Eichmann Pictures Himself As Small Official Trying to Help Deported Jews
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Eichmann Pictures Himself As Small Official Trying to Help Deported Jews

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Adolf Eichmann, testifying for the second day in his own defense, sought today to implicate a present high official in the West German Government, State Secretary Hans Globke, in the early persecution of German Jews by the Nazi regime.

The charge against Globke, a key aide in the Government of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, was part of a carefully rehearsed version of Eichmann’s anti-Jewish activities purporting to demonstrate that his role in the Nazi machinery for dealing with “the Jewish problem” was a minimal one.

Under the coaching of Dr. Robert Servatius, his defense counsel, Eichmann made the statement about Globke when he was asked why he thought his Jewish Affairs Department had been expanded. He replied that “this phenomenon” was the indirect result of “the initiative of Dept. 1-A of the Ministry of the Interior” and of efforts of Globke “toward the withdrawal of citizenship and confiscation of Jewish property.” Globke, who was an Interior Ministry subsection head during the Nazi regime, has been under fire for years on charges of aiding the Nazi legal stratagem to despoil German Jews. He has contended that he remained in his post under the Nazis and that he was helpful to many Jews in that capacity.


Using his pencil as a pointer as he testified in his glass-enclosed prisoner’s dock, Eichmann testified with zest on the Nazi bureaucracy, all of it aiming to uphold his argument that he was a minor cog in the organization machinery and that other and more highly placed Nazis developed and implemented the vast program of expulsion, torture, degradation, spoliation and murder of the victims of the Nazi holocaust.

At one point in his lengthy efforts to prove that he was always concerned for the welfare of the Jews and used his Gestapo office to aid them, the preposterousness of such testimony led the witness to qualify such statements as “for the benefit of the people themselves,” with the phrase “if this expression may be used.”

The length of Eichmann’s replies to some of his attorney’s questions moved presiding Justice Moshe Landau to request shorter replies. Justice Landau, in making the request, said “the style of course is your concern but unless you stop here and there, we won’t understand you at all.” Reacting like a rebuked subaltern, Eichmann murmured, “sorry.”

To prove that Eichmann had only a minor role as a transport official in the enormous persecution machinery, Dr. Servatius submitted a chart which he said was a description of the work of various SS departments which were accessible by telephone. Eichmann triumphantly noted that his branch was not listed as having a telephone.


Listing the various SS departments, Eichmann said that Department 2, which dealt with “technical matters” pertaining to Jews, including the preparation and use of gas vans to kill them, was not connected with his department.

Replying to a question from his attorney, Eichmann denied that he had a privileged position with Heinrich Mueller, the SS general who was head of Bureau IV with which Eichmann was connected. This was indicated in a prosecution affidavit signed by Walter Huppenkothen of the same bureau. Huppenkothen was one of four former Nazis who were refused immunity from arrest if they came to Israel as defense witnesses and who testified in West Germany as such.

Eichmann argued that General Mueller had always insisted that subordinates report to him directly and that Eichmann’s own subordinates did so, frequently by-passing him. Eichmann was then shown a prosecution document that his permanent deputy, Rolf Guenther, carried out specific tasks of which General Mueller had no knowledge. Eichmann said it was hard to believe but that since it was documented he could not dispute it.


He contended that his representatives, who dealt with the roundups and transport of Jews to the gas chambers, did not operate under his orders but under those of security police at those field stations.

Dr. Servatius also presented documents to show that advisers for Jewish affairs attached to Nazi German legations abroad were under orders of the Foreign Ministry and not of Eichmann’s office.

The former Gestapo colonel said it was not true, as the prosecution had contended, that Eichmann’s deputies were in charge of the deportations in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and France. He passed the buck to the top security police in the field for responsibility for the death of 600,000 Hungarian Jews. He could not deny that he had been in Budapest supervising the evacuation of Jews but insisted that the “real authority” was with the Gestapo chief there and that he was only carrying out orders.

Dr. Servatius asked him: “Could you in Hungary have contravened the orders of the SS and security police?” Eichmann answered strongly, “No.”


Dr. Servatius continued to question Eichmann about incriminating prosecution documents with Eichmann consistently replying that he was, in each situation, either not on the scene or occupied with other matters. He said that directives dealing with confiscation of Jewish property, deportations and resettlement of the population and dwelling zone restrictions with death the penalty for violation were not the concern of his Gestapo department.

A typical example of the defense strategy involved a prosecution document showing that Eichmann was chairman of a meeting in Berlin in January 1940, to discuss the deportation of Polish Jews, and Eichmann’s comment on the document and its content.

He said that because difficulties arbse “in various places” and bottlenecks developed in the transportation of the Polish Jews, a special department was set up which he was called to head. One of the problems he said came under his jurisdiction as head of the special department was that of deportees remaining in sealed trains for eight days at a time without any sanitary facilities. He said other problems arising from a lack of order required straightening out “to minimize suffering.”

He asserted that when temperatures dropped to bitter cold, women and children deportees were diverted to regular passenger trains and “only” men were confined to the freight cars. He added that because the deportation trains were escorted by “ethnic Germans,” who were not always sympathetic to the Jewish deportees, such instructions were not observed. He contended that it was to deal with such problems of the welfare of the deportees that the Berlin meeting was called.


He was asked about documents dealing with the evacuations and death marches of Jews from German towns as far back as 1940, before the start of mass deportations. Eichmann asserted that such evacuations and marches were organized contrary to orders from Berlin when local police complied with pressure from local Nazi party and local government officials who wanted the homes and apartments of the Jewish victims.

Eichmann insisted again that his only connection with such activities was the arrangement of transportation for the victims. Dr. Servatius asked him about the horrible conditions of the deportation of 1,000 Jews from Stettin, appeals against which went all the way up the organization chart to Air Marshal Hermann Goering, according to prosecution documents.

Eichmann replied that the conditions developed because he had been given only two weeks to prepare the arrangements for the Stettin evacuation.

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