The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

Q. Do you agree with me that there is not a single reference here as to how these four million Jews who were to be brought there over a period of four years, were to earn their living?

A. As far as I recall, and I believe that is also expressed in this file, the idea was that of a so-called dove-tailing system. This meant that the first groups of immigrants would have to create the conditions so that those who would follow them would find means of livelihood, and that is how it would go on. If the necessary capital were pumped in, if those in charge of the island were to allow the required freedom of investment, then in these times of war, after all, millions upon millions of human beings were moved around and sent all over the world, then I can see no reason why this would not have been possible. At any rate, significantly better than the proposal put forward by the Foreign Office - rather by the German Ambassador in Paris - to send the Jews to the East, to the Eastern Occupied Territories.

Q. When you are speaking of deportation to the East, you mean deportation for the purpose of extermination, because in the East things were not at all that bad, three and a half million Jews lived there, didn't they?

A. I mean, in this connection, the deportation to the occupied Russian areas, as this is expressed in a letter by embassy counsellor Zeitschel to his ambassador. This letter - I think, I am not sure - is not included in these documents, but it was published in Poliakov (Red). It was, I think, a subject at Nuremberg....

Q. Are you referring to deportation for extermination, or not? That is my question.

A. Deportation for extermination that I cannot judge, as it had not been determined in advance whether they were going to extermination or not. That was not known to the authority concerned with the matter of the drawing up transport timetables.

Q. And as you saw that the Madagascar Plan was not going to be carried out, you said to yourself, with a rude curse on your lips: Well, I shall now carry out the task my superiors have set for me - that is deportation, and I shall do that?

A. No, this interpretation of my thinking is not correct. Rather - and this I remember very clearly after I received the decision that Madagascar had been abandoned at that point - and I want to stress this, I was very bitter that this attempt also went awry and failed. I told myself: "All right, now there is no sense any longer to make plans on my own intiative. I am too weak and too powerless for that. I shall now - it was war time - do only that which I am ordered and whatever I am responsible for." I was in uniform, I could not get away, I tried to get away, as was established, and I had to obey. For my part, I recognized my powerlessness with regard to my own proposal, or my own idea, because these were ground up and crushed by stronger powers.

Judge Halevi: How many inhabitants were there in Madagascar at the time?

Accused: I do not know this, Your Honour, but I do know that at that time....

Judge Halevi: How many, approximately?

Accused: Perhaps two or three million, I do not know, I can't say exactly any more, and those were to have been resettled, I think, under the peace treaty.

Judge Halevi: According to this report, there were four million people there. Where were they to have been resettled? Where were they supposed to have emigrated to?

Accused: Your Honour, I cannot give a precise answer to this. It was to have been negotiated in the peace treaty. Of course, always according to the conception of those days, that Germany was to be on the winning side.

Attorney General: For you, the main thing in this plan was that Madagascar was an island, and that thereby contact between the Jews and the outside world be prevented, as is stated on page 2 of the plan.

Accused: That was most surely not my plan, or my idea or my wish. Quite the contrary - and I have other evidence for this - it was my wish and my idea to help in the creation of a spot where the Jews could live.

Q. Go ahead and declaim about this spot. Is it true that this plan was approved?

A. The plan was approved, that is correct, yes.

Q. And why was it not implemented?

A. Because the military situation overtook this whole matter.

Q. If so, whom were you angry at?

A. I was angry first at the constant attempts by the Foreign Office, and secondly at fate, which at that time robbed us of the Madagascar opportunity.

Q. The Foreign Office eventually agreed to implement this plan, but you say that the military situation no longer made this implementation possible.

A. I think that the lack of consent by the Foreign Office and the impossibility of implementing the plan on military grounds coincided somehow, because as far as I know this concerned, in both cases, the latter part of 1941.

Q. And at that time you said to yourself: They are demanding that I carry out deportations, so I shall carry out deportations. Is that correct?

A. Whether I was asked to carry out deportations at that time - I do not think so. I think I was occupied with this much earlier, and that was concerning the expulsion, the preparation of the railway timetables in the new Eastern territories annexed to the Reich, into what was called the Generalgouvernement. Therefore, this cannot have been casually connected with the deportation. I very definitely expressed my indignation, at that time, to myself. Whether I expressed it vis-a-vis other persons, I do not know, because I now learned that all attempts at a normal solution had failed and that pressure was being applied for other attempted solutions. Therefore, I say that this was late in the year 1941, when I learned for the first time of new methods.

Q. I am sorry but you will have to read a section here which will not cause you any pleasure. This is from File 17, page 726. Read the passage which I have marked for you.

A. Yes, Sir.

"And when, at last, matters were ready, the military situation had become a thing of the past. It was suddenly also approved, just when it was outdated. Had we started deporting to Madagascar right away, perhaps the Allies would not have interfered in this. And the interested powers had me where they wanted me. I recited to myself the quotation from Goetz von Berlichingen, and I told myself that I had become an ordinary official, for that which belonged to my official sphere of competence, and acted in accordance with directives, regulations, laws. And I covered myself by that."
Q. And is that correct?

Accused: That is what I must have said.

Q. And from then on you foiled every attempt at Jewish emigration?

A. No, that is not right either. Rather, emigration was stopped at some point by Himmler, and in accordance with the directives and regulations which were in force at any particular time, I had to adapt myself. Thus, after the ban on emigration, I was no longer allowed to decide whether a particular Jew could emigrate or not. This decision was reserved by my Department Chief, Mueller, for himself in person. I had no right to decide in matters of emigration. If I did ever make an exception, then these exceptions could on no account be presented to me through official channels. But these were matters which were, let us say, especially the Grueber Bureau, especially on the part of the then...

Q. Would you stop your declamations. I am asking you whether from that point on you fought any attempt at Jewish emigration? Even before Himmler's decree?

A. I did not fight this. No. On my part, I did not fight a single case of emigration.

Q. For instance, when two Jews from Vienna, Fleischmann and Kollman, found an opportunity to escape to Afghanistan, in February 1941, you were the one who prevented this. Correct?

A. I cannot have been the one, by any means, because I did not decide such matters.

Q. I will read to you what you wrote to your Foreign Office on 28 February 1941, in exhibit T/808.

"With reference to your letter of 18 February 1941, I wish to inform you that in the meantime I have instructed the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna, that the Jews mentioned in the report from the German Embassy in Afghanistan dated 14 December 1940, Fleischmann and Kollman, will be included among the Jews to be deported from Vienna to the Generalgouvernement, in one of the next trains. The matter will presumably be disposed of thereby."
And you signed this. You were authorized to give the Central Office instructions.

A. Nor was I authorized to give the Central Office instructions on my own and, furthermore, it appears from the reference in this document that the Foreign Office made representations in this matter, which indicates to me that in such a matter I did not have the authority to make a decision at all, but had to obtain a decision by my chief. This instruction, which I received from my Department Chief, I subsequently put in writing and signed it "im Auftrage," (by order). I had received the order, I had the directive and I had to act in accordance with orders.

Q. Do you wish to tell me that the fact that you signed "by order," that this mere fact indicates that you were acting on someone's behalf?

A. In the first place, this would...

Q. Yes or no?

A. ...this fact alone would...

Q. I want an answer: yes or no?

A. "Im Auftrage" means on behalf of someone else.

Q. I tell you, then, that you are lying here, too. The letters "i.A." or the words "im Auftrage" were a required formula, under your standing orders, and that these words meant nothing other than that you had signed as ordered. I shall now show you the instructions how you had to sign, in T/94 and T/97.

Dr. Servatius: [Rises to speak.]

Attorney General: I would ask Counsel for the Defence not to interfere in the course of the cross-examination.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Attorney General, you do not know yet what Counsel for the Defence wants to say. This occurs in trials every day. Go ahead, Dr. Servatius.

Dr. Servatius: The Accused is being charged here that he is lying, but he is not given the opportunity to explain his answer, that is to say what is the meaning of "im Auftrage." He was restricted to the point: does "im Auftrage" mean you signed in your own name or acted in someone else's name. Thereupon he replied "yes." But his subsequent explanation was cut short. He must be given the chance to give this explanation.

Presiding Judge: No, we do not have the impression that any wrong was done to the Accused. In any event, he will have the opportunity to have his say; it is obvious that the cross-examination is not yet over.

Attorney General: In exhibit No. T/94, the instructions from the Gestapo, from as far back as 1936, it says in paragraph 4 who has to sign "i.V." (on behalf of) and who has to sign "i.A.03." (by order). These are routine instructions, and the signature indicates nothing other than that you have signed in the form which has been required of you.

Accused: This directive for correspondence dated 1936 was issued at a time before the centralization of offices. It was issued at a time when, for instance, Mueller still had to sign "by order." It was issued at a time which was long before reorganization of these offices of the Security Police and the Security Service.

Q. And you mean to say that it was changed afterwards? Yes or no?

A. Yes, I can say at least that it changed insofar as a Section Head...

Q. Without "because" - yes or no? Then look at T/97 and you can see that it did not change at all. This is already after the concentration of the offices, after the consolidation. And that you signed "i.A." in accordance with routine directives.

A. This is no routine directive. Rather it says here "i.V." for the Department Chiefs, not for the Section Heads. For the Department Chiefs it is "i.V." or "i.A.03," depending on the letterhead used. Thus when it says: Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, the Head of the Bureau signed "i.V." (in Vertretung" (by order).

Presiding Judge: As far as I understand these directives, you could not sign in any other way than with the addition of the letters "i.A.03" Is that correct?

Accused: Yes, that is correct.

Attorney General: And therefore the fact that you signed "i.A." or "im Auftrage" in fact means nothing.

Accused: It means everything. Yes, Sir.

Q. Because you were ordered to sign in this way whether you were acting on behalf of someone else or not. That was the form in which you had to sign?

A. Then I would not have had to check back with my Department Chief, then I could have simply written "Eichmann".

Q. I am not asking you why, I am asking you about the fact, and the Presiding Judge: asked you this: Every letter which went through you, had to be signed ""i.A.," and in no other way. Even when you had to draw up some kind of a receipt for anything, you were not allowed to sign differently. Is that right?

A. When this receipt...

Presiding Judge: No, Mr. Attorney General, please let him answer. Please continue your answer.

Accused: If a simple receipt had the letterhead "Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service" or "Reich Security Office" I would have had to sign even these "i.A." because as a Section Head I did not have any authority of my own to decide.

Attorney General: Do you mean that for every letter you wrote, you received a special instruction from Mueller?

Accused: If for some instance, whatever it might be, there was as yet no previous ruling by Mueller, some form of precedent, which had not yet been replaced in the course of time, as long as that was the case, in every individual instance I went to see Mueller, two or three times a week, with some twenty original queries every time...

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I assume that you will be continuing with this subject?

Attorney General: Yes indeed.

Presiding Judge: Then we shall now recess.

The Court will reconvene at 3.30 this afternoon.

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