The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 101
(Part 1 of 4)

Session No. 101

5 Av 5721 (18 July 1961)

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

Accused: Yes, I am aware of that.

Attorney General: If it pleases the Court, before I continue with my cross-examination of the Accused, I was asked to submit proof about the date of Heinrich Himmler's appointment to the Ministry of the Interior. I have here a German publication which appeared during the War, and which, I understand, continued to appear after the War. This is the Archiv der Gegenwart (Contemporary Archive) dated 25 August 1943, where the Court can see the official publication about the changes in the German Reich Government, and the appointment of Heinrich Himmler.

Presiding Judge: Has Dr. Servatius received a copy?

Dr. Servatius: It has not yet reached me.

Presiding Judge: I shall provide you with a copy immediately. I mark this document T/1428 - please hand that to Dr. Servatius. Thank you.

Attorney General: If it please the Court, I should briefly like to conclude a number of chapters involving the Accused's activities.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius - that is the Court's copy. You will receive your copy from Mr. Hausner later. This is for you to examine, but would you then please return it?

Dr. Servatius: Unfortunately I have already make a mark on it.

Presiding Judge: Yes, I had noticed that - it does not matter.

Attorney General: Dannecker's activities in Italy were also carried out in accordance with your instructions, is that true?

Accused: In Italy?

Q. Yes, Dannecker in Italy.

A. As far as Italy is concerned, I remember two phases: one was 1943, and the other 1944. As for 1944, I had nothing at all to do wth that, because I was in Hungary...1943 was Mueller's own business, as is shown from a document here relating to von Thadden's having consulted Mueller. I myself did not order Dannecker to proceed to Italy. May I ask which year is in question in this matter?

Q. Very well, let us talk about 1943. In 1943 there were contacts between you and all the other Jewish Affairs Advisers?

A. Yes.

Q. And in the same context?

A. In the same context? I do not know what you mean by context, Mr. Attorney General.

Q. As we discussed it last week, in connection with Roethke. So what about Dannecker's activities in Italy in 1944?

A. I cannot say anything at all about this; I do not know anything of this.

Q. The operations for deporting the Jews from Norway were organized and carried out by your Section, were they not?

A. Yes, technical aspects of the deportation.

Q. Why did you go to Denmark?

A. Because I was ordered to go there after the operation. As to the reason, I really do not remember today. from the files I gathered that I took with me proposals which I then made known in Berlin.

Q. You were furious at Best because the operation against the Jews there had failed, were you not?

A. No - in that case Best would definitely have reported on this to the German Foreign Ministry.

Q. Would you please answer my question: "yes" or "no"? Were you or were you not furious at Best?

A. No.

Q. Just look at what you said on page 252 of your interrogation:

"And at that point I said to myself, just look at that, now he is in Denmark, and now he is opposed to his Chief's measures. And I reflected in surprise that people start by how shall I call it...purely out of obsequiousness, and they do obsequious service until they get up to a particular grade, and then when they have that particular grade, they become a law unto themselves."
That was your attitude and your position when you went to Denmark, was it not?

A. My personal attitude, however, has nothing to do with any official assignment, even if that was my personal attitude.

Q. All right - that is what I was asking you about. And this attitude accompanied you to the State of Israel in 1960: today you are still furious with Best for not carrying out the operation against the Jews in Denmark properly.

A. I am not furious: I ascertained that that was the case.

Q. And that made you angry?

A. If that had made me angry, Best would have made some sort of report about it: these gentlemen were particularly sensitive...if one said just one word, they immediately started reporting, and there is no trace of any such thing here.

Q. No, no: I am talking about what you yourself said in your interrogation here: here, in your interrogation, you did, in fact, express your internal rage, which you still bear today, didn't you?

A. No. This is how it was: everyone stirred up this matter, and everyone urged it on, and then suddenly no one had been there. Today, I am in fact...because no one else is left...everyone pins the blame on me. And that includes also someone like Best; and that angered me. Everyone previously tried to play the great plenipotentiary and to put matters into motion, from Ribbentrop down. And later, later no one wanted to know anything about it.

Q. But you will admit that as far as the failure in Denmark is concerned, nothing untoward happened to Best.

A. At the time all these gentlemen managed to make their excuses. According to their instructions, even Ribbentrop's instructions, the police had to set itself into motion, and then all the blame was attached to the police, which was instructed by these persons to set itself into motion. This can be seen quite clearly in a letter from Ribbentrop. Naturally, that has to be contradicted, and of course this is infuriating, since politically everyone is for stirring things up, and then the police gets the blame.

Q. In T/546 you read that you gave instructions to prevent visits by priests to the vicinity of Jewish labour camps. Can you explain that?

A. Of course I cannot remember the actual letter. The facts are quite clear. The matter was reported for decision, and I was instructed to issue this order, and this was reported to Department IV by some intelligence sector.

Q. Yes, but why? What was the reason for this?

A. The general position of the competent authorities at the time of the Reich was, as it was then phrased, to eliminate the church with its atrocities short, to strive against the church which was spreading atrocity propaganda, as it was then called.

Q. I understand you have already told the Court that Mueller made decisions about all matters, and so I shall not ask you about each individual instance. But there are a few cases where I should like to have some explanation.

Take, for example, T/837. You refuse permission to the youths Heinz and Alexander Bondi to leave for Sweden. You say that the reasons are reasons of security. The boys are aged 17 and 13, as it says in the letter itself. Can you, therefore, explain what sort of security reasons led you to refuse permission to the two Bondi boys to leave for Sweden?

A. These are not security reasons, but Security Police reasons. Security Police reasons were Himmler's ban. Once Mueller had given me a decision on such a case, when it came to a second case I was not even allowed to go to him for instructions. As I have already said, he ruled on one case, and all other cases had to be determined in accordance with that.

Q. We have seen various cases and letters from you where such requests were refused for reasons of principle. That could, in fact, be a decision by Mueller as regards a matter of principle. But here you do not refer to any such principles or instructions: only to Security Police reasons. So what did that mean?

A. This is in 1943. This is written by an official-in- charge. Whether he here gives reasons of principle or Security Police reasons, in official German there is no relevant distinction. What matters is the principle. On my own initiative, I could not authorize any exception whatsoever: I was not allowed to do so. I had no powers to do so. Not even when, as can be seen here, there was what was known as some "positive Reich interest"; even then I could not decide myself - it was decided by higher authorities.

Q. And that was known to all the people who worked with you? That you yourself could not take a decision in such matters?

A. That was even known outside the Section, that I did not myself take decisions. That is so.

Q. I have a letter here...

Judge Halevi: Still on the same letter, the next paragraph of the same letter. There you do, however, authorize the departure of three persons. So how can these two cases be reconciled with the others, and with what you have just said?

Accused: I cannot, of course, remember the individual instance, Your Honour; I see here that in the other case...I see that they do not yet have Swedish identity papers, passports, and I could gather from that that these three Kalter siblings also had some connection with Swedish nationality, and that these matters were then dealt with accordingly by the Foreign Ministry.

Presiding Judge: But it says here "Re: Emigration of Jews with Swedish Nationality"; it would, therefore, appear that the former acquired Swedish nationality at some later date?

Accused: Possibly. Your Honour, today I no longer remember the individual case - the document shows that there are various nationalities involved here. Unfortunately, I can no longer give a detailed reply, as I have forgotten the facts, and I also do not know the material. I know only the basic fact - such matters could never be decided by me. That is the only thing I know.

Judge Halevi: Yes, but the answer was not always negative: In the same letter you give a negative answer about the Bondi children, and a positive answer in the other case, do you not?

Accused: Yes, that is so: I had the authority to instruct the official-in-charge accordingly, and he then drafted this instruction in the shape of a letter. That is how things were done.

Judge Halevi: All right.

Accused: These are, in fact, two separate cases in one letter which should normally never have been allowed, as occurs to me just now. There should have been a separate letter for the Bondi case, and another for the Kalter case, for the sake of good order, as occurs to me just now.

Attorney General: And because Roethke, for example, knew very well that this did not fall within your competence, he therefore approaches you to exempt from deportation Mr. Weiss - I am sure you remember - the inventor who had come up with a patent which was useful to the German armed forces? And your reply was: Since in any case the patent had already been lodged there was no further need, and he should be deported - and all that because you are not competent here, is that so?

Accused: I do not need to read this at all, Mr. Attorney General. That was my principle. That is why twice a week - at least twice - I took along a full folder to consultations...I took the files along to consultations. I do not need at all to read this, Mr. Attorney.

Q. Can you tell me what business of yours, for example, it is whether the Jew Loewenthal receives Italian nationality or not? T/760. What business of yours is that?

A. The letter does not show from whom the information came, and the query is perfectly within the bounds of bureaucratic practice. Today, I no longer remember what decree or what order there was to investigate these matters. In any case it must have been dealt with very precisely, as Hunsche signed it, and it dates from 1943.

Q. But what connection is there between this and you?

A. It concerns the Order Confiscating Property, according to the Regulation 11. If the Jew in question, Loewenthal, still had German citizenship, Regulation 11 would also have been applicable, and since there was doubtless a complaint, the matter would have had to be checked.

Q. In order to be able to rob him of his property, is that not true?

A. I have already said that: That was the point of Regulation 11, but the Section could not help that.

Q. Correct, all right. But you were most interested in that. You were the ones who checked the matter. But can you tell me what concern it was of your Section that the Jews in Lichtenstein occupied positions, and the possibility of their doing business? Look at the passage marked. What does that have to do with the police in Berlin?

A. Yes, this is a similar case to that we have just had. There is, in part, a reference here to Regulation 11, and the matter was checked in accordance with a report received, as it says at the beginning. Today, I can no longer say what instructions there were about this. But in any case there were instructions, because, otherwise Suhr would not have dispatched that.

Q. Yes, but what does that have to do with you?

A. It was in fact up to the two lawyers - Hunsche and Suhr - as I have said, to handle matters related to legal aspects of property affairs. Regulation 11 originated in the Ministry of the Interior, and thus the police was the body which had to investigate these matters according to the Regulation and check on things. That is always the case. These are assignments for the police.

Q. Can you tell me what business of yours it is to determine who is the commander of a concentration camp in Lower Styria? And why do you suggest someone for Graz, or say that someone's services in Posen cannot be spared? What does all that have to do with you?

A. In this matter, it was not a concentration camp: this is a camp in Lower Styria which was set up jointly by the responsible Section Head of Department III and the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service...that is for the resettlement of the Slovenes from, of Slovenes to Serbia.

Q. But what business of yours is it to determine who is to be the commander of this camp and what powers...

A. That is what I wanted to say - after twenty years I am not absolutely sure about this, but since it says here "the camp to be set up...for the camp to be set up at Rahn it is necessary to second a suitable official from the Graz State Police Office as Camp Commandant," it is clear - at least it is clear to me - that at that time Mueller did not want minor, inexperienced personnel to be given such a position, but wanted to have an experienced official for this, and I passed that on also in accordance with orders. Because in Berlin, after all, I had no idea about these things. I must have been informed of it somehow. It must have been put into my hands.

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