The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 82
(Part 4 of 5)

Dr. Servatius: The document referred to by the Accused has not yet been submitted, document No. 815. I submit it as evidence. It is a letter from SS Standartenfuehrer Knochen to the Head Office for Reich Security, dated 13 January 1943.

Presiding Judge: I mark this N/40.

Dr. Servatius: It reads as follows:

"In consultations, Leguay, the representative of Police Chief Bousquet, indicated that the Italian Government had handed a note to President Laval, stating the following: It did not object to the measures adopted by the French Government in the newly-occupied zone with regard to Jews of French nationality (marking identity card, food stamps, etc.). However, it did object to those measures adopted against Jews of foreign nationality, that is to say, not only Italian Jews were thereby being protected by Italy, but also all other foreign Jews as well."
More details follow on the difficulties, and then, at the end, it says:
"If the Italians are now going to take sides for all Jews with foreign nationality, that will make it impossible to continue with the Jewish policy as designed by us, i.e., it will not be possible to count on Jews of French nationality being handed over to us and deported in the coming months."
I shall now omit various documents and come to document No. 819, which has not yet been submitted; I submit it to the Court as evidence. This is another communication from SS Standartenfuehrer Knochen in Paris to the Head Office for Reich Security, SS Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, dated 2 February 1943.

A secret report of the French police is being transmitted, and the report indicates in detail how the Italian authorities in the Maritime Alps district have taken sides for the Jews, and how the Italians have prevented the measures against the Jews. At the end, Knochen says: "I would be grateful if the report could be submitted to the Reichsfuehrer as soon as possible."

Presiding Judge: I mark this N/41.

Dr. Servatius: T/610, document No. 723. This is a communication from Ribbentrop's staff to Himmler's personal staff, dated 24 February 1943. On page 2, paragraph 2, it says:

"Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs asks Reichsfuehrung (Reich Leadership) SS for immediate notification of all their wishes with regard to the Jewish Question in Italy and the areas occupied by Italy, viz. southern France - so that the wishes in question can be discussed personally with the Duce in Rome, if necessary. The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs asks for these wishes to be indicated in full, in order to be able, in an in depth discussion with the Duce, to obtain a clear-cut, concrete conclusion."
The next exhibit is T/611, document No. 724. This is a communication from Ribbentrop's personal staff to Legation Counsellor von Sonnleithner in the Foreign Ministry. There is a comment on the issue of Italy's treatment of the Jews in southern France. Under II it says:
"With regard to the treatment of the Jewish Question outside Italy, the Reichsfuehrung-SS would urge that in discussions there it be indicated that the Jewish measures of the Head Office for Reich Security in newly- occupied France and Greece should not continue to be sabotaged by the Italian military commanders."
Further down, it says that this is having a contagious effect on Croatia, Serbia and the other countries in south- east Europe.

Dr. Servatius: I now turn to exhibit T/612, document No. 961. I have omitted one document. This is a letter from von Hahn in the Foreign Ministry to Eichmann, dated 25 February 1943, containing an urgent reminder of the need to concretize the wishes of the Reichsfuehrung-SS with regard to the Jewish Question in the areas occupied by Italy. Witness, did you draw up a more concrete list of such wishes?

Accused: I did not draw it up. I received the documents from the Head of Department IV, and it was my duty to copy these documents into a report. And this report, which will be the next exhibit, was circulated as the concrete expression of the wishes of the Head Office for Reich Security, after the personal staff of the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police had already indicated in rough outline what such concrete ideas would be.

Dr. Servatius: The document to which the Accused is referring is T/613, which is the next exhibit - document No. 962. In the reference it says: "Current discussions with Eichmann." The communication bears the signature "Mueller." The last sentence of the letter, on page 3, reads: "This general attitude on the part of the Italians with regard to the matter we are dealing with, contradicts totally the demand the Fuehrer has made in all his speeches and proclamations."

Judge Raveh: So who drafted this in the end?

Accused: In view of the fact that it was to be the basis for a consultation, this letter...

Presiding Judge: You were asked who drafted this document. On that there is a brief answer. You are not paying attention to what I keep telling you.

Accused: I beg Your Honour's pardon. I am simply trying to explain things in detail. I keep making the same mistake. I shall endeavour to explain briefly.

Judge Raveh: So who drafted the document?

Accused: It was drafted by my Department Chief, and then I put it together and dictated it according to his instructions, using the sentences he wished to include.

Judge Raveh: Who collected the details mentioned in the document?

Accused: I do not know, Your Honour. I must have received these letters from my departmental chief, because the first letter, for example, was sent by Himmler to Ribbentrop, and I would not even have had a copy of it in my registry.

Dr. Servatius: I shall omit exhibit T/456, and come now to document No. 820. This has not yet been submitted. I submit it in evidence.

This is a communication from Mueller to Knochen, dated 2 April 1943. Mueller had gone to Rome on instructions from Himmler, where he discussed measures for the area occupied by Italy with the German Ambassador and the head of the Italian police, with particular reference to a police official called Lospinoso.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/42.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, do you know why Mueller undertook this journey in person?

Accused: Mueller had been dealing with all these problems in person, on his own, so that he himself made the journey to Rome.

Dr. Servatius: I come now to document No. 196. I do not know whether it already has a T number. It might be T/481.

Presiding Judge: That is correct, Mr. Bodenheimer confirms that - T/481.

Dr. Servatius: This is a letter from the Foreign Ministry, signed von Thadden, dated 6 May 1943, to Eichmann. It reads:

"In accordance with your wishes, the embassy in Rome has been instructed to reopen discussions without delay on the subject of the treatment of Jews and French nationals in the areas of France recently occupied by Italian troops. Ambassador von Mackensen should intervene and meet the police commissioner in charge of it."
Witness, what do you know of these efforts related to Police Inspector Lospinoso?

Accused: Mueller himself went to Rome in order to hold negotiations with this Italian Police Chief, Lospinoso, because the key problem of further deportations from France was the Italians' treatment of the Jews, as was ascertained by the senior police officers dispatched to these areas in order to inspect the situation. The aim of Mueller's discussions was apparently, as I have learned from the files, for him to negotiate in person with Lospinoso, or for Lospinoso to get together with the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in France, and hold conclusive talks on these matters.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/485, document No. 1217. This is a communication from Standartenfuehrer Knochen in Paris to Mueller, dated 28 June 1943. He is asking for 250 members of the Security Police, in order to supervise the French police, as well as to be able to arrest as many Jews as possible with German forces.

Witness, do you wish to state whether you were involved in this matter and what action was taken on it?

Accused: As the documents prove, I was not involved as initiator, but rather, this was the result of the initiative of my superiors, those high and highest, not only in the Security Police, but also in the Foreign Ministry, so that the Senior Commander of the Security Police now suddenly needed 250 men as reinforcement.

Dr. Servatius: A further exhibit, T/486, document No. 1218. This reads - Mueller is writing to Knochen:

"The renewal of the action announced from your end is very cheering news, particularly since the Reichsfuehrer-SS has insisted recently on the operations being speeded up."
I turn now to the next volume of exhibits. First of all document No. 717, which has not yet been submitted - the first one in volume 19. This is a communication, signed by Senner, to the Head Office for Reich Security, Group VIB, dealing with the evacuation of the Cote d'Azur and the search for Donati.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/43.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, this is signed "Senner." Who is this person, what is Group VIB? And where are these instructions from?

Accused: The document is not available to me at the moment, because I was not informed that it would be discussed, but I can still reply. I do not know the name Senner. VIB is Department VI in the Head Office for Reich Security.

Dr. Servatius: That would be Department VI, the intelligence department?

Accused: Department VI, Schellenberg. Espionage and Counter-Espionage.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/497, document No. 1520. This is a communication from Roethke in Paris to the Head Office for Reich Security, IVB4, dated 26 September 1943. Again this is about Donati, an Italian national, who is being searched for - he is considered to have special influence.

The question is, therefore, what did Section IVB4 have to do with this search?

Accused: I became aware of this matter from the documents during my imprisonment, I have no recollection of it. As far as I am informed, Donati is a man who protected Jews and prevented their being evacuated. Now, here the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, that is to say, his official dealing with it at IVB, intervened, in order to be able to proceed here in co- operation with Department VI.

Presiding Judge: The contents appear clearly from the actual document.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/496, document No. 665. This is a telegram from Eichmann to the Senior Commander of the Security Police in France, and in the penultimate paragraph it says: "Please investigate the matter and arrest the Jew Golub immediately, and, if possible under the directives, include him in an evacuation transport to the East to collecting camp Auschwitz." The communication is addressed to Knochen, Senior Commander of the Security Police in Paris.

Witness, according to this, were you able to issue orders for such arrests?

Accused: Basically, I was unable to issue orders for any arrests, unless I had received a corresponding command from my chief. I no longer remember this particular instance - what happened at that time. From the date, I can see that at that time, in accordance with the orders issued by Himmler, it was no longer possible, so that under these orders the State Police had to intervene.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/454, document No. 715. This is a minute from Roethke, of the Paris office, dated 16 September 1942. On page 1, item B, there is a plan for arrest, and the document in general also contains the rules for arresting rich and influential Jews, as well as arresting those wearing the Star.

Witness, is this plan based on your instructions?

Accused: May I look at the document? I do not have it before me. No, this was an internal matter of the office of the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, and Department IVJ, as the Department of the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service is acting here in accordance with the instructions of its superior. It has nothing to do with the Head Office for Reich Security.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit, T/455, document No. 37, is yet another report from Roethke in Paris to Eichmann's office, dated 23 September 1942. This is a report about a departing transport train, and in the last sentence at the bottom it reads: "The brother of the former French Prime Minister, Leon Blum, was also deported on today's transport."

Witness, this was someone well-known; who decided on the deportation of Leon Blum's brother?

Accused: When it came to well-known people, not even the Head of Department IV would take a decision; he would also have to obtain the relevant instructions, either from the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, or, normally, directly from Himmler.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/464, document No. 253. This contains enquiries regarding proof of residence for persons receiving pensions. A Certificat de Vie is to be issued, and the reply to the enquiry indicates that, for reasons of principle, notification of this cannot be given, and that the only information to be given is "moved - address unknown."

Witness, is this linked to the Nacht und Nebel ("Night and Fog" [see Glossary]) decree which initially had special application to France?

Accused: This matter had nothing to do with the "Night and Fog" decree. It had a causal connection with the matter dealt with here a few days ago - with regard to the territory of the Reich, where Himmler wished that use be made of the terms covered by the concept of "Sprachregelung" (prescribed usage).

Dr. Servatius: Exhibit T/465, document No. 122. This is a telegram from Eichmann to Knochen in Paris, which at the end reads: "I would therefore ask for immediate information as to the extent to which it will be possible to resume transports of Jews from France early next year. Possibilities for reception are available."

Witness, are you pressing for this resumption?

Accused: I was not in a position of being able either to press for such resumption, or to issue orders to stop such operations. The only thing I was able to do was what my Department Chief ordered me to do. This is dated 19 December 1942 - this was the time, as I have already had the opportunity to explain in connection with another document, when Himmler was exerting particularly great pressure, at the end of 1942 and the beginning of 1943, so that here I no doubt had received orders from Mueller to send this telegram to Paris.

Judge Halevi: That was before the defeat at Stalingrad, was it not?

Accused: Yes, Your Honour.

Judge Halevi: These possibilities for reception - that was Auschwitz, was it not?

Accused: Today, I would not dare to say whether it was Auschwitz - it may have been the Generalgouvernement, because after such a long time, I am...

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