Prosecutor Concludes Cross-examination of Eichmann Today; Trial Near End
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Prosecutor Concludes Cross-examination of Eichmann Today; Trial Near End

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Attorney General Gideon Hausner announced at the close of today’s session of the trial of Adolf Eichmann that he expected to finish his cross-examination of the former Gestapo colonel tomorrow.

Dr. Robert Servatius, Eichmann’s chief defense counsel, said he would be ready to proceed immediately with further questioning, raising the possibility he might call some witnesses for the defense.

Mr. Hausner opened his afternoon cross-examination today with questions on the Hungarian chapter of the Nazi slaughter of European Jewry. Eichmann admitted that before he went to Hungary to set up headquarters in Budapest for the deportation of Hungarian Jews, he received orders to “evacuate” every one of the Hungarian Jews. However, he denied that his advance orders included instructions to deport all of the victims to the Auschwitz murder camp.

The prosecutor based most of his questioning today on material from Eichmann’s talks in Argentina with Willem Sassen, a former Dutch Nazi journalist, some of which later appeared in Life magazine, in New York, as Eichmann’s memoirs. Mr. Hausner referred to the Sassen material in connection with the Hungarian chapter of the holocaust over Eichmann’s strong objections that much of the Sassen material was inaccurate or untrue.

He denied, for example, a statement attributed to him in the Sassen material, that Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler said he picked Eichmann to direct the Hungarian deportations because he, Himmler, wanted “the master” to be there to prevent any “Warsaw-type” uprising.


The defendant reluctantly admitted that the minutes of his first meetings with Hungarian Jewish leaders were correct but he contended that his assistants supervised the entraining of Jews “only to ensure that Jews of foreign nationalities” were not also deported.

The prosecutor sarcastically enquired whether Eichmann really intended to argue that all he did in Hungary “was to see that, Heaven forbid, nothing happened to Jews of foreign nationality.” Eichmann sheepishly admitted he also had the assignment of coordinating timetables and transports and to report the deportations to Berlin.

Mr. Hausner, hammering away at the defendant, wrung from him admissions that he had maintained daily contact with Laszlo Baky and Laszlo Endre, chiefs of the Hungarian gendarmerie who were in charge of the deportations to Auschwitz.

When Eichmann found himself cornered on his denials that he ever visited any camps or ghettoes in Hungary, he came up with an explanation that once he accompanied Endre on a mission to Carpathia. However, he said he left his Hungarian host and spent most of the time hunting bears. Mr. Hausner commented that it was a different kind of hunt that Eichmann was really embarked on.

In reply to a question concerning the whereabouts of his former superior, General Heinrich Mueller, Eichmann said he thought Mueller had committed suicide. He said he last saw Mueller just before he himself managed to escape to Tyrol. He said he had heard reports, which he had not been able to check, that Mueller died in the Reich Chancellery or had escaped to the Soviet Union.


Earlier in the cross-examination, Eichmamm admitted that as a Gestapo official he had written a book on “the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem” and that he had lectured on the topic before a select audience of Nazis. However, he claimed that publication of the book had been banned by Gen. Mueller. He said the book had reached only galley-proof form and was not, as Hausner, charged, published in an additional 50,000 copies.

Eichmann worked hard, on his ninth day under cross-examination, to minimize the lecture, which he said took place after the fall of Rome to the Allies. Mr. Hausner then cited a statement made by Eichmann in his dictation to Sassen that Eichmann had concluded the lecture with a statement that “the Jews, the thousand year scourge of mankind, was now removed.”

Eichmann told the court that “even if I said this, I would have been completely mad to record this before Sassen.” He insisted his lecture was confined to providing only factual information and did not express any opinions, either his or those of others, because “Mueller forbade this.”

The defendant denied that the lecture was attended by Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels. He said that when he submitted the text of his lecture to Mueller “for approval,” he asked for figures regarding the actual number of Jews killed, on the assumption that his audience could be told, but that Mueller advised against this.

At one stage in the cross-examination, Eichmann asserted that the prosecution was trying to “roast him.” This developed when Hausner cited material from the Sassen memoirs conflicting with Eichmann’s adamant insistence that he never had authority to negotiate directly with Foreign Cabinet members. Eichmann said there were errors and omissions in the Sassen material.

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