The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 95
(Part 1 of 5)

Session No. 95

29 Tammuz 5721 (13 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the ninety-fifth 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: Yes, I am aware of the fact.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, may I briefly say something about the witness van Taalingen, the Dutch witness?

Presiding Judge: Please do.

Dr. Servatius: It appears that this is a lady, a lawyer. I have been informed that she is away until 23 July, but that the book is on its way by airmail. I shall send a further telegram asking her to give her statement abroad, as far as she is able to do so.

Presiding Judge: All right. I hope you will be successful. Please proceed, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: [To Accused]Your Section issued instructions and ordinances, did it not?

Accused: Yes, if so ordered, it did.

Q. And when some persons were to be excepted from the evacuation to Minsk and Riga, your Section did that too, did it not, just as it fixed the destinations?

A. No, the destinations were not fixed by my Section, and as for exceptions to the evacuation, they were only dealt with by my Section if things exceeded the framework at that end, and were of importance to the Reich, that is to say, where the Foreign Ministry with its primary responsibility for the Jews with foreign nationality handled things and lay down rulings accordingly. And it was only in this framework, as far as I am aware, that IVB4 issued ordinances at all, for the Generalgouvernement and the so-called occupied Russian territories.

Q. For example, the instruction to exclude from deportation to Minsk and Riga those Jews who had been wounded in the First World War. I do not suppose that had anything to do with the Foreign Ministry?

A. Of course not. These were the directives for implementing the deportations in general, which were drawn up by my superior, that is to say, the points were laid down and the points were then compiled by IVB4 into a - what shall we call it - memorandum, called "directives," in accordance with the orders.

Q. For example, let us take T/739, document No. 1288. This is an instruction with your signature to the State Police Regional Headquarters to exclude from the deportations to Minsk the disabled of the First World War, and also from the deportations to Riga.

I understand that first of all your Section passed on the instruction to carry out deportations to those places, and that then the instruction was issued not to deport so-and- so.

A. Yes, that is also true. But the Section did not issue the instruction on its own initiative, as the Section was in fact totally unable to fix the destinations itself.

Q. You already said that yesterday, and we took note of your argument that you proceeded on the basis of orders, and therefore there is no need to repeat that every time. Sometimes the Section left certain matters concerning details about the deportations to the discretion of the local State Police offices. Correct?

A. Today, I am unable to express an opinion on that, and I do not wish either to deny it or to consider it as a, I no longer remember these details. If I might look at a document which relates to this, perhaps I can give some details about it.

Q. Please, take T/752, document No. 1294.

A. I assume, Mr. Attorney General, that this concerns point 3, the decision about the Jewess Gertrud Sara Hahn: "I leave it up to your discretion. The parents may, if necessary, also be transferred to Theresienstadt later, if it is considered expedient, as matters stand for them, to remain for the moment, in order to look after the daughter." This case, three, is definitely not referred to in any of the directives. I have already said that neither I nor my staff compiled these directives themselves; they were the result of various instructions. So if nothing was stipulated with regard to this in the directives, and if my superior did not put forward any objections in principle on any particular point, then naturally it was left to the discretion of the State Police offices in question to proceed here as was seen fit locally. This is not a case which was specific to Section IVB4; it is a generally valid case which was normal and customary with all authorities.

Q. You also issued detailed instructions as to what was to be done with the property of the Jews deported from the Reich.

A. What to do with the property? I do not know about that. I do, however, know that after Regulation 11 of the Reich Citizenship Law came into force, strict instructions were issued that henceforth this matter should also be dealt with by means of ordinances issued by the police. And in this connection, I remember seeing documents which, amongst other matters, also dealt with Special Account "W". Otherwise, I believe, property was seized by the heads of the District Finance Administration in favour of the Reich Finance Minister.

Q. Look at T/729, document No. 1265. Instructions signed by Suhr, IVB4.

A. Before I comment on this, I should like to point out - and I have already said as much - that Suhr was himself a Government Counsellor, and consulted with Department Chief IV directly. At the time I was not particularly familiar with details of the legal aspects of matters of property. Today, I am obviously even less able to do so. But I shall read this over. I would ask more particularly to direct attention to the very last paragraph.

Q. But is it true that the Section issued detailed instructions with reference to the property of the deportees?

A. Yes, this ordinance says so. However, I would request that the last paragraph also be read carefully.

Q. And the Section insisted on, and also received, reports on the implementation of these measures, did it not?

A. Naturally, subordinate personnel had to report to the authorities through official channels as well.

Q. And the instructions about property were not only general, but also detailed. For example, whether or not certain assets should be confiscated.

A. Yes, if a Reich decree is issued, then in all countries it is customary for police ordinances to be issued in consequence of such a decree. And this is what happened here, too.

Q. All right, but would you please confirm to me that the Section did not only deal with general instructions, such as Suhr's directives, but also with individual cases, such as the confiscation of the apartment of Baroness Sacconi.

A. The Section did not deal with this. Once again, it was the local State Police offices which dealt with the individual matters.

Q. For example, look at T/736, document No. 1190.

A. That is an entirely different sort of case, because here the Foreign Ministry intervened with the Head Office for Reich Security, IVB4, with regard to this person, in a letter dated 26 February 1942. And this letter from the Head Office for Reich Security to the Foreign Ministry - in other words the reply - is dated 13 or 14 March 1942, and in it the Foreign Ministry is notified that, until further notice, the apartment is not to be confiscated. This is perfectly normal, since, as a result of the intervention by the Foreign Ministry, the local State Police office was instructed not to do anything if something is...was intended...something must have been intended, because otherwise the Foreign Ministry would not have intervened. This matter was of importance to the Reich, because apparently a member of the Italian mission must have intervened in this instance. That is the reason for this letter.

Q. Yes, but my question is, what does that have to do with the Security Police? Why did that go to you?

A. I can hardly - after such a long time - give any information here, as I do not have the references, the complete records in front of me.

What I can say is that there is a large number of documents which - how can I put it - follow the same lines, approximately. This was always the case when there was intervention with the Foreign Ministry by heads of foreign missions, and these involved complaints. Jews complained, and then my Section would receive these cases wherever I was responsible according to the organization chart. Then I had to discuss these cases with my Chief, he gave me instructions, and I then replied accordingly. This was also one of these results.

Judge Halevi: The question is whether you were responsible. The question, after all, is whether you were responsible for this.

Accused: Of course, since I dealt with it, that is quite clearly correct.

Attorney General: You also dealt, for example, with the details of postal arrangements at Westerbork, didn't you?

Accused: Today, I do not remember, but it seems to me that there is a document which says something of that sort. If I might see the document...

Q. Perhaps you can try to remember, before you are handed the document.

A. I said that I could not provide any reliable information. No one can expect me, after such a long time, to be able to give authentic information about such a vast amount of files and documents. I am trying to give authentic information, but it is really not possible for me to do this off-hand.

Q. Very well, if you insist, I shall show you. I am referring to T/559, document No. 606. These are instructions from your office, with your signature, Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Holland. These are instructions - it says here that you have learned from a highly confidential source that there has been correspondence between the Westerbork detainees and others, and here you give precise instructions as to how, in the future, to deal with the correspondence of the Westerbork detainees.

Presiding Judge: Is that 559, did you say 559?

Attorney General: I have it as 559...

Presiding Judge: Yes, but there are two documents or three.

Attorney General: Two documents - that is correct.

Presiding Judge: I assume it is the second of the two?

Attorney General: That is correct.

Accused: I would like to point out that if I ask for a document I am not up to something; now I can see the document and I can also comment entirely differently on the document than if I am unable to see it. It is dated 5 November 1943. It must have been before the invasion.

Q. We are familiar with the substance of the document, which has also been submitted to the Court; you will therefore simply answer the question: Why is it the business of your Section to give instructions about the correspondence of the Jews in Westerbork?

A. That is what I wanted to explain. The timing is crucial here, and that is why I gave the date first. At this time it was necessary in Holland to keep a particularly close watch on everything that went on, and I believe that in the corresponding part of France, as the invasion was expected somehow...there was a highly confidential anonymous source which had provided the information, and the Head Office for Reich Security - in this case my Section - received this instruction from my superior to take all possible measures to ensure that all such exchanges of information be avoided.

Q. But why did your Department deal with it, why not Department VI?

A. Well, after all, in this case it was Jews who...

Q. Oh yes, because it is Jews...

A. And other private individuals.

Q. Because Jews were involved - is that why this had to pass through your Section?

A. Because it involved Jews who were obtaining passports etc., in view of the stories of evacuation - that is why this matter fell under the chapter of the directives which had to be issued by IVB4, it was a matter for which IVB4 was responsible.

Q. Thank you, I have received my answer.

Do you accept the fact that in your capacity as Section Head, the Head of Section IVB4, you - on your shoulders lies the responsibility for everything that was done by you and by the members of this Section?

A. Insofar as matters are concerned for which Section IVB4 was responsible according to the organization chart, yes, with the restriction that I cannot be responsible for any special assignments which may have been issued to members of the Section, and also with the restriction that I cannot bear the entire responsibility for matters involving Government Counsellor Suhr, who was attached to my office - my Section, because he...because as a Government Counsellor he had a direct and immediate right to consult with the Department chief.

Q. In any case, you are saying that you are responsible for everything which concerns deportations?

A. If special assignments are not involved, yes. I must admit that, as I was, after all, Section Head of IVB4 in Department IV.

Q. With regard to your responsibility for what Guenther did, in your interrogation by Bureau 06 you said, on page 1299 - I am reading the second half of your answer: "Since Guenther was my permanent deputy, and even if he had - shall we say - misbehaved about something - then I would still be responsible for that today." Do you stand by that?

A. It is necessary to read also the addition I made in writing, which I do not see here. I made a handwritten addition to this, on a piece of paper which, I believe, was also read out onto a tape recorder. It was given a letter which may be between "A" and "Q," because I gave so many additions in handwriting.

Presiding Judge: What are you referring to now?

Attorney General: I am telling him to find the passage.

Accused: Yes, indeed. This refers to the matters for which the Section was responsible. As far as those matters with which Guenther was concerned, for which the Section was not responsible, it is perfectly obvious and perfectly natural that there I could never have had any responsibility. And I handed this handwritten addition to Captain Less, who interrogated me. This is a note covering roughly one or one and a half or two pages in handwriting.

Judge Raveh: Mr. Hausner, perhaps he is referring to T/43. I see something there under "O," there is something there about the permanent deputy.

Attorney General: Perhaps; I do not have the document before me.

Presiding Judge: All right, would you please give that to him, too.

Accused, look at that, too.

Accused: Yes, that is part of it, but I have some recollection of giving some further specifications as well. I am not sure, but I believe that happened. And here I have ...may I answer?

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