Menu JTA Search

Eichmann Had and Used Full Authority to Kill Jews, Prosecutor Says

“Eichmann had and used full authority to satisfy his lust to annihilate Jews to the last in Nazi-dominated Europe,” Attorney General Gideon Hausner told the court today in opening the second day of his summation at the Eichmann trial. He will conclude his summation tomorrow, after which the court will recess until Monday to permit Eichmann’s defense lawyer to prepare his final submission.

Mr. Hausner forcefully attacked Eichmann’s claim that neither he nor his Gestapo department IV-B-4 for Jewish affairs had any authority over what happened in the murder camps. The defendant had testified that the camp activities were under the sole authority of the Department for Administration of the SS, Hitler’s Elite Guard.

The prosecutor cited voluminous proofs, many from Eichmann’s own testimony, which he said showed that not only did Eichmann’s superior, Gestapo Gen. Heinrich Mueller, have authority over what happened to inmates of the camps but also that Eichmann’s own subordinates had authority to order executions of camp inmates.

Mr. Hausner cited Eichmann’s own admissions that in Theresienstadt, a camp in Czechoslovakia, he had authority to establish “Jewish police,” that he was in charge of deportations from Theresienstadt to the Auschwitz murder factory in Poland, and as a witness, that he had testified he even attended the selection of deportees.

OPPOSED EASING CONDITIONS FOR JEWS AS INDUCEMENT TO THE ALLIES

The prosecutor recalled evidence that near the end of the war Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler had wanted to improve conditions at Theresienstadt hoping to bargain with the Allies as a “moderate” Nazi, but, said the prosecutor, Eichmann wanted to turn Theresienstadt into the final annihilation center for what was left of European Jewry, since Auschwitz had been seized by the Russian Army.

Drawing heavily on the record of the Hungarian holocaust, Mr. Hausner cited the evidence that when Eichmann was advised by the German Embassy that a number of Jews might be allowed to emigrate to Palestine on Hitler’s orders, Eichmann sought to appeal that decision. The prosecutor recalled testimony that Eichmann had told Himmler that these Hungarian Jews comprised biologically valuable specimens and that, if necessary to prevent their escape, a new Hitler order should be as issued.

Meanwhile, roared the prosecutor, Eichmann continued his deportations and even devised a scheme to circumvent any new orders to ease the deportations, a plan to speed up deportations so that the Jews would be in Auschwitz before their papers for emigration could be processed. Subsequently, Himmler did halt the limited emigration as Eichmann had demanded, the prosecutor noted.

EICHMANN DECIDED ON TIME OF GASSING JEWS IN NAZI CAMPS

Mr. Hausner cited documents showing that Eichmann inspected Maidenek, Chelmo and other slaughter centers. Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hess, who was hanged by the Poles for his war crimes, testified that he had to have a permit from Eichmann to visit Chelmo, the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor said that reports on the deportation of Jews to the commando squads directed by Odilo Globocnik, the Nazi police chief for German-held Poland, were sent only to Eichmann’s department and not to the SS administration which Eichmann had claimed was in charge of the camps.

The huge murder facilities at Auschwitz were under SS administration, Mr. Hausner noted, but he said even in that case it was Eichmann’s office which decided which transports of doomed Jews should be gassed and burned immediately and which allowed to live a little longer.

NEXT STORY