The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 88
(Part 1 of 6)

Session No. 88

23 Tammuz 5721 (7 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the eighty-eighth Session of the trial open. The Accused will continue with his statement in direct examination. I would draw the Accused's attention to the fact that he is testifying under oath.

Accused: I am aware of the fact.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, please proceed.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I should like to comment on the depositions.

On Becher's deposition: He has stated that he had nothing to do with the seizing of property, in answer to question 16 on page 10, and question 54 page 28. I have a sworn statement by a witness, Alois Steger, which he gave some time ago, and which I did not believe I would need to submit. However, now that Becher has made his statement, I should like to submit this document - the witness is available for cross- examination, if the Prosecution so wishes, in Paris, where he lives. I would also comment that this witness helped the Jews on several occasions at the end of the War, and is mentioned twice in Joel Brand's book for this assistance.

Presiding Judge: Have you given a copy of this deposition to the Attorney General?

Dr. Servatius: I made it available to him only this morning.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, please proceed.

Attorney General: We have not had time to peruse Steger's statement, so I cannot give my reaction now. If there is any question of a document being required in order to assert that Becher was involved in property seizures, I can state in advance that we are not claiming that Becher was not involved in such matters.

Presiding Judge: The problem is simply that we cannot accept agreement on facts. These are criminal proceedings.

Attorney General: That is quite clear, but I would state in advance, in order to reassure Counsel for the Defence, that I am not claiming that Becher was not involved in the seizure of property, despite what is stated in his testimony.

Judge Halevi: That means that if this statement contains nothing else which is unacceptable to the Prosecution, there will be no objection to its submission.

Attorney General: We will peruse it. I don't know what is in it. The deposition is several pages long, and I would not wish to rush into committing myself.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps in the recess, if that will do?

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: Then we must postpone the matter until after the recess. Dr. Servatius, in the meanwhile you may examine the Accused on the matter.

Dr. Servatius: The Accused has already adverted to the matter and said that this was the main assignment. This is shown by this deposition, this sworn affirmation, as well as by the nature of the proceedings and Becher's whole attitude, which will be important for evaluating the witness' other statements and his credibility.

Presiding Judge: Well, the technical difficulty is simply that the Attorney General has not yet had the opportunity of perusing the document, and after the recess we shall see how to proceed in this matter.

Dr. Servatius: Then there is another question to be clarified. There are three documents which were submitted as T/1294, T/1295 and T/1296. I myself do not possess the documents, and only obtained them today. They may have been handed over in the office, but in any case they are not in the collection of documents, and also did not have a reference number.

If I may make a statement on this: Exhibit T/1294 is a document dated 19 May 1943, recommending the promotion of Wirth of the Head Office for Reich Security; but at the bottom of the page it says Section IIA2 and II 7, so it had nothing to do with IVB4.

Presiding Judge: But you have looked at these documents, have you not?

Dr. Servatius: I had a look at them this morning. The next document, T/1295, is dated 19 May 1943 and concerns the recommendation for the promotion of Wirth of the Head Office for Reich Security. The promotion has the approval of the Fuehrer's Chancellery. There is a reference "for Sobibor."

The last document, T/1296, dated 19 August 1943, is from the Field Headquarters to the personnel office, promotion of Wirth because of the Ludin affair.

Presiding Judge: Excuse me, where does it say that? Where is there a reference to Ludin?

Dr. Servatius: I don't have the text here with me, it must say so somewhere - perhaps at the bottom. At the top there should be the Headquarters.

Presiding Judge: It doesn't say anything about Ludin here. It says "during the last visit to Lublin."

Dr. Servatius: There must be some misunderstanding.

Presiding Judge: Quite. Please proceed.

Dr. Servatius: During the interrogation of the witness Krumey, a document was submitted which was also discussed at the hearing, and is referred to on page eight of the record of proceedings of the hearing. This is a telegram from the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Prague, signed Fischer, to the Litzmannstadt Relocation Office, about the Lidice children. The document is dated 12 June 1942.

In the document it says: "Those not fit for Germanization will be transferred there and should be transported further via the Poles' camps there." The document should be available to the Court; it should have been received together with the records of the examination before the judge to whom letters of request were addressed. I did not receive it till today.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bodenheimer, the question is whether a document arrived together with Krumey's deposition. Please check.

Dr. Servatius: In any case, the document was submitted to the Court by the representative of the Prosecution and the witness was asked about it. For the time being I can provide the copy in my possession.

Presiding Judge: Yes. [To the Attorney General] Can you confirm that this is what was submitted to Krumey?

Attorney General: To the best of my recollection there were documents attached to the interrogation of Krumey.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, how did you get your copy of the Krumey statement? Through Mr. Wechtenbruch?

Dr. Servatius: He told me that it was discussed there and submitted, and he told me that it would be part of the record of the case; he said the judge had stated that it would be sent directly to the court as requested. The record of proceedings does not state that it is appended.

Presiding Judge: Very well, but we have here a letter from the Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Germany to the head of the Israeli mission transmitting the record of the Krumey statement, and it also says there: "Two copies of 19 documents submitted to witness Krumey during his hearing are to be forwarded." Apparently these have gone astray.

Attorney General: I assume that there has been a mistake and they have been filed with our documents - we sometimes receive the files from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it is possible that a file sent to us from abroad contains these documents. My colleague, Mr. Bach, has gone to make enquiries.

Presiding Judge: We received our copies, as we should, from the Director of Courts.

Attorney General: Of course, and he received them from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - perhaps there was some totally unnecessary short cut here.

[State Attorney Bach: returns with the documents. ]

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you should look further - you might find more things. Mr. Bodenheimer, you will please look at the other covering letters and check on what else is on the way.

[After receiving copies of the documents from the Prosecution ] Is this marked? Is it tied together? How can we know that?

Attorney General: We have an accompanying letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which says: "We have now received the record of Hermann Krumey's statement, and I have sent this to the Director of the Courts. Attached to the record were photostat copies of 19 documents which were shown to the witness during his interrogation. Mr. Shimron asked for the material to be passed on to you, and it is herewith enclosed."

Presiding Judge: I do not think this is the correct procedure; the documents should have been transmitted in the same way as the statement itself. Now it is here in front of us, and I do not know what is in it.

Attorney General: With all due respect, I agree.

Presiding Judge: Do you have another set? There is a reference here to two sets. The document which Counsel for the Defence is holding is from the second set. Perhaps we can identify the documents by dates.

Attorney General: Yes, they can be identified from the actual interrogation.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, these are documents which have already been submitted, they are known from the trial. Just that one document was a new one.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bodenheimer, check these documents afterwards against Krumey's evidence, arrange them in the right order and attach them to the deposition. They must be duplicated - copied, any way, I don't know if they need to be duplicated. After they've been checked, these documents will be appended to the record of Krumey's evidence, as they should have been all along. I think that we can leave it there.

Dr. Servatius: I have some questions to the Accused as witness.

Presiding Judge: First, Dr. Servatius, there was still the question of a further deposition by Hoettl. You were going to tell us this morning whether or not you wish to submit an application, or what is your position on this matter.

Dr. Servatius: I shall not be making any further application - the witness has given his position on the matter, although not quite as clearly as in the affidavit, but he did not contradict himself, so I shall not request a further hearing.

Presiding Judge: Thank you. Please proceed.

Dr. Servatius: I have several questions. The questions arise from the examination of Prosecution witnesses by the Defence.

Witness, did the witness called by you, Merten, come and see you in your office in Berlin in September 1942 because of some matter - can you remember him visiting you?

Accused: I cannot remember him visiting me.

Dr. Servatius: Before Christmas 1942 were you in Salonika with Guenther? At the office of witness Merten?

Accused: No. I was not in Greece, I did not go to Merten's office, and I would draw your attention to a relevant passage in a sworn statement by Wisliceny - document No. 235, T/992, page 1, paragraph 3, where it says - I have to give the last sentence of paragraph 2 as well: "It must have been on 20 January 1943, when I went to Berlin to see Eichmann. Eichmann told me that his deputy, Rolf Guenther, SS Sturmbannfuehrer, had flown to Salonika for negotiations with the military government." So if, at the same time that Guenther was in Greece, I was talking to Wisliceny in Berlin, and if that is proved here, then any statement to the contrary must be the result of an error.

Dr. Servatius: You have referred to January 1943. But it is maintained that you were already there with Guenther at Christmas, 1942.

Accused: I wasn't in Greece with Guenther either in December - or at Christmas - or in January. But since I doubt whether Guenther at this time made the flight twice in such a short period, this must be Merten making a chronological mistake.

Presiding Judge: The number of this document is T/992.

Dr. Servatius: But the witness Merten describes what you did in very positive, very concrete terms. He says you were there with Guenther, and almost immediately demanded oil and cigarettes. He says he obtained these for you.

Accused: I can only say that I was never in Greece at any time during the War, and as further support for my statement to this effect I would add that von Thadden, who was later Legationsrat at the Foreign Ministry, states in his testimony that to the best of his knowledge I was never in Greece, and that no one from the Head Office for Reich Security who was sent to any country could set out without the matter going via the Foreign Ministry. But von Thadden at this time was with the Reich Plenipotentiary - Neubacher was his name, I think - in Athens, and he says that he would have known if I'd been there - and that is correct. So I had not been to Greece.

Dr. Servatius: Did witness Merten visit you again in Berlin and have a lengthy discussion with you about the emigration of ten or twenty thousand Jews?

Accused: As I have already said, I have no recollection of Merten ever visiting me in my office. This would also have been an exceptional occurrence, for a head of the military administration of any country to have turned up in my office in regard to such matters, especially since we - the Head Office for Reich Security - had a Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Greece. I myself could certainly not have taken a decision. Whether heads of the military administration visited the chief, I have no idea. No head of any military administration of any country whatsoever ever came to see me.

Dr. Servatius: Merten was not head of the military administration, he was a Kriegsverwaltungsrat (War Administration Counsellor). Do you mean that he was considered to be a representative of the head of the military administration?

Accused: A representative of the head of the military administration. That is what I meant. Such representatives did not come to see me, either.

Dr. Servatius: But here again, Merten makes very concrete statements. He says that he talked to you, and you even made a phone call immediately in connection with the matter to see whether you were allowed to grant his request.

Accused: Although this matter, this statement, would actually be in my favour, as it proves what I have said all along, that I cannot take any decisions on my own initiative, nevertheless I must repeat: I am not aware of Merten's ever having come to my office.

Dr. Servatius: Do you remember ever talking to the witness Merten apart from that?

Accused: It is very difficult for me to answer this question. I talked to many people. But I am not aware of having talked to someone who was on official duty abroad, who did not belong to our service, and in particular someone from the military administration in Greece. I cannot say any more on this.

Dr. Servatius: A question on the statement by witness Krumey on the "foot march" affair. During the march, or the disagreements which arose afterwards, did you talk to Krumey and give him any instructions?

Accused: Of course the matter was discussed, I assume. As for my giving instructions, I am not aware of that.

Dr. Servatius: Krumey says you said to him, "You haven't seen anything." What would you say about that?

Accused: Well, that is not actually an instruction. I am sure he talked to me about the matter, and I won't...I can't deny that at all, and it is quite possible that I said to him, "the matter is none of our business, keep your nose out of it, you haven't seen anything." Something like that. Though the words may not necessarily be exact, but at least that was the meaning.

Dr. Servatius: A question about witness Winkelmann. You reported to Winkelmann on Jewish matters, and General Winkelmann listened to you. Did he rebuke you or remonstrate with you?

Accused: Winkelmann neither remonstrated with me nor rebuked me. On this matter, I would also like to say that I am very surprised to hear about these comments by General Winkelmann, as he then was, about remonstrances and rebukes, because in his own service instructions on page 2 it says that he is in charge of Jewish affairs. I don't know whether it says in the embassy or under the Reich Plenipotentiary. I cannot remember the precise wording at the moment, but it is on page 2 of his service instructions. So, in fact, the situation was the opposite of what is stated here.

Presiding Judge: Which document are you referring to now, Accused, when you refer to Winkelmann's instructions?

Accused: Your Honour, I know that a few days ago, when I was talking to Dr. Servatius, there was talk of instructions, on page 2. But I do not remember now...I suppose the instructions are in my lawyer's files. It is just that now I have remembered hearing about it a few days ago.

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