Session No. 57
15 Sivan 5721 (30 May 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the fifty-seventh Session of this
trial open. Mr. Hausner and Dr. Servatius, do you have any
further questions to Professor Gilbert after having examined
his diaries and Pohl’s statement?
Attorney General: I have no questions.
Dr. Servatius: I merely have two further brief questions to
Presiding Judge: Professor Gilbert, please take the witness
stand. There are two questions which Dr. Servatius wishes
to ask you; you are, of course, still under oath.
Witness Gilbert: Yes, Your Honour.
Dr. Servatius: The value of a diary assuredly depends on
whether the entries were recorded immediately or at a later
time. Were these entries recorded on the same days as the
date they bear?
Witness Gilbert: [replies in German] They were always taken
down on the same day and then dictated to my secretary.
Q. Did you supplement or revise them later, or has
everything remained as it was originally recorded?
A. I would rather carry on in English.
Presiding Judge: Please do.
Witness Gilbert: [in English] In dictating the notes to my
secretary, I took advantage of the trial transcripts and any
additional facts that I recalled in the meantime. But this
dictation usually took place the next day. There was no
long lapse of time between the conversation and the actual
dictation of notes for the diary.
Dr. Servatius: Do you want this diary to be regarded as an
authoritative and scientific account?
Witness Gilbert: The diary comprises the original raw data
for later scientific evaluation. So, to answer your
question about expert evaluation, that really takes place in
the second book, in which I evaluate all of the factual data
which I collected, and on that basis make my expert
evaluation of the Nazi system and its leaders, including
Q. For evaluating material it is assuredly important whether
a report has been written sine iraet studio (without wrath
and excessive eagerness) – the concept will surely be known
to you – in other words, without preconceptions, without
bias. Was that how this diary was written?
A. Yes, I had the advantage of American ignorance of the
Nazi system, except for a little briefing as a military
intelligence officer; I also had the advantage of being
completely uninformed and incredulous about the events that
we are discussing today, and I had to be convinced, more and
more, about what actually took place. It took me a year to
get the whole picture.
Q. Would you consider it impartial when, right after an
objective finding by you, a personal opinion follows which
concludes with the expression: “Pfui, Teufel” (For shame, to
hell with it)?
A. Yes. This was one of those situations in which it was
impossible for any normal human being not to react with
revulsion. As I said, there was one day when I lost my
academic composure and spoke to Kaltenbrunner rather
sharply. I also recall now this expression that you used.
I used it when I was talking to Pohl, when I asked him:
“What do you mean, all the SS leaders knew these things? The
extermination of the Jews was described in great detail and
nobody raised any objections?” He went on and on for quite
a while and, at the end of the conversation, when he
couldn’t give any explanation and shrugged off the fact that
it was not in his jurisdiction and he couldn’t explain these
things, I used the expression: “Well, there’s only one thing
I can say – pfui, Teufel!” I want to make it clear that I
think any normal human being would have reacted in the same
way. A psychologist is not a soothsayer, he is not inhuman,
and a good psychologist should have feelings and sympathy,
regardless of his race, religion, or anything else.
Q. Therefore, was your judgment of these reports not due to
sentiment of a certain kind?
A. Yes, in reply to your last question. I was observing and
interacting with these defendants according to the
techniques known as “participant observer.” This means
participant observer, as one human being among others, to
find out the psychological cause of the greatest tragedy in
human history. As such, I reacted as a human being, and the
whole world reacts to it as human beings. The only people
who could have thoroughly investigated these events and not
be moved by them would be the same kind of characters as I
designated as the “murderous robots of the SS.” These
events are being judged judicially and psychologically by
human beings, and they are being judged in human terms all
over the world.
Presiding Judge: It was not our intention to reopen the
interrogation of the witness at this time, but rather to
enable the attorneys of both sides to ask additional
questions, in the light of the additional documents which
have been presented. I request that attention be given to
Dr. Servatius: May I perhaps be permitted to direct another
question to the witness. If I have understood you
correctly, you said that you interjected this remark as a
normal human being – thereby, I presume, admitting
abandonment of the role of professional expert.
Witness Gilbert: I explicitly want to correct that. The
role of a psychologist is not distinct from that of the role
of a human being. Psychology, above all, is applying human
understanding in a scientific manner. The same, I daresay,
applies to jurisprudence. The only profession I have ever
encountered which separates the role of a human being from
his professional activity was the role of the SS man.
Dr. Servatius: I have no more questions to the witness. I
merely beg to point out that the assertions in question are
from the diary entries about Pohl on the first and second of
Attorney General: In the light of the foregoing questions,
would the Court allow me merely one question to clarify the
facts: Professor Gilbert, whatever is recorded in your diary
as emanating or coming from the people you talked to, is it
truly and correctly recorded, factually truly and correctly
Witness Gilbert: Yes.
Judge Raveh: Professor Gilbert, last night I read some
parts of your book, and I came upon a remark of Goering I
wanted to ask you about.
Witness Gilbert: Yes, Your Honour.
Q. You spoke to Hoess of Auschwitz.
Q. It was before he testified.
Q. You tested him.
Q. And the same day you talked to Goering about this?
Q. And you said to Goering: “He is just another German being
loyal to the Fuehrer.” And now his answer: “Oh, but that
has nothing to do with loyalty. He could just as easily
have asked for some other job or something.” Goering
speculated: “Of course somebody else would have done it
anyway.” Do you recall this remark of Goering’s?
A. Yes, I do, Your Honour. It pertains to this question of
acting under obedience to orders.
Q. Yes. Was this the entire conversation between you and
him on this occasion, or perhaps you would like to look into
A. There may be more to that. It is easiest to check from
Q. It is 9 April.
A. Yes, I have it, Your Honour. There is more.
Q. Have you found it?
A. Yes, Your Honour.
Q. Have you something further?
A. Yes, Your Honour. Right after the last part you quoted I
said: “What about killing the man who ordered the mass
murder?” “Oh, that is easily…”
Q. That is something else.
A. No, that is a continuation of the same conversation.
Q. But another question.
A. The same discussion, Your Honour. Then his answer: “Oh,
that is easily said, but you cannot do that sort of thing.
What kind of a system would that be if anybody could kill
the commanding officer if he didn’t like his orders? You
have got to have obedience in a military system.” Now there
is just one more paragraph. “If I am not mistaken, millions
of Germans are sick through this obedience.”
Q. It appears in the same book?
A. Yes, that’s right.
Q. My question is another one. If you look at this remark
of his, “that has nothing to do with loyalty,” and further
the words, “or something,” what do they mean?
A. Goering was indicating that there were other
possibilities, but he was too cagey to indicate what they
were. I would only speculate, and I will not speculate
about what the other possibilities were in his mind.
However, I do have further testimony, if you wish it, on
what other SS men said about other possibilities.
Q. You talked to him in German?
A. Oh, yes – all of them. Constantly.
Q. Do you recall his exact words – or something?
A. I can’t say it’s in this conversation, but it would
naturally be from the way he spoke oder so was (or something
Q. Was it a chance remark of Goering’s, or what you would
say, a considered judgment of his?
A. It wouldn’t have been a chance remark, Your Honour,
because we were constantly arguing about this issue – of
obedience to orders.
Q. Thank you.
Presiding Judge: Thank you, Professor Gilbert. This finally
concludes your testimony. Mr. Hausner, I request that you
also transcribe Pohl’s statement, just as you undertook to
transcribe Hoess’ statement.
Attorney General: We shall do that.
Presiding Judge: Now there is still a formal matter here
that must be disposed of. If I am not mistaken, no decision
has yet been made to hear the testimony of Kappler in Italy,
and we need it. We have had much discussion about the
testimony, but no formal decision has been taken. We shall
now dispose of this matter; this is required for applying to
the Italian authorities.
Decision No. 61
It is hereby resolved to apply to the Italian authorities to
take evidence from Herbert Kappler who is in the military
prison in Gaeta, Italy. The application will be based upon
the convention for mutual legal aid between the Republic of
Italy and the State of Israel.
We can now continue with the testimony of Mr. Joel Brand.
Mr. Brand, you continue to give your testimony under oath.
Attorney General: Yesterday we broke off in the middle of
the Bandi Grosz matter. Did Bandi Grosz accompany you on
your journey to Constantinople?
Witness Brand: Yes, Sir.
Q. Who gave the order that he accompany you to
A. Technically, Eichmann gave the order. But I know that
Grosz’ connection was with the SS Espionage Group, with
Q. Did Eichmann explain to you why he wanted Bandi Grosz to
travel with you?
A. Yes, he said, in one sentence, that he should pay heed to
what we would be “letting out of the bag” in Constantinople,
or to what I and my friends would be “letting out of the
bag” in Constantinople, and should report to Eichmann when
Q. In your opinion, was that the real mission, or the sole
mission, of Bandi Grosz during this journey?
A. I believe his mission also included watching me, as well
as getting into contact with English and American
Q. In regard to the latter function, was anything at all
said to you by the German authorities?
A. Not directly. I believe I have already reported about
the conversation outside Budapest where the attempt was
made, I might say, to shove down my throat the belief that
Himmler was a decent human being, that the Jews could be
rescued only through Himmler, and that Eichmann’s offer was
identical with Himmler’s offer and the sole chance to rescue
us. Then there were other hints. He himself told me the
trucks would not be used along the Westwall (the
fortifications in the West), but only on the eastern front.
Q. I am speaking about Bandi Grosz: Did you hear him say, or
did you learn anything at all about whether he had other
functions as well?
A. In Budapest, no; later on, yes.
Q. What were they?
A. The first time, in the airplane, he showed me papers, or
he said he had papers to be returned to Krumey – I no longer
remember precisely whether he tore them up in my presence or
gave them back to Krumey. He said that those were his real
instructions, but at that time he was still very secretive
about them. Later, in Constantinople, when we were confined
together in the police station, he began to shriek at me
that we were all dolts, that we did not know at all what was
involved, that in reality very different things were at
stake: He had come to conduct peace negotiations, to
establish contacts with the Allies. Our Jews were in the
picture as – well, how shall I put it – a baksheesh, to be
rescued into the bargain. That is what he said, above all,
as I sat with him in the police station.
Q. And so you arrived in Constantinople.
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Did you meet there with representatives of the Jewish
Q. Was this followed by a plan to travel to Ankara to see
the American Ambassador Steinhardt?
A. Yes, that had already been determined in Budapest. Dr.
Komoly had proposed that I establish contact with Steinhardt
by all means. I had made this proposal there, and it was
accepted; I was to make the trip.
Q. And were you then arrested in Turkey?
A. Yes, I was arrested during my attempt to make the
Q. Was this followed by your journey to Aleppo to meet with
A. I travelled towards Jerusalem, towards Israel, in order
to meet with Moshe Sharett, since he did not receive a visa
for travel to Turkey.