The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 99
(Part 1 of 4)

Session No. 99

4 Av 5721 (17 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the ninety-ninth Session of the trial open. The Accused will continue with his testimony in cross-examination. I remind the Accused that he is still testifying under oath.

Accused: Yes, I am aware of that.

Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: When you returned from this trip, during which you saw the Operations Units in action, you said to Mueller that this was not the right way, that "our people would become sadists," another method for executions had to be found. Is that correct?

Accused: I am not familiar with the last phrase, "another method for executions had to be found" - this is the first time I have heard this.

Q. Very well: "the first time." During your examination in Bureau 06 you were shown T/47, the article in Life, for your perusal, and in T/48 you indicated your reaction. On page 31 of the manuscript you were shown, with no comments on the comments sheet, practically without your taking exception to this matter, the following is recorded as your words on page 31 of the typed copy:

"Gruppenfuehrer, the solution should have been a political one; but since the Fuehrer has now issued orders for a physical solution, clearly it will have to be a physical one. But we cannot continue carrying out the executions as at Minsk and, I believe, elsewhere. That would train our people to become sadists. We cannot solve the Jewish Question by putting a bullet through the head of a defenceless woman holding her child up to us."
So you were saying that if the extermination had to be physical, then let it be physical, but not my means of shooting, and not with a woman throwing her baby at your leather coat, as in Minsk, is that true?

A. No, that is a completely wrong interpretation of what I said. This meaning can, in literal terms, be deduced from this statement by me, but that is not how I made it, because the meaning was that there could be no question here of killing people. I made the point without beating about the bush; in principle it makes no difference whether this was by means of gas or with a bullet. I was against that.

Q. But it is more elegant with gas - that was the opinion of the gentlemen from the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories. It is more elegant with gas, is that not true?

A. Yes, but that was definitely not my opinion. This is also quite obvious from the phrases I have just heard. Who added this business of physical extermination here, I do not know, I do not know. But the point I was trying to make ...I should be believed that I really did express it as I felt it inside me.

Q. You say, "but since the Fuehrer has now issued orders for a physical solution, it will have to be a physical one," a physical solution?

A. Did I sign it? I do not believe I did.

Q. You made no comment on this; only on the word "offensichtlich" (obviously) did you make a comment by underlining it. That is all. There is no comment here on these words. You may look at it.

A. Here in Israel?

A. Yes, here in Israel.

A. Then I definitely failed to notice this matter. That is also in the nature of things, because otherwise I would definitely have corrected this, if I had noticed it.

Q. You spoke with the people from Rosenberg's Ministry about gas matters, didn't you?

A. No, I really do not believe that I spoke to anybody about gas matters. That is what was strange to me when I was shown this matter here.

Q. So how do you know, and why do you imagine, that these people saw this as a more elegant solution, if you did not talk to them at all?

A. Because at that time there was a great deal of talk about such things in the Head Office for Reich Security.

Q. Between whom?

A. Between whom? There meetings between Section Heads and so on, there was talk of this, of this matter.

Q. About gas?

A. About everything, about the entire question in the East...

Q. I am asking you about exterminating Jews by means of gas.

A. That was also under discussion at the time. Someone must have spoken one way or the other about it, because otherwise I would not have known about it.

Q. Precisely. In 1941.

A. I do not know the year. I cannot say. But I must say that this was no secret. Because I did in fact hear about it right from my first visit. But this was not gas. I was told at the time that it was done with exhaust gases. Of course, in principle it is the same thing, is it not?

Q. Do you agree that what you have told me fits what Wetzel described in his letter? The people who shoot Jews are being morally poisoned; another solution must be found - the solution is found by extermination through gassing. You are asked about this. You give your authorization, and thus this all fits perfectly.

A. No, I had nothing at all to do with these matters; I did not deal at all with this.

Q. But Wetzel does refer to you, does he not?

A. I just could not work this out at all, and that is why I went into this matter, and considered it closely, and came to the conclusion that this is just not right. Neither my name nor my rank appear there, and as for the things I have seen in Israel, these ife things, I would like to say...I have just the time I also asked Captain Less whether I was to comment on every single thing, because then my comments would be more or less the same length as the whole thing which I was shown. And at that I was told, no, just in general terms. So then I commented on this in general terms, but not on each individual point.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Attorney General: All right, I do not want to argue about this. I am telling you that you reacted to every passage, but I would now direct your attention to the fact that this is not the only passage where you are mentioned in Wetzel's letter. It is stated subsequently that on the basis of your notification, room was found at Minsk and Riga for the Jews from the Old Reich, and you have already admitted to having dealt with this, and that you sent Jews from that territory to Minsk and Riga. That only corroborates Wetzel's allegations about the content of the Wetzel letter, does it not?

Accused: That was known not only to Wetzel. All sorts of central authorities knew about this which were dealing with these waves of deportations to Riga and Minsk, and in fact there was a whole list of central authorities which were dealing with this directly.

Q. True, but only Wetzel knew that you had given your consent on behalf of the Head Office for Reich Security to extermination by gassing.

A. I did not give my consent, because I could not give any such consent - I had nothing to do with the killing. I have said as much here time and again, I cannot say anything further on this. This is also correct.

Q. In your Section, you had a typist called Werlmann? And also a man who worked in Registry, called Martin?

A. Yes.

Q. I am going to read out a passage to you. Will you please tell me whether this is correct or not?

"I was given orders to produce a letter for Globocnik. A letter I would have to hand over in person, I constantly kept an eye on. I dictated the letter to Mrs. Werlmann, after which this letter was received by Unterscharfuehrer Martin as Head of Registry, who gave this communication its number as Secret State Business and entered it in the Registry. No copy was made, there was only the original, and then I took this letter with me and either handed it to Heydrich in person or gave it to Mueller, who in turn handed it to Heydrich, and then I received this letter back through official channels."
Is what you said here correct?

A. Not verbatim, but the meaning is correct. Things were as follows: As I explained, I received orders to draft a letter of this kind which either Mueller or Heydrich - I believe Heydrich - signed, and I had to deliver that to Globocnik.

Q. So here Sassen did not falsify your words?

A. The words are not verbatim, but the meaning is quite clear. What is not in here is that...if one reads this, the impression might be that I drafted such a letter on my own initiative, and then, ex post facto...

Judge Halevi: No, no, it does say "im Auftrage" (per pro) after all? It does say im Auftrage, does it not?

Accused: It does say im Auftrage.

Attorney General: It does indeed say im Auftrage.

Accused: I should also like to say that I have already long since referred to this matter here in my Statement.

Q. This letter - that was an order to execute a quarter of a million Jews?

A. No, they were already dead. Globocnik wanted to ave some form of cover from Heydrich after the event, and that is how this came about; I was ordered to produce this communication, and Heydrich, or Mueller...I do not think...signed it, and then I had to take it to the Generalgouvernement.

Q. And you wrote such letters two or three times?

A. In my Statement I also said here...I do not know...twice...I think...I do not think it was three times...I believe I remember it was twice...but I do not know if it was 250,000 or 150,000...that I never knew.

Q. In your memoirs which you have written, T/44, pages 116 and 117, you mention that Globocnik wanted further instructions to kill Jews - that is, he was given the assignment to kill such and such a number of Jews, and he also wanted a retroactive confirmation for the Jews he had already killed. Is that correct?

A. No, of that I am not aware. But Globocnik did want a confirmation for the Jews he had killed, as a cover. That I do remember.

Q. Would you please read what is written in your own handwriting; if you then wish to correct your answer accordingly, please do so.

Presiding Judge: This examination has returned to a subject with which you have already dealt at length. I assume that you went through the material carefully, and I would be grateful to you if you could concentrate matters once and for all.

Attorney General: We have already touched upon this question from the point of view of general responsibility - but I am now touching upon the question of the Accused's share in a specific territory with which I am now concerned, and I promise that I shall leave this particular subject in a few minutes.

Now, Accused, on page 116 and the beginning of page 117 in your memoirs...

Presiding Judge: Please comment.

Accused: Certainly, but clearly what it means here...otherwise I would have been very surprised...I wrote here...just a moment, please, the sentence is not...there everything was dealt with on one's own responsibility... "Globocnik had a macabre habit of subsequently getting written confirmation for the killing from the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Heydrich, personally, and this Heydrich did. He either told me directly, when I was receiving orders, or through Mueller - I forget which - to draw up a letter for Globocnik, for a further 150,000 or 250,000 - I do not remember precisely - Jews to be sent to the Final Solution in accordance with the order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS or the Fuehrer's order - I also no longer remember which precisely, and this was then signed by Heydrich. There were, I believe, two or three such letters which Globocnik had issued to him subsequently, so to speak, for his own security."

Attorney General: This is precisely what I am referring to - Globocnik received the order to kill such and such a number of Jews and applied for more cover for more Jews...

Presiding Judge: No, no, Mr. Hausner, my colleague makes the point here - and I believe he is correct - there are three letters here, but all these three letters were written post factum...

Accused: If I might here...

Presiding Judge: No, no - be seated.

Attorney General: Did you ever bring Globocnik an order to kill Jews - not a post factum order, but an order to kill Jews?

Accused: No, I did not do that. If I had done so, when I wrote these memoirs, I...if I had not felt like writing down everything I knew, I would have written that down as well.

Q. It will do, if you say no. Which concentration camps did you visit?

A. After this station, which was being built, I received orders to go to Kulm, to Kulmhof. After that I was sent to Minsk, and now I know that with, at that time I travelled via Lemberg.

Q. Did you go to Majdanek?

A. Yes, but that was later.

Q. All right; in general terms I should like to know which concentration camps you went to. Did you go to Majdanek?

A. Majdanek...

Q. Did you go to Treblinka?

A. No, that I do not know...

Q. Sobibor?

A. I went to Auschwitz...

Q. You wrote somewhere that you went repeatedly to Auschwitz, didn't you?

A. Yes, and I have also admitted that; I went there some five or six times, I am not sure of the exact number.

Q. And Hoess showed you the entire extermination process from A to Z, did he not?

A. No, that is just not true.

Q. No? That is what Hoess writes about it, you know that.

A. That is possible, but it is not true. Hoess was wrong by an entire year, and I have proved that, by going through all the literature about it, because it struck me as odd, and I also managed to prove this by means of facts.

Q. Very well. Let us therefore assume that Hoess got the date wrong. But was he also wrong about the fact that he showed you the extermination plant? He writes that he showed you the entire process. Did he ever show it to you? Ever?

A. "Show" is not the right word; he told me about it, and I saw part of it, that is, how the bodies were burned. That I did see.

Q. Did you have any authority for the extermination camps?

A. No, no authority whatsoever.

Q. Not to send people there, not to have something entered in the files which was to testify to the fate of an inmate there, nothing at all?

A. No, that could not have been the task of IVB4.

Q. Not of IVB4, but of you, you personally. Did you yourself have such authority?

A. No, I did not.

Q. So when on page 224 of your Statement you say about your visit to Auschwitz that you wished to make someone's fate a little easier, and said to Hoess, "Well, then, I say, I shall draw up a memo, I said, that Storfer should work here with a broom," is that not correct?

A. That is something entirely different. Here I obtained special permission from my superior, because I worked with Storfer all those years, and he was sent to Auschwitz behind my back. Storfer let me know somehow and asked me to visit him. I then received permission and I also ...

Q. when did you receive permission?

A. When I left Hungary for Berlin, I sent a teletype from Hungary to my Chief; in any case, I was able to get the authority to ease the work for Storfer, but I could not release him. That was in fact what he wanted, but I did not get permission.

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