The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 80
(Part 4 of 6)

Presiding Judge: Very well, that will do. You have answered the question.

Dr. Servatius: I now come to a few individual cases which were dealt with in Section IVB4. I turn now to exhibit T/764, document No. 135. This is a communication from the Accused to the Foreign Ministry dated 2 February 1943, in connection with the proprietors of the Capitol Cinema in Heidelberg. The application is for approval of measures against this businessman, who is Hungarian, a Hungarian Jew, but with papers which conceal his belonging to the Jewish race, as it says. The businessman in question had formally transferred his business to others, and in practical terms was continuing to run it through his wife and son. He was summoned by the local Gestapo. However, only the son appeared. The Accused proposes certain measures, for example, the withdrawal of a residence permit for failure to extend the couple's passports, and sending the son to a concentration camp.

Witness, How did you deal with that matter?

Accused: I received the information through the service channels. Since the information came from a representative of the Fuehrer, it had to be investigated extremely thoroughly, and most urgently. The result of the investigation is before the Court, and after my superiors had considered the contemptuous attitude towards the police, in such cases an order was immediately given to be sent to a concentration camp. I cannot say any more about this affair.

Presiding Judge: In this particular case who issued the instruction "concentration camp"?

Accused: The instruction "concentration camp" could only be issued by the Chief of Department - never by a Specialist Officer.

Dr. Servatius: This communication by you is addressed to the Foreign Ministry, because a foreigner was involved. What was the reply of the Foreign Ministry?

Accused: I no longer remember exactly - the Foreign Ministry apparently...the official in charge apparently made marginal notes about this, but I cannot make them out on my copy as the reproduction is not clear. I do not know.

Dr. Servatius: These notes in the margin are very indicative, at least where I can decipher them. At the bottom of page 2 there is a comment that false papers were paid for, and there in the margin it says: "nothing new." On the last page, where it says "sent to a concentration camp," I think there is a comment "quite right." The official in charge in the Foreign Ministry appears not to have entirely made up his mind - at the top, under the date, there is a cross, which according to my information means that the superior official wishes that a consultation be held.

I now pass over the next document No. 1207, which has not yet been submitted, and I come to exhibit T/766 - communication from the Foreign Ministry to the Head Office for Reich Security, dated 17 February 1943, signed: von Hahn. T/766 contains a report on a request from the Swedish and Italian legations for lists of Jews holding the nationality of those countries. The Foreign Ministry is pleased about the drawing up of those lists, in order to be able to use them later against the Jews. In the second sentence it says: "...if the lists of these nationals of Jewish race are drawn up by German authorities, this has the major advantage of ensuring that all persons whose further sojourn in the German sphere of influence is undesirable, can be seized. Moreover, we will then be able to implement the entire action with the desired rapidity, and will not need to take into account any difficulties which the foreign missions might raise in registering their nationals of the Jewish race."

The next exhibit T/773, document No. 933, is the reply to the previous communication - a communication from IVB4 to the Foreign Ministry, signed: Guenther. Complete lists are not available - only the lists of the Jews from the Reich Association.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, unless you have any questions about the exhibits which you wish to ask the Accused, I would ask you to postpone quoting these documents until your summing-up. Otherwise we will hear this twice. I made a similar point to the Attorney General, and after all this applies to the Defence as well.

Dr. Servatius: The situation is such - things become clear when the document is read. If I ask the Accused questions, he will take up a great deal of the Court's time, and in my opinion it is helpful to understand a document which is before us. In my summing-up later, the document will no longer be available, and then the matter will no longer be clear, or the summing-up will become very long.

Presiding Judge: If the document is necessary to explain the Accused's testimony, then naturally reference must be made to it at this stage of the proceedings. Otherwise I must repeat to you what I have already insisted on to the Prosecution - we shall peruse the exhibits if they are referred to in the summing-up, and therefore they do not have to be referred to twice.

Dr. Servatius: If that is so, I would ask a further question, Your Honour, as regards separating the oral summing-up from a written addition to be made as a Closing Brief. Perhaps these matters could be dealt with in the latter, without having to burden the Court with them in the oral summing-up.

Presiding Judge: You may proceed as you see fit.- Under our rules of criminal procedure the summing-up is oral, but we will allow you to submit part of it in writing as well, and you may refer to the documents in the oral and in the written summary, as you see fit.

Dr. Servatius: I thank the Court.

Presiding Judge: To make things quite clear, I should now like you to refer to the documents only insofar as they are directly connected to the testimony of the Accused. In other words, when either the Accused himself refers to them, or when the document is necessary to explain the testimony of the Accused.

Dr. Servatius: I shall proceed accordingly.

I now refer to exhibit T/776, document No. 322. This is a memorandum from von Thadden to Eichmann, and concerns Iranian nationals.

Witness, did you deal with this matter of treating as Jews this Iranian sect of Jews, and did you provide information in this respect?

Accused: Obviously I can no longer remember today, but given the content of this memorandum from the Foreign Ministry, I know what the prescribed procedure was in such matters. I was unable to judge on the basis of my own knowledge, as I did not know it. So here in accordance with the instructions of my chief I had to contact the competent department, in this case Department VII of the Head Office for Reich Security, and get their experts to produce an opinion, on the basis of which an answer was drawn up.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/1253, document No. 1367. This is a letter from Himmler to Kaltenbrunner, stating that he has distributed a book on Jewish Ritual Murder particularly to men who deal with the Jewish Question. Witness, did you read the book, and what benefit did you derive from it?

Accused: Today, I cannot remember whether I received this book - I may have, but then again, I may not have - but in any case I read a great deal about ritual murders, and so I probably cannot say whether I read it in this particular book or not. In any case, the Jewish officials with whom I had dealings, knew that I considered these matters to be in the realm of fairy tales, and did not myself accept this point of view.


Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: I turn now to exhibit T/789, document No. 1592. This is a memorandum from von Thadden of the Foreign Ministry, about the establishment of a camp for Jews to be exchanged with foreign countries. Von Thadden fears that the camp arrangements are too stringent, and this might jeopardize the exchange negotiations.

Witness, what do you know about these exchange camps?

Accused: The exchange camps were not under my control - they were under the control of the Economic-Administrative Head Office. I am not conversant with the organizational and other aspects. It was not up to me to decide on the use - that is to say the approval or otherwise - of exchanges; such decisions were taken by the superior authorities of the Reich.

Dr. Servatius: But von Thadden wrote to you that the conditions were bad, and that the superior authorities must intervene. If so, why did he write this to you?

Accused: Because all correspondence about the exchange of Jews went between my Section and von Thadden's Department; both Special Officers transmitted these matters to their respective chiefs for further processing, so von Thadden now assumed that he should automatically submit these matters of the camps to me. I passed the matter on to my chief, who doubtless transmitted it to the relevant authority.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, in this letter where can we see that it was sent to the Accused's Section? In the letter, T/739, it says R4, but that could also refer to the Foreign Ministry itself, could it not?

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, there is a slight discrepancy in the short summary of the documents. There is another communication in which von Thadden indicates that the conditions in the camp are very bad, and he says that the higher authorities should intervene to change things.

However, I am unable to give the number of the document.

Judge Halevi: Perhaps it is T/790?

Dr. Servatius: Document No. 1418.

Judge Halevi: Precisely. That is T/790.

Dr. Servatius: I turn now to exhibit T/678, document No. 910. This is a memorandum from Eichmann to the Foreign Ministry, dated 22 March 1941. The subject is a query about how to deal with foreign Jews.

Witness, why were you making an enquiry at the Foreign Ministry? Were you not able to take a decision on this without the Foreign Ministry?

Accused: In the case of Jews with foreign nationality, the emphasis was on the fact that they were foreigners, and here the Foreign Ministry was the office in charge.

Dr. Servatius: I now pass over two exhibits and come to exhibit T/744. This is a communication from Eichmann to Rademacher, Foreign Ministry, dated 9 July 1942. A request is made for clarifications with regard to the treatment of foreign Jews in France, Belgium and Holland, and an urgent decision is requested, since, as the Foreign Office is aware, evacuation will start shortly in these countries. Which action is involved here?

Accused: The date, 9 July 1942, indicates to me that this document must refer to the actions ordered in France, Belgium and Holland. This is not indicated by the actual communication, but Himmler's order is quite clear in the documents dealing with France, and since I am aware of this, I can already now give this information with regard to this document.

Presiding Judge: It says so in the actual letter. Apparently this escaped the notice of the Accused.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/1021, document No. 181. This is a memorandum from IVB4 to the Foreign Ministry, indicating that Jews from Romania are now to be evacuated in special trains to the East. The communication is signed by Mueller.

Witness, the question is whether you initiated or drafted the communication.

Accused: I did not initiate the communication, but it is possible that I drafted this communication in accordance with my chief's instructions, and on the basis of a rough outline from him, since at this time the evacuation of the Jews from Romania was under discussion between Mueller and Luther.

Dr. Servatius: Read the last paragraph of the communication, and tell the Court whether any conclusion can be drawn from it with regard to its author.

Accused: In my opinion this last paragraph refers to the determining of the...the proposal regarding the category of persons to be affected.

Dr. Servatius: I will now pass over several exhibits and come to exhibit 267, document No. 940. This is a query from the Accused to the Foreign Ministry, dated 28 February 1942, with regard to the transfer of the foreign Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Accused requests the opinion of the Foreign Ministry.

Witness, why did you contact the Foreign Ministry in this instance?

Accused: As far as the Generalgouvernement was concerned, my Section IVB4 was involved when arrangements had to be made for Jews of foreign nationality, because this factor was likely to be an important one in the future for the Reich. Since the Foreign Ministry was constantly approaching the Head Office for Reich Security because of interventions by foreign missions, IVB4 had to clarify matters in this connection with the Foreign Ministry - and this clarification subsequently became a general rule.

Dr. Servatius: I turn now to exhibit T/268, document No. 941, and T/269, document No. 942. These exhibits again deal with foreign Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto; it says that discussions have been held with the Accused, and the result was that there should be a countersignature.

Witness, what was the meaning of this countersignature? Did this not make your own position far more prominent?

Accused: This co-signing, as it was known, was routine for individual Specialist Officers in the departments and also for inter-ministerial departments, as will be demonstrated by a later exhibit. In all matters which were of general importance, because they were, or might be, the origin of a circular, there had to be co-signing by all the sections involved, as otherwise the superior departmental chiefs would not have appended their own signature.

Dr. Servatius: I shall now omit several documents and take T/271, document No. 9. Several exhibits are included under this number.

First of all, there is a communication from IVB4 dated January 1943, with no further details as to the exact date, to all Secret Police Headquarters and other departments. Under "Note" on page 1 it reads: "The question of the treatment of Jews of foreign nationality in the territory of the Reich, including the Protectorate and the Generalgouvernement, in the Occupied Eastern and Western Territories, for which there is an urgent need for a comprehensive arrangement, has recently been discussed both in writing and in personal consultations with the Foreign Ministry. The result achieved appears in the Decree set out below."

At the top of the communication there are two names, Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann and Regierungsrat Hunsche. Witness, would you explain the significance of the double signature?

Accused: This was a bureaucratic provision which was covered by an ordinance issued but not actually observed, but which was still valid, and normally this provision was only observed by the jurists, who sometimes remembered it and invoked it. It ties up with the other reference given at the top, IVB4; I am IVB4, I am the Specialist Officer, B is the official in charge, Regierungsrat Hunsche.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.