The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

State Attorney Bach: The situation is always as follows:

Since the telegram goes to the German Foreign Ministry, Killinger has to sign it. But it always says at the top in brackets: "Richter, SS Hauptsturmfuehrer," in order to point out who actually drafted the telegram.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1058.

State Attorney Bach: Our next document is No. 148. It was also shown to the Accused and numbered T/37(43). Again a telegram from Killinger, but in brackets it says: "Richter." It says that Lecca has informed him that Filderman has been arrested and deported on orders from the marshal, without consideration as to whether he is sick. The telegram was forwarded to the Accused.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1059.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 133. It was shown to the Accused and was marked T/37(15). There are actually two documents here. The second one is signed by the Accused, who writes to the German Foreign Ministry and asks to inform Richter that the emigration of the Jew Max Ausschnitt, who lives in Bucharest, be prevented by every possible means, and he asks to be informed of the action taken. Von Thadden transmits Eichmann's request to Richter. The Court will remember that this is the same Max Ausschnitt who was first mentioned in 1941, when the Romanians wanted to allow him to emigrate, on condition that they could confiscate his property. The Accused comments on this document on page 588 ff.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1060.

State Attorney Bach: The reply is contained in von Thadden's letter to Eichmann, our document No. 993, informing Eichmann that Ausschnitt has been arrested and sent to a camp.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1061.

State Attorney Bach: I should now like to submit to the Court a set of documents under our No. 979, all of which are reports by Richter to SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann. The intention is to show the various types of reports, what was reported to Eichmann - about emigration of Jews from Romania, about a Jewish information service, about an exchange of letters with Jewish youth movements, about Portuguese consuls, about Filderman, etc. - in fact, everything about the Jews in Romania, and also about the Romanian authorities, insofar as it might concern the Jewish question in any way.

Presiding Judge: There are only the subject headings of the letters here.

State Attorney Bach: Yes, the letters themselves are not included. We are submitting the subject headings simply in order to point to the kind of things which were reported.

Presiding Judge: This is marked T/1062.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 581. It concerns six Jews who were released from forced labour, because of their employment at the Romanian Commercial Bank. Richter asks Lecca to revoke the release immediately.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1063.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is our No. 996. Eichmann writes to von Thadden and complains about the French commercial attache in Romania who has taken a stand against the levy of four billion Lei which the Jews were required to pay. Eichmann expresses his displeasure and says that there is a rumour that this attache is a Jew. This is checked in the first document appended here and the conclusion is reached that this is not so, that the man is not a Jew.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1064.

State Attorney Bach: The first document says that the German legation in Paris was contacted in this matter, and that there it was confirmed that the man was not a Jew.

The next document is No. 517. Guenther informs the German Foreign Ministry that the Jewess Koenig has meanwhile been transferred from Auschwitz to the east for a work assignment, and that her present whereabouts are unknown.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1065.

State Attorney Bach: Now we have three documents which deal with a Jew named Hans Erwin Wolff who is of mixed parentage. In document 634 von Thadden proposed to give this man three months' time to liquidate his property, and then he would be able to return to Germany. This was the arrangement at that time, that persons of mixed parentage, citizens of the Reich, could return to Germany within a specified period. The document says that a copy was sent to Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, asking for his agreement.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1066.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 635. Here is the reply of the Accused, who says that he is not opposed in principle, but that he objects to these three months, and that the period should be shorted to one month and a half. He also wants to know where this Mr. Wolff will be living in future. And here we see a note by von Thadden who says that, since the liquidation of the property will take three months, there is no point in shortening the time limit to a month and a half, and he fixes the time limit nevertheless at three months.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1067.

State Attorney Bach: Document No. 363. Here it is again Richter (Killinger signed the letter, but Richter wrote it) who sends Eichmann the final report about this Jew. He summarizes Wolff's biography, saying that he has a Christian mother and a Jewish father and is therefore of mixed parentage in the first degree. He says that Wolff left for the Reich on 14 October and adds that during his stay in Romania he acquired "Balkan habits": He published a letter to his friends in the Bukarester Tageblatt, in which he wishes them au revoir on the occasion of his return to the Reich. Finally it says here:

"In view of the conduct of the half-Jew Dr. Hans Erwin Wolff, I request that, after his return, he be subjected to suitable Security Police measures."
Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1068.

State Attorney Bach: The next document is No. 1231. This is a report by von Thadden about the arrest, in the south of France, of Dr. Filderman's son, and he says that Filderman is the son of the organizer of the Jews of Romania who lives in Bucharest. He says that this son is a close collaborator of his father's, and that the Head Office for Reich Security expects to obtain important information from him during his interrogation. He says that Filderman junior is suspected of espionage, but that there is no proof so far. There are objections to Filderman's return to Romania, although he is on the list of Jews who are entitled to return to Romania from France. Von Thadden has asked to keep his place of detention secret. "Furthermore, I have received Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann's agreement to include us in Filderman's interrogation, which will be held in Berlin. To the extent that it will be possible to discover interesting details about the activities of the Jews in Romania from Filderman, it will have to be considered how far these results may be used as an opportunity to raise the Jewish question in Romania anew, whether by utilizing it for propaganda purposes, or for a diplomatic intervention."

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1069.

State Attorney Bach: Our No. 1232. Kryschak, of the office of the Accused, writes to the German Foreign Ministry about Filderman's son and suggests that his place of detention not be divulged to the Romanian legation, and to tell the legation instead that Filderman is not in a detention camp. He says, by the way, that he is still in Berlin, since it has not been possible to transfer him to Sachsenhausen because he has come down with diphtheria.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1070.

State Attorney Bach: There is a note by von Thadden on the letter saying that he has interrogated Filderman. And there is also attached a request by the government of Romania asking for Filderman's release.

The next document is our No. 150. Here Guenther informs [the German Foreign Ministry] that the International Red Cross again has plans for bringing Jews to Palestine, and that it has three ships at its disposal for this purpose. "This matter is brought to your attention with the request that you urge the Romanian Government again to prevent the emigration of Jews not only in theory" (nicht nur theoretisch zu unterbinden).

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/1071.

State Attorney Bach: And now I should like to ask the Court to accept as evidence the last document about Romania - the declaration given by Dr. Alexander Safran, today the Chief Rabbi in Geneva, who was then the Chief Rabbi of the Union of Jewish Communities in Romania, about his activities during those days.

Presiding Judge: Was he Chief Rabbi at that time?

State Attorney Bach: He was Chief Rabbi of the Union of Jewish Communities in Romania. As we have already heard from Dr. Loewenstein, Dr. Safran worked most actively in order to avert the deportation planned for 10 September 1942. We did not think it necessary to trouble the rabbi [to come here]. He describes in particular the background to those events, his intercession with the Catholic clergy and his contacts with the Romanian royal family. By virtue of section 15, I request that this declaration be accepted in evidence.

Dr. Servatius: I have no formal objection.

Presiding Judge: This is a sworn declaration?

State Attorney Bach: The declaration was made before our consul, but I think that it is not a sworn declaration. It says: "I, the undersigned, declare the following."

Presiding Judge:

Decision No. 46

We accept the declaration by Chief Rabbi Dr. Safran in accordance with our authority under section 15 of the Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law, 5710-1950.

State Attorney Bach: At the outset of his declaration, Dr. Safran says that he is now Chief Rabbi of the Community of Geneva, that he was the Chief Rabbi in Romania, and that in the past he was a senator in the Romanian parliament.

Presiding Judge: Is his name Safran or Shafran?

State Attorney Bach: The spelling we have is Safran, but it is pronounced Shafran. In the beginning he describes the crimes of the years 1941, 1942, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered. We have already heard evidence about this. Then he speaks of Lecca's visit to Berlin where he was invited to go in August 1942. Safran goes on to describe Richter's activities and his influence over Mihai Antonescu. He relates that Richter himself used to deal with the provision of railway carriages and with schedules, especially for the deportation trains for the Jews of southern Transylvania, where the deportation was to begin at the end of 1942. That was when he turned to the head of the church in Transylvania, the Metropolitan, Monsignor Balan, who responded to his personal request and came to his office in Bucharest.

The meeting was very dramatic, he says. "Metropolitan Balan informed me after only a few hours that he had succeeded in obtaining from Marshal Ion Antonescu the annulment of the decision to deport the Jewish population from Transylvania." But, he says, the Germans did not acquiesce in this step, as he learned from King Michael and Queen Mother Helena who always listened attentively to his requests.

Killinger declared in high circles that he did not accept the non-participation of the Romanian authorities in the Final Solution of the Jewish Question. Richter meanwhile made every effort to undo the lenient orders given by the government leaders by means of administrative orders for deportation, which he tried to obtain from General Vasiliu, the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of the Interior who headed the department for deportation of Jews.

In the autumn of 1942 the subject of deportations was raised again, and more urgently. Again Safran approached Marshal Antonescu, but this time without success. This time Antonescu was more favourably inclined towards the demands of the Germans. At this point Safran alerted Monsignor Cassulo, the representative of the Pope and head of the diplomatic corps in Bucharest. "I was the only representative of the Jewish population who was in direct and constant contact with him during the whole period of Nazi oppression in Romania," says Safran. The representative of the Pope did his utmost in order to persuade the two Antonescus - Ion, the marshal, and Mihai - but without success; this time the marshal was not willing to make any concessions. In my conversation with Monsignor Cassulo, after his stormy Session with the Antonescus, I was given to understand that "our fate was sealed," and that the deportations would begin in the autumn.

At that point, Safran says, he asked that a representative of the Pope travel to Rome and bring a special message from there to the Antonescus, which might still impress them, shake them, before it would be too late. "I told the Nuncio that I impose this on him in the name of the respect he owes to the Creator and to his creatures." The Nuncio did, in fact, go to Rome and then he returned to Bucharest. Safran says that the appeal by the Nuncio, which was not publicized, was energetically supported by the representatives of Sweden, Switzerland and the International Red Cross, and this intervention resulted in the saving of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Romania. The Germans suffered a defeat when, at the very last moment, Marshal Antonescu objected to the deportation of the Jews. The Council of Ministers stopped the deportations officially in the middle of October 1942. The representatives of the German Government reacted sharply to the decision of the government of Romania, and Richter excelled in his brutality on this occasion.

And further on he says:

"We had become used to Richter's impudence and cruelty. He is the one who succeeded in imposing on the Romanian civil and military authorities the formula of deportation `with family' of Jews who were to be expelled because of `transgressions' relating to obligatory or forced labour and other `laws' affecting the Jews. He took pleasure in persecuting, arresting, deporting and condemning to death Jewish children, pupils, students and halutzic youth, and this was confirmed to me by Radu Lecca himself, when I went to see him in order to intervene on their behalf. It was he who impeded the rescue operations and the return of the orphans and other surviving deportees from Transnistria. He asked for severe sanctions against the Zionist leaders who were under arrest, and he did so even towards the end of the War, when the Romanian authorities were looking for an `honourable' way out of their vicious policy against the Jews."
Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1072.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honours, with this document I have concluded the Romanian chapter. I should like to ask for a break here. In the afternoon we shall submit documents about Slovakia.

Judge Halevi: What was the end of this Richter?

State Attorney Bach: Richter lives in Germany now. He was in Russia for about ten years, in Russian captivity, I believe. Then he was released and returned to Germany. I understand that now an investigation is under way against him, in order to bring him to trial, even at this stage.

Presiding Judge: The next Session will be at 3.30 p.m.

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