The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 29
(Part 4 of 8)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Attorney General: The Accused was present at the time these orders were given, and admits this on pages 1519- 1520 of his statement. He is not sure whether Streckenbach spoke perhaps Heydrich spoke - Streckenbach conducted the meeting. He does, in fact, say that it took place in a cinema hall, and he was present when these orders for the extermination of the Jews in the East were given. This was in 1941. Whereas, in his remarks, he does not agree that these instructions were given at that time - he does not admit that Heydrich gave such instructions - he admits that he took part in a meeting where the orders were given to the Einsatzgruppen. We learn from other sources what was said there.

Presiding Judge: In paragraph 3 it says "Dueben." Is this also a Germanization of something?

Attorney General: On the eve of the Barbarossa Operation, the Einsatzgruppen were set up. This was one of the places where the Einsatzgruppen and their commanders were concentrated, and they prepared them for carrying out this mission.

Presiding Judge: Was that in Germany?

Attorney General: Yes, in Germany.

Attorney General: The following document is the testimony of Gustav Noske in Trial No. 9 in Nuremberg, our document No. 674. Noske himself was, for a short while, the commander of Operations Group 12, and he describes various reports which subsequently he, Noske, collected for Berlin, and the manner of distribution of these reports and the duty of making the reports.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/307.

Attorney General: I would draw the attention of the Court to a number of pages in particular. On page 3546 of this document, at the bottom, there are numbers of the Nuremberg protocol; it refers to the establishment of the Referat IVA1, whose function was to collect all the reports. They subsequently distributed the reports amongst the various units.

Presiding Judge: If you are already reading from this passage, you should quote "welche die Auswertung vorgenommen haben" - in other words they gave what would be rendered in English as "their evaluation."

Attorney General: On the next page, 3547, in the middle of the page, he says "I know that the announcements and the reports (Meldungen) passed via the Head of Office IV directly to Eichmann's Department IVB4. The witness was asked who was Eichmann. He says: Eichmann was the head of Department IVB4 which dealt with all Jewish questions. Thereafter he was asked whether he was aware that Eichmann kept the extermination order in his strongbox, and he replied that he got to know this after the collapse. Further, in his remarks, Noske talks of the fact that Eichmann's unit consisted of a special complex of buildings, to which other people had no access, and even he was unable to get to it on his own. At the end of page 3548 the question was whether this unit was closed hermetically. The answer is given on page 3549: it was known only that he received his orders directly from the head of the office, or even from Hitler himself. On page 3554 there is again reference to the fact that the reports of the Einsatzgruppen went directly to Eichmann and that his Department was involved in the whole programme.

Presiding Judge: The words "involved in" are used here in the sense of being "in the centre of?"

Attorney General: Yes.

On page 3556 the witness says that up to April 1942 Department IVAI centralized everything. After that - he says - only Eichmann's Department received the reports about matters relating to Jews.

Presiding Judge: Who was this Noske?

Attorney General: Noske was an official of the Head Office for Reich Security. He also described himself at the beginning of his testimony as the commander of operation unit 12. Subsequently he was the coordinator of the reports of the Einsatzgruppen in the Head Office for Reich Security.

On page 3557 he talks once again about Eichmann's special office in the Kurfuerstenstrasse, and he again refers to the fact that the office complex was a special one, closed and separated from other departments. On being interrogated this witness says that Eichmann's office was in Kurfuerstenstrasse, and when he is asked what its distance was from his office, he says "in my estimation a distance of 8 kms."

Presiding Judge: Before that he says that the offices were divided.

Attorney General: But he had a special unit and he had a special complex of buildings, and he received the orders for the Einsatzgruppen. What these orders were - some of them I have already given to you, and I shall still quote others in the course of the trial.

Dr. Servatius: I shall come back to this document later on. But I should like to ask whether the Attorney General is able to say whether this witness is still alive, for, in that case, I would very much want to question him as a witness.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, what do you have to say about this?

Attorney General: I do not know, Your Honour, but I shall check it and advise Defence Counsel. I know that he stood trial, but I do not know what happened to him.

Presiding Judge: Was he the accused in that trial?

Attorney General: No, in this trial he was a witness.

[Mr. Robinson hands a booklet to the Attorney General]

We have, here, a list of people who were accused of crimes against humanity, which was published by the World Jewish Congress in 1961. Noske's name appears on the list, and he is described as a member of Sonderkommando 7B of Einsatzgruppe B. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentence was reduced to ten years' imprisonment and apparently he was released on 31 May 1951. Whether he is alive, or not - I do not know.

Presiding Judge: Will you be able to ascertain more particulars?

Attorney General: I can try.

Dr. Servatius: It seems to me that it will be of some importance to hear this witness for it appears, from a perusal of the document, that the examining Judge: had some hesitations in accepting his evidence as reliable.

Presiding Judge: We have heard from the Attorney General that he will try to clear this up, and possibly you, too, Dr. Servatius, can try to check for yourself whether Noske is still alive.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, Your Honour, thank you.

Attorney General: I call Avraham Aviel.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

A. Avraham Aviel.

Attorney General: You live in Tel Aviv, at 23 Rehov Halevanon?

Witness Aviel: Yes.

Q. You are a clerical worker?

A. Yes.

Q. You were born in Poland?

A. Yes.

Q. In a village near Radun?

A. Yes.

Q. Where was it? In what district?

A. It was in the district of Lida.

Q. Perhaps you can tell us where it was, in which region?

A. It was in the Nowogorodek region, between Grodno and Vilna.

Q. What was the name of the village where you were born?

A. Dowgaliszuk.

Q. Was this a village of Jewish farmers?

A. It was a village of Jews who made their living only as farmers. They were all Jews.

Q. When the Germans entered they deported you from the village and transferred you to the Ghetto of Radun?

A. Yes.

Q. When was this?

A. It was in the month of Heshvan, 1941, roughly September October.

Judge Halevi: Pardon me, in what year were you born?

Witness Aviel: I was born in 1927.

Attorney General: From the ghetto you went out to work, to saw trees...

Witness Aviel: To remove snow from the roads and all sorts of other work.

Q. Your food ration was meagre, but the farmers in the neighbourhood helped you obtain extra food?

A. They didn't help so much, but we had reserve supplies. Since this was an agricultural area, each Jew had a sizeable reserve of basic food which he kept in case of need. The ration was roughly 120 grams of bread per day; I don't remember other rations, but it was almost impossible to live on them. However, with the existing reserves - and when we went out to work we would meet farmers, and everyone managed to bring back in his kitbag a little bread, or grain or other products - all these were shared out and we sustained ourselves on them.

Q. Did the occupation authorities confiscate your articles of silver and gold, and warm clothing?

A. Yes.

Q. I shall not weary the Court with this aspect - we have heard other witnesses on this subject; I should like to go on to the operations of the Einsatzgruppen. Describe to us what happened after Hanukka* {*The Hanukka festival ended on December 22, 1941.} of that year?

A. One fine day a group of Germans in special uniforms arrived from Lida on motorcycles. They went from house to house and searched for people who were strangers, who were not from Radun. They discovered about forty Jewish refugees who had been living in Radum for some time. They took them outside the town to a hill half a kilometre away. We heard shots. Afterwards, some minutes later, the Germans returned and gave us instructions, an order, to bury them. I was amongst those who went there, since we lived at the end of the ghetto which was close to the spot where the disaster had happened. I ran, together with the other Jews, to bury them, and this was the first time I had seen so much blood that had been shed. Since there was frost and the ground was frozen, we buried them in the snow.

Q. What happened afterwards, on 7 May 1942?

A. All the time we were still able to walk around freely inside the ghetto. While it was forbidden to leave the limits of the ghetto, for this meant mortal danger, inside the ghetto we moved around without restriction. After this night of 7 May we saw, when we rose in the morning, that the ghetto was closed. It was impossible to go outside to work; those who possessed special work permits were also not able to leave. This came suddenly - we did not expect it. They kept us, shut up in this way, on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday morning, in the early hours, they collected a group of Jews, mostly young ones or those possessing a high potential for labour, about one hundred people in all. They supplied them with spades for digging. I especially recall that these were spades with very long handles. They were given an order to walk. They walked in the direction of Grodno, in a direction West of the town.

Q. Was any member of your family amongst them.

A. My father was taken away with that group. I ran after him, and I saw the entire group. Half-an-hour later we heard the fire of automatic weapons. We felt straight away that something had happened. We didn't know exactly what occurred there - whether they were killed or whether they escaped. This we learned only subsequently.

Q. Did you meet your father again, alive?

A. Yes. I did meet my father again, alive.

Q. Please go on.

A. We already knew that bad experiences awaited us, but it was impossible to do anything about it at that stage.

Q. Did you previously attempt to smuggle out your young brother?

A. Yes. On the Sabbath my father got to know that something very bad was going on, and with all the strength he possessed he wanted to flee. He couldn't do so alone, for he didn't want to abandon the family. He sent away my little brother.

Presiding Judge: If you want to, you may sit down. It will be easier for you.

Witness Aviel: They dressed him in shepherd's clothing. He had the appearance of the local children - he was blond. We planned to get him out as a farmer's child.

Attorney General: What was his name, Yekutiel? Witness

Aviel: Yes.

Q. Did he succeed?

A. He succeeded in getting beyond the precincts of the ghetto, but afterwards collaborators, the police caught him.

Q. Which police - Jews?

A. Not Jews - White-Russians, Poles - and they tried to identify him - to see whether he really was Gentile or not. Since he spoke a good Polish, they pulled down his trousers and then they saw that he was Jewish, and they brought him back to us. We realized that everything was closed to us, and at that moment we thought that if my small brother would be able to get out, we, the older ones, would be able to leave together, and at least one of us would survive. We remained stuck in this way until the following morning, when they took my father to dig pits. We knew that the moment Father was alone, he would try with all his strength to escape, for then he would not be close to the family, he would not have this responsibility. And indeed, as he told me when I met him subsequently, when they came out of the town and were about to be directed to a field, he gave a shout: Scatter! Some of the Jews rose up, using spades and stones, and some managed to escape, others were killed, and some did not have the strength to flee and remained where they were.

Q. Later on you met your father in the forest?

A. Yes, I met Father in the forest later on.

Q. We shall come back to that - please continue with your story.

A. Half-an-hour after we heard the shots of the first group which included Father, they took another group, a second one. With it they took my older brother Pinhas. I wanted to join him, since the family was no longer complete. We thought that, perhaps, there would be an opportunity when we had left the town, where the terrain was more open, for us to try to escape, and if not - it would be better to be killed from behind while running away. But there was some hope that perhaps Father would succeed in escaping - for we knew what he was thinking. They did not admit me to this group. They chased me away. They said I was too small. I remained at home with my mother, my younger brother and with relatives and neighbours, and my older brother went along with his friends.

Presiding Judge: How old was your brother?

A. At that time he was 16 years old.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.