The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 97
(Part 4 of 6)

Q. So what is being laid down here about the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in France, as it says here, "was agreed clearly and with binding force," and "in conclusion it was determined" (in the last paragraph) - that is in this document, is it not?

A. Yes, this is actually a very accurate document, and it also mentions who issued the instructions and from whom the order came.

Q. Yes, yes, this is in here, that the Reichsfuehrer- SS issued the order.

Presiding Judge: If you have finished with this exhibit, we can recess.


Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: Just to complete the picture. At the meeting on 1 July 1942, there was a discussion of the measures which Dannecker would introduce, to bring about the withdrawal of rights for the Jews, confiscation of Jewish property, and their deportation. Is that correct?

Accused: Yes. As the minute indicates. All that was discussed.

Q. And everything which Knochen and Dannecker subsequently undertook was undertaken on the basis of and as a result of these meetings, where you issued the directives.

A. That is correct, with one reservation. It was not I who issued the directives; here Dannecker was very punctilious, and also specified on which date and by whom these directives were issued.

Q. We have already talked about that. The order was issued by Hitler, and Himmler transmitted the basic directives. But the practical instructions were issued by you to Dannecker on 1 July 1942, and what Dannecker subsequently executed, was executed by him on the basis of the instructions issued by you. Is that correct?

A. The instructions transmitted by me - if that is included, then it is quite correct.

Q. All right, let it be like that. On 9 March 1942, you wrote to your Foreign Ministry stating that you wish to deport one thousand stateless Jews and French nationals to Auschwitz. T/402. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is also correct, and the previous history is also known.

Q. And on 10 March 1942, you promised Dannecker that you would take these Jews from him before the end of March. This is in T/403: "Eichmann promised to take these Jews before the end of March."

A. Yes, that is also correct, with the same reservation. The previous history - who ordered this - is known.

Q. And without waiting for the answer from the Foreign Ministry, you ordered Dannecker to contact the French authorities immediately, in order to transport the Jews to the East. T/404, paragraphs 2 and 3. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is also correct, subject to the final decision by the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, I did in fact make this notification, in accordance with the instructions of Chief of Department IV, and I must say that what is stated here is correct.

Q. In your letter to the Foreign Ministry, T/422, dated 22 June 1942, you wrote on that subject that able-bodied people, able-bodied people only, were to be deported. If you will look at this.

A. Yes, this is also known; this is in fact the dividing point between the two waves. Himmler first ordered the deportation of, I believe, one hundred thousand Jews from France, and a few days, or a few weeks, later he ordered the deportation of all Jews from France.

Q. We shall get to this. Here, in any case, you write about able-bodied Jews, do you not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. And you mention ninety thousand, is that correct?

A. Yes. In total, from France, the Netherlands and Belgium, that is correct.

Q. But in the meeting held at your office on 11 July 1942, you ordered ten per cent of non-able-bodied Jews to be deported as well, so that the total figure rose to one hundred thousand. Is that correct? This is T/419.

A. Yes, that is also correct. And it also states explicitly here that this was decreed by Himmler.

Q. And when you issued the instructions for ten per cent of non-able-bodied persons to be added, you realized that these would be sent for immediate extermination, didn't you?

A. I could imagine that would be the case, even though it was not said. I had to pass this on in accordance with orders.

Q. All right. Let us now look at something else, at the relations between you and your Foreign Ministry. In T/748, document No. 929, you approached the Foreign Ministry with the request that permission be given to arrest Hungarian Jews in Germany. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct. This was preceded by a prolonged affair, as I would gather from the reference; it was handled by Government Counsellor Suhr.

Q. The Foreign Ministry did not give its consent. Look at exhibit T/749, please.

A. Yes, that is also correct. In reply to this communication from Suhr, the Foreign Ministry wrote that it does not agree at this stage to extend these measures to Jews of Hungarian nationality.

Q. But you did not take notice of this and carried out the arrests. Look at the document.

A. Yes, that is also correct. A few local offices did not observe this.

Q. Do not tell me that a few local offices of the Gestapo acted in the Reich without the authority of the Head Office for Reich Security or the Central Office. You are not trying to tell me that, are you?

A. In all countries the authorities know that their subordinate offices keep making mistakes, and there are always defects. That is true in all countries, and it is the eternal misfortune of all central offices.

Q. Really! Are you telling us that the State Police offices arrested Hungarian Jews, Hungarian nationals, without receiving the authority or power from you?

A. I would not question this quite as bluntly, but according to the contents of this minute it would appear to be the case.

Q. But you yourself told us that the matter of Jews with foreign nationality was a very delicate one, and that this had to be dealt with by you and also by the Foreign Ministry, and that neither you, nor Mueller, nor sometimes even Kaltenbrunner wanted to take a decision on these matters. And now you are telling me that some local State Police office, in the midst of a system of centralized government such as there was in Germany, took it upon itself to take a decision.

A. This is perfectly possible and understandable in human terms, although it should not have occurred, for a local State Police to do something at its own discretion. But...the local State Police offices had to act in the area for which they were responsible, not only according to the instructions of the Head Office for Reich Security, but also according to the instructions of their Higher SS and Police Leaders.

Q. In your meeting with Dannecker on 1 July 1942...

Presiding Judge: Just a moment. Letter T/749: On the basis of this letter you should have issued instructions to the local offices that Jews with Hungarian nationality were not to be arrested. Is that correct?

Accused: Yes. Nor can I imagine that that would not have been done. I cannot imagine that. If it did not happen, it would have been a clear and absolute error.

Attorney General: In your meeting with Dannecker on 1 July 1942, there was also a consultation about the steps to be taken for deporting Jews from Vichy France.

Accused: That is perfectly possible. I remember...I do not have the records here in my head at the moment, but as I have already said, what is in them is authentic.

Q. And you did not wait at all for the authorization of the Foreign Ministry and carried out the deportation of Jews from non-occupied areas, and then Knochen enquired how the matter was to be accounted for to the legation in Paris. Look at the document: T/450, document No. 75.

A. Once Himmler's basic order had been conveyed, the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service was competent and responsible in his area for the deportation measures applicable to his area of command, and not the Head Office for Reich Security. That is why these instructions were basically conveyed by me. And this document does in fact show that somehow there had to be local...that they tried to arrange matters locally.

Q. Perhaps my question was not properly translated. My question is as follows: The document shows that the deportation was carried out without the co-ordination or agreement of the Foreign Ministry, and Roethke then tries to find some way of accounting for this to the German legation in Paris. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. And with reference to deportations from Romania as well - you circumvented the Foreign Ministry. Is that correct?

A. Without studying the documents, I would not know anything at all about this. But even after studying the documents I do not know anything about this either.

Q. Very well, we shall return to this. In T/1021, document No. 181, you wrote to the Foreign Ministry about the deportation from Romania of able-bodied Jews.

A. Yes, that is correct, Mueller himself signed the document which I dictated. By way of further explanation, I should like to add that this matter was preceded by this famous document, hand-written document from the Romanian Vice- Premier, Mihai Antonescu, to Richter.

Q. Slowly - we shall come to this entire chapter in time. But we wish to proceed step by step, looking at the relations with your Foreign Ministry. So this is a letter which you yourself drafted and dictated. Is that correct?

A. I wrote this letter on the orders of my Department Chief - he himself signed it.

Q. Just look at page 1772 of your Statement. You say there "I drafted it." Is that correct?

A. That is not worded properly; it should say that I drafted it according to orders; because I did, in fact, and I have said as much, I did write it on orders.

Q. And Mueller signed this letter, because it was addressed to Luther and, therefore, in accordance with the regulations on correspondence, it had to bear Mueller's signature. Is that correct?

A. No; that depended on whether my Chief put an orange- coloured double "X" on the draft or not.

Q. Very well. I am simply taking this from your own words, and I will read them out to you from page 1772 and the top of page 1773: "I drafted it, I dictated it. Of course, because it does say IVB4 and also it went to Luther, did it not - Mueller signed it - I dictated it."

A. Well, yes - I have not said anything else now.

Q. Well, on the same day, 26 June 1942, when you drafted this letter to the Foreign Ministry, you wrote to Himmler on the same matter. T/1023 - also the same as N/90, that is to say, the letter was submitted twice - it simply did not strike us when Counsel for the Defence submitted N/90 that the same exhibit had already been submitted by us - I apologize, N/60. As you will now see, on the same day you wrote to Mueller, and you also dictated this and said that non-able-bodied Jews were also being deported, or included in the deportation transports. Is that correct?

A. The document does not indicate that I dictated this letter. But I will not dwell on this any further. This letter - if it was sent on the same day - was ordered by Mueller together with the other communication, because without orders I would not have been able to do something like this.

Q. Would you please look: On page 1222 of your Statement this letter is mentioned. Less asks you: "But you drafted the letter?" "... but, as has been said, it was only drawn up by you?" Eichmann: "Yes."

Judge Raveh: Excuse me, which page is that?

Attorney General: I apologize, it is page 2222. That means, then, that at one point you write to the Foreign Ministry that only able-bodied Jews are to be deported, and to the Reichsfuehrer you write that non-able-bodied Jews are also to be deported. Is that correct?

Accused: I had to deal with this as I was instructed by orders. I do not want in any way to dispute this business, but I cannot give the details. In the case of the last minute I have been handed, it does not appear that it came from me. In the meanwhile I have been able, by perusing the documents, to acquire far more precise knowledge and conclusions, so that many passages of what I said in my statement are not necessarily correct or valid any more, as has been clearly demonstrated.

Q. I have already told you that I do not believe that the German Foreign Ministry does not also bear responsibility for the murder of Jews. I believe that they are no less responsible than the others. But here you are trying even to deceive your own Foreign Ministry. That is my argument, and you will in fact accept that it is valid, will you not?

A. I cannot deny the orders for camouflage which Himmler issued, as they exist and the subordinate bodies were bound by them.

Q. Here you are mistaken. The Foreign Ministry found out about this whole business of your deception manoeuvres vis-a- vis the Foreign Ministry, because Himmler sent your letter on to the Foreign Ministry, so that both letters were sent to them: firstly your letter to the Foreign Ministry, stating that only able-bodied Jews were to be sent, and also the letter to Himmler about the non-able-bodied. And then the Foreign Ministry found that out. And that is why Killinger was so furious and wrote about Eichmann's methods. Is that correct?

A. I was not referring to this particular instance with regard to camouflage orders. Himmler issued the orders for camouflage generally, and even determined which words were to be used.

Presiding Judge: But from this answer I gather that here there was camouflaging by someone in the Head Office for Reich Security - as against the Foreign Ministry, is that not true?

Accused: There was the camouflage order.

Attorney General: Does this also apply to the various Reich authorities?

Accused: I can only say that what I myself came across here in respect of these camouflage orders applies to everything.

Presiding Judge: And this is also true of the Foreign Ministry - it also applies to the German Foreign Ministry, does it not?

Accused: The camouflage?

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Accused: Yes, that is how I understand this. But due to an error, clearly by Himmler's personal staff, this letter went to the Foreign Ministry. That is how I would understand this.

Presiding Judge: That will do.

[ 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.