Session 011-03, Eichmann Adolf

Attorney General: I request page 1317 be played back,
commencing with Less’ question.

L. Yes, now I show you a photocopy of three pages,
marked with my number 4 and 19-44 a, b, and c. Would
you please read the document through. I will stop for a
moment to enable you to read it through.

E. Yes, surely. This deals with…with Veesemeyer’s
cable to the Foreign Ministry and it refers here to a
particular Jewish group of people…a certain number of
Jewish people from Switzerland, or on their way to
Palestine through the mediation of Switzerland.
Veesemeyer even quotes me and according to this, here,
he asked me, apparently in Budapest, and in response to
this I gave him a reply…that I …as far as I was
aware, the Reichsfuehrer SS did not agree under any
circumstances to the emigration of the Hungarian Jews
to Palestine. The date, yes definitely, was July – July
1944. “With regard to the Jews who were being
considered, the persons in question were, without
exception, material which was of value from a
biological point of view, very many veteran Zionists
whose immigration to Palestine was most
undesirable…immigration to Palestine highly
undesireable – with regard to the Fuehrer’s decision
which was passed on to him, he intended to report to
the Reichsfuehrer-SS and to request a new decision by
the Fuehrer as far as it was necessary. On this I wish
to comment: This was July 1944, namely the period when
transports were on their way to Palestine, and in
exchange for…let us say in exchange for economic
assets of which Becher gained possession. But today I
no longer recall whether this entire matter…but
possibly here Becher can be asked and can answer, since
the authority was then in the hands of Becher to decide
on behalf of the Reichsfuehrer SS and the Chief of the
German Police, how he…and what assets he estimated to
be important and how this was declared and formulated
there with regard to the Hungarian authorities. I am no
longer familiar with this, but as far as I know, Becher
is now at liberty in West Germany. It seems to me that
at that time, after 1945, he stood trial and was
acquitted so that he certainly would be capable of
giving a reply on this point. I can no longer recollect
– I, in fact, read over here that I actually changed my
mind and backed down and demanded a decision from
higher up – I myself was certainly at a loss here
(sicherlich habe ich mich selbst nicht ausgekannt) –
for otherwise Veesemeyer would not have referred
several times to these demands of mine, a decision on
the part of the higher amd highest authorities …He
writes…”Inter alia it was agreed with me that, to the
extent that consent would be given to the evacuation of
additional Jews from Budapest, an attempt should be
made to implement it, as far as was possible, suddenly
and so speedily that the Jews who were being considered
for emigration should be deported…should already have
been deported before the conclusion of the formal
arrangements.” Again this shows plainly and clearly
that it was not only the Security Police alone, who in
this matter had their own instructions from their
commanders, but that other authorities, too, urged the
speediest possible conclusion of the matter. Moreover,
I had already said once, Captain, that in Hungary these
authorities did not have any need, even Veesemeyer, did
not have the need, in any way…let us say in any way,
to refer to the speed, as the tempo was laid down by
State Secretary Endre, with his Hungarian gendarmerie,
and this tempo was rapid to such an extent, that
Auschwitz found it very difficult – this I still know –
to absorb all these many transports in the appropriate

L. He writes here, that this was discussed with you,
that is the speeding up?

E. “…moreover it was agreed with Eichmann, that as
far as it was still…” and so on; it seems from this
that he told me that I should ensure that this would be
speeded up (durchpeitschen) as quickly as possible.

L. Well, then he could have said “I instruct Eichmann,”
or something similar to that? But here he says “it was

E. But, as I said, this…this is in any case not
important to want to analyse these…this sentence into
its parts, as to whether he gave an order on this, or
if there was an agreement on this…whatever the
significance may be, at all events the tempo was
determined by Baky, I mean was determined by Endre and
it also happened so – that sometimes – one thing
followed another so swiftly that it was with difficulty
that they could prepare the transport charts.”

Attorney General: I would ask you to play the portion at the
foot of page 1416, from Less’ question “Wurden die Leute.”

L. Who were the people who were subject to “special
treatment,”… wasn’t it the Gestapo which decided on
this “special treatment.” I believe you have already
said so once?

E. Because it is as follows – but now you say to me
…but you now give me…the possibility of another
idea, Captain. Here we are talking of Jewish
Commissars, Jewish-Bolshevist Commissars, as you read
it to me. Here there was a completely different
Department in charge. Perhaps this matter was decided
by that Department, something I do not know, for at
that time the whole question belonged to the order
called the decree of “Night and Fog.”* {* 2″Bei Nacht
und Nebel” A German idiom used for disappearance
without trace.} For you had previously told me that
these were the commissars. This did not arouse any
associations within me, but when you mentioned the
matter, a few days ago, then I recalled, naturally, the
“Night and Fog” decree – for I had definitely heard of

L. No, no, I think that the “special treatment” also
applied to Jews in general.

E. …Inasmuch as all that asphyxiation by gas was
“special treatment,” but the Jews…ah…and of course
non-Jews as well – whether they were Jews or non-Jews,
this in my opinion made no difference as far as the
commissars were concerned, it was not so. For them
there was a different department.

L. No, my question was a different one; I asked whether
“special treatment” was prescribed by the Gestapo. The
order for “special treatment” and so forth was from…

E. No, from the Fuehrer from…from…from Hitler…

L. Was the order for the camps given by the Gestapo?

E. The order, for example for asphyxiation by gas, for
the concentration camps?

L. The order, for this one, for that one or the other.

E. Ah – the individual cases – the individual cases –
certainly, yes, yes, yes, yes…

L. Was given by the Gestapo?

E. Yes, definitely, yes, yes.

Attorney General: Mr. Less. What was discussed in the
interrogation of the Accused before the section on page 1640
beginning with the words “Wenn Inhaftierungen vorgenommen

Witness Less: Here we were talking about the affiliation to
the Accused’s Department of the section for Churches
engaging in Politics.

Attorney General: Thank you. Please let us hear the excerpt.

L. If arrests were carried out – did this emanate from
your Department?

E. No. This was done by Jahr.

L. Oh, well, but this was consequently from your

E. From the Department, but here there was no need to
ask, because this had been laid dawn by law and Jahr
acted accordingly. On one particular occasion I had an
evangelical pastor, what was his name…he afterwards
became a Provost (Probst) in Berlin. That is, after
1945 he became a Provost in Berlin. But I don’t know, I
cannot now recall the name of this pastor whom, I
believe I invited three times – namely He…there was
a ban in existence on the part of the Reichsfuehrer SS
and Chief of the German Police, a ban on approaches to
the authorities by the clergy interveneing on behalf of
the Jews. That evangelical pastor – he had a small,
sharply pointed beard – he came under suspicion on the
part of a State Police Post, I do not know any longer
in which area this was, at any rate, it must have been
in the environs of Berlin even if it was not actually
in Berlin itself, this I do not know – at any rate it
was certainly near enough for me so that without
inconvenience I could demand that he should appear
before me. And then I told him: Yes, such a report had
been received and now he would have to be arrested. Now
I said the same thing also to the Supreme Council of
the Evangelical Church, I said it also to Bishop Muench
– once Bishop Muench came to me together with the
entire Supreme Council of the Church. I should explain
that I myself did not understand very much about the
churches, for I indeed did not deal with this subject.
Nor did I get to know the individual groupings, and
when I was told about such a thing, I had to ascertain
for myself first of all how all these things were
constituteed. But I told him that I was obliged to
confirm the protective arrest demanded by the Police
Post of the competent police headquarters.

I further said to him that I was doing this with much
reluctance – the arrest of the clergyman. First of all
– my father was himself a presbyter of the evangelical
community in Linz. A presbyter is not a clergyman, I do
not know whether I may…presume that it is known, that
he is not a clergyman but that twelve…yes twelve
elders of the community are chosen to a certain extent
for purposes of representation. And on Sundays they
walk around with a collection bag and collect
contributions. I told him this and I gave him a
warning, on behalf of the State Police and that he was
obliged to act in accordance with it; I said to him
Otherwise, next time, if there should be a further
complaint, I shall have to take you into protective
custody, owing to the existence of this order of the
Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police. There
was another complaint, I no longer know whether this
was for the second time or the third when “the knife
was pointed at my throat” – by my superior – then I had
to take him into protective arrest – I still do know
that his wife telephoned to from somewhere and
approached me with a request to release her husband.
But, in fact, I was unable to do anything for – on my
part – with all my heart – but I had my orders, I could
not do anything. I myself, I did not lodge a complaint
against him but – the Police Post made the complaint,
or the competent head of the State Police. In any case
I was not behaving strictly in accordance with the law
when I did not take him – immediately, on the first
occasion, into protective custody as had been demanded.

L. What was the charge against him?

E. I believe that he had intervened on behalf of the
Jews, but I do not know exactly. Perhaps I am also
confused, he gave some…some…some…Sermon which was
contrary to the regulations, Captain. Here I don’t want
to commit myself, I don’t know it.

Attorney General: I request the section on page 1765,
beginning with Mr. Less’ question.

L. Didn’t the practice pass…did the practice
regarding delivering up not pass through your
Department? Were not people…

E. …Not the killing not the killing…I…

L. …delivered up through your Department?

E. Yes, after the Head Office for Administration and
Economy had announced the destination.

L. I should like to ask the following: Were the Jews
collected, deported, brought to extermination camps,

E. Yes, definitely.

L. The authority delivering them must have been you?

E. Yes, surely, the authority delivering them of
course, Captain.”

Attorney General I would ask you to play back to us, on page
2464, the extract beginning “Sie erinnern sich an die
Kristallnacht 1938.”

Less Do you remember the “Crystal Night” in 1938 which
took place as the result of the shooting of von Rath?

Eichmann …Vom Rath?

L. It happened in Paris. What actually happened to
Hershel Grynszpan?

E. Yes, Grynszpan appeared before me… Have I not
already said this?

L. No.

E. In my opening remarks?

L. No, I think not.

E. …Grynszpan [I was told]…in…was late in the War
…in…during the War – it must have been in 43 – or
44 – I was hardly – in 43 Grynszpan was…this is it: I
received some…some…in the line of my duty I
received an order that Grynszpan was in custody in
Prinz Albrechtstrasse 8, and he had to be further
examined concerning who was likely to have been behind
the scenes. Accordingly I gave instructions to bring
Grynszpan no, not this way – accordingly Krischak gave
orders – Krischak was dealing with the matter – to
bring Grynszpan and…either way it would have been
useless, I said to myself. I still remember exactly,
for I was curious to see what Grynszpan looked like.
For this reason I can still remember this very well,
and I still said: Will they – more or less thus – if
they had not found this out during all those years,
then this will also…this examination will also be
pointless, this would be useless, but an order was an
order. Grynszpan – er – Krischak questioned him and
took notes. Nothing, obviously, emerged from the whole
thing and I merely said then to Krischak that if he had
completed the interrogation, I wanted him to bring him
to me upstairs, for I very much wanted – for once – to
look at the man Grynszpan. I wanted to talk to him. And
I did then, exchange a few words with Grynszpan. He was
very brief (abweisend) and brusque, was indifferent and
gave short replies to all the questions. I wanted to
ask him, since I had no knowledge at all of the whole
matter, where he had been and things of that kind. On
the whole he looked well, he was small – he was a
smallish lad – I have absolutely – I don’t know if I am
wrong but this I remember – such a…he was such a
little man – this is still preserved in my memory; and
then he was again returned to custody in Prinz
Albrechtstrasse 8. What happened then I don’t know.
Again I deleivered my report, that is to say, the
report was again conveyed through the service channels
by Krischak. It was a short report – because nothing
came of it.

L. Do you know what happened to him subsequently?

E. No, I do not know.

L. Was he taken to some camp, or, or was he shot or

E. Evidently to some camp. He cannot have remained in
prison, so I believe.

L. So –

E. I was not authorized on this…

L. Didn’t you interest yourself later as to what had
happened to him – or possibly by chance did you hear

E. No, it…it…it completely vanished …completely
vanished from my memory. Perhaps this was a short while
before my departure for…for…perhaps this was the
end of 1943…this I do not know. I don’t know what
…what happened to him. I did not hear anything more.
I didn’t hear anything more about it. At any rate I
cannot …I cannot recollect. I also don’t know
where…where he stayed for the rest of the time, until
the day on which I [received] the…on which the
Department received the order, to interrogate him with
regards to possible supporters. He was not…he was
interrogated in the regular way – he was not examined
in a particularly severe way, as far as I…in any
event we would have had to have the authorization. He
was questioned in a proper normal manner. This
was…after so many years, in any case, of no use at
all…this was – all the more so as – in general I
cannot understand – even then I could not understand
it, how after so many years…how they could still
investigate something which in relation to the present
instance – was indeed of no consequence.

Attorney General: Mr. Less, the next passage I would ask you
to play back to us relates to the interrogation commencing
on page 2667, the last line at the bottom. You were holding
a copy of Der Stern 6 July 1960 – what did you do?

Witness Less: I read out extracts of the article.

Q. The article contained passages from a particular book?

A. The article is based on a number of matters.

Q. And on remarks that the Accused made on these matters?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you read out to him all those passages on which you
wanted him to comment?

A. I read certain sections to him, not the entire article.

Q. I would ask you to read, on page 2667, from the last line
to the end of the reel on page 2679.

Less: I want to read out to you a few passages from
the illustrated German paper Der Stern – volume 28 of 9
July 1960 – in which an article appears about yourself.
The following appears here:

“Thus he writes” – the reference is to you “for example
on the cover page of the book The Atom by Dr. Fritz
Kahn, the following words:

I absorbed the contents of this book spiritually like
other books on this topic and I found a wonderful
endorsement of the National-Socialist faith in God and
of Trust in God (Gottglaeubigkeit); in view of the fact
that it has a remote connection with the materialistic
faith of the Communist doctrine and therefore – with
the materialism of Lenin which derives from the Marxist
outlook, I warn my children against pouring all this
together into the same vessel. The Leninist-Marxist
belief preaches materialism. It is cold and devoid of
life. Trust in God (Gottes-glaeubigkeit) by way of
contrast, is lively, natural and eternal.
But to my regret, I am afraid with regard to the
spiritual arrogance and boorishness of my three sons,
all this anyhow amounts to futile remarks. And for this
I am sorry!’

Do you recall anything of this nature?

E. There was a search of my house, after they had
forcibly removed me. This is what I now conclude. I
know this, that I wrote this article…these words. Yes
– certainly, yes, because my sons displayed a lack of
interest so blatant in their spiritual development and
in the further development let us say, of their talents
– I wrote this, as a warning.

L. And afterwards – it says further here on page 58:

“He told them something that he had prepared for
himself as an apology or justification: Their father is
in fact being sought, he is being accused of abominable
deeds but this is not true, he was always a mere
official, faithful to his duty, which he performed, as
he was commanded to do, but he never killed a person.”

E. That is correct, too…

L. And further, after this: “In respect of his friends
he admits who he is, he carries on endless
conversations; he reads everything published since the
War about the scope of authority of his office, the
‘Jewish Question.’ He desperately clings to what
remains for him as the sole justification for his acts:
the allegiance to the flag, in the fulfilment of his
duty and in obedience. And anyone who deviated from
this path, who, in the last hours of the ‘Reich of a
thousand years’ put human feelings above unconditional
obedience, incurred the uncompromising hatred of
Eichmann. He reads the book by Gerhard Boldt Die
letzten Tage der Reichskanzlei (‘The Last Days of the
Chancellery of the Reich’); and in the course of
reading discovers that the author Boldt did not obey
his Fuehrer to the utmost extent. What Eichmann’s view
on the subject was may be discerned from his marginal
notes. The description on the dust cover of the book
begins with the words ‘A young front-line officer
(Boldt) was stationed in the year 1945…’ Eichmann
draws a line through the words ‘front-line officer’ and
writes above them ‘scoundrel.’ He does so throughout.
In every place where Boldt is mentioned in this book,
he adds: ‘Scoundrel, traitor’ or ‘villain.’ In one
particular place, where Boldt relates that in the
concluding days before the end of the Nazi Reich,
senior SS officers who until then were arrogant and
haughty, suddenly became lowly and needed bolstering
up, a marginal comment of Eichmann appears: ‘The author
of this book is a stupid pig. Arshole Boldt is the name
of this swine!!!’

“In another place Eichmann writes: ‘This author should
have been skinned alive because of his contemptible
behaviour. With such scoundrels we had to lose the
War!’ And, finally, on the last page of the book, there
is Eichmann’s summing up:

“1. Everyone can live as he likes.

2. But then he should not play the part of an officer;

3. An officer – fulfills orders in accordance with his
allegiance to the flag!’

Here again he clutches at the straw of ‘fulfilling
orders’ in defence of which he develops an eagerness
and a vocabulary which were not yet at his disposal at
the time when he assisted, cold-bloodedly and deadly
correct (toetlich korrekt) to solve the ‘Jewish

Did you make such marginal notes?

E. Yes, I did. But it, it was of course some kind
…some kind…if one is already relating such things,
then this is contemptible on the part of such a person
to say “he clutches…” “He clutches at a straw which
was not at his disposal at that time.” This is
my…this Kantian demand I elevated into my principle
and this had been so for a long time. I planned my life
in accordance with this demand and I did not shut my
mouth when preaching to my sons, when I…when I
realized that they were becoming remiss; they showed
laziness and indifference regarding the continuation of
their education, I also tried…to the extent that it
was right …to bring them to reason by using words of
this kind to spur them on.

L. Here he writes further, in that same article:

“He also reads testimonies of his former friend and his
immediate subordinate – Dieter Wisliceny, in the trials
of the war criminals. And he feels indignant to the
point of exploding, that Wisliceny in order to save his
own skin tried like many others to foist all kinds of
insinuations on Eichmann who had disappeared. From now
on, amending his marginal comments he describes
Wisliceny all the time only as an ‘abysmal swine,’ and
a ‘buttocks with ears.’ He also denies vehemently
Wisliceny’s report of a sentence that he was alleged to
have uttered in the concluding days of the War:’…and
if it has to be so, I shall gladly jump into the pit in
the conscious knowledge that with us five million Jews
were put to death!’ The literal significance is
correct, but for one word: Eichmann acknowledges,
merely that he did not say ‘Jews’ but ‘enemies of the
Reich’ and in this form – the sentence was completely
natural, for ‘when our enemies are indeed destroying
our Reich, I should rejoice at any one of our enemies
being put to death.’

“Subsequently, however, there comes a lengthy
explanation that he could not, for this reason, have
said ‘Five millioin Jews’ because many, many less Jews
had been killed. That it did not make any difference if
they were two, three, five or seven million – this he
does not see, he does not want to see this.”

Did you [express] such opinions…about Wisliceny?

E. That could have been so – yes, it could have been. I
did, when I read a book, that is when any book came
into my hands, or any illustrated paper which belonged
to me, then – while I was reading it, if I became
seized with holy rage, and while I was in such a mood,
I would take a pencil and write exactly what occurred
to me, what was important to say in that instance, at
that moment.

L. Here he continues writing:

“Acquaintances and friends who spoke to him at the time
in Argentina, describe him as a man who was spiritually
shattered, who, although recognizing his unspeakable
guilt, dared not admit it to himself, and instead
sought frantically for formal excuses to avoid the
necessity of passing judgment upon himself.”

E. This is not true. This is…this is…journalistic

L. And now it says as follows:

“Eichmann’s conscience – this is what he notes:

I am slowly getting tired of living like an anonymous
wanderer between worlds. The voice of my heart, from
which no man is able to escape, always whispered to me
about the search for peace. I want to find peace, even
with my past enemies. Perhaps this is part of the
German character. And I would be the last not to be
prepared to appear before the German authorities if I
had not the fear that the political aspect of the
matter was likely to be too great in order to reach a
clear and specific finality in the subject. I am far
from wanting to raise any doubts about the just
judgment of a German court, but it is by no means clear
to me what is the legal status now in effect in the
application of the law – of a person who in the past
received orders, who was obliged to act in loyalty to
his oath of service, and then had to carry out the
orders and instructions which he received. I was none
other than the subordinate of the SS and the Reich
Security Head Office, faithful, honest, correct,
diligent and only filled with idealistic sentiments
towards my Homeland, to which I had the honour of
belonging. I had never been a scoundrel and a traitor
in essence.

“Despite the stringent criticism of myself, I must say
for myself that I was neither a murderer, nor a mass-
murderer. Just as my direct subordinates were not. But
– in order to remain faithful to the truth, to the
exactitude of a hairsbreadth, I would charge myself
with being an accessory to the killing, for I in fact
passed on the order for deportation, which I received
and…in at least some of those deported, even if by a
completely different unit, were put to death.

“I said I must accuse myself of contributing to the
killings, if I judge myself severely and without
consideration. I just do not yet see clearly if I have
such a right in relation to my subordinates.

“Thus, I am still involved here in an inner conflict
since, of course, as a past minor recipient of orders,
this must also be understood, I cannot be ‘holier than
the Pope.’

“My subjective attitude concerning the events that took
place was my faith in the ‘national state of emergency’
preached by the Reich leadership at that time. Later
on, when my confidence in the necessity for total war
was increasing, I had to go on believing, in an
increasing measure, in the constant declarations of the
leadership of the German Reich at that time:’victory in
that total war or the destruction of the German people.

“From this standpoint I fulfilled with a clean
conscience and a believing heart the duty that was
imposed on me?”

E. Yes, definitely.

L. Are these the words that you expressed – in your
notes or…?

E. I cannot recall where I did this, but these are my
words. I recognize the words. I don’t know where I did
so. This I don’t know, where, where it…where it comes
from, this I cannot clarify for myself…

L. And further, here, as follows:

“For the same Eichmann was neither a brute nor a man
with blunted feelings, he was, according to his own
trustworthy evidence, – even sensitive. And yet
despite this, that same man knowingly and wittingly
signed deportation orders, which meant death to many
hundreds of thousands. A macabre example of the total
misunderstanding, the total perversion of the original
Prussian concept of duty which always placed the
personal responsibility of the recipient of the orders
alongside and above obedience, of which under the
swastika there remained only the one half: blind
inanimate obedience [Kadavergehorsam]. Accordingly,
Eichmann relies on that mortal, murderous
falsification in his attempt to justify himself my
means of the ‘allegiance to the flag’ and ‘fulfilment
of duty.’ This is a hopeless attempt. For Eichmann was
not so foolish or so primitive, as not to be able to be
aware of what he was doing – on the strength of an
order or without one. He was an official for murder and
he knew it – as long as he was this, he did not have
any restraints, nor any urge to rely on the compulsion
emanating from an order. And he will have to take the
responsibility for this upon himself.”

E. The last part is journalistic gossip. If my outlook
was that I was faithfully obedient to my allegiance to
the flag, then it is impossible to challenge this, or
to explain it away.

Journalists, yes, they can do it. The writers of
novels, they can also do so,that is all.

L. It is now 16.15 and we will stop here…

E. Yes, certainly.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/28