The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 93
(Part 3 of 5)

Q. And when the Jew Karl Heinz Klinger escapes to Budapest, that is T/826, document No. 927, you contact your Foreign Ministry and demand his extradition, because he managed to escape from the deportation measures?

A. This document was also dealt with by an official-in- charge. This official also notes that the person referred to in the heading had got to know about various internal matters on the basis of his activities on behalf of a counter-espionage organization, which must be a German counter-espionage organization, and also a customs-search office, and that his planned escape abroad could be prevented. It does not say that my Section and my official- in-charge were the cause of this. The prime movers were those who worked with him in counter-intelligence. In accordance with orders, I had to write about this, nothing more, because I had absolutely no idea that the Jew referred to in the heading had worked with counter-intelligence and the customs-search office. That is another clear piece of evidence of the fact that I acted on the basis of some form of instructions and orders, and that I was only able to obtain such instructions and orders from my direct superior, Mueller, and his authority as Inspector General for the Frontiers was very wide.

Judge Halevi: I have another question about an earlier document. Take T/496 once again. This talks about the Jew Golub, for whom some third party in Switzerland is trying to obtain South American nationality. And it says there that you have learned of this in the strictest confidence. That means that you had an intelligence network for uncovering such cases.

Accused: First of all, the Head Office for Reich Security, Department VI, Your Honour, had an intelligence service, but Department IV did not.

Q. And did Department VI pass such intelligence on to you?

A. Not only Department VI, although obviously they did, too. Such information also came from the plenipotentiaries of the Fuehrer for various special areas, for the Party Chancellery, from the various ministries...

Q. But what happened here in Switzerland, someone in Switzerland was trying to get South American nationality. How did you find out about that?

A. It is possible that the Party Chancellery in Berlin was notified about that through the territorial group in Switzerland of the National Socialist Workers Party (NSDAP)

Q. That means that there were spies there for the Nazi Party, spying on what went on in Switzerland?

A. That was done in all countries - in every country an intelligence service was operated.

Q. In other words, an intelligence network, as I said?

A. I am convinced that during the War, there were various intelligence networks in all these countries, as well. I know of some of them.

Q. But they dealt with such matters?

A. The intelligence services dealt with all matters.

Q. With these matters as well?

A. Including these matters, as well. This is not the only case, Your Honour, many such matters had to be dealt with.

Q. And when the Swedish Government was prepared to grant Swedish citizenship to a few Norwegian Jews, in order to save them, you were the person who informed the occupation authorities that you would in no way agree, and that you would issue instructions to send the Jews in question to their deaths as quickly as possible regardless. Is that correct?

A. I am sure it does not say to send them to their deaths, I cannot imagine that. But I must admit that I did have to write such letters, I do know that, because this was not the only case. Such letters were common, in fact they were so common, I must also admit, as I also said in my interrogation, that two officials had to split the alphabet between them, in order to deal with the individual cases which passed through Section IVB4 as part of the official channels, from the lower to the higher levels, or from the higher to the lower levels, and which had to be dealt with in the Section.

Q. And when Jews of Poland try to escape to Romania, and the German censor intercepts a letter which refers to that, then you are the address to which the censor passes on the letter - T/265, document No. 1534.

Presiding Judge: What was the number of the Norwegian affair?

Attorney General: T/593, document No. 330, the last paragraph.

(To the Accused) Was that also your business?

Accused: This document is from Richter, who was in Bucharest as Aide to the Police Attache, and later as Police Attache himself, and it is addressed to the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, for the attention of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann.

Yes, such matters also came to my attention, as I have said, there were hundreds or perhaps thousands of individual cases.

Q. Because all Jewish affairs were your business, correct?

A. No, that is not correct, because otherwise other Section Heads in the Head Office for Reich Security would not have been involved, in their capacity of being in charge of other sectors.

Q. I shall now turn to a new chapter, and if the Court agrees, it might be advisable to have a recess.

Presiding Judge: I always believe that the first part of a Session should be the longer one.

Attorney General: I agree, but this chapter will take an hour.

Presiding Judge: Very well, we shall now take a recess.


Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: The order for deportations to the camps in the East was determined both by general instructions, and also by special instructions, which were issued from time to time, was it not?

Accused: Subject to how the timetables etc. were applied, yes.

Q. Let us take T/407, document No. 693* {*Erroneously referred to as document No. 690 on page 572, Volume II} for example. You are reporting to Paris about a transport - I believe that this is one of the first notifications - and you ask for a complete list to be sent to your Department. Look at what I have underlined.

A. Yes.

Q. So from time to time, you received a list of the names of those deported?

A. Yes, but I believe that towards the end that stopped.

Q. When was towards the end?

A. I am unable to say now, because Section IVB4 only had the statistical documents, as the Section had to draw up a monthly report on total figures.

Q. Perhaps you misunderstand me. My question is: Until when did you receive your lists with the names of every Jew who was deported?

A. I am unable to give the precise date. I cannot even give a really accurate indication. I said that I believe that towards the end that was not done any more.

Q. Towards the end, I assume that means towards the end of 1944?

A. That must actually have been 1943, because by 1944 I practically was not at the Head Office for Reich Security.

Q. From March on, would you say?

A. Yes, with the exception of the few weeks before, when I was living east of Berlin.

Q. According to the directives you issued, and I am now referring to the directives in T/765, document No. 1282 - a report about all transports had to be sent to your Section, to the Inspector of Concentration Camps in Oranienburg and to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

A. There was a whole series of directives which could be ordered in any particular case. In accordance with these directives, dated 20 February 1943, about the technical implementation of the evacuation of Jews to the East (Auschwitz concentration camp), what you have said is correct, Mr. Attorney General.

Q. And this was so that Oranienburg, which controlled the concentration camps, and also Auschwitz itself could make preparations for absorption. It was for this purpose that reports had to be made to you?

A. No, it was the other way round: first of all, the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps indicated the destination, and then Section IVB4 was informed of the destination by Department Chief IV, but of course the practical outcome was the same.

Q. And this was also how things were carried out as we have seen in a whole series of reports, of which I shall show you only one. For example T/447 (13), document No. 275, in which Roethke reports on a transport in accordance with these directives.

A. Yes. This distribution list was valid only for Auschwitz. For the Generalgouvernement there was a different distribution list.

Q. Yes, I know. Thus Roethke enquired of you, when he had already fixed the time and had the transport material ready, whether he could carry out the transport to Auschwitz, as, for example, in T/458, document No. 254. I am at present interested in the first page. Is that correct?

A. Yes, in substance that is correct.

Q. And your Section controlled this, as can be seen from the other pages?

A. Yes. That is also correct.

Q. And sometimes the organizers informed you of the departure of transports and asked you to notify Auschwitz and the Border Police, as can be seen, for example, in T/459, document No. 258?

A. Yes. This telegram is also in order, I must confirm that this is how things happened.

Q. And as you will see from T/460, document No. 259, that your Section controlled things in this way?

A. Yes. These are matters regarding timetables, matters of notification, which I have in any case always admitted. These are the deportations from France, ordered personally by Himmler.

Q. In order to ascertain whether there were still possibilities for absorption at Auschwitz, you were in touch directly with the Commandant of Auschwitz, as you have stated in T/1405, in that same part of your testimony which was repeated by Sassen: "In fact I had to have permanent contacts with concentration camps, particularly Auschwitz."

A. As far as I know, the concentration camp commandants had nothing to do with absorption capacity; this was determined exclusively by the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps. I have also been able to ascertain this from studying the files here.

Presiding Judge: That was marked T/1393.

Attorney General: I apologize.

I am not asking you about instructions, I am asking you about facts. Were you in fact in constant contact with the Commandant at Auschwitz, in order to ascertain the absorption possibilities there?

Accused: No, that does not fit the facts. Neither I, nor the Section, were in contact with any concentration camp commandant.

Attorney General: May I have T/1393 from the Court?

Judge Halevi: It is on the third page, Mr. Attorney General.

Attorney General: [To Judge Halevi] Did you find it on the third page?

Judge Raveh: There is a figure 6 on the third page, paragraph 6.

Attorney General: Thank you very much.

Look, this is part of what you said, which the Court admitted with the agreement of your Counsel as words which you uttered, and here it says the following: "Because I had to maintain constant contact with the absorbing concentration camps, particularly Auschwitz, before any major sector got under way, such as Hungary." After all this is what you yourself said, how can you deny it?

Accused: I am far from wanting to deny anything of this sort, but since I myself have now read the statement of a senior official in the Economic-Administrative Head Office in the documents, I must now say that these documents, which are more reliable than my faulty memory, show when I may have made such a statement as this. This official was an SS Standartenfuehrer called Sommer, who made a precise statement about this, and described precisely how things happened. I do not deny that I was in touch with Hoess, but I was not in constant contact.

Q. No, no, I am talking about constant contact in connection with the possibility for the absorption at Auschwitz.

A. I must state that that is not true.

Q. That is not true, even though it comes from you?

A. Even though it comes from me, because it originated in a faulty fashion from a faulty memory, and the documents here correctly indicate how things were.

Q. You know perfectly well that there is no contradiction between what Sommer writes and what you said. I would ask you whether as far as you remember - and it seems to me that your memory is not as faulty as all that - whether you remember being in constant contact with the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in order to be able to ascertain possibilities for absorption?

A. No, I was not in constant contact with the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in order to ascertain possibilities for absorption. I was in contact from time to time, when ordered, but I was not in constant contact and not on this account.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, we need another copy of T/1393. Perhaps you could make a note of that. I did not receive it at the time.

Attorney General: Yes, of course.

[To Accused] Tell me, this File 17, which you told us you wrote in peace and quiet on the ranch - what it says here is correct, I suppose?

Accused: To the best of my knowledge and belief, and subject to my ability to remember, everything is correct.

Q. I will now give you your manuscript, since you will naturally not wish to rely on the typed copy - would you read what you have written on page 730. Starting with the words "dort wo meine Zustaendigkeit " (where my responsibility). Read this out aloud to the Court. I have marked it in ink.

Accused: "Where my responsibility" - it should read no longer (nicht mehr) "existed, for example with regard to the physical annihilation of part of the Jews. I necessarily obtained a sufficient general idea of the matter to allow me to describe how the matter occurred."

Q. The word "nicht" (no) that you added - I understand that you had prepared yourself for that, but the word "nicht" just makes the entire sentence meaningless.

A. I think - when the whole page is considered, then the sentence can be properly understood - and it is distorted if this word "nicht" which oddly enough has not come out in the photocopy - is not included in the reading. There are in fact several smudges here, but the word "nicht" does not appear, and I also noticed this when I read this copy of my writings and I made note of it in my...

Q. And so you decided to add the word "nicht."

A. No, it can also be seen when you read the handwritten page, it is quite clear to everyone that there is a "nicht" here. And even on this photocopy it can be seen that something did appear here. If the "nicht" were not here, the sentence would be entirely meaningless.

Presiding Judge: What is the word after "nicht"?

Accused: "Mehr" - it was "nicht mehr"(no longer), because if there were no "nicht" there, it would read "where my responsibility existed more." That is something which can be very easily ascertained in German.

Attorney General: Are you therefore arguing that you wrote that you were not empowered to do this; you therefore had a general idea and could definitely describe how the matter came about? You are explaining that this was because you did not have any responsibility?

Accused: No, but where my responsibility no longer existed, for example with regard to the physical annihilation of part of the Jews, I necessarily had a general idea and could therefore describe things; that is what it means. The complete passage indicates this quite clearly...

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