The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-Sixth Day: Thursday, 3rd January, 1946
(Part 11 of 15)

[COLONEL JOHN H. AMEN continues]

[Page 276]

Q. The next witness to be called by the prosecution is Dieter Wisliceny. That witness will be examined by Lieutenant-Colonel Smith W. Brookhart, Jr.


Q. What is your name?

A. Dieter Wisliceny.

Q. Will you repeat this oath? I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath in German.)

Q. Please speak slowly and pause between each sentence.


Q. How old are you?

A. I am thirty-four years old.

Q. Where were you born?

A. I was born at Regulowken in East Prussia.

Q. Were you a member of the N.S.D.A.P.?

A. Yes, I was a member of the N.S.D.A.P..

Q. Since what year?

A. I entered the N.S.D.A.P. first in 1931, was then struck off the list and finally entered in 1933.

Q. Were you a member of the S.S.?

A. Yes, I entered the S.S. in 1934.

Q. Were you a member of the Gestapo?

A. In 1934 I entered the S.D.

Q. What rank did you achieve?

A. In 1940 I was promoted to S.S. Hauptsturmfuehrer.

Q. Do you know Adolf Eichmann?

A. Yes, I have known Eichmann since 1934.

Q. Under what circumstances?

A. We joined the S.D. about the same time, in 1934. Until 1937 we were together in the same department.

Q. How well did you know Eichmann personally?

A. We knew each other very well. We used the intimate "Du," and I also knew his family very well.

Q. What was his position?

A. Eichmann was in the R.S.H.A., Chief of Department IV, Gestapo.

Q. Do you mean Section IV or a subsection, and, if so, which subsection?

A. He led Section IV-A-4. This department comprised two subsections: one for Church and another for Jewish matters.

Q. You have before you a diagram showing the position of Subsection IV-A-4-b in the R.S.H.A.

A. Yes.

Q. Did you prepare this diagram?

A. Yes, I made the diagram myself.

Q. Does it correctly portray the organisational set-up showing the section dealing with Jewish problems?

A. Yes, this was approximately the personnel of the section at the beginning of 1944.

[Page 277]

Q. Referring to this chart and the list of leading personnel, as shown in the lower section of the paper, were you personally acquainted with each of the individuals named therein?

A. Yes; I knew all of them personally.

Q. What was the particular mission of IV-A-4-b of the R.S.H.A.?

A. This Section IV-A-4-b was concerned with the Jewish question on behalf of the R.S.H.A. Eichmann had special powers from Gruppenfuehrer Mueller, the Chief of Amt IV, and from the Chief of the Security Police. He was responsible for the so-called solution of the Jewish question in Germany and in all countries occupied by Germany.

Q. Were there distinct periods of activity affecting the Jews?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you describe to the Tribunal the approximate periods and the different types of activity?

A. Yes. Until 1940 the general policy within the section was to settle the Jewish question in Germany and in areas occupied by Germany by means of a planned emigration. The second phase, from that time on, was the concentration of all Jews in Poland and in other territories occupied by Germany in the East, by concentration in ghettos. This period lasted approximately until the beginning of 1942. The third period was the so-called "final solution" of the Jewish question, that is, the planned extermination and destruction of the Jewish race; this period lasted until October, 1944, when Himmler gave the order to stop their destruction.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. When did you first become associated with Section IV-A-4 of the R.S.H.A.?

A. That was in 1940. I accidentally met Eichmann....

Q. What was your position?

A. Eichmann suggested that I should go to Bratislava as adviser on the Jewish question to the Slovakian Government.

Q. Thereafter how long did you hold that position?

A. I was at Bratislava until the spring of 1943; then, almost a year in Greece and later, from March, 1944, until December, 1944, I was with Eichmann in Hungary. In January, 1945, I left Eichmann's department.

Q. In your official connection with Section IV-A-4, did you learn of any order which directed the annihilation of all Jews?

A. Yes, I learned of such an order for the first time from Eichmann in the summer of 1942.

Q. Will you tell the Tribunal under what circumstances, and what was the substance of the order?

A. In the spring of 1942 about 17,000 Jews were taken from Slovakia to Poland as workers. It was a question of an agreement with the Slovakian Government. The Slovakian Government further asked whether the families of these workers could not be taken to Poland as well. At first Eichmann declined this request.

In April, or at the beginning of May, 1942, Eichmann told me that henceforward whole families could also be taken to Poland. Eichmann himself was at Bratislava in May, 1942, and had discussed the matter with competent members of the Slovakian Government. He visited Minister Mach and the then Prime Minister, Professor Tuka. At that time he assured the

[Page 278]

Slovakian Government that these Jews would be humanely and decently treated in the Polish ghettos. This was the special wish of the Slovakian Government. As a result of this assurance about 35,000 Jews were taken from Slovakia into Poland. The Slovakian Government, however, made efforts to see that these Jews were, in fact, humanely treated; they particularly tried to help such Jews as had been converted to Christianity. Prime Minister Tuka repeatedly asked me to visit him, and expressed the wish that a Slovakian delegation be allowed to enter the areas to which the Slovakian Jews were supposed to have been sent. I transmitted this wish to Eichmann, and the Slovakian Government even sent a note on the matter to the German Government. Eichmann, for the time being, gave evasive answers.

Then at the end of July or the beginning of August, I went to see him in Berlin and implored him once more to grant the request of the Slovakian Government. I pointed out to him that abroad there were rumors to the effect that all Jews in Poland were being exterminated. I pointed out to him that the Pope had intervened with the Slovakian Government on their behalf. I advised him that such a proceeding, if really true, would seriously injure our prestige, i.e., the prestige of Germany, abroad. For all these reasons I begged him to permit the inspection in question. After a lengthy discussion, Eichmann told me that this request to visit the Polish ghettos could not be granted under any circumstances whatsoever. In reply to my question "Why?" he said that most of these Jews were no longer alive. I asked him who had given such instructions and he referred me to an order of Himmler's. I then begged him to show me this order, because I could not believe that it actually existed in writing. He....

Q. Where were you at that time? Where were you at the time of this meeting with Eichmann?

A. This meeting with Eichmann took place in Berlin, Kurfuerstenstrasse 116, in Eichmann's office.

Q. Proceed with the answer to the previous question. Proceed with the discussion of the circumstances and the order.

A. Eichmann told me he could show me this order in writing if it would soothe my conscience. He took a small volume of documents from his safe, turned over the pages, and showed me a letter from Himmler to the Chief of the Security Police and the S.D. The gist of the letter was roughly as follows:

The Fuehrer had ordered the "final solution" of the Jewish question; the Chief of the Security Police and the S.D. and the Inspector of the Concentration Camps were entrusted with carrying out this so-called "final solution." All Jewish men and women who were able to work were to be temporarily exempted from the so-called "final solution" and used for work in the concentration camps. This letter was signed by Himmler in person. I could not possibly be mistaken since Himmler's signature was well known to me. I....

Q. To whom was the order addressed?

A. To the Chief of the Security Police and S.D., i.e. , to the office of the Chief of the Security Police and S.D.

Q. Was there any other addressee on this order?

A. Yes, the Inspector of the Concentration Camps. The order was addressed to both these offices.

[Page 279]

Q. Did the order bear any classification for security purposes?

A. It was classified as "Top Secret."

Q. What was the approximate date of this order?

A. This order was dated April, 1942.

Q. By whom was it signed?

A. By Himmler personally.

Q. And you personally examined this order in Eichmann's office?

A. Yes, Eichmann handed me the document and I saw the order myself.

Q. Was any question asked by you as to the meaning of the words "final solution" as used in the order?

A. Eichmann went on to explain the meaning of the concept to me. He said that the planned biological destruction of the Jewish race in the Eastern Territories was disguised by the concept and wording "final solution." In later discussions on this subject the same words "final solution" re-appeared over and over again.

Q. Was anything said by you to Eichmann in regard to the power given him under this order?

A. Eichmann told me that within the R.S.H.A. he personally was entrusted with the execution of this order. For this purpose, he had received every authority from the Chief of the Security Police; he himself was personally responsible for the execution of this order.

Q. Did you make any comment to Eichmann about his authority?

A. Yes. It was perfectly clear to me that this order spelled death to millions of people. I said to Eichmann, "God grant that our enemies never have the opportunity of doing the same to the German people," in reply to which Eichmann told me not to be sentimental; it was an order of the Fuehrer's and would have to be carried out.

Q. Do you know whether that order continued in force and under the operation of Eichmann's department?

A. Yes.

Q. For how long?

A. This order was in force until October, 1944. At that time Himmler gave a counter-order which forbade the annihilation of the Jews.

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