Session 054-09, Eichmann Adolf

Q. Was it clear from what he said that he understood that he
had no longer any hope of staying alive?

A. Yes. According to Law No. 81/45 and also under Regulation
1440/45 of the Prime Minister, both the instigator and the
accomplice to a crime are punished in exactly the same way
as the principal offender. Therefore he knew from what he
heard from me – and he noted it and understood it – that he,
being one of the major war criminals and liable to such
punishment, could not in any way escape the penalty of
hanging, and he took note of that and understood it.

He told me not only that he had been the Commissar for
Jewish Affairs, but that he had also been State Secretary in
the Ministry of the Interior, that is to say the holder of
one of the highest offices in the land. From time to time,
when for some technical reasons he had been unable to fulfil
orders, the Accused rebuked him on account of these matters
in the severest terms. He complained about this also to his
Minister, Andor Jaross and Andor Jaross replied: “We have
been delivered up into the hands of the Germans and we have
to do what they order us to do.” I don’t remember whether
Baky met with the Accused or spoke with him. Possibly there
had been no meeting between them. But on the other hand, I
remember Endre always passed on the orders that he received
from the Accused.

Q. Can you tell us, perhaps by way of summing up, what Endre
said to you about his relationship with the Accused, what
was, in fact, the administrative or operational connection
between the Accused and him?

A. I did not doubt for a moment that the Accused gave the
orders. He (the Accused) supplied him with the plans and he
was but the one to carry them out, as a representative of
the Hungarian Government.

Presiding Judge: Who is that speaking now?

Interpreter: The witness.

Presiding Judge: This is unimportant for us – what is
important is what he heard from Endre.

State Attorney Bach: I understand that the question in
Hungarian was not put in such a way that the witness could
understand it in the sense it was asked. Perhaps I can ask
him once again: What did Endre say to the witness about his
operative and administrative relations with the Accused?

Witness Ferencz: He said not only to me but also in his
interrogation that it was the Accused who gave the orders,
and subsequently he reported to the Accused.

Q. Who decided, according to what Endre said, from which
ghetto, and when, the Jews had to be evacuated and in what

A. I am not certain, I don’t remember exactly, that Doeme
Sztojay, on his return from Germany, already brought with
him the whole plan for the evacuation of the Jews. But I
don’t know this with absolute certainty.

Q. Is this what Endre told you?

A. Not only Endre told me this, but it also came out in the
trial of Doeme Sztojay who was hanged.

Presiding Judge: Please confine your remarks to what you
heard from Endre, without drawing conclusions on the basis
of something else you heard.

State Attorney Bach: The question is: What did Endre tell
you – who in Hungary decided from which ghetto Jews had to
be deported, when they had to be deported and to what place
they had to be deported?

Witness Ferencz: It was the Accused, and he (Endre) also
reported to the Accused.

Q. For how long did you converse with Baky?

A. Very briefly.

Q. Can you tell us only what he said to you about the

A. He said that the orders which Endre received from the
Accused – were given to him to carry out. He reported the
results to Endre. This was the procedure by which the events
took place. I don’t remember whether Baky ever said that he
had spoken face to face with the Accused.

Q. What were Baky’s duties in the Hungarian Government?

A. Baky was also State Secretary in the Ministry of the
Interior. He was in charge of the gendarmerie, he controlled
the gendarmerie and he passed on orders for implementation
to the commanders of the gendarmerie.

Q. By the way, were these matters, the contents of your
conversation with Endre and the contents of your
conversation with Baky, recorded by anyone?

A. We prepared a minute which was placed in the secret
archives. First I showed the minute to the Minister and
afterwards it was placed in the secret archives.

Q. Did you also speak to Peter Hain at a certain stage?

A. Yes, I also spoke to Peter Hain before he was put to
death by hanging, not before he was hanged. This was a
complicated affair, for he was hanged twice. On the first
occasion, when he was being led to the gallows, he escaped
from his guards and jumped from the third floor, and broke
his spine, so that they had to take him to the prison
hospital, where he lay for some time, and only after that
was he hanged.

Q. At any rate, you spoke to him at a time when he believed
that he was about to be executed?

A. I spoke to him, when his application for clemency had
been rejected before the first so-called hanging, inside the
death cell.

Q. I do not remember whether I have already asked you what
were the duties of this Peter Hain?

A. Peter Hain was an Inspector of Police, who did
everything, interfered in everything, in political matters.
Officials in his department or his subordinates in his
department seized high-ranking persons from the first day
the Germans entered Hungary, on 19 March 1944; they seized
Jews, mainly. When the Germans arrived, he transferred his
office from the police headquarters to the Majestic Hotel.
When I questioned him before his execution, he told me for
the record, that he was in the closest contact with the
Accused and with the Accused’s Section, with his office. He
received orders for implementation partly from the Accused
and partly from the Accused’s Section and also, according to
the reports which he delivered to the Accused, it was the
Accused who gave instructions for the arrest of various

Q. Can you tell us who Gabor Vajna was?

A. I believe that it was on 16 October 1944, when members of
the “Arrow Cross” took control of the regime in Hungary,
after the Sztojay Government left and was replaced by the
Szalasi Government. And then, after Andor Jaross, Gabor
Vajna, a member of the “Arrow Cross,” was appointed to be
Minister of the Interior in his stead.

Q. Was he also placed on trial, and if so, what happened to

A. Yes. He was sentenced to death and executed by hanging.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions to
the witness?

Dr. Servatius: Yes. Witness, you said that in the
proceedings against them, both Endre and Baky pleaded in
justification that they were acting under superior orders.
In this way they wanted to exonerate themselves. Is that

Witness Ferencz: When I questioned them in the death cell,
they no longer pleaded in justification or used this as a
defence, for their lives were about to end.

Presiding Judge: The question referred to their defence at
the trial.

Witness Ferencz: Yes, in Court they defended themselves on
the ground that they acted under orders. All of them
defended themselves in this way.

Q. On whose orders did they base this?

A. I can no longer remember exactly to whose orders they
referred in the Court proceedings, since I came and went and
also received reports from the Prosecution. These were long
proceedings and hence today I can no longer remember exactly
to whose orders they referred.

Q. Who was likely to have issued orders to them? Not the
Minister? Not the authorities of their Hungarian Government?

A. It was common knowledge that both the Minister and the
authorities during those times did what the Germans ordered.

Q. Wasn’t the German Ambassador Veesenmayer the man who
maintained contact with the Ministers and issued orders to
them on behalf of the Germans?

A. He, too, was in contact with the Ministers. But, for
example, at the Royal Hotel on Arzibt Road there was a
particular department of the Gestapo which also gave
instructions independently.

Presiding Judge: In the Royal Hotel?

Witness Ferencz: 3This department in the Royal Hotel also
gave instructions independently.

The Germans, for their part, had no need – not at government
level or at a lower administrative level – for any seal or
rubber stamp in order to issue instructions or in order to

Dr. Servatius: Witness, I presume that an official can
receive orders from one authoritative source only, namely
his superiors. If that is the case, the statement which
Endre made later on that Eichmann gave him the orders, was a
false one.

Witness Ferencz: This is nothing but the opinion of Defence
Counsel. But I am a witness testifying under oath, and I am
telling the truth.

Dr. Servatius: I have no more questions to the witness.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach, do you have any questions?

State Attorney Bach: I do not wish to re-examine, Your

Judge Raveh: I understand that in the trial of Endre and
Baky, you did not know whether they mentioned Eichmann or
not. Did I understand you correctly?

Witness Ferencz: As I have already said, I was the head of
the General Prosecution, and in every important case I was
in charge of its conduct. I was assisted by 112 lawyers and
a huge staff, who conducted the proceedings. So that I would
enter the court-room, sit down, listen, and leave and give
instructions. I cannot testify – for I am on oath – whether
Eichmann’s name was mentioned in the course of the
proceedings in court, since I can only testify to the truth.

Q. What was your purpose in wanting to talk, after the
trial, to them – to Endre and Baky?

A. It was the opinion of my Minister that it was necessary,
prior to the death sentence on war criminals, to hear the
views of these accused, not only of the war criminals I have
spoken about, but of all the criminals in this category, to
determine their views once again, finally.

Q. Does any kind of verbatim record exist of the case
against Endre and Baky?

A. Certainly.

Q. Did you read this record after the case was over?

A. I surely read all these records, since my lawyers
presented me with reports, particularly of the trials of the
main war criminals, since I myself exercised control over

Q. Also from reading the record you do not recall whether
Endre and Baky mentioned Eichmann in the course of the

A. I don’t remember, since this prosecution was a kind of
routine matter and since I myself didn’t conduct these
trials. It didn’t seem all that important. The records are
there. They are preserved in the Budapest Court, which
succeeded the People’s Court, in a special place in the
archives which are in the basement.

Judge Halevi: Does a record still exist of the
conversations you conducted with Endre and Baky?

Witness Ferencz: These records were dealt with separately,
and secretly. In the autumn of 1956 there was a revolution
in Hungary. A substantial number of the war criminals, who
were serving their sentences in various prisons, were freed,
and many documents were then destroyed by them. Therefore, I
don’t know now, for sure, whether this record is extant. For
by then I had already, some time previously, terminated my
duties in the People’s Prosecution office and I had no
influence over affairs.

Judge Halevi: Did the Prosecution take any steps to obtain
the record from the Hungarian Government?

State Attorney Bach: No, Your Honour. With regard to this
record, I asked the witness and he said that he was unable
to give me a reply as to where this record was kept. As far
as the records of the trials are concerned…

Judge Halevi: I am not referring to the records of the
trials, but only to the specific record of these
conversations on which the witness has testified before us

State Attorney Bach: No; we did not approach the Government
in this matter for we could not even say where this record
was being kept.

Judge Halevi: In general, did the Hungarian Government
extend any help in this trial?

State Attorney Bach: We submitted a list of a large number
of documents mentioning them specifically, various documents
of whose existence we were aware from various books, and
also asked for the records of the trials. We received some
material, not precisely according to the list we submitted,
and more than that we did not receive.

Judge Halevi: At any rate, the best proof of these
conversations would surely be the verbatim report, to the
extent that it is possible to secure it.

State Attorney Bach: This would certainly be more
desirable. I was simply not especially optimistic in regard
to this matter when the witness was not able to give us even
some hint as to where it is being kept.
Judge Halevi: He told us something about its being placed
in a secret archive. Perhaps he can tell us in which secret

Witness Ferencz: This is a special archive, a secret one,
in which items were kept which had been marked with a double
‘O’, and even if the record were to be found – they would
not supply or even disclose any material from this archive.
Only very few persons had authority to examine material in
this archive.

State Attorney Bach: In view of Your Honour’s observation,
I am prepared to ask our Ministry for Foreign Affairs again
to request the Hungarian Government to make an effort to
discover the material, and if we shall receive it up to the
end of this trial, we shall submit it to the Court.

Judge Halevi: If the reply is in the negative, we shall
have to be satisfied with the oral evidence. [To witness]
Did Endre mention, in his conversation with you, only the
name of Eichmann, or other names as well?

Witness Ferencz: He mentioned various other names of
members of his Section. For instance, I recall the name of
Krumey. He also mentioned other names, but I don’t remember

Q. Anyone else?

A. Yes, he also mentioned various names, but I don’t
remember them.

Q. Did he mention the names of Hungarians?

A. He did not mention the names of any Hungarians who gave
orders and to whom they had to report – with the exception,
of course, of his Minister – Jaross – to whom he reported.

Q. Was Jaross the Minister of the Interior?

A. The Minister of the Interior.

Q. Was he a minister in the government of Sztojay or in
which government?

A. Yes.

Q. You say that he told you that he was obliged to give a
report to Jaross as well?

A. Whether he had to report to him or not – about this he
did not speak clearly. But, amongst other things, he also
said that he had turned to Jaross and had complained about
the Accused because he had rebuked him, had been annoyed
with him; after all he was a State Secretary – what was he
to do? In reply to this Jaross had said that the Germans
were the masters and they gave the orders.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Ferencz, you have concluded
your evidence.

We shall adjourn now. The next Session will be held next
Monday, at 9 o’clock in the morning.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/04