The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 99
(Part 2 of 4)

Q. But you said that you had no idea that Storfer was there.

A. I did not know either...he...

Q. So how could you obtain permission?

A. From the concentration camp he...I received notification through official channels that Storfer wanted to talk to me at Auschwitz, that he was asking for permission to talk to me. I then obtained permission to go to Auschwitz in connection with Storfer. That is the only instance...there were special reasons here, and because of that I made a special application and received authorization.

Q. In your Statement you said...

Presiding Judge: One moment. But you were asked about this phrase, about your drawing up a memo and Storfer's situation being eased on the basis of this memo. Now that shows - at least this is how it appears - that you had the power to draw up such memos?

Accused: No, I said, Your Honour, that for this Storfer case I had to obtain a special authorization from my Chief, and because make sure that nothing would happen to him. Because of that I asked the commandant's office to draw up a memo to this effect, and on the memo it must definitely - there is no way that it could have been otherwise - have said "with the approval of Chief of Department IV, Gruppenfuehrer Mueller."

Attorney General: But up until now you have always told us that the Head Office for Reich Security had nothing at all to do with the concentration camps, that both control and command of the concentration camps lay with the Economic- Administrative Head Office. So what difference does it make whether this came from you or from Mueller, if the Head Office for Reich Security as such had nothing to do with the administration of the concentration camps?

Accused: That is also true, Mr. Attorney General, but in this case things were special, and so I intervened for the man, and also obtained the authorization. That was, if I can put it this way...

Q. From whom? From whom?

A. I obtained the authorization from my Chief, from Mueller.

Q. But what did Mueller have to do with this?

A. Well, after all, I did have to ask him for authorization to intervene on behalf of Storfer. This was an intervention on my part.

Presiding Judge: Are you saying that you received Mueller's permission in advance for Storfer in the Auschwitz camp to be allowed to sweep the gravel paths in front of the commandant's office at Auschwitz? Is that correct?

Accused: Not about the gravel path, but light work. And that is where the light work turned up, because we were standing on these gravel paths in the small piece of garden in front of the commandant's office, I was standing there with Storfer, and that is where I asked him...every inmate wanted that...light work.

Presiding Judge: All right. And that is what you received advance authorization for?

Accused: Not for the gravel paths, for light work.

Presiding Judge: All right, I understand that.

Judge Halevi: And you felt in advance - you realized in advance that he would ask you for that?

Accused: I think in the message which I received it said that he wanted to talk with me. I did first try to have him released from the concentration camp. I did not manage to do so, because there was a Reichsfuehrer order against that, and because I knew from experience that the inmates' next wish, apart from their release, was to be given light work. Because of that, I asked for permission that Storfer should under no circumstances be made to work under the usual routine. This was intervention on my part for Storfer, whom I had known for so many years.

Presiding Judge: Please proceed, Mr. Hausner.

Attorney General: When you were in Hungary -

Presiding Judge: I am sorry - I should like to ask another question, because the previous question has not really been answered yet.

[To the Accused] You were asked by the Attorney General why you received this permission from Mueller, and from the question I understood that on the basis of your testimony you should have received such permission from - let us say - Pohl, but not from Mueller, in any case. How can you explain this?

Accused: Not from Pohl; in any case Mueller will doubtless have consulted with Gluecks on this matter.

Q. Very well, with Gluecks. That means that Mueller was also not competent to give this permission.

A. He must definitely have asked Gluecks, but I do not have any knowledge of this.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Attorney General: Hoess probably asked you whether Mueller had received Glueck's permission, and on whose behalf you were acting here, and what right you had to issue any instructions here, and whether Mueller had Gluecks' permission. I suppose Hoess asked you that, did he not?

Accused: I do not know. Of my entire visit to Auschwitz I can only remember the conversation, the meeting with Storfer. That is what is present in my mind.

Q. You said that when you were in Hungary, Guenther had issued instructions to execute Storfer, Eppstein and Edelstein, and that you were angry about this.

A. That is true. I heard about this. When I somehow got back to Berlin, I heard that the officials with whom I had had dealings...

Q. Guenther - no, no, it was Guenther who gave these orders. That is what you said. You will agree that when you were in Budapest, Guenther, if he had any powers at all, at the very most he had your powers, that is to say the powers which you yourself had as Head of Section IVB4, and certainly nothing more. Is that correct?

A. Yes, but he also had to go to Mueller, the Department Chief, each time in order to get permission. But it seems that Guenther originally did not stick one hundred per cent to the rules, so as not to assume for himself any power of giving instructions, but it is possible that here perhaps he acted somewhat more vigorously. That would have been in his nature. But I just do not know.

Q. But you were cross with Guenther and furious at him, and not at anyone else?

A. Yes, that of course was my first reaction when I came back and heard this; obviously I exchanged the - how shall I put it - the appropriate words with the person who reported this to me and told me about this. That was my first reaction, and that is also what I remember.

Presiding Judge: Where is this, please?

Attorney General: Pages 3278-3279, and in Life, on pages 14 and 15, Your Honour.

[To the Accused] From whom did Guenther obtain the instruction to have Storfer, Eppstein and the others executed? Did you not show any interest in this, did you not look into this?

Accused: It would definitely have been too late, nor do I know how the entire business was dealt with in Berlin. I could, however, imagine that Gruppenfuehrer Mueller gave Guenther the instruction - I cannot imagine anything else.

Q. Why did Mueller send you to Kulmhof, for what purpose?

A. It was Mueller's way to be kept informed of everything going on both on Reich territory and in the occupied territories. I had to make these official journeys in order to report to my Chief.

Q. But why did it have to be you? There was technical staff in the Section, people who, as you have said, were much better versed in these matters; why were you selected for this mission?

A. I believe that I was not the only one who received such orders, because I only went to these places, while others must definitely have been sent to other places. Anyone who was ordered had to obey; at that time everybody had to go.

Q. Now look: T/1280 - even at a very late date, the Economic- Administrative Head Office issued internal directives to the effect that there were two categories of Jews - transport Jews, who came from IVB4a, and Jews under orders for protective custody, which originated from IVC2. The Section does not recognize any other Jews. Now will you agree that this means that all Jews who arrived by some route other than an order for protective custody were transport Jews, who arrived as a result of instructions from your Section?

A. Yes, the deportations - I have said as much - these were routed by IVB4, and how this was divided up by the Economic- Administrative Head Office - this was, I believe, the task of the Economic- Administrative Head Office.

Q. That was not my question. It is shown very clearly by this that the Economic-Administrative Head Office, which in your view is the commander of concentration and extermination camps, this Head Office recognizes only two categories of Jews: transport Jews who arrive on the basis of an instruction from your Section, and protective custody Jews, who arrive on an instruction from IVC2. Is that correct?

A. Not on the basis of an instruction; but the designation IVB4a or IVC2a - that distinction is a subdivision made by the Economic-Administrative Head Office.

Q. And from time to time you ensured that Jews who could not be included in transports on the basis of general instructions were sent to Auschwitz as inmates in protective custody?

A. I did not handle this matter - Guenther handled it, but he must definitely have followed the instructions of the Chief of Department IV in two decrees, because here he refers to the decree on protective custody. These categories, which under the guidelines were not to be evacuated, were not to be evacuated. But if they violated the general regulations, then the decree on protective custody, which did not originate with my Section, as I can see from the reference numbers, would be applied.

Q. That is true, but Guenther makes suggestions as to how the general guidelines can be circumvented, and how it would nevertheless be possible to transport Jews to Auschwitz. Is that true?

A. This is also a possible interpretation.

Q. How often did you visit Warsaw during the Second World War?

A. I believe I made a total of two visits to Warsaw - twice.

Q. Roughly when?

A. I have no conception of time and no chronological order here whatsoever, and I was not able to work this out afterwards either...

Q. After the uprising or before the uprising? Or once before the uprising and once after the uprising?

A. No, it was after the uprising, because I saw the ruins.

Q. Do you know who Georg Michelson is?

A. No, I do not know him.

Q. He says that you were in Warsaw in connection with the liquidation of the Ghetto, in July/August 1942. Were you in Warsaw at that time?

A. I remember there...if I had remembered, I would definitely have indicated that of my own accord in my memoirs or in my Statement.

Q. Perhaps we can give you some assistance in refreshing your memory. I have before me exhibit T/268, document No. 941 - a report on a meeting you had about the Warsaw Ghetto with the Foreign Ministry's representative in Poland, and this took place in April 1942.

A. Yes, I am familiar with the matter, but that does not mean that I was in Poland because of this matter here, because in fact, with regard to Jews of foreign nationality in the Warsaw Ghetto, there was extensive correspondence between the Foreign Ministry and the Head Office for Reich Security.

Q. Were you in Warsaw at that time, as stated in the document, on the date indicated in the document, or were you not?

A. I fail to deduce from the document that I was in Warsaw.

Q. According to your recollection, were you in Warsaw? Just forget the document for a moment.

A. I said that I do not know when it was; what I do remember is seeing the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Q. That was the second time you were there. The first time you were there was around April 1942, is that not true?

A. I cannot remember that. If I had any recollection, I must repeat, I would have said as much without any hesitation a long time ago.

Presiding Judge: Silence in Court!

Accused: I have voluntarily come out with far worse things than this.

Attorney General: All right. Do you know who recorded this note that I showed you a few minutes ago?

Accused: This last record - no, I did not pay attention to that.

Q. So perhaps, if I show it to you again, you could identify the signature? Perhaps you might remember, perhaps you could refresh your memory, just look at the signature -

A. It says Wieler, Vice-Consul - I do not know the man.

Q. He wrote that you conducted the meeting as the representative of the Chief of the Head Office for Reich Security - of the Chief of the Security Service - this is in the first paragraph.

A. I did not conduct the meeting, I participated in it. The document does not show where the consultation took place - it could just as well have taken place in the Foreign Ministry in Berlin. I said that there were extensive consultations and correspondence about this matter between the two central authorities.

Q. It says here: Representative of the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, Eichmann. He also sees in you the direct representative of the Chief of the SD, the Chief of the Security Police - is that another fatal error?

A. This is, of course, an error which was made very often, which was also made here...

Q. This is, therefore, your misfortune - everyone sees you as the representative of Heydrich and Kaltenbrunner.

A. In this I was not alone, this happened all along.

Q. What bad luck... Now look at this. On page 3215 of your Statement to the police, you said that you were in Warsaw on 21 April 1942, and took part in a meeting in Warsaw on Jews of foreign nationality.

A. The only possibility here is that I was shown a document in this connection, from which I could gather this. How else could I know it was 21 April 1942?

Q. So were you in Warsaw or not - on this date or close to this date?

A. Yes - if the document says so, then I must have been in Warsaw, but this document does not say so.

Q. Would you please tell me...

Presiding Judge: Just one moment, let us first complete this. From what you have said here, it is clear that you stated this only after looking at the document.

Accused: Yes - document No. 941 - this was shown to me. I do not know...I am not sure...Your Honour, I have already said that from this one cannot tell - from this document - I have now read it over properly...whether this consultation took place in Warsaw or in Berlin. If it took place in Warsaw, then naturally I must have participated in it. But if it took place in Berlin, then I cannot have been in Warsaw...

Presiding Judge: Yes, all right.

Attorney General: At the end of the document here, there is something about death certificates for Jews. What do you have to do with issuing death certificates for the Jews of Warsaw?

Accused: I cannot make this out - I do not know.

Q. But this is in here.

A. If it is in there, possibly it is somehow connected with the Foreign Ministry's discussion about Jews of foreign nationality. Perhaps some special arrangement was made, I do not know, as Generalgouvernement affairs were only considered as being of importance to the Reich if they went beyond the scope of the Generalgouvernement, in the case of Jews of foreign nationality, and then it is possible that here the Foreign Ministry...I am trying to reconstruct a result of interventions urged that certain things be done. Right now I do not know what were the actual facts.

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