Judgment 52, Eichmann Adolf

162. We now propose to establish more precisely what was the
part played by the Accused in the extermination operations.
We have already touched upon this central topic in some of
the earlier sections, when giving a description of the
background of the events, especially in Hungary and Eastern
Europe. In other sections, in which we described the
expulsions of the Jews and all that was connected therewith,
in the Reich itself and in the other European countries, the
part played by the Accused is clearly seen from the very
description of activities carried out there by his
subordinates. In regard to all these matters, we have only
to summarize and reach final conclusions. But we have not
yet discussed the status of the Accused within the RSHA,
i.e., at the centre from which the extermination operations
throughout the length and breadth of Europe were directed,
and this we now propose to do. In the course of this
discussion, we shall touch upon another chapter in which the
Prosecution seeks to prove specific activity on the part of
the Accused, i.e., the introduction of the method of
gas_killing, and the supply of gas to the extermination

163. First, let us elucidate the date at which the Accused
was informed that an order for complete extermination had
been given by Hitler, for clearly we can place upon him
responsibility for participating in the implementation of
the Final Solution of the Jewish Question only from the
moment when he began to act in the full knowledge that the
signal had been given for carrying out the Final Solution.
The Accused contends that Heydrich informed him of the
matter orally, and that on the same occasion Heydrich sent
him to Globocnik in Lublin, in order to ascertain what stage
had been reached by the latter in his preparations for the
exterminations. He relates that he travelled to Lublin as
ordered, and there saw the extermination installations in
the process of construction and was informed that the Jews
would be executed by exhaust gases from a motor (T/37, p.
172). He mentions the date of the conversation and the
visit in his Statement T/37, pp. 169-170:

“In June, I think, was the outbreak of war, in June or July,
let us say July, was the outbreak of war. And apparently
about two months later, possibly three months later, at all
events it was at the end of summer…when Heydrich summoned
me. I presented myself to him and he told me… `The
Fuehrer has ordered the physical destruction of the Jews.’

“… And then he said to me: `Eichmann, go to Globocnik in
Lublin…the Reichsfuehrer has already given Globocnik
appropriate instructions, and see how far he has progressed
in the work he has to do’.”
From the Accused’s testimony before us, it appears that his
visit to Globocnik took place approximately in the middle of
September (Session 87, Vol. Iv, p. xxxx20; see also Session
78, Vol. IV, p. xxxx13) and this we are prepared to accept
as fact.

But, in contradiction to the Accused’s version, we find that
he had been informed not at the end of summer, in the
circumstances he has described, but it was as early as the
beginning of the summer of 1941 that Hitler had issued his
order for the physical destruction of the Jews.

The Accused admits that he was present at the gathering of
men of the Operations Units which took place in Berlin on
the eve of the war against Russia, i.e., in June 1941, but
in his evidence he denied that the men of the Operations
Units received information there as to what their duties
would be and stated that the discussion revolved only around
organizational questions (Session 102, Vol, IV, pp.
xxxx10_11). But this evidence is contradicted by Walter
Blume’s statement, in the trial of Ohlendorf and others
(Trial No. 9 of the additional trials at Nuremberg). Blume,
who was commander of one of the Operations Units, declares
(T/306, p. 3) that he was present at that gathering, and
that there Heydrich spoke about the task of the Operations
Units in regard to the extermination of the Jews.
Sufficient corroboration of Blume’s statement is found in
the Accused’s own Statement (T/37). When Superintendent
Less asked him if, at that gathering, Hitler’s order for
extermination had been mentioned, he contends that he does
not remember what happened at that gathering, but adds
(supra, p. 2119),

“…I assume that when the discussion opened, they were
relying on some order…”

and again, p. 2121, in answer to a further question about
Hitler’s order or another order, which was given there to
the men of the Operations Units:

“You are absolutely right, Mr. Superintendent,
certainly something like that was mentioned.”

We find further confirmation that the Accused knew already
in the summer months of 1941 that an order had been given
for the Final Solution by mass extermination, in the

(a) The Accused admitted, when cross-examined by the
Attorney General, that he received reports of the activities
of the Operations Units in the East from the end of June
1941 onwards (Session 102, Vol. IV, p. xxxx11), and thus he
had weekly information about the mass killings of Jews. Is
it conceivable that he neither understood nor knew at that
time that these activities were being carried out in
accordance with an order from above for total extermination?

(b) On 28 August 1941, the Accused writes to the Foreign
Ministry that the emigration of Jews from the German-
occupied territories is to be prevented, “having regard to
the Final Solution of the European Jewish Question which is
now in sight and is at present in the preparatory stage”
(T/183 – our emphasis). It should be pointed out also that
precisely during the same period the Accused secretly
informs Rademacher that the Fuehrer has agreed that the Jews
in Germany should be obliged to wear the Jewish Badge (see
Section 82 above).

We have already remarked, when we spoke of an earlier stage,
that the rulers sometimes also spoke of the Madagascar Plan
as “the Final Solution,” but in the course of time the
significance of this term changed. This gradual change in
content, while the term itself remained unchanged, was
convenient for camouflage purposes vis-a-vis all those who
were not privy to secret decisions taken from time to time
by the top leadership. Therefore, when the Accused states,
for example, in a letter dated 12 March 1941 (T/697), that
the emigration of German Jews from Yugoslavia is not
desirable, “having regard to the Final Solution of the
Jewish Question which is now in sight,” it is not yet clear
what is the Final Solution mentioned there. But when, on 28
August 1941, further words are used, to the effect that this
solution “is at present in the preparatory stage,” it is
clear that the reference is to the new solution, and this
solution, though, at that moment, in the preparatory stage,
is none other than total extermination. If, in the same
letter, the Accused gives an additional reason that, as a
result of the emigration of Jews from the occupied areas,
the possibilities of Jewish emigration from the Reich would
be still further limited, it may be assumed that the
reference there is to that trickle of emigration which was
still being allowed until, in October 1941, by Himmler’s
order, the gates were finally closed.

(c) In his statement, Hoess says (T/90, p. 1) that Himmler
informed him in the summer of 1941 (he cannot give the exact
date) that Hitler had given an order for the Final Solution
of the Jewish Question, and that it would be the duty of the
SS to carry it out. It is inconceivable that, at that same
time, this matter was not known to the Accused, who held the
same rank as Hoess and was head of the Section for Jewish
Affairs in the RSHA.

(d) Finally, in the letter of appointment, dated 31 July
1941, mentioned above (T/179), Goering ordered Heydrich to
submit to him, at an early date, a plan for implementing the
Final Solution, by way of “evacuation,” i.e., the
extermination of the Jews. It can be assumed with certainty
that, immediately upon receipt of this letter, Heydrich
summoned the official authorized to handle Jewish affairs in
the RHSA, i.e., the Accused, explained to him that now a
turning point had been reached as far as the handling of
Jewish affairs was concerned, and gave him the new
instructions, arising from the situation.

164. It follows, therefore, that already in the summer of
1941 it was clear to the Accused that everything connected
with the expulsion of Jews would, in the end, lead to their
final destruction. We are, therefore, convinced that the
Accused gave false testimony when he stated that he had sent
the first transports from the Reich territory to the Lodz
Ghetto in October 1941, in order to rescue the Jews from
death at the hands of the Operations Units. To maintain
this version, the Accused was even prepared to admit that he
employed the cunning techniques of horse dealers, in order
to overcome the opposition of the head of the Lodz district
to the entry of additional Jews into that ghetto, as stated
in a cable of protest from the head of the district, dated 9
October 1941 (T/220). True – says the Accused in his
evidence (Session 78, Vol. IV, p. xxxx13) – there is a basis
for this complaint, but (so it appears from his evidence)
any method to ensure that these Jews did not fall into the
hands of the Operations Units was acceptable. The truth is
that, at the time of the negotiations regarding these
transports to Lodz in the second part of September 1941 (see
exhibit T/221), the Accused knew full well that the Jews in
the Lodz Ghetto would also be exterminated sooner or later,
because such was the Fuehrer’s command. The truth is that
the Accused employed horse dealers’ methods without any
lofty intentions.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27