The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 34
(Part 8 of 8)

Presiding Judge: "and in consideration" - does that mean "without consideration"?

State Attorney Bach: It says here: "...ohne Ruecksicht auf den angebotenen Devisenbetrag im Hinblick auf seine berufliche Stellung abgelehnt. Im Auftrage - gezeichnet: Eichmann." That is to say, regardless of the sum, which exceeds by 50,000 Franc the required amount, the application was refused, considering his professional standing, and this we know already from Guenther's letter, because he is an intellectual, i.e. a former professor.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/535.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 1501. This is a report found in the Gestapo offices in Holland, and it includes an interim report on the development of the Jewish Question in Holland until the end of 1942. The entire problem is described here, the 140,000 Jews who were there to begin with, the sympathy on the part of the inhabitants, that there were difficulties, that even the NSB was cleaned of Jews only after the invasion.

Judge Halevi: Who submitted this report?

State Attorney Bach: We do not know exactly. It was in the Gestapo files. On the top it says: Miss Slottke. We do not know whether she wrote the report; her name appeared on the top. We obtained this report from Professor Sers from the Oorlog Institute who confirmed that this is a report found in the files of the Netherlands Gestapo. This is an institute for the documentation of war criminals. In effect a special governmental institute for research on war criminals. There are various statistics in it. It speaks of the removal of the Jews from economic, public and cultural life; of the limitations on the freedom of movement; then of the concentration of the Jews; of the deportation of the Jews. All this is recorded by the Germans in the usual dry style, things about the reality of which we heard from the witness. Here we see who initiated, planned and implemented this.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/536.

State Attorney Bach: Now our No. 619, which was here numbered T/37(197). It is a note by Zoepf, who says: "In accordance with a reply from Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, a solution is available in the Netherlands, too, for those Jews who cannot quite be equated with the rest of the Auschwitz Jews," this is what he calls them, "because of age or merits, but who must not just remain here. For, we can at any time send a train from Westerbork to the propaganda camp Theresienstadt." And here we find Miss Slottke again; it says at the bottom: "Miss Slottke, with request for suitable treatment and preparation of these 'incidents' and information to Westerbork."

Presiding Judge: What does "Zwischenfaelle" (incidents) mean here? The intention is not incidents here but "intermediate cases."

State Attorney Bach: To send them to Auschwitz is impossible, they have privileges here, so they are sent there. The point here is simply that Zoepf not only knows that Theresienstadt is a Propagandalager, but that he also dares put this in black on white in a document. This again confirms the opinion that Eichmann revealed to his specialist representatives during a certain meeting - the report on which we shall submit later - that Theresienstadt was a camp for propaganda abroad.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/537.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, I now beg to submit a report on the interrogation of Wilhelm Harster, Commander of the Security Police and the SD in the Netherlands, who was examined after the War by Dutch interrogators about his activities in the Netherlands. We actually wish to submit this statement by Harster for two reasons only: First of all, he describes the incident of "Apeldoorn Bos."

Presiding Judge: Is he still alive?

State Attorney Bach: He was condemned by a Dutch Court. I believe he received a twelve years' prison sentence.

Presiding Judge: Is it evidence before the Court?

State Attorney Bach: No, Your Honour. This is an interrogation which was submitted to the Court. It is a pre- trial interrogation by the Municipality of Amsterdam. This interrogation was made for the purpose of submission to the Court, and it was in fact submitted. And here he describes the incident of "Apeldoorn Bos."

Presiding Judge: When was he sentenced, do you know?

State Attorney Bach: It was after the War, I think in 1947 or 1948. At any rate, he has since been set free. He may be in Germany, but I have no certain information about this. At all events, it is obvious that this is not a person whom we could, or would wish to, bring here as a witness. The purpose of this piece of evidence is limited, but it is important to us in the context of this chapter.

Harster quotes a report about the Jewish mental hospital which he received from Aus der Fuenten. He relates that the first initiative came apparently from Holland, where the need arose to use this building as a military hospital for the Waffen-SS. So Aus der Fuenten submitted a report about this place. It was brought to Rauter's attention, and then it reached Harster. Harster then contacted Eichmann, and Eichmann gave the order to vacate the institution completely and also made a special train available for the purpose.

Presiding Judge: What was Harster's position?

State Attorney Bach: Harster was Commander of the Security Police and the SD in Holland. Zoepf was Eichmann's specialist for Jewish Questions attached to him. And he does indeed relate what was the role of Zoepf in this matter, and what was Eichmann's part.

Presiding Judge: This means he is not someone who receives orders from Eichmann?

State Attorney Bach: This is a question which we may discuss in the summing-up. Eichmann could not say: "I, as your superior in rank, give you an order." But an order from Eichmann in Jewish matters was in fact binding for him, because Eichmann dealt with Jewish matters on the strength of his position, and because certain authorities spoke through Eichmann, and in practice instructions from Eichmann were instructions, although not given in the form of a regular order in the army or police.

Judge Halevi: He was the Dutch Knochen?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, he was the Dutch Knochen, the opposite number of Knochen. And just as Knochen accepted what Dannecker said on Jewish matters, although he held a lower rank, so it was here.

This document was shown to the Accused when he made his statement, and he did not deny that it was his job to provide these trains.

Presiding Judge: Are you saying that Eichmann also "gave the order to vacate?"

State Attorney Bach: This is what Harster says. Harster testifies about another conversation here, he describes a conversation between Eichmann and Seyss-Inquart in which Eichmann gave certain details to Seyss-Inquart about the fate of the Jews who are sent to Arbeitseinsatz (work assignment). This is again important, in view of the statement by von Thadden which we have submitted. Here we have someone in Holland who says similar things about the Accused, about camouflage and deceit, even vis-a-vis German authorities. Therefore, Your Honours, from this point of view, i.e. that the Accused has already reacted...

Presiding Judge: But not to all of it. He has not denied that he provided a train for this operation.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, this he has not denied.

Presiding Judge: What else?

Judge Halevi: Did he read the whole document?

State Attorney Bach: The whole document was shown to him, but he reacted only to part of it.

Judge Halevi: Usually we saw that in his interrogation he was asked whether he had any remarks.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour, he was asked: "Have you any remarks concerning this?" He did react on the subject of the mental patients and also on what usually happened to these people. But he said that he did not remember the exact details, what happened with this particular train. Therefore I should like to ask, on the basis of your earlier decisions, that you accept this declaration.

Dr. Servatius: As I hear, the witness Harster is still alive.

Presiding Judge: We do not know, at any rate, that he is dead.

Dr. Servatius: I have no objection to the document except as regards one point, which the Court itself has already stressed. The Accused admitted already in the interrogation that he may have had something to do with the transport. But here it is claimed that he also initiated the seizure and the deportation. It is hardly to be assumed that mental patients were assigned to work, and it is not to be assumed that Seyss-Inquart seriously talked about this with Eichmann. I should like to insist that the witness be heard on this point.

State Attorney Bach: It seems to me that there is a misunderstanding here. We are talking about two different things. The conversation between Seyss-Inquart and Eichmann did not refer to these persons. It says here that there was a question as to what happened to the Jews coming to Germany for work assignment. However, Your Honours, I am ready to forgo this part of Harster's testimony. In any case, I have no corroborating additional testimony for this conversation, and in any case I could not, in my summary before the Court, ask for a finding on the basis of such evidence. I am therefore ready to do without this passage in the conversation between Seyss-Inquart and Eichmann, I am ready to renounce this point.

As for the first part, I should at any rate insist on the passage in which it says that contact was made with Eichmann and that he knew who were the people to be evacuated, and that he provided the train for the deportation of these people to the East. This is actually the point I am interested in.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, does this change your point of view?

Dr. Servatius: In my opinion one further sentence has to be deleted, the sentence which says that Eichmann was the one who gave the order to vacate the institution completely.

State Attorney Bach: I see no material difference here; whether he says that he sent a train in order to transfer the people to the East, or whether he says that he had the people arrested and put on the train makes no difference at all.

Judge Halevi: Is this the time to reach conclusions about the weight of this testimony? We are now discussing whether to submit it or not.

State Attorney Bach: If I have understood Counsel for the Defense correctly he says that, if I agree to the Court not taking this sentence into consideration, he will not object to the submission of the document and will not ask for the witness to be examined. I am ready to agree to this. I am ready to it being stated that Eichmann was contacted on this matter and that he sent this train for this purpose, to take these mental patients and convey them to their destination. This is actually the point.

Presiding Judge: Is this what you wish to prove by the document?

State Attorney Bach: Yes.

Judge Raveh: That is to say we have a question of initiative here: The question whether, with the help of this document, you wish to prove an initiative by the Accused, or whether you do not wish to prove an initiative by the Accused.

State Attorney Bach: I understand, Your Honour. I said already at the outset that the initiative came first from Holland. Authorities there said there was need for a military hospital for the personnel of the Waffen-SS. I said so before. Of course, I do not know exactly what happened, but since it is not possible to base proof on Harster's evidence alone, I am prepared to forgo this part and to assume, for the benefit of the Accused, that what he did here was the result of the telephone conversation with Harster, in other words, that he sent the train so that these mental patients would be deported.

Presiding Judge: You are ready to assume, that the initiative came from Holland?

State Attorney Bach: Yes, the initiative to vacate this place for the purpose mentioned.

Presiding Judge: I hope that is the end of these exchanges.

Dr. Servatius: I agree with this view.

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 19

We allow the submission of the document as proof on the basis of Mr. Bach's statement. The document is marked T/538.

State Attorney Bach: Just one more document on the same subject, No. 1382. This is the deposition of a Dutch railway man named Klaas Bloothoofd who was on that train; he was supposed to guard it - he was a Dutch railway official - and he testified in Holland about that train and described how these people were loaded into it. This is evidence given to complete the picture. As for the introduction about the Germans who were there - I attach no importance to that for the moment.

"At approximately 10 o'clock in the evening of that day, I noticed that people who had been brought in lorries were loaded into the carriages of this train. I heard then that these were mental patients from the Jewish institution 'Het Apeldoorn Bos.' They were brought in two lorries...The first three goods carriages were filled with men and women who behaved quietly. About forty persons were put into one carriage, men and women being separated. But this latter (the separating) did not last long because the loading was done so fast, and men and women were moved into the same carriage together. I noticed that many men and women, especially the old, were brought in the nightclothes in which they had been taken from their beds. I also noticed that dangerous patients in straightjackets, at any rate the upper part of their bodies tied and therefore unable to move their arms, were put into the same carriage where there were quiet patients. Some of the patients, among them one girl, were completely naked."
Dr. Servatius: Your Honour the Presiding Judge, I should just like to remark that I received this document in Dutch only. I have read it as best I could, but I should like to reserve the right to express reservations if I should later find anything.

State Attorney Bach: I am sorry. Whenever there is evidence in a foreign language, we provide the Defense with a German translation. In this case we forgot to do so.

Presiding Judge: For the time being this is submitted, subject to what Dr. Servatius may wish to say. T/539.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 623. Here we have instructions for the transport to Theresienstadt; who is to be sent to Theresienstadt. It refers to a telephone conversation between SS Sturmbannfuehrer Guenther from the Head Office for Reich Security and the (female) police official Slottke from the BdS in The Haag. The subject is which persons have special privileges and are to be sent to Theresienstadt. And there is an addition: When a person is sent to Theresienstadt, he may take along children up to the age of 14. Children over 14 are regarded as being on their own and are sent to the East. Even those Jews who have special privileges, as it were - if they have a child above the age of 14, that child is on its own and will be sent to the East alone. This is also marked T/37(199).

Presiding Judge: T/540.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 621. A letter from the Accused to the BdS, attention Zoepf. This was always the channel, and here is just one sentence: "With reference to the a/m telephone conversation, I enclose one copy of the Guidelines laid down for the Change of Residence of Jews from the Reich Area to Theresienstadt - with the request that note be taken." The expression used here is "Wohnsitzverlegung" (change of residence). The Accused was questioned about this document, which was given the number T/37(171). The interrogator asked him: "What does this mean, why do you call this Wohnsitzverlegung?" And he answered: "This is what we always called it when Theresienstadt was meant." And then the interrogator said to him (I shall first say it in German): "Less Damit die Pille leichter zu schlucken sei?" (In order that it might be easier to swallow the pill?) "Eichmann So gewissermassen, um's mal ehrlich zu sagen, ja." (In a certain sense, to tell the truth, yes.)

Judge Halevi: On what page of the statement does this appear?

State Attorney Bach: On page 2133.

Presiding Judge: T/541.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 624. Here the Court will again notice "Slottke" on the left. Zoepf writes again to the Head Office for Reich Security, to IVB4, concerning a train from Holland to Theresienstadt; he coordinates the transport of Jews to Theresienstadt with Eichmann and bases himself "on SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann's proposal at the time..."

This document was also shown to the Accused and was given No. T/37(202).

I have now reached a certain point. I might perhaps stop here.

Presiding Judge: Yes.

We shall adjourn now. The next Session is at 3.30 p.m.

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