The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 90
(Part 2 of 4)

Q. Oh yes, we shall come back to the Canon, and we shall see which Canon you may have arrested after all. You did testify, did you not, that you had arrested a Canon. We'll come back to that. At this point we are dealing with the journey to Palestine. But, for instance, this passage in the report, that there are no Aryans in Palestine who can be cheated, and the Jews cheat each other - did that originate from you?

A. No, those are Stuermer ideas. I did not carry Stuermer ideas with me; Hagen carried them with me.

Presiding Judge: When he said "with me," that was apparently a slip of the tongue. Did he mean to say: "Hagen carried them with him?"

Accused: Yes, Hagen carried them with him. The fact that six months later I rebuilt, in Vienna, the offices of the Keren Kayemet leIsrael, the Keren Hayesod, the Jewish Agency, the Palestine Office etc., which had been broken up, and made them fit for business again, indicates the contrary.

Q. We will come back to Vienna, but in Hungary, for instance, when the German Embassy did not intervene sharply enough against the emigration of certain Jews to Palestine, did you not - as transpires from exhibit T/1216 - demand that Guenther take steps to get the Reich Foreign Ministry to instruct the embassy in Budapest to prevent this sort of thing?

A. For one thing, at that time there prevailed a different attitude towards the emigration to Palestine, as directed by my superiors. As for the other: document No. 182 I must reject as a forgery, and I do this for the following reasons: it has no registry number; it is not certified and has no seal of Service; it is addressed to Reich Security Head Office, Department IV - attention Guenther. There is no such thing. Department IV, that is Mueller. Guenther was never IV. And as for the other: Although it went to Reich Security Head Office IV, this document carries a control number of the Foreign Office, and furthermore, it is a copy. Therefore, I have to reject this document, and it is inexplicable and incomprehensible to me how such a document can exist. In terms of contents, text and style - these are not my words. I know this document only from here.

Q. But this, also, you forgot to tell the police at the police interrogation.

A. I do not know whether the document was presented to me. It meant a lot that during the police interrogation I was presented with only a small fraction of the numerous documents which I later received. I saw just one excerpt out of the total proceedings, in a matter which one can no longer picture in one's mind after 15-20 years or more. I tried, again, with the best will, to reconstruct the matter, as I have indicated.

Q. I suppose, therefore, that you will regard exhibit T/1215 too, as a forgery. This is a document from Veesenmayer where you state that you do not accept the new order of the Reichsfuehrer-SS regarding the emigration of Jews to Palestine, that you protest it, that you demand a new decision, and after all, you will try to arrange things so that before the formal aspects are concluded, the Jews will be deported.

A. The way I understand document No. 161 is that it was the Reichsfuehrer-SS who did not permit this emigration to Palestine, and it was not I who objected to this, but, rather, I read here: "The leader of the local Jewish Special Operations Units of the Security Service, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, has taken an emphatic position, stating that, as far as he knows, the Reichfuehrer- SS does not agree under any circumstances to the migration, to the emigration, of Hungarian Jews to Palestine.

Q. Yes, go on, please, go on, read on.

A. "The Jews in question are without exception biologically valuable material, very many veteran Zionists, whose emigration to Palestine would be undesirable in the extreme."

Q. And that, Mr. Eichmann, naturally is a forgery, isn't it?

A. No, not a forgery, but an express order which I had to obey, as I was a recipient of orders, not a giver of orders.

Q. And that, then, is your attitude towards Zionism?

A. As recipient of orders one has to perform what one is ordered - that is my conviction.

Q. I see. Go ahead, read on.

A. To read on? "In view of the Fuehrer's decision, which has been conveyed to him, he intends to communicate with the Reichsfuehrer-SS, and, if need be, ask for a renewed directive from the Fuehrer. Otherwise..."

Q. Well, what do you say to this passage?

A. That the written directives I had received contained the prohibition on the part of my superiors of emigration to Palestine; these directives had to be renewed first, by way of a counter-order.

Q. And when the embassy informed you that Himmler did, after all, agree, you then requested a direct order from the Reichsfuehrer-SS.

Q. Well, you have the Fuehrer's order to allow the departure of Jews from Hungary to Palestine, and you wish to have a new decision from the Fuehrer, because you disagree with it. Is that correct?

A. Surely this so-called Fuehrer's decision does not appear to have been available in writing, whereas the other order was available in writing. Besides, I was not the one who decided, but while in Hungary I had two superiors. First, the commander of the Security Police, Wisliceny, and secondly - Higher SS and Police Leaders. I could not do whatever I pleased, I had to do what I was ordered to do.

Q. The Reich Plenipotentiary for Germany, Veesenmayer, wanted to carry out the Fuehrer's order, and you resisted it. Is that correct or not?

A. No, I did not resist, since I could not resist.

Q. And at the end of this document it says that no matter what happened you were considering how, through appropriate measures, to prevent those Jews who had reached French territory continuing their journey.

A. I have read that too. That is incorrect, because the next document states that I had supported the transfer to Lisbon.

Q. So Veesenmayer is also lying?

A. I would not say that he is lying, but an error is always possible.

Q. Let us go back for a moment to the previous document which you describe as a forgery. Please take a look at what you said about it on page 1316 of the police interrogation. Read that please, and tell me whether you still insist that it is a forgery.

A. I read here at the time...

Q. I am not asking you what you said then; that is written down. I am asking whether, on the basis of what I have shown you, you wish to correct what you said about a forgery, or whether you insist on your previous answer.

A. I must correct the testimony which I gave at the police interrogation, but not the explanation which I have given now, because I arrived at this explanation through studying the files, when I had the entire selection of the Hungarian files at my disposal. At that time, on the other hand, I only saw this one single file, or several of them, perhaps two or maybe more.

Q. The indications which you listed here, showing that the document is seemingly forged, were not clear to you at the time, during the police interrogation?

A. No, this I did not notice at the time, and, furthermore, I had no time for it, then. Only when I gave careful attention to the files, there, I also occupied myself with the examination of such possibilities, especially whenever a file appeared to me in any way peculiar, whenever the content of a file appeared peculiar.

Q. Or that you realized that the document spoke against you, and therefore it would be advisable to disclaim it. Is that correct Obersturmfuehrer?

A. No, that was not decisively significant. Several documents speak against me, and I have nonetheless not disclaimed them.

Q. You stated that your work in Austria had afforded you satisfaction and creative joy. Is that correct?

A. Yes, indeed. That is right.

Q. You agree with me that what you did in Austria was actually the forcible expulsion of the Jews?

A. It was a regulated, planned emigration, and all I regret is that this activity could not continue throughout the entire War, until the end. That is what I regret.

Q. Is it correct that in the Sassen Document, on page 736, you called this "forced emigration"?

A. Is that in File 17, if I may ask?

Q. File 17.

A. Forced emigration meant accelerated emigration, yes.

Q. And the purpose was to rid the German people of the Jews, and to force the Jews as quickly as possible out of all walks of life, and thus force them to emigrate. Is that correct?

A. I was not one of those...

Q. Did you act in this way? That is my question.

A. No, I did not force any Jews out of the walks of life.

Q. We shall, then, remind you of it. Page 737: "The final exclusion of the Jews from the public life of the German people, which began quickly, and was rapidly followed by the displacement of this group of persons from all walks of life." That is what you did in Austria, right? Is that correct? You wrote this yourself.

A. I have just found it this moment.

Q. Is this what you did in Austria?

A. This is a statement of fact, but it does not signify that I initiated it.

Q. But that is what you write. Read it! Is that what you did?

A. "But the fact is that this theory did not prove itself; on the contrary the final exclusion of the Jews from the public life of the German people, which began quickly, and was rapidly followed by the displacement of this group of persons from all walks of life, now induced the individual Jew to initiate of his own accord, suddenly, in a panic-like manner, anything which could serve his emigration."

Q. That is what you did.

A. No, no, definitely not.

Q. No?

A. I did not pass the laws which resulted in the displacement of the Jews from public life. I had nothing to do with this. I have stated here what happened, but I did not say that I did it.

Q. But by using these laws which were introduced and by dislodging the Jews, you forced them to emigrate.

A. I did not force any Jews to emigrate. On the contrary, Dr. Loewenherz came to me...

Q. I want an answer. Look at page 746. You boast about having organized Jewish emigration by the conveyor-belt system!

A. Yes, that is true, and I only regret - I must repeat this - that this could not go on for the duration of the War.

Q. Yes, we have heard that. And your plans, how this could be sped up - that we find in T/112. Thus, for instance to deprive the Jews of their possessions slowly, so that they would be compelled to emigrate. Isn't that true?

A. It is true, but I would like to be allowed to give an explanation.

Q. In a moment you may give an explanation. And for this purpose you needed a free hand for the Security Service, right?

A. I cannot explain this matter out of context, because if my words are torn out of context, necessarily there occur...

Q. I request an answer: "For this purpose I required a free hand for the Security Service." And after that you may give explanations!

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Now you may give the explanation.

A. This material, that is to say, this programme, which was to have been arranged at the time for the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, originated in the constraints which the Foreign Office put up against emigration. May I recall the Kennedy telegram, or the declaration by the State Secretary at the time, Weizsaecker, who was against any capital transfer whatsoever. What was required, then, was to consider how to solve the Jewish problem. I was consulted, too, as an expert official. I listed these points here, but I also wrote that this matter cannot be carried out without the aid of Stapo measures.

"Stapomeasures" at that time meant following the Security Service line, and the Security Service line, in turn, meant emigration, and a few months later, I was able to put this into practice in Vienna. The Stapo-line, the old Stapo-line, was to break-up, seal-up, lock-up, while the Security Service line at that time was the opposite of locking up, that is rather, letting people emigrate - that is how this should be understood..

Q. Who was the Security Service? Heydrich?

A. At that time, yes.

Q. Heydrich, then, was in favour of letting the Jews emigrate?

A. I do not even think that it was Heydrich himself.

Q. Was he for it or against?

A. He was for it, but he was not the initiator.

Q. Who was the initiator? You?

A. I was one of the initiators, yes, indeed.

Q. Who else?

A. The originator of this idea was actually, at that time, a certain Untersturmfuehrer von Mildenstein and a certain Mr. von Bolschwing. One of them had most certainly lived for some time in Palestine, whether the other one, von Mildenstein, had been to Palestine, I do not know. These were, in a way, the originators of emigration idea, if I may say so, and this was at the time, when all is said and done, the least of all evils.

Q. And in order to overcome the opposition of the Foreign Office, which was against letting Jewish money leave along with the Jews, you proposed to pauperize the Jews slowly, so that the Foreign Office would stop objecting and permit the Jews to leave. Isn't that so?

A. I did not propose to pauperize the Jewish people. Rather I suggested that the poor Jew be allowed to emigrate at the expense of the rich Jew.

Q. To "de-capitalize slowly" (Langsam entkapitalisieren), that is what you proposed, isn't it?

A. Yes, indeed, the rich Jew had to finance the costly emigration of the poor Jew.

Q. You took total control over the Jewish functionaries, you held them in the palm of your hand, and you did as you pleased with these Jewish functionaries in Vienna. Correct?

A. By no means did I do with the Jewish functionaries as I pleased. Rather, there was mutually correct, businesslike co- operation.

Q. That we shall see. I refer here to T/130, a private letter you wrote to your friend. You write that you have control over the people and here, in the third paragraph you write: "They are in my hands, they dare not take one step without me." And at the top, in the first paragraph you write: "In any event I have these gentlemen do as I please, believe me." These extracts are marked here. Look at them. Is that the correct and honest co-operation, Mr. Obersturmbannfuehrer?

A. Well, honest it was. One has to distinguish between the jargon of a soldier which, after all, differs from the jargon used among clergymen or doctors. Among soldiers it is fresh and jolly, and anyhow open and honest. After all, I built up the whole thing and I brought the Jews out of jail, and the Jewish functionaries were quite happy to work with me. I never heard anything to the contrary.

Q. The rich Jews, for instance, obviously willingly gave you their money so that you could expel the poor Jews from Austria, right?

A. Yes, they did not give me the money; they gave it to the Jewish community in Vienna.

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