The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 78
(Part 2 of 5)

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, perhaps you could tell us how this document was authenticated?

Attorney General: This is one of the Polish documents; it was found in Posen, it was not in the Accused's Section. We received it from Posen, from the Poles, and it is dated 16 July 1941. In other words, it is a copy from the UWZ office in Posen, and apparently the stamp is that of Posen.

Presiding Judge: What do you think the UWZ stands for?

Attorney General: It is the Umwanderungszentrale, the Migration Centre; this is a copy from Posen which was published by the Polish Government Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes.

Dr. Servatius: I now come to exhibit T/712, document No. 140. This is a communication from the Accused to the Duesseldorf State Police District Headquarters, dated 14 August 1941, with reference to Jewish art treasures. Witness, what is this about? Would you explain, please?

Accused: As it was known that Goering often expressed such desires, I think I can safely assume that this communication was also issued at Goering's initiative, so that I was suddenly ordered by my superiors to write to the responsible State Police office in Duesseldorf about the matter. It is quite possible that Goering found out through his network that there was a particular collection in Duesseldorf, or a special concentration of antiques or some other valuables which he coveted.

There are several interesting aspects I would like to refer to. The deadline for information to be provided is 5 September 1941, showing that the person who communicated with the Head Office for Reich Security was in a great hurry and, according to the handwritten note on page 2, the local office dealing with the matter asked for an extension to 15th September.

Dr. Servatius: Were these valuables to be confiscated?

Accused: The communication shows that they should first be found, and that it was to be ascertained which works of art of this type from former Jewish property could be obtained by auction or by purchase. That means that they were not to be confiscated, taken into safekeeping and confiscated, but the local State Police headquarters was to ascertain whether they could be acquired by means of purchase.

Dr. Servatius: Perhaps I can refer to the last handwritten minute. At the end, this says: "Meanwhile, there should be sequestration."

Presiding Judge: What does Kauf (purchase) mean here? Purchase from whom? Dr. Servatius, what is your submission about this? It says here: "Ehemaliger juedischer Besitz" (former Jewish property).

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, from other trials, I have learned that Goering had a large staff of experts, including Jews, whom he thus protected; he had a large staff, including Jews, who were art experts, and whom he sent off to various countries to track down these articles, which he then bought, using more or less pressure, as the case may be.

Presiding Judge: It was not clear to me whether the purchasing was to be from the Jewish owners or from some department which, in the meanwhile, had already expropriated the art treasures.

Dr. Servatius: No. I have learned from the trials that he wanted them for himself, and there was no department which had seized these things. He was not interested in acquiring any minor works of art which would be removed together with the furniture, but in first-rate objets d'art, which he had first to track down, and which would obviously have been hidden carefully, or handed over to other people. And for that he had a whole research staff to deal with these matters.

Judge Halevi: I should like to ask the Accused whether this was not something which was not outside his province, which he was not authorized to deal with.

Accused: Indeed. But if someone like Goering gave orders about something to the Head Office for Reich Security, then the Chief of the Head Office for Reich Security would pass it on to his Chief of Department, and whoever received the order from the Chief of Department had to carry it out, whether it was within his field of competence or not, because it was an exceptional assignment and had been ordered as being such. In this particular instance, the task of the police was one of pure detective work. That is clear from the various questions listed to be checked by the local police. At the bottom of the first page.

Dr. Servatius: The next documents I wish to discuss deal with the marking of the Jews and restrictions on movements, these and further matters which belong to the same subject.

First of all, there is exhibit T/831, document No. 503. This is a letter from the Head of the Reich Chancellery, Minister Lammers, dated 10 August 1941, with regard to the marking of Jews in the Protectorate. There are several pages to the document. The first part contains two letters from Lammers to the Reich Minister for the Interior and to Frank in Prague. I would refer to the second page, at the bottom, where it says: "Since the Reich Minister for the Interior is in overall charge of dealing with the entire Jewish Question, it appears to me to be vital," etc.

The second part of the document is a letter from the Reich Minister for the Interior, signed by Stuckart, dated 14 August 1941, to Minister Lammers, with reference to the marking of Jews in the Protectorate. The Reich Minister for the Interior informs the Head of the Reich Chancellery as follows: "With regard to the marking of the Jews, the Reich Marshal announced the Fuehrer's negative decision, at consultation of the Gauleiters on 6 December 1938, and indicated the reasons for it." That is with regards to marking of the Jews. "As to the previous examination of the question last year, I would refer to my letter of 24 July 1940. This decision was given for the area then included within the Reich."

The letter from the Reich Minister for the Interior continues: "In the meanwhile, the political situation has changed radically. Given the clarification on foreign policy, it seems to me that, subject to the views of the Foreign Ministry, as requested by you, foreign policy considerations have no longer to be taken into account." And then, at the top of the next page: "I, therefore, have no objections to the marking of the Jews in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia."

The last communication is a letter from Lammers, of the Reich Chancellery, to Prague, Secretary of State Frank. It says - and I quote from the top of page 2: "I should still like to draw your attention to the statement by the Reich Minister of the Interior, although the matter has in the meanwhile been decisively furthered. As a result of a presentation by the Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, the Fuehrer has decided that the marking of the Jews should now be carried out throughout the entire Reich." That, in other words, is Goebbels.

Witness, what was the effect of this marking, as ordered, on the rounding up of the Jews and the implementation of other measures?

Accused: It cannot be denied that any external marking of a group of people, whose rounding up has been ordered, makes police work of any type far easier. This form of marking was no exception. While marking for the area of the Reich, including the area previously known as Austria (Ostmark) was probably not of crucial importance for actual rounding up purposes, it made things easier, but was not of crucial importance, because the registration system of the local police stations was organized so well that things would have been clear even without marking; nevertheless, this was a matter of priority for the Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, who obviously thought - because of some departmental considerations - that the time had come to do something decisive on this subject and get Hitler to agree to immediate marking. I do not know what were the reasons which led to this action on his part.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to exhibit T/209, document No. 1064; this is a circular from Heydrich, dated 15 September 1941, to all police headquarters and a number of other departments.

Presiding Judge: What were they called?

Dr. Servatius: Police District Headquarters. There are comprehensive guidelines on marking, and other measures. Witness, who drew up the guidelines?

Accused: In the previous document discussed before this exhibit, document 503, on the last page, it says, "The Reich Minister for the Interior is preparing regulations to this effect; according to my information," writes Lammers, "the plan is to promulgate a Reich Police Regulation." So, once the top leadership agreed about marking, the decision was taken to deal with the matter by means of a police regulation. In all such matters, the routine approach was for all bodies involved in the matter to meet for a joint consultation, which might take place over several meetings, depending on the amount of material - which was normally the case - and all the various points would be discussed here, which were then officially recorded and would finally be submitted as a draft for approval by the chiefs of departments in question. When approval was given with the desired modifications, the matter would be allocated for centralized treatment by some office - in this instance, for example, my Section, which thus received the relevant order, and then my Section - and this was a purely legalistic job - collated these points in unified form.

In other words it collected together all the wishes of all the central authorities, and then, after these central authorities indicated their approval in writing, this draft went up the chain. It had to go all the way up to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, and thus the point which had been opened up at the discussion of the top leaders, which was to be turned into a Reich Police Regulation, was finally dealt with and settled, so that, in conformity with instructions, it had now to be issued according to the circulation list to the local police headquarters and the state administrative authorities. But, at the same time...

Presiding Judge: Just a moment, wait for the translation. The reference was to exhibit T/831, the last page...

Accused: Well, once the Jews were marked in this way, objections were made in departmental discussions by the representatives of those ministries which dealt with transport, with reference to the provisions about movement, because it meant that, from now on, in the future, there would clearly have to be two classes of passengers to be transported in their conveyances - be they the railways, the buses, or planes - one marked and one unmarked, and this transportation matter would be dealt with in the same police regulation as that on marking and is reflected here in these guidelines on page 7.

In this respect, the responsible ministers, the Reich Minister of Transport and the Reich Minister of Aviation, indicated their wishes, and these were included in these guidelines by the police authorities. The document shows again very clearly: Basic matters were decided on by the highest echelons - they also ordered which form they were to take; at this stage, the section was also determined - in this case, my Section - which would have to deal centrally with the administrative and bureaucratic measures and the other authorities, so that, in the inter- departmental discussions, the specialist officers could put forward their wishes. That is what I have to say about this document.

Judge Raveh: Dr. Servatius, I wonder whether we have so far received an explanation from the Accused as to the relations between the Security Police and the SD and the Ministry of the Interior, just to make this whole matter clear. It would appear that, prima facie, the Security Police and the SD is subordinate to the Minister of the Interior. The Minister of the Interior was, I think, Frick. Generally, so we heard, the Security Police and the SD were subordinate to Himmler, only to Himmler. This is something which, at any rate to me, is so far not clear, and perhaps this should be clarified.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, you have heard the question - the relationship between the Reich Minister of the Interior and the Reichsfuehrer-SS and the subordinate departments.

Accused: Himmler personally combined several functions. Originally, he held the office of Reichsfuehrer-SS. Then he acquired the functions of Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police. Later he acquired also the functions of Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom. However, this is not relevant here. In his capacity as Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police, Himmler belonged - if I can put it this way - to the Reich Ministry of the Interior and had the same grade as, by way of comparison, the officiating State Secretary Stuckart. As a result of Hitler's and Himmler's idiosyncrasies and stubborness, as time went by, difficulties developed which gave rise to constant friction.

This was finally the reason why, in some year - I can't quite remember when, but I should imagine it was 1943 - the Reich Ministry of the Interior was entrusted to the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police as Reich Minister. The Reich Minister for the Interior was thus able to issue instructions to Himmler in certain matters, insofar as they concerned matters of the Interior. In particular areas, even State Secretary Stuckart could give instructions to Himmler.

But Himmler personally found this to be unbearable, so what he did was to seek to have all these high-ranking officials, such as Stuckart, simply promoted to SS generals, and thus, as Reichsfuehrer of the SS, he was, so to speak, in control of them. I am not aware of the finer details and ins and outs, but that is a rough outline, and that is how things were arranged.

Judge Halevi: With reference to the last question and the last answer, was it necessary to include Himmler in the chain of command, or did it go directly from the Ministry of the Interior to Heydrich? Heydrich signed the police regulations. Could the Minister of the Interior not issue police regulations through Heydrich, without letting Himmler take part in that formally and officially?

Accused: Under the office procedure that would, of course, have been possible, but, as I said already, because of the stubborness of the personalities involved, it was not always feasible. Under Heydrich, for example, it was possible - and I am sure that is what happened - that Heydrich simply seized upon the matter, in part without consulting his chief, Himmler, at most informing him of what had already happened. Kaltenbrunner was more cautious. He was a character, a cunctator, totally different from the aggressive nature of Heydrich, and it was such temperamental dispositions which determined whether the official channels were respected or not, if I can put it this way. But these were the habits of our senior commanders, of which we had no clear idea, and which, to a large extent, were also stamped with the imprint of personal ambitions and desires or not.

Judge Raveh: I have a further question to the Accused. Perhaps you can guide me: If there is a reference in a document to the Minister of the Interior, how can one know if it is the Minister of the Interior himself - Frick - or his subordinate departments which are meant, or if Heydrich or Himmler are intended - in other words, departments which actually are not subordinate to him? How can I distinguish between these two cases?

Accused: I think it is possible to make this distinction very easily, since no influence was exercised over the various departments of the Reich Ministry of the Interior by Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner or Himmler. The actual departments of the Ministry of the Interior were all subordinate to Stuckart or, of course, the Reich Minister of the Interior. Obviously, one has no way of knowing to what extent preliminary discussions were held on the highest levels, say, between Himmler and Frick, or between Himmler and Stuckart. I believe that my answer reflects my understanding of the question.

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