Session No. 11
5 Iyar 5721 (21 April 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the eleventh Session of the
trial open. The court hands down its decision, to be noted
as Decision No. 6.
It has come to our attention that there has been an abuse by
one of the photographers of the permission granted to
photograph the proceedings of this trial. This photographer
took photographs of some of the private notes the Accused
made for himself in the courtroom. That photographer will no
longer be permitted to take photographs at this trial and
the aforementioned photographs will be destroyed.
Now let us continue hearing the witnesses.
Attorney General: Mr. Less, if you please.
Presiding Judge: Mr. Less, you are still testifying under
Attorney General: Mr. Less, please look at the section of
the Accused’s statement on page 402. What does it refer to,
Witness Less: It refers to a document we submitted to him
on that occasion, as mentioned on page 401, Exhibit T/455
Q. What is the general content of the document?
A. A notification from the Paris branch of the Berlin
Q. Thank you very much. I would request the recording of
extract, pages 402 to 404 be heard.
Less That is to say, current reports on this subject
were passed on to you? To your Department?
Eichmann Certainly, they did not have to be current,
since Department IVB4 was obliged, for its part, to
report on the transport schedules, even before the
L. Then the transport was confirmed in these memoranda
E. The official authorities.
L. The official authorities abroad?
E. Actually not every single transport was approved,
that was not the situation, but on the conclusion of
the operation they reported on it through service
channels, in the form of a report; they never reported
individual cases, but each time they reported the
operation as a whole. But here there was a notification
of a special transport, evidently because of the remark
below concerning the brother of Leon Blum.
L. What is the meaning of “The class of people included
was in accordance with the directives we were given?”
E. These were the directives the Reichsfuehrer issued
for implementing the evacuation. I have already had the
opportunity of dealing [with this matter] right to its
end, Captain; regarding Hungary, for example, “this
person or that person,” the age limits (Altersgrenze03)
and so on.
In this way there existed, in the case of – today I do
not know, I presume – in the case of each country,
various directives, because the Foreign Ministry had to
give its approval to these directives. If the Foreign
Ministry imposed its veto, in the other countries of
Europe, of course,then…
L. But it seems to me as if in this remark, and in this
case the memorandum was addressed to you, the reference
was to directives which were issued by your Department.
E. Obviously, for we had to issue the directive,
Captain, for we on our part obtained these directives,
we requested them, either from the Chief of the
Security Police and the SD or from Himmler, and then we
had to pass them on, since it wasn’t Himmler who gave
these directives to Paris and the Hague, but us.
L. Very well, what do these directives say?
E. Captain, the instructions they laid down in an
individual case, regarding France and regarding
Holland, the age limits. etc. – this I would not be
able to give you exactly.
L. What about Holland?
E. The age limits; in Hungary I can give them
precisely, the age limit, fitness for work, the
allocation for maintenance…
L. Allow me – you say “fitness for work” I assume that
fitness for work was determined by the commanders of
the concentration camps?
E. Yes, yes, in Hungary, it was then only permitted to
send fit persons to work; and this actually began at
the time when the whole matter was stopped.
I have said all this, Captain, not only now, when I am
– I would say – I am impelled to do so, I dealt with
this right to the end a few days ago.
L. Very well, what were the further instructions?
E. I believe that afterwards, it said in general
“Any excesses which can be avoided should be avoided”
and that was the end of the matter. The Reichsfuehrer
ordered “with children” or “without children,” “without
taking into account age-limits”…and in these…these
were not observed for a very long time, these
L. Was it also mentioned in the directives “when there
is an attempted escape, arms should be used?”
E. No, this I don’t know, I do not know. Possibly, if
you please, in these many transports – please I talk
from experience when I say, not only in regard to
Jewish affairs but in regard to so many transports,
hundreds of them were carried out there, if not
thousands – there were attempts at escape, some of them
successful. Then the escorting guards became very busy,
but if it said there “when there is an attempted
escape, arms should be used” I cannot imagine it was
so, I cannot imagine it.
In Hungary, in Hungary this did not happen; in Hungary
I know this with absolute certainty that they never
went so far as to use arms when there were attempts at
escape, this I do not believe, this I do not believe, I
definitely do not believe it, no! This I certainly do
not believe. In some case or other – so that I should
not, Heaven forbid, utter a lie, it might have been
possible, that in some case or other, somehow, the
clause with the addition was added – but I myself
cannot imagine this, I do not see, even today I am not
convinced that the necessity arose, that things went so
Presiding Judge: What is “the clause with the addition?”
Interpreter: An additional clause. In German Zusatz.
Attorney General: The reference is to the use of arms. The
additional clause of the directive.
Let us now hear the recording of tape No.9 on page 408,
beginning with the words “Sie entsinnen sich…”
Less Do you still remember the Wannsee Conference? We
shall yet have to go into details.
Eichmann Yes, certainly.
L. At any rate, I presume you were present at the
E. Yes, certainly. I even had to write by myself the
invitations to the Secretaries of State, that is to
say, Heydrich told me briefly how he wanted this to be
L. Why were you invited to this Wannsee Conference, at
a time when you had such a minor position?
E. Captain, I had to write the invitations. It was
incumbent upon me…it was incumbent upon me to supply
Heydrich with the data for the speech he delivered, all
the emigration figures and all that. This is what I had
to give him, this was what he demanded of me; after all
I was head of the Department at the Secret State
Police, although not head of the Department of the Head
Office for Administration and Economy.
L. Was Mueller also present?
E. Mueller was also present, yes certainly, this was a
conference at…as they used to say then, “at a high
level,” namely only Secretaries of State.
L. Why did they bring into the circle little Eichmann?
Just because he was head of a Department?
E. I was head of the Deparment and obviously I had to
be present, Captain. There was no possiblilty of my
speaking there, for instance, Captain, or to be
prominent in some way in the affairs of the Wannsee
Conference, in the various matters of the Secretaries
of State. Not in a single case did I discuss these
affairs with any Secretary of State.
L. Wouldn’t it have been the normal way for Mueller to
have said to you:
“Eichmann, please prepare the material, so that it can
be on hand if I should be asked to give a report on
it? And Eichmann would have produced the material.”
E. No, it was Heydrich who demanded this of me, this I
have already said, Captain. Heydrich demanded this of
L.So you prepared the material for Heydrich, but surely
wouldn’t Heydrich have asked you during the Conference
from time to time, if what he was saying was correct?
E. No, he demanded this of me beforehand, exactly as I
have twice…yes, matters of emigration, since the
Wannsee Conference was only the beginning of the actual
killing business, is that not so?
L.Yes, officially, there had already been killings
E. Yes, but 1941…
L. Are you maintaing that in 1941, roughly about
November, at Auschwitz they were already operating
these installations of killing by gas?
E. Yes, certainly, yes certainly, correct. The Wannsee
Conference was in 1942, but now, how could it have been
a conference of authorization, that is to say a
conference of authorization, a conference in which
Heydrich made an announcement concerning his
authorization. If they had already exterminated, as in
fact they had done, for I reported on this to Mueller
after 1941, after the outbreak of the war with Russia,
I am now thinking…what was it, very well this was
evidently…a much stricter organization and things of
that kind – he was in fact appointed by Goering; until
then the difficulties had been too great, there were
too many central authorities.
L.I see in the fact that they invited you and brought
you to the Wannsee Conference more than a hint of the
fact that in this objective, the solution of the Jewish
Question by extermination, you were entrusted with a
slightly more prominent role than you are ready to
E. No, no, Captain, I would have acknowledged this, I
would have acknowledged this without any further
[hesitation], but everyone who knew me knew actually,
after all, who I was; I was all the time the head of
the Department in Office IVB4 – and the head of a
Department of the Secret State Police could not – in no
way could he go beyond the limits to which he was
confined, this was not possible at all.
L.Was it normal at far-reaching conferences of this
type, where men of the top echelons met, to invite the
junior officials as well?
L. Was this customary?
E. Yes, yes, it was so, this happened not only with us,
but also with every department head…
L. You were not entitled to speak?
E. No, they were not entitled to speak, no, no, they
did not have this right; if you please I was even
ordered to be in Ljubljana or in Zagreb, I imagine this
was it, I was ordered to come there, where Heydrich
delivered a policy speech in regard to the deportation
of the Slovenes, I myself had nothig to do with the
deportation of Slovenes, except for the fact, as I
believe, that I was also obliged to prepare the
transport charts, and that was all.
Attorney General: Mr. Less, on page 413, before the extract
that I intend to play, beginning with your question “Ich
werde vielleicht so fragen” – what is this about?
Witness Less: This was a general question, a continuation as
regards the directives.
Attorney General: I would request the section from the
middle of page 413 until the middle of page 414 be played
Less: Very well. Perhaps I could put my question this way:
In what way were the directives in regard to the Reich
different from those applying to the occupied areas, in the
West and the East, and to the countries which were Allies
[of the Reich]. And, in speaking now about directives, I am
not referring to the directives given by you to your
representatives in these various areas.
E. Captain, this was the main – actually this was
generally the reason that applied to those
people…from the Western [areas]…in the areas of the
Generalgouvernement, but not, not also in the occupied
parts of Russia, was there…such a thing did not
exist. The the…implementation…was firstly the
efforts to carry out the deportation.
L. Were these the directives which those people
E. This was – it was – a general instruction, this was
in general the basis, this was Himmler’s instruction.
And so, first of all, there was a need, in these
countries, Captain, – for a legal basis…to create a
legal basis, on the basis…or by means of a
regulation, or with the aid of orders, on the basis of
which the deportation would be carried out at all. And
here, those people such as Dannecker and such as – such
as Wisliceny and so on….they, together with other
members of the staff, under the local authority of the
commander, or Wisliceny, together with the remaining
members of the embassy staff, had to dig up and
discover what could be considered here. For as long as
it was not legal… on a legal basis, how can I put it
– not a legal basis…
L. Correct – that is obvious – as you have already said
a few times, but – the directives which were given to
those representatives by your office, or by your
section, by your Department IVB4, were they not…
E. Now we are coming to it – yes, yes…
L. I can understand that you will say, or that you
intend to say that what we are talking of are…these
directives. The directives were that the
representatives would get in touch with the
authorities, on the spot, so that they should inform
them how many persons to supply for the transport…
L. So that you could proceed…
L. What were the directives?…This is what I mean.
E. Now, on the basis of that fact, came…that is to
say if the place were ready for it that it would,
accordingly, make the evacuation possible. Then came
the directives for carrying out the evacuation – and
there were various, frequent occasions according to
what the Reichsfuehrer, in other words, Himmler, had
determined, and as an example…
L. Were the directives different for the different
E. For the different areas, yes.
Attorney General: Mr. Less, in the section beginning on page
699, at the bottom, there is reference to a document T/439
(T/37 (32)). Did you produce this document?
Witness Less: Yes.
Attorney General: And did you read the document?
Witness Less: I read the document out aloud.
Attorney General: And you also did the same in many other
places. You read the document and what did you ask the
Accused to do?
Witness Less: Whether he wanted to make any comments.
Attorney General: Thank you. I would ask you to play back
the section on page 699, from the words “Ich zeige Ihnen
Less: I now show you photocopy No. 20 – marked June
8, 1960, from Paris (Exhibit T/439 (T/37 (32)). As I
see, this is a file – Paris, 21 July 1942. Is the
L. Re: Deportation of Jews.
On 20 July 1942 we received a telephone call from
Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann and SS Obersturmfuehrer
Novak from the RSHA IVB4. With Obersturmbannfuehrer
Eichmann we discussed the deportation of the children.
He decided that as soon as a transport to the area of
the Generalgouvernement would again be possible,
transports of children could roll. SS Obersturmfuehrer
Novak promised to make possible at the end of August or
the beginning of September six transports to the area
of the Generalgouvernement, and these could include
Jews of all kinds (also persons unfit for work and
elderly Jews) SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann had
received advice that at that time only ten transports
would be possible and that even these were not
definite, and that it was…that there were contacts
pending with the French Government in connection with
arrests of additional Jews. With regard to the
transport from Bordeaux which had been cancelled, it
was explained that in consequence of the promise given
by SS Standartenfuehrer Dr. Knochen to the chief of the
French Police Bousquet to take for the present only
stateless Jews, a completely new situation had arisen
without any action on our part (ohne hiesiges Zutun)
which upset the whole arrangement.
(2)For the information of SS Obersturmfuehrer Roethke.
(3) For the information and the records of SS
L. Do you want to say anything regarding this?
E. I now remember in regard to the children, I remember
that I heard about it. This decision in principle for
those children was made by Himmler personally. The
question was submitted from the Reich Security Office
through Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, that this was the state
of affairs and instructions were sought how to act, and
this matter was not settled, not by Mueller and was not
even settled by the Chief of the Security Police and
the SD, but was brought before Himmler, and Himmler
then decreed: “to transport.” I now remember, when
I…Captain, a few days ago I…when there was some
question of children.
L. Regarding the Grand Mufti?
E. Right, yes, then I, it seems to me, I said that I
remember some question of children, but that was not it
– that’s it, that’s it – yes. On this point Himmler
gave instructions personally.
L. Did this decision have any connection with the
“technical questions of the transport,” the fate of
4,000 children, who were sent to an extermination camp?
E. Yes, Captain, in this case with the directives to
carry out transports, since these were the…the office
of the Commander….He had to furnish them with
directives and I had to obtain these directives for
myself. These had to be obtained by the Department.
L. Are you willing to sign the document for the purpose