The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 104
(Part 3 of 5)


Q. I am not saying that you gave the orders for the foot march. I am saying that the order came from the Security Police, but that you were the person who thought it up; the suggestion came from you. Is that correct?

A. No, that is hardly possible, because when the foot march took place, I was in Berlin.

Q. "No" will do. Look at page 62 of your statement to Sassen, a passage where there are all sorts of corrections in your handwriting. Just look at this. Is it true that there are many corrections there in your handwriting?

A. Yes, there are corrections in my handwriting.

Q. So would you now please read this out.

Accused:

"When during my deportation - i.e., the transports carrried out by me - of the Jews from Hungary transferred to me by the Hungarian executive, it should read, the Allied air force bombed the Gyoer Railway Station to pieces, one of the railway junctions in addition to the many, many other stations on the Budapest-Vienna line which they bombed to smithereens, so that for weeks it was impossible to run any transports whatsoever over this route, at that point, in order, so to speak, to show my iron fist to the Allies and also to tell them at the same time, it is not going to change anything even if you destroy the lines of communication to the Reich and bomb them to pieces, we will still march, I have ten thousand Jews from some eastern provinces or other..."
Now there is a correction, which I cannot read...

Attorney General: A correction in your handwriting, correct? "And perhaps also Budapest, on the urging of Secretary of State Endre."

A. "On the urging of Secretary of State Endre."

Q. "In accordance with my proposal" - in your handwriting?

A. I do not know. In any case, it says here

"...in accordance with my proposal, and since I was no longer able to run a transport by rail from there, I had them march from Budapest to the Lower Austrian border in a foot march. I had the order from the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service to this effect. It is true that I could never have issued such an order myself. I did propose this."
Q. You did propose this, correct?

A. I admit that much, yes.

Q. Yes, you admit that much. Carry on.

Presiding Judge: I wish there to be an indication in the record at this point that this "yes" can also refer to the accuracy of the text he is reading. In parentheses.

Accused:

"I must admit as much, because otherwise all of the stations would have been smashed to pieces, and I was responsible to the Reichsfuehrer for ensuring that, as far as it was not a question of Jewish con...that as far as Jewish contingents were concerned, Hungary should not become an area for red partisans, because clearly the Reichsfuehrer had learned a lesson from the dreadful events in Warsaw, and had recognized the formidable nature of the foe who was resolved to stop at nothing."
Attorney General: Did you say something like that? Did you say that?

Accused: No, things got mixed up here, as follows: I wound up my Operations Units, I withdrew to Berlin, and then from Berlin I received orders from the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, on the insistence of Higher SS and Police Leader Winkelmann, to return to Budapest again. There I visited the Hungarian Government, and there I proposed the foot march.

Presiding Judge: Proposed?

Accused: Yes, that is to say, held negotiations on the foot march, and in fact my assignment was to establish food depots along the Budapest-Austrian border route and... marching rations.

Attorney General: All right, that will suffice.

Presiding Judge: The question we are dealing with is whether you proposed the foot march?

Judge Halevi: Could I possibly see the handwritten text?

Attorney General: I would suggest to the Court that this be done after I have finished with all the passages, in order for the Court to be able to form an impression from the corrections which he has made to the various parts. It will be important to judge in accordance with the corrections made and according to the conspicuous effort which appears from the manuscript itself that the handwritten corrections were not haphazard, and that these passages, which the Accused admits as having come from him, underwent treatment and correction on his part.

Presiding Judge: We shall come to that later. For the moment we have a more limited question - to decipher what is written. So let us limit ourselves to that.

Attorney General: Perhaps in the mat copy, which is not shiny, it will be easier for the Accused to make out his own handwriting. It says there: "In accordance with my proposal," does it not?

Accused: I can make out the rest: "And perhaps also on the insistence of Secretary of State Endre in accordance with my proposal," it says.

Presiding Judge: Those are the words which you could not make out before, are they not?

Accused: It is only the first three words I was unable to make out, I did make out the rest.

Attorney General: And after you carried out the foot march...

Presiding Judge: Just a moment, he has not yet replied to the last question.

Now I understand from what you have said that you are the person who made the proposal for the foot march.

Accused: That is not correct, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: What is correct?

Accused: I had to make proposals with regard to implementation, i.e., setting up food depots, rest areas, I mean the technical aspects, advising on the technical aspects of the foot march. Those were my orders, and I was sent with these orders from Berlin to Budapest, after the Higher SS and Police Leader had proposed the foot march to the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service. This is also confirmed by the documents.

Attorney General: So I gather that the matter of the technical implementation of the foot march, that at least was in your hands. You admit this, don't you?

Accused: This was supposed to be in my hands, but this did not come about, because the German agencies were not allowed to set up these depots. German agencies were not allowed to accompany these transports, German agencies were not allowed to choose who was to go on the march, but the Hungarian authorities...

Q. That will do, please just say "yes" or "no." Was the technical implementation in your hands or not?

A. No, that did not come about.

Presiding Judge: So far I have permitted far too much unrest; from now on there will be silence!

Attorney General: So would you tell us why you said to Krumey, when he told you about the foot march: "You have not seen anything and you do not know anything"?

Accused: Because the whole foot march had nothing to do with us, it had been taken out of our hands and was run by the Hungarians themselves from A to Z - that is to say, up to the Austrian border, without any German agency.

Q. And from the Austrian border? And after that?

A. From the Austrian, at the Austrian border, it was taken over by the Special Operations Units, by the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Hungary, Special Operations Units, Vienna Field Office.

Q. Your unit, correct?

A. That was neither my unit at that time, nor the unit of a...

Q. A unit of which you were the commander? Right? A unit which was under your control?

A. No, not any longer. I had in fact wound up the commando in Budapest, this was a residual unit, the balance which was subordinate to the...the Inspector of the Security Police and the Security Service in Vienna.

Q. All right. And I am telling you that not only did you carry out the foot march, that you also received congratulations about this from Endre, from Veesenmayer and from Winkelmann, and that you even had a drink of brandy of mares' milk to celebrate it. Right?

A. If I had had anything to do with this, the four-delegate commission would have...

Q. I am asking you whether this is true or not.

A. No, this matter has been connected with all the Hungarian business, and in terms of origin and facts has nothing to do with that.

Q. Would you then please open the booklet at page 98 - there are corrections in your handwriting there, are there not?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you then please read out the section I have marked.

A. Nothing is marked here.

Q. Very well. Please read what I am giving you now; it is marked on there. Start with the words, "On 23 November..." Before that there is a question to you. Please read this.

Accused:

"On 23 November, in other words, several days later, you are said to have expressed your rage, your fury about certain gentlemen who were unable to judge whether people who had been seven or eight days on the road should be considered to be able-bodied or not, because in fact various contingents which had somehow been able to get through to Budapest...do you remember something along these lines, because that could indicate that at that time you had somehow heard of some supervisory mandate for Juettner and Hoess?"
Attorney General: And then comes the reply.

Accused:

"What I can tell you about this is that I know very precisely that at that time there was crossfire from left, right and centre. I know this, but I forget today from whom ...neither does it...me, I don't know, it is nonsense...it is also possible...I do not remember, there was crossfire from many offices, from so many offices, that I just do not remember. You might just as well include Juettner, too. It really does not matter any more, there were so many offices. For weeks I had to deal with that, I had to deal with it for weeks on end. There was just one thing: The Reichsfuehrer never called me to task. He never made any reproaches to me, nor did the Chief of the Security Police - I have already told you - nor did my immediate superior, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller. The people with whom I had to deal in Hungary, i.e., Police Leader Winkelmann, did not either; he even congratulated me on this elegant execution. Reich Plenipotentiary Veesenmayer congratulated me on the elegant execution, and Dr. Enderle... "
Attorney General: Yes, it says Enderle, but it should be Endre.

Accused:

"...congratulated me on the elegant execution. with Endre, I must say, I celebrated it with a drink, and it was brandy made of horses' milk, mares' milk, that was the first time I had drunk it, and that is why I remember it - that is why I can still remember very clearly."
Attorney General: "...great pleasure on the part of the prominent representatives of the Hungarian Government...

Accused:

"...about this matter, which on this day - I do not remember whether it was the first time, in any case on this day I drank a brandy made of mares' milk and I still remember the business."
Q. Did you say that?

A. If I am now made to read out these things, I would ask to be given the opportunity to comment at length on them without saying just "yes" or "no," on the matters connected with the foot march, because otherwise it all gets confused, because otherwise the confusion will never be cleared up.

Q. No, no, no. I am interested in knowing whether or not you said to Sassen what you have just read out.

A. I do not know. I gather from this that it was something that came about in an expansive mood inspired by wine and an alcoholic atmosphere, and it is truth mixed up with fiction, and this is what I would now like to explain properly here. After being compelled to read this, I also have the right, I believe, to ask to be allowed to describe this matter as it happened. I cannot be made responsible for the whole foot march, as the documents also prove, but I will willingly admit what my part in this was, because I had to do this.

Presiding Judge: You will be given the appropriate opportunity later to explain and comment, just as in the past you have been given many opportunities to explain. But would you now please reply to the questions you are being asked.

Attorney General: [To the interpreter] I think there is a minor error in the translation here...

Presiding Judge: We can always fall back on the text in German which is being taped as it comes verbatim from the Accused.

Attorney General: Now please tell me - did Veesenmayer, Endre, Winkelmann congratulate you on executing the foot march "so elegantly" - "yes" or "no"?

Accused: As far as I remember, the first thousand...

Q. I am asking you a simple question - be so good as to reply! Did the gentlemen here named congratulate you on the "elegant execution"?

A. No, that is not true - that is a literary embellishment of this entire matter...

Q. All right, all right. Did you drink mares' milk brandy with Endre in celebration of this "elegant execution," or is that also a literary embellishment?

A. I did drink that with Endre, but a few months earlier, at a party he held, where Winkelmann was also present - on his estate in Hungary. That was two or three months earlier.

Q. And your superiors did not tell you that they were extremely satisfied with the execution of the foot march?

A. They could not have said this, because my superiors...

Q. "Yes" or "no"? Be brief!

A. No, they could not...


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