Eichmann’s Responsibility for Deporting Jews from Italy Fixed at Trial
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Eichmann’s Responsibility for Deporting Jews from Italy Fixed at Trial

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Official documents presented by the prosecution here to–day–on the first anniversary of the capture of Adolf Eichmann–fixed Eichmann’s responsibility for directing the anti-Jewish annihilation programs in Italy, Norway and Denmark. Eyewitness testimony spelled out the Nazi machine’s anti-Jewish persecutions in Italy, Norway and Denmark, pointing up at the same time the efforts of Christian Italians, Danes and Norwegians to rescue Jews.

Today was not only the anniversary of Eichmann’s capture in Buenos Aires, on May 11, 1960. It was also the beginning of the second month of the trial, started here April 11.

Several of the documents introduced by the prosecution today proved that Eichmann, or his representatives, rejected appeals from the Italian diplomatic officials in Germany on behalf of Italian Jews. The fact that the Hitler Government considered Eichmann as the chief authority on Jewish matters was shown through two documents. At one time, the German Foreign Ministry warned Eichmann directly that the Vatican had intervened against a German order for the expulsion of Italian Jews, on threat that the Pope might condemn Germany openly.

Another document showed Eichmann had written to Dr. Eberhard von Thadden, the Nazi Foreign Ministry’s expert on the Jewish question, after Italy’s Marshal Badoglio had taken Italy out of the Nazi-Fascist axis. In that letter, Eichmann told von Thadden that, while some Italian Jews holding foreign passports may be sympathetic to Badoglio, it would be too difficult to ascertain who those sympathizers were and, therefore, all such Jews should be deported.

The fate of the Italian Jews was described on the witness stand by Dr. Chulda Campagniano, now a teacher in the religious settlement of Yavneh, in Israel. She was the daughter of the late Dr. Moses D. Cassuto, professor of Semitic languages at Rome University, later professor of Bible research at Hebrew University, Her brother, rabbi of Florence and her husband and a sister were murdered by the Nazis.

Dr. Campagniano described how the situation of Italian Jews changed after September, 1943, when the German racist policies went into effect in Italy. She herself, with her children, was sheltered in convents and by Christian families.

After the Jews of Rome had paid to the Nazis 100 kilograms of gold as ransom, she testified, an Italian police commander informed her, indirectly, that the Germans would, nevertheless, start deporting the Jews from the ancient Roman Jewish Quarter. Dr. Campagniano said she warned inhabitants of the Jewish quarter of the plan, but they refused to believe her. That night, the quarter was surrounded by the Germans, and the deportations were begun.

She described in great detail how all classes of the Italian population–Catholic and Protestant clergy and laymen–made extraordinary efforts to help save Jews. However, 7,500 Italian Jews were deported, and only 610 survived.


A description of the successful effort by the Norwegian underground to save hundreds of Jews from the Country’s Nazi occupiers was given by Mrs. Henriette Samuel, widow of the chief rabbi of Norway’s 1, 700 Jews. She presented a dramatic account of how the Norwegian Jews were first warned of impending Gestapo seizures and then smuggled across the border into Sweden in sub-zero temperatures. Rabbi Samuel refused to leave his people and was taken to Auschwitz and murdered on Dec. 16, 1942.

The greying survivor told how, one night in November of that year, she received a telephone call from a neighbor she called Inge, a member of the underground. “It is very cold-tonight and I advise you to dress your children warmly, ” Inge told her. Mrs. Samuel awakened her children and dressed them. An hour later, Inge came and took Mrs. Samuel and her children, a sister-in-law and her two children to a nearby house. After a week of hiding, she said the five children and the two adults were brought at night to two trucks which had licenses to ship potatoes.

The witness said, “We had to act like potatoes under the tarpaulin. ” The children had been-given sleeping tablets. They said farewell to Inge –later identified as Ingeborg Sletten–and the trucks were driven across the border. In moving 40 other Jews into Sweden in the same way, the underground operatives told the Jews “you are potatoes, don’t say a word, ” the witness stated.

Mrs, Samuel, describing the work of the Christian underground, said that 850 Jews were taken into Sweden by such means. She added that Nazi police swooped down on Jewish males one night and, despite the brave efforts of the Norwegians, 750 were caught and only 12 survived. The raid through which she and her children were saved came a month later.

Gavriel Bach, the assistant prosecutor, introduced documents on the Scandinavian period of the Nazi murder program, including a letter from Eichmann to the Nazi Foreign Ministry complaining about Swedish efforts to save Norwegian Jews. The letter specified that in cases where Swedish citizenship was granted suddenly to Norwegian Jews in an obvious bid to circumvent anti-Jewish plans of the Nazis, such citizenship should be disregarded. An earlier directive from Eichmann’s office said all Norwegian Jews would be sent to the Auschwitz murder factory “never to return. “


Mrs. Hildegarde Henschel, wife of Moritz Henschel, last head of the Berlin Jewish community, testified today how her husband was summoned from Yom Kippur services in 1941 and told by the Gestapo that the Jews of Berlin would be “evacuated.” Within a fortnight, she said, four transports, each carrying 1, 000 Berlin Jews, left for the Riga and Lodz ghettoes, while Nazis ransacked the abandoned Jewish homes.

More than 1,200 Berlin Jews, she said, committed suicide in a year. She described how, when she reached the Theresienstadt concentration camp, in June, 1944, she found Jews forced to construct the gas chambers for their own annihilation. She said 18, 000 of the camp inmates were trapped through a ruse to volunteer for “work, ” and that all were sent to the death factory at Auschwitz.

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