The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 104
(Part 2 of 5)

Attorney General: Yes. This is the municipality of Vienna, in connection with fortification works. And you received orders to send the children there - to send the Jews there?

Accused: Yes, as part of this agreement between Kaltenbrunner and Blaschke I received orders to leave these partial contingents in Austria...according to the timetable the train went only as far as Austria, and no further.

Q. You knew for what purpose the Jews were transported there, didn't you?

A. Yes, because in fact I had to detach part of the commando for labour duty...

Q. "Yes" will suffice. But you said to Kasztner that this was a chance of rescue, and you even demanded money from him for receiving and provisioning the Jews there, didn't you?

A. I am not aware of the last point, but it may in fact be true that I told Kasztner the plain truth and said to him, they are going to stay in Austria and work there. And in fact that is what actually happened.

Q. And did you not demand that the Budapest Jews pay for their provisioning, and did not the Budapest Jews pay for this, for everyone who was sent, allegedly to be saved, to Austria, to Strasshof?

A. I did not dispute this; all I said was that I do not remember this at the moment. If it exists in writing somewhere and is laid down in an official document, then of course it is true.

Q. You told us here that you have a vague memory of a deportation train which left, but came back again. What do you remember about this matter?

A. I remember a train leaving and coming back; I do not know anything further. Anything else is pure imagination on my part and an attempt to somehow work this out. I had hopes that Novak would know more about this, because a witness stated here that Novak was at the camp. I said that Novak could be questioned, because my feeling is that possibly, since Novak handled transport matters, he might have detailed recollections of this. But Novak said that he never visited this camp, and now I have thought about things further, I had said...

Q. Just a moment, before you give us your comments. Your assignment was to ensure that the trains left Hungary, not that they returned, at least that they did not return with the people loaded into them. Correct?

A. Yes, that is correct, as part of drawing up the timetables.

Q. Now, when one train came back contrary to instructions and contrary to plans, you must have done something. So what did you do, what action did you take?

A. May I outline this matter as I have worked it out for myself and reconstructed things? I do not actually remember anything...

Q. No, no...

Presiding Judge: We do not wish to hear speculations. What we want to hear is what you remember. The Attorney General wants to help you recall things, and that is why he asked when the train, loaded with people, came back, what action did you take? Do you or do you not remember this?

Accused: No, I do not remember it. I cannot say anything at all about this on the basis of my own memory, but I would gladly help in somehow finding some possibility - some possibility of clarifying things here.

Presiding Judge: (To the Attorney General) Are you interested in this, Mr. Attorney General?

Attorney General: No. When it comes to interpreting documents, I can also do this myself. I am only interested in what the Accused actually remembers.

Are you aware that witness Grell stated that your Special Operations Units once carried out a deportation behind the back, and without the knowledge, of Germany's official mission in Hungary? This is at the bottom of page 4. He says that he received notification of this through official channels.

Accused: I would not wish to query this nor to place any emphasis on it, because the loading operations were never ever carried out by German units, but by the Czech gendarmerie, so that if a train departed behind the back of the Regent, the loading and implementation must have been carried out by the Hungarian gendarmerie, and not by the German units in Hungary.

Q. I assume you meant Hungarian - when you referred to the Czech gendarmerie, you meant the Hungarian gendarmerie, didn't you?

A. Excuse me - yes, of course.

Q. Yes, but Grell says that this was done by your office, the Eichmann Special Operations Units, naturally in conjunction with the Hungarian gendarmerie - this is Grell's statement at the bottom of page 4. It reads as follows:

"I once learned in the course of my duties that the Special Operations Units, behind the back of the legation and the top Hungarian Government authorities, had, in conjunction with the Hungarian gendarmerie and the Secretaries of State at the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, deported a camp outside Budapest, contrary to the agreements made at the time between the German Reich Government and the Hungarian Government."
So perhaps you now remember something? There is a reference here to your Special Operations Units.

A. No, that is not correct; the facts regarding competence do not fit this, and in addition, Grell himself, in fact, said that in 1945 truth was not strictly observed.

Q. I should like to point out in this context that the documents to which I have just referred were statements by Grell from 1961.

A. Nevertheless, I can only say...I have admitted quite different matters, both voluntarily and on questioning by you, Mr. Attorney General, and nothing could prevent me from admitting these matters as well, if I could remember them. Nothing would prevent me from so doing.

Q. I can find several motives which induced you to make these admissions. As I have already said, I could find several motives which induced you to dissociate yourself especially from the Kistarcsa matter. Do you remember Jewish functionaries in Budapest being rounded up at the Special Operations Units offices and detained there for a whole day?

A. Yes, I first heard and saw this here.

Q. Do you remember this?

A. No, I do not remember it. I need not even have been in Budapest; I was in fact often absent, but it sounds so new to me - this is the first time I have heard this, that something along these lines is supposed to have taken place.

Q. Do you know why? Because the previous time the Jews went to Horthy, and Horthy caused the train to be returned from the border, and so this time they were detained at the office sufficiently long for the train to cross the Hungarian border, and then they were sent home. And then they immediately ran to Horthy, but by then it was already too late.

A. And if I were to consider all of this as facts, there is one thing I cannot understand: Where did the trucks come from? I did not have any trucks available to me.

Judge Halevi: Did you not say that at that time the Hungarian gendarmerie had a large number of trucks available?

Accused: The gendarmerie always had a large number of trucks.

Q. Is that not enough for you?

A. I wanted to explain earlier,the way I see it...

Q. You are saying - let us for a moment assume that all of this is true, that you do not know where the trucks came from, correct? So the answer is very simple: The Hungarian gendarmerie made the trucks available, did it not?

A. I had originally assumed that, Your Honour, but not the Eichmann Special Operations Units, I did not have any.

Q. The trucks were not yours, but the Attorney General asked you whether you ordered this operation, and you said there were no trucks. The question, very simply, was: Did you order this operation?

A. No, I do not know anything about that either, nothing whatsoever. I had hoped that Novak...

Judge Halevi: Very well.

Attorney General: Is it true that you always got worked up when Jews escaped deportation, or were rescued?

Accused: That is new to me. Then I should, for example, have got worked up when Freudiger, for instance, left with the entire group.

Q. Would you, however, please read out to us another two passages from the Sassen Document, or rather from your words to Sassen, page 594 - where there is a correction by you. You added "Heydrich or Kaltenbrunner" - and on the previous page, in the same connection, there is something. Would you please read out these two sections. They are short ones. First page 594 and then 593.

A. With the same qualification, if it please the Court, as I was allowed yesterday.

Presiding Judge: Yes.

Attorney General: Would you, therefore, please read the passage out aloud.

Accused: Yes.

"Nothing more is to be said about Belgium, and you also do not remember anything? I would be interested to know what the man's name was, the Security policeman. There is no reference at all to this."

"In that case there was probably no one down there. It was a very meagre business in Belgium. The only positive thing I can still remember is that I had to keep writing letters to Reder for Heydrich or Kaltenbrunner, who then signed them."

Q. Would you now please go back to the previous page. Please read out the passage marked in red.


"Of course it made me angry, if I was only sent Jews of this sort, because my orders were to make Belgium judenfrei (free of Jews). According to the directives issued, therefore, Falkenhausen's and Reder's actions ran entirely contrary to the Reichsfuehrer's order. I therefore had to take steps to counter this - so I had to trouble the Foreign Ministry, and therefore the Foreign Ministry intervened in Belgium, as it says here. I would not in any way deny that this was how things developed."
Q. Did you say this?

A. I am not sure about the words. The meaning is there. In such cases I received orders...

Q. Were you angry in such cases?

A. I said that I cannot go into the words. I would ask for the tape recording to be made available to me, then it will become perfectly clear.

Q. Very well, then.

A. But I would nevertheless like to say that this was what this meant in such cases, because I then received orders which I had to draw up. There are various documents of this type in existence.

Q. And you also said further to Sassen that Hungary was the only country where you were unable to keep pace with the tempo of deportations. About Holland you said, "it was magnificent how well things rolled." About Denmark you said, "it was almost a scandal," and about Hungary you said, "Hungary really offered the Jews to us like sour beer, and Hungary was the only country where we just could not work fast enough." Did you say that?

A. I cannot remember the words, but the meaning...

Q. You did say that, didn't you?

A. I do not want to go into the words themselves - but the meaning is correct, and in fact I have even said as much in my Statement here. Thousands of gendarmerie units were operating, and the Reich Railways could scarcely provide the rolling stock needed - I stated this as well...

Q. And here there are also corrections in your handwriting - just look at this... In these comparisons of the tempo of deportations, you say on page 310, the last line, and at the top of 311 - just look at this - there is also a correction in your handwriting - look at the bottom here...

A. Yes, slip 28 is missing here.

Q. Yes. So the question was aendern (change) underneath the word allen (all) - you drew a line and wrote "note 28," did you not?

A. Yes, obviously, instead of the word allen, I would have written slip 28, otherwise - if it were a short note - I would have written this in by hand - slip 28 will...

Q. Very well; now please read out the comment below, where there is no slip.


"I am speaking of all countries, we had the same thing in Slovakia, we had the same thing in France, although there it started out very hopefully. We had the same thing in Holland, where the transports did, however, roll at the beginning, so that one can say that it was magnificent, and where subsequently there was one problem after another.

Does that mean that it was magnificent how well the Dutch official administrative apparatus co-operated?

It did not make any problems - at the beginning no problems at all arose - but then mobilation occurred and then the problems cropped up" - it says mobilation...

Presiding Judge: What does that mean?

Accused: I do not know what that means... It does not make any sense.

Presiding Judge: Never mind.


"...then the problems cropped up and things became as tough as anywhere else, until finally a unit could be transported again. But you can see it in all the books - that at the beginning ten thousand were deported at some speed - then there was a lull - then there was fighting - not with weapons - then another contingent went out with ten or fifteen thousand, or maybe just four, five, three, two thousand - then again there was fighting to be got through - then another part was prized off, and that is the way things went. It was only with Hungary that it was different. Hungary really offered us the Jews like sour beer, and Hungary was the only country where we just could not work fast enough. I was constantly being put under pressure where I just could not round up the rolling stock for transports, however hard I tried, so that even the receiving localities had problems with accommodation. The Hungarian Government set such a pace! It was in total contrast to Denmark, where the problems existed right from the very first day, something not found in any other country. So, from this point of view, these two countries - Denmark and Hungary - were the only contrasting exceptions to the other European countries."
Attorney General: Did you say that?

A. As I have said, this cannot be taken literally, because in part it does not make sense and slip 28 is missing; but the substantive content - that is correct. I cannot say anything else.

Q. The proposal for the foot march of Jews from Budapest to Austria, this proposal came from you, did it not?

A. No, it did not come from me, it came from the Higher SS and Police Leader and from Veesenmayer...

Q. I am telling you that the proposal originated with you, and later you received the authorization for this from the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service...

A. No, it was not like that...

Q. And you said to yourself, if the Allies have already bombed the transport routes in the Reich, then the Jews will just have to march on foot. Is that true?

A. In principle that was the basis of all considerations in Hungary, but I was not the person who initiated the foot march.

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