The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 106
(Part 1 of 7)

Session No. 106

8 Av 5721 (21 July 1961)

Presiding Judge: I open the one hundred and sixth Session of the trial. The Accused will now continue with his testimony and will reply to questions by the Judges. I remind the Accused that he is still testifying under oath.

Accused: Yes, I am aware of the fact.

Attorney General: If it please the Court, I met with Counsel for the Defence, and we agreed on the number of handwritten pages to be submitted to the Court, on the basis of yesterday's Decision. Here is a list of consecutive pages which are herewith submitted, and the material itself, now arranged in one copy, in accordance with the list which I am submitting, in four copies.

Presiding Judge: will you later submit three further copies?

Attorney General: Later we shall submit three further copies of the material itself.

Presiding Judge: Does Dr. Servatius has any comments? Dr. Servatius: I have looked through these passages; they all have comments by Eichmann, and correspond to the Decision.

Presiding Judge: I mark this list T/1432, and I mark the pages consecutively 1432/1 and so on.

Judge Raveh: Accused, yesterday we were still on the subject of numbers. You gave Heydrich the statistical material for the Wannsee Conference.

Accused: Yes.

Q. Approximately when did you prepare that?

A. I had...I would reckon today that it was prepared about two weeks, three weeks, I would reckon today, before the beginning of the date originally scheduled in December 1941.

Q. So about November, the beginning of December 1941?

A. It must have been about that time.

Q. What were your sources?

A. The sources, as far as I remember, were at that time first of all Jewish annuals, but above all they were also the reports from all sorts of places, teletype enquiries to the various offices, where there were no figures, and then further enquiries to local offices; in short, at that time I used all the possibilities available to me...whether this was all of them, I am not sure, but at least I used the possibilities available to me to obtain the statistical material.

Q. Including the Operations Units reports.

A. Certainly I used those, too, although I do not remember, because here an overall figure was taken, I believe. In fact, every country was taken as a whole, not divided up by regions.

Q. In your police interrogation you said positively that you used the figures of the Operations Units. If you do not have this, I shall show it to you.

A. I do not want in any way to deny this; it is possible, because when Korherr drew up his report later, enquiries were also made from all and sundry.

Q. If you tell me it is possible, I must show you what you said to Captain Less. You put it fairly clearly there. Perhaps you would just look at this, pages 850-852, as I have marked them here.

A. Yes. Ah, these, these places, these countries, the Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia, and so on - this definitely - this can in fact only be from the Operations Units. Yes, that is in fact right. Here I was thinking of the figure for Russia, because the number for Russia, I believe is indicated as five million. That is why I said that the countries are stated en bloc in this report for the Wannsee Conference.

Q. The last figure I wish to discuss with you is the figure of one million, dating from 1944, with Joel Brand.

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember saying in your police interrogation that this figure actually covered all the Jews still in the entire German sphere of influence? To quote you more precisely, you said that the figure might be between eight hundred thousand and one and a half million.

A. That is an approximate estimate. I remember. Yes.

Q. That means, I presume, that around May 1944 you believed that between eight hundred thousand and a million and a half Jews were still present in the entire German sphere of influence.

A. That is a...that used to be called a "house number" (a rough estimate).

Q. But was that what you thought then?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. Now I would like to turn to questions of organization - your Section, Department IV, Head Office for Reich Security. First of all here, a point of terminology. You have here used the terms "Section Head" (Referent), "Division Head" (Dezernent), "Official-in-charge" (Sachbearbeiter), and I should like to know from you whether these are identical expressions, or whether you differentiate between them.

A. Certainly. The older generation of civil servants, from the Weimar period, for example, used the older form of "Division Head," "Division." Apparently that was the normal term at that time. The more recent higher-ranking civil servants then used the term "Section Head" together with "Section." And this "Section Head" and "Section," this actually prevailed and was the official designation. The other term was one which was valid, it was a parallel one, but even in correspondence no distinction was made, it was exactly the same.

Q. So "Section" and "Division" are the same, and "Section Head" and "Division Head" are the same?

A. Exactly the same.

Q. And what was an "Official-in-charge"?

A. Every Section had several Officials-in-charge, and the number varied between two, four, five, depending on the size of the Section.

Q. So now we understand. You were the Section Head and Suhr was an Official-in-charge.

A. Suhr was a cross between an Official-in-charge and a Section Head, because he was a State Counsellor but could not yet have a Section of his own with me, so he was listed as an Official-in-charge. Although he was a Section Head all those years, under me he was, in practical terms, an Official-in-charge, because there was no vacancy on the organizational plan.

Q. Was he an Official-in-charge in IVB4?

A. Yes, he was an Official-in-charge in IVB4.

Q. Hunsche?

A. When Hunsche was an assessor, he was an Official-in- charge, definitely, and when he became a State Counsellor, the situation was exactly the same, because a State Counsellor could consult with the Department Chief directly, while a Chief Inspector of Police, for example, who was also an Official-in-charge, was not able to do so.

Q. Do you mean that if Suhr wanted to, he could go to Mueller without asking you?

A. Good manners and courtesy would have required him to inform me. But it was a question of the individual. If someone was ambitious, they used the time or an opportunity when one was not present, and then went there. For example, if I had been a lawyer, Suhr would not have had this opportunity. But that was precisely the result of the fact that I was not a lawyer, and Suhr could not and did not wish to discuss these legal questions with me, but instead obtained his instructions directly from the Department Chief, although that did not change anything about the fact that I was the Section Head and Suhr's superior.

Q. Let us see, in fact, how this worked in practice. Did Suhr go to Mueller without your knowing about it, or did he not? Or did you always know that he had gone to Mueller?

A. No, I did not have to know that, because in fact the lawyers worked in a separate part of the building, and we could not have any idea of what they were doing and where they were. For example, unlike inspectors or chief inspectors of police or government employees, assessors and state counsellors did not need to report off-duty, if they left the building during working hours.

Q. It is strange that you say that Suhr did things about which you knew nothing.

A. Naturally, in the end I knew about them, because, for example, once what he had been working on was finished, it had in any case to pass through my hands, because, after all, I had to countersign.

Q. That is exactly what I wanted to find out. So that means that in the end Suhr's work passed through your hands and had to be approved by you by means of your signature.

A. I did not have to approve it, because these were legal matters which I could neither impede nor influence. But the official channels had to be observed.

Q. Then we must take an example. For example, what did Suhr deal with?

A. Suhr dealt with property law matters, and also Suhr or Hunsche - I do not remember exactly which of them it was - in any case one of them dealt with the matter of "treatment of Jews with foreign nationality" - in other words, legal matters.

Q. Very well, that is a legal matter.

A. Precisely, a legal matter.

Q. Now, as far as matters of property are concerned.

A. Yes.

Q. The question of principle, of deportees being relieved of their entire property, is not in fact a legal question, is it? The legal aspect is how that is dealt with in detail.

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Then I understand that you did not check the details of Suhr's work. But I cannot imagine that you did not ensure that the principle was observed.

A. Suhr could obtain the principles just as well from Mueller, as I also had to do, because I could not, in fact, issue orders or instructions about anything on my own initiative, and the same applied to the treatment of Jews with foreign nationality.

Q. Look, I am now talking about work procedure and organization. The reply you have just given has nothing to do with work procedure and organization. The question is this: Did Suhr provide a draft?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened to this draft?

A. Suhr produced a draft, this draft also came into being only after prior discussions with the other central authorities, and then this draft went...Suhr first had to co- ordinate this draft with the other central authorities. Then, after these central authorities had initialled it, the matter went to me, I appended my signature to it, and then it went to Mueller and to Heydrich or Kaltenbrunner, and one of these three then signed it, and the decree was ready.

Q. You see, this is what I wanted to find out all the time, that everything which came from your Section had to go through your hands, or, in your absence, those of your permanent deputy, and had to be signed by you or, in your absence, by your permanent deputy.

A. Yes, that is so.

Q. And the same applied to matters which were dealt with by your field offices. Some proposal from the field offices came to your Section, and this proposal went through your hands, if it went to some higher authority.

A. Here again things were arranged differently, because this was not exclusively the prerogative of the Section since, regardless of the name one gives these field offices, whether Senior Commander of the Security Police or State Police or State Police Regional Headquarters or Adviser and so on, there are various special features which must be borne in mind. For example the provincial and district administrative heads and governors had a right to give directives.

Q. No, no - just a moment, one moment. Just look at what you said on page 967 of your police interrogation, the part I have marked.

A. Yes, it could in fact be like that, and furthermore, these people had a direct way of approach to the Department Chief, and a direct approach to the Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, and here they received direct instructions from the latter, and conversely their reporting could also be carried out directly.

Q. Just a moment, first of all what is written here and what you said on page 967 about reports and channels for the field offices' proposals - is that correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. You are saying that that was not the only channel?

A. No, no.

Q. Now the areas of activity: Suhr, you say, property matters and foreign nationals.

A. It was not delineated precisely. For example in the case of illness, periods of leave, and so on, the work load of a particular Official-in-charge was taken over by other people during that time.

Q. Was Hunsche Suhr's assistant, or was he an independent Official-in-charge?

A. Hunsche was - as far as I can remember, as long as he was an assessor...there was a time when they were both in the Section, Suhr was a State Counsellor and Hunsche was an assessor. Then Hunsche was promoted to this position.

Q. So, as long as Hunsche was an assessor, he was Suhr's assistant?

A. I believe that Suhr left earlier, before Hunsche became a Counsellor, but I can no longer say for certain.

Q. Now, of what was Guenther Official-in-charge when you were in the office?

A. When I was in the office, he really took care of everything. First of all he had all the...all the incoming and outgoing mail, distribution of mail. Then he handled everything, any visitors, consultations, and he had exactly the same rights and powers as a Section Head.

Q. Now your official relations with Mueller. I understood you to say that you submitted the various matters to Mueller and asked for his instructions, without making any proposals to him.

A. Yes, I described the contents of the file to him, and asked for instructions.

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