Session 038-08, Eichmann Adolf

State Attorney Bar-Or: Dr. Max Plaut begins:

“When I returned from London to Germany on official
business at the end of June 1939, I was in the Gestapo
Dienststelle in Hamburg, and I was interrogated by the
Department for Jewish Affairs, as was usual in such
cases.” (Apparently when he had been abroad.) “I
sensed that there was quite a strong war psychosis. He
plunged straight into the subject with me and said:
‘When war actually breaks out, the Jews will be the
first victims. You will see miracles and wonders, for
what happened in November 1938 was only a general

A little further on he says that Gestapo officials, who had
good intelligence sources, and also party officials, had
informed him that they were thinking of preparing
concentration camps and special labour camps for all the

On page 2, roughly at the end of the first third of the
page, he says that, in fact, the Jews were in his charge in
all matters affecting their welfare, namely the Jews of
Hamburg, Bremen, Luebeck, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg,
Braunschweig, Schleswig-Holstein and the district of
Hanover. Similarly, he had to deal with those Polish Jews
who had been transferred to concentration camps; of these he
testifies that, at the end of 1943, only three still
remained alive.

He refers to the early general regulations against the Jews;
in particular he mentions that it was necessary to hand over
all radio sets and their accessories owned by Jews. He
states that this regulation came into force on the Day of
Atonement. A little later he says that it soon no longer
came as a surprise to him that Sabbath days, Festivals and
Jewish Holidays were deliberately chosen for anti-Jewish
operations by the State.

“With devilish wickedness the Nazis studied the Hebrew
calendar. Thus it happened that we waited for or
anticipated all the Jewish Holidays with feelings of
concern (mit Beklemmung), and we breathed a sigh of
relief when these passed with only minor chicanery (mit
kleinlichen Schikanen voruebergegangen waren).

“Thus I remember that on the eve of Succot (the
Festival of Tabernacles) 1940, we were summoned to the
Gestapo. They told me that within two days we had to
prepare special questionnaires to be signed by all the
Jews, and this had to be done by the Jewish community
office. When I asked that, in view of the impending
Festivals, they should kindly extend the period for
preparing the questionnaire by two additional days, I
naturally received a negative reply.”

And now he quotes: “I am very sorry – this comes from
above.” Thereafter the Gestapo official speaks to him in a
very personal way (persoenlich wendend). “There, in Berlin,
they think of everything, so that you should not catch cold
in your booths (‘Succot’).” “On this note, he ended the
negotiations with me.”
Further on he says that, in Berlin, at Kantstrasse 158, in
the office of the Reich Association of the Jews of Germany,
a special department was hurriedly set up of statisticians,
painters, graphic artists, and all kinds of people with
special professions, upon whom were imposed the functions of
special schools, according to orders which came from that
omnipotent expert in the Gestapo, Eichmann, and his deputy,
who held a rank equal to his, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer
Guenther. After that he mentions Dr. Eppstein and Dr.
Meyer, who took upon themselves the work of translating all
the details required by Eichmann into a graphic and
statistical presentation.

He quotes the decree of Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler of 1940
issued to the Reich Association, according to which Jews
were forbidden to walk in the streets of cities between the
hours of eight in the evening and six in the morning. He
recalls that it was not allowed to print such orders – the
notice concerning them had to be circulated verbally.

At the top of page four he mentions that, in the first year
of the War, an order was issued – I should like to emphasize
this especially – which forbade the release of Jews from the
prisons to which they were brought under court judgments,
and that the Gestapo had orders that, when their criminal
punishment had been served, these Jews were to be brought
directly to concentration camps until the end of the War.
He continues: “In view of the fact that the treatment in
penal institutions was, generally speaking, correct, we
attempted to secure the longest possible sentences for Jews
who were brought before the criminal courts, so as to save
them from the concentration camps.” He refers to the
general decree forbidding the emigration of Jews from
Germany, which came into force with the entry of Germany
into the war with Russia. Later on he begins to describe
the evacuation of the Jews from Stettin and speaks of how he
himself went to Stettin in February 1940, in order to take
care of what remained there. He came into contact with the
trustee, a so-called “Treuhaender” who had been appointed
by the Gestapo, and describes the negotiations with him over
the rest of the property which remained in Stettin after the
deportation of these Jews. He mentions, at the beginning of
the last third of page five, that all Jewish property in
Stettin was in the possession of the Gestapo. The Gestapo
also controlled their apartments and the institutions and
homes belonging to the community.

At the end of the page he begins to refer to postal
communication which existed for some time between the
Reichsvereinigung and these people, until, one day, the mail
returned with the remark 205unbekannt verzogen (addressee
moved to unknown destination). I am reading from the first
section on page six.

He now describes the condition of the Jews in Friesland and
Oldenburg, two northern districts in Germany, for which he
was also responsible.

I quote from the last passage of page six:

“The dispatch to concentration camps was usually
carried out by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, as
proposed by the Gestapostelle (Gestapo office). This
proposal, the Schutzhaftantrag – a proposal for
imposing ‘protective custody’ – could be carried out by
any Gestapo official. These proposals, as a rule,
received a positive response. When orders came from
the Reichssicherheitshauptamt to concentration camps,
they usually bore the signature of Heydrich, and later
on that of Dr. Kaltenbrunner. From the beginning of
the War, the following camps were mainly taken into
account for the delivery of Jews to concentration
camps: Buchenwald (near Weimar), Dachau (near Munich),
Mauthausen (near Linz), Neuengamme (near Hamburg),
Sachsenhausen (near Oranienburg), and subsequently
Auschwitz. Women were usually sent to a concentration
for women at Ravensbruck, in the district of

He states that the camp with the worst reputation was the
camp at Mauthausen. Experience had proved that delivery to
this camp meant certain death.

Judge Raveh: When Did Mr. Plaut record these remarks?

State Attorney Bar-Or: In 1953, in Tel Aviv – he dictated
them to Mr. Ball-Kaduri.

He now speaks about the life of the Jewish communities. On
page eight, he mentions Dr. Baeck and Dr. Eppstein, and
their work in the Reich Association. On page nine, he
refers to the ban issued by the Gestapo for the holding of
“gottesdienstliche Veranstaltungen” – that is to say a ban
on all prayers or any other ceremony that normally had to be
observed in a synagogue; he adds that, nevertheless, they
tried, and also successfully, to continue with regular
prayer services in a limited way.

At the end of that chapter he talks about the liquidation of
the property of the Jewish community councils, and the
institutions, the charitable institutions, attached to them.
He says that, ultimately, the property of all of them, as we
have already seen in the copies of laws which I submitted to
the Court yesterday, had to be handed over to the National

He now quotes a letter from the Accused which apparently was
typical. He says that the letterhead stated:

“Ministry of the Interior, Reichssicherheitshauptamt –
By virtue of Regulation 10 of the Law of Reich
Citizenship of 1935, I hereby decree the incorporation
of the German Jewish Orphanage of Hamburg (this was the
former name of this institution) into the Reich
Association of the Jews in Germany, Berlin. Signed:

He mentions that the district office in Hamburg, alone, had
eventually collected property worth approximately 58 million
Reichsmarks. He points out that this property was
ultimately transferred to the “Bank of Hausheinz,
Tecklenburg and Co.” in Berlin.

On page 11 he talks of the liquidation of the Jewish
Kulturbund, of the liquidation of the cultural activities
which had to be stopped. Here he mentions mainly the
influence of the Ministry of Goebbels. On page 12 he speaks
of the private property of the Jews, as distinct from
communal property. He relates that, in October 1940, all
preparations were made by Gestapo offices for depriving the
Jews completely of their property by means of
Vermoegensausstellungen, (property statements). This was
shown to the Court yesterday by Mrs. Henschel.

On page 13 he mentions the strict prohibition of contact
between Jews and non-Jews in all public parks; the notice on
all the benches “Zutritt fuer Juden und Hunde verboten” –
entry forbidden to Jews and dogs.

Afterwards he refers to something which will be of interest
to this Honourable Court. He says in the last third of page
13: “So as to make it possible at all to be in the fresh
air, we helped ourselves in Hamburg by turning the
cemeteries in Oldsdorf and Langenfelde into fields for games
and sports for young and old.”

Presiding Judge: He does not say “cemeteries,” but vacant
lots within the cemeteries.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, your Honour, “graeberfreies
Feld.” Perhaps now the Columbus operation on page 14 is of
special importance. Let me perhaps sum up what happened
there. An order was received that all the mental patients
who were in the personal care of Plaut, and also in the
personal care of other Jews, had to be transferred to Jewish
institutions. The Gestapo announced: “The reason is that we
have to separate Aryan mental patients from Jewish mental
patients.” Ultimately an order came to prepare a transport
of all the Jewish patients through the Columbus
Transportgesellschaft (a transport company) – hence the name
“Operation Columbus” which was supposed to go to the
Staatskrankenanstalt Cholm, to the government institute for
the sick at Cholm. When Dr. Plaut says that these patients
are not in contact with Jewish institutions, the Gestapo men
in Hamburg begin talking to him with an evidently bad

Eventually there had to be a transfer to the account of the
Staatliche Krankenanstalt Cholm by the Preussische
Staatsbank of the sums of money which were supposed to be
paid for the maintenance of these patients in the East.

And finally, on page 16, the Court will notice that the
death certificates start to arrive. And now something,
which was bound to occur, happens. One of these patients,
who was in the care of Dr. Plaut, managed to escape from the
transport. But he, too, this patient who was alive,
received his death certificate: “Died following an
intestinal disease.”

Presiding Judge: Was all this in Sobibor?

State Attorney Bar-Or: In the vicinity, at any rate. We
have said that it could be seen that this was the only place
which was not obliged to report to the Wirtschafts- und
Verwaltungshauptamt on the transports that reached it. We
want to deduce from this that there was nothing to maintain
there, that there was no economic unit there which had to be
maintained by the Amt of Pohl.

I shall proceed now to document No. 1561. This is a report
from the newspaper Politiken, which appeared in Copenhagen
on 17 February 1940, and which was sent to the Foreign
Ministry. The copy of what appears here came from the files
of the Foreign Ministry.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/666.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The heading is: “Germany expels
Citizens.” The report comes from Stettin, on 16 February
1940. It states further that more than 1,300 people from
Stettin and the environs were affected by this deportation,
amongst them babies and aged people.

Presiding Judge: Was this published before the Germans
entered Denmark?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, of course. In reply to a
question whether a place had been prepared for the reception
of these people in Poland, an SS Scharfuehrer answered:
“That is not important. They will be off-loaded on to an
open field. You will have to see for yourselves where they
will remain.” At the bottom of the page it says that, at
the transit point at Schneidemuehl, about twenty hours after
they had set out from Stettin, they had to remove the first
corpses from the train.

Later on it states that in diplomatic circles it was being
said that President Roosevelt, through his Secretary of
State Cordell Hull, had sent a report on the subject to the
embassy in Berlin through Mr. Kirk, and it could be assumed
that he would bring it to the notice of Foreign Minister

And now, Prosecution document No. 507, which is also
connected with these events. Here there was a press
conference, on 15 February 1940, and there an internal
instruction had been given to the German authorities on what
was to be discussed there. It says here “Instruction No.
347. In the foreign press it is being alleged that 1,000
German Jews have been expelled to the Generalgouvernement
(the reference, of course, is to Poland). The news item is
correct but must be handled confidentially.” (“Die Meldung
stimmt, ist aber vertraulich zu behandeln.”)

Presiding Judge: What is this “Brammer materiell?”

State Attorney Bar-Or: This is material which was evidently
discovered in Bram by the American authorities after the
War, and submitted in this form at Nuremberg.

Presiding Judge: Where is Bram? Is it the name of a place?

State Attorney Bar-Or: It seems to me to be the name of a
place. The document is NG 4698 of the Nuremberg Trial.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/667.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now to document No. 1172 of 17
February 1940. This document is signed by a man whose
signature is very difficult to decipher. It states here
that the Referent (official in charge) in the Foreign
Ministry dealing with the matter was Bielfeld, and that the
“Sachbearbeiter” (official dealing with the matter) was Dr.
Neuwirth. It states here that following a question to the
Reichssicherheitshauptamt Regierungsrat Schellenberg was
informed that: “It has been made known that the operation at
Stettin must be regarded as an isolated measure
(‘Einzelmassnahme’). 1,000 Jews were deported, in order to
create space for Baltic Germans returning to their

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/668.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now the Prosecution document No.

Presiding Judge: Are all these from Wuerzburg?

State Attorney Bar-Or: No. We shall come to the Wuerzburg
file in chronological order; when there is a deportation
from Wuerzburg, we shall come to Wuerzburg. Between
deportation and deportation, obviously time passes. At
present we are still in the period before the first general
deportation to the East. These were the first deportations
that were not general. For example, the one from Stettin
was, in truth, restricted to Stettin and Schneidemuehl.

The document is dated 28 March 1940. It is issued by
Lammers, the Head of the Reich Chancellery, to Himmler. He
informs him of a report that had come to Lammers secretly,
and which describes the death march from Lublin, and speaks
of many cases of death from the cold, and requests the
intervention of Goering, in order to prevent the repetition
of such deportations.

The Court will remember the evidence of Dr. Kratki who found
these people of Stettin and the surroundings in a Jewish
hospital in Lublin and spoke about conditions caused by the
cold. Here we have a document which corresponds with this
part of his evidence.

Presiding Judge: After he came from Nisko to Lublin?

State Attorney Bar-Or: When he came from Nisko to Lublin
and began to work in the Jewish hospital in Lublin, he found
these Jews in the condition in which they arrived.

This document, which I do not intend to read, gives a quite
shocking picture of the manner in which these first
deportations from Stettin and Schneidemuehl were carried
out, deportations which eventually reached Lublin and the
district. I shall read only a small part. Inter alia it
says here:

“From Lublin, the men, women and children were forced
to march on foot, in a temperature of 22 degrees below
zero and on roads covered in snow, up to these
villages. On these marches shocking scenes occurred.
Out of the 1,200 deported from Stettin, 72 people were
left behind on the way during the course of the march,
which lasted more than 14 hours. Amongst them were men
and women up to 86 years old. The great majority of
them suffered from frost-bite. Amongst them was a
mother who held her little boy aged three in her arms;
she tried to protect him from the frost with her
clothes and was left behind lying in this position
after superhuman efforts. There was also the body of a
boy about five years old which was found in a semi-
frozen state. He bore on his neck a cardboard sign
with the name ‘Renatta Alexander from Hammerstein in
Pommern (Pomerania).’ It turned out that this boy was
deported when on a visit to relatives in Stettin, while
his parents still remained in Germany. They had to
amputate this boy’s hands and feet in the hospital in
Lublin. After the transport, the bodies on the roads
were collected on sleds and brought to the Jewish
cemeteries in Piaski and Lublin.”

And at the end:

“The Generalgouvernement of the occupied Polish areas,
and the district representative, Governor Zerner,
denied any responsibility for these occurrences and
their results. General Fieldmarshal Goering received
notification about these events.”

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/669.

State Attorney Bar-Or: It is interesting that this report,
as it describes itself, was based on the finding of the
mixed Polish-Jewish Aid Committee in the
Generalgouvernement, which functioned in cooperation with
the American organization of Quakers, and similarly with
representatives of the Red Cross, and the district
authorities of the Governor General of the occupied Polish

Judge Halevi: This is hard to understand. At first sight
there seems to have been such a committee in the area, which
acted in cooperation with the district authorities of the

Last-Modified: 1999/06/01