Attorney General: Mr. Less, in view of the fact that the
Accused refers to a room where you interrogated him and he
compares other things to the measurement of that room,
perhaps you could tell us what were the length and breadth
of the room in which you conducted the interrogation of the
Witness Less: In my estimation three by four metres.
Attorney General: And now the next extract on page 226
beginning with the words “In Auschwitz habe ich…” up to
In Auschwitz I had to look at those installations yet
once more. I told Hoess this and as a consequence he
ordered a field car. We rode in the field car through
some area – I didn’t know my way around in Auschwitz.
This was a section – far from the headquarters. I had
been there on my business several times only in the
headquarters, near the main entrance, I had never been
further inside – I also did not have any inclination to
do so – and then I saw large buildings, large
buildings, this was already in the guise of a factory,
the enormous chimney, and Hoess said to me: “Yes,” he
said, “here there is a capacity of 10,000 – yes
Presiding Judge: Daily capacity, right?
Interpreter: It says “Da ist Kapazitaet.”
Presiding Judge: Please check this later.
Interpreter: There is a remark here saying that it is not
Reading of translation continues.
And here, something was going on where they separated
those who were fit to work from those who, as it were,
were unfit for work. I did not look at the gassing, I
could not, for almost certainly I would have collapsed
– I did not want to do this – or I would have felt
unwell. I don’t know what would have happened to me. I
could not and already I thought: well once again I got
out of it and then he drove me to the edge of a huge
pit, huge – I cannot say what size it was – perhaps
even 150 metres, or 180 metres, I do not know this, but
the pit was very large. There was an enormous grate, an
iron grate and on it corpses were burning and then I
felt bad, then I felt bad. I told this to Mueller that
was my report…
L. What year was this?
E. This was in 1945. I said to Mueller, I said: “Why
does this have to be, why does this have to be so?
Surely Germany is sufficiently large, if Jews have to
come in, namely the Jews of Hungary, of Hungary –
everywhere there is a shortage of workers, this really
does not have to be. Actually the old people remain
anyhow in Hungary.” Naturally I – I shall return to
this at a later stage, Captain – the Hungarian
gendarmerie, which carried this out – let us say – with
its own hands…it sometimes raged in a terrible way,
ignoring the agreement, taking along even children, old
people and the elderly, a fact which again led to a
clash with the Main Office for Economic Administration
since they complained to the Reichsfuehrer that there
were being sent people aged 70 to 80 as well, as a
consequence of which the matter was referred back to
me, and I brought my complaints in this connection to
the Secretary of the State Lacik Endre who was
responsible for this. But on this I shall have more to
say on another occasion when I come to the matter of
L. Yes, yes.
E. Then let me speak now about this last point of the
most terrible thing I have ever seen in the course of
my life: It was Treblinka. I also received an order.
With Globocnik…I went to Globocnik …on this
occasion for the second time and [had] to report to
Mueller. Because the installation was in full
operation. Then I thought, thus I pictured it to
myself: there is a wooden house here to the right, this
I still remembered, to the left there were some
additional ones. Two-three other wooden houses. Instead
of this – again with a certain Sturmbannfuehrer Hoefle
– instead of this I came to a station, which…to a
station called Treblinka and which was put up as if it
were a German railway station somewhere in Germany;
with all the signs etc. – they imitated everything. I
stayed there – far to the rear. I did not come nearer
in order to see all this. I saw how, on passages fenced
in by barbed wire, a line of naked Jews were entering a
house in front, entering….not a house – a big
structure similar to a hall – to be exterminated by
gases. A hall where they were put to death, as far as I
was told, with …how is it called -cyan…
L. Potassium cyanide?
L. Potassium cyanide [Zyankali].
E. Potassium cyanide or acid, it has the name of some
acid, the acid of potassium cyanide. How this took
place, this I did not watch, I submitted a report to
Mueller and he received this report, as usual, without
a word, without a comment. Only his facial expression
betrayed to me: “Truly I cannot do anything,” and I am
convinced, Captain, – perhaps this sounds funny, funny
on my part, I know, but I am convinced that if Mueller
had had the power of decision, this would not have
happened at all, not as far as Mueller was concerned.
Attorney General: With the Court’s permission, before we
proceed, it appears that not all the Hebrew translation was
made personally by Captain Dayan. There is a part of that
translation which was made by the members of his unit, and
he has not managed to revise it. If the Court approves,
where Captain Dayan discovers any faults in the Hebrew
translation of those sections which he did not deal with
personally, may he be allowed to correct them subsequently,
so that those translations as amended may serve as the
Presiding Judge: This will be in order.
Attorney General: Thank you. Mr. Less, I would request the
excerpt on page 238 of the statement.
E. The last question yesterday was – it seems to me –
the beginning of the Wannsee Conference, if I am not
mistaken, or was it? …
L. It seems to me that you were speaking about the
E. Yes, the statistics. I have it here, also. Allow me
before [speaking about] the statistics, which I have
truly made a note of, to talk to you again about the
Wannsee Conference, which came much earlier from the
point of view of time.
L. Yes, of course.
E. Accordingly, I took here the year 1942 or 1941. The
Wannsee Conference took place, undoubtedly, a long time
before Heydrich’s death. Therefore, possibly, the date
which I mention, which I can mention… well it is
quite easy to verify it, the Conference of Wannsee was
very important, for here Heydrich received his
authority as the person in charge of the solution, or
the final solution of the Jewish question. From this
point he regarded himself as having the authority in
all these matters. All the central authorities were
then invited to this Conference, and this at a high
level of representation namely, the Secretaries of
State. Of the Party functionaries, there was present
the Gauamtsleiter Schacht, Goebbels’ Deputy for the
Capital of the Reich, Berlin. There were also present
senior officials of the Fuehrer’s Chancellery – I
should say “the Fuehrer’s Chancellery,” for that was
the name of that office.
IVB4 received an order to prepare in writing a draft of
the invitations which were sent afterwards in the
normal way of outgoing mail, all of them initialled by
Heydrich, because they bore the stamp of official
invitations – to each one of the Secretaries of State
with a personal title at the head of the letter and
with a personal ending to each letter. The date of the
Conference subsequently had to be postponed because one
or two of those invited were suddenly delayed. The
invitations were then sent out again.
Heydrich then possessed written authority signed by
Goering and on this basis he delivered a long speech on
what had been done so far, and in it he asked (and this
had been the real original reason for the invitation)
for intensive cooperation.
His second real reason was to indulge his well-known
vanity that was his weakness and to boast with his
authority, which now made him the unrestricted ruler of
all the Jews of the areas under the influence and
occupation of Germany, and to demonstrate clearly the
broadening of his influence. But also perhaps to
use…by his use of – how can I put it – his clearly
being in the good graces of the greatest people in the
Reich, to further other personal tendencies about which
he was also thinking of how he could combine them for
his benefit. This was the policy followed by some of
those leaders. It was widely believed, and Heydrich was
known for it, that he was never satisfied with all that
he was able to take hold of.
I can still remember that Globocnik who had that
installation for extermination in Lublin received
authority from him after the event to exterminate the
Jews – this was the first case of this kind that I had
heard of – despite the fact that Globocnik had for some
time put people to death, and had certainly already
sent very many to their deaths, Globocnik asked in this
connection to grant him authority after the event,
signed by Heydrich. I can still see Mueller in front of
me, how at the time we discussed this he shook his
head, without saying a word. In addition to the death
installation, about which I reported yesterday, the
same Globocnik also maintained labour camps and several
workshops, in Berlin – Lublin, where it seems to me,
they somehow worked for the Waffen SS. Maybe for the
Waffen SS but they worked there. Possibly it was also
for the Army but I am more inclined to think, seeing
that this whole matter was under the over-all direction
of the Economic Administrative Main Office, that these
matters were taken into account for the needs of the
L. Who passed on to Globocnik that instruction after
the event? Was that instruction passed on further by
you or by your Department?
E. Yes, at that time I received an order from Heydrich
for Globocnik – as follows – to prepare the following
letter for Globocnik: – Heydrich dictated it to me:
“I authorize you to bring another 150,000 to the Final
But I do not know now whether he gave the order on the
letterhead of the “Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the
German Police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior”
and wrote this “By order, Heydrich” or whether he wrote
on notepaper of the “Chief of the Security Police SD” I
L. At the time when it said in the letter “to bring
250,000 Jews to the Final Solution”…
E. It seems to me 150 – or 250, I really do not know.
L. Its implication at that time was extermination and
E. Yes, yes. Those Jews were already dead. For these,
Globocnik requested to give him authorization after the
event. I think that they numbered 250,000, so it seems
to me. He asked for such an authorization a second time
as well, Globocnik.
L. This second order after the event was also passed on
by your Department, by you?
E. Yes, that is certainly so – the same authorization
after the event, on the grounds that what was now being
done was by an authority based on the Wannsee
Conference – in this way by Heydrich to Globocnik. This
was the surprising thing to ask for authorization
retrospectively…(that authorization) was dictated to
me personally by Heydrich, as he had also done with the
letters of invitation to the Secretaries of State, as
he wanted it written subsequently, it was subsequently
brought to him by his staff and signed by him.
L. What was the purpose of the Wannsee Conference?
E. Heydrich’s aim at the Wannsee Conference was to
obtain authority enabling him, as he imagined, to
administer and himself to control the affairs of the
Jews. And there was also this, please I do not know
exactly, there was certainly, somehow, some kind of
division that he achieved, or Himmler gave orders – how
can I put it – for a division of functions by which the
Economic Administrative Main Office had to implement
all the affairs of the concentration camps, while at
the same time the Security Police had to carry out the
seizures and the transportation.
L. Were you present at the Wannsee Conference?
E. Yes, I was obliged to be present too.
L. Was a decision adopted there as to the way in which
each office would be responsible for the final solution
of the Jewish question, that is, for the extermination
of the Jews? Was there a decision on the scope of your
E. No. There was no decision on this. This was not
decided for this reason: firstly because it was not
done in fact; and secondly, that this was a matter of
details, which were not discussed at the Wannsee
Conference, in the presence of the Secretaries of
L. If that was the case, what was discussed there?
E. Heydrich described along general lines what had been
done up to then, it is…of course also difficult how
much of the particulars I can remember (possibly I can
do so briefly), he then said that the solution of the
Jewish question had encountered these and other
difficulties, he pointed to many problems of competence
arising out of the authorizations for work, to various
conflicts of responsibility, and for this reason,
therefore, for the sake of efficiency, he had asked
Goering [for permission] to unite this matter under one
authority. Goering in his capacity as plenipotentiary
for the Four-Year Plan, gave him, accordingly, that
authorization, although, I don’t know what it was
called – whether this was given to the Reichsfuerer and
he, Heydrich implemented this by virtue of the
authorization which had been given to him by Himmler,
this could also be possible, I do not know, this must
be checked and it is possible to check it quite easily;
for then Heydrich had to write “By order” since at that
time that was the way it was done.
I remember that afterwards, somehow, one or two of
those present received permission to speak, and as was
the practice – I took part for the first time in my
life in such a Conference in which these senior
officials participated, such as Secretaries of State –
it was conducted very quietly and with much courtesy,
with much friendliness – politely and nicely, there was
not much speaking and it did not last a long time, the
waiters served cognac, and in this way it ended.
This, more or less, was the course of the Wannsee
Conference because it took place in the guest house of
the Reich Security Head Office, which is located near
the Wannsee Lake, close to Berlin.
Attorney General: Mr. Less, before we go on, perhaps you
would be good enough to tell the Court what was the main
subject which the Accused came to on the page which I intend
to have read, page 307. Please have a look. Give us only a
general description so that the matter may be understood.
The section before the words: “Es kam dann der Befehl…”
Witness Less: The Accused describes here the last days in
A. In 1945.
Q. Before the defeat of Germany?
A. Before the defeat.
Attorney General: The following extract is on reel No. 7,
E. Meanwhile, either Office IV or the Headquarters of
the State Police brought large quantities of medium-
size weapons, especially armour-penetrating weapons,
into my office building, and I ordered them to be
stored, according to the regulations, in underground
cells. At that time, there was taking place, in a
central hall in Kurfuersten Street, a meeting of the
heads of departments, such as Mueller had in fact
assembled all the time throughout the years and here I
came across something, which I had never believed to be
possible: there was a head of department here, who
dealt only with the issuing of forged papers,
certificates etc. for persons belonging to the Security
Police, namely the Security Police of Office IV who
wanted some change or other in their names, who wanted
certificates that they had been, for example, insurance
agents or something similar during the War.
Then Mueller asked me, what about myself. I said that I
would dispense with that, since I had no concern other
than for my defence set-up and for that purpose I had
no need for forged papers. Then the order was received
to hand over the entire archives for burning under the
supervision of officers – even the archives of “Secret
State Matters.” This thing took a few days. All the
operation was halted again by air-raids, and at that
time I said to the officers on my staff, who were
sitting around in downhearted and depressed spirits
while not doing anything – for nobody had anything to
do, and each one was immersed in sad reflections – I
said that in my opinion the War was now finally lost –
for I had seen that forged papers were being issued and
that now I had the opportunity of forming my own
opinion, as well, on the question of the modern wonder
weapons – that we were lost and there was nothing left
to save. I myself said that I was glad on the eve of
the battle for Berlin, for I knew that my defence set-
up was drawn up, in part, with cunning and I had no
thought left in this world apart from this: that in the
final battle for Berlin, at any rate, I would seek my
death, if it did not come to me by itself. Millions of
German women, children and old folk – I said to my
people and to the soldiers – fell in this War. Millions
of enemies attacked Germany for five years, I estimate
that the War also cost the lives of five million Jews.
And now everything was over. The Reich was lost and if
it was all about to end, I said, then “I also will jump
into the pit.”
With regard to the despicable campaign of forging
papers which aroused disgust in me, I was ready at once
to put a bullet through my head rather than have a
forged document publicly issued for myself.
Attorney General: Mr. Less towards the end of that part of
his evidence, the Accused gave you a written document, a
sort of declaration in writing. Is that so?
Witness Less: Yes.
Q. And do you have it with you?
Q. Did you ask him to read it so that it could be recorded?
A. No, he asked to record the written declaration into the
Q. And did he do so?
Q. And this is to be found from pages 359 onwards?
A. Yes, it begins on page 359.
Q. Apart from this, do you have the same thing signed by
A. Yes, signed by him.
Q. First of all, please submit to the Court the declaration
signed by him and afterwards I shall ask you to read out