The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 78
(Part 1 of 5)

Session No. 78

9 Tammuz 5721 (23 June 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the seventy-eighth Session of the trial open. The Accused will continue his testimony. I remind him that he is still testifying under oath.

Accused: Yes, I am aware of the fact.

Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I would first like to take an exhibit, which comes a little later in the numerical order of the series of the documents - exhibit T/309, document No. 1099. There are several communications dealing with gas trucks and gassing methods.

The first communication, dated Kiev, 16 May 1942, is to SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Rauff. This is department - he is in Department II of the Head Office for Reich Security, Technical Department, under Dr. Bilfinger.

The second communication is dated 22 June 1942, and is addressed to the Senior Commander of the Security Police, Eastern Territories, sent by Department II, signed Rauff; it also deals with the provision of vehicles.

The third communication is for the same Section, IID3.

The next communication is from Belgrade and again deals with these gas trucks, Senior Commander of the Security Police and the SD in Belgrade.

The fourth communication - again Senior Commander of the Security Police for the Eastern Territories to the Commander of Security Police, White Ruthenia.

The last communication in the set is again from Belgrade, to the Head Office for Reich Security, IID3.

Finally, there is a sixth communication between the same authorities.

Witness, did you order or arrange for the use of gas trucks?

Accused: I did not order or arrange for such use and, moreover, the matter was not within my competence. The communications contained in this document are all marked with the filing reference of Department II of Group D and Section 3, IID3. Page 5, page 6 and page 10, show that the contact was a direct one between Department II and the Senior Commander in the Eastern Territories on the one hand, and the Belgrade Senior Commander, on the other hand.

Dr. Servatius: I now come back to the first document. I shall leave out document No. 454 - T/198, and am now referring to exhibit T/175, document No. 1097. This is the order of the Army High Command, dated 2 May 1941, and signed by Brauchitsch, about the assignment of the Special Operations Units of the Security Police and the SD at the beginning of the eastern campaign against Russia, known as Operation Barbarossa. I would refer to the bottom of page 2 of the order, end of paragraph 2, where it says: "The Special Operations Units or Sub-Units are authorized to adopt executive measures against the civilian population on their own responsibility as part of their assignment."

Witness, were you informed of the order at the time?

Accused: No, I was not.

Dr. Servatius: Then there is a series of operational situation reports about the operations of the Special Operations Units in the East. First, we have exhibit T/330, document No. 846. This reports on the liquidations, and I would refer here to the last page, which contains the circulation list. The circulation list is not at all clear and does not show which reports subsequently reached Eichmann's Section and which did not. The first obvious thing is that the circulation list is divided into two parts. The first part goes up to the last page, where it says, "Page 10 of the original." Up to there, there were the Reichsfuehrer-SS and the various offices, while, from there onwards, first the Higher SS and Police Leaders appear and then the Department Chiefs. In the above list, however, there is a listing of some sections and departments, as well as units, all of which should really be in the lower part.

Presiding Judge: Is it not a matter of chance, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: I shall come to that. I have tried to explain it, but it is, nevertheless, odd.

Presiding Judge: I see that page 9 ends with some "Hoehere SS- und Polizeifuehrer," and page 10 starts with the "Hoehere SS- und Polizeifuehrer."

Dr. Servatius: It is possible that this copy gives a rather incorrect impression, but there is something else: At the top, Section IVD4 appears, then, further down, there is Section IVB4, then you have Group IVB and, according to normal filing practice, that should be Eichmann's Section. But what is not clear is that Group IVB is still listed, and then below again Department Chief IV appears. What is the meaning of IVD4 at the top? I could not find out whether a new Group IVD or D4 was set up. I just wanted to raise this question for the purpose of investigation; the details are not clear and, in other reports, there is explicit mention of Group IVB, in the actual heading.

Presiding Judge: Has the Accused anything to say about the matter? After all, he was receiving those reports.

Dr. Servatius: I was going to ask the Accused, but I first wished to refer the Court to the next document, in order to have a complete picture.

I would ask you to take exhibit T/102 - document 778 - also an operational situation report, dated 29 October 1941 - open it at the last page but one - and there is a different circulation list, and IVB4 is mentioned at the top; and then, finally, I would ask you to consult the next exhibit, T/305 - document No. 1092 - which has no circulation list; but, at the top of the document, there is a note "65th copy."

Witness, there are various other operational situation reports of this type. Did you receive all these reports, and will you also please explain the various filing references in the circulation list, and state what conclusions you would draw from them?

Accused: Yes, I shall make an observation on this. At the time when these operational situation reports came out - of which I received some but was not actually involved - my Section was no longer called "IVD," because the organizational plan of 1 March 1941, was in force by then and the number of the Section was changed from the original IVD4 to IVB4. At the time when these operational situation reports were issued, Section IVD4 was dealing with "Occupied Territories" matters, as shown in the organization plan. I beg to make this clear, so as to avoid confusion between IVD4 and IVB4. Thus, at the time of the occupational situation reports, my Section was called "IVB4." I have already said that I did not receive all the reports. I can prove this by means of the occupational situation reports - document Nos. 1464 and 1465. Here...

Dr. Servatius: Would the witness give the T number.

Accused: Unfortunately, I do not have the T number.

Presiding Judge: Exhibits T/295 and T/313.

Accused: Although both these documents have a circulation list, or rather, precisely because these documents have a circulation list, it can be shown that these occupational situation reports did not reach my Section, since there is no reference to my Section in the circulation list. Now, on the question of the numbering of the copies: According to the regulations concerning secret matters, where secret Reich matters were concerned, when these were duplicated, all copies had to be numbered, and the relevant number was placed on the document circulated to the appropriate person. For example, exhibit T/295 was produced in thirty-two copies altogether, and the nineteenth copy went to the office where this document was found after the War. That is as far as the numbering of the copies is concerned. As for the last...

Dr. Servatius: That is sufficient for me. I do not think it necessary for me to go into all the occupational situation reports, since it is basically a question of what the Accused heard about, rather than the actual events. I would just like to come back to the document again.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, perhaps the Accused wished to say something else about these reports, the ones he actually received. You interrupted him. I do not know, but perhaps the Accused wished to say something which should not be suppressed.

Dr. Servatius: I have no intention of suppressing it.

Presiding Judge: I am sure you do not wish to suppress anything, but I would like the Accused to have every opportunity of explaining everything, to ensure that everything is quite clear.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, do you wish to say anything else about this document?

Accused: I only wished to say that neither I nor my Section, were in any practical way involved in the matters referred to in the occupational situation reports. The document is number 778, unfortunately I do not have the T number.

Dr. Servatius: T/102.

Accused: On the last page but one, it refers to the transfer of intelligence assessment from its previous arrangement, so that intelligence affairs are to be dealt with by the Special Operations Staff (Kommandostab). Mueller states as much: "Thus the Kommandostab is responsible for both the technical and the factual evaluation of reports from the Special Operations Groups and Units (Kommandos)."

In other words, not only was the Special Operations Staff dealing with the militant conduct of matters, if I may call it that, and with the service regulations, service instructions, but, from that point on, they also had to carry out all the factual evaluation which some other authority had done up to them - I think it was called IVA1 or something like that. In other words, the specialist section which, according to the Prosecution, should have dealt with these matters, in point of fact was not mentioned and had nothing to do with these affairs.

Dr. Servatius: That was the question I was going to ask the Accused in connection with the next document. He has already seen it in his own documents.

Judge Halevi: Who were the Kommandostab?

Accused: I did not know the members and heads of the Kommandostab, I had no dealings with them, but I think it said on one page of the document that the name - whether it was the head of the Kommandostab or not, I do not know - was Pepken or something like it; in any case, there is a name there in connection with this matter, with the Kommandostab. I would also like to add that the Kommandostab was directly subordinate to the head of Department IV.

Dr. Servatius: With this, I would like to leave the question of the Special Operations Units there and pass over to another set of documents, with which I would like to deal.

The first is exhibit T/179, document No. 461. This is a communication from Goering to Heydrich of July 1941; the precise date is not given in the document. The communication extends the tasks of the Reich Central Office for Emigration of Jews. Heydrich is charged with making preparations for an overall solution of the Jewish Question in the German sphere of influence and, in the last paragraph, it says that he is to take preliminary measures for implementing the Final Solution.

The next document is exhibit T/176, document No. 1091. This is a formal decree by the Fuehrer, dated 17 July 1941, about police security for the recently occupied Eastern Territories. This gives Himmler the right to give instructions to the Reich Commissioner - in other words, to the head of the civil administration. That is paragraph 2. In paragraph 3, this Reich Commissioner is provided with a Higher SS and Police Leader, who is, therefore, made directly subordinate to him. This is important for the entire chain of command, since instructions and measures will be adopted in these occupied territories. The chain of command for measures against the Jews was, therefore, as follows: Himmler, Reich Commissioner, Higher SS and Police Leaders. In practice, it may well have passed via the SS and Police Leader working with the Reich Commissioner. In any case, it did not pass through Department IV.

The next document is exhibit T/219, document No. 1410. This is a communication from the Wartheland District, sent by a Sturmbannfuehrer - whose name, according to the reference, must be Hoeppner - to Eichmann. The stamped date of dispatch is not clear. There is a stamp at the top of the communication, 16 July 1941, and another communication, dated the same day, 16 July 1941, Posen, is attached. It is difficult to understand how a communication dated 16 July 1941, can already have an incoming stamp for the same day in Berlin.

This incoming stamp is not entirely legible, but next to it are the initials "UWZ" - Umwandererzentrale (migration centre). In the bottom left-hand corner, it says "Zu den Akten" (for filing). That is how I read this note. In other words, no action was taken. The contents of the communication are particularly significant. I would first refer you to paragraph 1. This states that, as far as the Final Solution of the Jewish Question is concerned, in discussions in the Reichsstatthalterei (Reich Commissioner's Office) - probably meaning Bohemia and Moravia - various references were made to solving the Jewish Question in the Warthe District of the Reich - therefore it was not Bohemia and Moravia, but the Warthe District. Then a proposal is made as to how to solve the problem.

I now turn to paragraphs 4 and 5, five, which are of interest here.

Paragraph 4: "There is a danger this winter that it will not be possible to feed all the Jews. It should be seriously considered whether the most humane solution would not be to do away with the Jews, unless they are capable of working, by means of some quick method. In any case, this would be more convenient than letting them starve to death." The proposal is also made that, in this camp, all the Jewesses who might bear children should be sterilized, in order to provide a total solution to the Jewish Question in this generation.

Witness, did you receive this communication? What steps were taken as a result?

Accused: Had I received the communication and actually held it in my hands, I am quite sure that, despite the twenty years which have intervened, I would have remembered it, because of its drastic contents. I can, therefore, state quite truthfully that I did not receive this communication. I should like, in addition to the explanations given so far, to try and ascertain whether this communication was dispatched at all. In the covering letter it says, "I would welcome your reaction." On the left it says, "z.d.A." - zu den Akten (for filing).

In such cases, normal bureaucratic practice was not to file the correspondence away, but to keep it available for renewed submission. In addition, this communication, if I had received it, would have been the first indication to me of the physical extermination of the Jews, whereas I can remember very clearly that the first reference to this I had heard, came from the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Heydrich, and was made considerably later in time. Thirdly, and in conclusion, I may observe that, if this were the original of the document or the file minute, then it would be signed; if it were the duplicate, it would be initialled - and neither is true here, neither the first nor the last page is signed. That is all I wish to say.

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