The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Testimony of Hermann Krumey (Part 2 of 2)

I can no longer say from my own recollection how the children left the camp. From the documents shown to me in the proceedings against me I know that somebody fetched them. There are receipts about handing over the children to the Litzmannstadt State Police Regional Headquarters, and on these receipts the registration numbers appear of the vehicles which took the children away. The reason why I do not remember any details is because there was a Camp Inspector Schwarzhuber for overall camp affairs and, apart from that, the Gneisenaustrasse camp had a commandant of its own. Who the commandant was at the time, I do not remember. Normally I only dealt with matters where difficulties arose. Today I can no longer say who gave instructions to my office, and whether such instructions were issued in reply to my telegrams. I consider it possible that the children could have been fetched without my office receiving direct instructions. In such a case, instructions could have gone directly to the State Police Regional Headquarters instead of to my office, so that I would not have known of them.

In reply to questioning: As I have already stated, I was involved with the resettlement of Poles, as I have described. However, I did not deal with any evacuation of Jews and Gypsies. When I was in Litzmannstadt, there was a ghetto there with which I had nothing to do.

I did not hear about the evacuation of the ghetto until it had taken place. I was in Litzmannstadt until March 1944. Transport arrangements for evacuating the ghetto were not made through me.

I have now, in connection with the Lidice children affair, been shown a teletype from RUS (Race and Resettlement Head Office) Berlin No. 313* {* Original: No. 1313} dated 12 June 1942, asking the Litzmannstadt Central Office for Migration to accept eighty-six Czech children not suitable for Germanization, to deal with the question of accommodation and find suitable housing for the eighty-six children, as well as an urgent secret teletype from the Senior Commander of the Security Police and the Security Service in Prague, 346/42, signed Fischer, dated 12 June 1942, to the Litzmannstadt Central Office, indicating what happened in Lidice, including the fate of the children's parents, the children's background, giving the age groups and the time of arrival as 21:30 on 13 June 1942, and asking for the children to be met at the station and then immediately assigned to suitable camps. In this document it says that those who are not suitable for Germanization are to be sent on "via the Polish camps at your end." It goes on to say: "The children are bringing with them only what they have on their bodies. No special care for them is required." Today I no longer have any special recollection of these teletypes I have been shown, but I would like to point out that, contrary to what it says in the remark in this teletype, I had to have special care arranged in the Gneisenaustrasse camp, and I did so.

When the resettlement operation had more or less run its course, one day I received an order from the Inspector of the Security Police in Posen to report for an operation in Mauthausen, together with Schmidtsiefen and two N.C.O.'s from my office. I arrived there on about 17 March 1944. I found Eichmann there; I had met him earlier, as I had visited him at his office on several occasions in conjunction with timetable consultations in Berlin, and he had on several occasions spent the night in Litzmannstadt, and we had met then. Eichmann was the head of the Section with which I had to deal because of transport matters. The responsible expert there, as far as my affairs were concerned, was Novak who was also in Mauthausen when I arrived. Apart from them, I did not find anyone else there whom I knew. Eichmann introduced me to Geschke, or rather referred me to him, and I got to know that Geschke, whom I had also not met previously, led the group assembling here. We also spent the next day in Mauthausen, but I did not learn where we were going nor what our assignment was. The following evening we left. Eichmann was assigned to a different vehicle from myself. We were held up for a long time on the open road, together with the column, and it was only at daybreak that I found out that we had travelled to Hungary. Around midday on 19 March 1944, i.e., on the Sunday on which Hungary was invaded, we arrived in Budapest and were, for the time being, accommodated in a hotel. At first I did not have the impression that we had any fixed organization and division of work. I remember that, right at the beginning, Geschke gave me the assignment of establishing contact with the Hungarian police, in order to guarantee that supply services in Budapest would be maintained. After that Eichmann, who held the same rank as I did, but whom I always considered to be my superior, sent me with Wisliceny to summon the Jewish Council. I also remember subsequently standing with Wisliceny in front of a large group of Jews, with Wisliceny talking about what was going to happen. Today I no longer remember what he said in detail. The general tendency was to reassure. All of this was new to me, and that is why I no longer know the details. I am in danger of saying things which I no longer remember, but of which I only became aware later, during the proceedings against me.

At some point Eichmann definitely told me that I was now a member of his Section. It is also possible that Geschke ordered me there. I was not on good terms with Geschke. In any case, subsequently, when the Hungarians two or three weeks later made rooms available and Eichmann opened an office marked as such, I was with him. He appointed me as his deputy in his office. What I mean by that is that, for example, I had no authority to represent Eichmann at negotiations with Geschke or the Hungarian authorities. Rather, I was responsible for supervising the internal workings of the office, including supervision of the staff. My own field of duties also included dealing with instances where the armed forces had confiscated Jewish installations and synagogues, in order to release the requisite installations, the censorship of Jewish newspapers which, in the main, was dealt with by a female employee in my office, and the issue of permits. I was aware of the fact that the office to which I was attached dealt exclusively with Jewish matters. However, I did not know, for example, what finally happened to deported Jews. I only received definite information about this when Kasztner informed me, at the time of the second or third evacuation transport from the provinces, that these were going to Auschwitz and not to the Reich. He told me that the trains had been seen on the Polish border, and from that the conclusion had to be drawn that they were going to be exterminated. I do not know whether Kasztner said Auschwitz. I no longer remember what I did immediately after that, but I believe I remember enquiring from Eichmann, together with Kasztner, about what I had been told, and as far as I remember, Eichmann simply said, "And if it were so...?"

However, I did then try to give some help to the Jews in Budapest, inter alia by setting up camps in a villa in the town and in two houses at a timberyard, without the knowledge of Eichmann and Geschke, in order to provide refuge. I was later denounced - by the Hungarians, I believe - and was transferred from Hungary by Geschke, not by Eichmann. Eichmann informed me of my transfer and indicated that I was intolerable because of my friendly attitude to the Jews, and he also said that this decision had been taken on Geschke's initiative. Eichmann told me that Geschke had given orders for my transfer. That was at the beginning of June 1944. After that, I was allowed to remain another two days and was then sent to Vienna. There I was to set up an office which was to administer the labour commandos of Hungarian Jews assigned to Austria.

When I was in the Budapest office, I did not see written orders and instructions to Eichmann or to the office about the treatment of Jews. That includes orders or instructions by teletype. Neither did I receive any oral orders from a superior authority for transmission to Eichmann. However, I do know that Eichmann was repeatedly summoned to Geschke, and that this happened very often. I never went with him to Geschke, so I did not hear what instructions and orders he received there. Eichmann also went to see Winkelmann and Veesenmayer on a number of occasions. I do not know whether he was summoned to see them. It is my opinion that, as a Higher SS and Police Leader, Winkelmann could have issued orders to Eichmann. I know that once Eichmann was summoned to see Kaltenbrunner in Berlin, but I do not know in what connection. During the period in question Eichmann went to Berlin several times. I do not know to whom or for what purpose.

Anyhow, Eichmann was always absent only for a few days. As far as I remember, no one deputized for him vis-a-vis outside bodies at this time, nor can I remember any instance where activities by such a deputy would have been necessary.

In reply to questioning: I know nothing about a promise having been made to Jews that any office or authority would pay compensation for confiscations or for the use of Jewish labour.

I could ascertain that the deportations of Jews were carried out by the Hungarians. On each occasion only one Leader was present from our office. I myself was never present at a deportation. I did not assign the Leaders for this duty. Eichmann must have done this. I do not know anything precise about this. By deportation I mean both concentration and also dispatch. Novak was our office's liaison with the railways and was responsible for transport matters. It is my opinion that he must also have arranged and organized deportation transports with the railways. I am referring here to railway trains. The reason for this assumption is that Novak also did this previously in Berlin, i.e., served as liaison between the office he was with and the railways. On the Hungarian side, as far as I know, the persons dealing with the implementation of the deportations were Peter Hain and Endre, as well as Ferenczy. Within the office, I myself had nothing to do with deportations. I do not know to what extent anything like this passed via Eichmann himself. He had his own typist, and I was not acquainted with what he did himself. I did observe that his typist did not have a great deal to do. Eichmann spent little time in the office itself. He came and went when he wished. In Budapest he had a very full private life which took up a lot of his time.

I also do not know anything about Eichmann having intervened, or having been able to intervene, in deportations, positively or negatively, on his own initiative. During the time that I belonged to the office in Hungary, I did not notice Eichmann acting on his own initiative in the sphere of Jewish affairs, either exceeding or acting counter to any instructions, of which, moreover, I had no knowledge. My impression of Eichmann was always that he was not the type to do something on his own responsibility. The reason why I had this impression was that previously, when I was active in the Warthe District, whenever I asked him something, he would not immediately take a decision himself, but would ask for my query in writing and would send me the reply later. Today I no longer remember whether I had this impression only from the matter of the Lidice children, or whether there were various other incidents of the same type in which Eichmann evaded giving an immediate decision. What I do remember is that I had always to submit a request for a transport train to him in writing, and the same was true of changes. I considered that this demonstrated exaggerated caution on the part of Eichmann.

The office to which I belonged in Budapest, and which was under Eichmann's control, had some fifteen to twenty-five persons, including the drivers and clerical staff.

In reply to questioning: I remember an incident when Wisliceny asked me to accompany him, in order to fetch money. We then went together to some living room or other. I forget where this room was. It is possible that Kasztner and perhaps Brand, too, were also present. As far as I remember, it was anyhow Wisliceny and not Hunsche who was with me. It is not impossible that I fetched money somewhere another time with Hunsche. When I went with Wisliceny to fetch the money, a leather suitcase was handed over; its contents were not counted in my presence. I do not know who handed over the suitcase. It might have been handed over by Brand or Kasztner. We then delivered the suitcase to our office administrator. I do not know what happened to it subsequently. I did think until now that it or its contents were forwarded to the commander (to Geschke). When the delivery took place, it was clear to me that this must have been preceded by negotiations of some kind. However, I did not know what had been negotiated.

I have been shown the passage from Kasztner's Report, pages 26 and 27, in the Israel Prosecution document No. 900, where Kasztner describes two instances of money being handed over in my presence. I wish to state in this connection that the words I am described as having said were certainly not spoken by me. I did not make any promises of this nature.

In reply to questioning: It is correct that I accompanied Brand and Bandi Gross to Vienna for their flight to Turkey. However, it is not correct that I am supposed to have told Brand before the flight left that he should make it known abroad that there were still decent SS Leaders, such as myself and Wisliceny. I never said anything of the sort.

In reply to questioning: I do not know any details about Becher's business with Brand. I was never brought into this transaction. Eichmann sent me to Vienna with Brand for his flight. I had to fetch Gross from somewhere else, on the orders of a Hauptsturmfuehrer from the office of Commander Geschke.

After being shown page 31 of the Kasztner Report on the postcards from "Waldsee," I wish to state that I know nothing of anything like this.

In reply to questions: The name of my Section was, as far as I remember, "Special Operations Commando." I forget whether it had Eichmann's name added or not.

I do remember negotiations between Kasztner and Becher. I know that I twice accompanied the two of them to the Swiss border. Once they both concluded negotiations with Saly Mayer in the middle of the bridge. I forget exactly what was negotiated. It had something to do with the trucks business, in return for the emigration of Jews. The second time Becher crossed the border to Switzerland with Kasztner. I remained behind and therefore do not know what was negotiated.

When I had already been transferred to Vienna, around October-November 1944 - in any case, it was already cold and we were wearing coats - I had to go to Budapest because I wanted to fetch foodstuffs there, in order to improve the supplies for our Section. On the way to Budapest, not very far from the Hungarian border, I saw groups of Jews, on foot, accompanied by Honveds or gendarmerie. The column of Jews was stretched out, guards were few and far between, and the people looked exhausted. Some of them were sitting and lying around on the road. I did not see people who had been shot, nor any other corpses. The people were wearing clothes, but I forget what kind of clothing. That day the weather was bright. I no longer remember whether there were also women there. They were adults. In Budapest I went to see Eichmann about the matter; I told him about this transport and its state and remonstrated with him that this was inadmissible. I believed that he could have intervened in the matter. The only thing Eichmann said when I remonstrated with him was: "You have not seen anything"; whereupon I went to Winkelmann and informed him of my observations, but my impression was that he had already been informed of the circumstances I had observed.

In reply to questioning: When I was in Vienna, transports arrived from Hungary of entire Jewish families. These were not transports on foot but rail transports. The people were definitely in a bad state. The carriages were overcrowded. It is possible that I complained somewhere about this state of affairs, but I do not remember if I did so to Eichmann or someone else.

I did not hear anti-Jewish comments from Eichmann, nor did I observe Eichmann in my presence maltreating or manhandling a Jew.

Around the end of April or in May 1944, i.e., the beginning of May 1944, I lived with Eichmann in a large yellow house on the Schwabenberg. It was a large villa, which I thought was lived in only in the summer. At the back of the house there was a large flight of stairs, underneath which there may have been some sort of storage room. In front of the house was a sandy forecourt; the garden at the back of the house dropped away steeply. I do not remember there being a garage, hut or shed at the back. I also do not remember air- raid trenches already there or being dug. The latter I would have seen, because very often I came back by the early afternoon, as we were not very busy in the office. It may be that there was a tennis court next to the villa, below the garden, alongside the next parallel road. We only lived there some three or four weeks. After that, Eichmann moved to a villa further down the hill, which I only visited once or twice in the evening and cannot describe in more detail. I did go there once to a dance party, where Endre was also present.

When I lived together with Eichmann in the yellow house, there was a man called Slawik with him. However, he did not work in the Section, he acted as caretaker for our billet. I do not know whether he stayed with Eichmann in his later villa. Both villas were situated in an estate of villas where the houses were detached, each in its own garden. There were fruit trees planted at the yellow house. I do not know whether the second house also had fruit trees. At the time Eichmann was driving an amphibious vehicle.

Read out, approved and signed
(-) Hermann Krumey

In accordance with Paragraph 60 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witness was not sworn, as being suspect of complicity.

(-) Rieber, Judge of First Instance
(-) Schweidler, Court Official

I hereby certify that the above photocopy corresponds to the original.

Frankfurt (Main), 9 June 1961, Court of First Instance, Dept. 932

Seal of the Court of First Instance, Frankfurt (Main)
(-) Rieber, Judge of First Instance

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