The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Testimony-Abroad//Theodor_Horst_Grell-01

Last-Modified: 1999/06/14

23 May 1961

The Competent Court of Justice, Berchtesgaden/Upper
Re: Request for Legal Assistance

The main hearing of the criminal proceedings against the
Accused Adolf Eichmann is at present taking place in this

In the context of this main hearing, I request you to extend
legal assistance to this Court by the examination on oath of
the following witness:

Dr. Theodor Horst Grell, Berchtesgaden/Upper Bavaria,
Hasensprung 31-32

The witness is to be examined as to the following
allegations of the Accused:

     (1)  that the Special Operations Commando
     (Sondereinsatzkommando) headed by the Accused was
     exclusively responsible for the technical
     implementation of transports of Jews;
     (2) that where difficulties arose, the Senior Commander
     of the Security Police and the Security Service in
     Hungary intervened;
     (3) that the Reich Plenipotentiary for Hungary,
     Veesenmayer, also played a major role in instigating,
     planning and implementing the deportations.
To complete the testimony of the witness, I would request
that the witness also be asked the following questions which
were drawn up by Counsel for the Accused:

     (1) Were you Adviser on Jewish Affairs at the German
     legation in Budapest?
     (2) Is it true that your superior, the Reich
     Plenipotentiary for Hungary, conducted the negotiations
     with the Hungarian Government which were crucial for
     (3) Is it true that he was also the person who insisted
     on deportations of Jews, which led finally to the so-
     called Fussmarsch (foot march)?
     (4) Is it true that the Accused's Sonderkommando
     (special commando) only dealt with the technical
     implementation of transports?
     (5) Is it true that when difficulties occurred in
     relation to the deportations, the Senior Commander of
     the Security Police took the necessary measures to deal
     with the problem?
     (6) Who decided to disband the Eichmann Sonderkommando?
I would also request that the witness be asked the following
additional questions which were drawn up by the Attorney
     (1) Does your statement of 31.5.1948 (Document No. 216
     in the criminal proceedings against Veesenmayer)
     represent the truth?
     (2) Whose was the crucial influence in implementing the
     deportation of Jews from Hungary?
     (3) Who conducted the negotiations with the Hungarian
     State Secretaries Endre and Baky on the deportation of
     Hungarian Jews and the other anti-Semitic measures in
     (4) What was Eichmann's attitude to the question of
     Jews with foreign nationality who were in Hungary?
     (5) What do you know of Eichmann's trickery in order to
     deport Jews from the Kistarcsa camp in July 1944?
     (6) From whom, at the time did, you hear details of
     this affair?
     (7) Was your office involved in the negotiations with
     the Jewish organizations on exchanging some Jews in
     return for payment of money and providing goods?
     (8) What did you hear from Eichmann himself as to his
     participation in the destruction of European Jewry and
     his attitude to what was called the "Final Solution of
     the Jewish Question?"
     (9) What was Eichmann's attitude to the "protective
     measures" (Schutzmassnahmen) of the Hungarian
     Government and the Swiss and Swedish Embassies in
     respect of the Jews of Hungary?
     (10) What do you know about Eichmann's attitude at the
     time to the activities of the Swedish consul, Raoul
I would request you to summon to the examination of the
witness the representative of the Attorney General of the
State of Israel, c/o H.E. Ambassador Dr. F.E. Shinnar,
Israel Mission, Cologne, as well as Counsel for the Accused,
Advocate Dr. R. Servatius, Hohenzollernring 14, Cologne, and
to afford them,  on their part, the opportunity to ask the
witness any questions which might arise from his answers.

There is no objection on the part of this Court to the
aforementioned representatives of the parties obtaining
copies of the record of the examination.

Please forward the original of the record of the examination
to this Court,
(-) Moshe Landau, President of the Trial Court

Record drawn up in a closed session of the Court of First
Instance as Court of Legal Assistance - Berchtesgaden

Wednesday, 14 June 1961


Amtsgerichtsrat (Judge of First Instance) Senft as Judge

Justizassistent (Legal Assistant) Kain as Recording Clerk

In the criminal proceedings of the Attorney General of the
State of Israel versus Adolf Eichmann (File No. 40/61), the
following persons attended the hearing of witness Dr.
Theodor Horst Grell:

1. for the Attorney General in the Jerusalem District Court,
Advocate Erwin Shimron, who presented a certified photocopy
of a power of attorney;

2. for the Accused, Advocate Wechtenbruch

3. the witness whose name appears below who, having been
made aware of the significance of the oath and the penalties
for perjury, and having been admonished to tell the truth
pursuant to Section 57 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and
instructed in accordance with Section 55 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, was examined as follows:

Personal Details: Grell, Horst Theodor, 52 years old,
retired legation counsellor in Berchtesgaden, Hasensprung 31-
32, not related and not connected by marriage to the

On the matter in question: I am consciously not taking
advantage of any right available to me, pursuant to Section
55 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, to refuse to give
evidence; I am in principle prepared to give evidence on

I am a trained lawyer, qualified for the senior echelons of
the civil service.  In 1936 I passed the Second State
Examination in Berlin and first worked in the internal
administration, as Regierungsassessor (State Assistant
Judge).  In April 1937, after a preliminary examination, I
was called to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, where I was
trained as an attache.  In the next few years I worked at
home and abroad in various offices of the Foreign Ministry
in Berlin.  In September 1939, I joined a Wehrmacht infantry
division as a wartime volunteer, and was wounded in April
1940.  As a seriously disabled soldier, I was again made
available to the Foreign Ministry at the end of 1940, and
from then on, until January 1945, I worked in various
offices of the Foreign Ministry at home and abroad.  In 1941
I was promoted to Legation Secretary and in 1943 to Legation
Counsellor, second class.  At the end of January or the
beginning of February 1945, I returned to the German
Wehrmacht of my own free will and was attached as a
lieutenant and orderly officer to the staff of the Ninth
Mountain Infantry Division.  At the end of the War, I was
sent to an American prisoner of war camp at Mauerkirchen,
Austria, as a prisoner of war.  In July 1945 I was released
from captivity and went first to Marburg.

I joined the NSDAP (German National Socialist Workers Party)
in May 1929, and the general SS (Schutzstaffel) in May 1933.
My last rank in the SS was Obersturmfuehrer.

From around the end of May or the beginning of June 1944
until the investment of Budapest in the late autumn of 1944,
I worked as a legation counsellor and head of the legal
section of the German legation in Budapest.  This office was
also the administrative seat of the Reich Plenipotentiary
for Hungary.

Preliminary proceedings against me conducted by the Public
Prosecutor's office of Frankfurt am Main on suspicion of
having aided in murder have been in progress since 1950.  I
was detained in this case for the second time on 13 November
1959 and was conditionally released from further detention
by decision of the Frankfurt District Court, Fifth Criminal
Division (File No. 5/5 Qs 24/60) of 22 March 1960.  I had
already been arrested by the American Military Tribunal in
Nuremberg in 1947 on the same charge.  However, no criminal
proceedings were instituted against me, and so, in August
1948, I was released from detention.  The current
preliminary proceedings have not yet been concluded, and
also no criminal proceedings have as yet been instituted.

My answers to the questions in the Jerusalem District
Court's request for legal assistance of 23 May 1961 are as

Based on my knowledge of my own area of expertise, it was my
opinion and impression that the Special Operations Unit led
by the Accused was exclusively responsible for the technical
implementation of transports of Jews.  I also made this
point in Prosecution document 640.  Technical implementation
of transports included organizing evacuation to Germany,
providing transport trains from Germany, and giving notice
of the transport trains due to arrive in the various camps
in Germany.  Technical implementation also included
reporting to the Head Office for Reich Security.  In
accordance with the instructions of the Hungarian Ministry
of the Interior, the concentration and rounding-up of the
Jews in Hungary was carried out by the Hungarian
gendarmerie.  One of my duties was to exempt from transport
to Germany Jews from neutral and enemy countries, and in
order to carry out this task, I often visited the camps.
The decision on singling out the Jews who, on my
intervention, would not be transported to Germany was taken
by either the Hungarian gendarmerie or the internal
administrative authority.  These Jews would be removed from
the camps, transferred to the control of the relevant court
of first instance, and provisionally kept in custody there.
In the camps I visited, there were always one officer and
two or three non_commissioned officers of the Eichmann
Special Operations Unit.  In my view, those men were present
in the camps in an advisory capacity.

Legally speaking, these men had no powers to give orders,
because otherwise they would have infringed domestic
Hungarian sovereign rights, and I would have heard about
this.  The Special Operations Unit in Budapest had a merely
advisory position also with the Hungarian Ministry of the
Interior, more precisely with State Secretaries Endre and
Baky.  At the beginning of the deportations - which were
earlier simply called evacuation - I do not believe that
these powers were exceeded.  When political difficulties
arose subsequently, my impression was that the Special
Operations Unit tried through the office in charge of it,
and later directly as well, to exert pressure on the
Hungarian authorities.  I consider that this was done in
accordance with instructions from the superiors of the
commando.  Later on, I had only a hazy idea of the powers of
the Special Operations Unit and of the Hungarian Ministry of
the Interior, and there were instances where the Hungarian
Foreign Ministry complained to the German legation about
incidents which had occurred because of the Special
Operations Unit, in co-operation with, and with the approval
of, the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.