The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

Dr. Servatius: Exhibit T/1230, document No. 388. A memorandum from the Foreign Ministry to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, dated 12 October 1944. It says here that changes in the situation make it necessary for a ruling to be given. Reference is made to a report not available here. In the report Ambassador Veesenmayer indicates that the Hungarians have not so far met their undertakings to solve the Jewish Question in Budapest as an internal Hungarian measure, and evidently will not do so in future either, in order to provide themselves with an alibi for a future eventuality.

Ambassador Veesenmayer goes on to say that leaving Jews in the German-Hungarian operations area, as the front comes closer, constitutes an immediate danger, and therefore a change in principle of the German attitude must be considered, so that either they would evacuate the remaining Jews by acting on their own, or they would exert the requisite pressure on the Hungarian Government to this end.

At the end, on page 2, it reads:

"Inland II requests instructions as to what guidelines should be provided to Ambassador Veesenmayer. Since implementation of anti-Jewish measures largely depends on whether the SS is currently able to make available the necessary units in Budapest, instructions are hereby requested, if this question has first to be clarified with the Reichsfuehrer-SS, or the Head Office for Reich Security."
I submit as evidence document No. 532. This is a report from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Ministry. It would appear to be only a draft. It says "October 1944" without the day. It reads:
"In view of the Reich Government's foregoing deportations, and the evacuation of the Jews from the city of Budapest, the following is stated: Following the Reich Government's agreement to give up any continuation of transports of Jews to Reich territory and, in particular, the evacuation of Jews from the municipal area of Budapest, and to accept an internal Hungarian solution of this problem, future developments of the Jewish Question in Hungary are proceeding in an extremely unsystematic and unsatisfactory fashion. The Hungarians have repeatedly stated and promised that they are prepared, and are taking all the requisite measures for transferring the Jews still present in Hungary - in the main, only in the municipal area of Budapest - and with the definition of 'Jew' determined solely by Hungarian legislation - for security reasons to camps in the western part of Hungary, and to employ them there as labour."
It then says: "Nothing has, however, happened, despite this assurance." And then, further on, "This state of affairs does actually reflect the facts, and as things stand at present, the possibilities of accommodation..." Oh, it says here that the reason given for not carrying out the operation is that all camps are now occupied by the military, because the front has moved back. Then it says:
"This state of affairs does actually reflect the facts, and as a result of the current situation there will probably not be any available accommodation at all in this area in the foreseeable future. But it must be objected that, with somewhat more energy and less humanitarian concern about the equipment of the camps, it should nevertheless have been possible in the last three months to make at least a practical start in evacuating the Jews from Budapest."
Then, on the next page, the first paragraph begins:
"For the German authorities, the issuing of transit visas to the designated groups of Hungarian Jews, for whose departure to Sweden, Palestine via Switzerland, Portugal and Spain approval has already been given in principle, is still to be used as a means for compelling the fulfilment of the requisite precondition, viz., an actual start to evacuating the Jews from Budapest."
Then, the next paragraph begins:
"Having regard to the reinforcement of German units in the Hungarian area and also the approach of the front line, consideration must inter alia be paid to the question of whether, and if so to what extent, the German attitude mentioned above should be basically changed, and some form of measures adopted, in order to ensure that the remaining Jews are evacuated from Hungary or Budapest, either by acting on our own, or by exerting the requisite pressure on the Hungarian Government for this purpose."
Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/88.

Dr. Servatius: The next document is T/1234, document No. 525. This is a telegram from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Ministry, dated 18 October 1944. It reads:

"In view of the changed political situation, the Jewish Question has also entered a new phase. Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, who returned to Budapest today, as requested by the Higher SS and Police Leader here, and as ordered by the Chief of the Security Police, has opened negotiations with the Hungarian authorities for fifty thousand male able-bodied Jews from Budapest to be transferred by foot march to Germany for labour service, with further able-bodied male Jews immediately being used for military fortification works in the vicinity, and the remaining Jews all being concentrated in ghetto-like camps on the outskirts of the town."
Together with this document goes the next exhibit, T/1235, document No. 212. This is a telegram dated the same day, 18 October 1944, to the Foreign Ministry. It reads:
"Following are the results of negotiations on Jewish Question conducted by Eichmann today with new Hungarian Minister of Interior."
Then it says:
"(1) Despite Szalasi's basic attitude already indicated that no more Hungarian Jews should be evacuated to Reich territory, Minister of Interior will try to obtain exceptional approval of requested one-time temporary authorization for fifty thousand male able- bodied Jews who are urgently required for the fighter aircraft programme on Reich territory, as well as to replace Russian prisoners-of-war who are being used elsewhere. Transport to be by foot march, accompanied by German commandos; when Reich border is crossed, brief employment on south-east rampart is envisaged."
Then below, under 5:
"In extreme confidence it is reported that Eichmann intends, after successful completion of the foot march referred to, to apply later for a further fifty thousand Jews, in order, while maintaining the basic approach, to achieve the final goal - emptying out of Hungarian territory."
Witness, is what Veesenmayer writes here correct - that is to say, that you conducted negotiations with the government about this evacuation of fifty thousand Gypsies?* {* Presumably a slip of the tongue on the part of Dr. Servatius; the document refers to Jews}

Accused: Yes. According to the form and the content of exhibit T/1234, document No. 525, I received orders to conduct these negotiations in Hungary. I would like to make the following specific comments on this.

The content of the document shows that Winkelmann, as the Higher SS and Police Leader, doubtless approached the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, with the purpose of ordering order me to return (at that time I was in Berlin), and the idea of the foot march must have come up in Hungary, and moreover these were to be able-bodied male Jews only, who were to be used for these military duties, which other authorities considered to be necessary. Now, having received an order of this nature, I certainly and without doubt carried it out, so that the matters referred to in document No. 212, exhibit T/1235, will basically be correct. The details given in point 4:

"...the Eichmann Operations Units - apart from taking over guard duties in part - will have an advisory role only with reference to the aforementioned foot march when the 'Budapest Operation' is carried out, which operation is otherwise to be carried out by the Hungarian gendarmerie under the previous Commissioners on Jewish Questions - Colonel Ferenczy and Srare Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior Laday."
As for point 5, I would like to say that today I am unable to state with any certainty whether or not I applied for another fifty thousand Jews; I would tend to deny it for the simple reason that in the original document there is no mention of an order to this effect, and I did not do something I had not been ordered to do. There is a document which has been submitted to the Court, Prosecution No. 871, which sheds further light on this.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps, before you continue, Dr. Servatius will certainly submit it.

Dr. Servatius: Yes, I am submitting this document No. 871 as evidence.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/89 - you may proceed.

Accused: As I was saying, the matter must have been dealt with during the time I was in Berlin, at the request of the Higher SS and Police Leader Winkelmann, as indicated in exhibit T/1234. This document is dated 18 October 1944. Document No. 871, exhibit N/89, is dated 24 October, six days later. It says - it is a communication from Veesenmayer to Ribbentrop:

"I report that yesterday, as requested urgently and repeatedly by SA Obergruppenfuehrer Winkelmann, I asked Szalasi to lend us at least twenty-five thousand labour service Jews for six months, to be used on the German fighter aircraft programme. SA Obergruppenfuehrer Winkelmann did in fact demand fifty thousand Jews, but to date this demand failed, due to opposition from Hungarian Government departments."
This form of words used by Veesenmayer, "requested repeatedly," shows that my view is correct.

The second part of this communication, N/89, shows that the negotiations I was ordered to carry out with the Hungarian Minister of the Interior were clearly not successful, because Veesenmayer writes here:

"I considered it correct to accomplish a partial demand first, with the intention of possibly expressing our wishes again later. Szalasi immediately accepted this request, but simply pointed out that Hungary itself needs most of the Jews for field-works and other other urgent duties, and asked me to ensure that in future the matter be dealt with between Obergruppenfuehrer Winkelmann and Minister Kovacs."
The original intention - to have these male Jews, who would be able to march, be made to walk all the way, with personnel of the Security Police and Security Service involved in the taking over of guard duties - doubtless miscarried at the negotiations between Winkelmann and Minister Kovacs, who will have posed as a threat Hungary's demand that the transports be guarded and accompanied exclusively by Hungarian forces. This is proved by the report from Dr. Leopold Breszlauer, who observed these transports for several days on behalf of four envoys accredited to Hungary, and who has given testimony on this and provided a report of his experiences to the Court.

In conclusion, may I say that these documents prove that, firstly, I did not initiate this matter, and secondly, that I cannot have had any part in the foot marches which did actually take place.

Dr. Servatius: As the next exhibit, I submit document No. 376. This is a communication from Ribbentrop to Ambassador Veesenmayer personally. It is an instruction which reads as follows:

"I would ask you not to restrain and obstruct the Hungarians in their implementation of any measures which will compromise them in the eyes of our enemies, but rather to provide all possible support to them. It is more particularly in our interest for the Hungarians to proceed now in the most severe fashion against the Jews."
Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/90.

Dr. Servatius: Next, exhibit T/1239, document No. 221. This is a memorandum of the Foreign Ministry, from Wagner, dated 31 October 1944, for the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. On page 2, item 5, it reads:

"After the appointment of the Szalasi Government, a start has been made on evacuating able-bodied Jews from Budapest; initially, twenty-five thousand are to be sent to the Reich for labour service, and Ambassador Veesenmayer intends to negotiate shortly on a further twenty-five thousand. Jews who are not able to work are for the time being to be gathered in camps outside Budapest."
There is again mention of the various actions of the Swedes, and then, at the end, it says that the Fuehrer has decided on the matter that one should be conciliatory, but only on condition that Budapest is entirely emptied of its Jews.

I would beg to submit a further document, document No. 451, if I may. This is a memorandum of the Foreign Ministry by Wagner, dated 9 November 1944, for the Minister for Foreign Affairs. It concerns a further deal: One thousand Jews to be sent to Switzerland. It begins:

"In a telephone call, the Head Office for Reich Security has reported that, as part of armaments procurement for the Waffen-SS from neutral and enemy foreign countries in return for releasing Jews, a further contingent of one thousand Jews is to be evacuated to Switzerland, as soon as the requisite transport facilities are made available."
It then says that this time the Swiss would at least like to have some intimation as to when these one thousand persons are to arrive, in order to make arrangements. And then at the end it says: "I am duly reporting on these plans of the SS and request instructions."

Presiding Judge: This will be N/91.

Dr. Servatius: Witness, do you know anything about this agreement, this transaction involving one thousand Jews?

Accused: I do not know anything about a transport involving the figure one thousand, but possibly I am mixing things up with figures often quoted and given in documents of twelve hundred and seventeen hundred persons. I am unable to say anything more precise about this.

Judge Halevi: Perhaps this is the second part of those who were to go from Bergen-Belsen to Switzerland?

Accused: Your Honour, I assume that this is the case, that this came to a total of seventeen hundred, which was possibly split up, but I do not know anything further about this.

Dr. Servatius: As a further exhibit, I submit document No. 452, a memorandum of the Foreign Ministry, dated 11 November 1944, for the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. This summarizes the various transports to Switzerland. First there is mention of the Weiss-Manfred Works operation. It says:

"On the occasion of the Weiss-Manfred Works operation, which the Reichsfuehrer-SS discussed with the Fuehrer, as yet totally vague plans were considered for making use of Jews in other ways than transferring them to the Reich for labour service, to utilize them for Germany's armament potential."
I would draw attention to the fact that these are not humanitarian considerations - rather, it is stated that these forced labourers are of no use to the munitions industry, so that they could be made use of in some other manner, by turning them into hard cash.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/92.

Dr. Servatius: I now submit the last document in this section, document No. 104. It is a note on the Jewish Question by Veesenmayer, for the Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs, dated 24 October 1944.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit N/93.

Dr. Servatius: This is a general note on the situation of the Jewish Question, and at the top of page 5 it reads:

"It was not until after 16 October of this year that negotiations, with consultative participation of German authorities, began once again, with the aim of bringing about a Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Hungary."
I assume that these are the negotiations already referred to.

I have no further questions to the Accused. With that, I can conclude the section on Hungary. Tomorrow, I should like to submit four documents on the Slovenes which have not been presented. I shall then come to concentration camp matters, so that I shall have some concluding questions. I cannot yet say definitely whether I shall finish tomorrow. Possibly I may manage to do so.

Presiding Judge: Very well.

The Court will adjourn until 8.30 tomorrow morning.

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