The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 103
(Part 5 of 5)

Attorney General: "When he with his division..."


"When he with his division - which was treated shabbily, probably because of practical shortcomings, how I helped you think that if I had such an order from the Reichsfuehrer, motorize the 22nd and 8th with ten thousand trucks in return...then the million Jews should go to the moon...the main thing is that from this I could give my friend five thousand trucks for his division. I never asked my heart - nor was there any need for me to ask my heart. I had to ask Germany - not my heart, which is basically the same thing."

"Can you tell me what was Mueller's attitude to this deal?"

"Just as cold as mine. If we could exchange a certain number, X, of enemies of the Reich for military advantages, then implementing any deal was justified. And I am convinced about this - if necessary we would have exchanged, at a pinch, two million for these ten thousand trucks. And then I would have negotiated whatever could have been negotiated. And this is another piece of evidence for the fact that the Jews were not in fact incinerated - that they were in fact have no idea of what both sides would have got out of this source - Jews and non-Jews alike."

Q. Did you say this?

A. In this form, I do not know - in any case, the sentence read out earlier gives the lie to much of this, because it has been seen that a witness, Brand - a witness for the Prosecution - has confirmed that...

Q. Will you tell me whether you said this - "yes" or "no"? Or in this form?

A. In this form - I do not know whether it was recorded in this form, or whether it was touched up - I have no way of knowing that.

Q. Not "touched up" again!

A. By "touched up" I mean that it was listened to, and incorrectly dictated, and also possibly reworked in journalistic style.

Q. But you yourself did correct the entire page.

A. I did not sign, it nor did I pass it...there is no slip attached to it.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, would you give the interpreter the transcript...

Attorney General: By all means. Please, on the first page, before the red box. Now, having seen this, perhaps you could admit to me that in your heart you could not be reconciled yourself to this transaction. Is that true?

Accused: I never claimed that - I said that it was for reasons of expediency. I did not say that this was in some way a rescue operation. I said that I did this for reasons of was certainly influenced by this matter I have described. But I...

Q. Without the "but" - I will accept your reply without the "but"!

Zehenter was a friend of yours from early on, wasn't he; a proper, real friend from the days of your youth?

A. He was not a friend from the days of my youth; I only met him much later.

Q. Later he became your friend?

A. One cannot really call him a friend; he was a colleague of mine, the divisional commander.

Presiding Judge: Is it true that the reason why you supported the deal was to help Zehenter's division?

Accused: It was a chain...that was one of the considerations, because I did in fact have to present the matter in Berlin, and I did then present this, and because I still do not know who initiated this truck affair, whether I initiated it or someone else...Zehenter is involved here, because at some point Hitler said the 8th and 22nd Cavalry Divisions should be motorized.

Q. All right. Did you support the truck transaction?

A. Yes, of course.

Q. And why did you do so?

A. Because through this matter the subject of emigration could be taken away from Becher again. That is what I calculated. That was in fact the original motive, the Becher business.

Q. I see. So it was in order to get the emigration business out of Becher's hands, correct?

A. Let us first of all have a proper look at my considerations.

Q. And afterwards?

A. And afterwards I considered how this could be made to work, and the "how" consisted of various components. The German intelligence services had negotiated with the Jews; Becher had negotiated with the Jews; there was Krumey.

Q. I did not ask you about the "how," I asked you why. I would nevertheless like to have a clear-cut answer to my question. Why did you support this truck transaction? You have said about this that it was in order to get this matter out of Becher's hands, in other words a question of rivalry between you and Becher. Was there another reason or motive? And please do not start relating now how you wanted to implement it, but why you agreed to it in the first place.

A. The "why" involved Becher's emigration matters and his pressuring me to go along with deportations. That was the reason.

Presiding Judge: All right.

Attorney General: I assume that your anger with Becher continued to burn in your heart all along. In any case, you have a very clear memory of this. Right?

Accused: I have always remembered Becher very clearly, that is true. I even said that here in my Statement, what my relationship was with Becher at that time.

Q. In any case, as far as the transaction is concerned, I cannot find the slightest indication about rivalry or anger. Would you please look at this in your own Statement: "I do not know who gave the order or made the suggestion; naturally the order came from above. That is clear. But as to who made the suggestion, whether it was me or whether it was the Reichsfuehrer or Becher - it must have been someone. And, in any case, I did submit the matter to the higher authorities."

Do you agree that there is no rivalry here, no anger, no rage?

A. Could I then ask that the addition be read out which I wrote down somewhere under letters 'a' to 'q'? That must be in there somewhere.

Presiding Judge: The quotation is from the end of page 2905.

Attorney General: Perhaps in the meanwhile you would like to look at it and tell us which passage you are referring to. You can do this tonight, and then would you please tell us to which passage you are referring, which shows your rage or anger or rivalry with Becher about the transaction. But in any case you will agree that you did not wait at all for the results or outcome of the transaction. And as soon as Joel Brand left Hungary, the deportations started up once again.

Accused: It was not up to me to halt or order transports to start or run.

Q. Is that correct or not?

A. I cannot...yes, it is correct. But I did not give orders for this.

Q. And do you also admit that Becher tried to stop the deportations, by means of teletypes to Himmler, such as T/1220, and so on, and you tried to bring the deportations from Budapest forward from 25 August to 20 August?

A. This letter from Becher had nothing to do with Himmler's ban on deportations. This can be proved by checking the time which elapsed between Himmler's order to deport received at three o'clock in the morning by Veesenmayer...

Q. That was not what I asked. Please answer to the point. I asked whether with regard to the deportation of the Jews of Budapest, what Becher did, as far as we have been shown, was to approach Himmler, in order to have the deportation stopped; whereas you did everything you possibly could to bring forward the dates for the deportation. If it reassures you, I would only like to tell you that in my eyes Becher is also not a wonderful person, but at any rate in this matter we see that he did try to help, along the lines of the transaction, whereas what you did was to advance the dates for deportation.

A. It says here that the beginning of evacuation of Jews from Budapest was proposed for the 25th and the Minister of Interior stated on Eichmann's request he was prepared to advance this to 20th.

Q. That is your doing. That is your contribution to the transaction.

A. But these five days did not originate in my mind. They came from those who were to draw up the timetable.

Q. Ah yes, the timetable. And this was despite the fact that Kasztner kept warning you that as long as Jews were deported, no one would take the transaction seriously.

A. I was the least suitable recipient for a warning in Hungary.

Q. Is it true that Kasztner said that to you?

A. That is possible, and I passed on these reports which Kasztner gave me; I could not do any more.

Q. In other words, you knew that the continuation of the deportations would thwart the transaction.

A. I did not know that, because from the outset it was said the order originally stated that deportations were not to be held up by that. I did not agree with that, but that was the order which was given, and that is also why I said to Joel Brand that he should be quick, and I arranged for the plane.

Q. In any case you were told that continuing the deportations would jeopardize the entire transaction, weren't you?

A. Certainly I was told that, and I also reported it. I repeat once again, however much more I had been told, I could neither have held things up nor halted them.

Q. But planning for the sudden deportation of the Jews of Budapest, that was under your control?

A. No, this matter was initiated by the Foreign Ministry, it was not under my control.

Q. All the documents indicate that you planned to mobilize post office and local authority officials and others on one day, in order to carry out, by one blow, the deportation of the Jews of Budapest. You did not discuss this with Baky and Endre, this was not your idea?

A. No, but I had nothing to do with this, nor have I read anything about this either in any document.

Q. Apparently you only read those you wish to read. Do you not remember the document where it says that you planned to carry out a one-time deportation of the entire Jewish population of Budapest on one day, by one blow?

A. No, but if I read that and see it, then I must say that I suppose that is true, but I have not read it.

Q. You really have no recollection of that? You have no recollection of this operation? Of the preparations for this deportation?

A. No, I did not in fact make any preparations, there was nothing for me to prepare...

Q. Do you have no recollection whatever of any planning for deporting the Jews of Budapest in one day?

A. In one day it would have been...whoever even dreamt up the expression shows that it was someone who never had anything to do with transport matters.

Q. All right then. A man who is so well versed in transport matters as you: How long would something like that take, with maximum concentration?

A. I don't know; that was the task of the Operations Department of the Hungarian gendarmerie, they would have had to work it out. I was unable to do any calculations.

Q. In any case, if it appears in a document, you will say it is correct?

A. Yes, I have even read that the matter came from Berlin, that a condition was laid down that certain Hungarian wishes were to be satisfied as soon as Budapest was evacuated, and I also know that preparatory work to this effect was being carried out. I cannot deny this, either. But nothing came of this. I do not know what the reasons were.

Q. You have already told us that Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz, visited you in Budapest. In what connection and on what business did he come to see you?

A. I don't know whether I have spoken about this in my Statement. I vaguely remember, and now I do of course know that he came to Hungary to check on the age limit and the fitness for work of the Jews to be deported. I have gathered this from the documents.

Q. Just forget the documents. What do you remember about Hoess' visit to you? This concerns people's lives and deaths, so try and remember something without documents.

A. The only thing I still know from memory is that Hoess might have been in Hungary. I cannot see the man in front of me, nor can I in any way see the situation in which I spent time with him. So I cannot say this from memory, and if I had to base myself solely on my memory of that time, I would probably not have a great deal to say altogether.

Presiding Judge: What is the situation, Mr. Hausner?

Attorney General: To my regret, I have not yet concluded, as I had hoped, but I can do so tomorrow morning.

Presiding Judge: Very well, then, tomorrow we shall conclude the cross-examination, and immediately after that Dr. Servatius will be able to re-examine the witness.

Dr. Servatius: I am prepared for that.

Presiding Judge: The Court will adjourn until 8.30 tomorrow morning.

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