The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 42
(Part 3 of 6)

State Attorney Bar-Or: I shall not read quotations from this declaration, except one short one on page four of the original. I shall only mention that Loesener was asked about his duties and about the way in which he left the Ministry. In the beginning of the declaration he describes the history of the Nuremberg Laws, who took part in their formulation, and how they were drafted in a mad rush during one night, before their adoption by the Reichsparteitag (Reich Party Conference) in Nuremberg. He describes his duties, especially in connection with questions of mixed marriages, and with various categories of privileged individuals among Jews and among those of mixed parentage, during the years 1939-1941. He relates the conversation with his superior, Dr. Stuckart, after he learned that Jews from Germany had not only been deported to the East, but had been killed by shooting in Riga. The Court has heard evidence about this from another source. He goes on to describe how he endeavoured, through direct contact with Stuckart and others, to bring about his leaving the Ministry of the Interior, and how, after nine months, he managed to join the staff of the Reich Administrative Court (Reichsverwaltungsgericht), where he no longer had anything to do with matters pertaining to the persecution of Jews.

The penultimate passage on page four reads as follows - I request permission to read it in German:

"My endeavours to prevent as much harm as possible as regards the Jewish Question did not remain hidden and, as a result, I met with more and more hostility from Party and SS circles. Among particularly fanatic and vicious Jew-haters with whom I had much contact, I name Dr. Blome, later deputy leader of the medical profession of the Reich, Oberregierungsrat Dr. Reischauer (Party Chancellery, Munich), Ministerialrat Sommer (Party Chancellery, his last post: President of the Reich Administrative Court), Hauptsturmbannfuehrer Eichmann (Head Office for Reich Security, Department Kurfuerstenstrasse, Berlin), and Regierungsrat Neifeind (Head Office for Reich Security, Berlin)."
With the permission of the Court, I shall now call Mrs. Charlotte Salzberger.

The witness is sworn.

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Charlotte Salzberger nee Wreschner.

Presiding Judge: Please answer Mr. Bar-Or's questions.

State Attorney Bar-Or: You were born in 1923 in Frankfurt, Germany?

Witness Salzberger: Yes.

Q. In 1934 you went to Holland - together with whom?

A. Together with my parents, two married brothers, and a sister younger than I.

Q. What was your mother's first name?

A. Frederike Wreschner.

Q. And your sister's name?

A. Margarete.

Q. You stayed in Holland from 1934 until when?

A. In Holland itself until January 1944.

Q. In Holland you had to register as Jews - after the German invasion?

A. Yes.

Q. How was this carried out?

A. There was a law that every person having at least two Jewish grandparents had to say so and thus to identify himself as Jewish.

Q. Mrs. Salzberger, I asked you to bring with you an album in which you collected the documents from the time of the Holocaust which you preserved. Kindly look whether there is a Jewish registration form which you were given in Holland.

A. I have the form.

Q. It is the form of February 1941, is it not?

A. Yes, of 3 February.

Presiding Judge: Please show the form to the witness, so that she can confirm it.

Witness Salzberger: Yes.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/694.

State Attorney Bar-Or: In that year you also had to put on the Jewish Star?

Witness Salzberger: Yes.

Q. Did you keep it and is it here?

A. Yes.

Q. There are three photographs here, and I want you to look at the top one; perhaps you can identify it, it says here "Jew" - "Jood."

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/695.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Did you, you and your sister, also receive a summons from the Zentralstelle fuer juedische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) in October 1942?

Witness Salzberger: We received an order to report for what was then called "Arbeitseinsatz" (work assignment), as part of the deportations of the Jews of Holland.

Q. Did you keep the summons, or the form for your sister Margarete? Do you see it in the album?

A. Yes.

Q. It is signed by SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Aus der Fuenten.

Presiding Judge: This will be Exhibit T/696.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Did you do as requested here on 5 October 1942; did you present yourselves?

Witness Salzberger: We did not present ourselves.

Q. What did you do instead?

Presiding Judge: Did you also receive such a summons?

Witness Salzberger: Yes.

State Attorney Bar-Or: But it got lost.

Witness Salzberger: We did not report and we did not obey this order.

Q. Were you not afraid?

A. There were actually three attitudes towards all these events concerning the Jews. Some people - and at that time the orders were actually sent to young persons only, and they were ostensibly for work, for work camps. Many of our schoolmates - we were secondary school pupils at that time - obeyed the order quite naturally. They believed that this was work, they regarded it even as halutziut (pioneering) which they would not shirk and use all kinds of manipulations, in order to be exempted or to postpone the deportation. They did not regard this as something so very bad. Then there was another extreme reaction, which was rooted in the deepest pessimism, in the belief that this was indeed a sentence of death. These people either tried to cross the Dutch border and reach Switzerland or some other neutral country, or they found shelter with Christian families, renounced their identity, disappeared, and cut off all connections with the real world. And then there was a third approach - this was ours perhaps - to try and defer this expulsion, at least temporarily. This approach stemmed from the hope that perhaps the War would end abroad, and that one would somehow be rescued. My own family began already in 1941, through relatives in America as well as in some neutral countries, to try and obtain a foreign nationality.

Q. What was your nationality in 1941?

A. We were what is called "stateless"; we were German nationals who had lost their citizenship; we were residents of the Netherlands, but not citizens.

Q. You obtained Ecuadorian citizenship in the end?

A. Yes. We received passports from Ecuador.

Q. Perhaps you can also find the passport, Number 50, in the name of Charlotte Sidonie Wreschner. Perhaps you can identify these photographs.

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/697.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Mrs. Salzberger, I also see a Swedish visa in this passport.

Witness Salzberger: As shown in the passport, it was issued in Stockholm in January 1942. We received it only at the end of 1942, I believe in October.

Q. Through whom?

A. Through Berlin, it was apparently held up in Berlin, in the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.

Q. And who delivered it to you in Holland, or where was it handed to you in Holland?

A. Through the Consulate of Ecuador in the Netherlands. The passport was issued in Stockholm, and we received it with a valid entry visa to Sweden for all the members of my family. But there was no mention at all of exit from Holland. There was no possibility of getting an exit permit from the Germans, except temporarily. We were given what was called "Zurueckstellung" (deferment) of transport - temporary postponement of inclusion in a transport, so that we held out in Amsterdam until the summer of 1943.

Q. I see here the copy of a letter from the Consulate General of Ecuador in Stockholm dated 16 June 1943, which was apparently sent to your mother in Amsterdam. Do you have this letter?

A. Yes.

Q. Is this the letter?

A. Yes.

Q. What does it mean?

A. In this Ecuadorian passport there was one black spot, and that was the term "apatrida." If you look at the passport, you see that there is a heading on nationality and there it says: "apatrida" - that meant "stateless." We asked the Ecuadorian Consulate in Stockholm for an explanation of the meaning of this term, and whether it meant that we were protected or not protected. We received this letter, which actually affirmed that we were indeed protected.

[The exhibit was marked T/698.]

Q. I now pass on to the letter dated 20 October 1943, from the Palestine Office in Geneva to your mother, in which the Palestine Office informed her that a Veteran Certificate bearing a certain number had been issued to her. Can you find this document?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you identified it?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/699.

State Attorney Bar-Or: This confirmation from Geneva was sent to your mother; it says here: c/o Jewish Council. Did you really receive it through the Jewish Council?

Witness Salzberger: Yes.

Q. In Amsterdam?

A. Yes.

Q. Does this mean that you tried in two directions, both to Ecuador and to Palestine?

A. In all directions.

Q. What was your specific hope when you made these applications? What was the use of this letter which you have just shown?

A. At that time the Germans let it be known that there was a possibility not to be sent to the camps, which were already known then as extermination camps, the worst camps such as Auschwitz, but to be collected in an exchange camp (Austauschlager), if the Jew concerned had a Certificate.

Q. If he could prove that he could enter Palestine?

A. Yes.

Q. This is why you asked for the Certificate?

A. We did not ask for these Certificates. We received them through friends of the family abroad.

Q. In the end you were transferred to Westerbork Camp?

A. Yes.

Q. In what month, in what year?

A. My mother, my sister and I were transferred in October 1943, and my brother, his wife and his three small children in July 1943.

Q. I see here a work card from Westerbork Camp in the name of Margerete Wreschner. This is a work card in the name of your sister, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you perhaps identify the photograph?

A. Yes, this is the work card.

Presiding Judge: This will be T/700.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Did you both work in the camp?

Witness Salzberger: Yes.

Q. What kind of work were you employed in?

A. I worked as a kindergarten teacher, and my sister as nurse in a hospital.

Q. How old were you then?

A. 16 and 17, something like that.

Q. You remained in Westerbork Camp until...?

A. Until January 1944.

Q. In that month you were transferred to Ravensbrueck in Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. That was a concentration camp for women, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you told the reason for this transfer?

A. We were told that we would be transferred to an exchange camp.

Q. Exchange with whom?

A. Exchange to a neutral country. Austauschlager (exchange camp), and they presented it in a very rosy light.

Q. Who were "they" who presented it thus?

A. The Germans, the SS in Westerbork Camp.

Q. They described the conditions, the possibilities connected with the transfer? What did they describe?

A. They informed us definitely that we would leave Westerbork and they would take us to a better camp, from which there would be a possibility of exchange to a neutral country.

Q. You were moved to Ravensbrueck in that month, you, your sister and your mother, were you not?

A. Yes. Here I should like to point out that, after we received the order for the train which was to take us to Ravensbrueck, we were in high spirits. We thought that this really was the first step towards release to a neutral country. There were Jews who had documents, foreign documents, who had not been in Westerbork, but were still living in freedom, and who volunteered to join that transport; they really came, with their suitcases, and boarded the transport.

Judge Halevi: Where were they in freedom, in Amsterdam?

Witness Salzberger: In Amsterdam, in Holland, living in normal conditions.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Were there more people who were sent with you from Westerbork to Ravensbrueck?

Witness Salzberger: The transport consisted of sixty women and children and was taken to Ravensbrueck Camp in Mecklenburg, near Berlin.

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