Session No. 32
23 Iyar 5721 (9 May 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the thirty-second Session of the
State Attorney Bach: Before presenting the witness whom I
asked to come from France, I shall submit a number of
The first is Prosecution document No. 438. It is a letter
from Otto Abetz, the German Ambassador in Paris, to the
German Foreign Ministry. In it he reacts to the plan of the
Head Office for Reich Security to deport 40,000 Jews from
France. He says he has no objection to the operation, he
expresses only one request – that the deportations should be
carried out in a manner that will cause anti-Semitism among
the French population to increase.
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/430.
State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 225, a
report by Dannecker dated 4 July 1942, i.e. three days
after the meeting with Eichmann. And here he already
submits a plan for the proposed operation and says: “The
practical implementation must be in the hands of the French
Police – under the absolute direction of IV J,” i.e.
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/431.
State Attorney Bach: The next document is Prosecution
document No. 318. It concerns a discussion held on the same
day, 4 July 1942, in the presence of SS Standartenfuehrer
Dr. Knochen and SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dannecker among others,
and representing the French, Bousquet, State Secretary for
the Police, Darquier de Pellepoix, French Commissioner for
Jewish Affairs and some other officials. This is a
coordination meeting for planning the implementation of the
deportation of the Jews from France.
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/432.
State Attorney Bach: Next is Prosecution document No. 361.
Dannecker reports to Section IVB4. This document was shown
to the Accused when he was interrogated and is numbered
T37(63). The subject is a consultation between SS
Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann and SS Hauptsturmfuehrer
Dannecker on 1 July 1942, and he says:
“The negotiations with the French Government have so
far yielded the following results:
All the stateless Jews in the occupied and unoccupied
zones are being readied for deportation.
President Laval has proposed to include in the
deportation of Jewish families from the unoccupied zone
also children under the age of 16. The question of
Jewish children remaining in the occupied zone does not
I therefore request an urgent decision by telegram
whether children under 16 may be deported starting with
the fifteenth Jewish transport from France.”
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/433.
Judge Halevi: Does this means that Laval proposed to take
State Attorney Bach: It was Laval’s proposal to take the
children under 16, too. Later we shall see a certain change
in Laval’s attitude, but this, at any rate, was the
situation on that day.
The next document is Prosecution document No. 699. It deals
with the first meeting of what was called the “Action
Committee.” Participants: SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dannecker
and SS Untersturmfuehrer Heinrichsohn representing the SS,
and representing the French Darquier de Pellepoix, Monsieur
Leguay and others. Here we find very detailed planning.
The subject is the arrest of the Jews in Paris in accordance
with the special instructions, 28,000 Jews were to be
arrested, what categories of Jews, etc. Details of the
actual deportation are discussed, how many persons are to be
taken from each camp – from Drancy, Compiegne, Pithiviers
and Beaune-la-Rolande; the technical details of the
transportation of the Jews to the East, their provisioning
and equipment. All these matters are determined in
coordination between the participants in that meeting.
Judge Halevi: And every week four trains were to leave
carrying a thousand Jews to the East?
State Attorney Bach: Yes, this was decided already at that
time. I had not intended to read this now, because later I
shall show that the operation was actually carried out in
this manner. But it was in fact already discussed at this
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/434.
State Attorney Bach: And now, Your Honours, I pass on to a
chapter which caused the Accused considerable distress at
the time: In our document No. 705 Roethke informs IVB4…
Presiding Judge: Roethke is Dannecker’s deputy?
State Attorney Bach: He was his deputy and later on he
actually filled his position, after Dannecker had moved to a
similar post in Bulgaria.
Roethke here informs Eichmann that there would have to be a
change in the schedule of transports of Jews to the East and
that one train from Bordeaux, which was to have taken Jews
to Auschwitz on 15 July 1942, would have to be cancelled,
because it was not possible to fill it.
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/435.
State Attorney Bach: This letter was written on the 14th of
the month. And now, lo and behold, on the 15th of the
month, the same Roethke writes the following minute. It is
Prosecution document No. 60. It was also shown to the
Accused and was then numbered T37(27):
“On 14.7.1942 close to 19.00 o’clock, SS
Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Eichmann, Berlin, phoned and
wanted to know why the deportation train scheduled for
15.7.1942 was cancelled. I replied that originally
“star-wearers” were to be arrested in the provincial
towns, too, but following a recent arrangement with the
French Government, only stateless Jews are to be
arrested now. The train on the 15.7.42 had to be
cancelled because, according to information from the SD
unit in Bordeaux, there were only 150 stateless Jews
there. A supplement of Jews for this train could not
be found because of the shortness of time at our
Presiding Judge: It says here: “ein Ersatz an Juden fuer
diesen Zug” (a replacement of Jews for this train).
State Attorney Bach: In general, 1,000 Jews travelled on a
train. Here he had only 150 and he says that he cannot find
a suitable replacement, meaning, in this context,
“SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann pointed out that this
was a matter of prestige. It had been necessary to
conduct lengthy negotiations with the Reich Ministry of
Transport about these trains, which had been concluded
successfully, and now Paris cancelled a train. Such a
thing had not happened to him until now. The matter
was most shameful. He did not want to inform SS
Gruppenfuehrer Mueller immediately because he would
thus make a fool of himself. He would have to consider
whether he would not have to give up France as a
deportation country altogether.”
I stress the words “he would have to consider…” This
threat was of course too much for Roethke.
“I expressed the hope that this would not happen again and
added that it was not the fault of our Office that the train
had to be cancelled. Moreover, Department IV J had received
the information that there were only 150 stateless Jews in
Bordeaux very late, but had informed the Head Office for
Reich Security by telegram immediately after its receipt.
The remaining trains would run according to schedule.”
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/436.
State Attorney Bach: It should be emphasized: When this
document was put before the Accused he admitted, on pages
686-687, that he could quite possibly have expressed himself
in those terms.
Now I may perhaps be permitted a small digression, though
not for comic relief, into a piece of research by the
Accused into Jewish History, especially into the Purim
festival and Queen Esther – all this so as not to let some
more Jews escape from his clutches. The reference is to our
document No. 321, which was also shown to the Accused in
T/37(83). It refers to several holders of Iranian
citizenship who were to be deported but claimed that they
were not Jewish by race since they were only Iranians of
Mosaic religion. The matter was brought for decision before
the Accused who had to give a ruling whether these people
were Jews who had therefore to be deported to Auschwitz, or
whether they were not Jews.
And here is his reply to the German Foreign Ministry:
“Subject: Jews of Iranian Citizenship. Reference: Your
letter of 18.9.42. The description contained in the
memorandum on the Iranian Jews: ‘Iranians of Mosaic
Religion,’ constitutes one of the usual Jewish attempts
at concealment and camouflage (handelt es sich um einen
der ueblichen juedischen Verschleierungs- und
Tarnungsversuche). Although, owing to the racial and
religious structure of Western Asia, there may be some
individual Iranians of Mosaic persuasion who do not
belong to the Jews from the point of view of race,
nevertheless Jews, who can frequently be recognized as
such only by their religious persuasion, have no claim
to be equated with non-Jews on the basis of this
circumstance alone. Such a special status of the
Iranian Jews would be justified only, if there had
never been a Jewish Question in Iran, nor Jews who are
Jewish from the racial point of view.
“But the very opposite is the case. Throughout the
centuries, starting with the historic golden age of the
Persian Empire (the case of Esther, the Purim feast of
the Jews), the Jewish Question existed in Iran. It was
acute or dormant in accordance with the changing
political situation. The seventeenth century in Iran
in particular was marked by trenchant measures against
the Jews (designation by a wearing a red cloth on the
breast, seclusion in ghettos, temporary prohibition on
going out into the street).”
Would the Court be interested to hear the details of this
historical research or is this enough?
Presiding Judge: This is enough.
State Attorney Bach: “The conclusion is that these persons
are also Jews and that there is no reason to let them
escape. Signed: Eichmann.”
Presiding Judge: This will be T/437.
State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 64.
There are two pages here at the beginning that are of no
importance. I refer to the letter by Dannecker to the
Accused, Head Office for Reich Security, IVB4, of 10 July. .
Reference: The same conversation with Eichmann of 1 July.
It says here:
“The arrest of the Jews will be carried out by the French
Police during the period 16.7. – 18.7.1942. It is to be
expected that after the arrests about 4,000 Jewish children
will be left behind. At first these children must be cared
for by the French social services. Since a protracted
mixing of these Jewish children with non-Jewish children is
undesirable and the Union of the Jews in France can
accommodate 400 children at most, I ask for an urgent
decision by telegram whether the children of the stateless
Jews to be deported may be removed together with them,
starting with about the tenth transport.”
Presiding Judge: This will be T/438. Could you perhaps
shorten the quotations a little?
State Attorney Bach: The last document at this stage is our
No. 65 which was shown to the Accused in T/37(32). It is
the answer to the preceding letter:
“On 20.7.1942 SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann and
Obersturmfuehrer Novak of the Head Office for Reich
Security, IVB4 phoned here. The question of the
children’s transports was discussed with
Obersturmbannfehrer Eichmann. He decided that, as soon
as transportation to the Generalgouvernement will be
possible again, children’s transports can roll
(Kindertransporte koennen rollen). So Obersturmfuehrer
Novak promised to make possible about six transports at
the end of August – beginning of September, in which
Jews of all kinds (also those unfit for work and aged
Jews) could be included.”
And there is again an explanation concerning the unfortunate
train from Bordeaux which was cancelled and an apology to
Presiding Judge: This will be T/439.
State Attorney Bach: At this point, where Kindertransporte,
die rollen koennen (children’s transports which can roll)
are mentioned I shall, with the permission of the Court,
call a witness who, among other things, saw these children
before they were sent to their death by the Accused.
I call upon Mr. Georges Wellers to give evidence.
Presiding Judge: The witness speaks French, doesn’t he?
State Attorney Bach: Yes.
The witness is sworn.
Presiding Judge: What is his full name?
Witness: Georges Wellers.
Presiding Judge: Please answer the questions put to you by
State Attorney Bach: Where are you now living?
Witness Wellers: 6 rue du Loing in Paris.
Q. And what is your occupation?
A. I am Maitre de Recherches (Senior Researcher) at the
National Centre for Scientific Research.
Q. You also work at the Faculty of Medicine at the Sorbonne,
A. Yes, I work at the Faculty of Medicine at the Sorbonne.
Q. In what capacity?
A. I direct a laboratory of physiological research.
Q. You were awarded a prize of the Academy of Sciences and
the Academy of Medicine, weren’t you?
Q. Where were you born, Mr. Wellers?
A. was born in Koslov in Russia.
Q. And when did you arrive in France?
A. In 1929.
Q. You got married in Latvia and have two children?
Q. You have been a French citizen since 1938?
Q. In 1939 you joined the French army when the war broke
Q. Where were you in June 1940, when the Germans occupied
A. In the Bordeaux region.
Q. And you were then released from the army and returned to
Q. And you went back to your work in the physiological
laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine?
Q. Mr. Wellers, which was the first razzia (round-up)
carried out by the Germans against the Jews in France?
A. Well, the first major round-up took place in May 1941.
Q. Who were the people arrested on that occasion?
A. Foreigners – the German, Austrian, Polish and
Czechoslovakian Jews in Paris. They were asked to go to the
police station to check their civil status, and when they
showed up they were arrested. These were all men, adult
Q. Where were these people taken?
A. They were taken to the Orleans region, a hundred
kilometres to the south of Paris, to two camps called Beaune-
la-Rolande and Pithiviers. Those were the first two camps
which were set up.
Q. When was the second time Jews were arrested?
A. The second great round-up took place on the 2nd of August
1941 in Paris. They combed the 11th arrondissement
(administrative district) of the capital which had the
densest Jewish population, and in one day – going to one
house after another, one shop after another, and checking
the personal documents of passers-by in the streets – they
arrested all the Jews, all able-bodied men. I forgot to
point out that, in the course of these arrests, about 4,000
people were arrested, and, in August, about 6,000; and, in
addition, in the city outside the 11th arrondissement, they
arrested about forty of the most prominent Paris advocates,
including Pierre Masse, for instance, a very well-known
lawyer who formerly, in Clemenceau’s time, had been a