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Eichmann Trial -- Session 7 -- Hausner's opening statement

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.017 | Film ID: 2016

Dr. Robert Servatius walks into the virtually empty courtroom and sits down. He pulls a file folder out of his bag and talks with the person sitting next to him. Adolf Eichmann is brought into a booth. The translator steps up to a podium and guards motion for Eichmann to pull his seat forward. Various shots of Eichmann and Dr. Servatius are shown. A woman sits at a podium opposite the translator. 00:05:31 Everyone rises as the Judges walk in and sit down. Presiding Judge Moshe Landau opens the 7th Session of the trial and requests Attorney General Gideon Hausner to continue his Opening Speech. The Attorney General stands and tells the story of how Eichmann refused to allow a man to exit the country and join his wife who was a Swiss citizen. He says that throughout the trial, they will give many more examples to prove how Eichmann's one goal was the death of every Jew. He shares a few more accounts and states that Eichmann's attention to detail made it impossible "for any single Jew to slip through the net." The Attorney General tells of another instance where a woman requested that her husband be transferred to Germany. Eichmann delayed his response until he could say that her husband was no longer alive. 00:10:10 Eichmann was also involved in holding up passports for Jews that were to be sent to Auschwitz. He ordered that the German Post say "the letters were lost because of 'enemy action.' The letters should not be returned, and no compensation should be paid for their loss." The Attorney General continues sharing about how Eichmann responded to complaints about actions taken against Jews by saying that "the Jewish enemy" was merely trying to gain pity to "escape the fate he deserves." It is then stated that the so called enemy was "a defenseless civil population." A small portion of the proceedings are missing.

00:14:06 Footage resumes as Hausner describes the way German soldiers would openly discuss who was to be shot first and says that pictures will later be shown of some of the starving and terrified children. He adds that even as Germany was collapsing, Eichmann still wouldn't allow Jews to be handled in a more humanitarian way. The Attorney General shares that Eichmann was quoted having said "that he would gladly leap into his grave, after he had succeeded in exterminating five million Jews." It is then made clear that the murder of the Jewish people was not an act of war even though war was being waged at the time. Various close-ups of people in the audience are shown throughout his speech. 00:18:18 Extreme close-ups of a man's hand drawing caricatures are shown. Attorney General Hausner proves that not only was the extermination of Jews unrelated to the war at hand, but also did not benefit military operations. A few Jews, he explains, were saved from being killed because the German Army was in desperate need of labor. Additionally, when trains were in short supply for the war effort, they were still being used for transport to concentration camps. The Attorney General explains different reasons why the extermination program had to be kept hidden. One of the motives he mentions is that they wanted victims to remain in the dark in order to prevent rebellions and momentarily avoid panic. He says that the entire world also had to be kept from knowing what was going on and shares the different ways that was accomplished. The Attorney General tells his listeners that the secret could not be kept for long. He gives a quote where Himmler encourages SS officers by telling them they've written "a noteworthy page in our history" and remained "decent" throughout the process of exterminating Jews. 00:26:37 "Since then," the Attorney General says, "the matter has been revealed. What those villains then regarded with pride is now their badge of eternal shame; and what they did in concealment, in the hope that the greatest murder in history would remain strictly secret - all this will be told here openly, will be revealed and branded in the light of day." He then goes into the history of Poland during the war and the resentment Nazis felt towards the Poles. He expresses that the Germans disdained the Polish people and their attitude toward Polish Jews was "immeasurably worse." The Attorney General continues by saying that the only disagreement between the Government General and the RSHA regarding the Jews of Poland was the date they were to be exterminated. He discusses Hans Frank's role in the massacre of the Jews and reads excerpts from his diary. Frank would complain that the Gestapo acted independently and tried to resign, but Hitler wouldn't allow it. It is then stated that Frank was not responsible for the death camps; the SS from Berlin were completely in control.

00:37:12 The Attorney General describes many different ways the German Army would handle Polish Jews such as: drowning them in a river by the hundreds, burning synagogues, making them clean streets with their prayer shawls, plundering their property, kidnapping them, and more. They were "transformed into a herd of terrified, degraded and depressed beings, lacking all human rights." He says that this was only "minor terror" compared to what came later. Heydrich sent instructions on September 21, 1939 concerning treatment of Jews and the planning of the Holocaust. Another order, on December 12, 1939, states that Eichmann is appointed as Heydrich's special representative. 00:42:43 The Attorney General talks of how Jews were deported as quickly as possible and how all of their rights were stripped away. Eichmann, he shares, operated under the name of the Reichsfuehrer and had his authority. He discusses a meeting which was presided over by Eichmann and dealt with the methods of deportation. This deportation was described as a "modern migration of peoples." In a speech Frank gave, he talks about how the soldiers "had to endure" the "fantastic transfer of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles," and does not mention what the victims had to endure nor how much they suffered. The Attorney General states that Eichmann headed a program responsible for the deportation of half a million people and continues to talk of Polish Jews and their concentration. He speaks of the disease ridden ghettos and reads an account about a Jewish quarter in Warsaw. The account describes how the ghetto was sealed off without warning, how everyone who groaned or stumbled when moving in were immediately shot, the way nothing at all was sanitary, and how people died of starvation and their clothes would be stolen in the night. It also speaks of how people who left for work in factories would not know if they'd be returning and the way that Germans would torture Jews for pleasure.

00:55:01 The Attorney General explains the overcrowded conditions of Lodz and adds that it was Eichmann pushed twenty-five thousand more people into the area, causing epidemics that many would die from. Shots of people in the crowd as well as a long close-up Eichmann are shown. A letter, written by Sturmbannfuehrer Heppner, is shared and contains suggestions to sterilize Jewish women so they could "finish off the Jewish Question" and ideas to kill the Jews since it "would be more pleasant that to let them die of hunger." After Eichmann came to the Lodz Ghetto in 1943, the Attorney General says, they decided that it would be turned into a concentration camp and those unfit for work would be "sent off." He tells of how the labor camps would require men to accomplish physically impossible tasks and thus the men began to collapse. He also adds that 300 such camps existed in Poland, work began at 4:00 AM, scarcely any food was provided, and those that fell behind or were found with food from the outside were whipped, hung, or shot. Footage cuts out in the middle of his description.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Genre
Unedited
Duration
00:59:53
Event Date
1961 April 17
Locale
Jerusalem, Israel
Language
English
German
Hebrew
Genre/Form
Unedited.
Credit
Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archives of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Record last modified: 2018-04-26 13:44:39
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1001031