Session 110-06, Eichmann Adolf

[Attorney General, Continued]

And now, it only remains to determine Adolf Eichmann’s exact
place within that spectacle of horrors. What was he? A sort
of perfected dictaphone, though one operating wholeheartedly
and with a willing spirit, but nevertheless merely a conduit
pipe through which his superiors heard the summarized
contents of files, and into which they dictated instructions
– as he claims – or the mainstay in the murderous

Eichmann, in his defence on this point, contradicts himself;
it runs counter to his statements made elsewhere. It is in
complete contradiction to all the evidence, and negates any
possibility of a structured military or police apparatus.

All the charts he drew up where intended to conceal, to
diminish and to minimize the image of Section IVB4, in order
to limit its scope to a microscopic point, almost invisible
to the naked eye. And in its stead there appeared entwined
spider’s webs of lines, arrows, chains of command and
channels of influence – charts that do not stand up even to
the most superficial examination. There is no command system
in the world that could have operated in the manner
described by Adolf Eichmann; and this much we must admit
about the Nazis – they were not inefficient. In order to
shake off and saddle others with the awful guilt he
humiliates himself, saying he never exercised the power of
command which he possessed as a senior officer, nor the
authority at his disposal as Section Head. And in order to
follow this absurd line to the end, he claims that he never
made any recommendation to his superiors on any matter,
small or large, and was, in fact, never required to do so,
whether it related to the dispatch of hundreds of thousands
of Jews from a particular country to their deaths, or
whether it was a question of the application of an
individual person to send a parcel to his relatives, who had
been deported to the Generalgouvernement or to Vichy France.
All these matters were determined by his superiors, and he
merely carried out what was demanded of him.

In this way, Your Honours, Eichmann tried to convince you
that he is a miserable person, a victim of circumstance,
whose bad fortune led him to be caught up between the wheels
of the murder machine. He does not deny the existence of
such a machine, that it was in operation, that it
perpetrated all these things, but he again and again
protests his innocence by saying: “Not I, but others; others
did it and justly received their severe punishment, since
they were the ones who issued the orders and who willingly
did what they had done.”

But in the Nazi system of authority, built upon the
principle of leadership, there was one supreme source giving
orders, and one only. That was Adolf Hitler. All those
placed beneath him in the chain of command received his
orders and transmitted them to the lower ranks. Every
ranking officer in the Nazi hierarchy, alike, used both to
receive and to give orders.

Wisliceny testifies that the idea of extermination in the
East originated in the minds of Eichmann and Globocnik, as
Eichmann himself acknowledged to his friend in 1944. From
them, the idea was conveyed to Himmler and it came back to
them – this time in the form of an order by the Fuehrer. I
have no doubt that it was not Eichmann who gave the first
comprehensive order for the extermination of the Jews, in
the same way as I have no doubt that the Chief of the
General Staff did not, on his own initiative, give orders
for the entry of the Germans into the Second World War. In
both instances the orders originated with Adolf Hitler, and
passed right down the whole chain of command until the very
last of those who were to carry out these orders.

By his own admission then, Eichmann occupied a place in this
chain, since as he stated, he dealt with and arranged the
transport of the Jews to the camps, in the full knowledge
that they were going to be put to death there.

By this, in itself, Eichmann acknowledges his role in the
crimes detailed in the first six counts against him, and
this admission of his suffices in order to convict him on
these counts. But was that, in fact, the whole of his share
in the enormous crime?

As against the version of the microscopic point – which has
nothing to support it, except his own word, and while at the
same time he maintains that, according to his belief, an
accused may lie in his own defence – there is a mass of
evidence, both oral and written, which has been submitted by
us; documents from the war period itself, testimonies that
were given at the trials of the war criminals, evidence that
was produced by the Defence in this trial, and witnesses who
were questioned on behalf of the Accused himself. All these
testimonies point clearly to him as the mainstay in the
execution of these terrible deeds, and there is nothing in
his defence, and in defence of his version, apart from what
he himself says. Perhaps for this reason, he took pains to
speak at length, to say something about everything, to make
a show of finding excuses for any problem in any way he
could, even in a totally absurd manner, contradicting what
he had said previously in his evidence, and what he would be
saying subsequently. His supreme effort in his examination
was not to remain silent and not to lack a reply to any
question whatsoever, for he only had his own word to rely on
– all the rest was against him, both the evidence produced
by us and by him. Hence he became so fearful when he had to
face the Sassen Document, for there Eichmann talked about
Eichmann and contradicted the account that he tried to
present to the Court. For this reason he claimed that with
this document, to use his expression, “they are trying to
fry me”; there he flew into a rage and said he would not
answer any further questions.

I will say at once that the extracts from the Sassen
Document which were submitted to the Court, and even the
document as a whole – if it had been admitted – were not
needed in order to provide grounds for convicting Eichmann.
We have copious evidence without his incriminating himself
by his own words, and the Prosecution does not seek to base
a conviction upon the Accused’s own statements. But the
passages that were admitted were necessary, utterly to
destroy his version, which in any case had been absurd, and
in order to show the baselessness his own account, which
anyhow was the flimsiest and contradicts all the evidence,
both oral and written. Passages in which he inserted many
amendments in his own handwriting testify to the fact,
without the shadow of a doubt, that the man appearing before
the Court is not only a murderer stained with the blood of
millions, but also a disgusting liar, who is ready, time and
again, when hard-pressed against the wall of evidence, to
make a theatrical gesture and to declaim that, while he is
innocent of any crime, he is nevertheless ready to take all
the guilt upon himself, so as not to appear a liar.

Eichmann himself relates in his Statement to the Police
that, in the presence of Mildner, he met the journalist
Sassen and together they examined and analysed the problems
of the extermination. In reply to my questions in cross-
examination, he said that he had conducted these
conversations with Sassen in order to put the record
straight, and that he had told the truth. He admitted that
he had quietly and calmly, and while totally sober, inserted
hundreds of alterations in the manuscript, and it is
precisely the slight printing errors that still remained,
such as the name Grumeir for Krumey and so on, which he did
not attend to, that prove that this was the first, rough,
draft of the words as spoken by him and amended by him in
the main places in the transcript, which was to have served
as the basis of the book they wanted to write.

The authenticity of the Sassen Document is proved by the
evidence in its entirety. Anyone reading Sassen obtains
complete confirmation of hundreds of documents, of the
testimonies of Wisliceny and Hoess, of the personality
obsessed by the idea of the destruction of the Jews, and in
the form in which the words were written down as having come
from him, it becomes clear that they had indeed been uttered
by him. The various expressions of keeping the ovens heated
with human beings, such as “Schlittenfahren” which, as we
were told, means, in his idiom, “to fix people,” elegant
methods of destruction, and the like, reveal the stamp of
his language.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, do you maintain that we can go
back on our previous decision in this matter?

Attorney General: No, Your Honour, I am only asking this of
you – to believe that the rest of the words, too, that I
read out to the Accused, and which contained insufficient
alterations to warrant my asking him to identify these
passages as having been corrected by him – were indeed
spoken by him and are indeed true, despite his verbal
denial. Although as far as his role and his status, his
powers and authority are concerned, those extracts which the
Court ultimately admitted are absolutely adequate for the
purpose of evaluation of the Accused’s evidence.

In conclusion, as regards the general assessment of his role
in the system of extermination, we do not depend on the
Sassen Document. In evaluating Eichmann’s skill as a liar
these extracts are of importance. I request the Court to
examine them and to form its opinion about them, and to
accept them as authentic.

But also without them, the Accused has been confronted with
copious evidence depicting his status in the extermination
enterprise, which absolutely bar for him an escape into the
microscopic cave that he sought to dig for himself in his

Hoettl, a Section Head in Department VI of the RSHA (Head
Office for Reich Security), testifies to Eichmann’s having
been the representative of the RSHA, and of Himmler, for the
arrest of the Jews of Europe, and for their transfer to
Germany. Hoettl goes on to say that this transfer ended in
the destruction of the Jews. Hoettl did not withdraw these
remarks when questioned as a witness. He said that Jewish
Affairs were handled exclusively by Eichmann and then called
him “the great transporter to death.”
In Wisliceny’s statements Eichmann’s activities are
described in detail by a man who had once been the Accused’s
superior, and who had afterwards served under him. The two
men were friends and worked together. Wisliceny himself
confessed to many and various crimes, and one may assume
that he knew what lay in store for him because of them
before the Czech court. His statements accord with
everything we know from the many documents which were
certainly not before Wisliceny when he gave his evidence and
wrote out his declarations. Wisliceny declared that it was
Eichmann’s task to execute the order for the extermination
of the Jewish People. He reported this at Nuremberg, and
testified that he had seen in Eichmann’s possession a
written instruction from Himmler, in which the latter based
himself on the Fuehrer’s order to exterminate the Jews. That
letter stated, so Wisliceny went on, “that the task has been
assigned to the Chief of the Security Police and the
Security Service and to the commander of the concentration
camps.” And Wislinceny adds:

“Eichmann told me that he had been personally commanded
to carry out the order within the framework of the RSHA
and, for that purpose, he had received the powers of
the Chief of the Security Police and the Security

All this completely matches Hoess’ statements, notes and
evidence. These two, Wisliceny and Hoess, made their
statements separately, and were certainly unable to co-
ordinate matters with each other. Hoess belonged to the
concentration camps section, and he testified that Himmler
had informed him that Eichmann would come to him and discuss
details of the extermination, and to make the necessary
arrangements in Auschwitz.

Wisliceny and Hoess both point to two basic links in the
chain – the RSHA which dealt with the matter through
Eichmann, and the Authority controlling the concentration
camps (before the Economic-Administrative Head Office had
been established) operated by Hoess, which together
constituted the main pivots for carrying out the mass

Wisliceny also described Eichmann’s devotion to his task,
and Wisliceny gives an account of his activity, his
relationship with his assistants, his friendship with Kraus
– the same Kraus to whose recommendation I have already
referred – of his immensely powerful position, of his
putting into operation the plan for extermination, and of
his decisive personal role in it. At the same time,
Wisliceny describes Eichmann’s cowardice, and his desire
always to be “covered” by an order. We heard something of
this urge for cover from the Accused himself, in his
Statement to the police, when the question of his
conversations with his superiors was referred to; he said,
inter alia:

“Yes, this was for the purpose of being covered; the
whole file receives cover from the fact that an order
has been given by some superior – thus I am only the
instrument for implementation, for in any case I was
only the instrument of implementation…”

Let us return to the matter of status. Rudolf Hoess
describes how Eichmann pressed for the carrying out of the
extermination, and stresses the indefatigable struggle he
waged in order to attain his objective as speedily as
possible. Eichmann did not want to take any difficulty into
account, and resolutely opposed the assignment of Jews for
labour, since this would endanger the ultimate objective,
and Eichmann’s life aim, says Hoess in conclusion, was the
Final Solution. Do we not see emerging here the image of the
Accused as it is portrayed in the Sassen Document?

This is what he says, in an extract which was submitted:

“In Holland, in the beginning things were rolling
simply splendidly; later on difficulties arose… It is
impossible to describe how difficult it was until
finally, it again became possible to get one train
moving. This could be seen in all the
countries…10,000 were removed, and after that a
struggle had to be waged. Subsequently, again, a
transport of 10,000 or 15,000 arrived…thereafter it
again became necessary to take up the struggle until
once again part of them was released, and so it went

This was Eichmann’s struggle: Frank, the Governor General of
Poland, wanted to retain a number of Jews for labour; German
industry wanted to retain a number of Jews; in Holland
Jewish experts were needed; the armaments industry demanded
workers; the railway administration was not prepared to
supply rolling stock; the Economic-Administrative Head
Office wanted selections of Jews in order to harness those
who were fit for slave labour. And yet Eichmann insisted, he
was obliged to put up an obstinate struggle with everything
and everyone, in order to accomplish his mission. And, as
Sassen says, he was compelled to persuade afresh, even his
own men from time to time.

To the representative of the International Red Cross, too,
he appears, towards the end of the War, as the central
figure dealing with all Jewish affairs. He is portrayed in
the official report of this body as an expert on all Jewish
matters, as occupying an eminent position in the
concentration camps of Lublin and Auschwitz, and as the
direct authorized representative of the Reichsfuerer-SS for
all Jewish affairs. According to the definition of the
representative of the International Red Cross, Eichmann’s
name was on everybody’s lips as the person responsible for
the extermination operation.

Already in October 1941, his name was linked by the
emigrants in London to the murder of the Jews of Germany, as
stated in the newspaper Die Zeitung. In Vilna, in 1941, Abba
Kovner heard from a member of the Wehrmacht, Anton Schmid,
that he [Eichmann] was the central personality in the
extermination. Zimmerman heard this in Cracow in 1942 from
members of the Gestapo, and Dr. Wdowinski heard it in Budzyn
from members of the camp’s administration in 1943.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps, at this point, you could give us a
legal authority in regard to these rumours?

Attorney General: Certainly. Our argument is that each one
of these testimonies taken separately….

Presiding Judge: I am referring now to your last remarks, to
the effect that rumours reached each of these witnesses that
Eichmann was the person. You will no doubt recall that I
raised this question already when this evidence was
presented. What is its importance, if any?

Attorney General: Each of these testimonies on its own, is
indeed of no value, even if the Court were to exercise its
powers under Section 15. For we do not know from whom
Schmid, or that member of the Gestapo, or the man who spoke
to Dr. Wdowinski heard these rumours. But when all this is
joined together to form one and the same impression, and
points in one direction, all of it creates a composite
picture. Abroad, in London in an official publication, in an
open and public item Die Zeitung, inside Europe – in the
camps, in documents of the German Foreign Ministry, and of
other authorities of the Reich – when all this is taken
together, I maintain, each single item fits into the whole
comprehensive picture, and into an unbroken chain. Each drop
has its own particular significance. Possibly, each one is
only a small item in itself, but it is admissible and valid,
and together they combine into a substantial quantity.

Judge Raveh: Admissible under Section 15?

Attorney General: Only by virtue of Section 15. On that
there is no dispute.

The tale about a man who was born in Palestine and who knew
Hebrew and Yiddish spread in Sosnowiec, as we heard here
from the witness Mrs. Masia. Eichmann jokingly told
Wisliceny that the Jews believe him when he tells them such
a story. This is the evidence that he gave in T/133 on page
4. The very news that Eichmann was to visit the Emigration
Centre spread dread and panic as late as 1940, as Mrs. Zimet
testified. And then it was arranged that people stand in
line in front of the building, for him to get the impression
as if there were candidates for emigration.

The German author, Jochen Klepper, approached Eichmann in
December 1941, imploring him that his wife, who was Jewish,
should not be deported. The German Minister of Interior
himself had to intervene, so that Klepper could obtain an
interview with Eichmann. And the sequel to this tragic
meeting is well known; the author put an end to his own
life, and to that of the members of his family.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14