The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

Q. When did you receive this letter?

A. We received the letter at the end of 1943.

Q. Who received it?

A. The mother of an acquaintance, a woman who lives here, alone, today. She received the letter from her daughter; what was called a "black" letter, not through the official mail. She had an opportunity to send the letter from there, and thus we knew already what was going on. When I objected, one of my acquaintances in the management told me: "You do not have to go, they cannot do this, six hours before the departure of the transport they put you in - but what will happen in another week? You will be in the East, and you know what that means."

Q. Did you meet your wife in the end?

A. My wife remained in Theresienstadt until the end of the War, until I came back.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Engelstein, you have concluded your evidence.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With the permission of the Court, I shall now deal with the chapter of Yugoslavia. It is divided into different parts. Not all of Yugoslavia was treated in the same way, and I shall attempt to deal with each part separately, in accordance with the chronological order.

First, document No. 1043, a letter from the Accused, dated 25 April 1940. He still signs under IVD4, and again there is the additional marking 2(RS), the Reichszentrale (Reich Centre). He writes to Schumburg at the Foreign Ministry on the subject of illegal border crossings into Yugoslavia by German Jews, and he says:

"State police measures have been taken against various persons who made preparations for illegal crossings by Jews into Yugoslavia for reasons of material gain, and who assisted in the crossing. From time to time Jews are returned over the border by Yugoslav authorities. Official delivery of Jews by Yugoslav authorities has not taken place so far. The Jews who are returned in this way are made to emigrate in the normal way as quickly as possible."

This letter was written before the entry of the Germans into Yugoslovia.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/867.

State Attorney Bar-Or: We go on to document No. 1042, a letter from the German legation in Belgrade, addressed to the Foreign Ministry and dated 26 October 1940. It reports about the exclusion of Jews in Yugoslavia from the wholesale trade in foodstuffs. Already then, on 26 October 1940, the Foreign Ministry transmits to the Accused a copy of that report which it had received. This is a further document in Rademacher's handwriting, which is attached to the report from the German leagtion.

Presiding Judge: Where is this Banschaft?

A. This is apparently the district administration in Neusatz. We find this expression also when the Germans enter Hungary. I think that all these are terms used by the Austro-Hungarian government before 1918 which are all known from that period only.

Presiding Judge: This is not a geographic term, only a district?

State Attorney Bar-Or: That is correct, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/868.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I pass on to document No. 1339. We are now after the beginning of the occupation, we are already on 11 May 1941. It is a letter from the military commander to the head of the operational group of the Security Police and the Security Service, Standartenfuehrer Fuchs. Here we shall also now meet the Einsatzkommando. He says:

"On Wednesday, 14 May 1941, at 16.30 o'clock, a consultation on Jewish affairs will be held in the small conference room of the Parliament Building, under the chairmanship of the Military Commander. The Military Commander requests you to participate and to prepare for a discussion of the afore-mentioned questions."
The people of the operational group were, of course, experts on the Jewish Question, which was not really a military one.

Presiding Judge: Did they operate in Yugoslavia as well?

State Attorney Bar-Or: We shall immediately submit the organization chart of the Einsatzgruppen - they bear the same name here. The reference is not really to those groups. But an organization similar to that in the East is also found here in Yugoslavia.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/869.

Judge Raveh: I regret that I have to revert once more to document No. 1042. A new address is mentioned in it, the "Antisemitische Aktion" - what is this?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The Foreign Ministry transmits the report from the German legation in Belgrade not only to the Accused, but also to the Antisemitische Aktion (Antisemitic Action) in Berlin. It seems to me that this was the organ of the Party in Berlin which dealt with questions of European Jewry in general. We must not forget that at that time there is as yet no German regime in Belgrade; Belgrade is not yet in a state of war. The Foreign Ministry informs them about what is being done in this field, and what is being planned. Here, the Jews are being excluded from economic life.

Presiding Judge: Does that mean that this is an institution of the Party?

State Attorney Bar-Or: That is correct. As far as I know, this was not part of the government, but only of the Party.

I come to document No. 642, a letter from Benzler, the Minister in Belgrade, to the Party, dated 8 September 1941. We find that two persons sign here under the heading "Secret Reich Matter" - Veesenmayer, whom we shall meet again, and Benzler. The telegram sent says:

"Jews have demonstrably been found to be accomplices in numerous acts of sabotage and riot. It is therefore urgent to see to the rounding up and removal of at least all male Jews. The number in question could be around 8,000."
And further on:
"It seems advisable to remove these Jews from the country as speedily as possible, i.e., in empty freight barges down the Danube, to be unloaded on Romanian soil or on an island in the Danube delta."
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/870.

State Attorney Bar-Or: We pass on to document No. 643. Here we have a note by Sonnleithner of Foreign Minister Ribbentrop's bureau, which refers to this telegram which I have just submitted and says:

"Concerning the transfer of 8,000 Jews from Serbia to the territory of Romania, the Foreign Minister has indicated that such a measure cannot be taken without the agreement of the Romanians, and that another way would have to be found to get rid of these Jews."
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/871.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Still on the same subject, document No. 644, a telegram from Luther of the Foreign Ministry, dated 11 September 1941, which says:

"The deportation of Jews to the territory of a foreign state cannot be approved. A solution of the Jewish Question will not be achieved in this way. It is left to your discretion to detain the Jews in work camps and to employ them on essential public works."
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/872.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Matters are not arranged so quickly, at any rate not to the satisfaction of the representatives of the Reich in Belgrade. Hence document No. 645, a telegram, dated 10 September 1941, from Veesenmayer and Benzler to the Foreign Ministry.

Incidentally, it is perhaps worthwhile mentioning that Benzler was the permanent Ambassador of the Reich, whereas Veesenmayer appears here as roving ambassador, who is temporarily attached to the work of the legation in Belgrade. In the telegram it says that

"Quick and draconic settlement of the Serbian Jewish Question is a most urgent and practical need. Request suitable orders from the Foreign Minister, in order to be able to intervene with extreme emphasis vis-a-vis Military Commander of Serbia. No resistance is to be expected from Serbian government and population, especially since partial measures taken so far have proved most successful. Identical orders from Reichsfuehrer-SS to Chief of Special Operations Group of Security Police and Security Service Standartenfuehrer Fuchs would expedite matter considerably."
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/873.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I pass on to document No. 647. It was shown to the Accused and marked T/37(193). It is a letter from Benzler to the Foreign Ministry, dated 12 September 1941, in which he says:

"Housing in work camps impossible under present circumstances, as security not guaranteed. Camps for Jews impede and endanger even our troops. Thus immediate evacuation of camp of 1,200 Jews in Sabac necessary, since Sabac is battle area, and in surroundings rebellious gangs several thousand men strong identified. On the other hand, Jews contribute demonstrably in large measure to unrest in the country. After Jews were removed from Banat, especially harmful rumour-mongering stopped immediately here in Serbia. Deportation first of all male Jews is essential precondition for restoration of orderly conditions. Therefore urgently repeat my request. In case of renewed refusal only immediate deportation to Generalgouvernement or Russia remains, which might, however, cause considerable transport difficulties. Otherwise operation against Jews must be deferred for the time being, which contradicts the orders given me by Foreign Minister."

I direct the attention of the Court to the remark in the margin. It says here, over Rademacher's initials: Section III D: Please speak to the RSHA and report. Signed - Luther, 12 September. And Rademacher adds:

"In the opinion of Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, RSHA IVD4, there is no possibility to take them to Russia or to the Generalgouvernement. Even Jews from Germany cannot be accommodated there. Eichmann proposes to kill them by shooting."
I draw the Court's attention to the Statement of the Accused concerning this document, which begins on page 2352, and especially to two passages on pages 2355 and 2356.

Presiding Judge: What did he say there?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I shall gladly read these sentences. On page 2355 he says:

"Yes, I must have apparently passed this matter on. According to what is said, that is also perfectly clear to me. Then it was apparently said: There is no choice except killing by shooting."
In the next passage, on page 2356, he says:
"Yes, certainly. So I just want to add this for the sake of clarity, although it should actually be superfluous: It was not I who gave this order to kill by shooting on my initiative, but like all such matters, I dealt with it through official channels, and the reply from my superiors was: Kill by shooting."
The Accused could find no rest after he was interrogated on this matter, and on 14 September 1960, he wishes to say more regarding the document. The additions begin on page 2417 in his Statement. He mainly expresses his astonishment at the strange minute which, in his opinion, was not an ordinary minute that one would write down as laconically as Rademacher had done.

Rademacher was interrogated about this subject in Nuremberg. The letter was shown to him, and he made a statement, which he wrote himself, before an interrogator on behalf of the American authorities by the name of Dr. Max Mandellaub, Prosecutor on behalf of the American authorities. I should like to submit a photocopy of this statement, together with a written declaration by Dr. Max Mandellaub, contained in document No. 1244. This written declaration actually reproduces, word by word, these exhibits, which were documents of the N.G. in Nuremberg. Dr. Mandellaub says here that when he had asked Rademacher: "Give an explanation for this," there followed a lengthy discussion. In the end this lengthy discussion was put on paper by Rademacher, and this document contains everything that he added on this subject.

There are other matters here, which are connected with Trial No. 11, in which all this formed part of the Wilhelmstrasse Case, and these are of no interest to us. Of interest to us is mainly the last passage on page 3 of Rademacher's Statement, a general description of the functions of the Foreign Ministry as against the functions of the Accused. This was explained in concise form by Rademacher on the last page of our document. It should be mentioned that this was written by Rademacher in Nuremberg on 26 July 1948. The trial was the last one of the Supplementary Trials, No. 11, which brought to an end the American Military Trials in Nuremberg. Rademacher himself was put on trial in Germany.

Judge Halevi: By whom?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He was put on trial by a German court, was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment, if I am not mistaken, was released on bail until sentence - and escaped before the punishment could be carried out. We do not know his whereabouts today. There are various rumours, but I can say nothing definite about him. I should just like to add two points, in order to support my request that this document be accepted at the present stage. First, the document is of no small value for the Accused also. The simple words "Eichmann proposes" find their place against a certain background of events in Belgrade which I can only demonstrate in this document. I hope that, for this reason, there will be no strong objection on the part of the Defence to the submission of the document in accordance with Section 15.

The Court is certainly familiar with Rademacher and his cooperation with the Accused, and I think that it appreciates the probative value inherent in this statement of his. It therefore seems to me that this document deserves to be accepted on the basis of the special power of the Court, and I request that this be done.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what is your position?

Dr. Servatius: I have no objection. I shall express my opinion as to the value of the document at a later stage.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 40

We decide to accept the statement by Rademacher by virtue of Section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950.

This document No. will be marked T/875.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Thank you, Your Honour. The Court will perhaps permit me to read two short passages from the document. One is the penultimate passage on page 3, which says:

"I was called for 13 September in order to give my report concerning BLTS/ 3552 based on Luther's note of 12 September" - the one which I already quoted before the Court from the previous document. "I still remember exactly," says Rademacher, "that I was sitting opposite him when I telephoned the Head Office for Reich Security, and that I wrote down key words from Eichmann's reply and passed them over to Luther during the telephone conversation. Eichmann said words to the effect that the army was responsible for order in Serbia, and that it would just have to kill rebellious Jews by shooting. In reply to my further question, he repeated simply: 'Kill by shooting' and hung up" (i.e., hung up the receiver)."
On the last page it says:
"In addition to the German Section (Referat), Luther headed the Special Section, i.e., the reorganization of the Foreign Ministry. In this position Luther was directly responsible to Ribbentrop as the liaison with the Ministry of Propaganda. I should like to point out that the German Section - as distinct from other sections in the Foreign Ministry - was not only a liaison office with various civilian agencies, but that it was the section which had the real authority over the various functions mentioned above. For instance, it was generally responsible for Jewish questions, with the exception of matters having economic or propaganda character. These belonged to what was called the Central Authority for Jewish Emigration.

"The authority for German Jewish policy in Europe as such was, in accordance with a decree by the Fuehrer (Fuehrererlass), Eichmann's section in the Head Office for Reich Security alone. The Foreign Ministry could only submit objections to this section, if they were based on foreign policy considerations, and if the objections in individual cases were well founded. I myself worked in Section D III from the beginning of 1940 until the beginning of 1943."

Presiding Judge: We will stop now. As I announced yesterday, we shall begin tomorrow at 8.30 and finish at 12.30.

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