Judgment 53, Eichmann Adolf

165. It is therefore clear that all the Jews dispatched by
the Accused and his Section to the East for “posting for
work,” or under any other camouflage term, were dispatched
to death by him knowingly, whether he sent them after the
Wannsee Conference or in October 1941 to the Lodz Ghetto.
And it makes no difference whether they were sent to an
extermination camp or to a labour camp. They could be done
to death immediately in the concentration camp, or also
later, after they had been employed in one of the labour
camps in the East. It makes no difference whether the
forced labourers died as a result of the hard labour or were
taken away from their place of work to the place of physical
extermination. The Accused admitted this in his reply to
the Attorney General (Session 93, Vol. IV, p. xxxx26):

“Q. …When you issued directives T/1399 under your
signature, for the deportation of Jews to Izbica, near
Lublin, there was no obligation to report to
Oranienburg, nor to the Auschwitz camp, but only to
Lublin and to Cracow, because this transport was going
directly to extermination. True?

“A. The contents of the document are correct. This was
within the authority of the State Secretary.

“Q. I am not asking about authority, I am asking, if
this is the way it was signed and sealed, were not
these people destined for extermination?

“A. Yes, I do not deny this at all.”

(Group D of the Economic-Administrative Head Office was
located in Oranienburg. The State Secretary mentioned here
is apparently Krueger.)

Later on, on the same page, he corrects himself and replies:

“Whatever may happen, at any rate I have never denied
that, to my sorrow, some of the deported Jews were sent
to death. This I could not deny.”

The limited reference to only a part of the deportees was
apparently intended to exclude those who had been put to
forced labour before their death. But even if this was so,
there is no doubt that their final fate was also known to
the Accused at the time he dispatched them to the East, and
it was for that purpose that he sent them there.

As we have stated elsewhere with regard to the deportees to
Auschwitz, it was as persons condemned to death that they
reached the gates of the camp.

166. We shall now discuss the question as to whether the
Accused had a part in the introduction of the system of
killing by gas and the supply of gas. The Accused denies
that he had any part at all in this.
As we have already mentioned, when we spoke about
Globocnik’s extermination camps, the system of killing by
gas had already been used in Germany before then to put an
end to the lives of mentally sick people (N/94, p. 15), and
the order for this appears to have been issued from Hitler’s
office. The unit engaged in this, under the guidance of
Wirth, was transferred to the East, in order to use the same
system against the Jews. Until then, it was a question of
using motor exhaust gases. As to the system of carrying out
executions by means of Zyklon B gas (prussic acid), which
was used at Auschwitz, Hoess states that it was invented by
his deputy, Fritzsch, who first used it to execute Russian
prisoners (T/45, p. 146; T/90, p. 4). There is no reason
why his statement should not be accepted as accurate.

The question of finding a “cleaner” and more efficient
system for mass executions than shooting undoubtedly
occupied the attention of the Accused as early as the end of
the summer or the beginning of the autumn of 1941. This we
find from the mention he makes in his Statement (T/37) of
the impression he gained when he saw an Operations Unit in
action near Minsk, where he had been sent by Mueller. He
states that his reaction to this was:

“How can this be possible? To shoot like that at a
woman and children… The men must go out of their
minds or they will become sadists – those men of ours.”
(supra, p. 214)

Again, the date of the visit is in dispute: In his evidence
before us, the Accused moves this visit to the winter of
1941-1942 (Session 87, Vol. IV, p. xxxx22). At the same
time, he connects the visit with “the double battle of Minsk
and Bialystok” (T/37, p. 211), and so does the timetable
attached to the Counsel for the Defence’s written summary.
It should be mentioned here that, in his evidence, the
Accused was confused in saying that he crossed this
battlefield on the occasion of his visit to Lublin (see
Session 87, Vol. IV, p. xxxx20). This battle did not take
place later than July 1941 (see, for example, T/313, report
of an Operations Unit from Minsk, dated 13 July 1941). It
also stands to reason that, if Mueller wanted to receive
particulars about the activities of the Operations Units and
sent the Accused to Minsk for that purpose, he did so at an
early stage, and not in the winter of 1941-1942.
Accordingly, we find that this visit took place in September
1941 at the latest.

167. In exhibit T/308, which is connected with the name of
Dr. Wetzel, an official of the Ministry for the Eastern
Occupied Territories, we find the main evidence implicating
the Accused with regard to the introduction of the method of
killing by gas vans. This collection of documents comprises
a handwritten memorandum, a typescript of the same
memorandum and two drafts of letters to the Reich
Commissioner in Ostland (the Baltic countries). The
handwritten memorandum and the typescript are identical,
with one exception: The memorandum states that a
conversation took place between Wetzel, Brack (an official
of Hitler’s Chancellery) and the Referent dealing with the
Solution of the Jewish Question. The place in which the
name of that Referent was to appear was not filled in (it
should be added that the name of Wetzel himself was not
filled in either). According to the typescript, the third
person who took part in this conversation was the Accused.
One of the draft letters does not say any more than the
memorandum and the typescript, but also mentions the names
of Wetzel, Brack and the Accused. Thus far, we still do not
know the details of the discussion which took place among
the three of them, but the second draft, dated 25 October
1941 (which was also submitted at one of the Nuremberg
Trials – the Trial of the Doctors, Green Series, Vol. l, pp.
870-888) states:

“With reference to my letter of 18 October 1941, I
inform you that…Brack, of the Fuehrer’s Chancellery,
agreed to take part in the preparation of the necessary
housing and of the gas apparatus. At present, the
apparatus required does not exist on a sufficiently
large scale and must be manufactured. Since, in
Brack’s view, the manufacture of the apparatus in the
Reich will cause greater difficulties than their
manufacture on the spot, he thinks it would be more
effective to send his men, especially his chemist, Dr.
Kallmeyer, to Riga immediately, to attend there to
everything necessary…

“May I point out that Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, the
Referent for Jewish Affairs in the RSHA, has agreed to
this procedure. According to Sturmbannfuehrer
Eichmann, Jewish camps are about to be set up in Riga
and Minsk. Perhaps Jews may also be brought to these
camps from the territory of the Old Reich. At present
Jews are being evacuated from the Old Reich and brought
to Lodz, but also to other camps, so that they can
arrive at a later date for posting to work in the East,
insofar as they are fit for work. As things stand,
there is no reason why those Jews who are not fit for
work should not be liquidated by means of Brack’s
apparatus. In this way, there will not be any
incidents, such as occurred – according to a report
submitted to me – when Jews were executed by shooting
in Vilna. We cannot allow such incidents, especially
in light of the fact that the executions by shooting
were carried out in public. But those who are fit for
work must be deported to the East for the labour
operation. Naturally, Jews who are fit for work must
be separated from the other men and women. I request a
report on your forthcoming activities.”
Learned Counsel for the Defence argues that only the
handwritten memorandum can count as evidence, and he
emphasizes that the Accused’s name is not mentioned therein.
In his evidence before us, the Accused denies having taken
part in a conversation of this kind.

This was not the reaction of the Accused in his Statement to
Superintendent Less when these documents were submitted to
him. He then stated (p. 2313):

“Yes, to this I can only say – it is all described with
accuracy… I cannot raise any doubts here as to it
being so.” (See also p. 2314.)

Afterwards, the Accused returns to the same subject of
his own accord and says (supra, p. 2339):
“There is no doubt that Wetzel came to me on this
matter. This I cannot at all explain in any other way,
after reading the report – that I brought the matter up
through Gruppenfuehrer Mueller – but I cannot say that
Gruppenfuehrer Mueller decided in this matter – to the
Head of the Security Police and the SD, and after this
I informed Wetzel of the attitude taken by the Head of
the Security Police and SD. It makes sense only in
this way.”

Superintendent Less showed him the same documents a second
time (p. 3483), and the Accused made no further comment in
connection with this. In Session 30, Vol.I, p. 518, these
documents were submitted to us without protest, and the
Accused’s denial that he spoke to Wetzel about the gas
appears for the first time in his testimony (Session 78,
Vol. IV, p. xxxx17) and again (Session 98, Vol. IV, p.

We do not attach any value to this denial and so do not
accept it. The denial is based essentially on the fact
that, in the handwritten memorandum, the Accused’s name does
not appear. This was noticed by the Accused only after he
had been examined by the police. The documents were written
in an official office of the German Reich, their formal
authenticity is not in doubt; they are closely connected;
they record the words and actions of persons acting with
official authority, and they were composed soon after the
events occurred. If we add to this that the Accused readily
admitted the accuracy of their contents, not only
spontaneously when the documents were first shown to him,
but also a second time on another day, after he had had time
to think, and volunteered to repeat his confirmation of
their accuracy, without having been questioned again on this
subject; and again on a third occasion, when shown the same
documents he expressed no reservations. This is more than
sufficient to convince us that these documents are not only
authentic from a formal point of view, but also accurate in
content, and there is no basis for the much later denial
made by the Accused. Thus, it has been proved that the
Accused expressed the consent of the RSHA to the use of gas
vans in October 1941 as a substitute for the execution of
Jews by shooting. (His argument in Statement T/37 that he
acted according to instructions from his superiors is
repeated in regard to many other matters, and we shall deal
with this later in its proper place.) From the declaration
of Ohlendorf (T/312), we know that in the spring of 1942 a
gas van was sent to the Operations Units, and exhibit T/309
gives evidence of the dispatch of an additional van in July

Therefore, we find that the Accused took part in exchanging
the system of execution by shooting for execution by means
of gas vans.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27