The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 98
(Part 6 of 6)

Q. You said in any case that it was the most important "shop" in the Reich.

A. The Fuehrer's Chancellery was one of the most important central offices, of course; I was surprised - I still remember as much today - that such an office wanted a train from me. To this very day I do not understand this.

Q. And then you said the following:

"He said to me, 'Can you not spare for me a few trains from your timetable?' Whereupon I said to myself, `My God, here you are in the Fuehrer's Chancellery, you were constantly under control from here, the shop is after all the most important in the Reich, and here is this avuncular figure asking me whether he can have a couple of trains. And he is being very friendly to me because he wants to beat up a few idiots'."
A. Whether the conversation was literally like that, I do not know, but the gist was like that.

Q. I am prepared to submit this report, although the Accused has confirmed the contents. We will come to several more passages.

So you knew Brack and were aware that he dealt with the extermination of idiots, and that he wanted a few trains. Approximately when were you at the Fuehrer's Chancellery?

A. I do not know exactly, nor do I know whether it was Brack - I cannot say as much on oath. In any case, it was some highly placed official in the Fuehrer's Chancellery, and he did tell me this.

Q. And when you returned from the journey on which Mueller had sent you, you came back to Mueller and said, "Gruppenfuehrer, this cannot go on like this - this is not the way to solve the problem."

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. So, after all, there was another initiative, further initiatives on your part.

Presiding Judge: Where are these words from?

Attorney General: I will quote all that in just a moment's time. So you told Mueller that some other method for solving this had to be looked for.

Accused: Yes, that was what I always said; I looked for the political method, which I had started and which I wished to maintain. That was my objection all the time, including when I was transferred to Berlin against my wishes.

Q. And it was then that you said to Mueller: "Our people will become sadists by this method, some more elegant way must be found."

A. "Some more elegant way must be found" - this is new to me, this is the first time I have heard this. In my Statement I said that people are becoming sadists, that is true, that much I do remember.

Q. On page 2339 you said that it was said in the circles of the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories that a more elegant way than shooting must be found.

A. In the circles of the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories that is possible - I do not remember saying that, but it is possible.

Presiding Judge: On page 2337?

Attorney General: No, on page 2339, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: One moment, please read this out.

Accused: "Please, that is also only how I imagine that it was, possibly, that in the circles of the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories it was said, `this must be done more elegantly' - the shooting no longer suited them, perhaps some office somewhere..."

Presiding Judge: So that means, in other words, that on the basis of what the Accused claims, these words were not his own?

Attorney General: So with whom did this expression "a more elegant way" originate?

Accused: I do not know; I only know that - I think it was in the main the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories which fulminated at the time against the methods of the Operations Units - this was clear from the documents which were received. But as to who said that and why, I do not know. It was not me, in any case.

Presiding Judge: The Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories, was that Rosenberg?

Accused: Yes, that was Rosenberg.

Attorney General: And the Jewish Affairs officer in the Ministry for the Eastern Occupied Territories was Dr. Wetzel, was'nt it?

Accused: Yes, it was. I was able to ascertain that from the documents, and I can also remember that.

Q. Did you have contacts with Wetzel?

A. Yes, I came into contact with Wetzel. I gathered that from the meetings which followed the Wannsee Conference; and in addition, there are the minutes of a meeting in the Ministry of the Interior here, where Wetzel participated, an official-in-charge from my Section. There were...there are several meetings here.

Q. Is he the one who said that more elegant ways must be found?

A. I do not know who said it. I cannot say anything definite about this. It was simply the Statement I also just said it more or less as I felt it.

Q. In any case, you told Mueller that some other way had to be found, since our people were becoming sadists. Is that not so?

A. Yes, my approach was known. My approach was not that of violence. Everyone in my Section knew that. I also expressed that both orally and in writing.

Q. And that is why Wetzel, in his letter of 25 October 1941, T/308, document No. 42, writes that after being in touch with Brack - the person who wanted to heat the furnaces with idiots - he notifies that he would switch from the method of extermination by shooting to gassing methods, and that you, the Jewish Affairs Section Head in the Head Office for Reich Security, had given your agreement to this method. Please examine this.

A. I dispute this, and I shall - and I believe I can - prove this. It is a question of the handwriting. The handwritten draft...

Judge Halevi: We have already heard this explanation.

Accused: I would ask for this handwritten draft to be examined by an expert. I myself am no expert, but I have examined it and ascertained that these small words, which look like ST, can never be Sturmbannfuehrer, and that my name cannot be anywhere in there. And this text of the handwritten draft reads quite differently from the final document. I would request that this matter be clarified by an expert, and then it will all be cleared up.

Attorney General: The handwritten document is exhibit T/996, and this was a draft, and the final version was an exhibit at Nuremberg, N.O. 997, and it was precisely your name which was forged, yours! Once again it has to be you who is embroiled. This is an official document which was submitted to the International Military Tribunal. And you are claiming that it was forged?

A. I have heard a great deal about Nuremberg, and that is why I also examined this exhibit very closely. They are all drafts, with no signature whatsoever, and the handwritten draft where it says, for example, to the official-in- charge... and then there are these scribbles, this is supposed to suit the Head Office for Reich Security? It does not fit in an abbreviated form. Then this bandy-legged downward line can never be an "F," although an "F" would also not be right here. An examination of this document, of this handwriting, will doubtless show that it cannot read "Sturmbannfuehrer," nor can there be an "Eichmann" after it. There will be another totally different picture. This is why I would ask for this exhibit to be examined, in order to shed real light on the matter.

Presiding Judge: Have you concluded the matters relating to this document?

Attorney General: Yes, but I should like to ask one or two other questions in this connection, because there is in fact another document which is also part of the draft, and this also says "Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann."

Presiding Judge: All right, please go ahead.

Judge Raveh: It says "Draft" here twice, on both the first and the second document.

Attorney General: Perhaps the Accused can tell us why he suddenly remembers this in Court, and why during his interrogation by Bureau 06, where he saw so many documents, he said on page 2314 of his examination that this probably came from his lips, and that most likely the Head Office for Reich Security was asked for its agreement, and that, therefore, consent came from his mouth. That is what he says in his Statement on page 2314.

Accused: I said probably...I reconstructed this, I tried to reconstruct it. I certainly did not deny it out of hand...what am I to deny, if it really did happen. But after looking at the documents and getting the complete context, I saw things quite clearly. And when I recently heard here that in tape 17 a word could be missing, and the whole thing could be turned around to mean the opposite, if it is read that way. On the other hand, I know that at another point in the same tape 17 fortunately exactly the same thing is said again. I paid very special attention to this document, because I said to myself here, it could be something similar, and that is how I found this, from looking at it for hours. I did not have a magnifying glass, I took my two pairs of glasses, I saw that it has nothing at all to do with Eichmann, not even with Sturmbannfuehrer.

Q. You can take as many pairs of glasses as you like, but there is no point in telling stories. In Bureau 06 you said first that you knew nothing at all about this, and when you were shown the documents you said that that might come from Wetzel; then you said it was from your lips, and now you are suddenly claiming that it is a forgery. So you never spoke about gassing to Wetzel?

A. I would never have spoken to Wetzel about gas, because I had nothing to do with the killing; but if I said this in my Statement, I certainly do not wish to quibble, because I did say a great deal, and from the outset, I was prepared to admit everything rather than to deny it. I tried to reconstruct this matter, and I have already said, why should I deny something which I was ordered to do if I was ordered to do it; but if I am given the entire set of documents, I do not see why I should not examine these documents, and then the result can either be in my favour or damaging to me. I cannot do anything about this - I have to take it as it is.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, when you say that this was from his lips, I see on page 2314 that the agreement on this came from his lips, is that what you meant?

Attorney General: Yes. So now let us please summarize this. In Argentina you were familiar with the Gerstein Report, you have already told us as much.

Accused: In general terms, yes.

Q. And you knew that you would be examined about it or about its contents in Bureau 06?

A. Yes, I definitely assumed that that would be the case.

Q. And your first reaction to this was that Guenther had done this and "there was a great quarrel between the two of us about this matter."

A. That is possible - but on the other hand it illustrates the fact that I was in fact ready... everything...I could have just denied it.

Q. So let us get the facts straight - let us get some facts like this one straight: yes or no?

A. Yes, please.

Q. You remember saying that you had avoided it, that there was a great quarrel between you and Guenther about the gas matter...

A. That is possible. I said I do not know if I am confusing things, where did I hear this...did I not hear it until Argentina? Did I hear it at the time in Berlin? This entire gas business is very confused in my mind.

Q. And in your interrogation you also said that Guenther had done that, while you were in Hungary.

A. I have just now heard from your lips that I am supposed to have said that. Yes.

Q. That is also written down, thank goodness - that is in fact written down! You also said that you had complaints against Guenther as to how you could justify this before your Chief.

A. I have already said the latter. I cannot remember sufficient details to be able to give a pat explanation for this on oath. But I did say - and I maintain this - that I would rather shoulder responsibility for the entire matter, for knowing it, rather than giving the impression of wanting to evade it.

Presiding Judge: [To the Accused] You keep repeating such statements, and I would ask you to stop referring to "giving the impression." You have sworn to tell the truth - so please tell the truth, and nothing more.

Accused: The Attorney General questioned me on this matter once more, and I have no other answer to it, Your Honour. What else am I supposed to say? I can only say I know of it - on oath, if I do not know of it definitely, I cannot say so.

Presiding Judge: Very well; in any case, do not do the Attorney General any favours, that is not the aim of the examination.

Attorney General: But in your interrogation, on page 2346, you said that Guenther could not have got the matter of the cyanic acid from Mueller...

Accused: I did try repeatedly to reconstruct this matter - I admit as much - and I also erred in my statements repeatedly.

Q. It says here, for example...

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I would not wish you now - unless there are some new factors - to go over this whole matter again. He has been examined by you in this respect at great length.

Attorney General: This is something quite new; I have not yet asked the Accused about this passage.

[To the Accused] On page 2346, it says, "Captain, Guenther cannot have got this matter of cyanic acid from Mueller" - is that correct?

Accused: I am sorry, I did not understand...

Q. Page 2346, please look at it!

A. Yes - on this I can only say that I did try here to reconstruct the matter, in order to clarify things, that can be seen from the entire paragraph about this matter on page 2346.

Q. Now, in your interrogation, you were shown the article published in Life.

Presiding Judge: If you are proceeding to a new subsection, the Court will recess now.

Attorney General: Yes, please.

Judge Raveh: I have a question about T/308. Is there any explanation for the letters N. d. R.M. which appear in the draft, at the bottom, which appear at the bottom of the second draft. At the bottom, at the bottom! If it is not clear to you, I can show you my copy.

Attorney General: There are four handwritten letters.

Judge Raveh: Perhaps the Accused can give us some information about this. Perhaps he can explain what that means?

Attorney General: In any case, this is the draft.

Judge Raveh: Quite.

Presiding Judge: No, no. Please show him this document.

Accused: I also looked at these four letters and tried to explain them, but I did not manage to do so.

Presiding Judge: Very well. The Court will now recess. The next Session will be this afternoon at 3.30.

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