Session No. 34
24 Iyar 5721 (10 May 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the thirty-fourth Session of the
trial open. Please continue Mr. Bach.
State Attorney Bach: The Court will remember that in the
last document we presented yesterday, Bargen reported to the
Foreign Ministry that 15,000 Jews had been deported.
The next document is our No. 1072. Here the same Bargen
describes transport difficulties which have caused a
temporary interruption in the deportations, but he hopes
that these will be resumed shortly and then “when the
deportations are renewed it is intended to get rid of all
the Jews of Belgian nationality, too” – this is the
innovation here – “who number approximately 4,000 persons.
Their turn will, however, only come after all the foreign
Jews have been deported.”
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/516.
State Attorney Bach: I should now like to submit two
documents for the purpose of demonstrating who really
exercised control over the decisions concerning the
deportation of the Jews.
The first document is our No. 700. Here Bargen asks the
Foreign Ministry what will become of Jews who have to return
to Italy by 31 March 1943. He asks whether to deport these
Jews or those Jews who will not return to Italy before that
date. He requests instructions from the Foreign Ministry.
Presiding Judge: This will be T/517.
State Attorney Bach: The reply is contained in our document
No. 701 and it reads: “The introduction of the general
measures against the Jews lies in the hands of the local
representative of the SD. The Foreign Ministry informs the
Head Office for Reich Security whenever there is no
objection to the application of the general measures against
the Jews to foreign nationals. This has not yet been done
in respect of the Italian Jews, but it is to be assumed that
it will be done after 31 March 1943.”
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/518.
State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1446. It
is a document originating with the local Gestapo office.
Your Honour asked yesterday whether we had such documents,
too. This really is a document that went out over the
signature of Erdmann, who was at that time the local
representative in Brussels, and it describes the operation
against the Belgian Jews of the night between 3 and 4
September 1943. I shall only read one sentence.
Presiding Judge: [pointing to a batch of documents] What is
this, Mr. Bach?
State Attorney Bach: I think this is a batch of documents
to which the one I am presenting now also belongs. These
are documents which were conveyed to us from Belgium, and
the document I have just submitted is marked with a special
Presiding Judge: Which will be the exhibit? Both of them?
State Attorney Bach: I am prepared to submit this batch.
Afterwards we may submit a separate photocopy of document
Presiding Judge: Your document No. 1446 will be marked
T/519, and I shall not mark this batch for the time being.
State Attorney Bach: Thank you, Your Honour.
It says here:
“The seizure of the Belgian Jews ‘fuer den Osteinsatz’
(for the effort in the East), which has been demanded
by the Head Office for Reich Security, will be started
for the first time with a major operation during the
night from 3 to 4 September 1943. The operation is to
take place simultaneously, along exactly the same
lines, in Antwerp. The other field offices, which
dispose over a very small number of Jews only, will be
informed about the impending operation and asked also
to begin arresting Jews of Belgian nationality as soon
And now there follows a list of technical instructions on
the implementation, the number of cars to be used, who is to
remain behind in the office. I shall not tire you by
reading these passages. At the end the property is dealt
“The Foreign Currency Control Detachment will occupy
the homes of the Jews at one stroke, will instruct the
residents to ready their luggage and will begin to
search for, and secure, valuable property of importance
to the Foreign Currency Control Detachment. SS
Obersturmfuehrer Asche” – the local representative of
the Accused – “together with two members of the guard
squad and two drivers of the Foreign Currency Control
Detachment will be in charge of the deportation of the
Jews detained in their homes by the Foreign Currency
These documents, together with a list of documents I already
submitted in connection with the chapter on the holocaust of
the Jews of France, and others which I shall still hand to
the Court, describe in fact in general terms the process of
the expulsion of the Belgian Jews. I should only like to
request leave from the Court, instead of presenting the
testimony of a witness who would appear here before you, to
submit to the Court the sworn statement of a Belgian Jew, an
advocate at the Court of Appeal in Brussels named Felix
Gutmacher, who sent us a sworn statement describing in
general terms what happened to him. He testifies about his
arrest, about the concentration camp in Malines, about his
deportation and about what happened to the one thousand
people with whom he was deported. I understand that the
Defense will not object to our submitting this statement,
especially as there is no direct reference to the Accused in
Judge Halevi: Is there any reason why he cannot come to
State Attorney Bach: There is no reason of health or any
other reason. We simply thought that, from the point of
view of efficiency and convenience, there was no
justification for bringing this man here specially in order
to present this evidence. This is actually background
evidence intended to complement the testimonies on points
which are not in dispute at this trial. We thought that
this would save time and that we could also spare the
witness the trouble.
Presiding Judge: Yes, Dr. Servatius?
Dr. Servatius: In principle, a document of this kind would
not be admissible, but I understand it might be useful to
have it submitted; however, the Court would have to take a
decision to admit this document outside the usual trial
procedure. I assume that the witness would testify in the
same sense, if he were to appear and that the document will
save time. I have therefore no objection in principle to
the document, I should only like to ask for a ruling that it
is admitted in this case for special reasons.
Presiding Judge: We shall defer giving our decision on this
matter until after the intermission in the morning session.
State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, in that case there is
only one more document I should like to submit in connection
with Belgium – as a result of your Decision No. 12 given in
connection with the report of a Polish Governmental
Commission. I have here an official report, a document
presented by the Ministry of Justice of Belgium. Its
subject is anti-Semitic persecution in Belgium at the time
of the Second World War. As laid down in the above-
mentioned Decision No. 12, I request to submit this as
evidence about the activities of the Accused or about the
activities of the men of his Section. This is proof that
the Government of Belgium confirms what happened to its
subjects during a specific period, the existence of camps,
the deportations, the number of persons who disappeared,
etc. I think that every government has the right to
establish, that it is entitled to establish, such facts
concerning its subjects. I request the Court to accept this
report, which was prepared by a special governmental
commission appointed for this purpose. I request that this
document be accepted as evidence.
Presiding Judge: What has Dr. Servatius to say about this?
Dr. Servatius: I have no objection to it.
Presiding Judge: Was this a governmental commission?
State Attorney Bach: Yes.
Presiding Judge: Was this commission established on the
basis of an explicit law, like the Polish Commission?
State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour. This is apparent
even from the report itself. The law in its entirety is
even quoted here. It says here: “A decree of the Prince-
Regent has established a Commission of Enquiry into the
Violations of International Law, of the Laws and Customs of
War…Charles, Prince-Regent of Belgium, etc…” That is
the decree following which this commission was established.
Presiding Judge: By royal decree?
State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour.
Decision No. 17
We decide to accept the Belgian Report as evidence, in
conformity with what is stated in our Decision No. 12,
concerning the official Polish Report.
State Attorney Bach: It is our No. 362. I do not intend to
read out this report, I want to draw attention to the
paragraphs to which we attach particular importance here.
Presiding Judge: Have you translated the whole of it?
State Attorney Bach: Yes, we have translated it in full.
The first few pages are the Commission’s guidelines, which
official documents it would have to peruse, and the
decisions it would have to take. I have the translation
On page 8 of the translation there is a description of the
Jewish community on the eve of the German invasion, the
state of full equality of rights for the Jews, and how the
German invasion took the Jews by surprise.
Then on page 9 of the translation, the first operation, viz.
the identification of the Jews as Jews, is described, and
the details how this operation was carried out by the
Germans, with what excuses, what subterfuges, they obtained
the identification of the Jews as Jews.
On page 10 the expulsion of the Jews from the Belgian
economy is described, as well as the registration of Jews –
misleading them as if they were required to register for
On page 11 there is a list of the anti-Jewish laws
promulgated after the occupation, based on German initiative
and German influence. After this there is mention of the
wearing of the “Star of David” and of the failure of this
measure, since it did not have the desired effect on the
Belgian population – from the German point of view – but
provoked, on the contrary, demonstrations of sympathy for
On page 12 there is a description of the concentration camp
at Breendonck, the first place where the Jews were
concentrated. Here figures are given and I should like to
quote one sentence on page 13:
“In Breendonck executions were ordinary occurrences,
since out of the 3,600 prisoners who passed through it,
450 were killed by shooting and twelve by hanging. And
the height of sadism: After one of their co-
religionists had been killed, the Jews had to file past
the body and chant the song of Breendonck, the text of
which contained these words: ‘Wir werden nimmer
Breendonck vergessen, das Paradies der Juden’ (We shall
never forget Breendonck, the paradise of the Jews).”
After this, the operation against the Jews in the Antwerp
region is described, the detection, arrest and deportation
of these Jews, the manifestations of anti-Semitism among the
population, the burning of synagogues and all this –
organized by the German authorities.
Page 14 speaks about the second stage of the German
occupation, the stage of extermination, seizing of property,
On page 15 – mobilization of the unemployed, and at the same
time dismissals and transfer to work camps. That was the
pattern, later we shall see the same thing in Holland: First
an order is issued according to which all the unemployed
have to be mobilized for work. Then measures are taken to
have all Jews dismissed from their jobs so that they become
unemployed, and then they are arrested under the first
directive and deported to extermination camps. Raids,
manhunts, mass arrests, attempts by Jews to escape, attempts
by citizens to help, and failure of these efforts – all
these are described.
On page 17 – deportations, first of foreign Jews and then
also of Belgian Jews. We saw this, actually in Bargen’s
reports, but here the matter is again brought up in a
summary by the Belgian Government. I shall quote only one
short passage on page 17:
“These round-ups were usually accompanied by scenes of
barbarism and brutality, especially in Antwerp.
Raymond Tanghe’s report throws light on the appalling
circumstances in which they were carried out, but the
report on the affair known by the sinister name of
‘Convoy of Death’ reveals more than any other with what
sadism the executioners of the Gestapo carried out
their mission. In the evening of 3 September 1943, 145
persons who had been arrested in round-ups organized in
Antwerp against Belgian Jews were piled into a metal
van, hermetically closed in, and sent to Malines. This
transfer should have taken half an hour’s travel at
most. By a refinement of cruelty that surpasses all
imagination this voyage was fiendishly prolonged for
“On arrival at Malines, when the doors were opened, a
hideous spectacle became visible: ‘When the doors of
the hapless van were opened, a thick vapour escaped
from it with a nauseating smell and, like fish spilling
out from a vat that has been opened on one side, the
doors, opening under the pressure from inside, spurted
onto the ground a horrid, ugly mass of inflated human
bodies, reddish and bluish, their eyes protruding,
their clothes drenched with sweat and excrement.’ Nine
bodies were retrieved from the van, 24 persons were
taken to hospital unconscious.”
On page 18, Your Honours, there is a statistical table of
those deported through the Malines concentration camp, from
where they were transferred to Auschwitz. I shall perhaps
only quote the first few figures. The first departure – on
4 August 1942: 1,000 persons were deported, 7 returned. On
11 August – 1,000 were deported, 3 returned. On 15 August –
1,000 deported, 5 returned. On 18 August – 1,000 deported,
none returned. Later on, in the following years, more would
sometimes return. Sometimes 11 out of 1,000 returned, once
even 92 out of 1,908. Altogether, out of 25,400 deportees
1,276 were saved from death.
There is an example of an expulsion order here, then a
description of the Malines camp, all the details of the
brutality and sadism in those camps.
On page 21 I shall read only one sentence which speaks of
the transports going to the extermination camps. In the
beginning sometimes twice a week, later the interval became
“Each of the departures became an occasion for
atrocious scenes: The survivors of Malines are
unanimous in declaring that the camp commanders
displayed a despicably brutal attitude towards the
victims. Knowing that those condemned to deportation
were destined for a journey without return, they used
all their ingenuity in order to make their last moments
“With whiplashes they took from the deportees the last
personal possessions they had been able to hide; they
brutally separated families whose members, once
embarked, were never to see each other again. These
practices were especially in vogue under the command of
F… who would get drunk and then preside personally
over the loading.”
On page 22 the attempted escape of some Jews is described:
“The horrible conditions under which the internees were
deported to the East, as well as the knowledge of the
fate awaiting them, led to attempts at escape which
ended in tragedy. The files of the Belgian Surete
(Security Police) provide eloquent information in this
respect, collected at the time of the events
themselves. Two documents” – and the numbers are added
– “describe the circumstances under which the deportees
of the transport of 20 April 1943, tried to save
“‘A train of Jews left Malines on 20 April 1943, in the
direction of Germany…Jewish deportees, women, men and
children shut up in cattle trucks, the hatches and
sliding doors of which had been left slightly open. At
the end of the train – a carriage in which the soldiers
conveying the transport were sitting, armed with
machine guns; the unfortunate people tried to use the
chance of escape they had been given, but they did not
suspect the trap that had been laid for them. The
executioners mowed them down with automatic weapons.
Some were killed on the spot, others crushed under the
wheels. A few managed to escape…By 22 April 1945,
220 bodies had been found.”
“It should be mentioned that those wounded during this
attempt were sent back to the Malines camp in order to
be deported eventually.”
Then there is a description of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and
on this we shall hear more details from witnesses. And
finally: “The situation of the Jews of Belgium at the end of
the occupation.” And here are the final statistics of the
number of the dead, and of the total spoils of Jewish
property: 25,437 Jews were deported, including 10,800 men,
9,900 women and 4,364 infants of both sexes. Then there is
a discussion about incidence of the responsibility, but this
is already a legal analysis to which I shall of course not
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/520.