Session No. 9.
2 Iyar 5721 (18 April 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the ninth Session of the trial
open. We shall begin hearing witnesses for the Prosecution.
Attorney General: The first witness will be Rav-Pakad
(Police Major) Bar-Shalom. My colleague, State Attorney
Bach, will conduct the examination.
Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom enters the witness box.
Presiding Judge: What is your full name?
Witness: Naphtali Bar-Shalom.
Presiding Judge: Rav-Pakad?
Witness: Bar-Shalom Rav-Pakad in the Israel Police.
[The witness is sworn.]
State Attorney Bach: You are an officer in the Israel
Witness Bar-Shalom: I am Rav-Pakad in the Israel Police.
Q. Did you serve in Bureau 06 in the Israel Police?
A. Since 3 June 1960 I have served in Bureau 06 as head of
Section 1 – Documentation.
Q. Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom, what was the scope of your duties?
A. The duties of Section 1 were: sorting out documents and
testimonies, their preparation and verification.
Q. Can you perhaps tell the Court how you dealt with
documents reaching the Bureau?
A. When a document came to the Bureau it reached Section 1
and underwent preliminary sorting. If we found it to be
prima facie relevant to the investigation it was passed on
to one of the officers of the section for the purpose of
sorting and analysis. After the officer had analysed the
document and recorded his findings on the form intended for
this purpose, he would bring the form to the Deputy Head of
the Bureau, who centralized the investigation, and who would
decide whether the document would be included in the dossier
of evidence being prepared. If the document was found to be
relevant and was included in the dossier of evidence, it was
given a consecutive catalogue number.
Q. From this I gather that the catalogue numbers correspond
to the order of their being received into the dossier of
evidence – and not according to the order of their content.
A. Yes, the consecutive catalogue number was given according
to the order in which the documents reached the Deputy Head
of the Bureau.
Q. Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom, you mention the preparation of
documents and the sorting of documents. What about the
verification of the documents. How was this done?
A. We generally examined the document for the purpose of
authenticating it already before preparing it or continuing
with the process of preparing the document.
Q. Were all the documents which reached you verified in the
same way or were there various methods of verifying
A. There were various methods and we divided them for the
purpose of the work into a number of groups for
Q. Perhaps you would mention these groups – possibly
according to the order of their importance from the point of
view of the quantity of documents of each kind that were
A. The largest quantity of documents to reach us for filing
were those which originated from the archives of the German
Q. Would you be able to tell the Court in which manner and
in which way these documents reached Bureau 06?
A. At the end of the Second Word War the archives of the
German Foreign Ministry were seized almost intact by the
Allies. They included documents covering the period from
1870 up to the end of the Second World War. The complete
archives were transferred to England and were stored in
Whaddon Hall, a place near Oxford. The prosecution in the
Nuremberg Trials also obtained documents from this place
which it used in these trials.
In 1955, Dr. Verete, a lecturer in diplomatic history at the
Hebrew University, was sent to London in order to collect,
or to photograph on microfilm documents from these archives
relating to the history of the Jewish people. Through the
Israel Embassy in London, Dr. Verete approached the British
Foreign Office, since the documents were kept under the
sponsorship of the British Foreign Office and the American
State Department, as The German War Documents Project. This
was done through the Library of the British Foreign Office.
The concept “library” in this case is very much more
extensive, for it contains several departments, not merely a
library but also what we would call a research department.
They showed Dr. Verete the original index of these archives.
He asked for original files in accordance with the index,
examined the documents and recorded in notebooks those files
and documents which he was interested in photogcopying. He
handed a copy of his notebook to the British Foreign Office.
Thereafter, at Whaddon Hall, microfilms were prepared by the
British Foreign Office and transferred thence to the Israel
Embassy in London, which conveyed them by diplomatic mail to
Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Dr. Verete examined them at Yad
Vashem in Jerusalem after they were received and found that
the microfilms which reached Yad Vashem conformed with what
he had ordered.
Q. How did the documents subsequently reach Bureau 06 from
A. Dr. Kermish of Yad Vashem and his staff, at our request,
sorted out the microfilms; we received 98 microfilms from
Dr. Kermish and they were kept thereafter in my Bureau, in a
closed iron cabinet. The microfilms were checked by my
subordinates in Section 1, and they wrote out orders on a
form intended for such purpose, and upon my instructions
these enlargements were prepared in Bureau 06.
Presiding Judge: Orders for enlargements?
Witness Bar-Shalom: Yes, orders for enlargements. The
enlargements were prepared in the laboratory of Bureau 06,
on the premises. They were brought to me, they were
examined, and for the purposes of confirmation every such
enlargement was marked by me on the back of the document
with the number of the microfilm, as it was registered at
State Attorney Before we come to this, Rav-Pakad Bar-
Shalom, you gave the Court here particulars of the
activities of Dr. Verete of the Hebrew University and of Dr.
Kermish of Yad Vashem. On what did you actually base this
evidence, from a factual point of view?
Witness Bar-Shalom: I spoke to Dr. Kermish, I inquired how
the material arrived. I spoke to Dr. Verete. And in the
light of these matters, these two gentlemen made affidavits
which are in the possession of the Prosecution.
State Attorney Bach: At this stage, Your Honours, I would
like to request the Court to permit the Prosecution to
submit, in corroboration of the evidence of Rav-Pakad Bar-
Shalom firstly an affidavit of Dr. Meir Verete, a lecturer
in diplomatic history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
and thereafter also an affidavit of Dr. Kermish of Yad
Vashem. While it is true that from a purely formal point of
view the submission of these testimonies of persons who are
not giving oral evidence here in Court involves a certain
departure from the rules of evidence nevertheless, as I have
said, the point is a purely technical one.
Presiding Judge: Are those sworn affidavits?
State Attorney Bach: These are sworn affidavits on points
which are not actually in dispute and which serve to support
the evidence of the present witness.
Presiding Judge: What is the subject matter of these
affidavits, generally speaking?
State Attorney Bach: The contents generally speaking tally
with the particulars which the witness has just described.
Dr. Verete reviews his visit to London, the details of his
ordering these files. He actually attaches to his affidavit
those very notebooks of which Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom spoke,
and in the light of these notebooks the Court will
subsequently be able – if it should admit them as evidence –
to examine every single document which will be submitted by
the prosecution in the course of the trial and will be able
to be satisfied that these documents are in fact those
documents the originals of which Dr. Verete saw in London
and which reached us in the form of microfilms, as the
witness has testified.
I should like to explain something to the Court. The Court
is not required at this moment, within the framework of the
present evidence, to decide whether all the documents which
the Prosecution will submit have been properly verified or
not. This witness presents all the particulars concerning
the various methods of verification, and thereafter, when we
submit the documents, we shall naturally be able, in
relation to each single document, to rely on those facts on
these affidavits which are now being presented, and the
Court will then be able to make its decision whether in fact
the affidavits and the testimonies are sufficient for
Presiding Judge: In other words, admission of the affidavits
does not imply an overall admission of the document
State Attorney Bach: Exactly, Your Honour.
Presiding Judge: Have you submitted copies of these
affidavits to Dr. Servatius?
State Attorney Bach: Yes, we have provided not only copies,
but also German translations of all the affidavits. Actually
we intend, in the course of the evidence of the present
witness, to produce about seventeen affidavits of various
witnesses, some of them witnesses who are presently abroad,
who participated in one way or another in finding the
material, photogcopying it, verifying it, and transferring
the material to Israel and so forth. The Court’s authority
for allowing the admission of such evidence is given under
section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment)
Law 5710-1950, and this is the text of the paragraph:
“In a trial against an offence under this Law, the Court
shall be able to deviate from the rules of evidence, if it
is satisfied that this will facilitate the ascertainment of
the truth and the just disposition of the case.”
In practice, Your Honours, the Israel legislator on this
point followed the “Charter of the International Military
Tribunal” annexed to the London Agreement, which laid down
in article 19 of the Charter – published in Vol. 15 of what
we here called the “Trials of War Criminals before the
Nuremberg Military Tribunals,” the Green Series. In the 15th
volume on page 15 it is stated:
“The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of
evidence. It shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible
extent expeditious and non-technical procedure, and shall
admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value.”
In actual fact, within the context of this provision, a
substantial number of declarations and affidavits were
accepted otherwise than by means of witnesses themselves
appearing in Court at those Nuremberg Trials. Your Honours,
the matter of interpretation of this section 15 will arise
in the course of this trial, possibly in a more serious
manner, in regard to documents the contents of which are
intended to prove directly the guilt of the Accused. It
seems to me that in the present context I shall be able to
shorten my argument, especially as I understand that the
Defence does not intend to object to the production of those
affidavits. I shall also say this: It says here that the
Court must be convinced that this will facilitate the
ascertainment of the truth and the just disposition of the
case. I would especially rely here on the last part of that
section. It seems to me that any means which is intended and
which is likely to ensure the efficient conduct of the
proceedings and to shorten the time needed for them without
prejudicing the rights of either side or the requirements of
justice towards either side – such a means would be
conducive to the just handling of the case.
As I have already said, we are talking here of a fairly
substantial number of statements which have been made by
witnesses, some of whom it would be difficult to bring here.
Consequently I would ask the Court to decide that, when for
the present we are talking of statements of this sort, the
Court would be ready to admit them at present as evidence.
Presiding Judge: Yes, certainly.
Judge Halevi: Have you informed Defence Counsel that if
they request it, you are prepared to call these witnesses or
any one of them for the purpose of cross-examination, so
that it would be possible to say that if Defence Counsel
makes no request, he is aware of his right and does not want
to make use thereof?
State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, in fact, I have had a
discussion with Defence Counsel’s assistant, Mr.
Wechtenbruch, and I told him that if the Defence should have
any hesitation or doubt whatsoever in regard to the truth or
authenticity of any one of the documents submitted by the
Prosecution, we would then take all steps in order to ensure
that indeed the original would be proved by us, to the
extent that is possible. As I understood it, my statement
satisfied the Defence.
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what do you say to this
Dr. Servatius: We are talking here of proof of the origin
of the documents. I want to say this: I have seen the
documents and I am not at all concerned about the submission
of the material in the manner in which the Prosecution has
proposed. There is a special aspect regarding the persons
who have made these statements, and in respect of them I
want to reserve for myself the right to summon them so that
they may be examined as witnesses or that the Court should
summon them so that they may be cross-examined.
Presiding Judge: I want to ask you, Dr. Servatius, so that
it should be clear: The persons who made these statements –
of whom you are speaking – are not Dr. Verete and Dr.
Kermish, but if there is any affidavit attached to these
statements, you reserve your right…
State Attorney Bach: Your Honour, this question does not
arise, as there are no affidavits attached to these
Presiding Judge: If there are no affidavits attached to
these two statements, I think that your difficulty has been
resolved, has it not?
Dr. Servatius Yes, certainly. If I understand correctly,
the witness can give evidence only on the source of the
documents, but not on the manner of sorting and the choice
of the documents.
Presiding Judge: To which witness are you now referring? To
the witness whom we are presently hearing or to the two
gentlemen who made the statements?
Dr. Servatius In the first place to the witness who is here
in the witness box; is he able to testify in which way the
many documents were selected?
Presiding Judge: At the present time we have not yet heard
evidence from the witness as to what were the reasons for
the selection of these particular documents and not others.
Dr. Servatius I would like to ask whether the Prosecution
has brought the witness to deal with this question in any
way, and whether he can tell us something about this matter.
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, it seems to me that this is
still premature. Meanwhile we have the evidence which has
been given thus far. When the witness possibly comes to the
point of testifying on this matter, then you would be able
to raise your question.
Dr. Servatius: Thank you.
State Attorney Bach: Perhaps I can also explain on behalf
of the Prosecution. In connection with the choice of
documents, one must distinguish between two different
selections. The witness Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom testified as to
which of the documents that has reached Bureau 06 were
chosen as material for evidence at the trial.
Presiding Judge: If I understand Dr. Servatius correctly,
the reference is not to the physical selection, but as to
what were the reasons for actually selecting some and not
the others. On this question he evidently wants to reserve
some right for himself, and it seems to me that, so far at
any rate, the witness has not yet testified thereon.
State Attorney Bach: The witness has only hinted that Dr.
Verete extracted from the documents of the German Foreign
Ministry all those documents which related to the history of
the Jewish people.
Presiding Judge: Which appeared to him to be important. This
is how I understood it.