Session 061-01, Eichmann Adolf

Session No. 61
17 Sivan 5721 (1 June 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the sixty-first Session of the
trial open. Mr. Bach, if you please.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, yesterday evening I
brought to the Court’s attention a number of documents that
touched upon the plan to deport the Jews of Budapest and on
the failure of this plan at the very last minute.

In order to complete the picture, perhaps I could refer to
only two passages from the Accused’s statement, from which
it emerges that the Accused acknowledges that he did, in
fact, also have a plan for the deportation of the Jews of
Budapest. This first appears on page 2186, where he says:
“Of course – I cannot deny it – of course, it was also
intended to deport [the Jews of] Budapest too”
(Selbstverstaendlich ist es vorgesehen, Budapest auch

The same appears on page 3274, where he says that the order
was to comb Hungary this time from east to west.
Previously, it had been decided to comb Europe from west to
east, but in Hungary, the order was to comb from east to
west. And then, he says, logically the turn of Budapest
should also have come.

The Accused speaks about his general function in Hungary on
page 1879 when he is asked: “What, in fact, was your task in
Hungary?” He says: “When I was ordered to go to Hungary, I
was told by Mueller that my task would be to see to it, to
ensure the most speedy evacuation possible of all the Jews
there to Auschwitz.” And on page 2212, he says that his job
was also to bring about the combing of Hungary from east to
west, and also the deportation of the Jews at the greatest
possible speed.

With the Court’s permission, I shall also refer to some
further passages from the Accused’s statement relating to
other episodes mentioned in other testimonies. Firstly,
there is the matter of Manfred Weiss, of which we have heard
a great deal. The Accused speaks about it on page 1201 of
the statement. Here he says that Manfred Weiss was one of
the leading and most important industrialists in Hungary, a
sort of Krupp of Hungary, and he says that Becher had been
given the position of a sort of manager of the company, and
that the Germans had in this way taken possession of this

On page 921 of his statement, the Accused acknowledges, in
fact, that one of his subordinates was always present at co-
ordination meetings with the Hungarian authorities
concerning the deportation of the Jews from each district of
Hungary. He also states, on page 920, that he had meetings
with Endre almost every day.

On pages 247 and 248, there is a contention that children
were not deported, that all the children were transferred to
Budapest from Hungary. He claims that the children were not

On page 285, he describes the suitcases full of money and
valuable possessions which were handed in by the Jews and
which he himself saw. He says that he does not know the
exact details, but he saw these suitcases in his office.

And on page 289, he describes his motor-car and says that he
had an amphibious car which he called “Schwimmwagen” (a
floating car). “Ich hatte um jene Zeit einen Schwimmwagen,
ein Vehikel, das im Wasser faehrt wie auf dem Lande” (In
those days, I had an amphibious car, a vehicle which rides
on the water like on land).

And now, Your Honours, I would ask you to accept in evidence
the affidavit which was already mentioned in yesterday’s
session. This is the statement of Dr. Imre Reiner, who was
also a member of the Hungarian Judenrat. Dr. Reiner, who
now seventy-six years old, lives in Canada and sent us an
affidavit, while expressing his readiness to come here and
give his evidence in Court. We, indeed, invited him to
come, so that he could appear here as a witness, for he
relates details about his meetings with the Accused, about
his participation in important meetings, in which the
Accused also took part. But, a week ago, we received two
medical certificates, from which it appears that Dr. Reiner
has suffered a heart attack. He is at present in hospital
and is unable to travel or be interrogated. I should like
to show these medical certificates to the Court. [Submits
the certificates to the Presiding Judge].

As Your Honours will recall, the name of Dr. Reiner was
mentioned by a number of witnesses. Mr. Freudiger mentioned
his name in connection with that conversation in which Dr.
Reiner complained about the cruel form of the ghettoization.
In response to that, the Accused agreed to transfer Dr.
Reiner’s family to Budapest. Yesterday, too, Defence
Counsel cross-examined the witness Mr. Rosenberg on the
basis of that statement by Dr. Reiner and quoted extracts
therefrom. He asked the witness for his comments on those
passages. Obviously, this statement also contains several
sections which are of no special significance for us. For
example, Dr. Reiner reports here on many matters of hearsay,
which occurred before Eichmann entered Hungary. We shall,
naturally, not dwell upon those. There is also certain
cumulative material about Kistarcsa and other episodes. For
this purpose, too, I would not have asked the Court to
receive additional evidence. But there are a number of
passages in that affidavit, where Dr. Reiner supplies
additional particulars on details about which we have
already heard, although those details are corroborated by
other evidence in other documents which we have heard and

Accordingly, Your Honours, I request you to use your powers
under Section 15 and admit this affidavit as evidence, even
if its probative value should not have the weight of
evidence under oath. I think that this case somewhat
resembles the one quoted at the beginning of the trial, a
case from the Nuremberg Trials. That man, Messersmith, was
also an elderly person, in poor state of health, and the
Court accepted his affidavit and said the weight of the
affidavit would be reflected in the judgment.

Presiding Judge: We have also had a similar instance.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, in the case of Plaut from
Germany. I also wanted to rely on this instance, where Your
Honours gave a similar decision.

Judge Halevi: Is this also a statement under oath?

State Attorney Bach: This is an affirmation – he is a
religious man. It was made before our consul in Canada.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bodenheimer, do you perhaps remember
what was the number of the decision in the case of Plaut?

Clerk of the Court It was Decision No. 28, in Session No.

Judge Halevi: Is he in such a state of health as to enable
Dr. Servatius – should he so desire – to question him in

State Attorney Bach: I understand from the affidavit that
his state of health is such that it would be risky to
question him, especially on these matters, and I should not
want to endanger his life on this issue. For this reason,
if the Court will not see fit to grant this application of
mine, I would prefer to forego the affidavit and would not
subject him to interrogation now. The Court will also see
from the affidavit that these matters are very close to his
heart, which is only natural, and hence the matter, without
doubt, may be of danger to him.

Presiding Judge: But in the case of Plaut, as I see it,
there was a difference. There Mr. Bar-Or asked to submit
the report mainly on the background, and not on the direct
personal liability of the Accused, “as distinguished from
the direct connection of the Accused with the events which
are there described.”
State Attorney Bach: In this instance, it is not exactly
so, since here Dr. Reiner actually provides details of
meetings with the Accused. The Court will be able to
examine and assess the credibility of the affidavit, since
the Court has heard other witnesses who have spoken of the
same meetings or some of the meetings, and then by comparing
the testimonies we have heard with this affidavit in regard
to those events on which there were aspects in common, the
Court will be able to obtain a reliable picture of the
witness, of his memory, and of his credibility.

Presiding Judge: I believe that there is actually another
reason. Since Dr. Servatius has already referred to this
statement, this fact presents us with an opening.

State Attorney Bach: Therefore, I relied on this from the
outset, since Defence Counsel has made use of it and read
into the record two or three sentences taken from that
affidavit, and thus it seems to me that it would be proper
for this affidavit to be admitted.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I wish to
oppose the admission of this document. It is true that I
referred to this document yesterday, but I was forced to do
so, for only yesterday we had a witness here whom I was able
to cross-examine in regard to that document. Had it not
been for this witness, the document would possibly have had
to be admitted. This declaration is not an affidavit, not
under oath – not under oath or in lieu of an oath.

Presiding Judge: I believe we heard from Mr. Bach that it is
an affirmation.

State Attorney Bach: Yes. This emerges from the first
page, but the first page is in Hebrew – that is a
declaration before the consul, and it is in Hebrew. The
text is in German.

Presiding Judge: [To interpreter) Do you have the text of
the affirmation? Would you please translate it for Dr.

Dr. Servatius: There is no need to translate – I accept the
Prosecution’s word. It seems to me that this man did not
himself write this statement of fifty-two pages. It says
that he is over seventy-five years of age. He is an ill
man. He made this declaration in July, 1960. And, hence,
this seems to be a composition based on statements made by
him. I, therefore, have apprehensions as regards accepting
this as a document and as evidence.

As far as the value of this account is concerned, the
Attorney General has said that other documents are available
which confirm the same story. This is true. I have read
this document and have come to the conclusion that there is
nothing new in this document. Hence, this is nothing more
than a question of accumulative weight or value. I,
therefore, believe that further evidence on what has already
been submitted should not be allowed. The Court should be
able to assess the probative effect on the basis of what I
have said concerning the accumulative value of the evidence
and on the basis of yesterday’s affidavit.

Better evidence is available. From what is stated on page
18 it appears that the witness testified before a German
court, and there it says: “In my evidence, which I gave in
Frankfurt-am-Main last spring, in the proceedings against
that same Hunsche, I gave a detailed account of a discussion
I had with him in the Majestic Hotel in 1944.” And on page
36, he speaks of the witness Reich who has already been
questioned here.

I am of the opinion, therefore, that the evidence is not
relevant. It is merely a detailed argument against
Eichmann, and accordingly I request that this document
should not be admitted.

May I be permitted to add that if this document should be
admitted, I would request an opportunity to cross-examine
the witness. Whether he is fit to give evidence will have
to be determined by a competent judge on the spot. I have
not seen the medical certificates, but they must be
official, not private certificates.

Presiding Judge: In any event, you should, of course, be
able to see the certificates; it does not say there that he
is unable to testify in Canada.

Dr. Servatius: We see from these certificates that, while
he cannot be expected to travel, it is possible to
interrogate him there.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach, did I hear you correctly to say
that if the witness should be required to give evidence in
Canada, you would prefer to forego his testimony?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour, we have had a most
regrettable experience. The Court will remember the case of
Dr. Loewenherz who also fell ill after he had, in fact, made
a statement in connection with this trial.* {*A short time
later, his condition deteriorated, and he died.} I do not
maintain that this was necessarily the cause of it, but at
any rate, since we are talking here of heart disease, and it
is also obvious that the witness is likely to be greatly
excited by an interrogation such as this – we should not
like to subject him to questioning.

Presiding Judge: You do not have any medical proof to the
effect that he is unable to testify in Canada?

State Attorney Bach: I thought that this fact would be
understood from the certificates – there are two of them –
that the man is unable to come here for questioning.

Presiding Judge: [Quotes from the certificate] “He is not
fit to undertake a journey by plane and to testify in a
trial.” But there are all kinds of ways. The judge could
come to his home there, and that would no longer be “a
trial.” But there is no confirmation that this, too, would
be out of the question.

Judge Halevi: Perhaps it can be done voluntarily, and not
by compulsion. That is to say, we should not take a
decision now to take his evidence, that he should be
summoned for examination, unless the matter is proved by
means of a medical certificate, as Dr. Servatius has pointed
out; for this you are not willing to put him in danger. But
perhaps it could be ascertained, by means of a cable to him,
whether he is prepared, for his part, in the light of his
present state of health, to be questioned by a Canadian
court, and that additional questions can be put to him by
the Defence, as may be necessary. Perhaps the witness
himself would be interested, since his name has been
mentioned several times in this trial, and not in a positive
way. He may perhaps regret if his affidavit is to be
waived, in order that his health should not be imperilled.
Perhaps he will then complain: “I would have testified in
Canada.” He can be asked.

State Attorney Bach: Possibly. Perhaps it is possible to
examine whether he is capable of testifying, from a medical
point of view. It is also possible to obtain a more
specific medical certificate.

Judge Raveh: Perhaps not in a court, but before the consul
or a commissioner?

Presiding Judge: The judge should be able to proceed to his
house. All this is not clear.

State Attorney Bach: I am ready to clarify these issues.

Presiding Judge: I think we should mark these two
certificates. At any event, they are of some importance.
The exhibit number will be T/1224.

Dr. Servatius: May I be permitted to request copies of
these two certificates?

Presiding Judge: We shall return them to Mr. Bach, and he
will prepare copies, both for the judges and for the
Defence. We shall not give any decision at this stage, but
we shall allow you to go further into the question of the
state of health of this witness, before giving a decision.
When we have the reply – and I hope this will be soon – we
shall give our decision.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/07