Session 102-03, Eichmann Adolf

Q. So when Hoeppner wrote to you from Litzmannstadt on 16
July 1941 – T/219 – that it would be a more humane solution
to kill the Jews of Litzmannstadt, this was no surprise to
you, because at that time you were already in possession of
reports that a number of Jewish communities had already been

A. At that time I did not yet know that. I have already said
that the first time I heard of such measures was when
Heydrich sent me to the East. That was not on 16 July,
because the war against Russia had not yet been declared – I
believe – until the end of July.

Q. No, no.

A. Whatever, but the time when I was ordered to the East was
long after 16 July.

Presiding Judge: On what date is he supposed to have
received the first reports?

Attorney General: 25 July 1941. I shall check this in order
to make sure I am not mistaken.

I am not speaking about what you saw during your visit
there. I am speaking about the reports from the Operations
Units. I believe that the war against Russia broke out on 21
or 22 June 1941. As has already been stressed, you received
the first report on 24 June 1941. And by the date of this
particular letter you must, according to our information,
have received at least thirteen reports. Those were reports
about the extermination of entire Jewish communities.

Accused: But that is something I would really query –
whether by then I had already received thirteen reports.

Q. If that is the case, you force me to offer evidence. Let
us first of all agree about the distribution of the reports
– admit that up to a certain date, the office in Department
IV received three copies of the Operations Units reports,
one of which was sent to you as well.

A. I cannot indicate more precise details, but I do know
that I received such reports.

Q. Look at “Report of Events 1” of 24 July. The office
received three copies, office of Department IV.

Presiding Judge: Which number was that, please?

Attorney General: This is new, I have not submitted all of
this – I did not believe that this would be necessary.

Accused: From this it is not absolutely clear that IVB4
received this. This is not stated here.

Q. Here, it does in fact only state Department IV – three

A. Exactly, but I was not in fact Department IV.

Q. Right. And no other unit of Department IV is mentioned as
the recipient of the reports, except for IVE, not even the
Department Chief, right?

A. There is a reference to Group IV…I do not know…is it
Group IVB or IVE?


A. Because Section IV…

Q. IVE, that is clear, is it not – those are the Occupied
Territories, right? That must definitely…

Presiding Judge: And what is the date of the first report to
his Section?

Attorney General: To the best of our knowledge, 24 July
1941. The first report we have where IVB4 appears, or the
first time, is dated 24 July 1941. If the Court wishes me to
leave out all the others I shall be glad to do so.

Presiding Judge: I think you should do so.

Attorney General: Thank you very much, Your Honour, for this
guideline, and I shall observe it, since these are documents
which have not been used so far.

Now, this is what we know about the first reports which
reached you.

Presiding Judge: That means the first reports where Section
– where Section IVB4 appears explicitly in the distribution

Attorney General: Yes, I apologize – this is the first
report where Section IVB4 appears in the distribution list.

Accused: Yes, that is correct, I must have received this
report on 24 July 1941; I do not know whether it was on the
24th or 25th.

Q. The distribution list also changes here. The office now
receives one copy, IVB4 one copy, and the Department Chief
also receives a copy.

A. Yes, in Department IV there were…

Q. Whereas in the past the practice had been for the office
to receive three copies and distribute them in the
Department, now the issuing office distributed them

A. I do not know about the organizational aspect. But in any
case only thirteen or fourteen of the total of forty one
copies were distributed to the various Sections and Groups
in Department IV.

Presiding Judge: Are you submitting this?

Attorney General: Yes. If the Court could give instructions
to return these two to us afterwards, so that we can have
further copies typed.

Presiding Judge: All right. The document of 24 July will be
marked T/1429, and the second one, 24 July – T/1430.

Attorney General: So in the second half of July 1941, it was
no longer particularly surprising for you to hear that
entire Jewish communities had simply been slaughtered.

Accused: If I read this at the time, then I would also
have known this. Yes, but this did not yet mean the physical
extermination of the Jewish People, as Heydrich told me, but
these were the event reports from the East…

Q. Yes, yes. But I simply wanted to know why the letter
T/219 should have been such a great surprise. At that time
it was, after all, already clear to you that such things
were occurring. He was not, after all, suggesting to you
that this be done to the entire Jewish People – only to one
single town, and he proposes or requests that, given the
fact that they can no longer be fed, as there is no more
food, it might be perhaps more humane to use other means
against the inhabitants of this town. Is that correct?

A. Yes, it is simply a question of whether I did in fact
receive this document – whether this was ever before me,
that is the question.

Q. Just admit one thing: assuming that you received this
letter, this letter could no longer shock you or take you
aback, because from the reports which reached you at that
time you knew that such things were going on.

A. Assuming that this letter reached me, I must say that it
nevertheless would have been unusual, since that was Reich
territory – the other area was the front.

Q. So that is the only difference?

A. I just now only answered the question I was asked…

Q. True, true.

A. Without any – let us call it niceties, because I really
do not even know whether I received the letter.

Q. I am showing you a passage from the Sassen Document where
there are many corrections in your handwriting. For example,
look at this passage, marked with red brackets…there are a
fair number of corrections in your handwriting there. Page

Presiding Judge: Perhaps in the meanwhile you or someone
else could read this out.

Attorney General: We have certain passages typed out for the
convenience of the Court. We shall give a copy to the

Presiding Judge: But as usual, please read this out.

Attorney General: Do you then agree that there are
corrections in your handwriting in this passage?

Accused: I would like first to…

Q. No, no. Do you here see corrections in your
handwriting…you should be able to see these in a minute.

A. First of all, I drew a circle here with a reference to
slip No. 8. That slip is not there.

Q. Very well, but nothing is stopping you from telling the
Court what you wrote or wanted to write as slip No. 8. But I
am asking you whether there are handwritten corrections by
you here or not.

A. There are so many…I can read one, but this does not
indicate anything, because I wrote a slip about this.

Q. On which word did you make this comment? Just read it
through, that would be the simplest way, and please tell the
Court where you added a comment, and just stand up and read
this out.

A. Excuse me, am I to read out the passage marked in red?

Attorney General: Yes.


“Over whom did you have authority?” And then there is
the circle with the reference – slip 8 – “I had
authority over all my subordinates. These were a
Government Counsellor, a Government assessor and my
permanent deputy, a Government official, several
Senior Police Inspectors, several Police Inspectors,
several police clerks, several criminal investigation
secretaries and several criminal investigation
assistants, several police employees, several SS
Sturmfuehrer of the Security Service, for a while an
SS Obersturmfuehrer of the Security Service, several
SS Untersturmfuehrer and several Unterfuehrer and men
of the Security Service, who were acting as police
personnel. Thus I gave an outline of my Section, as it
worked in Berlin, and to the extent that there were
extended arms to this Section, there were the Advisers
on Jewish Affairs at the German Legations, with the
Commanders of the Security Police and so on. And here
there must be a qualification to the power of command,
since these people were first and foremost subordinate
to the ambassador or the envoy or the commander. If
they were unable to follow the orders in matters of
substance which they received, these Advisers were
free, unlike the other direct subordinates of the
ambassador or the commander, free to come to me, to
tell me why they could not carry out these orders,
because they were somehow contrary to an instruction
they had received from the Section. And they would ask
for clarification, and only then would they return to
their office – that could have happened. So here I did
have direct authority.”

That should read here: I did not have direct authority –
apparently a word has been left out, that can be deduced
from the meaning, so that naturally the last sentence has
been incorrectly transcribed by the typist.

Attorney General: Please continue.


“When you drew up a circular, with the letterhead:
Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service,
Section No…, signed ‘by order’ with your name, for
all State Police Regional Headquarters, this was an
instruction and an order…it was rather an
instruction, not an order, not an order, naturally…”

Q You wrote “not an order” in your own handwriting, after
the word “instruction,” didn’t you?

A. Yes, this was an instruction to the State Police offices.

Q. Is this true? I would like to know whether it is true
that you said this.

A. No…it should be understood…between an instruction and
an order. An official cannot receive orders; he has to
receive instructions. But what an instruction is for an
official, an order is for non-officials. I could receive
orders, but not instructions. The officials could receive
instructions not orders.

Q. Very well. Apart from this comment, is this correct?

A. No, according to the documents, it is factually incorrect
all the way through, as can be seen. I do not remember what
I wrote on the slip then. But I am sure it was only
something incomplete, because at the time I had forgotten
everything. Today, I know more about this whole matter and
how it proceeded.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, may I draw attention to
something else? In the original it says here, “so it was an
instruction and an order?” Crossed out, next to it,
handwritten: “not an order!!!”

Presiding Judge: In other words, this was something the
typist misheard.

Attorney General: No. It said “an order.” Eichmann crossed
this out, and added in his handwriting, “not an order.”

Presiding Judge: Yes. But apparently there was something on
the tape there.

Attorney General: Yes, on the tape it said “an order,” and
he saw that, and crossed it out and wrote “not an order.”
Very well, let us now take another passage. There are many
corrections, are there not?

Accused: Yes, I see a few corrections, not many, a few.

Q. Would you please read out the passage?

A. Yes.

“This is entirely new to me. After a considerable pause
had elapsed…”

I do not know what is new to me, I am reading it out, I see
no connection with what goes before…

“After a considerable time had lapsed and there were no
transports of Jews from Slovakia, Gruppenfuehrer
Mueller sent me to Pressburg, after I reported to him
that it appeared to me that in Slovakia difficulties
would crop up in matters of principle. I went off and
then spoke to the Slovak Minister of the Interior,
Mach, on the same day on which, in the evening, the
Slovak Minister of the Interior informed me that he had
just been notified by his representative in Prague that
there had been a bomb attack against Heydrich. I
visited the German Ambassador in Pressburg on the same
day, and put a knife to his breast, and told him
according to orders that the Chief of the Security
Police wanted efforts to be initiated immediately and
without delay to deport the last Jews from Slovakian
territory. I also informed the Slovak Minister of the
Interior of the same message, in fairly blunt terms and
without any diplomatic courtesies (I informed the
German Ambassador of that in the talk with him before
the meeting with Mach…). This was not in fact the
first meeting, as I knew Mach long before he became
Minister of the Interior, and that is why I could speak
completely differently with him than Ludin could have
as the official German Ambassador. So that possibly I
arranged things with Mach far more briefly and in a
more decisive fashion.”

Q. Did you say these words?

A. I am sure that I did not say these words in this form,
when I consider how many errors there are just in what has
been read out on page 32, despite the correction slip.

Q. Did you correct what needed correcting in these few

A. No, I did not correct these things at all, since I gave
up correcting.

Presiding Judge: You did make corrections – but you did not
correct matters finally? Is that what you are saying?

Accused: Yes. Not only did I not make final corrections,
Your Honour, but after I saw how many correction slips were
needed here, I stopped all corrections and gave it up, and
then for years I had nothing to do with this.

Presiding Judge: But we are talking about this one passage,
not about the complete document.

Attorney General: Would you please count how many
corrections or changes you made in writing in this passage –
just count them.

Accused: I cannot enter a discussion on matters which are
not officially cut and dried…

Q. Please tell us how many corrections are there?

A. Three ridiculous corrections.

Q. Three ridiculous corrections.

Perhaps I could ask you why just when you read this out, you
again corrected your own corrections? It says here that you
put a knife to his breast, as you expressed it, and said
that the RFSS (Reichsfuehrer-SS, i.e. Himmler) was demanding
the deportations. Previously it said the Chief of the
Security Police, which you crossed out and in your own
handwriting wrote RFSS, the Chief of the Security Police
being probably dead already or seriously injured. And why
now, when reading this out to the Court, did you return
again to the Chief of the Security Police??

A. I do not know. I only know that as of now I will no
longer give my comments and I shall not answer any more
questions, since I consider all of these documents to be
untrue and unauthentic and not correct, for the reasons I
have explained…

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14