The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 98
(Part 5 of 6)

Q.All right. So if you sent Jews from Duesseldorf to Minsk and Riga, you already knew that there it was a matter of murdering them, did you not?

A. I still did not know at that time, because I have said that I had seen the preparatory arrangements; I did not in fact see the first killings until I went to Kulm...

Presiding Judge: No, the question was, here you endeavoured to send the transport to Litzmannstadt, and the Attorney General gathers from this that you knew that consignments which went to the East, transports to the East, were destined for extermination.

A. Yes, I did know that in principle, because I had seen the preparatory arrangements.

Q.Who were Nebe and Rasch?

A. Nebe and Rasch?

Q.Nebe and Rasch.

A. Nebe was the head of the Reich Criminal Police and Chief of Department V, Chief of the Reich and Criminal Police.

Q.When, during which period?

A. I do not know, but later on he was a Group Commander in the East.


A. For a while Rasch was the leader of the Security Service Head Office in the Danube area of the Security Service. After that, I do not know, I lost sight of him and read in these documents that he was also said to have been a Group Commander in the East.

Q.And when you suggested at the meeting on 10 October 1941, that Jews be sent to the camps for communists run by Nebe and Rasch, you knew perfectly well that it was your proposal that Jews be sent to the areas where the Operations Units operated, for extermination, is that not true?

A. Yes, I must admit that, but with the qualification that I did not make the suggestion about sending them to Minsk and Riga, but I received the order that Minsk and Riga was to be the final destinations, unlike the first deportation order, which was to the Generalgouvernement or to Lodz.

Q.It says here that you set the absorption capacities of the camps for Nebe and Rasch. That is T/294 on page 23.

A. Yes, if it says so there, then it is correct...

Q.It is only right if it says so!

A. Today, I no longer remember, but this was part of the overall drawing-up of the deportation timetable; that was the case not only for Minsk and Riga, but for all locations, for all timetable arrangements.

Q.How did you know that there were possibilities of absorption or room in Nebe and Rasch's camps - did you go there?

A. No, but that was ascertained in each case in writing, by enquiries. After all, in every...

Q.What correspondence was there between you and the Operations Units?

A. There was no correspondence; when the deportation arrangements were made and the destinations had been established and fixed, a telegram had to be sent, in order to ascertain the absorption capacity, the numbers, and then it was determined how many were to be deported and the time was ascertained, and the timetable was then prepared accordingly by IVB4. This can also be seen from the documents.

Q.You will agree with me that on 10 October 1941, you had already received a large number of reports from the Operations Units about what Messrs. Nebe and Rasch had achieved out there as commanders of the Operations Units there. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q.And so, if it says the following in the report, "SS Brigade Commanders Nebe and Rasch could also include Jews in the camps for communist prisoners in the operations area. According to SS Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann's information, this has already started," that means that you knew that your proposal was tantamount to sending Jews to certain death. Is that true?

A. No. I must was not my proposal to send them there, first of all, and secondly I did not know that Jews from Reich territory who were evacuated to that area were also killed. Because I could have known that at the earliest - although today I do not remember - in January of the following year, when one of these reports from the East said that the Higher SS and Police Leader had carried out shootings on his own authority.

Q.Just a moment. A few minutes ago you told us that you sent Jews from the Reich to Litzmannstadt, in September or the beginning of October, because you knew that if they were not sent to Litzmannstadt, they would go to their death, because they were Jews from the Reich. You said this explicitly, and that is what it says in the document. And you claim that you wanted to save these Jews, and that you saved them by sending them to Litzmannstadt. That is what you said, is it not?

A. Yes, but with the proviso that I...that at that time there had not as yet been any killing, since when I heard that for the first time, the preliminary arrangements for killing had been started.

Q.Very well, let us assume that there was no killing as yet on the spot, but that the killing did not start until a week, two weeks or a month later. In any case you maintained that, in order to save these Jews from the death awaiting them, you sent them to Litzmannstadt. That is correct, is it not?

A. That was the first wave, not the Riga-Minsk wave, but that was the wave which preceded this wave. Here I had two possibilities, but for Riga and Minsk I had absolutely no possibilities at all...

Q.Very well. I am not talking about possibilities. I am talking about what you did. So, for the first transport, you maintain, you had an alternative, and you chose the alternative which allowed you to save Jews. And in order to save Jews, you were even prepared to take decisions, because if they were not to go to Litzmannstadt, but to Minsk or Riga, they would be killed, and if not immediately, then some weeks later. That is what you said.

A. Yes, that is more or less correct.

Q.And now, when on October 10, that is after the first wave, it says here - and this is what you said - that Jews may be sent to the Communist camps of Nebe and Rasch, that means they are to be sent to localities where - even if not on the spot, nevertheless in the very near future - death awaits them. This is what appears as a record of what you said. Is it correct?

A. Yes, that is also correct. I am not denying it. And even if I had known that they were to be killed on the same day, I could not have done anything about it, because the orders I received laid down the destinations. I had no possibility of doing anything else.

Q.Very well. In any case, what it says here cannot be correct, can it? Let me read out your answer in German, on page six. You were replying to Judge Halevi in Court here: "Is that not in contradiction with your previous answer?" At the top of the page you replied:

"Yes, it is really, but it was then that in line with Heydrich's statement I received information to the effect that local Jews in the East were concerned. But everybody was of the opinion that since here Jews from the area of the Reich with Reich German citizenship were involved, these Jews did not fall under the provisions which applied to the Operations Units."
Does that mean that what you said here is not correct?

A. Yes it is, and I also said as much five minutes ago. That, at the time, was the assumption. Everyone knew that Jews were being killed in the East. But no one knew that the Jews from the Reich were being killed. And I said so just five or ten minutes ago.

Q.So why did you send Jews to Litzmannstadt? Against the wishes of the local commander, who claimed that you were treating him like a horse dealer - if you could have sent these same Jews to Minsk or Riga, where they would be safe, because they came from the Reich, and Jews from the Reich were not being killed there?

A. But the practices applied in the East were known approximately, even though they were not known for sure, nevertheless it was somehow...somehow it was...


A. Yes, that is the right term. And in Litzmannstadt it was again known that the Jews were remaining in the ghetto. So, in this way, what I said today entirely coincides with what I said the other day.

Presiding Judge: If the public wishes to remain in the courtroom, they must remain seated, otherwise the Session will be adjourned. If anyone is unable to stand that, he should leave the courtroom.

Attorney General: And there was no problem in feeling this? It was not difficult to feel this, because you received the Operations Units' reports steadily from the end of June 1941 onwards?

Accused: Not steadily, but yes, I did receive them. And it was also known that in the East - there need only be a local difficulty of some sort, the local authorities proceeded very strictly, that was known, I would say.

Q.But the question was whether Jews from the Reich could also be sent there, and that was ascertained in the meanwhile.

A. Yes, I had received my orders - Minsk and Riga as destinations.

Q.But first of all you ascertained from Nebe and Rasch whether they could take Jews from the Reich, and after receiving a positive reply, the destinations were fixed, just as you said earlier, is that not true?

A. Yes, earlier I...previously I explained how such matters were dealt with through official channels.

Q.In September of the same year you saw the Reichsfuehrer? At his headquarters? Is that correct?

A. In September of the same year?

Q.Not September - the autumn - in the autumn.

A. I cannot indicate the actual date, but I can say exactly when it was - it was after Kiev had fallen - it must have been some time after that, because in the meanwhile this Soviet military training college where Himmler's headquarters were housed had been renovated. I went with Mueller to see Himmler there. Yes, in Kiev.

Q.That was during the official journey when you went to see Globocnik, or during the journey to Minsk? Which journey was it?

A. I do not know whether it had any connection at all with another journey. In any case, I received an order from Mueller to fly to Kiev, to fly to Kiev with a military transport plane, and then in Kiev I met Mueller at Himmler's headquarters. Then I was summoned to see him together with Mueller.

Q.What did Himmler want from you?

A. On that occasion I had to give an overall report on emigration.

Q.And immediately after that, Himmler issued the order prohibiting emigration, is that not true?

A. That is possible, I am not disputing that, but whether that...

Q.The order is dated October 1941. At the time when you gave him your presentation on emigration, was emigration still authorized?

A. I do not know, but in any case I was ordered to present matters as they were.

Q.I am asking you when that was. Was emigration still authorized at the time, or had it already been prohibited? Himmler would hardly have summoned you to make a presentation on matters which had in the meanwhile become theoretical. So I will assume that you made your presentation to him before the order banning emigration was issued. Is that correct?

A. I just do not know. I do not know exactly when it was. I have described it - this can be looked up - I do not know when Kiev fell, for example. I just do not know this at the moment.

Presiding Judge: The question was, when you made your presentation about emigration matters, was emigration still continuing at that time or had it stopped?

Accused: I just do not remember. However, I did want...I can reconstruct the time, if I know when Kiev fell, and then if you take the short period of time after that which was required to renovate a building like that - then one can work out the time.

Presiding Judge: Very well.

Attorney General: This is the autumn of 1941, when Operation Barbarossa was in full swing, and Germany hoped to be able to deal the Soviet Union some forceful blows, so as to put it out of the running. I assume that Himmler did not summon you at that time to discuss past matters with you, but for a presentation on an important matter. Do you admit that?

Accused: No, I had no other dealings with Himmler than emigration matters.

Q.My colleague is showing me a report here from the Special Operations Unit, dated August 1941, which reached you as well, Section IVB4, and here there is already a reference to operations at Kiev. That means then that in August 1941 Kiev had already fallen. Take a look at this - page 7.

A. Yes, it says here, "at Kiev the breach of the bridgehead position was widened." Fighting for Kiev is taking place. But when Kiev fell, I do not know. If I might, I should like to refer to Reitlinger; it is in there.

Q.Please, look it up.

A. Kiev was occupied on 19 September.


A. Yes 1941.

Q.So Kiev was occupied on 19 September 1941? So then when did you see Himmler?

A. It may have been in October or November.

Q.And do you accept that when you talked to Himmler, emigration was still authorized, and that Himmler's order prohibiting emigration was not issued until later, after the consultation with you?

A. I do not know that, the opposite is just as possible - that Himmler issued the prohibition order and now wanted to have a concluding report on this whole business. But it must be possible to ascertain this somehow from the many documents when Himmler had such a visit from Mueller; my name will not appear, but Mueller's definitely will. Or even better, when did Himmler move into the Kiev field headquarters? This might be even easier to find out.

Q.Very well. Did you know Brack from the Reich Chancellery?

A. Did I know Brack? I am not sure. I get confused, I knew someone from the Reich Chancellery, certainly.

Q.Once you were summoned to appear at the Reich Chancellery, and Brack was the person there who received you, and he asked you to cede several trains to him.

A. Yes, that is correct, but I do not know if that was Brack; it was someone in the Reich Chancellery.

Q.That was the only time you were in the Reich Chancellery, was it not?

A. To the best of my knowledge, yes, that was the only time.

Q.And you were surprised that you were being asked to forego trains, which you had obtained with so much difficulty and hard work, for the benefit of Reich Chancellery plans. That is correct, is it not?

A. I was surprised that...whether it was the Reich Chancellery I do not remember, it could also have been the Fuehrer's Chancellery. I would tend to think it was the latter.

Q.So it was the Fuehrer's Chancellery?

A. Because they are two different buildings.

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