The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 18
(Part 3 of 6)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
State Attorney Bar-Or: I now come to Prosecution document No. 462; It is a circular letter signed by Staatssekretaer - (Secretary of State) - Weitsaecker of the German Foreign Ministry. It is dated 8 July 1938. It is addressed to all the German diplomatic missions - London, Paris, Rome, Washington, Warsaw, Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Prague Sofia and Geneva. The document deals with the attitude of the Foreign Ministry and the German authorities to what is known today as the Evian Conference which purported to deal with the consequences of Jewish emigration under German and Austrian pressure. This document was No. NG 3702, and it, too, is found in the Alexandria 4 reel. I wish to submit it.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/110.

With all due respect, Mr. Bar-Or, it is possible to condense and summarize still more.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I shall try, Your Honour. I wish to draw the Court's attention only to one sentence, namely: "The question whether Germany could facilitate the transfer of capital which is in Jewish hands must be answered in the negative, since one cannot expect of Germany to allow the transfer of German capital amassed by the Jews - in particular after the War. Cooperation with the powers now assembled in Evian is therefore for Germany out of the question."

I come now to document No. 1508, also from the National Archives on the Alexandria reel. It originates in the SD Head Office and there are handwritten notes of the Accused attached to it. I wish to submit this document. In fact it is a document with accompanying documents. For the convenience of the Court, I asked that the handwritten notes be copied. Pages 2,3,4 are handwritten. Is there a transcript?

Presiding Judge: No, there is no transcript of the notes of the Accused.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I submit herewith three copies.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/111.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Thank you, Your Honour. In fact, I would request to read only the last part. It says: "Thirdly, Once those without means have emigrated, it is the turn of the capitalists, who until then can have been slowly deprived of their capital by means of punitive measures. Furthermore, it can be solved when no restrictions are imposed on the SD Head Office."

Presiding Judge: Do you not have the document to which these notes refer?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The explanation is as follows: We have here an instruction transmitted to II 1123. We shall find in T/37 (239) which was submitted to the Accused, that he states that he was the person in charge of that section 1123. Therefore, it is addressed to him. It says here that it is requested to prepare a memorandum to C - to Heydrich - in which it "is to be proved that the Jewish question cannot be solved on the present basis (financial difficulties)" and "that one should begin to find an external political solution, as already once negotiated between Poland and France."

In accordance with these instructions, the Accused started making notes. At the end we find:

"Secondly, monthly discussions with all offices involved (Hinkel). Thirdly: Countries (Madagascar)."
I pass on now to document No. 1452. This document too reached us through the Alexandria 4 microfilm. It is dated 11 November 1938 and was issued in Hanover. It is addressed to the Mayor of Hameln with a copy to the Regierungspraesident (Chief Government Administrator) in Hanover. It deals with the "Blocking of, and payments from Jewish bank- and savings fund accounts and/or confiscated funds."

Presiding Judge: This document has been marked T/112.

State Attorney Bar-Or: By these instructions the bank accounts of Jews were in fact blocked. Trustees were appointed who had to be given Power of Attorney to operate the account and the amounts the banks could pay to Jews were limited to 50 Reichsmarks per week, to cover minimal living expenses.

With the Court's permission, I shall proceed to document No. 1503. This document was before the International Military Tribunal and it received their number USA 508. The American Prosecutor submitted it as P S -3058. We received a copy, certified by the Registrar of the International Court in the Hague, where these documents are at present. He certifies here the English translation of this document, but we submit to the Court, for its convenience, a copy of the photostat of the original document which was also received from The Hague International Court. This is a letter from Heydrich of November 11, 1938 on the "Operation against the Jews." This is Heydrich's first report to Goering on the occurrences of the Crystal Night.

Presiding Judge: How did this get to the International Court in The Hague?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The (Allied) Powers deposited the documents that were submitted to the International Tribunal in Nuremberg, at the International Court in The Hague. The department reference on Heydrich's letter is IIB4, and we already saw this number this morning. I would like to ask if the Court could consider the possibility to return this heavy document which, in fact, only contains the English translation as certified by the Registrar of The Hague International Court, because in the end we shall want to return it.

Presiding Judge: After the end of the trial. Mr. Bar-Or, you will make a note of it for yourself. I understand that you copied only part of it.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The document of the Court in The Hague contained many documents we did not need. I marked only one document from this collection which relates to the matter we are interested in. The sub-file contains the photostat.

Presiding Judge: Is this a copy of one of the documents?

State Attorney Bar-Or: This is the photostatic copy of the original, but in the thicker file we have...

Presiding Judge: I think I shall return it to you right away, for you really need only the photostat of the original letter. Could you perhaps just open it and show us where it appears and that will be recorded in the minutes. [Mr. Bar- Or opens the Collection and shows the Court that this document is contained in the document book - photostatic copies - of the International Military Tribunal].

This document has been marked T/113 (the document that was deposited with the International Court at The Hague).

State Attorney Bar-Or: With the Court's permission I shall read the short letter:

"Subject: Operation against the Jews" (This is Heydrich's writing).

"From the reports that reached us so far from the State Police units the following is the general picture obtained, until 11 November 1938:

Plundering of Jewish shops and businesses occurred in many cities. In all cases strong measures were taken to prevent more plundering. 174 people have been arrested for plundering. So far, it is not possible to establish figures on the extent of the destruction of Jewish homes and businesses. The figures mentioned in reports: 815 businesses destroyed, 29 department stores set on fire or otherwise destroyed, 171 homes set on fire or otherwise destroyed, represent - all these, apart from the cases of arson, provide only a partial picture of the actual destruction. Because of the urgency of making the reports, many communications received so far, had to be limited to general indications, such as 'many' or 'most businesses were destroyed.' The figures stated above may therefore well be exceeded many times.

191 synagogues were set on fire, 76 others were completely destroyed. 11 community centres, cemetery chapels etc., were set on fire and 3 others completely destroyed.

Approximately 20,000 Jews, 7 Aryans and 3 foreigners were arrested. The latter were taken into custody for their own protection. Notice was received of 36 cases of death and also 36 seriously injured persons. The dead and injured are Jews. One Jew is still missing. Among the killed Jews there is one, and among the injured two Polish citizens.

I now pass on to Prosecution document No. 76. This was document PS-1816 at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal. I submit here a copy of the document as published in IMG, the German edition of the Nuremberg trials, volume 38, pages 449-540. The document I wish to submit contains the stenographic minutes of a meeting that took place at the Air Ministry in Goering's office on 12 November 1938; it deals with "The removal of the Jews from the German Economy, Confiscation of insurance indemnifications for the damage caused to Jews on 10 November and other measures against the Jews."

Presiding Judge: This document has been marked T/114.

State Attorney Bar-Or: This document reveals a discussion on 12 November on a number of problems that resulted directly from the events of 10 November. The first part of the document deals with insurance matters. It appeared that most of the damaged [property] was insured, and someone had to pay for it. The insurance companies insisted, as the insurers, that they pay for the damage, notwithstanding the opposition from the Ministers. At the meeting, not only Goering, but also Goebbels and Funk were present.

As the reputation of the German insurance companies with the reinsurers abroad might be damaged if they were to refuse to pay, the suggestion was made that they would pay compensation, but the monies so paid for the damage would be confiscated in favour of the Reich and the Jews would be compelled to repair the damage at their own expense.

Finally, the meeting also received a short report on what happened on Crystal Night. Heydrich, who was present at the meeting, gives the report, and on page 7/1 he says: "Even if all Jews are removed from the economy, the basic problem still remains in the end that the Jews must leave Germany. May I make some suggestion on this? In Vienna, upon the instructions from the Commissioner of the Reich, we established a Jewish Emigration Centre, and through it we got 50,000 Jews out of Austria, whereas during the same period we succeeded in making only 19,000 Jews leave the old Reich. We succeeded thanks to the co-operation between the Ministry of Economics which was responsible, and the foreign aid organizations."

Goering remarks: "More than anything else, you cooperated with the local leaders of the green border."

Heydrich then explains that it was not only a matter of the greeen border.

Finally Heydrich wishes to make a suggestion:

"May I propose that we establish a similar centre in the Reich with the cooperation of the competent authorities and that we find on the basis of these experiences a solution for the Reich, while avoiding the mistakes which the Generalfeldmarschall [Goering] justly criticized."
Heydrich adds:
"I would like to submit several proposals, from the point of view of the police, toward isolating [the Jews], which are also important for their psychological effect on public opinion, for instance - personal identification of the Jews, saying: Every Jew in the sense of the Nuremberg laws must wear a certain identification badge. That is one possibility that will make many other things easier - I do not see any danger as regards excesses (Ausschreitungen) it makes easier our relationship to foreign Jews."
Goering ends the meeting with: "One more question, gentlemen. What do you think would happen if I declare today that the Jews must pay as punishment this amount of 1 billion as a contribution."

On this, Gauleiter Buerckel answers: "The Viennese will agree to it entirely..."

With the Court's permission, I now pass on to Prosecution document No. 505. This is a cable from the then American Ambassador in London, Mr. Joseph Kennedy, to the Acting Secretary of State in Washington. It is document PS-3319 in Nuremberg. We received it through the reel prepared by Mr. Grisha Shapira, as per the affidavit that was submitted. I request permission to submit a photostatic copy of this cable.

Presiding Judge: What does it deal with?

State Attorney Bar-Or: It deals with the contents of a meeting with Ribbentrop about the German refugee problems. The ways in which it might perhaps be possible to help from the outside to mitigate the fate of these refugees. Here, Ambassador Kennedy quotes to his superiors things he had heard himself.

Presiding Judge: T/115.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The date of the cable is 8 December 1938, that is after the events we talked about before. It reads:

"The Jews in Germany without exception were pickpockets, murderers and thieves" (he is quoting von Ribbentrop). "The property they possessed had been acquired illegally. The German Government had therefore decided to equate them with the criminal element of the population. The property which they had acquired illegally would be taken from them. They would be forced to live in districts frequented by the criminal classes. They would be under police observation like other criminals. They would be forced to report to the police as other criminals were obliged to do. The German Government could not help it if some of these criminals escaped to other countries which seemed so anxious to have them. It was not, however, willing for them to take the property which had resulted from their illegal operations, with them."
Presiding Judge: I see this is information Ambassador Kennedy received from his French colleague, Bonnet.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Correct. I shall confine myself to this quotation. I now come to Prosecution document No.1368. In the flow of submissions there is a link missing here, again for the same reason. I shall have to come back to it and apologize. I refer to Prosecution document No. 1368 which originates in the German Foreign Ministry. It is a letter from Heydrich to the German Foreign Minister dated 30 January 1939, and it deals with Die Reichszentrale fuer die juedische Auswanderung. The document is authenticated by an affidavit from Professor Verete. I wish to submit the document.

Presiding Judge: That will be T/116.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With the Court's permission I shall read the letter:

"Subject: 'The Reich Central Office for the Emigration of the Jews.' I attach a copy of the letter from Generalfeldmarschall Goering as Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, dated 24 January 1939, to Reich Minister of the Interior, by virtue of which a Reich Central Office for the Emigration of the Jews is to be established in the Ministry of the Interior and of which I shall be in charge. By virtue of the instruction to assume the responsibility for the Reich Central Office I order the following:

(a) The Reich Central Office consists of a committee and an executive office (Geschaeftsstelle)

(b) The committee consists of representatives of the government units taking part in the task to be accomplished.

(c) I determine that an executive office will serve Department II of the Gestapo, which materially already deals with these tasks, and appoint as its responsible officer the head of that Department, SS- Standartenfuehrer Oberregierungsrat Mueller.

I request the Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Reich Minister of Economics, the Reich Minister of Finance and the Secretary of State Dr. Stuckart to submit to me the name of one representative each for the Committee of the Reich Central Office, so that I shall be able to convene the first meeting of the Committee."

With the Court's permission I shall now pass on to Prosecution document No. 296. This is Adolf Hitler's speech before the Reichstag of Greater Germany on 30 January 1939. I submit the speech in its official edition by the Zentralverlag der NSDAP, Franz Ebert Nachfolger, Munich, 1939. In this speech, Hitler speaks of the danger of war, and here is one of the threats of what will be the fate of the Jews if war breaks out.

Presiding Judge: T/117. State Attorney Bar-Or: I draw the Court's attention to page 46 of the booklet. These are Hitler's words in the course of this speech:

"It is most possible that on this problem there will sooner or later be a concensus of opinion among nations who otherwise are not close to each other. There is enough room in the world to live, but the opinion that the Jewish people has been appointed by the good Lord to be in a certain percentage the parasites on the body and the productive work of other peoples, must be eradicated. The Jews will have to adjust themselves to the same productive activities as are carried out by other peoples; otherwise they will sooner or later succumb to a crisis of immeasurable size. And one thing I would like to say on this day, which is perhaps memorable not only for us Germans: In my life, I have often been a prophet and was most often laughed at. During my struggle for power, it was first of all the Jewish people that reacted to my prophesies with laughter, that one day I would take over the leadership of the state and thereby of the entire people in Germany, and that then I would solve, among others, also the Jewish problem. I believe that the loud laughter of the Jews in Germany in those days, has now been stuck in their throats.

"Today I want to be a prophet once more: If international financial Jewry, in and outside Europe, would succeed in plunging the peoples once again into a world war, then the result will not be a Bolshevized world and thereby a victory for the Jews, but the annihilation (Vernichtung) of the Jewish race in Europe."

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