Eichmann 05, Eichmann Adolf


The complete transcripts of the trial of Adolf Eichmann are available
at https://nizkor.org/hweb/people/e/eichmann-adolf/transcripts/

Captain Avner W. Less was the Israeli police officer who interrogated Adolf
Eichmann, prior to his trial and subsequent conviction in Jerusalem.

Comments, designated by brackets [], are those of the editor, Jochen von

Typos are mine, not the author’s.

(Ed. note: Captain Less has asked Eichmann whether or not the camp
commanders sent activity reports, giving figures, to his department, and
Eichmann has responded in the negative, suggesting the reports must have
been sent elsewhere. He then begins to discuss a visit from a
statistician, sent by Himmler, to collect data for Hitler. Eichmann
cannot recall his name, but later does so under prompting from Less.

LESS: What figures did he arrive at?

EICHMANN: He covered the whole extermination process in the East. It
came roughly – taking account of emigration, and including the figure
for natural diminution, as he called it – to 4.5 or 5 million. That
figure stuck in my memory. Thus – the report concluded – thus the Jewish
problem in Europe was to all intents and purposes solved.

LESS: You’re not sure about that statistician’s name?

EICHMANN: It began with a Z. Why do I keep thinking of Zacharias?

LESS: Dr. Korherr?

EICHMANN: Korherr? Good God, how can I have been so mistaken? Korherr,
Korherr? Yes, I’ve heard that name.

LESS: What material did you give this statistician?

EICHMANN: All our top-secret stuff. That was the order. All the
shipments, insofar as they had been reported to us.

LESS: Did this material also include figures on the extermination of the

EICHMANN: No. Not the extermination. I never had those figures.

LESS: Only the evacuation figures and the shipment figures? A report was
sent to you when a shipment went out?

EICHMANN: We received those reports. That was the only figure I knew.
And from those figures Gu”nther drew up a graph on the wall of his
office – Dr. Lo”wenherz must have seen it a dozen times, everyone who
came into that office could see it, a long thick line. I’m sorry, I
don’t remember the final figure.

LESS: Had you, before that, drawn up a report on the number of Jews

EICHMANN: Before the statistician came? I don’t know, Herr Hauptmann.
I’m sure I did if I was ordered to. But I don’t remember. With all the
paper work we had – because all our work was paper work – it’s really
very hard for me today to vouch for details.

LESS: Did the statistician come to see you because Himmler was
dissatisfied with the extermination rate?

EICHMANN: No. That statistical report was drawn up so Himmler could fill
Hitler in. Because I got the report back with a notation by Himmler: “1.
Fu”hrer has taken note. 2. Destroy document.” Or maybe it didn’t say
document. Just “2. destroy.”

[Dr. Richard Korherr was not a member of the SS. He was a noted
statistician. Himmler made use of Dr. Korherr because he thought
statistics might help him to unmask the failings and misdeeds of his
subordinates. In addition, he hoped to impress Hitler with the progress
of his extermination program. But, to his dismay, he was obliged to
leave it with Reichsleiter Martin Bormann, the Fu”hrer’s deputy. It was
returned to him by Bormann with the remark that it could not be
submitted to Hitler in its present form. The words “liquidation” and
“special treatment” had to be replaced by others. Even when this was
done, Bormann delayed submitting the report to Hitler. He was well aware
that Hitler wanted the Jews to be exterminated, but officially and
ostensibly without his knowledge.]*

LESS: Now, I’m going to show you a photostat of a letter from the
Reichsfu”hrer to the head of the Security Police and the SD in Berlin.
Top Secret. Can you tell me whose initials those are at the bottom?

EICHMANN: That’s Himmler’s signature, H.H. A top-secret communication
from the Reichsfu”hrer’s field headquarters. “I have received the
statistical report of the Inspector for Statistics concerning the final
solution of the Jewish question. I consider this report satisfactory as
material for possible use at a later date, for purposes of camouflage…
For the time being, it must be neither published nor passed on. The
essential, in my opinion, remains that as many Jews as humanly possible
should be shipped to the East…”

LESS: What does “for purposes of camouflage” mean here?

EICHMANN: I don’t get it either, considering that the statistician
pretty well – why do I say pretty well? – considering that he calls a
spade a spade and gives figures, as you might expect of a statistician.

LESS: Maybe Dr. Korherr’s report didn’t give the figures for Jews
killed. Maybe that’s what was meant by “purposes of camoflage.”

EICHMANN: Hmm, that doesn’t seem likely. That would mean that in
preparing his report the statistician made no use of the figures
procured from, from the East. And after all, this … this report was
for the Fu”hrer, and in a report for the Fu”hrer he wouldn’t – let’s say
– tone things down like that. “Purposes of camouflage”! No, I don’t get

LESS: Here in the last sentence it says: “I want the short monthly
reports of the Security Police to inform me exclusively of how many Jews
have been shipped each month and of how many remain at the time of
writing.” So you provided monthly reports on the deported Jews?

EICHMANN: Oh, yes. Because, you see, reports, monthly reports, were part
of the job; obviously. He probably thought the monthly reports were
getting too long. I can imagine that.

LESS: Then your reports had previously contained more?

EICHMANN: Yes, they covered the whole situation, all the difficulties
encountered in the various countries. An overall, how should I put it? –
comprehensive work report, naturally in appropriate, hmm… appropriate
telegraphic style. But about how many were killed I had no figures. When
the statistician was with me, a week or maybe two, in my office, day
after day, making his inquiries, he sent telegrams et cetera all over
the place … So I believe … the following may be possible…. Yes,
now, now it’s plain to me, why the letter says “for purposes of
camouflage.” Most likely I supplied the statistician with the figures
shipped, but not the figures killed.

LESS: Since when had you known Dr. Wilhelm Ho”ttl?

EICHMANN: I met Ho”ttl in Berlin, I don’t remember the circumstances. I
believe he, too, was with the SD.

LESS: Was he with the SD the whole time? Was he in Hungary, too?

EICHMANN: I can’t say at the present moment whether Ho”ttl was in
Hungary. But if he was, I must have spoken with him there.

LESS: Did you tell Ho”ttl that you supervised and organized the
deportation of the Jews in Hungary to the death camps?

EICHMANN: Supervise and organize – I would never have told Ho”ttl
anything like that.

LESS: What would you have told him?

EICHMANN: I’d have told Ho”ttl the truth, because at that time – I think
– Ho”ttl had long been a department head in Section VI of Reich Security
Headquarters. He knew as much about the business as I did. Section VI
was an intelligence outfit. So naturally they knew all about the
activities of their – well, of their own organization.

LESS: Did you tell Ho”ttl how many Jews had been exterminated?

EICHMANN: My estimation? If he asked me, I may have given him an
estimated figure – yes, I may have.

LESS: I shall now read you a quotation from the 31st. volume of the
Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, the
sworn statement of Dr. Wilhelm Ho”ttl. I quote: “My name is Dr.
Wilhelm Ho”ttl, SS-Sturmbannfu”hrer, major in the SS. My occupation up
to the German collapse was that of department head and Deputy
Gruppenfu”hrer in Section VI of Reich Security Headquarters. Section VI
was the so-called foreign department of the SD and busied itself with
intelligence in all countries. It corresponded more or less to the
British Intelligence Service.”

And further on: “At the end of August, I had a conversation, at my home
in Budapest, with SS-Obersturmbannfu”hrer Adolf Eichmann, whom I had
known since 1938. At that time, to the best of my knowledge, Eichmann
was a department head in Section IV, Gestapo, of Reich Security
Headquarters. In addition, he had been charged by Himmler with
apprehending the Jews in every country in Europe and shipping them to
Germany. At that time, Rumania’s dropping out of the war had made a
deep impression on Eichmann. He expressed his conviction that the war
was lost for Germany and that he personally had nothing to hope for. He
knew the Allies regarded him as a leading war criminal, because he had
millions of Jewish lives on his conscience. I asked him how many that
might be, and he replied that the figure was a state secret but that he
would tell me, since the matter was sure to be of interest to me as a
historian. He told me that he had sent a report to Himmler only a short
time before, since Himmler wished to know the exact number of Jews
exterminated. In the various extermination camps, he told me, some four
million Jews had been killed in different ways, for the most part shot
by the action teams of the Security Police during the campaign against
Russia. Himmler, he said, had been satisfied with the results, since in
his opinion the number of Jews killed must have been over six million.
Himmler had said he would send a man from his statistical bureau to
Eichmann, to draft a new report on the basis of material provided by
Eichmann. I must assume that the information Eichmann gave me was
accurate, because of all those involved he had the most comprehensive
view of the number of Jews exterminated. In the first place he, through
his special teams, delivered the Jews to the extermination
facilities, and second, being a department head in Section IV, and as
such in charge of Jewish affairs, he must have known the figure better
than anyone else. Furthermore, the frame of mind into which recent
events had put Eichmann makes it seem unlikely that he would have
deliberately told me an untruth.”

So much for Ho”ttl. Have you any comment to make?

EICHMANN: I do! Ho”ttl’s statements are a miscellaneous mishmash from
God knows where. Yes, sure, some of those things are perfectly true.
When I say… that he says … I delivered the shipments… well, all
right… delivered … we won’t … I won’t argue about the word.
Insofar as … because it was the agencies, the Jewish-affairs advisers
in the different countries – except for the Government General and the
occupied Russian territories – that actually attended to the shipments
and then reported to IV B4. To that extent, I did have a view of the
whole process.

LESS: You knew how many Jews were shipped to the camps over the years?

EICHMANN: To the camps, yes, I can’t deny that.

LESS: You also knew that the camps were synonymous with final solution.
That is, extermination. Consequently, you had every reason to believe
that the Jews you shipped had been exterminated. Even when you said
labor service, you probably knew that no one could survive such
treatment for long. Whether a forced laborer dropped dead at his work or
was clubbed, or whether he starved to death or was gassed – in any case,
he was dead.

EICHMANN: All the same, Herr Hauptmann – I believe – as I said before,
that 2.4 million Jews were enumerated by the Allies after the end of the
war. And hundreds and hundreds of thousands came out of the
concentration camps. And some had been in labor service. Anyway, those
things weren’t in my province, I had nothing to do with the
concentration camps. Once the guidelines for shipment were sent out, the
bureau’s responsibility stopped. If I wanted to go a step further, I
might say – though there’s room for argument – that at the very latest
my responsibility ceased when the military police took over the
shipments at the evacuation stations.

LESS: Do you in general accept what Ho”ttl says here?

EICHMANN: Not everything, Herr Hauptmann, I can’t … that is …

LESS: What he says about your giving him the figure of roughly four
million Jews killed and …


LESS: …another two million dead from other causes.

EICHMANN: I must have told him the contents of the statistician’s
report. I must have told him that. I think the comprehensive report
ended with a total of five million. That’s what I seem to remember.
(von Lang, 112-119)

* Korherr’s job was complicated by the fact that, even in a report
designed for Himmler, he was not supposed to spell out the facts in
black and white. It was easier to state how many Jews were still alive
than what had happened to the others. To be sure, Korherr could state
that through various means the Jewish population in the Reich and the
Government General had diminished by 3.1 million between 1933 and 1942.
In spite of his generous use of the term “evacuation,” however, which
Himmler seconded, to mislead those who would read the document in later
years, Himmler had to correct Korherr’s wording in one place. Where
Korherr had written of the “special treatment” of the Jews, Himmler had
insisted on either the “transportation of the Jews from the Eastern
provinces to the Russian East” or the “sifting of the Jews through the
camps.” These were among the officially approved terms to camouflage the
realities of the Final Solution. (Korherr’s reports in NA RG 238,
NO-5193 and 5194, Himmler’s correction of wording in Brandt to Korherr,
20 April 1943. NA RG 238, NO-5196. Raul Hillberg, The Destruction of
the European Jews {Chicago, 1961}, 2nd expanded ed., 3 vols. {New York,
1985},I, 322-23, reviews the whole range of Nazi terms that veiled the
realities.) (Breitman, 242)

Note that Himmler was successful in his attempts to camouflage reality
to the degree that present-day Holocaust denial insists that Jews were
simply “relocated to the East,” and were not exterminated.

Work Cited

Breitman, Richard. The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final
Solution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.

von Lang, Jochen, ed., in collaboration with Claus Sibyll. Eichmann
Interrogated: Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli Police.
Translated from the German by Avner W. Less. New York: Farrar, Straus &
Giroux, 1983.
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac – Eichmann: Death Statistics
Summary: Eichmann discusses the numbers of Jewish victims shipped to the
camps for ‘special treatment’
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Eichmann,Ho”ttl,Koherr

Last-Modified: 2000/02/15