The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 81
(Part 1 of 5)

Session No. 81

14 Tammuz 5721 (28 June, 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the eighty-first Session of the trial open.

The Accused will continue his testimony. I remind the Accused that he is continuing to testify under oath.

Accused: Yes, Your Honour, the Presiding Judge.

Presiding Judge: Yes, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, I would like to submit now, in connection with the drawings, two books: The Third Reich and the Jews, known as Poliakov (Black), and the other book: The Third Reich and its Servants - The Foreign Ministry, Justice and the Wehrmacht, known as Poliakov (Red). The other books referred to - I think it is Reitlinger and another document - I will submit later.

Presiding Judge: I have marked these books.

Dr. Servatius: I now submit a document which does not yet have a T number, No. 1388. I do not know whether I have already referred to it. It is a minute of the Foreign Ministry, dated 27 April 1944, on the Feldscher Operation. This minute reads:

"Having heard the opinions of the relevant departments and groups of the Foreign Ministry, I propose to inform Ambassador Feldscher that the Polish text of the British enquiry cannot be regarded by the German side as a positive response to the position taken by our side."
Presiding Judge: I mark this document N/32.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to exhibit T/792, document No. 766.

This is an appeal by the Swedish legation on behalf of the Bondi children. I refer to the last page where it says:

"The Head Office for Reich Security refuses, as the official in charge informed me, any discussion about these cases, since the Reichsfuehrer-SS has ordered that Jews already ghettoized may not be released."
Witness, were you the official in charge mentioned here?

Accused: In this case, I cannot have been the official in charge, as this document is from 12 October 1944, at which time I was not in Berlin. However, this is an old order by Himmler and it will have to be brought up in connection with a later document, to which reference will have to be made later today.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to the last of the documents I wish to submit in connection with Germany, and which are bound together in file 12. As the result of a rearrangement of the Defence, I have left out a whole series of documents, so that only about seven or eight remain here.

I would like to discuss now exhibit T/247, document No. 943. This is an unsigned and undated minute concerning a consultation on the transformation of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto into a concentration camp. It is handwritten, and at the top Eichmann is listed among the participants.

Witness, in what capacity did you take part in this consultation?

Accused: I no longer have any recollection concerning this consultation, and whatever I have to say about it I have gathered from the documents, and determined through studying the documents.

Dr. Servatius: It says here "Eichmann of the Head Office for Reich Security," it is not quite legible, then it says "representative of Kaltenbrunner," and further on "Dr. Mehl..."

Presiding Judge: Kaltenbrunner, isn't it, Kaltenbrunner?

Accused: A representative of Kaltenbrunner, in the true sense of the word, of course I never was. This formulation, "a representative of Kaltenbrunner" is a mode of expression of someone who was a stranger to the entire organization of the Security Police.

Dr. Servatius: Now, this concerns the establishment of a concentration camp, or perhaps the transformation of this ghetto. What was your part in this project?

Accused: The conversion of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto was ordered by Himmler, as the document after the next one will show. My presence in person there, was to prove to those present the consent of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service that with the transformation of this ghetto into a concentration camp, the agents of the State Police headquarters at Litzmannstadt lost their function from the Security Police aspect.

Dr. Servatius: I move on to exhibit T/248. This is a report from the industrial corporation "OSTI," which conducted the economic affairs of these ghettos. The business manager, Horn, sent this report, and transmitted it on January 24 to Pohl at the Economic-Administrative Head Office. The report itself begins on page 3.

Witness, did you take part in drafting this report, or did it reach you subsequently?

Accused: This report which I have in front of me, I cannot recall it at all.

Dr. Servatius: I refer to page 8. It says there, at the bottom, under point 1: "The ghetto of Litzmannstadt must become a concentration camp." There are several marginal notations, and it says next to it, in large letters, "yes." This must be a notation by the recipient Pohl.

The next document is exhibit T/249.

Attorney General: Would the Court not rather hear from the mouth of the Accused who wrote the word "yes"? I hardly believe that Dr. Servatius can testify on that.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius is not testifying he argues, and that is clear to all of us. And when he is saying that, this simply has the same juridical value as any other argument. We take this course to mix argument and evidence. If he chooses, he will ask the Accused. If you so desire, Mr. Attorney General, you will question the Accused.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, did you recognize the handwriting of Pohl?

Accused: In the documents which I have seen here, the handwriting of Pohl is conspicuous, and cannot be overlooked and the notation "ghetto" on page 3 is, in my opinion, in the same handwriting as the word "yes." But what appears to me to be more important is when it was a matter of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto becoming a concentration camp, then there was altogether only one person under Himmler who could decide about this, and that was Pohl.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/249, document No. 945. This is a letter from the Reichstatthalter (Reich Plenipotentiary) Greiner, actually the Gauleiter of the Wartheland, to Pohl, dated 16 March 1944. It says at the beginning of the second paragraph:

"The ghetto of Litzmannstadt should not be transformed into a concentration camp as Oberfuehrer Bayer and SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Volk, were sent by your office to my district, emphasized during the discussion at my office on 5 February. The instruction issued by the Reichsfuehrer-SS on 11 June 1943 is not to be carried out any more in that respect."
Accused: This must be a typing error. This should be Greiser, not Greiner. My photocopy also indicated an N instead of an S, but the Gauleiter and Reichstatthalter was called Greiser.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to document No. 1175, which has not yet been submitted, and I am submitting it now. It is a communication from Pohl to all Chiefs of Head Offices, Higher SS and Police Leaders, dated 4 July 1944. It is a general communication which refers to authorization and powers.

Presiding Judge: I hear that this document has already been filed by the Prosecution as T/1417.

Dr. Servatius: This document shows that the Head Office for Reich Security is not listed among those authorities which are concerned with the administration of property.

Witness, did you nevertheless have anything to do with these property matters?

Accused: I had nothing to do with these matters, although point 3 on the first page, states that matters of property rights accruing from persons who have died in SD assembly camps, and cannot be delivered to the above-mentioned for reasons of security, should be delivered to the Head Office for Reich Security. But surely this would have had to be... I do not know any more whether it would have been Department I or II, the Department which dealt with administration, in any event not Department IV, and in particular not my Section.

Dr. Servatius: I move on to exhibit T/347, document No. 722, and T/346, document No. 721. This is, first, a query* {*Sic. In fact this is a reply by Eichmann to the Foreign Ministry} from Eichmann to the Foreign Ministry dated 9 July 1942, and then letters are appended which contain an intervention by the Argentine embassy and an enquiry about a certain Gershon Willner. These include various communications from several offices, among them two communications signed by the Accused. In the course of the search for this Argentine national named Willner, it is found that various answers are being given, and in reality the man is already dead, and, in fact, he had already died before different replies were given.

Witness, could you clarify this affair?

Accused: Yes, Sir. First of all, I would like to state that in my file I have only one document which is signed with my name, not two. At first glance, when one looks at the sequence as presented, as the files had indeed originally been placed together, it seems indeed that Section IVB4 had actually given a reply which is open to attack. However, if one views these files in their chronological order, an entirely different picture emerges.

On 17 April 1942, in exhibit T/346, the embassy of the Republic of Argentina applies to the Foreign Ministry concerning Gershon Willner. On 4 June 1942 the Representative of the Foreign Ministry at the Office of the Governor General gives the Foreign Ministry a reply to a query, which must undoubtedly have arrived in the meantime from the Foreign Ministry. He reports that according to information from the Commander of the Security Police and the SD in the Cracow District, the above-named person had been detained on 27 December 1941 and thereupon was transferred to the German penitentiary in Tarnow, and that it is intended to transport him to the Auschwitz concentration camp. On 16 June 1942, a few days after the report, the Foreign Ministry informs the Reichsfuehrer- SS and the Chief of the German Police (surely this should read "the Head Office of Reich Security") that in view of the present attitude of Argentina vis-a-vis Germany, it would be inopportune to send this Jew of Argentine nationality to a concentration camp, as this could be used as propaganda against the German Reich.

According to the prescribed routine in the Head Office for Reich Security, IVB4 undoubtedly would have had to address a query to the Generalgouvernement, since in exhibit T/347 of 9 July 1942, Section IVB4 of the Head Office for Reich Security, which was now apprised of the matter for the first time, could inform the Foreign Ministry with reference to the above-mentioned letter of 16 June 1942, that the Argentine national and Jew mentioned in the "Reference," died on April 12 of this year in spite of copious medication etc., etc.

What the considerations were which impelled the Commander of the Security Police and the SD in the District of Cracow when he informed the Representative at the Office of the Generalgouvernement on 4 June, that this person, who was the object of the enquiry, was to be sent to Auschwitz, and whether he knew at that time that the person in question had died, or whether he had merely looked into his files and found out that the man had been detained, but he had the intention, etc. - that was beyond the knowledge of the Head Office for Reich Security. These are local matters of the Generalgouvernement.

I informed the Foreign Ministry in accordance with the truth of that which the office of the Generalgouvernement had reported to the Head Office for Reich Security. Section IVB4 was in this case, as in other matters, nothing but a transmission-agent, for orders emanating from above downwards, and for the provision of information from below to those authorities which had requested this information.

Presiding Judge: This remark that he died in spite of having received fortifying medication, was that also contained in the information which you received from the Generalgouvernement?

Accused: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, it must have been included there, since otherwise the proceeding would have been a mere figment of the imagination, but the matter had to be documented - every bit of information had to be documented at all times - therefore, this explanation must have been the answer from the office in the Generalgouvernement. It is unthinkable that it could have been in any other way.

Judge Halevi: The file to which you are referring, was kept at Auschwitz?

Accused: I assume that this matter never got to Auschwitz, Your Honour.

Judge Halevi: Where is the registration of this man's death? Did he not die in Auschwitz? Do you understand this letter to imply that he did not die in Auschwitz but in the Generalgouvernement?

Accused: Yes, Your Honour, it is this way: The Head Office for Reich Security became apprised of these matters only, let us say, around 16 June 1942, when it received the letter from the Foreign Ministry. Then, a query was addressed to the Generalgouvernement, surely, and it says in that document No. 721 of 4 June. That means that as far as the Commander of the Security Police and SD was aware, he was then still in the Generalgouvernement. I gather from this file, that this person must have died in the German penitentiary in Tarnow.

Dr. Servatius: I turn now to a discussion on a smaller chapter, concerning the Jewess Cozzi. This includes exhibits T/348 (document No. 744), T/349, T/350, T/351, T/352, T/353 and T/354. This is the course of events: The Jewess Cozzi, widow of an Italian subject, requests that she be treated as an Italian and be exempt from the measures taken against the Jews. She endeavours to leave for Italy. The Italian embassy intervenes in support of this, and the Foreign Ministry also requests it. The Fascist Party also writes in support, but her departure is nonetheless refused.

Witness, would you comment on this incident?

Accused: The communication in exhibit T/348 of 10 November 1942, indicates, in the first sentence, that "in the course of the general evacuation measures in the Eastern Occupied Territories, the Jewess Cossi has been transferred to the Riga Ghetto." That such transfer into the Riga Ghetto of the above-mentioned Cozzi had actually taken place, Section IVB4 could naturally only learn on the basis of a report which has meanwhile been requested and submitted. Exhibit T/792 submitted today, shows on page 4 that Himmler had forbidden any release of Jews already ghettoized. This prohibition was so strict on Himmler's part that the Foreign Ministry even considered whether it should not approach Himmler in this respect officially, in order to obtain an exception.

Since Section IVB4 could not take a decision on its own, expecially not in a case like this - in other cases it deliberately refrained from taking decisions - at best the Chief of Department IV could have approached the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police, on his own initiative, in the case of the Jewess Cozzi, but I could not have done so. And the Chief of Department obviously refused and insisted on Himmler's order being implemented.

Therefore, all interventions in the period from 10 November 1942 until 25 September 1943 were in vain, from whichever quarter they may have come. On that day, Section IVB4, acting upon instructions from the Chief of Department IV, had to inform the Foreign Ministry that in view of the change in the political situation in Italy, this Jewess would now be transferred to a concentration camp. Apparently, the Chief of Department IV had by now had enough of the entire affair, and used this opportunity to close the file in this manner.

Dr. Servatius: What was the attitude of the local authorities in this area, Latvia, where Mrs. Cozzi was held in detention, or in the ghetto?

Accused: The attitude of the local authorities, insofar as this concerned the Security Police, was based on Himmler's order and was against release. The position taken by the representative of the Foreign Ministry at the Office of the Reich Commissioner for Eastern Occupied Territories, is furthermore evident from the documents - that he supported the position of the local offices of the Security Police and the Security Service.

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