Session No. 96
29 Tammuz 5721 (13 July 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the ninety-sixth Session of the
trial open. The Accused will continue with his testimony in
cross-examination. I remind the Accused that he is still
testifying under oath.
Accused: Yes, I am aware of the fact.
Attorney General: We heard this morning that you got the
transcripts back from Sassen three times, is that correct?
Accused: No – not that I got them back three times, that
is not correct – that I received three small packets, and
when I had seen what was in these, I rejected it. I did not
receive one item two or even three times.
Presiding Judge: This is clear enough – he is saying that he
received three packages, one after the other.
Judge Halevi: And each packet contained a number of
Attorney General: When you saw that these transcripts were
not accurate, did you note anywhere – at even one single
point in your own writing – that it was not correct?
Accused: I cannot remember precisely, but I will
definitely have made comments to that effect. Above all –
and this is the decisive point – I gave up making
corrections because there was no sense and no point
whatsoever in continuing to correct the text.
Q. I assume that you found that matters were not accurate
already when you received the first packet?
A. I found this on practically every page, not just in the
first packet. I was horrified as to how this whole matter
had been reproduced, but that could not upset me any more,
as once I saw how inaccurate things were, I insisted on a
contract, and that was signed.
Presiding Judge: We have already heard that.
Attorney General: Yes, we have already heard about that.
You could not be upset any more. But why did you not
immediately stop the recordings, if you noticed right from
the beginning, as you are saying, that things were
Accused: Because basically I was happy to be able for
once to talk about the whole complex matter, and to some
extent dispose of it. That was really my main motive, but I
could not foresee where it would lead to.
Q. And I am telling you that in the corrections which have
been identified as being made by you, in your handwriting,
from page 18 to page 667, that is to say, all the way
through the pages of the transcriptions of the tapes, there
are notes which contain your corrections.
A. That is quite possible, but that does not mean that I
acknowledge that. On the contrary, I know that I wrote and
described long corrections as inserts, and even these
inserts were not sufficient to correct the rubbish written
Q. You never accused Sassen of falsifying your words, did
A. There was no point in levelling any accusations; instead,
I agreed with him that the whole thing had to be redone, and
it was postponed and postponed…
Q. Did you accuse him of falsifying your statement?
A. I did not use the word “falsify.”
Q. You did not do so?
A. I said, “It is wrong in substance.”
Q. But you did not accuse Sassen of typing anything else but
what you had said.
A. I noticed this for the first time ever here, namely when
I received the first tape, or whatever it was, into my hands
and immediately found three pages which were not at all my
own words. Not at all.
Q. But when these packets were in your hands, to be
examined, as I understand it, did you not at that time
notice that these words were not your words?
A. I did not see them at all there, and what I did see, I
examined, and as far as…I wanted to correct it, and I saw
that there was no point in correcting it. It was pointless.
That is also the meaning of the many numbers which I have
written in…the many numbers stand for corrections by
inserts, and these inserts, as I have just said, were not
sufficient to correct the whole thing.
Q. Your Statement in Bureau 06 also contains corrections on
almost every page. But that does not mean that, before the
corrections, what was typed was not what you had said, but
that you were given the opportunity to correct that, and
presumably you also had this opportunity with Sassen?
A. I did not have this opportunity with Sassen. I have
already said here, about these transcripts, in my Statement,
that although experts transcribed from the tape, despite
this there were repeatedly passages which would have totally
distorted things if they had not been discovered, and it was
sometimes very difficult to extract the correct meaning from
the machine. There existed the danger all the more, that
just for this reason an incorrect record would be produced
in these notes of the Sassen Documents, if the personnel who
produced this transcript was not trained in the manner that
was the case here in Israel.
Q. But you admit that Sassen did not falsify anything?
A. Falsified or added, I do not know what the right term is.
In any case, in part these are not my words.
I would like to add something further by way of explanation.
When I had tape 17 before me yesterday, there was a sentence
where the word nicht (not) had not come out in the
photocopy. Let us now suppose that the word mehr (more),
which was already not particularly clear, was also deleted;
I would then have to confess that it would be very difficult
for me to say what the sentence is supposed to mean, because
if these two little words nicht and mehr are omitted, this
sentence means precisely the opposite of what I wrote.
Q. But if it were unmehr (from now on), it would be
perfectly clear, would it not? If instead of icht you put
A. That never meant…
Q. That never meant, because you say so.
A. No – I think that in any case it can be checked very
easily, because this nicht has not entirely disappeared;
some parts of letters can still be made out at the top, so
that the word nicht can easily be reconstructed.
Q. The word could be nun.
A. No – apart from that, I can solemnly state on oath that
this should be nicht, and the whole meaning of the passage
proves that it can only be nicht.
Q. The judges will be able to weigh this up.
But you definitely knew in which tape you were in your talks
with Sassen? For example, in tape 41 I see you say: “Now
that we have already covered forty-one tapes,” etc.
A. If that was given by Sassen – this figure – then I knew
it; otherwise I certainly did not concern myself with how
many tapes there were.
Q. “I can now state by way of evidence that in forty-one
tapes I have described all the normal things,” etc., etc.
That is by way of example of what came from your own mouth.
A. That is perfectly possible, because over such a long
period, if I found out what the number was, I used it. I
have said as much already.
Q. I understand that at that time you probably did not
suspect Sassen of falsifying your words – otherwise you
would not have signed the contract with him, for him to edit
your account of things.
A. The contract was signed in order to protect me from any
falsification et cetera, and the conditions I made in this
contract also protected me by excluding any falsification or
description of falsities and untruths.
Q. No, that was not my question. My question is: Did you
suspect Sassen of putting other words into your mouth than
those which you said, since if you had suspected him of
doing so, presumably you would not have embarked on this
transaction with him.
A. With the bad German which Sassen speaks, that is
perfectly possible, but in any case I must…I must repeat
that I must disassociate myself from these things. Sassen
is not a German; Sassen does not speak pure German or clear
German; Sassen speaks the German of a foreigner.
Q. Very well; so I assume that you wanted to be on your
guard against any mistakes by Sassen, because of his
unpolished language, but I assume that all the same you were
not on your guard against any falsification by Sassen.
After all, one does not make a deal about publishing a book
with someome whom one suspects of falsifying things.
A. The person who could vouch for what I did say was not
Sassen but someone else – this other person vanished after
the third or fourth or fifth conversation or evening, and
was never present again after that.
Q. Who was the other man?
A. That was a certain Mr. Fritsch, who at the time was a
publisher by profession.
Q. But also in Fritsch’s absence you continued for many
months with your talks with Sassen, didn’t you?
A. After all, nothing could happen to me…
Q. “Yes” or “no,” is that correct or not?
Q. All right, that will do. This morning you said here what
your attitude is today to the extermination of six million
Jews in Europe. Was that also your attitude when you
dictated your conversations in 1957?
A. That is my fundamental attitude not only since 1945, but
as I also stated and said, in part since before 1945.
Q. I asked you if that was your opinion in 1957 – you will
please reply to that.
A. I can only answer this question if I can say…if I can
point out that I also said this morning that, in the years
in which I was working out a new conception of the world, I
also had relapses, relapses which were the temporary results
of external causes, and if I am given alcohol and put in the
right conditions, then normally a person does not know what
he is saying. Because that is how things were and all sorts
of other things. That is why I must in principle dissociate
myself from these matters.
Q. You are not answering my question; I am asking whether
that was your attitude in 1957.
A. No, that was not my attitude in 1957.
Q. That is what I want to know.
A. May I add something further to this?
Presiding Judge: Yes.
Accused: If this question could be disposed of in one
single word, that would be the equivalent of lip-service.
But if someone, as I was, has all these years been in these
infernal events, thrust into them, bound by his oath,
bearing the burden of conflicts of conscience and other
conflicts, if one wants to try and select…if one wants to
find some path along which one can move, if one is looking
for some internal strength, this is very difficult for a
human being, unless he is a philosopher by nature – and I am
not a philosopher – to be able here to find for himself some
road which will be permanent and lasting. And that all
takes time, that is not the sort of thing which happens
overnight – otherwise, in my opinion, that is just empty lip-
Attorney General: In 1957 you still expressed your regret
about the fact that Jews had managed to survive in Hungary.
Is that correct?
A. In 1957? In any case, my handwritten notes say no such
Q. This has already been accepted by the Court… I have
already read it out to you, that it was the fault of
Wisliceny and Krumey that the Magyar people were exposed to
the terror of a Jewish secret police. That is what you said
in 1957. Is that correct?
A. I cannot remember the words, but I do know that in 1957,
I…there was the revolt in Hungary, I have to think
back…in connection with the revolt I did say something,
but not that, not that.
Q. In 1957 you also said the following – pay attention: “No,
I have no regrets at all, and I am not eating humble pie at
all. In the four months during which you have recorded the
whole matter, during which you have endeavoured to refresh
my memory, a great deal has been refreshed…it would be too
easy, and I could perfectly reasonably, for the sake of
current opinion, play a role as if a Saul had turned into a
Paul. But I must tell you that I cannot do that, because I
am not prepared to, because my innermost being refuses to
say that we did something wrong. No – I must tell you quite
honestly that if, of the 10.3 million Jews shown by Korherr,
as we now know, we had killed 10.3 million, then I would be
satisfied and I would say all right, we have destroyed an
Is that what you said?
A. No, I did not say that, I did not say that at all. That
has been patched together from a mixture of fact and
fiction. But there is one thing I did say: Regrets do not
do any good, regretting things is pointless, regrets are for
little children. What is more important is to try and find
ways and means of making such events impossible in the
future. That was the general tone of the conversation.
Presiding Judge: Do you have this page? Mark it, that will
make things easier.
Attorney General: [Marks the relevant passages in the
Accused: I can also say here, I am not familiar with the
passage, nor do I know where it is, but I presume there is
not even any attempt at corrections anywhere near it.
Q. If this is supposed to be a mixture of truth and fiction,
then look at the passage here and tell me what is truth and
what is fiction? I have marked the passage for you here
with red Xs.
A. I do not need to analyze anything here at all. I must
characterize the entire passage in this form as not having
Presiding Judge: Perhaps you could just, for once, give a
straightforward reply without any “because.”
Accused: This part about regrets, for example. That
might have been said, but not in this form. But because it
is my point of view that regrets do not change
things…nobody can be brought back to life by regrets. And
that is what I also expressed in this form.
But what I said after that is not in here. And I definitely
also did not say that I was refusing to say that we had done
something wrong, because it was my point of view that we had
in fact done things wrongly. That is also proven by my
actions at the time.