The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 112
(Part 2 of 6)

Finally, as appears from the instructions of the Economic- Administrative Head Office, the transfer of the Political Department of the Head Office for Reich Security to the Concentration Camps Department, did not detract from the full authority of the Head Office for Reich Security to continue with the control of matters concerned with deporting detainees, or releasing them from concentration camps. On the other hand, the standing instructions for running those concentration camps, which came from the Economic-Administrative Head Office, include a clear-cut directive about the Jews. The detailed directives show that there were two types of Jews: "Transport Jews" (Transport- Juden), where it says specifically that they were being sent to IVB4a, a sub-unit in Eichmann's office, and Jews under "orders of protective dentention" (Schutzhaftbefehl-Juden) who were marked IVC2.

Those were the Jews - as we know from the testimony of Raya Kagan in Session No. 70 (Vol. III) herself a person who was held at Auschwitz and kept in that same accursed division - who were arrested because of transgressions against curfew regulations, for talking on public telephones during forbidden hours, or for any other offences for which they were punished by immediate transfer to a concentration camp.

The Economic-Administrative Head Office asked, in its permanent directives, that these cases be reported to it in red ink, that is to say they must be especially marked. They were criminal prisoners, as we heard from Raya Kagan, according to the interesting Nazi conception; those, in fact, enjoyed better treatment than the "Transport Jews," and generally those who came as criminal prisoners were not at all subject to selections. The gas chambers were designed, first and foremost, for the Transport-Juden. And Rudolf Hoess, what does he say? T/90, p. 12, in the printed version: "The Transport-Juden - that was the marking for all Jews sent to the Auschwitz camp by the office of Eichmann, IVB4 of the Head Office for Reich Security. The bills of lading bore the following remark: 'The transport is in accordance with the permanent directives and must be transferred for special treatment'" - that is to say, death.

Eichmann himself made a slip of the tongue once, in the interrogation...

Presiding Judge: Do we have any document containing exactly this wording by Hoess?

Attorney General: Yes, T/90, printed page No. 12.

Presiding Judge: I am not referring to that. Hoess gave here a version about a transport destined for extermination. We have two letters from France...

Attorney General: Yes, we have two forms, but that is not precisely the same thing. These are personal forms of certain Jews which were filled out - as Raya Kagan tells us - inside Auschwitz itself, and there is a part which the prisoners themselves filled out, the upper part, which contains the personal data taken from the prisoner himself, as Raya Kagan has told us, whereas the lower part contains, among other things, the notation of the dispatching unit, and that was usually filled out by the Germans, the SS men in that same office. Hoess speaks of the instruction which came with the entire transport, not with reference to this particular Jew or that one. These kinds of instructions are not in our possession.

Presiding Judge: We have two letters signed by Roethke from France and the Duesseldorf Documents. My question was: Which of these documents contains this text which Hoess describes? It says there that this particular transport left from the Duesseldorf railway station...

Attorney General: Your Honour, I do not remember, let me check this again. My colleagues tell me that they do not remember this either. We shall check these matters again. In any event, Sir, I do not think that on this point there is any reason not to believe Hoess. I understand that the Court is asking me for support for Hoess' statements, but I am saying that there is no reason - towards the end of my speech I shall speak about the evaluation of the various testimonies - certainly on those points where one of the war criminals wants to disclaim guilt, it is most desirable to seek corroboration for his statements, especially if he wants to shift responsibility for what is directly attributed to him onto another person, then one must really see whether his statements stand up in the context of the entire set of proofs.

I shall talk about this, but here it is not important if Hoess had said: The instruction came from the Economic-Administrative Head Office, or whether he had said it had come from Mueller or from Kaltenbrunner, or from anybody else. Why from Eichmann of all people?

And there is a negative fact, too: There is not a single proof which points to the contrary; there is not a single testimony except for the words of the Accused himself who stands alone in this matter, without any support or corroboration that anyone else had given the instruction. I do not know what weight is to be given before this Court to the reasons which induced the Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to acquit Pohl of the direct responsibility for killing, and of course, we cannot base ourselves on this conclusion, because that was a different court, and the evidence was as submitted to it, and we do not know what the prosecution proved and what it could have proved then, but still the fact remains: Pohl was sentenced to death for having administered concentration camps and was executed; but of the charge of having given direct orders for homicide he was acquitted. Eichmann himself made a slip of the tongue once and related that when he wanted to do a favour to his Jewish acquaintance, Storfer, he travelled especially to Auschwitz, and when he saw Storfer in his desperate situation, he made an entry in the Auschwitz books which secured for Storfer employment in cleaning the gravel paths in the camp. The Court will remember that I examined him on this matter; this was in Session 99 (Vol. IV. pp. xxxx-xxxx), and when he realized the danger threatening him from the conclusion that he had the authority to give orders about what was going on inside Auschwitz, he said that he had received permission from Mueller to intercede on behalf of Storfer. And when he was asked where Mueller got the authority to intervene - since, according to Eichmann's version, the Head Office for Reich Security had no authority over the concentration camps - he added that Mueller had to obtain the agreement of Gluecks for this, the person who was the Superintendent of Concentration Camps. Well, Eichmann wants us to believe that he is travelling specially to Auschwitz in order to ease the fate of a Jew, and that for this purpose he has to be present there personally, and he troubles the head of the Gestapo, and the head of the Gestapo turns to the Superintendent of Concentration Camps, so that Storfer does not have to perform back-breaking labour at Auschwitz but be allowed to clean gravel paths. Why, matters are brought ad absurdum, to the point of ridicule, when one wants to excuse through lies that which cannot be excused, that is, what he had stated explicitly - his clear and express authority to give orders about the fate and employment of the "Transport Jews." If he had the authority to give instructions that a particular prisoner should perform lighter work, he certainly had the authority to give instructions in general, because otherwise, what business was it of Eichmann's to make entries in the personal documents of the detainees in the camp? If we believe his version, then Hoess should have received an order from Gluecks to let Eichmann come and have Eichmann make the entry, and Hoess had to act accordingly concerning Storfer. Your Honours, there were scores of thousands of people there. This was a vast factory. According to the Polish Report, there were thirty-nine satellite camps around Auschwitz. Their absorptive capacity exceeded one hundred thousand persons. And he wants us to believe him, that in the matter of a single Jew - and soon I shall speak about the eventual fate of this Jew - that this was the procedure for dealing with the matter?

What was Storfer's eventual fate, we learn from Eichmann himself. He says that Guenther caused him to be executed at Auschwitz, together with Eppstein and Edelstein. And again the question must be asked: Does Guenther, the deputy head of the Department, who has no more authority than the head - to say the least - is he authorized to order an execution?

If so, then Eichmann himself also had the same authority. And when I asked him, he said: Yes, true, most probably he received authority for this from Mueller. And where did Mueller get this authority? There is no answer to that.

Kasztner writes in his report, the report of the Rescue Committee, T/1113, page 47: "Eichmann told me: 'If Brand does not return within three days, I am going to set the Auschwitz mill in operation'." And Hansi Brand stated here, Session 58 (Vol. III, p. xxxx): "Eichmann told me: `Telegraph your husband that, if he is not back within three days, I am going to start the mill at Auschwitz'." Thus we have it from his own mouth that he himself is able to order the death-mill to be put into operation.

We have submitted to the Court the Romanian publication about the meetings which took place in Berlin on 26 and 28 September 1942, with regard to the deportation of the Jews of the Generalgouvernement to the camps. This document is signed by Klemm of the German railway administration. The reference is to the evacuation of six hundred thousand Jews, and to arrangements for the transports to Treblinka, to Belzec, to Sobibor. When Eichmann was examined about this document, from page 3544 on, T/37, he disclaimed all responsibility: "Not I," he stated. But in the end, when he was asked again and again, well, you see, after all it says here that this meeting was called on the demand of the Head Office for Reich Security, then he says: "True, I see, perhaps really Novak attended this." And when I asked him here: "Why did you say Novak? You claim in general that you did not deal with the Generalgouvernement, that you had nothing to do with this matter," he says: "I wanted to reconstruct all possible possibilities, I wanted to speak of all kinds of possibilities and combinations," as though he was solving some kind of a puzzle here, into the squares of which one has to insert this or that possibility, so that it fits the other words in the puzzle. If Eichmann knew that he had no standing in the Generalgouvernement, he would not have said that possibly his Novak, his railway man, did indeed attend that meeting.

Presiding Judge: Well, actually, the reference there was also to transports from Romania. This might be an explanation for the presence of Novak, according to the version of the Accused.

Attorney General: True, but he does not say that. If he had said that because this is a matter concerning Romania, and "because I wanted to get the Jews out of Romania and my man Richter, who was posted in Bucharest and was negotiating with Antonescu, and the Romanian representatives were invited to that meeting, therefore I sent Novak to take part" - well, in that case, I would not have thought that the excuse was correct, but I could not have said anything against it. But he does not justify the matter in this way. What he says is this:

"I discussed theoretical possibilities, since the meeting was in Berlin, apparently, and not in the Generalgouvernement, although it pertained in the main to the camps within the Generalgouvernement, and since it was convened at the demand of the Head Office for Reich Security, it is possible that my man, who attended all meetings in matters pertaining to the railway administration, went to this meeting as well."
This "possibly" becomes a weapon against him, Your Honours. If it is possible that his man attended that particular meeting, then it is also possible - and we have it from his own mouth - that he had a hand in all matters of the Generalgouvernement. And what does he say to Joel Brand when he presents himself to Eichmann for the first time? "You know who I am, I am in charge of the operation in Europe, in Poland and Czechoslovakia, and now it is the turn of Hungary." This came out here, explicitly from the mouth of Eichmann, since, generally speaking, Brand spoke the whole truth. Later on I shall come to an analysis of these remarks, but, generally speaking, Eichmann confirmed this and had no reservations at all about what Joel Brand says that he heard from him, from Eichmann: "I am the man who carried out the operation in Poland."

In his police interrogation he said that Mueller had sent him to the ghettos of Warsaw and Lodz to report. Rudolf Hoess says that Eichmann was the one who brought him the instruction to extract the gold teeth from the mouths of the victims and to cut off the hair of the women marked for the gas chamber or for labour. He admits that his first visit to the headquarters of Globocnik was made in order to inspect the preparations made in those Russian trenches, in order to start the Final Solution. T/248 is the report from which we learn expressly that Eichmann reported, together with Horn abut the liquidation of OSTI,* {*Ostindustrie} which was the institution for robbing the Jews of the Generalgouvernement. Now, what was the business of a railroad official from Berlin, who has no connection with the Generalgouvernement, with OSTI, which operated within the Generalgouvernement?

Thus, when we add, one by one, his general standing, of which I spoke yesterday, and of which both our witnesses and his witnesses spoke, with no reservation regarding Poland, his central position with regard to the entire extermination of Jews, in all sectors - that is Wisliceny, Hoess, Mildner, Hoffmann - when we take into account what he said about his visits to Globocnik, those remaining traces which we have from the operations in Poland, the fact that he was the head of the Jewish Department in the Gestapo, which had to solve the Jewish Question in the Generalgouvernement, too; and even because he brings orders - be it retroactively - for Globocnik, which make it possible for Globocnik to think: "I will kill Jews, and I will have somebody to back me up, I can exceed any quota and through Eichmann I will receive the retroactive document" - then we have a picture which brings him in, not only as a conspirator, but as an actual helper and abetter; and if there is no document which attaches his name to the Reinhardt Operation - and I was asked about this yesterday by the Presiding Judge: - we do have the totality of the evidence against which we again have only his own word alone.

The Nazis' ardent wish to liquidate Jewry to the very last person is again conspicuous in the Hungarian chapter. Hungary, after all, was a loyal, fighting ally in the Axis camp, and there was no crucial military or political imperative to humiliate that ally, to enter its land, to dictate to it which government it should choose, and to take complete control of the country. There is reason to believe that the ultimate ground for all of this was the desire to lay hands directly on Hungarian Jewry. In any event, this aim was officially spelled out in documents of the German Foreign Ministry.

Not that, Heaven forbid, the fate of the Hungarian Jews was so favourable prior to that. They were oppressed by edicts, anti-Jewish laws and restrictions already before March 1944. The inspiration for all these came from Berlin and, already starting in 1938, the Hungarian regime showed that it was toeing the line by promulgating the "Law for the Restoration of Social Equilibrium," legislation on the pattern of the Nuremberg race laws, and a series of economic laws which were designed to impoverish the Jewish population. We have heard about this from Freudiger, in Session 51.

In 1941, the deportation of stateless Jews, those with Polish nationality from Hungary to the Kamenetz-Podolski region, was carried out. We have heard about this from the witnesses Freudiger, Brand and Leslie Gordon. The latter saw with his own eyes the murderous spectacle when hundreds of deportees from Hungary were massacred by the Einsatzgruppen, together with thousands upon thousands of their brethren who were residents of Poland. This was the advance payment given by the Hungarian Government, when approximately twenty thousand Jews were delivered up into the hands of the German hangmen. But that, of course, was not enough. As far back as 30 January 1941, Hitler recalled his old prophecy that the coming World War would wipe out Jewry, and then added:

"The Jews may still be laughing about this today, just as they laughed about my previous prohecies. But the coming months and years will prove that here, too, I prophesied correctly. Already now we see how our race- consciousness is conquering nation after nation, and I hope that even the nations which today still are our enemies will recognize, one day, who their greater internal enemy is and will go hand in hand with us on a common front, the front of Aryan humanity against Jewish exploitation and conspiracy."
This quotation from a speech by Hitler can be found in a Polish brochure about the extermination of Polish Jewry, and it is from there that I am quoting.

Judge Halevi: Has that been translated for us?

Attorney General: Yes, it has been translated; the name is "The Extermination of Polish Jewry," T/204, page 18 of the Polish text.

Judge Raveh: Is that a re-translation, or do we have the Polish translation?

Attorney General: There we have the German text.

And Goebbels gave open expression to this in an article published in the June 1942 edition of Das Reich, that the operation to exterminate (Ausrottung) the Jews would encompass all of Europe, and possibly far beyond that (in Europa und vielleicht weit darueber hinaus).

Therefore, the Germans were vexed that in the second half of 1942, in the climactic months of the extermination campaign throughout the Nazi-occupied territories, when Heydrich reaped from his grave, as it were, the bloody fruit which he had sown, when the influence of Mueller rose in the Head Office for Reich Security, before Kaltenbrunner was appointed to a post close to that of acting head, no beginning was yet made in Hungary with "concrete" operations, in spite of the fact that Hungary was an ally. They regarded this not just as an internal matter, but an all-European matter, as Luther, from the German Foreign Ministry, wrote, adding that the intense efforts being made by Germany in this field will remain worthless if in one area of Europe there remains a possibility of contact between Jews and non-Jews, on the economic and intellectual level.

Eichmann's Section was also furious that Jews in forced labour units, including lawyers, industrialists and merchants, could meet in the restaurant of the Hegyeshalom railway station with German officials stationed at this border post, since, as Guenther put it, "one cannot ask Germans to be forced to come into such contact with Jews," and, therefore, he demanded that the Jews be removed from there.

German pressure was applied on the Hungarian authorities through members of the Arrow Cross Party in the Hungarian parliament, who demanded that the Jews of Hungary be transferred to labour camps and ghettos, as we learn from a letter from the German Foreign Ministry to Eichmann. He was, of course, constantly kept au courant. Finally, the matter was presented by Hitler himself as being of the utmost importance to the Reich. German units entered Hungary. But the campaign against the Jews was carefully prepared before that. This was before the days when Hitler spoke to Horthy about the necessity of a solution to the Jewish Question in Hungary, already before the dictate in the Klessheim Palace. Eichmann had already completed the setting up of his special commando in the Mauthausen camp, whose task it was to liquidate the Jews of Hungary.

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