The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 16
(Part 3 of 6)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Attorney General: I now want to submit Wisliceny's notes dated 26 July 1946, which were also written in prison, and verified by Mr. Hagag, and which are already in your possession arising out of Bar-Shalom's evidence regarding the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and his connections with Adolf Eichmann. I have the original. The Court will observe that this document served as a subject for interrogation on pages 558-570.

Relying on the Court's decision of this morning, I request you to admit this document on the grounds of its importance, both because of the connection between Eichmann and that man and because of the plans and machinations which were prepared in order to destroy the Jewish population of Palestine after the victory of the Axis Powers, and also because of the fact that the Accused himself was asked to react to this document.

Presiding Judge: Is he mentioned here in this document?

Attorney General: Yes. The relations - according to Wisliceny - between these two personalities, Hajj Amin al- Husseini and Adolf Eichmann, began already in the autumn of 1937.

Dr. Servatius: I wish to voice my objection to the submission of this document, but submit to the Court's decision.

Presiding Judge: Decision No. 9

We admit in evidence the statement of Wisliceny regarding the Mufti, for the reasons that were intimated in Decision No. 7.

Attorney General: This actually is already to be found in the Court's file.

Presiding Judge: You have said so. But it is correct that there is also need for a special submission.

Attorney General: Except that the original is now to be found in the Court's file. The original of this document was submitted by Mr. Less during his evidence, at the time when he submitted all the documents, so that there is only a photocopy of the original.

Presiding Judge: It seems to me that we have the original before us here.

Attorney General: Yes, this is the original.

Presiding Judge: In this instance you have given us only one copy - you are reducing our "ration."

Attorney General: The Court will obtain everything. I regret that there was some slight confusion this morning in the provision of copies, but we shall produce the material to the Court forthwith.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/89.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission I shall read T/89:

"As I was aware from my activities in the service of the head office of SD in Berlin, there already existed in 1937 an intelligence link between the SD and the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem. These connections operated through the DNB, Official German News Service in Palestine, Dr. Reichert with Otto von Bolschwing and Leopold von Mildenstein, both of whom were with the SD in Berlin. In 1936-1937, Mildenstein was head of the Department for Jewish Affairs of the SD.

Later on, this connection was transferred to Bureau VI of the Secret Overseas Intelligence Service, to the Head Office for Reich Security, the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, created in 1939. Dr. Reichert was the chief confidant of the SD. He lost his life in 1941 in a railway accident in Hanover.

n the autumn of 1937, Adolf Eichmann and Herbert Hagen, previously Sturmbannfuehrer in Paris, who at that time worked in the Jewish Department of the SD, arranged a journey to Palestine and Egypt. This trip was intended to include, incidentally, securing of general information on Zionist questions, and also a visit to the Grand Mufti, and Dr. Reichert was to have acted as intermediary in arranging it. But the visit did not materialize since the British authorities restricted the stay of Eichmann and Hagen to 48 hours, despite their tourist visas. In Cairo the two of them then had discussions with Arab nationalists - amongst them a journalist from Jerusalem who belonged to the circle of the Grand Mufti.

After the Mufti al-Husseini arrived in Germany, he paid a visit to Himmler. A short while thereafter the Grand Mufti visited the director of the Jewish Department at the Gestapo Bureau IV, Obersturmbannfuehrer Adolf Eichmann, in his office in Berlin, 116 Kurfuerstenstrasse. I no longer remember the exact date of the visit. Possibly it was the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942.

By chance I was with Eichmann in Berlin a few days later, when he told me in detail about this visit. Eichmann lectured to the Grand Mufti in his Map Room, where he had collected statistical accounts of the Jewish population of various European countries - he lectured in detail about the solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.

The Grand Mufti, according to him, was most impressed and said to Eichmann that he had already asked Himmler and had in fact secured Himmler's consent on this point, that a representative of Eichmann should come to Jerusalem as his personal adviser when he, the Grand Mufti, would go back after the victory of the Axis Powers. In that conversation Eichmann asked me whether I was not willing to accept the post. But I rejected in principle such Oriental adventures. Eichmann was greatly impressed by the personality of the Grand Mufti. He repeatedly said to me, both then and on a later occasion, that the Mufti had made a powerful impression on him, and also on Himmler, and that he had an acknowledged influence in Arab-Jewish affairs.

"To my knowledge, Eichmann saw the Mufti from time to time and spoke to him. At any rate he mentioned this in the course of a conversation in the summer of 1944 in Budapest. At the end of 1942 I tried, upon the initiative of a group of the Joint from Bratislava, to influence Eichmann and Himmler to prevent the extermination of the Jews of Europe. One plan was the rescue of Jewish children, whose emigration to Palestine was to be carried out via Romania. Eichmann, with the approval of Himmler, gave an order to bring about ten thousand Jewish children from Poland to Theresienstadt. It was planned to exchange these children for German civilian prisoners, through the services of the International Red Cross. I had already discussed with the representatives of the Joint in Bratislava the possibility of the emigration of adults as escorts to the transport, and the number that could be considered for this purpose. Some of the children actually reached Theresienstadt, as I was told by Dr. Seidel, the person who was then the Camp Commandant, in reply to my question on the subject.

Then I was summoned to Berlin by Eichmann and he disclosed to me that the idea of the planned operation had become known to the Grand Mufti, by means of his intelligence service in Palestine. As a result he protested vigorously to Himmler, using the argument that these Jewish children would, within a few years become adults and would strengthen the Jewish elements in Palestine. Following this, Himmler [as he told me] forbade the whole operation and even issued a prohibition in respect of cases in the future, that no Jew should be permitted to emigrate to Palestine from territories under German control.

"I informed the Joint group of this prohibition which had been secured by the Grand Mufti from Himmler despite Eichmann's forbidding me to do so. This attitude of Himmler had a crucial influence on all these matters, especially in 1944 in Budapest. In this way any chance of reaching a compromise on the question of the Jews in Hungary came to nought, since Palestine was the only country which could be considered for the absorption of a greater number of Jewish women and children.

"I should also add that a liaison officer of the Security Police was attached to the Grand Mufti throughout the duration of his stay in Germany. This was a Hauptsturmfuehrer whose name I no longer remember. General-Major Walter Schellenberg, Head of Bureau VI (the Overseas Intelligence Service) would have to have known about this. Schellenberg was in the Nuremberg prison at the end of June."

I now have in my possession the German edition of Commandant in Auschwitz According to what is written in the preface on page 10, the publisher of this edition had the opportunity in November 1946 of seeing the original German manuscript. I also have here the appendix "Endloesung der Judenfrage im K.L. Auschwitz" in this German edition.

Presiding Judge: On what page?

Attorney General: On page 153.

Presiding Judge: And the document which they showed to the Accused was photocopied from that?

Attorney General: Yes.

Judge Halevi: Did they show the book to the Accused directly?

Attorney General: They read to him from the book.

Presiding Judge: Instead of applying to submit this copy, are you now applying to submit the book?

Attorney General: Yes, but I would draw the attention of the Court at this moment to the copy, since this is the extract which is required for the personal file, and in order to complete the process of submitting the evidence it would be more convenient if the copy were also to be before the Court.

Presiding Judge: One of these two documents should be submitted. There is no need to submit them both.

Attorney General: Whatever the Court decides. At all events, the book includes the copy.

Presiding Judge: Is this your request?

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: This solves the problem, is that not so, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: This question has yet to be clarified, but I still must examine it, for I have doubts as to whether the work of a journalist or of a writer can be accepted as a document for proof.

Presiding Judge: We have been told that the writer says that he saw the original manuscript of Hoess.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, I saw these remarks, but I still have my doubts, for a journalist or a writer has his prejudices, and it is possible that he omitted certain things or changed them.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you would look at the book so as to gain an impression of it?

Attorney General: With the Court's permission, it is possible for Dr. Servatius to compare the Polish book which is an official publication, with the German translation that has now been submitted. And if he should discover that something has been omitted, the Court will surely carefully listen to any comment regarding an omission or an addition.

Judge Raveh: According to the preface, the picture is as follows: There are in Germany photocopies of everything which Hoess wrote. The editor compared the handwriting of the photocopies with the original in Poland. In this way he was convinced of the authenticity of the photocopies.

Attorney General: I am merely replying, Your Honour, to the objection of Defence Counsel. As far as I am concerned, the official exhibit is the Polish one, for this has been published by an official authority. And this is my verification. I have this verification by a state authority, and hence this is an official institution.

In the translation into German, says Defence Counsel, who knows what the publisher did there, how he embellished or adorned or struck out passages? To this my reply is: The original before the Court is open to Defence Counsel, he can compare the translation and see whether anything has been omitted or not. If he requires an expert in the Polish language, we will place one at his disposal, if he so desires.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you can do something else, to request from the Polish Government a photostat of this passage - do you think this is practical?

Attorney General: The mills grind rather slowly, Your Honour, but I shall do so immediately, this too.

Judge Halevi: I understand the attitude of the Attorney General, namely that the official Polish document is a certified official object. But in practice it only constitutes a translation from the original which was certainly written by Hoess in German.

Attorney General: Certainly.

Judge Halevi: And as His Honour Judge Raveh has already said, there are photostatic copies of the German original. It would be interesting to know whether this book or whether this chapter of the book has been examined and whether it corresponds to the photostats.

Presiding Judge: I see that meanwhile Mr. Hausner has obtained it from Poland.

Attorney General: Here suddenly I see documents of which I was also not aware this morning. My colleague has now handed to me a photocopy of Hoess' manuscript, so all our doubts have been resolved.

Presiding Judge: Please take the book back.

Attorney General: I can withdraw the book.

Presiding Judge: Thank you.

Attorney General: This is verified by the Polish State Committee.

Dr. Servatius: I would ask that the photocopy be given to me for a moment so I can examine it. Is it possible to give me this document until the lunch adjournment so that I may read it?

Attorney General: Dr. Servatius has a copy, inter alia, of the material - our No. 226. This is an exact transcript of this photocopy.

Presiding Judge: Alright, if he so wishes, I would leave it in his hands. But meanwhile it will be marked, Dr. Servatius, or do you still want to argue after examining this document? We shall defer our decision on this matter until after you have examined it.

[The photostatic copy of Hoess' notes, entitled "The Final Solution of the Jewish Question" is handed to Dr. Servatius for perusal.]

Attorney General: I now wish to submit two sworn statements used in the trials of the war criminals. Both of them were given by Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl of the Head Office for Reich Security; the one on 26 November 1945, and the second on 5 November 1945. In them Hoettl, who was a member of Bureau 6 of the Head Office for Reich Security - the deputy head of the office - talks of his conversations with Eichmann, about the numbers of Eichmann's Jewish victims as they were related by Eichmann himself, and about the extermination operation. In terms of this morning's decision, both of them are relevant, both have probative value.

Now, if Defence Counsel should argue - for I more or less know what he will say - that Hoettl is alive and it is possible to produce him, as distinguished from the cases of Wisliceny and Hoess, my reply would be as follows: By his own admission, he is the man who committed at least one crime according to the laws of Israel, and that is membership of an organization which has been proclaimed to be a criminal organization. If Defence Counsel, notwithstanding, wishes to bring Hoettl to Israel, and if Hoettl is prepared to come to Israel to testify, I shall certainly not have any objections to the Court's hearing Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl.

Presiding Judge: Was he a member of the SD?

Attorney General: He was a member of the SS in the Head Office for Reich Security. In the event that the man will come and want to give explanations on what he stated in his sworn declarations, the way is open for the Defence. At the present we have the affidavits and we ask permission to submit them.

Presiding Judge: Is the way really open, Mr. Hausner?

Attorney General: In what sense, Your Honour, is there any doubt of the matter?

Presiding Judge: I am asking you this question.

Attorney General: My reply is, yes. My reply is that if Hoettl wants to come, with the accompanying possible risk that he may be interrogated concerning his statement that he was a member of the SS, and accordingly committed an offence - the answer is yes. To what extent Defence Counsel will succeed in persuading Dr. Hoettl to do so - that is another question. Of this I know nothing. I have had no contact with Dr. Hoettl, but evidently Dr. Hoettl's affidavit, and this is the same affidavit, came up for consideration at the Nuremberg Trials. There too it was argued: Why do you submit a statement, bring Hoettl here - he is alive.

And this was the response of the court in Nuremberg. I draw your attention, Your Honours, to that same volume 15 - the original decision on the rules of evidence and procedure - on pages 764-765.

"The motion that was made this morning on behalf of the defendant Kaltenbrunner is denied, and the affidavit is admitted and will not be stricken from the record. But the Tribunal wished me to say that it is open to the defendant's counsel, in accordance with the Charter and the Rules, to make a motion in writing, if they wish to do so, for the attendance of Pfaffenberger for cross- examination, and to state in that motion the reasons therefore."
On page 765, concerning Hoettl, it says "As can be seen from the affidavit, Dr. Hoettl was interrogated on the 26th of November, hardly three weeks ago. Moreover I gather that Dr. Hoettl is kept in custody here in Nuremberg."

Presiding Judge: Is this what the defence counsel says?

Attorney General: Dr. Kaufmann, the defence counsel.

"No delay would therefore be involved if this witness were called to the stand. This man held a significant position in the SS, and for that reason I have already applied in writing that he be called as a witness. I am convinced that there is a large amount of important evidence which he can reveal to the court. Dr. Hoettl's deposition is infinitely important. The death of millions of people is involved here. His affidavit is based largely on inferences and hearsay; I believe that the facts are very different, and I would not like to apply later, after weeks or months, for the witness to be brought into court."
The reply of the Prosecutor, Major Walsh, was:
"Major Walsh (Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States): If the court pleases, excerpts from the affidavit of Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl were read into the record this morning for the purpose... The President: Wait - what was the number? Major Walsh: Document 2738-PS. Dr. Hoettl's affidavit, Document 2738-PS, was read in part into the record this morning for the sole purpose of showing the approximate number of Jews, according to his estimates, that had met death at the hands of the German State. No other portion of this testimony was referred to, and the evidence was offered only for the sole purpose of establishing his estimate of the number. His position in the Party and in the State, as well as the position of Adolf Eichmann, the source of his information, was also stated into the record. I believe that Dr. Hoettl, if he is desired for any purpose by the defense, may be called by the defense, but the prosecution had no other purpose in utilizing his evidence."
And the decision:
"The President: The Tribunal makes the same ruling in this case as in the case of Pfaffenberger, namely, that the affidavit is admitted in evidence, but that it is open to defendants' counsel to make a motion in writing for the attendance of the witness for cross- examination, and to state in that notion the reason for it."

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