The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 78
(Part 4 of 5)

Dr. Servatius: I proceed to the next exhibit, T/395, document No. 1179. This is a letter from Eichmann to the Foreign Ministry, Department II, dated 19 November 1941. I would quote from the last paragraph on page 1:
"With the request to keep this highly confidential, I can also inform you in this context that the Reichsfuehrer-SS and the Chief of the German Police has meanwhile directed that all emigration of Jews should be prevented, except in very special individual cases, for example where there is a positive Reich interest, in which case the Head Office for Reich Security may authorize the emigration of individual Jews." Signed, Eichmann.
Witness, you signed the document. Were you able to issue these individual permits in special cases?

Accused: No, every such special individual case had to be approved by the Chief of Department IV, Mueller, and he, too, did not give his personal approval in most cases, but, in turn, obtained approval from his superior.

Judge Halevi: I have a question in respect of this document. My question concerns the words in the first passage, "that, in view of the forthcoming Final Solution of the European Jewish Question, emigration is to be prohibited." When you signed this letter, did you know what was "die kommende Endloesung der europaeischen Judenfrage"?

Accused: I did not know what it would be, but I could see that something was being planned, on the basis of the documents which were constantly being exchanged between the Head of the Security Police and SD and the Foreign Ministry. It was, I believe, at this time that the Madagascar Project was gradually dropped, which, until then, had been considered as a solution to the European Jewish Question; but, as a result of the ties between Heydrich and Ribbentrop, considerations were gaining weight which indicated that other measures were being taken by the senior echelons. Then there was also talk internally - by this time, the large areas in the East had been occupied by German troops - many departments were now pushing for a territorial final solution in these eastern areas rather than Madagascar, and lastly, de facto, I personally heard of this final solution in the East for the first time at the Wannsee Conference.

With your permission, Your Honour, I should like to add something to avoid lack of clarity. Prior to this, I had to comply with an order issued by the Chief of the Security Police and the SD to make an official tour to the Generalgouvernement, where I was to inspect certain matters and report back to him. However, according to the plan of the Defence, I am to give a detailed explanation of this later, but I just wished to make this point now, in order to avoid any mistaken impression being created with regard to my first statement.

Judge Halevi: Thank you.

Dr. Servatius: I turn now to exhibit T/308, document No. 42. This is a draft of a letter by the official in charge, District Councillor Wetzel of the Reich Ministry for Eastern Occupied Territories, dated Berlin 29 October 1941, to the Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Occupied Territories (Ostland).

The letter concerns gas equipment for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. There are four parts to the paper in this exhibit, and they are best read with the order inverted. We will start then with the last one, which is a handwritten draft; then there is a clean typed copy, then there is a draft without a date, and then there is the first letter, a draft dated 25 October 1941. There is reference to the fact that gassing equipment is to be procured, and there is a chemist, Dr. Kallmeyer, who is dealing with this, and then, at the end of the draft on the first page, it says: "I would draw your attention to the fact that Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, the official in charge of Jewish questions in the Head Office for Reich Security, is in agreement with this procedure."

Witness, do you wish to state your position on this document?

Accused: In the handwritten draft, at the end of the document, neither my name nor that of Wetzel is given; it does not appear. In the clean-typed text after that, the name Eichmann has been inserted wrongly. It also appears in the actual draft and appears again in the final version of the draft. I can only say that, apparently, the official in charge was not aware at the time with whom he would really have to deal, because the documents available here indicate that, in these matters, there was exclusive responsibility and competence, as far as the Head Office for Reich Security was concerned, of Department II, Section IIB3. What is also worth mentioning is the fact that my name never comes up again, and a study of the documents shows that I saw Wetzel for the first time in 1942. We did not meet until then, either in consultations or, as far as I am aware, anywhere else. Finally, I should like to say that I never received a letter of this nature, and I do not know whether these drafts were ever actually dispatched.

Judge Raveh: Perhaps there is a question about the handwriting - there is something there - perhaps the Accused can help us to decipher it...In the sixth line, there are two words "dem Sacharbeiter" (to the Specialist Officer), and after that, there is something - perhaps the Accused can help us to decipher it?

Accused: I can make out "Sacharbeiter" - then there is a space, and after that it says - it might be: "Sturmbannfuehrer" - I think in the abbreviated form - I am not sure, it is obliterated on my copy. And I would tend to assume - I do not know if it is a justified assumption - that the person who wrote this draft may well have consulted the organizational plan.

Dr. Servatius: There are now some exhibits which concern individual instances, where petitions have been turned down by Eichmann. First of all, exhibit T/677, document No. 1061: a letter from Eichmann to the Foreign Ministry - Ambassador Luther. This refers to money to be sent to a mother who has been transferred to the unoccupied zone of France. Eichmann refuses to authorize this transfer of money.

Witness, do you wish to state your position on this?

Accused: Yes. Decisions of this nature were taken in principle and consistently by the Department Chief, and not by the Specialist Officer. I was here using my right of referral back, and the right to be given instructions. In such cases, I asked for my superior's instructions, and then it was up to me to answer in accordance with such instructions. Twice a week, on an average, I was received by my Department Chief, in order to clear up cases of this type, and to get the requisite directions.

Dr. Servatius: The next document is exhibit T/679, document No. 66. This concerns a rejection of the possibility of German Jews leaving Yugoslavia. This is refused; signed, Eichmann.

Do you wish to state your position on this also? It is a letter to the Foreign Ministry.

Accused: I had to get instructions from my Department Chief in this case as well, as he, as Head of the Reich Central Office for Emigration, was responsible also for such matters. This is a letter dated 12 March 1941, when the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police had not yet issued the ban on emigration. However, as Head of the Reich Central Office, Mueller was concerned that, if approval were given for emigration from the countries under German influence, emigration from the area of the Reich would be affected.

Dr. Servatius: The next document is exhibit T/212, document No. 1177. Another letter to the Foreign Ministry, dated 9 May 1941. Here, permission for transfer of money to those deported to the Generalgouvernement is refused.

Do you wish to state your position on this?

Accused: In principle, I would like to make the same point here as on the other documents. This was turned down by my chiefs, and I then had to word a letter stating this refusal, giving the reasons for the refusal, and dispatch it.

Dr. Servatius: There are other documents which I shall pass over now, as they all have similar contents. What does strike me, however, is that all these letters are to the Foreign Ministry.

Were these queries which had been received through the Foreign Ministry? And did the Foreign Ministry thus indicate that it would support such measures?

Accused: This was just routine transmission by the Foreign Ministry of interventions it received as a result of approaches from the various foreign missions to the internal authorities for decision, so that the Foreign Ministry could advise the members of the foreign missions who had made these representations.

Dr. Servatius: If I understand you correctly, these cases were always dealt with as individual cases?

Accused: That is correct.

Dr. Servatius: Did you receive direct applications from the Reich, from the relatives of Jews still living in Germany, or from others?

Accused: I do not actually recollect applications from individuals direct to the Head Office for Reich Security. But the overwhelming majority of such petitions normally came from the local State Police departments and District State Police headquarters. People submitted their applications to the Secret State Police in their area, and if they could not be answered by the officials in charge, or by the chief of the District State Police headquarters on the basis of existing decrees, ordinances, and so on, then they were passed on to the Head Office for Reich Security, with a request for instructions as to how to proceed in that particular instance.

The local State Police departments normally only sent petitions to the Head Office for Reich Security for which there were no precedents, which meant that I could not take a decision myself but had, in such instances, always to approach my Department Chief, in order to ask him for instructions.

Dr. Servatius: Were there any general guidelines for dealing with these questions which were to be followed by the lower echelons, and who drew up these guidelines, if they existed?

Accused: Basic orders by Himmler were circulated to the subordinate departments. The matters covered by such basic orders were thus dealt with automatically. That meant that the local chiefs of the State Police departments could take decisions on their own responsibility. There were no directives containing these decisions in any general form. For example, when Himmler issued a ban on emigration, this ban on emigration was transmitted by a circular order and, in accordance with this circular, the local State Police chiefs were obliged to refuse all applications for emigration.

Dr. Servatius: I shall pass over the other documents listed in this file, particularly the Polish documents, which I wish to deal with later, and I must make sure that I get translations of some of them which are not entirely clear to me. I now turn to the documents enumerated in List 7. I shall start with a document which does not yet have a T number. This is document No. 1560.

Attorney General: This was submitted on the last day of our submission of evidence.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, this has already been submitted by the Prosecution.

Dr. Servatius: May I please have the T number?

Presiding Judge: This is T/1416.

Dr. Servatius: This is a telegram from Himmler to SS Brigade Commander Gluecks, inspector of the concentration camp at Oranienburg. The communication is dated 25 January 1942. It announces the allocation of 100,000 male and 50,000 female Jews to the camp for economic tasks. I will quote the brief text:

"Since no Russian prisoners of war can be expected in the near future, I shall be sending to the camps a large number of the male and female Jews who are to be emigrated [sic] from Germany.* {* In the German original: "...die aus Deutschland ausgewandert werden...} Make arrangements to receive 100,000 male and up to 50,000 female Jews in the concentration camps in the next" - it is not possible to read the figure - "weeks. The concentration camps will be called upon to cope with major economic tasks and assignments in the next few weeks. SS Gruppenfuehrer Pohl will give you detailed information." Signed: Himmler.
The next exhibit is T/297, document No. 349. This is a copy of a letter from Heydrich to the Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories, dated 10 January 1942, with reference to the "Brown File" for the Ukraine. He makes reference to the enclosed proposed modifications, and because clarification is required, reference is made to a Point 15, but only part is given. The police is in overall charge of Jewish affairs, reference is made to guidelines about migrating Jews, and it is said that, for clarification purposes, the official in charge should be contacted - SS Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann.

This is connected with the next letter, which I wish to submit before posing my question to the Accused; this is exhibit T/298, document No. 1088. This is a letter from the Reichsfuehrer-SS to the Minister for Eastern Occupied Territories, dated 29 January 1942. This is a letter transmitting the guidelines which had previously been referred to, and it says, "in the form I consider necessary." Witness, will you state your position on these two documents and tell us what was now the extent of your participation in this matter?

Accused: I was not...I had nothing at all to do with this matter. In the first document, I am mentioned in Point 10 as the official in charge. This is signed by Heydrich in the version stipulated by the Head Office for Reich Security, which could give the impression that I was the official in charge of these questions in the Head Office for Reich Security. I was the official in charge of Jewish questions not in the Head Office for Reich Security, but in Department IV, the Secret State Police Bureau.

In the second letter, signed by Bilfinger, transmitting the guidelines to Dr. Wetzel in the Reich Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories, I must state that these directives did not originate with me, and they are not initialled or signed either by myself or by anyone else from my Section. But there is a reference on page 3 which might contribute to clarification: There are two words which have been crossed out and replaced by something else in handwriting - I am no expert, but it seems to me that there is a similarity in the handwriting between the attestation which was made by the Chancellery official, Keller, and these corrections. If that is the case, then the matter would be completely explained, because that would mean that the guidelines were issued by Section IIA3, and then a Chancellery official made these handwritten changes. It also all belongs to the correspondence of Section IIA2.

Dr. Servatius: Next exhibit T/299, document No. 1102. This is a minute by the Ministry for Eastern Occupied Territories, dated 30 January 1942, about a consultation for the purpose of determining the concept of "Jew" in those areas. The basic point in dispute is who can decide whether a person is a Jew or not, and thus subject to the provisions on property and other service instructions. The question which keeps coming up, is whether the decision is to be taken by the Commissioner General of the Civil Administration or by the Commander of the Security Police and the SD.

The last page of the document gives the list of participants: The Accused does not appear himself, but his Section does, represented by Regierungsrat Suhr, while the Head Office for Reich Security is represented by Department II, Neifeind.

Witness, did you deal with the definition of the term "Jew," and thus with the decision about the fate of individuals?

Accused: No, I did not deal with this; it was purely a legal matter.

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