The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 93
(Part 1 of 5)

Session No. 93

28 Tammuz 5721 (12 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the ninety-third Session of the trial open. The Accused will continue his testimony under cross-examination. I remind the Accused that he is still testifying under oath.

Accused: I am aware of the fact.

Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: In the statement by Dr. Rudolf Mildner submitted by your Defence Counsel, document N/97, there appears a definition of your powers in the Head Office for Reich Security. Before I ask you about the substance, please tell me whether it is true that Mildner was never hostile to you, and that after the War you met in a friendly way.

Accused: I was never on bad terms with Mildner.

Q. Mildner, who must have known how things stood in the Head Office for Reich Security, says here in two passages that you were the Adviser on all Jewish matters of Himmler, Kaltenbrunner and Mueller, and he says here that you were the plenipotentiary - he uses the term Beauftragter -for implementing all the measures which involved deportations to camps, contacts with various governments and with Higher SS and Police Leaders. I assume that you do not intend to repudiate a document submitted by your own Counsel in your defence?

A. When my Counsel introduced this matter, I immediately interrupted at this point - at this very point, and I reacted to this, and I also replied to His Honour who examined me more closely about this, that on this point Mildner is mistaken, and this error can be demonstrated and refuted by the actual documents.

Q. It is not just one point - there are three or four passages where this point appears.

A. I would like to say the following on this - I am referring only to those passages underlined by the Prosecution. The first passage says: "Section IVBA, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, a member of the Security Service, from Department III, but for those duties seconded to Department IV." I am not from Department III: I am originally from Department II, which was Department VII, and I was also not seconded, but transferred.

The next marked passage: "Advisor to Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner, and also to Department Chief IV, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, on all Jewish matters." I believe that this is the passage on which I reacted when the document was submitted or discussed, by my Counsel. I would state on this that I was neither advisor nor a specialist officer to Himmler, nor to the Chief of the Security Police for the Head Office for Reich Security as a whole; but I was that for Department IV, for Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, as can also be seen clearly from the organization chart.

Next page:

"The orders for deporting Jews in the Reich and in the areas occupied by Germany to labour and concentration camps were given by Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler. The orders were signed by him and designated 'Secret State Matter'." Not all orders were signed by Himmler, although I do not know everything, as I received these orders from Mueller, but I believe that Heydrich himself issued orders as well; for example deportation orders. "They went through the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Dr. Kaltenbrunner, previously Heydrich, to the Chief of Department IV of the Head Office for Reich Security, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, and he discussed matters of implementation orally with the Chief of Group IVA, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, who was a member of the Security Service and was transferred from Department III to Department IV."
I would like to refer here to what I have already said about III and IV, and I must also object to the word "discussion," because Mueller normally did not discuss, but issued instructions.

Q. I think there is here a misunderstanding of my question. I did not ask you to analyze the document and indicate what is correct or not correct in it. What I wanted from you is a comment on Mildner's statement that you had a special position in the Head Office for Reich Security, a position which was not the same as that of the other Section Heads.

A. No, that is not true, because here it says that I...

Q. Then say "that is not true," that is the answer I want from you. Say whether it is true or not true.

A. It is not true.

Q. Very well, not true.

A. And I can prove it.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Accused must be allowed to explain his answer.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, it is not possible to lay down rules here, as to when he is to give an explanation and when not. These are very delicate matters. I believe it would be perfectly sufficient in reply to this question for him to say "not true," and he can provide any requisite explanation in re-examination. Would you therefore please take note of such points, and then you can raise the matter of any explanation in the re-examination. That does not mean that he will not be allowed to give explanations from time to time, but obviously this must be kept within limits.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I believe it would be more expedient for the explanation to be given immediately, rather than this matter having to be dealt with again later, which is very time-consuming.

Presiding Judge: You are right, I agree with your point, but if we take this particular case, it would have been quite sufficient for the Accused to say "yes" or "no" - in other words, if he replies that he rejects the assertion, as he did in this case.

Mr. Hausner, please proceed.

Attorney General: Would you please look at another document, also submitted by your Counsel, N/5, statement by Karl Heinz Hoffmann. He, too, was in a position to know what went on in the Head Office for Reich Security, as he was one of its employees. And he says that you always dealt with special assignments, which came from the highest authorities. Is that not true, either?

Accused: No, because they wanted to clear themselves at Nuremberg, and because both Mildner and Hoffmann too were marginally involved with Jewish affairs, and because they tried to shift all the blame from themselves. That is the reason why all these testimonies sound the same.

Q. If that is the case, let us take your Defence Witness, Professor Six, who has only testified now and who no longer has any blame to shift from himself. He said, "Eichmann's Section occupied a special position," and on page 5 he says that it is not possible to say that you were subordinate to Mueller, but that rather your position was that you were close to Mueller, that you were "somewhat on the same level" as he. That is what it says here. Is what is said by the witness whom you have called in your defence also not true?

A. No, what he says here is also not true, because otherwise the other witnesses would not have said one after the other that I always obtained my instructions on every petty matter, something which they themselves found very strange...

Q. I know that you always ensured that you were covered, and Wisliceny who ascribed to you just as much as other witnesses did, said that you had a special position and special powers and were in a specially powerful position, but that for formal reasons you always ensured you were covered.

Presiding Judge: Very well, what is the question?

Attorney General: And is it not therefore true that you had a special position, that in Jewish affairs you were the Reichsfuehrung SS (the SS Reich leadership)?

Accused: That is in no way true. What is true is what appears in black and white in the organization chart. I was not even directly subordinate to the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, because on one or two pages appear the persons who were directly subordinate to him. I am not one of them.

Q. And someone like Professor Six, your Defence Witness, did not know this?

A. I have no idea what Professor Six has been thinking for the last fifteen years. But in any case this was shown then and is still shown by the organization chart. An organization chart is not an artificially erected structure: it is a clear-cut fact.

Q. Yesterday we ascertained, and we shall not return to this today, that the Final Solution is not listed and referred to as a special assignment in the organization chart. I am interested in the actual situation, not the formal one.

In the eyes of the Reich authorities and your associates you were the person responsible for Jewish affairs, so much so that in Jewish affairs you were the Reichsfuehrung SS. Correct or not correct?

A. That is not correct. It is possible that due to lack of familiarity with the many organizations, one person may have talked about the SS Main Office instead of the Head Office for Reich Security, while someone else said "Reichsfuehrer- SS" instead of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service - a frequent error. Document No. 446 shows very clearly that I am right when I say that I was not the only person dealing with Jewish affairs in the Head Office for Reich Security, because there the Head Office for Reich Security was represented by the Group Leader in Department II, Dr. Bilfinger.

Q. We have already heard about that.

An official document from the German Foreign Ministry, submitted by Ribbentrop - T/991, document No. 685 - with reference to the position to be adopted on Germany's demands to Mussolini on Jewish matters, opens with the words: "In the opinion of the Reich SS Leadership - SS OSbersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann" - that is to say, even in the eyes of the German Foreign Ministry you were the Reich SS Leadership on Jewish Affairs.

A. No, this can also be readily refuted, Mr. Attorney General, it is simply a question of considering the entire process, and not just an isolated part of it as it is here. The issue here is that the Foreign Ministry wanted to see a concrete expression of the wishes of the Reich SS Leadership - this was sent directly to the office of the then Reichsfuehrer, Himmler, and since apparently the matter was an urgent one, a representative of the Foreign Ministry made a routine call to me. I then checked back with my superiors and telephoned the Foreign Ministry with the intermediate reply. Subsequently, as can be seen from the entire procedure, I was assigned the task of drafting a document to the Foreign Ministry, which was signed by my superior, Mueller, and in this I had to cite extracts from letters which I had not even received, which Ribbentrop had written to Himmler directly.

That is the actual state of affairs, and that is also why it says here "Reich SS Leadership," because it was not my will as regards to implementing the wishes, it was Himmler's will as to how to implement his wishes. That is why it took so long, and that is why the Foreign Ministry kept reminding me impatiently that the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs should already have the decision in his possession.

Q. Would you please look at the document - this does not refer to any concrete expression of wishes - this document also starts "Dear Party Comrade Eichmann...," but I shall ask you about this later. Here an entirely different matter is referred to - here the reference is to Greece.

A. Well, that is true - I thought that it was the Italian matter, but whether it is Greece or Italy - in principle it is the same. I would point out that for Greece there is further evidence available...

Q. You have misunderstood the point of my question. In an official document, which dates from the War, at a time when no one could have intended to shift any blame on to you, an official body describes you in a document submitted to Ribbentrop as the Reich SS Leadership in Jewish Affairs. How can you contest this?

A. I do not need to contest this at all: I state that this matter is a mistake and erroneous, because it does not fit the facts. If it did fit the facts, I would have the courage to admit it.

Presiding Judge: I want to understand this. If things are not as the Attorney General has said, then how and why does your name appear in this document? You will please answer extremely briefly, because the more concisely you answer, the better I will be able to understand you.

Accused: Your Honour, I do not know how this form of words came to be in these documents, and I would also point out, Your Honour, that van Thadden, with whom I had constant dealings, knew perfectly well - he always wrote to the Head Office for Reich Security, Kurfuerstenstrasse 116, and in special matters he did not even call me for information, but contacted my superior, Mueller, directly. It must have been ignorance of the real facts or some bureaucratic sloppiness, which led to this reference to the Reich SS Leadership, without giving the proper, correct term and referring to the actual circumstances in due form.

Q. The question is not why does it say here Reichsfuehrung SS instead of Reichssicherheitshauptamt. The question is: How does your name come to appear here in brackets?

A. Because I definitely provided the information, Your Honour.

Q. In other words, you mean as someone who passed on information.

A. That is what I mean, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: You could have said that more concisely.

Accused: But I was not the person who passed on information on behalf of the Reich SS Leadership, Your Honour, that is what I was trying to say, to make things clearer.

Presiding Judge: Very well, that will do.

Attorney General: And you really expect someone to believe you when you maintain that you passed on information, that you were a messenger boy, a megaphone, when the Foreign Ministry called you "Reichsfuehrung SS"?

Accused: There are 1600 documents here -

Q. No, no - answer me. Do you believe that anyone will believe that?

A. Yes, if people read the documents, they would believe me.

Presiding Judge: I wish to say to the public that I cannot and will not tolerate disturbances. There must be total silence, and that must be quite clear. I do not wish to make this point again.

Attorney General: Take just one of the 1,600 documents...

Judge Halevi: I wish to draw the Accused's attention to just one word. It does not say here "According to information from the Reich SS Leadership"; it says "In the opinion of the Reich SS Leadership - SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann." How do you explain this?

Accused: First of all, Your Honour, I did not indicate any of my opinions, nor was I authorized to do so, and in these cases I had to obtain the instructions of my superiors. Secondly, I have just noticed that this was dictated by Rademacher. Rademacher is known as a very slipshod bureaucrat, who just wrote things down off the cuff, as various documents have already shown.

Attorney General: Well, if Rademacher is so slovenly, take another document. For example, let us take T/588, document No. 1078, on Denmark.

At the beginning of the document it says, "Head Office for Reich Security, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann promised to implement these proposals." In other words, for the person who sent this telegram, and that is someone in an important position, you were the Head Office for Reich Security on Jewish Affairs.

Accused: This should be understood in the following fashion. If someone came to see me, or someone else from the Reich Ministry of Economics and Finance, from whatever section or department, the usual form of speech was: "He is from - he represents the Reich Ministry of Economics and Finance." And obviously if I was sent to Denmark, I was sent by my Department Chief, with the approval and possibly also by order of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, in other words by order of the Head Office for Reich Security. I cannot find...I cannot find anything at all in this in any way that does not fit in with this.

Q. In other words, at that time Dr. Best in Denmark could see you as the Head Office for Reich Security on Jewish Affairs.

A. Yes, he could hardly write that I was from Department IV, that I was a Department IV man. The whole thing taken together is the Head Office for Reich Security.

Q. He does not refer at all to IV. For him you are the Head Office for Reich Security as such.

A. That is correct, and I did not criticize this either. This is absolutely right, quite correct.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.