The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 94
(Part 2 of 4)

Q. Perhaps you could give me one example of such a ghetto. I should like to understand what you are saying.

A. I would imagine Zichenau. Zichenau was also a ghetto. I cannot think of names. There were many, many ghettos in these areas.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Attorney General: Do you agree with me that the Jews of all the incorporated territories, except for Lodz, were deported at a very early stage in accordance with Himmler's decree?

Accused: I have read here the evacuation figure, as it was given in an address by Heydrich, who said that some 600,000 Jews - and I think there was a further figure later on - took a fairly long time. How long it took I do not know, but it definitely could have been a year or longer, because in the meanwhile there was the order to halt matters which Frank obtained, and then the deportations started again.

Q. So you will agree with me that everything you said in your interrogation by Bureau 06, on pages 3116 and 3117, does not contain one singe exception, apart from the Budapest Ghetto? And as for everything else, you said that that was dealt with through Section IVB4?

A. That cannot be correct at all, if only for the following reason: I have time and again affirmed that Section IVB4 was not responsible in any shape or form for the Generalgouvernement and the Eastern Occupied Territories. And there is no doubt whatsoever about that. That is why at several points I said that. I have not read the Statement through a second time, but I know that I did make this point repeatedly.

Q. But I am not asking about other points - I am asking you about this point. And is it correct that at this point you said that dissolution of ghettos, except for the Budapest Ghetto, passed without exception through Section IVB4?

A. That cannot be true, as it contradicts the facts.

Judge Halevi: At least as far as Budapest is concerned, I believe there is some misunderstanding. Perhaps you could read pages 3116-3117 yourself and explain what you meant there about the Budapest Ghetto, so that I do not have to interpret it.

Accused: That is correct, and I have said so. That was Himmler's order at the time for Budapest. That is what I said, yes.

Q. That means that in the case of a transfer of the Jews of the Budapest Ghetto to Auschwitz - if that had been carried out - this would have been a matter for your Section.

A. In the framework of my competence in Hungary, yes.

Q. Now go back to page 3116 - just before the reference to Budapest - there you are asked:

"In other cases, where ghettos were dissolved, and there was a decision to transfer the inmates of the ghettos to another concentration camp - that was a matter which came under deportation orders?

Eichmann: Yes.

Less: That had to pass through you?

Eichmann: Yes,that had to pass through me."

That had to go through you, IVB4?

A. Yes, that is correct, Your Honour. I have just said that. Because when it came to the Eastern Territories, what I was responsible for in accordance with orders, was drawing up the timetables, the guidelines...

Q. What are the Eastern Territories? What do you mean by "Eastern Territories"?

A. They are the new German Eastern Territories, as they were called, added to the Reich after the Polish campaign. So they included what was then the Warthegau - although there was a special arrangement regarding that - and then there were parts which were added to East Prussia, but they can be identified in decrees and so on. They were called the new German Eastern Territories.

Q. But here this does not apply only to the Eastern Territories. This is quite general.

A. But this never applies to the Generalgouvernement...

Q. ...Apart from the Generalgouvernement?

A. ...and the Russian Eastern Occupied Territories, yes. Apart from that, this applies to everything which concerns the Reich.

Q. And Hungary?

A. Perhaps to make things easier, Your Honour, I could provide a further reference which explains this very precisely, namely the minutes of the consultation chaired by Heydrich on 30 January 1940. I have just remembered this. There, on 30 January 1940, this entire matter was settled, discussed and arrangements and orders are laid down.

Judge Halevi: That will do.

Attorney General: Can you give me an example of a ghetto in the German Reich, or in the Eastern Occupied Territories?

Accused: In the Eastern Occupied Territories? Yes - there was a whole string of them.

Q. Correct. But in the Reich territory, about which you have just stated that this was the area for which you were responsible - give me an example of just one ghetto.

A. In the Reich territory - I said that the Eastern Territories - that is where I was also ordered to draw up the timetables for deportations.

That is shown quite clearly by the minutes I have just remembered, dated 30 January.

Presiding Judge: I will ask you again, what are the Eastern Territories which you mention here? It is very easy to get confused here.

Accused: Your Honour, I cannot quote their names from memory - they all appear by name in this record.

Q. Including the one you mentioned before, Zichenau?

A. Yes, I think that appears also.

Q. Or Bialystok?

A. not there. No, I believe that Bialystok is not in a new Eastern Territories.

Q. But I believe that it was annexed to East Prussia.

A. Ah, if it was annexed, then it belongs to the Eastern Territories, I am not able to say that offhand, Your Honour, and that is why I referred to this record to facilitate matters and increase accuracy.

Q. But apart from the Warthegau? Or is the Warthegau also included?

A. The Warthegau is also included, yes, indeed, it was also included, the entire Warthegau belonged to the incorporated Eastern Territories. But Greiser then managed to establish for himself a special position there as regards the Litzmannstadt Ghetto.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Judge Halevi: The Attorney General asked you to give an example of a ghetto where you were responsible for the transfer of its inhabitants to Auschwitz.

Accused: From a ghetto to Auschwitz - I cannot for the moment recall any particular one. But I am thinking of the Lublin Ghetto, transports left from there.

Q. For Auschwitz?

A. No, I believe that transports left from the Eastern Territories for Lublin, for the Lublin Concentration Camp.

Q. And here you issued the orders for arrest?

A. No, I could not issue orders for arrest at all.

Q. You issued deportation orders?

A. I had to draw up the timetables, and then the Jews from these areas who had been ordered to be deported had to be transported to this concentration camp, in accordance with the orders.

Attorney General: The numbers of deportees were shown in a graph on the wall behind Guenther's desk in your office, were they not?

Accused: Yes.

Q. And therefore your Section knew exactly how many persons were deported and where they were deported to?

A. Yes, it knew that - it even had to - I even had to report on that.

Q. And you knew that during these transports - during the course of the transport - every time, scores and hundreds of people perished?

A. I did not know that, because I was not responsible for the accompanying escorts. That fell under the responsibility of the Order Police. But I did hear and read about that.

Q. But that did not worry you? You did nothing to avoid this occurring?

A. If I had the power and the possibility to avoid this, I would not even have started with it - I would have worked according to my thoughts and wishes.

Judge Halevi: You could not prevent people from dying en route?

Accused: Your Honour, I did not accompany the transports; the orders issued to the Order Police were indeed issued, but it was the Order Police itself which had to carry them out. After all, I, in Berlin, could not know what sort of things were going on somewhere en route from x to y. The orders to the Order Police were issued in a clearcut, unambiguous form, but that is also why generally it was officers who were sent by the Order Police Head Office. I had no influence on these matters, none at all.

Attorney General: But in the guidelines you determined the number of persons who were to be crammed into each freight car, didn't you?

Accused: I do not remember. But what was stated in the guidelines was what I was ordered to state, that is clear. I must admit to what is shown in the guidelines. But the Security Police was not responsible for transport escorts. At the point were the Order Police Head Office took over, the Order Police took over the responsibility for the transport.

Q. In this context, when talking about the same matter with Sassen in 1957, you said the following:

"During the War this difficulty, the victims of death...did not upset me so much, insofar as they were unavoidable. Because, after all when all is said and done, I really could not allow myself to be upset. The bombing of German cities, with the resulting deaths of women and children - that was possibly the only thing I felt as regards my attitude to the orders which I received."
You did say that, didn't you?

A. It is obvious that the dead bodies of Germans which I saw lying in the streets made an impression on my feelings in the same way as my feeling for the bodies, the first dead bodies of Jews which I saw, were something I could not grasp. Gradually, I reached a stage where neither German dead bodies nor Jewish dead bodies, nor any other dead bodies, had that effect on me, like the first dead bodies that I saw. It is natural and human, as I thought, to understand that.

That is how things are, because the more you have to take in these fantastic and apolocalyptic images, in the course of events in wartime, then - when I saw it, it will sound brutal, but the less - how shall I put it, the less novel and shocking one finds it. I believe that every human being is affected in the same way.

Presiding Judge: Which page is that, please?

Attorney General: At the top, marked X.

You will agree with me that the bombing of German cities, and the German dead bodies, which you could see after such bombings, only happened as from 1943. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that is correct. I also remember that when I saw the first Jewish dead bodies, my knees began to tremble, the sight was completely new - I found it unbelievable, something I could not grasp. When later, in dozens of heavy bombing raids, I saw hundreds and thousands of German bodies, torn to pieces and burnt and shrivelled up - then, I must confess, death itself really lost its horror for me. I think I can say when my knees no longer trembled - one was there, oneself, in the middle of death and death's whirlwind.

That is how I would understand the reply given here. I know that I did not pay close attention to the wording of this passage, but who can guarantee and warrant that these are literally the words which I may have said at that time? Because I would have said what I have described here, namely my mental reaction to this whole dreadful business.

Q. And you were not bothered by being the great "forwarding agent of Death"?

A. That bothered me a great deal and it bothered me more that anyone can imagine. In vain, on many, many occasions I went to my superior and asked him to transfer me to a different task. I...

Q. But never in writing?

A. It was not customary to do something like that in writing. One would report like a soldier and make one's request.

Q. Whom did you ask to release you of your duties?

A. Time and again I asked my immediate superior, SS Gruppenfuehrer and Lieutenant General of Police Mueller, first of all not to have to come to Berlin at all, but to be able to remain where I had my family. That was the first thing. And then on another occasion I pressed him, I begged him as I could hardly stand it physically. That is what I told him when I returned from the journey to the East, on which he had sent me. And then after every further journey. Mueller knew precisely what my state of mind was.

Q. And there was no appeal to Heydrich or Kaltenbrunner?

A. That would not have been of any use because Mueller...

Q. No appeal, correct?

A. That is correct, that would not have been of any use because it was Mueller who had to decide about me, because Mueller was my immediate superior in disciplinary matters.

Q. And I tell you - and you said as much in your 1957 talks with Sassen as well - that you were pleased and satisfied by your transfer to the Head Office for Reich Security.

A. But the satisfaction only lasted as long as I was able to work on the Madagascar Plan. I do not know whether that is also in there.

Presiding Judge: Silence, please, complete silence.

Accused: And I must also state once again that I must dissociate myself from these matters, because there is absolutely no way of checking on them, on what is correct and what is false.

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