Wilhelm Hoettl-08, Eichmann Adolf

(29): The answer to this question is yes. The book was
originally published under my pseudonym, Walter Hagen, but
later in my own name, Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, particularly for
the English and American editions.

In reply to the question as to whether I wrote the book
primarily as an historian or more as literature, I would
state the following:

As a responsible historian, I maintain to this day that Die
Geheime Front (The Secret Front) is historically sound as
far as all the essentials are concerned; it was of course
necessary to add minor literary embellishments, since that
is the only way to sell enough copies, purely historical
works not being known as commercial successes. Just at the
time when this book was published I had to depend on it for
my income.

Asked in this connection about the nature of the book,
Unternehmen Bernhard (Operation Bernhard), my reply is as

Unlike my first book, The Secret Front, Operation Bernhard
is to a large extent a piece of journalism, which can best
be compared with the so-called documentary reports which are
common today. Although the background to this book – the
counterfeiting of Sterling during the Second World War – is
historically genuine, and some details I give in the report
are based on actual events, the literary make-up is far
stronger than in The Secret Front.

The Secret Front appeared in Austria and Germany, and also
in licenced editions in Italy, France, Spain, England and
America; extracts were also published in the general press
in most of these countries. The literary success – and thus
its material success for me – was considerable. What is
interesting is that Operation Bernhard, which I thought I
had to write more for the popular taste, was less
successful, although this book also appeared in almost all
Western countries and newspapers. I would tend to conclude
from that that the reader all over the world who is
interested in contemporary history has a general preference
for a serious account of events in that regard.

I would conclude from criticism of my book that most of the
readership (and here I am speaking about The Secret Front
only) consists of people who today reject National Socialism
and are most interested in familiarizing themselves fully
with the negative aspects as well. The critics in the other
camp predominantly reproached me, mainly for having
published such details about the Third Reich, and took the
position that such matters should not be talked about for
the sake of national consciousness. There were very few
people who totally denied the whole thing, and they went so
far as to, so to speak, “haggle” as to whether six, five,
four, three, or even fewer million Jews were murdered.

In reply to a question:

I have no indications as to whether today there is still any
organized form of former prominent National Socialists at
home or abroad. Insofar as I ever had any information on
that, only a few former prominent National Socialists
managed to escape from Europe, taking refuge at first in
Argentina. However, after the overthrow of Peron, most of
these probably left Argentina, and the main countries to
receive them were those of the Middle East, particularly
Egypt. Without having any detailed knowledge, I would tend
to think that today most of these people are integrated
citizens rather than the political fanatics they used to be.

(30): I am sure that the term “organized” does not appear in
my book, and it is also out of place in this context.
However, what is true is that some of the German Secret
Service officers in Romania supported the Iron Guard (Green
Shirts) and tried to assist it. However, Hitler had decided
in favour of General Antonescu and thus against the Iron
Guard. It was not until after the events of August 1944 in
Romania, which I have described elsewhere, that the Iron
Guard started to take over. But in actual fact it was too
late for them to exercise their domination, because within a
few weeks the country was occupied by the Red Army.

In reply to a question, I wish to state that I myself have
thus replied to all the questions asked in the questionnaire
of the Trial Court, including my interpretation of their
implied meaning, as far as I can gather it.

The examination was adjourned at 12.30, to be continued at
14.30 p.m.

The session continued at 14.30. Present: As before.

The court announced that the act of registration referred to
by the witness when asked about his personal data and
personal record had meanwhile been asked for, and that a
copy of Record Sheet 60-3217 (160-716) A.V. of the Salzburg
City Magistrate had arrived, showing that the petition for
exemption submitted pursuant to Section 27, Paragraph 1, of
the Law on Prohibitions (Verbotsgesetz) of 1947 was granted
on 24 January 1950, by decision of the Federal President
dated 10.11.1951, number 15.145/51.

The witness stated:

“That is correct.”

No proceedings were instituted on account of offences under
the Austrian Law on War Criminals.

For the sake of expediency, and because of today’s press
reports about the proceedings in Jerusalem, the witness was
also asked whether he knew anything about SS
Hauptsturmfuehrer Gustav Richter – of whom mention was made
there – who was an Adviser on Jewish Affairs at the German
legation in Bucharest, with particular reference to

Yesterday I already stated what I know about the post of
Adviser on Jewish Affairs; I have indeed heard the name of
Gustav Richter before, but I do not know him and know
nothing of his activities.
Asked, in conclusion, whether in organizational terms there
were not perhaps some kind of connections between my office
and Eichmann’s, whenever and wherever, I must reply in the

In reply to questioning, the witness stated further:

The last time I saw Eichmann was on 6 or 7 May 1945 in Alt
Aussee – when I was interrogated by the Nuremberg Court I
was also unable to give the precise date. I might have seen
Eichmann in Budapest in October 1944. After Regent Horthy
proclaimed an armistice on 15 October 1944, the leading SS
officials in Budapest were summoned to a briefing by the
Senior Commander of the Waffen-SS, General Keppler, where
evacuation measures which might become necessary were
discussed. I took part in this discussion, and I believe
that Eichmann was also there, but I am not able to state
that as a definite fact.

The background to the last meeting mentioned above, on 6 or
7 May 1945 in Alt Aussee, is as follows:

On my return journey from Switzerland, where I had held
negotiations with American personages, I was arrested by the
Gestapo in front of the hotel “Oestereichischer Hof” in
Salzburg and imprisoned in the Gestapo gaol in Salzburg.
However, I was able to escape with the connivance of Dr.
Hueber, who was then the head of the Gestapo in Salzburg,
and to whom I had once done a favour. I made my way to Alt
Aussee to Dr. Kaltenbrunner, who had known about my trip to
Switzerland, in order to call him to account. In the middle
of the talk we were having, in which I was not mincing my
words, Kaltenbrunner’s adjutant came in, an SS
Obersturmbannfuehrer Scheider, and informed his chief that
Eichmann had come to take his leave. Dr. Kaltenbrunner made
it quite clear to Scheider that he had no intention of
receiving Eichmann, and he also said to me that he
considered that this man no longer stood any chance. When I
left Kaltenbrunner, I met Eichmann, with some of his people,
whom I did not know personally, at the so-called Donner
Bridge in Alt Aussee. Eichmann complained bitterly to me
about Kaltenbrunner’s faithlessness and said that he
intended to try to get through to Bad Ischl over what was
called the Blaastrasse, as the Poetschen Pass was blocked
solid with German army units which were flooding back. That
was my last meeting with Eichmann. I myself returned from
American captivity in November 1947, having been taken
prisoner of war in Alt Aussee on 14 May 1945.

Since then I have had no further contact with Eichmann, and
no indirect contact either has been attempted or established
by any third party.

At 14.50 the criminal proceedings against Adolf Eichmann
were again announced in the court corridor.
It was ascertained that once again no one had made an
appearance on behalf of the representatives of the parties
referred to in the request for legal assistance (Attorney
General or Defence).

Whereupon the witness was notified that, due to the
non_appearance of the representatives of the parties the
court considered his examination as having been concluded
only provisionally, so that until the conclusion of the main
hearing in Jerusalem he should remain available to the Bad
Aussee Court of First Instance, i.e., if he intends to leave
the district for an extended period, he must provide his
address, in order to enable an early response to be made to
any supplementary request which the Jerusalem District Court
may yet transmit.

This is particularly important since, in view of the failure
of the aforementioned representatives to appear, there is no
absolute guarantee that all questions have been asked in
their entirety, and it cannot be assumed with certainty that
the truth has been disclosed completely, having regard to
the importance of the Eichmann Trial.

While the court to which the request for legal assistance
was addressed, i.e., the Bad Aussee Court of First Instance,
has fully complied with the request of the Trial Court in
respect of the questionnaire provided by it, it was
nevertheless unable to fulfil the request as to that part in
which it was expressly requested that the hearing of the
witness be carried out, so as to allow the aforementioned
representatives of the parties the opportunity to ask
questions or to supplement the testimony.

The failure of these representatives to appear must be
interpreted as indicating that the notifications sent by the
Court which requested the legal assistance, through the
Federal Ministry for Justice, either failed to arrive in
time or were transmitted in such a form as to lead their
recipients to assume that it was impossible to ask any
supplementary questions. This legal position, adopted by
the Federal Ministry for Justice, is not shared by this
court which renders the legal assistance: It intended to
make the point that, even with a strict interpretation of
the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure, provisions could be
found – such as granting permission to examine the records
or the calling of third parties as witnesses for the court –
which would make it possible to comply with the wishes of
the Trial Court.

In the opinion of the court to whom the request for legal
assistance was addressed, the Eichmann Trial is of such
importance in terms of world history that it is vital to
exhaust all means for ascertaining the truth, and those are
definitely available under Austrian positive legal
provisions. It would therefore be highly regrettable if
everything had not been done in this respect due to the
failure to appear of the parties who are doubtless familiar
with the proceedings being conducted before the Jerusalem
District Court.

On the other hand, the Court and case law are bound, in
accordance with prevailing doctrine and court decisions, by
regulations – and decrees of the central authorities are
also to be considered as regulations – until such time as
they are revoked by the Constitutional Court. Thus, the
court was, and is, not able to redress the presumed defect,
because under the general provisions of the decree on
requests for legal aid in criminal proceedings and the
specific position taken by the aforementioned authorities,
issued in the form of a decree on the request in question,
it is barred from dispatching documents abroad, particularly
to an embassy situated in a foreign country, such as the
addressee in Cologne, who it was requested be informed. In
accordance with the aforementioned decree on requests for
legal aid, such notification can only be made through the
aforementioned Ministry. However, this provision appears to
be objectionable on legal grounds because it may, as in the
present case, inhibit the exercise of the court’s powers,
which is to be considered as a judicial act.

Under the Austrian Federal Constitution, in the case of such
disparity of views, or if there are objections as to the
legality of regulations, and decrees with the character of
regulations, a petition must be submitted to the
Constitutional Court for the annulment of these regulations.
This is a mandatory provision, of which use is to be made in
the present case.

It is therefore intended to submit such a petition to the
Constitutional Court at the same time as the act of
compliance with the request is dispatched, in the hope that
if the Trial Court should transmit a supplementary request
for legal assistance, such impediments will then be avoided.

The witness was instructed that, pursuant to the law of 3
May 1868 (Official Gazette of the Austrian Empire, No. 33)
laying down the procedure for administration of oaths before
a court, he will be required to take the following form of
oath, in accordance with Section 1: “I swear by Almighty and
All-knowing God, that I have said the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth about everything about which the
court has questioned me; so help me God.”

Moreover, that before administration of the oath the judge
is required to remind the person taking the oath in
accordance with Section 3 of this law of the sanctity of the
oath from the religious viewpoint, the importance of the
oath for the legal order, and the temporal and eternal
penalties for perjury, as well as enjoining the aforesaid
person that for the court the oath must therefore be taken
without any reservations or ambiguity whatsoever.

Lastly, that under Section 4 of this law, persons who
profess the Christian faith when taking the oath should
raise the thumb and the first two fingers of their right
hand and take the oath before a crucifix and two lighted
candles; while persons of the Jewish faith, when taking the
oath are obliged to cover their head and lay their right
hand on the Torah, Second Book of Moses, chapter 20, verse

Whereupon the witness was apprised in detail of the eternal
and temporal penalties for perjury.

Whereupon the judge covered his head with his cap, had the
candles lit, and pronounced the abovementioned form of oath
to the witness, who repeated it after him.

Whereupon the Record was signed by the witness and the
members of the court.

It was further announced that the act of completion will
probably be dispatched tomorrow through the Federal Ministry
for Justice in Vienna to the Jerusalem District Court,
together with a letter of completion addressed to the
president of the Trial Court.

The session ended at 15.20
Witness (-) Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl
Judge (-) Dr. Kittl

Recording Clerk (-) Koeberl

In view of the comparatively great length of the record (73
pages in the original), I should like briefly to explain,
for your guidance, the system I followed in examining the

Generally speaking, I followed the order in your
questionnaire, so that I also made a distinction between the
three groups, i.e., allegations on the part of the Accused,
questions by the Defence, and questions by the Prosecution –
although, for reasons of expediency, I took the questions of
the Defence before the allegations of the Accused. I
allowed the witness from time to time to give as coherent a
description as possible (often dictated by him in his own
words), which appeared to me expedient for replying in
principle to the ideas underlying the various groups and
sub_groups of questions. That made it possible for quite a
few questions to refer to what had already been said in
general, instead of replying to the individual question.

The drawback of this procedure, i.e., that the reader, if
not totally familiar with the subject matter, might have to
consult the questionnaire in order to identify the
reference, or would at times have to pick out the statement
looked for from the general account, was something which I
considered to be acceptable, since I considered it to be
offset by the greater advantage of providing an overall view
and condensing scattered, and therefore confusing, details.

If any other defects should be discovered, it should be
borne in mind that I felt obliged to relegate, in case of
doubt, certain matters of form because of the need for
expedition, in the light of the particular urgency implied
in the request for legal assistance, and more particularly
the attached Decision of your Court. For the same reasons
of expedition, I had the pages typed on one side only (in
principle the witness and members of the court signed on the
back, while in principle I had the court seal stamped on the
front), and any typing errors which were discovered
subsequently, and will always occur in such a text, were
corrected under my personal supervision by the sworn
Recording Clerk in black ballpoint pen.
As shown in the Record, I am ready to receive a
supplementary request for legal assistance, and have
therefore retained copies of your documents; in any case I
shall consider my task to be complete only when I am
notified by whatever means that the Jerusalem District Court
no longer requires my legal assistance.

Bad Aussee, 22 June 1961
(-) (Dr. Egon Kittl)

Oberlandesgerichtsrat (Senior Judge of District Court)

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14