Session 042-01, Eichmann Adolf

Session No. 42
1 Sivan 5721 (16 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the forty-second Session of the
trial open. We will continue with the interrogation of the
witness Dr. Grueber by Dr. Servatius. Dr. Grueber, you are
continuing to testify under oath.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, you had stated that you presented a
special petition for the authorization of your relief
organization to Eichmann, amongst others, and you went on to
say that this seemed necessary to you because the
Confessional Church had strayed from the right path, as I
understood you to say, and that it had supported National

Presiding Judge: The Confessional Church or the Evangelical

Dr. Servatius: The Confessional Church strayed, as I
understood him.

Witness Grueber: I am very sorry to have been
misunderstood. I did not speak about a Confessional Church
which strayed from the right path, but said that the
official Evangelical Church was under the influence of the
National Socialists, they were called German Christians.
The leader of this church was one Reich Bishop Mueller, by
the grace of Hitler. Against this, the Confessional Church
united, being opposed to Hitler and his regime. I belonged
to it, and not only was it not straying from the right path,
but I believe that we kept to the right path till the end.

Q. Then this is my mistake; I assumed that the Confessional
Church had separated from the Evangelical Church. It is the
other way round.

A. It cut loose from the official church because it did not
go along with all the things customary in the official
church, the Aryan legislation (Arierparagraph), the oath of
allegiance to Hitler for civil servants, and other such

Q. Was the Evangelical Church the larger group, or was the
Confessional Church the larger group?

A. The largest group, if I may put it thus, was the group in
the middle, which was neither the one nor the other.

Q. Do you know the Berliner Evangelisches Sonntagsblatt
(Berlin Evangelical Sunday Gazette)?

A. Yes.

Q. The opinions of which group did this paper express?

A. The paper was essentially attuned to all the groups, in
no way did it represent the views of the Confessional
Church. These were expressed in the journal Die junge
Kirche (The Young Church).

Q. Did this Berliner Evangelisches Sonntagsblatt acclaim
Hitler’s coming into power, especially after the Enabling
Act which instituted the dictatorship?

A. This was something which I, personally, and many of my
friends rejected – that many papers, not only those of the
church but others too, thought that for tactical reasons
they had to make obeisance to the regime, in order to
prevent their suppression and preserve their effectiveness
towards the public. To my mind those were wrong tactics.

Q. I shall read to you two short passages from the
Evangelisches Sonntagsblatt which appeared immediately after
the assumption of power, after the Enabling Act. This is
from the issue of 4 April 1933, and reads as follows:

“Even when as an evangelical Christian one feels ever
so much the obligation not to wrong anybody, there can
be no doubt that in all the dark events of the last
fifteen years the Jewish element played a leading role.
The last fifteen years increased the influence of Jewry
in Germany immensely. The number of Jewish judges,
Jewish politicians, Jewish officials in influential
positions grew perceptibly. To this the voice of the
people objects, a people which wants to sweep away the
aftermath of the revolution.”

There are two more passages, from the paper of 9 April,
which I want to read to you:

“At last the government of the Reich found itself
forced to organize the boycott of Jewish shops, having
realized correctly that through Jewry’s international
connections the agitation abroad would stop very early
if it proved economically dangerous to German Jewry.
The result of all these proceedings will doubtless be a
containment of Jewish influence in Germany’s public
life. Nobody will seriously be able to object to

And the last part:

“In this respect, the German governments since autumn
1918 have grievously sinned. They willingly accorded
tens of thousands of undesirable elements that
emigrated into Germany the rights of German
citizenship. This has to stop. As soon as the Jewish
immigration is blocked, Jewry in Germany will decline.
The number of children of Jewish families is small, the
process of dying out is surprisingly quick.”

Would not Eichmann have been convinced that he was on the
right track when he read something of this kind and
experienced it himself? And did these articles not appear
after the assumption of power [of Hitler] when the
population held torchlight processions throughout the towns
and shouted “Germany awake,” but also “Judah drop dead.”*
{*”Deutschland erwache, Juda verrecke.”}

A. I was not aware till now that the Accused got the maxims
for his actions from the Evangelisches Sonntagsblatt in
Berlin, especially as he did not live in Berlin. But as
regards the matter itself, I can say that I neither wrote
the article, nor did I approve of it. On the contrary, on
20 March, I was then the headmaster of a large educational
institution, teachers and tutors came to me, wanting to have
the 21st of March off for this well-known Potsdam thing. So
I told them: “You do not get a holiday, because that is to
my mind the biggest deception of the public of all times.”
The result was that I was dismissed from my position as
educational director, was unemployed for seven months,
applied for all available professional positions, and I only
went to Berlin-Karlsdorf, to a professional position, after
seven months. I did not approve of that, and do not approve
of it, and told the authors that it is not enough to make
general confessions, but that one must confess one’s guilt
in a concrete manner. The politician must say: I approved
the Enabling Act and became culpable; the theologian must
say: I did not recognize the demonic spirit here and became
culpable. There must be no general confessions of guilt in
Germany, but concrete ones.

Q. Witness, I agree completely with your views. Let there
be no mistake, I am not reproaching you, on the contrary, I
share your views. But I did not ask you that but asked
whether these articles must not influence a person so that
he believes that he is on the right path. You said that he
would not have read the Evangelisches Sonntagsblatt; may I
therefore read you an article from a popular, widely-read
general newspaper. It is the newspaper Der Tag (The Day) of
2 April 1933. It is a newspaper with a large circulation.
May I read it out:

“There is just as little need for a special declaration
of allegiance to the great national aims which have now
been raised up again before the German people. The
Evangelical Church has always declared its support for
these aims with clear and resolute words – in prewar
days, in the dark days of the revolution, and under the
rule of the Weimar parties. There can be no doubt
concerning the attitude of the church and of its
leadership towards the national state.”

This was written here with the knowledge of the attitude of
the National Socialist government to the Jewish Question.
Are you aware that such an article appeared – probably in
several newspapers?

A. I admit that many people in the Evangelical Church were
at first struck with blindness. But I must also say that
for me it is a far cry from those who in the [general]
enthusiasm called out “Heil Hitler” to what we in this room
have met with and heard. To my mind, that is such a long
distance that it cannot be abolished by a simple sentence.
There are here, after all, two worlds. There are enough
people…I helped many a National-Socialist afterwards, if
he sincerely admitted his sins. Whether one shouts “hurrah”
or “Heil Hitler” in the first enthusiasm, or whether one
sets out on this demonic path, for me these are two
different things. May I add, in defence, that we
Evangelical Christians are like all Germans faced by a
difficult situation, in that we are all people who look up
to authority. We are subjects rather than citizens.
Especially in the Evangelical Church this authoritarian idea
was very strongly held, because formerly an alliance between
state and church, to my mind a disadvantageous one, had been
entered into. And thus you must understand that, owing to
this attitude, many an Evangelical Christian gave vent to
this enthusiasm in the beginning, and only later on he
understood what was happening. Most people had their eyes
opened in November 1938, and I may add that shortly after
the November pogrom, when Goebbels said that this is the
spontaneous will of the German nation, I said in two large
meetings: I declare herewith solemnly and publicly that I do
not want to have anything to do with this German nation. I
therefore ask that these common national notes sounded in
those days be not regarded as the promise for what has been
heard here during the last few days.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius and witness: I believe that
we are straying a little from the subject. I do not want to
determine at this moment who is responsible for it, Dr.
Servatius or the witness. At any rate, I should not wish
the interrogation of the witness to develop into a general
discussion of the relationship between the church and
National Socialism.

Dr. Servatius: The purport of my question was not the views
of the witness, but the views of the church. Because it
could have influenced the outlook of the Accused, could even
have had considerable influence. I have another question:
Do you know the book by W. Poliakoff-Wolff, Die Denker des
Dritten Reichs (The Thinkers of the Third Reich)?

Witness Grueber: I believe I once leafed through it, but I
did not read it, study it.

Q. Even without closer study you will be aware that in this
book a number of scholars, philosophers and professors are
enumerated, that is to say members of the liberal
professions who were all persuaded that whatever Hitler did
was the best thing in the circumstances. Do you remember
the book? The book is called Das dritte Reich und seine
Denker. Perhaps you know it by its title.

Presiding Judge: He told you that he has seen the book, that
he glanced through it.

Witness Grueber: No, I do not remember it. I may have
read it.

Dr. Servatius: Are you aware then that such professors and
scholars made public appearances in Hitler’s favour?

Witness Grueber: I know very precisely that very many men
on whom one confers the title of “scholar” were taken in by
these things. But I do not know whether these people
approved of all the things that took place in the Third
Reich. I could imagine that later, after they became
acquainted with them, they may have revised their opinion

Q. Do you believe that someone who did not have this
academic education or this political experience, a smaller
man, could also have been taken in by Hitler?

A. You will excuse me when I say to you that in this case I
do not set much store by an academic education. What
matters here is a very healthy instinct, and this healthy
instinct I found much more frequently in the Third Reich in
simple people rather than in so-called scholars and the well-
Dr. Servatius: I have no more questions to the witness.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bar-Or, do you have any further

State Attorney Bar-Or: No, Your Honour.

Judge Raveh: Dr. Grueber, you told us that there were 700
clergymen in the Dachau camp. Do you know when the arrests
of Christians began in Germany?

Witness Grueber: I do not know when the first clergymen
were arrested. I was first threatened with arrest after
this statement of mine in January. Only by leaving my
residence temporarily did I escape arrest. I know that
after his trial, my friend Niemoeller was taken to a
concentration camp. It is beyond my knowledge when the
first committals took place. Most of them were committed
after the outbreak of war.

Q. This is exactly the point which interests me. Was the
arrest of clergymen an operation over a limited period, or
did it take place continuously and the committals were in
individual cases?

A. There were single committals, and there were also mass
committals. It happened, for instance, that in particular
districts all the clergymen were arrested and transported,
for example from the so-called Warthegau, as it was then
called. All clergymen were arrested then and sent to
Dachau. However, many younger people escaped arrest by
fleeing. There was a list of clergymen. As many clergymen
as were on that list had to be sent to the concentration
camp. There was also an old age home for clergymen with
perhaps sixty to seventy very old and frail clergymen.
These were then also arrested to make up the required
number. In two or three days these poor people – excuse the
expression – passed out, as we used to say, died. Those
were mass arrests which also took place in the Netherlands,
for example, where the church, which had learned somewhat
more than our German church, stood up for the Jews in a

Q. Do you remember, Dr. Grueber, the date – not exactly,
perhaps approximately – when such mass arrests of clergymen
took place?

A. The first committal, the first large transport from
Wartheland, took place at the start of the period of cold
weather, it must have been roundabout November. In November
1941, there was such a large-scale action, but it could have
been at the beginning of December or the end of October,
too. I only know the following: The gentlemen all arrived
in big fur coats, as is the custom in Poland, they were well
dressed. The following day they stood on the parade ground,
all these old men, like all of us in thin drill trousers and
thin drill shirts, and then they dropped like flies.

Q. And later on, do you not remember anything?

A. Yes, mass arrests took place again and again, clergymen
from Yugoslavia, Austria, etc. But one does not remember
much of the individual transports, because the arrival of
new prisoners was not something which stuck especially in
one’s memory.

Q. We heard that you went to Switzerland in connection with
the emigration of Jews. Do you remember in which year you
went there?

A. I was in Switzerland very often. I could easily
ascertain the dates from my old passport. Only once was I
there with special permission, that was in March 1940, after
the outbreak of war, because I had applied for permission to
travel to Switzerland. At that time, America was not yet at
war, we planned a large project with the Quakers, the
Society of Friends, and I wanted to keep friends in
Switzerland, who were going to America, abreast of these
developments. I also reported on them to Oberfuehrer
Mueller who handed me the passport.

Q. Do you remember whether this was your last journey to

A. Yes, that was my last journey.

Q. You told us about a gentleman who provided help, and
whose name you do not want to mention because he is still
alive. His name does not interest me very much, but it is
not clear why you do not want to disclose his name.

A. Your Honour, we have here not only judges and
prosecutors, but also a large number of journalists, and I
do not want that tomorrow, or the day after, the name of a
man will appear in the headlines, a man who now has a very
tranquil, not tranquil post, but a very responsible post.
May I explain briefly: He was transferred from Berlin to
Warsaw. I do not know whether one suspected that he
conspired with us. After the capture of Warsaw he was, like
all the people of the Gestapo, collectively arrested and
convicted. I learned of his arrest from the Russian-
Orthodox bishop whom he had also helped. And then I sent a
petition to the president through the Polish ambassador whom
I knew in the concentration camp, and who was a friend of
mine. I described all the events, and as a result he was
released, and the Berlin Senate had no hesitation about
employing him, especially as he gave very decisive help to a
member of the Senate who is still serving.

Q. If that is so, I must tell you that it was a
misunderstanding on my part. I understood from your words
that you generally hesitate to disclose names of people
perhaps still living. But if it concerns a single case, I
would not have asked. Thank you very much.

Judge Halevi: Dr. Grueber, we believe that you risked your
life to rescue Jews. Is that not considered an honour
today, that one risked oneself to rescue people, is it not
considered an honour today to publish the name of a man who
championed the rescue of Jews?

Last-Modified: 1999/06/01