The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 111
(Part 3 of 5)

"Since December 1, many trains have been reaching the area of the Generalgouvernement every day, containing Poles and Jews from the districts recently annexed to the Reich. A final central plan was laid down from Berlin, so that district heads would be able to act in accordance therewith, and to operate over a long period."
And further on:
"According to Section `A' of the `long-range plan,' six hundred thousand Jews must first be brought from the Eastern regions of the Reich to the Generalgouvernement; out of these six hundred thousand, forty thousand must be received immediately. The Commander of the Security Police, to whom the technical implementation of this assignment was entrusted, has already been in touch with the districts involved in the plan. There is lack of clarity on the question of the Jewish Councils, as to to whom these Jewish Councils were subordinate. Complaints are received repeatedly from the officials in charge of the districts, about the fact that no information at all is given to them about police operations which were about to take place in the future. In principle, the handling of the resources of the Jewish labour forces belongs to the police."
In the middle of 1940 Frank announces, at a meeting of his government:
"...The Fuehrer has also ordered that no more Jews will be sent to the Generalgouvernement. On the contrary, the Jews residing in the Generalgouvernement will also be treated like all others, in an identical manner, by means of a special programme, so that the Generalgouvernement, too, will be free of Jews in the not-too-distant future... SS Obergruppenfuehrer Krueger advises that the matter of deporting all the Jews living in the Generalgouvernement is now being worked out. Memoranda have already been prepared as to how the overseas operation is to be carried out... The Generalgouvernement is negotiating solely with the Head Office for Reich Security on the problems of uprooting the residents..."
And on the eve of the Wannsee Conference Frank states, at a meeting of his government:
"...In connection with the methods of operation against the Jews, we are acting within the overall framework of the Reich...they must get out. I have begun negotiating in order to remove them to the East. On this question, a conference will take place in January, in Berlin, and I am sending State Secretary Dr. Buehler to attend... At any rate, a major migration of Jews is about to begin..."
And, after Wannsee, what does he say?
"...As State Secretary Dr. Buehler, advises, according to the latest information there is a plan to dismantle the Jewish ghettos, to retain the Jews who are capable of working, and to send the remainder off to the East. The Jews who are fit for work will be accommodated in a number of large concentration camps, which are situated in the production center... An additional proposal coming from the Reich is to organize, in the large towns, round-ups of residents found in the streets."
State Secretary Krueger points to the fact that the Jewish campaign has been prepared in all its details by the police, and its implementation is simply a question of transportation.

And what was to happen to the Jews while the police were still in charge of the area of the Generalgouvernement? We have heard about this from other witnesses who described only a minute part of the terrible suffering.

Presiding Judge: One further question, Mr. Hausner. Defence Counsel maintains, or he certainly will maintain, that there was no command link between the Accused and the police in the area of the Generalgouvernement - that is to say, that the chain of command went directly from Heydrich to Krueger, and through Krueger to Globocnik and the other commanders. What do you say to that?

Attorney General: We say: The formal aspect is not the decisive one from the criminal point of view. I assume that when Dannecker sat in Paris he was, in a formal sense, responsible to Knochen or other authorities, and so it was with Zoepf in Holland and Wisliceny in Greece, and with Eichmann himself, to Winkelmann in Budapest; he was obliged to report to him and to receive permission from him to leave the place, and so on. But that was not the decisive point - the decisive point is the overall and practical planning. It is not important whether he was able to give orders, or if he could pass on directives and instructions.

It is true that we have fewer traces of his operations in Poland, as far as the evidence is concerned, than we have in the West - that is true. But these traces are sufficient since, first of all, he stood at the centre of the entire operation; for it was decided at the Wannsee Conference, with the approval of all those present, that the Head Office for Reich Security - in other words, Eichmann - would be the one to carry out the Final Solution everywhere. We see him dealing with foreign nationals, we see him dealing with the affairs of the Warsaw Ghetto, we see the letter concerning Jews in the Beskids Company, and all those are tracks which lead to him. And now, what does he say? "I did not deal with the Generalgouvernement."

Thus, if his words had been marked by the seal of truth throughout his evidence, possibly the Court would have to give him the benefit of the doubt. But since it is impossible to accept his version generally, since we have already ascertained that he has not told the truth - and I shall still attempt to prove this to the Court in other important particulars - there is no special reason to believe that precisely the Generalgouvernement, of all regions, was excluded from the totality of the Final Solution, when Frank repeatedly says, time and again, that all the instructions and references, at least until 1943, came from the Berlin centre. And the Berlin centre for the solution of the Jewish Question was Eichmann. That is the first point. And from the viewpoint of his liability as a conspirator - that certainly brings him into every single place from the moment he agreed to be a partner in the practical implementation of the Final Solution.

The mode of operation in the Generalgouvernement, with all its particular cruelties and brutalities which were revealed in all their starkness, without even a covering fig-leaf, without the necessity of any restraint, also bears resemblance, nonetheless, to the system in the West. About this, we know that he supplied the guidance, he showed the way and he gave direction. And now let us analyse some portions of the evidence.

The witness Lichtman described the system of rounding-up:

"Suddenly, one day in the morning they closed off the Jewish quarter. There were streets where mostly Jews lived. And German soldiers and officers burst brutally into every house. They were shouting at the men to get out of the rooms, they threw everything out of the cupboards, destroyed everything and beat people up... Many people were shot... many killed."
Further on she describes the establishment of the Jewish Councils, the mass deportation to concentration centres, and goes on to depict what happened at Mielec.
"They gathered Jewish men, mainly older men, from their homes. They drove them all together into the great synagogue of Mielec, and there almost all the Jews were slaughtered and shot, and those who jumped out of the windows were shot outside... Before dawn, military units, black-clad and green-clad, surrounded us and chased us out of our homes and made us stand in the market-place. Those people unable to run outside at once, those who were sick, were shot on the spot or in bed. Then they lined us up, all those who remained in the market-place. After that they selected young men - they put them on one side, and women and children and parents they put in a line, on both sides went soldiers with ropes, and the Jews stood in the middle."
These were members of the SS, the SD and the SA, she said.

The witness Pachter spoke about the carrying out of mass expulsions:

"...When we reached the top we were surrounded by guards so closely that I have seen the like of it only at the war front. After they had us rounded up, they told us to stand in a semi-circle... They told us that we were going on a march and that we had to hand over everything in our possession: coins, gold, silver, watches, and they left us with twenty zloty... They gave an order not to speak, not to look around and not to be in contact with one another. Anyone violating the order would be shot. They gave the order to march forward. We began walking... A young girl managed to run after the column and to shout all the time until we reached that village: Daddy, Mummy! Near Holotoshins the girl was removed. We didn't know what happened to her - we only heard a shot... From time to time anyone who became tired and stopped, anyone who paused to arrange his clothes, was told to leave the line, and thereafter we heard, behind us, the sound of a shot... And so we marched... Our legs sank because this was the season of the heaviest rains.

This was in the month of December... When we had already sat or lain down on the ground, they came to argue with us and to tell us that we were responsible for the war... They took all our religious officials...and a number of other bearded men... From time to time we heard that they had also taken men from other groups. We estimated that on that evening about two hundred men were taken. We did not see what happened to these people, but there still remained a hope in our hearts that, perhaps, this was not a death march.

"The next morning they again formed us into ranks, but in each row there were only three men..."

Noah Zabludowicz told us about the order to wear the Jewish badge, and the punishment for not wearing the badge was death. The Court will recall that under cross-examination the Accused admitted that the idea of the Jewish badge was worked out and conveyed by his Section to all regions of the German occupation (Session 97, Vol. IV, pp. xxxx). The instructions were given in the form of an order, they were issued from his Department, they were signed by Heydrich and were intended for all the areas of occupation. We shall submit, in writing, a list of these instructions concerning the wearing of the Yellow Badge. From the witnesses giving evidence on the Holocaust in Hungary, we heard that literally heaps of cloth were brought to his office there, from which the badge was cut out.

Zabludowicz also testified about the concentration of Jews in Ciechanow. Whoever was found outside the restricted area - was shot. It was made obligatory for the Jews to work. Whoever avoided this obligation - was liable to the death penalty. This was in the territory of the Reich - not in the Generalgouvernement.

This was the method, this was the formula operating according to one centralizing source. In this manner Heydrich's instructions of 21 December 1939, were carried out. He gave orders at the time that the most stringent measures were to be adopted, and that any sentence against Jews which was not a capital sentence had to be brought specifically to his attention.

The same picture which Zabludowicz presented was depicted by Judge Beisky about Cracow. The same picture was depicted of recurring horrors, the oppression, the degradation and, in the end, the labour camp at Plaszow, one of the creations of the SS. Here, merely for the sake of reference, is one passage:

"A group that appeared with food in its possession...a particular group of the Abladekommando, a unit which was in charge of the offloading of goods from the railway station - they found food in its possession. Then the camp commander, Untersturmfuehrer Amon Goeth, came up and asked whose food it was. When no one answered, he took a young man whose name was Nachmansohn... and shot him. On the same occasion he shot another man, Disler. And then someone had a brilliant idea and said that they had brought the food.... Then everyone received one hundred lashes. One of the men...named Mandel...remained lying there until the group was taken to the parade ground, and there everyone received his "deserts." He himself had to count the blows, and if he made an error in the counting, he had to go back to the beginning... There was an instance with that group where one of the older men was beaten and cried out a great deal, and after that had to go to the camp commander and to inform him that he had received his punishment, and he thanked him for it. When he turned around, he shot him, and he, too, was killed."
After that came the liquidation of the Cracow Ghetto in March 1943. Of the 600,000 people who had been in it, between eight and ten thousand who had remained alive were brought to Plaszow.

The Court will remember that the Accused was questioned on the subject of the liquidation of the ghettos. In his Statement to the police, after he had spoken of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto, Eichmann was asked what the rule was concerning other ghettos when these were closed down and their inmates transferred to concentration camps. To this he replied in the same examination (on page 3116):

"This was something which was done on the basis of the expulsion order issued by the Reichsfuehrer-SS. It had to go through me; at that time it had to go through IVB4."
Hence he acknowledged in his examination the liquidation of the ghettos, and evidently he had good grounds for doing so. His argument in Court that he was confused at the police interview when he made these remarks is thus refuted, and it is without foundation.

Zivia Lubetkin told the Court of the restrictive laws which rained down on the Jews of Warsaw, of the prohibitory decrees issued day after day, of the special "actions" against the Jewish intelligentsia and the leadership, of the enormous round-ups by the Schutzpolizei and the SS, and of the so-called transfer to the East (Aussiedlung nach dem Osten).

Rachel Auerbuch described the spiritual destruction which preceded the physical destruction, the deliberate degradation and oppression which were designed to prove that the Jews did not deserve to live. Dr. Berman gave evidence of the violence to Jewish children, of the special wickedness towards the Jewish child, against whom the efforts at annihilation were directed especially. There were, in Warsaw, whence they were transferred for extermination - one hundred thousand Jewish children. We heard the same accounts from Przemysl, about the baby whom his Nazi murderer tore apart like a rag, and about the dying mother crawling towards him, her blood intermingling with its blood, and thus the two of them died. We heard about the eighty lashes which a Jewish lad was given there, when fifty were enough to kill. This lad is alive today - he is an officer in the Israeli police; his name is Michael Goldmann, and during the investigations by Bureau 06 he prepared the files on Poland and Soviet Russia.

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