The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

Dr. Grueber turned to him regarding Jewish matters, and Grueber's wife also came to him, Eichmann, in his office asking for mercy, that he should consent to release her husband from the concentration camp.

From the witness, Dr. Peretz, we heard how Endre and Baky in Budapest described him as the man who in practice gave the order for the entire extermination campaign in Hungary.

Several Nazi chiefs singled him out - and, I should like to stress, that it was him, and not Mueller, despite the fact that both of them disappeared, and both could have served as scapegoats, if indeed that alone had been the intention of these witnesses. As we heard in evidence from Justice Musmanno, Goering pointed to Eichmann as one of the five principle men responsible for the extermination, together with the names of Hitler, Bormann, Goebbels and Heydrich. Furthermore, Goering emphasized the role of Eichmann in determining the times and the selection of the countries in which the extermination would be carried out, from time to time.

This fact tallies absolutely with the proofs we submitted about his meetings with the experts on Jewish affairs, at which precisely such problems were discussed, at which the sequence of the countries and the priorities were determined. Goering's account to Musmanno is fully substantiated by a series of documents.

Kaltenbrunner pointed to him, Ribbentrop pointed to him. Hans Frank, the repentant as it were, at Nuremberg, told Justice Musmanno that Himmler had referred him to Eichmann on Jewish matters, and that he had gone to Eichmann, but had not achieved anything. General Koller told Justice Musmanno that Eichmann had insisted on the execution of Jewish pilots of the Allied armies who became prisoners of war. Schellenberg related to Musmanno that Eichmann had also been in charge of the actions of the Operations Units in everything concerning Jews, and that he had visited the place of execution.

Professor Gilbert, the psychologist of the American Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, heard the same facts to which Justice Musmanno testified. He, too, said that Goering mentioned Eichmann as one of the individuals chiefly responsible for implementing the extermination; that Pohl, of the Economic- Administrative Head Office, had connected the name of Eichmann with that of Kaltenbrunner, as being those responsible for the orders of extermination. The Court will recollect the evidence of Professor Gilbert to the effect that Rudolf Hoess had not been able at all to describe the murder of the Jews, either in writing or orally, without implicating Eichmann. He even wrote his autobiography at Nuremberg - already before the one he wrote in a Polish gaol, the one which was submitted to you - in which he described the role of the Accused. And when, at Goering's request, Hoess was asked to give a technical description in writing how it was possible to annihilate two and a half million persons in Auschwitz, Hoess, in a document one and a half pages long, already included Eichmann in his description.

Gilbert detailed the external circumstances in which Hoess wrote and delivered his account. This indicated that his state of mind was such that he had no inclination to minimize his own crimes, or to inculpate someone else, and it is evident that he was speaking the truth.

Vajna Gabor, the Hungarian Minister of the Interior in the days of Szalasi, declared that he had been informed by Himmler that Eichmann and Winkelmann were his representatives in Hungary. He also described with what impudence and aggressiveness Eichmann insisted on his powers, and demanded the handing over of the remnants of Hungarian Jewry.

Is there the slightest cause for thinking that all these men throughout the countries of Europe joined together in order to ascribe the guilt to an insignificant transportation official? We know from the evidence of Gustav Noske, the reporting officer of the Operations Units, that the reports of the murders were sent especially to Eichmann. The Wannsee Conference in which, incidentally, not a single representative of the concentration camps command, or of the Economic-Administrative Head Office took part, provides further substantial proof of the part played by Eichmann, and of his central role in the bloodshed. In the minutes it is clearly stated that the official in charge (Referent) of the Head Office for Reich Security and the Security Service will handle these matters in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry.

Who was that authorized representative of the Head Office for Reich Security upon whom the participants in the Wannsee Conference laid this duty? In his police interrogation Eichmann says: "I am that person." Heydrich in his letters from the same period and on the same subject puts it in these words: "Eichmann is my authorized representative in these matters." This was in the course of the implementation of the Wannsee Conference. And on another occasion he writes: "Eichmann is the authorized executive officer."

Eichmann's contention in court that he sat in on that conference completely confused, like an innocent babe, unobtrusively, in order to record the minutes, so as to wash his hands of it - can only evoke a smile. He himself wrote in his memoirs, that Guenther was also there to help in the recording of the minutes. Now he tries, of course, to remove Guenther from there, at all costs. But what did they discuss there? His future activities were discussed. In point of fact, it could not - in any way - have been otherwise.

In his interrogation, it will be recalled, after he wriggled his way amongst all the offices of the RSHA, he was forced to acknowledge that his Section alone centralized Jewish affairs in their entirety. It was only natural and understandable that the Head of the Jewish Section of the institution operating the extermination, should also be the one in overall charge of its practical aspect. It was for this reason that Eichmann was Heydrich's special representative for this special purpose - as Heydrich put it - and he continued to serve as the special representative of the Head of the RSHA, also in Kaltenbrunner's time, as he was described in various documents, including a cable from Kaltenbrunner himself - as appears in the Duesseldorf File.

Eichmann argues stubbornly time and again: there were others. And indeed there were, and I do not dispute that at all. Hundreds and thousands, minor and major figures, had some influence - some less, others more. There were the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice, Finance, Railways; there were other offices within the RSHA and within all the institutions of the Nazi state, all of which were linked together in this Satanic operation. This is not to be denied. And if Defence Counsel sought to stress and emphasize this, from my point of view he is bursting through an open door. The harvest of blood could not have been reaped without full collaboration. But this does not diminish in any way, Eichmann's central responsibility, or his overwhelming guilt.

Following the Wannsee Conference the Referent attended to matters in all their aspects. The whole of Europe was combed as had been decided, Jews were located, marked and isolated. Then began the treatment of sterilization, and in Poland there began an enormous campaign of extermination, directed from Berlin. The huge liquidation of ghettos had already begun, including the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto which numbered about half a million souls. Eichmann is aware that we are in possession of German Foreign Ministry documents covering the activities only in regard to foreign citizens, and he is also aware that tens of thousands of his files and documents, and the documents of the entire Gestapo, are not in our possession; he knows this because he burned them with his own hands. Consequently, he created a theory here as if in the area of the Generalgouvernement he had to deal with foreign citizens only.

Naturally, there is not a grain of truth in this, for a representative of the German Foreign Ministry was a member of Frank's Cabinet in the Generalgouvernement, and there was no necessity at all for the centralized handling by the Berlin Gestapo of foreign nationals in particular. But Eichmann wants to mitigate his responsibility as much as possible. Accordingly, he purports to explain away all the documents relating to the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto by this field of activity. But he was unable to explain, as he put it under cross- examination, what his connection was regarding the issue of death certificates in respect of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, which is mentioned in that same document. When he was questioned why he had to add his signature to matters dealing with the Warsaw Ghetto - he had no explanation. And when I asked him why he had written that circumstances necessitated the isolation of the inhabitants of that ghetto, he replied that he did not remember, and that evidently someone must have planned operations for uprooting the population. And when he was asked why he had written that he was about to issue further instructions on matters concerning the Warsaw Ghetto, he replied that the reference was not to him, but to Mueller.

As to why Section IVB4 gave instructions on the question of Jewish workers for the oil company in the Beskids mountains - that he could not remember; he had drawn up the letter as he had been ordered to do.

But all these are idle excuses. In actual fact Eichmann dealt with the Jews of the Generalgouvernement in exactly the same way in which he dealt with the Jews of occupied Europe, as had been decided at Wannsee. Perhaps he did not have to fight so much there. Later on I shall quote the Frank document, and I hope to prove that the Gestapo was in full control of this region, at least until the middle of 1943, over all Jewish affairs, and did not need Frank either. There they also had some good executants - Amon Goeth - who exterminated the Jews of Cracow and South-West Poland; Katzmann, who exterminated the Jewry of Lvov and South-West Poland; and above them all, his beloved friend Globocnik, in whose district the extermination camps were set up.

Eichmann says that he brought to Globocnik orders that had been dictated and drawn-up by himself (Eichmann) containing a retroactive authorization for putting to death 150,000 to 250,000 Jews every time. In this way, he wants us to believe that Globocnik, on his own initiative, exterminated about half or three-quarters of a million souls, and requested a post facto authorization for that action from Heydrich or Mueller. Obviously, this is not plausible. Eichmann did, in fact ensure that the necessary orders for extermination would be in Globocnik's possession, and - to the extent that Globocnik had exceeded the quota - it is possible that he also furnished him with the formal authorization retroactively.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, do we have any specific proof to the effect that he was involved in what was called the "Aktion Reinhardt"?

Attorney General: Specific, Your Honour? That is to say, about Eichmann and the Aktion Reinhardt?

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Attorney General: Direct proof - does Your Honour mean?

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Attorney General: No, there is none. But there is a construction which, in my opinion, stands the tests of logic and reality. The construction is the following: At the Wannsee Conference it was decided that the extermination operations in the Generalgouvernement would be conducted by the RSHA. And not only was it decided in this way, but - as I shall point out when I shall get to that subject - Frank's representative actually requested that the operations be carried out there.

Presiding Judge: That was Buehler, wasn't it?

Attorney General: Dr. Buehler.

Eichmann is the authorized Referent (Specialist Officer) - there is no denying that. He acknowledged as much to the police, Heydrich writes about it. Now he tells us the following story: "There, in the Generalgouvernement, it was conducted somehow above my head - there was some arrangement between Himmler and Krueger, and somehow they dispatched people - I did not even know about it."

If that were so, why did he attend to matters concerning foreign nationals, and why was his Section dealing with the Beskids matter; and why did Globocnik ask Heydrich, and not Krueger, for the orders relating to the destruction of the Jews, retroactively or otherwise? And why did Frank complain bitterly, as I shall quote from his diary, all the time: "I am not in charge here, at the Generalgouvernement; you are in charge of these matters from Berlin." And he specifically voices his complaints to Krueger and says: "The whole campaign is being directed from Berlin - I do not even have access to the extermination camps."

Presiding Judge: Did the extermination there commence already before the Wannsee Conference?

Attorney General: It began at Chelmno before the Wannsee Conference, and we have direct proof that he was connected with Chelmno, since there is the evidence of Rudolf Hoess who went to visit Chelmno, and Blobel showed him the installations at Chelmno by permission of Eichmann. This is what he says in evidence.

Judge Halevi: Chelmno was not in the Generalgouvernement.

Attorney General: No, Chelmno was in the Warthegau, but Chelmno was one of the extermination camps definitely associated with the extermination of Polish Jewry, although not with Aktion Reinhardt.

Presiding Judge: Mainly the Jews of Lodz?

Attorney General: Yes, which was also in the incorporated territory.

Judge Halevi: It was now part of the Reich.

Attorney General: Part of the Reich.

Judge Halevi: Auschwitz was also considered part of the Reich.

Attorney General: Yes.

In any event, it is quite possible to understand why Eichmann travelled to, and visited Treblinka or Majdanek. Today, he does not remember. We shall still come to that.

Presiding Judge: I was referring to the fact that in the environs of Lublin, too, the extermination began already before the Wannsee Conference.

Attorney General: No. It is true that Majdanek had begun already in 1941, but there they started with Soviet prisoners of war, and they passed on to large-scale extermination round about the time of the Wannsee Conference, and mainly thereafter.

The methods of erasing traces, and the burning of documents by the Gestapo, also did not help in completely obliterating Eichmann's role in the bloody operation in Poland. Eichmann's own evidence proves that Globocnik asked for authorization for his murderous operations from the Berlin headquarters, and thus his contention about the autonomous operation of the Generalgouvernement collapses.

And what does the evidence for the Defence say on this subject? The Defence presented the evidence of Karl Heinz Hoffmann. Hoffmann, as a member of the RSHA, testifies that Eichmann was the specialist of the Head Office for Reich Security for all Jewish affairs, that he had special representatives stationed with all the Commanders of the Security police, and that the dispatch of the Jews and their deportation were all handled by him.

The evidence of Mildner goes very much further. His declaration was also submitted by the Defence. We were unable to submit it since, in the light of its contents, we knew that the Court would undoubtedly insist on providing an opportunity for cross-examination and, in the absence of reliable information as to his whereabouts and his address (according to our surmise he is in the Argentine), we were not able to submit the document. Apparently, Counsel for the Defence accepts Mildner's testimony without further enquiry, since he submitted the document.

What does the declaration say? That Eichmann was the Referent of Himmler and of the Chief of the Security Police and of the Head of Department IV on all Jewish questions, that he was Himmler's representative in all matters pertaining to deportations to the camps and the evacuations in the various countries; that he was the liaison with all the senior officers of the SS and the Police in Jewish affairs. The declarant is that same Mildner to whom Eichmann refers in his statement, on page 1757: "We were very close friends."

This evidence links up with the documents we know, such as the directive which he gave to the senior commander of the Police and the SS in Agram, with an order to those officers to arrest Jews of Argentinian nationality.

Presiding Judge: The time has arrived for a recess. What do you have to say regarding the order of proceedings?

Attorney General: If the Court will give me another quarter of an hour I shall come to a convenient point for stopping. If the Court prefers, I can break off now.

Presiding Judge: We prefer to break off at this junction.

Attorney General: As the Court pleases. Of course, I am in the middle of an analysis of the defence evidence on his part in the conspiracy.

Presiding Judge: That is not so serious - we shall be able to take up the strands of the conspiracy this afternoon.

We shall adjourn now. The next Session will be at 3.30 this afternoon.

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