The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 46
(Part 1 of 6)

Session No. 46

4 Sivan 5721 (19 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the forty-sixth Session of the trial open. Mr. Bar-Or, please continue.

State Attorney Bar-Or: With the Court's permission, I am still on the same subject, the expulsion of the Jews from the centre of Belgrade. I proceed to document No. 648, a letter dated 13 September 1941 from Rademacher to his superior in the Foreign Ministry, Luther. He says:

"I cannot see the necessity of the expulsion of the 1,200 male Jews, if not to Romania, then to the Generalgouvernement or to Russia, as requested by the office of the representative of the Foreign Ministry in Belgrade... In my opinion it should be possible given the necessary rigour and determination, to keep the Jews in camps also within Serbia. Should the Jews continue to provoke disturbances there, they will have to be dealt with under strict martial law. I cannot imagine that the Jews will continue to conspire, once a considerable number of hostages have been shot..."
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/876.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Now on to document No. 649. Benzler, the German Minister in Belgrade, is not reassured. Things are not moving. He refers again to his telegram No. 608, and this time he addresses the Foreign Minister personally on 28 September 1941. He says:

"I have repeatedly requested the assistance of the Ministry with the immediate expulsion of local male Jews from Serbia, but this has been refused. May I remind you that in Fuschl you expressly promised me your help with accommodating the Jews, as well as Freemasons and Serbs who sympathize with England, either further down the Danube, or in concentration camps in Germany or in the Generalgouvernement. An immediate solution of the Jewish Question is at this moment a most important political task here, as well as a precondition for tackling the elimination of Freemasons and intellectuals hostile to us."
He asks that action be taken for the expulsion of the Jews from the country. It is a matter of 6,000 male Jews "whose accommodation in local camps is not possible." He requests that they be expelled to islands in the Danube delta. This seems to him to be the simplest solution from all points of view. Together with Veesenmayer he asks for the support of the Foreign Minister in this matter as a first condition for the bringing about permanent peace which he envisages.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/877.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now Prosecution document No. 650, from Luther to the State Secretary at the Foreign Ministry, dated 2 October 1941. He refers to the telegram from Benzler of 28 September 1941, which we have just read. He sums up Benzler's arguments and adds that in other districts other military commanders got rid of a much greater number of Jews "ohne ueberhaupt darueber zu reden (without so much as mentioning it)." At the end he asks for permission to discuss this question with Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, who will come for a brief visit from Prague to Berlin within the next few days. "I am convinced that, in agreement with him, we can very quickly arrive at a clear solution on this question."

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/878.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Next, Prosecution document No. 651. On 2 October 1941, Dr. Weber, from the office of the Foreign Minister, sends a note to Luther about the telegram from Belgrade concerning the expulsion of Jews from Serbia. He says Ribbentrop asks that immediate contact be made with the Reichsfuehrer-SS, in order to clarify the question whether he could not accept another 8,000 Jews, in order to deport them to Eastern Poland or to some place elsewhere.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/879.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Prosecution document No. 1044. On 5 October 1941, Luther sends a telegram to the German legation in Belgrade: "It has been agreed with Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich that a special representative of the Head Office for Reich Security will come to Belgrade shortly, in order to settle the question raised in the telegram. Name of the representative and time of his arrival will be indicated later."

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/880.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Now on to document No. 1045. Luther of the Foreign Ministry to the German legation in Belgrade on 8 October 1941: "Further to telegram...(the previous one), Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, accompanied by Counsellor of Legation Rademacher, will come to Belgrade in the course of next week. Exact time of arrival will be notified." Signed - Luther.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/881.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now on to document No. 1162. This programme did not materialize. The Accused could apparently not get away, and now, in this further telegram from Luther, Belgrade is informed: "Instead of Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann mentioned in the telegram of 8 October 1941, Sturmbannfuehrer Suhr und Untersturmfuehrer Stuschke" - whom the Court will certainly remember from yesterday - "will come as representatives of the Head Office for Reich Security, and Counsellor of Legation Rademacher will travel together with them. The gentlemen will arrive on Saturday on the 7 o'clock train from Budapest."

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/882.

State Attorney Bar-Or: We go on to document No. 170, which was shown to the Accused; the Court marked it T/37(58). The Accused refers to this document on page 1147 ff in his Statement. This is Rademacher's report, filed in the Foreign Ministry on 25 October 1941, about his journey to Belgrade with Stuschke, in order to evaluate the situation there himself.

I shall sum up in brief: He says at the outset that the purpose of his official journey was to find out on the spot whether the problem of the 8,000 Jewish instigators, whose deportation was being demanded by the Belgrade legation, could not be settled on the spot.

"In the course of the conversation it turned out that, to begin with, it was not a matter of 8,000 Jews, but only of about 4,000, of whom, furthermore, only 3,500 could be shot. The other 500 were needed by the State Police for maintaining health and order services in the ghetto which is to be established."
On page 2 he says:
"Detailed negotiations with the specialists for the Jewish Question, Sturmbannfuehrer Weimann from the office of Turner, the Head of the Regional Headquarters of the State Police, and with Standartenfuehrer Fuchs" - whom we remember - "and his Jewish specialists resulted in the following: 1. The male Jews will have been shot by the end of this week, and thus the problem raised in the report of the legation is settled. 2. The remainder, about 20,000 Jews (women, children and old people), as well as about 1,500 Gypsies, of whom the men are also still to be shot, are to be concentrated in the so-called Gypsy Quarter of Belgrade which will serve as a ghetto. Basic food for the winter can be provided."
Further down, on page 2 and page 3, he says:
"Those Jews and Gypsies who are not shot as a reprisal are first to be concentrated in the Gypsy quarter, and later, during the night, they are to be deported to the Serbian island of Mitrovica. Two separate camps are to be set up there. In one the Jews and the Gypsies will be housed, and in the other 50,000 Serb hostages. Then, as soon as the technical possibility is available within the framework of the total solution of the Jewish Question, the Jews will be deported by water to the reception camps (Auffangslager) in the East."
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/883.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Now document No. 652. The matter finally came before Secretary of State Weizsaecker. He is not satisfied with all the bargaining and travelling, and on 22 November 1941 he notes in his files:

"The Fuehrer's Order of 28 April of this year provides that the Representative of the Foreign Ministry is competent to deal with all questions relating to foreign policy in SerbiA."
Then he goes on to say:
"Minister Benzler, and with him the Foreign Ministry, therefore has to deal with the deportation of Jews from Serbia to other countries. On the other hand, it is beyond the task of Benzler and the Foreign Ministry to take an active part in the competent military and interior authorities' coping with the Jewish Question inside the Serbian borders. As is well-known, they receive their instructions through different channels from those of the Foreign Ministry. I told Benzler so orally today. It is recommended to inform him accordingly also in writing."
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/884.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Here it is evident that Weizsaecker, the Secretary of State, wants to rid the Foreign Ministry of the practical day-to-day dealings with this matter.

I go on to document No. 653, a note from Rademacher to Luther on 8 December 1941. Benzler has come to Berlin from Belgrade and has informed him over the telephone that:

"A change has occurred in the plan for the method of dealing with the Serbian Jews; the Jews would no longer be taken to a Serbian island, but to the Semlin camp instead. The island which had been envisaged originally was inundated. The Croats had agreed that the Jews be taken to Semlin as a transit camp. Minister Benzler asked that the Jews be therefore taken East as soon as possible. I replied that this would be out of the question before the spring, because deportation from Germany had priority. Even deportation in the spring was still in doubt."
It is impossible, after all, to deport all the Jews to the East all at once.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/885.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Now on to document No. 654. Luther, writing to Weizsaecker on 12 December 1941, refers to the note of 22 November 1941. He recalls that in that note it is laid down that Minister Benzler, as well as the Foreign Ministry, has to deal with the expulsion of the Jews from Serbia to other countries. He mentions the telegram No. 701 concerning the expulsion of Jews from Serbia, in which the Foreign Minister had asked to contact the Reichsfuehrer-SS immediately, and to clarify the question whether it was possible to take over 8,000 Jews for the purpose of transfer to Poland or to some other place.

Luther therefore writes that he has to assume that it was in conformity with the view of the Foreign Minister that the Foreign Ministry became involved in a matter which, in itself, was rather delicate. "For this reason, and since the matter has anyhow to be regarded as settled, I do not think it advisable to give Minister Benzler corresponding written instructions again." This is the follow-up to Weizsaecker's proposal on the matter.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/886.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I proceed to document No. 33. Here we have before us the list of the operational formations which operated in the area here called "the former Yugoslavia." In it we find SS Standartenfuehrer and Major of Police, Dr. Fuchs, who is responsible for the Special Operations Group of the Security Police and the Security Service. I also direct attention to Special Operations Detachment Belgrade, where we find SS Sturmbannfuehrer Kraus and, as his deputy and State Police Expert, SS Sturmbannfuehrer Helm, whom we shall frequently meet in the course of this morning.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/887.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now, with the permission of the Court, I shall call Dr. Salz.

Presiding Judge: [To the witness] Do you speak Hebrew?

Witness Salz: I am sorry, but I shall speak German.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Dr. Hinko Salz.

Presiding Judge: Where do you live?

Witness Salz: In Tel Aviv.

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

State Attorney Bar-Or: You are a general practitioner and dentist?

Witness Salz: Yes.

Q. You are active in your profession in Tel Aviv now?

A. Yes.

Q. You were born in Herzegovina in 1906?

A. Herzegovina is the region. It is a small town there. Yes, in Herzegovina, 1906.

Q. What is the name of the town?

A. Bieleca.

Q. You attended school in Yugoslavia and studied at the Universities of Zagreb and Vienna?

A. Yes.

Q. You received your medical degree in 1931, and then you specialized in dental medicine?

A. Yes. I worked as a general practitioner for a short while, and then I specialized in dental medicine.

Q. Where did you live until February 1941?

A. Until February I lived in different places. My last place of residence in February 1941 was Slavonski Brod, an industrial town in Yugoslavia.

Q. Slavonski Brod is in a part of Yugoslavia called Croatia?

A. Yes, it is in Croatia.

Q. You were recruited into the Yugoslav army as a reserve officer, were you not?

A. Yes, in February 1941 I was recruited for military service.

Q. When did war against Yugoslavia break out?

A. On 6 April 1941.

Q. Please tell us what happened to you when the war broke out.

A. On the day when the war broke out, i.e., on 6 April 1941, I was with an infantry regiment at the Romanian-Yugoslav border, that is to say, facing the town of Bazias in Romania, on Yugoslav territory.

Q. Please continue.

A. I want to be brief. On 6 April the war started. The regiment to which I belonged began to retreat without having made contact with the German army. The strategic situation was totally confused. During this retreat we became involved in battle with German troops. Shortly after this battle, we were surrounded by German troops and taken prisoner.

Q. Did you succeed in escaping from the prison camp?

A. Yes, we were taken to a prison camp located in the barracks of the Royal Guard, and I managed to escape from this camp.

Q. Did anybody help you with this, and who was it?

A. At that moment nobody helped me. I shall come back to this later. I escaped alone. The Germans guarded us very superficially, and I was successful - people had warned me that I would lose my life, but I risked it and I managed to escape. But very shortly afterwards, on my way from the camp, I came to a roadblock which the Germans had put at a crossroads.

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