The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Testimony of Franz Novak (Part 1 of 2)

31 May 1961

To the Competent Court of Justice, Vienna

Re: Request for Legal Assistance

The main hearing in the criminal proceedings against the Accused Adolf Eichmann is at present taking place in this Court.

In the context of this main hearing, I request you to extend legal assistance to this Court by the examination on oath of the following witness:

SS Hauptsturmbannfuehrer Novak, Remand Installation, Vienna, Austria.

The witness is to be examined as to the following allegations of the Accused:

(1) that transports of Jews from the Theresienstadt Ghetto to Auschwitz took place in accordance with explicit instructions from the authority superior to Section IVB4;

(2) that when Jews were deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, it was not known that the deportees were to be exterminated in Auschwitz, but that the transfer was made for the purposes of labour service;

(3) that the Accused, as a person who gave orders, could not issue on his own authority instructions for seizure and deportation, but that the instructions were always issued on the basis of orders and directives of his superiors;

(4) that the Accused Eichmann did not take any measures designed to thwart relaxations of the anti-Jewish measures which were ordered by superior authorities.

To complete the testimony of the witness, I request that the witness also be asked the following questions which were drawn up by Counsel for the Accused:

(1) Did you work in Section IVB4 of the Head Office for Reich Security as an expert official under the former SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, or did you belong to an office subordinate to him?

(2) What were your duties (transport matters)?

(3) Was Adolf Eichmann in charge of an independent Department in the Head Office for Reich Security, or did he only head a Section in this Department?

(4) Did Eichmann give orders on his own for deportations, or did he act only on the basis of orders which he had received?

(5) Did Eichmann report regularly to the authority superior to him about the implementation of orders?

(6) Did Eichmann give you orders on his own initiative?

(7) Did Eichmann issue instructions which were contrary to the orders or directives of the authority superior to him?

(8) Did Eichmann take measures to prevent the implementation of instructions which were issued by superior authorities, in order to relax or discontinue the persecution of the Jews?

(9) Did Eichmann's superiors reproach him for having prevented the implementation of his superiors' measures?

(10) Apart from Eichmann's direct superiors, did other authorities insist on the implementation of measures against the Jews?

(11) Did the Party authorities or other SS authorities or government agencies influence the implementation of anti-Jewish measures?

(12) Did Eichmann have influence over what went on in extermination camps?

(13) Do you know of any facts which show that Eichmann had authority to give orders regarding events in the concentration camps?

I also request that the witness be asked the following additional questions which were drawn up by the Attorney General:

(1) When did you make the Accused's acquaintance?

(2) When did your work in the Security Service commence?

(3) When were you first assigned to the Accused?

(4) What were your duties in Vienna and Prague from 1938 to 1940, and was the Accused your superior during those years?

(5) When were you appointed to the Head Office for Reich Security, and to which department?

(6) Were you given powers regarding the Reich Representation of Jews in Germany, and later the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, and when?

(7) What was the meaning of the series of files designated "RZ" which were kept by the Head Office of the Security Police and later by Section IVB4?

(8) Which Section kept these files and acted as the controlling supervisory authority over the Reich Association of Jews in Germany?

(9) Who were your direct superiors from 1938 until the end of the War?

(10) What were your duties in Section IVD4, IVB4, IVA4b and the Eichmann Operations Commando in Budapest? And what was the official definition of your duties in the aforementioned Sections?

(11) Were there material and personnel changes when Section IVD4 became Section IVB4?

(12) In Sections IVD4, and later IVB4, were there sub-sections or sub-departments with similar names which were subordinate to the Accused's Section? (13) What was the scope of duties of sub-departments or

sub-sections a, b and c in the sections which the Accused headed from 1939 to 1945, and who were the heads of these sub-sections during those years?

(14) With which German government authorities, Reich agencies, SS and Security Service offices and NSDAP authorities were you in constant contact when you worked in the Head Office for Reich Security?

(15) Which were the authorities of the type mentioned above when you were active with the Eichmann Special Operations Commando in Hungary?

(16) Which was the authority of the Reich Government which was in charge of, and responsible for, providing timetables for the evacuation of Jews?

(17) What were your special assignments with reference to providing German timetables?

(18) With which agencies in the Generalgouvernement and the Reich Commissariats of the Eastern Territories did you have regular meetings, in order to provide timetables and rolling stock for carrying out evacuations of Jews?

(19) Who was the responsible authority for the Head Office for Reich Security in Cholm, and which transports of Jews were sent there?

(20) What were your official links with Sturmbannfuehrer Hoefle?

(21) What was the nature of your official links with the Commander of the Security Police in Lublin, Obersturmbannfuehrer Huppenkothen, and later with Mueller and Wirthoff, also in Lublin?

(22) What was your official relationship with Stahlecker of the Head Office for Reich Security?

(23) What were your duties with regard to giving instructions and information to the Security Police and units (Operations Units) in the Eastern Occupied Territories after June 1941?

(24) When did your official relationship with Hauptsturmfuehrer Otto Hunsche in the Head Office for Reich Security begin, and what was its nature until the end of the War?

(25) What were your duties at the transport conference which took place in Vienna in May 1944, and who assigned you your tasks in that respect?

(26) What form did your co-operation with Captain Kullay* {*The reference is to Captain Lullay, see below} of the Hungarian gendarmerie take?

(27) When were the deportations of Jews in Hungary first halted by the highest Hungarian authorities?

(28) What was the reaction which the Accused expressed to you on this?

(29) Did you have special instructions from the Accused about the stopping of transports of Jews?

(30) Did you receive orders from the Accused about removing Jews who, at that time, were inmates of the Kistarcsa assembly camp?

(31) Did you carry out these orders in full?

(32) What were the special measures adopted at that time by the Accused, in order to ensure the execution of the orders issued to you?

(33) While posted in Hungary, did the Accused make frequent visits to the Head Office for Reich Security, and to what end?

(34) Did the Accused, while he was posted in Hungary, receive instructions from the Head Office for Reich Security in Berlin, and if so, from which Department?

(35) Did you know Rolf Guenther, the Accused's permanent deputy in Berlin?

(36) Did Rolf Guenther become the Accused's superior, after the Accused's departure for Mauthausen on 19 March 1944?

(37) Who was the official head of Section IVA4b of the Head Office for Reich Security from April 1944 until the end of the War?

(38) After the Hungarian operation, when were you ordered to return to the Head Office for Reich Security in Berlin?

(39) What were your official duties in the winter of 1945?

(40) Who was responsible for the drawing up of directives for the Gestapo regional headquarters and the drawing up of timetables for the deportation of further classes of Jews and those of Jewish origin to Theresienstadt which occurred at the beginning of 1945?

I would request you to summon to the examination of the witness the representative of the Attorney General of the State of Israel, c/o H.E. Ambassador Dr. F.E. Shinnar, Israel Mission, Cologne, as well as Counsel for the Accused, Advocate Dr. R. Servatius, Hohenzollernring 14, Cologne, and to afford them, on their part, the opportunity to ask the witness any questions which might arise from his answers.

There is no objection on the part of this Court to the aforementioned representatives of the parties obtaining copies of the record of the examination.

Please forward the original of the record of the examination to this Court,

(-) Moshe Landau
President of the Trial Court

File No.: 33a Hs 3484/61

Examination of Witness

The Vienna District Court for Criminal Matters, on 15 June 1961, as from 9.45 a.m.


Judge: Counsellor of District Court Franz Fiedler

Recording Clerk: VB Juliane Beringer

Criminal Proceedings against Adolf Eichmann

The witness is instructed to tell the truth in reply to the questions which he is to be asked, according to the best of his knowledge and belief, to conceal nothing, and to give his testimony in such a way as to be able to affirm it upon oath, if required to do so.

With regard to his personal circumstances, he stated:

1. First name and surname: Franz Novak

2. Age: 10.1.1913

3. Place of birth: Wolfsberg, Carinthia

4. Religion: Roman Catholic

5. Marital status: Married

6. Occupation: Printing shop employee

7. Residence: Lang-Enzersdorf near Vienna, An den Muehlen 18, currently remanded for investigation at the Vienna District Court for Criminal Matters.

8. Relationship to the Accused or other persons involved in the examination: Not related.

Section 153 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was explained to him.

I. Questions related to the allegations of the Accused, Adolf Eichmann.

(1): I remember transports of Jews taking place from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz. However, I no longer remember when this was and which authority issued the instructions for it. However, I assume that Section IVB4 received the relevant instructions from an authority superior to it.

(2): I did not know that the persons in these transports were to be liquidated in Auschwitz. The transports were ordered in order to employ Jews for labour or to evacuate them.

(3): I do not know whether Eichmann was able to issue orders independently, or whether he received orders for the transports. I do know that Eichmann was sent for by his superior almost every day. The reason why I know this is that often he was looked for, and then it was said that he was with the Group Leader or the Department Chief.

(4): For lack of information, I cannot answer this question. I do not know anything about any relaxations being ordered of anti-Jewish measures and cannot, therefore, say whether Eichmann observed these or not.

II. Questions from the Defence:

(1): Section IVB4 of the Head Office for Reich Security (RSHA) was responsible for the evacuation of Jews, Poles, Gypsies and Slovenes, and also had to provide transport when RSHA offices had to be transferred (particularly after air raids). The head of Section IVB4 was Eichmann, who was in charge of several specialized employees. The official in charge of transport matters in Section IVB4 was the former SS Sturmbannfuehrer Rolf Guenther, to whom I was directly subordinate as an assistant Specialist Officer.

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