JERUSALEM (Jul. 17)
Adolf Eichmann admitted in court here today that his Gestapo Bureau IV-B-4 was responsible for transmitting orders for the hanging of Jews, the execution of Poles, and the arrest of Polish priests.
The admission came as Attorney General Gideon Hausner, chief of the prosecution, continued for the seventh consecutive day his relentless hammering at the ex-Gestapo colonel being tried for directing the killing of 6, 000, 000 European Jews during the Nazi regime.
Having made that admission, however, Eichmann resorted once again to “loss of memory.” He insisted he “could not remember” how many such orders his department had transmitted. He insisted also that he had no responsibility for initiating “even a single one” of those murder orders. As to why the death orders were routed through his bureau–that was something he did not know, he told the court.
Mr. Hausner pressed him into other admissions, however. The prosecutor got him to admit that Heinrich Himmler, chief of Hitler’s SS, the Nazi Elite Guard, had summoned Eichmann to field headquarters at Kiev, in the Ukraine, when the Nazis had occupied that city. Mr. Hausner tried to prove through that admission that, in October 1941, during a critical German Army campaign, Himmler issued an order forbidding all emigration of Jews after receiving a report from Eichmann.
PARTICIPATED WITH TOP NAZI KILLERS IN ANNIHILATION CONFERENCE
Still another admission drawn reluctantly from Eichmann showed that, in spite of his claim that he was an unimportant, minor functionary in the Nazi apparatus, he attended an important conference in 1940, with a galaxy of topmost Nazi officials. This conference decreed that Poland should be “Germanized” and that Jews and Gypsies be annihilated.
Attending the parley in addition to Eichmann–by Eichmann’s own admission today–were Reinhard Heydrich, the Gestapo chief, later assassinated at Prague; Otto Ohlendorf, commanding general of the Einsatzgruppen, whose assignment called for shooting Jews before the death camps were opened–this Nazi was hanged later at Lansberg; Arthur Seyss-Inquart, later Governor-General of Holland, also hanged after the Nuremberg war crimes trials; and Odilo Globochnik, senior general at Lublin, who operated the first gas chamber for the mass murder of Jews.
Asked by Mr. Hausner whether it was true that he had been “in good company” when he attended that conference with the Nazi leaders, Eichmann answered: “It was ordered by Himmler. My office, IV-B-4, was ordered to handle the time-tables, the rolling stock. “
There was another outbreak in court today when Mr. Hausner was pressing Eichmann on whether he knew that German Jews were being killed by “Einsatzgruppen,as well as “local” Jews in German-occupied areas. Eichmann explained that he thought German Jews were not being killed. However, he said, knowing “the customs in Eastern territories, ” he made sure to send German Jews to Lodz “which was a safer place than the Eastern territories. “
A bearded, elderly Jew among the spectators, hearing Eichmann say he thought Lodz was “a safer place, ” rose from his seat and shouted: “Lodz was a safer place? All my children were killed there, you dog!” Several policemen hurried the distressed man out of the courtroom.
PROSECUTOR STRESSES EICHMANN’S ROLE IN GASSING OF JEWS
Mr. Hausner introduced two documents, showing that a Nazi official in the Jewish Affairs bureau of the Ministry for Eastern Affairs had suggested that Jews be gassed instead of being shot, adding the phrase: “Eichmann agrees. ” The prisoner replied that he had never assented to such a proposal, insisting that inclusion of his name was “a falsification. ” Eichmann requested the court to order a probe of these documents by a handwriting expert. “Then everything will be clear, ” he persisted.
Mr. Hausner quoted Eichmann as saying, during the police interrogation in Israel prior to the trial, that the German Security Office had agreed to the gassing of Jews through Eichmann’s office. The prosecutor pointed to “the strange coincidence” that gassing methods were introduced shortly after Eichmann’s complaint to Muller that all SS men would become sadists if they had to continue to shoot Jews.