30 May 1961
To the Competent Judicial Authority for Prisoners in the
Military Prison of Gaeta
Re: Request for Legal Assistance
The main hearing of the criminal proceedings against the
Accused Adolf Eichmann is at present taking place in this
In the context of this main hearing, I request you to extend
legal assistance to this Court by the examination of the
Herbert Kappler who is apparently under arrest at Gaeta.
You are requested to take the testimony of the
above_mentioned witness concerning the following allegations
by the Accused:
a. that, while serving as an Obersturmbannfuehrer of
the SS, the witness was charged with the deportation of
eight thousand Jews from Rome;
b. that the initiative for the deportation of these
Jews came from the German Foreign Ministry;
c. that the Specialist Officers for Jewish Affairs and
the Police Attaches at the diplomatic representations
of the Reich received instructions for their activities
from the German Foreign Ministry;
d. that the final order for deportations was given by
Hitler through the German Foreign Ministry.
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) Where was the witness in October 1943?
(2) What was his position at that time?
(3) What was his rank in the SS?
(4) Which office gave him the order to deport eight
thousand Jews from Rome?
(5) How did he react when he received this order?
(6) At that time, who was his direct superior?
(7) Was the witness subject to instructions from the
German Embassy in Rome?
(8) What were his official relations with the Higher SS
and Police Leader and with the Commander of the
Security Police and the Security Service?
(9) How was the deportation carried out, and what was
the final destination determined for this deportation?
I would also request that the witness be asked the
following additional questions which were drawn up by the
Attorney General of the State of Israel:
(1) When did the witness join the Security Service, and
what positions did he hold in it?
(2) When did he assume his duties in Rome?
(3) What was his official title?
(4) What were his tasks?
(5) Did his tasks change after the surrender of
(6) What were the tasks of the Commander of the
Security Police in Rome (KdS)?
(7) Were instructions received from Berlin during the
period when the witness was Police Attache at the
German Embassy in Italy, and if so, from which office
and from which department in that office did these
(8) Did he, as part of this position, receive
instructions in matters of substance for the discharge
of his police duties from the Ambassador or his
assistants, which did not originate in the Head Office
for Reich Security (RSHA)?
(9) Was he subordinate, in his duties as Police Attache
in Rome, to anybody in the Head Office for Reich
(10) Were there any changes in the chain of command and
the channels for giving instructions, in matters of
substance, after the appointment of the Commander of
the Security Police in Rome?
(1) Does the witness know the Accused? What were the
relations between him and the Accused in matters
concerning the Jewish Question in Italy, and
particularly in Rome?
(12) Who was the Commander of the Security Police in
Italy? Was the witness subordinate to him?
(13) Who was the Specialist Officer for Jewish Affairs
at the office of the Commander of the Security Police
(14) Did the witness receive guidance, in matters of
substance, from the Specialist Officer for Jewish
Affairs in any way at all?
(15) Did the Specialist Officer for Jewish Affairs
belong to his staff?
(16) Who was in charge of the Jewish Affairs Section in
(17) Who gave instructions, in matters of substance, to
the Jewish Affairs Section in Rome?
(18) From whom did he receive the order to demand fifty
kilograms of gold from the Jews of Rome?
(9) When was the gold handed to the witness?
(10) To whom did he deliver the gold he received from
the Jews of Rome?
(21) When did he receive the order to deport the Jews
of Rome to Northern Italy?
(22) Who determined the number of Jews to be deported?
(23) Why did the witness turn to the military commander
of Rome, General Stahel, and to the consul,
Moellhausen, after receiving the order to deport the
Jews of Rome?
(24) What was the fate awaiting the Jews of Rome being
deported under the first order he received?
(25) After he made an inquiry, was he informed about
another purpose of the deportation?
(26) Who gave him directives to arrest Jews in Rome?
(27) How many Jews were arrested in the operation of
October 1943, and where were they deported?
(28) Who determined the purpose of the deportations?
(29) Did the witness carry out additional arrests of
Jews between October 1943 and June 1944?
(30) Who gave the order for these operations?
(31) Where were the Jews arrested in the operations
between October 1943 and June 1944, and where were they
(32) Does he know Ullmann and Gassner of the Security
(33) What was the division of duties in his office?
I would request you enable the representatives of the
Attorney General and the Counsel for Defence to address
additional questions to the witness, if necessary.
This court has no objection to the above-mentioned
representatives receiving copies of the record of the
examination of the witness.
Please forward the original of the record of the examination
to this Court.
At the margin of the page: Seals and authentication of
Court of Appeal of Rome, Department of Preliminary
Record of Interrogation Under Oath
[Section 357 of the Criminal Procedure Law]
27 June 1961, 10:55 hours – at the Military Prison of Gaeta
Before me, Dr. Pietro Pascalino, Associate Judge,
representative of the Department for Preliminary
Interrogations, and in the presence of the Secretary of the
Court, Alberto Boggiani, and in the presence of the
Prosecutor General represented by the Deputy State Attorney,
Dr. Leopold Baumgartner.
Also present: Dr. Erwin Shimron, representative of the
Attorney General of the State of Israel; Attorney Roberto
Ascarelli, representative of the Attorney General’s office
of the State of Israel; Attorney Rinaldo Taddei and Guiseppe
Mundula, representatives of Attorney Servatius, the Defence
Counsel of the Accused, Adolf Eichmann; Dr. Manfredo
Mingazzini, appearing as interpreter.
In pursuance of an order from the Court of Appeal of Rome to
accede to the request for judicial assistance by way of
taking testimony, received from the District Court of
Jerusalem, with the object of interrogating a defence
witness at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, to wit Herbert
Kappler, a prisoner in this military prison.
After being asked about his identity and about possible ties
of kinship or commerce with any of the parties in the above-
mentioned trial, and having been warned of the obligation to
tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and having
been reminded of the penalties laid down in Section 372 of
the Criminal Procedure Code against those guilty of false
testimony, the witness responded:
“I am Kappler, Herbert, son of Ernst, aged 54, born in
The witness was then asked to take the oath according to
the requisite formula, and he responded: “I swear.”
Having been asked the questions prepared for this purpose by
Counsel for the Defence representing the Accused, the
witness gave the following replies.
(1): In October 1943 I was in Rome, with the exception of
(2): In October 1943 my position was head of a special
office: Field Office of the Security Police and the Security
Service. My position was in fact identical with that of
Commander of the Security Police.
(3): I cannot say exactly what my rank in the SS was in
October 1943. However, I do remember that I received, some
time before the round-up of the Jews of Rome, a notification
by telephone informing me, among other things, that I had
been promoted to Obersturmbannfuhrer. In that same
telephone message, I was urged to prepare the round-up.
(4): I do not remember from whom I first received the order
to proceed with the round-up and the deportation of the Jews
of Rome, but I remember well that I never received an order
to seize and deport a specific number of Jews. There was
reference only to “the Jews of Rome.” My vague recollection
of these details is due to the fact that there was a very
frequent exchange of instructions, orders and inquiries from
the different offices regarding this operation. The large
number of notifications and clarifications was caused
chiefly by objections that I myself raised. All I can say
clearly is that the order did not reach me from the Foreign
Ministry, nor from the German Embassy in Rome, neither did
it come from the Commander of the Security Police in Italy,
General Harster. I think the order did not reach me by way
of the above-mentioned General Harster, because at that time
his office was just being formed or had been in existence
for just a brief period.
On the other hand, I do remember well that the contacts
proceeded between myself and the central offices, and I
remember particularly a telegram signed by Himmler, in which
the need was stressed to solve the Jewish Question also in
the city of Rome. I remember this because on that occasion
I heard for the first time the term Endloesung der
Judenfrage (the Final Solution of the Jewish Question).
This term was new to me, and I did not manage to understand
its exact meaning. In fact, I did not try very hard to
understand this expression, since I was used to complex and
hardly comprehensible terms, both on the part of Hitler and
on the part of Himmler. I remember that at that time a
captain of the SS came to my office and introduced himself
as Dannecker, and presented an authorization to carry out
the round-up of Jews. This authorization gave him full
powers and instructed the local police commanders to give
Dannecker every assistance he required for this operation.
The power and authority for a search operation against Jews
(and not only in Rome, since the authorization was not
restricted in any way) was signed by SS General Mueller.
Finally, I remember that I received a telephone message from
someone attached to Himmler’s general staff. This
announcement came directly from headquarters, which at that
time used a cover name – I do not remember the name – but
anyhow, it was located in East Prussia, near Rastenburg. In
that telephone message – the message I spoke about
previously – he informed me that I was being promoted, and I
was told that the Reichsfuehrer-SS, Himmler, was urging me
to decide, once and for all, to carry out the round-up of
(5): When the order for the round-up was transmitted to me,
I was very angry at the superior commanders for their lack
of understanding. I remember that I wrote several reports
addressed to those who had given the order, to try and
convince them to desist from the proposal and to cancel the
arrangements which had already been made. I remember that I
addressed anybody who was in a position to help me to
prevent an action which, in my view, was another act of
great political foolishness (eine neue grosse politische
In order to convince my superiors, I used just this
expression, by which I referred very clearly to past
mistakes which had been committed by the central
authorities. It is also true that on that occasion I tried
to bring around to my side General Stahel, whom I admired
very much, and Consul Moellhausen. I turned to the latter
because I knew that he was not a Nazi and that he had close
relations with a non_Aryan person. But all of that was in
vain, because the order was not cancelled. Nonetheless,
together with Consul Moellhausen, I went to Kesselring, and
he promised he would not allot a single man to carry out the
round-up which perturbed us. By means of this pretext, I
tried to take objection to the instructions from Berlin. My
pretext was the absence of manpower, as Kesselring was
unable to put a single soldier at my disposal.
As for Prosecution document No. 1604, which is the telegram
sent by Moellhausen to the Reich Foreign Minister, I was
not aware of its existence. No, I stand corrected. I did
know that Moellhausen had intended to do something, because
he had promised me to do so, but I did not see this telegram
before, and I would not have recognized the text. More
precisely, let me add that I did receive information about
the existence of this telegram in 1948, at the time of my
own trial. I must also add that I did not take part in
drafting the telegram, and that I never spoke with
Moellhausen about the number of Jews that were to be
deported. It was also news to me that the Jews were to be
deported to Northern Italy, in order to be liquidated there.
(A photocopy of the above-mentioned telegram, bearing the
signature of the examining judge, as well as the signatures
of the representative of the Prosecutor General’s office and
the witness Kappler, was attached to the present file.
(6): I think that in October 1943 my direct superior was the
Befehlshaber Harster. I cannot speak with any more accuracy
because I do not know exactly the date on which General
Harster assumed his duties. His functions resulted from the
fact that, after the armistice of 8 September, Italy was
placed under a regime of occupation. However, I do well
remember that this general first came to Rome only on 26
September and then he informed me that I was one of his
subordinates, since he was the Commander (Befehlshaber ) for
Italy. This date I remember, because it was my birthday.
(7): Prior to 10 September, I was Police Attache at the
Embassy. For that reason I was subordinate – and that is
customary for military, commercial and other attaches – in
the formal sense to the Ambassador, but in fact both the
Ambassador and the Ministry of the Interior were my
superiors. After 8 September, instead of returning to
Germany with the rest of those subordinate to the diplomatic
mission, I presented myself to General Kesselring and put
myself at his disposal. Kesselring assigned me to the
position of assistant to Stahel when he appointed the latter
as military commander of the Rome area. Subsequently, an
order came from Berlin instructing me to set up the office
of the Security Police. This I did in a formal sense only,
because I did not have personnel at my disposal. After
that, as I have already indicated, General Harster informed
me that I had been placed within the framework of the
Security Police for Italy.
(8): In the hierarchy, I was directly under orders of the
Befehlshaber of Verona. The latter was subordinate to the
Highest [sic] SS and Police Leader in Italy, General Wolff.
There is very little that I can say about the manner of the
round-up or the final destination chosen for the Jews who
were seized. The operation was organized and carried out by
Captain Dannecker, who, as I have stated, arrived in Rome
with a dozen persons, equipped with full powers from
Mueller. The practical implementation of the operation was
assigned to three squads of the Order Police which were
brought to Rome at the onset of the operation. I do not
know where they were brought from.
I remember that I tried to block Dannecker’s operation up to
the last moment. First of all, I told him that I did not
have at my disposal the manpower to be placed under his
command. When he asked me for the topographical information
which he required to organize the operation plan, I told him
that I did not have under me persons who knew the city well,
and therefore he ought to turn to the Italian police.