The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 96
(Part 2 of 4)

Attorney General: That is proven by your actions. You will agree with me that in this File 17, which you accept in its entirety as being in your own handwriting, written at the time when you had settled down quietly on the ranch, there is no hint of this being a crime which should not be repeated.

Accused: As far as I know this, after all, this is only part of an explanatory correction, altogether there must have been something like 193 corrections like this.

Q. But in this tape 17, is there anything there about this, or nothing at all? Do you agree? Nothing, right?

A. Not in tape 17, but there are some 150 others which are missing.

Q. Missing - always missing... What it says here is: The slogan is "the Jew is an enemy, and the enemy has to be destroyed." And that was your opinion in 1957.

A. I have already said that the opinion did not relate to physical destruction; "destruction" was understood at that time as...

Q. No, in 1957...

A. No, it was not like that. I reject that.

Q. But that is what you wrote?

A. I did not write that, either. No.

Q. Do you want to see it again? We have already looked at it here. So I will now give you your own handwriting. The passage where you spoke about the declaration of war by Dr. Chaim Weizmann - pages 734-735.

You spoke about the enemies of the Reich. And you said there: "The slogan on both sides was `the enemies must be destroyed!' And Jewry throughout the world had obviously declared war on the German Reich through their leader, Dr. Chaim Weizmann." That is what you had to say in 1957.

Presiding Judge: There are several more words at the top.

Attorney General: Before "Dr. Chaim Weizmann."

Accused: On page 737?

Presiding Judge: At the top of 735, in the fourth line.

Accused: "Declared war on the German Reich through its leader... And Jewry throughout the world" - is that what Your Honour means?

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Accused: "And through its leader, Jewry throughout the world had..." The next bit is illegible...

Presiding Judge: That is what I wanted to know; perhaps you can make it out?

Accused: I cannot read this here in my photocopy, it is illegible.

Attorney General: All right.

Accused: On the matter in hand, I had already said once that reference was also made to destroying the French foe, the English foe, and every other foe. This word "destruction" does not mean physical destruction and physical extermination. That is a vast difference. There was also talk of destroying the French enemy and the English enemy, but no one understood that to be the physical extermination of the French or the English. What it says here should be understood in exactly the same way.

Presiding Judge: This we have had already.

Attorney General: Yes. But you wrote this in 1957. You already knew what had happened at the time. You knew that the Jews had been destroyed, and that for the Jews destruction had only one meaning, didn't you?

Accused: But this is not my understanding of my comments in 1957, this is a description of the events of those years. This is a vital difference.

Q. Now look, you introduce all of this on page 729 with the words: "My comments on the subject: `Jewish matters and measures by the National Socialist German Reich Government to solve this complex matter from 1933 to 1945'." Is that correct?

A. Yes, from 1933 to 1945.

Q. So these are your comments in 1957?

A. Yes, but I made these comments in 1957 on how things had happened from 1933 to 1945.

Q. And that is what you wrote. But you will agree with me that you did not give the slightest indication that you thought that this had been a crime.

A. I made unadorned, clear statements here, more or less like a contemporary who had experienced the whole thing. That can also be seen already from the first page.

Q. Yes, but you will agree with me that you did not indicate any thoughts to the effect that this might have been a crime.

A. But this is only a part - there are 150 pages which are missing.

Q. On these pages which are here, did you express the thought that it was a crime, or not?

A. I did not find this on these pages.

Q. Then say so.

A. But that does not exclude my devoting a separate discussion to this subject.

Q. Your reflections were as follows - I shall read them out to you:

"As things are now, since perfidious fate has left a large proportion of these Jews alive, I tell myself that fate so ordained. I must bow to fate and to providence."
Was that what you thought?

A. I am unable to say "yes" or "no" to this, just as I am unable to give any opinion on all of the tapes, as I have told you, Mr. Attorney General. I cannot give any definitive opinion, because I do not know what is true...

Q. Do you not remember your thinking in 1957, your inner struggle, that wrestling with yourself, of which you speak here?

A. I remember answering all the sundry questions I was asked. What I answered and how things developed as the evening wore on, I no longer remember. Today, I do not know what is the truth, what is an unintentional untruth, and what is a deliberate untruth.

Q. And at the end you said the following:

"As an excuse let it be said that, (1) I did not have a wide-ranging intellect; (2) that I did not have the requisite physical toughness; and that (3) even against my will I had a whole legion of men who opposed this will, so that while I myself already felt handicapped, I could not carry out the rest of what might have helped me to make a breakthrough, because I had to dissipate my energy in a struggle over many years against the so-called interventionists.

"Whether you are going to put this into the book, I do not know. Perhaps it would not be expedient, perhaps it is not a good idea, but that should just be said to you at the end, after these four months of refreshing my memory..."

Did you say something along these lines at the end?

A. The same applies here as I have already said. An idea just occurs to me, Mr. Attorney General. At the end you said that there should be several more tapes available. These tapes should be obtained, and then things can be proven. If I did say it, I would have to answer for it, and if I did not say it, then it will be shown that I did not. That is the best and the frankest answer which I can give here.

Q. I see. I will somehow manage to do my work without your advice - but would you tell me whether you said these words or not?

A. I cannot possibly imagine, Mr. Attorney General, that I did, and therefore, in order to avoid giving the appearance also in this case as if I wanted...I keep saying no, no, and in the end it must look as if I wanted to evade something like this. But on the other hand, I cannot, after all, admit and take something upon myself where I do not know if I said anything at all along these lines, and it is not meant as advice, but have no other way of doing things other than to say this - that steps should be taken to obtain the recording tape, and then it will, after all, be quite clear, and then I will not have problems answering here. I would say "yes" straight off if I thought it were correct.

Q. If you hear the tape, then you will say "yes," is that right? Your own voice - only then?

A. But I must then say, how did I come to say this?

Q. I myself also wonder how you came to say this.

Let us turn to another topic. In your police interrogation, you said that Dannecker, Wisliceny, Brunner, Guenther and Richter were under you, and received instructions from you how to proceed. Is that correct?

A. In my interrogation I said a great deal, and took upon myself a great deal, which later, when I read the documents, I found I had had no possibility and no right to do.

Q. You cannot say whether Dannecker, Wisliceny, Brunner and Guenther received instructions from you or not - you cannot gather that from documents; that has to be in your memory.

A. If they belonged to the Section, of course they did, and every day.

Q. You do not need documents for this. You can remember this.

A. If they belonged to the Section, then it is true, they obtained their instructions from me; but if they were with the missions abroad, they could not obtain their instructions from me...I was not authorized to do so. Naturally, I did co-operate there, that is true.

Q. I am not talking about formal lines of command. Obviously, if they were abroad, they were formally attached to some office or other. I am talking about practical arrangements.

A. As for the practical arrangements within the Section, they came from me; the practical arrangements for the men who were with the missions - that I could not provide. We had it in black and white. For example, Killinger confirms that he is doing that on my orders - that of course the Head Office for Reich Security was involved in that, that I was also involved for my part, I do not deny that, nor can I deny that, nor have I ever done so.

Q. You wanted to tell that story also in your police interrogation as well. You said that the men did not receive their salaries from you, but from somewhere else. But it was pointed out to you that it was not a question of salaries, but of actual activities, and you admitted that they all belonged to you, like all the Judendezernenten (Sections Heads for Jewish Affairs), and that appears on page 412. As far as Richter is concerned, that was on page 1777.

A. I must make a correction here to this statement to the police, since at the time of my Statement I no longer knew what the actual legal situation had been. It is is correct that I believed that they had all received these orders from me; but in practice that did not happen. I had become confused with the passing of time - it can be ascertained exactly what they did and what they did not get from me.

Q. Incredible!

A. If only for the reason that Department Chief IV, Mueller, dealt with many matters directly; if only for the reason that, apart from myself, there were other Advisers on Jewish Affairs, such as Ballensiefen and Neifeind and others. It is true that in matters of deportation, I must say in order to anticipate any doubt, that if such a deportation order was issued from above and then came down to the Section, then I naturally was duty bound to pass on this deportation order, for instance, to Wisliceny in Pressburg. But apart from this, the Foreign Ministry mostly worked simultaneously through the mission head, and it was up to the mission head to play the main role. So in that instance, Wisliceny knew about things at roughly the same time as his mission head, who had had to conduct the initial negotiations. I can also say here...

In order to clarify things, I should also like to say here that I cannot think of - nor am I thinking of denying today - something which at that time I was obliged to do in accordance with the oath of loyalty I had taken - today, when I am under another oath. I must admit that, and I must stand by that. But it must be understood - and I would ask for this understanding - that, on the other hand, I can only take upon myself what actually happened and not what people think that I must in any case have done.

Presiding Judge: I wish to tell you that it is not necessary to keep repeating general statements of this type. Address yourself to the details about which the Attorney General is asking you.

Attorney General: But these are, after all, matters which you need not gather from the documents. You yourself must either know or not know what your working relationships were with Wisliceny, Guenther, Richter, Abromeit, and all those who worked for you abroad in the occupied territories. There is a limit to what you can retract.

Presiding Judge: We have meanwhile already heard from the Accused that he did pass on deportation orders, as he put it, "pass on" to others.

Attorney General: He said a great deal more than that, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps we can proceed from here. There was no complete denial.

Attorney General: Look at what you said on page 412. This concerns the role of those abroad, in Slovakia, Romania.

Captain Less asks you - I am reading to you from page 412:

"Less: All right, but these people such as Dannecker, Guenther, Wisliceny, belonged to your Group, to the Section?

Eichmann: Insofar as...insofar as...

Less: IVB4.

Eichmann: No, they were not...paid by...

Less: I am not now asking about pay. They belonged to your Section, IVB4?

Eichmann: They belonged to IVB4...let us put it this way, Captain...just like the other Section Heads on Jewish Affairs, at the individual Secret State Police offices, the State Police Regional Headquarters, if you want to express it by way of comparison.

Less: Is it true that these representatives received directives from your Section, of which you were the head, for their activities in the territories, and later had to report to you?

Eichmann: Yes."

So is what you said to Less true?

Accused: Generally speaking, that is completely true. With just the one proviso: that these men were not subordinate to my Section, IVB4, but to offices abroad. And, therefore, it is correct when I say "like the various sections, for example, at the State Police and the State Police Regional Headquarters..." They were not under my control, but the instructions which I had to give, of course, passed through my Section to the State Police offices, and similarly also to these men who were named here.

Q. As far as Richter is concerned, who was also one of your men, at the top of page 1777 Less asked you: "Was Richter one of your people down there?" And your answer: "Yes, yes, as I have just said." Is that correct?

A. But it says - either immediately after that or somewhere else - that I said that Richter was an exception, because Richter obtained his instructions from the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service and, I believe, not even through Mueller. That must be in there, as I said it and it was well known.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.