The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 48
(Part 7 of 8)

Q. Where did you send this?

A. To Istanbul, and also to Switzerland, to Geneva.

Q. When?

A. In 1944 or 1943. And this messenger, Welitsch, and another one whose name I do not remember, were also Gestapo agents, and they handed over these reports.

Presiding Judge: To whom?

Witness Loewenstein: To the Romanian Secret Service, the Romanian police. After this they arrested the halutzim, the leaders of the Federation of Youth; and it is very interesting that, when they were questioned, Richter was present together with Radu Lecca. Immediately after the War, in 1945 or 1946, a booklet was published by "Gordonia" which contains all the testimonies. We did not yet know details about the revolt of the Warsaw Ghetto, we did not yet know much about the situation in Poland, what exactly happened there, but these were testimonies of refugees, which we sent here [to Palestine]. In Geneva there were Dr. Richard Lichtheim, Dr. Silberstein from Poland, as well as Nathan Schwalb. And in Istanbul there were representatives as well. This correspondence can be found in the files of the Zionist Archives.

Judge Halevi: When you were preparing for self-defence in Bucharest - the underground of the halutzim, as you said - did you know then what was in store for you?

Witness Loewenstein: Yes, we knew from the refugees. I remember only one expression we had not yet heard of terms such as Entlausung (disinfection) and others, but in 1943 we already heard the expression Aktionstage (days for operations), and we had heard about Aktionen (operations) in Poland; about this we had heard from the refugees who came from Poland.

Q. Did Dr. Filderman survive?

A. Yes, he is now in Paris.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Dr. Loewenstein. You have completed your evidence.

State Attorney Bach: In order to conclude the chapter on Romania, I still have a number of documents. The first one is No. 401. Killinger says here that Antonescu has given an order permitting the emigration of 70,000-80,000 Jews to Palestine in return for payment to the Romanians. Killinger thinks that this is objectionable, in view of, among other considerations, the agreement with the Mufti of Jerusalem.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1041.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 987. Here Luther of the German Foreign Ministry writes to the legation in Bucharest and says that the fact that the deportation of the Jews has been interrupted for the moment is not very tragic since, in any case, the matter is not so easy during the winter months. But he hopes that in the spring it will be possible to resume operations. And he adds: "In this connection your opinion is requested concerning the idea of a reciprocal visit in January by SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, which was raised by the Romanians." And he thinks that, "since Lecca is no doubt well-intentioned, it is hardly possible to deny him this request, which could possibly help him advance in his own work."

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1042.

State Attorney Bach: In Prosecution document No. 988 Killinger replies by telegram that he agrees to Eichmann's visit in Bucharest, and that Antonescu also agrees to it.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1043.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is numbered 994. Klingenfuss informs Guenther that the legation in Bucharest would like to hear from Eichmann though which Stapostellen (regional headquarters of the State Police) Jews of first- generation mixed parentage have to be deported from the Reich.

Clerk of the Court Bodenheimer : This document has already been submitted.

Presiding Judge: How was it marked?

Clerk of the Court Bodenheimer : T/857.

State Attorney Bach: What was our number?

Clerk of the Court Bodenheimer : 994.

State Attorney Bach: It is hard to imagine that this document, which belongs specifically to Romania, should have been submitted here.

Presiding Judge: [reading from the document] Deportation of the Descendants of Mixed, it seems that you are mistaken.

Judge Raveh: Mr. Bach, I should like to ask something in connection with document No. 988. It says here: "...Gegenbesuch Eichmanns..." (reciprocal visit by Eichmann) - what visit is meant?

State Attorney Bach: This refers to the earlier visit by Lecca.

Judge Raveh: Which was not especially successful?

State Attorney Bach: When Lecca was received by Eichmann, but Killinger said that the visit was not so successful, because Lecca was not received by the officials of the German Foreign Ministry. Nevertheless, we saw that Lecca immediately asked for a return visit, that Killinger had to agree to it, and that Antonescu also indicated his agreement.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bodenheimer is right: This document deals with the descendants of mixed marriages.

State Attorney Bach: Perhaps it was submitted in this context, in connection with the offspring of mixed marriages, but what is meant is a correspondence with Richter about persons in Romania.

Presiding Judge: In this case there is no need to submit it.

State Attorney Bach: There is no need to submit the document, but we draw attention to it, document T/857.

The next document is our No. 224. It was shown to the Accused and numbered T/37(47). Eichmann writes that, to his regret, he has to postpone his visit because of pressure of work.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1044.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 481. Richter sends Eichmann the copy of a letter from Filderman to a Romanian by the name of Bursan, describing the desperate situation of the Jewish orphans in Transnistria, of five thousand Jewish children aged between two and sixteen. "Five thousand orphans are in a dreadful state," says Filderman, "innocent children lying naked in beds without linen, in unheated rooms whose windows have no panes, so that they cannot even get out of bed to relieve themselves, so they live in totally polluted air. They all suffer from eczema, boils, scabies and other diseases, and are badly undernourished." He says that there is no possibility of buying food for these children, that the daily wage is not sufficient to buy bread for them, and that even these wages are not being paid to people.

Filderman asks most urgently to see to it that these children be brought back, since otherwise they are condemned to die. In his letter to Eichmann, Richter adds that he has spoken with Lecca about the matter and that nothing will be done.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1045.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 580. Richter writes to Lecca, indignant because a certain newspaper wrote about a Jewish journalist whom it had employed, favourably mentioning his work in the past, so it seems. In his letter to Lecca Richter says:

"I should like to draw your attention to the fact that in 1942 it could be regarded as a lack of sound instinct (Instinktlosigkeit) if an erstwhile Jewish penpusher is eulogized after his death in a leading Romanian newspaper."
Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1046.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 184, which was shown to the Accused and marked T/37(45). Richter informs Eichmann about the replacement of the Undersecretary of State for the Navy who was instrumental in Jewish emigration and was dismissed from his post.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1047.

State Attorney Bach: Our next document is No. 231, a letter to the German Foreign Ministry signed by Eichmann by his own hand, saying that: "In accordance with reliable information, which must be kept confidential, one thousand Jewish children, together with one hundred accompanying staff, are about to be taken to Palestine via Bulgaria and Turkey." "Es wird gebeten, die geplante Auswanderung nach Moeglichkeit zu unterbinden" (You are requested to thwart this emigration project, if possible).

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1048.

State Attorney Bach: These documents are of course connected with the documents about Bulgaria which my colleague, Mr. Bar-Or, submitted yesterday. All this belongs to the same complex of problems. I believe the Court has asked: Who actually gave the order? I shall now submit several documents which show that the order came directly from the Accused.

Our next document is No. 200. This letter is signed by Guenther, and he says: "Within the next few days 150 children are about to emigrate from Romania overland through Bulgaria...may I ask you to make every effort, in order to cause Romania to renounce this incomprehensible emigration project, or, alternatively, to put obstacles in the way of transit through Bulgaria, if possible ("...sofern wie moeglich der Durchreise durch Bulgarien Schwierigkeiten engegengestellt werden").

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1049.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 980. Here Killinger, or rather Richter - this is clear from the telegram - informs Eichmann that a transport of 74 Jewish children from Romania via Bulgaria to Palestine is being planned. They were of the opinion that this was not in the interest of the Reich, in view of the general solution of the Jewish Question in Europe. He also reports that he has informed the travel agency that the transport would be stopped in Bulgaria and re-directed to a different destination if it should arrive there, and therefore this transport of 74 children was not sent. And here, on the second page, the Court will see that it says in handwriting, "Telephonisch an Parteigenossen Eichmann durchgegeben" (Passed on to Party comrade Eichmann by telephone).

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1050.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 981. Here Beckerle, the German minister in Sofia, reports about the same subject, about the same 74 children. He says that he received the information, and that the emigration of the 74 children has been prevented. The German Foreign Ministry transmits this letter again to Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann. This actually constitutes the liquidation of the project, i.e., they made sure of it from the Bulgarian as well as the Romanian end.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1051.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 482. Richter sends a letter to the German consuls in many cities in Romania and asks for information about copies of Jewish manifestos. Furthermore, he wants to know which Jews are still in possession of radio sets.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1052.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is numbered 483. Richter sends Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann a detailed report about the Romanization procedures of Jewish property.

Presiding Judge: This document is marked T/1053.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 982 and it was marked T/37(282). This is again signed by the Accused personally, and he writes to the German Foreign Ministry about two projects for the transfer of Jews to Palestine - one transport of 1,500 Jews on a boat under Greek flag, named "Smirnik," and the other on a boat of 300 tons holding 350 Jewish emigrants from Bessarabia and Bukovina, under the protection of the Red Cross. He adds that the Jewish institutions in Bucharest have already contacted their organizations in Istanbul on this matter. In conclusion Eichmann says: "It is requested that this emigration also be prevented to the extent possible."

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1054.

State Attorney Bach: As far as the children are concerned, our crucial document is perhaps No. 220, which was marked T/37(44). Von Thadden reports here that Eichmann has informed him about the attitude taken by the highest echelon of his ministry on the departure of Jewish children from Romania: The emigration of Jewish children must be refused as a matter of principle. "The emigration of five thousand Jewish children from the occupied zones of the east would be granted, if German internees abroad could thereby be exchanged at the rate of 4:1, i.e., twenty thousand Germans against five thousand Jews. This did not mean twenty thousand old Germans, but twenty thousand Germans still capable of propagation, under the age of forty."

He adds that, if this was to be carried out, the negotiations would have to be conducted speedily, since the time was approaching when the departure of five thousand children from the east would no longer be technically possible, because of the implementation of our measures against the Jews. If the departure of Jewish children from Romania, or from other Balkan states, was to be approved at all, it was important to ensure that this would not be done without reciprocity, as mentioned above.

The Accused was asked about this matter on page 1131. On page 1132 Inspector Less asks him what he meant when he said that the negotiations had to be conducted speedily, because the time was approaching when it would no longer be technically possible to carry out the matter. Eichmann's reply is on page 1133, where he says: "This was in 1943, in accordance with the order from the Reichsfuehrer, which was given to the police one had to know that up there, '...das oben von den Einsatzkommandos hier alles - so nehme ich also an - enschuldigen Sie bitte, Herr Hauptmann, den brutalen Ausdruck - getoetet wird. Das und nichts...' (It was known, was it not, that by the operations groups up there - and forgive me for the brutal expression, Inspector, all are being killed. This and nothing else..."

Presiding Judge: Does he quote this as an order from Himmler in the letter?

State Attorney Bach: No, he invokes Himmler's orders about killing in general.

Presiding Judge: From "Meine Frage" (my question) in this document, in the last but one passage?

State Attorney Bach: Yes. Von Thadden says that: "To my question whether this attitude could be reported to the Reich Foreign Ministry as final, and as the attitude of the Reichsfuehrer-SS, Eichmann answered yes."

State Attorney Bach: The next document, No. 214, is signed by Guenther and deals with the emigration of five thousand Jewish children from Romania and Bulgaria to Palestine. He mentions a ship which is to sail under the Red Cross flag and which would transport one thousand children on each voyage, and that von Papen has been approached in Turkey, and that the organizers of the project are of the opinion that the emigration of the remaining Jewish children will pass with tacit agreement. But Guenther says:

"In the interest of the most comprehensive possible seizure of all the Jews in Europe, it is requested that steps be taken to prevent the departure of Jews, especially of Jewish children from the Balkan countries, by every means."
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1056.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 1229, and it was also marked T/37(307). Here there is mention of Bosshammer, also from the office of the Accused, and the question is raised by the German Foreign Ministry whether it is possible to transfer Romanian Jews to camps in Transnistria, to open camps. The answer comes from Guenther, who objects and says: The difficulties cannot be solved by transferring Jews to open camps in Transnistria. German camps can always be named which can accept these Jews immediately.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1057.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 222. Here Richter informs Eichmann that he has ordered the arrest of Filderman because of his protest against the payment of four billion Lei as a special levy. He says that Filderman pretends to have fallen ill and has therefore not yet been arrested, but a request for his release has been rejected.

Presiding Judge: Does Richter write this together with Killinger?

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