The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 98
(Part 4 of 6)

Presiding Judge: Have we received this document? T/376 - have we received three copies of this, as in the case of the previous documents? The last document you mentioned, T/376, did we receive that in due order?

Attorney General: Yes, indeed. There are three - here you are - one of these I should like to hand to Dr. Servatius, if I may, thank you, and also the report on the assignment to groups. Exhibit T/375, is that correct?

Accused: I did not understand that, Mr. Attorney General.

Q.And also the reports about the assignment to the various groups, the number each group should contain and who was to go to concentration camps.

A. Yes, all the reports which were made.

Q.I should now like to submit a German translation of T/379. Regarding co-operation with the authorities of the Generalgouvernement, it is made clear that in case of need, supplementary instructions or further instructions were issued by the authorities there, as for example in T/375. Correct? Look at this. Krueger issues supplementary instructions about matters of implementation. Is that correct?

A. Yes. The Head Office for Reich Security issued regulations, and the Higher SS and Police Leader was able to order any additions which he saw fit.

Q.But for arresting Polish priests or clerics, for that each individual arrest had to be specially authorized by your organization. Is that correct? Every case of arrest of a Polish cleric had to be specially authorized by IVB4. Is that correct?

A. I gather that from this document, yes.

Judge Raveh: Was all this translated back into German, so that this is not the original German text?

Attorney General: These documents were published by the Polish authorities in the official language of the courts only, Polish, and we translated them from the Polish. [To the Accused] And when instructions about executions are to be transmitted to Zichenau, Eichmann passes them on. Correct?

A. Yes - pass them on - if I was ordered to do so, I had to do so. I did not issue them.

Q.It says here that the instruction was issued by the Reichsfuehrer. But why was it you who had to be the transmission channel for such orders for execution? Why Eichmann in particular? Did the Reichsfuehrer not have any way of contacting Zichenau? It just had to go via Eichmann?

A. The letterhead - the reference - shows that the local State Police office or regional State Police headquarters sent their enquiry to Department IV, and that is why I received this matter for further processing, and I had to process it as the transmitting office, in accordance with my orders. I had after all to do what I was ordered to do.

Q.What had the Jews done who are referred to in T/200 and T/201, so that you passed on the orders to hang them in Zichenau? What was their crime?

A. The text does not show this - today, I cannot comment on this. Out of caprice one never, nobody...

Q.Perhaps, by chance, you might remember. You pass on orders for the hanging of people in public in the presence of their co-religionists. But why? Why did you do this?

A. Because I had Himmler's orders, this was passed on...a copy of it was forwarded in accordance with orders. I could not change anything if what Himmler ordered was passed on through official channels. There was nothing I could change on my own initiative, I could not add anything and could not... -

Presiding Judge: No, that is not an answer; can you remember what was the offence or crime of these Jews who were hanged? "Yes" or "no"?

Accused: No, today I no longer remember that.

Attorney General: Every order for the execution of Jews went through you, was passed on by you?

Accused: No, I have gathered from the documents that not every order went through me.

Q.But how many such orders went through you?

A. Today, I do not remember this either. I did not pass on matters of the Generalgouvernement, I did not pass on matters of the Reich territory...

Q.Very well, so how many - dozens, hundreds, thousands - approximately how many?

A. They were always just individual instances which had to go this way. And I think that it was not until later on, because previously another Section...

Q.How many, how many?

A. I cannot say - I refuse to give any information here, because I just do not know. I cannot give a figure. I would just have to state a figure out of the blue. If I am ordered to do so, I shall do it. But...

Presiding Judge: No, no - you will not have to state figures out of the blue.

Attorney General: So you maintain that you were merely a transmission channel for orders?

Accused: If you please, that can be seen from all the documents.

Q."Yes" or "no"? If that is so, why was it necessary to inform you of the implementation. Why did IVB4 have to receive the report?

A. Because after all it is a single file, which had to be processed in its entirety from beginning to end, and there are regulations about procedure, so that I...if underneath here I write "please notify implementation," then the order...the general instruction will have been that completion is to be notified as such up to Himmler, and that is why there are these orders about implementation and instructions.

Q.In other words - you are the known channel through which Himmler passes on executive orders to the State Police stations, and through you Himmler receives confirmation that the hangings have been carried out.

A. Not in all cases. Just now I even remember a telegram which Mueller dealt with, and this also concerned Jewish matters - sabotage matters to be precise - and I had no competence at all there... A different section head was competent in that matter.

Q.Very well, that may be. So in sabotage matters you were not competent, but when it came to straightforward murdering of Jews, that was your scope of duties, was it not?

A. Once again, I can only say again - because the documents prove this - IVC2, for example, also handled matters directly on its own responsibility, it did not have first to go to a Section...we have a case here where this happened, where a file was dealt with.

Q.But why did this not go through IVB2? Why did it go through you?

A. I do not know, because it got to me on its way. I have no idea - today, I can no longer remember.

Q.Because the murder of innocents goes through your hands, is that not so?

A. No, I must deny that.

Q.In this matter I still owe the Court the translation into German of exhibit T/380. I should, therefore, now like to fulfil this obligation.

Judge Halevi: I have a further question on exhibit T/371. Perhaps the Accused can be shown the document - Prosecution document No. 285.

Attorney General: The German translation is before the Court; I only have the Polish translation.

Judge Halevi: What does "Verschiebung nach dem Osten" (displacement Eastward) mean?

Accused: Today, I can only interpret this to mean that these groups were deported from the Generalgouvernement to the occupied Russian territories. As to their being deported from the Generalgouvernement, whether this is correct, I do not know, but that is the only thing I can gather. I would definitely be able to be more precise if I knew...what the decision on Group III means. I do not know...I do not remember.

Q.But for what purpose, and to what location in the East?

A. I do not know; I am not trying to be evasive here. I imagine that it could just as well be for killing as for any other purpose, and that is why I wondered...I do not know what was ordered as regards Group III, what was to happen to Group III. This did not concern Section IVB4; IVB4 had to deal only with technical transport matters about these things, as shown by the files. That is why I simply described all the possibilities; I do not know what was the actual situation, and that has to be checked with the files, I have no idea.


Presiding Judge: Please proceed.

Attorney General: Before we proceed to another chapter, I should like to check on something with you. In the proposal to kill these Jews in Zichenau, if I understood you correctly, this proposal came from you to Himmler, went from you to Himmler, and came back to you from Himmler, and from you went to the State Police offices for implementation. Is that correct?

Accused: Yes, with the qualification that it reached me from the State Police office, then went from me via Mueller, from Mueller to the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Himmler, and back through the same official channels - that is correct.

Q.And it was along the same lines that the reports about implementation reached you, and went from you to Himmler and from Himmler back to you for filing away. Is that correct?

A. That is probably how it was, yes.

Q.Very well. So the file went to Mueller with your proposals, or without any proposals from you?

A. It was accompanied by a request for instructions, entirely in accordance with the regulations.

Q.Without any proposal at all from the Section Head?

A. Certainly, because the proposal came from the local police office.

Q.And you said nothing at all as to whether you, as the Section Head responsible, went along with this proposal, or whether you were of a contrary opinion? Nothing?

A. According to what I am aware of, the State Police office at that end began the report with a reference to decree such and such, of the such and such, and then sent in its report. The official-in-charge in the Section normally, as was the practice, for reasons of - what shall I call it - it was for the sake of convenience - took out that part and passed it on with the request for instructions. That was how things were done.

Q.But that was not my question. Himmler could accept or reject the local proposal, could he not? But your Section must have had to make some recommendation here. So who made the recommendation to him?

A. The Section did not have to make any proposal, but the local State Police office here asked for permission, or at least asked for instructions. Section IVB4 had to check whether the decree referred to by the local State Police office in each case was still valid or not. If it was valid, the matter had to be transmitted automatically via official channels; if it was no longer in force, this matter would immediately be halted in the Section, and then the State Police regional headquarters or office would be notified that this decree no longer applied. It was the Section's duty to check this. This was not just for such cases - it applied to all cases.

Q.So the State Police office did not know whether Himmler could issue an order for implementation or not? That had to be checked in the Section?

A. The check was as to whether the orders or decrees or instructions referred to by the State Police office were still in force or not.

Q.We know that Himmler's executive powers were laid down at an early stage and were never withdrawn, so why are you talking about orders or instructions which were or were not withdrawn? After all, these orders remained in force permanently, continuously, all the time.

A. That I do not know; in any case, the orders and the decrees kept changing. There was continuous movement in this respect.

Q.Himmler had the power to order shootings or executions all the time, without interruption, did he not? A. Yes, but I...

Q.So the Section had nothing to check - it just had to order, or to recommend or not, is that correct or not?

A. Not to recommend, the matter at issue was not recommending, in this case, but asking for instructions as to what decision was to be notified to the State Police office - that is not quite correct, Mr. Attorney General. In this case, too, I believe that this was subject to various changes. This concerned Reich territory. Zichenau had in fact been incorporated into Reich territory. That made some difference.

Q.You will agree that the State Police office in Ciechanow was perfectly familiar with the Reichsfuehrer's address, if it wanted to contact the Reichsfuehrer. Is that not so?

A. Yes, but that was prohibited.

Q.Moreover, there was a legal department in the Head Office for Reich Security which could check whether implementation was or was not still covered by a valid order. Is that not correct?

A. But it did not deal with individual cases.

Q.Who had to check on all individual cases? Through whom did every individual case involving Jews go?

A. Where the area of competence of Department IV was concerned, IVB4, my Section.

Q.All right. In one of the sessions, in reply to a question from your Counsel, you said that in one single case you took a decision about the destination in one case, and instead of sending them to the East to be exterminated, you sent them to Litzmannstadt. This involved Jews from the Reich. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that was the very first case of deportation where there were two alternatives.

Q.All right. So at last we come to a case where you took a decision. Very well, this concerned Jews from the Reich, as it says in T/220, document No. 1248, did it not?

A. Yes. And I also said that this was the first and last case.

Q.Very well. And this consignment left in September 1941. Transport in September 1941. Is that correct?

A. I do not know whether the transports went off in September, or whether those were the preliminary arrangements in September.

Q.Then read it. Just read it through.

A. I believe that the transports went off in October 1941, but the preliminary arrangements were in September. It really makes no difference - September or October - but in any case it is these transports.

Q.In any case, at the end of September, the beginning of October, you decided that this transport should go to Litzmannstadt, because if it were to be sent to Minsk or Riga, death would be in store for them. That is what you said, is it not?

A. Yes - I do not believe that I put it as baldly as that - but I was impressed by the first notification I had heard about the physical Final Solution.

Q.You said that - I believe your words can be checked in the record, it was in Session No. 78 - you said that you sent these Jews to Litzmannstadt because you wanted to save them. I even noted the page references. If you wish to know where it was, it is on pages S1 and T1 of the German version of Session 78.* {*Volume IV, pp. xxxx, xxxx} If you want to look at it, please do so. I will give you the record. If it is not correct, please correct it accordingly.

A. No, it is basically correct.

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