The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 77
(Part 4 of 5)

Dr. Servatius: I now come to a different chapter. These are the files of the Gestapo, Police Station Wuerzburg, beginning with exhibit T/753, document No. 1284. These files contain a local segment of two larger operations that appear in later documents, namely the transportation of about twenty thousand Jews to Riga-Minsk and twenty thousand, I think, to Litzmannstadt (Lodz). The first communication, dated 22 September 1942, is addressed to the Field Branch Wuerzburg and deals with the change of residence of Jews to Theresienstadt. This communication mentions the Special Account W from which the cost of transportation is being paid here.

Witness, would you explain how this can be reconciled with the idea that the money was to benefit the Jews?

Accused: I already said before that, all of a sudden, practically everything was paid from this Special Account W, which otherwise would have had to be paid, at any event in part, by the Reich Treasury. The person decreeing an evacuation - which could have been Heydrich, later on Kaltenbrunner or Himmler - had to name the final destination, as well as from where they were being evacuated, and suddenly the authorities invariably came up with the question: Yes, but who is going to pay for it all? Normally, when the Reich Minister of the Treasury had to pay, a corresponding, complicated procedure had to be set in motion. Special Account W did away with this involved administrative procedure, because the Chief simply gave the order, "from Special Account W," and that is how it was paid.

Dr. Servatius: The next communication is T/752, document No. 1294. It is a a telegram from the Accused to State Police Nuremberg/Fuerth, dated 19 September 1942, and deals with transportation to Theresienstadt. It refers to guidelines and makes various arrangements.

Witness, do these arrangements which you make here not contradict each other? Would you express your position on the various points, 1, 2 and 3?

Accused: Yes. According to orders for carrying out the evacuation, guidelines had to be issued to the different State Police branches and main State Police branches of the units charged with carrying out the deportation. These guidelines were not drawn up from one day to the next, but came into being in the course of time. The key words, conditions and demands were, on many occasions, made personally by Himmler, supplemented by the personal wishes of persons such as Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner or Mueller, etc. As to the three points mentioned in this telegram, they, so to speak, represent exceptions to these guidelines. They do not constitute contradictions.

Dr. Servatius: I shall put the contradictions to you which, in my view, need to be clarified. Point 1 permits taking along nursing staff to Theresienstadt under certain conditions. In point 2 permission is not granted for anyone to join the transport voluntarily, and point 3 does not give a ruling on whether parents to be evacuated may remain with their daughter; the decision is left to the discretion of the local authorities. Would you explain these points?

Accused: Point 1 represents a relaxation, because the guidelines obviously do not allow for an escort of nursing staff. There certainly had been no such cases, so there is a query on that. It is, so to say, an extension of the guidelines to permit nursing staff, provided that the persons meet the criteria of the guidelines for the transfer of residence by Jews to Theresienstadt. Hence, there is certainly no contradiction here to the guidelines.

Point 2: Here someone presented himself for voluntary deportation to Theresienstadt. This could not be approved, because the person in question fitted neither the guidelines for evacuation to the East nor those for transfer of residence to Theresienstadt. This person - Israel Fels - was not allowed to be evacuated but had to remain within the Reich. Hence, this, too, does not contradict the existing guidelines.

As to point 3, the decision whether a family, part of which had fallen ill, was to be torn apart, that, too, was not provided for in the guidelines. The State Police branch therefore sent a query, and it was intimated to it that, for the time being, it would be better if the parents were to nurse their daughter, and that otherwise the matter was to be left to local discretion. In my view, this, too, in no way diverges from the guidelines, unless it be considered to supplement them.

Dr. Servatius: I now come to exhibit T/722, document No. 737. This is a circular letter of the Reich Association of the Jews in Germany, Berlin, to the Jewish Religious Associations, dated 1 December 1941; it deals with restrictions on the disposal of the movable property of Jews. It is a detailed regulation about the disposal of movable property with official permission, given only in exceptional cases.

The Accused has already explained his position on this basic question, regarding who is this supervisory authority and who initiates these matters, and I shall not ask him anything further on this subject.

Exhibit T/750, document No. 1292, is a decree of the State Police, Nuremberg-Fuerth branch, concerning the sequestration of property. Problems arose here because the Reich Citizenship Law does not really apply, since the persons about to be evacuated are not leaving the boundaries of the Reich, because they are apparently going to Theresienstadt, which is on the Austrian border. Reference is made here to an earlier law dated 14 July 1933, which permits sequestration of property of persons hostile to the nation and the state. This required a decision.

Witness, who determined whether the property was of a person hostile to the nation or the state?

Accused: The actual decision was, anyway, not made by the police, as is clearly shown, I think, in the Duesseldorf Files.

Dr. Servatius: I shall refer to these Duesseldorf Files later; they are these four volumes.

Presiding Judge: But, Dr. Servatius, we see that the instructions for sequestration come from the Secret State Police. That is on the last page of this document.

Dr. Servatius: But it has already been established that such property is concerned. We shall see from the Duesseldorf Files that a decree by the Reich Minister of the Interior exists here, on which the Regional Governor (Regierungspraesident) refers, determining general direction for cases of persons to whom this decree can no longer be transmitted because they had committed suicide, that their property is always considered to be of persons hostile to the nation.

Judge Raveh: Can you remember who communicated these statements? Who transmitted this general directive to the District Governor?

Dr. Servatius: That emerges from the Duesseldorf Files; I am going to discuss this matter when I shall deal with the particular document stating who decreed it, and how it was handled.

The next exhibit is T/724, document No. 1283. This, too, deals in detail with Account W. Finally, I should still like to mention just one point.

Witness, it says at the end: "In the spirit of point three of this regulation, care should be taken that, with future transports, the deportation lists be handed over in time to make the donations possible." What is the purpose of this hurry to obtain the lists? Would you state your position on that?

Accused: On reading this sentence, I should point out that this is not a matter of the evacuating agencies handing over the deportation lists to the Head Office for Reich Security, but apparently of handing over - promptly handing over - of the deportation lists to the relevant district branches or to the Religious Associations, or to the Reich Association, so as to enable them to discuss this matter of the donation with the Jews to be deported. According to the principle which I mentioned earlier, it is anyway forfeited to the Reich, according to Regulation 11. Thus, by means of a donation - to put it vulgarly - save whatever can be saved.

Dr. Servatius: That is to say, the Jews were unable to save anything for themselves, but merely for the branch office which may, perhaps, at some time use some of it for their benefit?

Accused: No, for the Jewish institutions.

Dr. Servatius: I now come to exhibit T/717, document No. 1276.

Interpreter: I should point out that I did not hear the last reply of the Accused to the question asked by Counsel fo the Defence.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, would you take care to speak more slowly. It is to your own disadvantage if you speak too quickly, because, with the best will in the world, the interpreter is unable to translate.

Accused: Yes.

Presiding Judge: I do not think, Dr. Servatius, that anything has got lost because of fast speech. The question referred to the arguments which you presented just now.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/717, document No. 1276. It is a communication of the Nuremberg Gestapo dated 19 November 1941. At the top of page 2, it says: "Payment for the actual expenditure incurred until the arrival in Nuremberg is to be taken care of by the local police authorities." It then says: "Possibly, a special levy is to be imposed on the Jews to be evacuated."

Witness, how is this special levy that is being imposed here to be explained, apart from the donations to Account W.?

Accused: I do not know; after all, twenty years have passed since then, but I can explain it. In any case, it has to be a local regulation. This local regulation will and can have come about through the relevant Higher SS and Police Leader having been asked for permission. He then gave the order, because this does not so much concern the police authorities of the Gestapo, as I believe follows from the text, but rather the accompanying Order Police, and the latter now saw to it, quite naturally, through official channels, from where they were now somehow going to get the money for this transport.

Dr. Servatius: It then says at the bottom of page 2 that, in addition to stoves, cauldrons, etc., for every hundred, that in each case one reel of barbed wire was to be taken along. How is that to be explained?

Accused: The only way I can explain this is that some request must have preceded it on the part of the office in Prague or Theresienstadt, rather Theresienstadt via Prague, that, for some purpose or other, barbed wire was needed which, at that time, was a controlled commodity. The purpose for which barbed wire was needed in Theresienstadt I do not know.

Judge Raveh: Where does it say that it was Theresienstadt?

Dr. Servatius: It does not say so in the document itself, but it can be gathered from the circumstances and from the context?

Attorney General: I have no wish to interfere in the course of the examination-in-chief, but I would ask the Court to point out to Counsel for the Defence that it is the Accused, and not Counsel for the Defence, who must reply to the questions.

Presiding Judge: It was perhaps Counsel for the Defence who was being addressed.

Attorney General: In the year 1941, Theresienstadt did not yet exist, so that it could not have been Theresienstadt.

Presiding Judge: It says here: "The Settlement Offices in the East" (Ansiedlungsdienststellen im Osten).

Accused: That is so, I must correct myself. When I read this, and at the bottom it said, "cauldrons and windowpanes, and all those things," I assumed that it would be Theresienstadt, but that is a mistake on my part.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/720, document No. 1277. This deals with a transport of one thousand Jews from Nuremberg-Fuerth. There is a reference to a decree by the Reich Leader of the SS, dated 31 October 1941, with the file reference IVB4.

Presiding Judge: On what page is this?

Dr. Servatius: On page 1, the first sentence. Witness, the file reference leads one to assume that your office issued these organizational instructions. Would you state your position on this? I must correct myself, the actual organizational instructions came from Nuremberg from that same office, but it refers to the decree which orders the evacuation.

Accused: My Section had to pass on, through the official channels, the evacuation orders which the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, in certain instances Himmler himself, had given. These orders merely gave the numbers to be evacuated, the destination, date, timetable, and the necessary arrangements with the Order Police, as regards train escort and such things. Well, the further down this is passed on, the more the respective offices refine and elaborate on such official instructions, as is common with the police and the military.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit I shall discuss is T/664, document No. 1281. These are guidelines for the technical execution of the evacuation of Jews to the Generalgouvernement. The guidelines are not dated.

Witness, were these guidelines issued by your office?

Accused: Although there is neither a signature nor a letter-heading, I can infer from the text, from the contents, that they were indeed put together by my administrative office, on the basis of orders and instructions which had come from the departments that had given the orders.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/740, document No. 1290. This is a telegram to IVB4 concerning the departure of the transport from Nuremberg.

Witness, can you say where the large sum of 47,750 Marks comes from, which the transport escort is taking along? Those are the last lines but one on the last page.

Accused: Every Jew who was evacuated had to pay 50 Marks. That much I still know. That is to say, it came back to me when I read about it somewhere, somewhere in the documents.

Dr. Servatius: I am passing over exhibit T/739, which I had intended to refer to, and come to exhibit T/721, document No. 1286. It gives two lists of belongings taken away from the Jews during a search of their hand-luggage and a body search. Receipt for these things on behalf of the Senior Head of the Finance Administration (Oberfinanzpraesident) in Mainfranken is acknowledged, signed in both cases.

Witness, has it ever come to your knowledge that a Senior Head of the Finance Administration objected, and did not accept these articles?

Accused: No.

Dr. Servatius: I shall skip three exhibits which are on my list and come to T/742, document No. 1280. This is an express letter from Mueller to IVB4a concerning the Litzmannstadt (Lodz) and Riga-Minsk evacuation operation, dated 21 May 1942. At the top of page 2 of this communication, it says: "In order to exploit to the utmost the possibilities for reception still available in the East for an additional evacuation, I request you to state the number of Jews still remaining within the area of your office, and who, while observing the strictest attention to the guidelines, can still be evacuated."

Were you responsible for this insistence on stepping up the evacuation?

Accused: No. The date, 21 May 1942, is remarkable. There is evidence also in other documents for what I am going to say now. After Stalingrad, a considerable effort is apparent on the part of the organs of the Reich leadership, to force the pace of the deportations by every possible means. I assume that this, too, was a way, on the part of the Reich leadership, to create a diversion. The document itself shows that I was not able either to order or to call off a deportation. My superiors did that.

Presiding Judge: What is the meaning of the word "Anlekund" (diversion) which the Accused used?

Accused: By that word, Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I mean to give expression to the political aspect that it was obviously considered necessary, in particular by the central propaganda organs of the Reich, gradually to divert the attention of the people, the public, from the Stalingrad defeat. Certainly, they fell back on the old device that some guilty party or other must be found, though, in this instance, the guilty one was not explicitly mentioned. Yet merely the movement, the fact that the Reich commanded deportations, provided an additional welcome occasion for the Reich Ministry of Propaganda to pursue these matters energetically. At that time, the central Reich authorities issued the relevant orders, not only in Germany, but also in other countries, in France in particular.

Judge Halevi: When did Stalingrad take place?

Accused: I do not, at this moment, remember the day, but it must have been February or March, 1942.

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