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Witness at Eichmann Trial Testifies on Annihilation of Slovakian Jewry

May 25, 1961
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More documentary evidence and personal testimony was piled up here today by the prosecution in the Adolf Eichmann trial spelling out Eichmann’s personal implication in the anti-Jewish atrocities in Hungary and Slovakia.

Among details of the European holocaust revealed today, it was shown that of Slovakia’s 98,000 Jews, nearly 80 percent, or 72,000 perished. Grim records brought to the court by one of the witnesses, Dr. Bedrich Steiner, showed that, in 1942 alone, 57,837 Slovakian Jewish men, women and children were sent in 57 transports to the Auschwitz factories.

One of the documents introduced today was a telegram from Eichmann himself, referring to the fate of Gizi Fleischmann, a Hungarian Jewish woman who has been called one of the greatest heroines of the entire Nazi period. Mrs. Fleischmann had refused to leave Hungary even after her children had escaped to Palestine. She stayed on, organizing rescues for Jews and writing reports about the Nazi atrocities.

Finally captured, and tortured, she still defied her Nazi captors. At last she was taken to Auschwitz. Eichmann telegraphed: “Jewess Gizi Fleischmann captured by Slovakian police when she compiled atrocity report for dispatch to Switzerland.” At Auschwitz, whence she had tried to escape but was caught again, she was finally put to death.

One document introduces today showed how Eichmann and arranged a special “inspection” of Auschwitz for a Slovakian editor, who was shown “model conditions.” The purpose of that fraud was to dupe Slovakian bishops who had complained about Nazi atrocities in their region. The editor wrote a report to “prove” to the bishops that all was well at Auschwitz. Eichmann had handled the matter thus after the Foreign Ministry in Berlin had delegated the Slovakian clergymen’s complaints against treatment of Jews in Auschwitz for his handling.


Dieter Wisliceny and Hermann Krumey, Eichmann’s principal assistants, were tied to Eichmann’s direction of the Jewish annihilation program by Pinhas Freudinger, scion of a family that founded the Budapest Jewish community and president of the community until 1944.

Mr. Freudinger told the court how the situation in his country worsened for the Jews as soon as the Nazis took command, Hungary’s community, he said, had been swelled from 500,000 to 800,000 by the immigration of Jews who fled the Nazis from neighboring countries. The day after the Nazis took command, he said, leaders of Hungary’s Jewish communities were summoned to a meeting with the new German officials empowered to deal with the Jews. Among those officials, he said, were Krumey and Wisliceny.

He told the court that 17,000 Jews of Hungarian nationality were ordered to Galicia and were never heard from again. They are presumed to have perished. He said he recognized Wisliceny as the Gestapo officer who had already conducted the deportation of the Slovakian Jews. Wisliceny was executed in Czechoslovakia in 1948 for his war crimes.

Mr. Freudinger led up in his testimony to a point where he started to tell of negotiations conducted with Wisliceny to rescue Hungarian Jews, when the court adjourned. He will take the stand again tomorrow morning.

Another of today’s witnesses, Adolf Rosenberg, told more of the Nazi activities in Slovakia. He testified that at the Sacred camp, one night, the guards ordered that one of the rabbis in the camp come to their quarters with a Hebrew prayer book. The youngest of the rabbis, named Ungar, volunteered. The next day, his body was turned over to the Jews for burial. The Jews learned that Rabbi Ungar had been ordered by the merrymaking guards to read from his prayer book and to translate the passages he read. Then they accused him of mistranslation, tortured him, almost cut off an ear, and finally shot him.

Mr. Rosenberg brought in Gizi Fleischmann’s name again. He said his parents were on the same train with this martyr when that transport arrived at Auschwitz. When the train pulled in, Mrs. Fleischmann’s name was called out–showing that she was treated as a special captive.

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