Session No. 92
27 Tammuz 5721 (11 July 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the ninety-second Session of the
trial open. We are continuing with the cross-examination of
the Accused. I remind the Accused that he is still
testifying under oath.
Accused: I am aware of the fact.
Attorney General: Accused, when you signed either with the
abbreviated form, i.A., or in full, im Auftrage (by order),
that meant that you were observing the general directives
and were signing in accordance with the general rule, did it
Accused: I am not familiar with any general rules or
general directives; the only thing I do know is that when I
signed im Auftrage, by order, whether abbreviated or in
full, I was so ordered by my chief, because in every single
instance I would make sure I consulted my superiors, and
observed the right of any specialist officer to have
instructions issued to him.
Presiding Judge: I do not understand. In all instances when
you had to sign a letter in a file, you received
instructions from your chief?
Accused: In all instances which were new, on which my
chief had not yet taken a decision. If that is not
sufficient, I can give examples.
Presiding Judge: That will suffice.
Judge Halevi: Does that mean that there was never a single
letter signed by you which was not marked i.A. or im
Accused: There was not a single letter signed by me which
was not signed i.A. or im Auftrage. I was prohibited from
doing this throughout my entire activity in Department IV.
Attorney General: And this is true both for matters on which
you had to consult your superiors and for matters which had
already been decided, and where you did not have to consult
anyone. Is that true?
Accused: Signing im Auftrage? Yes, that is true.
Q. So you will agree with me that the mere fact that you
signed im Auftrage or i.A. actually meant nothing at all?
A. I am sorry, Mr. Attorney General, I could not follow you
there – I had my orders, and this is shown by the term im
Auftrage, by order, and the term was not just for show. It
was just like the term in Vertretung, on behalf of, the
Chief of Department. The Department Chief had his
authority; the specialist officer had a right of
implementation of his own, that is true. But I did not even
make use of this right of implementation, as can be
confirmed by the testimonies – I was known for this far
beyond my own Section, for running, for going to my superior
on every single matter.
Presiding Judge: In any case, the fact that a letter is
signed i.A. adds nothing, nor does it detract from the
question of whether in a specific instance you received
instructions from your superior, or whether you received
these, as you put it, in the shape of directives, guidelines
and so on. That is correct, is it not?
Accused: Yes, it is. In all cases I had to – I could not
sign other than im Auftrage, whether in that particular
instance I had approached my superior for instructions, or
whether I had signed straight away on the basis of some
previous instruction which had established a precedent.
Attorney General: Look at exhibit T/681, document No. 1444.
Here you have put your signature on stationery of the
Reichsministerium des Innern (the Reich Ministry of the
Interior), on an order in which, on the basis of the powers
granted to you, you order the transfer of the property of
the various Jewish communities, listed individually, to the
Reich Association of the Jews in Germany. And you sign i.A.
On behalf of whom were you signing this order, for example?
Accused: Without going into the contents, the letterhead
reads: “Reich Minister of the Interior, Police SIVB (new).”
This is the Section, and according to instructions in this
case, the letterhead to be used here was that of the Reich
Minister of the Interior, together with the prefix “Pol.,”
the use of which is covered by regulations, and also the
designation of the Section. After my chief had settled
that, I also had the right to write “by order.” That was
perfectly normal according to the prevailing regulations.
Q. But by whose order was it signed?
Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, do we have Regulation 10 which
has been submitted in evidence?
Attorney General: I do not have the document before me, but
I believe that a photostat has been submitted to the Court.
Presiding Judge: This would show us who is authorized to
issue instructions, I assume.
Attorney General: (To the Accused) Did something like this
have to be passed on to a minor specialist officer? That
could not have been done without Mueller having to sign
this, according to what you have said?
Accused: No, not if I already had my chief’s
instructions. I believe that in some written internal
instruction or other it was stated explicitly that these
matters are to be settled from case to case, with individual
instances being decided and clarified. That has been
submitted here and can be examined in writing.
Q. So that means by order of the Reich Minister, does it
A. I do not know how this is to be construed; but certainly
the “S” appears there, and below that the indication of the
police. Today, I do not know what explanation for this was
given by the administrative legal specialists. I am sure
that at the time I knew it.
Q. But you cannot have signed by your own order. After all,
IVB4 is you yourself, and you cannot mean to say that you
were signing on your own order – Eichmann by order of
Eichmann. You were signing by order of the Minister of the
A. I believe that if you look at the relevant decree on this
matter, the emphasis will – I believe – be on this little
word “Pol.” Today, I would imagine this to be Police
Department or Department of Police in the Reich Ministry of
the Interior. It has to be something along those lines. In
any case, it can be read in this decree.
Q. In your interrogation by the police, you said that every
time you signed i.A., this meant that you were doing so on
behalf of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security
Service. You said so, for instance, on page 1830 [of the
Accused’s Statement], and you said so also in connection
with a whole series of documents submitted to you. You
certainly know on behalf of whom you were signing, and
certainly this did not become clear to you as a result of
the documents which you saw.
I therefore ask you whether what you said on page 1830, “at
the very most I signed by order, i.e., by order of the Chief
of the Security Police and the Security Service” – I ask you
whether this is correct?
A. There were two letterheads: “Chief of the Security Police
and the Security Service, III” or “Reich Ministry of the
Interior.” Every time that I signed “by order,” it was of
course by order of the incumbent of the office which
appeared on the letterhead. The specialist officers in the
Reich Ministry of the Interior signed “by order,” and the
specialist officers in the Head Office for Reich Security
had exactly the same right to sign, as the Head Office for
Reich Security was, I believe, a division or a main division
in the Reich Ministry of the Interior.
Q. Let me now show you two documents, one signed by you and
one by Suhr. The first document is No. 600, T/550, which is
signed by you. This is headed “Head Office for Reich
Security,” and you signed im Auftrage. The same applies to
T/401 as well – our number 694, where you are writing under
the RSHA heading and sign “i.A. Eichmann.” That means then
that here you are acting by order of the Head Office for
Reich Security. Is that correct?
A. Yes, it is, in accordance with instructions.
Q. And when you sign a document such as T/771, or any one of
these documents where you signed under the heading Chief of
the Security Police and the Security Service and added your
signature with “by order,” that means that you signed on
behalf of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security
A. Yes, that is what this means.
Q. That means that everything you have told the Court – that
these signatures mean that you always acted by order of
Mueller – that is incorrect.
A. No, it is not incorrect – on the contrary, Mueller was
the representative of the Chief of the Security Police and
the Security Service; he was the person who had to give me
my instructions, and he gave them to me.
Q. Yes, we have already heard that. When did you first
learn of Hitler’s order to carry out the Final Solution of
the Jewish Question?
A. I learned of this when I was summoned to see the Chief of
the Security Police, who at that time was Heydrich – this
was after the German-Russian war – I have already stated
that it was some time after the twin battles of Minsk and
Bialystok, and it must have…
Q. Approximately when was that?
A. I have lost any recollection of that – it could be worked
out, because the battlefields had already been cleared up by
the Building Site Commandos – so that it might have been, in
my estimate, August-September – in any case it must have
been before the trees started shedding their leaves.
Q. We shall try to go back through the documents and
identify when this was. When you wrote in T/733, document
No. 1558, to the Foreign Ministry about preventing the
emigration of the Jewess Flora Sara Bucher, in the light of
the approaching Final Solution of the Jewish Question in
Europe, and that was on 19 November 1941, you already knew
about Hitler’s order, which is why you spoke of the
approaching Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.
A. This was not yet termed the Final Solution of the Jewish
Question, because at that time the Madagascar Plan had not
yet, to the best of my knowledge, been shelved.
Q. But this very morning we heard that the Madagascar Plan
was shelved at the end of 1940 or the beginning of 1941. So
there could be no talk of Madagascar in November 1941.
A. This is the first time I have heard that the Madagascar
Plan is supposed to have been shelved at the beginning of
1941. I have never heard that.
Q. So when was it shelved?
A. I remember very clearly that when Heydrich ordered me to
undertake this official journey, I secretly…that is to say
as far as I was concerned I knew nothing…Madagascar was
what was important for me.
Q. So when was the Madagascar Plan shelved?
A. I am not sure when it was exactly, but in any case the
date given here, February 1942, is too late – it was shelved
earlier than that. One can imagine that the Madagascar Plan
was definitively shelved when orders were given for the
deportations to Minsk and Riga. I think that it was then.
Q. So when was that?
A. That was November 1941.
Q. Therefore, if the Madagascar Plan was present in your
mind when you signed T/733, it would not have been
reasonable to forbid the Jewess Mrs. Bucher to travel to
unoccupied France, because why should one have prohibited
her travelling to unoccupied France?
Presiding Judge: Perhaps we can clarify this. Accused,
according to what you said, the Madagascar Plan was shelved
because of political developments.
Attorney General: He referred to military developments, Your
Presiding Judge: Political and military, right? This was
after the De Gaulle uprising, and after De Gaulle gained
control of the French colonies in Africa, was it not?
Accused: That is correct, Your Honour, and immediately
after that there was the action taken by Ambassador Abetz in
Paris, and I think that should give us a very good idea of
Presiding Judge: Very well, but was that not much earlier
than November 1941?
Accused: Your Honour, I have also tried to determine the
date accurately with the help of the material available to
me. Abetz visited Hitler for this purpose in autumn 1941, I
believe, and that is when Abetz submitted that the
Madagascar Plan was no longer really valid and recommended
looking for a solution in the East. Thus, I believe that
this date is also important when it comes to determining the
time when the Madagascar Plan was shelved, and this date is
to be found in Poliakov (Red), which reproduces the entire
contents of the letter of Embassy Councillor Zeitschel to
his ambassador, including a date.
Attorney General: In reply to a question from His Honour,
the Presiding Judge, you said that the shelving of the
Madagascar Plan was linked to De Gaulle’s seizure of the
French fleet and French overseas territories, in 1940. Is
Accused: I believe…I must add that when I say linked,
that means at around the same time, as far as I can tell, as
the presentation of the ambassador in Paris to Hitler.
Today, twenty or more years later, I can no longer remember
the exact dates. I do not know.
Q. Do you know when Madagascar itself was conquered by the
Free French forces?
A. No, I do not know that. I did not find this in any of
the documents which refer to the matter.
Q. I shall remind you of the exact date – I shall tell you
that it was long before 19 November 1941, so that when you
wrote on 19 November 1941, about the approaching Final
Solution, you could no longer be dreaming of Madagascar.
A. If, when I wrote this, the deportation orders for Riga
and Minsk had already been issued, then obviously I could
not have – but I do not know when the deportations to the
East were ordered and carried out.
Q. Very well, I can help you – it was in October 1941. Do
you want to see?
A. Yes, please, if I may.
Q. I shall show you in just a moment – what I have now is
not the document I am thinking of. In any case, what I wish
to know is this: When on 19 November 1941, you talk about
the “approaching Final Solution,” you cannot mean Madagascar
any more, because at that point you already know of the
Fuehrer’s order, and that the “Final Solution” means
A. As I have said, once orders came from the top for
deportations to the East – to the Russian areas – at that
point obviously, in accordance with orders, that is what
would have been meant by the Final Solution, but as long as
that had not happened, in accordance with prevailing
terminology of the day, the Final Solution meant the
Madagascar Plan. I cannot say any more about this than was
indicated in orders at the time – I have no reason to deny
Q. We shall see in a moment whether you cannot say any more.
In exhibit T/395 you wrote once more to your Foreign
Ministry – on the same date, 19 November 1941 – that “in the
light of the impending Final Solution of the Jewish Question
in Europe, emigration of Jews from the territories occupied
by us will be prohibited.” That, too, is not because of
A. There is a basic order from Himmler about this, included
in the files here, prohibiting emigration from the occupied
Presiding Judge: That was not the question – the question
was, what is the meaning of the words “the impending Final
Solution” in this letter?
Accused: It is the date, Your Honour, which is not clear,
and I am saying quite honestly and frankly that if at that
time the Madagascar Plan had been shelved on orders from the
top, then this phrase “the Final Solution” meant the eastern
arrangement. But if, when this letter was written, the
Madagascar Plan was still in force, then it referred to the
Judge Raveh: Perhaps you would show us the document to
which you are referring in Poliakov (Red). Here it is.
Please show us the document to which you are referring.