The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 77
(Part 2 of 5)

Dr. Servatius: Yes, this may be so. I also see now that it is not clear, and that this does not necessarily have to read Rademacher. But I consider this to be unimportant, because the following document confirms this matter. It states there, on top, "for DIII." This must be the Foreign Ministry Department Deutschland III. The top part of the letter is difficult to read. A report about removal or deportation, I can...

It probably is this matter, because this transpires from the text. That the previous letter probably also belongs to the files of the Foreign Ministry appears likely from the seal located at the bottom. One bears the number K 204/454 and the other, K 204/456.

This letter is dated Karlsruhe in Baden, 30 October 1940, and states in the introduction: "At the request of the Gauleiter (District Leader) and Reichsstatthalter (Reich Plenipotentiary) Josef Buerckel, at present at Metz, and the Gauleiter Wagner, at present at Strassburg, during the night - (I am skipping a section here) - all Jews of Baden and the Saar-Palatinate were arrested in their homes and immediately deported."

Whereas previously reference was made to a request by the District Leader, the last paragraph reads: "The shipping off of the Jews was carried out in such a way that all persons of Jewish race, insofar as they were capable of being transported, had to be deported, regardless of age or sex." Then, single exceptions are listed.

Witness, the first letter names Guenther. What was your knowledge of and participation in this affair?

Accused: I was not involved in this operation, only in the second and last phase, that is to say, purely in the matter of transportation. This is a typical example of how evacuations could come about altogether. Even in a case like this, even the Chief of the Security Police and the SD had to obey orders, since the Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter - and here I would like to make reference again to the holder of sovereign power - gave instructions, on the basis of a consent by Hitler, to the State Police office in his sphere of jurisdiction, and hence the expression "order of the Gauleiter" - and this should have been, to be perfectly correct, the same as in the first line above: "of the Gauleiter and the Reichsstatthalter," or the particular state function should also have been mentioned.

Then this Gauleiter could give this order to the office of the State Police, an order which, in this case, was also covered by Hitler himself. I myself received orders to see to it that these transports should be dispatched into the unoccupied area, and if that should not be possible, to bring them back into a concentration camp, which would then be named. I personally accompanied this transport as far as Chalon-sur- Saone, and there, when I ran into difficulties, I negotiated with the French chief of the railway station, which was the last station in occupied territory, and we agreed to declare these transports as German army transports, so that they could cross the demarcation line, and the signals in the occupied territory could be set accordingly.

I had to give this declaration because, otherwise, I would have had to lead these Jews back, and would have had to be given an instruction where they were to sent to, into which concentration camp.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/673, document No. 892. It is a letter from Heydrich to the Foreign Ministry, sent to Luther, on 29 October 1940. This is the announcement that these transports to the south of France have been carried out. The Prosecution has pointed out that this document was drafted by the Accused.

Witness, would you, first of all, comment on the file number IVD4?

Accused: Yes, Sir. I should really say here almost exactly what I said as regards Prosecution document No. 464, and I think...

Dr. Servatius: It strikes one here that the office number is written by hand. Does this point to the origin of this document?

Accused: Too much time has elapsed by now for me to say that with certainty. However, as a rule, it was typed, but I would not want to express a definite opinion here whether this communication was maybe, as also frequently happened, on the part of the typist of the Office Chief or the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service directly without... That is also a way which I forgot to mention in connection with the preceding document, there were instances where material was dictated to the secretary of the Office Chief, and the Chief of the Security Police, and of the Security Service, and then was given the reference number IVD4, according to the office work plan; in such a case the book number was obtained from the registry after the dictation, and after the document was drawn up, and it was entered by hand. It is, therefore, very difficult to say of every document if it originated in that particular manner, but I should like to add that this is an additional, fourth, way that I forgot to mention.

Dr. Servatius: I now come to document No. 1488, which is still without a T number.

Presiding Judge: It will be marked N/11.

Dr. Servatius: It is a communication of 11 November 1940, signed by Abromeit, SS Hauptsturmfuehrer, to the District Office at Posen, concerning placing of persons being resettled. It says there: "The Resettlement Centre Danzig is taking over the Poles to be evacuated. In a discussion at the [office of] the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom in Berlin on 1 November 1940, SS Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann also declared himself in agreement with this arrangement."

Witness, would you explain the contents of this communication?

Accused: I apologize for first wishing to make a small correction, Dr. Servatius. I think that my agreement does not refer to the setting up of a resettlement office in Danzig. Instead, what this agreement refers to is that the 430 Weichsel-German peasant evacuate, for settlement of the 430 Weichsel-German peasant families... which this Resettlement Central Office in Danzig undertakes to evacuate in Poland. The Head Office for Reich Security had, in any case, in accordance with a directive, approved this establishment of the Resettlement Central Office in Danzig. I, therefore, no longer had to give my permission, as I said. What this is about here, is that these Poles who are to be evacuated be taken over by this office, the Resettlement Central Office in Danzig, which had been authorized by the directive of the Head Office for Reich Security, and to that...

Dr. Servatius: I have still not understood why your agreement is mentioned there. Why should you agree?

Accused: Viewed from a practical standpoint, I obviously preferred that an evacuation ordered by the Higher SS and Police Leader be carried out by a department, rather than that it be chaotically carried out by individual, local agencies. And today, I can only explain it to myself that my agreement was at all requested at this discussion at the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom in Berlin because this district, where these Poles were to be evacuated for the settlement of the Weichsel-German peasant families, might actually have been outside the area of competence of the Danzig Resettlement Central Office, or, as regards transport technicalities, was not as favourable as the ambit of this Resettlement Central Office otherwise was. And, for that reason, a separate agreement was needed on the part of the Central Authority, that in this case the Resettlement Central Office exceeds its sphere of responsibility.

Presiding Judge: I did not understand this reply. The question was, why was the consent of the Accused necessary? And I add: On the basis of what authorization would he have had to give his consent? What is the answer to that?

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, it is not a question of consent, but of agreement; that is to say, a matter of the establishment of contact.

Presiding Judge: That is how I translated it into Hebrew. It is a matter of agreement; well then, what is the answer to it? That was your question, Dr. Servatius, was it not? So what is the answer to it, why was the agreement of the Accused necessary?

Accused: Your Honour, the Litzmannstadt (Lodz) Resettlement Central Office, for example, was responsible for the Litzmannstadt administrative district. The Danzig Resettlement Central Office, with which we are concerned here, was responsible for the relevant political Danzig area. Now I assume - of course it is so long ago that I can no longer say so exactly, but it must have had its reason - I assume that the area from which these Poles were to be evacuated, may have been outside the area of responsibility of the Resettlement Central Office.

Now the local office enquired, that is to say, the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom, which locally took direct measures for evacuation and gave the local orders, as emerges from documents already dealt with, that this office enquired at the Head Office for Reich Security whether the Danzig Resettlement Central Office could, in this instance, undertake the evacuation, or whether it was to be carried out also there directly by the heads of the local administration, in the matter of transportation as well. I would have received instructions from my Office Chief, because I could not decide this myself, that in this discussion of the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom I was to adopt this position.

Presiding Judge: All right, thank you. Please continue, Dr. Servatius.

Judge Raveh: Was the Office Chief present at the discussion on 1 November 1940?

Accused: Today, I am no longer able to say that with absolute certainty. There were a number of discussions at which my Office Chief Mueller was present and asked me to come along, and there were also a number of discussions where I was ordered to go there and, having received clear marching orders, as it were, to adopt this or that position.

Judge Raveh: And if Mueller was present, would his agreement have been mentioned, or your agreement?

Accused: In this case, it would on no account have been a matter of my personal agreement, but of the agreement of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, to whom this Resettlement Central Office was subordinate.

Judge Raveh: Perhaps my question was not correctly translated. Let us assume that Mueller was present at the discussion on 1 November 1940; would one then have written in this letter that Mueller had given his agreement or that you had given your agreement?

Accused: In that event, it would have been correct to write: Mueller has given his agreement, from which I deduct that, on the occasion of this discussion, Mueller had probably not been present, and I had to act solely on Mueller's orders.

Judge Raveh: Must it be presumed, then, that two discussions took place - one in which you said that you cannot decide and must ask Mueller, and the second discussion, in which you announced Mueller's point of view?

Accused: I do not think so, because these arrangements for discussions and for the agenda were fixed in such a way that, in the particular case, the relevant office of the Reich Commissioner informed the Office Chief that, on such and such a date, a discussion is to take place with this or that subject on the agenda. As a result, the Office Chief had already decided on his position. When I received the order from him - and by that I mean clear marching orders - I came there with the instructions already in my pocket to adopt this or that viewpoint; in this case, it was to agree.

Since I gave it personally, I was, as was official usage then, I was personally named. Had the reporter been a bureaucratically-minded person, he would have had to write that I was heard as a representative of Department IV of the Chief of the Security Police and had agreed, according to the instructions of my superior. But that was too complicated at that time, and the matter was then put in the abbreviated form. But that was the way.

Dr. Servatius: I now come to exhibit T/174, document No. 172, the Madagascar Plan. I do not wish to go into this plan in detail, but just ask the witness a few questions. Witness, you have already given some testimony about the formation of this plan; on page 5, you will find an entry which states: "But, in fact, this mandate ought to take the internal form of a police state."

Accused: Sorry, I haven't found it.

Dr. Servatius: On page 5: "Constitutional and Territorial Categorization." In the second paragraph, the word police state is underlined.

Accused: Yes. As to that, I have to say...

Dr. Servatius: Just a moment. Who drew up this plan, as it appears here?

Accused: Altogether, it may have been sixteen or eighteen heads of administrative departments of the different central authorities.

Dr. Servatius: If I understand your earlier testimonies correctly, you said that the basic idea had been yours. Were these other authorities also included?

Accused: Yes.

Dr. Servatius: With whom do these regulations originate, concerning the constitutional form, from page 5 onwards?

Accused: That was a joint effort of the jurists, of Department II of the Head Office for Reich Security, as well as of the so-called Party Chancellery; at that time, I think it was still called Chancellery of the Deputy Fuehrer. Those had been the jurists of the Foreign Ministry. In short, this constitutional form was an activity that did not interest me in the slightest and on which, also in practical terms, I had nothing to say. My sole endeavour was - and I let myself be guided by it - to make some suggestion or other that somewhere - as I again and again expressed myself - land be placed under the feet of the Jews.

Presiding Judge: I ask for complete silence [in the courtroom].

Dr. Servatius: Is there any further part of this draft which originates with you?

Accused: Yes. I can say with absolutely certainty, the whole of part II - climate, population, the land, the economy, transport - in any event, all the points which it seemed important to me to discuss as a pre-condition to whether such a territory could be considered at all for receiving a sizable number of people. At that time, I myself travelled to Hamburg, to the Institute of Tropical Hygiene, for advice. I scoured all places where I could hear details about Madagascar, and that was really the basis that enabled me, after I had told my superior my ideas, who then had the matter approved by higher authority, to put forward a proposal here, on a broader basis, which could definitely not have been relegated to the realm of Utopia.

Dr. Servatius: I now come to exhibit T/672, document No. 1059. It concerns a minute of the Foreign Ministry dated 3 March 1940 regarding the deprivation of Reich-German Jews in the east of citizenship. Those are Reich-German Jews who had emigrated to Poland and, because of the events of the War, in which a part of Poland came to be under Soviet Russia, now wished to return.

On page 2 of the communication, it says: "It must, therefore, remain a principle of the highest order that it is undesirable, under any circumstances, to receive Jews into the Reich. In order to make resettlement more difficult for the Jews, an attempt must first of all be made to reduce the number of those entitled to resettlement by means of deprivation of citizenship." That is on the upper part of page 2. It then says: "The representative of the Security Service, Eichmann, who was present, stated that he has the gravest misgivings as regards the wholesale deprivation of citizenship of Jews, because such a measure was likely to influence those states which so far had taken in Jewish immigrants and issued entry permit endorsements."

Witness, at this meeting, as the first paragraph on page 1 indicates, the Foreign Ministry, R.J. - which is probably the Reich Ministry of Justice - is also represented. What caused you to take up this position, what was the motive?

Accused: In principle, it is exactly the same as in the document discussed earlier on, regarding the Danzig Resettlement Central Office, insofar as the function, that is the orders given, is concerned. My immediate superior, Office Chief Mueller, had been simultaneously managing director of the Reich Central Office. This Reich Central Office had to handle emigration, for this was long before emigration was prohibited.

And here he was obviously greatly interested in bringing about the emigration of the largest possible contingents; and since I was his representative for the management of the Reich Central Office at Danzig, let us say, his Section Head - for the implementation of these emigration matters also in the Old Reich, in accordance with orders, one had undoubtedly to consider a wholesale deprivation of citizenship as a tremendous setback in the progress of emigration. For one thing, the Jews could no longer emigrate.

Secondly, the Reich, which had ordered emigration and wished to force its pace, would likewise be at a disadvantage. Hence, if such wishes were being voiced here, it must have been made known to my superior before the beginning of the discussion. I acted here according to instructions, taking up an opposing position.

And one sees right away from the very next documents, that these reservations were not listened to. Emigration was prohibited, and other departments pursued the mass deprivation of nationality with increasing force, a fact which my superior as well as I, who was, after all, concerned with the practical work of emigration, strongly opposed. But that proved useless, one just had to obey.

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