Session No. 72
25 Sivan 5721 (9 June 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the seventy-second Session of the
Attorney General: With the Court’s permission, I shall
submit a number of documents, first on the chapter of
Auschwitz. I should like to submit the evidence of Rudolf
Hoess in his trial before the Polish National Supreme Court
in Warsaw. This is our document No. 1273. I must point out
that this document contains extracts from Hoess’ testimony,
and therefore I shall submit, separately, the full testimony
in Polish, duly authenticated, as well as the extracts with
a Hebrew translation on which we rely.
Presiding Judge: Is the Polish transcript complete?
Attorney General: Yes.
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1356. Dr.
Dr. Servatius: I have no formal objection.
Attorney General: In order that the authentication be
complete, I should like to submit also a certified copy of
the evidence of Ludwik Rajewski, which is included in
document No. 1273. Rajewski worked in the Political
Department at Auschwitz. He was a Pole – a prisoner.
Excerpts from his testimony are included in our document No.
1273, and this is his full evidence, authenticated.
Presiding Judge: I do not understand. The document which
you have just submitted is the testimony of Hoess. How does
the testimony of someone else get in there?
Attorney General: No. In document No. 1273, there are
several extracts of evidence – of Hoess himself and of a
number of other witnesses who testified in the trial of
Hoess. To the extent that the Polish Government Main
Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes thought it
necessary for our case, it extracted a number of excerpts
from the testimonies in Hoess’ trial. I intend to rely only
on two of these: on the evidence of Hoess himself – which I
submitted separately in full, with authentication – and on
the evidence of Ludwik Rajewski, of which this is a
certified copy, and portions of which the Court will find in
our No. 1273. Have I made myself clear?
Presiding Judge: Yes. But what about this Rajewski? Is he
Attorney General: Rajewski is still alive. He is a
university professor in Warsaw. If Defence Counsel insists
upon it, under the circumstances, we shall bring Rajewski
here. Defence Counsel knows what Rajewski has to say on
this issue, since at the time he received our document No.
1273, together with a translation. If he insists, we shall
bring him here. We have already taken steps bearing such a
possibility in mind.
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what is your reply to that?
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I have had
to read so much recently, including about eight hundred more
pages of memoirs which are before me, that I am really not
be able to remember at present what this Rajewski said.
Perhaps, during the recess, I shall be able to peruse the
document and, after that, to say whether I shall have any
Attorney General: I would ask that this document be admitted
now, and I shall have no objection if Defence Counsel
subsequently tells us whether he wants to have the witness
for cross examination or not.
Presiding Judge: Perhaps we should not accept the document
at this stage. Let us first hear the reaction of Defence
Counsel. According to that, we shall decide what to do.
Attorney General: But I wish to rely upon it, Your Honour,
and to quote portions of it.
Presiding Judge: If you are going to bring Rajewski here as
a witness, we shall have no need for this document that you
are about to submit now. He would then give evidence viva
voce in Court.
Attorney General: I would request that we follow the
principle which the Court has laid down – a statement is
admissible, but where a witness is required for purposes of
cross-examination, steps must be taken to ensure that there
should be an opportunity of questioning him. I ask for the
document to be admitted, and I shall take care to make cross-
Presiding Judge: Nevertheless, Mr. Hausner, we shall then
depart from the normal procedure, and there will be no harm
in our deciding what action to take, after Dr. Servatius has
read this document. If we find it proper to admit the
document, then you may read excerpts from it.
Attorney General: As the Court pleases. I only want to add
that several months ago Dr. Servatius also received a German
Presiding Judge: We shall take a decision on this after
Dr. Servatius: Thank you.
Attorney General: For the present, I shall only quote from
the evidence of Hoess himself. On page 100 of his evidence,
Hoess talks about the fact that in the crematoria of
Auschwitz, it was possible in the course of twenty-four
hours to incinerate two thousand people in each of the
crematoria. Taking the additional buildings into account,
the maximum possible was ten thousand per day, over a twenty-
I am only relating the gist of the statement – I shall not
read it in full. On page 100, he says: “Generally, in the
course of this operation, two freight trains would arrive
each day. At first, Eichmann tried to send three trains
daily to Auschwitz, and sometimes he dispatched three
transports per day. But, as a rule, only two transports
used to arrive.”
In reply to a question from the presiding judge, he said
that on each of such trains there would be an average of two
thousand persons. On page 101, he says that the
incinerators were in operation day and night and that,
occasionally, when the incinerators were being repaired, it
was necessary to burn the bodies in the open.
On page 105, he says:
“It happened that when the order arrived that no more
Jews were to be exterminated, I was sent by
Obergruppenfuehrer Pohl to the Head Office for Reich
Security – to Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, the head of the
Gestapo, who was also Kaltenbrunner’s deputy – to
ascertain from him why such an order had been issued.
Mueller was unable to give me any information and
referred me to Eichmann, who had been negotiating with
a man called Becher in Switzerland and in Turkey. I
was accordingly sent to Budapest so that I could
establish on the spot whether the extermination
operation had only been temporarily suspended, and
whether it would be renewed later, and also in order
that I might find out the reasons for the instruction
to stop the extermination.”
Thereafter he speaks about the negotiations, and he adds:
“The Jews pointed out that despite the undertaking to
put an end to the extermination, the operation was
continuing, and they stated that they would participate
in concrete negotiations only when it could be proved
to them that the operations had in fact totally ceased.
For this reason, orders were given to stop the
extermination of the Jews.”
On page 106:
“As far as I remember, according to the number of the
large transports, according to the number of the large
`actions’, I would be able to assess the number of
those exterminated at a million and a half. The number
of two and a half million, which I stated at Nuremberg,
was arrived at according to the data of Eichmann, who
submitted this figure to the controller of
concentration camps, Gluecks, in April 1945 in my
presence, shortly before the collapse of the Reich.”
Presiding Judge: Where do these words appear “in my
presence”? There are various translations here.
Judge Halevi: Are you making an oral translation from this
document in Polish?
Attorney General: Yes, I am translating orally from the
text. For the moment, I would ask you to delete the words
“in my presence,” since I have doubts as to the exact
translation of the word in Polish. But I shall come back to
this point at a later stage.
On page 110:
“In the summer of 1941 – I do not recall the date –
Himmler personally instructed me to come to his office
in Berlin, and this is what he said to me: ‘The Fuehrer
has given an order to solve the Jewish Question
finally. We, the SS, have to carry it out. The
existing extermination centres will not be able to cope
with this mission. I have chosen Auschwitz for the
And here he quotes the reasons why Himmler had selected
And further on in this statement:
“‘In regard to more precise details, you will obtain
information in course of time from Obersturmbannfuehrer
Eichmann, who will come to you, and with whom you must
discuss the detailed plans, and Eichmann will report to
me, as soon as possible, on the outcome of this
discussion.’ I was to keep this order strictly
confidential, and not even to report about it to my
In reply to Prosecutor Cyprian, Hoess answers on page 111:
“Eichmann said the following to me: `According to his
present calculations, about six to seven million people
will come to Auschwitz from all parts of Europe’.”
Judge Halevi: “Will come”?
Attorney General: Yes, “will come.” That was at the
Presiding Judge: It should be “will arrive at.”
Attorney General: “It is still not possible to determine
exact numbers.” Later on, there is a discussion on the
methods of extermination, about gassing, about shooting. At
the end of the paragraph, on page 111, he says:
“It will, therefore, not be possible to implement the
operation in this way. It is necessary to select a
suitable gas which will make it possible to carry this
out on a wholesale and mass basis, without holding up
Presiding Judge: Where does it say this?
Attorney General: At the bottom of page 111.
Presiding Judge: It says “mishaps” here, doesn’t it?
Attorney General: As far as the correct translation of the
word is concerned, it would be right to say “without
obstruction, so that the mechanism should not be stopped
up”; generally speaking, of course, “without mishaps” – that
would complete the translation. “He selected the site with
me” – “he” is Eichmann.
Presiding Judge: That, too, does not appear here. It says
here: “We went out to the site.”
Attorney General: But it talks here of Eichmann’s visit.
Presiding Judge: But what about the word-for-word
Attorney General: The literal translation is: “He went out
to the site with me, and we came to two distant farm
Presiding Judge: It says here: “And we came to two empty
cottages.” You have submitted this translation as the
translation which you want us to use. Nevertheless, I now
hear some deviations.
Attorney General: I shall endeavour to follow the
translation which is in the Court’s possession. These
translations, to my regret, were not always…
Presiding Judge: We have already seen this with other
Attorney General: But the deviations will not be serious.
“And we reached two empty cottages where, some time later,
we set up bunkers numbers 1 and 2 in provisional
installations.” Further on, there is reference to the
property of the deportees. On page 119, Hoess is asked,
“Does it refer to articles having great value?” And he
replies: “Yes, it meant milliards.”
Presiding Judge: In our documents, the pages skip from
number 118 to 120.
Attorney General: This can be found on our page seven.
“Were these of great value?” “Yes, they referred to
milliards.” The correct translation would be, “The
reference was to milliards.” Later in the extract…
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, perhaps it
would, nevertheless, be important to say here, regarding the
question of the translation, that it is desirable that an
exact translation be presented here, since, according to the
exact translation, it would be possible to deal with the
question – are there, or are there not, discrepancies
between one of Hoess’ testimonies and another – whether he,
subsequently, changed his evidence voluntarily or
involuntarily. Here, for example, I understood the
reference to be to “empty pits,” whereas previously we were
told of two buildings. Were the buildings erected
subsequently? I am referring to page 111.
Presiding Judge: The Hebrew was “cottages”, that is to say,
“humble farm houses.” What translation did you give to Dr.
Servatius? Was it from the Hebrew translation?
Attorney General: I am afraid so.
Presiding Judge: Then someone must have turned “cottages”
Attorney General: All that I can do to assist Dr. Servatius
is to place at his disposal an interpreter from Polish to
German, so that he may be able to translate the document
directly for him, and so that Dr. Servatius may be able to
understand the document from a first-hand source.
Presiding Judge: I do not know whether amongst the
interpreters sworn at the commencement of the trial, there
was a translator of Polish. I would ask you to have such a
translator peruse the translation we have been given here,
insert the necessary amendments, and certify it by signing
Attorney General: I shall do so.
Interpreter: Our colleague, Dr. Richter, will be able to do
Presiding Judge: Very good – let Dr. Richter himself do it.
Attorney General: There is already one change here that I
wish to make on page six of the Hebrew translation, and this
is an important amendment. At the end of the first
paragraph, dealing with the outcome of this conversation
with Eichmann, it says: “You will have to report to me
soon,” whereas, according to the original, it should read:
“He, Eichmann, will have to report to me.”
Presiding Judge: In order to wind up the matter of this
translation which has not been too successful, please do as
I have requested regarding the Hebrew translation, and Dr.
Servatius should also receive – perhaps Dr. Richter will
also be able to translate for him, directly into German –
those extracts which you have quoted orally, so that he will
have an authorized translation.
Attorney General: Yes – we can certainly assist in this way.
Dr. Servatius: One may assume that Hoess himself spoke in
German – perhaps in the body of the record of the
proceedings we may find his remarks in German?
Presiding Judge: Does such a thing exist?
Attorney General: No, no, the record of the proceedings was
made in Polish, in the same way as our record is being made
in Hebrew. This is a translation. At the commencement of
the Session the interpreters were sworn according to the
usual procedure. The record of the proceedings was made in
the language of the country.
Judge Halevi: Our record of proceedings is being made in
German as well, and, particularly in the case of those
speaking German, it is possible to check exactly what they