The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 113
(Part 1 of 6)

Session No. 113

28 Av 5721 (10 August 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the one hundred and thirteenth Session of the trial open.

Attorney General: With the permission of the Court, I shall first submit our list of written summaries. As I have already said, these were prepared by my colleagues, Mr. Bar- Or, Mr. Bach and their assistants, and, for the benefit of the Defence, we are translating the material into a language they can understand. I am submitting three folders containing the summaries of thirty-one different chapters which follow in the main the opening speech in this trial, but contain some special chapters as well, as the Court will see from the printed list which is attached to each folder.

Presiding Judge: Thank you. I shall mark the first copy with my initials. Are you also going to submit, in addition, the opening speech with the references?

Attorney General: No, this is already included here. Those passages in the opening speech which need an explanation as to what this or that sentence refers to - the Court will find this in the corresponding passages in the written summaries.

Presiding Judge: And shall we later also receive the summary with references?

Attorney General: The summing-up speech with marginal annotations will be submitted to the Court by Friday or Sunday, I hope.

Presiding Judge: It is not important when it will be submitted.

Attorney General: We shall first submit it to Counsel for the Defence. I hope the Court will not hold this against us.

Presiding Judge: No.

Attorney General: We think that it is more urgent for him to receive the annotations, and therefore we are preparing this for him first.

Now, with your permission, I shall say a few words about the evaluation of the evidence in this trial, and first of all about the evidence which we have adduced. We have made use of oral evidence, sworn declarations, and other items of proof from persons who were in league with the Accused, i.e., war criminals and partners of his in committing most serious crimes. There was no alternative to making use of such evidence, because these were the men who knew what was happening inside Nazi Germany, and because they, and only they, could testify from first-hand knowledge about the goings-on in that inferno.

Judge Raveh: Do you think that Section 15 has a bearing on this question of the need for corroboration?

Attorney General: We needed Section 15 in order to ensure that such evidence would be admitted, and the Court was in fact asked from time to time to use its power under this Section, in order to make evidence of this kind admissible, and only after it had exercised it power was proof from such sources accepted. But now that it has become evidence before the Court, i.e., since we have overcome the problem of the admissibility of such proof, I do not think that we need Section 15 for the purpose of weighing it.

In other words, I am not asking you, Your Honours, to go beyond the confines of ordinary law, ordinary criminal law, for the purpose of weighing the evidence in this trial. In order to enable us to submit this material to you and to let you hear these things, it was absolutely necessary that you should somewhat loosen the strict rules of evidence - as the law permits you to do and as, in fact, you did.

And now: What does Adolf Eichmann say about all these witnesses? Wisliceny is lying. Hoess, that symbol of correctness and pedantry, as he called him, and who had no reason to shift the blame from himself - Hoess is lying. Veesenmayer is lying - here I am prepared to agree. Mildner, his friend, with whom he met in Argentina (I read you this passage from his statement), Mildner is lying. Six, a witness for the Defence, is lying.

Presiding Judge: Is this Mildner the same Mildner who was the head of the Gestapo in Katowice?

Attorney General: Yes, afterwards he was in Denmark. The same Mildner met Sassen and Eichmann together in Argentina, as he himself relates, and there they clarified Eichmann's exact functions and his part in the machinery of the Holocaust. His witness, Six, is lying. Hoettl lies. Becher is a liar. Morgen, the SS judge, lies. Grell lies. His own witness, Winkelmann, lies. They are all lying; he alone speaks the truth.

In his opinion it is permissible for him to retract what he said to the police, because he realized that he had been mistaken. And what made him realize this? Lo and behold, he tells you, Your Honours: "Look, in my Statement to the police I took upon myself the arrest of the Reverend Dr. Grueber, for instance, while here it became suddenly clear to me, to my surprise" - says he - "that it certainly was not I who arrested him, but some Stapostelle (Regional Office of the State Police), which shows that I did not remember correctly."

But in his Statement to the police he spoke, after all, in great detail, and in two places (pages 1636-1645 and 2108) he mentioned the instructions he gave for the arrest of Grueber. And when Grueber came here, not knowing who caused his arrest, knowing only that some police station carried out Eichmann's instructions and did it - an excellent excuse is found: "Lo and behold, I incriminated myself without cause, Grueber says that someone else arrested him, not I, and I thought that I was guilty of this crime, and I have carried it on my conscience all this time."

How far is he willing to go? In that passage, in which there are corrections in his handwriting, he described to Sassen the extent of his authority, his general power of command, his position. And when he is asked about this he says: "I realized from the documents which you showed me here that I was mistaken." Your Honours, does he need documents in order to explain what was his position, his authority and his power? Does he have to learn from documents in our possession, from fragments which were left? Does he not know this? He who, even in Argentina, proudly uses the title "Obersturmbannfuehrer a.D." (a.D. - ausser Dienst - retired). Does he not know what he was authorized to do, to whom he could give orders, who was subordinate to him, and from whom he himself received orders? He realized that he was mistaken.

The Court will remember that, when I gave him one passage from Sassen to read, he read - impromptu, on the spur of the moment, from his booth twice: Once instead of "Chef der Sicherheitspolizei" (Head of the Security Police), he read "der Reichsfuehrer-SS" (Session 102, Vol. IV pp.xxxx). By the way, the correction was his own, in his handwriting, and here, on the spur of the moment, in front of you, mind you, while reading, he corrects his own version. And the second time, instead of something which was deleted, he inserts the word "not" in a way which changes the entire sentence, the whole meaning of the quotation. But how is this done? Extemporaneously. That is how this brain operates.

And here, Your Honours, is perhaps the crucial element for the evaluation of this evidence. Anybody who is able thus to stand up under examination, and thus to keep his bearing among all its convolutions, and to react as he reacted to every stumbling block, is no little cog, he is not a small dwarflike personality. Here is a man of very high intelligence. Of course, it is very difficult to disentangle oneself reasonably and intelligently from the network of proofs that was spread around him, and therefore he is forced to contradict himself time and again, and therefore he is forced to use pretexts which have no foundation. But the stature of a personality, albeit a satanic personality, manifested itself during this examination.

Here we could see a man who was able, under the questioning of the Court and under cross-examination, to twist and turn, to give replies, replies not to the point, but who could invent an excuse on the spot, cunningly, shrewdly, a picture of capability, power of reasoning, and instant orientation. But just as his extraordinary memory, which he displayed before us, became his undoing, so his very comportment, the way he stood in the witness box, became his undoing, as he tried to reduce himself in size, to belittle, to dwarf himself and to say: "What was I after all, who am I, and what am I within the total structure of the Third Reich?"

Why did he not rise in rank? We have heard the reason: Because Himmler apprehended that there would be difficulties with other Section Heads (Session 102, Vol. IV, pp. xxxx). But his status grew and expanded, he was given additional duties time after time, the Section also expanded, and above all, his personal standing within this whole machinery was apparently not connected with his rank, but with his ability to put himself in control of things. Adolf Eichmann knew how to do this.

He tried to tell you that he was not an anti-Semite at all. This is of course one of the absurdities you reach if you want to say: "I did everything under pressure, forced by orders from his superiors, not voluntarily and not from conviction." But Dr. Grueber has told us already that with such people National Socialism was tied up with fierce anti- Semitism and boundless hatred of Jews. Just look at the way he expressed himself that time in Argentina.

Let us assume that he has to thwart efforts by the Swedes to save Jews; let us assume that he was told - and I accept his version for the sake of argument, although I do not believe it for a moment - that he was told by Mueller: "Write that they are not to help the Norwegian Jews, write that they are not to grant Swedish citizenship to a few dozen Jews who are trying to save themselves," and so on. But the hatred and viciousness of his tone, how he expresses himself about anybody who tries to extend a helping hand to the Jews, how he fumes with wrath against Raoul Wallenberg, the "Jew dog", as he calls him, "I shall finish him off," he says, "he dares..."

Presiding Judge: This was not in writing, it was orally.

Attorney General: It was orally. It appears in writing in Kasztner's Report. The Swedish Embassy in Berlin complained about this, and the German Foreign Ministry did not deny it, but held that these things were said in a moment of anger. So be it, in a moment of anger. But what did Wallenberg do? He did his best to save a few thousand Jews from his clutches, he tried to extricate a few hundred souls from the death march, or a few thousand. "Jew dog, I shall shoot him," he says.

And Loesener - he is the one of whom Dr. Grueber says that of all the top Nazis he was the one who would sometimes lend an ear and extend help in secret, and Grueber was even prepared to testify to this after the war, in order to help Loesener with his de-Nazification - but here (as it says in exhibit T/526) he still wants to denigrate Loesener and to place him together with himself, as one of the extreme fanatics.

That document describes Eichmann as being in the same category as Reischauer, one of the arch-oppressors, who was not prepared to accept even the small concession which Hitler was ready to weigh, for reasons of war only: That one eighth or one-quarter Jews who serve in the Germany army would not have to watch the killing of their parents with their own eyes because of their being Jews. Hitler was therefore prepared to postpone solving the problem of mixed marriages until after the War. Not so Reischauer. Not so Eichmann.

Hajj Amin al-Husseini was a man who obviously found in Eichmann a precious jewel. He had begun the spilling of Jewish blood in Palestine, his heart was wide open to an unclean partnership with the spiller of Jewish blood in the world, and in his Section Eichmann trains the minions of the Mufti, among them the man who was dubbed "Heydrich of the Near East." And what was meant by this, Your Honours?

After the victory, which was coming as they hoped, these people were planning the same bloody work in the whole world, which would fall at their feet. And the Mufti, who had spilled the blood of the Jews in Hebron, in Jaffa and in Jerusalem, in the riots of 1921, 1936 and 1939, was looking for a man like himself who would help him finish the job. He saw that they did it better there. Eichmann does not deny at all that something of this kind existed. But he does not remember whether Wisliceny was the person to be honoured with this offer. He doubts it, even though Wisliceny says that this wonderful proposal, to be the adviser of the Mufti for the solution of the Jewish Question in occupied Palestine, was intended for him.

Wherever their foot trod, they would immediately turn their wrath against the Jews. The "Africa Corps" had only to reach North Africa and immediately there begins the chapter of the Jews of Tunisia, the attempt to displace them and persecute them. It infuriates him that there are Jews who hide in outlying places in Monaco, it bothers him that there is Jewish influence in Liechtenstein. His hand reaches out to get the Jew wherever he may be, to throw him into the gas chambers.

In Argentina, when he was already free of all his connections and also of his oath, as he told you, what does he write about a man who dared to criticize the path of the Fuehrer? By what dirty names does he call a man who thinks, in hindsight, that Hitler may have been wrong (and he writes it in the margin of the book, which he has just read)? And what had been Hitler's mistake? The way in which he conducted the War. Eichmann remained faithful to his Fuehrer to the end, even after the death of the Fuehrer. "A man like this ought to be skinned," is what he wrote in the margin of that book. "With people like this we were bound to loose the war." And the venomous, poisoned National Socialism bursts forth, rises and foams in his every remark and marginal note.

When we asked him, he did not deny that he wrote these remarks, but said that this was his personal affair: "How did this book come into your hands? I did not lend it to anybody." This is what made him angry, that a book which he had not lent to anyone had fallen into the hands of a newspaper, and that the editor had published the matter, complete with the remarks, which revealed his hidden secrets.

What does he say in File 17, which he wrote when he was calm, when he was sitting relaxed somewhere in Argentina? "Typical wily Jewish machinations," he writes when he learns that his comrade, Krumey, is going to be tried, or has become involved in legal proceedings in Germany. What does he say - and this he admits, these are passages which were not contested at all? What does he say when he hears that some Jews were saved from his clutches in Hungary? What is his reaction in Argentina in 1957?

"All right, if this is so, it is not on my conscience that the Magyar state groans to this day under the yoke of Jewish secret policemen. Wisliceny and Krumey, they are the ones whose fault this is."
If he talked like this in Argentina, twelve years after the end of the War, can there be room for doubt that what Wisliceny wrote about him, about his expression of "jumping into the pit," that this is absolutely true?

I would ask Your Honours to remember that we have two versions about this: Eichmann maintains that in that mood of "twilight of the Gods" towards the end of the War, he gathered his soldiers and told them: "The end has come, this war has cost millions, five million enemies and Germans have perished. Now the time has come, now I, too, will jump into the pit." What he told you was that he spoke of five million enemies of the Reich. Far more than five million Jews perished, and many millions, more than three times five millions died in that war, in the effort to destroy the Nazi monster. But let us assume that he is not an expert where figures are concerned.

What enemies did he have? About what enemies could he have spoken to his Section, what was the front with which he dealt? What enemy did he destroy? He dealt with only one enemy - he said so explicitly - with the Jewish enemy, both he and his officials. And if he really wanted to give his people words of encouragement and consolation, or a summing- up of their work and achievements, before the end, he must have said: "We have lost, it is true, but our enemies have also gone down with us." He has no enemy other than the Jewish enemy. This is whom he fought, and this was his front.

And this is, in fact, what he himself said here during his examination, that he was speaking about Jews, about five million Jews, and he said so twice: Once when the Court showed him that passage in exhibit T/43, and once when I showed him the passage from his statement which says that it was a matter of five million Jews. But he wants to convince you that he spoke in sorrow about the enemies who perished. Let us compare what he said here about the five million - the five million Jews - with Wisliceny's evidence stating that he told him, Wisliceny: "It does not matter to me, I have done my share. If we have lost the War, I have not lost my war, and I shall gladly jump into the pit if I know that I have taken five million Jews with me." He actually said these words.

He did not fight the Soviet army or the Western Allies; he did not fire a single shot against them, nor did he take part in the battles on the other fronts. The Reichsfeinde (enemies of the Reich), of whom he could speak, were Jews. The six million on his conscience - as he told Grell - were Jews. It seems that sometimes he also takes on his conscience the victims of the Einsatzgruppen, and at other times he apparently deletes these from his count, and this is why we move between the figures of five and six [million], the way he tells it.

To Hoettl he says explicitly: "We finished off six million Jews." He states this gladly, not in sorrow, and only once did he speak with regret, when he talked to Sassen, towards the end, where he explained to him why he did not finish the job, why there are still some Jews left. Of course, today he denies this vehemently, saying: "One would have had to be mad to say such things."

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