Interpreter: [Reads Becher’s statement]: “My name is Kurt
Andreas Ernst Becher; I am fifty-one years old, a
businessman by profession, and live in Bremen, Schwachhauser
On page 9, on Question 14 (part of this has already been
read out): “Himmler authorized conclusion of a trust
agreement and gave orders for Obersturmbannfuehrer Bobermin
and myself to be appointed to the board of management of the
Attorney General: This refers to Weiss-Manfred. Counsel for
the Defence has read the first part of the reply, and we beg
to call attention to the last part.
Interpreter: Twenty-first question, page 12: “Were the
Accused’s proposals for implementing the operation more
favourable than those of Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler with whom
“I was not familiar with all of the Accused’s proposals
in detail. When under urging from Dr. Billitz I
applied for an appointment to see Himmler, which I
managed to obtain through the good offices of
Winkelmann, I knew from Dr. Billitz that a proposal was
being discussed about trucks in return for releasing
Jewish people. Himmler did not say whether he was
aware of this proposal and who had made it. However,
as far as I remember, Himmler’s words were: `Get out of
the Jews everything that can be got out of them.
Promise them what they are asking for. As to what we
will keep, we’ll just have to see!’ I objected and
made a point of saying that the arrangements made with
the Jews must be observed, come what may. I remember
that, as far as the unit of account was concerned,
Himmler finally laid down an amount of one thousand
dollars per person. I remember various sums being
discussed at the time, and I should imagine that Dr.
Kasztner may well have known more about the details
than I did.”
On page 16, question 29:
“Did you have general conversations with the Accused
about the solution of the Jewish Question in Hungary,
and what was the Accused’s attitude?”
“I was careful not to have general discussions with
Eichmann about the Jewish Question. From many things
he said and the measures he applied, I knew what the
Accused’s attitude was. Eichmann was an ardent Nazi
and a fanatical anti-Semite.”
On page 21, question 42:
“What led up to the conversation in December 1944 in
Triberg between Himmler and Eichmann, at which you were
“I gave expression to my complaints and my uneasiness
that it seemed to me that, time and again, Eichmann
tried to circumvent the instructions issued by Himmler.
I requested Himmler to send for Eichmann, in order to
inform him in person of his intentions. I had told
Himmler that Eichmann simply did not take his orders
seriously, and would only carry them out if they were
expressly confirmed by Gruppenfuehrer Mueller.
Eichmann had told me this much himself. Himmler then
sent for Eichmann, together with myself.
“In personal conversations with Himmler, I told him of
my impression that Eichmann had his support in Mueller
and Kaltenbrunner, and that I was not sure whether in
the long run Eichmann would follow Himmler’s orders and
instructions. I remember that I recommended to Himmler
that he himself try to convince Eichmann of his current
thinking. As far as I remember, I recommended to
Himmler to award Eichmann a decoration, as I had the
impression that Eichmann would be amenable to such a
welcome from Himmler.
“As far as I remember, the conversation between
Himmler, Eichmann and myself took place in Himmler’s
command carriage in the Black Forest, near Triberg.
Himmler talked to Eichmann what I would call both
kindly and angrily. I remember one thing that Himmler
said to Eichmann in this connection. He shouted at him
something like: `If until now you have exterminated
Jews, from now on, if I order you, as I do now, you
must now be a fosterer of Jews. I would remind you
that in 1933 it was I who set up the Head Office for
Reich Security, and not Gruppenfuehrer Mueller or
yourself, and that I am in command. If you are not
able to do that, you must tell me so!'”
And here there is a passage which has already been read out
by Counsel for the Defence, under Question 43, but because
of omissions I shall read it again: “Why did you complain to
Himmler about Eichmann, and how did Eichmann sabotage your
“It was not always clearly evident how Eichmann
counteracted my measures. Dr. Kasztner and Mr. Biss
constantly called my attention to any arrangements made
by Eichmann which did not fit in with the negotiations
between the Rescue Committee and myself, or with my
agreements with Himmler. I am, however, unable to
remember details any longer. What I still know is that
Eichmann always strove to play down these matters as
against me. When Himmler had authorized the departure
of some seventeen hundred people – I think it was in
June or July 1944 – and the persons selected by the
Jewish committee were to be sent in the direction of
Vienna, I heard from Dr. Kasztner that Eichmann had
given instructions for the transport to head for Bergen-
Belsen. At Dr. Kasztner’s request, I immediately went
to see Eichmann, and according to my recollection he
said something like, `That is true: for technical
reasons the transport is going to Bergen-Belsen!’ When
I asked when the transport would continue, Eichmann
said, `As soon as the order is given!’ He added that,
in the end, it was up to him to determine when the
transport would get under way, since there were
sufficient arguments as against Himmler as well for the
transport not to leave. For example, spotted typhus
might have broken out. The transport could also have
been wiped out on the way by enemy bombing.
“I once again contacted Himmler about this transport
and finally managed to arrange that the transport
really went to Switzerland. Several times Eichmann
said to me that even orders from Himmler would be
carried out by him only if his chief, Gruppenfuehrer
Mueller, confirmed these orders.
“In April 1945, I tried to ensure that the inmates of
concentration camps should not be exterminated through
the fighting. Himmler gave me full powers in this
respect for the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. For
tactical reasons it seemed to me expedient to let
Eichmann know that I had received such powers from
Himmler, in order to deter him from possibly doing
something. So, before I left for Bergen-Belsen with
Dr. Kasztner, I went to Eichmann’s office here in
Berlin. I told Eichmann that I was going to Bergen-
Belsen with Dr. Kasztner, and then on to Neuengamme.
“At this point Eichmann exploded in a fit of rage at my
intention of taking `this scoundrel Kasztner’ to a
concentration camp, quite apart from the fact that he
did not agree to my having access to a concentration
camp. Eichmann stated flatly that he and
Gruppenfuehrer Mueller would not allow it, and that
furthermore it was undesirable for Kasztner to go with
me. I nevertheless left for Bergen-Belsen with
Pages 26 and 27, questions 50 and 52.
Question: “What was the result of your efforts with
“I remember that, after my first talks with President
Saly Mayer on the Swiss border on 21 August 1944, I
approached Himmler again, in order to get him to stop
the deportations. I also know that immediately after I
made my report, Himmler ordered that deportations of
Jews from Hungary be halted.
“The order, which I later managed to obtain, from
Himmler to Kaltenbrunner and Pohl, `With immediate
effect, I prohibit any destruction of Jews and, on the
contrary, I order that weak and sick persons be looked
after. I will consider you to be personally
responsible if this order is not followed strictly also
by your subordinate departments,’ meant that Himmler
not only prohibited the deportation and destruction of
Jews, but, on the contrary, gave orders for sick and
weak Jews to be looked after.
“Another result of my efforts with Himmler is the
stoppage of transporting Jews to Austria by foot
marches, which I obtained with the assistance of
General Winkelmann and General Juettner.”
The last question, 52, on the same page, 27: “What was
the relationship between Himmler and Kaltenbrunner?”
“I cannot say anything about this from my own
knowledge. However, my impression at the time was that
the relationship between Himmler and Kaltenbrunner was
constantly worsening. Himmler tended increasingly to
accept my proposals. In contrast, Kaltenbrunner
followed Hitler’s hard-line approach. In this
connection I know that Himmler remarked to me that he
was concerned that Kaltenbrunner would denounce my
efforts to Hitler.”
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, perhaps I might be permitted to
comment briefly on Statement V and on this statement?
Presiding Judge: With regard to Grell, I assume?
Dr. Servatius: Yes. On page 9, it says: “For the rest, I
stand by my written statements in the criminal proceedings
against Krumey and Hunsche, letter `d’ of 7 October 1957, of
which the Prosecution has just shown me a photocopy.” He
gives the impression of this being some police or judicial
examination. That is not the case: He made these statements
following a police examination, and then in 1957 he stood up
for Krumey and Hunsche, and in connection with Hunsche he
refers to what he said with regard to Krumey, and things are
being put to Eichmann’s account, as at the time his
whereabouts were not known. It says here that Eichmann was
against the Hungarian authorities and also urged on the
legation – claims which I think can be refuted by documents.
I must oppose this for formal reasons: One cannot in an
examination before a court suddenly include a statement made
privately years earlier.
Presiding Judge: But you do agree that the document which
you just now held in your hands is the very document to
which reference is made in Grell’s statement, don’t you?
Dr. Servatius: I must assume so.
Presiding Judge: [To Attorney General] Do you wish to
comment on this?
Attorney General: Your Honour, the only question is whether
the document shown to Counsel for the Defence is the same
document that was shown to the witness, Grell, when he was
examined. If the reply is in the affirmative, then at least
that passage which the witness confirms as being correct
becomes part of his testimony, and must be included in the
proceedings before this Court. Otherwise his reply cannot
be understood. I therefore request that the document be
admitted. We are basing ourselves on the passage confirmed
by the witness. I would also ask that this be read out.
Judge Halevi: Did anyone at the time take the initiative of
asking him about this passage?
Attorney General: Yes, we asked him.
Decision No. 89
In order to make Grell’s statement intelligible, we allow
the submission of paragraph `d’ of his written notes as
referred to on page 9 of the statement.
We shall call this V(A). As has been said, the intention is
not to admit the entire document, only paragraph `d’ in the
document. Is this on page 4 of the document?
Attorney General: Some of the passage in question is marked
Presiding Judge: The question is simply where it concludes.
This is not entirely clear to me.
Attorney General: I would ask that this passage be read out
up to where it is marked with a green cross.
Presiding Judge: Do you wish this to be read out?
Attorney General: If it is not too difficult; if it is not
too late for the Court.
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, letter `d’ appears twice, once
under I, and further down under III. The one in question is
the second `d’, where there is nothing of substance – it
merely says that, as far as Hunsche is concerned, the same
applies as I said about Krumey. At the end there is a
reference to Krumey, and this passage is now being read. I
would have doubts about formally stretching matters to such
Presiding Judge: Again, in order to understand the second
`d,’ it is necessary to read out the passages to which Grell
referred to at the time.
Judge Halevi: It is like IVB4, which appears in a parallel
Presiding Judge: In any case, we shall look at this document
further – but there is no reason not to hear those passages
which the Attorney General asked to be read out.
Interpreter: Paragraph III d: “What I said about Krumey is
also applicable to the matter of duress, or the protective
passes. Hunsche was not able to take decisions; it is hard
to believe, in view of his low-ranking position in this
area, that he could decide things.”
Now page 4 d I:
“I do not know anything about Krumey’s activities with
regard to the exerting of pressure on people who were
part of this circle, with particular reference to the
issuing of protective passes. I remember that
Eichmann, according to information from him, and the
Head Office for Reich Security were against such
protective methods adopted by other authorities,
particularly the Hungarian authorities, and here there
was even a request that the mission intervene with the
Hungarian Government, on the ground that work in
Germany essential for the War required deportation of
all those persons who belonged to the circle about
which there was an agreement.”
Presiding Judge: Perhaps you would copy these passages. That
concludes this chapter. As was said yesterday, the
statements of Defence witnesses who gave evidence abroad
will be read after completion of the Accused’s testimony,
but the Parties may refer in advance to what they contain.
Dr. Servatius, I hope we will be able to have an afternoon
Session tomorrow because, in the meantime, you have been
able to prepare the material for today. I am perhaps
keeping you to a very precise timetable, but I would like to
save as much time as possible.
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I would still be most grateful
if you could keep to the same hours as to date; I do need to
discuss things with the Accused – above all, matters must be
discussed before the cross-examination. I do not assume
that he will also be receiving the questions in advance,
after the precedent…
Presiding Judge: No, this will not happen here; we have no
control over the court in Bremen, but we ourselves will
certainly not do that.
Dr. Servatius: The subjects of Hungary and the
concentration camps are most important and are still to be
discussed, so that I would be very grateful to you if you
could leave things as they have been so far.
Presiding Judge: All right. That means that you need the
Session tomorrow, and also, as far as I understand, another
Session – is that correct, Dr. Servatius?
Dr. Servatius: I still have to present Hungary and the
concentration camps, and then I shall have a few concluding
questions, a few basic questions, and that will take two
Presiding Judge: Do you think that we shall be able to
conclude by the end of the morning Session on Thursday?
Dr. Servatius: I would think so.
Presiding Judge: I can see that that completes this week.
Next week we shall again speed up matters. The next Session
will be tomorrow morning at 8.30.