The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 97
(Part 3 of 6)

Q. And this caution on your part, to be careful about your position and always be covered, was also expressed in the documents you produced, was it not?

A. It was expressed in all of my bureaucratic work and activities.

Q. And that is why, for example, in T/491, document No. 132 - letter to the office of the Jewish Affairs Adviser in France - you write "my office in Paris"; about the office in Oslo you write in T/593 "my office in Oslo"; and about the office in The Hague in T/552 you write "my office" - correct?

A. As can be gathered by the enquiry, this is a perfectly normal phrase used in all central offices, and I would once again emphasize that this is not my office. I am signing by order of the Office of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service.

Q. And as a result of this exaggerated caution, and the certainty that it is not you but the Department Chief who is acting, you therefore always, without exception, apart from one instance, you always write "I," you always write in the first person, do you not?

A. As was laid down in the bureaucratic rules and regulations. If you would look at the letterhead, please, the official-in-charge also appears. It depends on the background of the official-in-charge, where he learned things, which - how shall I put it - which form of words was customary...they were all, after all, civil servants, and all came from some central authority, and he would then have expressed himself differently from a Chief Inspector of Police, who came from some other office. Normally, the letterhead shows who processed the matter.

Q. Let us then take, for instance, a letter, T/552, document No. 332: On 17 September 1943, you write to von Thadden in connection with a certain matter about a certain woman. This does not involve directives, general directives, nor general decrees; it is simply a question, it is simply a wish for an enquiry about the fate of a certain woman, and you write the following:

"Given the political changes which have occurred in the meantime, I no longer consider that there is any ground for going into the matter of the departure for Italy of the above-mentioned Jewess. I have therefore instructed my office in The Hague to transfer the Simons woman immediately to the East for labour service."
This is due to excessive caution and is presumably simply standard bureaucratic phraseology, is it not?

A. I really regret that I am unable to say here, "yes, I ordered this on my own initiative."

Q. So say it!

A. I cannot say it, because it does not accord with the truth. As far as I know, this Simons case is...

Presiding Judge: Why do you regret it?

A. Because, Your Honour, because I am gradually beginning to feel uncomfortable about having to say the same thing time and again. I have almost got to the will not take much more...when I will take to my account whatever comes up, regardless of whether it is true or not. Because, how else can I explain that today, seeing that supporting documentation which led to a clean copy like this is no longer available, it has been burned. I regret that they have been burned, because if these records were still available, it would make my position easier.

Q. Before I continue, just a brief comment: The records have been burned, but there are still living witnesses, such as the witnesses which you called, such as Professor Six, for example, who gave a correct picture. So do not regret this so much that the records have been burned.

Would you please tell me, for example, why Knochen contacts you in T/411 and asks you to induce the Army High Command to issue instructions. What has that to do with you?

A. The circumstances were as follows: It was the commanding general in France who had initiated the deportation, not the Security Police. Consequently the viewpoint of the Commander of the Security Police in Paris was that then the Wehrmacht, the Armed Forces, must also provide the escorts. And since the competent Armed Forces authorities in Paris refused, the Commander of the Security Police passed the matter on to Berlin, so that...

Q. But why to you? Why to "little Eichmann"?

A. This is after all a transport matter, and I have after all never denied that I was...that for deportations... that my Section was involved in deportations. I have never denied that. That was after all one of the duties of the Section.

Q. You said here that the matter of the escort details accompanying the transports was not your business and was not within your competence. Correct?

A. That is also correct, since normally...

Q. So why does Knochen approach you, and ask you to approach the High Command of the Armed Forces about the matter? Why you, of all persons?

A. Because in actual practice not everything is an exact copy of everything else, and not everything works in the same way. Here, there is a different case, for example. Here it was the commanding general who originated the deportation. So here the Order Police did not have to provide this escort, and the police maintained the point of view that this detachment should be made up of Armed Forces personnel. So this is something out of the ordinary.

Q. Why does the German Foreign Ministry approach you, of all persons, for you to contact the High Command of the Armed Forces with regard to anti-Jewish measures in Denmark? T/580. Why is that?

A. That is connected with the overall operation in Denmark, which has in any case been dealt with here in detail in a series of documents. Since this is a matter which concerns the Secret Field Police and Military Police, which was also involved, the Foreign Ministry, as it involves exclusive matters, sent this matter to the Head Office for Reich Security and, correctly, to my Section, because it concerns a transport matter. This is a fact which I cannot dispute, as after all the Section was responsible for this. I have in fact already said this repeatedly.

Q. But here the request is that the military be put in motion: Are you telling me that the Foreign Ministry did not have a direct channel to the High Command of the Armed Forces, other than through IVB4, through "little Eichmann"?

Presiding Judge: But Mr. Hausner, the last paragraph must also be looked at: "The Foreign Ministry would leave it to your consideration whether the matter should also be dealt with from your end." He is asking for support. That there was no other channel is not quite what the document says.

Attorney General: Thank you, Your Honour.

Why did you have to be one of the channels which exerted influence on the High Command of the Armed Forces? How did you influence the High Command of the Armed Forces? Please tell us.

Accused: I do not know. As can be seen from the files, Guenther dealt with this Danish business. Furthermore, everything can be seen clearly from the files. Today, I am unable - after such a long time - to say anything more in detail than what I myself have read.

Q. It is very interesting how you have said various things to your Counsel, but when you have to reply to me, you just say - just refer to what is in the documents.

A. Oh, no, Mr. Attorney General, I believe that I have allowed myself and I have been...I am not interrupted, either, I can speak very freely here. And I have - as far as I remember - I believe that I have given very comprehensive information.

Q. All right. Now, the military administration in Belgium refused - take T/511. Why did you do this?

A. This is the result of an order that marking was to be carried out in the Western Occupied Territories. In Berlin it was agreed that this marking should be carried out simultaneously. The difficulties experienced by a Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in this respect, in the area under his control, had to be passed on to the Section which had to deal with these matters. Matters of marking - as proved by the documents - had to be dealt with by Section IVB4, and so the Commander of the Security Police had to pass on matters of marking to Section IVB4 - that is to say, to my Section.

Q. But you have not answered my question. I am not asking why IVB4 was approached: I asked how did you comply with this wish that the opposition of the Military Governor be broken down. How did you do that, and also manage to get the military to bend, to go along with you, to keep up with you?

A. I can only endeavour to make an attempt at reconstructing how this was. First of all, this matter was most definitely not decided on by me...I really did not wish to say that first...nor did Mueller decide about, the Chief of the Security Police either proceeded along the lines which he considered appropriate for overcoming this opposition, or even went through Himmler, as shown in various documents. Since if there were difficulties in high places and highly-placed ranks - Himmler himself would put pen to paper and intervene in the matter himself. I could well imagine that this was how it was arranged that in Belgium, too, the Jews would have to wear the Jewish Star. Whether that is exactly what happened, I do not know, however. Nor do I even know if the records indicate anything along these lines.

Q. I thought that it was your job to do away with difficulties.

A. It was not my job to do away with difficulties; that is to say, it depends on the type of difficulty. Whether such difficulties had already been cleared up - as I said earlier - by means of a precedent. But if matters like these were involved, then the matter was not even decided on by my Chief. So I certainly would have no part in any decision.

Q. Why were you needed at all in Berlin?

A. Anyone who is familiar with a bureaucratic administrative machine will know that this requires not just one man but many.

Judge Halevi: As far as this exhibit is concerned, is it a coincidence that the Head of the Military Administration - Reder - just a moment, read what it says here: "Head of Military Administration SS Brigadefuehrer Reder," and at the end it says: "I therefore propose instructing SS Brigadefuehrer Reder to this effect from your end." Was he a member of the Armed Forces, who was also a high-ranking SS officer or a high-ranking SS man? And was the idea, therefore, to influence him as an SS man? I believe that this is not just a pure military matter; this is also necessary for the solving of the Jewish Question? In other words, he should remember that he is not only a member of the military but also an SS man, and must therefore contribute to the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. Was that how things were done?

Accused: I would gather that from the letter, Your Honour. I myself neither spoke to, nor saw Reder. I had nothing to do with the man.

Attorney General: It was precisely for this purpose that a few days ago I showed you those very documents which show that if Knochen wanted to get something out of Mueller, he did not hesitate to contact Mueller directly; he knows his address perfectly well, he knows of Mueller's address as Chief of Department IV, and in other affairs, which he knows lie in your sphere of influence and area of responsibility, he turns to you. And here, too, he turns to you and not to Mueller, as he did in other instances, because Reder's opposition is something which you, and not Mueller, had to do away with.

Accused: No, I can explain things here: In the reference it says Dannecker at the top; this was dictated by his Section Head, Knochen signed it. Here, in the other documents, which were mentioned by the Attorney General, and of which I have the entire series here, showing the entire business very clearly, in the first communication to Mueller, dated 13 January 1943, it says BdS (Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service), while in the second communication to Mueller it says IVJ BdS.

Q. So that means Dannecker, does it not?

A. The reference "Dan" does not appear, so I cannot say anything about that; there the reference "Dan" appeared, here it does not appear. In the communication of 12 February it also says BdS; there are many communications here from this commander, and on the basis of this explanation I can say that that has nothing to do with it, and Knochen is not worried about whether Eichmann will find some channel to the Military Commander or someone else. For him what counts is to pass the matter on, and whilst these matters which I have here - these are basic reports which go to Mueller, because Knochen says to himself, "yes, these reports must come up in close formation, and it is no use, because even Mueller cannot decide on them." That is how things were - that can be seen.

Q. And that is why he addresses himself to that office which has no power at all, which can take no decisions at all. He just does not know that there is a Heydrich, he does not have any idea of Kaltenbrunner's address - is that it?

A. I was never a commander, I never operated out of a commander's office, as in Paris or The Hague. What instructions were given to the individual division heads, with whom they should communicate within the Head Office for Reich Security, about that I know nothing. However, one thing is clear - that if I could not take decisions on minor matters, then I certainly could not decide on such a matter concerning a Head of Military Administration.

Q. In your journeys to France, Belgium, Holland, you met these BdS people, didn't you?

A. Normally I would also visit the BdS himself, yes.

Q. How often did you talk to Knochen?

A. If stick to this figure, obviously I do not know if it is correct...if I was in Paris seven times, then I may have spoken to Knochen five times. I would have...

Q. All right, that will do. To Harster?

A. I spoke to Harster less, as I spent very little time with him. If I - let us say - was in The Hague the same number of times, I may have been with Harster two or three times, at most.

Q. With Naumann? With Best?

A. With Naumann, as far as I know, not at all.

Q. And Best?

A. Once in Denmark, when he was Reich Plenipotentiary, apart from the time when he was still Chief of Department I or II in the Head Office - no, not the Head Office for Reich Security - yes, the Head Office for Reich Security, when he gave a lecture.

Q. These visits to the BdS people, as far as I can imagine, were not only personal visits; one also discussed the implementation of official business. Wasn't that so?

A. They were first and foremost official in nature.

Q. On 1 July 1942, you met Dannecker in Paris?

A. Yes, I was ordered to proceed to Paris and held consultations in Paris.

Q. And Dannecker, meticulous, fussy Dannecker, wrote in exhibit T/429 that the minute about the consultation came from you. That is what it says in T/429, does it not? Is that correct?

A. Essentially this is quite clear, but it is not entirely correct, as it is not a minute which I dictated, but it is certainly - and I can see that from the contents of the file - a shorthand note taken by a stenographer, who recorded the matter, and I then read out what I was given by Department Chief Mueller. That is, in fact, also noted in this minute. So, essentially it is correct.

Q. Now look: Dannecker wrote - I wish to know whether this is correct or not - Dannecker wrote to "Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann," and you said on page 663 of your interrogation: "I have already said that Dannecker was a fairly meticulous man." Page 663, in the middle of the page. So this is a minute by you, is it not?

A. This is not a minute by me, as can be seen immediately from the singular nature of the authentication. I would like to state right away that this is a completely unacceptable form of authentication which does not follow bureaucratic practice. Nevertheless, I do accept that the content of this minute is essentially completely correct.

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