Judgment 46, Eichmann Adolf

143.The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was administered by Group D
of the Economic-Administrative Head Office, directed by
Gluecks, to whom Hoess, the first commander of the camp, who
carried out most of the extermination activities there, was
subordinate. The Accused argues that he had no influence
on what was done inside the Auschwitz camp. He would
dispatch transports of Jews to Auschwitz in accordance with
the orders received, after information had come from the
above-mentioned Group D, that the camps were able to receive
additional Jews. At the same time, he admits that he
visited Auschwitz about five times, and that, at the time of
the deportations from Hungary, he checked directly with
Hoess the reception possibilities of the camp (Session 93,
Vol. IV, p. xxxx25). He also admits that on one of his
visits to Auschwitz he witnessed with his own eyes the mass
burning of bodies on an iron grating within a pit 100 or
even 180 metres long (T/37, p. 227).

The statement made by Hoess himself gives a different
picture of the Accused’s activities in regard to the
Auschwitz camp (see his evidence before the International
Tribunal at Nuremberg – T/1357; his evidence at his own
trial in Poland – T/1356; and his memoirs – T/90). He
states that, in the summer of 1941, Himmler informed him
that Auschwitz was destined to be the main centre for
extermination of the Jews, and that the Accused would visit
him shortly in order to give him additional information
about this. The Accused arrived to see Hoess shortly
afterwards, and together they chose Birkenau as the
extermination place and also conferred together about the
extermination methods. (At this point, Hoess describes the
introduction of Zyklon B gas at Auschwitz. We shall devote
our attention to this matter later in a separate chapter of
this Judgment.) From Hoess’ description, it appears that
the Accused gave instructions on various matters connected
with what was happening within the camp. For example, he
says that the Accused brought him Himmler’s order to extract
gold teeth from the corpses and to cut off the women’s hair.
Hoess also relates that it was the view of the Accused that
all the Jews arriving in the camp should be exterminated
immediately and not used for labour – lest a mishap occur,
such as a mass escape.

The Accused strenuously denies all these things. According
to his version, the process of extermination was already a
fait accompli at the time that he first visited Hoess at
Auschwitz. To this end he attempts to put the date of his
first visit at a later date, to the spring of 1942 (see the
timetable attached to the arguments in the written summing-
up of Counsel for the Defence). But this attempt is
contradicted by what he said in his Statement before
Superintendent Less (p. 378), namely that his first visit to
Auschwitz took place four weeks after Heydrich had informed
him of Hitler’s decision to exterminate the Jews physically,
i.e. (according to his account), in the autumn of 1941 at
the latest. And at that time the extermination of Jews in
Auschwitz had not yet begun. It is reasonable to assume
that during this visit, the Accused told Hoess of what he
had seen in the East and that they exchanged ideas on
efficient methods of mass extermination. But we do not
propose to find facts based on the evidence of Hoess without
corroborative evidence. The Attorney General expressed the
opinion that the need for corroboration of the evidence of
an accomplice was not dispensed with by the provisions of
Section 15 of the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment)
Law. We see no need to decide on this question of
principle. We shall only say that, if Section 15 permits us
to relax the rule in this matter, we shall not make use of
our power in respect of the evidence of an accomplice who is
no longer alive, because such relaxation does not appear to
us to be necessary in the interests of justice.

144. We have not found any corroboration of Hoess’ statement
that the Accused brought him the order for the extraction of
gold teeth and the cutting off of women’s hair, and of his
statement about the view expressed by the Accused. But in
our opinion there is sufficient proof in Hoess’ statements,
as supported by other evidence, of the following facts: The
Jews who reached the camp were divided into “Transport Jews”
(Transportjuden) and others, such as Jews in protective
custody. All the Jews dispatched to Auschwitz by Section
IVB4 of the RSHA – the Accused’s Section – were “Transport
Jews” (T/90, p. 12). Every such transport reached the camp
in accordance with information from the Accused’s Section
and was marked with a fixed code number, viz. IVB4 with some
figures added, according to the country from which the Jews
came (see the evidence of Rajewski, T/1356, p. 19 of the
Hebrew translation). No registration at all was made of
these Jews in the camp (evidence of Raya Kagan, Session 70,
Vol. III, p. 1276), but immediately upon arrival there, they
passed through the selection conducted by SS doctors, and
those who were unfit for work were dispatched on the spot to
the gas chambers. The execution of those who were found fit
for work, and who did not die from the hard labour and the
conditions which prevailed in the camp, was postponed at the
discretion of the camp administration, until they, too, fell
victims to one of the selections carried out periodically
amongst the prisoners. From 1943 onwards, the registration
of deaths of Jews who were not sent immediately to the gas
chambers was also discontinued (Session 70, p. 1269).

As stated above, the Auschwitz camp belonged
organizationally to the Economic-Administrative Head Office,
which also controlled the forced labour of the camp

145. It follows, therefore, that every trainload of
“Transport Jews” reached the Auschwitz camp with its
passengers condemned to death by a general decree given in
respect of the transport as a whole by the Accused’s
Section. The moment the Jews passed through the camp gates,
they came within the power of the camp administration, which
had to carry out the death sentence. At the same time, it
had authority to postpone the execution of those who were
fit for work. As time went on, the need grew for exploiting
prisoners for the production of arms and other work. This
we see, for example, from a cable to Himmler signed by
Mueller and marked IVB4a, dated 16 December 1942, in which
Mueller refers to Himmler’s order for the increase of the
labour force in the concentration camps and reports the
dispatch of 45,000 Jews to Auschwitz, including persons
unfit for work, elderly people and children. He calculates
that “if a suitable criterion is used, the selection of the
Jews on their arrival will produce at least 10,000 to 15,000
labourers out of the total of 45,000 (T/292). This is in
accordance with the statement made by Hoess that the
percentage of persons fit for work was approximately
twenty_five per cent.

It has also been proved that it was within the Accused’s
competence to give instructions in advance that a specific
transport should not be taken off for immediate
extermination, but only after some time had elapsed, as laid
down by him. This is what happened to a transport from
Terezin which was deported to the Families’ Camp in
Auschwitz, with instructions that the people in this
transport were to be executed six months later (see below,
the chapter on Terezin).

146. Amongst the Jews who reached Auschwitz camp as
detainees and not as “Transport Jews” were such as had,
allegedly, committed criminal offences, such as the making
of a telephone call or contravening the curfew. We heard
from the witness Raya Kagan, who worked in the registration
office at Auschwitz, that this group received better
treatment, because they were exempted from the selections
(Session 70, Vol. III, p. 1272). Jews in “protective
custody” (Schutzhaftjuden) reached the camp by virtue of
individual orders issued by Section IVC2 of the RSHA, which
dealt with protective custody matters (see T/1280, p. 3).
In his Statement T/37, p. 163, the Accused explains that the
substantive examination of these individual cases was made
by his Section, and Section IVC2 only issued the formal

From exhibit T/103 it appears that matters of release from
concentration camps were also within the competence of the
RSHA (supra, p. 9, para. 11(f)). But as Raya Kagan
testified, as far as the Jews were concerned, this was only
theoretical, because a Jew, once he entered Auschwitz, never
came out again (Session 70, Vol. III, p. xx21; see also the
Accused’s account in his Statement T/37, pp. 223-224).
The Accused was not authorized to give orders himself for
the carrying out of the death sentence by way of punishment
of Jews in Auschwitz and in other concentration camps.
Apparently, this authority was reserved to Himmler himself,
and to Mueller (see T/202, p. 1, end). But notification of
the carrying out of the execution of Jews was transmitted to
the Section of the Accused (T/37, p. 2101).

147. With regard to the Chelmno extermination camp, proof
has been adduced before us that it was administered by a
special unit commanded by one Bothmann (see T/1297, p. 12,
of the Hebrew translation; T/1299). We do not have before
us proof of any administrative connection between this unit
and the Accused’s Section.

Covering up of the Traces

148. In the autumn of 1942, Himmler ordered the opening of
the mass graves of Jews previously executed in the East, the
burning of the bodies, and the elimination of all traces of
slaughter which had taken place in every locality.
Apparently, Himmler was afraid that the advancing Red Army
might discover the graves, and he thought that the disposal
of the bodies would be sufficient to efface the eternal
shame. The task was allotted to a special unit known as No.
1005, commanded by Standartenfuehrer Paul Blobel.
The testimonies we heard on this subject, especially from
two witnesses, Dr. Leon Wells (Weliczker) and Avraham
Karasik, conjured up visions of hell which were amongst the
most horrifying parts of all the evidence submitted by the
Prosecution. In June 1943, Dr. Wells was taken off to work
in this unit in eastern Galicia. He describes the work as
follows (Session 23, Vol. I, p. 370):

“We used to uncover all the graves where there were people
who had been killed during the past three years, take out
the bodies, pile them up in tiers and burn these bodies;
grind the bones, take out all the valuables in the ashes
such as gold teeth, rings and so on – separate them…we
used to throw the ashes up in the air so that they would
disappear, replace the earth on the graves and plant seeds,
so that nobody could recognize that there ever was a grave

He described the grinding machine as something like a big
concrete mixer, with steel balls inside. They would put the
bones into the machine and the steel balls would crush them
(supra, p. 371). We have already recalled above a similar
description by the witness Zurawski (Chelmno camp).

This unit was occupied not only with dead bodies, but also
with living human beings who were taken to the pyre, shot
there, and cast into the flames. Dr. Wells describes that,
at the time of mass murder by machine guns, not all the
victims were invariably killed by the bullets, and so it
happened that people still alive met death in the flames.
He estimates the number of those killed in this way, and
whose death he witnessed himself, at 30,000, the last
remnant of the Jews in that territory. This was during the
last stage of the extermination of East Galician Jewry, by
order of Katzmann, Commander of the SS and the Police. Dr.
Wells estimates the number of bodies burned by this unit at
several hundred thousand (supra, p. 51).

The witness Karasik gave similar evidence about the work of
Unit 1005 in another region, in the vicinity of Bialystok
and Eastern Prussia (Session 28, p. 12).

Hoess states in his memoirs (exhibit T/90, p. 6) that, some
time after Himmler’s visit in the summer of 1942,
Standartenfuehrer Blobel “of the Eichmann Service Unit”
arrived and brought with him Himmler’s order for the opening
of all the mass graves in Auschwitz and the burning of the
bodies. He also states that Blobel received instructions
from Eichmann to show him the crematorium which had been set
up in the Chelmno extermination camp. T/218 is the report
on Hoess’ journey to Chelmno, accompanied by another two SS
officers. In that report as well, mention is made of a
grinding machine which was to be sent to Auschwitz. Hoess
states also that from time to time he had to supply Jews for
work with Unit 1005, because when the work was finished in
each section, all the Jews who had been employed in the unit
were shot.

Wisliceny says of Blobel’s unit that it “was formally placed
under Eichmann” (T/85, p. 9).

The Accused denied that he was Blobel’s superior. According
to him, the only connection between his Section and Blobel
was that Blobel himself and some of his men were housed in
the building of Section IVB4 while they were in Berlin, and
his Section dealt with them only from an administrative
aspect (T/37, pp. 264, 390, 3044). He also mentions
strained personal relations between himself and Blobel.

We find that the evidence is not sufficient to place the
responsibility for the activities of Blobel’s unit on the
Accused. As against Hoess’ statement, it should be pointed
out that Blobel himself, in the declaration which he made at
Nuremberg (T/216), says in regard to his work as commander
of Unit 1005:

“I was under the control of Department IV, under the
former Gruppenfuehrer Mueller. In the autumn I
received instructions, as the person charged by
Mueller, to travel to the Eastern Occupied Territories,
to cover up the traces of the mass graves from the time
that executions had been carried out by the Operations

The Accused’s name is not mentioned by Blobel, and also in
the nature of things it does not necessarily follow that the
Section of the Accused, which was occupied with carrying out
the Final Solution, should also be engaged in the special
operation of covering up the traces. Accordingly, the
Accused will have the benefit of the doubt in this matter.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27