Session 087-05, Eichmann Adolf

Presiding Judge: I do not quite see what is the problem in
this list. It goes from May 1944 to April 1945.

Dr. Servatius: The list goes up to 30 April 1945. I cannot
see exactly how the passages are divided. The way it is
compiled, it is impossible to follow.

The next document was written in French. First of all,
there is a reference to Guenther at the bottom of the page.
It says there:

“Le 8 juin 1942, il entre dans ma chambre de service
avec SS Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther du RSHA en civil,
inconnu a moi. Il me donna l’ordre de procurer 100 kg.
d’acide prussique.” (On 8 June 1942, he entered my
office with SS Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther of the Head
Office for Reich Security, a person I did not know, in
civilian clothes. He ordered me to obtain 100
kilograms of prussic acid.)

He goes on to say that he then left with Dr. Pfannenstiel,
and at the end it says they have been ordered to observe the
strictest secrecy. Globocnik told them: “Anyone who fails
to preserve the secret will be killed. Yesterday two people
were shot for this reason.”

In the middle of the document, there appears the name of Dr.
Herbert Lindner, Ministry of the Interior. He is one of the
gentlemen engaged in euthanasia. When this was read out
previously by the Prosecution, I pointed out that on the
last page but one, under 4, Dr. Gerstein says here that a
total of twenty-five million persons were murdered there.
Then, at the bottom of the page, there is another reference
to the name Guenther. It is not quite clear: “le fils du
Rasse-Guenther” (the son of Guenther the racist). Then
there is an explanation, which I find it difficult to
understand, that he did not pay for the deliveries, in order
to keep the matter quiet. He says that in that way, by
requiring return of the money, which he had laid out, the
matter would have become known. I do not understand why he
did not pay for it, and he made such a point of it at the

Then, in the enclosed document, there is a letter to
Gerstein, dated 9 April 1944, from the Deutsche Gesellschaft
fuer Schaedlingsbekaempfung (German Society for Pest
Control), known as Degesch, in Friedberg. This reads, in
the first sentence: “Dr. Peters has passed on your letter to
us for an answer. Enclosed please find a list of the unpaid
bills up to the 18th of last month. This list does not
include our two bills of 30 May, for 975 Reichsmarks each.”

This list is not available here, but all of these bills are
very carefully preserved here, and they look as if they
never became part of any business operations. They do not
bear any marks or entry stamps, have not been folded at all,
and give the impression that these invoices were issued
again on request.

In his further statement, Dr. Gerstein said that he could
have immediately destroyed this prussic acid, and that he
would have used as his pretext the allegation that it was
not stable. But oddly enough, he is here asking in detail
about storage life and is having this confirmed, whilst,
according to his statement, he always made a point of saying
that if it would arouse attention that this acid had not
been used, he would say that it had decomposed and could not
be used, while here he is asking for confirmation of the

The next document, handwritten and in French, reads as
follows. It is undated:

“L’acide prussique etait ordonne par le
Reichssicherheitshauptamt, Berlin, Kurfuerstenstrasse,
a l’ordre du SS Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther” (The prussic
acid, as mentioned in the enclosed document, was
ordered by the Head Office for Reich Security, Berlin,
Kurfuerstenstrasse, on the instructions of SS Officer

Then it says:

“Je n’ai jamais paye cette fourniture, dont l’adresse
des notes etait pour le meme destinataire: moi-meme” (I
never paid for these supplies, the invoices for which
were always for the same recipient: myself).

Then the next document in English, dated 2 April 1948, which
has to be 1945 – it is difficult to make it out. Here he
indicates with whom he had dealings in the main – in the
middle. First of all, Leadership Main Office D, “Sanitary
Service,” and secondly the Reich Physician SS and Police,

The last document is an affidavit – no, it is not an
affidavit; it says at the end: “I am prepared to take an
oath that all of my statements are completely true.” The
document is dated 26 April 1945. On the third page, at the
end of the first long paragraph, it says:

“On 8 June, 1942, SS Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther from the
Head Office for Reich Security came into my office in
civilian dress. I was not acquainted with him. He
ordered me to obtain 100 kilograms of prussic acid, and
to accompany him to a location known only to the truck
driver. We drove to the Kolin Potash Works. Once the
truck was loaded up, we drove to Lublin (Poland). We
took with us Professor Pfannenstiel, Professor for
Hygiene at the University of Marburg/Lahn. We were met
in Lublin by SS Gruppenfuehrer Globocnik.”

It continues:

“He said, `This is one of the most secret matters – perhaps
the most secret – anyone who talks about it will be shot

I repeat what was said in the other letter – that two
talkative persons were shot.

On the next page, under point 4, in the middle, it says:
“Your second assignment is to convert the gas chambers,
which have so far been operated by the use of exhaust gases
of an old diesel engine, to a more poisonous and faster-
working substance, prussic acid. However, the Fuehrer and
Himmler, who were here on 15 August, the day before
yesterday, have given instructions that I must personally
accompany all persons who are visiting the installations.”
Then, on page 12, it says:

“I must add that at the beginning of 1944, SS
Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther of the Head Office for Reich
Security required me to supply very large quantities of
prussic acid for an unknown use. The acid was to be
delivered to his office in Berlin, Kurfuerstenstrasse.
I managed to convince him that this was impractical,
due to the major risk involved.”

At the end of the statement he said, at the bottom of the
last page but one:

“Being responsible for this department, I did
everything in my power to ensure that after the prussic
acid arrived at Oranienburg and Auschwitz, it vanished
in disinfection chambers. This avoided misuse of the

He then makes a few more comments, and at the end he says:

“Had the absence of the acid been noticed, I would have
stated that there was some mistake by the local
disinfection station, which was not familiar – and had
to remain so – with the actual use of the acid, or I
would have said that the acid had decomposed, and that
it was not possible to keep it in storage any longer.”

I now turn to the next list, 40. First of all exhibit
T/1357, document No. 31. This is the examination of Hoess
before the International Military Tribunal by
Kaltenbrunner’s defence lawyer. Hoess’ examination begins
on 15 April 1946. I refer the Court to page 4.

“Question: Did you make Eichmann’s acquaintance?

Hoess: I made Eichmann’s acquaintance about four weeks
later, when I had received the order from the
Reichsfuehrer. He came to Auschwitz in order to
discuss with me how to carry out this order. As the
Reichsfuehrer had told me during the course of our
conversation, Eichmann had been instructed by him to
discuss implementation of the order with me; I received
all subsequent orders from him, from Eichmann.”

On page 7, replying to the question of whether Himmler had
been in the camp, Hoess says:

“Yes, Himmler visited the camp in 1942 and watched the whole
of the process exactly from start to finish.”

Next question: “Did the same hold true of Eichmann?”
Answer: “Eichmann made repeated visits to Auschwitz and was
entirely familiar with the processes.”

Next question: “Did the accused Kaltenbrunner ever visit the

Answer: “No.”

“Did you ever talk about this assignment with

“No, never.”

On page 15 another defence lawyer asks:

“Did the State Police, as a Reich authority, in any way
participate in the extermination of the Jews in
Auschwitz?” Answer: “Yes, insofar as I received all my
orders about implementation of the operation from

Next question: “Was the administration of the
concentration camps subordinate to the Economic-
Administrative Head Office?”


“You have already stated that you had nothing to do
with the Head Office for Reich Security.”


“I would like to emphasize this point further – that
the State Police itself had nothing to do with the
administration of the camp, the housing, the
provisioning, and the treatment of the prisoners – this
was dealt with exclusively by the Economic-
Administrative Head Office.”

Answer: “That is so.”

The last passage from this document, at the bottom of page
24, point 6:

“The Final Solution of the Jewish Question meant the
complete extermination of all Jews in Europe – in June
1941 I was given the order to install extermination
facilities at Auschwitz. At that time there were
already three other extermination camps in the
Generalgouvernement: Belzec, Treblinka and Wolzek.
These camps were under the control of the Operations
Unit of the Security Police and the Security Service.
I visited Treblinka, in order to ascertain how the
extermination was carried out. The camp commandant of
Treblinka told me that he had liquidated eighty
thousand in six months. His assignment was mainly the
liquidation of all Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He had
been using carbon monoxide, and I considered his
methods not to be highly efficient. When I set up the
extermination building in Auschwitz, therefore, I used
Zyklon B. This is crystallized cyanic acid, which we
introduced into the death chamber through a small

Witness, you made various journeys to such camps where
extermination was carried out; would you indicate which
journeys these were, what was your assignment, and what you
caused to be done there, or what you subsequently reported?

Accused: Certainly. During my interrogation I already
made a statement about the journeys – the official journeys
which I was ordered to make, and I must basically confirm
this statement, because it is the truth of the matter.
However, when I was able to study the literature, I found
that I had got the timing wrong. I also got the timing
wrong in other matters – the years got mixed up with me – so
I have taken the literature, particularly Reitlinger, as
well as Hoess’ own book, Kommandant Auschwitz (Commandant of
Auschwitz), and carried out comparative studies. And, on
the basis of the literature available to me, I have drawn up
a chronological table, and on the basis of this chronology I
have tried to the best of my knowledge and belief to insert
these official journeys as accurately as possible.

I should like to start with the first official journey which
I was instructed to make by the Chief of Security Police and
Security Service, who at the time was Heydrich. I received
an order to present myself to Heydrich. He told me: “The
Fuehrer has ordered the destruction, the physical
destruction of Jewry.” He instructed me to go to Lublin and
to consult with Globocnik, who had received an order about
this activity from Himmler – I believe it was from Himmler –
the idea being for Globocnik to use the Russian anti-tank
ditches. That was the order which Heydrich gave me.

I arrived in Lublin and reported, indicated my assignment,
and then, together with either one of Globocnik’s adjutants
or another SS officer who knew the region, I set off in some
direction which I was not familiar with, arrived at a site
where I saw two medium-sized peasants’ cottages, which were
being worked on by a captain in the Order Police, whom I
found in his shirt-sleeves. He told me that he had to seal
these cottages hermetically, and that the Jews were to be
gassed here by means of a Russian submarine motor. I did
not see any more there – the installation was not yet
operating. I returned to Berlin, where I reported and, in
accordance with instructions, notified my superior,
Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, as well as the Chief of the Security
Police and the Security Service of what I had seen.

I must add something to this statement with regard to the
question of timing. It was in any case a long time, or at
least some time, after the double battles of Minsk and
Bialystok, because in my travels I crossed the area where I
saw some battered Russian tanks, but where generally things
had been dealt with by the German Salvage Commando, who had
cleaned up the battlefields. It cannot yet have been
winter, because where these two peasants’ cottages were,
there was a deciduous forest, and the trees were still in
leaf. I would therefore think that it was around the end of
summer or autumn 1941.

I received orders for the second journey not from Heydrich,
but from Mueller. He told me I was to go to the Warthegau,
and he informed me that Jews were being gassed to death in
Kulm or Kulmhof, and he wanted a report on how this was
being carried out. I travelled to the State Police Office
in charge, which – as far as I can remember – was the
Litzmannstadt Police. They gave me an official familiar
with the area, who took me to the site. In Kulmhof I
observed the process, according to orders, made my notes,
and then returned to Berlin, where I reported to Mueller on
what I had seen.

As far as I remember, in my Statement – at least I think so
– I said that this must have been around the end of 1941.
In the meanwhile, in Reitlinger I have found that, on the
basis of his documents, Reitlinger comes to the conclusion
that there was a permanent gassing camp in Kulm at the end
of December, and so I must have been in Kulmhof either at
that time, the end of December, or shortly after it. After
reporting to Mueller, I asked him for the first time to give
me a different duty, as I was not the right man for these
things. Mueller’s reply was that a front-line soldier could
not choose where he wanted to be placed, but had to do his
duty wherever he was stationed.

After this visit to Kulm, I was again sent off by Mueller,
this time to Minsk, and Mueller told me that there were
shootings going on in Minsk, and he wanted a report on them.
I arrived in Minsk, and the next morning I somehow was not
on time – in any case I was late in reaching the site to
which I was being taken. An extermination operation was
just about to be finished. I saw the riflemen shooting away
at the people who were standing in a ditch; this is the
event about which I have already related how I saw a child
being shot out of its mother’s arms and my reaction to this
– I have already stated my reaction to this as well. It is
easier for me to say when this was, because I know that I
was wearing a long leather – a winter coat of leather, so it
was winter, and therefore I have been able to determine the
time, with Reitlinger’s help as well, as the winter of 1941-
1942. It can only have been that winter.

It was only after I had made visits to these sites in
accordance with orders, and to report on what I had seen
there, that I was ordered to go to Auschwitz and to report
on this matter there as well to Mueller. I have also tried
here to set some precise timing for this visit, to the best
of my knowledge and belief. Hoess says that I visited him
in June 1941. However, this is scarcely possible, because
he relates that I told him about gassing and shooting. That
presumes that I had already been both to Minsk and also to
Kulmhof, because it was in Kulmhof that I saw gassing and in
Minsk shooting. But I was in Minsk in the winter of 1941 to
1942, and before that I was in Kulm at the earliest at the
end of December, as the permanent gassing camp did not start
operating in Kulm until the end of December.

In the book, The Commandant of Auschwitz, in which Hoess’
statement appears, on page 153, it says that I am supposed
to have said, “then France and Holland will be next.” On
this I should like to say that Weizsaecker, State Secretary
Weizsaecker, did not authorize deportation of the first six
thousand Jews from France until 20 March 1942, so that I
could not possibly have said anything like that until after
20 March 1942, because prior to that I myself did not know

Hoess also says that until the summer of 1942 he buried the
bodies in mass graves, and it was only after that he burned
them on a gridiron. When I was there I saw this – the fact
of burning on a gridiron – and I also reported on it, and I
also saw people using cardboard covers. Today, I do not
remember whether I was shown these cardboard covers, or
whether people threw them in, because in the course of
everything I have read and heard all this has become mixed
up. However, what is definite is that I knew this at the
time and also reported on it.

These were the official journeys I was ordered to make in
order to obtain information, so that first of all my
immediate superior, Mueller, could have a picture of what
was going on – and it was on his orders that I had to
undertake these journeys – and also from Heydrich himself,
the first time. In none of these journeys, did I receive
any assignment to give the people on the spot any advice
whatsoever or to interfere in any practical fashion, simply
to take in the stark facts and to provide my superiors with
these facts, without any comment. That was my task.
Anything else is not true. If Hoess maintains that I
discussed or worked out something about gassing with him,
that is not true, I never concerned myself with that.

On the contrary, I accepted these orders with the greatest
reluctance, and despite my repeated requests to be excluded
from these duties and to be relieved of these duties, my
superior was not at all forthcoming, and I had to carry out
this order. That had to happen to me of all people, when I
was mentally attuned to a totally different area; until then
I was mulling over the Madagascar Project, but I had not
thought of any bloody solution, and not of such a violent
one, just as I in no way interfered with the Gerstein
affair, because I knew nothing about it.

I then received another order to go to Lublin again. This
visit must have been between the 10th…between 22 August
and 28 October 1942. The reasons are as follows: I had to
take a letter to Gruppenfuehrer Globocnik in which he was
charged or empowered or authorized to kill 150,000 or
250,000 Jews. I can only have taken this letter and
delivered it by making a direct journey. I can only have
taken that letter when the first part of the Reinhardt
Operation was coming to an end. The reason is that I still
remember hearing then that Globocnik had that funny idea –
that he was going to have an ex post facto authorization
issued for himself in writing, and that he had apparently so
requested. But I also remember today driving through
Lemberg, on the outskirts, and seeing for the first time
something I had never seen before, namely a fountain of
blood. I passed a site where Jews had been shot some time
before and where – apparently as a result of the pressure of
the gasses – the blood was shooting out of the earth like a

Last-Modified: 1999/06/10