The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 75
(Part 6 of 7)

Dr. Servatius: That is a proposal for promotion of the year 1941. It says here:"Huge properties for the German Reich could be secured through Eichmann's work."

Do you wish to explain whether that is correct?

Accused: That is not correct. Streckenbach, the personnel chief of the Head Office for Reich Security, was mistaken here. Entirely different central authorities issued the ordinances regarding property seizure, as for example, the Reichsprotektor for Bohemia and Moravia or the Reich Commissioner for the Re-unification of Austria with the German Reich; or for the Eastern Territories, the General Trustee Department East; or for the Reich territories the Reich Finance Minister or his Oberfinanzpraesident (Senior Finance Administrator).

The legal documentation must confirm these facts; one must merely look into the matter. Now the group of persons affected, was the same as that dealt with by those service units in the Head Office for Reich Security which Streckenbach mentioned, including myself. And of course, as is usual in regard to central authorities, it is quite clear that in dealing with this complex, naturally, in part, the Head Office for Reich Security was also involved...

Dr. Servatius: It is stated further on in the proposal, that you performed your duties with the requisite severity. How do you explain this observation?

Accused: "Personal severity" or "requisite severity," were then catchwords which one had to refer to in proposals for promotion. May I refer to document No. 783 - Prosecution No. 733 - there on page 2, under point 4, one finds pre-printed "Willpower and personal severity." That had to be affirmed; if not, the proposed promotions ended up in the wastebasket. And it made no difference whether personal severity existed or not; it was affirmed in all requests for promotion. In the case in question, regarding a proposed promotion of a subordinate of mine at the time, I had to fill in the word "exists" under the prescribed heading, or as Streckenbach has done here in document No. 27 - he did not adhere to the prescribed formulation but used his own version; it may perhaps also have been copied from some such prescribed formulation. That I do not know.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, I request the Defence always to cite the number as given by the Court, i.e., always to refer to the Court's numbers for the items of evidence. The Accused has just mentioned a document. What was it? Oh, that was Court number 217...

Dr. Servatius: Exhibit T/37(217). In document No. 27, there is also, in the penultimate pages, a proposal for promotion by Mr. Six who has been interrogated as a witness. I merely mention that here he recommended the promotion "especially," and on the next sheet he also gives a guarantee, since here the defendant assumes officer rank for the first time.

I now come to exhibit T/55(3), also called T/37(106), the document No. 28. There, on the first sheet, it says: "Eichmann lost his position in July 1933 in Austria, because of membership in the NSDAP."

Is this statement correct?

Accused: It is not correct. At that time I was a sales official for the Austrian Vacuum Oil Company, and this Austro-North American firm had to reduce its staff as a consequence of economic stagnation. At that time I was the only unmarried sales official, and thereupon it was inferred that someone had to suffer, and that it was preferable for a bachelor to assume the burden. Accordingly, I complied and when in connection therewith I left the home of my parents in order to betake myself to the territory of the Reich, the German consul in Linz at that time gave me an acknowledgment, a kind of courtesy acknowledgment, wherein he attested for me that I was discharged without any doubt because of membership in the NSDAP. Yet I have no proof for this. I merely have the proof with which the management of the Austrian Vacuum Oil Company provided me.

Dr. Servatius: On pages 3 and 4 of the same document is an additional personnel report; it bears no date. There it is recognized that you have abilities in independent administration, and are an acknowledged specialist. It is signed by the SD Leader of theSS Oberabschnitt (Main District) Danube.

What were those abilities which received special recognition here?

Accused: Yes, that's right. These are the abilities I acquired in the meantime, in the field of emigration arrangements, which is in itself very complicated. At that time I knew all the regulations of the countries of immigration, all the sums of monies to be declared, all of the passport technicalities and other difficulties. Thus at that time, I could very well be considered a specialist in this field. But that was in my opinion a specialist quality which was mutually beneficial, since at that time two thirds of the Jews domiciled in Austria could be brought to emigrate.

Dr. Servatius: The next document is exhibit T/37(301), document No. 1182. It is shown here that Eichmann was a candidate for a Department for "the Orthodox." This is of interest since, as can be seen, that position is very insignificant, and of interest because witness Six states that the Accused occupied a special position already at that time. I shall return again to this during the interrogation concerning Six's testimony.

The next document is exhibit T/107, document No. 1451. This is an activities report of 17 February 1937. On page 1 it shows that a position of head of a department was vacant, but that the Accused did not get this position.

Were your merits not sufficiently known for you to be assigned to the department? Or why did you not get this position?

Accused: Obviously my knowledge and abilities at that time were not considered ample enough for me to be empowered or entrusted with the running of a department.

Dr. Servatius: Who became head of the department and who succeeded him?

Accused: A non-commissioned officer at that time, named Schroeder served temporarily as head of the department; he was followed by Wisliceny who was succeeded in turn by Hagen.

Dr. Servatius: I come to exhibit T/37(239), that is document No. 5. This deals with Eichmann's efforts to learn Hebrew from a rabbi.

Why was this subsidy for this instruction denied to you?

Accused: My desire at that time was a thing which was ridiculed on the one hand, and distrusted on the other, because it was something entirely unusual that a member of the SS suddenly decides that he wants to learn Hebrew. I myself would also never have hit upon the idea, had I not continually seen in the newspaper files copies of the Haint newspaper which at that time was published in Riga.

And so I concluded one day that it was not at all that difficult to read this newspaper. And thus it came about that I bought an instruction book for self-study by Samuel Kaleko. And when that proved insufficient I made a request to learn Hebrew from a rabbi. Permission for this was certainly refused at first because of the concern of my superiors. It would certainly have been simpler, had I not written in this request that the cost of the instruction was 3 Marks an hour.

On the contrary, it would have been best had I proposed that a rabbi be arrested so that he could give me instruction from the prison. But I had not thought of this; at that time I enquired what the general hourly payment was for such lessons, and found out that it was 3 Marks, and on this basis I made my request to my superiors.

Dr. Servatius: Was concern not also expressed that you might be influenced by the rabbi?

Accused: Yes, that is what I meant, when I said that there was concern that in this matter I might have too much to do with a Jewish rabbi, since I can imagine that because of the studies, because of being together as a consequence of studying, there also could have been conversations which could have gone beyond merely learning the Hebrew language.

Dr. Servatius: I come to exhibit T/121, document No. 1168. This is a service trip report to the Reich Party Congress in 1937.

You say that you had met with the representatives of the World Service (Weltdienst) and described these people as dubious types. Will you explain how you reached this conclusion?

Accused: My job at that time was purely to gather information. Thus I received the order to go to Nuremberg in order to eavesdrop, make connections, in short, to fulfil the duties of a member of an intelligence service. With the World Service people it was a matter of the Stuermer people abroad. And I would like formally to mark as documentation for the accuracy of my testimony this observation by me, that I rejected the Stuermer methods from the very beginning. This is why I reported on the speech of the then Gauleiter Streicher with these dry, curt words on page 2, the last paragraph.

Had I looked upon the matter differently, I would also in this case, as was usual in the jargon of the time, have somehow observed with some kind of fulsome praise, that he had made a magnificent speech, or a speech of great import. But I reported it in a purely matter- of-fact and dry manner.

Dr. Servatius: The next document is T/37(296), document No. 1167. It is a schedule for the coming year, for the coming year 1938. There the Accused receives "Section II 1123 - Zionists."

Will the witness explain his attitude to the question of Zionism?

Accused: Yes, Sir. The forcing and promoting of emigration was at that time ordered by my superiors. Zionism in various lands was promoting emigration to Palestine. My superiors placed no limitations on any country, that is to say, no prohibitions on any countries were laid down. Therefore, I had to promote Zionism and, to be sure, as demanded, in a forced manner.

So it was that at that time I came to read the Judenstaat by Adolf Boehm - I believe was the name of the author - and I gradually immersed myself in the tasks of the Zionist associations of various countries. I became familiar with their auxiliary organizations, and I think that no Zionist functionary of those days could complain that I would have hindered him in his work; indeed, he would have had to confirm that I was doing everything to facilitate and promote his work.

Dr. Servatius: Exhibit T/124(502) is the report concerning Eichmann's trip to Palestine with Oberscharfuehrer Hagen.

Was the report drafted by you?

Accused: No, it was drafted by Hagen who was my superior at that time. Moreover, the witness Dr. Six, who was interrogated a few days ago, explained - and at that time he was our common superior - observed on this report that he saw from the heading and the other facts, that Hagen had drafted the report.

Dr. Servatius: On page 31 of this document there is a very negative and very deprecatory attitude to the situation in Palestine.

Will the witness explain whether that is a contribution made by him in this matter.

Accused: No, I have already said that I did not draft this report. I contributed no part of its text. By way of comparison may I also refer to document No. 1510; unfortunately I do not have the Court exhibit number.

Dr. Servatius: No. 1510, that is T/115, document No. 505; that is a report from Kennedy, the one from London.

Accused: No, that is 1510, a minute by Hagen.

Presiding Judge: Yes, we have that here; it is T/108.

Dr. Servatius: There is an error here, Your Honour; I wished to refer to exhibit T/110 on account of this strange tone of the poor manner of speech.

Presiding Judge: What is the Prosecution's number?

Dr. Servatius: It must be T/115. There one finds expressions which surpass this jargon by far. I shall come to this document shortly.

Presiding Judge: Are those the words of the British representative? Did you cite the name Kennedy? Did you mean the words of the British ambassador?

Dr. Servatius: That is an error; he repeats Ribbentrop's words. The latter says there that he is sabotaging the emigration of the Jews in the matter of capital, which was initiated by the English.

Presiding Judge: Counsel for the Defence, will you be coming back to this document? Are you going to refer to it again? Then we shall discuss it later.

Dr. Servatius: Then I come to exhibit T/111, document No. 1508. That is a short directive from Hagen to Eichmann. It deals with the idea of the Madagascar Plan promoted by the Defendant. The document is important on account of the handwritten notes on the succeeding three pages. That is a minute in the form of points. The first point is called "Waiting for the result of the census." Point 2 in the Accused's handwriting, says: "In no less than ten years, there will be only approximately 60,000 Jews in Germany, if the same tendency continues."

What is to be understood here by the word "tendency"?

Accused: That is the tendency expressed in Prosecution document No. 462, exhibit T/110, which happens to be a note by the State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry according to which everything facilitating emigration was rejected by the Foreign Ministry, and a negative attitude was taken towards every transfer, capital transfer of Jews wishing to emigrate. There was the opposite tendency represented by the SS Head Office of that time. Under the general regulations issued by the countries of immigration, it was most difficult to effectuate the pressure for emigration, as decreed from above.

Dr. Servatius: Further, in remark 3 it says: "When those without means will have migrated, it will be the turn of the capitalists, who can slowly be deprived of their capital through economic means with the help of State Police measures."

Will you explain what that means?

Accused: Yes, it is a reference to the basic attitude of the Foreign Ministry in the above-mentioned exhibit T/110. There was a desire for emigration - but only of those without means...but those without means were not accepted, and at that time the Foreign Ministry had not yet declared itself ready for compromise.

Dr. Servatius: On the last page of the notes we read: "It can be solved further, if no restrictions are placed on the SD Head Office." The examples given are " education of the youth" and "monthly discussions."

Will you explain what that means?

Accused: The Jewish organizations at that time were mostly instructed to accept contributions from abroad for the financing of their emigration plans, because, as a result of their exclusion from the life of the German people, the internal income of these Jews had now become very insignificant.

According to the German foreign exchange regulations of that time, I believe I can remember that the amount of foreign exchange coming into the country through donations - which had to be offered to the Reichsbank, even subject to taxes or deductions, and the efforts - in any case my efforts - were directed at that time not only to not limiting or reducing the amounts of foreign exchange coming in through gifts, but moreover, towards permitting payment with an added premium, as this was later evident from the regulations in the Ostmark - in Austria.

And only if the Jewish organizations were in possession of these financial means, could they put into operation, for example, re- training courses of all kinds, which were useful as preparation for emigration (since various countries required proof of a profession). The extensive apparatus of officials and functionaries could then be paid, the social institutions could be funded, and much more. In any case, everything was directed, purely organizationally, towards emigration, but the various authorities with their own interests put bureaucratic obstacles in the way.

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