The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 81
(Part 2 of 5)

Judge Raveh: Would you look at your last letter, dated 24 September 1943. What is the meaning of the last sentence there? Already nearly a year earlier, in November 1942, you wrote that the person in question had been transferred to the Riga Ghetto.

Accused: I understand from this document, Your Honour, that the initial communication in this exhibit concerns the ghetto, and I understand from this letter that this ghetto, apart from being a ghetto, also had, in addition a concentration camp.

Judge Raveh: What was new in that? Perhaps that is not the same letter of 25 September?

Accused: This shows that the Jewess can henceforth no longer live freely in the ghetto, but rather that she has been transferred to the concentration camp of the Riga Ghetto. I have never been there, I cannot say, I must assume it from the file.

Presiding Judge: This was, then, a deterioration of her condition.

Accused: Yes.

Presiding Judge: Why did you order that?

Accused: I did not order it. Rather the Chief of Department IV ordered it, and I had to transmit his order.

Presiding Judge: This does not appear from the letter, does it?

Accused: It says: "By order." I had the order to write that.

Dr. Servatius: I have another question for clarification. Witness, could you explain the situation when you compare the dates of the first letter and the second one? The first letter, which speaks of the ghetto, is dated 10 November 1942, and the last letter is dated 25 September 1943.

Accused: It indicates to me that in the meantime the Foreign Ministry had intervened twice in this case, and that the Head Office for Reich Security, acting upon Himmler's order, which it could not ignore, in turn had to provide the same answer.

Dr. Servatius: Can this change be connected with the document that was submitted today, according to which the ghettos were to be converted into concentration camps?

Accused: This I do not know. I can no longer answer this question.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to another sector, to Austria. First, exhibit T/129, document No. 1512. This is a handwritten letter from Eichmann to Herbert Hagen, a colleague at the Head Office for Reich Security, dated 23 April 1938, in which he reports, from Vienna, about his first experiences at his new post there. The letter deals with several points. Point 2 states: "Loewenherz has been released." Did you have anything to do with the arrest of Loewenherz?

Accused: No, because when I came to Austria, Dr. Loewenherz had already been in detention for eight to ten days.

Dr. Servatius: Did you make any efforts to have him released, or how did this come about?

Accused: This release was connected with the change in the political line regarding the problem in Austria.

Dr. Servatius: Do I understand correctly, then, that you had no influence on it?

Accused: Yes, Sir. I asked the State Police, Vienna District, to appoint Dr. Loewenherz to be the director of the office of the community in Vienna, so that he would take up the work in accordance with the principle of speeding up emigration.

Dr. Servatius: It says here, further: "200,000 RM have already been paid. Engels has to undertake further collections." Are these contributions which you ordered?

Accused: Since the Jewish organizations had to start functioning again, after having been under lock and key for several weeks, their officials in custody, and their funds secured by the State Police, the Community had now to see to it that they received some initial capital for starting up operations. Engels was the representative of Dr. Loewenherz, and Engels now endeavoured, in ways familiar to him, to raise this initial operating capital for launching the work of the organization. This was reported to me, and I passed it on, as it was the necessary basis for future operations, as seen from the financing aspect.

Dr. Servatius: Further down it says: "The general line of our work in Austria, as it had been worked out with the Obersturmbannfuehrer and with you, was reported by me yesterday to Freytag (who new of nothing about it), and to Hasselbacher, so that everything here is co-ordinated."

Witness, would you please explain this sentence?

Accused: "Obersturmbannfuehrer" does not refer to Six, who was the Chief of Department. May I say the following in this connection: The general policy of the Secret State Police had been since 1933 - and we are now talking of 1938 - to ban, to dissolve, to lock-up, to detain. Now, regarding the solution of the Jewish Question on the part of the Security Service Head Office, another conception gained support: not only the hitherto accepted practices of the Secret State Police Office, but also that of the Foreign Ministry, as the documents have already shown.

This policy was for emigration, and for that purpose it was necessary to put on the agenda the exact opposite of banning, detaining - namely the creation of organizations which served this purpose. And since the officials of the Secret State Police were not familiar with this, as the first step in Vienna, I had to explain the policy to the relevant officials of the State Police Office - the Assessors and the Regierungsrat. "Freytag" refers to Assessor Freytag, who was in Vienna at that time. Hasselbacher was Regierungsrat, and in addition to Jewish affairs he had to deal with other matters - churches, etc. Thus, he had to be informed of this matter, since in the end he was the one who had to present the proposal, through official channels, that the persons detained by the Vienna headquarters of the State Police should be released, and the organization which had been closed could be reopened, since the Security Service had no executive competence.

Dr. Servatius: On the second page there is another reference. It concerns seizure of the material in the archives. These are presumably the Jewish archives, and some mention is made of yearbooks. Would you explain what that means?

Accused: Regarding the Eisenstadt Archives mentioned here, I seem to remember that...I am not sure whether this is the correct name, but it seems to me that this concerned the Wolf Museum. This was, I think, a private institution which had an archive connected with it, where, I think, exclusively historical matters were deposited which related to the closer political matters between the Burgenland and Hungary. But I don't know this exactly any more. In any event, I received orders to have these materials, which were seized by the State Police in the early days after the invasion of Austria, packed and shipped to Berlin.

Regarding the yearbooks, it should correctly say: "Jewish yearbooks." These are yearbooks, which, I think, each country published from time to time, that is to say annually, where the entire organizational, the total organizational structure of Jewish life in these countries was described. I had orders to obtain these yearbooks from the neighbouring countries such as Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Italy, which at that time, I think, were very easily and simply obtained, since it was not a matter of any secret books.

Judge Raveh: What is the meaning of "U.A."?

Accused: This presumably means Unterabschnitt, which is "Sub-District," that is to say a sub-district of the SD.

Judge Raveh: What was the intention, then? Where were you to be sent?

Accused: The sentence reads, I think: "I hear that I will then go to a sub-district. This is fine with me. In two to three years I will again knock at the door in Berlin." Should I explain this?

Judge Raveh: Yes.

Accused: I had heard that in the sub-district of Linz in Upper Austria the post of Department Director had become vacant, or was still vacant. Linz was my home town, so I tried to be sent there.

Judge Raveh: I understand.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to exhibit T/132, document No. 1516, and to this belongs exhibit T/130, document No. 1515. The first is a letter signed by Adolf, this is from Eichmann again to Hagen, Herbert. It says in the third paragraph on the first page that the president of the Jewish Community of Vienna, Dr. Friedmann, was brought by transport from Dachau to Vienna. He is presently under arrest in prison, and is available for questioning. Would you explain this matter?

Accused: In the following period, Dr. Loewenherz began, as was natural, to raise with me any kind of difficulty he encountered, or where he wanted to have something arranged, but was not able to arrange it himself, because he did not have access to these offices. This included requests by Dr. Loewenherz that one person or another had been arrested, was being held at such and such a place, and he requested to have him released. This included the efforts on the part of Dr. Loewenherz to secure the release of the former President of the Vienna Jewish Community, Dr. Friedmann. I replied that I had no executive authority, and I myself had to apply to the State Police of Vienna, and to intervene so that the request be granted. I can no longer recall, today, whether he was released. I think he was, that I was at least successful in having him brought back again from Dachau to Vienna. And I assume that he was also set free from the police prison in Vienna. But I cannot remember exactly what the outcome was.

Dr. Servatius: Then, on page 2 of this handwritten letter, we have the following paragraph: "I summoned Assessor Lange to my office on Tuesday."

Presiding Judge: Are you moving on to exhibit T/130 now?

Dr. Servatius: This is the handwritten letter by the Accused, dated 1 May 1938, to Hagen. At the outset, the Jewish yearbooks are mentioned. I would like to point to paragraph 2, on page 2. I have already read the first part, stating that the Assessor is being summoned to the office, and then it goes on to say: "I shall give him an appropriate introductory lecture, because he is still hardly familiar with Department II/112."

Witness, what kind of instructions were these that you gave to Assessor Lange?

Accused: I had not yet succeeded in reaching Assessor Lange. I was able to reach Freytag and Hasselbacher, but now I could reach Assessor Lange. I still needed him, and therefore I gave him that lecture which I mentioned in the first letter, that is to say, the change of the general line, and I asked for support of these efforts of the Security Service on the part of the State Police. What kind of efforts these were in particular appears more or less, from the letter, from the three letters.

Dr. Servatius: The letter ends with an observation about the possibilities for promotion, and states:

"I think I shall be sent as Department Chief to a district, after matters are dealt with in Vienna, and after..." - this should say Referent (expert) but it is not fully written out - "will be here. You know, I am truly sorry that I shall probably have to leave this work which I did gladly, and in which, so to speak, I have been at home for some time now. But you will understand that at the age of thirty-two I don't want to 'go backward' in the service. Our Chief is an excellent superior, who has understanding for this kind of thing."
Before the Accused comments on this, I would like to add the next exhibit, which is T/133, document No. 1169. It is a letter from the above-mentioned superior; it must have been Six, who is commenting on the matter of promotion.

Witness, your superior, of whom you said that he was understanding about such desires, opposes your wish in this case, on the ground that you are an experienced practitioner, that is to say to some extent a specialist.

In what field were you a specialist and practitioner. What did that refer to?

Accused: This referred to the field of emigration, which at that time, through all kinds of numerous legal restrictions constituted an extraordinarily complex picture, which had to be understood down to the last detail.

Dr. Servatius: Does it not emerge from this letter that a large Jewish department was to be established, of which you were to be the head?

Accused: No, this does not show that a large Jewish department was to be established, but on the contrary. I was the only one, I was altogether alone, I was my own boss, because I had no one else, no assistant, whereas - as he writes here on the other page - on the other hand there has been a considerable expansion of the Jewish Department of the State Police and that he would give me a typist; no, that I would get a typist and an assistant, that appears in another document. I have confused this.

Here he merely touches upon the question that if I express the wish again to become head of a department instead of a Referent, then this Referent's post must simply be turned into the post of a department head. This is a reference to matters of endowment, that is of pay, because the head of a department naturally receives higher pay than a Referent. This was originally in connection with another document in my personal file, where from time to time new department heads were placed over me as a Referent, whenever this post of a department head became vacant, whereas I did not get this post of department head. Now, however, I had this opportunity in Linz.

Dr. Servatius: I would like to present, in this connection, a document which has not yet been submitted and has no T number. It concerns this establishment of the office, and it shows the hierarchy and the composition.

Presiding Judge: I mark this document as N/33.

Dr. Servatius: This is a letter signed by Ehrlinger as deputy - that is the deputy of Six - to the Security Service leader Stahlecker. It concerns the assignment (Abstellung) - it says here the cancellation (Abbestellung) of a Referent for this Central Office of Migration. It should say Office for Emigration. It says here, there are two paragraphs: The first: "...with the appointment of SS Standartenfuehrer Stahlecker as head of the Central Office for Migration, the Security Service was assigned a task in the solution of which the Head Office for Reich Security was strongly interested inasmuch as it is 'of importance for the Reich'."

And in paragraph 2:

"In view of the considerable increase of work to be anticipated, the Security Service Head Office considers it to be necessary to give personnel support to SS Untersturmfuehrer Eichmann, who has been entrusted with the execution of these tasks."
Accordingly, it is requested that SS Hauptscharfuehrer Kronberger be placed at his disposal. He is already familiar with the problem through his activity in Munich. It is to be for about three weeks" - this is a handwritten addition - "and in addition a female assistant for the duration of two weeks."

Witness, would you please explain whether you were the head of this central office, or what position you held, and whether you had a superior. What other offices of the Gestapo were also active in Vienna at that time in the same field?

Accused: Yes, Sir. In accordance with an order or directive by the Reich Commissioner for the Reunification of Austria with the German Reich, the Head of the SS Main District (Oberabschnitt) Danube, Stahlecker, was charged with heading the newly-established Central Office for the Emigration of Jews. I was entrusted by Stahlecker, head of the SD Main District and my superior, with the implementation of these tasks. According to the regulations at that time, there were three grades which implied a certain competence and authority with regard to decisions by those holding official positions. The lowest position was called "Entrusted with carrying out the duties."

Then, the next grade was called "commissioned," and, when he was the definitive Head, it was called "Head of the office." Stahlecker was the Head, I was "commissioned," I had to submit all matters for decision and ask for instructions. I, myself, was not authorized to issue any instructions on my own initiative, not even in the area of emigration.

Dr. Servatius: Did you have anything to do with executive matters? The Security Service, after all, was not only concerned with emigration but also with sequestration, detention and that type of thing. What was your attitude with regard to carrying out activities?

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