Session 020-01, Eichmann Adolf

Session No. 20
2 Iyar 5721 (28 April 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the twentieth Session of the
trial open. The Court hands down Decision No. 11

The Attorney General has applied to submit in evidence
affidavits and written notes by Hoettl, Huppenkothen and
Thadden on matters relating to the subject of this trial.
The two first-mentioned were members of the SS, and the
third was the person dealing with Jewish questions in the
German Foreign Ministry. The application is based on Section
15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law (5710-
1950). Generally speaking, what we stated in our Decision
No. 7, concerning the reports of Wisliceny, applies also to
the nature of these documents, but with an important
distinction: the three aforementioned men are still alive.
One of them lives today in Austria, and the two others in
West Germany. Defence Counsel objects to the submission of
the documents. In his view, the three witnesses must be
brought here to give oral evidence before this Court, so as
to enable him to cross – examine them.

We are of the opinion that these documents should be
admitted in evidence by virtue of our authority under

15 of the aforementioned Law. We rule thus on the general
grounds mentioned in our Decision No. 7. But nevertheless,
Defence Counsel must be enabled to examine these witnesses
on his part, whether before us or in some other manner, as
will be specified below. This right of examining a living
witness whose declaration the opposing side wishes to
submit, is a fundamental right, the importance of which also
emerges from Section 16 of the Evidence Ordinance, which
deals with the admission of evidence taken abroad in a
criminal trial taking place in Israel. We do not think that
Section 15 of the aforementioned Law permits the abrogation
of this right in regard to these documents.

Of course, the appearance of these three witnesses before
this Court depends upon their ability and their willingness
to come here in order to testify – and their ability to
appear also depends upon whether they will receive entry
visas into Israel. We do not find that it is within the
competence of this Court to instruct the executive
authorities to guarantee the personal safety of the
witnesses upon their entering the country, if these
authorities determine that they are unable to do so, nor
does the witness have immunity from arrest or a charge of
having committed an offence against the laws of the State of
Israel while the witness is on his way to or from the Court.
See: In Re Preston 11 Q.B.D.545. The granting of an entry
visa, or the refusal to grant it because of suspicion of a
criminal offence, is surely a matter within the province of
the executive authorities. According to the statement of the
Attorney General in Court, any application for granting an
entry visa to a witness will be considered on its merits by
the competent authorities. In principle, the appearance of
the witness before this Court is to be preferred; but a
witness who does not wish, or is unable, to come here in
order to testify can be examined by a representative of the
Accused and by a representative of the Attorney General, in
a Court in the place of his residence, according to the
arrangements for a mutual legal assistance existing between
the State of Israel and the countries where the witnesses
reside. We are ready – and the Attorney General has also
agreed to allow the examination of these witnesses before a
foreign court, whether by means of questionnaires, or by
oral interrogation by representatives of the parties, or by
both methods.

What we have decided here will also apply to those witnesses
whom Defence Counsel may wish to bring as witnesses for the
Defence, mutatis mutandis.

We expect that the necessary enquiries and, where required,
the preparation of the documents to be despatched abroad
will be carried out as quickly as possible, and, at any
rate, let it be clear that should depositions have to be
taken abroad, the protocols thereof should be in the hands
of this Court in good time when the taking of the evidence
to be admitted to us will be completed. [To Interpreter]
Mr. Dayan, please be good enough to prepare a German
translation of this Decision and let us have it, if
possible, during the course of the day.

Interpreter: When will I be able to receive it?

Presiding Judge: That is, indeed, a very good question. You
will be able to get it from the stenographer after she has
typed it – and let us have it, for we want Dr. Servatius to
get a particularly exact translation of this Decision. You
should be able to do that in the course of the day.

Dr. Servatius: Thank you.

Presiding Judge: We should like to have an idea, Mr.
Hausner, how much time it is likely to take to clarify this
question of granting or refusing entry visas, after Dr.
Servatius notifies you which persons he wishes to bring

Attorney General: I will endeavour to limit this, Your
Honour, to between seven and ten days at the most.

May I also be permitted to take this opportunity, Your
Honours, following upon the Court’s decision of yesterday,
of informing you how the Prosecution envisages the time-
table of the presentation of its case?

Presiding Judge: Let us return to the previous matter. You
say – between seven and ten days. Supposing there should be
a witness who does not receive an entry visa, would you be
able, let us say, within one more week, provided you can
agree between you on questionnaires, to prepare these

Attorney General: I believe there will be no difficulty in
doing so. For our part, at any rate, we shall be at the
Defence Counsel’s disposal.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, does this also seem
reasonable to you?

Dr. Servatius: I would suggest that the application to the
German authorities be submitted forthwith. In the event of
one of the witnesses securing an entry visa, it would be
very easy to cancel his summons to appear before the German

Presiding Judge: But, for this we need to know – at least in
general terms – what method the parties intend to adopt. If
it is to be by way of questionnaires – the questions must be
prepared, each party will have to draw up its questions for
the questionnaires. As far as it depends on this Court, I
can promise you that there will be no delay. It will be done
promptly. But perhaps the time for that will be after you
will have prepared the list of questions, or if you wish to
adopt the alternative procedure – an oral examination –
then there would be no need to draw up specific questions. I
suppose that we will still have to discuss how to go about

Attorney General: Certainly. I think it is up to Defence
Counsel to decide whether he wants a questionnaire or
whether he prefers an oral examination, or any other method.

Presiding Judge: You, too, may have something to say on the

Attorney General: We are ready for consultation on this
matter; either in Court or in chambers, or privately.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you should first examine the
various possibilities between yourselves.

Attorney General: We shall do so.

Presiding Judge: The Court is naturally interested that it
should be settled in good time according to the time-table.

Attorney General: We, for our part, will make every effort.

Judge Halevi: With regard to Dr. Servatius’ observation
that it would be desirable to submit the necessary
applications abroad immediately, I gather that it would be
his concern that he should submit them forthwith.

Attorney General: No. Dr. Servatius proposes that we should
request the German Foreign Ministry to apply to the German
authorities to conduct the examination; and the same applies
to Austria. There would be no difficulty in that. We shall
prepare the application. However, a normal application must
be accompanied by a specific request as to whether oral
examination or questionnaires are desired. There is no point
in making a vague, general application. For this reason we
have to obtain from Dr. Servatius the details of his
request, what he requires, in which manner he wishes to
examine the witnesses, and then we shall forward the
application without delay.

Presiding Judge: Of course, the application goes via this
Court – the applicant is this Court. This usually proceeds
through our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and thereafter goes

Attorney General: Exactly. It will go via the Court
administration to the Foreign Office.

Presiding Judge: We shall act in this matter as in any other

Attorney General: May I inform the Court how the Prosecution
views the time-table of its evidence? That may also be of
value in the matter we have just discussed, and will also be
for the benefit of the Defence. From the outset, we
allocated for ourselves – for the purpose of submitting our
evidence – a period of two months. In other words, we want
to conclude our proof roughly by the middle of June. This is
based upon our own internal division of the partial
estimates of the time required for the submission of the
material, and the date of 15 June represents the end of the
various stages that we have to go through. So far we have
managed to abide exactly by our time-table, without lagging
behind. On the contrary, at the moment, we are ahead of our
time-table by half a day.

Presiding Judge: That is not enough, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: Maybe. We shall do our best. We would also
ask the Court to appreciate the difficulties which confront

Presiding Judge: Certainly.

Attorney General: We have to prove the details of the
specific counts in the indictment. We have to prove not
merely an isolated act of the Accused, but a major project
which extended over twelve years. And we are called upon to
prove events that occurred not in one isolated place but in
a long list of countries, and we simply would not be able to
do justice to our case; any further limitation would not
only be harsh – it would, in fact, obfuscate the true
picture, if we should reduce it beyond that.

For the period of these two months, we have made allowances
for the bare minimum of reading extracts, and we shall
certainly follow yesterday’s directive of the Court when it
requested us to read out only the most essential passages.
But, according to our assessment, the difference between the
reading of those passages which we intend to request and the
total omission of their reading can amount to 4-5 sessions
of the Court, that is to say, 2-3 days. When one takes into
account two months, perhaps that would not be so much. The
difficulty that confronts us is that we apprehend that, if
we do not quote certain passages – even extremely isolated
ones – several of the testimonies, or the significance of
several testimonies will not be adequately appreciated until
we arrive at the summing-up stage.

Presiding Judge: You were not present when we discussed

Attorney General: But I have read what was said.

Presiding Judge: I am sure you have read it. What was said
here was, of course, carefully considered – as we have
mentioned, we have left an opening to you – albeit a narrow
one – and with regard to appreciating the significance of
the evidence, something was said about that, as well. If you
are concerned lest the evidence will not be conprehended
without reference to a document, and I imagine that these
instances will be very rare, you will be able to make
reference to this document, and to draw the Court’s
attention to this document at the time the evidence is
presented. This is the customary procedure, and we shall act
accordingly in this case as well.

Judge Halevi: May I add to the remarks of the Presiding
Judge? The Presiding Judge: yesterday stressed especially
that the time required was prolonged by the translation
after the reading. You could even save much of the time, if
you did this to the least possible extent, and when it
becomes necessary to quote – to quote only in Hebrew, so
that it would take less than half the time.

Attorney General: This we shall certainly do, from now on,
in respect of all documents where this can be done. Whenever
the document has not been translated, we shall endeavour to
translate it on the spot and to read it out in Hebrew only,
in order to save the time of the translation. We are
naturally bound by the Court’s decision and will act
accordingly. I only wanted to explain the general set-up,
and the Court will guide us from time to time.

Presiding Judge: At any rate, it is clear to all of us that
the intention here is that matters should be understood by
the Court. We also said something about bringing documents
to the notice of the public. But that is an entirely
different question.

Attorney General: Certainly. We do not have the staff for
that, but if we cannot do it – we won’t do so. That was not
the main reason motivating us to apply for reading them out
in Court. The means by which we bring these passages to the
knowledge of the public is by way of quoting them in Court.

Presiding Judge: But it is not the Court’s duty to give you
advice on this question. You will be able to find another

Judge Raveh: In the course of 2-3 days we would be able to
read much more than we can listen to, as far as the
documents are concerned.

Attorney General: We shall, of course, act in accordance
with the Court’s decision, and we hope to conduct these
matters to the Court’s satisfaction.

Presiding Judge: We shall always be ready to take a fresh
look at the matter, if we see that it is not going well.

Attorney General: Thank you very much, Your Honour.

I now submit the affidavit of SS Sturmbannfuehrer Hoettl –
our exhibit No. 7. This is to be found in I.M.G. Vol. 31,
pp. 85-87; that is for the purpose of verification.

Presiding Judge: That will be T/157.

Attorney General: Dr. Hoettl, who describes himself as
acting head (Gruppenleiter) in Department (05Amt) VI of the
Head Office for Reich Security, says in this document that
according to knowledge, Eichmann was entrusted with the task
of rounding up the Jews from all the countries of Europe and
transporting them to Germany. He says that Eichmann told

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, pardon me, I would really now
ask you to follow the guidelines. We said that the contents
of the document should be given briefly, with the opening
wording of the paragraph of the document, so that we might
mark it and read it for ourselves.

Attorney General: That is it – I have finished with it, Your
Honour. He says that Eichmann told him that, to his
knowledge, about four million Jews were put to death in the
extermination camps, while about two million others died in
other ways. Most of these were shot to death by the

Presiding Judge: I should have thought that, in the case of
this document, you would have put it, more or less, as
follows: this document relates to Eichmann’s activities in
Department IV and to the number of Jews who were killed.
That would have been sufficient. Forgive me for pointing
this out. And after that: I draw the attention of the Court
to such-and-such a paragraph, the statement beginning as

Attorney General: That is already a question of style, Your

Presiding Judge: Not exactly. But of course, we are not
going to be rigid. I only wanted you to know what I had in

Attorney General: Very well.

I now submit our document 334, which is PS 2615, for the
purpose of authenticating another statement by Dr. Hoettl,
which repeats the same facts regarding Eichmann’s status,
his functions and the number of Jews put to death – the same
figures which were mentioned in the previous document.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/158.

Attorney General: I submit the affidavit of Walter
Huppenkothen, Prosecution Document No. 874. This was also
submitted in the Nuremberg Trials. It appears in Vol. 42 of
I.M.T., pp 315-323. The statement is known as “Affidavit
Gestapo No. 39” of the I.M.T. In this statement
Huppenkothen, who himself belonged to Department IV, refers
to the Accused’s special status as being directly
responsible to the Department Chief, Mueller.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/159.

Attorney General: I submit the two affidavits of von
Thadden. One of these bears our number 984.The
authentication is through the Nuremberg Trials. That is one
of Hoffmann’s* {*…Hoffmann – one of the Accused in
Subsequent Trial No. 8 at Nuremberg.} documents, it was
shown to the Accused. Von Thadden maintains that he did not
know what was going on in Auschwitz and that he pressed
Eichmann to reveal the truth to him. On pages 9-95 he
describes the harm caused to Germany abroad by the news of
the extermination of the Jews, the complaints made by the
Slovakian Government and their demands from Eichmann in this
respect, and he concludes this paragraph with the following
sentence: “Now that I know what has been happening at
Auschwitz, I have the impression that Eichmann downright
deceived me and did so quite cleverly.”

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/160.

Attorney General: Von Thadden’s second affidavit is our
document No. 453. The authentication is by Case No. 4 at the
Nuremberg Courts. Von Thadden describes the handling of the
Jewish question in the Foreign Ministry on the basis of
interventions by foreign diplomats, the notifications which
he received from Eichmann and other authorities, the visits
he paid to various places which did not arouse his suspicion
as to the mass exterminations of Jews, the methods of
camouflage which Eichmann employed against him and against
other Reich authorities in connection with the extermination

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/161.

Last-Modified: 1999/05/31