The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 64
(Part 3 of 7)

Q. You recall a particular roll-call in the autumn of 1942. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. You were then expecting a certain commission to arrive?

A. Yes.

Q. What was this commission?

A. There was to be an inspection. At first, there was a rumour as if the Red Cross would pay a visit of inspection. We were kept at this parade from six o'clock until the following morning. Naturally, blows were administered, and there were again shouts of Muetze ab! Muetze auf! It was to be done in rhythm. The following morning a delegation appeared. We were astonished to see SS men. In the centre, I saw Eichmann.

Q. You saw Eichmann in the centre of the delegation?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you see him here, facing you?

A. Yes.

Q. Is he the man you saw?

A. Although he has changed, his features have not changed. I remember him well. From the time there was talk of searches being conducted for him, I know he was the man.

Q. What did he do in the camp?

A. He made a cursory examination, one could say. Since I was standing at one end - I was the shortest - I heard him saying the words "der ganze Haufen ist wegzunehmen" (get rid of the whole pile) - something like that. It is well engraved in my memory.

Judge Halevi: And who said that?

Witness Friedman: That was said by Eichmann. For we were not taken into consideration there. No one called us "Leute" (people) - this term did not exist. That was the meaning, for all SS men, of the word Haufen (pile).

Q. What about the SS and Haufen?

A. This word was used by every German.

Q. And what did it indicate?

A. A sort of pile of refuse - something like that.

Q. And it was applied to the prisoners?

A. Yes.

Attorney General: When were you released from Majdanek?

Witness Friedman: I was freed in 1944, at the beginning of 1944.

Q. As a Christian?

A. As a Christian.

Q. You were called to the camp command - what did they say to you then?

A. They summoned me. At first I thought my end had come. For this was the way, generally speaking, they used to remove people to be hanged, by an announcement over the loudspeaker at the evening roll-call. My number was called out, and I was told to report in front of the office. We stood there for some hours. I had a look at the men who were already there. They were boys, mainly, Polish boys - there was not a Jew amongst them. And then we were taken to a building, which was known in Majdanek as the "Red House." That was the seat of the administration. An SS man came out, speaking Polish; he told us that we were being released, but, first of all, we had to sign that we would not talk about what we had seen there.

Presiding Judge: On what date was that?

Witness Friedman: This was in the spring of 1944.

Attorney General: Was there any instance where a Jew, who was known to be a Jew, was also released from Majdanek?

Witness Friedman: No.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions?

Dr. Servatius: Yes. Witness, when did you first come to the conclusion that you had seen Eichmann in the camp?

Witness Friedman: As I pointed out, that was in 1942 - at the end of the year. It was in this well-known roll-call, so firmly engraved in my memory, when we stood all night.

Presiding Judge: Apparently, you did not understand the question: When did it become clear to you that this particular SS officer was Eichmann? Did it become plain to you immediately, at that time, or at a later stage? That was the question.

Witness Friedman: It was immediately after we were dismissed and went into the huts. It was the talk of that day - that this was Eichmann.

Q. Who said it was Eichmann?

A. I was with a group of Jews from Slovakia. I had a friend who slept next to me. He knew them. He also indicated a further number of names of all the officers he had seen, and amongst them was Eichmann. He was also in the centre. With regard to the remaining officers, it was easy to distinguish that they were less important.

Dr. Servatius: If that is so, I understand from your remarks that Eichmann walked at the head of that group of officers?

Witness Friedman: Yes. He was surrounded by all these officers. There were about ten of them; he was in the middle, and he walked in front.

Q. What uniform was he wearing?

A. To the extent that my memory does not fail me, it was a black uniform - for all the SS men there wore black.

Presiding Judge: That is not enough. The question was: Do you remember his uniform? And not because all SS men wore black, and hence he also wore black. Do you remember the colour?

Witness Friedman: I don't remember the colour of the uniform so well - but I remember the face.

Dr. Servatius: You said just now that it was a black uniform. That was, apparently, your first impression which you also expressed at the beginning?

Witness Friedman: In general, I did not take notice of uniforms. Generally speaking, it was the faces there that conveyed much, for in the case of each SS man we knew in advance whether he was bad or good.

Presiding Judge: Let us stay with this question of the colour of the uniform. I understood your evidence to be - you must tell me whether I am right or not, and you can tell me that you don't remember it in this way - that you knew that all SS officers wore black and, therefore, for this reason, you concluded that the man who, as you say, was Eichmann, also wore black?

Witness Friedman: Yes.

Dr. Servatius: I have no more questions to the witness.

Judge Halevi: What was the commission doing there?

It reviewed the roll-call.

Q. A roll-call of the entire camp?

A. Yes.

Q. How many prisoners reported there?

A. It is difficult for me to state the number. Inside our camp, there were about thirty huts, and each hut contained about three hundred men, and there were many missing.

Q. The commission reviewed the roll-call?

A. Yes. They also examined the huts inside. We thought this was on account of the cleanliness, for, actually, a state of cleanliness prevailed, relatively speaking.

Q. What was the name of the camp commandant? Did you know him?

A. There were many. I knew the Lageraelteste, the one with whom I came into daily contact at the roll-call.

Q. Was he an SS man or a prisoner?

A. He was a prisoner.

Q. I am talking of the group of roughly ten officers. You said that there were roughly ten in the group of officers. Was the Lageraelteste one of them?

A. The Lageraelteste merely had to present the report when they arrived.

Q. Did he stand in front of the roll-call?

A. Yes.

Q. It was to these officers that he presented the report?

A. Yes.

Q. Whom did you know amongst these officers - did you know any one of them?

A. Yes.

Q. Amongst them, was there an officer who was in charge of the camp - not the Lageraelteste - who was the camp commandant?

A. He was also one of them.

Q. You knew him, I presume?

A. Definitely.

Q. And the deputy commandant was there?

A. Yes.

Q. You knew them?

A. Yes.

Q. Were there also officers, SS men, whom you did not know?

A. There were some whom I did not know.

Q. How did you know that the man you call Eichmann was the senior or the head of them all? How did you know that?

A. It was very easy to distinguish.

Q. How?

A. He walked in front - the remaining officers walked behind him. He asked questions. I did not hear the questions, but all this happened while they were walking.

Q. Was that for a short time?

A. A short time. The whole thing took ten minutes, perhaps less.

Q. You said that, at that moment, you did not know his name?

A. I did not know his name.

Q. And when you reached the hut, you spoke about it?

A. Yes.

Q. You said it was the talk of the day?

A. Yes.

Q. What was important about it?

A. They said that he was a high-ranking officer, one of the planners.

Q. Is this what your comrades said to you?

A. Yes.

Q. And then they told you his name?

A. Then I was told his name.

Q. Did you, before this visit to the officers, hear the name? Did you ever previously hear the name of Eichmann?

A. No.

Q. This was the first time that you heard it?

A. Yes. It was the first time.

Presiding Judge: What other names of officers were mentioned in this conversation amongst the prisoners? Do you remember?

Witness Friedman: No.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Friedman, you have concluded your testimony.

Attorney General: I submit the report of the Polish Government on Majdanek. This is our document No. 1427. It is contained in the official Polish Bulletin No. 4. I am submitting it with a Hebrew translation, in three copies.

Presiding Judge: You have already submitted such a report.

Attorney General: There was such a report from the earlier volumes. It is only in order not to burden the library of exhibits that I am not submitting the Bulletin. I have it with me. The Court can easily see from a comparison that this is a photocopy of the chapter on Majdanek, from page 63 onwards.

Presiding Judge: This will be exhibit T/1289.

Is this a full translation?

Attorney General: A full translation.

Presiding Judge: I notice that there are deletions here. I can also see, according to the number of pages, that the Polish original is longer. There are rows of dots here.

Attorney General: I shall check that, Your Honour.

Presiding Judge: Do you have a Hebrew translation available?

Attorney General: No, it has been left in the office. We have one more copy. But, of course, we gave instructions to translate everything.

Presiding Judge: On page 82, you can see that there are two rows of dots, and there are others.

Attorney General: Within the booklet itself, there are diagrams and photographs. These have not been translated. Perhaps, to be on the safe side, so that the Court may have a document for comparison, I shall submit the book as well, which will make it clear if something has not been translated. I shall check whether anything is missing. Our instruction was to translate everything.

Presiding Judge: The bulletin itself will be T/1290.

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