Session 095-03, Eichmann Adolf

Attorney General: So let us return to your conversation with
Guenther. What was this big ill-feeling between you and

Accused: I have just said. When I may have heard about
this at the time, and I am again assuming that this ill-
feeling was because of the gas business, that I knew about
the gas business, then this ill-feeling must have arisen
entirely automatically – not only ill-feeling, but also
rejection, because Section IVB4 did not deal with such
matters, and simply could not and was not authorized to
produce the necessary competence. And where it was not a
question of special assignments for the Department, a
Section Head, in addition to his purely ordinary work, also
had to deal with and was responsible for ensuring that his
section did not handle matters for which it was not
responsible or competent.

Q. And then Guenther naturally, of course, said to you, “I
am handling this gas matter by order of Mueller, by special
assignment from Mueller,” did he not?

A. I have not the faintest idea of the words Guenther
used… Guenther was an exceptionally taciturn man,
extremely sparing of words, but I myself may have seen
matters this way, if it is correct that this gas business
reached my ears at that time, and not later.

Q. Now look. At the beginning of your police interrogation,
before you were shown the Gerstein Report, you said the
following on page 387: “The first time that I heard anything
about gas in my Section, the very first time was while I was
in Hungary. Guenther somehow obtained some gas, I know that
and I also said to Guenther…”

My question to you is: What did you say to Guenther?

A. The only thing I can have said at that point – that
Section IVB4 is not competent for that, IVB4 has nothing to
do with that.

Q. And Guenther’s reply?

A. Mr. Attorney General, you are asking me about matters
which I would now have to make up… I am quite prepared to
say according to my feeling what I said then.

Q. No, no – according to the truth.

A. According to the truth, I must say that I am unable to
remember. I could…more or less try to reconstruct how
things were. But before an impression arises of my trying
to evade this question of what I did or did not know, I
should like to state perfectly frankly that I would rather
take upon myself as a fact that I knew, rather than give
rise to any doubts, since I have stated so much of my own
free will of what I saw and what I knew, that I would also
shoulder this as well without further ado. It is simply
that I cannot remember precisely – and that is a fact. But
if I can be of assistance, well then, I am prepared to take
this matter upon myself in any case as one who knew about

Q. Look, this is a very serious matter, and you are not
being asked to make a concession, but to tell the truth.

Presiding Judge: That will do.

Attorney General: We shall return to the conversation with
Guenther and try to find out what you can remember. So you
discovered that when you were in Hungary, Guenther had dealt
with gas. That is what you told us. Is that correct?

Accused: If I said that, then it is definitely correct,

Q. And that was when you already knew that Mueller was
issuing special assignments to all sorts of people, as you
put it, behind the Section Heads’ backs?

A. It was common knowledge that Mueller issued special
assignments. That had been known years earlier.

Q. And, as far as keeping the gassings secret was concerned,
that had not been a secret to you for a long time, and so it
was not a question of withholding this from you for reasons
of secrecy?

A. If someone received a special assignment, it did not
matter what special assignment he received; in any case he
had to keep quiet, since otherwise he would be liable to

Q. No, no, that was not my question. There cannot have been
any reason to give someone from your Section a special
assignment for gas deliveries, in order for you not to know
about it, since after all you in any case already knew about
the gases.

A. They* {* The Accused was asked about “Sie” (you) and
replied about “sie” (they)} knew about the fact of gassing,
but the fact of an order to procure gas – that was
completely new.

Presiding Judge: The question was, why was there a special
assignment at all to keep things secret? Since you yourself
knew about the matter, why was this not assigned in the
normal way to your Section?

Accused: Your Honour, these are matters which I myself
cannot work out. First, I was not at all responsible for
such matters, since otherwise my Section would have dealt
with such matters as a matter of course, and then there
would have been records to that effect. After all, the fact
of the gassings extended over a considerable period and was
not limited just to one month.

Attorney General: I shall rephrase my question. If, in
actual fact, according to what you know, as you said on
pages 933-934 [of the Statement], this was a special
assignment given to Guenther by Mueller, what point was
there in your reaction which you worded as follows: “since
how am I now to submit this to the Department Chief? He
will surely send me to the devil…!” This does not make

Accused: From the position I took in my Statement, you
can see my personal lack of confusion – how here I tried to
reconstruct everything which I could, in order to contribute
to any clarification…I was willing to do this.

Q. But you will agree that this does not make sense.

A. It is quite clear. After all, if he – Guenther – if
Guenther had an assignment, and that is not a special
assignment, then that must be notified to his superior. But
if he has an assignment from his superior, then there is no
point in informing the superior of this matter.

Q. But when you first found out about this, you did not see
it as a special assignment. Otherwise these words would not
have made any sense.

A. I cannot be charged today because of this in the shape of
rigid, precisely defined questions, just as I cannot be
expected today, to give a precise, definitive reply, as I do
not know. And, therefore, I said that, in order not to
allow any suspicion to arise that I want to evade something,
I take it upon myself – and I repeat this yet again – that I
knew of this fact at that time. However, I cannot say
whether it is correct or whether it is not correct. But I
would rather take this upon myself, than have it said of me
that here I evaded something.

Judge Halevi: Did you apprise the Department Chief of this?

Accused: Your Honour, I no longer remember. I have lost
all contact with that time. I have a very vague
recollection of some gas business.

Q. Did you apprise the Department Chief of this?

A. I do not know.

Attorney General: But if you read the Gerstein Report in
Buenos Aires, as you said you did, then you must have known
that Gerstein referred to Guenther’s first gas transaction
as having taken place in 1942, and not in 1944.

Accused: I did not receive the complete Gerstein Report,
and I did not read it at all.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Attorney General, there would seem to
be some mistake here. I understood specifically that he
said that he got to know about the Gerstein Report, in other
words, that somebody told him about it.

Attorney General: Thank you, Your Honour.

So you knew that in his report Gerstein maintained that the
transaction with Guenther was as early as 1942.

Accused: I cannot remember the date, but I do know that
there was this link with gas and Guenther – that is what I
know, but I do not know the date.

Attorney General: Let us turn to a different topic. Your
Section was in direct contact with the Commanders of the
Security Police and the Security Service in the various
occupied countries, was it not?

A. Perhaps “in direct contact” is not exactly the right
term, since the contact passed through Chief of Department

Q. But there were direct exchanges of letters between
yourself and the Commanders of the Security Police and the
Security Service and from them to you, is that correct?

A. Yes, of course, that is clear.

Q. And you also gave instructions in certain special

A. That is precisely the difference. I could not give any
instructions to a Commander of the Security Police and the
Security Service, while the Department Chief could give
instructions, so I had to have the Department Chief’s
instruction in order to be able to draft a letter with
regard to such instructions and sign it “by order.”

Q. We have already heard this so many times and we are aware
of this, and I can assure you – if I might be permitted to
say so – that the Court knows that your argument is that the
instructions came from Mueller. But they were drafted by
you and issued through you, were they not?

A. I am sorry, I forgot, you made the point earlier this
morning, Mr. Attorney General, but it is just impossible for
me not to react when I hear that I am supposed to have
instructed a commander, so I react immediately and
automatically, as I cannot do otherwise. I shall try not to
do so in the future.

Q. Yes, I entirely realize that that is a completely
automatic reaction on your part. So, for example, when you
write in T/851, document No. 546, “I have therefore
instructed the Commander of the Security Police and the
Security Service in Prague to leave the Jews in question in
Theresienstadt until further notice,” in any case you use
the form “I.”

A. I have already made the point that when I use the first
person, that is not I myself, that is the Chief of the
Security Police and the Security Service.

Q. Now look – I am telling you that even without the special
powers which you were given as a result of your assignment
for the Final Solution, you, as a perfectly ordinary Section
Head, had the first decision about all matters which came
under your Section. Is that correct? As a Section Head,
even without any special assignment.

A. A decision…

Q. “The first decision about all matters which came under
your Section,” in accordance with common rules of office
procedure “would be myself.”

A. This expression “the first decision” is not at all
familiar to me, I have never heard it, and I knew that the
Section Head had a modest right of implementation in
accordance with his status as Section Head. Right from the
very first day when I was transferred to Department IV in
Berlin against my will and my volition, the use I made of
this right of implementation…

Presiding Judge: You do not need to repeat all of this.

Mr. Attorney General, I wanted to ask you what does “the
first decision” mean?

Attorney General: This is what it says here. I am reading
this from an official book. I shall find out in a moment.
I am here quoting from an official book.

I shall now read to you from an official publication of the
Federal Republic of Germany, dated 1958, in the introduction
to which it says that it contains the instructions, which
applied under the Weimar Republic, dated 2 September 1926
and 1 January 1927, and which have not changed. I should
like to have your reaction as to whether what it says here
is true or not.

Presiding Judge: Please read the text out in German.

Attorney General: “The ministry is made up of departments,
which are sub-divided into sections. The basic unit in the
organizational structure of the ministry is the section. A
section head is an official in the upper echelons of the
Civil Service, who immediately below the departmental head
administers a section on his own responsibility. His is the
first decision in all matters which fall under his section.”

Is that correct?

Accused: I have already talked about “the first decision”
– this is completely new to me, this is the first time I
have heard that the section head has to take such a
decision. “The basic unit in the organizational structure
of the ministry is the section.” I will grant that. “All
work in a ministry must be allocated to a section.” Right.
“In so doing, whenever possible…” Right. “A section head
is an official in the upper echelons of the Civil
Service…” Yes. “On his own responsibility” – here I must
once again say that because of the changes in the manner of
issuing of orders, this was different under the Third Reich
from what it was in the Weimar Republic, since here there
were other regulations and orders which applied. That is
why a whole series of basic ordinances in this area which
were valid under the Weimar Repubic were revised by the
Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police, and by the
Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service.

In conclusion, with regard to this question of decisions, I
should just like to say one more thing about the matter of
“This is the first decision in all matters.” I should like
to say that a senior, very experienced administrative legal
expert like Regierungsdirektor (Senior Government
Counsellor) Huppenkothen, who was himself the deputy of
Chief of Department IV, said – and I can but entirely agree
with this – that the Department Chief reserved for himself
all decisions of any significance whatsoever. It is my
opinion…that is the difference, however things may have
been under the Weimar Republic, or today in the Federal
Republic, but as far as the affairs of Department IV were
concerned – at the time in question – things were definitely

Presiding Judge: Are you submitting this?

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: I mark this T/1423. Please return this to
the Attorney General.


Attorney General: I want to try once more to understand your
assertion about the powers of the Section Heads. Are you
trying to say that the Section Heads did in fact have these
powers, but that during your time Mueller did not agree that
his subordinates should have such wide-ranging powers, or
that during the Nazi period generally the Section Heads did
not have any such powers?

Accused: I would not presume to assert the latter. I can
only state here what I myself experienced personally.

Q. That means that a Section Head did in fact have the right
to take decisions, but that you, as Mueller’s Section Head,
did not have the right to take decisions?

A. I believe that at that time it was definitely first and
foremost a question of the personality of the superior – to
what extent he developed any dictatorial features or

Q. And did Mueller have such features or not?

A. As far as decisions were concerned, he was very precise,
very fussy, very intolerant, and he made sure that he dealt
with things himself. I can only confirm this and make this

Q. For small details too, for really minor matters?

A. Mueller also decided on the most trivial minor matter.
That continued up to Himmler, who surprisingly also
intervened in the most detailed matters.

Q. Do you agree with me that Rudolf Hoess was probably in a
position which made him familiar with Himmler’s
relationships with his subordinates and his attitude to

A. Yes, I definitely do believe that, but he was from a
different Head Office, not from the Head Office for Reich
Security. I am only able to speak from experience about the
sector in which I worked, after all.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/13