The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 9
(Part 2 of 4)

Presiding Judge: You have an index of names - I think it will be easier for you to find it under "Zeitschel."

Accused: I will find it in just a moment, Your Honour, because I am familiar with it. Embassy Councillor Zeitschel draws up a memo for his ambassador on 22 August 1941, and he says here that it would involve transport problems, this Madagascar problem, which has been haunting him for years, and that ships are needed for more important matters than letting large numbers of Jews cruise around the world's oceans. He therefore proposes that the matter be submitted at the first available opportunity to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs, and that he be asked to continue to negotiate a similar arrangement, and suggests dealing with this matter in the East. This was on 22 August 1941. He also proposes that the Jews interned in concentration camps in France be dispatched to the East.

On 8 October 1941, the same Dr. Zeitschel informs Dannecker, on the staff of the Senior Commander - at that time he was called the Plenipotentiary of the Chief of Security Police and the Security Service - later the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service - that during the last visit of Ambassador Abetz to headquarters: "I provided him with the memo with which you are familiar, together with the proposal that our Jews etc. currently held in concentration deported to the East." This is a ruling in the interest of the French, but the date of 8 October 1941, shows that the ambassador in Paris could not have discussed this Madagascar affair with Hitler just before 8 October 1941.

If I could just add, Your Honour, that by the time something like this came down from the top, which took quite some time, and until it finished up with the specialist officer, several weeks could have passed, or even more. Since this communication here is dated 19 November 1941, and this letter October 1941, it is quite possible that there has been some confusion here as far as dates are concerned. In any case, after twenty years I am unable to give any clear- cut, precise information about this particular letter; but I have tried to clarify things as best I could.

Attorney General: Perhaps you could try just a little harder. I shall help the Accused. If the Court could provide him with T/294.

Judge Halevi: But there is also T/714 - this is already an order to deport 50,000 Jews from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Riga and Minsk. This is exactly what the Attorney General was looking for in the documentation.

Attorney General: I would refer to the meeting in Prague on 10 October 1941, in which mention was made of deporting these fifty thousand, with the participation of the Accused. This is T/294. If the Court could show the exhibit to the Accused, he could immediately be reminded that the minor specialist officer knew already on 10 October 1941, about the decision to carry out deportations to the East. Look at this - these are minutes of 10 October 1941, are they not? - in which a decision is taken about deportations to Minsk and Riga.

Accused: Yes, and I have already said that once these transports started rolling, the "Final Solution" could obviously no longer mean Madagascar.

Q. That means that when on 19 November 1941, you spoke of the "approaching Final Solution," you no longer mean Madagascar?

A. Having now seen this date - of course not.

Q. Let us go back. T/732 of 28 October 1941 - when you inform your Foreign Ministry that you will not agree to the emigration of the Jewess Lilli Sara Zatzkis, in the light of the impending Final Solution, the same phrase you used on 19 November 1941 - is this not to be understood as meaning that the impending Final Solution stands for extermination?

A. All I can say about this, is what it means is that I wrote what I was ordered to write at the time by my chief.

Q. That is not the question - stop hiding behind the skirts of your chief. I want to know what you meant when you signed this letter.

A. That I do not know - it was twenty years ago - no one can remember precisely what these dates mean twenty years later.

Presiding Judge: Order! I shall not tolerate any further disturbance - I have no intention of continuing to call for order.

Attorney General: According to the organization chart your Section, IVB4, participated with the other Sections of the Head Office for Reich Security and of Department IV in all matters concerning press and radio, did it not?

Accused: How am I to understand...that and radio...

Q. No, no. According to T/99, document No. 36, you mitbeteiligt (participated) - that is to say, your Section participated in the work of the Press and Radio Section. I shall show you this immediately.

A. Where it says on the right hand side "to participate," that does not mean taking part in the actual work of the Section, but if the Section had to prepare something which was in some way of interest to IVB4 as well, then IVB4 had to participate.

Q. Very well, that will do, there is no need for all this wordiness. Look at page 13, at the bottom, where it says: "Gruppe IIIC4 Presse, Schrifttum und Rundfunk" (Press, Literature and Radio) and "Mitbeteiligt (participate) IVB4." You really participated, did you not?

A. Mr. Attorney General, I have nothing to add to what I have just explained.

Q. I assume that you also received notification of information published abroad about your activities affecting Jews?

A. Possibly, although I do not remember.

Q. I shall help you to remember. I have before me the paper of German immigrants in London, 06Die Zeitung (The Journal), dated 24 October 1941. It refers to the murder of the Jews of Berlin, and your name is mentioned, though the report promoted you - they made you into a Gruppenfuehrer. Were you aware of this report?

A. I do not remember ever reading such a report.

Presiding Judge: I mark this document T/1419.

Attorney General: On 24 October 1941, it was already known in London that you were the murderer of the Jews of Germany.

Accused: Having glanced through the article, the only thing I have to say is that we have seen that documents presented here are not entirely free of errors. It has been my experience that frequently journalists have made mistakes about my activities and my work. But in any case, the wealth of documents shows very clearly that I had nothing to do with the killing and the destruction, and was in no way a cause of them.

Attorney General: All right. Let us return to the "approaching Final Solution," the expression so close to you. Did you ever do anything to promote the Madagascar Plan, something practical, apart from presenting Dannecker's plan?

Accused: I carried out all the preliminary work after it was approved, and above all - I can lay claim to being the initiator of the idea. To be more precise, I would rather say as a precaution that I was one of those who initiated this idea.

Q. If you wish to boast about it, I do not begrudge you that, but I want to know what practical steps were taken to promote the Madagascar idea according to Dannecker's plan.

A. I believe that in my Statement here, I have already said that the entire Madagascar Plan got bogged down by red tape, so that when finally the whole thing was ready for submission at ministerial level, it had been overtaken by developments. But I was not responsible for the fact that it was out of date - it was the people at the top who were responsible.

Presiding Judge: So the answer is that nothing practical was done to implement the plan. Is that correct?

Attorney General: Yes.

Presiding Judge: I know that this is what the Attorney General is saying.

Attorney General: That is what I want him to say.

Accused: Yes, Your Honour.

Q. Moreover, it was also not possible to do anything, since, according to the plan, the Madagascar Plan was to be implemented after the War?

A. No, as far as I saw things, once the negotiations for the peace treaty were completed...

Q. The peace treaty with France?

A. Yes, the peace treaty with France, and that did not necessarily mean that the peace treaty with France would be implemented after the War. That I do not know, in any case.

Q. But this treaty was never signed, was it?

A. The peace treaty? I have made the point that the Madagascar Plan remained dead and was then shelved.

Q. Very well. Let us now go back to the exhibits. In T/683, document No. 1178, you write on 28 August 1941 to your Foreign Ministry that, in the light of the impending Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe currently being prepared, emigration of Jews is to be prevented. So these were preparations for extermination since, as we have just heard, no preparations were made for the Madagascar Plan.

A. I cannot discuss the two types of preparations, but I can discuss the question of the date. On 28 August 1941, I do not even know if I knew anything of what was going on in the East, and what I would have to inspect. I am unable to give any further information about this, because I do not know it.

Q. Oh no, you are not going to get out of this so easily. What did you mean when you wrote "the impending Final Solution currently being prepared"?

A. I did not mean anything, as the phrase did not originate with me - I did not coin the term, nor did I issue orders.

Q. You signed the letter? What was your intention when you signed it?

A. I did not sign it, I signed it by order - that is to say, I was so ordered.

Q. Your name appears here - what was your intention when you put your name to this document?

A. I do not know what my intention was then, but when I read 20 August 1941 and compare the date, which I have just seen in Poliakov, then I must tell you, Mr. Attorney General, that apparently the Madagascar Plan had not yet been dropped at that point. After twenty years, it is very difficult to state the sequence of days at that time.

Q. I shall help you. Let us now go back a little further. Here is T/390, a document from your Section. It is dated 20 May 1941, and the same words appear here which you use in November and October, and with regard to which you admitted that they meant extermination. Here, on page 2, it says: "In the light of these facts, and given the Final Solution of the Jewish Question which will undoubtedly come about, emigration of Jews from France and Belgium must therefore be prevented." So in May as well...

Presiding Judge: I cannot find this phrase in T/390 on page 2.

Attorney General: It is at the end of the first paragraph.

Presiding Judge: What is the original document number?

Attorney General: No. 441.

Presiding Judge: T/390 is document No. 442.

Mr. Bodenheimer, please tell me what 441 corresponds to.

Interpreter: It is N/39.

Attorney General: I am sorry. These are the same words. Your Section, therefore, already knew in May 1941 of the Final Solution which would undoubtedly come about, and as a result of which there was to be a ban on emigration of Jews from France and Belgium. Is that correct?

Accused: I believe I heard a reference to the word "extermination." May I ask whether I heard correctly? On 20 May 1941?

Q. The reference here is to "the Final Solution to the Jewish Question which will undoubtedly come about."

A. Because in May 1941, in my opinion, there was nothing other than the Madagascar Plan envisaged.

Q. And as far as you were concerned, this was undoubtedly the Madagascar Plan?

A. After twenty years, I really cannot be positive on some word, but there was definitely no doubt about this.

Q. But in May 1941 Madagascar was controlled by De Gaulle, and therefore you could not have referred to it.

A. But in May 1941 the island's fate had not yet been decided, and the War was also certainly far from having been resolved.

Q. So when you talk - when your Section talks of the Final Solution which will undoubtedly come about, what was meant?

A. At that time, definitely - Madagascar.

Q. And in order to implement the Madagascar Plan, it is necessary to prohibit emigration of Jews from France and Belgium. Correct?

A. As far as I remember, the object of this communication, I have read it through here - it is signed by Schellenberg. It was an order from Mueller that emigration, which was permitted, should benefit the Jews living in the area of the Reich, including the Protectorate, and that is why, as against that, emigration from the occupied territories is to be prohibited. This was decreed by Mueller in his capacity as deputy head of the Reich Central Office. I had no authority in this matter.

Q. I want you to tell me why, in order to implement the Madagascar Plan - and you have said that there is no doubt that this letter refers to this plan - it was necessary to prohibit the emigration of Jews from France and Belgium.

A. I do not know, Mr. Attorney General, and I also did not give the orders. As to what the motives of my superiors may have been in this matter, I cannot state today. In any case, the prime motive in this document was to avoid curtailing emigration from the territory of the Reich and the Protectorate.

Presiding Judge: There are two reasons here, if you read the letter. It says, "In the light of these facts" - that is what you have just referred to - emigration from the Reich, and it also says "and given the Final Solution which will undoubtedly come about."

Accused: May I see that, please, Your Honour?

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Accused: Your Honour, I have now read this. The actual reason appears right at the beginning of the document: "In accordance with instructions - with a notice from the Reich Marshal of the German Reich, emigration of Jews from the area of the Reich, including the Protectorate, is to be carried out more intensively also during the War," and therefore, it says in the letter, "as there are currently insufficient possibilities of emigration even for the Jews in the area of the Reich, largely via Spain and Portugal, emigration of Jews from France and Belgium would mean renewed curtailment of such possibilities."

Then it continues: "In the light of these facts, and given the Final Solution to the Jewish Question which will undoubtedly come about, the emigration of Jews from France and Belgium is to be prohibited." But at this point, 20 May 1941, this was long before the outbreak of German-Russian hostilities, and no one - at least not myself - thought - in any case, at this point that the Madagascar Plan was still valid.

Presiding Judge: The question was: Why was it necessary, in order to implement the Madagascar Plan, to ban emigration to some other place - that was the question.

Acuused: To implement the Madagascar Plan, so that by banning - there was a ban, so that this emigration, these possibilities for immigration...

Presiding Judge: No, no - as I have already said, two reasons are mentioned here. You can read them: (1) firstly what you referred to, and (2) in the light of the impending "Final Solution." And now you are saying that at that time the impending Final Solution still meant Madagascar. Now, the Attorney General is asking you why for that reason it was necessary to ban emigration to some other place. How could the Madagascar Plan be impeded by emigration to some other place?

Accused: Your Honour, I can imagine that around that time, May 1941, obviously no one thought that the Madagascar Plan could be realized within a year; the whole thing, the realization of the Madagascar Plan, must have been envisaged as taking quite some time, some considerable time, because first there had to be all the negotiations, the peace negotiations and everything else, the requisite consequences of these negotiations, the requisite formalities. All of that would take time, and in the meanwhile Goering had given orders that compulsory emigration was to be pursued during the War. That is how, today, I would imagine things to have been.

Presiding Judge: That will do; you may be seated.

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