The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 107
(Part 4 of 6)

Q. I am not talking about the pre-War years, and I consider you to be intelligent enough to understand this contradiction, that there is a contradiction here. Do you have anything further to say about this?

A. There is a contradiction here, but even if one had wanted to, it would have been impossible, because in fact this system meant that the recruiting offices blocked one's path, and kept one in the Head Office for Reich Security for the duration of the War. One was powerless in the face of all these things. the most one was dependent on the Department Chief's pleasure or agreement, on one person who might have authorized it, and he did not authorize anything.

Q. That means that your statement now is that in the War years you did not remain in the SS of your own free will?

A. To be perfectly honest, in all of this confusion one did not think about this at all. It would in fact be very easy if I were to say "yes" or "no," but I did not, in fact, think about this at all, it was, in fact, just not possible. After all, in any case one cannot fight a mountain. He knew that I would not have had any success at all with any of the recruiting offices, I would not have even been shown in.

Q. And so all you did was to apply orally to Mueller.

A. There was nothing else to do, other than to keep applying with a request to be employed elsewhere, originally not even in Berlin, that went against the grain.

Q. That concludes my questions.

Does the Attorney General wish now to ask anything of the Accused arising from the questions asked by the Judges?

Attorney General: Yes, if it please the Court. I should like to ask three questions of the Accused. The Accused said that he could not live according to the "absolute categorical imperative," because he was subject to orders from higher authorities. I assume that this did not apply to his private life.

Presiding Judge: Will you now please reply to the Attorney General's questions which are asked in connection with the questions by the Judges.

Attorney General: Your attitude to your wife's reading the New Testament - was that not in keeping with Kant's categorical imperative?

Accused: I must say about this that unfortunately I am also not infallible; if I were an infallible person, then, for example, I would not have torn the Bible into pieces from my wife's hands. I must admit this, and therefore there are things in a person's life which the individual does not like doing, which he does partly because of external coercion, and partly somehow because of the fact that he allows himself to be carried away to do certain things which he later regrets. In any case, I did at least endeavour to live according to the Kantian imperative, although I would confirm once again - and that brings me back to my point of departure - that a person is not always successful. He is not a perfect instrument and cannot follow his volition one hundred per cent. That is what I wish to say about this.

Q. Second question: I understand that in your testimony, in your examination-in-chief, you said that the last decoration you received was awarded to you for your action in saving the ethnic Germans in Romania. That is what I understood you to testify in examination-in-chief.

A. I do not believe that, because you see the Distinguished Service Cross, Second Class and First Class, that is a decoration...the decorations were distributed to the units by the crate-full.

Q. Very well, I do not wish to ask about the general guidelines for distribution. I am asking why Himmler awarded you the decoration First Class with Swords?

A. I was already overdue three months, and should automatically have received this decoration three months earlier, as is noted in the notice of promotion with the second-class award.

Q. My question was meant to ascertain what was the dereliction of duty which occurred on the Hungarian-Romanian border, and which you admitted to Mueller. What then was the dereliction of duty which occurred there?

A. I received a reprimand, a stern reprimand, for not taking the direct route in the Gross-Nikolsburg area, in order to start there on the evacuation of ten thousand ethnic Germans, but instead made a detour to Neu Arad, in order to evacuate a German Armed Forces field hospital, which had just been temporarily liberated from Russian troops, and because I made this small detour, I was reprimanded.

Q. My last question applies to exhibit N/102, which relates to the Presiding Judge's question this morning. In exhibit N/102, Counsel for the Defence showed you a passage from the Sassen Document, and I would like to complete this passage, because the next sentence starts with the word "but," so that this is not the end of the line of thought. Consequently I would like you to complete the two sentences which follow this passage - or, to be accurate, three sentences - so that they connect up with the passage already read out by me. Would you please look at the last sentences on page 27 and the first sentence on page 28, which are the continuation of the passage about which Counsel for the Defence was asking. The last words of the quotation about which you were asked by Counsel for the Defence are: "Now, I was one of those men who carried out orders without reserve, in accordance with my oath of loyalty." And now there is a sentence with the word "but." Would you read this out please?

A. Certainly.

"But I am also one of those people who think things over. Either I do a job in a plodding fashion, and then I will definitely not enjoy it, or I do a job if I can understand the need for it or the meaning of it, and if I enjoy doing it. Time will just fly by, and that is how it was with the Jews."
Q. Thank you.

A. That is in fact true, because when I was in Vienna, dealing with emigration, the relevant phrase was "or I do a job if I can understand the need for it or the meaning of it, and if I enjoy doing it," and when I went to the Head Office for Reich Security, the first phrase applied.

Q. Would you please complete this, and read out the passage which I have already read out.


"When at that time I received orders to proceed like an infant, without preparation, against the guest of the host people, I thought this over, and when I recognized the necessity to do so, I carried out these [orders] with the degree of fanaticism one expected of oneself as a National Socialist of long standing, but which my superiors also without a doubt expected of the person so ordered."
Attorney General: So is that correct?

Accused: To the extent that it applies to the period up to 1939, yes.

Q. So the guest people is the Jewish people, and the host people are the Germans? Right?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any other questions to the Accused arising from the questions asked the Accused by the Judges?

Dr. Servatius: No, I have no such questions.

Presiding Judge: So what about the document to which you referred before, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: I must obtain the document from the office.

Presiding Judge: You do not yet have it with you? Is this not connected with the Accused's Statement?

Dr. Servatius: It might be connected, because it is a question of the date on which the conference was held, and when he was in Berlin. Perhaps I can explain this briefly.

Presiding Judge: Very well, thank you, that is not necessary. We shall look at it after the recess, after the document is submitted. Twenty minutes recess.


Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: The document to which I wished to refer concerns the date on which the Berlin office was taken over. On the basis of lists drawn up by the Accused, I had drawn up a specific timetable, which was to be appended to the closing brief. And here on the first page it says, "Early October: Eichmann takes over emigration and Berlin," and underneath October it says November. In other words, the words do not appear there, but above there is an "X" and below it an "XI." That, then, was the information I had. I wished to hand this over together with my brief. Perhaps I could just ask the Accused in this connection whether these items here are correct. I could submit this timetable now, but he must look through it once again. That is why I would find it preferable if, in order to facilitate perusal, this submission could be presented with the closing brief.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Attorney General, what is your position? In any case, it is of course impossible without the Accused saying anything, because apparently this was prepared by the Accused.

Attorney General: I gather that this was drawn up by Counsel for the Defence, on the basis of data provided by the Accused. Therefore, if that is to be part of the brief, that is in order. Since, according to the Court's decision, Dr. Servatius is entitled to submit part of his submissions in writing, this can be part of his written submissions. However, if the Accused is to testify about this, he must be questioned about it in the usual way, and not only on how the document was drawn up, but in the usual way. If Dr. Servatius has any questions as the result of the Court's questions, then Dr. Servatius can ask them now.

Presiding Judge: Very well. Dr. Servatius, examine the Accused about what you wish to ask him. Please proceed. Accused, what you say now in reply to questions from Counsel for the Defence is also testimony under oath.

Accused: Certainly.

Dr. Servatius: You informed me on questioning, according to various items of information, that you took over the Emigration Office in Berlin in October, the beginning of November. I included this in a timetable, also based on your notes, and I am now asking you whether this information was accurate.

Accused: I drew up this timetable at the time when only the literature was available to me, and after the police interrogation here. When I later received all the documents, I had to revise these indications in the timetable, as well as some others, because I could only determine them precisely after studying the documents. And consequently I had to postpone the beginning of my Berlin activities to December, because I found documents to that effect from Dr. Loewenherz, and these documents were in fact very reliable because they were Dr. Loewenherz' memos, following discussions with him.

Q. These notes which I have before me - this presentation for the timetable was completed on 28 March 1961. Is that correct?

A. I do not remember the exact date; in any case I had drawn up this timetable...I had drawn up two timetables, a very incomplete one and the more complete one...and I had drawn up the more complete one after looking through the literature, but without knowledge of the documents.

Presiding Judge: Again, we wish to know not what the documents say, but what your memory says. You can of course refresh your memory on the basis of the documents. September 1939 was the month in which the World War broke out. So what does your memory tell you now about your travelling to, or your transfer to, Berlin?

Accused: When the World War broke out, I was in Prague; I remember that very clearly. And when the Polish campaign was over, together with Stahlecker, who was my immediate superior in Prague, I travelled around the Polish part, and that is what later resulted in Nisko.

Presiding Judge: And at that time you were already in Berlin?

Accused: No, I was then still in Prague. Because Stahlecker was my superior at that time; when I was in Berlin, Stahlecker was no longer my superior. Now I had had the feeling - and this is what I keep saying - that it was in the late autumn of 1939 when I came to Berlin. And it was only on the basis of the documents that I was able to fix this late autumn date definitely. Until then it was an assumption: I knew that there was the Polish campaign, all of these things were in fact known to me, but I had lost the connection between the Nisko affair and the Berlin affair. The Loewenherz memo then gave me a precise dating on this. But I must make this point once again, again, more accurately.

I should just like to give a more precise definition of this matter. I said that I had drawn up the timetable on the basis of the literature, without knowledge of the records. That is correct, insofar as I - or rather incorrect, insofar as I did have the literature, but I also knew what was recorded in those documents which I had seen in the interrogation. And I drew up this timetable when I was still in Haifa, before I had received the documents, some sixteen hundred of them, until I was here in Jerusalem.

Presiding Judge: Very well. Anything else in this connection?

Attorney General: I gather, therefore, that the first timetable was drawn up on the basis of those documents available to you at that time, and that the second timetable was drawn up on the basis of all the documents which you have before you here. Is that correct?

Accused: No, when Jerusalem I did not draw up any further timetable; it was in Haifa.

Attorney General: The timetable which Counsel for the Defence is submitting now, have you seen this?

Accused: No.

Presiding Judge: The timetable has not been submitted at all yet.

Attorney General: I should just like to understand the following: The timetable drawn up by you is not from your memory, but is based on a reconstruction from documents, is it not?

Accused: I drew up a handwritten timetable. This is what I remember.

Attorney General: But did you draw up the timetable on the basis of a reconstruction from available documents, or did you draw it up on the basis of what you remembered?

Accused: No, I took both. I took my memory, the literature and the knowledge, wherever I still remembered, of those documents presented to me during the interrogation.

Attorney General: In any case not only from memory, correct?

Accused: No, there was no way I could do that.

Attorney General: Very well.

Presiding Judge: All right, Dr. Servatius, is that it?

Dr. Servatius: I have no further questions.

Presiding Judge: With that, Accused, you have concluded your testimony.

[The continuation of Session No. 107, which begins the evidence of Defence witnesses taken abroad, will be found in Volume V]

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