The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 111
(Part 1 of 5)

Session No. 111

26 Av 5721 (8 August 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the one hundred and eleventh Session of the trial open. Mr. Attorney General, pray continue with your summing up.

Attorney General: May it please the Court, I was dealing with that chapter of factual evidence relating to criminal conspiracy, in which I was analysing the Defence evidence on this subject. The Dutch (lady) advocate van Taalingen-Dols as a Defence witness, describes Eichmann as Himmler's representative, as the person in charge of Jewish affairs in Europe. She made a note of this in her diary after a visit to the Head Office for Reich Security, accompanied by one of the emissaries of the office in Holland, who congratulated her on her success in securing an interview with his deputy, Guenther, when she was occupied with the release of Professor Meyers.

In this connection it is worth while mentioning two incidents which Eichmann maintains simply occurred one after the other, but, in their context, the documents that were written before and the occurrences that happened afterwards, it would appear that one took place as a result of the other.

In October 1941, Eichmann reported to Himmler at his headquarters in Kiev. He says that there he gave him data about Jewish emigration. On the 23rd of that month, Himmler gave orders to halt all Jewish emigration from the entire area under Reich control. Thereafter, the handling of every individual request, of every case of emigration, was brought to the attention of Eichmann and of his Section. In order to strengthen the argument that Himmler himself had to give the authority in every case of that kind, the statement and the diary of the Dutch advocate were quoted. But if we look at the treatment which preceded her handling of the matter, namely the exchange of correspondence in 1942 on this matter, in the matter of Professor Meyers, before Mrs. van Taalingen-Dols entered the scene in order to help Professor Meyers, with the backing of Dutch public figures, we shall see that Eichmann rejected the request of Professor Meyers as a Jewish intellectual, and refused to permit him to emigrate.

And what happened when she intervened? Guenther promised that Professor Meyers would be transferred to Theresienstadt, and not to any other place. In other words, Section IVB4 was authorized to make this promise and to take this decision without reference to Himmler; that is to say - the fate of the individual Jew, whether he was to be sent to Theresienstadt or to the East, whether to the propaganda camp or to certain death, lay with IVB4. And Mrs. van Taalingen-Dols goes on to say that she was satisfied with Guenther's promise and decided to cancel her approach to Himmler, since she was afraid that, by doing so, she might jeopardize even the slight result she had achieved by way of the promise and the handshake which Guenther had given her on the matter.

Further Defence evidence was the affidavit of SS Judge Morgen who, according to his statement, issued a warrant for arrest against Eichmann, when he came to know of the extent of his crimes, although the arrest warrant was quickly cancelled on the intervention of Kaltenbrunner and Mueller, who explained to Morgen that Eichmann was engaged in executing a special mission on behalf of the Fuehrer. I know that Morgen's evidence was not accepted by the judges at Nuremberg as reliable in all its aspects. But precisely those portions of his evidence which did not serve to mitigate the guilt of the criminal organization for the defence of which he appeared as a witness, but on the contrary served to aggravate it and to indicate the principal instruments for perpetrating the crime - there is no reason for not believing them.

And as for Defence witness Six - what does he say? The status of Eichmann was sui generis. He concentrated all Jewish affairs in his hands. He had broader powers than the other Heads of Sections. Mueller was chiefly interested in matters of internal policy and allowed Eichmann freedom of action in Jewish affairs. And Eichmann acted in accordance with the most extreme National Socialist concepts.

Thus everyone described him and regarded him as the representative of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD in Jewish matters. This is what a member of the German Foreign Ministry wrote about him, when he discussed with him the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto. And when Eichmann was questioned as to what he had to say about that, he replied under cross-examination: "That was an error committed by many persons." He was also described in this way in the minutes of the meeting at which the destruction of the Lodz Ghetto was discussed. Once again Eichmann says: "That was a mistake."

In an official document of the German Foreign Ministry he is described as the SS Directorate for Jewish Affairs, "Reichsfuehrung-SS - Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann." In the eyes of the authorities in Denmark he is the Head Office for Security. This is how they designate him, when they write: "RSHA - SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann promised to implement the suggestion as follows ..." And when it was necessary to inform Ribbentrop as to what attitude he should adopt concerning Jewish affairs in the Italian area of occupation, von Hahn of the German Foreign Ministry wrote to him directly in the following terms: "Dear Comrade Eichmann" (Lieber Parteigenosse Eichmann), and the dear comrade arranges at once for giving the notices and making the demands intended directly for the use of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs.

So much for the general description of the role of Eichmann in the criminal conspiracy to annihilate the Jewish People. The documents, the oral evidence and even the evidence of the Defence, all point to that. Here, too, he did not operate alone. Here, too, he was aided by instruments, by tools, by services and by people, but he is at the centre of the scene.

Although the description of the execution of the criminal conspiracy was on a different level, nevertheless the manner in which the events were contrived and took place emerges from his own words in his Statement to the police. When addressing himself to that meeting on 10 October 1941, where it was decided to establish Theresienstadt, and to dispatch tens of thousands of Jews of the Reich to the bloodbath by the Einsatzgruppen, this is what he said:

"Here everyone played his part as he was required to do by Heydrich. Heydrich made his statement, and each of the participants filled in with his own aspects. And in this way this matter developed by way of an all round operation" (T/37, p. 3434).
Here is a description in his own words of the conpiracy by the plotters and the schemers.

In conclusion - a number of observations. The Court will recollect the prolonged examination about the document on the margin of which there was a note in Rademacher's handwriting about the Jews of Serbia: "Eichmann proposes killing them by shooting." The Accused contends that this is a forgery, since Rademacher wrote those words in order to provide cover for some unauthorized action which he himself carried out. If we were to try to believe him for a moment, this means that it would have been sufficient to mention Eichmann's name in the German Foreign Ministry documents, in order that the murder of Jews would receive sufficient cover to satisfy everyone connected with the affair. The excuse is self-defeating for the Accused, no less than the truth itself. For if we were to believe him, and not Rademacher, we also have to believe that his status was so important, so unchallengeable, and his resolve so final, that Rademacher could make use of the mere mention of his name in order that an illegal act committed by him would no longer give rise to queries and problems.

Our version is different. We prefer to believe that it was indeed Eichmann who proposed as recorded and as Rademacher testified. After that, Rademacher and Suhr proceeded on their way, and the bloodbath took place. We thus have before us the chief of operations for the extermination. Of course, he had above him a chief of staff, a minister, and the head of the entire state. He was subject to their general instructions and directions. The signal to start the operation came from above, and once it was given, the demon of destruction took the execution into his hands and proceeded without fail.

Eichmann's status and controlling powers as chief of operations in this undertaking, and his competence to issue binding orders is explained in another passage from the Sassen Document which was read out to the Court. It says in that extract, that he had the right to give orders to all offices of the Gestapo and to advisers on Jewish affairs in all foreign countries - to all those who dealt with the Final Solution and each of the stages of rounding-up and deportation. And when he was questioned he demurred and said in his cross-examination that he only had authority to issue instructions, not to give orders ("nicht Befehle"), since the officials were members of the Gestapo and not of the army, and officials are given instructions, while members of the army receive orders.

Let it be so. I accept this distinction of Eichmann's. He merely gave instructions to officials of the Gestapo. But it was his instructions which were binding on this powerful administration to perform the work which he headed and co- ordinated, and the execution of which he planned in all its details, the work of dispatching people to their death.

This extract from Sassen's account and the remaining passages which I submitted, bearing his corrections, were not disowned by the Accused. He acknowledges that the main tenor of the statement is accurate - possibly this is not the way he put it, possibly these were not his actual words, but the content is correct. This is what he had to say about this passage - this is what he had to say about other passages. Hence the content of these passages, which he confirmed, becomes evidence, not by virtue of the Sassen Document but by virtue of his admission here in the witness box. And when he confirmed the accuracy of the contents in the main, he confessed from his own mouth to his central role in the enterprise of annihilation and extermination.

In consequence of Eichmann's central role in the great criminal conspiracy, from the outbreak of the Second World War, and even before that, he bears criminal responsibility for the acts of the murderers, the torturers and the cruel oppressors, who carried into effect this vile business in all its manifestations. He was at the centre of the criminal conspiracy for implementing Hitler's orders. And if Defence Counsel should argue: "How can an Obersturmbannfuehrer join in a criminal conspiracy with officers senior to him in rank, with Heydrich, with Kaltenbrunner, with Himmler?" - the answer is that when the order is an illegal one, there are no distinctions of rank and no importance attaches to rank, but there is a gang of murderers who joined together in order to carry out a criminal deed.

And the second answer is that, at the stage when the plan is being put into effect, Eichmann stands at the centre of the conspiracy, and therefore he bears criminal responsibility for the results of this conspiracy in all its stages and in all its manifestations, up to the last of the gunmen of the Einsatzgruppen in Nikolayev and in Smolensk, and wherever else. He is responsible for the actions of the Operations Units, to whom he sent "only" fifty thousand Jews; he is responsible, in consequence of the evil design, for everything that happened to the Jewish People, from the shores of the Arctic Ocean to the Aegean Sea, from the Pyrenees to the Urals; but his criminal responsibility for the oppression, the persecutions, the starvation, the pillage and the murder flows from a legal principle, very close to that of criminal conspiracy, and that is the principle of partnership in the commission of an offence.

Partnership in crime has several aspects - as the matter is defined in Section 23 of our Criminal Law Ordinance, which is based in this respect on the principles of the Common Law in the Anglo-Saxon world. A person can become a partner in crime by procuring, counselling or ordering another to commit an offence; a person can become a partner to a crime by performing an act which enables, assists or facilitates the offence; a person can become a partner to a crime by knowing in advance that a crime is about to be committed and by giving assistance beforehand or at the time of commission, or even after the event, by camouflaging or covering up the tracks.

Let us take, as an example, the orders which he brought to Globocnik, and let us even go along with his version and his way of pleading. If Globocnik can rely on Eichmann providing him, after the event, with sufficient cover for exterminating a quarter of a million Jews each time, then Eichmann becomes a partner by actively assisting and counselling the whole of Globocnik's action. Globocnik will be able to bring about "Operation Reinhardt," knowing that Eichmann will give him the necessary cover from Berlin - and not once, but three times.

Here, too, in matters concerning partnership in crime as in the rules of criminal conspiracy, it will be necessary to rely on the legal principles which were discussed in the trials of persons who have become accessories to murder, to robbery, or in a single cycle of criminal acts. But, as I have already mentioned, the validity of the legal principle for the purpose of establishing criminal liability applies in the same measure to the big criminal who deals with millions of persons, and to the offender whom we know from the ordinary criminal court, who is charged with one crime only. In the Arousi judgment* {*Judgments of the Israeli Supreme Court (in Hebrew), Vol. 9, p. 576, 582} it says (on page 11 of our booklet): "Whoever induces another to go to another place, knowing that he will be murdered there for the sake of robbery, is a partner and accessory to the act of murder, even if his own action was limited merely to that of inducement or enticement."

According to the precedent of the Menkes case,* {*Judgments of the Israel Supreme Court, Vol. 12, p. 1905, 1915} assistance after the fact to a murderer, which takes the form of transporting the murderer from the place of the crime, in accordance with a plan that was drawn up in advance between the murderer and the person providing the transportation, converts the transporter into a partner to the crime of murder. This is what the Supreme Court said (page 12 of this booklet):

"And even if we assume that it had been agreed between the partners that Shemer's active role would be only to convey Eckstein from the scene of the crime, this act must not be regarded as an act of complicity after the fact only, but this act would perhaps fall within the definition of Section 26, had the plan not been made in advance between the person who actually committed the crime and the one who transported him from the scene. We have accordingly dismissed Shemer's appeal."
That is to say, a transport official who arranges timetables for transports and trains knowing that the journey is towards death - he, too, actively assists in the performance of the murder.

All the more then, anyone who is engaged in organizing trains, who makes the arrangements for rounding-up, who performs all the acts without which the victims could not have reached the fields of slaughter, and even a person who supplies the information which is required by criminals in order to commit their crime, as, for example, a person who guides robbers with information he has acquired about the victim, about the best ways of carrying out a criminal act against life or property - he, too, is an active collaborator. This is the crime of the person having practical experience or, to call the Accused as he was called by his superiors, "ein erfahrener Praktiker." This is what was laid down in the judgment in the Weiss case* {*Judgments of the Israel Supreme Court, Vol. 14, p. 1664, 1665} on the same page:

"The appellant was a partner to the criminal plan in that, before the attempt at robbery was carried out, he met the other three plotters, passed on to them his knowledge concerning the habits of the bank officials in connection with conveying monies there, and agreed with them to divide the spoils after the robbery had been carried out.... In our opinion the aforementioned confession of the appellant suffices to justify the prosecution's view that he fulfilled the role of a partner before the act in regard to the attempt at robbery...."
A person acting within a military framework who receives orders from above to kill others, and who passes on the orders in the chain of command to others - he, too, is guilty in counselling the commission of the crime, that is to say as an accomplice who is liable to punishment exactly as the principal offender, even if he was sitting at home when those who received the instructions were performing the acts of bloodshed.

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