The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 113
(Part 5 of 6)

At the Wannsee Conference, the problem of children of mixed marriages occupied the participants quite a lot. This was an internal problem which weighed on the Third Reich. And you will remember, Your Honours, that in the minutes of the meeting of 3 March 1942, Eichmann's name is not mentioned among the participants, and that he was questioned about this both by Counsel for the Defence and by me. On that day, there was another meeting in his office, as was proved to you. And it seems that he was not present, or only partly present, at the meeting of the Wannsee Conference; at any rate, the truth is that his name does not appear. But he was ordered to call the meeting in his office as a result of the Wannsee Conference, as a direct sequel of what was decided there about offspring of mixed marriages.

And this meeting was called in his office; his office is the venue. And nobody will of course believe the absurd explanation that Department II, or the Fuehrer's Chancellery, which ought to have handled this matter, had no room in which to bring these people together. Only in Kurfuerstenstrasse 116, says Eichmann, was there a vacant room where - how many were they? - ten or twelve people could be assembled.

We know that as a result of the discussions at that meeting experiments and research were undertaken, with a view to finding a method of sterilization. We know that it was with his office that the methods proposed by the German pseudo- scientists were discussed, plant poisons, X-rays, the Klauberg method, and the Madaus method. We know about the meetings and the co-operation with Guenther, and the close contact with Auschwitz on this subject. The Court will find in our written summary the exact bureaucratic follow-up, which proves that this matter was treated under the same marking and in the same way, and under the heading "Final Solution," and I shall therefore not take up your time here.

There follows the second meeting, in which Eichmann already takes part, together with several men from his Section. At that meeting, the recommended means for sterilization were again discussed and finalized, insofar as this concerned the participants.

Now, Honourable Judges, you will either believe these documents and what follows from them, or you will believe Eichmann, who changed his version three times here: Once he said that the meeting was called by Reischauer; once he said that it was held in his office for the purpose of camouflage - this is what he said in the police interrogation (T/37, pp. 868 and 1332); or you will believe what he said here, that the action was in the hands of Department II of the Head Office for Reich Security, that they were "federfuehrend" (in charge of the subject), but because of lack of space in Department II, the meeting was held in his office.

And in reply to my question why others from his Department also took part, he said it was good to meet with colleagues from other offices, and to vary the office routine a little in this way.

The matter of sterilization again points to his standing as the man who implemented the Wannsee decisions. It seems that not much was said there about the extermination of the Jews. That was accepted. But what to do about the children of mixed marriages - to this question a lot of attention was given. And Eichmann was, as Dannecker wrote, "die anerkannte Fuehrung" (the accepted leadership in carrying it out.

Presiding Judge: This was actually only carried out on a large scale in Holland, if I remember rightly.

Attorney General: It was carried out only in Holland, and the truth is that Guenther did not agree to have it done in Holland, and in his malice he went so far as to give an order to the effect that "because you did it without my consent - even those who have already been sterilized will be deported."

But experiments were performed in Auschwitz, and abortions in Terezin and in Kovno, as we proved by the evidence of witnesses: by the evidence of Dr. Peretz, by the evidence of Rahm, and with the help of the order of the day from Terezin, and other documents. To blot out the memory of the Jews from of the face of the earth, even if this memory already takes the form of half-non-Jews. The Court will find that our written summary expresses what we have to say about the interconnection of these things and their intrinsic cohesion.

I move on to the crimes committed by them against the non- Jewish population. As a matter of fact, no denial and no defence was offered with regard to the ninth, tenth and eleventh counts of the indictment.

Eichmann admits that he uprooted hundreds of thousands of Poles from their homes and the homes of their fathers, and transferred them to other places, in order to make room for German families. You will remember the plans which were made to separate children from their parents, to open special camps for Polish children, in order to find out which of them were fit to be included with the children of the master race (Reichsverdeutschung). No reply and no defence was made in this respect, either regarding the Poles, or the Slovenes, or the Gypsies.

In our written summary the Court will find details of the documents, as well as Eichmann's admission of these events; he is the expert and recognized uprooter of populations. And when Hitler suddenly takes it into his head to expel Slovenes - the job is given to Eichmann. And when it is decided to clear the Reich of Gypsies - through whom does this go? Through IVB4, to Lodz.

Presiding Judge: Are you saying that this was a special task, or that this came within the scope of work of his Section?

Attorney General: Uprooting came within the scope of his Section; it was called "Aussiedlungen" (resettlement).

But he transfers not only Jews. He has a reputation. He knows how to carry out work of this nature. And therefore: Jews - to death; others - to life, for the time being. You have heard here, from Dr. Beilin, about the terrible disaster of the Gypsies in Auschwitz. You have heard about the shocking Gypsy camp where people died like flies, even without gas chambers, and about the sudden emptying of this camp when the order was given: Everybody to the chambers. The crowding of Gypsies into the Lodz Ghetto started before that. As early as 21 September, the deportation of thirty thousand Gypsies to Poland was discussed at the famous meeting from which Eichmann makes desperate efforts to extricate himself.

And thus, they were seized together with the Jews, and there was that quarrel about the transfer of the Jews and the Gypsies to the Lodz Ghetto, that quarrel in which a German administration official accused Eichmann of using horse traders' methods. And Eichmann admits that the assertion is justified. Gypsies were deported to their death from Germany, from Yugoslavia, and from other places. Tens of thousands were sent to their death. All the reports about deportation trains carrying Slovenes, which we submitted to you, thirty-three trains did leave, and those who carried this out were men from Eichmann's Section: Seidl, Hoeppner and Krumey. Of those uprooted and expelled, the largest number were Poles. And when I asked him about the numbers - and we have an official report about them - he says he does not know, it may be so, the document speaks for itself.

This action is a crime against humanity. This is deportation of a civilian population, it is an inhumane act, it is a war crime committed by him - and he has no defence against this.

Now I come to the last counts in the indictment - membership in hostile organizations. The judgment of the International Military Tribunal has defined a number of organizations as hostile organizations.

Judge Halevi: To which count do the children of Lidice belong?

Attorney General: I am very grateful to the Court. It is the twelfth count, and I have to deal with it before I get to the thirteenth count. I would not have forgotten it, but for the sake of good order I shall deal with it now. There was a dispute about one hundred children from the Czech village of Lidice, which the Nazis had wiped off the face of the earth in revenge for the assassination of Heydrich. All the men were killed on the spot, the women sent to camps, and the children taken away. The Court will find this in the booklet we have submitted - although this is not the purpose for which it was submitted, and admitted, but it depicts the situation which the Nazis created.

The Court will see the description which the Czechs published after the war: "Where are the children of Lidice, we are looking for them! Where are our children? What happened to the children of Lidice? They were taken to Lodz!"

Krumey approached Eichmann, this Krumey who was stationed there and dealt with matters of population resettlement. They called it "Umwanderungszentrale" (Resttlement Office). He asked for instructions (Sonderbehandlung). He thought that the children were intended for "special treatment." And why did he think so? This is explained in the letter, a copy of which Krumey himself submitted to the German judge when he was interrogated in Germany, as a witness for the defence in this trial: Because he had received a letter from SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Fischer which said that the children, among them toddlers aged two and three, had arrived without extra clothes or other belongings, and would be sent to the East via the Polish camps. He added, stressed and underlined, that there was no need for special supervision - and we had a discussion with the Defence about this.

But even without this sentence in the letter - which goes so much against the grain with the Defence - the very fact that two- and three-year-old children are transported naked and destitute, and that an order is given to send them to the East via Polish camps, and that this is accepted as authentic - even if we forget the additional sentence for the moment - do these facts not tell us what fate was in store for those children?

It has been argued here that "special treatment" has several meanings. Counsel for the Defence has submitted documents to you which prove, or purport to prove, that the meaning of this word is not always "killing." For argument's sake, let us agree for a moment that it is actually so. But when Krumey receives such children with such an order, he turns to Eichmann because, as far as he knows, "special treatment" of this kind is a matter for Section IVB4.

To transport children to the East via the camps, destitute, without clothes or other belongings - in a case of such a kind of Sonderbehandlung, the first thing, or one of the first things, that comes to his mind, one of the first addresses one has to approach and to ask - one has to ask what Eichmann has to say about this? At any rate, the document was received from Krumey, including this addition, the addition which says that "there is no need for special supervision." And thus it is already quite clear to us why Krumey is looking to Eichmann for the solution for those children, who had suddenly been sent to him to Lodz - because matters like this belong to him. But there is more: If what Eichmann says is true, that he immediately told Krumey, "Listen, this is not my business, I do not deal with such children" - why then did Krumey approach him again in connection with another twelve children from Lidice? Once again he asks him for instructions, and he gets them, signed by Guenther. Sonderbehandlung for infants aged two and three, who have to be transferred to camps in the East naked and destitute - in Krumey's eyes, this is an Eichmann operation, and it is from him one has to receive orders about what to do. One can understand what happened to these children, if indeed they were brought there in the state which the documents describe, and if they were sent on in this state, and if they were destined for "special treatment."

We are told: Yes, but in Pushka several dozen children were seen at the end of the War who were said to belong to the Lidice children. There is no contradiction here. It is true that here, too, experiments in Germanization were made with a number of children. And, in fact, Hanfova testified that some of them were taken to Pushka, and we have submitted her evidence to you. In the Czech booklet, which we submitted to you as rebutting evidence, it also says that some of the children whom the Germans should live, and whom they hoped to attach to the German people over the dead bodies of their parents, were found alive in Pushka, and there is no contradiction at all between these two. But there were only a few there, and not dozens, as Hanfova testified, and as the booklet we have submitted proves.

I now turn to the last counts of the indictment.

Our legislator defines as a crime: "...being a member of an organization...which has been declared by a judgment of...the International Military Tribunal to be a criminal organization" (Section 3 of the law). I shall not have done my duty if I do not tell the Court immediately that Section 12 of the law also applies here, i.e., the section dealing with prescription, and I shall be able to ask for a conviction for such membership only with respect to a period not exceeding twenty years. This is what Section 12 of the law says. Only offences under Sections 1 and 2 are not subject to prescription at all. The other offences are prescribed after twenty years. It has been held law that the period of prescription is interrupted by the order for arrest; and as the first order for the arrest of Adolf Eichmann was given here in May 1960, I can ask for his conviction for membership in these organizations only from May 1940 onward.

As for the membership itself: The International Military Tribunal - and I have before me the first volume of the Blue Series in English - which analyses the nature of those organizations, determines that they are hostile organizations, because they banded together and conspired to commit criminal acts, and therefore anyone who held an executive position in them is to be guilty of membership in a hostile organization. The Court will remember that the International Military Tribunal only had to determine the nature, the framework of hostile organizations. It was then the municipal courts which had to try and to punish persons who had belonged to those organizations. And this is what was actually done - to the extent that it was done - and that is the process of de-Nazification, according to those findings.

On page 264, the International Military Tribunal has this to say about the Gestapo and the SD, after analysing the way in which the Head Office for Reich Security came into existence:

"The Security Police and SD was a voluntary organization. It is true that many civil servants and administrative officials were transferred into the Security Police. The claim that this transfer was compulsory amounts to nothing more than the claim that they had to accept the transfer or resign their positions, with a possibility of having incurred official disfavour. During the war a member of the Security Police and SD did not have a free choice of assignments within that organization, and the refusal to accept a particular position, especially when serving in occupied territory, might lead to serious punishment. The fact remains, however, that all members of the Security Police and SD joined the organization voluntarily, under no other sanction than the desire to retain their position as officials."
Therefore the final conclusion, which can be found on pages 267-268, is that all those who were active in executive positions in the Gestapo, and in other departments of the Head Office for Reich Security, are declared members in a hostile organization, and it no longer makes any difference, as far as this conclusion is concerned, whether they joined, or remained, voluntarily or under duress. I emphasize this because, with respect to the SS, for instance, the judgment emphasizes the difference. It says, after analysing the nature of the SS, which is also declared a hostile organization, a criminal conspiracy, on page 273:
"The Tribunal declares to be criminal within the meaning of the Charter the group composed of those persons who had been officially accepted as members of the SS, as enumerated in the preceding paragraph, who became or remained members of the organization, with the knowledge that it was being used for the commission of acts declared criminal by Article 6 of the Charter, or who were personally implicated as members of the organization in the commission of such crimes, excluding, however, those who were drafted into membership by the state in such a way as to give them no choice in the matter, and who had committed no such crimes."
In other words: The judgment makes a distinction, and about the SS it says that only persons who voluntarily joined and took part in crimes shall be guilty of membership in a hostile organization. Persons who were taken into and recruited to the SS against their will, and who did not take part in crimes, will not be accused of membership in their organization. But that does not apply to the Gestapo.

There, no difference at all is made between becoming, or remaining, a member voluntarily, because the Tribunal decided that participation in a criminal conspiracy of such enormous proportions - whether voluntarily or otherwise - is a crime, and every participant must suffer his punishment.

As for Adolf Eichmann, we know that he joined the SS voluntarily, and that he entered the SD long before the War; he says that there was some error there, that he wanted something else, and that in the end he found himself within the framework of the SD; but this had happened long before the War, and at that time it was certainly possible for him to make a free choice - apart from the oath which he invokes, since he had already sworn allegiance to the SD.

And in the course of his examination he admitted that he joined voluntarily, and that he remained a member in these organizations for as long as they remained in existence. According to our law, there is no difference between voluntary and involuntary membership. The membership itself is defined as an "offence" in Section 3. But this is a theoretical distinction as far as Eichmann is concerned, because he has admitted that he joined and remained of his own free will.

As I already said yesterday in the context of the SS, Article 47 of the Military Jurisdiction Law applies to him, and in exhibits T/1402 and T/1402a the Court will find the official instructions to the personnel of the SS and the police, as published, which contains this article. And in exhibit T/646 the Court will see that, as from 17 October 1939, this German Military Jurisdiction Law, including its Article 47, was applied to the whole of the SS. The defence that they committed those crimes under duress, that they were forced to do so by orders, was of no avail to the members of the SS in the German courts.

There is no need for me to state once again that such arguments were of no avail either before the International Military Tribunal, or before the other military courts in Nuremberg. I shall only mention the decision of the German Court of Appeal which can be found in the second volume of Entscheidungen des Bundesgerichtshofs (Decisions of the Federal Supreme Court), pages 252-258. I have a long list of decisions of German courts of law on this subject, but I think I shall content myself with this single reference. If the Court would like to see other decisions as well, they are of course at its disposal.

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