The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 9
(Part 1 of 4)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 9.

2 Iyar 5721 (18 April 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the ninth Session of the trial open. We shall begin hearing witnesses for the Prosecution.

Attorney General: The first witness will be Rav-Pakad (Police Major) Bar-Shalom. My colleague, State Attorney Bach, will conduct the examination.

Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom enters the witness box.

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Naphtali Bar-Shalom.

Presiding Judge: Rav-Pakad?

Witness: Bar-Shalom Rav-Pakad in the Israel Police.

[The witness is sworn.]

State Attorney Bach: You are an officer in the Israel Police?

Witness Bar-Shalom: I am Rav-Pakad in the Israel Police.

Q. Did you serve in Bureau 06 in the Israel Police?

A. Since 3 June 1960 I have served in Bureau 06 as head of Section 1 - Documentation.

Q. Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom, what was the scope of your duties?

A. The duties of Section 1 were: sorting out documents and testimonies, their preparation and verification.

Q. Can you perhaps tell the Court how you dealt with documents reaching the Bureau?

A. When a document came to the Bureau it reached Section 1 and underwent preliminary sorting. If we found it to be prima facie relevant to the investigation it was passed on to one of the officers of the section for the purpose of sorting and analysis. After the officer had analysed the document and recorded his findings on the form intended for this purpose, he would bring the form to the Deputy Head of the Bureau, who centralized the investigation, and who would decide whether the document would be included in the dossier of evidence being prepared. If the document was found to be relevant and was included in the dossier of evidence, it was given a consecutive catalogue number.

Q. From this I gather that the catalogue numbers correspond to the order of their being received into the dossier of evidence - and not according to the order of their content.

A. Yes, the consecutive catalogue number was given according to the order in which the documents reached the Deputy Head of the Bureau.

Q. Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom, you mention the preparation of documents and the sorting of documents. What about the verification of the documents. How was this done?

A. We generally examined the document for the purpose of authenticating it already before preparing it or continuing with the process of preparing the document.

Q. Were all the documents which reached you verified in the same way or were there various methods of verifying documents?

A. There were various methods and we divided them for the purpose of the work into a number of groups for authentication.

Q. Perhaps you would mention these groups - possibly according to the order of their importance from the point of view of the quantity of documents of each kind that were verified.

A. The largest quantity of documents to reach us for filing were those which originated from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry.

Q. Would you be able to tell the Court in which manner and in which way these documents reached Bureau 06?

A. At the end of the Second Word War the archives of the German Foreign Ministry were seized almost intact by the Allies. They included documents covering the period from 1870 up to the end of the Second World War. The complete archives were transferred to England and were stored in Whaddon Hall, a place near Oxford. The prosecution in the Nuremberg Trials also obtained documents from this place which it used in these trials.

In 1955, Dr. Verete, a lecturer in diplomatic history at the Hebrew University, was sent to London in order to collect, or to photograph on microfilm documents from these archives relating to the history of the Jewish people. Through the Israel Embassy in London, Dr. Verete approached the British Foreign Office, since the documents were kept under the sponsorship of the British Foreign Office and the American State Department, as The German War Documents Project. This was done through the Library of the British Foreign Office. The concept "library" in this case is very much more extensive, for it contains several departments, not merely a library but also what we would call a research department. They showed Dr. Verete the original index of these archives. He asked for original files in accordance with the index, examined the documents and recorded in notebooks those files and documents which he was interested in photogcopying. He handed a copy of his notebook to the British Foreign Office.

Thereafter, at Whaddon Hall, microfilms were prepared by the British Foreign Office and transferred thence to the Israel Embassy in London, which conveyed them by diplomatic mail to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Dr. Verete examined them at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem after they were received and found that the microfilms which reached Yad Vashem conformed with what he had ordered.

Q. How did the documents subsequently reach Bureau 06 from Yad Vashem?

A. Dr. Kermish of Yad Vashem and his staff, at our request, sorted out the microfilms; we received 98 microfilms from Dr. Kermish and they were kept thereafter in my Bureau, in a closed iron cabinet. The microfilms were checked by my subordinates in Section 1, and they wrote out orders on a form intended for such purpose, and upon my instructions these enlargements were prepared in Bureau 06.

Presiding Judge: Orders for enlargements?

Witness Bar-Shalom: Yes, orders for enlargements. The enlargements were prepared in the laboratory of Bureau 06, on the premises. They were brought to me, they were examined, and for the purposes of confirmation every such enlargement was marked by me on the back of the document with the number of the microfilm, as it was registered at Yad Vashem.

State Attorney: Before we come to this, Rav-Pakad Bar- Shalom, you gave the Court here particulars of the activities of Dr. Verete of the Hebrew University and of Dr. Kermish of Yad Vashem. On what did you actually base this evidence, from a factual point of view?

Witness Bar-Shalom: I spoke to Dr. Kermish, I inquired how the material arrived. I spoke to Dr. Verete. And in the light of these matters, these two gentlemen made affidavits which are in the possession of the Prosecution.

State Attorney Bach: At this stage, Your Honours, I would like to request the Court to permit the Prosecution to submit, in corroboration of the evidence of Rav-Pakad Bar- Shalom firstly an affidavit of Dr. Meir Verete, a lecturer in diplomatic history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and thereafter also an affidavit of Dr. Kermish of Yad Vashem. While it is true that from a purely formal point of view the submission of these testimonies of persons who are not giving oral evidence here in Court involves a certain departure from the rules of evidence nevertheless, as I have said, the point is a purely technical one.

Presiding Judge: Are those sworn affidavits? State Attorney Bach: These are sworn affidavits on points which are not actually in dispute and which serve to support the evidence of the present witness.

Presiding Judge: What is the subject matter of these affidavits, generally speaking?

State Attorney Bach: The contents generally speaking tally with the particulars which the witness has just described. Dr. Verete reviews his visit to London, the details of his ordering these files. He actually attaches to his affidavit those very notebooks of which Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom spoke, and in the light of these notebooks the Court will subsequently be able - if it should admit them as evidence - to examine every single document which will be submitted by the prosecution in the course of the trial and will be able to be satisfied that these documents are in fact those documents the originals of which Dr. Verete saw in London and which reached us in the form of microfilms, as the witness has testified.

I should like to explain something to the Court. The Court is not required at this moment, within the framework of the present evidence, to decide whether all the documents which the Prosecution will submit have been properly verified or not. This witness presents all the particulars concerning the various methods of verification, and thereafter, when we submit the documents, we shall naturally be able, in relation to each single document, to rely on those facts on these affidavits which are now being presented, and the Court will then be able to make its decision whether in fact the affidavits and the testimonies are sufficient for verification.

Presiding Judge: In other words, admission of the affidavits does not imply an overall admission of the document mentioned therein.

State Attorney Bach: Exactly, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: Have you submitted copies of these affidavits to Dr. Servatius?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, we have provided not only copies, but also German translations of all the affidavits. Actually we intend, in the course of the evidence of the present witness, to produce about seventeen affidavits of various witnesses, some of them witnesses who are presently abroad, who participated in one way or another in finding the material, photogcopying it, verifying it, and transferring the material to Israel and so forth. The Court's authority for allowing the admission of such evidence is given under section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950, and this is the text of the paragraph:

"In a trial against an offence under this Law, the Court shall be able to deviate from the rules of evidence, if it is satisfied that this will facilitate the ascertainment of the truth and the just disposition of the case."
In practice, Your Honours, the Israel legislator on this point followed the "Charter of the International Military Tribunal" annexed to the London Agreement, which laid down in article 19 of the Charter - published in Vol. 15 of what we here called the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals," the Green Series. In the 15th volume on page 15 it is stated:
"The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence. It shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible extent expeditious and non-technical procedure, and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value."
In actual fact, within the context of this provision, a substantial number of declarations and affidavits were accepted otherwise than by means of witnesses themselves appearing in Court at those Nuremberg Trials. Your Honours, the matter of interpretation of this section 15 will arise in the course of this trial, possibly in a more serious manner, in regard to documents the contents of which are intended to prove directly the guilt of the Accused. It seems to me that in the present context I shall be able to shorten my argument, especially as I understand that the Defence does not intend to object to the production of those affidavits.

I shall also say this: It says here that the Court must be convinced that this will facilitate the ascertainment of the truth and the just disposition of the case. I would especially rely here on the last part of that section. It seems to me that any means which is intended and which is likely to ensure the efficient conduct of the proceedings and to shorten the time needed for them without prejudicing the rights of either side or the requirements of justice towards either side - such a means would be conducive to the just handling of the case.

As I have already said, we are talking here of a fairly substantial number of statements which have been made by witnesses, some of whom it would be difficult to bring here. Consequently I would ask the Court to decide that, when for the present we are talking of statements of this sort, the Court would be ready to admit them at present as evidence.

Presiding Judge: Yes, certainly.

Judge Halevi: Have you informed Defence Counsel that if they request it, you are prepared to call these witnesses or any one of them for the purpose of cross-examination, so that it would be possible to say that if Defence Counsel makes no request, he is aware of his right and does not want to make use thereof?

State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, in fact, I have had a discussion with Defence Counsel's assistant, Mr. Wechtenbruch, and I told him that if the Defence should have any hesitation or doubt whatsoever in regard to the truth or authenticity of any one of the documents submitted by the Prosecution, we would then take all steps in order to ensure that indeed the original would be proved by us, to the extent that is possible. As I understood it, my statement satisfied the Defence.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what do you say to this request?

Dr. Servatius: We are talking here of proof of the origin of the documents. I want to say this: I have seen the documents and I am not at all concerned about the submission of the material in the manner in which the Prosecution has proposed. There is a special aspect regarding the persons who have made these statements, and in respect of them I want to reserve for myself the right to summon them so that they may be examined as witnesses or that the Court should summon them so that they may be cross-examined.

Presiding Judge: I want to ask you, Dr. Servatius, so that it should be clear: The persons who made these statements - of whom you are speaking - are not Dr. Verete and Dr. Kermish, but if there is any affidavit attached to these statements, you reserve your right...

State Attorney Bach: Your Honour, this question does not arise, as there are no affidavits attached to these statements.

Presiding Judge: If there are no affidavits attached to these two statements, I think that your difficulty has been resolved, has it not?

Dr. Servatius: Yes, certainly. If I understand correctly, the witness can give evidence only on the source of the documents, but not on the manner of sorting and the choice of the documents.

Presiding Judge: To which witness are you now referring? To the witness whom we are presently hearing or to the two gentlemen who made the statements?

Dr. Servatius: In the first place to the witness who is here in the witness box; is he able to testify in which way the many documents were selected?

Presiding Judge: At the present time we have not yet heard evidence from the witness as to what were the reasons for the selection of these particular documents and not others.

Dr. Servatius: I would like to ask whether the Prosecution has brought the witness to deal with this question in any way, and whether he can tell us something about this matter.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, it seems to me that this is still premature. Meanwhile we have the evidence which has been given thus far. When the witness possibly comes to the point of testifying on this matter, then you would be able to raise your question.

Dr. Servatius: Thank you.

State Attorney Bach: Perhaps I can also explain on behalf of the Prosecution. In connection with the choice of documents, one must distinguish between two different selections. The witness Rav-Pakad Bar-Shalom testified as to which of the documents that has reached Bureau 06 were chosen as material for evidence at the trial.

Presiding Judge: If I understand Dr. Servatius correctly, the reference is not to the physical selection, but as to what were the reasons for actually selecting some and not the others. On this question he evidently wants to reserve some right for himself, and it seems to me that, so far at any rate, the witness has not yet testified thereon.

State Attorney Bach: The witness has only hinted that Dr. Verete extracted from the documents of the German Foreign Ministry all those documents which related to the history of the Jewish people.

Presiding Judge: Which appeared to him to be important. This is how I understood it.

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