The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 33
(Part 2 of 5)

Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, Eichmann trial, holocaust, Jewish holocaust
State Attorney Bach: This document, too, demonstrates that, in spite of the coordination, as it were, the Head Office for Reich Security does just what it wants in most cases.

The next document is No. 142, and the subject is the meeting I mentioned before, which took place in the office of the Accused on 28 August 1942. The meeting of specialist officers to which the representative in France was invited and, as we shall prove later on, Wisliceny from Pressburg was invited, Richter from Romania, and others.

Presiding Judge: We have already heard about this meeting.

State Attorney Bach: I told the Court that actually such a meeting also took place later, that Wisliceny mentions it, and that certain matters were discussed. But here is the report on that meeting which has not yet been submitted.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/451.

State Attorney Bach: By the way, this document was also shown to the Accused and was numbered T/37(33).

"On 28 August 1942, a conference on Jewish matters took place in the building of Section IVB4 of the Head Office for Reich Security, in which the undersigned took part as representative of Obersturmfuehrer Roethke."
Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach...

State Attorney Bach: Only one sentence here.

Presiding Judge: But we have already heard that this meeting took place. I am sorry I have to insist on such small matters, but they add up to a big total.

State Attorney Bach: I agree, Your Honour. The subject of the discussion was the situation of the Jewish Question, especially the evacuation of Jews in the occupied foreign countries by the staff of the branch offices in these countries. "SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann announced that the present problem of evacuation (expulsion of the stateless Jews) must be solved by the end of the current calendar year."

Judge Halevi: It says here: "year." It said: "quarter" before, but that is struck out.

State Attorney Bach: That is only a question of language. What is meant is September 1942, so in any case this is the last quarter. "As last date for the expulsion of the remaining Jews the end of July 1943 was fixed. SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann pointed out that in the next few months the expulsion must be stepped up, since it is expected that the Reich Railways will be unable to provide transportation in November, December and January."

There follow details I do not want to read at the moment about increased deportations in October, about the supply of blankets, boots, sheds, etc.

The next document is our No. 141, again a report by the same Ahnert. It is an interim summing up of the numbers of deportees, which, at that stage, had reached 27,000. I shall read only one sentence: "Since, in accordance with instructions from the Head Office for Reich Security, the present evacuation programme (deportation of stateless Jews) has to be completed by the end of this year and the Reich Railways will presumably be unable to provide the necessary rolling stock during the months of November and December 1942 and January 1943, an attempt is being made to step up the transportation programme, starting on 15 September 1942, so that, from that date on 1,000 Jews will be deported daily.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/452.

Judge Halevi: He says that the increase in pace depends on the French Government supplying the necessary number of Jews from the unoccupied zone.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, thank you, Your Honour. This was in fact mentioned in one of the earlier documents, that a law is in preparation that Jews who received French citizenship after 1933 will lose it, so that it will be possible to regard them as stateless.

The next document is our No. 1260: "On 8 September 1942, the Secretary General for the French Police in the Occupied Zone came to see me in order to describe the difficulties concerning the deportation of Jews from the unoccupied zone."

And at the end here, he again describes to his superior the difficulties caused by the French, who have so far sent only 7,000 Jews from the unoccupied zone and he adds: "According to the plan transmitted in secret by the Reichsfuehrer-SS, the areas occupied by Germany are to be free of Jews already by the middle of 1943. The thirteen trains which the Reich Transport Ministry has already prepared for the month of September must therefore, in my opinion, be utilized by all means, since, at the time, the train allocation was made far in advance and caused the Ministry considerable difficulties.

Furthermore, in November, December and January no transports will be possible because of the scarcity of rolling stock.

Presiding Judge: I see that what I say is of no avail.

State Attorney Bach: I could not omit this sentence because it comes between two important sentences, but this is the last sentence from that document. Again it is requested to advise the French to hand over to the German Government all the Jews who can possibly be delivered.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/453.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 715, again from Roethke. A report about the arrest of rich and influential Jews. And here only one sentence: "In order to prevent the persons designated to be arrested from receiving advance information about the operation, as happened in the case of previous sudden round-ups, it seems essential that the French police - at any rate the officials involved - should be informed at the last moment."

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/454.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 37. It was shown to the Accused and was marked T/37(10), together with his statement. The significance of the document lies only in its being again a report from Roethke to Eichmann, but there is an addition at the end: "The brother of the former French Prime Minister, Leon Blum, was deported with today's transport."

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/455.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 270. Knochen informs Eichmann about difficulties which Laval and Petain are causing in connection with the arrest of Jews of French nationality. At this stage the change in Laval's attitude is already noticeable. As the Germans put it, he is beginning to make difficulties where Jews of French nationality are concerned.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/456.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 272. Again from Roethke to Eichmann, Oranienburg and Auschwitz. This time only 211 Jews were sent off and Roethke explains that the transport was definitely necessary for political and prestige reasons. Roethke has learnt the lesson of the "Blamage" (disgrace) which had so infuriated Eichmann.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/457.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 254, which actually contains three documents - a letter to Eichmann, a telegram from Guenther, and again a letter from Roethke. We are submitting these three documents in order to demonstrate the technique to the Court, this whole system of dispatching the transports. In the first letter there is, as always, a request from Roethke to Eichmann asking whether such and such transports - of 4 November, 6 November and 9 November - may be sent off. After this a telegram from Guenther - a positive reply: The deportation may be carried out. After that a report: The transport has left.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/458.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 258. Roethke informs Eichmann that 1,000 Jews of Greek nationality have been arrested in Paris, and therefore it will be necessary to send an additional, fourth, transport to Auschwitz. He asks that the Auschwitz camp be informed of the arrival of the transport and that the detachment of the Protective Police be provided.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/459.

State Attorney Bach: The reply to this document is contained in our document No. 259, which was also shown to the Accused and was given the number T/37(67). The answer is, of course, positive. Guenther cables that the proposed additional transport of Jews to Auschwitz, of 1,000 Jews of Greek nationality, can be carried out, and that all the preparations for it have been made.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/460.

State Attorney Bach: And here is the final report on this matter, our document No. 255. Roethke informs Eichmann, Oranienburg and Auschwitz that the additional transport has indeed been dispatched.

Presiding Judge: The document is marked T/461.

State Attorney Bach: I now submit a document which will explain why I asked the witness this morning a number of questions about a man named Roger Masse, the former officer whom Dannecker selected, as will be remembered, and who was sent to Auschwitz and died there. A petition was submitted and this is our document No. 136. The German Armistice Commission transmitted the petition and said that the Chairman of the French delegation had asked the Chairman of the German Commission to recommend that a Jewish reserve officer, who was arrested on 12 December 1941, and deported to the East on 5 June, be released and returned to France.

It says that this is a French prisoner of war, a First Lieutenant in the Reserves named Roger Masse, a Knight of the Legion d'Honneur, decorated with the Croix de Guerre. In addition, Mr. Masse belongs to one of the veteran families in France which has great merits in the French Republic. It is also pointed out that in view of these circumstances Marshal Petain takes a special interest in the fate of this man, and therefore the Armistice Commission asks for a reply as soon as possible.

This document was sent to the Accused for his opinion by the Foreign Ministry. At the end there is the reply of the Accused: "...The above-mentioned Jew was deported from Compiegne to the East (Auschwitz), on 5 June 1942. As a matter of principle I cannot agree to his being returned. Please note. By order - Eichmann."

Presiding Judge: The document is marked T/462.

State Attorney Bach: We also have a sworn statement from the son of the same Roger Masse who testifies to this and gives some biographical details about his father and about the fact that he indeed died in Auschwitz.

Presiding Judge: This is apparently his nephew.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour, I am sorry.

Presiding Judge: The document is marked T/463.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 253, which also received a number attached to the statement of the Accused - T/37(65). This document, too, contains several letters, Your Honours. It is an application from the Union Generale des Israelites de France to the Commander of the Security Police and the SD which states that, for the purpose of paying out pensions and insurance, it is sometimes necessary to obtain confirmation about what happened to certain Jews. Roethke transmits this letter to IVB4 and asks for instructions whether information may be given to those Jews. He received the answer in the following telegram:

"For reasons of principle, the issue of confirmations by your Office or by the Camp Administrations about the evacuation of the Jews and their whereabouts is not permissible and must therefore always be avoided. Insofar as in individual cases the need [underlined] for information is admitted - settlement of estates, etc. - there is no objection to appropriate information being given by the French Police authorities. But in order to obviate abuse of such information for the purpose of atrocity propaganda (Greuelhetze), there must be no mention of evacuation or deportation of the Jews in any information which may be given. On the contrary, only the fact that the Jew concerned has moved and that his present place of residence is unknown may be mentioned." Signed: Eichmann, SS Obersturmbannfuehrer.
And indeed, in the end Roethke reports in accordance with this reply by Eichmann.

I should like to draw your attention that when this letter was shown to the Accused, on page 1214, the interrogator asked him what was the danger of Greuelhetze, (atrocity propaganda), what was the meaning of Greuelhetze." "Less What is the intention here when you write: Greuelhetze...abuse of such information for the purpose of Greuelhetze...what does Greuelhetze mean here? Eichmann Yes, the transfers to concentration camps, because at that time - May I here...

Q. Greuelhetze, whom were you referring to when you said Greuelhetze? That there will be talk about it abroad?

A. Yes, yes, in the newspapers, because, after all, it was not only this, not for this reason, but opinions were also constantly expressed after all against the measures taken by the Reich Government and all these opinions - insofar as they were negative - circulated in the Reich, it does not matter if this was propaganda, it is probably even correct, by the Propaganda Ministry and not by the Security Police, under the concept of Greuelhetze.

Q. That is to say, it does not matter when that was, even when those were facts, for instance...

A. Yes, yes - yes, yes, all this passed, it all passed as "Die Greuelhetze."

He adds, by the way:

"Auch wenn es stimmt - auch wenn es sich um andere Sachen handelte, nicht um Judenangelegenheiten, das Ganze segelte unter dem Wort "Greuelhetze" (even when it is true, even when the talk was of other matters, not of Jewish affairs, it all "sailed" (segelte) under the word "atrocity propaganda").
Judge Halevi: The last witness also thought that this was atrocity propaganda, did he not? He said that the broadcast of the British radio about the gas chambers, he and the Jews believed that that was atrocity propaganda.

State Attorney Bach: The witness believed this, but the situation of the Accused was different.

Judge Halevi: Yes, but the one is connected with the other.

State Attorney Bach: Of course, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: The document is marked T/464.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 122. Eichmann informs the Commander of the Security Police in Paris about a programme which is being finalized in order to enable the Reich Railways to make arrangements in advance for the rolling stock needed for the deportation of Jews in 1943, and he therefore requests to be informed immediately to what extent transports of Jews from France may be resumed during the first few months of the coming year. He then adds laconically: "Possibilities for reception are available."

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/465.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 317, Knochen's reply that resumption of the transports of Jews from France is envisaged for the middle of February or the beginning of March. To what extent - this cannot yet be indicated.

Presiding Judge: The document is marked T/466.

State Attorney Bach: Our next document is No. 1164. It is a letter from Heinrich Himmler to SS Gruppenfuehrer Mueller and it says: "I herewith give instructions that all those Jews still in France at this time, as well as those Hungarian and Romanian Jews who have influential relatives in America shall be assembled in a separate camp. There they will have to work, but under conditions which will keep them healthy and assure their survival. Jews of this kind are valuable hostages for us. In that respect I am thinking of a number of about 10,000. Signed - Heinrich Himmler."

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/467.

Judge Halevi: What is the date of this?

State Attorney Bach: December 1942. This is important because we shall see afterwards that this camp, which was established later, was under the guidance and direct influence of the Accused.

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