The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 90
(Part 3 of 4)

Q. And from there you took the money, even without telling the functionaries of the community what you were going to use it for?

A. Not only did I not take the money from the Jewish community, but I gave them the money. If you please, the Loewenherz Report attests to that, the Loewenherz conversation records attest to that systematically, they requested from time to time...

Q. Just a minute, slow down, slow down. For example, the 100,000 dollars which were received from abroad. You took them and did not even find it necessary to inform the Jews for what purpose you used them. Isn't that correct?

A. These 100,000 dollars were a great luck for the Jews of Vienna.

Q. Is it correct or not? We'll talk about "luck" later.

A. These 100,000 dollars were sent to the Jews from abroad, and they did receive them, to the last cent.

Q. But you did not consider it necessary, however, to tell them that you were using the money for the purpose of deportation. That is what it says in T/149, page 5.

A. The money was not used for the purpose of deportation, but rather for emigration as "qualifying money." Normally, such funds would have to be deposited in the Reichsbank. And through my negotiations, I spared the Jews this, and the Jews could keep the foreign currency, in spite of the currency regulations, and use it as "qualifying money."

Q. And in this activity of forcible emigration you were considered by your superiors a great expert?

A. Yes. Emigration is a tremendously complicated field, and there you have to know your way around, if you want to get any results at all.

Q. Fine, and in this you were, as you were called, a recognized specialist (Erfahrener Praktiker).

A. Yes, I did have my experience in this.

Q. And in the course of this emigration, the Jews lost their capital, as they could not take their capital with them. Is that correct?

A. That is correct, but not my fault.

Q. And you took over the entire Jewish public property in Austria, the entire property of the Jewish communities, isn't that correct?

A. The property of the Jewish communities which were liquidated, was sequestered in accordance with the regulation, in accordance with some regulation, but not through my doing.

Q. Did you take over the property of the Jewish communites, "yes" or "no"?

A. No, I did not take it over.

Q. Then take up your handwritten text again. Look at page 749. "For the seizure and administration of Jewish property, mainly, I think, of real estate, so-called Offices for Administration and Utilization were created." You created that, didn't you?

A. This was created by an order of the Reich Commissioner for the Reunification of Austria and Germany, and not by me. Neither was I the head of the Central Office; the head was the Inspector of the Security Police and the Security Service. I was merely entrusted with management.

Q. And these administration offices - will you stand up and read what it says further on, at the end of this paragraph. Read it out loud.

A. "The Reichsfuehrer-SS and the German Police..."

Q. "In order to deprive these administration offices of any possible private nature..."

A. "In order to deprive these administration offices of any possible private nature, I initiated action to have them elevated to a legal entity under public law." Yes, that is correct.

Q. You did that, didn't you?

A. Yes, I did, because property was thereby better protected against seizure by unauthorized persons, because a public corporation under public law is always better than any body set up somehow by decree which did not receive that status.

Q. In any event, the Jews never saw a penny of their money again. Isn't that right?

A. That is regrettable, but not my fault.

Q. That is to say that when Streckenbach recommended you, and stated that through your activity in the matter of emigration you secured large sums for the German Reich, he was right?

A. No, that was not correct. Streckenbach was, at that time, Chief of Personnel and had no idea that these matters were arranged through experts in administrative law, through an order by the Reich Commissioner for the Reunification, and not through me.

Q. Every Jew who emigrated from Austria enriched the German Reich, isn't that correct?

A. In the final analysis, as viewed today in retrospect, yes.

Q. And the more you enhanced Jewish emigration, the more you enriched the German Reich?

A. There was nothing for me to enrich, since I acted upon orders, and besides, emigration was the only way, among many unpleasant possibilities and, surely, among these unpleasant things it was comparatively the best way.

Q. Do you agree that by having forced the Jews to emigrate, you enriched the Reich with their property.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I think this already represents a conclusion.

Attorney General: I want to hear that from him.

Accused: May I hear the question once more? If you please, I heard it only in parts.

Q. Do you agree that by having forced the Jews to emigrate, you enriched the Reich with their property?

A. When I think about it objectively, I must admit that I did so, not with my will, but surely one would blame me today if I had slowed down matters at that time, from the aspect of the emigration technique. Personally, I regret that I did not expedite matters even more. If I had done so, the result could have been different.

Q. Accused, when you were in charge of this, it was not yet a matter of physical extermination, and therefore you did not know that you were saving them from physical extermination, is that correct?

A. That is correct, but today I am standing here in Israel before an Israeli court, and that reproach could be levelled against me.

Q. I want to place you now in the context of your activity in Austria in 1938-1939. At that time you did not think that there was the danger of physical extermination, correct?

A. Certainly, no one thought of physical extermination at that time, but I listened to the complaints and the constant pleas and the constant requests for support on the part of Jewish representatives who were in a very difficult situation because of their being excluded from various spheres of life and that, in turn, was caused by legislation. I tried to help these Jewish representatives, and together we planned and considered the situation.

Q. And only in order to help these Jewish representatives you did, of course, what you did?

A. No, I have already said this: it was on a mutual basis.

Q. Your superior, Heydrich, boasted quite a bit about your activity in Austria, in that famous discussion before Goering imposed a compulsory levy of one billion Marks. Do you remember the transcript of that meeting?

A. I have read it here, yes.

Q. And he considered your activity very important for Germany.

A. Yes. Here, too, I thought about the matter quite a lot. It fits Heydrich's character completely; he was egoistic, and was anxious to play a role in political life. Here, possibly - I speculate - he may have somehow seen a task which could advance him in political life. These were my guesses when I tried to construct a total picture, after viewing all these numerous documents placed at my disposal here.

Q. Let us leave the guesswork, and stick to the facts. Is is correct that Heydrich saw your activity in Vienna as an example for activity all over the German Reich?

A. I have read this after the event, yes. Not my activity, but rather the idea of the Central Office, which was an administrative innovation, as all relevant central authorities assigned their experts to a single office, which was something unprecedented in the history of Prussian- German administration.

Q. And this period in Austria, when you held the Jewish representatives in the palm of your hand, when you made them function at your will, and you brought them to a point where nothing could be undertaken without you, this period is the period about which you wish to boast before this Court, and state that in it you found your satisfaction?

A. I do not want to boast and brag about it. But when Dr. Loewenherz states in one of his reports that he had told me in Berlin that a housing office in Vienna was treating the Jews roughly, then this is, in my opinion, proof that neither the Central Office in Vienna nor I, treated the Jews roughly. Otherwise Loewenherz would not have complained that some other office was treating them roughly.

Q. All that this proves is that it was possible to be even rougher than you, and nothing else.

Now, the Security Service in Austria welcomed the burning of synagogues on "Crystal Night," correct?

A. The Security Service certainly did not welcome this. I myself did so even less, since I did the opposite.

Q. I am not asking about you personally, but about the Security Service.

A. I do not think so, because otherwise the Security Service would not have been informed when it was too late. I knew nothing of the whole business.

Q. We shall see that in a moment. Here is a report which you sent to Department II/112 in Berlin, concerning the burning of the synagogues in Vienna. This is T/136. You state that the population considered the burning of the synagogues as justified. Is that correct?

A. About this telex I have to say that I had nothing to do with it. If this says II/112 then I must state that on 11 November 1938 I had for some time had no connection with II/112, but rather I was all that time in charge of administrative matters at the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. The expert official for II/112 was at the time, as transpires from other documents, a certain Schroeder, but not I. And the person who signed here was the Chief of Staff of the Security Service in the Vienna Main Section. I had nothing to do with this telex message.

Q. When you were in Vienna, didn't you belong to the Security Service?

A. I belonged to the Security Service until the establishment of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna. And that was, I think, in July 1938. No, I have to correct myself. I always belonged to the Security Service, of course. What I was referring to was the Security Service Main Section Danube, or Section II/112, or any other department of this Security Service. And I belonged to this only until the establishment of the Central Office in Vienna.

Q. To whom, then, were you subordinate?

A. My chief was the Inspector of the Security Police and the Security Service in Vienna. He was at the same time also Director of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna.

Q. You belonged to the Vienna Security Service, correct?

A. I belonged, of course to the Vienna Security Service, to the Austrian Security Service, but within the Security Service I had no job and no official position.

Q. And the Security Service went into action at 3:30 a.m. on Crystal Night, and it had a dual task: first, to support the police, and second, to seize the property and material of the Jewish community. Correct?

A. Yes, this I understand from the document. I myself, however, had nothing to do with this. Therefore, from my own experience I have nothing to say about it.

Q. No? You were only woken up at 2:10 a.m. and informed of the operation. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct, because they burned everything which I had built up: the Jewish community, including the emigration documents and the emigration card files.

Q. And that was the only purpose for which you were awakened at 2:10 a.m., to be told that they had burned everything which you had built up?

A. That was surely the only purpose, because I had nothing to do with this in any other way. In addition, the Jewish representatives also took refuge, during the night, in my office, because they felt safer there than anywhere else.

Q. And yet, Crystal Night and its horrors were subsequently an aid to your emigration activities, isn't that right?

A. I won't deny this, but I had nothing to do with it. I was not the cause and I was not mixed up with it.

Q. You said to Dr. Loewenherz once that if he did not do what you ordered him to do, you could bring back the horrors of Crystal Night. Isn't that correct?

A. I hear this for the first time.

Q. Let us look at the transcript of the police interrogation, page 2710 and 2711. Parts of the Loewenherz Report were read to you. It says there: If within two days, your orders were not followed, measures could be taken similar to those of November 1938. This was read out to you? Did you hear it?

A. Did I say that, or did Dr. Loewenherz?

Q. Dr. Loewenherz wrote it.

A. That is quite possible, after 1945. This I do not deny in any way.

Q. But you did not deny having said something to that effect?

A. This I do deny. Most likely I was not asked about this, I don't know, I cannot remember, but in any event, I have never said anything like it. Neither have I said it to Loewenherz.

Q. You only said that Dr. Loewenherz was most certainly aware that this was not meant seriously. Would you please look at the text. "So he gives credit, here, to the truth. I would have to say: he was, after all, a truthful person." Do you confirm what he said?

A. In this form I do not wish to deny it, in any way.

Q. A good joke, then?

A. I would not describe it as a joke, but as something one simply does during negotiations, all over the world.

Q. Well, then, in the course of your negotiations, when you wanted to stress a point, you said to Loewenherz: " November 1938 can return." Is that right?

A. This I do not know any longer, today I cannot remember the exact words any more. In any case I had no evil intentions nor did I do anything wrong when I spoke with Dr. Loewenherz. This is contrary to my entire attitude, my attitude towards Loewenherz.

Q. Of course - who could ever suspect you of that? And, therefore, you began your relations with him by slapping his face?

A. I mean, when I give a person a slap in the face...

Q. True or not true?

A. ...and I apologize, this is a private matter between two persons.

Q. Yes. And if it becomes necessary in the course of negotiations to threaten with Buchenwald, when one wants to confiscate property, that is also done, Sir, isn't it?

A. The only connection I had with concentration camps at that time was that I had Jews who were detained there released, and I proposed to Loewenherz means for emigration; that was my only connection with the concentration camps at that time.

Q. Yes, but I have different information, like T/797. There, you write as follows: "If by the specified date the property will not be vacated, then the persons concerned will be transferred to Buchenwald." Correct?

A. May I see the document?

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