The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 44
(Part 3 of 7)

State Attorney Bar-Or: I shall only draw attention to one passage on page 168, in which it says: "By order of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, Prague, the designation obligation has been applied to Jews of Slovakian, Romanian and Croatian nationality." The Court will certainly remember the Foreign Ministry document presented yesterday which informs the Accused that these three countries are ready to include their Jews in the area of the Greater Reich and subject them to the anti-Jewish measures in force in the Reich.

I pass on to document No. 1335, the Monthly Report for March 1942, which begins on page 174. It deals with a subject about which the Court will hear detailed evidence today: The evacuation of the homes of a large number of Jews in Prague, and their concentration, not in a ghetto, but on the same pattern which we saw yesterday in Vienna. It was done in the same way in Prague: Concentration of the Jews in defined and limited housing districts. At the end, on page 180, it states that, as of 27 March 1942, all provincial Jewish Religious Communities in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia are dissolved, i.e. by order of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, everything is now concentrated in Prague itself.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/828 (b).

State Attorney Bar-Or: I go on to document No. 1336, the Monthly Report for June 1942. It begins on page 112, where the Court will find information about the handing over to the Gestapo of textiles, used clothing, and all other items of clothing, the kind of operations which were carried out in other parts of the Reich.

And, at the end, a subject which we shall find in greater detail in another document: A short report about the deportations from the Protectorate, or rather from Prague, in June 1942. Here the transports are marked AAb, AAc, and AAd from Kolin, AAh and AAe from Prague, and AAf and AAg from Olmuetz. We shall find these markings also in the general report which I shall soon submit.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/829(a).

State Attorney Bar-Or: I proceed to document No. 1338, the Monthly Report for July 1942, which begins on page 301. More reporting about transports, about deportations, which are marked according to the same system; mobilization of Jews for assistance with these transports; a report about a Jewish work centre - we shall hear about part of this topic in connection with the Trusteeship Office from a witness who will give evidence today; and finally - mobilization for agricultural work.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/830(a).

State Attorney Bar-Or: I pass on to document No. 1238 - a letter from the Accused to the Foreign Ministry, dated 14 April 1943. The Accused informs the Foreign Ministry that, in spite of the intervention of the Swedish authorities in Berlin, once the Jewish members of the Bondi family have entered Theresienstadt, they cannot be returned to Sweden. On the other hand, he says, he has no objection to the emigration of the sisters and brother Hanna, Ruth and Siegfried Kalter to Sweden.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/837.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I should like to direct the attention of the Court to one sentence, which says: "I have informed the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service at The Hague accordingly."

I go on to document No. 1237. It is a report, not in the usual form, from the Council of Elders of the Jews of Prague to the Central Office, dated 19 June 1944. The report is submitted at the order of SS Obersturmfuehrer Guennel, from Brunner's office, whom we shall meet again. It gives details of the emigration by periods - until the outbreak of the War, and emigration after July 1939. It gives details, in particular, about the evidence the Court heard from witnesses from Prague. It gives a very good breakdown of all the forms, from no less than eleven different offices, which every emigrant had to fill out for this purpose. These were offices concentrated in the Central Office, which one had to go through in order to obtain permission to emigrate.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/838.

Judge Halevi: Who signed this?

State Attorney Bar-Or: There is no signature on this report. It only says: Council of Elders. Who signed - it is not stated here. From the dictation marks, I cannot state that. It says here: P 1/Eng. One cannot see who this was. It concerns, in the end, transports which have departed. In fact, since the date is so late, June 1944, this report to Guenther's office constitutes a very convenient summary of activities of the Gestapo against the Jews of the Protectorate.

I pass on to document No. 1196, again one of the statistical tables, this time in geographic form, which the office of the Community in Prague had to submit to Brunner's office. There are figures of Jews in each individual district here, and a summary for 31 October 1943.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/839.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I proceed to document No. 1192, a summary of the emigration of Jews and of transports of Jews from the Protectorate sent to Brunner's office on 19 June 1944. On the third page the Court will find a detailed list of transports, which also mentions, among other things, those markings which we found in the weekly reports. Each transport is given its marking, its date, the place of departure, and the number of Jews. Usually the number is 1,000, or around 1,000, Jews who were included in the transports.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/840.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I may perhaps draw your attention to the fact that the summary is dated 19 June 1944. It mentions a total of 76,809 Jews. 7,000 were evacuated and 69,809 left ("abgewandert"). The detailed listing is to be found among the documents which were attached to this report.

Before ending the chapter on the Protectorate, I should like to revert to document No. 889. It is a letter from the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Prague, of 20 May 1942. Since the Court will hear detailed evidence on what it refers to, I should like to read part of this letter. I shall read it in Hebrew, although the particular flavour will not come through. I hope the Court will compare the text with the original.

"Subject: The Central Office for Jewish Emigration, Prague. Various offices have lately expressed opinions about the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, Prague, which comes under the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, opinions which are likely to undermine the prestige, the good name, of the Office, and hence of my authority. Concerning this I should like to say the following:

"If it is made easy for the German inhabitants of Prague, and especially for the officials and other public service personnel, to obtain decent housing and, in addition, to buy furniture at reasonable prices in these times - the credit lies only with the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. It seems that everybody has forgotten what the conditions were in the Reich by comparison. It is only as a result of the initiative of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration that the clandestine transfer of Jewish flats to Czechs was avoided. No one could have reproached the Central Office for Jewish Emigration if it had not taken measures which thwarted these intentions of the Jews. I need not emphasize that this tremendous task was carried out meticulously and correctly, with the least possible use of German forces.

It is self-evident that the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, being a German authority, is ready to assist every fellow German, but this must not be carried to the extreme where this office is mistakenly considered as being a department store or a real estate agency. With regard to the disgusting incidents which are reported to me time and again, I do not wish to examine in detail at what time the most clamorous of these gentlemen became anti-Semites.

"It is quite an unreasonable demand from the SS men - who have the task, unpleasant in itself, to be constantly concerned with the Jews - that they should be abused by people from the tips of whose noses one can see that only three years ago they were probably sitting in one and the same cafe together with Jews. May I request that more understanding be shown for the work of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration."

Dr. Servatius: I may perhaps observe that this is the Commander of the Security Police, and it is here indicated clearly that the Office for Jewish Emigration is under the supervision and authority of the Commander of the Security Police, i.e., not under Eichmann.

Judge Halevi: Who is this Boehme?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He is the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service. From the formal administrative point of view, I do not dispute what was stated by Counsel for the Defence.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/841.

State Attorney Bar-Or: The chapter of Czechoslovakia is now ended. With your permission, I shall call the witness who is to testify on this subject after the beginning of the second part of the morning session.

I now proceed to documents connected with the Theresienstadt camp. First I should like to ask Your Honours to permit me to submit document No. 109, the examination by the police, as well as the evidence before the People's Court in Vienna, of Dr. Siegfried Seidl, of October 1945. With the establishment of Theresienstadt and the transfer of Jews from Prague to the first work camp in Theresienstadt at the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942, Dr. Seidl was appointed as the first commander of the camp.

Presiding Judge: Are you saying that this declaration is dated October 1945?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, this examination begins on 16 October 1945.

Judge Halevi: And this was before an Austrian People's Court?

State Attorney Bar-Or: It was partly before the State Police of Vienna, and in the end before the People's Court in Vienna, the Volksgericht. Seidl was sentenced there. The sentence was death, and it was carried out.

In this interrogation, Seidl testifies about himself and about his accomplices, including the Accused. He reviews the management of Theresienstadt Camp, reviews his activity with the Einsatzkommando Eichmann in Hungary, to which he was attached in the end following a meeting in Mauthausen, and after this back to Vienna, where he directed the final activities connected with the Ostwall* {*Should be the Suedostwall (see: T/842, p. 51/34) - i.e., the South-Eastern fortifications of the retreating German army.} together with Krumey, in connection with the utilization of several thousand persons who arrived in Austria from Hungary during the final months, or rather the final weeks, in fact, before the departure of the SS from Hungary. He was one of Eichmann's aides whom we have met - and shall meet again - over a long period of time. His position as regards the Centre, which we have dealt with, was similar to the position of Wisliceny whose declarations the Court has received.

The Court will meet this Seidl again. We shall meet him in the Polish chapter under Krumey's command, and we shall meet him when we move on to Yugoslavia and deal with the expulsion of the Slovenes from Croatia.

His examination and his evidence seem to me to be most relevant, their prima facie value seems to me not unimportant, and I ask the Court in accordance with its special authority to permit the submission of document No. 109.

Dr. Servatius: I have no remarks concerning this matter.

Presiding Judge: Decision No. 35

We accept Seidl's declarations as evidence, in accordance with what is stated in our Decision No. 7.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Owing to the importance of this document, I shall permit myself to draw the attention of the Court to a number of points in it.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/842 - but within limits, Mr. Bar-Or!

State Attorney Bar-Or: I have marked only the most important passages for myself; I shall not go with you through all the 34 pages of this record of the proceedings, Your Honour.

Seidl relates that, on 1 November 1941, i.e., only three weeks after the meeting in Prague of which we spoke this morning, he took upon himself the direction of Theresienstadt Camp. At the end of this passage he says that, with short interruptions, about 110,000 persons were brought to Theresienstadt, most of whom were sent on to the East. This is at the end of the first page.

On page 2 he says that he beat some of the inmates of the camp. At the end of the page, he speaks of an important event - which we shall encounter again. Here we can hear him speaking about this event. He talks about the punishing of special cases in connection with bribery of officials and smuggling of mail. At the end of the page he says that there was an order, issued by Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, that such offences are punishable by death.

Presiding Judge: It says in German "o.a. Verstoesse." What does that mean?

State Attorney Bar-Or: It means "oben angefuehrte Verstoesse" (above-mentioned offences), i.e., bribery of officials and smuggling of mail. This may be a Viennese custom, and Seidl was an Austrian. Or there may be certain differences of style.

On page 3 he mentions the execution of sixteen persons in Theresienstadt for the smuggling of mail, in accordance with these orders by the Accused. He says that the executioner of these death sentences was himself a Jew by the name of Fischer. He tells of one case where the rope broke, and this Jew was hanged again.

He relates that, at the beginning of July 1943, he left Theresienstadt, and that then he became the first Commander of Bergen-Belsen Camp. On 11 March 1944, he is called to Mauthausen, and there he joins Einsatzkommando Eichmann and goes to Hungary. I am referring to 4. Here he describes how in March 1945 most of the Hungarian Jews who reached Theresienstadt were in the end transferred from Theresienstadt to Bergen-Belsen. He says, rather laconically, that he heard about the fate of these Jews only after the capitulation, but adds parenthetically that most of them were liquidated in one way or another.

In another document - I am on page 2 of the second document - Seidl names the persons with whom he mainly worked in Theresienstadt. He mentions the Head of the Council of Elders, Jacob Edelstein, and his deputy, engineer Zucker. Again he speaks of the execution of sixteen persons for the smuggling of mail, and mentions - on page 3 of the second document - Guenther II (that was Guenther from Prague, not to be confused with the permanent deputy of the Accused, his brother, who was in Berlin). He says that Guenther II personally supervised the execution of these sixteen Jews; this was carried out in two stages, nine at the first, and another seven at the second, stage. He says that at first he refused to carry out the executions - until he received an order from Prague.

On page 4 he mentions Obersturmfuehrer Burger, who succeeded him in the administration of Theresienstadt in 1943, and speaks of the great roll-call about which we have already heard, and which was held in the Leitmeritzer Kessel (the Leitmeritz Valley).

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