The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 92
(Part 3 of 4)

Attorney General: So why does emigration from the Reich not harm implementation of the Madagascar Plan, while emigration from France and Belgium does harm such implementation?

Judge Halevi: Mr. Attorney General, it does not say here that it harms or does not harm. The letter can also be understood in a different manner. It can also be understood as meaning - and in fact the point is made explicitly - that preference is to be given to emigration from Germany, and that there is only a limited number of emigration possibilities in total, and that therefore the Jews of France and Belgium will have to wait.

Attorney General: That is one reason.

Judge Halevi: The words "they will have to wait" can be understood to mean that the problem of the Jews of France and Belgium will be solved by means of the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. As to what the solution will be - this is not stated here.

Attorney General: But since it says here "zweifellos kommende Endloesung"? And since he tells me that this is Madagascar, I am asking him why the emigration of Jews from France and Belgium, which is prohibited here, harms the implementation of the Madagascar Plan.

Judge Halevi: I do not see that this letter says that it harms such implementation.

Attorney General: But it was prohibited.

Judge Halevi: Yes, it is prohibited because of the priority given. In other words, they have to wait, but can emigrate later, let us assume to Madagascar. This can also be understood along these lines.

Attorney General: Very well; let us hear it from his own lips. I have several more letters of this type, or at least one.

Judge Raveh: Do you wish to drop this letter?

Attorney General: No. If the Court considers that the interpretation of this letter by the Accused is a reasonable one, then I have no alternative.

Presiding Judge: We are not giving any interim ruling on the matter.

Judge Raveh: I should just like to ask the Accused whether, in terms of the Madagascar Plan, there was a difference between the Jews who were in occupied France and those who were in unoccupied France.

Accused: In terms of the Madagascar Plan itself, Your Honour, I do not think so, but there is a difference in that Goering wanted intensified emigration from the Reich and the Protectorate, perhaps it was for technical reasons of food supplies or something similar - I really do not know what was behind this, but as I have just gathered, a distinction was made here.

Judge Raveh: This means then that, if in this letter it says that emigration from occupied France is completely prohibited, and emigration from unoccupied France is somehow permitted, then this had nothing to do with the Madagascar Plan, but was for reasons of food supplies.

Accused: Your Honour, I do not know what the actual situation was, because even then these matters were not, at that time either, decided on by my Section or myself, because we received these instructions from above. And this shows already that Goering was dealing with general matters, and we - there are documents presented here, in which Himmler deals with the occupied territories, and other documents where yet more instructions are issued - then, too, neither I nor any of the members of my Section was able to decide on his own initiative on anything in this sphere.

Judge Raveh: If the reference here is to the extermination of the Jews, a possible assumption might have been that perhaps it did not matter if there were still any Jews in unoccupied France, but it was relevant and important if there were still Jews in occupied France, with regard to the extermination of the Jews.

Accused: Your Honour, I have my doubts as to whether at that time the idea ever came up of something like that, because, after all, this was before the German-Russian campaign, and I still have a very clear memory today of being summoned to see Heydrich, and being struck dumb when he described it to me in those words. So, since I know how I was suddenly confronted with this whole thing and became acquainted with these matters, but the date of that is more or less clear, while here it says May 1941, I must conclude that at that point it cannot have had this meaning.

Attorney General: I say to you that the Final Solution was discussed in your Section as early as the beginning of 1941. Is that correct or not?

Presiding Judge: Perhaps we should not now use the term "Final Solution."

Attorney General: "Final Solution" in the sense of extermination.

Accused: This is the first time that I have heard of the Final Solution in the sense of extermination at the beginning of 1941.

Q. So in T/679, document No. 66, when you used the term the impending "Final Solution of the Jewish Question," in order to prevent increased emigration from Yugoslavia of Jews with German nationality, did you not mean extermination?

A. At that time that cannot have been the meaning. What I meant is also irrelevant, because I said what I was ordered to say. But at that time I did not yet know anything of what was going on in the East.

Q. But strangely enough these are exactly the same words as in November 1941, when you did know what was going on.

A. They were always the same words.

Q. And the meaning was the same?

A. It was the top echelons who decided what the meaning was. At the beginning it meant "emigration," then it even meant the project in Radom or Nisko...

Attorney General: I am talking about this document of March 1941 - don't talk to me now about Nisko! At that time, when you signed this document, you used the words "kommende Endloesung," the same words as in November 1941, and you knew that the meaning was the extermination of the Jews!

A. No, not then - I did not know that.

Q. Look at T/196, document No. 93, the note by Luther at the end of the second page, and you will see that the Madagascar Plan was shelved in August 1940.

A. It does not say here that the Madagascar Plan was shelved in August 1940; it says that Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich passed on this plan directly to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs in August 1940, and on 21 August 1942, he writes that the actual Madagascar Plan was overtaken by political developments.

Q. That is true, but that means then that the plan was abandoned in August 1940.

A. No, it was only passed on then.

Attorney General: Read on.

Accused: It says that the intention of the Fuehrer was to evacuate all Jews from Europe, as Ambassador Abetz informed me in August 1940 after a report to the Fuehrer. That could mean two things: First of all that Abetz had already - as shown in this document in Poliakov (Red) - been to Hitler in 1940 and had sort of taken the Madagascar Plan along in support, or it would also be perfectly feasible - although I myself think it unlikely - that instead of 1940, this should read 1941, because here we have documents showing that Ambassador Abetz saw Hitler in 1941. In any case, what this shows is that in August 1940 this Madagascar Plan was completely fresh, so that it could just be submitted to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Q. Do you know of Goering's instruction to Heydrich to submit to him the plan for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, dated 31 July 1941, T/179, document No. 461?

A. Yes, I am aware of this plan.

Q. You dictated this letter, these are your words, are they not?

A. I had nothing whatsoever to do with this plan.

Q. I am asking whether you dictated this letter.

A. No, certainly not.

Q. In 1957, in Argentina, did you say, "Den Brief habe ich abdiktiert, es sind meine Worte"? (I dictated the letter, they are my words.)

A. About this document?

Q. Yes, about this document.

A. That is new to me. At the top it says Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich, Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, Chairman of Council of Ministers for the Defence of the Reich. There is no reference here either to IVB4, or to the Head Office for Reich Security, or to the Chief of the Security Police.

Q. And then you said, "The letter was drafted by us, it was only signed by Goering, it was submitted ready for signing." Did you say these words or did you not?

A. I cannot remember - in any case the entire bureaucratic - bureaucracy would have prevented this.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, I do not know where these claims are taken from, it would appear to be some passage from the Sassen Report which has not been admitted as evidence.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, the fact that these passages have not been admitted as evidence does not prevent the Attorney General from asking him whether he said something of that nature, and the Accused can reply "yes" or "no," which is the only reason why the Attorney General is referring to these passages; and if we assume that this is a passage which does not appear in Book 17 - in File 17, I should like this to be clarified.

Dr. Servatius: I understand that, but it does look here as if this is a statement which has been acknowledged by the Accused himself.

Presiding Judge: He is being asked: Did you ever say something like this or not; well then, and the answer is - the Accused is able to say "yes" or "no."

Attorney General: Perhaps you would be prepared to answer differently if I show you a certain document? Look at what I have marked in green on this paper.

Accused: Before I read the document, if it is the famous Sassen Documents, I should like to say that there were very many passages which were put to me suggestively, because I was under the influence of alcohol, because I was encouraged to make myself look more than I was, in order to make the book interesting, and where I was encouraged to claim that things I had only heard about were actually experienced by myself, to make the book sound more authentic and truer to life. This is the reason why I have disassociated myself from the whole thing. I do not know...

Presiding Judge: You are entitled to make this claim, but you have just been asked to look at these lines and to answer "yes" or "no" as to whether you said this or not, since I assume that there are things in the document which you actually did say.

Accused: I really do not think so - after all, that would - that would be equivalent to half-harbouring delusions of grandeur if I were to claim responsibility for this, and any of my former members of staff could prove that that cannot have been the case.

Attorney General: I am not asking you how this looks in other people's eyes. I am asking you whether you said these things in 1957 in Argentina.

Accused: I have just said, Mr. Attorney General, that I am not capable of giving detailed, precise information about this, because I was temporarily under the influence of alcohol, and I do not know whether I was under the influence of alcohol at this precise point.

Q. My question is still the same: Whether under the influence of alcohol or not, did you say these words or not?

A. I do not remember, and so I cannot give any answer other than that which I have already stated, because I was under the influence of alcohol.

Q. In other words, maybe "yes," maybe "no"?

A. I am not able to say anything precise about the whole thing, because red wine was being drunk the whole time.

Q. The entire four months? We heard from your Counsel that it was brandy.

A. First of all, it was not for the entire four months - it was on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings, possibly over a period of four months, I do not know, but it certainly was not four months in a row, and when we met we drank red wine, but it may have been brandy occasionally, I do not remember precisely.

Q. All right. I shall have further questions to you about the Wannsee Conference. However, I should now just like to ask you about what you said on page 241 of your Statement to the police. In reply to the question from Captain Less, "What was the purpose of the Wannsee Conference?," you said: "The purpose on the part of Heydrich was to receive the authority to run Jewish affairs as he saw fit." Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct...

Q. That will do, I asked whether that is correct.

A. I just wanted to say something about what was said before that. With regard to this authorization by Goering, it could very easily be verified whether this document was written in my Section or not. I am not trying to evade anything, nor to deny or admit to something which I am not aware of. But an expert who is a specialist in typewriters and identifying type faces, could do some comparative work; there are enough documents available which can be proved to have been typed on the typewriter in my Section, and it would be easy enough to establish any similarity.

Q. You know just as well as I do that there are at least three or four copies of this document typed on different typewriters. We shall, therefore, proceed to the next question.

Heydrich wanted to be authorized to run Jewish affairs as he saw fit, and he received such authority in Wannsee, did he not?

A. Essentially, I believe he received his authorization in Wannsee.

Q. According to T/186, document No. 841, you were his specialist officer responsible for all affairs connected with the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, were you not?

A. As far as they were limited to Section IVB4, but no further.

Q. Read the document. It says: "...Since happily now the basic design has been established with regard to the practical implementation of the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, and there is complete agreement on the part of the offices involved, I would ask you to instruct your official in charge to contact my specialist officer responsible for this matter, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann." So you are Heydrich's Specialist Officer responsible, are you not?

A. According to the organization chart.

Q. No, no, according to this letter.

A. No, the organization chart is the basis, and as far as it goes, this letter is also correct, because I was the Section Head on Jewish Affairs, as shown in the organization chart.

Q. Look here, in the organization chart it does not say anywhere that Heydrich was the exterminator of the Jews, does it?

A. Nor does it say that about me in my Section, but it is known that the gas van department was in Department II.

Q. But Goering authorized Heydrich - I assume with Hitler's consent - to solve the Jewish Question, as we have seen in exhibit T/179; and that was definitely not in accordance with the organization chart. That was a special assignment.

A. I have no idea how this came about. Had I, at the time, had a wider sphere of influence and a wider area of responsibility, then I could obviously give more authentic information about this. But I was only a Section Head in Department IV, and I cannot say any more.

Q. But Heydrich calls you "my specialist officer" on these matters. Or should we add this to the other falsifications?

A. No, certainly not, because I even had to write the invitations for the Wannsee Conference.

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