happen in this way later, in point of fact.

Attorney General: In your testimony to the police, you said that it was clear to you from reading the document that Heydrich, on that day, laid down two aims for those Special Operations Units then operating in Poland: - this is on pages 3141 and 3142: a short-range target, and a long-range target.

The short-range target: territorial concentration, ghettoization, denial of rights; the long-range target: extermination. Is that correct?

Accused: Yes, that I have gathered from the documents. I, of course, was not in Berlin in those days; I was in Prague. That is why I cannot say anything from my own knowledge.

Q. What can we do, though, if your name appears among those attending the meeting, as listed in document T/164. You are described with great precision: Your rank - Hauptsturmfuehrer; your name: - Eichmann; your job: - Jewish Emigration Centre (Juedische Auswanderungszentrale). Is that not correct? This is an official document.

A. It is not correct. I would like to refer to the testimony of one participant at that conference, the man who was my ranking superior at that time, Professor Dr. Six, who has confirmed - although he did not say only favourable things about me - that I did not participate in such deliberations, while he did participate in such a meeting, every three to four weeks. Had I attended, Six would have surely and most definitely testified differently. Furthermore, the document is not signed.

Q. Again, you are trying to falsify testimonies. Six did not say that you had not attended that meeting. All that Six said was that you did not take part at the regular conferences of Department Chiefs; that, and no more. But this was not a regular meeting of Department Chiefs. This was a meeting of the Operations Units, and you did take part in it, as it says in the transcript and as you have admitted in your interrogation in Bureau 06.

A. I did not take part in this, and I have to protest against the assertion that this is again a falsification on my part. I have falsified nothing, and I would not dream of falsifying anything. Furthermore, may I point out that there is enough proof that at that time I had no business yet whatsoever in Berlin, but was located in Prague and in Vienna. I was occupied with emigration, and with nothing else.

Q. But in your interrogation by the police, you said on page 3151: "I can only say about this that I am unable to remember taking part in this meeting. Naturally there is no doubt about this, because I am in fact listed here." Do you wish to withdraw what you said?

A. It is not only this which I must withdraw. There are quite a lot of other things which I must take back from my statements here; after studying the documents, I realized that my assumptions were quite often wide off the mark and both, to my disadvantage and to the contrary, also to my advantage. It is only the wealth of documents which has improved my recollection, so that today I am more or less able to make an approximately correct statement about those instances which I do not directly recall or remember. It is very difficult if one is asked about something which happened, and is shown just one single document, and then one has to comment on it. I have tried to do this to the best of my ability and conscience, and I said yesterday that I was trying to reconstruct things, and I admitted as much then as well.

Q. But Accused, you had a general rehearsal just three years ago, or less, in the shape of everything you said in a series of presentations you made to Sassen about everything that had taken place. So it is not a question of sixteen years having lapsed - you have refreshed your memory perfectly well in the meantime.

A. When I look at Tape 17, where I sat down quietly and wrote things down in my own handwriting, I must say: "Indeed, here I had hours of quiet reflection at the ranch where I worked." I reject the others, because there were too many machinations connected with this. It was not a general rehearsal, because I did not read any background material to any notable extent, nor did I have any documents at all.

Q. Is it true that your talks with Sassen lasted four months, and were recorded on 67 tapes?

A. I have no recollection of the details. I cannot remember today how long they lasted.

Q. Four months, is that not true?

A. I do not know if it was four months.

Q. When did you read Reitlinger?

A. Reitlinger I have never - I only read here. The fact that Reitlinger existed, and my even having leafed through it, that might have been in 1956-1959. I did not read it until I was in prison here.

Q. And Poliakov? When did you read him?

A. The same as Reitlinger, I did not read this until I was in prison. And as proof of this I can cite...

Q. Without proof. Can you say when this was?

A. In prison here. I knew that both Reitlinger and Poliakov existed, and I also leafed through Poliakov's black book at the same time as I leafed through the Reitlinger. It would have been better if I had read it, because then I would have been able to give much clearer testimony here. I myself regretted that I read these two books so late, after the end of my Statement to the police.

Q. Sassen asked you questions from books. From which books did he ask you questions and read passages to you?

A. I do not know. I cannot say in detail today.

Q. But that was not sixteen years ago; that was three years ago. And it took months.

A. I have said that I do not remember, because it was not an interrogation: we sat over a bottle of wine. And it came out over a period of time. I must reject the results, because they were not what was intended nor, desired nor wished for; it came about against my wishes.

Q. You did not know that what you said was being recorded? Did Sassen do that surreptitiously?

A. If even in a transcript of Tape 17 distorting errors occur, all the more so when a tape is being listened to.

Q. I ask whether you were aware that your words were being tape-recorded? On that I want an answer: "yes" or "no."

A. Obviously I knew that.

Q. And you want to tell us that today you no longer know from which books Sassen quoted to you?

A. This I cannot tell you, because actually there were many.

Q. Which books?

A. I am under oath and I cannot simply chatter away, and simply say something which I do not know with full certainty.

Q. What do you know with full certainty?

A. What I do know with full certainty is that I haven't read [the transcripts of] tapes 1-17, and do not know today anymore what I said at that time.

Q. I am not asking you which [transcripts of] tapes you read. I am asking from what books Sassen quoted to you?

A. I have to stand by what I said. I don't know this. I cannot just stand here and tell stories. It is possible that books by Poliakov and Reitlinger were included, and the book by Brandt was also included. Other than that I cannot say. Neither do I know whether these matters were read out to me from the books or whether he prepared himself, and quoted to me from a slip of paper. All that I do not know.

Q. Did he also have documents in his hands from which he quoted to you. Is that correct?

A. I am not aware of that. I don't know.

Q. For instance, the order which you transmitted to Globocnik to murder 250,000 Jews; that he read out to you, isn't that correct?

A. I hear this for the first time. Of that, I am entirely unaware.

Q. We will return to that when we are able to refresh your memory some more. Let us come back to Heydrich. You were the person who was Heydrich's plenipotentiary for Jewish affairs - is that right?

A. No, that is not right; that is wrong.

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