The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 99
(Part 3 of 4)

Q. The Foreign Ministry asked that you, too, to sign these instructions because you were - because they somehow concerned you, is that not true?

A. I did read that somewhere, that there was some talk of co- signing, but that is in fact connected with the counter- signing agreement which has already been referred to.

Q. No, no - I am talking about something quite specific: Was there any specific problem which concerned a special guideline, and therefore you would have participated in the signing?

A. I cannot for the moment imagine what that might be.

Q. And in connection with the specific matter of the Warsaw Ghetto?

A. For the moment I cannot imagine anything at all in connection with that...

Q. And quite specifically with reference to the Warsaw Ghetto?

A. In this connection there was definitely no unusual matter which, in any way, was dealt with by the Foreign Ministry and Section IVB4.

Q. Exterminating Jews - that was not, after all, anything special, exceptional, between the two bodies. I am asking you whether your signature was required for instructions about directives which applied to the Warsaw Ghetto?

A. I cannot now say anything other than what I have already said. I somehow know that something about signing was dealt with in the documents - I do not know what.

Q. But for once from your memory, without documents...

A. I believe that it is not humanly possible, after so many years and after so much has become vague, and after so many other impressions, to give precise testimony about such a vast subject, as a witness, from the witness box - on oath here.

Q. This concerns half a million Jews.

A. I had nothing to do with the killing of those half a million Jews.

Q. In your letter of 18 February 1942, T/267, document No. 940, you write about the Warsaw Ghetto: "Special circumstances would make it necessary to segregate the ghetto inhabitants to a greater extent than previously from the rest of the population." What special circumstances?

A. That I do not know. The authorities of the Generalgouvernement doubtless planned stringent provisions, and the Foreign Ministry probably took the initiative with regard to the Jews with foreign nationality. And this problem was then dealt with accordingly.

Q. Oh no - this is your signature. "Reference - none," that is an approach on your part, and I will, therefore, repeat my question once again: What were these special circumstances which required a more stringent separation of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto than had previously been the case?

A. I cannot say off-hand, but I know that there is a series of documents here, and I have read them too, and if they are arranged chronologically, it will be possible to speak clearly about what happened.

Q. No, no, no - I want to know about this from your memory. You signed a letter - I would like to know what your intention was in doing so.

A. That I know...

Presiding Judge: I would like him to be shown the letter, because the wording here is also of importance. [Letter is shown to the Accused] The paragraph where there is a reference to separating the Jews from the rest of the population, on the first page.

A. Yes. Obviously, now that I know how things proceeded in the Generalgouvernement, I think I could say here there were plans for deportation, and that the Head Office for Reich Security, or Section IVB4, had to ensure here that the Jews with foreign nationality were removed. But it was not IVB4 which implemented these measures to deport the Warsaw Ghetto; IVB4 was not competent for that, and so I do not know all the ins and outs of this matter by heart - this is how I understand this letter today. I must argue for this attitude, as the Jews with foreign nationality were, as I have already said, the main concern of the Head Office for Reich Security, because significance on the Reich level was attached to this factor, whilst the local measures in the Generalgouvernement were implemented by the Generalgouvernement's own authorities, without involving the Head Office for Reich Security, at least not IVB4.

Attorney General: I should like this letter to remain with the Accused for another minute.

In this letter you also write, on page 2, that before you give further instructions you ask to be informed of the position of the Foreign Ministry. What further instructions were these? What other further instructions did you wish to issue?

Accused: Further instructions?

Q. It says here, "Before I arrange for further steps..."

A. Removing Jews with foreign nationality. That had to be arranged for by the Head Office for Reich Security, that is IVB4.

Q. And you had the power to issue such instructions?

A. I was ordered to do so by my Department Chief. I received orders; on my own I could not have done so...that is clear from the fact that such a matter was of major consequence. It was not a minor matter, to be dealt with by a Section.

Q. It specifically says "I" here. It says, "Before I arrange for further steps."

A. That has already come up several times - that is German officialese, bureaucratic official German. It has nothing to do with my private self as Eichmann, because I did not write any private letters.

Q. But official correspondence had to be accurate, and if what you meant was the Department or the Section, then you should have written "this Department or this Section," if you meant the Section. If you write "I," then that is what you mean - I. So that means either you yourself, or you as the representative of the Chief of the Security Police.

A. If here...if I had been a representative, it would say i.V., meaning "on behalf of." The first person is that normally used by an official. I myself would probably not even have written this - it was written by IVB4a-1, by an old police officer, and this German uses the first person, because the heading reads "The Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service."

Presiding Judge: Very well, we have already had that.

Attorney General: The document to which you were asked to add the extra signature is T/269, document No. 942. You probably had to sign at that time, in order to be bound by something.

Accused: This is perfect standard practice of reciprocal notification and simultaneous counter-signing.

Q. Very well. So this was the standard and general practice.

A. In important matters that was - that was always respected and observed reciprocally.

Q. In important matters counter-signing was required.

A. This was established by decree and had to be respected.

Presiding Judge: According to the term "moechte" (would wish), it would appear that the initiative actually came from the Accused. He wanted this to be the case.

Accused: Yes, indeed, and that is certain, Your Honour, because this was a matter of foreign nationality. If here...let us put it this way...if there had been failure to comply here, then later there would have been trouble and reproaches from one's superior, if as a result of intervention the Foreign Ministry had been forced to lodge a complaint with the Head Office for Reich Security. I would say that this was a safety factor which was provided in this way.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Attorney General: So if you had no connection with the evacuation from the Warsaw Ghetto and the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, why was it necessary to report to you on the atrocity stories published about this abroad?

Accused: First of all, this was a reciprocal exchange of information, just as when we had obtained information by confidential reports, we would inform the Foreign Ministry and vice versa. Then this particular instance is dated 12 August 1944, and here I can but say that I was not there...but even if I had been in Berlin, I could not say anything more about this specific matter either.

Q. But what does that have to do with you?

A. Well, all reports were exchanged reciprocally between the Foreign Ministry and the Head Office for Reich Security.

Q. And why did you visit Warsaw before the suppression of the uprising?

A. I have said that I cannot remember whether I visited Warsaw before the suppression of the uprising.

Q. No? So why did you go there after the suppression?

A. I said that I was in Warsaw on two occasions, mainly in order to spend the night there. That was the main reason, as the best overnight accommodation was in Warsaw.

Q. Apart from Frank's office, of the Generalgouvernement of Poland, there was also a representative of the Foreign Ministry, was there not?

A. In Warsaw?

Q. No, in Cracow, not in Warsaw.

A. I do not know. I have no knowledge of that.

Q. Is it not true that at Frank's office there were representatives from various other ministries of the Reich, including the Foreign Ministry?

A. In the government office of the Generalgouvernement?

Q. Yes.

A. Of course. But I do not know where the individual buildings were.

Q. All right. My question was general in nature. Now, would you explain to us why it was necessary for Jewish Affairs, that is the affairs of Jews with foreign nationality, to be excluded from the scope of authority of the Generalgouvernement and transferred to you, if in any case there were representatives of the Foreign Ministry in Cracow?

A. I do not know this either. In any case the Foreign Ministry had to be in overall charge in dealing with this.

Q. But why?

A. Because in all countries, whether occupied or unoccupied, the Foreign Ministry was in overall charge of handling Jews with foreign nationality, and the Foreign Ministry had to determine in which category they were to be classified. There are several dozen files here about this, indicating this situation.

Q. I know, and you know, perfectly well that the documents are from the Foreign Ministry, and that is why you are constructing a theory here. On the basis of your theory, all matters of Jews with foreign nationality had to be passed from the government of the Generalgouvernement to the Foreign Ministry, from the Foreign Ministry to you, and then back from you to the Foreign Ministry, and then back to the Generalgouvernement. Is that correct?

A. No, that is not entirely correct, because on the basis of the...

Q. So how did things proceed? What were the normal official channels? Do explain that to us.

A. The Foreign Ministry would contact the Head Office for Reich Security; for example, von Thadden's office would contact IVB4, and after he had consulted his superiors and I had done the same with mine, these matters would be discussed.

Q. How were the instructions issued? Or the orders?

A. The Foreign Ministry announced its position. On the basis of this position, the Head Office for Reich Security issued the decrees to the subordinate authorities, with instructions as to how to proceed with regard to these specified Jews of some particular nationality.

Q. Direct to the Generalgouvernement?

A. This matter - Jews of foreign nationality - they went to all authorities, of whatever country. That is so.

Q. Direct, straight to the Generalgouvernement from IVB4, directly to the Generalgouvernement?

A. No, not from IVB4 to the Generalgouvernement. These general decrees on matters of principle, were signed by the senior officials. We have here files giving examples of this.

Q. I should like to know, therefore: In the Head Office for Reich Security - who was entitled to issue instructions or orders to the authorities in the Generalgouvernement?

A. Once the order had been made - any of the Section's officials-in-charge. However, generally speaking, these general decrees on matters of principle were issued by Mueller or Heydrich or, I do not think Heydrich...but there things were not ...

Q. So Mueller had the right to issue instructions or orders to the authorities in the Generalgouvernement?

A. Mueller, yes, of course.

Q. In N/23 - in diagram N/23 - for some reason you deprived him of this right...

A. No, no - I did mark this: Here it goes down from Mueller to the circle, and then the arrow points, for example, to the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in The Hague, the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service under the Reich Protector, and the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, Cracow...

Q. Is that how you see the order of things, as going through the various offices until it gets to Cracow?

A. There is no other way of representing this in the drawing. It is, of course, obvious that it went directly from Mueller to the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, Cracow, but it is difficult to show this in any other way on the drawing. There is the arrow here, going directly from Mueller.

Q. All right. In any case you are saying that what you meant to indicate here is that Department IV could issue instructions directly to the Senior Commander of the Security Police in Cracow?

A. Only in matters which exceeded the scope of the Generalgouvernement, and then only on Mueller's orders.

Q. All right - Department IV...

A. Yes.

Q. That is Mueller, after all, is it not? Mueller was entitled to issue instructions to the Commander of the Security Police, Cracow, and the Commander of the Security Police, Lublin, was he not?

A. I do not believe that there was any Commander of the Security Police, Lublin. There was only a Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service, Cracow.

Q. And the Commander of the Security Police - could he issue orders to the Commandant of the Security Police?

A. Yes, but that was not the practice, that had to go via the Commander, because the Senior Commander was the superior officer of the Commandant...

Q. And Mueller issued orders about Jewish affairs in the Generalgouvernement?

A. Mueller could certainly do that.

Q. But did he do it? - not just "could do it"?

A. Yes, but not - let us say - in matters of resettlement within the Generalgouvernement, because here Himmler had given a special order to the Senior SS and Police Leader, to whom the SS and Police Leaders were subordinate. But in other matters - say involving border security, sabotage, and other matters of importance to the Reich - Mueller could doubtless issue orders to the Generalgouvernement. But not in matters of resettlement. In that area the Senior SS and Police Leader had overall responsibility.

Q. I am talking of evacuation of Jews, did...

Judge Halevi: What is the meaning of "resettlement within the Generalgouvernement"? What do you mean by the word Umsiedlung (resettlement)?

A. This means the deportations carried out in the Generalgouvernement, for example to Treblinka, to Majdanek, which was preceded by ghettoization, and then the transports to these Globocnik locations. That was known at the time as resettlement - in other words, deportation.

Judge Halevi: All right.

Attorney General: Which term did you use, Umsiedlung (resettlement)?

A. Yes, that was used at the time, Umsiedlung.

Presiding Judge: And prior to that, "ghettoization"?

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