The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 43
(Part 6 of 7)

State Attorney Bar-Or: It should also to be noted that it says in the document: "A request for protective arrest is not necessary for transfer to the concentration camp. However, the Commandant's office has to be informed that the transfer to the concentration camp is carried out within the framework of the deportation measures."

I go on to document No. 538. This is only part of a document. Actually, it only proves that the document was sent to the Foreign Ministry, for its information, and that it was received at the Foreign Ministry on 5 October 1943.

Presiding Judge: What do you wish to prove by this?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The document itself, as I pointed out, is signed by Mueller. Its transmission to the Foreign Ministry is signed by Hunsche from the office of the Accused.

Presiding Judge: Well, for what purpose is it submitted?

State Attorney Bar-Or: We want to show that usually the level of the correspondence determines who signs the letter. The identity of the person signing does not at all indicate - this is our view - who writes, who formulates the letter, who makes the decision.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/785.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And one more document, No. 539, of 12 October 1943, according to which the orders which we have just seen are transmitted by von Thadden to those Missions in Europe named here in this document.

Presiding Judge: Here also I do not understand what this is supposed to prove.

State Attorney Bar-Or: We have to demonstrate how the special, extraordinary operations in Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald and Ravensbrueck were organized. This is not a matter of prisoners in concentration camps, seized in ordinary police operations; it is a matter of special prisoners, sent to these camps by order of the Accused himself, whether they were called exchange camps or by any other name.

Presiding Judge: But we do not know what letter is being referred to.

State Attorney Bar-Or: We have here, in oblique script: "Bzf. Fotokopie d. Schrbs. d. Chef Sipo v. 23.9.43" (Photocopy of the letter from the Chief of the Security Police of 23.9.43, to be attached).

Presiding Judge: And do we have this?

State Attorney Bar-Or: We have it, I have submitted it, it is our document No. 537, which was marked T/784.

Presiding Judge: Do you wish to demonstrate how this was circulated by the Foreign Ministry?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, that is right.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/786.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I proceed to document No. 547, a letter of 2 March 1943, from von Thadden, informing the Accused that, according to information from the Turkish legation, two Jewish secretaries, Lewin and Hammerschmidt, have not reported for work already since 25 February, apparently because they were arrested and deported. The Turkish legation asks for the return of these two Jewesses.

I direct the attention of the Court to a remark in the margin; this is what it says: "Remark: According to oral information from a member of Department IV, it is known that the Jewesses Lewin and Hammerschmidt were apparently arrested because they participated in the spreading of demoralizing and defeatist writings." Copy goes to SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/787.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now document No. 751, a letter from Kryschak in the office of the Accused to von Thadden at the Foreign Ministry, dated 6 September 1944. The subject is the Jew Heinz Lewin. It says:

"The Jew Lewin was formerly a German citizen and became stateless on the basis of Regulation 11 under the Reich Citizenship Law. As a matter of fact, when he was arrested at the beginning of this year, because he was using false identity papers and had not been wearing the Jewish Star, he himself said that he was stateless. Thereupon he was deported to the East. His present whereabouts are not known here. As for the nationality certificate issued by the Consulate General of St. Salvador in Geneva, this is obviously a so- called 'courtesy passport'."
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/788.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now, with the permission of the Court, before I complete the chapter of the documents from Germany, I intend to submit a sworn declaration, document No. 455, which was given by Rudolf Emil Brand. But I want to say at once that if this document is not before Counsel for the Defence, and if he perhaps wishes to have its submission postponed until he has had a chance to look at it more closely - he has it in his office, I do not know whether he has it with him at this moment - I am prepared to defer its submission. I had thought that I would thereby complete the documentation about Germany.

Dr. Servatius: It may be that the document is in my file, but we did not know that it will be submitted today, and I should be grateful if it were to be submitted at the next session.

Presiding Judge: Alright, we shall postpone this.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With the permission of the Court, I now turn to a number of documents dealing with the setting up and management of the Bergen-Belsen camp, following the exchange of letters I submitted this morning.

The first document I wish to submit is No. 1592. It is a secret note by von Thadden, dated 12 June 1943, and it is of interest because it reports the view of a colleague of the Accused, a man named Oberregierungsrat Kroening from the Aliens' Police Department of the Head Office for Reich Security. Kroening has informed von Thadden of the Foreign Ministry in the strictest secrecy how people from the Head Office for Reich Security intend to set up the camp which is intended for 30,000 Jews who have to be kept for the purpose of exchange against German citizens.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/789.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With the Court's permission, I should only like to quote two sentences from this interesting document. His confidant had been informed - writes von Thadden - that these Jews would not be made to work so hard that thereby they would perish ("dass sie dabei draufgingen"), but after looking at the programme under preparation for the camp regulations, it was his impression that they would be very harshly dealt with, to say the least. At the end, von Thadden asks that the source of this information be kept strictly secret.

Judge Halevi: How do we know who Kroening is?

State Attorney Bar-Or: We know Kroening from the organization chart of the Head Office for Reich Security. He is quite a well-known personality and had a fairly high grade. He was, in fact, in charge of the Aliens' Police, and in this capacity he was interested in those Jews, because the subject discussed was the reception of alien Jews into this camp, not of Jews of the Reich.

Judge Halevi: But where is the connection with the Accused?

State Attorney Bar-Or: There is no direct connection with the Accused. The interesting point here is that Kroening does not go to the Accused, but goes secretly, clandestinely in fact, and tells von Thadden: "Look what is being planned here in the course of implementing a proposal that came from you." The idea of Bergen-Belsen came from the Foreign Ministry, not from the Accused.

I pass on to document No. 1418. On 12 August 1943, von Thadden of the Foreign Ministry reports to Eichmann about his visit to Bergen-Belsen. As we know, the location of the Bergen-Belsen camp was not proposed by the Foreign Ministry, the location was proposed by the police; however, the plan was that of the Foreign Ministry. Von Thadden says, inter alia:

"The Foreign Ministry had requested that a fairly large number of Jews be held in readiness in a camp, for possible exchange against civilian internees in enemy states. It had been envisaged that, in the first instance, Jews having special connections abroad would be chosen for this purpose, for whose exchange there might therefore be an interest in the enemy states. For the accommodation of these Jews, the Head Office for Reich Security has envisaged the Bergen-Belsen camp. However, a visit to the camp has shown the following..."
And now he reports in brief about his impressions and says that the absorptive capacity of the camp in its present state is only 3,000 persons, etc. Further on he says, and I quote one passage:
"...The Jews will unavoidably come to know the fact that, as the Camp Commander mentioned during the inspection in the (adjoining) camp for Russian prisoners of war - which is a tuberculosis station - 17,000 out of 18,000 inmates have already died. Under these circumstances, the Jews will actually be provided with material suitable for atrocity propaganda abroad. From this point of view also, the immediate evacuation of the Russians from that concentration camp is urgently indicated. In conclusion, it should be mentioned that both the Camp Commander and SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Seidel, who is in charge of the group of Jews at present housed in this camp, are quite aware of its serious weaknesses and shortcomings and are trying to provide solutions within the means at their disposal."
Presiding Judge: This will be T/790.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I proceed to document No. 550, again a note by von Thadden, directed to Weizsaecker, his immediate superior. He reports about a press conference, during which it was suggested that Red Cross representatives should visit Bergen-Belsen, in order to satisfy themselves that the arrangements are indeed satisfactory.

Presiding Judge: Theresienstadt is also mentioned here. Is this relevant?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The document is dated 7 October 1944. That was several months after the first visit of the Red Cross to Theresienstadt, which took place in June 1944. At the end of the document, a similar visit to Bergen-Belsen is mentioned, and there is a request to submit the matter to Weizsaecker, in order to find out whether the Foreign Ministry has any special interest in a visit to Bergen- Belsen, and here it is pointed out that in both these cases there will presumably be serious objections to the proposed visit on the part of the Head Office for Reich Security.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/791.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now, document No. 766.

Judge Halevi: Who signed this minute? (the previous document).

State Attorney Bar-Or: We can see at the top of the document: "Jr. Inland Ref. LR I Kl. v. Thadden."

Judge Halevi: Who says that he was in Bergen-Belsen not long ago and found there the same conditions as in Theresienstadt?

State Attorney Bar-Or: We know exactly who he is, Your Honour. A few minutes ago I submitted von Thadden's report to Eichmann, in which he dwells on his visit in Bergen- Belsen. That was document No. 1418, T/790. Von Thadden knew the situation in Bergen-Belsen precisely.

I move on to document No. 766. This, too, was a minute by von Thadden intended for the Foreign Minister and dated 12 October. It deals with a request by von Otter of the Swedish legation in Berlin who was trying to obtain permission to emigrate to Sweden for two children by the name of Bondi. I only wish to draw your attention to the two last paragraphs, on page 4 of the document, where he says that "the Head Office for Reich Security refuses to enter into any discussion about these cases, as the competent specialist informed me, because, in accordance with the order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS, Jews who have already been confined to a ghetto must not be released.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/792.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Our document No. 688 also refers, inter alia, to the Bergen-Belsen camp. It is a letter from the Accused to von Thadden, dated 18 January 1945. It should be said in parenthesis that this is the latest document to reach us which bears the signature of the Accused. This was already after he returned from Hungary on 24 December 1944. Here the subject is a Jew who had been sent to Bergen-Belsen from Salonika. Eichmann says that his body was cremated and the ashes were buried in Bergen- Belsen. No will was found. It seems that the authorities protecting this Jew approached Eichmann through the intermediary of von Thadden at the Foreign Ministry, in order to clarify what happened to this Jew. His estate, so it says here, passed to his sons who are in the Aufenthaltslager (sojourn camp) Bergen-Belsen. The death certificate is enclosed. Eichmann suggests that suitable information should be given to the vice-consul on this matter.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/793.

State Attorney Bar-Or: We shall hear about the situation in the camp immediately after its liberation by the British army from a witness whom I shall call at a later date.

Now I proceed, with the Court's permission, to the chapter of Austria. First I shall submit the "Second Decree about the German Citizenship in the Region of Austria (im Lande Oesterreich) of 30 June 1939," our document No. 1610. The meaning of this decree, which was signed by Frick, the Minister for the Interior, on 30 June 1939, was, in effect, the application of most of the orders in force in Germany at that time to the territory of Austria.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/794.

State Attorney Bar-Or: As regards the Austrian chapter before the War, the Court is already familiar with the minutes drawn up by Dr. Loewenherz, of which the original had to go to the Zentralstelle, and the copies were kept. I should like to submit several of these minutes, insofar as they concern the period under discussion.

Presiding Judge: Did we not receive all of them in the volumes which have been submitted?

State Attorney Bar-Or: We have received the report of Dr. Loewenherz, Your Honour. I dealt with that report only up to a certain time, and I shall still return to it, but I do not think that the Court has received all the minutes. These minutes are not bound, they are, each one of them, a separate document.

No.1136 is signed by Dr. Loewenherz, a memo about a conversation he had with Brunner. This is the same Stillhaltekommisar (Interim Commissioner) Brunner who was eventually transferred and became head of the Zentralstelle fuer juedische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) in Vienna, until the end of the deportation of the Jews from Vienna. This minute is dated 28 October 1939. The Accused is mentioned in connection with instructions that from the Hachshara places 500 to 600 persons are to be sent to Palestine, but the rest have to be included in the transports to Poland.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/795.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The next minute, No. 1137, is also signed by Dr. Loewenherz. It is a memo about a visit by Loewenherz to the Accused. He says that the Accused accepted a report from him and authorized him, Loewenherz, to negotiate with Troper on the basis of this report. He also said he was prepared to refrain from sending transports from Austria to Poland if the Joint Distribution Committee would declare itself ready to provide the Jewish Community in Vienna with foreign currency until the end of 1940.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/796.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I go on to No. 1138, a memo by Dr. Engel of the Vienna Community about his conversation with Eichmann on 11 December 1939. He also writes about information received from Eichmann by telephone that all the males (living in a certain hostel) have to obtain exit visas, otherwise they will be sent to Buchenwald.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/797.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I go on to No. 1139, a memo by Dr. Loewenherz about his visit to Eichmann's offices in Berlin, Kurfuerstenstrasse 116, on 19 December 1939. Among other things, it says here that Eichmann expressed appreciation for the achievements of the Community, on the assumption that the above-mentioned conditions would be fulfilled, and declared that there would be no further transports from Austria to Poland.

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