Accessed 18 October 1999
Judgment in the Trial of Adolf Eichmann
142. The question as to whether
the Accused also participated in what was happening inside the camps
becomes complicated because of his statements that from time to time he
used to visit Globocnik and also saw the Treblinka camp under
construction in the autumn of 1941 (apparently in the presence of Wirth
himself), and again later when it was functioning.
He describes the purpose of his visits to the East as being
purely to collect information for Heydrich and Mueller, who were
interested in Globocnik's activities.
We find it difficult to believe that they would send the Accused
on such a journey merely for such a purpose, but in the absence of
further proof, we are unable to draw further conclusions from this fact
But this is not all, because he
admits that on two occasions he brought Globocnik letters, each
containing authority to kill 250,000 Jews in his camps.
Further, he says in the Statement T/37, pp. 170-171, that it was
he who brought Globocnik the news that the Fuehrer had decided upon the
physical destruction of the Jews. In
his testimony, he retracts somewhat and says that Globocnik already knew
of the Fuehrer's decision (Session 96, Vol. Iv, pp. xxxx25Þ26).
However, the question of the letters still remains.
The Accused contends that these were retrospective
authorizations, each time referring to the killing of Jews who had
already been killed, and that these authorizations were given to
Globocnik at the latter's request.
But the language of the letters does not suggest the granting of
ex post facto approval. On
this subject the Accused says (T/37, p. 240) that Heydrich dictated to
him the text of the letter to Globocnik in the following terms:
"I authorize you to bring another 150,000 Jews to the Final Solution."
(Later on he says that he
thinks the number was 250,000.)
The Accused does not remember
whether the letter was written by Heydrich on the letterhead of the
Reichsfuehrer-SS and Head of the German Police, or on Heydrich's own
letterhead, as head of the Security Police and the SD.
But in the same place (p. 240), he confirms that the letter was
written by Heydrich, as the person so authorized on the basis of the
Wannsee Conference, i.e., not in the name of Himmler, but by virtue of
his own authority. Therefore, two serious questions arise:
The Accused has no convincing
reply to this question. When
the Attorney General asked him if it was not correct that the Final
Solution of the Jewish Question in the Generalgouvernement was carried
out by the RSHA, he replied:
that is not correct, Globocnik was not on the staff of the Head Office
for Reich Security. On this
matter an agreement was reached between the Security Police and the SD
and Krueger, and they both received their orders from Himmler.
This is how I remember the matter the whole time, I never heard
any other description."
But when a specific question was
put to him,
this is so, why is it that, some months after the Wannsee Conference, on
two or three occasions Globocnik asked Heydrich for retroactive orders
to cover the killing of 150,000 or a quarter of a million Jews?"
The Accused had no other answer
was not then familiar with these matters regarding complicated orders
from above. I do not know
and cannot furnish information about this.
The fact is that the SS and police commanders in the
Generalgouvernement who carried out these actions were not subordinate
to the Security Police but to the Senior Commander of the SS and Police
in Cracow." (Session
99, Vol. IV, pp. xxxx23-24)
We therefore come back to our
problem: If this is so, why did the authorization come from Heydrich,
the head of the Security Police and the SD?
In spite of these serious
doubts, we do not see a firm basis for finding facts in this matter
against the Accused's version because it is only from him that we know
about these letters of Heydrich's.
But one conclusion may be drawn even according to his version:
The handing over of these letters to Globocnik, even if they had only
retroactive validity, on each occasion strengthened afresh Globocnik's
readiness to continue to kill Jews en masse.
These letters were important to him; otherwise, he would not have
asked for them. Insofar as
the Accused took part in the preparation of these letters and their
transmission to Globocnik, he, too, was active in regard to the
continuation of the slaughter in the camps in the East.
143.The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp
was administered by Group D of the Economic-Administrative Head Office,
directed by Gluecks, to whom Hoess, the first commander of the camp, who
carried out most of the extermination activities there, was subordinate.
The Accused argues that he had no
influence on what was done inside the Auschwitz camp.
He would dispatch transports of Jews to Auschwitz in accordance
with the orders received, after information had come from the
above-mentioned Group D, that the camps were able to receive additional
Jews. At the same time, he
admits that he visited Auschwitz about five times, and that, at the time
of the deportations from Hungary, he checked directly with Hoess the
reception possibilities of the camp (Session 93, Vol. IV, p. xxxx25).
He also admits that on one of his visits to Auschwitz he
witnessed with his own eyes the mass burning of bodies on an iron
grating within a pit 100 or even 180 metres long (T/37, p. 227).
The statement made by Hoess
himself gives a different picture of the Accused's activities in regard
to the Auschwitz camp (see his evidence before the International
Tribunal at Nuremberg - T/1357; his evidence at his own trial in Poland
- T/1356; and his memoirs - T/90).
He states that, in the summer of 1941, Himmler informed him that
Auschwitz was destined to be the main centre for extermination of the
Jews, and that the Accused would visit him shortly in order to give him
additional information about this. The Accused arrived to see Hoess shortly afterwards, and
together they chose Birkenau as the extermination place and also
conferred together about the extermination methods.
(At this point, Hoess describes the introduction of Zyklon B gas
at Auschwitz. We shall
devote our attention to this matter later in a separate chapter of this
Judgment.) From Hoess'
description, it appears that the Accused gave instructions on various
matters connected with what was happening within the camp.
For example, he says that the Accused brought him Himmler's order
to extract gold teeth from the corpses and to cut off the women's hair.
Hoess also relates that it was the view of the Accused that all
the Jews arriving in the camp should be exterminated immediately and not
used for labour - lest a mishap occur, such as a mass escape.
The Accused strenuously denies
all these things. According
to his version, the process of extermination was already a fait accompli
at the time that he first visited Hoess at Auschwitz.
To this end he attempts to put the date of his first visit at a
later date, to the spring of 1942 (see the timetable attached to the
arguments in the written summing-up of Counsel for the Defence).
But this attempt is contradicted by what he said in his Statement
before Superintendent Less (p. 378), namely that his first visit to
Auschwitz took place four weeks after Heydrich had informed him of
Hitler's decision to exterminate the Jews physically, i.e. (according to
his account), in the autumn of 1941 at the latest.
And at that time the extermination of Jews in Auschwitz had not
yet begun. It is reasonable to assume that during this visit, the
Accused told Hoess of what he had seen in the East and that they
exchanged ideas on efficient methods of mass extermination.
But we do not propose to find facts based on the evidence of
Hoess without corroborative evidence.
The Attorney General expressed the opinion that the need for
corroboration of the evidence of an accomplice was not dispensed with by
the provisions of Section 15 of the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators
(Punishment) Law. We see no
need to decide on this question of principle.
We shall only say that, if Section 15 permits us to relax the
rule in this matter, we shall not make use of our power in respect of
the evidence of an accomplice who is no longer alive, because such
relaxation does not appear to us to be necessary in the interests of justice.
144. We have not found any
corroboration of Hoess' statement that the Accused brought him the order
for the extraction of gold teeth and the cutting off of women's hair,
and of his statement about the view expressed by the Accused. But in our
opinion there is sufficient proof in Hoess' statements, as supported by
other evidence, of the following facts: The Jews who reached the camp
were divided into "Transport Jews" (Transportjuden) and
others, such as Jews in protective custody.
All the Jews dispatched to Auschwitz by Section IVB4 of the RSHA
- the Accused's Section - were "Transport Jews" (T/90, p. 12).
Every such transport reached the camp in accordance with
information from the Accused's Section and was marked with a fixed code
number, viz. IVB4 with some figures added, according to the country from
which the Jews came (see the evidence of Rajewski, T/1356, p. 19 of the
Hebrew translation). No registration at all was made of these Jews in the camp
(evidence of Raya Kagan, Session 70, Vol. III, p. 1276), but immediately
upon arrival there, they passed through the selection conducted by SS
doctors, and those who were unfit for work were dispatched on the spot
to the gas chambers. The
execution of those who were found fit for work, and who did not die from
the hard labour and the conditions which prevailed in the camp, was
postponed at the discretion of the camp administration, until they, too,
fell victims to one of the selections carried out periodically amongst
the prisoners. From 1943 onwards, the registration of deaths of Jews who
were not sent immediately to the gas chambers was also discontinued
(Session 70, p. 1269).
As stated above, the Auschwitz
camp belonged organizationally to the Economic-Administrative Head
Office, which also controlled the forced labour of the camp prisoners.
145. It follows, therefore, that
every trainload of "Transport Jews" reached the Auschwitz camp
with its passengers condemned to death by a general decree given in
respect of the transport as a whole by the Accused's Section.
The moment the Jews passed through the camp gates, they came
within the power of the camp administration, which had to carry out the
death sentence. At the same
time, it had authority to postpone the execution of those who were fit
for work. As time went on,
the need grew for exploiting prisoners for the production of arms and
other work. This we see,
for example, from a cable to Himmler signed by Mueller and marked IVB4a,
dated 16 December 1942, in which Mueller refers to Himmler's order for
the increase of the labour force in the concentration camps and reports
the dispatch of 45,000 Jews to Auschwitz, including persons unfit for
work, elderly people and children.
He calculates that "if a suitable criterion is used, the
selection of the Jews on their arrival will produce at least 10,000 to
15,000 labourers out of the total of 45,000 (T/292).
This is in accordance with the statement made by Hoess that the
percentage of persons fit for work was approximately twentyÞfive per
It has also been proved that it
was within the Accused's competence to give instructions in advance that
a specific transport should not be taken off for immediate
extermination, but only after some time had elapsed, as laid down by
him. This is what happened
to a transport from Terezin which was deported to the Families' Camp in
Auschwitz, with instructions that the people in this transport were to
be executed six months later (see below, the chapter on Terezin).
146. Amongst the Jews who
reached Auschwitz camp as detainees and not as "Transport
Jews" were such as had, allegedly, committed criminal offences,
such as the making of a telephone call or contravening the curfew.
We heard from the witness Raya Kagan, who worked in the
registration office at Auschwitz, that this group received better
treatment, because they were exempted from the selections (Session 70,
Vol. III, p. 1272). Jews in
"protective custody" (Schutzhaftjuden) reached the camp by
virtue of individual orders issued by Section IVC2 of the RSHA, which
dealt with protective custody matters (see T/1280, p. 3).
In his Statement T/37, p. 163, the Accused explains that the
substantive examination of these individual cases was made by his
Section, and Section IVC2 only issued the formal order.
From exhibit T/103 it appears
that matters of release from concentration camps were also within the
competence of the RSHA (supra, p. 9, para. 11(f)).
But as Raya Kagan testified, as far as the Jews were concerned,
this was only theoretical, because a Jew, once he entered Auschwitz,
never came out again (Session 70, Vol. III, p. xx21; see also the
Accused's account in his Statement T/37, pp. 223-224).
The Accused was not authorized
to give orders himself for the carrying out of the death sentence by way
of punishment of Jews in Auschwitz and in other concentration camps.
Apparently, this authority was reserved to Himmler himself, and
to Mueller (see T/202, p. 1, end).
But notification of the carrying out of the execution of Jews was
transmitted to the Section of the Accused (T/37, p. 2101).
147. With regard to the Chelmno
extermination camp, proof has been adduced before us that it was
administered by a special unit commanded by one Bothmann (see T/1297, p.
12, of the Hebrew translation; T/1299).
We do not have before us proof of any administrative connection
between this unit and the Accused's Section.
Covering up of the Traces
148. In the autumn of 1942,
Himmler ordered the opening of the mass graves of Jews previously
executed in the East, the burning of the bodies, and the elimination of
all traces of slaughter which had taken place in every locality.
Apparently, Himmler was afraid that the advancing Red Army might
discover the graves, and he thought that the disposal of the bodies
would be sufficient to efface the eternal shame.
The task was allotted to a special unit known as No. 1005,
commanded by Standartenfuehrer Paul Blobel.
The testimonies we heard on this
subject, especially from two witnesses, Dr. Leon Wells (Weliczker) and
Avraham Karasik, conjured up visions of hell which were amongst the most
horrifying parts of all the evidence submitted by the Prosecution.
In June 1943, Dr. Wells was taken off to work in this unit in
eastern Galicia. He
describes the work as follows (Session 23, Vol. I, p. 370):
He described the grinding
machine as something like a big concrete mixer, with steel balls inside.
They would put the bones into the machine and the steel balls
would crush them (supra, p. 371). We have already recalled above a similar description by the
witness Zurawski (Chelmno camp).
This unit was occupied not only
with dead bodies, but also with living human beings who were taken to
the pyre, shot there, and cast into the flames.
Dr. Wells describes that, at the time of mass murder by machine
guns, not all the victims were invariably killed by the bullets, and so
it happened that people still alive met death in the flames.
He estimates the number of those killed in this way, and whose
death he witnessed himself, at 30,000, the last remnant of the Jews in
that territory. This was
during the last stage of the extermination of East Galician Jewry, by
order of Katzmann, Commander of the SS and the Police.
Dr. Wells estimates the number of bodies burned by this unit at
several hundred thousand (supra, p. 51).
The witness Karasik gave similar evidence about the work of Unit 1005 in another region, in the vicinity of Bialystok and Eastern Prussia (Session 28, p. 12).
Hoess states in his memoirs
(exhibit T/90, p. 6) that, some time after Himmler's visit in the summer
of 1942, Standartenfuehrer Blobel "of the Eichmann Service
Unit" arrived and brought with him Himmler's order for the opening
of all the mass graves in Auschwitz and the burning of the bodies.
He also states that Blobel received instructions from Eichmann to
show him the crematorium which had been set up in the Chelmno
extermination camp. T/218
is the report on Hoess' journey to Chelmno, accompanied by another two
SS officers. In that report
as well, mention is made of a grinding machine which was to be sent to
Auschwitz. Hoess states also that from time to time he had to supply
Jews for work with Unit 1005, because when the work was finished in each
section, all the Jews who had been employed in the unit were shot.
Wisliceny says of Blobel's unit
that it "was formally placed under Eichmann" (T/85, p. 9).
The Accused denied that he was
Blobel's superior. According
to him, the only connection between his Section and Blobel was that
Blobel himself and some of his men were housed in the building of
Section IVB4 while they were in Berlin, and his Section dealt with them
only from an administrative aspect (T/37, pp. 264, 390, 3044).
He also mentions strained personal relations between himself and
We find that the evidence is not
sufficient to place the responsibility for the activities of Blobel's
unit on the Accused. As
against Hoess' statement, it should be pointed out that Blobel himself,
in the declaration which he made at Nuremberg (T/216), says in regard to
his work as commander of Unit 1005:
was under the control of Department IV, under the former Gruppenfuehrer
Mueller. In the autumn I
received instructions, as the person charged by Mueller, to travel to
the Eastern Occupied Territories, to cover up the traces of the mass
graves from the time that executions had been carried out by the
The Accused's name is not
mentioned by Blobel, and also in the nature of things it does not
necessarily follow that the Section of the Accused, which was occupied
with carrying out the Final Solution, should also be engaged in the
special operation of covering up the traces.
Accordingly, the Accused will have the benefit of the doubt in
149. We have heard much
testimony about the dreadful suffering which befell the Jews in the
final days of the Third Reich, when the concentration camps in the East
were evacuated. The
exhausted and starving prisoners were marched westwards for many days,
in the cold and snow, by SS guards.
In those days, on the eve of liberation, tens of thousands of the
survivors of the camps fell on the roads and in the fields, all along
the way, from the camps in the north (evidence of Dr. Dworzecki,
Karstadt, Ben-Zvi, Mrs. Neumann) to Auschwitz, which was evacuated in
the middle of January 1945, when its last prisoners were led to other
camps inside Germany (evidence of Professor Wellers, Sapir, Gutman,
Bakon, Dr. Beilin and Mrs. Kagan).
It is not clear to us that the
Accused was personally concerned with the evacuation of the camps and
with what happened in them during this last stage, except for Bergen-Belsen.
The report of the International Red Cross representative of April
1945 (T/865) makes it clear that the control of Jewish prisoners in this
camp, and also in the Terezin Ghetto, remained with the Accused until
the end. Accordingly, he
bears at least part of the responsibility for what happened in Bergen-Belsen
towards the end of the Nazi regime, and for the conditions in which the
camp prisoners were found by their liberators.
150. We must devote special
consideration to two camps, both because of their special character and
also because of the close connection which the Accused had with the
administration of these camps: Terezin (Theresienstadt) and Bergen-Belsen.
The Terezin Ghetto
Terezin was originally set
up as a ghetto for the concentration of the Jews of the Protectorate,
following upon the conference held in Prague on 10 October 1941 and
presided over by Heydrich (T/294).
This we have already mentioned above in connection with the first
deportations from the Reich after Hitler had given his order for the
extermination of the Jews. In
his Statement T/37, at p. 117, the Accused stated that it was he who
suggested to Heydrich the idea of concentrating the Jews of the
Protectorate in this manner, thus rescuing Heydrich from an awkward
situation after the latter had publicly announced that the Protectorate
would be purged of Jews within eight weeks.
Within a short time, additional functions were allocated to the
Terezin Ghetto. At the Wannsee Conference, Heydrich speaks of Terezin as a
"ghetto for the aged" to which Jews above the age of sixtyÞfive
are to be sent, as well as war invalids and holders of distinguished
service medals, together with their spouses and children up to the age
of fourteen. Jews of these
categories were indeed sent to Terezin, as well as other privileged
groups, such as descendants of mixed marriages - as is apparent from the
documents of the Duesseldorf Gestapo, dated July 1942 (T/1397).
When Kaltenbrunner, in a letter
dated February 1943,
- reference IVB4 - seeks permission from Himmler to evacuate Jews
over the age of sixty from Terezin to Auschwitz, he received the
following surprising reply:
Reichsfuehrer is not interested in the dispatch of Jews from Terezin,
because this would interfere with the aim that the aged Jews in Terezin
Ghetto should be able to live and die in peace."
We do not know what lay behind
Himmler's reply. He
certainly cannot be suspected of any human feelings towards Jews, of
whatever age. In fact, sick and old people were deported from Terezin to
Auschwitz at an earlier date (see, for example, T/848), and also later
(evidence of Mrs. Henschel, Session 37, Vol. II, p. 674; evidence of Mr.
Ansbacher, Session 38, Vol. II, pp. 683-684).
Mr. Ansbacher describes the deportation of old people from
Terezin to Auschwitz as follows:
"Generally, people arrived
there already at the end of their strength.
There were those who were already dying, and the SS nevertheless
shouted that the number had to be complete and that they should be put
inside the freight cars." (Session
38, Vol. II, p. 690.)
151. The truth is that the
Terezin Ghetto was established for large-scale propaganda purposes and
for camouflage, so that it could be shown to foreign visitors to
convince them that rumours about the extermination of Jews and the way
they were maltreated in the camps were nothing but "atrocity
propaganda." In the
language of the Accused (T/37, p. 245), this was "only Himmler's
exterior signboard (Aushaengeschild) for people abroad, and nothing
else," and on the same page he called Himmler's idea of
transforming Terezin into a ghetto for the aged "a devilish
We find full confirmation of
this in the documents. Exhibit
T/734 is a report of a consultation on 6 March 1942 in Section IVB4 of
the RSHA, presided over by the Accused, when he himself explained that
the transports to Terezin were made in order to "keep up
appearances for the outside world."
In exhibit T/537 (memorandum by Zoepf on a conversation he had
with the Accused), Terezin is described simply as the "propaganda
The witness Ansbacher told us of
the severe hunger, the frightful overcrowding, the diseases and general
atmosphere of desolation which prevailed in Terezin, and the pictures of
life in the ghetto (T/651-T/663) show all this to the full.
In a single month (October 1942), more than three thousand
persons died there (declaration by Seidl, the first commander of Terezin,
T/842, second record of proceedings, p. 5).
But, when foreign
representatives visited the camp, such as the representatives of the Red
Cross, the appearance of the ghetto changed beyond recognition.
In his evidence, Mr. Ansbacher states (supra, p. 692):
were certain areas where there was a total curfew ... Only people who
had a more or less human appearance were allowed to show themselves...
They painted the houses on the outside, they prepared large signs which
read: `Central School'...`Ghetto Theatre'... They prepared a special
play hall...they constructed beautiful toys...they brought the children
there in little beds with a heart carved on them, really like some
In 1942, the Terezin Ghetto
population reached close to 60,000 souls (declaration of Seidl, supra,
p. 4). From time to time
the population would be "thinned out" by deportations, to make
possible the reception of new Jews in the ghetto, so that Terezin in
fact became an assembly point for deportation to Auschwitz, as Seidl
says on page 8. He mentions February 1942 as the date of the first
deportation from Terezin to Auschwitz (supra, third record of
proceedings, p. 18), and estimates the number of persons thus deported
during the period of his service there (December 1941 to July 1943) at
50,000. In the autumn of
1944, again more than 20,000 persons were deported from Terezin to
Auschwitz (testimony of Viteslav Diamant, Session 45, Vol. II, p. 808).
When the witness Mrs. Salzberger reached Terezin at the end of
January 1945, she found only 6,000 people there.
On the eve of the collapse of the Reich, the number again
increased, because thousands of prisoners from other camps were
When they reached Auschwitz,
some of the deportees from Terezin were housed in a special
"Families' Camp" (evidence of Yehuda Bakon, Session 68, Vol.
III, p. 12442; evidence of Hoess in Poland, T/1356, p. 52 on the
eleventh day of the trial). The
Accused ordered "Special Treatment after six months" for them,
and during their stay in Auschwitz, they had to write letters to Terezin
according to a prescribed text, to inform their friends that all was
well with them (testimony of Hoess, supra).
On this subject, the witness Bakon relates that he and others
with him were also obliged, in January 1944, to write postcards bearing
the date 25 March 1944 (Session 68, Vol. III, p. 1244).
In February and March 1945, the
construction of gas chambers at Terezin was begun (evidence of
Engelstein, Session 45, Vol. II, p. 815), but work was abandoned before
its completion, and these chambers did not reach the stage of being
152. The Accused was competent
to give instructions on all matters connected with the administration of
the Terezin Ghetto, and he also used this authority in practice and
closely supervised what was happening there, to the point of intervening
in current administrative matters.
A sort of "local government" of the Jews was set up in
the ghetto, in the form of a Council of Elders, which was, of course,
subordinate to the commander of the camp (Seidl, and after him Rahm).
The commander, on his part, used to receive his instructions from
the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Prague, headed by Hans
Guenther (the brother of Rolf Guenther, the Accused's permanent deputy). From an administrative point of view, the Central Office in
Prague was attached to the office of the Commander of the Security
Police (BdS) on the spot, but in fact, the Central Office was attached
to the Accused's Section in the RSHA.
The Accused's competence in regard to Terezin stands out clearly
in all the testimonies as well as the "Orders of the Day" and
the various memoranda of the Council of Elders which have been
Rahm, who followed Seidl as
commander of Terezin, gave evidence in his trial that the Accused
himself told him that, from the point of view of technical
administration, he was responsible to the BdS in Prague, but from a
political point of view, to the RSHA in Berlin, and on questions of
policy, he, Rahm, would receive instructions from Moes, one of the
officials working with the Accused in Section IVB4 (T/864).
In his evidence, the Accused tried to limit his competence to
matters of state importance (Session 98, Vol. IV, p.xxxx5), but this
cannot be accepted as an accurate description of the scope of his
powers. He not only decided
upon the transfer of Jews of foreign nationality from Terezin to Bergen-Belsen
(T/851), but the above-mentioned Moes appointed the Council of Elders in
the ghetto. The Accused
organized the "Jewish Police" within the ghetto (T/37, p.
2028); approaches were made to him for permission to send letters from
Terezin, and his interest even reached the matter of deciding what type
of beds should be provided for the inhabitants of the ghetto (T/346).
The Accused visited Terezin
frequently. According to
the evidence of Mr. Diamant, which we accept as correct, in spite of the
Accused's denial, the Accused personally took part in a selection in
Terezin, which preceded the deportation to Auschwitz in the autumn of
1944 (Session 45, Vol. II, p. 808).
The Accused contends that during that period he was in Hungary,
but the fact is that he used to travel quite often from there to Berlin
and to other places.
We shall discuss the instructions for the prevention of births in the Terezin Ghetto in a special section devoted to this subject.
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