The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 93
(Part 2 of 5)

Q. If you have already admitted this, is what your Defence Witness Professor Six says also correct? On page 4 it says: "It was known that Eichmann himself had information about the concentration of the Jews, and it was obvious that Eichmann was the person who could have given me details about the persecution of the Jews, and similar matters."

So, is it correct that you were the person to see about Jewish affairs?

A. I was not the person to see about Jewish affairs. What is true, however, is that as a result of the reports - the clear reporting - I had to provide, from the top downwards and from the bottom upwards, as a transmission channel, I was quite well informed and could have given information as well. But I was not the man on Jewish affairs.

Q. And in another document, submitted by your Counsel, in the sworn statement by Morgen - N/96, Prosecution document No. 48, it says that there was a special apparatus for all extermination and technical matters. And on page 4, in reference to extermination and its practical implementation, it says towards the bottom of the page...

Presiding Judge: Is that page 10 in the original numbering?

Attorney General: Yes, page 10 in the document, where it says "At the Chief of the operation was SS Obersturmbannfueherr Eichmann of the Head Office for Reich Security with his staff." Is that also not correct?

Accused: Judge Morgen contradicts himself here as well, because just before that he says: "The Eichmann organization was independent of this," and before that describing the sites of execution, etc., he writes "Eichmann was independent of this." Then there appears this passage; Judge Morgen is totally contradicting himself here, and what he says also fails to fit the facts.

Q. Read it through first: You do have a good grasp of the documents, but you should still read it. What you said about the separate Operations Unit appears in N/95, not in N/96, and I refer you to N/96. You should look at this at well. Have you read it?

A. Yes.

Q. So what he says is not correct?

A. It is partly correct and partly incorrect; he has combined fact with fantasy here. A great deal is correct, and a great deal is also absolutely incorrect and the substance has been changed.

Q. Hoess in his statement with which you are familiar, Wisliceny in his statement known to you, Hoffmann and Mildner in the statements submitted by your Counsel, Six in the testimony he was called upon by you to give, and Morgen in the statement you are familiar with - they all state that you had a special position and special assignment within the Head Office for Reich Security - and they are all lying?

A. Obviously, because if I had had a special position, then I would have had authority, and then it would not have been necessary for everybody who called themselves my superiors to deal with matters themselves.

Q. That will do, I only wanted to have an answer. They are all lying, only you are telling the truth?

A. I am basing myself on the documents.

Q. Very well.

So what appears in T/247 about the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto, that you are Kaltenbrunner's deputy, his representative - that is also incorrect?

A. I have stated my position on this: I said that I was there, and I must also have had orders from Kaltenbrunner, but I was not Kaltenbrunner's deputy, after all I was not a Department Chief at the Head Office for Reich Security.

Interpreter: We have to look for the documents.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, may I ask for the exhibit numbers to be given first as well, I am also unable to follow.

Presiding Judge: The Attorney General referred to the number just now, and he always gives the numbers.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, but they come through very late in the translation, at the end of the passage, and sometimes the interpreters have no time left, because they have to keep going with the translation.

Presiding Judge: If you have not received such a number, Dr. Servatius, you can immediately ask the Court. Very well, you may now proceed. That was T/247.

Have you translated that?

Interpreter: Yes.

Attorney General: The instructions you issued immediately after the Wannsee Conference - I am referring to the instructions about deportations - were part of the Final Solution, were they not?

Accused: Yes, that is true.

Q. And after that the Final Solution depended on two factors: The number of places available in the camps in the East, and the number of trains which could be made available. Is that true?

A. Things depended on the orders given by my superiors. They depended primarily on those orders.

Q. The decision to exterminate the Jews already existed. Heydrich had received the powers to proceed, and now it was a question of implementation. Implementation, therefore, now depended on two factors: The number of places for absorption in the camps, and transport resources. Is that correct?

A. That is wrong, Mr. Attorney General. Each individual wave had to be ordered afresh. The documents show this also. And once such orders had been issued, if I was competent to act and received orders from my superior, the entire matter of trains, for example, also had to be dealt with. That is correct. As for the camps in the East, or the absorption stations, they were named- how they...

Presiding Judge: The question is directed to the physical possibilities of extermination - that is how I understand the question, and that would appear to depend on two factors - as mentioned by the Attorney General - transport possibilities and absorption possibilities. Is that correct?

Accused: In principle that is correct, Your Honour, but first the orders had to be issued.

Attorney General: But an order already existed - there was this order - this order by the Fuehrer from summer of 1941, and you saw this document, signed by Goering.

Accused: In that case for all practical purposes, after the Wannsee Conference Heydrich, for example, would have had to say to me: "Well, Eichmann, everything is settled, approved, see to it now, do what you want, but the matter must be settled one-two-three."

But that is not how things were: Himmler kept issuing orders, time and time again he issued orders. All the many hundreds of offices who were somehow involved had to carry out their part, and I was also unfortunately caught up in this. As a result of these measures I had to deal with the matters on which I received orders - I have never denied this and am not denying it, either. I cannot deny it, because that is what happened...

Q. ...because so many documents exist...

A. No, because that is how things happened...

Q. Very well, let us see how things were...let us therefore take T/730 - document No. 1278. This is an instruction issued by you - by your Section, signed by you. "To all State Police Regional Headquarters in the Old Reich - to the State Police Regional Headquarters in Vienna - to the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, Vienna, and also for information to all Inspectors of Security Police and the Security Service in the Old Reich, and to the Inspector of the Security Police and the Security Service, Vienna."

This was issued immediately after Wannsee, on 31 January 1942. And here in the document which, as I have said, is signed by you, here it says that the evacuation of Jews to the East recently carried out in certain areas is the beginning of the Final Solution in the Old Reich (Germany in its pre-1937 borders), the Ostmark (Austria) and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. And in the second paragraph it says that the State Police Regional Headquarters have now to carry out their part of the operation, and that the only factors to be considered are the absorption possibilities in the East and transport problems. And that is why I was right when I said to you that these were the only practical problems.

Presiding Judge: All right, meanwhile he has already agreed to that.

Attorney General: But he said that he required special orders for each case, and I said: no, there was no further need for any special orders, and the problem was simply the carrying out of part of the operations.

Judge Halevi: Mr. Attorney General, the second paragraph is a summary of the past. It is in the past tense: "These evacuation measures initially applied..." But now, in the third paragraph, new matters are being planned.

Attorney General: I am prepared to pass the document to the Accused.

Accused: Yes, I am familiar with this document, it is true, this affair is - I have to admit it is a matter I had to deal with, and it is a result of the Wannsee Conference, where top brass gave orders for the Final Solution, and here it was really important for the first time and the figures had to be ascertained. I received an order to take steps to ascertain the precise statistical information about the number of Jews living in the Reich and the Protectorate, and that is what I did by means of this express letter.

Q. So when you informed the various offices "no further problems from this end," that means that there are no further problems in these two areas, and that they have been solved, does it not?

A. What it means is what I have said: That I provided the information I was assigned to provide. May I look at this document, please?

Q. Please do so (T/424, document No. 58). "No further problems from this end with regard to implementation," it says. In other words, there are trains, there are absorption possibilities, and so deportations can be carried out.

A. Yes, but at the end it says that by order I...

Attorney General: That will do, that will do.

Accused: I was sent on Mueller's orders to Paris and I indicate that I will be arriving around 30 June 1942 on the orders of Department Chief IV, SS Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, to discuss the final details; I signed this; it was preceded by Himmler's order, that some 130,000 or 150,000 Jews, I believe, were to be evacuated from France. Mueller ordered me to go to Paris in execution of his order. This appears here in black on white.

Q. You have put your finger on an interesting point. You refer here to Mueller's instruction. But this is the only document among the hundreds of documents shown to you where you refer to Mueller: in all the other documents you use the form "I." Can it not be deduced from this that when you really are acting on the basis of some instruction from Mueller, that you state this explicitly, as you did here, but that elsewhere, where you do not refer to Mueller, you are proceeding on the basis of your general powers?

A. No, that certainly cannot be deduced from this, and cannot be understood from this, because I also speak here about myself in the third person, although I signed this telegram, I refer to myself in the text in the third person. In other words, this matter is dealt with in proper official style by the Section Head in the Head Office for Reich Security Department IV, and I provide notification of the fact that my superior, Mueller, has sent me off to Paris.

Q. That is not an answer to my question, however, you have done this also on various other occasions, but this is the only time that you refer to Mueller directly, is that the case?

A. No, for example...

Q. Can you show me any other document?

A. Yes, for example there is a memorandum - it is true that I did not dictate it myself, it was dictated by the Paris...which says that I received an order from Himmler via Mueller on such-and-such date in 1942 to go to Paris and to announce there that Himmler had ordered that all Jews were to be evacuated from France.

Q. I am asking where you refer to Mueller. As your authority. Can you show me one single document?

A. No, not of those presented here - I remember, but after all, this is just a small fraction of some twenty thousand or thirty thousand documents.

Q. All of which you burned?

A. I was ordered to do so and had to obey orders.

Q. You did everything to ensure that the possibility of any single Jew somehow escaping from the Final Solution would be precluded. Look at the case, for example, where Jews in Holland obtained foreign citizenship, you immediately issued a ruling; the fact that they have foreign citizenship is not to be taken into account, but rather the people concerned are to be deported as a priority, and they are to be transported to the East. T/550, document No. 600.

Presiding Judge: In this instance I would suggest that you read out the text in German, and then translate it into Hebrew, to avoid any problems arising.

Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour.

Accused: It is just like all authorities in - I assume - most countries, when something goes through any bureaucracy, it is dealt with and processed.

This document says that it refers to a previous document. In other words, the Senior Commander of the occupied Dutch territories made an enquiry here, and the central authority in Berlin had to provide the information. If some piece of paper follows the channels through the authorities and the individual offices, I cannot myself just drop it, but have to have the matter processed in accordance with my instructions.

Q. Very well, I shall show you a document, which does not refer to any previous document.

Presiding Judge: Please, wait a minute.

Attorney General: I was only going to continue, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: But you can see, Mr. Attorney General, that the longer the passages to be translated, the more difficult it is to translate. This is a problem which cannot be avoided.

Attorney General: It makes the cross-examination process more cumbersome.

Presiding Judge: Yes, I know. If we could proceed in Hebrew, it would be easier. We will not now discuss consecutive or simultaneous interpretation. The interpretation is consecutive, and we must make it easier for the interpreters by ensuring that the passages are shorter.

Attorney General: I will show you where there is no previous reference. It says here: "Reference: None."

When you found out that a single Jew was trying to leave France for Switzerland, you issued instructions that he should immediately be added to a transport to the East. No one contacted you. This poor man could have escaped and managed to survive. Why did you preclude Max Golub's chance of survival?

Accused: This was none of my business, because in the first line it already says "as has been indicated here in strictest confidence, third parties in Switzerland are trying..." Who notified the Head Office for Reich Security of this, who then passed the information on to Department IV, and how I received it - I am unable to say today. In any case it was my superiors who dealt with this matter. I wrote how I did was...I did not even dictate it myself, but I did sign it. The fact that this is indicated in strictest confidence was not a whim or wish on my part. Here I also had to operate in accordance with orders and instructions received. This was true in this case as well.

Q. This is T/496, document No. 665. Yes, obviously you were advised that Max Golub wants to escape - you could not see that for yourself. But you did give instructions to prevent this and to block his escape route?

A. I did not give the instructions personally.

Q. And when you learned that well-off Jews were escaping from Romania, so that by the time you reached Romania with your Final Solution you would no longer find any rich Jews there, that was also a matter for you to deal with. And you apply to your Foreign Ministry, in order to get it to stop the emigration of rich Jews from Romania, to avoid only poor Jews being left there - T/1016, document No. 1228. How did it come to be your business to interfere in Romania's domestic affairs?

A. It was not my affair. But if I received relevant orders, I had to deal with the matter in accordance with instructions. I do not deny this, and I have not denied it, because I had to do what I was ordered to do, in accordance with my oath of loyalty and my pledge. Unfortunately, I could not get out of this, nor did I ever try to do so. But it was not on my initiative or of my own will, as can be shown by what I tried to do at first.

Q. Listen to what you write: Jews are able to escape from Romania and to escape the Final Solution which they know is certain death, and you are preventing this. See what it says here: it says here "I."

A. But at the top it also says that it was dictated by the official-in-charge and obviously I signed it. It also shows that the official-in-charge obtained his instructions through official channels. This is exactly what I have said, and I can only repeat that I do not wish to evade this at all, nor do I have any right to do this, nor may I do it, because what I was ordered to do, unfortunately I had to carry out.

[ 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.