Session N0. 22
15 Iyar 5721 (1 May 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the twenty-second Session of the
Attorney General: With the Court’s permission I shall submit
a number of documents. The first is our No. 1375, and it is
part of the official bulletin of the Polish Government
Commission for the Investigation of the Crimes of the Nazis.
I am submitting the entire bulletin, the first volume, three
copies in Polish and the translation of the entire volume
into English. For this reason we have not translated it into
Hebrew, since it appears in the official edition of that
Commission in English. The chapter will be found in the
English edition on pages 125 and following.
With the Court’s permission I should like to draw attention
particularly to a limited number of extracts.
Presiding Judge: First let us mark it. The Polish bulletin
will be T/203 and the English translation T/204. Do you have
two more copies of the English translation?
Attorney General: No, Your Honour. I only have this one
collection. This was the sole copy kept at Yad Vashem where
we obtained it.
Presiding Judge: Are you going to submit to us a Hebrew
translation of the extracts to which you refer?
Attorney General: Yes, we shall do so. On the first page…
Dr. Servatius: May I be permitted to request that these
extracts should be given to me either in English or German?
Attorney General: There are not many extracts. We are also
prepared to supply an English translation – naturally we
shall translate them into Hebrew for the Court, but at the
same time we shall translate them into English for the
On the first page there is reference to the number of Jews
in Poland on the day of the outbreak of the War. The
officially estimated number is 3,474,000 persons.
Presiding Judge: Are you now referring to the Polish or the
Attorney General: I have in my hand the Polish edition. It
is on page 165.
On page 167 it is stated that in the war with the German
invader 32,216 Jewish officers and men fell, and that 61,000
were taken prisoner by the Germans.
On page 169 there is reference to the territorial
concentration of the Jews in the towns and villages.
On page 173 there is a description of the anti-Jewish
legislation, beginning with the order to wear the badge of
shame, an order restricting movement, a prohibition of a
change of residence, and on 17 September 1940 the
confiscation of all Jewish property.
On page 174 there is reference to an order of 26 October
1939 for compulsory labour imposed on the Jews of Poland
On page 157 the following appears:”The implementation of the
task of the final solution of the Jewish Question has been
transferred to department IVA in the RSHA, at the head of
which stood Adolf Eichmann.”
Presiding Judge: Who determined that?
Attorney General: The official Commission of the Polish
Government for the Investigation into the Crimes of the
Nazis in Poland, and in each place it gives the sources and
the persons who wrote the accounts. This chapter was
compiled by Dr. Philip Friedman, a member of the Main
Commission and Head of the Historical Committee of the Jews
in Poland. He is no longer alive. On pages 176 and onwards
there is a description of the period of individual terror –
robbery, the searches, the levies, the confiscations, the
taking of hostages, beatings and tortures, derision and
brutality, degradation, the holding of public displays, the
photographing of Jews, forcing people to perform demeaning
work, the rape of women, the desecration of sacred articles,
the burning of synagogues and libraries, the deportations,
the executions, mass and individual murder.
Judge Raveh: What probative value do you attribute to this
Attorney General: I attach importance to a government
research document, and it is not the only one which we shall
submit which, on the face of it, is based on the authority
of historical material. This is a historical publication,
not a private one. This is what the Polish Government
published after all that had happened on its soil.
Naturally, after each individual chapter we shall fill in
the missing parts with our own evidence, but in regard to
the general framework, we think that we are entitled to
prove it by what appears in an official publication.
I have already said that this Commission was appointed by
virtue of Polish law. I submitted the law and I showed,
while submitting it, the competence conferred on this
Commission in terms of the law of Poland. This is, after
all, an official State document.
Dr. Servatius: I have no doubt that this Commission
functioned to the best of its knowledge. But I do not know
to what extent this is relevant to the case of Eichmann;
even though it is known that Eichmann was the head of Bureau
IV, I do not believe that this document is relevant to the
Presiding Judge: At all events I gather that you have no
objection to the submission of the document; we shall deal
with its evaluation, if and when the need arises.
Attorney General: Thank you very much.
On page 179 there is a description of the plunder of
property, the transfer of people to other apartments, when
the Volksdeutsche, or the German, stood there with a watch
in his hand and gave 5 to 20 minutes to the owners of the
apartment to leave the place.
Another form of robbery – the levies.
On page 180 there is reference to the brutality and derision
to which religious Jews were subjected, when their beards
were cut off, in most cases together with pieces of skin;
they set fire to beards without permitting the flame to be
Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I too must intervene here.
These are matters about which, in parts at any rate, we have
already heard. We have no need for evidence which is more
remote than what we have heard.
Attorney General: This is merely a summary. If the Court
does not want me to read further, I shall indicate passages
to which I would like to draw the Court’s attention. These
are individual passages.
Presiding Judge: Perhaps you would only give us the pages
and the chapter headings.
Attorney General: On page 181 there is an account of the
burning of synagogues and of the cruel libel that Jews had
set fire to them, and the imposition of a collective fine on
the Jews because of the same fire which the occupying
authorities had set themselves.
Presiding Judge: That is more than a mere summary.
Attorney General: About treatment of women, about
“Einsatzkommando Bromberg” on page 183. About the pogroms in
Lodz following the visit of Goebbels – on page 184. With
regard to the remaining chapters, I shall refer to and
mention them when I come to the extermination camps, because
they deal with the extermination camps.
Dr. Servatius: Mr. President of the Court, may I be
permitted to request, nevertheless, that the Court should
examine whether it is permissible to receive reports such as
these in evidence. These were commissions that were set up,
but not witnesses who can be examined. I should also like to
stress that in the International Military Tribunal at
Nuremberg such government reports were indeed received in
evidence, but this was in accordance with a specific
provision that governed this in the Charter.
Attorney General: With the Court’s permission, we have a
provision in Section 20 and 23 of the Evidence Ordinance
which refer to “Public Documents.” I shall read from the
Section 20 defines a public document and says:
For the purpose of this Part –
(a) the following are public documents, that is to say,
documents forming the acts or records of the acts
(whether legislation, judical or executive) or forming
part of the official records (including all documents
kept for record purposes, whether made officially or
otherwise – of –
(1) the Government, or the sovereign authority of any
territory other than Palestine, or ” – and on this I
rely – “”official bodies.” I have already proved that
this is an “Official Body” which was set up by law, it
is a State
” institution, and consequently it is possible by
virtue of Section 23, to submit it as a “Public
Record.” With regard to its value and its probative
force – this is obviously, as the President of the
Court remarked, and I concur with all due respect –
this is certainly a matter for the final summing-up.
But the document is undoubtedly admissible as an
official state document of a foreign country.
Dr. Servatius: In my opinion, the provision which the
Attorney General read just now is intended to enable
submission to the Court of customary documents of
authorities in other countries and not a report such as has
now been submitted.
Attorney General: There is judical precedent on this matter.
I can draw the Court’s attention to two judgments concerning
official documents, although they are Israeli documents but
there is not much difference.
Presiding Judge: But, as far as I know, there are no
precedents on matters concerning which the recording
official himself is able to testify, if I am not mistaken.
If you have something closer to the issue – by all means.
Attorney General: With the Court’s permission, if the Court
wishes to defer its decision in this matter – we shall at
all times be ready for argument of the Law of Evidence. We
have the books before us. Although those were not reports,
official documents are referred to.
Presiding Judge: What is the name of the judgment?
Attorney General: There is one – the judgment of Judge
Zeltner who sat in the Supreme Court in the case of
Kinnsbrun versus the Attorney General.
Presiding Judge: Where was this?
Attorney General: This was a case where Judge Zeltner, with
the concurrence of his colleagues, the late Justices Cheshin
and Assaf, held that the Israeli law is wider in this matter
than the English Statute law.
Presiding Judge: What was the document under discussion?
Attorney General: The document was a marriage certificate in
Presiding Judge: All right, that was a registration by the
official who conducted the marriage.
Attorney General: Your Honour, it was a registration by an
official who was obliged to investigate and examine matters.
True, there is a difference between somebody recording a
fact that takes place in his presence and an investigator
who records facts on the basis of material which he gathers.
But this is exactly what the Commission was ordered to do.
This is Criminal Appeal 125/Piskei Din Vol. 7, p.261, at p.
Judge Raveh: Let us suppose that this was not a Polish
Commission, let us suppose that this was an Israeli
Commission. Who would have thought that the findings of this
Commission could be submitted in order to prove their
Attorney General: To the extent that the Israeli legislator
authorized it to examine and to submit a report, I believe
that this would have been a public document which would be
prima facie proof of its content.
Judge Halevi: Of the truth of its content?
Attorney General: At any rate, the general framework of its
content. We shall not rely on every single detail. But
Defence Counsel is right. We have other proofs of the fact
that Eichmann was head of Department A IV in the Head Office
of the Reich Security, and we shall not use the report for
Presiding Judge: But nevertheless you wish to submit it.
Attorney General: We want to submit it so that the Court may
receive an overall picture of what occurred in Poland. We
are not able to bring before you proof of what happened in
every community, in every place. We are able to produce four
or five witnesses. This report says that what happened in
those four or five places happened in the entire area of the
Presiding Judge: Possibly you may have a case based on
Section 15. But for the present, you were arguing on the
basis of the general law, on our Law of Evidence. What I
ought to say is that, as far as I know, even a judgment
given by a Court in another case will not constitute
Attorney General: No, unless it was given between the same
Presiding Judge: Unless it is a judgment which was given…
Attorney General: The question is: what is the value of an
official report where the legislator authorized the body
which submitted the report, to do so? And it will be proved
to the Court from the Polish law which I submitted…
Presiding Judge: Incidentally, how did we number it?
Clerk of the Court T/86.
Judge Raveh: We also have a Law on Commission of Enquiry,
and there are a number of Reports which were made by virtue
of that Law. I do not know whether, up to the present, it
was possible to submit such Reports as evidence of their
Attorney General: The question is: for what purpose is such
a report submitted? That is the only question. I would ask
to draw the Court’s attention to the case of the Attorney
General versus Weiss, Criminal Appeal 71/54 Piskei Din 8 on
page 1553. The Polish report, by the way, is based on the
conclusion of the Jewish Historical Commission which was
established in Poland after the War, and as proof of the
framework, it is surely valid in the same way as an
encyclopedia or a dictionary or any document of that nature.
Alternatively, I would request you to apply to this report
the provisions of Section 15.
Judge Halevi: Mr. Attorney General, are you in fact
restricting the submission of this report, and possibly
similar reports, for we are now talking of precedents for
other reports, to the general course of events, to the
exclusion of the Accused’s responsibility?
Attorney General: I shall not ask the Court to draw any
conclusions, for what is said in that Report, concerning the
Accused’s responsibility, even when his name is mentioned.
This we shall have to prove by other witnesses and
documents. But for proof of other events that occurred in
that country, we shall ask the Court to admit the Report.
Presiding Judge: [To Dr. Servatius] Do you have anything to
add in connection with the remarks of the Attorney General?
Dr. Servatius: The document seems to me, after the Attorney
General’s explanation, to be irrelevant to the guilt of the
Accused. It seems to me that sufficient witnesses have
described the background, so that its submission is
Presiding Judge: We give Decision No 12
We admit the Report of the Polish Commission of Enquiry
which was established on the basis of Polish law. We do so
by virtue of our authority under Section 15 of the Nazis and
Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950. But the
admission of the document is restricted only to a
description of the general background described therein and
not to proof of the personal responsibility of the Accused
for these events and his connection with these events.
Attorney General: I now ask to submit to the Court
Prosecution document No. 1087. This is an instruction of
Himmler dated 10 November 1939 for the establishment of the
institute named Treuhandstelle Ost (Trusteeship Office East)
for taking charge of Jewish and Polish property in Poland.
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/205.
Attorney General: The Institute obtained powers of
confiscation by its own right, and it is also provided
therein that on request the Reichsfuehrer SS shall
confiscate any other property which the Institute itself was
not entitled to confiscate. In a document which I have
already submitted, I point out the collaboration between the
Accused and this Institute – Trusteeship Office East –
concerning Jewish property.
The next document is Prosecution Document 779. These are the
general instructions of the Office for the Strengthening of
German Folkdom (fuer die Festigung des deutschen Volkstums).
It also speaks of confiscation of former Polish State lands,
of lands of the Polish intelligentsia and of all Poles who
had been shot or exiled because of hostile activities. (Die
Beschlagnahme des Grund und Bodens des ehemals polnischen
Staates, des ausgewiesenen polnischen Intelligenz und aller
wegen Feindseligkeiten erschossenen oder ausgewiesenen
This property, too, passes over to the control of the
Treuhandstelle Ost. Of the Jews it is said that they will be
transferred to the region to the east of the Vistula between
the Vistula and the Bug.
Presiding Judge: This document will be numbered T/206.
Judge Raveh: Is it known who signed it?
Attorney General: Himmler, Your Honour, that is to say, at
any rate on behalf of Himmler.
Judge Raveh: It says here at the end: SS Obersturmbannfuehrer.