The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 105
(Part 2 of 4)

Attorney General: I believe that Counsel for the Defence can only examine the Accused on those passages with which we dealt in cross-examination. If he wants to submit the whole lot, we have no objection - but it must be the whole of it.

Presiding Judge: But if he reads out a passage just as you read out passages, Mr. Attorney General, what then?

Attorney General: That is definitely leading the witness. I am allowed to do so, but I do not think that this is permissible in this form in re-examination.

Judge Halevi: Why can he not submit other parts of it? The difference is first of all that Dr. Servatius is telling him: You yourself said so on such and such a page. As regards those parts which the Attorney General wished to submit, there was discussion as to whether he said that or not. So now Counsel for the Defence is himself saying about that part of it that the Accused did say that, so why should that not be admissible? But, on the other hand, just to read it out and not submit it, that I cannot see.

Attorney General: If Counsel for the Defence simply wishes to submit one passage, there is no point wasting the Court's time over this. If this were to become a practice, I shall have to consider my position.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, is this going to become a practice, or will it be limited to one passage?

Dr. Servatius: In all there are three short - very short - passages, which I do, however, consider vital to characterize the nature of all the tape recordings.

Presiding Judge: Very well. In any case, therefore, you can show this to the Accused.

Dr. Servatius: I shall read the passages out to you, and you will indicate whether you did in fact say this at the time. It reads as follows:

"Never in my life did I have any written special authority from the Reichsfuehrer, never did I..."
Presiding Judge: No, no - we do not have this here - volume 2?

Dr. Servatius: In that case there has been a mistake, it has to be this passage; things have got mixed up with the next document.

Presiding Judge: Very well, return that to Counsel for the Defence and bring me the new volumes. Now give this to the Accused and also to the interpreter.

Dr. Servatius: At the bottom of page 67:

"Never in my life did I have any written special authority from the Chief of the Security Police, I had nothing at all special or extravagant. I" - something is missing - "my rank, my official rank, though - and I am saying this all along - I always worked one hundred per cent, and above all I turned things over in my mind, and I was definitely not lukewarm in giving my orders."
On the next page the first line is illegible:
"Today, there can be no more slinking away... There is no point in it, I confess that I did my duty exactly and correctly, so that once Mueller said to me: `If we had had fifty Eichmanns, we would automatically have been bound to win the War.' But this is not to be taken as referring to, nor did it refer to, the enemy's flesh-and-blood losses - no, it referred to a tough ability to prevail and an unswerving punctiliousness in carrying out orders received."
Is it true that at that time you said something along these lines?

Accused: Here, too, I must say again I cannot comment on the actual wording, but the content is correct.

Presiding Judge: All right, we shall now mark this N/100.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, what was the rank of the heads of the Departments with whom you had dealings in Hungary?

Accused: On the German side?

Q. Yes.

A. There was the Senior Commander of the Security Police, he was an SS Oberfuehrer. This is a rank between Colonel and Major-General; then there was - he was subordinate to the Higher SS and Police Leader, who was an SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of Police. I also had dealings, although not many, with Veesenmayer. I believe Veesenmayer was an SS Gruppenfuehrer and Reich Ambassador and Plenipotentiary.

Q. Why did you have such a low rank? Why did you have the rank of Obersturmbannfuehrer?

A. Because as Section Head I could not have a higher rank.

Q. Did these high-ranking officers assume that you would issue instructions to them on your own authority?

A. I could not do that, because I was in fact subordinate to them. A subordinate cannot issue instructions to his superiors.

Q. I asked whether these superiors assumed that you could, on the basis of authority of your own - "I order" - "I issue instructions" - or what was the attitude of these gentlemen?

A. They could not have any such attitude, because, for example, when I had to make a short official journey, I had to have their approval, just for a short official journey. And in matters of substance, my superiors laid down policy and gave me orders.

Q. The Attorney General also suggested to you that your expert officials were very independent and dealt directly with foreign government agencies. Did you instruct such Specialist Officers to negotiate directly?

A. An expert official is not the same thing as a Section Head. But does this refer to the so-called Advisers on Jewish Affairs?

Q. Yes.

A. I did not instruct them to carry out this or that. The instructions came from higher up, and generally Advisers on Jewish Affairs, if they were in Berlin, they had to report first to the Foreign Ministry, then to the Attaches Group, and from the Attaches Group they automatically went either to the Chief of the Security Police or to Department Chief IVB4, Mueller, if only for the simple reason that they were the superiors who could take decisions on their own initiative, and I, the Section Head, was the last one they would call on.

Q. Were directions cancelled which were issued on your initiative - were orders cancelled which had been issued on your initiative?

A. I do not remember any such thing, because, in fact, I never issued orders for which I had not received authorization from my Chief. I do not remember that anything which I had to transmit on the orders of my superior officer had to be cancelled.

Q. Regarding the scope of your powers, the Attorney General referred to a whole series of statements from witnesses, according to which your powers were said to have been considerably enlarged. He stated that these witnesses had no grounds for incriminating you. Would you comment on this - for example, on Hoess' statement.

A. I never had any authority which exceeded or went beyond the powers of a normal Section Head. On the contrary, I never made use of the executive rights which I could have had on the grounds of the orders given to me by my superiors, but always asked for instructions on every petty matter.

How Hoess could make such assertions in 1945 is really beyond me...I have no explanation at all for it, and I only got an impression from what I read of him...that he was trying with all his might, for some reason about which I am entirely in the dark, to distance the Economic- Administrative Head Office from everything, if possible, and to burden Department IV with it instead. Whether it was the Head Office for Reich Security or Department IV, I cannot say right now. I have also wondered why he mentioned me in particular, and involved me, and not, say, Mueller or Kaltenbrunner, for example. And I have come to the conclusion here - and there is no other possible explanation - that Hoess was able to talk and write about this because he was not capable of referring to any detailed personal characteristics, or what have you, of either Mueller or Kaltenbrunner.

Q. Then in the cross-examination there was reference to a special case where you threatened the Paris office, Roethke, that if the transport trains would not run, France would be dropped. You said that it was not a threat.

My question is this: What would have happened if you had reported to the higher authorities: "Since no transport trains are being made available, deportations from France cannot be continued"?

A. If I had given such a report to the higher authorities, my superiors would have immediately moved heaven and earth - on the part of the Foreign Ministry, the Department Chief, the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Paris, the Higher SS and Police Leader - in order to find out what had happened, and get things sorted out again at top-ranking level. We have a very clear example of such a case in the matter of the territories occupied by the Italians.

Q. And what would have happened to Roethke if it had been found that this shortage had come about as a result of his slackness?

A. In my opinion, Roethke as an individual could not, on his own, have been guilty of slackness, since after all in France, too, this whole matter went through so many offices and people who all had to deal with it in some manner. So Roethke was not the only person competent for that.

Q. Could you in actual fact have halted these transports, on your own initiative?

A. I could not have halted anything whatsoever. If I might add something further to support my statement here... even temporary interruptions of evacuation - whether because the requisite number of freight cars was not available at that time or because of army movements, and so on - Mueller kept for himself the right to sign, as the documents here show.

Q. The Attorney General then maintained that when orders were given about the so-called territorial principle, where Jewish property in the various foreign states was divided up according to a certain principle, you took part in the planning, and that the extent of your authority is evident from that.

Did you take part in such planning?

A. In no way did I participate in such planning, because this whole "territorial principle" business was a purely legal matter, and was dealt with by a lawyer. It is, however, correct that correspondence on the matter did go back and forth, and once some Department or other - I do not know which one took the initiative - expressed a desire for the territorial principle, as things proceeded, many pieces of paper went back and forth between the various authorities. But basically this was all a matter for the lawyers.

Q. In the cross-examination it was maintained that, in order to camouflage matters, you did not provide information to the Foreign Ministry and other bodies about the extermination processes.

Did these high-level Departments nevertheless know that such extermination was being carried out?

A. In reply to this question, I would refer to the Wannsee Conference, in which the then Under-Secretary of State Luther participated on behalf of the Foreign Ministry. In my opinion the State Secretaries did not mince their words at the Wannsee Conference, so that there was no doubt that these gentlemen knew what was going on. In fact, further proof of this can be seen in the minutes of the 1944 Krumhuebel Conference.

Q. Witness, you vehemently objected to the comment "Eichmann proposes shooting" - this is in the telegram of 12 September 1941 from Benzler to Veesenmayer. This comment was made by Rademacher. It appears that Rademacher himself gave a relatively understandable explanation of this incident, according to which it was made in a state of agitation, and that he did not mean it seriously. However, you gave a far more complicated explanation, which was less understandable.

Do you know whether Rademacher himself also went to Belgrade, in conjunction with this telegram?

A. Yes, that can be seen very clearly from the files. Rademacher also drew up a report about his visit which is available here.

Q. Do you know what assignment Rademacher had when he went to Belgrade?

A. No, I do not know.

Q. Perhaps I could read out to you from Case 11 of the Nuremberg Subsequent Trials what was said about this, about this visit?

Attorney General: If the witness is not familiar with this, there is no point in reading it out to him.

Presiding Judge: At least not at this stage.

Dr. Servatius: But in order to refresh his memory I can put to him what is in the judgment here, perhaps he will remember then.

Presiding Judge: Do you want to read out from the judgment or from Rademacher's statement?

Dr. Servatius: It is summarized here - I am not able to obtain here the complete record of this case. I have to base myself on this judgment, which in fact summarizes it. I could obtain this document, but it will be very complicated to do so.

Presiding Judge: Very well, Mr. Attorney General, what do you have to say?

Attorney General: I have no objection.

Presiding Judge: In that case, Dr. Servatius, we shall treat this as a Defence document, and you can then continue questioning the Accused about it.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I shall be submitting the entire document, but not now. I shall submit it later as a document, but there is one sentence about which I wish to question him.

Presiding Judge: Very well. But you will have to submit the judgment before the conclusion of the Defence witnesses stage, not during your summing-up.

Dr. Servatius: No - even after the examination of witnesses has been concluded, I can still submit a document.

Presiding Judge: Yes, you can do that, but before the conclusion of the case for the Defence, and not after the Attorney General has summed up. I trust there will not be any misunderstanding about this.

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