Session 088-05, Eichmann Adolf

Attorney General: If that is so, why did you mention five
million Jews during your interrogation by the police?

Accused: Because I think, as far as I remember, that at
the time I gave my men – a few officers – some kind of final
briefing. I did not mention Jews only. I lumped everything
together. I did not know whether the number of five million
enemies of the Reich, of five million Jews, was exact. It
was an approximate number, for I believed, and I also said,
that five million Germans had fallen. This number of five
million, which I repeated three times, was, if I may say so,
a rhetorical phrase which in itself was not the heart of the
matter, but the heart of the matter was: the Reich has been
defeated, but the enemies of the Reich have also paid their
toll after having destroyed the Reich in blood and in
substance. I believe that in this sense I can more or less
explain this matter.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, if you wish to sit down during
the translation, you may do so.

Attorney General: No, thank you. I still have not received
an answer to the question why you explicitly said in Bureau
06, quoting your own words, that you had mentioned five
million Jews.

Accused: I have already said that I referred to everyone
who was considered an enemy during the War. I also
mentioned five million Germans. Whether that number was
right or not was not important to me at that moment. And
the reason was, as it clearly says here in this same
paragraph, that I was engaged in manning the defensive
positions around my office. But I did not say that I would
gladly jump into my grave because I had killed five million
Jews, or had their death on my conscience, or had taken part
in their killing.

Q. We shall leave that for the moment. In your own
handwriting, in File 17, which has been accepted by the
Court, printed page No. 3, you declared in writing that
Adolf Hitler had already declared war on the Jews much
earlier, years before the Second World War. Are you willing
to repeat this here?

A. I do not remember that paragraph by heart, and I can
relate only to my own handwriting in File 17, for I have
found that the typescript contains many errors.

Q. I shall give you your handwritten statement.

A. Thank you.

Q. Look at page 6: “The then ruling Fuehrer and Chancellor
of the Reich, Adolf Hitler, had already declared war on
Jewry years before the War and certainly during the War in
his public speeches.” Is that correct?

A. Excuse me, I cannot find the place on page 6.

Presiding Judge: It is 734.

Accused: Page 6 here is 725. Should that be 735?

Presiding Judge: 734.

Accused: Yes, 734.

Attorney General: Have you found it?

Accused: Yes, I have found it.

Q. Is that correct?

A. I wrote this, yes.

Q. Is it correct?

A. It is also correct, yes.

Q. You may keep it with you, if you wish to rely on your
own handwriting only. This paragraph continues: “The
enemies of the German Reich naturally also did not do this.
On both sides the watchword was `enemies must be
liquidated’.” Is that correct?

A. Yes, but of course this paragraph, too, does not refer
to the Jews, for the Jews did not take up arms against the

Q. One moment, we shall find the continuation. Read the
continuation, let us hear whether it does or does not refer
to the Jews. Read it aloud.

A. A respectable and patriotic…

Q. No, “and Jewry throughout the world …the circles.”
Read it, please.

A. One moment, please.

Presiding Judge: It comes immediately after the sentence
which has just been read, at the end of page 734.

Accused: “The enemies of the German Reich naturally also
did not do this. On both sides the watchword was `enemies
must be liquidated’ and Jewry throughout the world had,
through its leader,…” It is difficult to read, something
has been inserted.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Chaim Weizmann.

Accused: Something is written before that, yes, “declared
war on the German people.”

Attorney General: “Evidently declared war.”

Accused: “Evidently declared war.”

Q. The Jew was such an enemy who had to be liquidated,
isn’t that so?

A. No, that was not said here so sharply – it should also
be viewed in the context from which I proceeded. I
proceeded from the one-sided treatment of the Germans after
the War as “woe to the defeated,” and that is shown on page
733 of this manuscript I have here.

Q. You worked in Department IV of the Gestapo which was
called “Adversaries – Investigation and Liquidation…”
Presiding Judge: …”Fight against them.”

Accused: Yes, yes.

Attorney General: And the Jews belonged to these enemies who
had to be fought.

Accused: Yes, that is obvious from the division of work.
But it does not say “liquidated.”

Attorney General: It does not say “liquidated”? Look at
page 767 of this manuscript.

Presiding Judge: Yes, he did say it.

Attorney General: Yes, I have it. It says here: “The then
ruling Fuehrer and Chancellor of the Reich personally
ordered the physical liquidation of the Jewish enemy.” Is
that correct?

Accused: Yes, but it should be understood in the context
of what follows.

Q. First of all, is that correct?

A. Yes, I have already said that elsewhere.

Q. The Jew was thus an enemy according to you?

A. I must explain this further, for taken out of its
context this sentence gives a false picture for me.

Q. First of all I want an answer “yes” or “no,” and then
you can give me your explanation.

A. The Jew was at the time regarded and described as an
enemy, yes. May I now continue reading this statement and
explain why I wrote this sentence here?

Q. It is written here, the Court can read the continuation.

Presiding Judge: Which part do you wish to have read?

Accused: “and thereby I, and consequently also my
subordinates in the Gestapo department of the Head Office
for Reich Security…” etc. – I don’t find the continuation,
but this section reads something like “therewith I was
released of these matters, for my Department had no part
whatsoever in the physical liquidation.”

Presiding Judge: I do not see that here; you must find that

Accused: It says here that “by this time the era of – say
– individual treatment on the basis of the existing
regulations had come to an end, and I, as well as the
subordinates in my Department, were thereby released from
these matters, for now the Fuehrer and Chancellor of the
German people had personally ordered the physical

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Judge Raveh: Mr. Hausner, the same marginal note also
appears on page 796, and much clearer. Perhaps you can let
the Accused read this note word by word from the enlarged
photocopy. I endeavoured at the time to decipher that, but
did not manage to decipher all of it.

Attorney General: Gladly, Your Honour.

Please, go to page 796. You will find there a remark in
your handwriting, with the words “Concerning the final
solution of the Jewish question.”

Judge Raveh: I am not sure that we are referring to the
same section.

Accused: It is exactly the continuation of the marginal
note on page 707, and…

Judge Raveh: Read what follows, please.

Accused: “and I, as well as the subordinates in my
section in the Gestapo office of what was then the Head
Office for Reich Security, were therewith relegated to
second rank in all matters concerning `the Final Solution of
the Jewish question,’ for what was now being prepared was
assigned to other units and nailed down by another Head
Office under the jurisdiction of the Reichsfuehrer-SS and
Chief of the German police.”

Attorney General: At the end of the War you knew that you
were wanted as a war criminal. Was that the reason that you
went into hiding?

Accused: I did not know for sure that I was wanted as a
war criminal, but at the time everybody who had served in
the Gestapo was arrested, and therefore, in view of the fact
that these mass arrests were carried out by the North
Americans, I also adopted another name, as hundreds and
thousands did at that time.

Q. And nobody told you at that time that you were
considered a war criminal?

A. A war criminal – no, nobody used this specific term war
criminal as referring to me.

Q. Nobody used that term? I have received my answer.

A. I would like to add to it.

Q. No, I used that term, and that was what I meant.

Presiding Judge: What would you like to add?

Accused: I would like to add that in the jargon of that
time everyone who belonged to one of the organizations
which, at Eisenhower’s orders, were specified on the
billboards in every village, was considered a war criminal.
In this sense I must say that I was, of course, also a war
criminal, for there had been dozens of organizations.

Presiding Judge: Yes, all right.

Attorney General: Your colleagues, too?

Accused: According to Eisenhower’s orders, yes.

Q. I read to you part of an article in Life magazine, from
the bottom of page 104, the same section from which you have
not dissociated yourself. I shall pass it on to the

Presiding Judge: Which page have you read just now?

Attorney General: Page 104, bottom, of the German

“Finally even my loyal Burger asked for a private
conversation. `Herr Obersturmbannfuehrer,’ he said, `you
are wanted as a war criminal. The rest of us are not. We
have discussed the matter thoroughly. We feel that you
would do your comrades a great service if you were to leave
us and arrange for another commanding officer’.”

Did Burger say that to you?

Accused: First I must say that in my interrogation by the
police I expressed my absolute reservation about this
article. But with regard to this specific quotation, I must
say that Burger indeed said this, as everybody was
considered a war criminal. I was the highest-ranking
officer, and since the war criminals were graded by rank, it
is obvious that a captain was glad when a Lieutenant Colonel
left him alone.

Q. So that was your comrades’ solidarity with you!

A. It was a time of great pressure for everybody. Some
reacted in this manner, others in a different way.

Q. You said here that the order to liquidate the Jews came
from Hitler?

A. Yes, my superior in those days, the Chief of the
Security Police and the Security Service, Heydrich, himself
told me that.

Q. Are you aware that the Nuremberg Tribunal sentenced
Goering, Frank, Kaltenbrunner and others to death because of
their role in the liquidation of the Jews?

A. Yes, but they were men who gave orders.

Q. And you think, therefore, that this sentence was just?

A. As they had given orders and were therefore responsible,
they had of course to take the consequences.

Q. And therefore you consider this sentence justified?

A. Yes. As I said this morning, those who give orders are
responsible, not those receiving orders. The one who gave
the orders was free to withdraw from them, in case he wanted
to dissociate himself from them, whereas his subordinate –
that is to say the recipient of the order – could not do

Q. We shall return to the question whether you were a giver
of orders, or a recipient of them.

You have always been a strong anti-Semite, isn’t that so?

A. I was never an anti-Semite, but I was a nationalist. I
have declared this, too, in writing and verbally, that I
have never been an anti-Semite.

Q. Do not your words, in your talks with Sassen, in the few
pages that have been admitted as evidence by the Court, bear
witness of strong anti-Semitism? You stated that if Krumey
and Wisliceny indeed helped a few Jews to save themselves,
this is the reason that the Hungarian people suffers today
under the terror of a Jewish secret police.

A. I can relate only to File 17 which I can check. I must
dissociate myself from the others.

Presiding Judge: What have you quoted now?

Attorney General: I quoted page three of document T/1033a.

Presiding Judge: That is from File 17 which was admitted,
isn’t it?

Attorney General: It refers to the same passages in the

Presiding Judge: Let us first look at that remark.

Attorney General: Please do so.

Presiding Judge: As I hear, this was admitted to elucidate a
comment which you made in File 17. Please, read this
comment, Mr. Hausner. Where is it?

Attorney General: On page 3, at the end of the first
paragraph, it says: “Then Wisliceny, contrary to what he
knew, gave a false report.” I am reading from the few pages
that have been submitted, with the consent of both parties,
as part of File 17. If the Court will allow me, I shall
read the following sentence: “In that case Wisliceny and
Gromey (this should be Krumey) must in the last instance
take upon themselves the blame for the fact that the Magyar
people suffers today under the terror of the Jewish secret
police.” Did you say that to Sassen?

A. It is difficult for me to accept this sentence as being
my words, and I have also a reason for that.

Q. I don’t want a reason, I want an answer. Did you, or
did you not, say this?

A. I said that it is difficult for me to remember that I
used such words.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, to which comment in the
document does this refer? To comment 5? That is what you
have read?

Attorney General: I read what is written in the text.

Presiding Judge: But what does it say in comment 5? Perhaps
we should see the context.

Attorney General: I do not have the manuscript here.

Presiding Judge: But it is on page 1 of File 17.

Attorney General: But I think, Your Honour, that it does not
belong here.

Presiding Judge: But it is marked here as comment 5.

Attorney General: For the moment I accept the answer, but I
shall return to the matter.

Presiding Judge: It would nonetheless be worthwhile to see
the connection with File 17.

Attorney General: The problem is that the pages are those of
Superintendent Hagag, and we have not yet renumbered the

[To the Accused] Was your terminology in your official
correspondence anti-Semitic?

Accused: I am not aware that I used the same sharp,
insulting terms which anti-Semites usually employ.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/11