The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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


Q. Turning now to the Jews remaining in Budapest, what happened to them?

A. In October-November, 1944, about 30,000 of these Jews, perhaps a few thousand more, were removed from Budapest and sent to Germany. They were to be used to work on the construction of the so-called South-East-Wall, a fortification near Vienna. They were mostly women.

[Page 287]

They had to walk from Hungary to the German border -- almost 200 kilometers. They were assembled in marching formations and followed a route specially designated for them. Their shelter and nutrition on this march was extremely bad. Most of them fell ill and lost strength. I had been ordered by Eichmann to take over these groups at the German border and direct them further to the "Lower Danube" Gauleitung for labour purposes. In many cases I refused to take over these so-called workers, because the people were completely exhausted and emaciated by disease. Eichmann, however, forced me to take them over and in this case even threatened to turn me over to Himmler to be put into a concentration camp if I caused him further political difficulties. For this same reason I was later removed from Eichmann's department.

A large proportion of these people then died in the so- called "Lower Danube" Work Camp from exhaustion and epidemics. A small percentage, perhaps 12,000, were taken to Vienna and the surrounding area, and a group of about 3,000 were taken to Bergen-Belsen, and from there to Switzerland. Those were Jews who had been released from Germany as a result of the negotiations with the "Joint."

Q. Summarising the countries of Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia, approximately how many Jews were affected by measures of the Secret Police and S.D. in those countries about which you have personal knowledge?

A. In Slovakia there were about 66,000, in Greece about 64,000, and in Hungary more than half a million.

Q. In the countries of Croatia and Bulgaria, about which you have some knowledge, how many Jews were thus affected?

A. In Bulgaria, to my knowledge, about 8,000; in Croatia I know of only 3,000 Jews who were brought to Auschwitz from Agram in the summer of 1942.

Q. Were meetings held of the specialists on the Jewish problem from Amt IV-A, for the names which appear on this sheet, to which we made reference earlier?

A. Yes. Eichmann was accustomed to calling a large annual meeting of all his experts in Berlin. This meeting was usually in November. At these meetings all the men who were working for him in foreign countries had to report on their activities In 1944, to my knowledge, such a meeting did not take place, because in November, 1944, Eichmann was still in Hungary.

Q. In connection with the Jews about whom you have personal knowledge, how many were subjected to the "final solution", i.e., to being killed?

A. The exact number is extremely hard for me to determine. I have only one basis for a possible estimate, that is a conversation between Eichmann and Hoess in Vienna, in which he said that only a very few of them had been fit for work. Of the Slovakian and Hungarian Jews about 20 to 30 per cent. have been able to work. It is, therefore, very hard for me to give a reliable total.

Q. In your meetings with the other specialists on the Jewish problem and Eichmann did you gain any knowledge or information as to the total number of Jews killed under this program?

A. Eichmann personally always talked about at least 4,000,000 Jews. Sometimes he even mentioned 5,000,000. According to my own estimate I should say that at least 4,000,000 must have been affected by the so-called

[Page 288]

"final solution". How many of those actually survived, I am not in a position to say.

Q. When did you last see Eichmann?

A. I last saw Eichmann towards the end of February, 1945, in Berlin. At that time he said that if the war were lost he would commit suicide.

Q. Did he say anything at that time as to the number of Jews that had been killed?

A. Yes, he expressed this in a particularly cynical manner. He said "he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had 5,000,000 people on his conscience would be, for him, a source of extraordinary satisfaction."

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BROOKHART: The witness is available for other counsel.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other prosecuting counsel wish to examine the witness?

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I have no desire to ask any questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the Soviet prosecutor wish to ask any questions?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: At this stage the Soviet Union does not wish to ask any questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the French prosecutor?

(No response. )


BY DR. SERVATIUS (Counsel for the defendant Sauckel.):

Q. Witness, you mentioned the labour impressment of the Jews and named two cases, one of Jews from Slovakia, who were brought to Auschwitz and of whom those fit for work were so used; the other when, later, you spoke of such Jews who were brought from Hungary to the "South-East Wall." Do you know whether the Plenipotentiary for Labor, Sauckel, had any connection with these actions, whether this happened on his orders and whether he otherwise had anything to do with these matters?

A. As far as the Jews from Slovakia were concerned, the Plenipotentiary for Labor had nothing to do with these matters. It was a purely internal affair for the Inspector of Concentration Camps who committed these Jews for his own purposes. Concerning the impressment of Jews for the construction of the "South-East Wall," I cannot definitely answer this question. I do not know to what extent the construction of the "South-East Wall" was directed by the Plenipotentiary for Labor. The Jews who came up from Hungary for this construction work were turned over to the "Lower Danube" Gauleitung.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions to ask the witness.


BY DR. BABEL (Counsel for S.S. and S.D.):

Q. Witness, you mentioned measures taken by the Security Police and the S.D., and you spoke about these organisations several times in your testimony. Is this merely an official designation or are we justified in concluding from your statement that the Security Service, the S.D., was participating in any way?

A. The actions mentioned were executed by Amt IV, i.e., the Gestapo. If I mentioned the Chief of the Security Police and the S.D., I did so because it was the correct designation of thier office and not because I wished mention the S.D. as such.

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Q. Did the S.D. therefore participate, in any way, in the measures against the Jews mentioned by you: (1) numerically, and (2) with regard to the execution of these measures?

A. The S.D. as an organisation, was not involved. Some of the leaders, including myself, had risen from the S.D., but they had been detailed to Amt IV, i.e., the Gestapo.

Q. Did former members of the S.S. and S.D., who later became active in the Gestapo, still remain members of their original organisation, or were they exclusively members of the Gestapo?

A. No, they still remained with the S.D.

Q. And were they acting as members of the S.D. or actually by order of the Gestapo?

A. We belonged to the Gestapo for the duration of the detail. We merely remained on the S.D. payroll and were taken care of as members of their personnel. Orders were received exclusively from the Gestapo, i.e., Amt IV.

Q. In this connection I should like to ask one more question. Could an outsider ever know his way about in this maze of offices?

A. No; that was practically impossible.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any other of the defendants' counsel who wishes to cross-examine this witness? Colonel Amen? Do you wish, or Colonel Brookhart, does he wish to re- examine the witness?

COLONEL AMEN: No further questions, Your Lordship.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. That will do.

(The witness withdrew.)

COLONEL AMEN: It will take about 10 minutes, sir, to get the next witness up. I had not anticipated we would finish quite so quickly. Do you still want me to get him up this afternoon?

THE PRESIDENT: Have you any other witnesses on these subjects?

COLONEL AMEN: Not on this subject, Sir. I have two very short witnesses: one on the written agreement, as to which testimony was given this morning, between the O.K.W., and O.K.H. and the R.S.H.A., a witness who can answer the questions which the members of the Tribunal asked this morning, very briefly; and one other witness who is on a totally different subject.

THE PRESIDENT: On what subject is the other witness?

COLONEL AMEN: Well, he is on the subject of identifying two of the defendants at one of the concentration camps. I prefer not to mention these names to the defence unless you wish me to.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Then you will call those two witnesses to-morrow?

COLONEL AMEN: Yes, Your Lordship. I do not think either of them will take more than twenty minutes.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Then you will go on with the evidence against the High Command?


THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 4th January, 1946, at 1000 hours.).

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