The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 27
(Part 1 of 10)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 27

18 Iyar 5721 (4.May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the twenty-seventh Session of the trial open. Yes, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: With the Court's permission...

Dr. Servatius: During the last Session there still remained an open question regarding Document No. 9, and I have meanwhile managed to clarify it. This was in connection with "i.V." (in Vertretung) - on behalf of - and "i.A. " (im Auftrage) - by order of. At the top it said Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann and Regierungsrat Hunsche, and there was no signature. I should like to express my opinion in regard to the formal aspect. We are talking of a draft that was drawn up on the initiative of Mueller, and the task was given to the two men previously mentioned - to Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann and Regierungsrat Hunsche who was a lawyer.

Presiding Judge: They were given the task of preparing the draft?

Dr. Servatius: Yes. This draft was forwarded to the Foreign Office for them to state their attitude, and their attitude appears in the Prosecution's Document No. 10.

Presiding Judge: What is the Prosecution's Document No. 10?

Attorney General: It will be submitted when we present to the Court the continuation of the Holocaust in Greater Germany. There are also a number of other documents to which exhibit 9 is linked and its full significance will become clear to the Court when these are submitted. That is correct. Exhibit 10 also applies to them.

Presiding Judge: Thank you.

Dr. Servatius: I do not wish to refer to their contents, but to the form. The outcome of this draft was a later letter which is embodied in Document No. 535, bearing the heading "Reich Ministry of the Interior" and signed, by order, by Kaltenbrunner.

The same order appears a second time in a shortened and more severe form concerning the eastern areas in Document No. 788. This document bears the heading "Chief of the Security Police and the SD" and on this occasion he signs not "on behalf of" - "i.V.," - and not by order of - "i.A." - but simply Dr.Kaltenbrunner. Each of these documents has the caption IVB4b as the competent authority where documents are drawn up and kept in the archives, for the authority in charge did not possess an archive of its own for these matters but only the head of the Department dealt with it.

Attorney General: I do not believe that I have to take a stand on Defence Counsel's remarks at this stage. This is more a matter for the final argument.

Judge Raveh: Only the identification of the documents which have been quoted to us.

Presiding Judge: All these have not been submitted.

Attorney General: All these have not been submitted, but all of them, as the Court will note, are in the possession of Defence Counsel and he has exactly the same right to submit them as we.

Presiding Judge: We shall make a note that you will react to this in your summing up.

Attorney General: With the permission of the Court, before we go on, I should like to draw the Court's attention to two documents which for us do not constitute separate documents, and I would ask the Court to admit them as part of the series of the Nuremberg Trials which we submitted in their entirety: the report of Juergen Stroop, commander of the SS in the Warsaw Ghetto - which is Document P.S. 1061, and it appears in the Blue Series, in the German edition, in Volume 26 on page 628 and following pages. This also includes the concluding report of Juergen Stroop, beginning with the words: "There are no more Jewish habitations in Warsaw," he sets out the list of casualties, including also the lists which Stroop sent to SS Obergruppenfuehrer General Krueger in Cracow.

All this was designated by the Prosecution in Nuremberg as P.S. 1061, and the Court will find a great amount of material there relevant to the annihilation of the ghetto and also to the connection between the annihilation of the ghetto and the SS organization, of which the Accused is charged of being a member. Here, in these documents, the Court will also observe how those carrying out the annihilation viewed the Jewish attempt to stay alive, the various pioneering (Halutz) movement - and he talks of "Chalutzische Bewegungen" - the resistance and the acts of suppression. There are also photographs which Stroop attached to his original report, and they also appear in the volume.

Judge Raveh: Who was this Stroop?

Attorney General: Juergen Stroop was the commander of the Waffen SS appointed by Himmler to destroy the Warsaw Ghetto. We shall also submit, in the course of today, Himmler's order for the destruction of the ghetto.

Presiding Judge: Did you hand in to us the German series, or the English?

Attorney General: To the best of my recollection - the German. I request you to admit this as an exhibit - this part of the German series. However, I do not have a separate reprint of it.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/273.

Attorney General: The following document, which we ask the Court to admit - and again in the same form - contains Himmler's orders to destroy the ghetto.

Presiding Judge: Where does this appear?

Attorney General: It appears in the fifth volume of the Green Series. These are documents No. 2514 and No. 2494.

Presiding Judge: On what page does it appear there?

Attorney General: On pages 620-622.

At the beginning Himmler gives instructions to convert the Warsaw Ghetto into a concentration camp and to transfer the whole camp as early as possible to Lublin and the surrounding district, so that productive enterprises should not suffer. This is what was said on 16 February 1943. In a further document Himmler says: "For security reasons, I hereby give orders to destroy the Warsaw Ghetto, after the concentration camp has been removed from it. A place which has served as a home for 500,000 Untermenschen (sub-humans) and which will never be suitable for the accommodation of Germans, must disappear."

Judge Raveh: At which trial was it submitted?

Attorney General: It was submitted in Trial 4, of the Concentration Camps, Pohl.

Judge Halevi: What was the date of this last order?

Attorney General: According to what appears here, both of them were of the same date. The one was addressed to Pohl who was in charge of the Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsamt, (Office for Economics and Administration), and instructs him firstly to convert the ghetto into a concentration camp and then to destroy the concentration camp. The second was addressed to Krueger and tells him that since it had already been decided to transfer the concentration camp, the whole ghetto would be destroyed, and that place would vanish from off the face of the earth.

Presiding Judge: Did you also hand over this volume to us at the time in connection with the preliminary arguments?

Attorney General: I am not sure. I think that I handed in

Volume 15. At any rate, if it has not yet been handed in, I shall place the volume at the Court's disposal now.

Judge Halevi: Were both orders dated 16 February 1943?

Attorney General: So it says.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/274.

Attorney General: If I may be permitted, I should like in a few words to state what the Prosecution intends to bring before the Court today, and perhaps it would be right to do this every day, so that the Court should know what we are placing before it, so that it may receive a clear picture.

We should like by means of the short testimony of a lady witness to describe the events in one of the districts of Poland, to which we have not yet related, that is the district of Silesia or, in Polish Zaglebie, something that happened there, and afterwards to go on to the operations of the Einsatzgruppen and the areas of the Einsatzgruppen, Vilna; a special area from the administrative point of view, Bialystok, which was annexed to East Germany. And in the afternoon, we hope to be in a position to present to the Court testimonies concerning the extermination in the ghettos of Kovno and Riga.

I call the witness Mrs. Frieda Masia.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Frieda Masia.

Attorney General: Do you live in Rehovot, at 53 Ben-Zion Street?

Witness Masia: Yes.

Q. At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War you were in Sosnowiec which is in Poland?

A. Yes.

Q. To what part of Poland does Sosnowiec belong?

A. To Eastern Silesia, to Zaglebie.

Q. After the Germans entered the town, you began working there in the Jewish hospital as a nurse?

A. Yes.

Q. With the entry of the Germans the men were removed by the Wehrmacht and concentrated in the courtyard of the Municipality and in the basements. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. In December 1939 the Gestapo appeared in Sosnowiec? Is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. By order of the Gestapo a Jewish body was set up to govern the Jewish community?

A. The Jewish Community Council was set up immediately after the entry of the Germans, already in September 1939.

Q. When the War broke out, there were about 30,000 Jews in Sosnowiec?

A. Yes.

Q. Many fled to the East - how many remained?

A. According to the lists compiled by the Community Council later on, in 1941 there were about 25,000, but this was already after many persons had been sent to labour camps. We estimated the number of the Jewish residents of Sosnowiec at 28,000, after the outbreak of the War and after the flight to the East. In the whole of Zaglebie and district there were nearly 100,000 Jews.

Q. In October 1939 was an order issued to wear a white band with a blue Shield of David on the left sleeve?

A. Yes.

Q. Did this order apply to all the Jews?

A. Yes, also to the children.

Q. What happened to the Jewish shops?

A. The Jewish shops were closed when the Germans arrived. From most of them the merchandise was immediately removed and they were closed altogether. A few of them received German custodians who were to run the businesses and to deposit the monies in a German bank. Some of the shops were permitted to remain open for sales to Jews, but they were obliged to carry the sign "nur fuer Juden" (for Jews only), with a large blue Shield of David.

Q. To what country did your area belong, from an administrative point of view?

A. From the administrative point of view we were annexed at once in the first months to the German Reich as areas which were returned to Germany as having previously been German.

Q. What happened to the Jewish cultural and public activities in your area?

A. Officially all cultural and public activities were prohibited, apart from the work of the Community Council, which carried out the orders of the Germans, and which was required to organize Jewish life.

In practice everything was organized secretly - a school for Jewish children existed illegally, despite the ban. In Sosnowiec itself, we assembled one thousand Jewish children in a school, roughly of the ages from 6 to 11-12. We set up secondary schools for those whose studies had been stopped. The lessons were conducted in groups of five to six. We tried to give them an elementary education, not to cut them off from their studies, and not to allow them to be influenced by the street, which was full of troubles and horrors.

Q. What about fines and contributions?

A. A short while after the Germans came, almost simultaneously with the registration of the citizens, they announced a "Kopfsteuer," a head tax on every person. Shortly after this there was an "action" for the collection of gold and silver. Apart from the confiscation of property and the seizure of houses, they set up a special company which dealt with the houses taken from the Jews ("Grundstueckgesellschaft"). Later there were also "actions" for collecting furs, collecting skis and again several "actions" for collecting gold and silver.

Q. Had your great synagogue been burned down already, at the beginning of the occupation?

A. At the beginning of the occupation.

Q. By whom?

A. By Germans who surrounded the whole area. It was not only in Sosnowiec. At the same time the synagogue was burned own both in Katowice, and also in Bedzin. And both in Bedzin and Sosnowiec not only the synagogues were surrounded but also the houses in the vicinity in which Jews were living, and many of these Jews were burned alive, and the Germans shot at anyone who tried to escape.

Q. What happened to the people who at that moment were praying in the synagogue?

A. They were burned alive.

Q. What happened in the summer months of 1940?

A. The summer months of 1940...?

Q. The labour transports?

A. Yes, in the summer of 1940. The Jews were generally obliged to go out to work. At the beginning, after the entry of the Germans, they would seize the Jews in the street and employ them in the most degrading work, under terrible treatment. A Jew was happy when, after a day's work, he would receive a kick and was able to make off for his home, and when it ended with nothing worse than that. In the course of time, the Community Council came to an agreement with them that it would supply groups of labourers for certain kinds of work. And every Jew was obliged, once a week, or once in two weeks, to contribute a day's work for public works. Labour squads were set up to be sent out according to the demand of the Germans.

Q. Do you remember the name of the German institution, the "Dienststelle"?

A. The "Dienststelle" - there were already transports to Germany, after this, after the labour carried out locally. The Germans began seizing people and sending them off to Germany. They would go out into the street with a closed van and to round up anyone found in the street, much as they would catch dogs, and send them to camps in Germany. In the course of time they insisted that the Jewish Community Council should deal with this. The man in the Jewish Community Council, who handled current labour affairs, was then Max Bejeski. He threw away his Jewish Council labour card and said: "I am not prepared to send my brethren to Germany, to an unknown fate."

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