The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 91
(Part 3 of 6)

Q. That is wrong? You were the man of whose deeds and successes Heydrich boasted to Goering and the Reich Ministers. Is that correct?

A. This I do not know. I was active in emigration. What advantages Heydrich derived from that, about this I have no information. He was a very high...a superior of mine. I cannot judge about that.

Q. When did Heydrich hand over to you the direction of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration for the entire Reich?

A. This he never handed over to me, because I was never Director of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration for the entire Reich. May I point to the documents which name the executive director of this Central Reich Office. That was my immediate superior, Gruppenfuehrer and Lieutenant General Mueller and the director of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration was, in fact, Heydrich himself.

Q. And the person who was, practically speaking, in charge of the direction that was you, and you ran things in Berlin, Prague and Vienna, as is evident from all the documents and testimony by witnesses?

A. I was entrusted with the practical running of the offices, and from the moment that I was assigned to Berlin and received the Special Department (Sonderreferat), until the permanent distribution of business went into effect, I also had to run the Central Office in Berlin. However, there is a difference whether one was called the director of such an office, or whether one had several superiors above oneself, because the person entrusted with the execution of business can and may do only that which he is ordered to do. He does not have the right of independent decision. And that is the cardinal difference.

Q. I assure you that I shall not forget this difference and shall question you about being a recipient of orders, or one giving them. Therefore, there is no need for you to mention this together with each reply of yours.

When you took over the direction of affairs of the Emigration Office, did Heydrich inform you of his policy toward the Jews?

A. When I took over this office in late autumn - according to the document it must have been around December, 1939 - at that time Hitler issued a decree by which Himmler was appointed Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom.

Presiding Judge: You must answer the questions that are put to you. Did Heydrich inform you of his Jewish policy? That was the question.

Accused: He did not inform me of the Jewish policy, but this became automatically clear through the new orders issued in connection with the new decree by the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom.

Attorney General: When did you become head of the Jewish Department of the Gestapo?

Accused: May I ask, Mr. Attorney General, whether you are asking - precisely speaking - about IVD4?

Q. No, IVB4.

A. IVB4 must have been at the time of the first and second plan for the distribution of business, that means - if my memory serves me rightly - in the period from about March 1940 until, I think, the second plan for the distribution of business came out in the autumn of 1941; in this period then, actually more toward March 1940 than around the publication of the second plan for the distribution of business.

Q. And when you assumed this responsibility, then at the latest, you were informed of Heydrich's Jewish policy, as he had made it known at that meeting on 21 September. That you cannot deny.

A. No, I must reply to this that I was not at all brought into contact with this policy at the time of the Polish campaign and shortly thereafter, but that I was very definitely present at the next consultation which took place in January 1940, and at which Heydrich informed me of his orders, or rather the orders which Himmler had published in his decree.

Q. In January 1940, then, you knew that the policy of Heydrich was the one which had been proclaimed at the meeting of 21 September?

A. No, in January I knew, when I had to deal with evacuation, that certain defined portions of the population had to be transferred to the Generalgouvernement.

Q. And his basic Jewish policy, as expressed in document T/165, Heydrich kept secret from his expert in Jewish affairs? Is that what you are trying to tell us?

Presiding Judge: T/164, isn't it?

Attorney General: T/164 as well.

Accused: I do not know, at this moment, which document this "T" number, as just quoted refers to. Should this be the consultation which the Honourable Attorney General has just mentioned, then may I say in this connection, that Heydrich, in fact, had no reason to tell me anything nor conceal anything, because at that time I was not yet in Berlin at all. I was stationed in Prague and in Vienna and was not at all occupied with this.

Presiding Judge: You are familiar with this document - T/164, aren't you?

Accused: When it was shown to me now, Your Honour, it has promptly come back to my memory, as I have, in fact, also repeatedly dealt with it.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Attorney General: Well then, after you had come to Berlin, as you state, in December 1939, did Heydrich conceal his policy from you even then?

Accused: I have already said that a totally new policy was initiated at that time when I was in Berlin. That in fact, was the reason why I was ordered to come to Berlin.

Q. The Special Operations Units which were assigned tasks in Poland, in fact carried out these tasks, and you knew that.

A. I had nothing to do with either the Operations Units or the Operations Commandos in Poland. I did not carry out these things because I was not charged or ordered to do so. But I had to prepare the transport plans ordered under the new instructions of the Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Folkdom. I had to do this in Berlin, in agreement with the Reich Transport Ministry. That was my assignment. The policy at that time was very different from that at the beginning of the War, but this I did not discover at that time either, but only later.

Q. I would just like to have one thing clear. You say that the list of participants included in this official document of the German Reich is forged.

A. I did not say that it was forged. This document about the meeting in September 1939?

Q. Yes. It says here that you took part, and you say that you did not take part.

A. To this extent that is correct. But this document also bears neither seal nor signature.

Q. All right, all right. We shall see about how many documents of the German Reich you will have to say that they are forgeries.

In what capacity did you deal with the Nisko project?

A. I had at that time...through the Polish was taken...I was encouraged by Jewish functionaries in Poland to carve out a territory for purposes of settlement.

Presiding Judge: No, no. The question was different. You were working in a state where there was a division of authority. Under what authority, then, were you operating? That is how I understood the question.

Accused: From the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Bohemia and Moravia at that time, Dr. Stahlecker, there - he had presented this Nisko project in Berlin and surely received permission, and thereupon ensued the journey to what was then the Generalgouvernement - to the Nisko region.

Attorney General: Is that the same Stahlecker who later became one of the chief murderers of Jews, as Commander of Operations Unit A?

Accused: Yes, this is that same Stahlecker. I no longer had any business with him. I neither saw him nor spoke to him.

Q. It was he, then, who thought up this idea of Jewish settlement in Nisko?

A. No, that is not right. He did not think it up, and neither did I. Rather, it was thought up by Jewish functionaries. But I presented the idea to Stahlecker, and Stahlecker then presented it in Berlin. That is the correct sequence.

Q. Who, for instance, were these Jewish functionaries?

A. These were Dr. Loewenherz, and Edelstein in Prague. I think these were...perhaps it was also Rabbi Dr. Murmelstein. At any rate it was a group of Jewish functionaries, and there were great hopes at that time, and I myself was enthusiastic about this idea, and therefore I seized this matter and took it up with enthusiasm, in the same was as the idea of emigration.

Q. Can you point to any document which proves that the Jewish functionaries asked you to send Jews, naked and penniless to Nisko, as you did? A single document?

A. The Jews were not sent to Nisko naked. Rather, there was an artisans' advance commando which was to have created the prior conditions there; to prepare the ground for the rest of the Jews to follow, who could live there among themselves, and not under the conditions of stress to which they were subject in their previous localities. That was also the basic idea of the Jewish functionaries, to which I subscribed enthusiastically.

Q. And for this purpose you selected an area which even Polish farmers were unable to cultivate? Is that correct? And you said about this area that it was forbidden to drink water there, because it was poisoned?

A. That no Polish farmer could cultivate this area, I do not know. I do remember that Nisko and its environs are not the worst. Secondly, about the poisoned water, I have to say that at that time of the War certain waters were not poisoned - that I did not say at all - but that drinking it might cause typhoid fever, and we ourselves had such an order, and, therefore I was duty bound to pass on these orders, which we ourselves received, to others. I did not issue these orders that the water was contaminated by typhoid fever or may have been suspected of typhoid.

Q. Did you receive permission for this plan from your superiors?

A. Yes. Stahlecker received permission, and I had to carry it out.

Q. I am asking you whether you received permission for this plan, and not whether Stahlecker received it.

A. Yes, Sir. Stahlecker was, in fact, my immediate superior. If he had not received permission for the plan, he would not have taken me along to the Generalgouvernement.

Q. When you carried out the deportations to Nisko, were you already stationed in Berlin?

A. No, I was not yet stationed in Berlin. This must have been in the transitional period when I came there from Vienna to Prague. I think that is even evident from the Loewenherz File notations.

Q. And in order to get the Jews to settle in Nisko, they had to be escorted by many SS troops, is that not so?

A. There were not many SS troops there, because, first of all, I had no personnel and there were few people on hand, and only when Frank became Governor General and forbade the whole thing, only then was barbed wire put up around the whole area and it was placed under the jurisdiction of another office, the entire Nisko project was taken out of my hands. Which circles were interested in that, I cannot venture to say even today.

Q. You poor man! Everything you do turns sour on you.

Judge Halevi: I do not understand how Stahlecker came to be your superior. How and why Stahlecker actually was your superior?

Accused: Stahlecker was at first Inspector of the Security Police and Security Service in Vienna. In that capacity he was charged by the Reich Commissioner for the Reunification of Austria and Germany, Buerkel, with the direction of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna, and I received from Stahlecker, who was at the same time also Chief of the Head Office Vienna of the Security Service, the order to carry out these tasks at the Central Office. He had been my immediate superior already in Vienna.

Later, when the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was created, Stahlecker became the Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, and was transferred to Prague. When I was also ordered to go to Prague, after a while, when the Protectorate was already in existence, then Stahlecker was once again my superior, because in the meantime a decree by the Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia was issued under which Stahlecker was commissioned as Director of a Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Prague, and he entrusted me with the setting up of this office. In this way I became...

Stahlecker Vienna as well as in Prague he became my immediate superior.

Judge Halevi: And who was Stahlecker's superior?

Accused: In Austria it was first the Higher SS and Police Chief, and secondly the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service in Berlin. In the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia the superior official was the Minister of State or the State Secretary for the Security System, Frank, for the territorial domain and beyond that for matters of importance to the Reich, the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service Heydrich, as his immediate superior, and paralllel with that, in both cases, the political authority too, first the Reich Commissioner the Reunification of Austria and Germany and also the Reich Protector. These were the superiors of the Inspector or Commander of the Security Police and Security Service.

Attorney General: The main measures for deportation to Nisko were taken when you were already stationed in Berlin. Is that correct?

Accused: This I do not know. This I can no longer answer exactly today. I must rely, mainly, on what I have read in Dr. Loewenherz' File notations.

Q. And what emerged from these file notations?

A. That I could not find precisely myself. The file notations actually show that the transports had already been carried out, and that now matters revolved around support for these transports with monies, etc. This is what I inferred from that. It does, however, state in one file notation, which just occurs to me, that a transport train was then being made ready, and there is talk of ten physicians per train. I do not know, however, at this point, where that train left from, and which one, what number it might have been. Neither do I know whether the meeting with Dr. Loewenherz, to which I have just referred, took place in Berlin or Vienna.

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