The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 107
(Part 1 of 6)


Session No. 107

11 Av 5721 (24 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I open the one hundred and seventh Session of the trial.

The Accused will now continue with his testimony. You will answer some questions from me in a moment, but first of all, Dr. Servatius, at the end of the previous Session you wished to submit another document. Would you please explain.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, perhaps I can do this after the recess. At the moment - I see - I do not have this document here with the other documents.

Presiding Judge: Very well.

Accused - first of all I would draw your attention to the fact that you are still testifying under oath.

Accused: Yes, I am aware of that.

Presiding Judge: With regard to Nisko, you said in your examination, in your testimony, that you went to Nisko... You may take your headphones off, I shall translate this for you myself. You said in your testimony that you went to Nisko.

Accused: Yes.

Q. You said that you were there together with Stahlecker.

A. Yes.

Q. Were you also there once without Stahlecker?

A. In Nisko - yes - I was definitely there once - if not twice - without Stahlecker.

Q. At that time, were deported Jews already there?

A. It just occurs to me, Your Honour, it is possible that I am mistaken. There were of course Jews there, yes. Yes, I was there once without Stahlecker and once with Stahlecker. When I was there with Stahlecker, there were no Jews there yet - and when I was there on my own, a transport was already there.

Q. When you were there without Stahlecker - who else was there with you?

A. I was on my own.

Q. Now, we have heard here from witnesses who have testified here - Dr. Kratky, Burger, and I think someone else - that at that time an SS officer made a speech to the deported Jews - can you remember this testimony?

A. I cannot remember the testimony, no.

Q. In any case, my question is: Did you at that time make a speech to the Jews?

A. I do not believe that I was the person, because I spoke to Dr. Murmelstein and the Jewish officials who were present. But I did not address all the Jews. That was not I.

Q. Then I regret that the witnesses were not examined by the Defence about this. In any case, we have heard here from the witnesses that the speaker warned the Jews that the water was not drinkable. Does that remind you of something?

A. That does not remind me of anything special, Your Honour, but the fact that the water was considered to be polluted by typhoid, that was true not only of Nisko, but applied everywhere. Even if one was oneself on an official journey, one was warned, warned officially, not to drink any unboiled water. That was a general warning.

Q. In any case, that also does not remind you that perhaps you made a speech to the Jews?

A. It does not remind me of any speech to the Jews, Your Honour, but this fact...I do not remember it myself, but I do know that I definitely spoke to Dr. Murmelstein and...

Q. Forget about Murmelstein. You heard here the evidence of Dean Dr. Grueber, which was referred to earlier in your examination.

A. Yes.

Q. Who sent Dean Grueber to the concentration camp, into protective custody?

A. Yes, I must say, I am for the moment completely at a loss; it was my belief that I must have informed him of his arrest in accordance with instructions, and I myself was very surprised when Dean Grueber described the matter of his arrest quite differently from the way I had imagined it. Clearly I somehow fell victim to a delusion. I cannot myself explain it.

Q. But you did deal with this matter, the arrest of Dean Grueber.

A. I cannot have dealt with it, because, as I heard from the witness himself, he was arrested by the Berlin State Police Regional Headquarters, so this matter never even reached the Head Office for Reich Security, at least it did not come to me. But I would definitely have heard about it, and in the course of the years I mixed it up, and imagined I myself was involved.

Q. That means that you are retracting what you said about this in your Statement in Bureau 06?

A. I must in fact do this, having heard an entirely different version here from the witness.

Q. I do not see why this is an entirely different version from your Statement, because it could be that you dealt with this, that you then passed it on to the Gestapo office or the Berlin State Police Regional Headquarters for implementation.

A. It is possible, Your Honour; in any case, I cannot remember, I remembered what I indicated in my Statement, and as I have said, as a result of the witness' testimony, I am now completely at a loss and can no longer say anything about this. I did try after the testimony also to find something to shed light which might have helped me to - how shall I put it - to recall memories, but this was impossible, after the testimony I was even more confused than before.

Q. But you can remember, can you, that Dean or Dr. Grueber came to see you frequently at that time on Jewish matters?

A. Yes, I do remember that.

Q. Now, we heard from the Dean that you always informed him of your decision in the first person. Either "I refuse this" or "I must consider this further." Is it true that you spoke to him in this form?

A. It is quite possible that in discussion one started to use German officialese (Amtsdeutsch), particularly if one had to state something about which I had to notify him. Because it was not the normal practice to say to outsiders something along these lines: Department Chief IV has ordered this and that. Instead, I spoke here by virtue of my authority as the authorized representative of the Department Chief, or of the Chief of the Security Police. Usually the first person in verbal discussions is not quite customary, because generally speaking, one says that this is being stated in accordance with instructions, or in accordance with a decision - without giving a name. But, of course, it is possible, in the course of contacts, that this also - that the first person is used, particularly if one is reading something out.

Q. The answers you gave Dean Grueber were mainly negative? That is what he testified.

A. I would not wish to deny this, because today I no longer remember how things were; in any case, the gentlemen came in - it was either Dean Grueber or the permanent representative of the Fulda Bishops' Conference. They came with their little pieces of paper, where they had made their notes, and I noted them. And then a new date was agreed on for the next meeting. Then I gave him the answer which I had to tell him.

Q. Was it not more pleasant for you to say to Dean Grueber: "This is not my decision, this is a decision from above, of which I am just notifying you"?

A. Oh, I must have said that, too, often enough. I do not remember Dean Grueber particularly - the discussions - but I do remember in particular the many discussions with a bishop from Berlin...

Q. No, no, forget about the bishop from Berlin. We heard here from the witness, Dr. Grueber, that you always spoke in the first person, never in any other fashion. What is the reason for that?

A. "Always" cannot be right, Your Honour, because when the clerics came, I in any case somehow indicated to them in talking to them that I was personally sorry, because my father was an elder of the Evangelical Congregation in Linz, and I would have liked to give them more favourable news, but I had been instructed to inform them accordingly.

Q. We heard nothing of this from Dean Grueber.

A. I was also surprised about this when I heard his testimony, although it was well-known to the clerics.

Q. I wanted to clarify something with you about the affair of the Lidice children. Perhaps you can assist us here. Would you please read out what the handwritten note at the bottom says. This is exhibit T/1099.

A. "Telephone call from Sturmbannfuehrer Bratfisch. Will be fetched within the next few days."

Q. Who is this Bratfisch?

A. Bratfisch was the head of the Litzmannstadt State Police Regional Headquarters.

Q. The reason why I asked was because I found this name, or his name, on the list of commanders of the Operations Commandos.

A. Commanders of the Operations Commandos?

Q. Yes.

A. Possibly, but I do not know; at that time he was State Police Head in Litzmannstadt. He was head of the State Police in Litzmannstadt for quite some considerable time.

Q. The previous document was T/1099, now look at exhibit T/337.

A. This cannot be right, at this time he was definitely no longer Leader of Operations Commando 8; by then he was already State Police Head in Litzmannstadt. I believe he was State Police Head in Litzmannstadt for two or three years.

Q. Two or three years?

A. Yes.

Q. This document appears to be dated 14 January 1942.

A. 14 January 1942.

Q. And the Lidice affair was July 1942.

A. It would be simpler, Your Honour...one would just have to check whether in July 1942 Bratfisch was head of the Litzmannstadt State Police Headquarters. I think he definitely was, because otherwise I could not imagine that the name Bratfisch would appear here on a document between the Litzmannstadt Migrants' Central Office and the Litzmannstadt State Police Regional Headquarters - that would be something totally exceptional, I would consider it extremely strange; in purely administrative terms it would not make any sense to me whatsoever.

Q. In any case, you do not know of two Bratfischs?

A. I am not familiar...I have never heard of two Bratfischs, I know it is an unusual name; I did not in fact have anything to do with the commanders of the Operations Commandos. This might be possible, but I know nothing of it.

Q. Now, on this document there is also mention of a carriage number.

A. That is the car which apparently fetched the children, the plate number. This is the registration number which fetched the children.

Q. That means that, in your opinion, it was not a railway carriage, but a motor car?

A. It was a motor car; it will have been the motor car which fetched the children from the Migrants' Central Office to take them to the State Police Headquarters. That is how I connect it.

Q. Now something else in the Sassen Document: It is said there, by you, that you observed Jews being loaded into freight cars. Is that true?

A. Jews being loaded into freight cars? I cannot remember this, however hard I think things over.

Q. This is something which - I would assume - no one who has observed it can ever forget.

A. I have in fact thought about it, it is...I saw this in Kulm...

Q. We have already heard this.

A. But at the railway stations, I did not see this.

Q. Mueller did not once send you to do this?

A. No, I was not sent to this, either.

Q. And how this got into the Sassen Document, you do not know?

A. I have already said, Your Honour, I do not know that, a great deal in there is said to make things more interesting. And there is a great deal in there, which is not at all true.

Q. Did you yourself state things which had not actually occurred, in order to make the document more interesting?

A. Yes - I did this; if I had to say "I cannot remember," then I was told that in such a manner one could not put a book together, and people were right in saying that. And... it was not really distorting the facts, that is what I said to myself, because, after all, it did in fact happen, and it did occur, it belongs in there.

Q. We have already heard this - that you yourself saw loading operations into freight cars - although you did not see any - that is not distorting the facts.

A. I did not understand that, Your Honour.

Q. I am saying, if it says there that you saw loading operations - although you did not see any - that is not distorting the facts?

A. It is a personal fact, but it is not distorting the fact as it occurred, whether Goebbels was present there or not, those were matters devoid of interest - but for the times - for what happened at the time - as such, it was not a distortion.


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