The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Testimony of Otto Winkelmann (Part 1 of 2)

29 May 1961

To the Competent Court of Justice for Bordesholm/Rendsburg District

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:

Otto Winkelmann, Bordesholm/Rendsburg District, Helstenstrasse 45.

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

(1) that from April 1944 on he was the Higher SS and Police Leader in Hungary;

(2) that at this time he had official dealings with the Accused;

(3) that as the head of a Special Commando, the Accused was subordinate to the Head Office for Reich Security and received his orders from Mueller or Kaltenbrunner;

(4) that the initiative for and planning of the deportations of the Jews did not originate with the Accused but with the Reich Plenipotentiary for Hungary, Veesenmayer;

(5) that the Accused's duties were only to co-ordinate and supervise the technical implementations of deportations with the Hungarian gendarmerie.

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

(1) What was your last rank in the SS?

(2) What position did you occupy in Hungary in 1944?

(3) Whose was the initiative to deport the Jews from Hungary?

(4) Who carried out the requisite negotiations with the Hungarian Government?

(5) What was the result of these negotiations?

(6) To what extent were Hungarian authorities and departments active in implementing the concentration and deportation?

(7) How many men were in the Special Commando led by the Accused?

(8) Was the task of this Special Commando to co- ordinate transports and supervise the activity of the Hungarian authorities?

(9) From whom did the Accused receive his instructions on this matter?

(10) Was the Accused subordinate to you in practice?

(11) Did he receive his instructions from Mueller or Kaltenbrunner in the Head Office for Reich Security?

(12) As far as you know, did the Accused ever act contrary to the orders of his above-mentioned superiors?

(13) As far as you know, did the Accused ever, because of personal anti-Jewish feeling on his part, exceed the authority given to him?

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

(1) During his tour of duty in Hungary, was the Accused officially subordinate to you?

(2) If not, were the Accused and what was known as the "Eichmann Special Commando" in direct, regular contact with a superior authority in the Head Office for Reich Security in Berlin?

(3) If so, which department in the Head Office for Reich Security was this?

(4) What were the special reasons for appointing the Accused Commander of the Operations Commando in Hungary?

(5) With reference to the evacuation of Jews from Hungary, was the Accused somehow dependent on instructions from your office?

(6) If not, to what other German offices in Hungary was the Accused subordinate in his functions?

(7) Was the Accused authorized to negotiate directly with the State Secretaries in the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior?

(8) If so, did he conduct such negotiations?

(9) Were you, the Accused or some other German authority in Hungary charged with co-ordinating the duties of the Eichmann Operations Commando with the activity of the Hungarian gendarmerie?

(10) Are you familiar with orders handed down directly from the Reichsführer-SS to the Accused?

(11) If so, what was their content?

(12) Do you know anything about the Accused's activities in the Waffen-SS on the Hungarian-Romanian border?

(13) If so, when and for what purpose was the Accused detailed to the Waffen-SS?

(14) Do you know about an intervention by the Regent, Admiral Horthy, aimed at stopping a transport train taking Budapest Jews to Reich territory?

(15) If so, what do you know of the Accused's actions to circumvent this intervention and prevent it from being effective?

(16) Which German authority dealt with the organization of the so-called "foot march" of Jews from Budapest towards Austria?

(17) What do you know of directives about labour service on the so-called Ostwall (Eastern Wall), particularly with regard to age and suitability for labour service?

(18) Did you or other German authorities speak to the Eichmann Operations Commando about this foot march?

(19) If so, what was the content of these comments?

(20) Even after instructions from Regent Horthy to stop the transport, was the Accused bound by orders from your office, or some other German authority superior to him, to ensure that a transport of Budapest Jews went to Reich territory?

(21) To your knowledge, was there such an order? And if so, which authority issued it?

(22) Was the Accused obliged to dispatch on foot to the Austrian border Budapest Jews of all ages, and without consideration for their ability to perform labour service?

(23) If so, what were his directives, and which authority issued the order?

(24) Did your duties as the Higher SS and Police Leader in Hungary remain within the limits of the directives issued in 1939 by the Reichsführer-SS?

(25) If so, did you, in addition, have any special responsibility for or supervision in practice of the activities of the Eichmann Operations Commando?

(26) On page 26160 of the Court Record in Trial No. 11 against Weizsaecker and others, you were being examined by the American Military Tribunal in Nuremberg during your testimony about details relative to the German authorities in Hungary which dealt with Jewish affairs, and your answer is reported in this document as follows:

"In Germany, the instructions in this sphere originated with the Head Office for Reich Security, or directly from Himmler. From there they went to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs who passed on the relevant orders on this subject to Veesenmayer, whose duty it was to discuss these questions with the Hungarian Government. This was the legal side. The technical side was dealt with by the Head Office for Reich Security, by Eichmann, who was appointed to this task. He dealt with the matter on the German side, and on the Hungarian side he worked with Endre, the State Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior. Thus, the technical man for the Germans was Eichmann, and in Hungary, State Secretary Endre."

Did you make such a statement?

(27) If so, does this correspond to the truth?

I 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

The Court of First Instance, Bordesholm, 19 May 1961

AR 169-61


Counsellor at Court of First Instance Muenchhoff as Judge

Court Official Berndt As Authenticating Official at the Court Office

In the criminal proceedings against Eichmann for murder there appears the witness Winkelmann.

The witness was instructed on the significance of the oath and examined as follows:

Personal details:

Otto Winkelmann, 66 years old, General of the Police (ret.), resident in Bordesholm, not related and not connected by marriage to the Accused.

On the matter in question:

I was a professional police officer in the Order Police from November 1919. After the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, the officers in the Head Office of the Order Police, to which I belonged at the time, were required to join the SS. Together with other officers, I did not apply for that. Shortly after that, an ordinance from the Minister of the Interior decreed that the officers of the Head Office of the Order Police were members of the SS. Thus I was admitted to the SS without actually submitting an application to join. The Order Police officers were subsequently given an SS rank which was equivalent to their rank in the Order Police. In this context I should like to mention that the Head Office of the Order Police, together with the entire Order Police, at the so-called War Criminals' Trial in Nuremberg in 1945-1946 (IMT), was declared not to be a criminal organization. I myself was also informed during so-called de-Nazification proceedings that my transfer to the SS as a result of the ordinance of the Minister of the Interior would not be counted as incriminating me. An equivalent decision was also taken by the above-mentioned tribunal (IMT).

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