Session No. 66
22 Sivan 5721 (6 June 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the sixty-sixth Session of the
Attorney General: If it pleases the Court, before I proceed
to lead evidence….
Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I would ask that no
arrangements be made in the courtroom without the Court’s
knowledge, and I regard this also – the display of
photographs on the court platform – as being some sort of
arrangement. I presume the intention was a positive one,
but I must insist on this.
Attorney General: Of course, Your Honour. We can, of
course, turn them around.
Presiding Judge: There is no need to do that now.
Attorney General: These are exhibits which we intend to
Presiding Judge: So I presume.
Attorney General: There are two questions on which I would
request the Court’s decision. The one concerns the evidence
of two witnesses, whom I intend to bring tomorrow, and on
whose bodies sterilization was carried out in Auschwitz.
These witnesses are ready to testify, but they request that
the Court ban photographs and the publication of their
names. One of them has an adopted child. Therefore, I ask
that while their evidence is being heard, photographs should
not be taken in Court, that television filming should also
be stopped, and that the Court should agree to have their
names handed in on a slip of paper, and to forbid
publication, by virtue of its authority under sections 38
and 40 of the Courts Law.
Presiding Judge: Is it your intention to produce them
Attorney General: Tomorrow afternoon, but I must request the
Court’s directives, for if they are not given, I shall not
be able to bring the witnesses. This is their stipulation,
which I should like to honour.
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I request
that it be clarified whether this evidence is relevant.
Testimonies on sterilization were submitted in the trial of
the doctors at Nuremberg, but here the evidence can be
relevant only if it were possible to link the Accused with
these acts, and to prove that he issued orders in this
connection. But the witnesses will certainly not be able to
tell us anything on this point.
Attorney General: If it pleases the Court, we have already
had to deal with this problem at an earlier stage in the
trial, when Defence Counsel objected to the continuation of
the evidence of Dr. Wells. The Court then ruled that there
were two aspects to be proved – what took place and the
Accused’s responsibility. The Prosecution will contend that
what happened to those people whom the Accused supplied to
Auschwitz – we are going to prove that he did send them
there; we have already proved, and we shall continue with
proof, that he and his Department were responsible for the
dispatch of all the Jews who were sent to Auschwitz – it is
very relevant to show what befell them and what was done to
them in those “death factories,” to which he supplied the
“raw material.” Therefore, in accordance with the Court’s
decision in regard to the evidence of Dr. Wells, I would ask
the Court to permit their evidence to be heard under the
conditions I have requested.
Judge Halevi: Is there anything in the indictment regarding
Attorney General: In the indictment there is specific
reference to sterilization, and we have special documents on
sterilization we shall submit, but I think that I shall not
be discharging my duty by submitting only the documents,
when I know that there are at least two witnesses who are
prepared to testify.
Judge Raveh: Do you perhaps remember the section of the
indictment dealing with the subject?
Attorney General: I know that the indictment should be here
with me, but I do not have it here.
Judge Raveh: I see now that it is count four in the
Attorney General: We also have a set of documents on this
subject, some of which have been submitted and some of which
we shall yet submit.
Judge Raveh: This speaks of sterilization of the offspring
of mixed marriages. Is there something more general?
Attorney General: There is one count which definitely
includes among the persecutions and tortures also this
aspect, and which mentions the Auschwitz camp in particular.
Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, would it not be more
appropriate to hear such evidence altogether in camera?
Attorney General: As the Court pleases.
Presiding Judge: Was there any special reason which caused
you to suggest this particular mode of restriction, and not
the simpler course?
Attorney General: This was what the witnesses requested.
Hence I quoted their limiting request. But I definitely
agree that it would be better for this evidence to be heard
in camera – unless the Court wishes to admit a certain
category of the public, as it is entitled to do, or to
exclude the entire public.
Presiding Judge: Passing the name on in writing would be in
order, but in front of a large audience, such as that which
assembles in this courtroom, it would be most difficult,
subsequently, to preserve the anonymity of the witnesses.
Attorney General: It would be better this way, Your Honour,
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, I presume you do not have
anything to observe in connection with this aspect of the
Dr. Servatius: No, I have no objection to this procedure.
Decision No. 70
We dismiss Defence Counsel’s objection to the hearing of
evidence on sterilization, for the reasons which were given
for rejecting his objection to hearing the evidence of Dr.
Wells (our Decision No. 13). We shall hear the evidence on
sterilization in camera, and filming for purposes of
television or otherwise will also be suspended during the
presentation of such evidence.
Attorney General: I also request the Court’s directive in
regard to the screening of a film. We have shown Defence
Counsel, and upon his request also in the presence of the
Accused, a part of the films we intend to ask the Court to
view. The second part of these films, which Defence Counsel
has not yet seen, can be viewed by him here tomorrow
evening, when we ourselves will also make a final
examination to ensure that all the material is documentary
and is fully capable of being authenticated. Insofar as it
will be fully capable of substantiation by the witnesses, we
request permission for it to be shown, in order to
illustrate the evidence.
This issue was discussed at the Bergen-Belsen Trial. I have
here the account of the Bergen-Belsen Trial from the series
War Crimes Trials, edited by Sir David Maxwell Fife, and on
page 222 the Court will find the discussion on the question
of the screening of a film in the Courtroom when the Defence
objected – not to the screening itself of the film – at that
time it was already the usual practice, as I shall prove,
that films could illustrate evidence – but for one reason
only, namely that in the opinion of the Defence, the main
purpose of showing the film would be to show that the
Prosecution witnesses were telling the truth and that the
camps, indeed, looked as they described them; after
argument, and after the Military Court had heard the Judge
Advocate, the screening of the film was permitted.
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I have no
objection in principle to the showing of the film. But I
should like to know when and where the films were taken. It
will be necessary, of course, to expunge portions intended
to serve only as educational material, colour films and
photographs that were made post factum. I would want to
know, therefore, when and where they were made. The
Prosecution promised me a summarized description of the
Attorney General: All background material to the films was
removed from the film which we have requested to present to
you here. With regard to some of the films, we know that
they were taken immediately after the end of the War by the
liberating armies, and they depict the camps in the same
condition as the liberation armies found them. In the case
of others, it followed from the contents that they were
actually taken at the time of the events shown. We are
unable to say when, exactly. But we shall only exhibit a
film in a case where some witness or other will be able to
appear and swear that what he saw with his own eyes at a
particular place and at a particular time looked as the film
We have a short film of an execution by the Einsatzgruppen.
I do not know who filmed it, and I do not know when it was
taken. But we shall produce a witness who will swear that
this was what the execution looked like.
We have a film which was apparently taken at the time of a
deportation to the Westerbork camp. We shall bring a
witness who will swear that when people were deported, the
scene looked like that, and this will illustrate the
I cannot say anything further, for I do not know.
Presiding Judge: I think you have not yet completed what you
wanted to say about the technical aspect.
Attorney General: In the major Nuremberg Trial, the Court
will find – in passages which I shall immediately enumerate
– the screening of films. I refer to the German edition of
the Blue Series: Vol. 3, p. 448, Vol. 7, pp. 23, 24. There
the question arose whether it was possible to remove the
sound track which accompanied the film. The Court requested
the removal of the sound. And when it became clear that
this was not possible, they heard the film with its sound
track. In our case it will not be a question of the sound
track – in our case there will be only silent films.
Reference material will also be found in Vol. 7, p. 221,
Vol. 3, pp. 597, 598 – this was actually a film on
atrocities against Jews; in Vol. 13, pp. 189, 620, and in
Vol. 8, p. 115.
In view of the fact that the films were admitted in this way
to illustrate evidence, and also that there is no objection
on the part of the Defence to the screening of the films,
and naturally I take upon myself the onus of proving their
authenticity – I apply for approval of the showing of the
films at any time the Court may find convenient.
Presiding Judge: What is the technical method of projection
that you propose?
Attorney General: We propose showing the films on the wall
to our right.
Presiding Judge: On the wall – or do you have a screen?
Attorney General: We shall bring a screen. We can project
it on the wall to our right, and then, of course, Your
Honours would remain in your seats. If Your Honours would
be prepared to move to our table which would be more
convenient for us, we shall go and sit in the rows for the
public, and then it would be possible to show the film on
the wall behind the Judges’ seats.
Presiding Judge: Would that be more convenient from a
technical point of view?
Attorney General: That would perhaps be more convenient from
a technical point of view. Perhaps we ought to make further
tests. In the tests we have made so far, we projected the
film on this wall. Obviously, if we screen the film on the
wall to our right, only part of the public – sitting on the
left-hand side of the courtroom – will be able to see the
film. We intend to request that while the film is being
shown, since the hall will be in semi-darkness, the Court,
for security reasons, should allow only the journalists to
Judge Halevi: Arising out of the remarks of Dr. Servatius,
do you maintain that amongst these films, there are no
sections which were prepared merely for educational purposes
after the War?
Attorney General: No. There are no such sections in what we
are going to show.
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have anything to add?
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I presume
that there are, in fact, sections in the film which were
made for educational purposes, and in order to influence the
public subsequently. It is possible to identify them – they
are colour films. I have been told, though, that they have
been removed. It is possible to recognize the authenticity
of the films through the events filmed which speak for
themselves. It is impossible to stage events of this kind.
The other sections should, therefore, be removed.
Presiding Judge: I see that your opinions differ as to
whether everything has been deleted or not. What is the
Attorney General: In order to minimize the differences of
opinion, I would ask Dr. Servatius to be present here
tomorrow evening when the Prosecution will be showing the
film for itself and its witnesses. And if he insists that a
particular section, nonetheless, is not acceptable to him,
we shall not insist that that particular section be shown.
It is always easy to cut out a section and splice the film.
Hence, if Dr. Servatius wishes to be present there, he is
welcome. We shall arrange the screening tomorrow evening.
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, we should
still have in our possession a short numbered list, so that
it will be possible to say, for example, that No. 11 must
come out, and in this way to be able to reach an agreement
Presiding Judge: Were you planning to prepare a synopsis?
Attorney General: Yes. Tomorrow we shall note down for
ourselves an exact description of the various scenes, and we
shall submit it to the Court when the film is shown.
Presiding Judge: And if, afterwards, something should remain
which only has – as you have put it – educational value and
which does not serve the purpose of describing facts – we
shall know how to ignore these portions. But I assume that
you will reach general agreement on that beforehand.
Dr. Servatius: I thank you – we shall come to an agreement.
Presiding Judge: How long will the screening last?
Attorney General: An hour and twenty minutes. If the Court
wishes to have this on Thursday after the break, it could
occupy the time from the commencement of the proceedings
after the break until the end of the morning session. It is
possible to show the film during the morning session, after
the break on Thursday.
Presiding Judge: We shall give our decision in this matter,
and meanwhile you can already make preparations to show it
at the time you have suggested, on Thursday after the break
in the morning session.
Attorney General: I shall call the next witness – Shim’on
[The witness is sworn.]
Presiding Judge: What is your full name?
Witness: Shim’on Srebrnik.
Attorney General: Do you live in Nes Ziona, Shikun Amami 22?
Witness Srebrnik: Yes.
Q. You work for a construction company, as a mechanic?
Q. In the summer of 1943, you were in the Lodz Ghetto?
Q. What happened on one of the Sabbath days, when you were
walking with your father in the ghetto?
A. We left our house on the Sabbath, we went for a walk;
suddenly I heard a shot, and my father fell down at my side.
Q. Did he remain alive after that?
Q. Afterwards you were seized in the street and were loaded
on to a truck?
Q. You asked permission to enable you to go home and notify
Q. Were you given permission?
A. No. They told me not to speak – that I should shut my
mouth, “You swine.”
Presiding Judge: How old were you at the time?
Witness Srebrnik: Thirteen.