Session 095-05, Eichmann Adolf

Q. Do you remember making marginal notes in this book as
well, as you also used to do in other books?

A. Yes, and this was also read out to me when I was making
my Statement, and I said about this…

Q. Yes, yes – Boldt criticized Hitler’s actions at various
stages during the War, and now I will read from page 2670 of
your Statement, where it said: “In January 1945, a young
front-line officer.” You deleted the words “front-line
officer” and wrote “scoundrel,” “traitor,” or “blackguard.”
Is that correct?

A. I admit that that is correct, with the restriction and
modification that one must also hear the text which led to
my writing that.

Q. That can be understood, because elsewhere – page 2671 –
you wrote the following: “The author should be flayed alive
because of his baseness – with such scoundrels the War was
necessarily lost.” And this is because he dared criticize
Hitler. You wrote this in 1955, did you not?

A. That is correct, but it is necessary to understand and
read the entire text here, because I stated that an officer
took an oath of loyalty; if this oath is broken, then this
man is a scoundrel. In exactly the same way, I maintain the
attitude that I have taken an oath here to tell the truth,
and I take great care, and every evening I examine myself:
Have I told the truth, or have I told just one untruth? In
exactly the same way, at that time, I maintained the point
of view that an oath is an oath.

Judge Halevi: So, in your opinion, the author of this book
broke his oath of loyalty after Hitler’s death and after the
end of the War?

Accused: No, Your Honour, I do not believe that, but the
text – I cannot think of it now, but somehow it shows that
this happened during the events of the War, because
otherwise I do not believe I would have written about
breaking an oath of loyalty and treachery.

Q. Do you believe that someone who swore this oath of
loyalty to which you have referred is released from his oath
after Hitler’s death or not?

A. After Hitler’s death, naturally everyone is automatically
released from this oath.

Q. You, too?

A. I, too, yes.

Judge Halevi: Thank you.

Attorney General: But as late as 1955 you were still
sufficiently furious to call the author of the book by the
names you used about him there?

A. Yes, because I consider oath-breaking to be the worst
possible crime and offence a person can be guilty of.

Q. A greater crime than the murder of six million people,
including one and a half million children? Is that correct?

A. No, of course, not, but I had nothing to do with that, I
did not deal with the extermination. If I had been assigned
to the extermination, then I probably would have shot myself
at that time, I believe – obviously I cannot say for sure
what my reaction would have been; but given my reactions
that I do know about and what I knew, I believe that I would
have put an end to myself and thus got myself out of this in
this way.

Q. In your eyes, was someone who was involved with the
extermination of the Jews a criminal?

A. He was an unhappy man.

Q. Was he a criminal? “Yes” or “no”?

A. I would not venture to answer this question, as I was
never put or placed in such a situation.

Q. You saw Hoess doing this in Auschwitz. At that time did
you consider him to be a criminal, a murderer?

A. I told him that what he was ordered to do I could never

Q. But that is not my question. My question is whether at
heart you saw him as a murderer.

A. In my inner life?

Q. No, in your heart.

A. That is a question which affects me very personally, and
if I did not express this then, I have no intention of
articulating this today either, because what my inner life
tells me is something which I have to carry with me on my

Q. You will have to reply to this now. How did you regard
Hoess when you saw him as a murderer of Jews, how did you
regard him – as a criminal or not? You will have to answer
this now.

A. I pitied him and felt sorry for him.

Q. Did you regard him as a criminal or not?

A. I shall not reveal my innermost feelings.

Q. This is one question you cannot evade. You have to
answer this question: How did you see the extermination
process and those who engaged in it?

A. A man can get into a situation which can nearly make him
go mad, and where it is just a tiny step, not even a
considered act, to reach for his gun. How the person in
question reacts to that depends on the individual. I can
only say how I probably and possibly would have reacted to
this. It is not up to me to give any form of personal
opinion about others who received orders in this context,
because these matters lie in spheres where every individual
has to come to terms with himself.

Q. In other words, Hoess was not a criminal in your eyes?

A. No, I am not saying that either.

Q. In your police interrogation you said that if the
Reichsfuehrer had told you that your father was a traitor,
you would have shot him with your own hands. Is that true?

A. If he was a traitor, probably.

Q. No, if the Reichsfuehrer had told you, would you have
shot him – your own father?

A. I would then assume that he would have had to prove it to
me. If he had proved it, I would have been duty bound,
according to my oath of loyalty.

Q. Was it proved to you that the Jews had to be

A. I did not exterminate them. However, I would like to
state here in this context that I am not trying to evade
anything in this respect either, and it is my intention to
ask for permission after the trial to put these matters down
in the form of a book, say, in which I can express myself
freely, and I am prepared to call a spade a spade, to serve
as a deterrent example for today’s generation and that of
the future. I also made this point to Captain Less in my

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, from which page did you take
the quotation about shooting his father?

Attorney General: I shall find this immediately.

Presiding Judge: Just one moment, Mr. Attorney General. I
am now addressing the Accused:

I am telling you that it is your duty to say here everything
which you would have written in your book – to call a spade
a spade. That is your duty, just as you would have done in
the book, or as you would do, and to hold nothing back.

Accused: Very well, then. Having been asked by you, Your
Honour, to give a clear answer here, I must state that I
consider this murder, this extermination of the Jews, to be
one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind.

Attorney General: If we are agreed about that, perhaps we
can agree on some further matter.

Judge Halevi: I have another question here. That is what
you think today, but how did you think then?

Accused: Your Honour, I shall have to answer this in some
sentences. This is a matter for the feelings of each
individual. When I first saw dead people, dead Jews, I was
terribly shocked. And this reaction, affecting my nerves,
stayed with me, it continued to affect me. I continued to
do my work in accordance with the inflexible duty which was
imposed on me. Under the influence of these events, which I
had to witness, I asked my Chief several times that he
should, for God’s sake, at last release me from it.

I have never before made this point as precisely as this,
because it might all too easily have given the impression
that I wanted to put myself in a better light and somehow
influence the outcome of a judgment. That is far from me,
and is not my intention; my intention is to tell the truth,
and then it can be decided what should be done.

Finally, I wish to state that I myself already at that time
did not consider this violent solution to be justified,
already then I considered this to be a monstrous deed, where
I regrettably, bound as I was by my oath of loyalty, had in
my sector to deal with matters relating to transport aspects
and was not released from this oath. That is what I wish to
say about this.

Q. Did you consider it to be a crime?

A. What I said to myself was this: The Head of State has
ordered it, and those exercising judicial authority over me
are now transmitting it. I escaped into other areas and
looked for a cover for myself which gave me some peace of
mind at least, and so in this way I was able to shift – no,
that is not the right term – to attach this whole thing one
hundred per cent to those in judicial authority who happened
to be my superiors, to the Head of State – since they gave
the orders. So, deep down, I did not consider myself
responsible and I felt free of guilt. I was greatly
relieved that I had nothing to do with the actual physical
extermination. The part I was ordered to deal with was
quite enough for me.

Presiding Judge: Please continue, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: And I am telling you that you never ever
tried to get out of the part which you did play, and that in
1957 in your conversations with Sassen you said the
following: You were asked, “Did you not try – when this
assignment of `physical extermination’ appeared so dreadful
to you – did you not try to get out of this assignment?” –
and your answer was, “No, never.”

Accused: No, that is totally untrue; no, that is not
true. That contradicts the dozens of efforts I made to get
away from Department IV. They included my repeated concrete
proposal that I be given the post of a police chief which
had become vacant in the General Administrative Police.
There are even witnesses to that.

Q. And I am telling you that you said that you looked over
this tape and read it, just as you noted in your own
handwriting on tape 51 that you had gone through and read
everything up to this tape. Look, this is in your own

A. One moment, I just have to read this over.

Q. At the bottom – at the bottom, not everything, only what
is at the bottom. “After all these months that I have seen
it,” etc. Read that!

A. “The impossible conditions in this assembly camp which
are described here do appear to me, although I have no
recollection at all of such things, to be definitely
exaggerated. However, be that as it may, Section IVB4 of
the Head Office for Reich Security was not responsible for
local inadequacies. There were directives for all of this.
If these were not complied with, that is the fault of the
local authorities.”

Presiding Judge: Is that what you meant, Mr. Attorney

Attorney General: He is, of course, reading something else.

Presiding Judge: So stop him. Why waste time?

Attorney General: [to Accused] Please give that to me, I
will show you what to read.

Presiding Judge: It would be far easier if you were to read
it out yourself.

Attorney General: That is a little difficult, because it is
difficult to make out the handwriting.

Presiding Judge: But you have a transcript, do you not?

Attorney General: I do not have that, Your Honour. “In
these months I have not kept anything back from you.”

Presiding Judge: Very well, mark it, and the Accused will
read it.

Attorney General: Read out what I have marked with a red

Accused: “I must be believed, in these months I have not
kept anything back and I have said what I know. I would
also admit this without hesitation if I could remember it.
Quite often, when reading this through now, it was as if I
was able to remember something from my childhood. The more
I thought about things, the more confused my ideas became,
so that it appears to me that it was the beginning of a type
of auto-suggestion.”

Q. So you will agree with me that you went over all the
tapes and all the transcripts, at least up to this point?

A. I do not know. Here, for example, I cannot see any
notes whatsoever written by me, and also, when I saw that
this was an unsatisfactory, confused piece of trash, I just
lost all patience with correcting it, and started writing
out the whole thing as a first rough draft in my own
handwriting. Unfortunately, only a small part of this is
available, but the next paragraph does in fact say all sorts
of things about how I thought about this. Perhaps I

Q. Did you receive the transcripts from time to time?

A. I believe I received them in batches, two or three times.
I rejected them, as they were just impossible and not
correct, and I myself was not sure about things.

Q. No, no – I want an answer: Did you receive them or not?

A. I received them a few times.

Q. A few times; that will do.

A. No, I must please make a statement on this: Because of
these untruths and errors, I then made a contract, in order
to protect myself, and I insisted that I had to sign every
single page with my full signature. This was because of the
substantive errors and untruths and defects. In addition, I
also myself…

Q. No, no; please let us have no speeches, but replies to

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I would ask that the Accused be
permitted to read out this last handwritten paragraph, which
he considers to be vital to clarify things.

Presiding Judge: Very well, please read this.

Accused: “…several times during our work this has
already occurred; it is obviously really very difficult
after such a long time to cast one’s mind back to things.
In order to preserve the truth, this point should also be
made in the book. Something along these lines was also done
by Joel Brand, or by his writer.”

What I wanted to express here was that I did not just mean
the untruths and impossible things which were introduced
here by third persons, but also my own inadequacy of recall
and the danger of confusing various matters…all of this
has to be discarded. And that is why I concluded the
contract with these people, the contract from those years is
available, to the effect that only what I recognize as the
truth is to be published – what I signed with my full name.
I did not sign.

Presiding Judge: Yes, Mr. Hausner, you may proceed.

Attorney General: I take your hint, Your Honour. I am in
fact in the middle of this matter and naturally shall not
leave it there, but I can continue this afternoon, if it is
time for a recess.

Presiding Judge: It is indeed time, but if it is very
important, we can continue.

Attorney General: It is important, but I can continue this

Presiding Judge: We shall stop here. The next Session will
be this afternoon, at 3.30.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/13