The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 91
(Part 5 of 6)

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I understand this comment, but still it is out of place. If it is necessary for purposes of explanation, he is entitled to mention this name.

Attorney General: Well, if I do have to discuss Herzl with you, Adolf Eichmann, I wish to tell you that there is not a single word about Madagascar in Herzl's book. You got the idea of Madagascar from the Stuermer, didn't you?

Accused: It is possible that this is not mentioned in a book by Theodor Herzl. I did not claim this. I read it in Adolf Boehm's The Jewish State.

Q. What is the name of that book?

A. I think... I do not want to say for sure, The Jewish State by Adolf Boehm, or something like that. I don't know, at any rate Adolf Boehm is the author of a...

Q. Adolf Boem has written a book about the Zionist movement.

A. That is it, yes. It is possible that this is the one...

Q. And that is where you read about Madagascar?

A. In a book by Boehm I read about Madagascar, yes.

Q. Which book by Boehm have you read?

A. I cannot remember the names of the books any more. But I can explain, since I still remember the general sense of what I read then.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps the reference was to Uganda and not to Madagascar?

Accused: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, it has just occurred to me that I have also read about Uganda.

Attorney General: Well then, the first time you mentioned Madagascar, in your own handwriting, was in Vienna. That was in connection with the negotiations between France and Poland, as Streicher had written in January 1938 and then again in May 1938. It says here: "Negotiations have already taken place between Poland and France."

Accused: As I was not a reader of the Stuermer, I could not have taken this from the Stuemer, but surely other newspapers also carried this, because these negotiations were not reported exclusively by the Sturermer at that time.

Q. You did not read the Stuermer? Your Fuehrer used to read it every week.

A. That may be so. I, at any rate, did not read it.

Q. Inasmuch as you knew, then, that negotiations were taking place between Poland and France, you also knew that a Polish Commission had gone to Madagascar.

A. I do not know the details any longer. But one thing I know with certainty, that in those days I did not think about implementing the Madagascar Plan any more than anyone else, because at that time there was no war, and it did not occur to anybody that Madagascar would even enter into the sphere of this kind of a process of thought. But this was the kind of thinking at the time - to make available a territory, a piece of land in this way.

Q. But it does say here, in your own handwriting, as I showed you earlier, that you proposed Madagascar in 1938, in connection with the negotiations between Poland and France.

A. That in my own handwriting the Madagascar idea was mentioned, that I know naturally. But I cannot remember anything about the connection with the negotiations between Poland and France. This I do not know.

Q. Look at this.

A. Yes. That is written on the first page. This was written, signed and dictated by my chief. This is not by me. Mine are merely these handwritten comments. This is clear from the file itself, without doubt.

Q. And you did not know that?

A. And it shows on the other hand that my chief at that time was intensively active in this matter. Undoubtedly I must admit, I must have known about this. In any event, my idea was not inspired by such negotiations.

Q. You then continued to take an interest in the Madagascar Plan, and you requested information from various offices in the Reich.

A. No. This was the beginning of 1938, and the War broke out only in the autumn of 1939. Only when the campaign against France was in progress, or was completed, then Madagascar appeared for the first time to be feasible.

Q. Yes, I am talking about that period. After the campaign against France was over, you took a continued interest in the Madagascar Plan?

A. Yes, Sir, that is correct.

Q. And you received information from the Reich authorities?

A. I got that, wherever I could, yes.

Q. And I assume that among these items of information, you also received the Polish report of the Madagascar Commission? That was a three-man Commission headed by Major Lepecki, who found that Madagascar had room for perhaps 40,000 Jewish settlers. Another member of the Commission estimated that there was room for 400 families, and the third member of the Commission found that Madagascar had no room for Jewish settlers at all, and that the local inhabitants were against any Jewish immigration. Did you know that?

A. I did not see the Polish report at that time. Furthermore, a basic distinction must be made between the considerations which may possibly have been raised between the Polish and French Commissions and the time when, according to the thinking at that time, the area of the German Reich, could have included the island of Madagascar, following negotiations of a peace treaty. This would have provided all kinds of other possibilities and points of departures.

Q. In report No. T/196 which Luther submitted in this matter, he writes that the Madagascar Plan had been processed by the appropriate office of the RSHA. That was your Section, wasn't it?

A. Yes, Sir. I have already said that. The Madagascar Plan was processed by my Section in accordance with orders.

Q. And that report is report No. T/174, signed by Dannecker. And it was for that purpose you brought Dannecker, as you reported yesterday, together with representatives of the Jewish Community, so that he could discuss the possibilities with them?

A. I do not wish to deny this, as I read with my own eyes yesterday that Dannecker had spoken to Dr. Loewenherz on this matter. This report, which we have before us, is the outcome of perhaps ten or fifteen - I don't know how many - consultations with all central authorities, which had been ordered to deal with this at the time by superior offices.

Q. But that was from your Section? That is what I want to know.

A. This report is not the result of the thinking of members of the Section. It is the outcome of numerous talks by all expert officials and other members of the Section who took part in this, as well as other persons appointed to this task.

Q. No, no. Answer my questions.

Presiding Judge: Your Section dealt with the matter of Madagascar, didn't it?

Accused: Yes, Sir, But under an assignment that all relevant central authorities had to join in working on this common task, since the Reich Security Head Office alone could not have worked on this, if for no other reason than for lack of authority.

Attorney General: Just a minute. I would like to have an answer to my question. Luther writes here, in report T/196, that the appropriate office at the Reich Security Head Office is working out a minutely detailed plan for the evacuation of the Jews to Madagascar and their settlement there, a plan which had been approved by the Reichsfuehrer- SS. This appears on page 2, and you confirm that the appropriate authority was your Section. And the plan is that which we find in exhibit No. T/174, that is the plan which your Section was working on. Is that correct?

Accused: Then I have to ask myself why were ten to fifteen consultations with department officials necessary for all that, with fifteen to twenty participants each time?

Q. It may be that you had participants or helpers or advisors, but the report came from your Section, didn't it?

A. The plan is the outcome, as I can confidently state, it is the outcome of consultations of many experts, as is, incidentally always the practice with the authorities.

Presiding Judge: But who prepared this plan after all the consultations?

Accused: After all consultations, Section IVB4 naturally had to do this.

Attorney General: Let us, then, regard this, as your plan to provide the Jews with soil under their feet. On page 5, paragraph 2, it says that this would be a police state. Is that right? Is that how you saw the Jewish State? And the police would be the German police?

Accused: Legal questions were not within the competence of Section IVB4. Rather, the responsibility for these legal questions, lay chiefly with Department I of the Ministry of the Interior, and certainly both Himmler and Heydrich gave the relevant orders. I do not want to dispute this in any way; nor can I dispute this in any way.

Q. This is not a matter of directives nor of orders; this is a matter of a plan about which you admitted that it was the plan of your Section.

I would now like to discuss the details of this plan with you. Please turn to page 6: "The overall administration of the Jewish State will be in the hands of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service." Is that correct? That is how it was planned; is that correct?

A. The overall direction refers here in my opinion to the evacuation and resettlement. Nothing has as yet been said here, as far as I can see, about the constitutional form of the Jewish State. Perhaps nothing could as yet have been said in this respect, at that time.

Q. No, nothing was said about it then. Turn to page 11, and see whether it was not referred to. There was talk about creating a command post of the Security Police, which would be in charge of the matters in Madagascar. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is right as far as the stage of settlement is concerned. Nothing else can be inferred from it.

Q. And one of the important advantages, in the eyes of your Section, of the Madagascar Plan is to be found on page 4. In the paragraph before the last - "that Madagascar is an island, and the Jews would therefore no longer be able to come in contact with the outside world."

A. I have already said that this was not the thinking of Section IVB4, but the thinking of all participants at these consultations. Who presented it, whether it came from the Chancellery of the Party, or some other central Authority, whether it came from IVB4 as well - also a possibility - that I do not know. In any event, one of these participants must have put it forward.

Q. The plan was to have been implemented in such a way that each year one million Jews were to have been thrown onto the island? It says so, on page 10, paragraph 3.

A. Yes, that is quite possible, if the appropriate financial means were made available, large-scale organizational arrangements made, and the appropriate preparatory work for housing, agriculture and industry undertaken, then this would have been quite possible, according to the calculations of that time. I did not make these calculations.

Q. I am sure you did not. But look at page 13. Where did you intend to get the money - by confiscating Jewish property. Correct?

A. Yes, that is right, but this was not the idea of IVB4, because IVB4 was much too small for that. Rather, this must have originated with the appropriate economic offices, which after all passed the laws for disposing of Jewish property.

Q. There is no mention here of laws, or how you were going to implement this. Here, there is reference to a plan, and I would like to see how you were going to plan the placing of ground under the feet of the Jewish people, as this is written in exhibit T/174. Right? That is the plan of your Section.

A. That is the plan not only of my Section, but that is the outcome of the general consultation. As a matter of principle, I have to say about this, that it is always very difficult to make a start with such enormous undertakings. The initiative is the most difficult part. The organization comes later. One would have seen how the whole thing would have been organized and began to operate. Every beginning, I must say at this point, is very difficult, especially when one has to struggle against opposition. After all, it was not a matter of having all central authorities throw themselves into this Madagascar affair, head over heels.

Q. Heydrich made efforts to have this plan implemented, is that right?

A. Yes, that is right.

A. And who was against it?

A. As far as I can remember, the main difficulties, in the beginning, were created by the Foreign Office. I, myself, incline towards the view, which was strengthened by various matters which occurred later, that it was a matter here of rivalry between Heydrich and Ribbentrop. Ribbentrop was afraid that the Chief of the Security Police, or rather the Ministry of the Interior would intervene in an area for which he regarded himself exclusively responsible.

On the other hand, Heydrich had political ambitions. I inferred this from a remark he made that he was happy to be able to leave the negative police work, to some extent, and to change over, as he put it, to positive political work, when he became the Acting Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia. From these passing remarks which I remember, I would say that this was also a political issue within the high echelons and the highest leadership of the Reich at that time.

Q. You will agree that in terms of colonization, this plan had no basis whatsoever, and that if it had been carried out, it would have meant that four million Jews would have been sent to Madagascar, to die there.

A. No, this I must refute most decisively and I can prove that. Because who was it, after all, who caused the Madagascar Plan to collapse. Strictly in the external sense it was essentially opposed by the Foreign Office, and specifically the German Ambassador in Paris, Abetz, who on the occasion of a visit to the then Head of State - in what was called his Fuehrer headquarters - made the proposal that instead of letting the Jews sail around on the high seas, simply stick them into some territory in the occupied Russian area. This is where the obstacles originated, and this proves precisely what I said in my last answer. Madagascar was definitely not a plan to exterminate the Jews or annihilate them, because otherwise it would not have included the passage which is naturally a side issue, but it stands out that there are seven or eight million heads of cattle on the island, and nutrition for the Jews who would come to the island would be ensured. This passage would not have been necessary at all, if such an evil idea had been behind this conception.

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