The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

Q. Very well; so help me to find out these facts and to ascertain whether he received the instructions from you or not. That is precisely what I am asking you.

A. Naturally I was also involved in this, I cannot in any way extricate myself from the entire matter. But that is not just in the Bulgarian case - I must state this for all these cases.

Q. So if you had given this answer earlier, we could have saved so much time. Now please look at T/939: It says there that following a telephone conversation with you, Dannecker made the agreement. Is that correct or not? Now, since you are now looking at this, perhaps you can remember what this telephone conversation was about?

A. The conversation cannot have been about anything other than the notification by Dannecker that an agreement with Belev had been completed, and after that doubtless - and in my opinion that must have been the case - I would have said then this agreement is to be applied. That is what I gather from this letter.

Q. In other words, you confirmed to him that he could sign the agreement?

A. No, not that - it does not say here that confirmation was given; I would not have been authorized and empowered to do that either.

Q. When you received the agreement, was it satisfactory for you?

A. When I received the agreement, as usual it went up through official channels, and certainly it was satisfactory.

Q. But what was your opinion? For you, from your point of view, did it satisfy you, were you satisfied with it, or did you think that Dannecker was a bungler and that better conditions should have been forced through?

A. No, I can imagine that I was satisfied in official terms, although of course my satisfaction would not have had any effect on things, because the important thing was whether Chief of Department IV and the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service were satisfied.

Q. There was a paragraph in this agreement under which the Bulgarian Government undertook not to insist on the return of the Jews. What is the reason for this?

A. The reason was that in general it was ordered from above, at some time when there were difficulties with some country or other. I forget with which country.

Q. But I am not speaking about some country and some difficulties or other. I am speaking about Bulgaria and about the Dannecker-Belev agreement.

Presiding Judge: What is the document number, please?

Attorney General: T/938. I am talking about paragraph 8. An agreement was reached here about Jews, twenty thousand, like about sheep or goats who are being led to slaughter. That is why I wish to know: why?

Accused: If I absolutely have to answer, I shall try to reconstruct this; whether it is true or not, I do not know, as I cannot remember these matters.

Q. To the best of your knowledge and belief, please.

A. Well, this point cannot mean anything other than that the responsible parties in the Reich attached importance to no Jew who had been deported from some country - in this case Bulgaria - being able to come back again and telling what he had experienced and seen. That is the reply which I can give to this. It is, however, not something which I remember; it is a reconstruction on my part.

Q. Perhaps because you knew that these Jews were going to extermination camps, and that it was therefore factually impossible to send any one of them back again. Perhaps this was the reason? That is why you immediately provided yourself with this assurance towards the Bulgarians.

A. I should once again like to stress that I never gave such replies on my own. I would, however, point out that at that time I also knew that part of the Jews were being exterminated. I admitted that quite some time ago elsewhere.

Q. All right.

Presiding Judge: You admitted elsewhere - you mean elsewhere in your Statement?

Accused: Here, yes, in my Statement.

Attorney General: Very well, let us once again turn to documents. You are so fond of documents, after all. For example, T/874, the famous letter from Benzler, with the note by Rademacher: "Eichmann proposes shooting." And you always said, did you not, documents speak a clear language. So, please, here you have a document.

Accused: Yes, it is true, too, that documents speak a clear language. Naturally, for that it is necessary for the person drawing up the document not to be a sloppy worker, but a proper official, a proper and accurate processor of documents. After all, this is not the only document which Rademacher puts down in this sloppy fashion; I have collected several of these and can indicate the errors in them.

I should like to point out here, if I may, that it would have been very easy for me if I could simply have adopted the contents of Rademacher's statement at Nuremberg. But I did not use this, either, because it does not correspond to the facts, and because the absurd nature of this minute appears clearly already from the explanation I have given. And in addition, I am under oath; perhaps it will also carry weight if I say that I never made such a statement, and the fact of shooting, by whom and how - that is all the more proof.

Q. In whose handwriting are these words, please?

A. I believe that they are in Rademacher's handwriting.

Q. Did Rademacher have any reason for writing these words which he ascribes to you on an official letter received from the envoy? Why would he do such a thing? There was no Nuremberg Trial then, that was during a time of normal service, that was part of normal working procedures at the time. So why should he have done such a thing? At that time there was no need for him to look for scapegoats.

A. Oh yes, that is exactly what he had to do, because it was Weizsaecker himself who took his gentlemen in the Foreign Ministry to task and more or less called them to order, because they had gone too far with their language and proposals. I have already said that nothing is more likely here than that Rademacher corrected the records. This is not the first correction to a record.

Q. When did he correct them?

A. I do not know, but in any case it would definitely be around the time that Weizsaecker was calling his people to order, and corrections to records are nothing new with officials in any country. In addition to this, had I had the power and had I been able to issue such an order, I wonder how and why the office of the Foreign Ministry would nevertheless and independently of this have had to discuss the entire business with Heydrich, and why was I not referred to in the matters which then took place in Serbia, when these twelve hundred Jews were actually shot by the Wehrmacht?

I believe that all of this is proof that I am referred to, it is true, otherwise in the whole extensive package of documents, which consists of many, many documents, there is not the slightest mention of me, except once, when I was to be sent to Serbia, and even that was countermanded.

Q. Let us leave this complex of questions as to why this, why that, why the other. I am sure that you know all the answers, but I want to ask you another question.

If that were a forgery, then Rademacher was in fact taking a considerable risk of Weizsaecker finding out the truth by means of a simple telephone conversation, and that only required a very simple telephone call. Is that not true?

A. That is true; but the question is, when did he draw up this minute? And I would here like to point out that his own statement at Nuremberg on this telephone call is totally different from what he has written here in his own writing.

Q. That is not true; he says that he had a telephone conversation with you and that he was very surprised to hear these words from you, and that you said "shoot" (erschiessen) and hung up. That is what he said.

A. No, he gave an entirely different reason for this in Nuremberg from the one he indicates here.

Q. As to your proposal to shoot the Serbian Jews there and then, he repeated word for word what it says here. He says that he was surprised at this and asked you again, and that you said erschiessen and hung up. And now you are saying that he took the risk of forgery, of a forgery which could be discovered by means of a simple telephone call. Is that what you are saying?

A. I am maintaining, I am saying here in addition that, although I am aware that I am on oath, I did not say anything of the kind. Not a single word of that.

Q. So Rademacher is also a liar, is he not, he is also to be added to the list of liars, right? We already have a rather long lists of liars, they are all liars; Rademacher is also a liar, very well, we shall add him, too, to the list.

A. Perhaps another handwritten minute by Rademacher may come up, where he maintains something which is flatly contradicted by the record of a consultation.

Q. Very well. Unfortunately I cannot put Rademacher on the witness stand for you; according to our sources, he is in one of the neighbouring states.

A. I should finally like to point out that I would take this upon myself without batting an eyelid, if it had a factual basis.

Q. Yes, I am quite sure of that. That is clear to me.

Presiding Judge: Would you please tell the Accused, once and for all, that such general remarks do not add anything. Once or twice they are all right, but we are hearing that all the time.

Judge Halevi: Are you claiming that the forgery was committed after the War? Are you maintaining that Rademacher forged that during the Nuremberg period?

Accused: No, it must have been much earlier. I have no proof of this. But if I...I have taken the trouble of analyzing the entire minute, and I have concluded that this note cannot possibly have been drawn up during the telephone call.

Q. So you allege that it was a few days later, do you not? That is what I understood you to be saying earlier, is that correct?

A. I assumed, Your Honour, that that happened a few days later, when the major row in the Foreign Ministry started about the...

Q. And that is what the Attorney General asked you about; it was very simple, after all, a few days later, to call your office and ascertain the facts, as Rademacher took a great risk, did he not?

A. Yes, of course; but it is very unlikely that the superior would make queries of this nature on the basis of such minutes; he would trust the document, that is how things are in practice as well.

Attorney General: Then perhaps I can put another question following Judge: Halevi's questions. Is it so normal for a Department Chief in the Foreign Ministry to find a comment "Eichmann proposes shooting"? Is that so normal? Would that be accepted as definite? Is that so usual? Should he not have had to do some checking? Look into things, phone calls?

Accused: I have no way of knowing about this; in Department IV, that sort of thing could not have happened in our office. In Department IV, normally we were not allowed to make any handwritten notes; any additions had to be typed separately and stapled to the relevant sheet.

Q. But in the Foreign Ministry that had no consequences at all; was that somehow customary, should that not have made a stir of some sort?

A. I do not know about the practice in the Foreign Ministry, but Rademacher's - and also, as I see, Luther's - habit was to write all sorts of things in the margin, to make handwritten notes.

Q. No, I am speaking of the content. If a Department Head in the Foreign Ministry found a note like this, would that not have led him to smell a rat, so that he would at least have lifted the receiver and made a call and checked whether something like that had actually been issued? Is that the case?

A. I do not know whether it is definite that after this handwritten note was made, Department Chief Luther actually saw the document and read it. That is not shown by anything.

Q. The document does, after all, show that it is dated 12 September 1941. Luther issues an instruction: "Contact the Head Office for Reich Security immediately." So the matter was extremely urgent, was it not?

A. Yes, yes, yes.

Q. And then on the following day we have Rademacher's minute, dated 13 September, indicating that he had had a telephone consultation with you, and that you had suggested "shooting." Are you therefore seriously claiming that the document did not return, together with the note, to Luther. That Luther - once Rademacher had implemented his instructions - did not trouble himself further about this document?

A. That cannot be seen from this document, and I can state this all the more since I know that I never said anything like this, and that I never had anything to do with such matters. It is curious that all these is not the only matter, in fact...that all these matters were not...although I ran such a bureaucratically well-organized shop...that all these matters were not handled in a proper fashion as laid down in the bureaucratic rules, as were the other many thousands of letters. That is the curious thing about this. Otherwise, for small and large things alike, the standard bureaucratic practice was always respected. And here I am the victim of such unbureaucratic marginal notes.

Q. I regret that you have such a negative opinion about the working methods of the Foreign Ministry. But that is not what is currently being discussed. You will nevertheless agree that if the matter really was so urgent, the document, together with Rademacher's note, must after all have gone back to Luther.

A. I said that I have no way of knowing that. I can only stress once again that I had nothing to do with that.

Q. But you will concede that logically that must have happened, that there can be no other logical conclusion.

A. Logic would dictate that, if it were not for the idea that a man like this could, in order to cover himself, take such steps.

Q. And the only explanation you have for this is that you accuse Rademacher of forgery.

A. I have several explanations. I have already given my explanations. As my last explanation I would add that I was not referred to in any shape or form in the entire matter. So why, otherwise, is all of this in this non-bureaucratic form...

Q. So in brief, this is a forgery by Rademacher.

A. That is what I assumed. As to whether it is true, I do not know. I know that one thing is true, that I did not say anything like that.

Q. That is what you claim, but the documents show precisely the opposite.

Presiding Judge: If you have finished with this document, we shall now adjourn.

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: The Court will adjourn until 8.30 on Monday morning.

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