The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 98
(Part 3 of 6)

Q.So you mean that you would ask for instructions from Mueller as to whether the Foreign Ministry, which was asking a question in this context, was to be given permission for one Jew to send a parcel to another Jew in the Generalgouvernement? Mueller had to decide about that as well?

A. Definitely Mueller had to decide about that, because I do not know whether this was the first case. Naturally, he did not have to decide about every single instance, but he did have to decide on the first case of that kind - the next ones I could then decide on myself on my own authority in the appropriate fashion, once the precedent for this case in hand had been established. This was the procedure not only for these matters, but for all subjects.

Q.But please explain to me why - what is the reason for banning the sending of such parcels? You were, after all, in constant touch with Mueller.

A. Today, I can only imagine that Mueller would have said it is wartime, there is too much administrative work, they should do this themselves in the Generalgouvernement. I imagine that is what the decision must have been, I can hardly imagine that it would have been anything else.

Q.I am prepared for the moment to assume that you came to Mueller with certain matters; but after all you are the Section Head. The proposal after all came from you to Mueller. Mueller must certainly have asked for your opinion about all these matters, must he not?

A. I have already said, when I came to Berlin, against my wishes, first of all this was against my wishes, secondly this was the first time that I was employed in an executive central authority. I was by nature very cautious, because after all I am not a legal expert.

Presiding Judge: No, no - please stop this and answer the question, please. The question was: Did you not yourself make proposals or suggestions to Mueller before Mueller took his decisions, or did Mueller not listen to what you had to say at all?

A. I presented the file to Mueller, the contents, and I asked for instructions, I did not take decisions, nor did I make any proposals.

Attorney General: In none of the conversations you had with Mueller did you give your opinion - did you never put forward what your opinion was in a particular matter?

Accused: I must make a reservation. When the Madagascar Plan was over, I made no further proposals. As far as matters were concerned which had come up in the meanwhile, during the Madagascar Plan, where I had dealt with these things, I did not make any proposals, either. I was in fact known for this.

Q.In other words, there could perfectly well have been a dictaphone in your stead, and that would have sufficed, would it not? Mueller would have dictated and then this would have been typed up. That would have done just as well. Is that what you mean?

A. Not exactly, because I gave a summary of the extensive files. After all, I could not read the files out to him - otherwise he could have read them himself. And then I jotted down the key words of the orders I was given. And then the Section did the rest of the administrative work.

Presiding Judge: And Mueller never asked you for your opinion? Mueller did not ask you occasionally for your opinion, you who were dealing with these matters daily?

Accused: Mueller knew me, and he knew that I did not take decisions and also did not give any opinion of my own in executive affairs.

Q. That means he wanted to ask for your opinion, but you did not indicate any opinion, and in the future he left it at that. Is my understanding of your answer correct?

A. Yes, at the beginning he definitely thought that I would give my own opinion, but when later he saw that I did not do so and used my right as a Section Head to ask for instructions, he got used to this. Things went so far that I would not give an immediate answer to anyone asking even about a single transport. I know that Krumey also confirmed this.

Presiding Judge: Very well, that will do.

Attorney General: That means you were totally passive - is that the right way of putting it?

Accused: One can hardly say passive. I did what I have just outlined, and then obeyed and carried out what I was ordered to do.

Q.In any case, you did not do anything on your own initiative after the Madagascar Plan was dropped. Is that right?

A. As far as executive matters were involved, also not from the outset.

Q.Very well. And since Mueller knew you so well, he said, "If we had had fifty such Eichmanns, we would have won the war against the USSR, against England and against France, if we had only had fifty men like you." Did he not?

A. Mr. Attorney General, that was said in a different context by Mueller, and in fact this was said when here...when he was at the office, the officials who were trying to issue false papers, and everything all around had been destroyed by bombs, and the office stood there with the adjacent houses, like mushrooms, standing up, because during the bombing raids I myself had rushed around with my staff and rendered every incendiary bomb harmless. This conversation was prior to that, and in this conversation he had said this - it was more a joke than anything else - he said, "If we had had fifty Eichmanns, we would have won the war." He is a Bavarian, Mueller, and that sort of an image from a Bavarian sounds different from how it would have if he had said it, say as proper recognition or as an official acknowledgment. That is how this should be understood.

Q.And that is why you were so proud about this, as you have told us. Were you not?

A. Yes - my work during the period of the air raids was recognized, because it is really not an easy thing to sit at a desk all day and spend the night chasing incendiaries and other bombs.

Q.And because you were such an insignificant and useless official, that is why Himmler, when he sent you to Hungary, said that the master himself was being sent there, did he?

A. "The master" - that might well be some phrase or other. I, in any case, never heard it from Himmler, because I did not speak with Himmler at all.

Q.But you did hear it from others?

A. That is possible. There is a great deal of rubbish said about such matters. One must not take everything that is said literally. In all - it is the same the world over where people in uniform are concerned. It was known as "latrine talk." They occur in all Sections of uniformed units. The sort - the sort of master I was in Hungary can be seen very clearly from the files, Mr. Attorney General. I did not take any initiative at all.

Judge Halevi: A Section Head - you are saying that he has the right to take a decision, but that you in principle did not use the Section Head's right to take decisions. Is that correct?

A. Yes. Over and above that, I did not even make any use, worth speaking of, of my right to give instructions.

Judge Halevi: But is it not true that if a highly placed official has certain rights, then it is also his duty to exercise these rights, because otherwise he is incompetent and must be dismissed?

Accused: Your Honour, everybody knows himself best. I was good at organizing these matters. I had acquired this ability in the five years I was dealing with emigration affairs. I thought, and I still think, I can prove that I was not someone who liked or tended to take decisions by the fact that, after all, I remained stuck at my post for four years. If I had shown some initiative, I might well have been moved somewhere to an independent position, I might have been given a regional State Police Headquarters, or some other position. But I was suitable for this work behind a desk. In the Section, I was suitable - I did my duty, in accordance with orders.

Q.Thank you. According to your description here of what you did, it would appear that you did not do your duty properly and that you should have been removed immediately, because otherwise there was no point to this position.

A. No, that is not correct, Your Honour, I did my duty properly, as I was required by the oath of allegiance. I obediently did my duty in accordance with orders.

Q.But you did far less than what lay in your power.

A. But I made use of my right to request instructions in all instances from my superior.

Q.But you refused to make any proposals or to express any opinions to your superior, to indicate your own attitude.

A. That is true, but I was not dutybound to do that, I was not bound to do that.

Q.Is it possible to run an office with such an official? With such a Section Head?

A. Certainly, Your Honour, particularly if the larger or main part of the work involved purely organizational matters, because the many...I always call them executive matters, which...let us call them individual cases and so on, these matters, the purely...I would call them State Police matters, which, with me, were dealt with by the officials-in-charge in accordance with my instructions, which I had obtained, by police Chief Inspectors and so on, they were dealt with under routine procedures, after an instruction in principle on the subject had been issued, and I never received any form of reprimand for not doing my duty, and I must say this still today.

Q.So that means that you only dealt with routine matters.

A. No, Your Honour, I did not deal only with routine matters, but if such a matter had not been clarified in principle, then I asked for a consultation, and I regularly asked my Chief for instructions.

Judge Halevi: Thank you very much.

Attorney General: When you were asked to issue instructions about the deportees' money which they were to take along to the Generalgouvernement, as in T/211 for example, there you did issue instructions, did you not?

Accused: Yes, here the requisite instructions were issued. I also had to enquire somewhere as to how this was to be done - I cannot at the moment remember which office this was which was to pay the twenty zloty.

Q.And during the deportations in 1942, and later from the Lublin-Zamosc district, it was suggested to Himmler - this is T/374 - that the Poles be divided into four groups, that their children be taken away from them, and that those not able-bodied be sent to Auschwitz, is that true?

A. Yes, but not by IVB4.

Q.No? But here it says IVB4 - look at it, it says plainly here IVB4...

A. Yes, but there is some previous correspondence which belongs here, which has to be arranged chronologically.

Q.Did this proposal, this proposal to Himmler, come from Section IVB4?

Presiding Judge: Which number did you say?

Attorney General: T/374. Accused, did this proposal come from Section IVB4 or not?

Accused: This proposal was signed by Mueller, and IVB4a.

Q.Did this proposal come from Section IVB4 or not?

A. The proposal was handled by Section IVB4a. As to it coming from IVB4, that is far from being the same thing, because in this letter this is a matter of principle, that is the raising of the age limit from ten to fourteen years, while obviously Himmler on 3 October 1942 in Cracow - and there is a reference to this - set the age limit at ten years, but then Mueller intervened here and had the age fixed at fourteen instead of ten years, and he had his reasons for this, which were...

Q.Yes, yes, but this proposal comes from you, does it not? Himmler wanted to seize children up to the age of ten, you wanted to seize Polish children up to the age of fourteen, is that not true?

A. But it is not right to say that the proposal is from IVB4...this was a matter which was dealt with, or also dealt with, by the office other words my superior, in any case the decision was taken by him...IVB4 could not take such a decision at all.

Q.Very well. But carrying it out - what about carrying it out? Did you not carry out this matter?

A. Yes, all the technical transport aspects were handled by IVB4.

Q.Including the division into groups, right?

A. No, these were race and resettlement evaluative categories, which were set by the Race and Resettlement Head Office, Groups 1 and 4.

Q.You were notified of Himmler's instructions at Cracow, were you not?

A. Yes, of course, I would assume that that would even have been done in writing, because there is a reference to that in the communication of 31 October 1942.

Q.And you pass these instructions on to the various implementing bodies, for example as this was transmitted to Krumey, T/370?

Your Honours, you have this document only in Polish, so I shall submit a German translation, this is T/370, document No. 284.

Yes, please go ahead.

A. Yes, indeed, and for the following reasons: The Department Chief had yet another reason - avoiding any further formation of partisans. IVB4 - the reason for IVB4 was that, by raising the age from ten to fourteen, the transport figures of those to be evacuated changed, and with it the basis for the calculations in order to draw up the timetable. This was obviously issued to all the local offices which received orders to this effect and had to be done in accordance with orders.

Q.And that in those transports which ran as part of this operation people died by the dozen - you knew that as well? Look at T/377.

Presiding Judge: Is this a translation made by you?

Attorney General: Yes, this was made by us.

Accused: Yes, I see here that fifteen people died during the transport. I can only say here that Section IVB4 was not responsible for the rounding up, those were the local authorities. This is certainly clear from the directives.

Q.Those people died on the way, on the way and not during the rounding up - during the transport which was organized by you. Look at T/381.

Presiding Judge: I believe I have already read this once.

Attorney General: It might possibly already exist in Hebrew, but we have translated it into German, for the Defence, too.

[To the Accused] Look at these consignments of children, these children's transports, the children who were taken out of the box cars dead. These are the transports which you organized, you, the Forwarding Agent of Death.

Accused: I can say the following about this: It makes no difference whether it is these transports of children or those from Hungary - we have a document before us, and it hits the nail on the head. I was not responsible for these matters, I was responsible for the matters concerning the timetable, for the technical matters, but not for these things. There are documents here about a similar case of evacuation of Jews from Hungary, where the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Hungary was involved with this, whether in terms of transport...

Q.We are talking about Zamosc, leave Hungary alone; I promise you that we shall come back to Hungary.

A. IVB4 was not responsible for transfers - the exclusive responsibility for that lay with the transport escort and the body which rounded up the people, that is to say, the consigning body. But that was not IVB4.

Q.But the reports about all these operations reached you? There is a report here from Krumey addressed to you, dated 29 December 1942 - look at it.

A. In all instances, regardless of the particular circumstances involved, reports proceeded from below to the higher authorities, and naturally they passed through IVB4 as well, and I have already said so.

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