The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 22
(Part 2 of 3)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Attorney General: Yes, but the allgemeinen Anordnungen (the general directions) are those of the Reichskommissar fuer die Festigung des deutschen Volkstums (The Reich Commissionar for Strengthening the German Nation). I have already submitted this appointment to you. This is the title of Himmler.

Presiding Judge: What are the initials f.d.R? fuer den Reichskommissar?

Attorney General: No...this is for the verification of the signature: Fuer die Richtigkeit (for the accuracy).

The following document contains instructions of Generalgouvernement of 25.10.1941 which includes, in paragraph 4 (b), an instruction that those Jews, who leave the place of residence which has been fixed for them, shall incur the death penalty. The same penalty shall apply to persons giving shelter to such Jews.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/207.

Attorney General: The next document is Prosecution Document No. 1174. It was issued by Department IVB4, bearing the signature of Heydrich, addressed to the heads of the central authorities. It purports to be a continuation of the instruction of 15.9.1941. Its date is March 1942: ban on the use by Jews of means of conveyance and transport.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/208.

Attorney General: It relies on an earlier instruction of this Department concerning the use of the means of conveyance. This is paragraph 1. It lays down the exceptions concerning the permits given only to someone who had to walk to work for one hour or for a distance of not less than seven kilometres. That is paragraph 3. Only people such as these would be allowed to use means of transport.

The next document, No. 1064, was also issued by IVB4 and addressed to the central authorities in Germany, to all units of the "Criminal Police" and it imposes the Jewish badge of shame on all Jews. With regard to Jews who were under the control of the emigration centres in Berlin, Vienna and Prague, it is stated that the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland that is to say the Reich Association of the Jews in Germany, and the communities in Vienna and Prague, shall supply the badge of shame at their expense.

I shall not go into the particulars of the document. The document is most detailed, and contains exact instructions to whom it applies and how to implement it.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/209.

Attorney General: The following document is No. 795. It includes two items. Lammers, Minister of the Reich and Head of the Reich Chancellery, sends to Himmler an anonymous letter that had been received in the Fuehrer's office about the suffering of the Jews who had been expelled from the areas which had been incorporated into the Reich, about those deported from Schneidemuehl, about people who had arrived frozen with cold, about the children whose limbs had to be amputated, about the marches which had been forced on men, women and children, in 20 degrees of frost and so on.

Presiding Judge: Was there a covering letter to this?

Attorney General: There are two documents here, one is the Lammers' document and one which is the anonymous letter.

Presiding Judge: We only have the letter.

Attorney General: There is a previous letter. Mine is marked. If my marking in red pencil will not disturb the Court, I shall submit all this together.

Presiding Judge: I understand that you do not have a photocopy of the letter from Lammers.

Judge Raveh: Was it sent to him at the request of Himmler?

Attorney General: Yes. Himmler evidently asked that there should be some discussion on the subject, and the Court will recollect that we have already dealt with the complaints received about these transports, and in order to remove the complaints- the Court will recall that this was amongst the 35 documents I submitted on Friday - Heydrich decided to appoint Eichmann to be head of Department IVB4 in order to coordinate the operation and so that there should no longer be any complaints.

Presiding Judge: The two documents will be marked T/210.

Attorney General: Document 1401 is a letter sent to Eichmann from Posen on 27 February 1940, by Sturmbannfuehrer Rapp. He refers to the fact that people who are deported will be able to take only 20 zlotys with them according to the regulation, and he asks for instructions from where he should give these people 20 zlotys after they had already been robbed of their property and they had no possessions. He asks for precise instructions, since the order was not to send the Jews away completely bereft.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/211.

Attorney General: The next document is No. 1177 of 9 May 1941, a letter to the Foreign Ministry with Eichmann's signature. This refers to the investigation which the Foreign Ministry conducted, evidently in connection with a certain couple by the name of Salm, apparently at the request of members of their family or at the request of the Foreign Ministry. This was a couple from Cologne, who according to the letter had been apparently transferred to the area of the Generalgouvernement, and Eichmann says in the letter that they should not worry about these Jews, since the Jewish Organizations in the Generalgouvernement would be taking care of them.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/212.

Attorney General: Document No. 1563 is a letter from Eichmann, again to the Foreign Ministry, about the dispatch of parcels to Jews who had been sent to the area of the Generalgouvernement. Eichmann decides on 27.5.1941, in regard to the request of the Jew Franz Israel Schwartz, to permit him to send parcels to his relatives who had been sent to the Generalgouvernement that he was obliged to refuse this request for reasons of principle. The handling of these Jews would be by the Jewish Institutions themselves in the Generalgouvernement.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/213.

Attorney General: So far these have been documents that correspond to the evidence which we have heard, and I shall now call my next witness, Dr. Leon Wells.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, we agreed that the witnesses should wait outside before appearing before the Court.

Attorney General: I only had documents to submit. In order not to waste the time of the Court, I invited the witness to come inside. All the other witnesses are waiting outside.

Dr. Wells will give evidence in English.

Presiding Judge: Do you not speak Hebrew?

Witness Wells: I only speak a little Hebrew.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Witness Wells: Leon Weliczker Wells.

Attorney General: Your former name was Leon Weliczker?

Witness Wells: Yes.

Q. And you now reside at 3051 Edwin Avenue, Fort Lee, New Jersey?

A. Yes.

Q. You are married and have two children?

A. Yes.

Q. You were born in Stojanow near Lvov in Poland on the 10th of March 1925?

A. Yes.

Q. What academic degrees do you hold?

A. I have a doctor's degree in mechanical engineering and post-graduate work in physics.

Q. Between 1950 and 1953 you were associate researcher at New York University. Did you graduate the School for Mathematics and Mechanics?

A. Yes.

Q. Between 1953-1956 you were research director at Commerce International?

A. Yes, sir.

Presiding Judge: What is Commerce International?

Witness Wells: It is an international company that deals in films and tankers; they have in Philadelphia a big tanker company, shipping company.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps we may shorten this?

Attorney General: We are reaching the end.

Presiding Judge: Obviously this remark always comes towards the end.

Attorney General: Between 1956 and 1957 you were project engineer at Curtis-Wright Aeronautics?

Witness Wells: Yes, sir.

Q. Since 1957 you are the technical director and vice- president of Ark Projection Company?

A. Yes.

Q. You are listed in the American Men of Science?

A. Yes.

Q. You have published many scientific publications and you hold several patents?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, when the German-Soviet War broke out where were you?

A. I was at this time in Lvov which is in East Poland.

Q. You were the second oldest child of your parents?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. How many brothers and sisters did you have?

A. I had two brothers and four sisters.

Q. Did any of them survive Hitler's occupation of Galicia?

A. No.

Q. You are the only survivor of your family?

A. I am the only survivor, not only of the immediate family but of the whole family including all cousins, uncles, which counted all of 76 members.

Q. Now, at the time when Hitler entered Lvov, how many Jews were there?

A. There were about 150,000 Jews in Lvov.

Q. That was June 1941, and what happened immediately afterwards?

A. 30 June 1941, the German Army occupied Lvov. And three days later I was arrested together with my father and was taken to Pelczynska Street.

In reality, we thought only that we were going to work for cleaning work because of it was wartime, to clean out some stores.

Q. Who arrested you? Do you know the unit which operated then?

A. At this time I was arrested by the Ukrainian police which were working there with the SS. First we were taken to a police station - we and the others. The police station was not far from our house. It was the point where they brought together more people from different places. After a few hours of beating and torture -- some people had already died there due to these beatings -- we were taken to Pelczynska Street.

Q. How old were you at that time?

A. I was seventeen - sixteen. Sixteen. This was in the year 1941. At Pelczynska Strasse there were assembled about five thousand Jews were already assembled there when I arrived.

Q. Before we continue, perhaps you can tell me, did you immediately after the War write the book in Polish by the name of The Death Brigade, Sonderkommando 1005, published in Lodz in 1946?

A. I wrote it during the War. But it was handed over the second day after the War to the Polish Historical Commission, which published it a year later.

Q. This contained the notes which you made continuously throughout the War?

A. Yes. The original notes during the War were handed to Dr. Friedman, and he took it over, as the head of the Historical Commission to be published in Lodz. From these original papers, which I never rewrote then, only a part were published as Death Brigade. But these original papers contain the whole story of the whole time of the War.

Q. I submit this book. It is in Polish and has not been translated.* {*It has been meanwhile been published in English as The Death Brigade (New York, 1963 & 1978)} We shall rely on a number of extracts which we shall translate.

[To the witness]. Is this the book?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Please show this first of all to the Defence Counsel.

Attorney General: Now let's go back to what happened in the prison. I interrupted you while you were telling the Court about that.

Witness Wells: When we were taken to the Pelczynska street, they started different kinds of mental cruelty to us. Like for example, they would take one man into a room and he would let out a scream. An SS man - there were only SS people - the Ukrainians left us after they had arrested us and gave us over at Pelczynka Street to these SS people. And after this scream, they had a scheme: a SS man came up with a white apron with blood on hand, and said, "Now the next man." They didn't really kill this man, they only killed a goose inside, which we found out later, but it was only to make believe that everybody would go in and get killed there.

Presiding Judge: The witness' book will be exhibit T/214.

Attorney General: Will the Court permit this witness to sit down? He just arrived last night from the United States.

Presiding Judge: Certainly, you may sit down any time you like. I was under the impression that you are strong, and you probably are. [The witness sits down]

Attorney General: When you say SS men, do you know which SS?

Witness Wells: At this time I couldn't say what kind of SS. I know only that we recognized SS by the hats, by the deathhead right in the centre.

Q. Totenkopf?

A. Yes...and also the marks on the uniforms. But at this time I couldn't say what kind they were, because it was only about three days after their arrival.

Q. Later you did learn which SS men these were? Whether they had any special designation?

A. Later, I learned about the ranks, because we were much more in contact, unfortunately. We already knew the ranks. But at this time I couldn't say what were the ranks.

Q. What happened next?

A. This kind of mental torture went on until it was nearly evening. At night, they told us all to lie down with our faces down. It was in the backyard. It was a big backyard, a sand backyard. So we all lay down with our faces in the sand, and they directed the machine guns over our heads. We were told that anybody who will lift his head will be shot.

Now night started and they began to take people and I couldn't say even in what order because I was lying with my face down, but you heard. The people started to run and they beat them and they hammered them until they fell and could not move. They beat them so that they should get up and this continued through the whole night. When the sun rose in the morning we were allowed to sit up. And at this time I could see people sitting all around with their brains out, their heads completely broken open. They looked like they would not even move. They were practically sitting dead. There were quite a few hundred out of these five thousand or so sitting with their brains out. This was the result of this night beating and running around.

Q. You mean to say people were still alive?

A. No. They would not move. They would only like sit or like bend down with everything out, with their brains outside. They did not move, they did not do anything. We were sitting all together, but we were not allowed to move. Due to the hot day people were starting to drink even from their own urine, did their needs under them. Drank because of the heat of the day.

So passed Thursday, and on Thursday night the event repeated itself like before, and Friday morning a very large group of SS of higher ranks came to this backyard in trucks and started to call out that 75 people should come forward because they will be taken to work. People started to push forward because people wanted, at least they did not care if there is work or if there is any other trick. But to stay there was in any case they saw the end in their eyes.

And so all day, the trucks were being loaded with people and in addition to it they used to stuff into the trucks four people, and each four people took with them one man who had died or who was killed. On Friday at about seven o'clock in the evening all but about 150 people were already taken away.

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