Menu JTA Search

Moscow Accused of Withholding Documents Proving Eichmann’s Guilt

Attorney General Gideon Hausner today indirectly but clearly accused the Soviet Government of withholding important documents which could help the Israel Government in proving Adolf Eichmann’s personal responsibility for the annihilation of European Jews during the Nazi regime.

Mr. Hausner’s accusation came during testimony at the Eichmann trial this afternoon by a Yiddish poet, Abba Kovner, of kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, who told, among other things, how the Nazis slaughtered 10, 000 Jews in one night in the Vilna ghetto. Mr. Kovner was the Jewish underground commander in that ghetto.

The witness testified that one German officer who had helped the Jews, a man named Anton Shmidt, said in answer to a question as to who is responsible for the mass murders: “There is one dog. His name is Eichmann.” Then, Mr. Kovner said, he heard of a Gestapo section called IV-B-4. That was the section responsible for the “final solution” of the Jewish problem, and it was headed by Eichmann.

“There is a document,” said Mr. Kovner, “which, according to my memory, is headed with those initials, IV-B-4. That document, and many others obtained by the partisans, is now in the Vilna Museum.”

Mr. Hausner then told the court that Israel has asked the Soviet Government for the documents from the partisan archives, so that it could submit those proofs to the court. The papers, said Mr. Hausner, include records of interrogations of Nazis by the partisans, and records of questioning of Jewish children who had escaped from the Vilna ghetto. The Soviet Government, however, has refused to furnish Israel with any documentation regarding Eichmann, claiming it had already furnished material on Nazi atrocities to the Nuremberg War Crimes trials.

WITNESS ANNOYED AT ATTORNEY GENERAL’S QUESTION: ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU RESIST?’

As Mr. Kovner went on to detail the Nazi atrocities in the Vilna ghetto, he suddenly turned in a rage against the Attorney General, when the latter asked the question previously posed to other witnesses: “Why didn’t you resist?”

“I reject these charges,” the witness shouted at Mr. Hausner. Pointing at Eichmann, staring at the witness from his glass-enclosed cage, the poet said: “He and 80,000,000 other Germans sang their song: ‘When Jewish Blood Flows from Our Bayonets.’ It was not easy to organize the resistance. Then, we were in the glass box. Our revolt was not carried out by desperate men and women. We were not desperate men, and we were not good fighters. But those who organized the resistance had some hope still–at least the hope to die honorably. The miracle is that there was any resistance at all, any revolt at all.”

Eager to prove that the Jews did fight back, Mr. Kovner continued: “It was not the Lithuanians, nor the Russians, who blew up the first German military train. It was a Jewish girl who did that. On bleeding feet, she smuggled herself back into the Vilna ghetto after doing that work.” Glaring at Mr. Hausner, he added: “We did not go like sheep to the slaughter. We resisted.”

In regard to the German officer, Anton Schrridt, Kr. Kovner said that the officer was finally caught, after aiding the Jews, and was executed by the Geatapo.

Dr. Meir Dvorjeski, a Vilna physician who is now with the Kupat Holim, the health service of Israel’s Federation of Labor, described the terrible choice the Nazis gave to heads of families who were lucky enough to qualify for “life cards,” which were always made out to eliminate either the wife or the mother.

He said the mothers, citing biblical injunctions that man’s destiny was to leave his mother’s home and “cleave” to his wife, would kiss their daughters-in-law farewell and await shipment to be killed. He said the “life cards,” which meant a temporary respite from the death camps, were given only to “useful” Jews such as bakers and cobblers. Rabbis, writers, teachers and other intellectuals were considered “useless.”

PHYSICIAN DESCRIBES KILLING OF 10, 000 JEWS IN KOVNO IN ONE EVENING

A Haifa gynecologist, Dr. I. Peretz, was the day’s last witness. He told of the atrocities committed by the Germans in the Kovno ghetto. At one time, he said, they sent 1,300 children to death camps. Then, in one evening in October 1941, they killed 10,000 Jews. When

Eye witness testimony on Jewish heroism in the Bialystok ghetto was given in court today by Avraham Krassik, one of the Jewish underground fighters in the ghetto. He testified that, when the Germans sealed off the Bialystok ghetto on August 16, 1943, there were 45,000 Jews in the enclosure. The Jewish resistance fighters decided to start a battle then, Mr. Krassik said.

“We had no illusions about the outcome of the fight,” he stated on the witness stand. With home-made bombs and grenades, and very few guns, the Jewish fighters opened fire on the Storm Troopers. The Germans won the battle in three hours, and started transporting the ghetto Jews to Treblinka.

WITNESS TELLS HOW PRAYING JEWS WERE BURNED ALIVE BY THE NAZIS

Miss Frieda Maizia now in Rehovot, testified about Nazi atrocities in eastern Silesia. She told the court that in the autumn of 1939, the Nazis fired the Great Synagogue of Sosnovitz in Silesia, burning alive the Jews praying within. Near the end of 1939, 300 Sosnowitz Jews were rounded up and taken to the Soviet border. At the border, the Nazis ordered them to run and as they did, began shooting at them. Miss Maizia said that at first the Russian frontier guards did not realize what was happening and began returning the fire. When they did understand, they stopped shooting and allowed the Jews to be enter and be saved.

Asked whether she had ever seen one of the numberless hangings of Jews, she replied that missing the executions was impossible. Even if a Jew remained indoors when another Jew was hanged, he would be unable to avoid seeing the victims because the corpses were left dangling at the end of the noose for two or three days.

Hangings were routine punishment for what the Nazis called “black marketeering.” She described a typical case of a Jewish mother being found to have managed to get an egg from a Polish woman and being executed for that.

NEXT STORY