Attorney General: I would ask you to play back the exatract
commencing on page 2680 to 2683.
L. Today is 20 September 1960. Recording reel No. 56
has been put in. It is now 09.57.
E. As an annex to…the last recording tape, in which,
Captain, you read a few passages from Der Stern,which
appeared in June of this year, allow me to say a few
additional words to complete the picture.
I am supposed to have written – so I concluded – I must
admit, Captain – that you have read it to me in the
form of extracts, not the complete article, so that I
don’t know what the complete article as such is about –
I am supposed to have written that I was an accessory
to murder. Now if that one sentence stood there, or in
fact stands there, then it would not correspond to the
truth, for I have written in truth as follows – I can
no longer give you this word for word, but I give it
approximately verbatim – namely: Round about the years
1953-1955 I said that I would forthwith declare myself
as an accessory to the charge of murder, if those who
on the basis of orders which they had received for the
evacuation and expulsion of millions of German men,
women, children and elderly people would also declare
themselves to be accessories to the charge of murder
and if they, too, were punished. Hundreds of German
civilians of all age-groups – this I wrote further –
were evacuated and expelled etc. by the then enemy
powers, and I have not yet heard that those who
participated in this were charged somehow with war
crimes or with crimes against humanity, but I have
always read that those same persons walk around to this
day as free persons without any stigma attached.
Furthermore, I wrote, as long as they use two different
criteria here, I do not regard myself as being guilty,
not in any circumstances, but the reverse – innocent –
since I acted solely in accordance with the orders I
received, exactly as they did. Thereafter, I further
dwelt in this context with the questions of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, and with the wars and expulsions and
killings that took place also after 1945 – though
without any connection with the Second World War – in
other parts of the world. Of course, according to
modern jurisprudence, in accordance with the
conceptions of today, according to the first Nuremberg
Trial, let us say – the precedent of the first
Nuremberg Trial, I am, of course, from the formalistic,
legal point of view, an accessory to the charge of
murder, but in my view – thus I went on to write – this
is a one-sided interpretation of the law, and is
evidently applied only to the Germans, in accordance to
the principle “Woe to the conquered!” – Vae victis.
With regard to the remarks of Der Stern relating to my
personality – to the allegiance to the flag and to
orders, I can only describe them, in truth as really
silly, because I need not have disclosed these things
in Argentina, but such matters were the most
fundamental questions relating to everyone wearing
uniform, at all times. It is profoundly distressing, of
course, that such things do take place at all amongst
people, but I did not invent them, I was not the one to
give orders about them, nor could I have stopped them.
As a final point – this is of less interest in this
connection, but I also had these thoughts, and they are
– in regard to the extracts from the books which I
wrote down in my notebook. Here my point of view is
that these remarks which I put down in my private
notebooks, do not as such have to be of interest to
any person at all, as long as I do not lend these books
out, and I did not lend out any one of those books. How
Der Stern came into the possession of these few private
books – I do not know. At any rate that is all,
Captain, that I have to say about the article in Der
Judge Halevi: Mr. Attorney General, these lengthy
quotations from the newspaper Der Stern I, at any rate, am
not happy with them, that is to say to attribute to the
Accused words which we do not know exactly if they are
accurate and where this German paper obtained the material
…I understand that this was brought before us only in
order to hear the response of the Accused thereto.
Attorney General: Certainly.
Judge Halevi: But he often does not confirm all the words,
but only the last words. Even his comment on the private
remarks that he wrote in his personal notebooks – I do not
want to enter into the legal aspect – but perhaps it is not
customary to rely on words such as these as legal material
against the Accused.
Attorney General: With all due respect, Your Honour, I
believe that if something is written either by the Accused
or which has some written reference to the Accused, and this
is submitted to him in the course of interrogation, and he
is asked to respond to it – this is definitely legitimate;
in an interrogation one is allowed to do so and it is valid,
and his response in regard to this is certainly valid. At
any rate, this will be a matter for argument, and if Defence
Counsel wishes to invalidate this – these extracts – my
contention will be that they are absolutely valid.
Presiding Judge: I wanted to ask you, Mr. Less – these last
words, these supplementary remarks in the last passage – did
he say this orally or did he read it from a written text?
Witness Less: He read it.
Presiding Judge: He prepared this for himself in writing –
that was my impression.
Attorney General: With the Court’s permission, there is
another section, possibly two sections, which were not
marked on the tapes. We shall not be able to play them, but
I would for this reason ask Captain Less to read them to
you. One is on pages 2338-2339 of the statement. Please,
Captain Less, read the part that I have marked in red.
L. “I asked myself, who gave the instruction to the Ministry
of Eastern Affairs or to the circles attached to the
Oberregierungs…Amtsgerichtsrat Dr. Wetzel to do something
in regard to the gas machines? For there had to be some kind
of driving force here. I said to myself, if the Chief of the
Security Police and the SD, for the office of the Chief of
the Security Police would simply have ordered it. And this
is what I think – perhaps there are still today some circles
or other from the Ministry for Eastern Affairs at that time
where one could…possible the Amtsrat, the Amtsgerichtsrat
Wetzel is still alive, this also can be, a source where it
would be possible to receive a more accurate idea, somehow,
in relation to this. For I – to the best of my conscience –
I could not imagine myself anything else, if you please –
perhaps this is just my imagination – that it was perhaps
so, that they said to themselves in the Ministry for Eastern
Affairs ‘This must be conducted in a more elegant way.’ The
shootings did not suit them any more – perhaps some
authority or other obtained precise documentation about it,
and then they began querying.”
Attorney General: The last section, with the Court’s
permission, that I would ask Mr. Less to read is on page
Less Yes, did you at that time see this solution as a
question of the survival or destruction of the German
Presiding Judge: No. “Yes” at the beginning is not correct.
Perhaps it should be something less emphatic “Did you not
Less: Did you not see as a question of the survival or
distinction of the German people this solution whereby
the entire Jewish people, all the Jews of Europe, had
to be destroyed?
Eichmann: Captain, if they had told me at that time:
“your father is a traitor,” and in fact my own father
were a traitor and I had to put him to death, I would
certainly have done so. I at the time blindly obeyed
orders and I fulfilled all commands with a blind
discipline, and in so doing I found – how can I put
this – my satisfaction and I found consolation in it,
as it was called, and we could not describe it to
ourselves in any other way, a war for the destiny of
the German people, and it would have made no
difference, whatever the mission was that they imposed
on me, Captain.
Attorney General: These, for the time being, are the
extracts to which we wished to draw the Court’s attention.
Obviously in the course of the submission of evidence there
will be additional passages which will have some connection
with one or other extracts in the same chapter we shall be
submitting at that time, and then we shall take the liberty
of drawing the Court’s attention to them. I request the
Court to accept the tapes numbered 1-76. I shall have
something further to say about tape 77. I would merely ask
to be allowed to have access to these tapes when we shall
want, at some time, to play an additional extract in the
course of submitting evidence, to enable us to mark this
extract for ourselves in advance.
Judge Halevi: Of course, all this material, all six volumes
of the Accused’s statements are now before the Court and
Attorney General: Certainly.
Judge Halevi: Including what has not been publicly heard
and also what is not going to be heard publicly in the
Attorney General: To be absolutely precise: We maintain what
we have already submitted, that which is marked as an
exhibit and was signed by the Accused after he checked the
tapes – this constitutes his statement. These tapes are not
his statement, they do not include his statement. The
statement is contained in the written material, signed, and
in your possession, that is to say in what we have already
submitted. But we believe that it is our duty to submit the
tapes as well, so that it should be absolutely clear from
all the material which is before the Court what was the
source of the statement which is printed and signed. But I
ask you to accept all the tapes in evidence.
Presiding Judge: With regard to the subsequent access to the
tapes, I think the best procedure would be for you to ask
the Clerk of the Court, from time to time, for the tape in
which you are interested, and then he will be able to
produce that tape for you.
Attorney General: We shall do so, Your Honour.
Presiding Judge: We shall mark the tapes T/39. We shall mark
them T/39/1 and so forth, in order. Mr. Bodenheimer will
start marking them. How many tapes are there here?
Attorney General: 76, Your Honour.
There was another tape – No. 77. What does it contain, Mr.
Witness Less: A series of questions that I put to the
Accused on 2 February 1961, in accordance with the request
of the State Prosecution.
Q. Was that in connection with the property of the Jews of
A. Yes, connected with it.
Q. I should like to submit tape 77. Do you also have a
transcript of this tape?
A. I have a transcript, but it has not been verified
Q. Not verified by the Accused? Why?
A. The deciphering was done after the indictment or the
chargesheet had already been handed to him, and there was no
longer any possibility of talking to him.
Presiding Judge: With regard to the marking, it would be as
well, Mr. Bodenheimer, if you would make use, this time, of
special labels and affix each label to the tape itself, and
perhaps you have some kind of wax seal for it, or a lead
tag, such as they use for purchase tax.
Attorney General: According to an affidavit of Ms. Sonia
Oster, an employee of Bureau 06, she made a correct
transcript of this tape, and the transcript which is in the
possession of Captain Less and which was prepared by her is
a correct transcript of that tape. I ask you to accept the
affidavit, the tape and the transcript.
Presiding Judge: In this case, will the tape be the
Attorney General: Yes. In this case the tape will speak for
itself. We did not manage to have the Accused sign it. We
did not think that it would be proper to have any contact
with him at all after we had submitted the indictment.
Presiding Judge: The additional tape will be marked T/40,
the transcript of this tape T/41 and the affidavit of Ms.
Sonia Oster T/42.
Mr. Hausner, was an additional caution given before taking
this extra evidence?
Attorney General: I do not think so.
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have anything to
raise in regard to the submission of this tape?
Dr. Servatius: No. I do not want to express any objection
to this. I even believe that it will be to the Accused’s
advantage for him to have the right to speak up against the
charges that have been levelled against him.
Judge Raveh: When was the recording of the last statement
Attorney General: Possibly Mr. Less will be able to help us
in this. When did you end the recording of the statement?
Witness Less: On 17 January, if I am not mistaken. Yes, on
Attorney General: Mr. Less. Do you have in your possession
the various documents which you produced to the Accused in
the course of recording his remarks?
Witness Less: Yes, they are with me, here.
Attorney General: Kindly submit them to the Court.
Witness Less submits the documents to the Court.
Presiding Judge: How many are there, Mr. Less?
Witness Less: Approximately four hundred documents.
Presiding Judge: There ought to be some order in this
Attorney General: Have you arranged them in any particular
Witness Less: They are arranged in numerical order, and this
is also mentioned in the small catalogue which has been
submitted to you.
Presiding Judge: This was T/37/A
Witness Less: I understand, however, that in relation to one
document appearing there – I do not remember the number for
the moment – an error occurred. They are checking this in
the archives, in order to correct this later.
Presiding Judge: All right, Mr. Hausner. We shall accept
this now, or we shall regard this as if it was accepted at
this stage, and we propose that , on Sunday, Mr. Less and
Mr. Bodenheimer sit together and mark these exhibits
according to their order, starting from T/43, so that it may
be ready by Monday.
Attorney General: We shall do as the Court wishes. Mr. Less
has not concluded his evidence, although he is approaching
Presiding Judge: I am noting here – in the meantime the
documents mentioned in the Accused’s statement have been
submitted, and at the beginning of the next Session we shall
indicate the numbers of the exhibits. Is that in order?
Attorney General: Yes, Your Honour.
Presiding Judge: We shall adjourn now and continue on Monday
morning at 9.00.