The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 85
(Part 6 of 7)

Attorney General: No. I was informed by Mr. Shimron, who represented me at these interrogations abroad, that such a decision is in the file, that is to say, that he should be shown the questions.

In any case, the Accused was represented at the examination, so that, if the matter came to the attention of his representative, he should have had the proceedings set aside, he should have objected to the examination. This is not something new. If Mr. Dieter Wechtenbruch, who without doubt saw what had happened and knew about it, thought that this was so vital that the examination should not be continued and that it vitiated the entire hearing before the Bremen judge, the place to submit this argument was there, before the examination started. But it is impossible to come along today, because there may be aspects which do or do not suit Counsel for the Defence, to come along and say "the whole procedure is invalid from the outset."

Presiding Judge: Would you like to comment, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: I do not know when it became known that these questions were forwarded in advance, so I must assume that this came out during the examination and was then noted at the end of the record, at the request of my assistant. Something invalid cannot become valid merely because of lack of protest. The fact is that this is a flagrant breach of procedure; nowhere in the entire world would it be accepted that a cross-examination can be held under such circumstances, where a district judge forwards the questions to the person to be examined three days in advance.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 88

We do not consider that the disclosure of the contents of the questionnaire to the witness Becher several days before he gave his testimony in the German court invalidates this testimony in principle, but we shall naturally bear this fact in mind in assessing the testimony.

I mark this statement VI. Dr. Servatius, do you wish to quote any passages from this testimony?

Dr. Servatius: Yes, Sir. First of all, page 40:

"Question: What do you know about the foot march which took place in November 1944 of part of the Jewish population of Budapest?

"Answer: From my own knowledge I am unable to say who gave the orders for the foot marches of part of the Jewish population of Budapest to the Austrian border in the autumn of 1944."

It continues - I shall omit one sentence. The last sentence reads:
"On my journeys between Vienna and Budapest, I saw these foot marches myself. They were accompanied by men in Hungarian uniforms."
Page 5, on Veesenmayer's position: "I am unable to say anything as to what powers Ambassador Veesenmayer had as Reich Plenipotentiary in Hungary. It was my impression that Veesenmayer was the official interlocutor between Germany and the Hungarian Government" up to the sentence that the German offices implemented things directly.

On page 6, in reply to the question as to whether Eichmann in Budapest was able to issue instructions or orders to Veesenmayer, Winkelmann and Geschke:

"I am not familiar with the complicated organizational aspects and structure of authority in detail. However, I cannot imagine that Eichmann's office was able to issue instructions or orders to Ambassador Veesenmayer, or the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service. As to whether Eichmann nevertheless issued instructions and orders, I cannot say anything."
Also on page 6, in reply to the question as to whether Eichmann initiated the Brand operation and sent Brand to Constantinople:
"I am unable to say whether it was Eichmann who planned to send a Jewish negotiator to Constantinople, or whether he decided that this should be Joel Brand. When - at the very insistent urging of Jewish circles, particularly Dr. Wilhelm Billitz - I decided to make representations to Himmler in order to help the Jews, I took advantage of the `ten thousand trucks in return for freeing Jews' project to ask for an appointment with Himmler. Today, I am unable to say whether - and if so, to what extent - I discussed with Himmler the details of sending a negotiator. Himmler ordered Eichmann, through Winkelmann, to keep me informed of the negotiations. That is why I was present when Eichmann dispatched Brand to Constantinople. That was the first time I met Brand, and as far as I remember, I had no further meetings with him in Hungary."
I continue on the same page - the eighth question: "Did the Accused try not to obstruct the implementation of the operations referred to, but rather to facilitate things, by proposing to his superior a lesser consideration in return than that demanded by Himmler?" I shall quote the reply:
"I do not know anything about Eichmann proposing to his superior a lesser consideration than that demanded by Reichsfuehrer Himmler. Nor do I remember whether immediately on the arrival of the agreement, ten per cent of the Jews were already to be released for emigration, in accordance with a promise given by Eichmann to Brand."
Page 9, fourteenth question:
"Did you endeavour to have the management of the Weiss- Manfred Works in Hungary transferred to yourself?"
"I did not endeavour to obtain my appointment to manage the Weiss-Manfred Works. As I remember it today, I never wished to remain in the management of the concern after the War either."
On page 10, sixteenth question:
"Did you confiscate factories and other enterprises?"
"I cannot remember having confiscated factories or other enterprises. I consider it to be out of the question. I also consider it impossible that my staff would have carried out such confiscations."
Dr. Servatius: In this connection, I shall submit an affidavit showing that the confiscations were all made in the name of the witness, and that the notices put up in the factory were signed by Obersturmbannfuehrer Becher. Page 13, twenty-second question:
"After the War, did you act as interpreter during the interrogation of fellow detainees in internment or prison camps or prisons?
Answer: "No."

Twenty-third question:

"During the time you were imprisoned, did you speak about persecution of the Jews and the responsibility for such persecution with your fellow detainees, Veesenmayer, Winkelmann, Geschke, Juettner and others?"
"As far as I remember, during the years in which I was interned I spoke with many people also about this problem, including General Winkelmann when we were both imprisoned in Budapest (1945-1946), and later General Juettner in the witnesses' wing of the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg. I do not remember any conversations with Veesenmayer, with whom I was also imprisoned in Budapest, and later in Nuremberg. As far as I remember, I did not come across Geschke in prison."
The twenty-fourth question asks whether there was any subsequent contact with the above-mentioned persons; he says no, not in person, but there was correspondence; at the bottom of the page it says:
"I corresponded with Winkelmann and Juettner with regard to matters other than the Jewish problems. My correspondence with Winkelmann ceased in 1948, and that with Juettner in 1952."
Twenty-fifth question:
"During your imprisonment did you talk to Dr. Kasztner about Jewish matters?"
"Dr. Kasztner told me that he was in Nuremberg in order to give evidence as a witness in the Wilhelmstrasse trial, and on this occasion I had a meeting with him - as far as I remember this was in August 1947. If I am not mistaken, I had another talk with Dr. Kasztner around April 1948, when I was still in what was known as the open witnesses' wing in Nuremberg. During this meeting we naturally talked about our joint rescue efforts. I was taken from the prison for an interrogation and met Dr. Kasztner at that time. Of course, I endeavoured to get in touch with Dr. Kasztner again."
Question twenty-six - whether Dr. Kasztner came to see Becher after his release from prison. He replies that he neither saw nor spoke to Dr. Kasztner, but he did exchange a few letters sporadically with Dr. Kasztner.

The next question is whether Joel Brand came to see him, the witness.

Answer: "Mr. Joel Brand wrote to me on 16 May 1955 and asked to come and see me. As far as I remember, he came to Bremen in June 1955, together with the writer Weissberg-Cybulski." A book was to be written.

On the next page, in the top half: "...I did talk to the two of them about some of the events of that period, but I indicated that I was not inclined to co-operate with them on this book." It also says that Brand wanted to obtain an affidavit - probably for purposes of reparations - which he could not give, and Brand was very disappointed.

Then at the bottom of the page, twenty-eighth question, about Mr. Andreas Biss: "After the War, were you in touch with Mr. Andreas Biss?"

Answer: "Yes. I do not remember when Mr. Biss first wrote to me. I did speak to Mr. Biss several times, and also had a conversation with him - he was Dr. Kasztner's representative on the Budapest Rescue Committee - about our joint work." At the top of the next page it says: "I think that my last personal meeting with Mr. Biss was at the end of 1960, or the beginning of 1961."

At the bottom of page 16:

"I have been shown Dr. Kasztner's sworn evidence of 13 September 1945 before the International Military Tribunal (IMG Volume XXXI, No. 47, in the Israeli Prosecution documents), insofar as the evidence refers to me. If differences as to motives are seen in Dr. Kasztner's testimony, I am unable to provide any explanation of that."
Presiding Judge: You have just now read out something from Becher's testimony in which he refers to sworn evidence by Dr. Kasztner. He mentions that, and says that there were differences as to motives in that. This is not clear without looking at this sworn evidence. If you wish to learn anything from that, we shall have to look at this evidence of Kasztner's.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, indeed, it should have been submitted; apparently it was submitted during interrogation.

Presiding Judge: I do not, however, see that we have received a copy of it together with this record of the interrogation. You will have to see to that.

Dr. Servatius: I shall provide this copy. The same question will arise again in connection with another passage, on page 20.

Forty-first question: "Do you still maintain as accurate your statements made in 1947 and 1948 as they have been joined together in Prosecution document No. 774?"

"Having looked yesterday evening at the records of Interrogation No. 929 of 7 July 1947 and 929 B of 10 July 1947 (though only slightly, because of the short time available to me), I can declare that the statements made in them correspond to the truth. Having looked at these records, I remember especially that my description of the conversation with Eichmann before Himmler is accurate."

Then there is the passage of interest to me:

"Due to lack of time, I only glanced also at the other records submitted to me yesterday: one without a number, dated 28 July 1947; No. 1858 of 29 August 1947; No. 2294 of 1 November 1947; No. 2710a of 2 March 1948; and No. 2710c of 22 June 1948. I have only a vague recollection of these interrogations. As can be seen in these records, in part I expressed myself on matters which I knew by hearsay only, and about which I heard only during my internment."
Presiding Judge: These records have apparently all been submitted. We have a thick file, I gather it is T/689. Apparently it contains everything shown here to Becher. But obviously we can still check this properly.

Attorney General: If I might make a comment - there are two files, one is T/689 and the other T/690.

Presiding Judge: Thank you.

Judge Raveh: But the documents referred to here are in T/689?

Attorney General: Yes. Our number is 774.

Presiding Judge: If anything is missing, you can submit it later.

Dr. Servatius: Thank you very much. I shall submit any further documents, if it should be necessary.

Dr. Servatius: On page 22, question forty-three: "Why did you complain to Himmler about Eichmann, and how did Eichmann sabotage your activities?"

Answer: "It was not always clearly evident how Eichmann counteracted my measures."

I omit the next sentence. Then: "I am, however, unable to remember details any longer."

The last paragraph of the reply on page 22, before question forty-four:

"As far as co-operation in practice between Kaltenbrunner and Eichmann, and Gruppenfuehrer Mueller and Eichmann, is concerned, as I remember things today, my impression is that in many instances Eichmann worked directly with Kaltenbrunner, but that in the main the co-operation was between Eichmann and Mueller. I am not able to give any examples of Eichmann and Kaltenbrunner working together directly in some cases."
On page 26, on question 49: "When did you suggest to Himmler that a stop be put to deporting Jews?"
"I am no longer able to say when I first suggested to Himmler to put a stop to deporting Jews. I should imagine that I put this proposal insistently around June 1944."
On page 31, the last question: "Do you know whether the Accused contravened Himmler's orders to cease deportations?" Answer: "Today I do not remember whether I knew then of such instances."

That concludes my comments.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, please.

Attorney General: I have marked various passages. Counsel for the Defence has already drawn the Court's attention to some of these, and I would therefore ask the Court to skip those, since there is no point in repeating them.

[ 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.