The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 31
(Part 3 of 5)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 713. It is a request by Knochen.

Your Honours, at this point I should like to make a certain comment: This is one of those documents which we actually obtained in the original, one of the original documents which we received from the Centre de Documentation in Paris. At the time we gave an undertaking to that body to return the documents as soon as possible and not to change their outward form. The document just submitted to you is a photocopy of that original, authenticated as a true photograph by an officer from Bureau 06. May I perhaps ask the Court to look at the original, to compare it with the photograph to satisfy itself that this is a true photograph and, if possible, to return the original to us.

Presiding Judge: Who has the original document at this moment?

State Attorney Bach: I have it in my hand at this moment. I shall of course gladly submit it to the Court. But, as was actually the procedure in very many such cases in Nuremberg, the originals were returned to the Prosecution and the photocopies left in the files of the Court.

Presiding Judge: We can do more than this. We shall rely on your word, unless a question of authentication of the document should arise and then we shall ask you for it. And it will remain with you until the end of the trial.

State Attorney Bach: Thank you very much, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: I assume there is no objection to that.

Dr. Servatius: I should just like to see the original document. In the Nuremberg procedure there was a special rule permitting this. I would not object, I would only like to see the original.

State Attorney Bach: I shall gladly put all the original documents at the disposal of Counsel for the Defence.

Presiding Judge: We have come to T/396, that is your No. 713.

State Attorney Bach: Knochen here informs IVB4 that some Jews have arrived at the French-Spanish border in possession of passports, but have no entry visas. Knochen has given instruction to intern them and asks that in future such occurrences be avoided. Our document No. 714 contains Eichmann's reply. He tells Paris by telegram:

"In reply to the previous telegram I wish to be informed from which places in the Reich the arrested Jews originate or where they were staying last, in order to enable me to inform the competent Stapo command posts and order suitable treatment or the return of those Jews." Signed Eichmann SS Obersturmbannfuehrer.
Presiding Judge: T/397.

State Attorney Bach: What I said about the preceding document holds good for the present one also and I assume that the decision of the Court will also be the same.

Presiding Judge: Yes.

State Attorney Bach: The next document, our No. 312, is a letter from the German Military Commander in France to the Representative of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD in Paris. He asks to what extent the arrested Jews may be allowed to communicate with the outside world in France through the intermediary of the French Red Cross. There is more in this letter but I refer to paragraph (c), which is in reply to the question raised.

Presiding Judge: T/398.

State Attorney Bach: Dannecker's reply is contained in our document No. 313 and says:

"In my opinion the French Red Cross must not be given any reply since it does not seem proper to allow Jews about to be deported, or their relatives relief of any kind."
Presiding Judge: T/399.

State Attorney Bach: And he adds:

"I think that burdening the office of the Commander of Greater Paris with a matter such as that mentioned above is out of place."
The next document is a report by Dannecker, our No. 316. It was also published in the Nuremberg Trials in IMG, Volume 38, page 740. We attach special importance to this report, mainly because of two passages in it. The first one: Various decrees of the OKW,* {*Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - High Command of the Armed Forces.} OKH** {**Oberkommando des Heeres - High Command of the Army.} and the Military Commander in France have confirmed the competence of the Paris Office, i.e. Dannecker's unit, for the fight against anti-German tendencies from among the Jews. The second: Viewed on the European scale, the Chief of the Security Police and the SD is in practice the Commissioner for Jews in Europe. ( Juden-Kommissar fuer Europa), as this function was entrusted to him by the Reichsmarschall on 31 July 1941.

Judge Halevi: That is Heydrich?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: T/400.

State Attorney Bach: I should further like to draw attention to what is said on page 3. In paragraph (d) it says:

"Up to now three large-scale actions against the Jews have been started. Each time our unit was responsible both for the selection of the Jews to be arrested and for all the preparatory work and the technical implementation."
I do not want to go into details. He describes in detail the activities of his unit in connection with the "Anti-Jewish Institute" and with a "Compulsory Jewish Association." At the end he speaks about what is called the "Tuesday Meeting." Every Tuesday he meets with the Commander of the Army - Administration Department, Police Department and Economic Department - with the German Embassy and with Action Staff West of Reichsleiter Rosenberg. He tells about the Tuesday Coordinating Meeting and concludes with these words: "Die anerkannte Fuehrung kommt dadurch zum Ausdruck, dass die Besprechung bei der hiesigen Dienststelle stattfindet." (The recognized leadership finds expression in the fact that the meeting takes place in our office). Signed: Dannecker, SS Obersturmfuehrer.

From Dannecker we now pass to cables and letters from the Accused himself which are directly concerned with the deportation of the Jews to Auschwitz.

Our next document is No. 694. It is a telegram to the Paris Office.

"Subject: Deportation of Jews. 1,000 Jews will be taken over immediately after the meeting on the transport schedule taking place at this moment and taken to a reception camp in the Reich area. More detailed particulars were discussed in the presence of the specialist for Jewish questions in Paris, SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dannecker, on 4 March 1942, here in Berlin. Jews of mixed marriages living in the Reich area are exempt from evacuation provisionally (underlined). Suitable arrangement (underlined) is to be expected. On this also Haupsturmfuehrer Dannecker receives more detailed instructions on the occasion of his presence in Berlin. Signed: Eichmann SS Obersturmbanfuehrer."
Presiding Judge: This will be T/401.

State Attorney Bach: The following document is No. 177. It was already submitted to you together with the statement of the Accused and was at that time numbered T/37(60). It is actually composed of several letters and I shall draw attention to the important ones among them. The first one is Eichmann's letter to Rademacher at the Foreign Ministry. Subject: Evacuation of 1,000 Jews from France.

Presiding Judge: This is not the first letter here. The first one is signed by Rademacher.

State Attorney Bach: Perhaps the order is somewhat different. We have it arranged another way. May I ask you to find Eichmann's letter to Rademacher of 9 March 1942. That is the first letter. It says:

"It is intended to deport to the Auschwitz (Upper Silesia) concentration camp 1,000 Jews who were arrested in Paris on 12 December 1941 in the course of retribution measures for attempts on members of the German Wehrmacht. The Jews are all French nationals or stateless. The transport of these 1,000 Jews who are at present concentrated in a camp at Compiegne, is to take place on 23 March 1942 by special train. I should be grateful for information that there are no objections at your end concerning the implementation of this action."
Here it is a matter of 1,000 Jews. Two days later, on 11 March, the following letter was sent to the Foreign Ministry, attention Herr Legationsrat Rademacher.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach, do not quote too much, always remember this.

State Attorney Bach: Only one sentence:

"Further to our urgent letter of 9 March 1942, notice is given that, apart from the evacuation of 1,000 Jews from Comiegne planned for 23 March 1942, another 5,000 Jews who have made themselves conspicuous to the State Police, are to be deported to the Auschwitz (Upper Silesia) concentration camp. May I ask you to agree to this also. Signed: Eichmann."
There now follow various letters from the Embassy in Paris and from the Foreign Ministry, all of which say: "We have no objection, there is no impediment from our side, we agree to that operation." It will be recalled that the document was shown to the Accused and his reaction to it starts on page 1181 of his statement. I want to call particular attention to a passage on pages 1187-1188, a short passage. On being shown the letters he says: "If this was so, it was only because of the effort of the Military Commander. If not, then the measure was initiated by the Army commander, this called for punishment measures by the Senior Police and SS Commander." He passed this on, through service channels, it came automatically to the Head Office for Reich Security and from the Head Office for Reich Security to me. Since it concerned Jews it was passed on to the Foreign Ministry: "Here, what do you say to this, this is within your competence."

Less asks him:

"The punishment of hostages, or the arrest of hostages, and here, according to these letters the subject is hostages, isn't it. This was also a matter for Bureau 4 of Department IV at the Gestapo, wasn't it?"

Eichmann: "This, I think...Yes, yes, yes."

Less: "No?"

Eichmann: "Yes, yes."

Judge Halevi: Was Bureau 4 concerned with hostages in general or only with Jewish hostages?

State Attorney Bach: Bureau 4 dealt with hostages in general. IVB4 - with Jewish affairs. We shall see later, on the basis of a document which I shall submit shortly, that his whole description - that this was done at the initiative of the army, as it were - does not accord with reality, that even the army refused in this case to take part in the deportation operation. But this will appear from several further documents. Has the Court given a new number to the document?

Presiding Judge: No, You have presented this as one document. This is also how you have numbered it. Is that correct?

State Attorney Bach: In T/37...

Presiding Judge: Yes, this whole batch will be exhibit T/402.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 54 and it was also numbered T/37(54). Dannecker mentions here in a note that in the consultations which took place in Berlin on 4 March 1942 "I pointed to the urgency of immediate deportation of the Jews kept at Compiegne. SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann promised to take over these Jews already in March. As agreed on the following RSHA-IVB4 will be informed by telegram most urgently who will defray the transport costs to Auschwitz concentration camp which is to serve as an interim stay and whether there is a possibility to provide escort for the train."

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/403.

Judge Halevi: What is "interim stay" (Zwischenaufenthalt)?

State Attorney Bach: The reference is to Auschwitz concentration camp. "Zwischenaufenthalt vorgesehen KZ Auschwitz."

Judge Halevi: What, after that?

State Attorney Bach: This is at that stage, this was on 10 March 1942. According to the account of Wisliceny who was invited to that meeting, there Eichmann told them exactly what went on in Auschwitz. At this stage Eichmann did not tell the whole truth about what was being done to the Jews in the East, even to these specialist officers.

Presiding Judge: I understand what you say to mean that the person who wrote the report did not understand that this was an interim stage before extermination. Is that what you said just now?

State Attorney Bach: I would not say with absolute certainty what Dannecker knew and what he did not know. There are several possibilities here. It could be that, at that meeting, they received instruction that this was what they were to tell those outside. It could be that he really believed it. I only mention this as a possibility. At any rate there is the evidence by Wisliceny who says that until August 1942 "we really didn't know." On 28 August 1942 there was the further meeting, details of which we shall shortly submit to the Court and there he says: "Then we insisted and then Eichmann told us exactly why the action was necessary."

Presiding Judge: Dannecker had a lower rank?

State Attorney Bach: Dannecker was Hauptsturmfuehrer. This was a lower rank than Eichmann's. I do not remember what Wisliceny's was. I think he was Hauptsturmfuehrer then.

Judge Halevi: It all depends on Wisliceny's version being reliable. If not - we have here a camouflage terminology.

State Attorney Bach: The same will also apply to certain arguments of the Foreign Ministry people. There was a certain terminology used towards the outside. Who exactly was deceived and who were among the deceived group - this is something hard to say. At any rate I think we shall not meet with this difficulty where the Accused is concerned.

The next document is our Document No. 113. Here he says this - he speaks about the same meeting of 4 March: "I described very briefly the difficulties with the way we are involved in France. In this connection I also described the need to propose to the French Government something really positive for once, such as the expulsion of several thousand Jews.

"Obersturmfuehrer Eichmann rejected a proposal by the Brussels Jewish Section Officer, who spoke immediately after me and laid down the following:

"Subject to the final decision of the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, preliminary negotiations may already be started with the French Government authorities concerning the deportation to the East of about 5,000 Jews. For the time being these Jews must not be above the age of 55. Jews holding French nationality must be deprived of it before expulsion or, at the latest, on the day of deportation. The liquidation of their property must also be settled.

"The expulsion of considerable masses of Jews from Slovakia is imminent. According to a rate calculated on the basis of the relation of the number of Jews to the total Jewish property, the Slovak Government pays 500 Reichsmark for every Jew taken off its hands and defrays the transport costs in addition. Since a similar procedure is envisaged for the Jews to be taken over from the French State, a prior calculation of the Jewish property in both zones must be made here, too."

We stress this point in particular in order to show how methodical was the procedure in the various parts of Europe. The Court will see this constantly, the connection between the action in France compared with that in Holland with regard to transports, to the method of procedure, and to the way of overcoming certain difficulties. The method is conspicuous in all the documents.

Presiding Judge: This is marked T/404.

Judge Halevi: Are these the same 5,000 Jews who were mentioned in the documents as additional to the one thousand? There were 1,000 and then there were another 5,000?

State Attorney Bach: It seems that those 5,000 already mentioned are the ones who are referred to. This is also fairly clear from the date, but here it was already decided to go ahead with the action, actually without receipt of an answer from the Foreign Ministry, since these letters were sent about that time.

The next document is our No. 457. Knochen writes to Brussels, to the corresponding office in Brussels, to Sturmbannfuehrer Ehlers who headed the Brussels office at that time. The letter was again drafted by Dannecker: "As already discussed in Berlin, it seems desirable to carry out the designating of the Jews simultaneously in the occupied zones in Holland, Belgium and France. As date for the consultation, in which the specialist on Jews of the Amsterdam Branch Office will also take part, I fixed Saturday, 14 March 1942." That is to say - coordination between the Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris Offices as a result of the meeting in Berlin.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/405.

The marking R.F. on the top, is it "Republique Francaise" or "Reichsfuehrer?"

State Attorney Bach: It is Reichsfuehrer-SS.

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