Session No. 105
7 Av 5721 (20 July 1961)
Presiding Judge: I open the one hundred and fifth Session of
Decision No. 95
We admit those passages from the transcripts [of the Sassen
Document] which contain corrections in the Accused’s
handwriting, the submission of which was requested by the
Attorney General, as material for evaluating the Accused’s
testimony with reference to these passages.
Attorney General: For practical purposes I would ask the
Court to allow me to extract the relevant passages from the
original transcript and submit each of them separately. I
assume that we will be able to do this by tomorrow morning.
Presiding Judge: Very well. I hope that there will not be
any disagreement, but perhaps it will make things easier if
you show them to Dr. Servatius first.
Attorney General: Yes, of course. Dr. Servatius does
actually have all the transcripts at his disposal. We are
limiting ourselves to those passages which we read out,
which we showed to the Accused, and on which we asked for
his comments; but I have no objection whatsoever to showing
the material to Dr. Servatius in advance.
Presiding Judge: Very well. You will submit these passages
The Accused will now continue with his testimony, this time
in re-examination, in reply to questions by his Counsel. I
remind the Accused that he is still testifying under oath.
Accused: Yes, Your Honour, I am aware of that fact.
Dr. Servatius: Witness, you have said about a series of
documents shown to you in cross-examination, that these are
forgeries. Did you mean to say that these documents have
been fraudulently produced or forged, or that the contents
were erroneous and incorrect?
Accused: I do not believe that I said “the documents have
been forged.” That I really do not remember. However,
there are some documents here which, it is true, refer to
matters long past and which apparently come from Nuremberg,
and with those I am not at all familiar.
Q. Witness, the Prosecution is basing itself largely on the
so-called Sassen Memoirs. I have a few more questions on
the factual content and authenticity of these memoirs. How
did you meet Sassen?
Q. I met Sassen, without being aware of it, when Skorzeny
visited Buenos Aires. I became aware of him when his
partner enquired whether I would be ready to write something
down from my recollections. That was around 1956-1957…I
do not remember precisely when it was. And the other
occasion was some time before that.
Q. Did you become friendly with Sassen?
A. Yes, over the years, one could say so.
Q. You said that he originated the proposal made to you,
that you publish a book based on your recollections?
A. In fact it was not Sassen who did this, but his partner.
But it was all mixed up, and the two spoke together, so that
I really do not know anything definite about this. I would
rather say that his partner was the first one to take the
Q. I am going to read out to you a translation from the
French magazine L’Express of 1 December 1960, where Sassen
indicates how you met, and I would ask you to comment on
this. For reasons of expediency, I shall read out the
relevant passages and would ask you then to indicate whether
this coincides with your description.
In the magazine it says:
“Four years before the Israeli Secret Service
discovered Eichmann and kidnapped him from Argentina,
Sassen had already completed his questioning. He had
even made Life a first offer, which had been rejected.
Sassen himself is a man with an incriminating past.
Half-Dutch, half-German, he served in the Waffen-SS.
In the middle of the War he returned to Amsterdam, to
run a Nazi newspaper. After the defeat, when he was
being hunted by the Dutch as a collaborator, he fled to
Ireland and then went on to Argentina in 1947. Since
then he has worked as an independent journalist,
writing for a large number of newspapers and magazines,
including Life. He has never changed his name, which
also appeared in the Buenos Aires telephone directory.
In Buenos Aires he naturally found many Nazi friends.
He is now 43 years old. However, he appears to have
lost none of the blind opportunism demonstrated by his
Sub-heading: “The Man with the Twitch”
“According to his own description, one day in 1955
Sassen was waiting for a friend in a pub in Buenos
Aires. He noticed a man near him who wore glasses and
had a twitch in the left corner of his mouth. Since I
am very interested in the theatre and faces, he says, I
started observing this man. But he did not like this.
He looked around to check whether I was looking at
anyone else. Then in a chaffing voice he said in
German, `What is it about me which interests you so
much?’ And that is how we started to talk. The man
with the twitch introduced himself as Ricardo Krumey,
an ex-colleague of Adolf Eichmann’s. When he heard
that Sassen was a journalist, he told me that he could
tell him a sensational story which was of great
historical interest. It concerned the number of Jews
killed in the Second World War. Being intrigued,
Sassen invited the man to his home and started asking
him questions on a tape recorder.”
“`…I had no idea whatsoever that it was Eichmann,’
asserted Sassen; `he had told me that Eichmann had died
near Linz.’ But one day the man with the twitch forgot
himself – during an interview, he suddenly flared up:
`…how could I – I, Eichmann – give orders for…’
Sassen stopped the tape recorder and said, `I do not
believe you need to tell me much more’.”
Heading: “Two Comrades in Arms”
“‘After Eichmann had revealed his true identity,’
writes Sassen, ‘I threw myself body and soul into this
matter and tried to find out whether it was his
conscience which had driven him to speak out, or
whether he had done it for other reasons. I considered
it to be my professional duty to find out as much as
possible about the dreadful and bloody story of the
slaughter of the Jews during the War. I thought that
the light of Eichmann’s detailed memories should be
shed on this dark and bloody chapter of modern history.
The Germans and the Jews alike – mankind as a whole is
entitled to this clarification’.”
“This is undoubtedly Sassen’s version – but there are
good reasons to assume that he knew right from the
outset whom he was talking to. After all, Eichmann and
he are both Nazis – old SS members and refugees, and it
is obvious that a certain degree of trust developed
between the two men, in the light of their common
Would you indicate to the Court whether this description by
Sassen is correct?
A. All I can say about this is that what I said previously
Presiding Judge: So what is your answer to the question put
by Counsel for the Defence? Is it correct or incorrect?
Accused: That it is not correct; what I said before is
Presiding Judge: All right, we will now hand this back to
Counsel for the Defence.
Dr. Servatius: Why then, according to you, did your friend
Sassen make these false allegations?
Attorney General: I do not wish to interfere with the re-
examination, but it has not yet been proved to us that this
came from Sassen, and consequently, in my opinion, this form
of question is inadmissible.
Presiding Judge: Yes, Dr. Servatius?
Dr. Servatius: I shall act in accordance with this
objection. You have, however, heard that Sassen made
statements which were repeated here in the press, according
to which he presents things differently? How would you
Accused: When you say press, Dr. Servatius, do you mean
what you have just read out?
A. I have no explanation at all of this.
Q. Did Sassen once tell you that he had already some time
earlier offered the result of this interview to Life
magazine – that is, not only after your arrest?
A. No. I have not heard such a thing.
Q. What was to be the purpose of the book?
A. The purpose of this book was to describe what had
happened, but when asked questions, I normally had to say:
“I do not know, I can no longer remember that.” But that
was not going to produce a book. However, these things had
taken place. I had an immense gap in my memories, because I
had completely switched off. And then what happened was
that it was agreed that in the end it was not actually
important; what was important was to identify the facts of
what had taken place. And then there was talk of author’s
licence, and so on, so that on balance it would not have
been a lie, because in fact this was a description of the
facts. And as far as I was concerned, it was all the same
to me whether it was mixed up or not. As far as I was
concerned, the main thing in factual terms was that what had
happened was actually recorded as such.
Q. Did Sassen give you any instructions, or make any demands
of you with regard to the general tendency of the book?
A. Yes, that, if possible, I should say something about
everything, in order to make sure there was plenty of
material. But then, as co-author – as it was called – he
would have had to turn this into a book.
Q. Perhaps I did not ask my question sufficiently clearly.
Did Sassen insist on the book following a particular line?
A. Yes, at the beginning the idea of those who asked me
questions was that – that Hitler should, whenever possible,
be left out of this whole story. The original tendency was
for me, so to say, to accept responsibility for this matter.
But then I said that no one would believe this if I were to
say so, apart from which, I maintain that the man who gave
the orders for this cannot in any way be left out, because
then that would entirely…then it would not even be worth
starting to write things down.
Q. Was Peron still in power at the time when you dictated
A. Yes. I believe that at that time General Peron was still
President of the Republic of Argentina.
Q. Was the book designed to suit this atmosphere, the
A. I do not think so, but as I have said, it would be better
if it were somehow to follow nationalistic lines. I think
that is perhaps a better way of putting it, although I am
still not sure whether this is the right way to put it. But
what is right is what I said previously: The idea was to try
and keep the figure of Hitler out of the whole complex.
Q. Did what was written correspond to your attitude, too, or
did you allow yourself to be persuaded to exaggerate?
A. At the beginning of every meeting I countered; then, as I
had more and more to drink, we would talk about the… that
is why I called the whole thing pub talk, but when I
received the material for correction, my hair stood on end,
and that is when I started writing the correction slips.
Presiding Judge: What do you mean, you countered? I am not
familiar with this expression. Explain it to me.
Accused: Well, at the beginning of a session, if…if
things were suggested to me, if I said, say, “I cannot
remember,” or if ridiculous things were suggested, if I was
presented with pure inventions, then, while I was still full
of fight, I countered, I said no…
Presiding Judge: You mean you refused?
Accused: That is exactly what I meant.
Dr. Servatius: I believe the expression comes from card
playing, to counter someone.
Presiding Judge: The Accused has already explained, it means
Dr. Servatius: During the interview, was the tape recorder
turned off, so that you first discussed what should come in
the next section, and discussed what sort of attitude you
should adopt and how you should comment?
Accused: No, as far as I know, the tape recorder was
functioning the whole time; at least I did not have any way
of checking whether it was functioning or not. From time to
time it was switched off, and then it was started again. I
did not concern myself with this either.
Q. Did Sassen say to you about the Brand “Goods for Blood,
Blood for Goods” operation: “That is bad, something else has
to be brought up”?
Presiding Judge: I would ask Dr. Servatius not to word his
questions as leading questions, in other words for the
question not to be so worded as to suggest the answer to the
Accused. The Accused will now answer.
Accused: That was the first time I heard this idea of
“Goods for blood and blood for goods,” but as to what else
was talked about at that time and what he said to me, I no
Dr. Servatius: The Attorney General several times stressed
that you exercised authority which you could not have had as
an ordinary Section Head. In your talks with Sassen did you
talk about this point too?
A. I do not remember now. I never exceeded my authority as
a Section Head, on the contrary…
Q. I would like to read out to you something which you said
yourself in volume 2, at the bottom of page 86.
Presiding Judge: This has not yet been submitted, has it?
It has not been referred to up till now either, has it?
Dr. Servatius: No, it is only being used now as a basis for
the point that is being made, it is not going to be