The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 104
(Part 1 of 5)

Session No. 104

7 Av 5721 (20 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I open the one hundred and fourth Session of the trial. The Accused will continue with his testimony in cross-examination. I remind the Accused that he is still testifying under oath.

Accused: Yes, I am aware of that.

Attorney General: At the end of yesterday's session, we talked about Hoess' visit to you in Budapest. I am sure you remember that Hoess visited you - you have admitted as much. He talked with you about the number of persons to be deported and the possibilities of reception at Auschwitz. Is that correct?

A. Yes, he had talks with me, too.

Q. And after that you yourself also made a visit to Auschwitz when one of the first transports arrived?

A. I do not know whether that was when one of the first transports arrived, but I did go to Auschwitz.

Q. When Hungarian Jews were deported there?

A. Yes.

Q. Hoess also stated that, together with you, he visited Jewish assembly camps in Hungary in order to check how many able-bodied Jews could be available for forced labour.

A. No, that is not true.

Q. In Hoess' own trial, in which he accepted complete responsibility and made no attempt to pass the guilt onto you, he says that you visited the assembly and concentration camps where Hungarian Jews were in detention, in order to determine the percentage of able-bodied Jews. I can refer you to the relevant page in Hoess' statement.

A. It is perfectly possible that Hoess may have stated something like that, but I never went to a camp in Hungary with him, since I never visited any camps whatsoever. Had I done so, I would have said so, just as I said that I went to Auschwitz.

Q. The purpose of your visit to Auschwitz was to ascertain the receptive capacity of the camp, wasn't it?

A. My duties did not include checking on the camp's receptive capacity. I would no longer remember this visit had I not read that Krumey apparently said that he went with me. I remember something in this connection which might well have occurred, because I did once make a journey by car with Krumey. I do not remember anything more about this, though.

The receptive capacity of the Auschwitz camp was of no interest at all to me, as it had nothing to do with me. But it must have been something to do with technical transport timetable matters. But receptive capacity was not one of my duties, and I had nothing to do with it. I dealt with the technical question of drawing up timetables.

Q. Do you remember that in the Sassen Document it says that you went to Auschwitz from time to time, in order to check on the receptive capacity every time there was to be a new large-scale wave of deportations, such as the wave of deportations from Hungary?

A. No. If that is written there, it is factually incorrect, because even the concentration camp commandant, for example, was never able to set the number to be received; this was done by the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps in Oranienburg. If it were written there...

Q. What sort of technical questions did you have to clarify in Auschwitz?

A. For example, the timetable was in fact drawn up in several phases by the competent Reich Railway authorities, and these stages had to be confirmed, and I had to get the figure, and once it had been approved I had to indicate it in the timetable. And when Hoess visited Hungary, he did so not as Commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Hungary, as far as I know, but as someone from Berlin visiting Hungary - that is to say, from the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps.

Q. I am asking you what sort of technical problems there were, which you had to clarify in Auschwitz? Please do not tell us about Hoess' visit to Budapest. What was it you had to ascertain in Auschwitz: the size of the station, the width of the tracks, or what else?

A. No, the number authorized for deportation.

Q. That is precisely what I have been asking you about all the time. You wanted to indicate in the handwritten part of your Statement, several passages which also refer to the transaction. Have you found the section?

A. The transaction?

Q. "Blood for goods." You wanted to show me another passage, to refer me to another passage in addition to the one to which I referred you with regard to the "blood for goods" matter.

A. About the Becher affair - yes.

Q. Exactly. So what have you found?

A. In document No. 1491. May I read out or should I...

Q. I thought you wished to draw my attention to a further statement by you. But if you wish to read this out - these are your memoirs, are they not?

A. I do not think these are memoirs; they are the various - the various explanations to the recorded interrogation.

Q. Very well, in that case please read this out, please say what you wish to say.


"If the various people who made statements had not taken refuge to such an extent in untruths, particularly as far as I myself am concerned, and if in reading Wisliceny's accusations I certainly had not recalled details which I had long forgotten... But since Wisliceny has now in this way forced me to react, I do so, as far as Wisliceny himself is concerned, with a feeling of some reluctance, as he was, after all, an SS officer, detailed to me. As far as Becher is concerned, I can comment without any sympathy on my part, because by his own ambitious efforts, right from the outset, he acted in a scheming fashion, relying on his power of attorney from the Reichsfuehrer-SS, and now, that is after 1945, he is trying to salve his own conscience by telling such gross lies about myself."
Presiding Judge: Which page is this on? Which page are you reading from?

Accused: I believe that the pages are not numbered. At the top here it says "Technician Lange NS 1 (69)" - that probably means an addition to the 69th reel.

Presiding Judge: Yes, but which page?

Accused: There is no indication of page numbers, Your Honour.

Attorney General: These are notes which...

Presiding Judge: But there must be numbers and letters at the top, aren't there?

Attorney General: Yes.

Accused: Here it only says NS 1 (69).

Attorney General: Very well. Please continue, read on.

Accused: It continues:

"First headquarters in a hotel in the city of Budapest. Was visited here by Becher, whom I had not met until then; informed me of his assignment. Subsequently pressed for starting evacuation immediately, as otherwise he could not carry out his orders from the Reichsfuehrer-SS. My objection: interference in police matters by non-police bodies or persons, unless so authorized, is inadmissible. Becher kept referring to his Reichsfuehrer-SS orders, which he could only carry out if the evacuation were carried out with maximum energy. My retort: This could never under any circumstances be rushed through, and in any case, in Hungary the Hungarian authorities carry out evacuations. Everything must first be discussed in detail and organized.

I reported to the Head Office for Reich Security about this, after the Senior Commander of the Security Police informed me that Becher's ideas were sound. The more overheated the situation, the more easily Becher could work. This was his motto. That is why he had to keep pushing and criticizing with talk about the police authorities' protracted plodding. He wanted evacuation matters to be dealt with at maximum speed. This was also, he said, what the Reichsfuehrer-SS wanted. In order to ease his mind, I countered this by informing him of Endre's and Baky's preparatory work, and later about the Hungarian gendarmerie's operational preparations. I was informed about the Western front by Wisliceny (Ferenczi) and sometimes, I believe, Dannecker. I reported all of these matters in order to cover myself... Reichsfuehrer order (Becher) via the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service to the Higher SS and Police Leader and via the Senior Commander of the Security Police to the Head Office for Reich Security."

This is what I have found.

Attorney General: All right.

Presiding Judge: That is exhibit T/43.

Attorney General: In other words, if I understand you correctly, the discussion between you and Becher was that, according to you, Becher was demanding urgent deportations, while you wanted to take into account the objective difficulties. Is that right? That is what it says there, is it not? In essence.

Accused: That I wanted to take into account the objective difficulties? No, that was not the point, Mr. Attorney General; for me the infuriating thing was that he wanted emigration at the cost of - I would say at the cost of my bones, as the phrase goes, and in addition he kept harassing me. I would say that is a fairly accurate description of what went on, in vulgar language.

Q. All right, but that is exactly what I said. The controversy between you and Becher, according to your account of things, was that Becher said, "Hurry, hurry, quickly, deport the Jews rapidly." And you said to Becher, "Slow down, there are difficulties, things have to be organized properly first, there is the Hungarian gendarmerie to take into account, that cannot be done all at once." Correct?

A. Not to take into account, but "the Hungarian gendarmerie handles that." The reason why I had to point this out to Becher was because I was worried that he was reporting to Himmler behind my back and complaining about me. That is why I presented the whole thing to him as it was happening.

Q. Very well, I am prepared to make do with that. Now, in what you have just read out from your notes, it says that one of your means of setting Becher's mind at rest, was to inform him that Endre and Baky would help - that was the operation for the massive arrest of the Jews of Budapest, was it not?

A. No, there was no talk at all of that at that time - that was at the beginning - this pressurizing by Becher. I did, in fact, also say that...

Q. So about which operation by Endre and Baky were you talking about?

A. At that time the roundup operations were in eastern Hungary...

Q. Yes - all right. But as far as the actual transaction is concerned, you said on page 1837 etc. that you only remembered the entire business of the transaction after reading a book, and on page 1088 you say that Himmler asked for a meeting with Chaim Weizmann about the same matter, and on page 1089 you again say that you cannot remember whether the proposal came from you, from Himmler or from Becher. Do you now remember your words?

A. Yes, indeed; this is the business of the trucks.

Q. But is what you said here correct?

A. Yes, it is correct...

Q. Thank you very much. Do you remember that you received some information about the sudden arrest of the Jews of Budapest...

A. I do not remember that, no. Information about my having to arrest the Jews of Budapest - I cannot remember.

Presiding Judge: What was the question?

Attorney General: Perhaps I will rephrase the question. After von Thadden's visit, he submitted a report about the plan for the sudden arrest of all the Jews of Budapest. Do you remember that? Did you see the document?

A. Yes, I have read the document.

Q. And this report was submitted to the Foreign Ministry, wasn't it?

A. Yes, I know about this also through reading the document.

Q. All right. Now, it also says there that you had a meeting with Veesenmayer and discussed with him the practical details of this operation. Is that correct?

A. I do not know...I did not read any case I cannot remember...

Q. All right. In that case, please look at Wagner's memorandum - T/1196.

A. Indeed, I must is correct, if it says so here, and in fact it is quite clear, because these matters were in fact discussed - I have not in fact denied them.

Q. So the details discussed were about all the Budapest Jews being rounded up and concentrated on an island in the Danube, and being deported from there in daily transports of 20,000. Or rather, 20,000 on the first day, and after that 9,000 per day in three trains. Is that correct?

A. I do not know; in this matter it was only the train business and the timetable business which concerned me, where I...

Q. All right, that is why I am telling you this. Here we finally get to your trains. It was agreed that on 25 August six trains would leave, with a total of 20,000 Jews, and then three trains a day with a total of 9,000 Jews - so this is a railway matter, a timetable matter, and this does concern you, does it not? I want a reply from you on that.

A. Yes, I had to do this in accordance with orders.

Presiding Judge: Where does the number of trains appear?

Attorney General: This is in Grell's teletype, T/1218.

And when you found out that the Hungarian authorities had postponed the rounding up to 28 August, and had not yet given their agreement to deport the Jews to the Reich, you stated that you were superfluous in Budapest and asked for your unit to be liquidated or disbanded, right?

A. Yes, since there was nothing else to do in timetable terms, my unit was superfluous, and I asked for it to be disbanded, and it was in fact disbanded.

Q. Jewish children were also deported from Hungary, were they not?

A. Yes, in accordance with instructions, Himmler's instructions, everyone had to be deported. Not only Himmler's, also Hitler's and Ribbentrop's.

Q. You remember that some of the Hungarian Jews were directed to Austria and not to Auschwitz, don't you?

A. Yes, when giving my Statement I did not remember that, but now I am quite sure of it.

Q. This was because of Blaschke's proposal to Kaltenbrunner, was it not?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: Blaschke?

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