The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 105
(Part 3 of 4)

Dr. Servatius: No, there is no misunderstanding; the only matter that might still arise is the statement of van Taalingen, the Dutch witness, which may still arrive. In the meanwhile, I have received the book which contains a considerable amount of documentation; perhaps I shall also receive the affidavit.

Presiding Judge: All right, we shall talk about this later. I was only referring to this judgment for the moment, and I should like to take this opportunity to stress that it is not possible to submit new documents at the time of the summing-up. I assume that you are fully aware of this, but I wished to say that ex abundanti cantela.

Dr. Servatius: I do not believe that I shall submit any further evidence during the summing-up.

Presiding Judge: Very well, I simply wanted to make the point.

Attorney General: I gather, therefore, that the complete judgment in the Wilhelmstrasse Case will be submitted as evidence.

Presiding Judge: That is how I understand it.

Attorney General: Thank you very much.

Presiding Judge: Very well. Dr. Servatius, will you please read out that part which you wished to read from the judgment.

Dr. Servatius: It says here, "Lastly" - the reference is to a telegram of 10 September, the telegram with the entry "Eichmann proposes shooting" is dated the 12th - it says here: "Lastly, Rademacher was sent to Belgrade to ascertain whether these Jews cannot be disposed of on the spot." The assignment can be seen here.

Witness, you have stated that you had nothing to do with deportations of Jews from the Generalgouvernement. You were then confronted with a statement by witness Rajewski, which shows that persons from Poland were delivered from Warsaw with an assignment from IVB4. You - this would in fact indicate that you carried out this delivery from the Generalgouvernement to Auschwitz. The question is: If it is shown that these persons were subsequently further transported from Auschwitz to the Reich, is it conceivable that you gave instructions for such further transport, or for the previous delivery?

Accused: No, that is entirely inconceivable, because transports from Auschwitz to some other destination were never, and could never, be processed by Section IVB4; such matters had to be dealt with by the Economic-Administrative Head Office.

Q.Then let me just get your reaction to what the witness Rajewski said in the proceedings against Hoess. On page 19 there is a description of the individual transports which arrived with the assignment from IVB4, from Germany, from Greece, and so on, and there it says at the bottom: "Jews from the Generalgouvernement and Bialystok, and finally Poland." And at the end of the statement it then says: "Were these Polish transports, which were marked Head Office for Reich Security, sent to the gas chambers?"

"`Witness, as far as the district of Zamosc was concerned - yes. And the transports from Warsaw?; from Warsaw - no.' The transports from Warsaw were sent to the Reich. So that perhaps here there is an explanation. The witness does not know.

Presiding Judge: Very well, let the Accused say what he has to say about this.

Accused: Section IVB4 of Department IV cannot have had anything to do with this.

Dr. Servatius: Now I come to the gas business, these discussions you had with Guenther. You said you had remonstrated with him that he was concerning himself with an order which had nothing to do with your Section. And then, finally, you said that since you could not give a satisfactory description, you would rather take responsibility for this matter.

Do you wish by this to admit, contrary to your convictions, that you were involved with these gas matters?

Accused: No, by this I wanted to prove precisely the opposite. That I would say...well, then in that case I must in fact take it upon myself that I said this and knew this, rather than giving the impression here of being a liar or someone who wants to evade something.

Q. So you still wish to contest this?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. Then the statement by SS Judge Dr. Morgen was read out here. He says - in cross-examination it was put to him that he had asked for a warrant to be issued for your arrest, in order to remove you as one of the principal participants in the exterminations.

Do you know anything about such an arrest warrant?

A. I do know something about an arrest warrant, but this is something completely different, which has nothing to do with this, but I can talk about it, if it is of any interest.

Q. At one point in his solemn declaration, this Dr. Morgen said that he had only been able to act indirectly against these principal persons, on criminal charges, because of bribery, theft, embezzlement, and similar matters. Is the arrest warrant connected with any such indirect proceeding?

A. Do you mean, Dr. Servatius, the charge or the arrest warrant against me?

Q. Yes.

A. Yes, because of ignorance of the facts a warrant for my arrest was applied for on such grounds.

Q. Would you describe what these grounds were, what the procedure was?

A. Certainly. The whole thing occurred not in 1944, but in 1943. In 1943 two men of the Criminal Police came to see me at my Section. They asked about a pouch with diamonds or other precious stones, and I told them, yes, I did know something about this, but I said I do not know how and what, I cannot remember. And then the policemen left. Months later I was informed that I had to report to the SS and Police Court in Berlin. I went there late one afternoon and reported, because I assumed that they wanted some information or something, but instead I was examined by a judge called Baumann or Baumgarten. This was about what had happened to the pouch with the precious stones. And after I made a statement there to the effect that I did know something, but I could not remember any of this business, I was questioned, and a record was made by a sergeant of the Order Police who was present.

Q. And the result was that this charge turned out to be baseless?

A. The result was that when I came back, I put my head of registry to work, and he and his staff spent the whole night going through the files, and then they found a communication between Mueller and Gluecks where...I forget today...Mueller informed Gluecks that there was a pouch with precious stones in the safe of the Berlin Secret Police Headquarters. And this letter, which dates back to my predecessor's time - Lischka - must somehow have got to me when I took over the Section; so I remembered such a matter of precious stones and a pouch with diamonds, I had said I did, and that was it.

I took this letter to my superior - Gruppenfuehrer Mueller - informed him of the proceedings on the previous day, and then later I heard that Judge Baumann had made an application for my arrest to my judicial superior, Kaltenbrunner, and had been turned down there. I myself was dealt with very harshly by the police court authorities. For my staff, as long as...for my staff in the Section, as long as this letter had not been found, there remained a bad taste, because it was after all a criminal matter, and therefore I asked for this Judge Baumann or Baumgarten to apologize to me in the presence of the members of my Section. And the man came and apologized to me for the treatment I had received.

Q. Witness, in cross-examination, when you were accused of having caused only evil, you pointed out that you had also engaged in beneficial activity - apart from the task of deportation. Were you here referring to emigration activities in Vienna, settlement in Nisko, the Madagascar Plan...

A. I do not want to give myself credit for anything - but if I am asked such a question, I must say that I regret that this activity at that time was only very brief, and I also regret that I did not do more for the matter than I actually did.

Q. Witness,if one looks at this matter retrospectively, in terms of the extermination, then those were lighter matters which appear to be more favourable; but looking at it at the time when orders were given for these measures, one may see things differently.

What, in your view, is the favourable side of these various matters, for example in Vienna, relative to what you did there? In your view, what was the advantageous aspect of this for the Jews?

A. I can only say here that in fact it was also in line with the wishes of the Jewish political functionaries, this forcing of emigration. If one bears in mind that, after the so-called reunification of Austria with the German Reich, extremely hard-line and severe anti-Jewish legislation came into force, and considering what the State Police methods were at that time, when the reintegration was completed in the first days, then one must in fact acknowledge that for the individual Jew it was definitely better - he emigrated, particularly since at that time the Jew who wanted to emigrate could take his household effects - furniture - with him; naturally, as far as property was concerned, laws and ordinances had been issued. But then he could have peace and quiet abroad. Otherwise the rush and the efforts to emigrate would not have been so great. And in fact my efforts were designed precisely - inter alia - to follow bureaucratic procedure and to agree on bureaucratic procedure, which up until then had been so complicated...

Q. And what is your view of the resettlement operation - what did you see as the advantage of the Nisko resettlement project, the advantage for the Jews?

A. Just like emigration, it was the least of all the evils - the advantage, if this Nisko project had come off, then the advantage would have been that albeit not a large territory, but still a territory, would have been available where Jewish self-administration could have been put into practice. Briefly, that is what I wish to say about this.

Q. Then there is still a question to be cleared up about the Brand operation. You have said that you did not promise that the deportations would be stopped until the negotiations were completed. Rather, you said the deportations would continue and they would be stopped as soon as the contract was agreed to. You commented in the Sassen Memoirs on this matter. The second volume, at the bottom of page 86. I shall read the passage out to you, and I would ask you then to indicate whether this was what you said at the time.

"Question: Do you think that at any time during the negotiations with Jews, with Jewish leaders, somehow in the excitement or in order to add pressure to the argument, that the word 'to gas' was used here, by you or by your subordinates?

"Answer: Yes - I am only saying what I know. For the first time between Kasztner and myself. Kasztner was the one who said to me, `I ask you to stop the extermination machinery in Auschwitz.' Whereupon I said to Kasztner - my secretary was present: `Kasztner, I would just like to say something to you. You know it just as well as I do. Neither I nor the Chief of the Security Police has the authority for the extermination machinery in Auschwitz. You know just as well as I do that it is a matter of the SS and the Economic- Administrative Head Office'."

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, in the transcript here there is no text between "SS and the VWAH" (Verwaltungs- und Wirtschaftshauptamt - Economic-Administrative Head Office). Everything is crossed out.

Dr. Servatius: This is a typing mistake. In the original here it reads "the SS and the VWHA."

Presiding Judge: All right.

Dr. Servatius: (Continues reading):

"The extermination machinery can be stopped only by the Reichsfuehrer. If the ten thousand trucks with trailers arrive, then the extermination machinery in Auschwitz will be stopped."
Is this the explanation which you gave at that time?

Accused: I must also say about this that I cannot give any guarantee for the literal wording. The last sentence, "If the ten thousand trucks with trailers arrive, then the extermination machinery in Auschwitz will be stopped," is factually incorrect. It would be correct if it read, "if Brand or the agreement are there." Besides, I did in fact also somehow refer to this matter in my Statement here, as well as during my interrogation, I believe.

Presiding Judge: I mark this passage N/101.

Dr. Servatius: The Attorney General then explained that Chaim Weizmann's so-called declaration of war on Nazi Germany was a propaganda lie.

Did you know that, or did you believe in the truth of this report?

Accused: I did not believe that it was a propaganda lie. Although I must admit - and have in fact done so - compared with the initial weeks, when this, together with the reading material, kept landing all the time on desks in all the offices, later in the War I did not hear of this matter, I must admit.

Q. Witness, in cross-examination you then also relied on Theodor Herzl. Did Dr. Loewenherz have any misgivings about approaching you about the transfer of Herzl's remains? And what was the reason for his approaching you?

A. Dr. Loewenherz never had any fears about coming to me with all sorts of things which occupied his mind. So he came to me with many, many things which were in no way within my competence. But still I talked about them with the appropriate office heads, or I passed them on through my Chief, if I could not do it directly. That is the only explanation I can give why Dr. Loewenherz came to me one day to see me about this matter.

Q. Was there not a special reason for his approaching you at that particular time?

A. I do not know, nor do I know whether at that time Dr. Loewenherz somehow had some special impulse or other - perhaps financial supporters abroad called his attention to this. I cannot say, I do not know.

Q. In the so-called Sassen Memoirs many passages have been read out here which show a marked anti-Jewish attitude. Are there also contrary passages in the memoirs, where you adopt a different attitude?

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