The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 94
(Part 3 of 4)

Attorney General: I am telling you that you said the following. Listen to this:
"And this is how it was with the Jews: When at the time, like a baby and unprepared for it, I received orders to proceed against the guest of the host people, I pondered on this. And when I recognized the necessity, I executed things with the fanaticism expected of one as a National Socialist of long standing, but also which my superiors expected of the person appointed to deal with the matter."
Is that correct? That is what you said.

Accused: I said that I do not know what is correct and what is not.

Q. Is that correct? Did you say that "yes" or "no"?

A. I cannot form an opinion on that. Perhaps it was under the influence of drink, perhaps I did not say it at all, perhaps it was added as a falsification afterwards. I just have no idea - I do not know. I did not write it anywhere in this form in my handwriting, either. I would have had to write it somewhere in my own handwriting, after all.

Q. The entire passage can be translated later. It really does not give the impression of having been said under the influence of alcohol.

"And they definitely saw me as the right man, as a result of their experience; and today in 1957 I am saying this to my disadvantage. I could also make it easier for myself, I could say it was orders. I had to carry it out in accordance with my oath of loyalty, and anyway I had blinkers on. No, that is just cheap nonsense. That is a cheap excuse. That I cannot take upon my inner moral feeling. I must therefore state clearly that once I had carried out the first orders unthinkingly, I then tried to penetrate into the subject matter. Fate gave me a mental horizon which evidently made me qualified for that."
Did you say that, "yes" or "no"?

A. It is a mixture of things that are right and things that are wrong.

Presiding Judge: That was no answer. The question was: did you say that or not?

Accused: I cannot have said it in this form, no. I must deny that. However, it is my opinion that here what is wrong is mixed up with the truth. It was not me who brought about this mixture, but the person who listened, transcribed and unconsciously or deliberately added the many errors - but that is something I do not to know about.

Q. Then take this document now and analyze it sentence by sentence and tell us what in this is fact and what is fiction. Look at the passage I have marked.

A. Only page 3, or everything which has been underlined in green?

Q. Only that which is underlined in green, between the letters X.

A. I must deny as I had said already in the first sentence: "I implemented things with the fanaticism expected of one as a National Socialist of long standing."

And then the next phrase, "but also which my superiors expected of the person appointed to deal with the matter."

Because then, I would have - if I really had been such a fanatic - if I had tackled this matter with such fanaticism, I would not have asked my superiors for instructions on every single detail, but I would have taken decisions myself. But in actual fact...

Q. Please tell us without any commentary what is fact and what is fiction, sentence by sentence.

A. I consider that what I have just read out was not said by me.

Q. All right, continue.

A. It is possible that this business of the oath of loyalty and blinkers has been distorted, that as it stands here I did not say or mean it in this shape and form, in other words that "I had to carry it out in accordance with my oath of loyalty, and anyway I had blinkers on - no, that is just cheap nonsense, that is a cheap excuse. That I cannot take upon my inner moral feeling." Somehow, as we would say colloquially, and this is probably the best way to put it - I would say that the person or persons concerned got the wrong end of the stick, and simply wrote it down differently from what I said. That is the only way I can characterize it.

It may well be true that I said that I had to carry out orders in accordance with my oath of loyalty; it may well be that I said that I had blinkers on, I could not look to the left or to the right and I had to carry out the orders I received unthinkingly - all that may be, that would also coincide, in a certain measure, with what I wrote in my own handwriting in File 17. If I had said everything which I have been informed today on the basis of these other matters, then I would appear to myself as being no longer entirely responsible for my actions. But I doubt this, as after all it does not coincide with what I wrote in my own hand at the same time, and that puzzles me.

By way of explanation, I would like to add the following. During my interrogation here, which was also recorded on tape, and which was transcribed by specialists, the transcript was later listened to and corrected both by Captain Less and by myself, and several times it happened that just one single wrong word gave a totally false meaning, and both Captain Less and myself tried by listening repeatedly to the recording to make out the right word. This happened several times: I cannot imagine that after this transcription here, that the person typing it took this trouble.

Q. I shall read out to you another sentence which you stated: "I was not a normal receiver of orders - that would have made me a fool. I took my part in thinking about matters. I was an idealist."

Q. Did you say that?

A. That really is nonsense which someone made up, because being an idealist has nothing at all to do with being a receiver or a giver of orders; nothing at all.

Q. Did you or did you not say that?

A. No, I cannot imagine that I said that at all, I cannot imagine that. Apart from the fact that I was absolutely not a giver of orders, but a receiver of orders.

Q. You said you were not a normal receiver of orders, that you took your part in thinking about matters, is that correct, did you say that?

A. Yes. Of course I took part in thinking about matters.

Q. You were not a fool?

A. No, I was not.

Q. I see. You were an idealist?

A. Yes, I was an idealist.

Q. So what it says here is correct.

A. But I also received orders, and I dealt with this Jewish matter out of idealism as long as it was a question of constructive values, but not once it was a question of destructive values. I never dealt with the negative as an idealist: on the contrary, at that point I became a pessimist, and I have also written that somewhere.

Q. Thank you. In your interrogation at Bureau 06, you said that any matter concerning Jews which came from Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner or Mueller was automatically marked IVB4. You said this on page 636.

A. That is all correct, except for the generalization: If something just mentioned the word "Jew," then automatically everything which reached the Head Office for Reich Security in this connection had to be passed on to IVB4. I made a mistake there, because the documents prove that this was not the case, that other files where the word "Jew" appeared were also given to Department II as well as to other Departments. But as far as Department IV was concerned, this is true, and what it should say, to be correct, is Department IV instead of Head Office for Reich Security, and then this entire sentence is correct.

Q. At Kurfuerstenstrasse you had a separate archive for files and a separate registry in IVB4?

A. Yes, every Section had its own registry, and the Department also had a registry, and there was a central point of entry and a central point of exit. I do not remember now whether this was for the Department or the Head Office for Reich Security.

Q. But you had the card index and the archive of IVB4 in your office?

A. Not the card index; the registry was that of IVB4, not only mine, but of all my predecessors in the Section.

Q. I am talking about you, why should you speak about anyone else?

A. I have said why.

Q. You had some forty to fifty thousand files in your archives, and five to ten thousand files in the closed archive, didn't you?

A. These figures may be approximately correct, but they were not mine, they came from the years since the establishment of the Secret State Police, from my predecessors as well.

Q. No, no, I am talking about IVB4. Are the figures correct?

A. Those cannot have been solely IVB4 files, but all the files of the Jewish Affairs Section since it came into being.

Presiding Judge: The question is not quite clear. There were changes which occurred here, and it is to be assumed that when it was renumbered, the Section also received previous files. After all the files did not disappear. What is the point of your question?

Attorney General: My point is: After you started working in Department IV, how many files approximately accumulated in the Department, both in the open archives and in the secret archives?

Accused: That would be since March - since autumn 1939 until, let us say, the beginning of 1945. My estimate would be that for the open and the closed registry the figure would be some thirty thousand files. Obviously, it is difficult to give an accurate figure, but I would estimate that it might have been thirty thousand.

Q. So every letter, whether it was signed by you or whether it was signed by Mueller, Heydrich or Kaltenbrunner, if it bore the reference IVB4, was included in your files?

A. Not every letter. There were some - but not very many - which were files in the registry of the Department Chief and possibly also in the registry of the Chief of the Security Police. But their numbers were definitely not very large.

Q. Both there and also with you, in both archives?

A. In the registry of the Department Chief and...

Q. And also with you?

A. I think it was either - or. Either these files - there were not very many files - either these files were put in the Registry of the Department Chief, or in the Registry of the Chief of the Security Police. I do not believe that a copy would then have been sent to IVB4. I cannot imagine that to have been the case.

Q. In any case you said that every document on Jews which came from Section IVB4 bore the reference IVB4. Is that correct? You did say this, didn't you?

A. If it came from Department IV, it had to be from IVB4. Unless it said IV and Mueller had made it without giving any file reference or registry reference, which also happened, or unless it was marked CdS, showing that the Chief of the Security Police had dictated it himself, and the clerk did not ask for a reference or simply did not... We also have such cases in the documents here, but there are very few such cases.

Q. If I understand you correctly, in your answer to your Counsel you said that your Section was really a channel for passing things on to Department Chief Mueller, and that therefore matters passed through your Section to Department Chief Mueller.

A. Yes, indeed, in the form of consultations which I had to have in accordance with orders, or which I applied for, everything had to pass through the Department Chief.

Q. No, no, that is not what I am asking. What I meant was this: If some Reich authority wished to apply to Department IV on Jewish matters, was your Section the only address? Or could they approach Mueller directly?

A. They could also approach Mueller directly, and they did do so, at least in part - there is proof in these documents.

Q. If they wanted Mueller to deal with the matter, is that correct?

A. If they wanted...yes, if they wanted him...or also if they did not know or was a question of the person who wanted something to be dealt with, or wanted some explanations or who wanted some form of all depended on that.

Q. Now look, I assume that Knochen knew precisely what came within Mueller's authority and what was your field. Is that not the case?

A. Quite often that did not depend on Knochen. The official in charge simply used that address which he considered appropriate for the matter in question.

Q. No, I am talking about Knochen, letters which Knochen himself dictated and signed. Surely he must have known whom to approach in a particular matter?

A. Where the internal organs of the Security Police were concerned, for example the commanders, the inspectors, etc., they wrote to whomever they thought to be the right person, because after all they knew that in any case everything was dealt with by consultations within the Department.

Q. Look - for example when Knochen sends off letter T/456, document No. 270, or N/44, document No. 704, he writes IVB4. But whenever Knochen wishes to apply to Mueller, on Jewish affairs as well, he applies to Mueller. Here, look at T/471, N/40, T/485. So when Knochen wants you to deal with something, he applies to Mueller.

A. No, Mr. Attorney General, here there are...I have a whole series of documents, and I can give a very precise comment on this. The whole matter which I have here - if it is arranged in chronological order, one could see that it is a matter which greatly agitated the authorities at the time, namely the attitude of the Italians to the treatment of the Jews. Mueller himself was sent by Himmler to Rome in this connection, he had to discuss the matter in Rome with the Italian Police Chiefs, and Knochen passed this matter on directly to Mueller, while the other matter is...partly...a timetable matter, I believe...may I read this out?

Q. Certainly.

A. I can now see quite clearly that this letter is also part of the same series, that is to say there are in fact a few more matters which are needed to complete it. This is a letter which set off the ensuing series. This letter went to IVB4.

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