The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 82
(Part 3 of 5)

Judge Raveh: What were these operational orders?

Accused: Generally speaking, the Chief of Department IV himself contacted Gluecks. I have already stated here that, up to a certain point, Gluecks was subordinate to Mueller, I believe, but was then made into an independent Department Chief of the Economic-Administrative Head Office. As a result of the earlier bureaucratic contact, Gluecks and Mueller always discussed things directly, either on the telephone or face to face. The result of the discussion was indicated either to me, or, if I was not available for consultation, to my permanent deputy, as an operational order to be dealt with.

Judge Raveh: I still do not understand what were the contents of these operational orders.

Accused: The destination of the transport, for example, where it was going; the number of the accompanying escort, whether barracks were allotted to this transport, for example, and all other matters involving equipment. All such wishes on the part of the Inspectorate of Concentration Camp Matters were notified to me on the basis of the consultation, that is, the discussions between Mueller and Gluecks. In addition, IVB4 had to maintain direct contacts with Group D of Concentration Camp Matters for detailed information to be used as the basis of the Transport Timetable Conference. At the time, the term for all this was "operational orders."

Judge Raveh: And it was Mueller who told you about all of this.

Accused: Not only the matters of principle were involved in this subject. I have already said that the Section also had to make direct contact with Mueller's official in charge, in order to clarify questions of detail, since, in order to get the Timetable Conference underway, it was necessary to have a rough idea of where these transport trains...

Judge Raveh: I asked whether the entire contents of what you called operational orders reached you through Mueller.

Accused: Basically yes, that is correct.

I should like to supplement what I have just said, Your Honour. Operational orders did not only include what I have just explained; what I have just explained referred to the matter of contact by telegraph - that is to say, a form of advice note. Operational orders also meant the orders to ascertain the numbers present in those areas indicated by Mueller, and from which deportations were to be carried out. An operational order also meant drawing up guidelines, because this was where the instructions and orders which Mueller received, and everything that reached him from other central offices, was passed on by him to Section IVB4. All of this is covered by the term "operational order" which IVB4 received from Mueller.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, would not the term "operational orders" also cover what is to happen to these people: whether they are to work, what sort of work they are to do, and what is to happen to the aged and those who are not capable of working? Would that not be operational orders as well?

Accused: They certainly might have been operational orders, but since Section IVB4 in Department IV was not responsible for such matters, Section IVB4 never received such operational orders. I do not even know whether there was a particular section in the Head Office for Reich Security which would have received such operational orders, but the sections of the Economic-Administrative Head Office did receive them. There is a document submitted to the Court which shows this situation very clearly.

Dr. Servatius: I now turn to exhibit T/402, document No. 177. This consists of several documents, including a letter from the Foreign Ministry to Eichmann and other minutes. I would refer to page 3, a telegram from Schleier, a Foreign Ministry official, to the Foreign Ministry, in which he says: "No objections to the evacuation of a further five thousand Jews who have appeared with the State Police."

I shall omit the last documents in this file and come now to the next file. This is the second French file, F 17. Here, too, I shall omit the first seven or eight documents, and start with exhibit T/419, document No. 585.

This is a memorandum from Dannecker, the official in charge in Paris about a meeting with Eichmann held on 11 June 1942. It says that Himmler has given orders for large numbers of Jews to be sent to Auschwitz for labour purposes, as follows: 15,000 from the Netherlands, 10,000 from Belgium, 100,000 from France. He laid down the conditions as follows: those capable of labour between the ages of sixteen and forty, with the option of including ten per cent not capable of labour.

Witness, Dannecker refers here to a discussion with you. Would you tell the Court what was the basis for these orders?

Accused: Based on such orders from the Reichsfuehrer-SS, the Chief of the German Police, Mueller would issue orders for a general consultation to be held, to announce and implement such an order.

Dr. Servatius: I would refer to page 2, item 2. It reads: "By means of direct or indirect negotiations, agreement must be reached with the French Government to issue a law under which, similar to Regulation 11 under the Reich Citizenship Law, all those Jews who live outside the national boundaries of France or subsequently emigrate lose their nationality and right of abode." This is the interesting legal act which means that, as soon as a Jew crosses the border, he is deprived of his nationality and his right of abode and, by the same process, any property is also forfeit. The next documents are...

Judge Halevi: Dr. Servatius, I have another question to the Accused. On the first page it says that Himmler, or, to be more precise, the Reichsfuehrer-SS, has therefore issued orders for large numbers of Jews to be transferred to Auschwitz either from Romania or from the Eastern Occupied Territories, or from the Western Territories. However, the figure of 100,000 Dutch, Belgian and French Jews - that is not ascribed to Himmler, but to some agreement. Where was this agreed on? It looks as if it was agreed on in a meeting between Dannecker and yourself.

Accused: No, Your Honour. The term which appears in the exhibit, "vereinbart" (agreed upon), was an unfortunate choice on the part of Dannecker. The telegram which was discussed for the second time today, in which Mueller lays down the total numbers for various countries - Mueller to Himmler - this shows that Mueller fixed these numbers; Himmler indicated one number only, and Mueller then broke it down for the various countries. If Himmler had issued such a detailed order, then Dannecker should have written "RF-SS has issued orders," but he did not do so...

Judge Halevi: Himmler did not issue such orders?

Accused: No, what I meant was that if he had issued such orders, then Dannecker, in accordance with procedures, should have made a corresponding reference, but he did not do so. In any case, the term "agreement" is a very unfortunate choice in the circumstances, since, as the files have shown, I was not authorized to conduct negotiations of such fundamental and decisive importance.

Judge Halevi: Thank you.

Judge Raveh: Where did Mueller get the figures from ?

Accused: He was aware of them through the reports which first of all his own specialist section had to make once or twice a month, as well as through consultations and discussions with the senior commanders of the Security Police in those countries - so that he knew roughly how many Jews would be involved in individual countries, and thus fixed these figures. As far as I know, in actual fact the total numbers which he fixed off the cuff were never actually kept to. And in connection with this document, I should like to point out that, as far as France is concerned, this was not implemented, because these orders...

Judge Raveh: You were not asked about that.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibits I wish to discuss are T/424, document No. 58, and T/428, document No. 97. The first is a telegram from the Accused to the Paris office, announcing a consultation for which he would arrive, while the second document deals with the subject matter of this consultation.

Witness, what was the purpose of this journey?

Accused: The telegram I sent to Paris indicates that I was going to Paris on orders from the Chief of Department IV, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller. It was my duty to pass on to Paris an order, an order from the Reichsfuehrer. Until then the figure set by Mueller for France was 100,000. In the meanwhile, Himmler had not accepted the number; he gave orders that all Jews should be deported from France as soon as possible. It was this new order which I had to transmit personally in Paris.

In this communication about my visit I made a reference to these orders, and on the first page of exhibit T/428, second paragraph, this is quite clear, where it says, "in view of the order from the Reichsfuehrer-SS, transmitted to Section IVB4 by the Chief of Department IV on 23 June 1942, in accordance with which all Jews resident in France are to be deported as soon as possible." That was my task.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, what was the source of this sudden change to a harder line?

Accused: I remember orders for a harder line after the death of Heydrich, which were issued by Himmler and enforced by him.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/439. This is a minute by Roethke in Paris, or from Dannecker in Paris, dated 21 July 1942. It says that on 20 July 1942 Eichmann and Novak from IVB4 had telephoned. It goes on: "The question of deportations of children was discussed with Eichmann, who decided that, as soon as deportation to the Generalgouvernement again becomes possible, transports of children can roll." It also says: "Novak promised that around the end of August, or the beginning of September, he would make it possible to send six transports to the Generalgouvernement which could take all types of Jews, including those incapable of working and elderly Jews." Witness, do you wish to explain your orders and decision, as indicated here?

Accused: Yes. Himmler ordered the deportation of all Jews from France, with no restrictions. The French police seized children as well. Paris asked me what was to be done with these children, and I passed on what it says here. But, if this document is read on its own, out of context, it could create the impression at first sight as if I took a decision at that very moment, and that, therefore, I was able to decide on such matters on my own initiative without any instructions.

I would, therefore, like to refer to Prosecution document No. 64, which is an urgent telegram for immediate submission, dated 10 July 1942, that is, eleven days before the telephone call in question. In that, Paris wires the Head Office for Reich Security, IVB4, notifying them of the fact that the French police have seized the children, and asking for a decision - an urgent decision from the SS - as to whether these children are to be deported.

The fact that it took eleven days to take a decision on this matter proves that I, for my part, had to pass this matter up to my superiors through the proper channels, as I was not empowered to take a decision on it. When I received the decision from my superiors, after eleven days, I called Paris, in accordance with my orders and passed on the decision. Mueller could not take a decision either, as is shown by the long period involved, because otherwise I would have been able to supply information earlier, and despite Himmler's orders that all Jews were to be deported, this matter was submitted by Department IV to the higher authorities for decision. It is the documents from France which prove and show my position as a transmitting agency - as documents in the other countries rarely do, but here they have been preserved in their entirety, and that is what I have to say on this subject.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Shvili, which exhibit is document No. 67? Perhaps Dr. Servatius or Mr. Hausner can help us?

Attorney General: T/438.

Presiding Judge: Thank you. Please proceed, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: I shall now deal with a new file.

Presiding Judge: If that is the case, this will be a good point to recess.


Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to exhibit T/451, document No. 142. This is a memo from the Paris office, bearing the signature Arnot, about a discussion in Section IVB4 in Berlin on 28 August 1942. It was a working Session on Jewish questions.

In the first paragraph, second sentence, it says: "During the discussion, Eichmann announced that the current evacuation problem (deportation of stateless Jews) should be completed by the end of the calendar year. The end of June 1943 is scheduled as the final date for deporting the other foreign Jews." Further on, it says that deportations should be carried out at an increased tempo.

Witness, did you give these replies, and on what is this instruction based?

Accused: Yes, I passed on this instruction in accordance with orders. The next exhibit will show by whom the order were issued.

Dr. Servatius: That is exhibit T/453, document No. 1260. This belongs with T/456, document No. 270.

Witness, what is the passage you wish to refer to in the second exhibit, T/453? Is it on page 3?

Accused: Yes, it is on page 3, the first paragraph, where it says: "In accordance with the plan announced confidentially by the Reichsfuehrer-SS, the areas occupied by Germany should be free of Jews by the middle of 1943."

Dr. Servatius: In this connection there is exhibit T/456, in which these measures are again mitigated. At the bottom of page 1 it says: "The Reichsfuehrer subscribed to the attitude presented, and issued instructions for no Jews of French nationality to be arrested for the time being."

This is a communication dated 26 September - and then there is this memo of 9 September 1942 which says that these areas are to be free of Jews. Do they not contradict each other, so that one might assume that this was not an order from the Reichsfuehrer?

Accused: At first sight, that is obviously what it looks like. But in the previous paragraph in Prosecution document No. 270, it says that the Higher SS and Police Leader sent a telegram to Himmler, informing him of the problems related to the position of the Petain Government. As a result, Himmler called a halt to this matter for the time being. But the next series of documents shows how persons in high positions continued to press for these deportations to start again.

Dr. Servatius: The next document is exhibit T/471, document No. 121. That is a letter from Knochen to Mueller, dated 12 February 1943, a report on difficulties in implementing deportations in France. Subject: The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in France; consultations with Eichmann in Paris. I would refer the Court to page 3, where there is a discussion of the issue of French objections to deportations; arguments put forward to the Germans against the measures include references to the Italians. It is said that the Italians - these are facts, which are also reported on and stressed by all the Headquarters of the Security Police - are taking sides of the Jews everywhere east of the Rhone.

The entire document deals with these difficulties, but of importance is the first paragraph which says: "Eichmann's report on the evacuation of all Jews of French nationality induces me to react briefly on this matter and, in presenting the current situation, to draw attention to those points required for implementation, in order to have as few difficulties as possible from the French Government." Knochen's proposals follow.

Witness, there is a reference to your report. Did you discuss or negotiate this matter with Dr. Knochen?

Accused: As the documents show, I had to negotiate with Knochen. On that I should like to state the following in detail: By taking this single occurrence in isolation, once again there might be the impression that, after Himmler had issued orders that for the time being no Jews holding French nationality were to be deported, I had acted contrary to such orders and on my own initiative tried, nevertheless, to continue with deportations, using every available means. However, if the preceding documents are reviewed, particularly one which has been indicated as being discarded - Prosecution number 815 - it will be seen that Himmler dispatched Colonel-General Daluege of the Order Police to France to visit the cities of Paris and Marseilles, in order to identify the problems on the spot.

After the return of General Daluege, Himmler changed his mind. I was instructed to get in touch with Paris and to notify Knochen of the instructions of the Head Office for Reich Security that all Jews were to be deported. At which point Knochen had this report sent to Mueller.

At the same time, this document is further proof of the fact that I was unable to issue any orders to the Senior Commander of the Security Police, because otherwise, after the consultations I had with him, he would not have dispatched this lengthy report on the problems to my direct superior, Mueller. Further documents are relevant to what I have just said.

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