The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 10
(Part 1 of 4)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 10

3 Iyar 5721 ( 19 April 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the tenth Session of this trial open.

The witness, Mr. Less will continue his evidence.

Attorney General: Mr. Less, do you have before you the caution by Mr. Hofstaedter given on 6 June 1960? How was it administered?

Witness Less: It was read to the Accused and the warning was recorded on the tape recorder.

Q. Was it also signed by Mr. Hofstaedter? Is there such a document?

A. Not in the case of the second caution.

Q. Can you let the Court hear the caution that was given to the Accused in your presence?

A. The caution appears on page 363 of the transcript and it begins in this way:

"Hofstaedter: Today is 6th June. It is now 2.10 p.m. Do you know who I am?"

Eichmann: Yes, Colonel.

H. As appears from your statements so far, you committed crimes against the Jewish People and against humanity during the period of National Socialist rule. I again want to draw your attention to the fact that you are free to testify or not to testify. It is clear to you that all your statements can serve as evidence. What do you decide?

E. I want to continue giving my statement."

Attorney General: In the course of the taking of this statement did the Accused also mention something about giving it of his own free will?

Witness Less: Yes, definitely.

Attorney General: Please read to the Court from page 159.

Witness Less: On page 159 of the statement it says:

"And now I ask you, Captain, so that I may be able to continue to relate actual events, I would like to ask, perhaps it would be possible to refresh my memory through questions, or other means, because now my wits fail me and I don't know where to begin. Should I start in France - did it first begin in France? How did it start there; was it in Holland that it started? Who there gave the first impetus, how was it done, what happened at Aegean Salonika; here I am floundering completely in the dark; how was it in Bratislava, when did it first start there; when did Wisliceny actually reach Bratislava, and how was it in Rumania. When did they attach Richter to Killinger when was the first transport of the evacuation there? Where did it go to? To all these questions I cannot give you answers now from memory."
Q. What does it say on page 677?

A. On page 677 of the statement the Accused says:

"Thank you very much. Of course I am not being compelled to give evidence, but I am giving evidence surely in order to...naturally, I know this. For I was also told that these matters, to the extent that they are to my disadvantage, will be construed against me - this was actually said to me by Colonel Hofmeister [this reference is evidently to Hofstaedter - Translator]. He said that to me here and asked whether I nevertheless wanted to testify and then I said: Yes, I want to testify. Therefore that is absolutely clear to me, Captain.

Less: I would like to correct you. I don't think that he told you that it was possible to use this to your disadvantage; apparently he told you that it was possible to use it.

Eichmann: Yes, apparently, he would obviously use it and if I give evidence to my disadvantage, then it will obviously be construed against me. It was absolutely clear what the intention was."

Presiding Judge: Is there a Hebrew translation of these remarks?

Attorney General: Yes, there is a full Hebrew translation of the statement.

Presiding Judge: If it would be possible to use it for the purpose of completing the record.

Attorney General: Did you threaten Eichmann - did you promise him anything - did you put pressure on him in connection with the making of his statement?

Witness Less: No.

Attorney General: Is his signed statement in your possession?

A. Yes.

Attorney General: I ask you to submit it to the Court.

The cartons of tapes No. 1-44 were submitted.

Attorney General: Perhaps it would be useful to mark these at the end of the session, because there will be exhibits annexed to the statement and the Court will need much time if it wants to mark them one by one. Accordingly perhaps I may be permitted to suggest that at this stage they should be given one symbol, and the annexed exhibits could be marked by subsidiary signs, or in brackets, by the Clerk of the Court after the session.

Presiding Judge: At any rate we shall have to mark the statement itself.

Attorney General: May we be permitted to give each of the judges a transcript of the statement, that which we have bound?

Presiding Judge: First let me mark it. I have marked the first carton T/37 (first part) and the second carton T/37 (second part).

Attorney General: We printed the statement, and bound it, for the convenience of the Court. We have here the printed and bound statement. With the Court's permission, we shall submit this for your convenience.

Presiding Judge: I would ask for three copies.

Attorney General: We shall immediately submit the third copy. We prepared two copies as is usual and we shall also prepare the third.

Presiding Judge: There is only one set here.

Attorney General: I see that the second copy is with me. I shall submit it to the Court forthwith, and I shall see to another set.

Presiding Judge: Do you need it meanwhile?

Attorney General: We shall produce it until the adjournment or during the adjournment.

[To the witness] In the course of the interrogation you produced documents to the Accused?

Witness Less: Yes, definitely.

Q. How did you do this?

A. I brought various documents before him, photographs, photostats of documents. I marked them with a mark of my own. After the Accused gave his reply and his explanation concerning a particular document he signed on the back of the document as a means of identification, to the effect that this document had been produced to him.

Q. Do you have a list of the documents which were referred to at the time of the interrogation?

A. Yes. I have such a list.

Attorney General: Please submit it to the Court.

Just for the sake of clarification we are not submitting it at this time for any purpose other than merely to point out that these documents were mentioned at the time of the interrogation and the Accused was asked to react to them. We shall submit each one of them at the appropriate time, when the relevant events will be referred to before the Court.

Presiding Judge: I shall call the booklet T/37 (a). Do you have more copies of this?

Attorney General: We shall submit them. I have two copies. [To the witness] Was this statement translated into Hebrew?

Witness Less: Yes.

Q. By whom?

A. A group of members of Bureau 06. At the head of the group was Captain Dayan.

Q. The one who is serving as a sworn translator of the Court?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you submit to the Court the Hebrew translation?

A. Yes.

Attorney General: I request the Court's permission to read out to the Court a number of excerpts to which we would like to refer at the present time. Since it is physically impossible to read the whole statement, at least from the point of view of convenience in the conduct of the trial, a matter which will take a long time and render the procedure cumbersome - we request permission to read a number of excerpts therefrom. Advance notice of these excerpts was given to the Defence. We notified them that if they were interested in the reading of excerpts on their part, they were requested to indicate them and we notified them in advance of our agreement. We request that the Court hear a number of excerpts to which we intend to draw attention at this stage. We would like to play this reel as it was recorded.

Presiding Judge: Did Dr. Servatius receive a copy of the statement in full?

Attorney General: Yes, he received it some time ago.

Dr. Servatius: I understand the agreement with the Defence to be that I shall be able, also at a later stage, when the Defence's turn is reached, to request the playing of extracts from the recording.

Attorney General: Yes.

We shall play those excerpts in the order of taking the statement - that is to say not necessarily according to subject matter but according to the various tapes in chronological order in the course of the recording.

Presiding Judge: Will it be necessary to translate these excerpts, or is there a translation?

Attorney General: This is to be found in the translation which has been submitted to you. But the Court may decide whether it does not, nevertheless, prefer for the purpose of the conduct of the trial to translate it into Hebrew, excerpt by excerpt. That is as the Court pleases.

Presiding Judge: Let us translate it excerpt by excerpt.

Attorney General: We shall begin with tape number 4 on page 149 of the statement; the extract begins with the words "Auch bei Himmler..."

On page 149 of the statement it says:

"Also with Himmler, the Jewish question was one of the desirable diversionary manoeuvres to divert attention from other difficulties. Obviously that had been the practice over the centuries and not only specifically in Germany itself, but during the period of the minor German states they used it from time to time. If there were certain problems of a different character or type they were attributed, at least during these times, to the Jewish Question and immediately a diversion was created. Not only Himmler himself did this, but all the Gauleiter did so as well - this was done by each of those who were called the senior leadership."
Attorney General: Now we shall pass to reel number 5, on page 169, beginning with the words "darf ich jetzt..."
Eichmann: May I now relate in short, Captain, what I know, from what I remember, of the things that happened since the beginning of the German-Russian War. In June, I think, the war began, June or July, let us say the beginning of the war was in July. And I suppose two months later, possibly it was three months, at any rate it was towards the end of summer...I shall tell you presently why I know this - that it was towards the end of summer - at the time when Heydrich ordered me to come to him, I presented myself and he said to me: "The Fuehrer..." for this was a matter of emigration etc. etc., accompanied by a short introductory speech..."the Fuerer has given orders for the physical destruction of the Jews."

He uttered this sentence to me and it was as if he wanted to test the effect of his words. In definite contradiction to his manner - he made a long pause. To this day I remember it. At first I did not grasp the trend of his thoughts. Seeing that he was so meticulous in his choice of words, I subsequently understood and I didn't say a word in reply, for I had nothing to add to this. For concerning these matters, such a brutal solution had never occurred to me. Here everything would be taken from me. All my work, all my efforts, all the interest that I had in the matter, it was as if the air had been taken out of me. And then he said to me: "Eichmann, go to Globocnik in Lublin." I knew he had been in Lublin before the Sudeten occupation.

Less: To whom?

Eichmann: Globocnik, I shall shortly come to more specific details, Captain, Sir. "Go to Globocnik, the Reichsfuehrer has already given appropriate instructions, and see how far he has progressed in his objective. He uses, so I believe, Russian tank trenches for the extermination of the Jews."

This, this I still remember, for this I shall never forget, even if I live a long time and become old, these sentences which he uttered to me in this conversation, but it did not end at that. The reference was to Globocnik, to the one who had previously been the Gauleiter Globocnik of Vienna, and who was afterwards transferred from Vienna, where to I don't recall at the present time. For the administrator on behalf of the Reich, that is to say the Commissioner on behalf of the Reich, the Administrator on behalf of the Reich, Buerckel, came to Vienna, or the Commissioner on behalf of the Reich came to Vienna. The Gauleiter came from the Saar region.

And here I heard for the first time of Globocnik when he was SS and Police Leader in the Lublin district, in the Generalgouvernement subordinate to the Higher SS and Police Leader in Cracow.

As ordered, I went to Lublin and came to the office of the SS and Police Leader in Lublin, Globocnik. I reported to him, I told him the Chief of Security Police and the SD had sent me, and afterwards I repeated to him those sentences which I said just now, which the Gruppenfuehrer had said to me, that the Fuehrer had ordered the physical extermination of the Jews.

L. The Gruppenfuehrer?

E. I beg your pardon?

L. The Gruppenfuehrer?

E. The Fuehrer - of course the Fuehrer was Hitler, thus the reference was to Hitler. I repeated the words of Heydrich.

L. Heydrich?

E. Of Heydrich, what he had said; he said "the Fuehrer has ordered - that is to say - and so Hitler had ordered the physical extermination of the Jews..."

Here I wanted to add something...yes, may I be allowed to add here: with the beginning of the Russian War Himmler forbade all emigration, even where possibilities existed. From the beginning of the war an order of closure was issued, even if there had been a possibility, on Himmler's behalf.

"Globocnik had a senior rank of SS-Gruppen...Brigade Fuehrer or Gruppenfuehrer. Then Globocnik called in a certain Sturmbannfuehrer Hoefle, obviously from his headquarters. I did not know this man, I had never seen this man Hoefle, and later on we travelled from Lublin. I no longer recall what was the name of that place. I am confusing this, for I am unable to say whether it was called Treblinka or otherwise. Truly I no longer have an idea where I was taken to then. This I don't know any more. But this could have been established, I imagine, since there are other testimonies on this subject, and through them it would certainly be possible to check this. For I am not the only person to know of these matters. I reached this place and there was something in the form of a forest.

L. Yes...

E. Things resembling a forest. A road passed through there, a Polish carriage road. Now I still remember, on the right of the road there was an ordinary house, a hostel in which men who were working there lived. A certain Captain of the Security Police, that is to say of the Order Police greeted us. There was also a number of workers there. The captain of the Order Police - this surprised me considerably - was without his uniform coat, and his sleeves were rolled up, and it seemed that he was somehow participating actively in the work. This I still remember. And they were erecting wooden huts, possibly two, perhaps three, this I no longer know exactly. The size - a sort of house with two or three rooms, I would say of that size , not large; and apparently - but I do not know this any more - Hoefle had given instructions to this Police Captain that he should explain this installation to me.

And then he began. He was a man with a voice, let us say ordinary, uncultured - perhaps he was accustomed to drinking, I do not know - with a gruff voice. He spoke the dialect of the south-western region of Germany, and he told me how he had made everything here hermetically sealed, that everything had been sealed, since an engine of a Russian submarine was going to operate here...

Presiding Judge: Please stop now. We shall have a two minutes' silence in memory of those who fell in our wars.


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