Session 062-01, Eichmann Adolf

Session No. 62
17 Sivan 5721 (1 June 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the sixty-second Session of the
trial open. I should like to announce that the letters of
request for taking evidence abroad – the second batch – will
be sent from this Court this afternoon. I am referring to
four applications to West Germany, concerning Huppenkothen,
Grell, Juettner and Becher; two applications to Austria,
concerning Hoettl and Novak; and one to Italy, in the case
of Kappler. You will know how to plan accordingly.

Who will continue?

State Attorney Bach: First of all, Your Honours, I should
like to draw your attention to that portion of Becher’s
interrogation where he acknowledges that the funds of which
the Jews in Hungary were robbed did, in fact, come into his
possession. This was in the interrogation dated 1 November
1947, on page three of the examination, where he says:

“In exchange for the monies which Eichmann extorted
from the Jews, I bought leather, saddles, harnesses for
horses, etc.”

Presiding Judge: What is the number of your document?

State Attorney Bach: No. 774, and the exhibit number is

Before I submit the final documents, I have to draw the
Court’s attention to one other interrogation of Becher,
dated 10 July 1947. Here the examination was in the
presence of Dr. Kasztner, and it was a kind of conversation
between the two.

Presiding Judge: It is sometimes difficult to gather who is

State Attorney Bach: It is possible to understand,
generally speaking, from the replies.

At any rate, Becher says, on page two – while talking about
the Fussmarsch – that “Mr. Eichmann then made a final
attempt to contravene Himmler’s orders,” and Becher says
that the orders were obtained as a result of the combined
efforts of Dr. Kasztner and himself, and that he attempted,
through close co-operation with men of the Arrow Cross, to
proceed with the deportation of the Jews via Vienna. The
fact that this was not a mobilization of labour for defence
positions was quite obvious, since he took women, and
children of the age of fifteen, and even from the age of
thirteen upwards, as well as old people.

“We all had the same idea, namely that, first of all, I
had to secure a change in the age limits.”

And then he says:

“We went together, he and I – I remember that for one
long night we discussed these matters in full detail.
Three days later I went to see Himmler. I took Mr.
Winkelmann with me. I said to Winkelmann, as the
horror marchers passed by, `Do you think that these
children, this mother and this old man will manage to
reach Vienna?’ Subsequently I brought about Himmler’s
stoppage of this march. On that day, I composed a
cable to Himmler, in which I described my impressions
of what I had seen on the road.

“Three days later, I travelled to Himmler – I think
that he was in East Prussia. In the presence of
Winkelmann, he gave an order there forbidding the
continuation of the march. The order was transmitted
to Eichmann. Thereafter, I recall that Eichmann came
to me and told me that Veesenmayer had given him a
contingent of only 25,000. This confirmed that
Veesenmayer was involved in the affair.”

And here Dr. Kasztner says:

“As far as I was concerned, there was never any
question about Veesenmayer’s function.”

Becher replies:

“Since I had to circumvent him, as he was my
competitor, I was obliged to act without Veesenmayer.
These are true facts. Mr. Eichmann’s purpose was to
act in defiance of Himmler’s orders, which I myself had
shown him.”

Later on, on page 5, he says:

“I am entitled to say that, notwithstanding the fact
that I endeavoured to maintain diplomatic contacts with
Mr. Eichmann, I told Himmler that I must state again
and again that Eichmann was sabotaging the order given
by him. The march, which he had organized, was plain

Thereafter, he describes the meeting with Juettner. I do
not want to go over that again. We have heard about it both
from Dr. Kasztner and from Juettner. He describes the shock
experienced by Juettner, and Juettner’s approach to Himmler.

After that, he says, on page 7:

“I saw that Eichmann tried continuously, either by
himself or through his subordinates, to extract small
crumbs. I said at the time to Himmler that, despite
the fact that I tried for months not to clash with
Eichmann, I could no longer overcome Eichmann’s acts of
sabotage. Himmler replied: `You stay here and let
Eichmann come here.’ I said: `I can’t stay here, I
must return to Budapest.’ Then Himmler said: `Bring
him here with you next time’.”

Afterwards, on pages 8 and 9, Becher says that Eichmann
hated Dr. Kasztner and was after his head. This more or
less corresponds to what Wisliceny says also.

Thereafter, he comes to the main point:

“Now I want to tell you something more about my joint
discussion with Eichmann at Himmler’s headquarters.
When was that? It must have been in the first half of

On page 10, he says:

“Himmler, in my presence, received Mr. Eichmann for ten
minutes and shouted at him: `If up to now you have
murdered Jews, and if I now give you the order to care
for the Jews, you tell me whether you are going to
carry out this order or not.’ My knees almost gave in
as I thought what Eichmann would be moved to do against
me and against our cause. Eichmann said: `Certainly,
Reichsfuehrer,’ and he stood there like a stone.

After further discussion, which lasted about ten
minutes, Himmler dismissed him, while I remained with
him. I then begged Himmler – almost on my knees: `For
Heaven’s sake, straighten that out with Eichmann before
he leaves your headquarters. The man is doing
everything against your orders and will plot further
steps.’ It is no secret to you that I made use of all
the available means. In my distress and panic, I then
said to Himmler: `I know a way to avoid causing the
opposite with Eichmann of what you caused by your order
– award him the Distinguished War Cross
(Kriegsverdienstkreuz) First Class, with Swords.’
Himmler said: `That is out of the question – this
fellow fails to carry out my orders.’ After that, I
said: `Reichsfuehrer, I again ask you to do so for the
sake of the cause.’ He replied: `For my part, you can
award Eichmann the Distinguished War Cross, First
Class, with Swords.’ Following this, Eichmann was
granted the Distinguished War Cross, First Class, with
Swords, and Mr. Eichmann was reconciled (versoehnt).”

And now, Your Honours, on the face of it, it is somewhat
surprising that Himmler hears that Eichmann violates his
orders and, nevertheless, he tries to pacify him by granting
him an order of distinction.
In this connection, I would ask the Court to admit two more
items of evidence from the documents produced at the
Nuremberg Trials. One is part of the testimony of
Kaltenbrunner in the main trial. This was published in IMG
Volume 11, on pages 369-372, in the German edition. He was
questioned there in regard to the Becher deal. I do not
think that there was much probative value in most parts of
Kaltenbrunner’s evidence, especially when it is not
corroborated, when he says: “I did not know anything about
it; I did not sign the letters.”

I would not say that, even on the face of it, any weight
attaches to such evidence. But here, in this passage, he
does not say anything to justify himself. He says here that
the moment he became aware of this famous deal – that of
Himmler through Becher – with the representatives of the
Joint in Hungary and in Switzerland, in other words, that
deal about which we have heard here, he immediately
complained to Hitler about Himmler, and that, in fact, from
that moment Himmler’s credit – as he expressed it – with
Hitler was at an end. From that moment, the good relations
between Hitler and Himmler were over. In his opinion, that
was the matter which harmed Germany’s prestige – not the
actual acts of murder, but the fact that attempt were being
made to exempt people from deportation for money.

Kaltenbrunner is confronted with an affidavit by Becher in
which he testifies that he had passed on to Kaltenbrunner
and Pohl, Himmler’s instruction to stop the acts of murder,
and to this Kaltenbrunner reacts here – in that part of his
evidence – to that document. This is a part of his evidence
in which Kaltenbrunner does not exactly justify himself, and
since this evidence connects up with other documents with
which we are familiar, it seems to me that it does have
probative value.

Presiding Judge: Kaltenbrunner maintains that Himmler gave
the instruction to stop the acts of murder on the orders of
Hitler which were given due to Kaltenbrunner’s influence.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, but this is not the passage to
which I attach importance. I am referring principally to
what he says on page 371, with reference to Becher. In the
middle of the page, he says that he was the one who, from
the moment that he became aware of the deal (the transaction
of goods for blood), told Hitler about this, and then, from
that moment, the contact between Hitler and Himmler was
finished. Actually, I should already say now that I want to
submit a statement of Schellenberg made at the Nuremberg
Trials, where Schellenberg points out how Himmler was afraid
of Kaltenbrunner, and when he (Schellenberg) wanted to
suggest to Himmler that he should meet a certain
representative of Swedish Jewry for the purpose of
negotiating, Himmler said:

“Then Kaltenbrunner holds me completely in his hands.”

What is the relevance of this? There is great importance in
that part of Becher’s evidence where Becher says that, after
Himmler’s order was given to put an end both to the
deportations and also to the acts of murder, Eichmann tried
to sabotage those efforts, and then he, Becher, complained
to Himmler about Eichmann – so much so, that Himmler
summoned Eichmann and reprimanded him in the presence of
Becher. The Court will have to judge whether it should
attach weight to Becher’s version, since, on the face of it,
this story was so surprising that it is hard to believe that
Becher would have invented it. But that would seem to be a
matter for the summing-up, unless there is an explanation

Your Honours, we see one thing, that, according to Becher’s
version, for some reason or other Himmler is afraid of
Eichmann as regards this transaction. We have already seen
that this was a secret affair of Himmler’s; we have seen
that Ribbentrop does not know about it; we have seen that
others, too, are not aware of it. We hear from
Kaltenbrunner that Hitler also did not know, that he
informed Hitler about it. If that is so, and since we know
about the close ties between Kaltenbrunner and Eichmann,
then it becomes clear why Himmler ought to be apprehensive,
particularly in connection with that transaction, not to
annoy Eichmann too much, since he knows that the matter
could reach Hitler through Kaltenbrunner, and then the whole
of his plan was likely to fail. Your Honours, those matters
are interconnected.

Presiding Judge: Kaltenbrunner was subordinate to Himmler,
was he not?

State Attorney Bach: But, nevertheless, he acted against
him. Kaltenbrunner specifically acknowledges as much in
this statement. In the same statement by Schellenberg, it
says that Himmler was afraid of Kaltenbrunner; he says, “I
shall be in Kaltenbrunner’s hands.” Kaltenbrunner admits
that he went to Hitler to complain about Himmler, despite
the fact that Himmler was his superior. That is stated on
page 371. He says:

“Ich habe von dieser Aktion im Nachrichtendienst
erfahren und habe sofort dagegen Stellung genommen, und
zwar nicht by Himmler, bei dem es vergeblich gewesen
waere, sondern bei Hitler” (I was informed of this
operation by our information services, and I
immediately took a stand against it, not with Himmler,
where it would have been of no avail, but with Hitler).

Your Honours will recall that it was already in the final
stages before the end, when Himmler, as we know, actually
made these attempts behind Hitler’s back. The Court will
remember that, yesterday, I also submitted to you the
remarks which Schellenberg made to Becher. He said: “Here I
want to make Himmler an acceptable partner for negotiations
with the West,” which is what this whole plan was about.
Hence, Himmler summoned Becher and said: “Promise the Jews
whatever you want; what we will fulfil is a different
matter.” This was a political deal.

If the Court accepts this affidavit of Kaltenbrunner, and
those of Schellenberg and Becher, then quite a clear picture
emerges, showing that there were two factions in the SS. On
the one hand, the tendency of Hitler, Kaltenbrunner,
possibly Mueller, Eichmann, as the more extreme party, who
were uncompromising, who wanted to continue with the
extermination of the Jews to the bitter end; and on the
other hand, the Himmler-Becher-Klages tendency (this was
Himmler’s faction) who wanted to prepare the ground for
separate negotiations. And then, Your Honours, if this
explains Himmler’s conduct – as Becher describes the affair
– our picture becomes clear. Then we shall know why this
suggestion about the million was proposed, why Ribbentrop
was not aware of it, why Hitler was not aware of it, why
Himmler was afraid of Kaltenbrunner, and why Himmler also
had to be apprehensive of Eichmann.

Presiding Judge: Didn’t Hitler want to place Himmler on
trial in the end?

State Attorney Bach: In the end, he even wanted to sentence
him to death, when he got to know that he was conducting
separate peace negotiations. Finally matters reached such a
stage that he actually gave orders to kill him. The
Attorney General points out that, in fact, he executed his
adjutant, Fegelein, whom he succeeded in arresting, because
of these negotiations.

Judge Halevi: Because of the negotiations of the last days
when Hitler was inside the bunker?

State Attorney Bach: That is correct, but in actual fact
this represented a certain development. In our view – and
the testimonies indicate this – at least prima facie,
Himmler was thinking of such plans already in 1944. In
fact, in the Nuremberg Trials, there were hints that he was
even aware of the plans for the assassination of Hitler on
20 June 1944, and he did not intervene. But this will be
going too far, and I certainly will not try to prove it in
this trial. But one thing is clear – all the witnesses
hinted that it was a plan of Himmler’s that was behind this
proposal, and if that is so, all I want to say at this stage
is that these documents are relevant – they are part of the
record of the proceedings of the Nuremberg Trials, and I ask
you to admit them in evidence.

Presiding Judge: Were you now talking about Schellenberg?

State Attorney Bach: I brought up these matters jointly.

Presiding Judge: On what page does Schellenberg appear?

State Attorney Bach: In Volume 31 of the IMG, page 439,
there is a short passage in which he says that Himmler told
him on 13 April, when Storch of Stockholm, the
representative of the World Jewish Congress, wanted to be
received by him, and he said: “What can I do with
Kaltenbrunner? He has me completely in his hands.” And, in
fact, Kaltenbrunner mentions this passage in the other
document which I wish to submit.

Dr. Servatius: It seems to me that we have here an argument
which goes very far, and which deviates from the subject of
explaining documents which are being submitted. I am not in
a position, for the moment, to comment on all this, but
there are remarks I wish to make which relate to, and are of
importance to, our case, and which shed a totally different
light on the facts under consideration.

Presiding Judge: But what about these two passages from the
Nuremberg record of proceedings? Obviously, we shall listen
to any explanation you wish to offer, and we shall consider
it. But, at the moment, we have this application before us,
and I understand that what we have heard here by way of
argument is more of an attempt to explain the application.

Dr. Servatius: In regard to the actual submission, I have
no formal objection.

Presiding Judge: Is Schellenberg no longer alive? It seems
to me that we already asked this question at an earlier

State Attorney Bach: Schellenberg died a natural death.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 66

We shall peruse the passages from the testimonies of
Kaltenbrunner and Schellenberg at the trial of the main war
criminals, which were quoted by Mr. Bach, as part of the
Prosecution’s evidence.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/07