The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 45
(Part 1 of 6)

Session No. 45

3 Sivan 5721 (18 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the forty-fifth Session of the trial open.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With the Court's permission, I have reached Prosecution document No. 1369. I should like to ask the Honourable Court for a decision on this under Section 15 of the Law. We are here submitting parts of the record of the main interrogation of Karl Rahm, on 25 March 1947, as recorded by a Czech court in Leitmeritz. Rahm was put on trial for having commanded the Theresienstadt camp. He was the third commandant there. As we have heard, the first was Seidl, followed by Burger, and he (Rahm) was the third and last one, and he remained in the camp until it was handed over to the Red Cross. Karl Rahm was sentenced to death; the death sentence was carried out.

Rahm enumerates very briefly before his judges the most important events which connected him with his superiors, among them the Accused, during his period of administration as commandant of Theresienstadt. And here we do not have to rely on second- or third-hand evidence, here we have a most important source for the understanding of the relations between the Accused and the Dienststellen, the various offices in Prague and Theresienstadt. We are aware that Rahm was far from being "an upright man," not in his generation,* {*After Genesis 6:9.} and not in Theresienstadt, but it seems to me that certain details will be of value. I ask the Court to accept this record of court proceedings.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what have you to say?

Dr. Servatius: I have no formal objection.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 38

We accept the record of the court proceedings of Rahm's evidence for the reasons given in our Decision No. 7.

State Attorney Bar-Or: As I said, this is our document No. 1369. I shall briefly outline the contents of this document. In the excerpts submitted here, Rahm first gives a general description of the staff of the Central Office in Vienna, whom he knew well.

Presiding Judge: Before you continue, Mr. Bar-Or, I see the text in Czech, and then a German translation.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I have no German translation. [After looking at the documents before him] That is correct, Your Honour, we received this document from Prague in a translation which had been prepared by the Czech authorities. I submit the Czech text to the Court, together with the Hebrew translation.

Presiding Judge: Will you keep this [one of the copies which were handed to him] in your file?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I do not intend to submit this. This letter is part of the document as we received it from Prague. It might perhaps be better if it were kept with the rest.

Presiding Judge: What is in the file of Counsel for the Defence?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Counsel for the Defence has received a summary of this testimony, in German of course.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you will hand a copy to Counsel for the Defence?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I do not mind this copy being handed to Counsel for the Defence, I shall not need it.

Presiding Judge: Then perhaps you will give it to Counsel for the Defence?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/864.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With your permission, I shall continue. In this record of the court proceedings, Rahm gives a bodily description of the Accused, whom he knew as Head of the Central Office in Vienna, and also describes the people who were there with him at the time. He speaks about Obersturmfuehrer Guenther (the brother of Hans Guenther), i.e., the Accused's permanent deputy. He talks of Alois Brunner, who was employed in Guenther's office. And then he speaks about his posting to Theresienstadt and mentions that he replaced Burger. When he took over the command, present was not only Burger but also the Accused, as well as the Head of the Central Office in Prague, Hans Guenther.

Further on he says - and I emphasize this passage, in view of what we heard today - that "from the administrative- technical point of view, I was subordinate to the Central Office in Prague, and from the political point of view, to the Head Office for Reich Security in Berlin," and that "political questions were within the field authority of Hauptsturmfuehrer Moes of Berlin, who would come to Theresienstadt in case of need and give me appropriate orders and instructions."

And he continues:

"Until about March 1944, I knew nothing about the prohibition according to which women in the ghetto were forbidden to bear children. One day the Jewish Elder Eppstein came to inform me that a certain woman was in her eighth month of pregnancy, and drew my attention to the order issued earlier by Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, whereby women in the ghetto were forbidden to bear children. Eppstein told me then that he thought that - in accordance with what had been agreed between himself and Eichmann - the general prohibition in force in Germany concerning artificial abortions did not apply to Jews, and this agreement was exploited by Eichmann, in order to force Jewish women in the ghetto to have abortions, and afterwards this became the usual procedure. On this occasion, Eppstein drew my attention, in fact, to the duty of performing abortions on Jewesses, and when Guenther came to visit me, I asked him about it, and he confirmed to me that I did not have to see to this personally, because it was already a matter for the Jews themselves, and that the Elder of the Jews had received notification about it from Eichmann directly."
There follows another passage which is important to us, in which he says:
"In my opinion, 21,000 persons of all ages were deported from Theresienstadt to various places" (he refers, of course, to his period). "I was never informed that anybody had died on the transport. I put the responsibility for carrying out these transports on Moes and/or Eichmann and the whole Head Office for Reich Security."
Then - I read from the bottom of page 2 - he says:
"When the transports were first organized, I learned during a conversation in which Moes, Guenther and I took part, that Eppstein would also have to leave on one of the transports for some place in central Germany, a town whose name I do not remember."
He continues to talk about Eppstein and relates finally that he was taken away.

On page 3 he gives most important information about the visit of the Red Cross in June 1944. He says:

"Before the inspection by the International Red Cross, about which advance information had been given, the ghetto and its installations were examined by State Minister Frank, Eichmann from Berlin, the Minister of the Protectorate, and others. I did not have close contact at all with these personalities. They dealt directly with Eichmann."
At the bottom of this page he says:
"It is a fact that these international delegations were shown only the best. What these delegations were allowed to see in Theresienstadt was decided in advance, in detail, by the representative of the Head Office for Reich Security in Berlin on the one hand, and by the representative of the BdS (Dr. Weimann and Guenther) on the other. The person responsible on behalf of the BdS, as well as Moes and Guenther from Prague, were also personally present during these inspections... The explanations were given to the members of the delegation by Weimann, Eichmann, Moes, and also by Guenther and Guemmel from Prague."
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, may I ask, for the sake of clarity, to read one sentence from the record of court proceedings, since it is important in principle for the position occupied by Eichmann. This does not refer only to Theresienstadt. It says here at the bottom of the first page:
"At this transfer of the management Eichmann informed me that I was subordinate to the Central Office in Prague, and therefore to the BdS, the Commander of the Security Police in Prague from the administrative- technical point of view, and from the political point of view to the Head Office for Reich Security in Berlin, and that political questions are within the field of authority of Hauptsturmfuehrer Moes from Berlin, who will come to Theresienstadt in case of need to give me appropriate orders and instructions."
State Attorney Bar-Or: It is unnecessary to translate this passage for the record, because I just read the paragraph in full in the Hebrew translation.

Presiding Judge: All right, this was only emphasized by Dr. Servatius on his part, as I understand it.

Dr. Servatius: I think the words "and therefore to the Commander of the Security Police in Prague" were omitted from the reading. This was the essential part of the sentence. From the document one can see that this Commander, i.e., Weimann, is constantly being mentioned.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I pass on to our document No. 1197 - an invitation to a dinner in Prague. - I see that we are not ready with the copies. I apologize to the Court, we shall submit the document at a later stage.

Judge Raveh: I should like to ask something in connection with the previous document. On the third page, where the deportation of Eppstein is mentioned, what is the place mentioned in the eighth line?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Moes took him to the railway station at Bauschewitz. That was the station belonging to Theresienstadt. The Court has before it a drawing of the great procession from Bauschewitz to Theresienstadt. In the end the Jews in Theresienstadt built an extension of the railway track from Bauschewitz into the ghetto.

With your permission, I will go on to the last document on the Theresienstadt chapter, our document No. 855. In respect to this document, too, I request your permission to submit it in accordance with Section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators Law. This is a short section of the report about the activities of the International Red Cross in the concentration camps in Germany during the years 1939-1945. It was prepared by a Red Cross official whose name we know by now: M. Dunant.

Presiding Judge: In what connection was his name mentioned?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Mrs. Salzberger mentioned him. She heard about what was to have happened to the transport from this representative, who took over the Theresienstadt camp from the SS.

I shall submit yet another document. I said that on 6 April 1945, just a few days before the entry of the Red Cross into Theresienstadt, an apparently final meeting was held between the SS people and the representative of the Red Cross, in which the Accused took part. At a later stage I shall submit the invitation card together with the list of the participants.

I beg to submit here a small part of the official report issued by the International Red Cross in Geneva, which concerns two camps that interest us in particular, namely Theresienstadt, and a short passage dealing with Bergen- Belsen. The Red Cross was, in fact, not able to enter and visit Bergen-Belsen. This report actually constitutes an official document. We have explored the possibility of inviting the official of the International Red Cross who was responsible for the preparation of the report, and whose name I have mentioned.

We were told that, in accordance with the accepted practice of the International Red Cross, its officers are not allowed to testify about the contents of official documents published by the International Red Cross. But it seems to me that this fact does not diminish the value of this document for the purpose of producing evidence against the Accused in the trial. To a certain extent, this is not only an official report, but certain statements by the Accused himself are also contained in it.

I therefore feel that I am not entitled to ask for permission to submit this part of the report only. I am, of course, not submitting only part of it; I have, of course, the whole report in my hand, and Counsel for the Defence has also received it. Because of the references to the Accused, it seems to me that I have to request your permission under Section 15.

Presiding Judge: To which parts do you wish to refer?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I have prepared a printed copy of the part, beginning on page 99.

Presiding Judge: And do you wish to submit all this?

State Attorney Bar-Or: There are actually a little over three pages of the report which cover the whole period of the War. This is what I wish to submit.

Presiding Judge: Do you also have the complete report?

State Attorney Bar-Or: There is also the complete report, and it is at the disposal of the Court, of course.

I wish to add only one thing: We have shown this passage to the Accused in the German translation - the report was written in French, of course - and the passage is therefore before you, marked T/37(240). The Accused speaks about it in his statement on page 2967. He was given an opportunity to state his opinion on these three pages. I therefore request permission to submit it.

Dr. Servatius: I have no formal objection to the submission. I should only like to request that the complete document be handed to me for perusal, and that I be permitted to revert to it if something further should emerge to the benefit of the Defence.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Obviously the whole report is at the disposal of Counsel for the Defence.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 39

We permit submission of the excerpts from the report of the International Red Cross which were mentioned by Mr. Bar-Or, by virtue of our authority under Section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950.

This will be Exhibit T/865.

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