Session 085-02, Eichmann Adolf

Presiding Judge: Please check who is being referred to.

Interpreter: In the previous paragraph, which was not
marked, the reference is to Eichmann.

“…I think as a representative of an oil firm.
Somehow, he must have been active in politics in
Austria in 1932 or 1933, because he told me that in
1933 he fled Austria, going to Germany to the Legion
(the Austrian Legion), and was then transferred by it
to Berlin, where he was attached to the Head Office of
the Security Service. In order to obtain promotion by
way of specialization, he studied Jewish subjects, and
when the German service units went to Austria,
following the entry of German troops on the Anschluss
in 1938, he accompanied them to Vienna and set up the
office already referred to in Prinz Eugen Strasse. He
also told me that he made an official trip to Palestine
in 1937, and that he could speak some Yiddish and

On page 8:

“I myself remember having such dealings with Eichmann
in Vienna until the end of 1938, or the beginning of
1939 at the latest. I would assume that he remained in
Vienna when the rest of Bohemia was occupied, i.e.,
March 1939, whereupon he was transferred to Prague,
where he set up the same type of Central Office for
Jewish Emigration. I am not sure who was his successor
in Vienna, and whether this was Guenther, whom I
referred to above.

“As far as I myself was concerned, at the beginning of
1939 my activities increasingly tended towards Berlin,
where at that time the Foreign Secret Service was being
reorganized on a large scale. That was also when the
Head Office for Reich Security (RSHA) was set up,
including the previous Head Office of the Security
Service, the Secret State Police Office and the
Criminal Police Office. This was probably when
Eichmann joined Department IV (Gestapo) as a Specialist
Officer, so that this Central Office for Jewish
Emigration – in the meanwhile, apart from the Prague
office, one had also been set up in Berlin – was
subordinate to the Head Office for Reich Security, and,
as I assume more particularly to Department IV
(Gestapo). The Chief of Department IV was SS General
Heinrich Mueller; the Head of Department VI (Foreign
Secret Service) was SS General Jost. Because of the
different duties of the two Departments, there was
obviously no direct official collaboration between
their personnel.”

On page 11:

“As to 6: As far as I know, Eichmann was a Specialist
Officer in Department IV of the Head Office for Reich
Security, but, in the meanwhile, there was a change in
the names given to the departments. I must here state
that Eichmann was also transferred to the Head Office
for Reich Security, but independent of my transfer to
Berlin, and not to Department VI like myself, but to
Department IV, Gestapo. A department such as Eichmann
had there, for Jewish Affairs, was more or less its own
office or section. His superior chief, as has already
been mentioned briefly today, was SS General Heinrich
Mueller, but it is possible that there was another
group leader (department chief) between them. Several
departments would be subordinate to a single Group
Leader, and there must have been four or five Groups
altogether. Jewish Affairs were dealt with exclusively
by the Eichmann Department, for the whole of Germany.”

On page 22:

“With regard to the physical annihilation of the Jewish
people, until I lost my post and was transferred to the
Waffen-SS, the only thing that I knew was that the
Einsatztruppen (sic: Operational Troops) of the
Security Police and the Security Service had received
orders to liquidate by shooting the supporters of
Communist ideology, particularly the Jews. However, at
that time, I was not aware of the details of this order
and its origin. It was not until later that I heard
from SS General Dr. Stahlecker, who in 1938 had briefly
been my chief in Vienna, that this order came from
Hitler himself and had been passed on by Heydrich to
these Operational Troops.”

On page 27:

“I would assume from the questions asked that, in the
main, they refer to the SS Special Operations Units in
Hungary. Although I am not familiar with precise
details, yet I can state the following: The two largest
SS Special Operations Units were those of the Security
Police and the Security Service, and the Order Police.
However, to some extent they formed a single whole,
because they were both subject to SS and Police General
Otto Winkelmann, who was then appointed `Higher SS and
Police Leader in Hungary.’ Regardless of this,
however, and probably in actual fact to a far greater
extent, the two Operations Units were under the control
of their Berlin offices, i.e., the Head Office for
Reich Security and the Head Office of the Order Police.

“The so-called Eichmann Sonderkommando was, it is true,
part of the Sonderkommando of the Security Police and
the SD in terms of provisioning, but was definitely in
some sort of special position, with the precise details
of which I am, however, not familiar.”

On page 28:

“The overall operation in Hungary was influenced to the
strongest degree by Himmler, who managed right from the
beginning to exert a very considerable influence on the
manning of leading positions. For example, he
succeeded in ensuring that the Ambassador and Reich
Plenipotentiary to be appointed would belong to the SS
(overnight, Dr. Veesenmayer, who had been an SS
Standartenfuehrer, received the rank of General in the
SS), and he also had a Higher SS and Police Leader
installed, as well as a Senior Commander of the Waffen-
SS, even though at this point very few Waffen-SS units
had taken part in entering Hungary.

“The chains of command were very difficult to grasp,
even for an insider. In accordance with the Berlin
offices’ well-known craze for centralizing everything,
every single office tried to control as completely as
possible the unit working for it in Hungary, and to
keep it free from other influences. Under these
circumstances, the Higher SS and Police Leader
mentioned before, General Winkelmann, was more or less
a figurehead, while police units and Sonderkommandos,
which were nominally subordinate to him, in actual fact
received their orders from Berlin, and their reports to
Berlin would often be notified to Winkelmann only in
the form of copies.”

On page 30:

“As to 27: Dr. Kaltenbrunner no doubt considered the
operation in Hungary to be so important that he thought
it necessary to take part in it personally. I remember
that Dr. Kaltenbrunner not only came to Budapest
immediately, on 19 March, but also remained quite some
time in Budapest – perhaps even several weeks.”

Page 31:

“In these circumstances, Kaltenbrunner practically had
to conduct his official business as Chief of the Head
Office for Reich Security from Budapest. Dr.
Kaltenbrunner had originally been a lawyer in Linz,
and, as a result of his illegal activity with the SS,
had received an important position in 1938, when the
annexation of Austria took place. However, despite the
fact that both Kaltenbrunner and Eichmann were from
Linz, as far as I could see Kaltenbrunner did not know
Eichmann well. It is certainly not true that they used
the familiar `du’ form to address each other.

“When Dr. Kaltenbrunner occupied the post of State
Secretary for Security Matters in the government of
Dr. Seyss-Inquart, he became the Higher SS and Police
Leader in Vienna. Because of the Berlin offices’ mania
for centralization, to which I have already referred,
the position of a Higher SS and Police Leader had lost
a great deal of weight, however, and it was therefore a
great surprise even for those most in the know when, in
January 1943, Hitler appointed Kaltenbrunner Chief of
the Security Police and the Security Service, as
successor to Heydrich, who had been assassinated. This
position which, after Goering’s loss of power, was
probably the most important one after those of Hitler
and Himmler, was handed over to Kaltenbrunner, who was
a decidedly average man.”

“As to 28: On this question, I should like to refer to
my previous comments, in which I tried to explain how
difficult it was to have any clear view of the real
chain of command in Hungary. Obviously, to some
extent, Eichmann was subordinate to the Senior
Commander of the Security Police and the Security
Service in Hungary, and thus, in turn, also to the
Higher SS and Police Leader in the country, but in
practice he really came under his Department Chief,
Mueller, in Berlin, and thus under Dr. Kaltenbrunner as
well, as Mueller’s superior.”

On page 32:

“I already stated my view on this question when I gave
a general description of conditions in Hungary. In
this context, I should perhaps mention the fact that in
my job, although I was a member of the staff of the
Head Office for Reich Security, I was really not
subordinate to any German office in Hungary, and
answered only to my Berlin chief, Schellenberg. My
official contacts with the Higher SS and Police Leader
in Hungary, and the Senior Commanders of the Waffen-SS
there, were limited practically to some courtesy visits
and social invitations.”

On page 53:

“On 4: To the best of my memory, as Inspector of the
Security Police and the Security Service in Vienna,
Stahlecker gave a great deal of support to Eichmann in
realizing his plan to set up a Central Office for
Jewish Emigration. If I am not mistaken – although I
can only state this with due reservation, later – in
Prague, Stahlecker was Eichmann’s superior again.”

On page 57:

“According to the reports available, the appointment in
the Russian army of “Commissars,” as they were known,
was said to be restricted in the main to Jewish
circles. In this instance, too, Hitler therefore
doubtless equated `Communist official’ with `Jew.’
That would be the explanation for his `Commissars
Order,’ which, as I see it, is the initial foundation
for the first mass destructions of the Jews. Thus the
beginning of these mass destruction operations can be
taken to be the beginning of the Russian campaign in
the summer of 1941.

“I would understand the question about Heydrich’s
special assignment as his having received Hitler’s
order through Himmler, and being responsible
subsequently for its implementation just like Pohl (SS
Economic-Administrative Head Office).

“On the question whether the extermination order I have
spoken of in connection with the Russian Commissars was
also given secretly, and if not – what was the reaction
on the part of Russia or world opinion: I am not aware
of this order ever being made public at the time, or
even reaching the general public. I do know that there
were commanders in the German army who refused to
fulfil the order in their area, and who treated the
commissars as normal prisoners of war.”

Page 59:

“As to 19: At the end of August 1944, after the
Romanian revolt, Eichmann came to visit me in my flat
in Budapest, in order to enquire about the most recent
information on what was called the `enemy situation.’
A few days earlier, there had been a revolt by young
King Michael against Prime Minister Antonescu, followed
by an armistice with the Red Army on the part of the
Romanian army, which until then had fought with the
Axis. These events undermined the stability of the
entire German front in the area, which until then had
not yet reached Romania. If Russian troops were to
cross the Carpathian arch, the whole of Hungary would
be practically defenceless before the attacks of the

“As I have already said, Eichmann asked me for the
latest information from the front and explained that he
was interested, because he was on his way to Romania.
The information I had about the situation on the front
was obtained not only from official German sources, but
also from reports of our own agents who operated behind
the Russian lines, as well as from monitoring Russian
radio communications, for which I had, together with
the Hungarian Counter-Intelligence Service, established
quite a large office in Budapest. The actual operation
of the radio counter-intelligence or listening service
was run by the Hungarian military authorities, but the
entire undertaking was financed by me – or rather, by
my Department – which therefore also took part in
determining the entire set-up. Thus I was the right
person for Eichmann to approach, in order to get such
information, and in the previous months he had already
come to see me several times, in order to obtain
genuinely objective reports, rather than the coloured
ones which were often the practice on the part of the

“In reference to the related subsequent questions, I
would give the following description of this

As far as I remember, Eichmann came to see me in the
late forenoon. He was wearing battledress, i.e., not
his dress uniform which he had worn on his other visits
to me. He gave an impression of being very nervous,
and this became even more marked when I told him about
the disastrous situation on the German front.
Doubtless I, too, was very dejected at the time,
because I was afraid that there was nothing which would
be able to stop the Russian advance through Hungary to
my native Austria. Eichmann then swallowed several
glasses of brandy, one after the other. As far as I
remember, I set a bottle of arrack down with a glass,
so he could help himself.

“I was alone in the room with Eichmann and, as far as I
know, there was no one from my or Eichmann’s staff
around. The conversation on which I testified in 1945
before the Nuremberg Tribunal developed as follows, as
I remember it: Eichmann stood up and said farewell
with the following words: `We shall probably never see
each other again,’ or something similar. Then
apparently he felt obliged to explain this pessimistic
attitude and indicated that he was convinced that, with
the German defeat, which was now to be expected, he
stood no chance any more. When I asked him why he
thought this, Eichmann said that, in view of his role
in the programme to exterminate the Jews, the Allies
were considering him to be a top war criminal. When he
made this comment, I immediately grasped the
opportunity to say that I had always wanted to hear
reliable information about the extermination programme,
and particularly about the number of Jews exterminated.
To my surprise Eichmann responded to that, and said
something along the following lines (in 1945, when I
testified before the Nuremberg court, I obviously
remembered the details more clearly than today,
seventeen years later. I therefore apologize for any
minor deviations).”

Page 61:

“He said that the number of murdered Jews was a very
great Reich secret, but with the situation in which he,
Eichmann, found himself today, he still could tell me
anything about it, particularly since I was a
historian. Eichmann then told me that, according to
his information, some 6,000,000 (six million) Jews had
perished until then – 4,000,000 (four million) in
extermination camps and the remaining 2,000,000 (two
million) through shooting by the Operations Units and
other methods, such as disease, etc.

“I presumably reacted in a very shocked fashion to this
figure, because Eichmann immediately commented that
Himmler believed that the figure of six million Jews
could not be correct, and the overall figure must be

“I do not remember Eichmann making any form of personal
statement or excuse. Eichmann also did not say that he
felt himself guilty of the deaths of these six million
Jews; as I have said, he simply answered my question
how many Jews had actually been exterminated.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/09