The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 94
(Part 1 of 4)

Session No. 94

28 Tammuz 5721 (12 July 1961)

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

Accused: Certainly, I am aware of that.

Attorney General: So to summarize the matter of deportations to the East - what then was the reason for your instructing Roethke on one occasion to report to Oranienburg, and on another occasion not to report?

Accused: I had to give him the instructions which I myself had received.

Q. Yes, but what was the reason?

A. Today, I can only imagine that in the Generalgouvernement at the time, responsibility lay with the Higher SS and Police Leader or his SS and Police Leader, Globocnik. To what extent Globocnik dealt with Pohl on the matter, I have no idea - after all, I was also on the distribution list.

Q. You are not being asked to say anything you are unable to say. I would simply like to know from you why on one occasion you gave Roethke instructions - signed by you - to report to Oranienburg and Auschwitz on the deportation of Jews, and on another occasion you instructed him to refrain from doing so.

A. Because the distribution list stipulated that transports which went to what was then called the Generalgouvernement were not in any way reported, or reported back to Oranienburg through my office, but only those transports which went to Auschwitz. I cannot say anything else other than that I myself received copies of this, since I was on the distribution list.

Q. And for his part, Globocnik reported back to you that he had received the transports?

A. Section IVB4 knew of every transport - when it arrived it had to report when reception was confirmed.

Q. Say "yes" or "no".

A. Yes.

Q. And you knew from 1941 onwards that Globocnik was engaged in murdering these Jews?

A. I knew that, since I received instructions from Heydrich to make a visit there...

Q. In other words, from 1941 onwards?

A. From the autumn of 1941.

Q. All right. You have told us a great deal about your duties really being the drawing up of timetables, but the fact of the matter is that you never set foot even once in the Ministry of Railways, that you never took part in the timetable meetings, and that Novak did all that for you, as you said on page 3546 of your police interrogation.

A. That is also true, Novak was the official in charge of this matter, and he had orders to deal with matters at the Reich Ministry of Transport. But that did not dispose of the timetables, timetable matters... Afterwards there were all sorts...he had to deal with hundreds of bureaucratic arrangements related to this, as indicated in these documents.

Q. Yes, that is quite obvious. I know that the deportation of Jews was the result of long, drawn-out, protracted work - you have said so yourself.

In order to do this, first of all it was necessary to mark the Jews, to locate and concentrate them in one place, and only then could they be deported.

A. I have testified on that as well.

Q. Yes, in tape 77, for example.

Presiding Judge: On which page, please?

Attorney General: Page 24 of tape 77, in the part not submitted.

[To the Accused] I will, therefore, read out to you what you said there:

"That's it, people have no idea - that the order was given to evacuate - the order was given: Get out, into the freight cars and away! That is obviously the mental picture people formed in their minds. People have not the faintest idea of the fact that this was a real Sisyphean task in terms of the administrative tasks which had to be carried out first."
Is that true? That is correct, is it not? That really was a vast amount of work.

Accused: I must admit that that is how things were, as I was unable to manage matters as I liked.

Presiding Judge: Which page was that, please?

Attorney General: Page 24, tape 77.

[To the Accused] Yes, I will concur with that: it was a vast amount of work. The property problems also had to be solved. You told us here about the "territorial principle." There is just one thing which you forgot to mention - that you were the one who insisted that the property problems be solved, and that it was at your initiative that a consultation took place in the Foreign Ministry on 30 July 1942 which set down the territorial principle. Here, read it in T/744, document No. 147.

So you demanded that a solution be found, and the solution was found together with you.

Presiding Judge: Is this about the treatment of Jews of foreign nationality?

Attorney General: It is the issue of the territorial prinicple.

Accused: The solution was found after Regulation 11 was issued by the Ministry of the Interior, Department I, and the order was given that this arrangement should be applied in the occupied territories as well. This matter was worked on by one of my officials, of course in accordance with orders. This had to be done - that was the order from above, in order to co-ordinate matters with the Regulation 11.

Q. And when the Foreign Ministry writes in T/194, document No. 508, on page 2, on the same subject that the territorial principle has been laid down for these cases in agreement with the Head Office for Reich Security, that means that this is in agreement with you?

A. Yes, but that does not mean that I took the initiative, and that I ordered that this be done. That I must deny.

Q. But in any case you are the person who arranged for the meeting at which the territorial principle was laid down, as we have seen in this document.

A. Yes - I myself - it was obviously not I myself, as I had to notify the Foreign Ministry of this matter in accordance with instructions subsequent to Regulation 11.

Q. Does it say Eichmann here?

A. It says Eichmann, but...

Q. Or am I mistaken?

A. No, no, it does say Eichmann, that is quite correct, but it was not my initiative.

Q. In T/500, document No. 295, you instructed all the State Police Regional Headquarters, and also other authorities in occupied territories, to arrest all Jews holding Argentinian nationality and to send them to Bergen-Belsen, and you ordered that they be handed over to Dr. Seidl. Dr. Seidl was a member of your Section, was he not?

A. He was a member of the Section, but at that time he was not part of it; at that time he had been seconded - any way, he was not part of IVB4.

Q. Until when did he belong to your Section?

A. Today, I do not know that, but it should be possible to check on that immediately and without delay, from the personnel files.

Q. So how do you know that on that date he did not belong to your Section?

A. Because at that time Seidl was in charge of part of the Bergen-Belsen Camp - I think it was called the civilian internees - and this camp was not under the authority of IVB4. For that very simple reason, I must conclude that Seidl did not belong to Section IVB4.

Q. Why did you have to arrest all Argentinian nationals?

A. Today, I can only imagine that the order to do so was issued after Argentina declared war on Germany. I do not remember the date now, I do not know when that was. But that is the only thing I can imagine, that there must have been some causal relationship.

Presiding Judge: The question is why did you deal with that?

Attorney General: So your Section also dealt with Jews when their arrest was a result of the outbreak of war?

Accused: Yes, if I was ordered to do so, of course.

Q. And the dissolution of ghettos, and the decision to place Jews in concentration camps - these were also part of the duties of your Section, were they not?

A. No, that was not part of the duties of my Section, just as I could not issue the original order to arrest these Jews with Argentinian nationality. Himmler himself ordered the liquidation of the ghettos. As far as I know, this assignment was given to task forces or units stationed in the Generalgouvernement, and not to Section IVB4.

Q. Let us see, therefore, what you said in your police interrogation. I refer you to page 3116. After an exchange about the case of Litzmannstadt, Captain Less asked you:

"But in other cases, where ghettos were dissolved, and there was a decision to transfer the inmates of the ghettos to another concentration camp?"

Eichmann: "Ah, that was something dealt with on the basis of the deportation order which came from the Reichsfuerer-SS, in this respect..."

Less: "So that had to pass through you?"

Eichmann: "Yes, yes - that had to pass through me. That had to pass through Section IVB4."

A. About that I must say - this will be shown by the reference number - at the time I confused Litzmannstadt with Warsaw. In other words the documents, Mr. Attorney General, which you showed me here this morning, where it says "Kaltenbrunner's deputy." I believe that Captain Less' reference to Exhibit T/ - I don't remember the number - must refer to this document.

In this instance I confused Litzmannstadt with Warsaw, and the series of records shows that Himmler ordered that Warsaw or Litzmannstadt - that is where there is confusion - be turned into a concentration camp, and that Greiser objected to a concentration camp, and wanted to leave it as a ghetto. To do that he arranged - this is what Greiser did - for those from Litzmannstadt who were unable to work to be killed. Section IVB4 had nothing to do with that. The records are here. I was not then able to state this with as much precision. I tried to reconstruct it, but now the records show this quite precisely and accurately.

Q. The Presiding Judge passed on to you the part of your interrogation to which I referred. Previously you had spoken about Litzmannstadt, and you were then questioned about other cases. And then you said that in all other cases, the dissolution of ghettos and the transfer of the inhabitants to concentration camps passed through you. So is that true or not?

A. Here it is not expressed clearly. It would be clear if it stated here: If the ghetto is to be withdrawn from the control of the local Security Police Office, because in this case the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service has to authorize such a change. And if the ghetto is turned into a concentration camp, the transfer is, so to say, between the Head Office for Reich Security, or the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, and the Economic-Administrative Head Office, or the Chief of the Economic-Administrative Head Office.

Presiding Judge: This is not clear to me now. Here the reference is not to the Security Police, but to IVB4. And here you said "all other cases."

Accused: At that time I myself was ordered to go down to Litzmannstadt.

Q. I want to make quite sure that we understand what is written here. What it says here does not apply to Litzmannstadt. That can be seen clearly from what was said by Captain Less. Do you agree?

A. Yes, but not for ghettos for example, which were in the Generalgouvernement. Section IVB4 obviously had nothing to do with them.

Q. Then which ghettos are referred to?

A. I would assume it means the ghettos which belonged to the Eastern Territories which had recently become part of the Reich. The local State Police Offices had to control Security Police matters. If somewhere or other, one of these ghettos was turned into a concentration camp or removed, this ghetto had to be released from the control of the local Security Police. In such cases Section IVB4 would be ordered to notify the head of these local offices that he was being released - that he was no longer in control, and this part would then fall under the responsibility of the administrative area at the head office.

That is what I meant, and that is also how things were, and that is also reflected in the records, Your Honour. For example, these ghettos in Warsaw, Cracow and so on - IVB4 had nothing to do with these, and I do not believe that anyone in the Head Office for Reich Security had anything to do with them - that was the exclusive competence of the government in the Generalgouvernement. In Security Police matters, the State Secretary for Security in the Generalgouvernement concerned himself with that. That was Krueger.

Q. But does what you have said apply, for example, to the ghettos at Riga or Minsk or Kiev?

A. Section IVB4 had nothing to do with them, either.

Q. So which ghettos did you mean when you said this?

A. Well, it is Litzmannstadt which I remember, and perhaps...

Q. It is clear, is it not, that these words do not apply to Litzmannstadt?

A. But when I said this, I had this Litzmannstadt document in my hand, and I assumed - and I must still assume today - that it concerned all ghettos in what were then the German Eastern Territories. Because Heydrich's order was issued at the time when Himmler became Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom, to transfer these areas to the Generalgouvernement, and there were very many ghettos in these territories.

[ 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.