The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 12
(Part 1 of 7)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 12

7 Iyar 5721 (24 April 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the twelfth Session of the trial open. Meanwhile we have marked the documents referred to in the Accused's statement, and they have been given the numbers T/37/1 to T/37/317.

Attorney General: Thank you very much. Mr. Less, you are continuing your evidence under oath?

Witness Less: Yes.

Attorney General: Mr. Less, apart from the material you have presented to the Court so far, did the Accused give you further material in writing?

A. Yes.

Q. What material?

A. His notes and sketches that he handed over in the course of the interrogation. He had notes which he had prepared for himself for purposes of the interrogation, statements prepared in advance which he read into the tape-recorder, and further, as I have already mentioned, notes he had made at my request. I mentioned the list of decorations and the technical aspect of [official] correspondence. In addition, the Accused handed me his memoirs - 127 pages.

Q. He gave all this to you of his own free will?

A. Yes, definitely.

Q. Kindly submit the material to the Court. Witness submits the material to the Court.

Presiding Judge: Are you submitting this as one package?

Attorney General: As one package. There are two series of documents, Your Honour. There are the notes, separately, and what we call the memoirs separately - we have also catalogued each of them as a separate entity.

Witness Less: I also prepared a report concerning these twenty-four sets of notes I received, apart from the memoirs and other material I shall mention later. In it I have pointed out on which pages of the statement reference is made to them, and the dates I received them.

Presiding Judge: And what are the remaining pages you have in your hand?

Witness Less: This is a printed version of the handwritten notes.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps we ought to separate them? There is no connection between the two items which you have now mentioned.

Witness Less: They are connected with each other.

Presiding Judge: Show me this document. Does this include everything, including what you term the memoirs?

Witness Less: These are not the memoirs, but merely the notes he made apart from his memoirs. These are 24 sets of notes for the purposes of the interrogation. Here, there are various, items he recorded into the tape-recorder, items which he read from a paper.

Presiding Judge: And what about the memoirs?

Attorney General: That is something separate. We shall submit them shortly.

Presiding Judge: Is this marked according to the annotation here?

Attorney General: Our serial number is 1491.

Presiding Judge: Yes, I see. I wish to see the individual document each time. Let us take this document as an example. It is marked 'A'. Is there any marking apart from 1491?

Witness Less: I signed each page for the purpose of identification.

Presiding Judge: We shall mark this T/43. The 24 documents are the Accused's notes. Correct?

Witness Less: Yes.

Attorney General: Mr. Less, in the preamble to the prosecution's document No.1491, there are explanatory notes. Are they signed by you and are the contents correct?

Witness Less: Yes.

Q. Apart from this, you spoke about memoirs, Mr. Less. What are these memoirs?

A. These are the memoirs of the Accused which he wrote at Camp Iyar - 127 pages of his handwriting.

Q. During what period did he write them?

A. In the month of June 1960. He gave them to me on 16 June.

Presiding Judge: Is this apart from his biography, as he related it at the beginning of his statement?

Witness Less: Yes - perhaps as a supplement to it.

Attorney General: Did he give them to you of his own free will?

Witness Less: Yes.

Q. Please submit them to the Court.

[Witness submits them to the Court.]

Presiding Judge: We shall mark this T/44 - the Accused's memoirs. Perhaps you can give us two more copies.

Attorney General: We shall do so with all our catalogued documents. They will be submitted to the Court in three copies.

Presiding Judge: We mentioned this when documents were first submitted, when Mr. Bach was examining Mr. Bar-Shalom. I see, nevertheless, that you were correct. Perhaps this will actually be more convenient.

Attorney General: Mr. Less: Apart from these, were these the books you read out to the Accused and to which you requested a response?

Witness Less: Yes.

Q. What books were these?

A. A Red Cross pamphlet published in June 1945 in Geneva.

Q. Do you have it in your possession?

A. No, it has already been submitted to the Court as one of the exhibits.

Presiding Judge: Which exhibit?

Witness Less: Our number is 855.

Q. Is this amongst the 317 documents?

A. Yes, this was in the French language and the extract that had been read was translated into German.

Q. What is your catalogue number?

A. 855. Apart from this I read to him from the book by Hoess Commandant of Auschwitz, from the English edition, and these extracts were translated into German.

Attorney General: Were they translated from English into German by you?

Witness Less: Yes.

Presiding Judge: This is the number of the extract from the Red Cross booklet: T/37/240. Are you submitting this?

Attorney General: Yes, this is the booklet from which Less read to the Accused.

Witness Less: This was on reel 21, where the passage I read from the booklet appears.

Presiding Judge: But I saw remarks of Hoess in the first volume as well.

Witness Less: Apart from this, from the Blue Book of the International Court as well.

Q. Was this his evidence there?

A. This was his evidence in Court.

Q. And here - this is one extract you read from that book.

Attorney General: This is an addition where Hoess describes various personalities while he was in gaol. The Court will find a supplement on Adolf Eichmann.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/45.

On what reel is the extract mentioned?

Witness Less: Reel 21 on pages 1026-1035.

Presiding Judge: Of T/37.

Attorney General: There was a complete article from the periodical Der Stern, passages from which you read out to him - is that it? Is this a photocopy thereof?

Witness Less: This is a photocopy thereof. I also have the original.

Attorney General: Please submit this to the Court.

Presiding Judge: The periodical Der Stern will be marked T/46.

Attorney General: Did you examine the Accused in connection with the articles about him which appeared in the Magazine Life?

Witness Less: I gave the Accused a German translation of Life.

Attorney General: Please submit to the Court the original and the German translation which you produced to the Accused.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/47.

Attorney General: What did you request from the Accused in regard to the publication in the magazine Life?

Witness Less: I asked him whether he was ready, voluntarily, to respond to that article.

Q. To respond?

A. To reply, to make his comments, and he replied: Yes. And I told him to do so in writing.

Q. Did he do so in writing?

A. Yes.

Q. Kindly explain to the Court at what stages. What did he give you in the beginning?

A. In the beginning, this was on 15 December 1960, he gave me his comments on this article in 20 pages of his own handwriting. Subsequently he handed over, not to me, but to the Duty Officer from whom I obtained them, another three supplementary comments on that article in Life.

Q. Three supplements. And thereafter there are markings on the translation. Is that correct?

A. Yes. He also explains the markings on the German translation.

Q. He explains the meaning of the various markings he made in his own handwriting in the version translated into German. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. All this appears in the document in your possession?

Presiding Judge: Are all the Accused's markings those made in ink?

Attorney General: An explanation of the markings appears in the Accused's handwriting. Mr. Less, please submit this to the Court.

Presiding Judge: I have marked the notes T/48 and the three supplements T/49, T/50 and T/51.

Attorney General: Did you ask the Accused to make an organization chart of the office in which he worked?

Witness Less: Yes.

Q. When?

A. In September 1960. I think it was on 20 September.

Q. Did he say so?

A. Yes, he did so.

Q. When did he give it to you?

A. On 30 November 1960.

Q. Please submit this to the Court.

A. This chart goes together with some notes.

Q. Please submit the notes as well.

A. In those notes the Accused gave explanations. There were stages. At first I showed him a rough sketch; when I explained to him what I wanted, he asked questions; I asked him to put them on paper, and I replied to them in writing. In this way, subsequently and ultimately, this chart came to be made. All this appears in the Accused's comments regarding the chart, it appears in the notes.

Q. And your questions regarding the manner in which the chart was drawn up - all this appears in writing?

A. Yes.

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

Presiding Judge: In whose handwriting is the chart?

Witness Less: The chart itself is in my handwriting.

Q. Were you sitting with him?

A. No. I prepared this afterwards, according to the notes, and he confirmed it. At the time I brought two copies for his confirmation. This is attached to the supplements. To the extent he had any comment he could have added it, or he could confirm it in the same way as he had written his confirmation on the back of the chart itself. This is taken from the material of the Blue Series; there is a sort of "Stand" - the state of the Department at the date 1 January 1941, and also in regard to the main offices mentioned; it was also taken from the books and the material that was available.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/52 - the organizational chart, let us call it.

What is this?

Witness Less: This is the first rough sketch I produced to him, and I asked him to fill in the spaces.

Presiding Judge: Let us call this the material for the chart. This will be T/53.

Attorney General: Drafts.

Presiding Judge: These are not only drafts, but an exchange of words between them. Let us call this material for the preparation of the chart.

Attorney General: Mr. Less, I understand that you also read out to the Accused extracts from the judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

Witness Less: Certain passages.

Q. From what series did you read to him, in what language?

A. Always in the German language.

Q. From an official edition?

A. Not always. This was a German edition, since both in the English and French editions the documents appear in the German language.

Attorney General: We shall place at the Court's disposal all the volumes of the Blue Series and the Green Series, so that we shall be able to refer to this later as one exhibit. We shall do so during the course of the day.

Presiding Judge: Do you want this to be given an exhibit number?

Attorney General: Perhaps not. For when we will refer to specific material contained therein, we shall not submit the same material again but we will state that it is to be found in such and such a place.

Mr. Less, you yourself, together with members of your department, as I understand, prepared two organizational charts of the Accused's office.

Witness Less: We prepared the two charts for working purposes or for summarizing the work of Bureau 06.

Q. On what basis did you prepare these charts?

A. According to consultations with members of the Department, the investigators who dealt with various aspects, in different countries, in accordance with documents and material in our possession.

Q. And was this the material that served to guide you, as to the way you visualized the structure of these offices? Please submit them to the Court. I submit these documents for guidance - with the same validity as mentioned by the witness. But we shall need them in the course of the evidence, and it would be a good thing for them to be before the Court so that we can have recourse to them whenever necessary.

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