The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 17
(Part 3 of 5)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Q. You and the other people.

A. We, the officials, received transit passes so that we could go out to lunch, and also be able to return after lunch. I went to my friend Ticho - there my wife and son were waiting for me, but my son did not allow me to go out again for fear that something might happen on the way.

Q. Do you remember what happened that evening at 6 o'clock?

A. While we were there, the lady caretaker came and told us that Gestapo men had already been there and asked about Ticho. She had said that no one was at home, whereupon they said they would return at 6 o'clock. My friend Ticho had an iron safe upstairs. We asked him whether there was any money in the safe. He said "Yes." We told him to get rid of the money, for otherwise they would take the money as the first thing, as they did in every other place.

Q. Do you remember Mr. Marschfeld?

A. After he stated that he had money, we prevailed upon him at last. We had thought that as a Captain in the Reserves with a decoration, he would be protected against these SA men and the Gestapo. Finally he took the money out and his wife wanted to transfer the package of money to a neighbour, a retired Colonel and an old Austrian. At that moment, when she was on the point of going to the door to press the handle, we heard the bell ring. She still had the presence of mind to throw the package into a drawer of the sideboard in the dining room. The bell rang and there appeared three SA men and one of the Gestapo. One of them stood at once before the door, the others went right through all the other rooms. Present there were Dr. Marschfeld, a Viennese lawyer, Ticho, I myself and my wife and son, who was at the time fourteen years old. They asked which one was Ticho. He gave them his name, etc., and they said: "All right, you come with us." "And who are you?" "Dr. Marschfeld, a lawyer from Vienna." "And who are you?" "I am Moritz Fleischmann, an official of the Palestine Office and I have a transit pass." "You can tell all about it over there."

However, they could not agree among themselves whether they should take with them the fourteen year old boy. My wife ventured a lie and said that he was just over twelve years. This saved him and they did not take him with them. We were taken to the Police Commissariat on the Juchgasse in the Third District. The so- called population of Vienna, that is to say, the mob, pursued us everywhere. From there we were taken to the Sophien Saal, where the greater part of the Jewish population of the Third District had already assembled.

What happened there, on the part of the Viennese population, was something the like of which was never heard of: yelling, shouting, beating. We were loaded onto trucks and driven away. We did not know at first where to, but as we crossed the Danube River, I realized that we were passing through the Karajangasse. The street was full of people seeking only our lives and our blood. At the entrance we were awaited by SS men armed with steel rods. They forced us, some 300 men, into a classroom for about 40. The classroom was half painted with oil paint. We could only stand there, huddled together in winter coats soaked with rain. The water was pouring off the walls like in a urinal.

Q. What time were you put into the classroom, approximately?

A. About 7 o'clock. I was bleeding, and there were others who received even more severe injuries from these steel rods. We got there by 7 o'clock and were cramped into the room, I bleeding and others with more severe wounds. There we had to stand till 1 o'clock. At about 1 o'clock we were thrown out into the courtyard, and had to stand there in the cold and the damp, until 10 o'clock in the morning without receiving any food or anything.

Q. What happened at 10 o'clock?

A. Afterwards, at about 11, Eichmann appeared and at the same time Dr. Lange of the Metropol Hotel. Eichmann delivered a violent, raving speech and said that now he would know what he had to do.

Q. You said:"Together with Eichmann entered Dr. Lange of the Metropol Hotel." You knew him - Dr. Lange?

A. I did not say "together" but "at the same time." Dr. Lange was also there." Whether they came in together, is unknown to me. I did not know Dr. Lange but inquired immediately after his name.

Q. Tell me, Mr. Fleischmann, what was in the Metropol Hotel at that time?

A. In the Metropol Hotel were the Gestapo Headquarters.

Q. Do you recall where Eichmann's office was at that time?

A. At that time it was already in Prinz Eugen Strasse.

Q. Do you remember which building?

A. In what was previously the Rothschild House.

Q. Please continue, what happened after this speech?

A. I was held there for a few days. After four days a number of us - officials of the Palestine Office and of the community - were released.

Q. When you left Karajangasse what did you observe during those days?

A. Before I left Karajangasse I charged my colleagues to try and impress upon their memories as many names as possible in order to notify the wives where their husbands were, what happened to them and if they were still there.

The others, and I, on the instruction of Dr. Lange - had to sign a death note, a note under the threat of punishment of death, that I would not reveal a word what had happened to me and where I had been taken to.

Q. You ultimately left and went home, is that not so?

A. I did not go home, but to the house of Ticho, for they lived alone. A few days later - after 20 November - a friend of mine who lived near the Danube, died, and his wife, his young wife, jumped straight into the Danube. I went to the funeral in Marc Aurel Strasse. In a tram car I saw an SA man who wanted to alight and in fact he got off. I have a good memory and the man was known to me. I knew that he was one of the SA men who came to arrest us on 10 November. I went after him and said to him: "Gruess Gott" [a form of greeting]. He said "I must surely know you." I said:"You arrested us on 10 November at Nadinggasse 20." He said: "Are you at home already?" I said: "Yes, I am already back at home." I said to him: "But my friend is still in Dachau.

Can something be done here?" He said: "Come with me." We entered a gate near Cafe Atlas-Hof which is on Franz Josef Quay. He gave me his address on the back of a pack of cigarettes,and said: Come to me together with Mrs. Ticho at 6 o'clock to District 3, Hetzgasse 6." I told this to my friend's wife who was of course very apprehensive as to the outcome of it all. I said:"Do come, I have no fear."

At 6 o'clock I was at the house of the SA man, together with Mrs. Ticho. It looked poor - right into the kitchen, facing it a closet and on the other side a single room. The SA man lived with his wife opposite the closet. He said: "What do you want then?" I said: "Look here, I don't care much about it - you look here, you have seen the house, my friend wants to emigrate. He shall certainly do so if he only can. Why should this house go to another? You shall get it if he gets away - the bedroom, the beautiful bedroom is your own." He said: "I will come tomorrow to see it." He liked it.

Q. What happened in the end?

A. Some four days later he telephoned me at the Palestine Office. He said: "Mr. Fleischmann, has Mrs. Ticho been summoned to the Metropol yet?" I said "No not as far as I know." At noon, when I went home, Mrs. Ticho told me that she had received a summons to the Metropol Hotel for the next day. Thereafter he came every few days to check whether everything was in order. About 14 December he called me again at the Palestine Office and asked whether Mr. Ticho was already at home. I said "No." He said "He should be at home already." An hour later Mrs. Ticho called me to say that Mr. Ticho had just arrived home.

Q. Mr. Fleischmann, in the end did you manage to emigrate from Austria?

A. Several times obstacles were out in my way, for even when things had already started moving, new demands would crop up. A certain Fleischmann was discovered who 25 years previously had been in a home for mentally sick and whose expenses had not yet been paid. So they demanded a few thousand marks in order to get something. There was a certain Sturmbannfuehrer of Salzburg who was about to be married and who wanted my house. He wanted it for a cheap price, that is to say, he wanted me to vacate immediately, which I rejected. I was summoned to the Gestapo to Obersturmbannfuehrer Kuchmann.

As I stood there outside the door of Obersturmbannfuehrer Kuchmann, there stood an Oberst (Company Captain) more than six feet tall without a collar, facing the wall. While I was waiting outside, a number of SS men asked him who he was,etc., to which he answered that he was Captain Weiss, owner of some decoration. They said: "You have brought ruin on our compatriots." Five SS men took this giant and threw him from wall to wall until he remained lying there. Only after this was I allowed to go in to Obersturmbannfuehrer Kuchmann.

Q. Eventually you received permission to leave?

A. I waited for my Vatik (veteran Zionist) Certificate - which allegedly I had received already once - and which Moshe Schapira said I would receive with the next schedule. It took a while. I did not accept the certificate immediately.

Q. Mr. Fleischmann, one more question. On what day did you leave Austria?

A. After I heard that the British and French consulates were closed on 22 August, and I heard from people who came to me that they were not handling persons who were not British subjects even if they possessed permits. I took out tickets for a journey on 28 August 1939, via Vienna and Rotterdam to London. On 27 August, on a Sunday morning Loewenherz was then at the Congress in Switzerland, it became known that the last train was leaving for Belgium and Holland, that is to say, for England at 1 o'clock. I telephoned the airline from which I got the tickets, as it was forbidden to hand over tickets to anyone who did not have a complete exit- transit-entry permit.

Presiding Judge: Sir, we are obliged to limit ourselves. Do not forget that there are still many witnesses who have to be heard in this trial. Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions to the witness?

Dr. Servatius: I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: Thank you very much, Mr. Fleischmann, you have completed your testimony.

Who is the next witness?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The following witness is Dr. Franz Meyer. His evidence will relate to Prosecution Document No. 740.

Presiding Judge: What is this prosecution document you have mentioned just now?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I mention this number for the information of the Defence. Defence Counsel will not find a copy of the document if I do not give the number.

Presiding Judge: [to witness] Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Meyer: Yes.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Franz Eliezer Meyer.

Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Mr. Bar-Or.

State Attorney Bar-Or: You were born in Breslau, Germany, were you not?

Witness Meyer: Yes.

Q. You finished the Gymnasium in Breslau in 1914?

A. In 1915.

Q. Were you in the German army in the First World War?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you return to Breslau - after the War or on completion of your military service?

A. No. My service was ended in the middle. I fell ill and they sent me back at the end of the year 1915. After that I went to University and thereafter they called me again to the army in 1917.

Q. What were the studies in which you graduated at the University of Berlin?

A. I obtained a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Science, but I also dealt with other subjects, Sociology, Economics, etc.

Q. Dr. Meyer, were you active in the Zionist Organization in Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. Since when?

A. Even as a young man. I was amongst the first. I began to be active approximately during the period of 1913 in the Blau-Weiss.* {*First Jewish youth movement in Germany, founded in 1912.} Afterwards, when I began studying at the University, I was a member of the K.J.V.** {**Kartell Juedischer Verbindungen an association of Zionist university students' organizations in Germany.}

Presiding Judge: And Blau-Weiss already existed in the year 1913?

Witness Meyer: Yes.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I am speaking now of the years 1922- 1923. What form did your activities take?

Witness Meyer: There was a programme in the Zionist Organization of Germany of a compulsory year. And I was an official or secretary in the Arbeiterfuersorgeamt, an institution which dealt with assistance to Jews of East Europe who came to Germany during the First World War.

Q. All this activity was in Breslau?

A. No. It was in Berlin.

Q. Did you return to Breslau?

A. Yes.

Q. When?

A. In the middle of 1923.

Q. Did you continue then with your public activity?

A. Yes, although I was at that time a partner in my father's factory. I was also a member of the Executive of the branch of the Zionist Organization. Afterwards I was also elected to the Jewish Community Council as a delegate and later as a member of the Executive.

Q. What happened to you in 1933? Did anything happen?

A. Certainly. Something happened to all of us. With me it happened that approximately in February of that year the Chairman of the Zionist Organization in Germany, Mr. Kurt Blumenfeld, came to me in Breslau and asked me to move to Berlin and to become active within the framework of the Zionist Organization in Berlin in the office at Meineckestrasse, seeing that both he and the late Dr. Georg Landauer were then leaving Germany. He said to me that it was necessary for me to accept the responsibility for this work.

Q. Did you agree?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you move to Berlin?

A. Officially on 1 April of that year, but actually on that day, the day of the boycott, I was still in Breslau...

Q. Are you referring to 1 April 1933?

A. Yes. On that day I was in Breslau. It seems to me that previously I was on a visit to Berlin and thereafter I commuted between Breslau and Berlin and back. My family was in Breaslau. I returned there for weekends.

Q. What were your duties?

A. I am afraid that I shall add to the confusion that has already appeared in the press as if everyone was a President or Director. Consequently I do not wish to exaggerate here. Perhaps I would only indicate the structure of the Zionist Organization at that time. After Mr. Blumenfeld left Berlin, the chairman in his stead was Dr. Siegfried Moses, at present the State Comptroller. I was the Acting Chairman or Geschaeftsfuehrender Vorsitzender, as they called it then. In addition to this I was the director of the Palestine Office in Berlin, which was then still a integral part of the Zionist Organization of Germany, and this was together with Mr. Arthur Rau, presently the legal adviser to the Bank Leumi here.

Q. Did you devote yourself in the years subsequent to 1 April 1933 to special work in the framework of the Zionist Organization?

A. Yes. First of all it was my function to maintain contacts with the other Jewish organizations. Apart from the duties which I mentioned previously, I was chosen in the summer of 1933 as one of the members of the Executive Committee of the Representation of German Jewry - "Reichsvertretung" I served as one of the representatives of the Zionists. In those years the development of organizational affairs with us was such that the powers of the individual organizations gradually passed over to the centre, the Reichsvertretung, that is to say, that I was in the capacity of Chairman of the Committee for Emigration of Jews.

My function was the same function, emigration to Palestine, that is to say that I still derived authority from the Jewish Agency and I was also the representative for all these matters within the establishment of the Reichsvertretung. In 1936 I moved from the management of Meineckestrasse, the centre of the Zionist Organization, to Kantstrasse, the centre of the Reichsvertretung, and I was the colleague of the late Dr. Otto Hirsch as one of the directors of the Reichsvertretung.

Q. Did you come into contact with the Gestapo in those years

A. Yes.

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