The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 47
(Part 3 of 8)

State Attorney Bar-Or: That is correct, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/937.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 417 is the central document on the Bulgarian chapter. It was shown to the Accused and marked T/37(170). The Accused speaks about it on page 2121 ff. of his Statement.

This is the Agreement between Dannecker and Belev, the Commissioner for Jewish Affairs of the Bulgarian Government, in the Ministry of the Interior. The Agreement is written in Bulgarian and dated 22 February 1943. We submit to you both the Bulgarian text and a copy in German.

Six transports are mentioned here containing 5,000, 3,000 and 2,000 persons respectively. The transports are to go to the German Reich, which is ready to receive them. In paragraph 3 (a) it says that only Jews may be included in these transports. Also of interest is paragraph 8, which says the "The Bulgarian Government will not, under any circumstances, demand the return of the deported Jews." - Signed: Belev and Dannecker.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/938.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And now document No. 204, which was shown to the Accused and marked T/37(54). The Accused refers to this document on pages 1161 and 1162 of his Statement. This is Dannecker's Report No. 3 to the Attaches Group, which was again seen and signed by Beckerle. It is dated 23 February 1943 and Dannecker attaches a photostatic copy of the Agreement between himself and Belev which we have just seen. He speaks about the methods for implementing the deportations: "...They will be accommodated temporarily in tobacco storerooms until they can be put on trains."

He is of course not content with the figures set out in the Agreement and he already speaks about the future in terms of further transports and hopes for the successful implementation of further deportations.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/939.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Our document No. 171 is a note from Wagner of the Foreign Ministry to the Foreign Minister dated 3 April 1943. The document was shown to the Accused and marked T/37(57) and the Accused speaks about it on page 1170 ff. Wagner actually reports to the Minister, for his information, about the situation, as it was reported by Dannecker and Beckerle.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/940.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1035 is a further report addressed to the Attaches Group. This time it is not signed by Dannecker, but by the Polish Attache himself, whose name is Hoffmann. Here also there is the note "Seen" - Beckerle. The report is dated 5 April 1943. It specifies that, out of a transport of 11,343, 4,221 were sent by boat and 7,122 by train. It says furthermore that Dannecker is meanwhile in constant touch with Belev, the Commissioner for the Jews. It says also that the deportations will continue for some time.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/941.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1036 is a letter date 17 May 1943 from Guenther to von Thadden at the Foreign Ministry about the treatment of the Jewish Question in Bulgaria. Guether refers to a telephone conversation between von Thadden and SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Pothammer. He mentions that there are still 51,000 Jews in Bulgaria, who constitute a considerable danger for the German military forces. He speaks of the excuse used by King Boris, etc.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/942.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 191 is another report signed by Hoffmann and countersigned by Beckerle. Its date is 7 June 1943, for information of the Accused. It says that in April the situation took a turn for the worse "because the Government of Bulgaria openly supports the attitude of the king as regards the Jews," and it speaks about the objections which have to be overcome concerning the deportation of the Jews from within the former borders of Bulgaria to the Reich.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/943.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 420 is a letter dated 24 June 1943 from Hoffmann and Beckerle to the Attaches Group: The deportation of the Jews from Sofia to the provincial towns can be regarded as complete. 20,000 Jews have been deported. But anybody reading these documents will realize that this was actually only a pretext used by the authorities in order to evade pressure from the Germans.

Presiding Judge: That is to say, the Bulgarian Government deported the Jews from Sofia to the provincial towns?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Yes, in order to evade the pressure; this becomes quite clear from the documents we have submitted.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/944.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1039 is a letter from von Thadden to the Accused dated 28 July 1943. Among other things it says: "In view of the elevated position of the Metropolitan Paissi, and his positive attitude towards Germany I ask you to fulfil his request if possible and to instruct me how to reply." This request is that a certain person be sent for instance to Theresienstadt if that is possible.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/945.

State Attorney Bar-Or: In document No. 1040 Wagner informs Sofia, on 31 June 1944 after consultations with the Head Office for Reich Security, that there is almost no chance to accede to this request.

Presiding Judge: We have only a covering letter here in document T/945.

State Attorney Bar-Or: What is our number, Your Honour?

Presiding Judge: No. 1040.

State Attorney Bar-Or: This is a telegram, nothing more.

Presiding Judge: Where is Theresienstadt mentioned here?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Theresienstadt is not mentioned here; it is mentioned in document No. 1039. Document No. 1040 is the reply to document No. 1039. On the second page of von Thadden's letter to Eichmann it says...

Presiding Judge: In which document?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1039. Have I not submitted it?

Presiding Judge: No.

State Attorney Bar-Or: I am very sorry, I have two copies here. I shall obtain more copies and submit them. In fact, document No. 1040 cannot be understood without document No. 1039. We shall submit it immediately after we receive the copy. With your permission I shall proceed to document No. 830, a letter from Beckerle to the Foreign Ministry, dated February 4, 1943. The Foreign Ministry later transmits the contents, in Rademacher's handwriting, to the Accused. There are three documents included here under the same number. The gist of the document is that "the German legation in Sofia has been informed of an offer from England, through the Swiss Protecting Power, to accept 5,000 Jewish children for Palestine."

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/946.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 201.

Presiding Judge: What is the contents of the document?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Following information from Sofia, von Hahn transmits to the Accused details about the proposal from England to send 5,000 Jewish children from Bulgaria to Israel.

Presiding Judge: Are there more documents about this proposal?

State Attorney Bar-Or: There will be more, there will be a reply to this proposal. Document No. 201 was shown to the Accused and was marked T/37(56). It is von Hahn's letter of February 8, 1943 to the Accused. The Accused refers to this document on pages 1167 and 1168. And that is the reply to the proposal.

Judge Halevi: Whose reply.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Von Hahn informs Eichmann that the German legation received certain instructions, which are cited in quotation marks. He transmits the contents of this information to the Accused.

Presiding Judge: In the end nothing came of it?

State Attorney Bar-Or: Nothing.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/947.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 831 is a letter dated 13 February 1943 from Bergmann of the Foreign Ministry to the German legation in Sofia. It is suspected that these children will be educated under British influence to become 5,000 propagandists.

Judge Halevi: Who decided this matter? Who gave these instructions?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The instructions given in this matter come, as it were, from the Foreign Ministry alone, whether it is from von Hahn or from Bergmann. These men inform Eichmann about what they are doing, it is true, but they do not explicitly rely on his authority. On page 1167, which I have already mentioned, the Accused says that:

"This is after all perfectly clear, Inspector, that every Jew who, at the beginning of the War, or even at later stages...and at first I should not even like to say so, but later on of course, abroad he would not have overly praised the Germans. This was perfectly clear to us. It is obvious. The Head of the Security Police and the SD would never have used reasoning of this kind."

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/948.

State Attorney Bar-Or: In the end the matter is summed up in a general policy direction which is sent by the Foreign Ministry to all the legations concerned. This is contained in document No. 400, a telegram addressed to Budapest, Bucharest and Rome. It is signed by Rademacher, who repeats that no negotiations concerning the emigration of Jews are to be conducted with foreign governments. Among other things, it also says here what had been stated in earlier documents: That such negotiations contradict the policy of the Axis Powers vis-a-vis the Arab nations.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/949.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1037 is a letter dated 2 April 1943 from Guenther to von Hahn at the Foreign Ministry which is also about emigration to Palestine of Jews from the Balkans. He reports what the British Ambassador in Washington told the Jewish Congress about negotiations which are allegedly being held between Bulgaria and Great Britain about the emigration of 4,000 Jews.

Presiding Judge: It says here "Sora" - do you know what this is?

State Attorney Bar-Or: I think it is a newspaper which quotes radio news.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/950.

State Attorney Bar-Or: Document No. 1038, a letter from Pausch of the Foreign Ministry to the Accused on the same subject - emigration of 4,000 Jewish children to Palestine.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/951.

State Attorney Bar-Or: And again on the same subject, Document No. 1034, a letter from the Accused to the Foreign Ministry dated 4 May 1943. It says that the government in Palestine has approved an undertermined, rather large number of immigration certificates for Zionists with women and children. He mentions a transport of 8,000 Jews from Bulgaria via Turkey. "For information and preventive action if possible."

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/952.

State Attorney Bar-Or: This completes the chapter on Bulgaria, and, with the permission of the Court, I proceed to the third Balkan country: Greece.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, it does not say here "for preventive action," but "taking steps" (Veranlassung).

Judge Halevi: Does the Accused have an opinion or take any position in any of these documents?

State Attorney Bar-Or: The last document constitutes a taking of position.

Judge Halevi: What position?

State Attorney Bar-Or: What is the point of writing this entire letter?

Judge Halevi: In one of the documents I saw that the Accused was asked what his opinion was. No document was submitted in answer to this question.

State Attorney Bar-Or: There is none. We are dealing with Foreign Ministry documents and these are the only documents which can guide us in this matter, because the documents from the Accused are not available. In these documents we found no expression of opinion about this subject by the Accused.

Judge Halevi: In your Document No. 830, which was submitted earlier and which we marked T/946, there are a number of papers.

State Attorney Bar-Or: That is so.

Judge Halevi: The second page is in handwriting.

State Attorney Bar-Or: In Rademacher's handwriting.

Judge Halevi: It says: "An das Reichssicherheitshauptamt" (to the Head Office for Reich security).

State Attorney Bar-Or: "zu Haenden von SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann oder Vertreter im Amte." (attention of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann or his deputy).

Judge Halevi: Does it not say here - in the same handwriting - and I refer to the last lines which read: "Ich darf bitten, mir die dortige Auffassung mitzuteilen" (May I ask you to let me have your opinion). Is this request not addressed to the Accused?

State Attorney Bar-Or: It is a request from Rademacher to the Accused. Under it there is another note by Rademacher dated the 6th of the month. I have the impression that the name of the Accused appears here as well, at any rate...

Judge Halevi: But what the opinion of the Accused is - this we do not know?

Presiding Judge: I think it follows fairly clearly from his statement. He says that emigration was totally prohibited by Himmler, after a certain date...

State Attorney Bar-Or: We are speaking of the year 1943. The prohibition was issued in the summer of 1941. It is obvious that there was nothing to be said here on the part of the Accused.

Presiding Judge: Yes, and he follows this line, this is his opinion.

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