Judgment 56, Eichmann Adolf

174. In his evidence before us, the Accused tried, as was
his wont, to limit his personal role, and he argued that in
fact he did not even make use of the authority he possessed,
and never put forward any proposals of his own. At the same
time, he admitted that every draft prepared by the officials
of his Section had to be approved by him. Accordingly, he
was asked (Session 106, Vol. IV, p.xxxx5):
“…whether everything issued by your Section had first to
pass through your hands, or, in your absence, the hands of
your permanent deputy and be initialled by you, or, in your
absence, by him?”

To this the Accused replied:

“Yes, this was so.”

During the same session (p. 7), internal correspondence of
the German Foreign Ministry was placed before the Accused.
From this correspondence it appears that the head of section
(Referent) made a certain proposal, which went up to the
Minister for Foreign Affairs via the department head, and
returned to the section head after the minister had inserted
a certain correction. The Accused agreed that in the
Foreign Ministry it was the custom for the section head to
put forward proposals. And when it was put to the Accused
(p. 11) that it was difficult to understand why the same
procedure did not apply to his own Section, he could only
find the following reply:

“…On the Jewish Question there were so many
instructions, so many orders…so many points of
contact with the central governing authorities, with
all the Party authorities, that it was altogether
difficult for the State Police to deal with this and to
do what all the authorities wanted. Its hands were
full, occupied with executive work. The orders and the
aims used to contradict each other. They interfered in
everything, they demanded and requested, and this is
why there was not even any need to make suggestions.
Not only my Section was not called upon to make
proposals, even Mueller, as a general rule, was not
called upon to make suggestions. Everything that the
police did here was by way of carrying out the requests
of others who were exerting pressure, making requests,
making demands, and making numerous suggestions.”

There is no doubt that other authorities in the Third Reich
also sought to show their ability in the handling of Jewish
affairs. But this explanation that the RSHA as whole was
only the servant of others does not appear to us to be
worthy of serious consideration, and we therefore reject it.

Huppenkothen, who was a Section Head in Department IV of the
RSHA, gave evidence about Mueller’s work methods. The gist
of his statement is that Mueller had a strong tendency “to
do everything by himself as far as possible” (p. 6 of the
testimony), but the witness adds that this tendency was
especially felt in Mueller’s special field of interest,
which was the war against Communism. Similarly,
Huppenkothen confirms (p. 8) that Mueller would at times
pass individual cases for action to sections which actually
had no competence in the matter, or devolve duties on a
specific official, without the knowledge of the authorized
Referent, and there were complaints about this practice.
This phenomenon was also connected particularly, but not
solely, with Mueller’s special field, the war against
Communism. Mueller did not rush to make decisions (p. 9)
but in all unusual cases asked for instructions from above,
and this also limited the activities of his own
subordinates. There were also complaints about this, but
Huppenkothen does not remember the Accused complaining.
Here we shall mention the following statement made by the

“It often happened that Mueller did not approve the
orders submitted to him without further discussion, but
altered them or addressed questions to his superiors.”
(pp. 9-10)

Six, who was Head of Department VII in the RSHA until 1941,
gave evidence about the status of the Accused himself in the
RSHA (pp. 4-6 of his evidence):

“The authority which Eichmann had is not known to me in
detail, but there is no doubt that he had greater
authority than the other Heads of Sections. This was
the general opinion in the RSHA. The general
impression was that Eichmann was not merely subordinate
to Mueller, but to some extent already stood alongside
him. Mueller was known as one of the worst whips, and
I must say that the two matched each other well. It
can be assumed that, had Eichmann been under somebody
else’s orders, and not Mueller’s, he would not have had
such wide powers as he in fact had…in line with his
whole attitude, Eichmann did not go beyond the
instructions had been given.”

Wisliceny gave evidence at Nuremberg (T/58, p. 2) that
special powers had been given to the Accused by the Head of
the Security Police and by Mueller, and he continued as
follows (p. 8):

“I know that Eichmann dealt cautiously with all the
questions relating to his special task, and especially
with all the files. In every respect, he was the
complete bureaucrat. He immediately prepared a
memorandum on every conversation he had with any of his
superiors. He always used to remark to me that this
was the most important thing, that he should always be
covered from above. He himself refrained from taking
personal responsibility and made every effort to obtain
cover for his responsibility vis-a-vis his superiors,
i.e., Mueller and Kaltenbrunner.”

It is difficult to understand Huppenkothen’s statement with
regard to the Accused’s status. In his sworn affidavit
dated 18 July 1946 (T/159), he said:

“The Jewish Section (IVB4, afterwards IVA4b) and its
director, Eichmann, held a special position in
Department IV.”

Huppenkothen’s evidence in this case shows a clear desire on
his part to retract these remarks in the affidavit he had
given earlier. To that end, he used special terminology,
according to which he makes a distinction between (a)
Sonderstellung, (b) besondere Stellung, (c)
Ausnahmestellung, expressions which even a person well
versed in the German language would have difficulty in
distinguishing one from the other (if indeed any distinction
exists). In spite of this semantic hair-splitting,
Huppenkothen now again confirms that the Accused had
“special status” (`besondere Stellung’) in Department IV (p.

Morgen, who had judicial duties in the SS, also gave
evidence at Nuremberg as a witness for the defence on behalf
of the SS, and his testimony was submitted to us by Counsel
for the Defence (N/94). Morgen stated there that, during
the Third Reich, he had investigated the question of the
extermination of the Jews and in mid-1944 had come upon
mention of the Accused’s activities. He continues (p. 51):

“I requested the SS court in Berlin to conduct the
investigation against Eichmann on the basis of my
comments. Therefore the SS court in Berlin submitted
an order for Eichmann’s arrest to Kaltenbrunner as the
person competent in judicial matters (Gerichtsherr).
Dr. Bechmann (apparently the judge who submitted the
order to Kaltenbrunner) told me that dramatic incidents
then took place. Kaltenbrunner immediately summoned
Mueller, and the judge was then told that an arrest was
absolutely out of the question, because Eichmann was
carrying out top secret duties, of the highest
importance, on behalf of the Fuehrer.”

176. All these testimonies and affidavits, even the cautious
evidence of Huppenkothen, point to the Accused’s strong and
influential position in the RSHA, and are incompatible with
the tendency of the Accused to represent himself as having
been devoid of any initiative or influence from 1941
onwards. Of course, the statements by these witnesses must
be examined carefully, for at least some of them were
accomplices, and therefore their statements require
corroboration, and not only in a formal sense.
Corroboration of this kind comes from the Accused himself.
Exhibit T/1393 (File No. 17 of the Sassen Document) contains
remarks and notes in the Accused’s handwriting, and exhibit
T/1393/a contains the same extracts from Sassen’s own
document to which the remarks in exhibit T/1393 refer, and
without which the remarks are unintelligible. These
extracts were taken from the Sassen Document with the
consent of the Attorney General and the Counsel for the
Defence, and we regard them as authenticated by the
Accused’s handwritten remarks (Session 75, Vol. IV. p.
xxx26). In the first extract (p. 1 of T/1393/a) the Accused
relates an incident which occurred between himself and
Wolff, Himmler’s adjutant, who held the rank of general
(Obergruppenfuehrer). Wolff requested that a certain person
not be deported, and the Accused refused to comply with this
request. Wolff became angry and remarked that the Accused
was only an Obersturmbannfuehrer, whereas he himself was an
Obergruppenfuehrer. To this the Accused replied:

“Yes, Obergruppenfuehrer, I know that, but may I be
permitted to reply that you are now speaking to the
State Secret Police and to the Referent of the Secret
Police Office, Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann.”

Here we shall mention again the cable from Veesenmayer
(T/1215) in which he reports the Accused’s opposition to the
emigration of Jews from Hungary. What was the meaning of
this opposition? The Accused could not reconcile himself to
the order, which was known to him, of the Fuehrer himself,
lest some thousands of Jews might escape the general
slaughter. Here, is revealed before us not a bureaucratic
official, but a man with a will of his own, who feels his
own power to the point that even the Fuehrer’s order no
longer represents an unalterable decision for him.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/27