Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, Your
Honours, Members of the Court. In this case two worlds are
opposing each other – the world of the sufferers and the
world of the rulers, the victims and the machinery of the
dictator, those above and those below. Tears are unknown in
the world of the Caesars. The Defence will describe the
dictator’s machinery and the place held therein by the
Accused. It will be shown that the insertion of the Accused
into the process of persecution of the Jews was the
necessary and, as far as the Accused is concerned,
inevitable result of the political intention of the State’s
leadership. It will become clear that the accusation of the
Accused having been worse than Hitler, is a construction
made ex post facto. It will emerge that the allegation of
the Accused having wilfully sabotaged the orders of his
superiors calling for moderation, is as untrue as the patent
fairy tale that even Himmler had trembled with fear of the
The examination of the Accused will not be carried out at
random, but will rely upon the documents produced by the
Prosecution itself. On the strength of these documents, the
Accused when examined as a witness, will give an account of
his position and his activities. He will be ready to be
examined, with the full knowledge of the consequences of
cross-examination. He will testify, knowing that during his
interrogation in the preliminary proceedings held by the
police, he has given a candid description of the events
which conforms to the truth.
The main facts, namely the personal knowledge of the events
of extermination, have been disclosed by the Accused
himself, on his own motion. A proper illumination of the
documents by the Defence, will show that the responsibility
for the events is to be attributed to the political
leadership alone. It will appear that the highest
authorities of the State had created the basis for the
persecution and the extermination, as for instance the
Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the
Ministries of Economics and Finance and others. These
authorities made the laws, regulations, orders and
directives, and these provisions were the legal basis for
the measures of persecution, in the absence of which the
Accused could not have taken a single step, and in fact he
has not done so, without them. The whole machinery of the
State was involved in sowing the seed which germinated later
on. And if the Accused is guilty, then the authors who held
the highest offices, are more guilty, whether they were
active as fighters, or as clandestine fighters in the
resistance movement. In this respect, the Defence will show
that the Accused precisely did not belong to the dominant
political leading class of the commanders, but he was a
recipient of orders on a lower rank.
The evidence to be led is not intended to prove the guilt or
the complicity of others; it was also the guilt of other
states. It is not incumbent upon the Defence to explain the
historical background. This cannot be done; the necessary
time and means are not available to the Defence. The
elucidation of the historical process must be left to
research. A courtroom is also probably the least appropriate
place for the research of historical truth.
First of all, the Defence will show, by the Accused’s
testimony, that the latter has not submitted voluntarily to
be tried in Israel. Thereafter, the Accused will state in
the witness box, his position as to what had caused him to
join a Party which advocated, in one of the items of its
program, the fight against Jewry.
Subsequently, the Accused will explain his status and
activities; he will do so mainly on the strength of the
documents produced by the Prosecution. In this respect, the
Defence, for practical reasons, will follow more or less the
order in which the Prosecution has produced its evidence.
Then the Accused will comment on the organization of the
administrative machinery; he will do so in the following
order: At first the Head Office of the Security Services,
with the exception of the field offices in Prague and in
Austria, which will be dealt with later on.
Secondly: the Head Office for Reich Security, and in
particular the functions of its Department IV; furthermore,
clarification will be given of the measures which had been
taken already before the Accused joined the Head Office for
Reich Security, and thereafter evidence will be produced
concerning the measures taken after the Accused entered the
service of the Office. This includes: deportations, the
marking of Jews, the proposal for the use of devices for
gassing, the Wannsee Conference of the State Secretaries,
sterilization, collection of skeletons at the University of
Strasbourg, the fate of the Lidice children, and measures
taken against Jews of foreign nationality.
Afterwards, the events in various countries – in
chronological order, from France to Hungary – will be dealt
A special chapter will be devoted to the allegation that the
Accused had been directly involved in the exterminations.
The Defence will prove that the Accused does not bear any
responsibility for the exterminations which were carried
out. It will become clear that they had neither been ordered
nor executed by the Accused himself.
Finally, the Accused will state his position on the alleged
murder of a young Jew in Budapest described by the witness
Gordon; it will appear that the description is untrue.
The Accused will comment on the alternative open to him to
refuse the execution of orders given to him. It will emerge
that for him no such alternative existed. On the other hand,
it will appear that the Accused made efforts to have the
measures of persecution stopped, by the only way which he
could have been expected to adopt – namely by proposing
through official channels that a million Jews be permitted
With the Court’s permission I shall now begin the
interrogation of the Accused as witness.
Presiding Judge: Please do, Dr. Servatius. You may also, Dr.
Servatius, if it is more convenient, remove your headphones
since the translation will also be given consecutively in
Dr. Servatius: I want to see whether the Accused can
Presiding Judge: The Accused can testify while seated. Also,
Dr. Servatius, if you wish you may sit, if you feel tired,
and interrogate while seated.
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, it is a question of expediency.
There is no desk here, which can cause problems with the
documents, if one has to stand.
Presiding Judge: Naturally, that can be changed; it is no
problem. We can provide a desk for you. I shall at once give
instructions for the provision of a suitable desk. In the
meantime you may sit down, if it is more comfortable for
you. And, in general, you may remain seated while
interrogating, but I leave that to your discretion…
Dr. Servatius: [To the Accused] The Prosecution has
presented a document in which you declared that you have
voluntarily come to Israel in order to subject yourself here
to a Court of Law. Did you make such a declaration?
Accused: Yes, sir.
Presiding Judge: Can you hear the Defence Counsel clearly?
Accused: Yes, sir.
Dr. Servatius: Did you make this declaration voluntarily?
Dr. Servatius: What were the circumstances in which this
declaration was made?
Accused: After the attack on me in Buenos Aires, I was
handcuffed to a bed and called upon to make a voluntary
declaration of willingness to be tried by an Israeli court.
I replied that I would prefer being handed over by my
captors to the Argentinian police. That was refused. My
handcuffs were then removed. I was told what to write, and
after I finished I was again handcuffed to the bed. In my
view that can’t really be called “voluntarily.”
Dr. Servatius: You joined a Party which inscribed the
persecution of the Jews in its program. Can you explain
briefly why you joined this Party, and what you have to say
concerning the Jewish Question.
Accused: The National Socialist German Workers Party
inscribed on its banner the struggle against Versailles. At
that time, Versailles was the catchword around which all the
distress in Germany revolved. Versailles was the reason for
the loss of territory, deprivation of the means of defence,
deprivation of rights and economic misery, that economic
misery which found its expression in seven million
unemployed in 1932. At the beginning of 1932, when the
interparty struggle was at its height, when I joined the
NSDAP, the program of combatting Jewry at that time slipped
back into a stage of secondary importance, because the Party
could never achieve power with the struggle against the
Jews. At that time, the lever had been thrown which meant
struggle against the ruling system, the system as executor
of the dictate of Versailles.
Hitler became the head of the government, and on account of
the Enabling Act and the death of Hindenburg soon
thereafter, be became the absolute ruler of Germany; this
happened not least of all because of the support, the
conspicuous support of German heavy industry, of German
wholesale trade, and the big German banks. After the first
quick victories in the war that was forced upon Germany, the
State leadership of that time, carried away by these
victories on the presumption of a supposed invincibility,
went awry, and then, because of this attitude went on to
stupid, senseless, unrestricted measures brought about a
tragedy which nobody could have foreseen, including me; for
that my rank was too low, and my position too
insignificant… This is my answer to your question.
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, at this point I would like to
present a table of the Accused’s assignments at various
times, the various posts he held, which was drawn up by him.
It is partially incomplete, but is so indicated at the
I ask the Accused: Did you draw up this table?
Presiding Judge: Please, let him see the document which you
wish to present to the Accused, so that he can identify it,
and I can then mark it as an exhibit.
Accused: I did not actually draw up this table; it was
copied by a professional draughtsman from a sketch supplied
by me. But I have checked the entries and they accord with
Presiding Judge: This table is marked as exhibit N/2. It
would be desirable to submit the documents as far as
possible in four copies, as the Attorney General has done,
so that one is the original text and each of the three
judges has a copy for his personal use; see to this in the
Dr. Servatius: I shall see to this. I shall supply the
copies. From now on I shall conduct the interrogation on the
basis of documents. I have given the Clerk of the Court a
list; I shall shortly provide the list also in several
copies, so that each judge has a copy before him.
Presiding Judge: Regarding this table, do you wish to
question the Accused further?
Dr. Servatius: 3Not for the time being. It is more an aid
and means of checking, if during the proceedings something
has to be cleared up in case of doubt.
Judge Halevi: Dr. Servatius, I believe there is a clerical
mistake here. It says the “September 1939, trip to
Palestine.” Should it not be “September 1937”?
Presiding Judge: On page 1, that should probably be “Autumn
1937,” in the last paragraph on the last page.
Dr. Servatius: 3Regrettably the copyist made a number of
errors. I now refer to document No. 22, that is T/37(5). Has
the witness the text before him?
Dr. Servatius: 3The text contains promotions. Now my
question relates to the last promotion of 9 November 1944.
How is this promotion to be explained? You said that you
received no further promotion after 1941.
Accused: From 1941 to 1945 I was Obersturmbannfuehrer in
the Security Police. I made repeated requests to my
superiors to be transferred to the front. When this proved
not to be successful, I used my membership in the Waffen-SS
to clarify my rank in it, in order to a certain extent to
present my superior with a friendly fait accomplit, in the
hope that as a SS Untersturmfuehrer my transfer to the front
would be approved, the more so since my friend and comrade,
the Commander of the Twenty-Second Cavalry Division,
Brigadefuerer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS Zehender,
had discussed this matter with me in a promising way. Thus I
was promoted from the rank of Standarten Oberjunker of the
Waffen-SS to that of Obersturmfuehrer of the Waffen-SS in
Dr. Servatius: I come to document No. 26. On the page
before last is the confirmation of this promotion, exhibit
Presiding Judge: One moment, I have not found it yet. You
Dr. Servatius: Yes.
Presiding Judge: But that is something entirely different.
Dr. Servatius: I received these numbers and assumed that
they were correct; they can easily be checked. The document
is there. I must correct it accordingly.
Presiding Judge: The Clerk of the Court says it is
Dr. Servatius: I have corrected it.
Judge Raveh: Dr. Servatius, may I ask something in
connection with document No. 22? What is the exact meaning
of the abbreviation regarding the promotion of 29 November?
Dr. Servatius: That is the lowest officer rank; it
corresponds to the rank of lieutenant. I shall ask the
Accused; he should say it himself. He has the page before
What does the notation under “rank” in the last promotion
Judge Raveh: Service, type of service.
Dr. Servatius: I have to ask the Accused again.
Do you wish to comment on the meaning of the entry “Bef.
Res.” in column 5?
Accused: After distinction was made in the Wehrmacht during
the Reich as to whether one was a police officer or an
officer in the Wehrmacht, this applied to my rank of
Obersturmbannfuehrer, which therefore was on a par, I would
like to say, with Oberstleutnant within the Security Police.
Particular emphasis was given here, because I find here the
entry regarding the last promotion as Untersturmfuehrer of
the Waffen-SS; and as to the type of service that means
“Befoerderung zum Reservefuehrer,” that is to say, promotion
to be an officer in the reserves.
Dr. Servatius: I have before me document No. 27 which is
designated T/37(60). I hope that it is correct. It is on
page 2, a proposal for promotion. It says there that you
secured huge properties for the German Reich.
Presiding Judge: The numbering is apparently incorrect here
as well. Mr. Bodenheimer, what is that now? Apparently it
Accused: Before coming to document No. 27, may I say a few
words in completion of the questions which remain open
regarding document No. 22.?
Dr. Servatius: Yes, please.
Accused: In document No. 22, under the heading 4: “Units in
the year 1933-34” there is an entry: SS Camp Dachau, until
28.9.1934. The indictment stated that the commandant of
Dachau was a man named Eicke. Now I should like to clarify
an error. Eicke was the commander of the Dachau
concentration camp, at a time when my service unit had
nothing to do with the concentration camp. I belonged to the
SS organization, that was a battalion of the First Regiment
of operational units, the regiment which later became known
as the Regiment Deutschland. The external difference is
also very easily confirmed, inasmuch as the troops under
Eicke’s command wore their Death’s Head symbol on the right
side of the collar, whereas we members of the Regiment
Deutschland had the runic SS, with a 1 underneath it, on the
right side of our collars, indicative of the SS First
Regiment. That means that this First SS battalion had
nothing to do, either as regards personnel, or as regards
the Death’s Head units, which were in charge of the
concentration camps. On the contrary, this First SS
Battalion was a purely military formation, which served
independently of the concentration camp administration.
Dr. Servatius Do you wish to clarify the matter further?
Accused: Yes, Sir.
Dr. Servatius: Do you wish to refer to document No. 27,
Accused: Yes, Sir.