The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 108
(Part 2 of 4)

Dr. Servatius: He goes on to say:
"I was at the time put on the train without any further instructions." As far as I remember, witness Hoettl said he travelled with Kaltenbrunner."
On the same page, he then says again:
"In actual fact I was never Reich Plenipotentiary. I am a layman in these matters."
On page 11, the second paragraph:
"As I see things, without the active co-operation of the Hungarians, it would not have been possible to carry out the anti-Jewish operations. It is only when you are strong that you can threaten and force things through. However, in 1943 we were no longer strong, and in 1944 we were weak."
On page 12, at the bottom, where he answers the seventh question, "What was the assignment of the Eichmann Special Commando?," he says the following:
"I cannot say anything precise about this. I did not have any dealings with Eichmann about this matter, nor was I kept informed by him. As far as I know, I only saw Eichmann once, when he presented himself to me. This was not immediately after the entry of the German forces, but a little later. However, it cannot have been too late, as Winkelmann later ruled that it was no longer permitted for SS personnel (offices) to have direct dealings with the legation. I knew that the Eichmann Special Commando was engaged in the deportations of Jews. At the time the concept of the `Final Solution' was completely unknown to me. I did not hear about this until Nuremberg."
On page 13, the witness comments on document No. 212,* {*T/1235} point 4. This concerns foreign Jews in Hungary. At the bottom it says:
"In some instances we were informed of the decision, insofar as we had to give an account to the Hungarian authorities. In other cases, the decision taken in Berlin was sent directly - as I assume - to the local SS authorities. For example, in the documents it says that Eichmann negotiated with Hungarian offices. If he did this, I assume he did it on the instructions of his superiors, because in the Third Reich it would have been very dangerous to undertake anything like this without instructions. If we learned about these negotiations, we reported on them. As to Eichmann's powers, I myself have no knowledge."
On page 15, the witness replies to a question from the Attorney General as to which German authority dealt with the foot march. He says the following:
"I cannot say that. I assume that it even took place with, at the very least, considerable participation by the Hungarian authorities. At that time all German authorities, including the legation, had to release for service at the front anyone they could at all do without. Therefore, the German authorities would simply no longer have had the personnel to organize and carry through the foot march on their own. It was one of their last attempts; nor did it have any real purpose.

"The foot march crumbled en route. As far as I remember, the matter was reported to me at the time. I made enquiries of the Hungarian authorities. I was told that there was no fuel, nor were any trains running. The Danube was mined. In my view, there was no point in sending tired people off in this way to act as labourers. I no longer remember what the weather was like at the time."

On page 16, the witness replies to a question from the representative of the Prosecution:
"Were you involved in the confiscation of Jewish assets, and did you know about this?"
"No, with one exception. That was the case of the Weiss-Manfred Works. I only found out about this matter as the result of a complaint from the Hungarian Government to me. At approximately the same time, Standartenfuehrer Becher came to see me. The Works were to be transferred to the ownership of the SS. I was to obtain the consent of the Hungarian Government for this. The Hungarian Government objected in very strong terms. I passed on their protests to Berlin, as I thought it unwise at this point in time, to annoy the Hungarians by such a measure which was totally insignificant for the War. I also wished at that time to notify Berlin of the contracts for the conveyance, and asked Becher to give them to me. He refused."
Dr. Servatius: There is then a discussion of the measures against the Jews of Budapest, and document No. 666, page 4, is shown. On this the witness explains...

Judge Raveh: But this document has not yet been submitted to us.

Dr. Servatius: But it says here:

"The representative of Counsel for the Accused asked for document No. 666 to be shown to the witness. The witness stated on document No. 666, page 4, which was shown to him..."
Presiding Judge: If this document has not yet been submitted to us, we must now look at it.

Dr. Servatius: I should like to submit it - but I do not have it here with me.

Presiding Judge: The same applies to exhibit T/797 as well - this has not yet been submitted either. It is referred to on the same page, is it not? I suggest that when you get a chance, you go right through these statements and then submit any documents still missing - because otherwise we will not be able to follow the evidence properly.

Dr. Servatius: I shall subsequently submit this document at some later stage.

On page 18, the witness states:

"I remember that there were fears of an uprising as a result of the great concentration of Jews in Budapest. The plan was to decentralize the Jews in camps in Western Hungary. Where this plan came from, I am unable to say. My visits to Lakatos were probably made in this connection. In such a case I could not receive instructions from any SS office, but only from the Foreign Ministry. It may be that for security reasons, the security authorities in the Reich required the Foreign Ministry to take such measures. The only case where I was approached directly by an SS department to negotiate with the Hungarian Government was when Becher came to see me about the Weiss-Manfred Works."
Presiding Judge: Is that all?

Dr. Servatius: From this document, yes.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, what do you wish to say?

Attorney General: We do not need to quote anything from this statement.

Presiding Judge: I have marked Veesenmayer's statement XIII. Since the Attorney General does not wish to read anything out, who is next, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I should in this connection like to read out passages from the Nuremberg judgment, Case 11, about the Veesenmayer case, in conjunction with this statement by the witness.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Dr. Servatius: For the moment, I have only three copies available; I have, for the time being, given one to the interpreter, so that he has it available for his translation.

Presiding Judge: Do you want everything to be translated?

Dr. Servatius: No, there are just a few passages I wish to read out.

Attorney General: I understand that the judgment in toto has to be an exhibit. Naturally, Counsel for the Defence is free to read out whatever passages he chooses. But perhaps the Court will take note of the entire judgment, either from the Green Series, or from the special edition which Counsel for the Defence has in his possession, as do we also, as a Court Exhibit.

Presiding Judge: I believe this has already been discussed.

Attorney General: Yes. This has been discussed and agreed on.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I am prepared to act accordingly. I only have a copy here called The Judgment in the Wilhelmstrasse Trial, by Dr. Robert Kempner and Professor Haensel, where it is reproduced. I do not have another copy available, but I could obtain one; however, I assume that the contents here have the requisite degree of reliability...

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bodenheimer, would you please pass us Case No. 11 from the Green Series.

Just a moment, Dr. Servatius. You may be seated meanwhile. Have you located it, Mr. Bodenheimer? Would you please give me a label for marking the exhibit. Meanwhile, I shall formally mark this N/103, so N/103 will be the judgment in its entirety, as it appears in the Green Series. And now we shall designate the passages you have submitted as N/103a. What would you now like to read out from these passages?

Dr. Servatius: First of all, paragraph II, Hungary.

Presiding Judge: On which page is this, please?

Dr. Servatius: The first page, the first sheet; it starts with the word "Veesenmayer" in spaced type, and then there is the penultimate paragraph, "Hungary":

"The Fuehrer Decree of 19 March 1944 appointed the Accused Veesenmayer as Envoy and Plenipotentiary of the Greater German Reich in Hungary, which at that time was allied with Germany. He was responsible for overall political development in Hungary and was to receive his instructions from Ribbentrop."
At the top of the next page:
"In order to carry out tasks concerning the Jewish Question, a Higher SS and Police Leader was to join the staff of the Reich Ambassador and act in accordance with his political instructions."
At the bottom of the same page, the last paragraph:
"On 16 January 1943, Luther had a talk with the Hungarian envoy, in which he expressed his astonishment at the dissolution on 1 January 1943 of the Hungarian Jewish Commissariat. He again reminded the envoy that, at all events, Hitler insisted on removing all the Jews from Europe. The harbouring of around one million Jews in Hungary, a friendly country, was creating major concern in Germany, and they could not sit by and tolerate this danger for ever without doing something. In Luther's opinion, the excuses which Sztojay believed he had to present were so lame, that one could see very clearly from his demeanour that not even he himself believed in what he was saying. In his report, Luther expresses the hope that our constant pressure will eventually be successful."
Then, on the next page, it says that the desired success has not come about, and in order to find out why, Veesenmayer has been sent to Hungary, and on 30 April 1943 he submitted a long report.

In the last sentence of the first paragraph it then says:

"He confirms that Hungary has made itself into an asylum for the Jews in Europe, in the expectation that its hospitable attitude towards Jewry will be a guarantee for the protection of Hungarian interests after the end of the War. This explains Prime Minister Kallay's standpoint that it should be extremely obvious that he is trying to make reparation for his predecessor's wrongdoing as regards the Jewish Question."
At the bottom of the page it says that Veesenmayer made a second journey, and then the report continues - at the bottom:
"The Jew is Enemy No. 1. These 1.1 million Jews are just as many saboteurs against the Reich, and at least as large a number - if not double the number - of Hungarians, who are satellites of the Jews, act as auxiliary groups and external camouflage for implementing the large-scale sabotage and spying plan. Reich policy has here a worthwhile and vital duty, to tackle this problem and clean up the situation."
On the next page, the fourth or fifth paragraph:
"For many reasons, the needs of the moment would appear to dictate tackling the Jewish Question thoroughly. Cleaning it up is a prerequisite for engaging Hungary, in the Reich's defensive and existential struggle."
This is the fourth paragraph.

Then there are conclusions. Inter alia, it says the following, at the end of the text, in small print:

"The appointment of suitable commissioners with extensive powers, who must be bloodhounds for the five districts to be created, immediate tackling of the Jewish Question according to a plan agreed on in advance. At the same time, the enemy must be informed that, for every Hungarian killed by bombing, a hundred rich Jews will be shot and their property used as reparations for the damage caused."
It also says there:
"The proposals outlined by Veesenmayer have been carried out almost to the last detail, and their spiritual father was assigned to implement them, because he appeared to be the right man for the job."
At the end of the page, it says:
"Veesenmayer had no experience in diplomacy, although he was on several occasions given assignments in which the Foreign Ministry was interested, particularly in Serbia and Danzig. The Accused is now in vain claiming that he did not have a bitter hatred of the Jews. He is in vain denying having been involved by word and deed in the dreadful mass deportations. It was he who hatched the plan, who initiated the implementation of these measures. Nor are we influenced by the claims which Veesenmayer put forward in his last interrogation, in his closing brief and his written statement, to the effect that, in fact, Horthy agreed with the systematic deportation and subsequent extermination of the Jews."
In the middle of page 174, it says:
"The report furthermore provides information about the relationships between Veesenmayer and Hezinger and Eichmann of the SS. The Foreign Ministry had suggested recalling Hezinger, one of the Foreign Ministry experts on Jewish matters detailed to the legation. Senior Legation Counsellor Feine stated to von Thadden that Hezinger was indispensable."
In the next paragraph, it says:
"From this report it is also clear that Eichmann wished to retain Hezinger, so that no major errors would be made in dealing with the foreign Jews. Veesenmayer's attitude - as indicated here - completely contradicts his testimony to the effect that Hezinger was not subordinate to him, as he was not informed of the details of his activity. If - as Veesenmayer is now claiming - this action was planned and implemented by Eichmann and Winkelmann of the SS, it would appear extremely odd that Interior Department II, which was at that time the Foreign Ministry department responsible for Jewish affairs, should have considered it necessary to inform Eichmann - who allegedly was the author of the planned deportation - of Veesenmayer's reports. But that is what it did."
On the next page, in the penultimate paragraph, there appears the following:
"In July 1944, Horthy forbade further deportation of Jews. Veesenmayer complained to him about this and informed him that the dismissal of the Sztojay government, and the intended arrest of certain members of that government who had carried out anti-Jewish measures, would be considered a breach of Hungarian obligations to the Reich, and Hitler would immediately recall his Ambassador, Veesenmayer, and take measures to ensure once and for all that such things could never again occur in Hungary."
On the next page, in the middle, there appears something Kasztner said on the question of the deportations. It says: "Kasztner described the situation very comprehensively as follows.
"Question: `Do you mean by that that the Accused Veesenmayer played no role in the execution of the deportations of the Jews, which was carried out either - which I will assume for the moment - by Jaross, Baky, Endre, Eichmann or Winkelmann?'

"Answer: `Counsel, I do not suppose that you would believe that a man of Mr. Veesenmayer's intelligence would formally go beyond his mandate as a Ambassador of the German Reich and personally interfere with executive matters. Under no circumstances whatsoever could he, or should he, have done so. Nor did he need to do so. As I said this morning, by installing an appropriate government in Hungary, and laying down the general political directives for this government, that meant that any further activity on his part, more directly concerned with the details and with executive measures, was no longer necessary. If I could put it this way, he was the intellectual author, he was definitely not the implementer."

The part of the judgment dealing with Veesenmayer concludes with the chapter on Serbia. In the middle of the page it says: "On 8 December 1941..."

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