The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 86
(Part 2 of 5)

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/1193, document No. 152. This is a communication from Veesenmayer, dated 25 May 1944, to the Foreign Ministry. He reports:
"Evacuation from Carpathian area and Transylvania proceeding smoothly as planned. To date some 150,000 dispatched to destination. With increased use of waggon space, evacuation operation from aforementioned zones can be completed by 17 June."
The next, exhibit T/1196, document No. 1342. This is a report on the continuation of these measures.
"On 7 June a start will be made on concentrating operations in the northern and north-western areas. Finally, the same measures will be implemented in the south and south-west."
Then, further down, at the bottom of page 3, it says:
"It is considered extremely important for the offices of the Foreign Ministry to continue to participate in the same way as has so far been the case with Hezinger."
Presiding Judge: But here this appears in connection with Jews of foreign nationality, not in general.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, this is something which has already been emphasized earlier. This relates again to foreigners who are present in these areas, and they are to be interned in a special camp. They are certainly not to be released.

The next document is No. 629, not yet submitted, and I now present it as evidence. This is a note from the Press Department of the Foreign Ministry, Dr. Schmidt, dated 27 May 1944. He is making suggestions about the large-scale operation against the Jews of Budapest and says that some outward causes must be created, such as to explain that subversive plans have been discovered, and "a particularly flagrant incident must be publicized as the cause for the large-scale round-up." At the bottom, there is a handwritten note saying, "the State Secretary asks for the above suggestions from Ambassador Schmidt to be passed on to Ambassador Veesenmayer, and to ask for his reaction."

Presiding Judge: I mark this N/78.

Dr. Servatius: I shall now discuss exhibit T/1199, document No. 630. This is a communication from von Thadden, Foreign Ministry, about the planned Jewish operation. At the bottom, there is a handwritten note to the effect that, in order to facilitate implementation of the operation - then there is something I cannot make out - perhaps news items from abroad could also be prepared in advance. This shows that the Foreign Ministry was dealing with this matter.

The next document has not yet been submitted. I present document No. 631. This is another communication from von Thadden and states his view on a consultation between directors. The decision about the preparations for the large-scale operation is to be postponed until receipt of Veesenmayer's written opinion, and then it says, and I quote:

"At the same time I made a suggestion, which apparently received the approval of the State Secretary and Under- Secretary Hencke, that it should be put to Ambassador Veesenmayer that if there was no preparation on a propaganda level, the date for the large-scale Budapest operation should be set in agreement with us."
Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/79.

Dr. Servatius: The next exhibit is T/1200, document No. 632. This is Veesenmayer's reply, dated 8 June 1944, on propaganda preparations. He says that propaganda preparations are pointless, and will instead produce a counter-effect, as it is common knowledge that for weeks property has been confiscated, and that freedom of movement is curtailed.

The next exhibit is T/1208, document No. 385. This is a communication from Veesenmayer, dated 14 June, to the Office of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. Here he writes that as a result of the stringent measures Jews are now migrating from Slovakia to Hungary...

Presiding Judge: The other way round.

Dr. Servatius: Quite right - the other way round; previously, large numbers of Jews migrated from Slovakia to Hungary, and now, due to the stringent measures, a reverse migration is to be noted. And then he says - there is another sentence in between - "Work at this end would be considerably facilitated if radical anti-Jewish measures were also taken in Slovakia." And then, at the end: discussion with Ludin in Pressburg to work out joint practical proposals.

Next, exhibit T/1211, document No. 114. This is correspondence between the Mayor of Vienna and Kaltenbrunner. Kaltenbrunner refers to a letter dated 7 June 1944 from the Mayor of the City of Vienna, Blaschke, and informs him that he is able to send him the labourers he has requested, that is to say, Jews from Hungary. The letter opens:

"Dear Blaschke, for the special reasons indicated by you - and, in fact, SS Brigadefuehrer Dr. Dellbruegge has written to me in the same connection - I have in the meanwhile given orders for some evacuation transports to be routed to Vienna-Strasshof."
Next, exhibit T/1123, document No. 638. This is a communication from the Foreign Ministry, signed Wagner, dated 15 June 1944, about an incident on a transport, robbing of Jews, maltreatment, and apparently shooting of Jews. In the last paragraph it says: "Request immediate clarification with Eichmann's office, putting an end to abuses, and telegraphed report."

Exhibit T/1124 [document No.639]. Veesenmayer reports to the Foreign Ministry with regard to this enquiry. This reads:

"Investigations were initiated immediately. According to information from Obersturmbannfuehrer, it is probable that the Slovak reports are correct, since the recently assigned transport detail no longer consists of tested SD personnel, but mainly of extremely young, recently recruited ethnic German SS from the Backa and Banat regions, who have on various occasions shown extreme moral shortcomings. Further report will be sent after conclusion of enquiries which are underway. Veesenmayer."
Next exhibit, T/1125 [document No.640]. German legation, Budapest, signed Grell, to the Foreign Ministry, dated 2 August 1944. It reads: "The affair has been investigated by the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Hungary" (I shall omit the next phrase) "who has reported on the result to the Head Office for Reich Security." It continues: "In general, the incident occurred as reported, the shooting was necessary in order to maintain discipline in the transport." This shows that the legation is trying to gloss over the affair.

This communication is particularly important because of the question of competence. The investigation was instigated by the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, and not, therefore, by Eichmann. The intervening phrase explains this: "The Special Operations Units of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann is responsible solely for the technical implementation of the transports."

Next, exhibit T/1203, document No. 419. Telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Ministry, dated 27 June 1944. By way of introduction it says:

"Head Office for Reich Security IV has informed Eichmann Special Operations Units here that, in reply to a question from the Senior Commander of the Security Police, Greece, he has been instructed to treat the Jews of Hungarian nationality who are still in Greece no longer separately, but, after seizing their assets, to transfer them to Germany."
This is important because it shows that the orders for Greece did not come from the Accused, but from the Head Office for Reich Security, Berlin, where the Accused was not stationed at that time.

I offer as evidence document No. 992. This is a letter from Winkelmann directly to Himmler, dated 7 July 1944. In it he proposes a more energetic approach. In the first sentence he says:

"In the last week there has been a large number of incidents here which might well arouse concern in other regions. The Nuncio and Prince Primate Seredy (a Magyarized Slovak) keep intervening with the Regent in favour of the Jews of Budapest."
On the last page but one, in the middle, at the beginning of the paragraph, Higher SS and Police Leader Winkelmann says the following:
"From what I have seen in the last week, I consider that it is really necessary for the work of the government to be examined very closely by the German authorities. The best thing, obviously, would be if the Fuehrer were to summon the Regent, in order to put his opinion to him with all clarity. What must be ensured is that Veesenmayer at last receives strict instructions to bang on the table here."
Then, on the last page, the matter of the transfer of the Weiss-Manfred Works comes up. It says there:
"On 4 July 1944 Becher invited me to take part in a discussion he had with Imredy about the Weiss-Manfred Works. Other participants in the discussion were the Economic Affairs Commissioner, Dr. Boden, and Consul Rekowski. Imredy had, in a previous discussion, asked a whole series of questions which he wanted Becher to answer. According to what Imredy said, Becher had already answered all the questions satisfactorily, except for two.

"The first question related to what Sztojay had already maintained, as to whether the Reichsfuehrer-SS would agree to the contract being valid only for the duration of the War. That was refused. Becher explained to Imredy that the Reichsfuehrer-SS would certainly agree that after the end of the War there could be a discussion as to whether the contract was to remain in force or be changed in some way.

"The second question concerned the nationality of the Director General. The Hungarians wanted a Hungarian (the word is not clear in print here). Becher told them that such a demand was totally unacceptable, since the Director General would have to be someone who would receive his orders directly from the Reichsfuehrer-SS and must therefore have his complete confidence."

That can only mean Mr. Becher.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/80.

Dr. Servatius: I proceed now to file 38. First of all, exhibit T/1190, document No. 447. This is a communication from Ambassador Altenburg to Veesenmayer, dated 20 July 1944. The communication states the following: "On the evening of 19 July, the London broadcasting station broadcast the following under the title 'Germany wants to do business with Jewish blood'," and then it more or less says that it is the Brand operation which is being referred to. Brand received his assignment in the middle of May. This announcement will have to be reread attentively later on in the appropriate context. There is no reference to the use of the catch phrase, "The mills of Auschwitz would be stopped," that is to say, that there would be no more deportations. Nothing along those lines can be seen in the announcement. I should now like to ask the witness a few questions, how he came to Hungary, and how this affair came about.

Witness, how did you come to be detailed to Hungary?

Accused: Around 10 March 1944, my Department chief, Mueller, informed me that I was to go to Mauthausen and to report there to the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service for Hungary, to work as a Specialist Officer. Himmler, he said, had ordered the deportation of all Jews from Hungary and, for strategic reasons, there would have to be a combing operation from east to west.

Dr. Servatius: So you reported to the Senior Commander of the Security Police - that was Winkelmann.

Accused: So I went to Mauthausen, and I reported, but it was not Winkelmann, but Geschke, Dr. Geschke, who at that time was an SS Standartenfuehrer and Ministerial Counsellor.

Dr. Servatius: What sort of assignment did you get from Geschke?

Accused: First of all, there were questions relating to the transfer to Hungary of the command of the Senior Commander of the Security Police that had to be discussed.

Dr. Servatius: I gather that you took the command to Hungary; when did you get there?

Accused: Not only did I have to make the transport arrangements to get the command of the Senior Commander of the Security Police to Hungary, but I was also ordered actually to take the commando of the Order Police to Hungary.

Dr. Servatius: And when did you arrive?

Accused: This commando must have arrived around the 20th or 21st. Today, I can no longer say exactly when; a fast advance commando reached Budapest by the 20th, I believe, but that did not belong to my column.

Dr. Servatius: What happened to the marching unit, once you arrived in Vienna? Was it disbanded, or did it remain in existence?

Accused: This marching commando or unit immediately disbanded according to competence - the Order Police went to the Order Police Office, and the Security Police to the Security Police Office.

Dr. Servatius: Under whose command were you?

Accused: I was under the command of the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, as a Specialist Officer.

Dr. Servatius: Were other Security Service departments also working in Hungary?

Accused: There were all sorts of Commanders of the Security Police and the SD - some five to eight of them - throughout the whole of Hungary; they were also under the orders of the Senior Commander of the Security Police, and the Senior Commander of the Security Police was under the orders of the Higher SS and Police Leader.

Dr. Servatius: What was the role of these commanders, and what was their assignment?

Accused: The Commanders of the Security Police and the Security Service were purely executive posts, and they had to carry out exactly the same routine work as a State Police Office or State Police Regional Headquarters. My assignment was not yet clear at the beginning: The deportations were due to be carried out, but first the preparatory negotiations had to be set in motion with the Hungarian Government departments.

And as shown by the documents, these negotiations were set in motion by the Plenipotentiary, and the first result of these negotiations is to be found in document 675, exhibit N/73, of 15 April 1944. I was now to set in motion all the negotiations and discussions necessary to establish a timetable, but even that was dealt with differently in Hungary, and the same document shows that the details of the evacuation were worked out between the Higher SS and Police Leader Winkelman and Veesenmayer, and Veesenmayer himself enquired from the Reich authorities about the destination of the transports.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, right at the beginning there were arrests, and confiscations were made - was that your doing?

Accused: It was not up to me to carry out confiscations, nor to make arrests; this assignment was exclusively that of the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, as I shall shortly show on the basis of various documents. But I must first say that at the beginning, in the very first days, members of my operations unit, Obersturmbannfuehrer Krumey and Wisliceny, did serve with the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service for Budapest, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer and Oberregierungsrat Trenker, as shown by document No. 813, T/1155.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, if that is so, what was left for you as your activity - it is not clear to me what you still had to do.

Accused: I said this before in my Statement, when I was interrogated, to the Israeli police captain who was interrogating me - I know it sounds unlikely, but the documents bear me out - I myself was only marginally involved with drawing up the timetable, because the high- level superiors, Winkelmann and Veesenmayer, personally made the arrangements for this matter in Hungary.

And so, at the beginning, the only thing left for me to do was to ensure that my superiors were kept constantly informed and up to date. Having, in accordance with my instructions, visited the various departments in the Ministry of the Interior, such as State Secretary Endre, or having assessed the day-to-day work of the Hungarian gendarmerie and reported on it, because one of my liaison officers was working there as an adviser in the operations department of the Hungarian gendarmerie - not as an adviser, but simply as an observer, the Hungarian gendarmerie had no need of advice from German forces - I really had nothing further to do in relation to this particular assignment.

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