The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 108
(Part 1 of 4)

Session No. 108

11 Av 5721 (24 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the one hundred and eighth Session of the trial open. We shall continue with the submission of the testimonies for the Defence taken abroad. Dr. Servatius, who is the next witness to be dealt with?

Dr. Servatius: The witness Winkelmann. This is the testimony taken on 19 May 1961 before the Court of First Instance in Bordesholm. I would particularly draw attention to page 2, the third paragraph, in the middle of the page. This reads:

"...because in the service instructions to the Reich Plenipotentiary in Hungary, Dr. Veesenmayer, it was noted that the Higher SS and Police Officer - this was the post I occupied after I was assigned to Hungary in April 1944 - was to join the legation. During the time I was in Hungary I was never informed of this service instruction" - i.e., the above service instruction to the Reich Ambassador. "Neither was I assigned to the legation in accordance with this service instruction. I only became aware of this service instruction during an examination this year, when I was shown a photocopy of it. The service instruction stated that the Higher SS and Police Officer was to handle the Jewish Question in the legation. I was therefore never instructed to handle the Jewish Question in Hungary."
At the bottom of page 3 it says:
"I received my instructions for my work only from Reichsfuehrer Himmler. I did not receive any instructions from the various Head Offices, nor did I receive any reports from the commanders to the Head Offices. The only thing I did get was copies from the Leadership Head Office of orders for setting up of new SS units. I received daily reports from the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service. These reports were also received by the Reich Plenipotentiary, Dr. Veesenmayer, who passed the reports on to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ribbentrop. This he did in order to create the impression that I was subordinate to him. To do this, when passing on these reports, the Reich Plenipotentiary, Dr. Veesenmayer, would write: `The Higher SS and Police Leader in Hungary reports to me...' That gave the mistaken impression that I was subordinate to him. Dr. Veesenmayer wished to create this misleading impression with the Minister for Foreign Affairs."
On page 4, the second paragraph:
"I should like to stress once again that I was not subordinate to the Reich Plenipotentiary, Dr. Veesenmayer, either. Dr. Veesenmayer incorrectly informed Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ribbentrop - as I saw later, after the collapse - that I was subordinate to him in all matters."
Page 5, first paragraph:
"In the course of time, Eichmann paid several visits to me. As an SS officer, he had to report to me that he was going off duty when he left Hungary. He also had to report back to me when he returned to Hungary. He came to see me for this reason. On these occasions I learned from him that the Jews in a particular district had been rounded up by the Hungarian gendarmerie. I took note of what he told me and reflected on it. Eichmann was however not subordinate to me. He received his orders directly from the Head Office for Reich Security."
At the bottom of page 6:
"...In this connection I would mention that a Hungarian lieutenant in the gendarmerie told me that he himself heard that Hungarian Lieutenant-Field Marshal Faragho stated to the People's Court in Budapest that he had been responsible for planning the ghettoization and deportation of the Jews in Hungary."
On page 7 - the end of the last paragraph:
"I remember Obergruppenfuehrer Juettner coming to me to make representations to me. I am able from my own observations, to confirm as correct his description of the march and the condition of the exhausted people, which he gave in his examination of 3 May 1948 in Nuremberg, which description has been read out to me. I am unable to say whether the name Eichmann was mentioned in this context.

"I made representations to Reichsfuehrer Himmler on account of these foot marches. Reichsfuehrer Himmler immediately, in my presence, contacted Gruppenfuehrer Mueller from the Head Office for Reich Security on the matter. I myself heard Reichsfuehrer Himmler ordering a ban on all further foot marches. Those who had been sent off on these marches were to be removed by vehicle. I gathered from this conversation of Reichsfuehrer Himmler with the Head Office for Reich Security - Mueller - that the foot marches had taken place with the knowledge of the Head Office for Reich Security."

Those are the passages to which I wished to refer.

Presiding Judge: Thank you. Please proceed. The passages to which the Attorney General wishes to refer - would the interpreter please read these out.

Interpreter: Page 5 - I see that this has already been read out.

Presiding Judge: Which passage?

Interpreter: "Eichmann was not subordinate to me." The second passage on page 5:

"Eichmann belonged to the Berlin Head Office for Reich Security. Whenever he received orders, it was from this body. There was no change from that in Hungary, either." And now the last paragraph on the same page:

"In describing Eichmann, I should like to say that I did not like this officer's snappish manner. I considered him to have the nature of a subaltern. By this, I mean someone who uses his authority unreservedly, without evolving moral or mental restraints upon the exercise of his power; nor does he have any scruples about exceeding his authority, if he believes he is acting in the spirit of the person giving him his orders."

Presiding Judge: Is that all, Mr. Dayan?

Attorney General: Yes, that is everything.

Presiding Judge: I mark the Winkelmann statement XI. Please proceed, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: The next witness is Juettner. Statement of 15 June 1961, Court of First Instance, Bad Toelz.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, there is some mistake here: Juettner's statement has already been submitted as that of a Prosecution witness.

Dr. Servatius: The Grell statement.

Presiding Judge: That has also been submitted already, has it not? That was a Prosecution witness, witness No. 5.

Dr. Servatius: But we still have Veesenmayer, Novak; Slawik is not yet available; von dem Bach-Zelewski and Kappler.

First of all, witness Novak. Examined on 15 June 1961. Vienna District Court. I refer to page 2, question 3:

"I do not know whether Eichmann was able to issue orders independently, or whether he received orders for the transports. I do know that Eichmann was sent for by his superior almost every day. The reason why I know this is that often he was looked for, and then it was said that he was with the Group Leader or the Department Chief."
Then, on page 11, questions 30 to 32:
"I did not receive an order from anybody to deport Jews from the Kistarcsa assembly camp, nor do I know anything about such a deportation. I do not know the Kistarcsa location, nor have I ever been there, although in the proceedings pending against me in the Vienna District Court for Criminal Cases, a witness alleges to have seen me at the Kistarcsa assembly camp."
These are the passages I wished to read out.

Presiding Judge: Thank you. Now for the Attorney General, please.

Attorney General: Just one paragraph on page 10, question 26:

"I do know by name a Hungarian gendarmerie captain called Kullay or Lullay, but I had no official dealings with him. This captain also took part in the Vienna timetable conference, and I frequently saw him at the Eichmann Commando office in Budapest."
So that this reply should be intelligible, perhaps I might also come back to the brief answer to question 25?
"Question 25: I did go from Budapest in May 1944 to take part in the timetable conference in Vienna. However, I no longer remember whether I received this assignment from Eichmann or from Wisliceny."
Presiding Judge: Is that everything? Very well, I therefore mark the Novak statement XII. Dr. Servatius, who is next?

Dr. Servatius: Veesenmayer. Examined on 23 May 1961 before the Court of First Instance in Darmstadt. I would refer here to page 4, in the middle:

"In a legation, things are organized in such a way that most of the so-called routine work is prepared and drafted by Specialist Officers, then first submitted for control to the Legation Counsellor, who deputizes for the Ambassador for his approval, and only then submitted by the Counsellor to the Ambassador for signature. At the beginning the legation did not have a special expert official for so-called Jewish Affairs. Special representatives would be sent by the Foreign Ministry, and these would change relatively quickly. These special representatives were not part of the legation. They were directly subordinate to the Foreign Ministry. Later a Mr. Grell was sent to us, and he was made a member of the legation staff. I no longer remember what rank he held."
Page 5, the bottom paragraph:
"With regard to exhibit T/675, I only remember that, right from the beginning, the Foreign Ministry was demanding manpower from the Hungarian Government. These demands, too, went only partly through myself. Also, special representatives sent by the ministry responsible for armaments arrived, and they turned to the Hungarian authorities directly."
On page 6, in the middle:
"If I made such demands or representations to the Hungarian Government, they would have had to have been preceded by corresponding instructions from the Foreign Ministry. The telegram says `also for Ambassador Ritter'; when I was posted to Hungary as Ambassador, I was made subordinate to Ambassador Ritter's special right to issue instructions. Today I can no longer say whether I received special instructions to demand Jews from the Hungarian Government. I do know whether there were special Jewish labour batallions set up earlier with the Hungarian armed forces."
Page 7, at the bottom:
"(1) The question contains an error. I was never Reich Pleipotentiary."
The representative of Counsel for the Accused handed over a copy of Prosecution document No. 272 with the request that it be shown to the witness.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bodenheimer, No. 272, what exhibit number is that?

Mr. Bodenheimer: It is exhibit T/457.

Dr. Servatius: "Prosecution document No. 272 was shown to the witness, who made the following statement on it: 'The document does apply to me. I can only repeat that I was never Reich Plenipotentiary'."

Presiding Judge: Did you say T/457, Mr. Bodenheimer?

Mr. Bodenheimer: Yes, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: Something is wrong here.

Dr. Servatius: I have 475 in my notes, not 457.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what was the intention in this document? What was involved?

Dr. Servatius: That refers to the question in the questionnaire. I imagine this reads: "Were you Reich Plenipotentiary?"

Presiding Judge: But the number 272 is, I assume, that of Bureau 06. Is that correct?

Dr. Servatius: I suppose so, because it appears that the Court also used this number.

Presiding Judge: As far as I can make out, this is a document about France, and so there must be a mistake in the numbering. Dr. Servatius, this is 212, not 272; 212 - so that makes it T/1235.

Dr. Servatius: I have corrected it in my text.

Presiding Judge: I should just like to see the text for a moment; this is a letter from Veesenmayer, but I see that also here he is called Reich Plenipotentiary.

Dr. Servatius: He says about this: "It was shown to the witness, who stated, `the document does apply to me; I can only repeat that I was never Reich Plenipotentiary'."

Presiding Judge: In any case, this was presumably a letter in which he was called "Reich Plenipotentiary," and he now comments on this, as asked.

Dr. Servatius: The judgment in Case 11 also refers to it; in the course of events he forgot that he had this title.

Presiding Judge: Very well.

Dr. Servatius: In question 1 he was asked: "What were your powers and duties as Reich Plenipotentiary for Hungary?" And he says: "The question is erroneous."

The Defence then shows him document No. 1021.* {* T/1145} He said: "I repeat, in the ultimate result I was never Reich Plenipottentiary. The telegram may have been worded in this way out of ignorance."

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