Eichmann 09, Eichmann Adolf

Eichmann Interrogated: Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli
Police_. Edited by Jochen von Lang in collaboration with Claus Sibyll,
Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim. Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
New York, 1983, pages 79-81. Typos are Nizkor’s.

Less: Herr Eichmann, you wished to speak of your visits to the
extermination camps.

Eichmann: Yes. that’s right. Mueller said to me: “In Minsk the Jews
are being shot. I’d like a report on that.” So I went to Minsk. I
had nothing at all to do there, I didn’t know anybody. I went to the
command post — what was it called again? … Commander Security
Police, or could it have been Action Team Security Police? — and
asked for the commanding officer. I still remember. He wasn’t there.
I spoke to someone else and told him I had orders to see what was
going on. I spent the night in that town, and next day I went to the
place, but I got there too late. The work for that morning was
already done, almost done — and I was very glad of that. When I got
there, I was just in time to see some young riflemen, I believe they
were riflemen, with the death’s-head collar patch, shooting into a
pit … maybe four or five times as big as this room. Maybe bigger,
say six or seven times. I … I … my orientation in this case is
unreliable, because I saw this thing without thinking, I didn’t
think anything at all. They fired into the pit, I can still see a
woman with her arms behind her back, and then her knees crumpled, I
cleared out …

Less: The pit was full of corpses?

Eichmann: It was full. It was full. I went to my car, I got in and
drove away. I drove to Lemberg. I had no orders to go to Lemberg, I
remember now. Somehow I went to Lemberg and found the man in charge
of the Gestapo command post and I said to him: “It’s horrible what
they’re doing there. They’re training young men to be sadists.” I
told Mueller the exact same thing. I told Guenther, too. I told
everybody. I told them all. And I said to that SS officer in
Lemberg: “How can they stand there firing at a woman and children?
How is it possible? … It’s just not … Those men will either go
mad or they’ll turn into sadists … our own men.” He said to me:
“They’re doing the same thing right here, shooting. Want to see?”
“No,” I said. “I don’t want to see anything.” “We’re driving past
there anyway,” he said. There had been a pit there, it was already
filled in, and blood was gushing out of it … how shall I say? …
like a geyser. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’d had enough of
that mission. I went back to Berlin and reported what I’d seen to
Gruppenfuehrer Mueller. I said to him: “This is no solution to the
Jewish question. And besides, we are training our men to be sadists.
We shouldn’t be surprised if they turn out to be criminals, all
criminals.” I still remember Mueller looking at me with an
expression that said: Eichmann, you’re right, that’s no solution.
But there was nothing he could do about it. Mueller definitely
couldn’t do a thing. Not a thing. Not a thing. Who gave the orders
for those actions? The orders, the orders. Obviously, the orders
were given by the head of the Security Police and the SD, namely,
Heydrich. But he must also have had his instructions from the
Reichsfuehrer-SS, namely, Himmler; on his own hook he can’t … he
could never have done such things on his own hook. And Himmler must
have had express orders from Hitler. If he hadn’t had orders from
Hitler, he’d have been on his ear before he knew what hit him.