The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 33
(Part 1 of 5)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
Session No. 33

23 Iyar 5721 (9 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the thirty-third Session of the trial open.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, as I said this morning, I shall first submit a number of documents which are directly connected with the evidence we heard this morning.

The first document is our No. 1349, a report by Roethke dated 11 July 1942, on a meeting in which Dannecker, Heinrichsohn and Roethke himself took part, as well as some Frenchmen - Leguay and others. I draw the attention of the Court first of all to paragraph 2 of the points decided at that meeting, which says:

"The arrested persons are to be transported to the Velodrome d'Hiver..." This is said in the context of an operation of arrests which is to begin on Thursday, 16 July 1942. And further on, paragraph 6 reads: "The children are at first also to be taken to the Velodrome d'Hiver, where the Assistance Publique will take care of them to begin with. As soon as the operation of arrests is completed, the Union Generale des Israelites de France (General Union of the Jews of France) will have to take care of the children."
The Court will note that this is a very different version from the one used in the letter which Roethke wrote to Eichmann on the same matter, where he says that the children must not be kept together with other children, and also that the Union can only take care of 400 children and is therefore unable to deal with these youngsters. Here, in the presence of the French, different language is used.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/440.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1165. Roethke reports the results of the operation of 16 June 1942, and says that about 3,000 men, about 5,000 women and about 4,000 children have been arrested, and he ends his letter to the Head Office for Reich Security (it says here IVD4, but that is an error, it should be IVB4; this is a typing error): "Since, in the course of the arrests a considerable number of children were also taken, and since difficulties arise concerning their accommodation for a longer period, a decision is again requested as to whether the children may be removed with the next transports."

Presiding Judge: This will be T/441.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 712. This time the letter is signed by Ahnert, one of Dannecker's aides. It is addressed to IVB4, Head Office for Reich Security and dated 11 August 1942. The subject is: Deportation of Jews to Auschwitz - Removal of the Jewish children. "Since the arrest of Jews has been halted temporarily, I intend to deport the children at present housed in the Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande camps starting on 17 August 1942. I request urgent information as to whether the deportation of the children may be carried out and in what way."

There is a handwritten remark at the end - on the copies it is not very legible, I think on the original it is clearer. It says that "the Head Office for Reich Security has already given instructions by telegram of 7 August (secret matter of the Reich) that children may be included in the deportation in suitable proportion, as well as stateless Jews who are unfit for work."

Presiding Judge: Perhaps you will provide us with a printed copy of this remark as it is very difficult to read.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, the copy is not clear, but there is a Hebrew text.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/442.

State Attorney Bach: In reply to this letter, there is a final telegram from Guenther, IVB4, signed Guenther, SS Sturmbannfuehrer, which says that "the Jewish children accommodated in the Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande camps may be divided by and by among the planned transports to Auschwitz. However, transports of children only are not to be sent under any circumstance [underlined]."

Presiding Judge: By and by - nach und nach - gradually.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour, "...nach und nach auf die vorgesehenen Transporte nach Auschwitz aufgeteilt werden" ( and by divided up over the planned transports to Auschwitz).

Presiding Judge: This will be T/443.

State Attorney Bach: Now for our No. 1216 of 11 August 1942: Roethke informs the Head Office for Reich Security, for the attention of Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann: "On 14 August 1942, at 8.55 o'clock transport train No. D 901/14 left Le Bourget - Drancy departure station in the direction of Auschwitz carrying altogether 1,000 Jews. (Among them, for the first time, children). The categories of persons included correspond to the guidelines given." Signed - Roethke.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/444.

State Attorney Bach: A copy of this letter was of course sent both to Oranienburg and to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

The next document is our No. 1224, a report by Dannecker. "Subject: Points for the discussion with the French State Secretary for Police, Bousquet... The recent operation for arresting stateless Jews in Paris has yielded only about 8,000 adults and about 4,000 children. But trains for the deportation of 40,000 Jews, for the moment, have been put in readiness by the Reich Ministry of Transport. Since the deportation of the children is not possible for the time being, the number of Jews ready for removal is quite insufficient.

A further Jewish operation must therefore be started immediately. For this purpose Jews of Belgian and Dutch nationality may be taken into consideration, in addition to the former German, Austrian, Czech, Polish and Russian Jews who have so far been considered as being stateless. It must be expected, however, that this category will not yield sufficient numbers, and thus the French have no choice but to include those Jews who were naturalized in France after 1927, or even after 1919."

Presiding Judge: This will be T/445.

State Attorney Bach: I shall read only one sentence, which is important here: "It was explained to Bousquet's representative, Leguay, on a number of occasions by the undersigned that we on our part have definitely taken into account the deportation of 10,000 Jews, for the time being, from the unoccupied zone, starting on 1 August 1942."

Judge Halevi: Who put in the emphases on this document?

State Attorney Bach: The emphases are on the original.

Presiding Judge: Perhaps the recipient of the letter did the underlining.

State Attorney Bach: Maybe BdS Knochen, who received Dannecker's report, marked the lines, or his secretary. These are of course a number of possibilities.

Judge Raveh: These documents were seized in France?

State Attorney Bach: Yes. Because this is actually an internal minute on a specific meeting and a specific discussion.

Presiding Judge: It is in preparation for a discussion with Bousquet - Besprechungspunkte fuer die Unterredung (points of discussion for the meeting).

State Attorney Bach: But this was discovered in the Gestapo files in Paris.

Judge Raveh: In Dannecker's office?

State Attorney Bach: In the office of Dannecker, Roethke, Brunner; they were all in the same office.

Judge Halevi: When the Germans retreated, they left the files behind?

State Attorney Bach: These files were seized almost complete.

The next document is our No. 228.

Presiding Judge: I have counted five documents so far.

State Attorney Bach: These five, that was one batch in connection with the children. I shall still have to submit a large number of documents in connection with the French chapter. I did my best to classify them.

Presiding Judge: I can see what awaits us. I am looking at your table, Mr. Bach.

State Attorney Bach: At any rate, we have no intention to use camouflage.

Presiding Judge: There was no such intention.

State Attorney Bach: Our document 228 is signed by Suhr, SS Sturmbannfuehrer and Regierungsrat, one of Eichmann's assistants in IVB4, who writes to Dannecker. He asks that steps be taken to prevent the exit of Jews from the unoccupied zone of France. Information had been received in Berlin that Jews reach America via Spain, apparently from the unoccupied zone of France. Dannecker is asked to be on guard and to prevent the continuation of this leak.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/446.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, I now intend to submit eighteen documents together which may, I think, be marked as one exhibit, in order to save time. They are all reports. Each report, signed by Roethke, represents the deportation of 1,000 Jews to Auschwitz. We have selected these eighteen reports because they are typical, because they cover, in fact, the whole period of Roethke's activity. We also took as an example all the reports of one specific week, in order to show how many such trains departed in one week.

Presiding Judge: How many are there?

State Attorney Bach: There are eighteen reports here. Each report speaks about 1,000 Jews who were deported from France, either to Auschwitz or to what is called Cholm. I shall presently point out the difference between two types of these reports. Each report is directed to three addresses, always in the following order: The first one always to the Head Office for Reich Security IVB4, for SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann; the second to the Inspector of Concentration Camps, Oranienburg; and the third to Concentration Camp Auschwitz.

Presiding Judge: What is your number?

State Attorney Bach: Each one is marked with a separate number, and I shall give you all the numbers. This is easier than submitting each one separately.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/447 and in brackets 1-18.

State Attorney Bach: Our numbers are: 696, 695, 752, 691, 692, 690, 271, 257, 256, 274, 435, 436, 275, 276, 250, 273, 263, 269.

I should like to draw your attention to one point here: While, when the deportation is to Auschwitz, Roethke informs IVB4, the Inspector of Concentration Camps in Oranienburg and the Commander of Auschwitz, later on when the deportation is directed to Cholm, as for instance in document No. 263 of 4 March 1943 (and we shall prove that deportation to Cholm means, in fact, deportation to the Sobibor extermination camp) - here the report is sent to SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, to the Commander of the Security Police and the SD in Cracow, and to the Commander of the Security Police and the SD in Lublin. Here there is no reporting to the Inspector of Concentration Camps.

Presiding Judge: Why?

State Attorney Bach: It will be our contention that here the reference is to an extermination camp in its full sense. Here there is no section of the camp destined for work, as for instance in Auschwitz where, at least temporarily, some of the Jews were exploited for various kinds of work. Here the transport goes to total extermination, and here the report goes only to Eichmann, to the BdS Cracow and the BdS Lublin and nowhere else.

Judge Halevi: The transport is usually accompanied by a Feldwebel (Staff Sergeant) who has a detailed list of the names. Does this Feldwebel belong to the SS or to the regular army?

State Attorney Bach: I believe he belongs to the Gendarmerie, I do not believe that he belongs to the SS.

The next document is Prosecution document No. 98, a letter from Klingenfuss of the Foreign Ministry to IVB4, for the Accused. He informs him that "On the part of the Foreign Ministry, there are no objections in principle to the deportation of the number of Jews mentioned, from the occupied zone of France, from Holland and from Belgium, for work in the Auschwitz camp. May I ask, however, in consideration of the psychological effects, that the stateless Jews be deported first..." At the end he also requests "at all events to make sure and seize the property separately."

Presiding Judge: This is a draft?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: Although it is signed.

State Attorney Bach: At the bottom on the right there is his signature, but whether it was sent in this form, or only signed, this is difficult to determine.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/448.

Judge Halevi: What is the date of the letter?

State Attorney Bach: The date of the letter...there is a date here at the top.

Judge Raveh: This must have been typed in the Auswertiges Amt (Foreign Ministry).

State Attorney Bach: This is a document of the German Foreign Ministry. At the bottom there is a remark by Weizsaecker, but it is hard to see a date here. The reference is to a letter of the 22nd of the previous month. From this it may be assumed that this belongs to the same period. On the top, on the right, there appears in handwriting the date "28.7.."

Presiding Judge: At any rate there is no year.

State Attorney Bach: The year can only be inferred from the context.

The next document is Prosecution document No. 111. Roethke reports about a meeting on 13 August of that year on the subject of "making available of Jews from the unoccupied zone" of France. Here the children are mentioned again. "The Jews arriving in Drancy will be mixed with Jewish children, who are at present still in Pithiviers and Beaune- la-Rolande, so that to every 700, or at least 500 adult Jews, 300-500 Jewish children will be added, since, in accordance with the instructions of the Head Office for Reich Security, trains containing children only must not be sent." And finally it says: "The internment and handing over of Jews holding Belgian or Dutch nationality could start already now."

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/449.

State Attorney Bach: And the document goes on to say: "At that time it was made perfectly clear to President Laval that this would be a continuing operation which, in its final phase, would also include Jews of French nationality."

The next document is Prosecution document No. 75. Here Roethke asks for instructions "whether to send to the German Embassy, to Zeitschel, a short description in writing or whether the information should be given by telephone." And he adds: "One consideration against giving written information might be the possibility that the Foreign Ministry could feel left out of taking part in accomplishing the deportation."

Presiding Judge: What does "left out" mean?

State Attorney Bach: That they left it out, circumvented it.

Judge Halevi: "...was not privileged to partake in good deeds..."

Presiding Judge: Yes, freely translated.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

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.