The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 51
(Part 3 of 6)

Q. Do you know anything special regarding the transport in which Gisi Fleischmann travelled, some special instruction which was given in respect to Gisi Fleischmann?

A. My "Aryanizer" wanted to know whether I was still alive, or whether I had escaped. Some days after this he came to Sered; he came to the office and asked whether he could speak to the Jew, Adolo Rosenberg. There was a Jew there, one of the clerks, named Weiss. He extracted a card from the card index and said to him: "No, he left already, with the transport of 17 October." To this he responded: "Thank you very much, Heil Hitler!" and left the place. This Weiss told me, on the same day or the next day, that my "Aryanizer" had been there, and that I should take care that no one should see me. Weiss mentioned to me that he had not only said that I had left, but that there was a notation there "R.U."

Q. What did this "R.U." stand for?

A. I asked Mr. Weiss the same question, and he replied "Rueckkehr unerwuenscht" (his return is undesirable).

Q. Do you know whether there was a similar notation attached to the file of Gisi Fleischmann?

A. There was a similar notation attached to two persons, apart from me - to Gisi Fleischmann and to one other Jew from Bratislava.

Q. I understand that Gisi Fleischmann left on the same transport as your parents. Did you get to know, subsequently, what happened when the train reached Auschwitz?

A. After the War, two women from that transport of 17 October returned to my town. I asked them about my parents, whether they had seen them. One of them told me that my father, of blessed memory, was very glad that I was not there, for when the train arrived, they opened the carriages and called out three names, that of Gisi Fleischmann, mine, and one other. My father said: "Thank God he is not here." They told me that they took Gisi Fleischmann and the other Jew away while the rest were still in the carriages.

Q. Please tell us one more thing - incidentally, did they tell you afterwards what happened to Gisi Fleischmann, after they removed her separately?

A. No.

Q. What kind of treatment did Brunner mete out in cases of attempts to escape from the camp?

A. In cases of attempted escape, if someone ran away by night, orders were given to kill him the following evening by shooting. Anyone who tried to escape had to traverse the same route, and in the same manner, as that in which he had attempted to escape, and he was killed on the very spot where he was caught.

Q. Did you also see gypsies in the camp?

A. Yes. Once - it was in the winter - they brought 20-25 gypsies to the camp. I saw them at the entrance to the camp; after that they took them to wash themselves. In front of the entrance to the wash-house, they told them to get undressed. It was snowing, it was winter, approximately December or January. They were standing there outside, naked, and after they came back from the wash-house, the camp barber was ordered to provide each one with a different kind of haircut, in order to ridicule them.

Q. What was the fate of these gypsies?

A. On the first transport that left after this, they, too, went off to the east, together with the Jews.

Q. Was this also on Brunner's orders?

A. Yes, yes.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, have you any questions to the witness?

Dr. Servatius: I have no questions.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Rosenberg, you have concluded your testimony.

State Attorney Bach: With this I have completed the chapter of Slovakia. My colleague, Mr. Bar-Or, still wishes to submit to the Court three documents, as supplements.

Presiding Judge: Is this also about Slovakia?

State Attorney Bach: They refer to previous chapters.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With the Court's permission, I have, first of all, to supplement document T/864, which is the record of the interrogation of Rahm of 25 March 1947. At the time, the Court requested me to secure additional copies of the translation into German. Your Honour will recall that the record was drawn up in the Czech language. We submitted it in the original, together with a Hebrew translation. I have here a certified copy of the original, translated into German, together with three additional copies of the official translation into German.

Presiding Judge: Has Dr. Servatius received a copy of this?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Dr. Servatius already had a copy at the time.

Dr. Servatius: I presume that it is in the office upstairs.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now, with your permission, Your Honours, I return to Prosecution document No. 351, which is an affidavit of Advocate Asher Rafael Moissis, by means of which I sought to submit the diary of the late Advocate Yomtov Yekuel, which is attached to the affidavit.

Presiding Judge: What exhibit number was it given here?

State Attorney Bar-Or: It has not yet been submitted, since Defence Counsel did not have a German translation. I requested the Court to use its powers under Section 15, and so far there has been no decision, since I was obliged to furnish Defence Counsel with the translation. Yesterday I delivered to Defence Counsel a literal translation of those extracts from the diary on which I want to rely. I hope that he has meanwhile received it.

On the basis of my arguments which are recorded in the record of proceedings, I ask for a decision to admit the diary attached to the affidavit of Advocate Moissis. Your Honours will surely remember that the original of that diary was written in the Greek language, and we are now about to submit its Hebrew translation. I have brought with me today the Greek original as well, authenticated by Moissis.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, have you now received a translation of it?

Dr. Servatius: I presume so. I have before me now the German text.

Presiding Judge: Do you have any comments to make?

Dr. Servatius: I cannot examine it hurriedly.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With your permission, I should like to point out: I can see the document on the table of Defence Counsel. I think that he is mistaken. We are talking of document No. 351, and I see there a number consisting of four digits. That is not it. I dictated this translation to Dr. Servatius' secretary yesterday. He has surely received it from her.

Dr. Servatius: Yes. The mistake arises from the fact that I have another document in front of me. I have no objection to the submission of this document.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 53

It is decided to admit in evidence the diary of Advocate Yekuel, together with the affidavit of Advocate Moissis. I have marked it T/1134.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Thank you, Your Honour.

I shall permit myself to draw the Court's attention to a number of extracts from the diary - not too many. I shall refer to the Hebrew translation and will quote the number appearing at the head of each page.

On page 2, in the first excerpt, there is a reference to the poor physical condition of the Jews after the Germans had entered - this has already been mentioned by a witness on this aspect. Thereafter, the author of the diary describes the growth of the special project for feeding the children, which grew to two thousand children who received free meals daily.

On page 3, paragraph 2, the reference is to the first year, from April 1941 to July 1942, which passed without any anti- Jewish laws. The writer states that the German attitude was without a plan and without an objective throughout the first fifteen months.

On page 5, in the last passage from chapter 3, it describes the publication of the first set of regulations of the Military Government for Salonika-Aegeis, in July 1942.

On page 6 we find the events of that morning, in the early hours of that Sabbath day, concerning which the Court has heard evidence from another witness. In passage 3 the Court will find proof of how it happened, and pictures which have come into our possession of the events in the square that morning. From this it is clear that, already at that time, care was taken that the events should be photographed and publicized.

I pass now to page 21 of the printed copy - passage 5. Here it refers to the delegation which was in Athens, and to the fact that, at the same time, a high officer of the Gestapo arrived in Salonika; he merely wanted information, mainly precise news about the life of the community, about its members and its institutions, and he flew back to Berlin immediately. Now it is of course clear to us that the person concerned was Guenther, the permanent deputy of the Accused.

I now go on to page 23 of the printed text. Here, for the first time in this diary, there appear the SS officers, Wisliceny and Brunner. Brunner is identified here as the same Brunner who afterwards became known as the liquidator of the Jewish Question in Vienna. They remain there and charged the community council with carrying out their instructions, after making it known that it was not the military government, but they, the appropriate department of the SS, who would be responsible for operations in connection with the Jews. The second sentence on page 24 says this explicitly: "The implementation has been entrusted to the department of the SS."

Further details will be found by the Court in passage number 4 on page 34. Here we are also given figures of the Jews of Salonika. It speaks of 50,000 persons, of the conduct of Brunner when he appeared before the leaders of the community in the offices of the community council, in order to give his instructions, of the feverish pace at which the community council was charged to carry out these instructions, and so forth.

I pass to page 28. Here there is an interesting passage dealing with the successful efforts made in order to arouse the sympathy of the Christian public in that part of Greece for the aid of their Jewish neighbours. A most poignant story in this context will be found by the Court at the foot of page 29 and the top of page 30, that is to say, until the end of the first passage. It there mentions a Christian woman who saw, for the first time, a Jewess wearing the Jewish Star of David in the street. She wanted to approach her and console her.

And then she suddenly noticed the writer's maid who did not seem to be Jewish, laughing. She was laughing from pleasure; the Christian woman thought she was joking. She turned to her and said: "Why are you laughing, my daughter? You should be participating in their sorrow - they are also human beings as we are. You know, perhaps it might be our turn tomorrow."

On page 32, in passage 5, there is reference to the introduction of regulations concerning the registration of Jewish property, and to the feeling of relief that this step gave to many Jews, as they believed that the SS sought taxes, not human beings. The illusion is revealed as such afterwards, in passage 4 on page 33 of the diary. And on page 34 the diary breaks off in the middle of the word "Jews" in the Greek language. From the affidavit we know that, after his flight to Athens (the diary was actually written in Athens), the author was arrested, exiled to Auschwitz, and there he met his death.

Presiding Judge: He was arrested in Athens, not Salonika?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He escaped to Athens. When the Germans entered Athens, after the revolution in Italy, he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. The Court will find the details in the affidavit of Moissis.

With your permission I would crave your indulgence for one more document which appertains to the chapter of the Jews of Germany. This document was in our possession, but we have only now received verification of this document. I refer to Prosecution document No. 186. This is part, actually the last part, of the diary of a German poet named Jochen Klepper. Jochen Klepper was married to a Jewish widow, and, while being married to her, took into his house the Jewish daughter of his Jewish wife. In November 1942 preparations were made for more vigorous and extensive action against the Jews of Germany, as the Court has meanwhile heard. Jochen Klepper was concerned about the fate of his Jewish wife and daughter. He applied to the Swedish authorities and secured entry visas into Sweden. And now he needed exit permits. He had many acquaintances amongst the German officer corps. He turned to his friend, the Minister of the Interior, Frick. He describes his meeting with Frick. Frick says:

"I cannot help you. I can only advise you to go immediately, for we are on the eve of even more drastic measures. There is one thing I can do. I can see to it that, through the intervention of one of the department chiefs of the Ministry of the Interior, you will be granted an interview with Eichmann."
He relates that, due to the kind help of the Minister of the Interior, he was, in fact, received in interview by the Accused, and that the Accused wanted to go into the matter and promised to do so. He said to him: "I cannot promise you, but I hope that it will work." The next day he was called again. We do not know exactly what happened during that conversation. The diary concludes with the following words: "I was in the offices of the Security Police - tonight we shall be going, together, to our death." That is the end of the diary. The difficulty was that, while this part of the diary was known and published in Germany, in various forms, in the past, it was not so easy to obtain authentication of the author's handwriting. We have now obtained this authentication with the help of the German authorities.

I request the Court to allow me, by virtue of its powers under Section 15, to submit document No. 186.

Presiding Judge: Who authenticated the handwriting now?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The authentication comes from the Magistrate's Court in Berlin, dated 4.5.61. This must be read in conjunction with the letter of the publisher to the State Attorney in Frankfurt, in which the publisher confirms that he did, in fact, receive this handwritten document, which has been verified here, from the sister of Jochen Klepper. A photostatic copy of that letter to the State Attorney is also in our possession.

Judge Halevi: Where did Klepper leave his diary?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Evidently with his acquaintances, and it was handed over for publication by his acquaintances, naturally after the War. It seems to me that under Section 15 the Court can be satisfied in this way, if it so desires, that we do, in fact, have before us the diary of Jochen Klepper.

Presiding Judge: Was the diary published in book form?

State Attorney Bar-Or: As far as I know it was published twice. That portion on which I rely, namely the last part of the diary, was published in a book entitled Du Hast Mich Heimgesucht Bei Nacht (I Had a Visitation from You by Night), which appeared in Munich in 1960. The diary of Jochen Klepper, as a whole, appeared through another publisher, "Die Deutsche Verlagsanstalt" in Stuttgart, already before that.

Presiding Judge: You say that you are applying to submit the copy of the publisher's letter which confirms that he received the manuscript from the sister of this poet?

State Attorney Bar-Or: That is correct - from Miss Hildegard Klepper of Berlin.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any comments?

Dr. Servatius: I have no objection.

Presiding Judge: Is the poet himself no longer alive?

State Attorney Bar-Or: He committed suicide, together with his wife and daughter, on 10 December 1942.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 54

We admit the extracts from the diary of Jochen Klepper, together with the authentication of his handwriting, by virtue of our authority under Section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law 5710-1950. This will be T/1135.

State Attorney Bach: With regard to the chapter of Slovakia, I should like, in conclusion, to draw your attention to three excerpts from the interrogation of Wisliceny, which has already been submitted to you. This was our No. 856 and was given the number T/56.

Here, in the interrogation on 14 November 1945, on pages 4- 5, Wisliceny describes how he was sent by the Accused to Slovakia. He says:

"I received the following instructions: To advise the Slovak Government on all questions relating to the Jewish problem. To strive, insofar as possible, to see to it that the Slovak Jewish legislation should be assimilated, insofar as possible, to the German. This was the central point or nucleus of the instructions. Everything else was left to me personally."
Presiding Judge: From whom did he receive these instructions?

State Attorney Bach: He says that he received directives from the Accused and from Guenther to attempt to adapt, as far as possible, the Slovak anti-Jewish legislation to the German legislation.

Thereafter, in the interrogation of 15 November 1945, on page 13, he talks of the negotiations that he conducted with Jewish institutions, and of the fact that Eichmann told him to break off all these negotiations, "and that, if anything would go wrong, he would not hesitate to drop me entirely, that he would not protect me against any actions by superiors."

On page 14, when he talks about the desire of the Slovaks to visit the camps, and when he ultimately reveals to him where the Jews were going to, he says: "He said to me at that time verbally the Slovaks won't be able to see their Jews any more because they are not alive."

And the last extract from that interrogation - on page 21. He speaks several times about Alois Brunner and refers to him all the time as "Schweinehund" (swine), and the interrogator asks him: "You used the expression Schweinehund in connection with Brunner's name. Why did you do that?" He answered: "He was an extremely unscrupulous individual, one of the best tools of Eichmann. He never had an opinion of his own, and as Eichmann himself described him, he was 'one of my best men'."

And now, Your Honours, in the course of our comprehensive description of Europe from west to east, the seizure of Jews and their transfer to extermination camps, we come now to the last territory, the last country - and that is Hungary.

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