The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 113
(Part 3 of 6)

Judge Halevi: To Krueger as well?

Attorney General: Certainly. But is there any version, any proof, other than which Eichmann stated here, that in the Generalgouvernement the whole thing worked without the knowledge of the Head Office for Reich Security, Himmler- Krueger-Globocnik - this is more or less how he tries to describe it here? It could be like this, theoretically it could have been like this. As against this, there is the Wannsee record of proceedings, where Heydrich says explicitly: "Let us bring Frank here, so that we can hitch him to our plough." And what was the first thing Heydrich said in Wannsee? " Listen, you are not going to solve the Jewish problems, they have been made my responsibility, in accordance with my appointment, and I am the one to deal with them without consideration for geographic borders, and my authority extends over the entire sphere of influence of the Reich, to wherever it extends. And thus Wannsee ends: Mueller reconciles himself to Heydrich's overlordship, merely saying: "Go ahead and do it, as long as you do it fast!"

So we have the Wannsee minutes, we have Goering's comprehensive order, we have the descriptions submitted by us, as well as those submitted by the Defence, which say that Eichmann acted without any exceptions, that he was the representative for this matter in every single place. It does not say: except in the Generalgouvernement. We have the direct evidence by Wisliceny, who says that Eichmann accorded priority to the destruction of the Jews of Poland. This appears in exhibit T/85, on page 10 of the printed text. In the middle of the passage Wisliceny says the following about the determination of the sequence of the countries: "Eichmann allowed himself time for this operation, because the extermination of the Jews of Poland and the deportation of the Jews from the Reich were, in his eyes, the most important things. To these he gave priority.

Thus, we have the direct evidence of his assistant, we have the main documents from Wannsee, and we have Goering's documents. Why should we believe him? It may be that in Poland there were fewer conflicts, that is true, because there they could exterminate the Jews without having to transport them to the country of extermination, they had only to be taken to the extermination camp. And there was no need to struggle with the government of France, or the government of Romania, or the government of Slovakia, and there was no need to create legal bases for these operations. There were fewer conflicts. True, it was necessary to organize manhunts and transportation, but there was less to worry about. The uprooting of hundreds of thousands from the West certainly caused more worries and more difficulties than the uprooting of millions in the East, because they were already there, they had only to be taken to the doors of the gas chambers.

The fact that he also occupied himself with the liquidation of the Bialystok Ghetto and of the Lodz Ghetto - although these were not in the Generalgouvernement, but rather within the framework of the liquidation of the ghettos - this we know. We have the testimony by Friedl about the ten thousand Jews whom Guenther deported from Bialystok; we have the report from IVB4 to Himmler about the transport of forty- five thousand Jews from Bialystok, the last one to Auschwitz, of whom only ten to fifteen thousand would be found fit for work. By the way, if I remember correctly, the Accused did not even react to Friedl's testimony in connection with the liquidation of the Bialystok Ghetto.

Judge Raveh: In your opinion, is there any significance in the fact that Globocnik demanded special authorization, as long as Heydrich was alive? Later on, we no longer hear about such authorizations, or about demands for authorizations being made.

Attorney General: Yes, this fact is of importance. First of all it is important that Globocnik asks for authorization from Heydrich at all, from Heydrich and not from Krueger. For, if the chain had gone as Eichmann says - Himmler- Krueger-Globocnik - then there would have been no point in asking Heydrich at all. It is, therefore, of the highest importance that we hear from Eichmann himself that Globocnik needed Heydrich in order to obtain his confirmation. And later, Your Honour, at the end of 1942...

Judge Raveh: The Reinhardt Operation started after the death of Heydrich, did it not?

Attorney General: Yes, the Reinhardt Operation was the signal: "Finish them all!" It was no longer a problem of quotas, it was no longer a question of numbers, but: "Finish them all, they are all condemned to death in a hurry, and to pillage of their property, and there is no longer any need for authorizations." What are these authorizations, after all? Globocnik, it seems, is in excess of the quota, and therefore he needs some confirmation.

Incidentally, here Sassen read a document to Eichmann which we do not know from the sources. I read it to him from the reprint. Sassen had read a document to him which contained that retroactive order which we do not know in its original form, except from Eichmann. So, what does that order say? If you have killed more Jews than you are entitled, then you are not covered. But if you are allowed to kill them all - there is no need for any cover, and no need for any confirmation. They stopped talking about numbers and quotas. There were no longer any intermediate stages, no liquidation here first and liquidation somewhere else later.

All Poland went to its destruction. Those ghettos which were left as work ghettos were outside the area of the Generalgouvernement: in Bialystok, in Lodz, in Moravska Ostrava, not in the Generalgouvernement, where the Jews were already in camps, awaiting their turn to die, such as in the work camps of Treblinka, in Poniatowa, those in the Lublin district, and in Auschwitz.

Judge Raveh: At any rate, you do not see in this an indication of a change in powers?

Attorney General: No, not at all, because we can see that Kaltenbrunner continues to deal with everything. Nor did he deny this. He only said in his defence at the trial: I did not start this, I came to an existing situation, to an established fact, I was not interested in details. But even Kaltenbrunner himself did not deny that he actually inherited this great task.

Judge Halevi: Is there any proof who gave the order, or the signal, or the command for the Reinhardt Operation?

Attorney General: We have no direct proof, Your Honour. We can of course make a very plausible reconstruction, in the light of what happened afterwards. At any rate, the fact (and I want to say something about this, if the Defence wants to profit from the fact that Globocnik reported to Himmler about the end of the operations) - and I shall have more to say about this - does not show conclusively at all, that Himmler was the one who gave the signal. First of all, we know about Globocnik's special position. Secondly, we can see and read in his report what he is asking from Himmler: decorations, periods of leave and bonuses for his men who have done the work.

At all events, ever since the summer of 1941, when Hitler, the supreme commander of the Reich, gave the order to exterminate all the Jews, the subject had become a matter of priorities and nothing more, a matter of order and efficiency. When I examined him, Eichmann admitted in the end that the order extended to all the Jews. He only hoped, so he said - later he had to retract this - that this would not include the Jews of the Reich in the same sudden, or cruel, or aggressive, or extreme manner. But in the end I showed him the document of 10 October 1941, where he himself arranged for the deportation of fifty thousand Jews from the Reich to the camps of Nebe and Rasch, and then he admitted that the Jews of the Reich were in fact also condemned to destruction.

So the matter really became a question of administrative arrangement, what was to come first and what later. And from Frank's diary we learned about the internal strife, about Frank's ambition to become the provider of Greater Germany, about his desire to fulfil the economic task which the Fuehrer had given him in the East, and for this reason, for this reason only, he wants to leave a small number of Jews in key positions in business and industry. But we also learned about the telegram which came from Berlin: "Give up all the Jews, expel them all, so that not even one remains."

Judge Halevi: And what about the argument that the command was in the hands of Chief of the Head Office for Reich Security, and of Globocnik, Krueger and others there?

Attorney General: The Head Office for Reich Security had no powers of command over Krueger or Globocnik. The Court will find this in exhibit T/98, which defines the authority of the Higher SS and Police Leaders.

Presiding Judge: But there could have been co-ordination between the two?

Attorney General: Co-ordination - yes, but not power of command. That would contradict the decisions of the Wanssee Conference, and there is no reason why the Court should disregard an explicit document which, according to the Accused himself, accurately reflected what was said at the Conference and what was decided there - only because he wants to take two and a half million Jews off his conscience. Others also tried this stratagem in Nuremberg: to admit everything except what happened in that darkness of the East. They all shrank back from this, it frightened them because they knew that terrible, gruesome deeds were committed in the East.

Presiding Judge: What seems peculiar to me is the fact that more documents were not preserved in Poland. In Germany this is not surprising, there they did quite a good job of destruction in this sense, even though local documents were preserved there as well. Where are the local documents from Poland?

Attorney General: We know from Frank that everything was destroyed, except the diary which he saved in special trunks. Everything was destroyed. Only remnants of documents were found, dispersed - bits here and bits there. From time to time, the Poles find something more. Only now, Your Honours, almost fourteen years after the Polish Government Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes began its work - the government commission which is entrusted with the documentation - only now does it mention the deportations by IVD4 in its bulletins Nos. 12 and 13, which we have submitted to the Court.

The historians did not know about it, it is not mentioned in the literature, and it has only now been discovered. Fourteen years after the victory, and after the commission began its work it has at last discovered material which concerns it no less than it concerns us, because it deals with the deportations of Poles. What happened in Zamosc has also been discovered there, and only now.

I do not know the reason why this discovery comes so late, but we do know that the attempt at extermination by the murderers was most serious there. We know this from Frank. He takes credit precisely for the fact that he did not destroy his diary and that he put it at the disposal of the prosecution. Many things will have to be re-written, many of those writing on the Holocaust may have to correct what they have said, in the light of these latest discoveries - and, if I may say so in all modesty - perhaps also in the light of what has transpired in this trial.

The evidence we have brought before you, has demonstrated the working of the criminal plot to kill the Jews, with the intention of destroying the Jewish People, as we have stated in detail under the first count of the indictment. We have proved what was done in the Reich, what was done by the Einsatzgruppen, what was done in the extermination camps, and the horrors. We have also shown the connection with the Einsatzgruppen.

The second count deals with placing millions of Jews in living conditions calculated to bring about their destruction. Section 1(b)(3) of the law has been substantiated by the testimonies on the forced labour camps, on the ghettos, on the deportations. All this has been proved by tens of witnesses, and this also is not in dispute.

According to the evidence of Dr. Dworzecki, the starvation rations allotted to Jews in the ghettos were themselves enough to destroy them through starvation and exhaustion within a few years, even if not one Jew had been sent to the as chambers and the crematoria.

I shall now deal with the intention to bring about the destruction of the Jews, an intention we have to prove as part of the section as defined. The intention can be either complete or partial destruction. Destruction can be achieved in many ways. The law itself also says that measures can be taken to destroy a people, for instance, by desecrating spiritual, religious, or cultural values.

The intention to destroy the Jewish People, at least partially, existed already in the first stages of action by Nazi Germany. That was not an intention to kill all Jews, to the last one. However, from the moment they directed their action against a person because he was a Jew, and not because he was so and so who had done such and such, or because he had attributes of one kind or another, or, to take an absurd example, because his I.Q. was too low and therefore he had to be destroyed. From the moment they acted against the Jews as Jews, when it was the Jews whom they arrested, the Jews whom they cast into Dachau and Buchenwald, their synagogues which they burned, when it was against them that racial and other evil laws were invoked - that was the moment when intention to destroy the Jewish People began.

As the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Pal case, which I have already mentioned in my argument: When action is perpetrated against a person because he belongs to a certain group, with intent to cause harm to this group and not in order to harm that person, whoever he may be, then that action is aimed at achieving destruction. Therefore, the terror in Dachau, the mass arrests, the expulsion to Zbaszyn, breaking the Jews in body and spirit, driving hundreds of thousands to suicide, putting Jews into concentration camps under conditions where it did not matter who stayed alive and who did not, where only those who were physically and spiritually most resistant could hold out - all these were measures intended to destroy the Jewish People.

During the first stages this was of course aimed at partial destruction, but at a certain point it hardened into the evil design to wipe out the Jewish People altogether. The Brown File, with its corrections, is also designed to place the Jews in living conditions calculated to bring about their destruction. The Court has asked me to refer to Rosenberg's statement about the application of the Brown File. What he said is to be found in the record of proceedings of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, in volume 11 of the German edition, pages 627- 629. "I did not actually write this, but it is contained in a circular letter from the Ministry for Eastern Affairs, and, therefore, I am responsible for the action taken in connection with the Brown File."

With the permission of the Court, I shall deal with counts 3, 6 and 7 of the indictment together, because they have certain elements in common. The third count speaks of the grave physical and mental harm caused to millions of Jews; the sixth count refers to crimes against humanity by persecuting Jews; the seventh count speaks of the plunder of Jewish property.

Already at the outset I will say that the third count is summed up in its paragraph (b), which mentions serious physical and mental harm caused to millions of Jews in Germany and the other Axis countries, in occupied areas and in areas actually under their control.

The examples which we adduced afterwards under paragraph (d) are not exhaustive, but are rather given by way of example. A person who put Jews, even Jews who were saved, into conditions of the inferno, which was revealed here before your eyes, caused them serious bodily and mental harm which can never be undone. Rivka Yoselewska will never again be what she was before the world war. On her this is visible.

But also Dr. Weller, and Wells, and Beisky and others - those who appeared here and those who did not - their mental and physical wounds are something which they will carry with them to their dying day.

But it is not only the suffering of these persons for which I shall not forgive Adolf Eichmann. I can no more forgive him the suffering of those with whose murder I have charged him. Usually, Your Honours, when one charges a person with murder, one does not add to this the crime of assault, since the smaller crime is subsumed in the larger one. But what was done to the millions of Jews in the camps while they were still alive, the successive wilful cruelties, the premeditated sadistic acts in Block 11 at Auschwitz, the horrors at Treblinka, Sobibor, Chelmno and Majdanek, the ruining of human beings and the breaking of spirits - this will not be forgiven even if, in the end, there follows a charge of murder.

Torture is no lesser a crime than murder. To hold people in such conditions for months on end - and it is sufficient to look at the album which Vera Alexander has submitted to you, even if you had seen only this - even this is enough to make you realize what those fiends committed, in what conditions they kept the Jews - until the Jews themselves would only wish for death, and rush of their own will towards the electric fence.

The sixth count deals actually with the same deeds, as seen from the point of view of crimes against humanity. And I shall not forgive Eichmann just because his deeds may cut across some section in the law. He committed crimes against the Jewish People and also against humanity, and he also committed war crimes. He persecuted Jews for national, racial, religious and political reasons, as defined by law. He persecuted them throughout the period of the Nazi regime. This count is intended to cover his activities from the moment when he first joined the extermination front against the Jewish enemy, until the last day he operated within the framework of Nazi Germany.

Presiding Judge: That is to say, from the beginning of his dealing with Jewish affairs.

Attorney General: Yes, from the beginning of his dealing with Jewish affairs.

Presiding Judge: Also in Austria already?

Attorney General: Yes, also in Austria. Also before then.

The seventh count is plunder of property. And I shall say at once that we accuse him of such plunder when it is linked to crimes against the Jewish People, to crimes against humanity, and to war crimes. In other words, I do not disregard the rules laid down in Nuremberg, which say that confiscation of property alone...

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