Judgment 34, Eichmann Adolf

From a letter, T/1136, dated 25 September 1942, to the
German Foreign Ministry, in reply to a proposal to deal
separately with the Jews who escaped to Hungary, we learn
about the Accused’s own attitude. He objects to this
proposal because

“experience shows that the preparation and
implementation of partial actions require the same
effort as comprehensive plans geared to cover, as far
as possible, all the Jews of that country. Therefore,
I do not regard it appropriate to set in motion the
whole machinery of evacuation for the sake of
resettlement (Aussiedlung) of those Jews who escaped at
the time to Hungary, and afterwards, without any
progress in the Solution of the Jewish Question in
Hungary, the action will be held up again. For these
reasons, I believe that it is preferable to defer this
action until Hungary is ready to include the Hungarian
Jews also within the framework of these measures.”

This “strategic” approach to the matter, shown by the
Accused, was fully justified by later events. The turn of
Hungarian Jewry came after the Final Solution had been
carried out almost to the end in the other countries in
which the Accused and his men had been active. Now they
were free to concentrate on the implementation of the task
which still lay before them – the extermination of Hungarian
Jewry. So the Accused left his Berlin office and moved to
the scene of action himself, with most of his assistants,
and the “Eichmann Special Operations Unit” set up its
headquarters in Budapest. There he appeared at the head of
the Security Police and Order Police column, which had been
formed a few days earlier in the Mauthausen camp, and
entered Hungary on 19 March 1944, immediately after Horthy’s
surrender. The Accused brought with him Himmler’s order for
the expulsion of all the Jews from Hungary, after combing
the country from East to West, and their deportation to
Auschwitz (Session 103, Vol. IV, p.xxxx3). The Accused did
his utmost to carry out the order, and if in the end about a
third of the Jews of Hungary, and in particular the Jews of
Budapest, were saved, that was in spite of his obstinate
efforts to complete the operation to the very last Jew.

He found loyal collaborators in Hungary, who were with him
heart and soul: Endre, the State Secretary in the Hungarian
Ministry of the Interior, a fanatical anti-Semite, was his
chief collaborator, and with him Baky and Ferenczy of the
Hungarian gendarmerie. A personal friendship also developed
between Endre and the Accused.

112. The first week after the German entry into Hungary saw
the implementation of anti-Jewish laws which were published
in quick succession, and aimed, on the German model, at
ousting the Jews from economic life, robbing them of their
property, confiscating their homes, limiting their freedom,
and rounding them up in readiness for deportation. The Jews
in the provinces were thrown into ghettos from 16 April
1944, and in mid-May deportations to Auschwitz began. They
continued at a feverish pace until 9 July 1944. During this
period of less than two months, 434,351 Jews were deported
in 147 trains of sealed freight cars, about 3,000 men, women
and children to each train, and the average was two to three
trains daily. Ferenczy’s report on 9 July 1944, which gives
this total (T/1166) provides the information that:

“The Jewish community has now been evacuated from all
regions of the country, except from the capital
Budapest. For the time being, only labour service men
of the Honved (Hungarian armed forces) are in the

The Auschwitz gas chambers were working to full capacity,
and could hardly cope with the pace of the transports (T/37,
p. 1321).

From the minutes of a meeting which took place in Munkacs
between representatives of the Hungarian gendarmerie and the
German Gestapo, we learn about the transport conditions.
The Hungarian officer remarks:

“If necessary, one hundred people can be put into a
single freight car. They can be packed like salt
herrings, for the Germans need strong people. Those
who cannot hold out will fall. Fashionable ladies are
not needed there in Germany.”

Thus, Veesenmeyer reports on 25 May 1944 on “the increased
exploitation of the railway waggons” (staerkere Belegung der
Waggons), enabling a much quicker completion of the
programme of evacuation from Carpatho-Russia (T/1193).

Mr. Ze’ev Sapir gave evidence about the deportation of Jews
from Munkacs. His community, 103 souls, were loaded into
one freight car without food and without water for the whole
three-day journey to Auschwitz (Session 53, Vol. III, pp.

When the late Dr. Kasztner and the witness Hansi Brand came
to the Accused to tell him that a hundred people had been
loaded into one freight car, this is how the Accused

“He told us we were not to worry, because this only
concerned Jews from Carpatho-Russia, whose families
were blessed with many children. These children,
therefore, did not need so much air and so much room,
and nothing would happen to them.” (Session 58, Vol.
III, p. 1048.)

113. The Allies landed in Normandy on 6 June 1944.
Important personages, including the King of Sweden and the
Pope, intervened with Horthy to stop the deportations.
Budapest was bombed heavily from the air. Under the impact
of these events, Horthy gathered courage and ordered that
deportations be stopped at the beginning of July (T/1212;
T/1113, the Kasztner Report – pp. 57, 69). This step came
too late to save the Jews in the provinces, but it did, for
the time being, foil the plan for the evacuation of the Jews
of Budapest. That the plan for this operation was ready, we
read in the report prepared by von Thadden, of the German
Foreign Ministry, who visited Budapest at the end of May
1944. The information about the plan of action against the
Jews was provided for him by the Accused’s office (T/1194,
p. 3). Later, in a memorandum prepared by him for his
superiors (T/1195), he describes a plan to evacuate all
Budapest Jews within 24 hours in the middle or at the end of
July in one huge operation, for which auxiliary help would
be mobilized, including all the postmen and the chimney
sweeps. The intention was to collect all the Jews of
Budapest together on an island in the Danube, and to deport
them from there.

The Accused could not reconcile himself to the cessation
order, and on 14 July 1944 he tried to deport another 1,500
Jews, imprisoned in the Kistarcsa camp, near Budapest. This
came to the knowledge of the Jewish leaders, and they
managed to inform Horthy about this action. The latter
ordered the return of the train carrying these Jews before
it crossed the Hungarian border (evidence of Dr. Alexander
Brody, Session 52, Vol. III, pp. 957-958). This setback
enraged the Accused, who organized the transport anew, in
spite of Horthy. SS men under the command of Novak, of
Eichmann’s unit, appeared in the Kistarcsa camp on 19 July
1944. Novak informed the Hungarian commander of the camp
that the very same 1,500 who had been brought back on 14
July would be expelled again, because “Eichmann will not
tolerate his orders to be countermanded, not even by the
Regent of the state himself (Evidence of Dr. Brody, supra,
p. 957). SS men loaded the Jews onto trucks with great
brutality and brought them to the railway station, and this
time the expulsion took place. To avoid another
intervention with Horthy by prominent Jewish personalities,
the Accused resorted to a ruse. He assembled all of them in
his office, where they were kept by his assistant, Hunsche,
for the whole day on various pretexts, and were sent home
only when word was received that the train had crossed the
border (evidence of Freudiger, Session 52, pp. 947-948).
About those events, as seen through the eyes of the
deportees themselves, who were returned to Kistarcsa and
deported a second time, this time reaching Auschwitz, we
learn from the witness Elisheva Szenes (Session 53,Vol. III,
p. 961 seq.).

In his evidence, the Accused claims (Session 104, Vol. IV,
p.xxxx6) that all he remembers is “that a train left and
returned.” On further cross-examination by the Attorney
General, he seeks refuge behind the naive question: If all
this be correct, where did the trucks come from, in which
the Jews were taken the second time from the Kistarcsa camp?
(supra, p. xxxx8). When he is reminded that trucks could be
obtained from the Hungarian gendarmerie, again he remembers
nothing at all. We have no doubt that the Kistarcsa
incident occurred, as testified by the witnesses for the
Prosecution. Witness for the Defence, Grell, who at the
time served as an adviser at the German Embassy in Budapest,
also confirms in his declaration (T/691, p. 8) that he heard
about the Accused’s resorting to some stratagem in order to
deport the inmates of some camp to Germany. We are
convinced that the Accused remembers his victory over Horthy
quite well. The whole incident is very significant as proof
of the Accused’s position in Hungary, and the traits of
obstinacy and cunning which characterized his actions.

114. On 14 August, the Hungarian Minister of the Interior
informed the Accused that the Council of Ministers had
decided to propose 25 August to Horthy as the date for the
commencement of the evacuation of the Jews of Budapest. The
Accused was not satisfied with this, and at his request the
Minister of the Interior agreed to advance the date of the
evacuation to 20 August (T/1217; T/1218). In his evidence
he explains that his demand for the speeding-up of the
evacuation was apparently due to an approach from the
Ministry of Transport in connection with timetables (Session
86, Vol. IV, p. xxxx18). The plot failed once more because
of the resistance of Horthy, who ordered instead that the
Jews of Budapest be collected in camps outside the capital,
but that they were not to be deported to Germany. In
Veesenmayer’s report to the German Foreign Ministry on 24
August 1944 (T/1219), he adds that “Eichmann will report the
matter to the RSHA and will request that he and his unit be
withdrawn, since they have now become superfluous.”

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27