The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 93
(Part 4 of 5)

Q. What do you mean by "necessarily"?

A. When I said "necessarily," I meant that at that time I was sent by my superior to the various sites in the East...

Q. And that is why you had a general idea?

A. That is why I had a general idea. Yes.

Q. Without any responsibility?

A. I was sent to the East, I had to report on what was going on there. I reported on it and made my statement.

Q. And I am telling you that this expression only has and can have one meaning, if, as it says at the beginning of the sentence, you had power over the annihilation of part of the Jews, and the word "nicht" only obscures the meaning of the sentence.

A. I did not obscure any word like "nicht." It is odd that everything here has been clearly photocopied, and where this word "nicht", I only see a few smudges, but the word "mehr" has remained, and that proves that there was a "nicht" before it. Perhaps it could even be made out under a magnifying glass.

Q. How often did you visit Auschwitz? How many times?

A. I have tried to reconstruct this...

Q. How many times did you visit Auschwitz?

A. I went there something like four or maybe five times.

Q. And you spoke to Hoess?

A. Yes, I spoke to Hoess.

Q. You did. Did he visit you in Budapest?

A. He also visited me in Budapest. That I do remember.

Q. In order to ascertain what were the possibilities for absorption at Auschwitz for the Jews of Hungary?

A. In Hungary Hoess negotiated primarily not with me, but with Winkelmann and...

Q. What did he talk about with you?

A. That will also have been about this matter.

Q. Then say so, why beat about the bush, be frank about it.

A. I am not beating about the bush, because in Hungary I was also not a giver of orders, only a receiver of orders. First of all he had to apply to the person who issued the orders, and only after that would he come to those who received orders.

Q. And I suppose Hoess complained that he did not have room at Auschwitz for all the deportees who were to be sent from Hungary?

A. That is possible, I will not deny that, but it was definitely not my responsibility nor my job.

Q. But he had discussions with you about possibilities at Auschwitz, about room or place there? He did, did he not? You wanted more trains, and he wanted to accept smaller numbers. Is that correct? In other words, the discussions were with you and not with anyone else?

A. It was not a question of my wanting to provide more trains and his wanting to accept fewer. I am sure he did discuss the matter, but I was just not empowered to decide on the speed and the numbers. That was something my superiors had to decide, not myself. The records prove it.

Q. So why did he talk to you in Budapest? Why did he come - to drink coffee with you?

A. Of course not. I was, after all, one of those he had to see. That is quite obvious, as I was definitely able to give him more complete information about details than those who gave me my orders were able to do.

Q. We were talking about instructions regarding transports to Auschwitz, but you yourself have said, have you not, that there were also instructions for other transports?

A. Yes, there were the instructions for all destinations.

Q. "Yes" will suffice. I will come to the details later. Those were transports destined, not for Auschwitz, but directly for the extermination camps - is that true?

A. I will not deny that at all, since I was also not the person who ordered it.

Q. And, therefore, when you issued directives and signed them yourself - that is exhibit T/1399, document No. 1663 - on the deportation of Jews to Izbica near Lublin - there is no reference here to any mandatory reporting to Oranienburg, nor any mandatory reporting to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the only reporting was to be to Lublin and Cracow. Because these were to be exterminated directly.

A. This...the content is right in this express letter. Responsibility for this lay with the Minister of State in the Generalgouvernement.

Q. I am not asking who was responsible. I am asking you whether these Jews were destined for the extermination camps, "yes" or "no"?

A. This is possible. I will not deny that possibility.

Q. You will not deny that - so say yes.

A. That was the order.

Q. That was the order. And the same applies to directives and instructions, T/ 737, document No. 1279. Instructions for the deportations to Trawniki near Lublin. The same is true of this also, because they were destined for immediate extermination.

Q. If I am only allowed to answer "yes" and "no," an incorrect picture will necessarily be created, and I must state that I do not have any opportunity here to shed light on the matter in this way.

These directives were also given to me, these directives were also issued.

Q. You have already told us this ten times. What I want to know is whether these Jews were directed to the extermination camp, "yes" or "no," to Trawniki near Lublin?

A. Lublin?

Q. Yes.

A. As far as I remember today, there was a large concentration camp at Lublin.

Q. The reports on this said in the direction of Cholm. They were sent to Sobibor. Is that correct? - "yes" or "no"?

A. Today, I do...I cannot see anything at all about Sobibor here.

Q. Read what it says here.

A. Well, whatever it says, I have after all never denied that unfortunately I did know that some of the Jews who were deported were sent for extermination. I have never denied that, I could not deny that.

Presiding Judge: And now, in order to avoid any incorrect picture being created, do you want to add something?

Accused: If I might, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: Please do so.

Accused: I should like to explain how such directives could and did come about. Either Himmler or the Chief of the Security Police ordered that a certain number be deported from a particular area to a particular area. That was fixed. Then Chief of Department IV contacted the Chief of the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps in Oranienburg, and set the destination. These destinations could also be fixed through the Inspectorate of the Economic-Administrative Head Office in the Generalgouvernement, because these sites such as Treblinka and Kulm - Kulm was in the Warthe District - were also nominally dealt with through the Economic- Administrative Head Office. After that Section IVB4 had to check on all exceptions ordered from above in the meanwhile.

That is how these directives were issued, and were subsequently sent to the evacuating authorities as a circular from the Head Office for Reich Security. That was ordered, that was how things proceeded officially. Now, obviously there...did as a result of my activities have a general other words I did have my thoughts about things, and I knew that some of the Jews were sent for extermination. I have also admitted and said as much. The reason why I should like to stress this here is to avoid giving the Court the impression that I wanted to retract what I have said, and retreat into lies. I cannot do this, since I did in fact at the time know something of this officially.

And in conclusion, Your Honour, I would also like to say that in this matter I was unable to give any reply on the basis of any authority of my own, nor was I able to remedy anything, and that was what I meant when I said that unfortunately at that time I was the tool of stronger forces, I was in the grip of stronger forces.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Attorney General: Now that we have heard this statement form you, there is no need for you to repeat it time and time again, and add it to every single reply. Do you understand?

Accused: I do.

Judge Halevi: I have another question about the previous exhibit, T/1399.

Attorney General: I shall provide the Accused with my copy in the meanwhile, but I should like to have it back -

Judge Halevi: Of course. On page 5, at the bottom, it says, "The regional offices of the Reich Association (or Religious Communities) may as provided be employed in preparing and implementing the transports. On each occasion, a Jewish transport administration is to be set up in order to ensure that the transport is carried out smoothly."

My question to you is whether these details were also settled by your superiors, or whether you settled these details.

Accused: No, these details were also, Your Honour, settles by my Department Chief, since he was trying in this way to save on his own personnel at the local State Police Stations. And that is how these matters arose.

Attorney General: When you issued these instructions in June 1942 - that was a considerable time after your visit to Globocnik, when you saw he was murdering Jews, was it not?

Accused: Yes - July 1942. Yes.

Presiding Judge: I can no longer be satisfied with warnings only - I shall have to have the Court cleared!

Attorney General: Then look at the instructions issued here with your signature. You issue instructions for a report on each transport to be sent to you, to the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, Cracow, and to Globocnik, and Globocnik is furthermore instructed to report back to you on every transport which arrived. Is that correct?

Accused: Yes, that is what I ordered.

Q. And you can also see the reference there to Trawniki near Lublin. Trawniki near Lublin was not transferred to the control of the Economic-Administrative Head Office until the end of 1943, as can be seen from document No. 1250, T/1389. And, therefore, this transport had nothing to do with the Economic-Administrative Head Office - these people were sent to Globocnik to be massacred straight away. Is that true?

A. But as the documents show, there nevertheless was an agreement between the Chief of the Economic-Administrative Head Office - Pohl and Globocnik on the one hand, and Himmler, as the third party on the other hand.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps we could first of all see what you want to prove here?

Attorney General: This can be seen in T/1389 - if I might have the document for a second, I can show you immediately.

Presiding Judge: You mentioned it as a fact, so we should see it.

Attorney General: Yes, of course, by all means. "Take-over ordered of the following labour camps by Group D SS Labour Camp Trawniki."

The document was apparently written in 1944, but the document shows that the action was carried out in mid-1943.

Presiding Judge: Does the Accused have this document?

Attorney General: I understand that the Accused has not contested this.

Presiding Judge: At the top, there is also a reference to a place called "Gravniki" - that would appear to be the same place, but with a typing error.

Attorney General: Near Lublin - yes.

You have, therefore, seen that. Can you refer me to any document whatsoever which shows that Globocnik was Pohl's man for implementing the extermination in Poland?

Accused: I can only refer to the many documents about the links between Globocnik and Pohl in the "Reinhardt Operation." I have read them in "Poliakoff," and I believe that there were also a few documents among these exhibits here.

Q. Look through your stack of documents and show me.

A. I do not have these documents, but I also do not understand what this accusation is supposed to mean, because after all I did not deny it; I am really not denying matters related to this. Nor am I contesting what it says under 4 in document No. 1250, nor the "Reinhardt Operation" matter - simply that I had nothing to do with any of these things. I could neither issue orders, nor give orders to stop.

Presiding Judge: I would like you to answer the question. This document also shows that with regard to the labour camps, Globocnik did not receive his instructions from Pohl, while you are maintaining that the camps and everything that went on in the camps was Pohl's affair?

Accused: Yes; what I read here, Your Honour, is completely clear and also intelligible to me. What I do not understand is why Pohl and Globocnik together ran the Reinhardt Operation already before - there must have been some special order issued by Himmler...

Attorney General: Then I shall return to the first question: Why was there no notification to the Economic-Administrative Head Office about any one of these transports? Only to yourself, the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, Cracow and Globocnik?

Accused: Today, the only thing I can imagine, is that in areas where there was a State Secretary or a Minister of State for Security, that whatever happened in the area of command of that person was dealt with by him - and that is why I also said that in the Generalgouvernement, things were totally different from the situation in the Reich.

I should like to make it quite clear that I am only trying to make things clear and documented, I am in no way trying to retract anything that is in any case in the record. This is the only explanation I can give, as in the Protectorate all sorts of matters were decided by various authorities, which in the Reich could never have been decided by those authorities.

Presiding Judge: When at the end you said the Protectorate, did you mean the Generalgouvernement?

Accused: No, I just meant it as the equivalent of the Generalgouvernement, because it had the same set-up with a State Secretary and a Security Main Office.

Attorney General: The examples make things more complicated - perhaps you could leave them out. You are saying that Pohl selected and indicated the final stations - so why is he not contacted regarding these transports? For purposes of notification.

Accused: I did not take part at the time in such discussions - my Department Chief took part - and I am unable to give any details, either. I can only say what I read, and whatever I read I received by way of orders. I will stand by what I signed and admitted that I did actually do. Because I was ordered to do so. I really am unable to say anything more about this matter.

Q. Now, regarding the transports to Auschwitz, you do remember - while regarding these transports to the Generalgouvernement, you do not remember? Although the directives for both these and the other transports were issued by you, and both series of transports were carried out according to your instructions, that is to say, according to instructions signed by you.

A. Probably the reason for this is that the majority of transports - as far as I can ascertain today by intuition - went to Auschwitz.

Q. When in T/476, document No. 266, you instructed Roethke to send the transports to Cholm on 23 March 1943 and 25 March 1943, where were these transports to go, what were their destinations?

A. Well, is says here - to Cholm.

Q. That means to Sobibor, does it not?

A. As far as I know, Cholm is not the same place as Sobibor.

Q. That was the station from which you would dispatch transports according to Globocnik's instructions to Sobibor, to Treblinka and to Majdanek. Did you know that?

A. Yes, and also Cholm. It - here it says Cholm, so Cholm must be right.

Presiding Judge: I am not sure that there is not some misunderstanding here. Are you maintaining that there were deportations or transports from Cholm sent further on?

Attorney General: Yes.

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