The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 110
(Part 2 of 7)

[Attorney General, Continued]

The furthermost limits which Nazi Germany dared to reach in the pre-War period, at a time when her actions were committed before the eyes of the entire world, was to force the Jews to leave the country by way of expulsion. Heydrich gave clear expression to that at a meeting of Ministers conducted by Goering on 12 November 1938, when he said: "The basic problem is for the Jew to get out of Germany." How was this accomplished at that time? We heard this here from witnesses. Already at that time methods of terror, intimidation, force, deceit and camouflage were employed, which characterized the behaviour of the Nazis towards the Jews, right to the bitter end.

At the end of March 1938, at the first meeting with Jewish representatives in Vienna - this was the place which Heydrich subsequently held up as a model organization for the forced emigration of Jews - Adolf Eichmann introduced these methods. The witness Fleischmann told you how Eichmann notified them that he was now master of every aspect of the lives of the Jews of Austria, that he had to solve the Jewish Question with maximum speed and by all means, and that the solution was - the purging of Vienna, and of the whole of Austria, of their Jews; and all his instructions and directives would have to be obeyed, and that he would overcome any obstacle or any resistance by the appropriate means. On the same occasion, he recounted to the Jewish representatives, dumbfounded as they were, the false story that he was a native of Sarona, that he understood Hebrew and Yiddish - which lent further credence to the fearful legend which subsequently became current about him in the ghettos of Eastern Europe.

Witnesses told us of the methods employed at that time: Notices began arriving very soon from the Dachau concentration camp of the deaths of Jews; releases from Dachau or from Buchenwald would be permitted only after the number of emigrants began to reach 500 daily. That was what Eichmann announced. He acknowledged this in his interrogation by the police.

And, on the day following "Crystal Night," Eichmann made his speech to the Jewish representatives, who had been brought to him after being beaten up by Viennese hooligans and members of the SS, pressed together, shivering from cold and shattered with blood, without having had any food for almost twenty-four hours. Thus, there stood before him several hundreds of the cream of Viennese Jewry, with rain drenching the walls of the room open to the elements into which they had been packed. And Eichmann addressed them in a speech full of rage, which was described by Fleischmann. "The rate of the disappearance of Jews from Vienna is unsatisfactory," and he added, "we shall have to resort to other means, and from now on I shall know what to do." With this threat resounding in their ears, the Jews were dismissed and ordered to sign a document to the effect that if they revealed a word of what had happened to them - they would be put to death.

The Loewenherz Report, on which the Accused was questioned during his police interrogation, contains detailed accounts of the days of bloodshed in Vienna, the confiscation of property, the despair and the horror that prevailed amongst the Jews. Heydrich referred to it at the ministerial meeting of 12 November 1938: "In Vienna we have established a Centre for Jewish emigration, and through it we got 50,000 Jews out of Austria."

This great success induced the leaders of the Nazi regime to replicate the method used by Eichmann in Vienna throughout the Reich. The Witness Lindenstrauss: testified that, at the end of January, or the beginning of February, 1939, leaders of Jewry in Germany were ordered to travel to Vienna, at Eichmann's behest. Dr. Benno Cohn and Dr. Meyer both gave evidence about that journey. When Eichmann commanded the representatives of German Jewry to take a look at the "exemplary" arrangements in Vienna, he lectured them saying that, from now on, the same method would have to be applied also with them. "The minimum must be 1,000 passports per day."

When the President of the Berlin community, Stahl, tried to point out the difficulties, Eichmann retorted: "I don't care about that - that is your affair. Find ways of emigration and produce the passports." And he concluded by stating: "You will be responsible for implementing this in the spirit of what I have said. If not - you know what to expect." We knew, Lindenstrauss said, that in this way, in Germany, too, the era of emigration had come to an end, and the period of expulsions had begun.

Meyer testified about an "expulsion industry" that he witnessed in Vienna. "It was awful, most awful," he said. He also described his meeting with the Accused in Berlin in March 1938, when he was introduced by Eichmann at the Gestapo as one of the Jews who had the impudence to instigate the Jews of Austria against the steps that had been taken there. On the same occasion, Eichmann announced that a Centre for the Emigration of Jews would operate in Berlin, and he gave orders that the monies of the Jewish National Fund were to be transferred to the Gestapo.

Dr. Benno Cohn also described the meeting in Berlin to which he had been invited, at which the main speaker was Adolf Eichmann. He reacted with shouting and threats to an article which had appeared in the foreign press, describing him as a "blood-hound," an expression which he would be adopting for himself when talking in future to Jewish functionaries; he reviled those Jewish leaders of Berlin who had dared to speak at all to the Jews in Vienna. "If such a thing should happen again," he said, "you will go to the "Konzertlager."* {*Concert Camp - concentration camp} When Dr. Stahl asked that the emigration should be orderly, and not carried out in the form of a savage expulsion across the borders, Eichmann replied with a series of coarse threats, and those present were convinced that they were going to be sent immediately to a concentration camp. Later on, Eichmann announced that an emigration centre along the lines of the one in Vienna would be set up at 116 Kurfuerstenstrasse, Berlin and the Jewish representatives would be responsible for seeing to it that the emigration quotas were filled.

Thus, already in the months of February and March 1939, Eichmann was occupied with the Berlin emigration centre. This was undoubtedly carried out by virtue of the assignment

Heydrich had received to establish this emigration centre, a task which he transmitted to Mueller, and in which Eichmann was actively employed, as we have seen, at least partially.

Thereafter, Eichmann organized the same operation and used the same methods, in the Bohemia and Moravia area.

These were, indeed, just the beginnings. "But even a child is known by its doings."* {*Proverbs, 20:11}

Therefore, it is proper to dwell upon them in somewhat greater detail, for his method was recognizable even then, in the early days. We may rely on his own statement in a private letter which Eichmann wrote at the time to a friend, and I quote: "The Jewish functionaries are completely in my hands. I make them run in whatever way I want. They will not dare take one step without me."

Or, as he wrote in another letter: "The President of the Community Council, Dr. Friedmann, has been removed from Dachau to the police prison here, and is at our disposal for possible clarifications."

This was the period when Eichmann acted, to use his own words here in this Court, with gladness and creative joy. This is the period he relies upon in claiming that he sought constructive solutions, and now he has the Nazi effrontery to state that, actually, he was merely helping these Jews to leave Germany, something which anyhow they wanted to do. He is obliged to acknowledge that the hurried exodus was the product of panic, of the persecutions and the acts of atrocity which the Nazis themselves perpetrated, and that every Jewish emigrant who was expelled was forced to leave all his property to the State.

The band of criminals impoverished the Jews and expelled them, and the argument that he merely assisted them to extricate themselves from their distress, is characteristic cynicism. It is like a gang of robbers setting fire to a house from all sides, and sending one of their number to throw the owners of the house through the window and to rob them of their possessions - and later excusing themselves by saying that it was better for the owner to be thrown out of the house than to be burned alive.

Those responsible for the criminal conspiracy against the Jews, those who were then engaged in arrests, in expulsion across the borders, in setting synagogues afire, in the plundering of property and forced emigration from the country, were members of the SD and the Gestapo. Everyone of this gang of miscreants had a defined role in the conspiracy which was also clearly and openly defined by Alfred Rosenberg and published in the Voelkischer Beobachter: "Only the departure of the last Jew from Germany will solve the Jewish question for us."

The role of the Accused amongst those committing crimes against the Jews was defined and evident even at that time, and he actually admitted as much in the course of his cross- examination, namely that, at least from 1937 onwards, he was active in the fight against the Jewish People in the ranks of the SD, and was so successful in the task of expulsion that he acquired a reputation as an acknowledged expert. And the Head Office of the SD would not agree at the time to his being transferred to another sphere of operation. Incidentally, it may be said that here Eichmann was caught up in one of his lies. He wanted to convince you, Your Honours, that the occupation with Jewish emigration gave him satisfaction, and that it was work which he wanted and which he willingly undertook. His transfer to Berlin, so he contended, was forced upon him, and he asked to be released from there. I shall yet return to this episode, but in his personal file there remains a reminder of his desire to be transferred to another position, precisely from the time when he was dealing with Jewish emigration, in May 1938. Then, as we know from the documents, only then did he wish for a transfer to Linz, the town where his family was living. The Head Office of the SD was not prepared to agree to the transfer of the expert Eichmann who, already by 1938, had no equal in the front of anti-Jewish action, as his superior Six wrote of him.

The persecution of Jews in Germany, beginning with the rise to power of Hitler and ending with perpetration of acts within the ambit of the conspiracy of their physical extinction, constituted one long drawn-out violation of the accepted principles of human morality, or as they are termed, a crime against humanity. These persecutions were characterized by various outstanding events described in detail in the evidence that was presented to the Court: The day of the boycott, the Nuremberg Laws, Crystal Night - these were the milestones...

Presiding Judge: Pardon me for interrupting for a moment. You began by saying that he applied to be transferred to Berlin?

Attorney General: He asked to be transferred to Linz.

Presiding Judge: You said at first that he wished to be transferred to Berlin, but afterwards you mentioned Linz. Is that not correct?

Attorney General: I would say the following: Eichmann maintains that his transfer to Berlin was against his wishes, that from there he asked to be transferred elsewhere. I add that his personal file is in our possession; from this file it transpires that the only time when he requested, in writing, a transfer to another post - apart from the allegations he made here, on the witness stand, and to which I shall revert - was precisely the period in which he was engaged in that task which gave him satisfaction and creative joy - Jewish emigration.

The persecutions were directed especially against the Jewish population, and therefore to them must apply what was said on that question, and about that law, in the judgment of the President of the Supreme Court in the matter of Pell versus the Attorney General. I quote:

"...If we compare Section 1 and 2, we shall come to the conclusion that all the offences set out in Section 2 are, in actual fact, also included in Section 1: according to Section 1, also, a person may be accountable by law for an offence which he actually committed against certain persons, if the act in respect of these persons was committed as a result of the intention to harm that group of persons, and the act performed by the offender in respect of these persons was a kind of `part performance' of his malicious design towards the group as a whole, whether it was the Jewish People or the civilian population."
We maintain that Eichmann did not deal with Jews who fell into his hands, such as Reuben, Simeon, Levi or Judah. His concern was not with this or that private individual. He struck at these individuals because it was his intention to strike at the whole group.

This was the way by which the crimes were perpetrated, which are dealt with in the third, sixth and seventh counts of the indictment.

There is no doubt that he was only part of a huge machine which dealt with the persecution of the Jews. That is how it was from the beginning, and it remained so to the end. He was not the only one who set in motion, at the inception, the Nazi persecutions which brought tens of thousands of Jews to headlong flight from the Reich and the annexed territories.

Agencies of the State co-operated with him and were at his disposal, for without them he could not have executed his evil design. The wicked laws, the concentration camps, the entire army of torturers and thugs - all these advanced his activities and assisted him in compelling the Jews to get out. What all of them accomplished, together, was the creation of conditions from which the Jews fled. The whole set-up of organizing, of speeding up the emigration of persons from countries where they and their forefathers had lived for many generations, was a continuous chain of criminal acts. And yet we are still talking of the early stage, when the idea of physical extermination had not yet been conceived.

After Poland's defeat in the Second World War, the evil design followed a new line. Heydrich assembled the commanders of the Einsatzgruppen and other officers on 21 September 1939, and informed them that the plan now was to remove all the Jews from the areas inside Poland which had been annexed to the Reich, to uproot all the Jews from their places of residence, and to concentrate them in ghettos in preparation for the next stage of the solution. This solution was to set up, inside occupied Poland, such places from which it would be easy to transport the Jews. This Final Solution would in the meanwhile be kept in total secrecy. Hence, the plan was as follows: uprooting the Jewish population and moving them into the Generalgouvernement; shutting up the Jews in ghettos; setting up Councils of Elders which were to be in charge of each concentration of Jews, with each member of the Council being obliged, at the risk of his life, to carry out punctually the orders given; and to ready the Jews for the next stage.

Those persons present at the meeting, and those who would be concerned with executing this plan must, of necessity, have known that the implementation of Hitler's horrifying speech, which he delivered in the Reichstag as early as 30 January 1939, was now rapidly approaching: "In the coming war, the Jews of Europe will be exterminated."

Not in vain did Eichmann take the trouble to distance himself from participation in that meeting, although his name appears in the official record of the meeting, together with his title and rank. When interrogated on this point in the police investigation, he tried to be evasive, to make excuses and extricate himself. But at that time he did not possess the brazenness which he has attained here, to deny the authenticity of an official document, and to contend that it was a forgery. He told the police that no doubt could be entertained as to the fact of his participation - this was after he had been shown the list of participants - and he went on to say that obviously he had been made aware of the entire programme. His argument in Court - that meanwhile he had concluded from the documents that he had erred - is completely groundless. On what does he rely in order to prove that he had not taken part in that meeting? On the fact that Six had testified that Eichmann would not have participated in the regular consultations with Heads of Departments, and on the fact that Dr. Loewenherz saw him in Berlin in December 1939.

These are empty allegations which cannot stand the test of analysis. Firstly, the document speaks for itself; secondly, we know from the evidence of Benno Cohn, Meyer and Lindenstrauss that Eichmann was already dealing with the business of the Berlin emigration centre in March 1939; and on this aspect the witnesses were not even cross-examined and the Accused made no attempt to rebut their version. And thirdly, we did not gather from him who it was who would be interested in forging that document which had been kept under official custody, and for what reason it would have been necessary to make the forgery.

At this point I wish to make a comment relating to several documents which have been submitted by the Prosecution in this case.

Before doing so, perhaps it would be appropriate for me to submit to the Court a summary of the precedent on which we shall rely throughout the whole of the arguments. We have printed complete extracts from these precedents. We have presented a copy to Defence Counsel, in the language understood by him and, with the Court's permission, I now submit three copies.

Presiding Judge: Please do so. I shall mark this material with my initials.

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