Session 063-01, Eichmann Adolf

Session No. 63
18 Sivan 5721 (2 June 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the sixty-third Session of the
trial open. Mr. Hausner, before you continue, we have in
the meantime gone into the question of the opinion of Dr.
Serafim, and in this connection we hand down our

Decision No. 67

At the fifty-seventh session, the Attorney General applied
for the admission as evidence of a written opinion by Dr.
Hans Guenther Serafim, a German scholar at the University of
Goettingen, which was prepared for a court in Ulm, in West
Germany, in connection with a certain criminal trial held
there. The opinion includes excerpts from testimonies given
in various trials, the cases of Ohlendorf and Pohl in
Nuremberg and others, and from Hitler’s speeches, and the
conclusions which the expert drew from that material
concerning the question put to him by the court in Ulm,
viz.: Were SS officers or men exposed to the risk of death
or to other serious bodily injury in case of a refusal to
obey orders? The expert also says that, in the course of
his protracted investigations, he did not find even one case
where an SS officer suffered bodily injury owing to his
refusal to fulfil an order.

As far as the expert’s conclusions are concerned, we will
not admit it in evidence, for the drawing of such
conclusions is a matter for the Court itself. With regard
to the material on which the expert relied, we are not
prepared to admit it in this indirect manner. We are ready
to consider any application to submit the material itself,
or portions thereof, which may be made to us. With regard
to the material which the expert did not find in his
investigations, we are of the opinion that the remarks of
the expert on this subject are general, and too vague to be
able to serve as evidence before us. Accordingly, we reject
the application of the Attorney General.

Attorney General: With the Court’s permission, and still on
the subject of special problems, I submit the certificate of
a public official containing an article from the issue of
the Voelkischer Beobachter dated 27 May 1944. I regret that
I have only one copy of the material I am now submitting,
but, of course, I shall prepare additional copies for the

The Voelkischer Beobachter, the organ of the Nazi party, was
the paper which served as a guide to the whole German press,
and this particular article in question, entitled “Die
deutsche Antwort auf den Luftterror” (The German Reply to
the Terror from the Air) was copied in some other papers – I
know of two at least: the Hamburger Fremdenblatt of 27 May
1944, and the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of 28 May 1944,
which contained that article by Goebbels.

Presiding Judge: Are you also submitting this?

Attorney General: I want to show that this article was
widely distributed in Germany. [The Attorney General shows
the Court the copy of the Hamburger Fremdenblatt and a copy
of the photostat of the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.]

What does Goebbels say in this passage I am quoting?
Perhaps, for the Court’s convenience, it will peruse the
papers in the meantime.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps we should leave them with you.

Attorney General: There are two paragraphs to which I draw
the attention of the Court. Goebbels writes about the Allied
air attacks on the civilian population. And this is what
the Nazi Propaganda Minister says:

“So far we have refrained from bringing to the
knowledge of the German people the meanest of these
declarations – of which we have presented only a small,
typical selection, and which, taken together, amount
simply to a call for the murder of women and babies –
since we were apprehensive lest the nation would have
to turn to self-defence in the face of such cynicism
and to act measure for measure against the pilots
parachuting from enemy planes that have been brought
down. However, circumstances have meanwhile been
created which forbid us from practising such
consideration in the future.

“The Anglo-American terror pilots have, in recent
weeks, begun together with the indiscriminate bombing
of the residential quarters of our towns, to attack the
German civilian population openly, directly, and
without paying any regard – and be it even only
outwardly – to the international laws of warfare, to
shoot at it, using the planes’ armament, and to murder
in cold blood. There is no room here any more for
pretexts, since the enemy planes pass over villages,
fields and roads at low altitude while using their
machine guns against groups of people walking
innocently on their way.

“This has no longer anything to do with war. This is
plain murder. There is no convention known in the law
of nations on which the enemy can rely. The Anglo-
American pilots are putting themselves beyond the pale
of all the internationally recognized laws of warfare
by indulging in such criminal fighting methods.”

And, towards the end of the article:

“It is virtually no longer possible and tolerable that
we should use the German police and army against the
German people, when it deals with child murderers as
they deserve. Even the unscrupulous Anglo-American
manner of warfare must come to an end somewhere. The
pilots cannot rely on the fact that they were soldiers
acting under orders. There is no law of warfare which
provides that a soldier would be exempt from punishment
for an abominable crime, simply by relying on the order
of his superiors. This will certainly not be the case
when these orders are in blatant contradiction to all
human morality and all international practice regarding
the conduct of warfare. Although, with the enemy, the
dividing line between war and crime has, in this
century, become blurred to a large extent, it will be
demanding too much to expect that we submit in silence
as victims of this abysmal barbarism.

“We are making these observations in a most objective
spirit. Our nation takes a much more extreme view of
these questions than does our government. It has even
been our wish that war should be conducted
chivalrously. But apparently this is not what the
enemy wants. The entire world is witness to this fact,
and it will also bear witness that, if this disgraceful
state of affairs should persist, we shall find ways and
means to defend ourselves against these crimes. We owe
it to our people who are defending their lives decently
and courageously, and who must not, under any
circumstances, become, for that reason, fair game to
the enemy’s head-hunters.”

Presiding Judge: I notice that these particular words are
missing here.

Attorney General: They ought to be in the appendix.

Presiding Judge: What appendix?

Attorney General: Are they not there?

Presiding Judge: I do not think so.

Attorney General: They are in the portion of the photocopy
which I gave to Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: I fail to see any connection with the
indictment. These are the words of the Minister of
Propaganda regarding the air raids, and I do not see any
connection either with the persecution of the Jews or the
acts of the Accused. For this reason, I think that it is
irrelevant and request the Court not to admit this as

Attorney General: I think there is the strongest connection.
If Defence Counsel will allow me, I should like to make use
of his photocopy of the Voelkischer Beobachter, in order to
submit it to the Court. Afterwards, I shall make a copy of
the required extract for him. This is on the next page,
which is attached to the photocopy. On the question of
authenticity, no problem arises. Defence Counsel does not
challenge the authenticity.

Presiding Judge: It gives the impression of authenticity.

Attorney General: With regard to the admissibility of the
document, Your Honour, I believe that it is important. It
makes no practical difference whether the issue is one of
air raids attacking the civilian population, or one of any
other act which harms the civilian population. On the
contrary, if this is the official Nazi attitude – and we are
dealing with an autocratic regime, where the Minister of
Propaganda expresses the official attitude of his government
and his country – if that is the authoritative attitude,
namely that war does not justify attacks on the civilian
population, on women and children, then this attitude should
apply in both directions. It does not apply only in the
case of the Anglo-American pilots with whom this articles
deals, but it must create an awareness of the difference
between acts of war and plain murder on the part of every
single German as well.

We heard from the Accused here himself, in his statement to
the police: “For what could I do? These were my orders. I
acted in accordance with orders.” This is what he said in
his interrogation – this is what he said in justification of
his actions. And here his own government says, even though
it does not say so about itself, obviously, but refers to
others, that there is a distinction between obeying orders,
depending on their nature.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 68

We reject Defence Counsel’s objection and admit the article
by Goebbels as evidence in the trial. This will be exhibit

Please let us have two more copies of this document.

Attorney General: Certainly, Your Honour. The next document
is our No. 1367. This is Himmler’s letter to Kaltenbrunner,
dated 19 May 1943. On 19 May 1943, the Reichsfuehrer-SS
writes to Kaltenbrunner:

“I am forwarding to you a large number of copies of the
book Die juedischen Ritualmorde (The Jewish Ritual
Murders). Himmler orders Kaltenbrunner to distribute
the copies of the book to persons dealing with the
Jewish question. He asks that immediate investigations
be made into the question of ritual murders by Jews,
and thereafter to prepare trials on this subject. In
the third paragraph of the letter, Himmler suggests
that Kaltenbrunner consider setting up – in conjunction
with the Foreign Ministry – an unofficial broadcasting
station, completely anti-Semitic, to be directed
towards England and the United States. It should be
supplied with material to be put before the English and
the Americans, in the same way as the Stuermer had done
during the period of the struggle. Himmler stresses
that he wants a sensational presentation. Apart from
this, he requests that persons should be given the task
of examining court notices and police announcements in
England about the disappearance of children, so as to
make it possible to publish brief notices in the German
broadcasts that in such and such a place an English
child disappeared, and that probably it was a case of
Jewish ritual murder. “Ultimately,” says Himmler, “I
assume that we could promote anti-Semitism considerably
in the world by means of widespread anti-Semitic
propaganda in the English language, and possibly even
in Russian, on the basis of very strong propaganda
about ritual murder.”

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/1253.

Attorney General: And now we come to the matter of the
prevention of immigration to Palestine, which we have
already mentioned. A number of documents still remain, in
order to describe this activity and the Accused’s role
therein. Our document No. 884 – this is a report from the
German embassy in Spain to the Foreign Ministry, in which
there is an account of a ship which sailed from Spain to
Palestine, of the means that were adopted to equip this
transport with foodstuffs, clothing, etc. This was no
novelty. The German embassy in Spain took an interest in
all movement of Jews, but the Foreign Ministry sends a copy
of this for Eichmann’s information. The departure of Jews
from Spain to Palestine – that, too, is Eichmann’s concern,
in the eyes of the German authorities.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/1254.

Attorney General: Our document No. 218 has already been
shown to the Accused and was registered as T/37(50). This
is a letter from the German Foreign Ministry to Eichmann.
The Foreign Ministry intervenes to stop the immigration to
Palestine from Romania. It says that, on the basis of
information from the counter-espionage, nine Romanian ships
sailed during the years 1941-1942 from Romanian ports, with
several hundred Jewish refugees, and that these ships, some
of which were flying the Romanian flag, had sailed, via the
Bosphorus, for Palestine. Following this, the German
Ambassador in Bucharest was ordered to intervene with the
Romanian Government to have this stopped, on the grounds
that the tonnage of these ships was needed for Germany, and
not for the transport of Jews. The Court will recollect
that this subject of immigration from Romania was discussed
when we presented the Romanian chapter.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1255.

Attorney General: The following document is our No. 1387.
This is a batch of documents of the German Foreign Ministry
dealing with the departure of five thousand persons for
Palestine, in accordance with the demand and the wish of the
British Government.

British Government made it known that it was ready to
absorb five thousand non-Aryans, 85 per cent of them
children and fifteen per cent accompanying adults, from
Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The Reich could not permit
that a noble and brave people such as the Arabs should be
forced out of its homeland, Palestine, by the Jews.
Consequently, the Germans were prepared to conduct talks
only on the basis that the British Government should declare
its readiness to transfer these Jews elsewhere – to Great
Britain instead of Palestine.

Presiding Judge: Do you know what was been erased here, in
the passage you are quoting? Was it erased in the original?

Attorney General: No, I don’t know, Your Honour. It is
erased in such a way that I, too, cannot read it in my copy.

Judge Halevi: Maybe this is also confirmed by their

Attorney General: Perhaps. The next paragraph is
interesting. “In the event of the English agreeing,
contrary to our expectations, to these conditions, one can
suppose that the arrival of thousands of more Jews in Great
Britain – as may be anticipated – will seriously exacerbate
anti-Semitism in Great Britain itself, in a way which would
be undesirable to the British Government.” Simultaneously,
it would be possible to secure the repatriation of thousands
of German internees, or others wishing to return.

In the same letter, it says that the Swiss legation was also
taking active steps for the rescue of thirty to fifty
thousand Jews from Europe; the Argentinian embassy also

The next document also refers to the fact that the
Argentinian embassy announced that it was prepared to absorb
one thousand Jewish children from various concentration
camps in Europe. The German Foreign Minister said that this
request should also be dealt with in connection with the
British request regarding an exit permit for children. The
Argentinians says that, in addition, they are also prepared
to absorb Jews from France bound for Argentina. It is
intended to explain to the Argentinian Government that there
is readiness, in principle, to negotiate the departure of
children for the Argentine, on condition that the
Argentinian Government will undertake to leave the children
permanently in Argentina, and will not allow them to
emigrate to Palestine, and on condition that, as against
this, the consent of the English and the Americans is
obtained for the free passage of Germans wishing to return
from South America to their fatherland.

The next Foreign Ministry document refers to a request of
the Swiss legation in Sofia to grant exit permits to
Palestine for five thousand Bulgarian Jews. It mentions, in
this context, that the International Red Cross had also
intervened in the matter, and asked the German embassy in
Ankara to ascertain whether the Reich Government was
prepared to grant free transit to one thousand Bulgarian
Jews from a Bulgarian port to Haifa. “We intend to exert
influence on the Bulgarian Government” – thus says the
Foreign Office – “to reply to the British Government via
Switzerland, in accordance with the German practice that
emigration to Palestine is out of the question, but we are
ready to start negotiations on the basis of the Jews being
brought to Great Britain.”

The third appendix speaks of exit permits to Palestine for
seven thousand Romanian Jews, a matter on which – so it says
– various authorities repeatedly made approaches to the
Romanian Government. “Recently, there was an increase in
the pressure exerted on the Romanians to allow the departure
of these Jews.”

The fourth appendix refers to the request of the Swedish
legation, upon instructions from the Dutch Government-in-
exile, to grant five hundred Dutch Jews exit permits for

The fifth appendix deals with a request of the French
Government to permit the transit of two thousand Jewish
children from France to Palestine.

Presiding Judge: This was a request of the Red Cross to the
French Government.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/07