Session 011-02, Eichmann Adolf

Attorney General: I would request the replay of the portion
at the foot of page 711, beginning with Mr. Less’ question
“Koennen Sie mir vielleicht noch eine Sache erklaeren?”

L. Can you explain to me another thing which I
repeatedly fail to understand: the question that it was
not desirable to return the foreign Jews and the
confiscation of Jewish property. What has this to do
with “technical questions of transport.”

E. Yes, Captain.

L. From this…- don’t keep on interrupting me…- I
beg your pardon.

E. Certainly.

L. From this it transpires, over and over again, that
your Department dealt with these problems as well.

E. To some extent.

L. Apart from the problems of transport.

E. Yes, Captain, it is true to a certain extent, for
these were prior considerations in order to enable the
carrying out of the deportation at all, for I could not
possibly…that is I could not possibly act in such a
way that some official or other, of some deportation
authority or other, would simply go out into the street
and indiscriminately simply seize and deport every Jew,
because this is called the “transportation of Jews.”

It could not be in this way…this was impossible,
since here there was a need to…all the
difficulties…there was a need on the part of IVB4, of
the competent authorities, as I have already managed to
say repeatedly…

L. I should like at this point to interrupt you…

E. Yes.

L. Because the recording tape is running out. Tomorrow
we will continue talking about this. The time is now
exactly 14.14.

E. All right.

The Attorney General: I request page 716, from the beginning
of the page.

L. Was this a law of the Reich – or let us put it this
way – was the final solution of the Jewish question
also a law of the Reich?

E. The final solution of the Jewish question itself – I
now refer for example to the special task that was
assigned to Heydrich – to put it for once quite
blatantly – the killing – was not a law of the Reich –
it was an order of the Fuehrer, a so-called Fuehrer’s
order, and Himmler, Heydrich and the Chief of the
Administrative- Economic Head Office divided up amongst
themselves, as heads of the offices, [the
implementation of] this order of the Fuehrer. In
accordance with the legal conception of that time,
which was commonly accepted, let us say that “the words
of the Fuehrer had the force of law.” This was a well-
known thing, but not only in this case, but in all the
cases – with all the central authorities – it was
obligatory to take account of that in a proper manner.
The words of the Fuehrer have the force of law – this
is how it was called, at all times and in every place.

L. Is this, then, the answer to my question?

E. That of yesterday – this was my reply, Captain, yes
definitely for here the question was – the question
which was obviously put with justification, Captain, –
namely “Were the Department’s duties not merely of a
transportation character?” That was your question is
that not so, Captain, ?

L. It did not have a purely transportation character?

E. Obviously it was not merely of a transportation
character, but the directives were the conditions for
implementation in general.

L. Here there was a special misssion. Right? There was
a special objective which they had to solve – the
destruction of the Jews, which – as you said – was
received from above. It was from this that all the
problems flowed, but…

E. Obviously, Captain, …

L. …Nothing direct. You always wanted to describe the
matter as if you were, here, only a transportation
officer – and nothing more.

E. Which was generally the case, Captain, ”

Both talk at once.

L. Please don’t interrupt – as it appears from all the
documents which have so far been produced, your
function was a far greater one. You had to become
actively involved in these affairs. The question
whether you acted, in whatever direction on the
strength of an order, which had been given previously,
is in my opinion completely irrelevant to this issue.
It is a fact that side by side with the transportation
question – the technical transportation question, as
you termed it – you also dealt with aspects which
certainly had no connection with technical-
transportation questions.

E. May I now…

L. Certainly, do you agree with that?

E. Captain, Department IVB4 never received an orderto
kill – never. Department IVB4 had nothing to do with
it, excepting where it was the actual transportation
aspect – as you have just said, seeing that…I said
already yesterday, so it seems to me…that it could
never have worked – so, for example, an order for
Paris, the Hague or Brussels – “a thousand persons to
be put here into one train,” for them it would have
been necessary to issue directives, since the people
had to – the deporting authority had to know what and
which category of people. This detail was added and
conveyed – obviously – and this I have to admit – by
Department IVB4, in accordance with those instructions
and orders of IVB4’s superiors, which we had in our

Attorney General: I would request the next section from page
724, which begins with the words: “Aber fuer alle Fragen”
and ends on page 729, with the words “Herr Hauptmann, das
ist sicher.”

L. But with regard to all the questions touching upon
the Jews in the occupied areas or in other areas, they
fell within the jurisdiction of your representative,

E. Yes certainly, that was obvious.

L. The question of the Jews?

E. Yes, certainly, obviously, this was…this…this
actually…Captain, this…

L. And he was the competent authority.

E. He was the competent authority for this, that is
true, Captain, except that he would not, obviously,
take decisions on his own.

L. But he received the decisions from you.

E. Yes, certainly. On this he had appropriate
instructions and directives from Berlin, and now he had
to see, to consider how…he could somehow co-ordinate
these directives with the efforts of the BdS and the
senior commander of the SS and the police. An order,
for example, just a simple order from Berlin to the
official, was for example completely lacking in
significance, if the BdS or the senior commander of the
SS and the police objected for any reasons whatsoever.

L. Seeing – as you said – we are talking of an order
from the Fuehrer…

E. Yes, surely.

L. …it is difficult for me to imagine that one of the
men of the BdS in the various districts, would dare to
do anything which would give rise to difficulties for
the official in charge in the area.

E. No, here you are correct, Captain, it was in fact as
you say. Only in France, for example – it was actually
a prior condition – but also in the other countries –
it was necessary, as a prior condition, firstly to
clarify the legislative aspect in this sovereign area –
if I may be permitted for once to put it in this way.
And only then would all the rest become possible.

L. When you say “legislative” area are you referring to
questions of nationality?

E. All…the…all the questions [which had to be
settled] with the French Government – which demanded
sovereignty for itself – this was necessary, as also
appears, if you please, from those documents, which I
have already signed.

L. I now show you a photocopy marked by me with the
numbers 1+2, 9 June 1960, p.726. I now read to you:

“The Head Office for Reich Security IVB46 2768/41G
(511), Berlin, South West 11 – dated 14 August 1941 –
Secret. -Urgent letter – To the State Police Post – for
the attention of the Ass…Assistant”…

E. Assesor…

L. Assessor Dr. Wenker or his substitute, Duesseldorf,
Prinz Georg Str. 88. Re: Jewish Art Treasures

For special reasons I have to request you to notify me
by 5 September 1941 whether there are still…and if so
what are the…objects of art of special value in your
district under Jewish ownership, namely objects of art
of the kind that were once in Jewish ownership and
which perhaps it is possible to acquire through public
auction or purchase. These works of art must be
designated not only according to their general
classification but by means of an exact and detailed
specification. Included in this are first of all the
following particulars Name of the artist, age,
estimated value, and indication of the person having
currently possession, a short description of ownership
so far, addtional features having special significance;
the intention is to offer these works of art to be
purchased by an extremely high authority. By order
(I.A.) Signed Eichmann.”

“Authenticated by a clerk in the Chancellery.” And
after that there is noted here a written remark based
upon a subsequent telephone conversation with
Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann at RSHA, in which the time
limit was extended to 15.9.41.

…I am unable to read this, what is written here.
Could you kindly look at the document?

E. Yes, surely.

L. And comment on it?

E. This is a letter which Regierungsrat Suhr, a member
of my Department, that is to say, this – this must be
read within the context of the wish, or of…of the
practice of Goering to equip himself with outstanding
works of art, pictures and the like, as he had also
done in the West, and [wrote] here – this is obviously
again some kind of…some kind of…some kind of a
letter containing in its fair copy …from the
memorandum it was possible to conclude that it was a
kind of…how it was referred to IVB4 – and directed to
me…and it could be surely determined that here, at
the State Police, in the office of the secret State
Police, Duesseldorf, that such things existed, since it
was addressed only to an officer of the State Police,
there must therefore have been given some indication or
other – there must have been given – something there,
and in consequence of this it was prepared by Suhr and
written to this State Police office. In addition, here
is Suhr’s signature.

L. Ah, this is Suhr’s signature?

E. Suhr’s…yes…this is Suhr….yes.

L. This is not a technical-transportation question?

E. No, this is not a technical-transportation question,
Captain, that is certain.”

Attorney General: I would now request the portion starting
on page 781 in the middle, starting with the question by
Captain Less: “Sie sagen, sie hatten nichts mit der Toetung
zu tun” up to page 784.

L. Do you say that you had nothing to do with the

E. Yes.

L. But the transports for killing were provided, the
people to be killed were delivered up…

E. Yes, indeed, it is true to an extent, Captain, that
I received the order to do this, to deport, but not
every person whom I deported was put to death. It was
completely beyond my knowledge who was killed and who
was not, otherwise 2,400,000 persons, when counted,
would not have been discovered again.

L. Already, yesterday, I replied to you about this that
it was not to your credit that Jews were still found
alive, but it was thanks to the Allies, who achieved
the victory. Had the war gone on and continued for a
longer period, then, it would appear, then these two
million, too, would not have been alive. For your plan
was extermination – the total extermination of all the

E. Not my plan, for I had nothing to do with this plan,
Captain, .

L. Oh yes, you were certainly connected with the plan,

E. Yes, I…I am surely guilty of being an accomplice –
this is absolutely clear. I have indeed already said so
once – to this extent I cannot evade my responsibility,
Captain, and it would have been absurd if I had wanted
to try and do so, since according…according to the
legal conception, I am obviously guilty of being an
accomplice – this I can see for myself. To this I

L. We are not talking, here, of a legal conception. We
are talking of the bare facts.

E. Yes, but I mean, on the basis of those bare facts,
according to….I am legally guilty of being an
accomplice, that is obvious…I understand this, but
therefore I am also endeavouring – I also cannot try –
in any way – to want to avoid this….to find an excuse
for this….

L. Alright, but in all your explanations, again and
again, you hide, you try to retreat and take shelter
behind “This was not the sphere of my operation, this
was not my field, these were the instructions that I
received, it belonged to the Reich…to the Reich
Railways Administration” and so on…

E. Yes, I was indeed forced to do so, Captain, for as
head of Department IVB4 I truly was not authorized for
everything, but only within the scope of my objectives,
which was limited and relatively narrow. That
designated scope of objectives together with its narrow
limitations can be checked at any time, because this
was after all a central authority…”

Attorney General: Mr. Less, what does the statement deal
with, before the part beginning on page 855 with your
question “Hier auf Seite 8, im ersten Absatz”?

Witness Less: This discusses the report of the Wannsee

Q. Thank you. I would request the playing back of the
extract on page 855 beginning with Mr. Less’ question.

Less: Here, on page 8 in the first paragraph, Heydrich

“It will be necessary to give appropriate treatment to
the remnants which are likely ultimately to survive.
Seeing that we are dealing here undoubtedly with the
most resistent section, a section which must be seen to
be a natural selection, a germinating cell for Jewish
reconstruction in case of release.”

What is the meaning here of “It will be necessary to
give appropriate treatment?”

Eichmann This is…this is some…this matter
originated with Himmler – natural selection – that
was…that was…that was a pet saying of his “Natural

L. Yes, but what does it mean here?

E. Put to death, put to death, of course…

L. Here on page 9 in paragraph 1 it says as follows I
quote part of the sentence:

“With regard to the treatment for the final solution in
the occupied European areas and those under our
influence it is suggested that the appropriate
officials in charge at the Department in the Foreign
Ministry consult with the competent officer at the
Security Police and the SD.”

The competent officer at the Department mentioned here
– does that refer to you?

E. It referred to me, yes, may I just have a look,
please – “it was suggested” – “it was suggested that
the appropriate
officials”…apparently…apparently…this was
suggested apparently by the representative of the
Foreign Ministry – or evidently this was done…by the
Under-Secretary of State, Luther. It was, therefore,
probably – not probably – this was taken for granted,
it in fact emerges from this that the appropriate
officials of the Department of the Foreign Ministry
should get in touch with the competent officer at the
Department of the State Police and SD, this had to be
me, yes, definitely.”

Attorney General: Mr. Less, was this discussed in the
portion of the statement immediately preceding your question
on page 932 “und Guenther?”

Witness Less: This arose from the question which I put on
page 931, where I asked if the talks and the negotiations
which were conducted between the Accused’s representatives
and his deputy and other institutions were held with his
knowledge and consent.

Attorney General: Thank you. I would ask you to let us
listen to the tape from page 932, beginning with Mr. Less’
question “and Guenther”?

L. And Guenther?

E. ….He didn’t always inform me… Guenther began
greatly exaggerating his own self-estimation, when the
affair in Berlin began working smoothly, and he was in
turn the opposite of Suhr – Guenther was a man who was
the opposite of Suhr. Guenther always outwardly
portrayed the character of a “veteran fighter” –
Guenther was – his main characteristic was stubbornness
– whatever he wanted to do, he carried out…like a
tank, and he…there was always…to my regret…he
frequently used to decide matters on his own authority,
although he himself had little…he had the minimal
experience in his sphere, but I was compelled to accept
this, as a fact, and even today I am obliged to bear
responsibility for the matter.

L. Didn’t he also try, as indeed was the general
tendency, to provide cover for himself?

E. Yes, I must say this – I must say here from – from
the point of view of my matter, of which I spoke
earlier, that the head of the Department was
responsible for the persons subordinate to him – I must
mention something which I have already referred to,
Captain, . This was cause for great discord between me
and Guenther, who at some time or other – I don’t know
when – at any rate it was also at the time when I was
not in Berlin, I think when he got involved in some
business about gas.

L. You mentioned this, I believe, when you were in

E. Possibly, when I was in Hungary, evidently that was
it, yes. Matters of this kind, you know, Guenther did
not weigh up in a calculated manner, and this is,
where…where…where he interfered – this [I asked
myself]…in the same words, why did he interfere in
matters which were not his concern, for which the
Department was not at all – was not at all
competent…for how would I bring this matter now
before the head of the Ministry – he would surely send
me to Hell. He would surely have reprimanded me
seriously…even for lesser contraventions.

Attorney General: I request the playing back of the section
commencing with Less’ question on page 976.

L. Was the deportation of the gypsies to the
extermination camps also carried out by your

E. Yes, indeed…that is, I don’t know whether all the
gypsies…this I do not know…from the west…the
gypsies from the west…no, to the camps? – to a
ghetto…not to the camps, no…to a ghetto, to Lodz,
this was the beginning…before the French war…before
the outbreak of the Franco-German war, I believe, or
afterwards, I do not know…from the…from the western

L. Weren’t the gypsies also brought afterwards to
Auschwitz, and put to death there by gassing?

E. Captain, I do not know this now, I do not know it…

L. Didn’t your Department also have to deal with the
evacuation of the Poles from the area of the

E. Yes, that is to say… It was Krumey’s task
in…where was it, in Lodz he was the director of the
local office of the Reich Commissioner for the
Strengthening of German Folkdom. Let me just consider
how it was conducted, at that time; and so the Poles
were resettled here…yes, yes…we had to deal with
this as far as the transports….we had to supply the
material from the Reich Ministry of Transport, at the
time when the transports were moving from the
Reich…that is to say from the Warthegau to the region
of the Generalgouvernement itself, no, but this was
from the Warthegau, it seems to me. There were Poles
here….according to a special plan between the Reichs
Commission for the Strengthening of German Folkdom and
the local State Police or between the central
authorities of the State Police and the SS and Police
Leaders respective of – this was yet another reason why
here – nowhere else were there SS and Police Leaders,
only – only in the area of the Generalgouvernement –
apart from this, the expression did not exist at all.
And with the SS and Police Leaders and with the
authorities of the Generalgouvernement for…the area
of the Generalgouvernement, gypsies…ah…Poles were
evacuated (wurden ausgesiedelt) from their places of
residence and Volksdeutsche were settled in their place
– those who had been brought by the Commissioner for
the Strengthening of Germanism as this office was
called – from the Russian areas to this country – but
we had nothing to do with the evacuation from their
places of residence and the resettlement, for here only
Novak was supposed to order the transports from the
Reich Ministry of Transport.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/28