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Eichmann Trial -- Sessions 23 and 24 -- Testimony of L. Wells, H. Ross, and J. Buzminsky

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.035 | Film ID: 2034

Session 23. Adolf Eichmann stands as the Presiding Judge enters and then sits down. WS of the courtroom. The Presiding Judge takes notes and declares the twenty-third Session of the trial open. He then confirms that applications submitted by Dr. Servatius will be discussed later on. Servatius states that the evidence given by the witness, Dr. Wells, is irrelevant and repetitive and thus should not be submitted. Attorney General Hausner responds by saying that Eichmann was appointed by Reinhard Heydrich, who was in charge of exterminating the Jews, and offers several other examples as well. The Presiding Judge deliberates then rules that the witness is indeed relevant and Dr. Wells is called to the stand. After he walks up to the podium and the microphone is adjusted, footage cuts out and part of the proceedings is missing.

00:12:28 Eichmann sits in the booth. The Attorney General asks Wells how he had the will to survive after seeing his entire family die and Wells answers, "It was the will of responsibility, that somebody had to remain to tell the world that it was the idea of the Nazis to kill all the Jews - so we had a responsibility somehow to withstand this idea and to be alive." Footage cuts out again, but nothing is skipped. Shots of Wells, Eichmann, people in the audience and the translator are shown as Wells describes his duties for the Death Brigade.

00:17:50 Part of the proceedings are missing and it picks up with Mr. Hausner asking about the supplies used to get rid of all the evidence of bodies. After Dr. Wells responds, the Presiding Judge asks for clarification of what a grinding machine was and the process is explained.

00:20:28 A large part of the proceedings is missing. Footage continues as Witness Wells describes the location, procedures and security of the Death Brigade. The Attorney General inquires about why the people didn't attempt to hurt the guards before they were murdered. Wells explains that they were broken up into groups and that those who attempted anything were tortured. "At this time, in 1943, nobody cared anymore," he states.

00:27:06 The footage cuts out and a small part of the proceedings is missing. Wells describes how he escaped and those that refused to join him. He says that a few hundred thousand were burned by his brigade and about 30,000 were executed in front of the fires while he was there.

00:30:17 Footage begins a little ways into Session 24. The Attorney General looks over photographs as Witness Henryk Ross explains how he took the pictures through a hole in the wall of a cement storeroom. The Presiding Judge examines the photos then passes them to the men on either side of him. Part of the trial is missing.

00:32:57 Shot pans from Dr. Servatius to Adolf Eichmann. The Attorney General stands and discusses the Defense Counsel's applications and says that upon application, the witness would be given an entry visa and then arrested and brought to trial. People in the courtroom laugh and the Presiding Judge silences them. The Presiding Judge and Attorney General continue to discuss where the examination of the witness would take place and the importance of Dr. Six, Dr. Martin, and Hermann Krumey's testimonies. They confer that a German Court would be difficult due to the fact that there is no examination of witnesses and it is agreed that a mixed procedure would be the best way to carry out the trial. Shots of the courtroom vary throughout. The Judge addresses a request to strike two affidavits from the record. Mr. Hausner states that there is not a procedure to strike out anything, but the Court may choose whether or not to take the information into account. Dr. Servatius is then asked about the locations of two Austrians, Huppenkothen and Hoettl. Their applications are then discussed and the issue of arrest upon entering Israel is brought up again. Servatius states that the Attorney General should not decide the matter of the visas or the arrest on his own and it is explained to him that, "The Attorney General is not only in charge of matters of prosecution, but he is also - as his name indicates - the legal adviser to the Government."

00:50:26 The footage stops and skips far into the questioning of Dr. Buzminsky. The Attorney General, the witness, and various shots of the crowd and Eichmann are all shown. Buzminsky tells the Court that he and his brother deliberately faced the SS soldiers' guns to avoid being buried alive, but at the last minute they were ordered onto a train because a commander said, "These are fat Jews. All of them will be good for soap." He says that as an elderly woman was climbing onto the train, a dog belonging to an SS man bit her, causing her to scream. The Germans all laughed. Buzminsky goes on to describe how they could not resist entering the train because their morale was broken. "It was a mass psychosis," he says, that made them shake whenever they heard the voices of the SS. Witness Buzminsky shares how he jumped out of the train, entered a bunker, and was taken into a Polish woman's home where he stayed until the liberation. He clarifies that before being liberated, he returned to the ghetto and saw a boy get lashed 80 times with a strap and identifies that boy as police officer Goldman, sitting on the right side of the Attorney General. Dr. Buzminsky describes a different event where an 18 year-old boy attacked a Gestapo man who was about to shoot him. The boy escaped only to be caught and hung the next day along with 25 hostages. It is confirmed that Buzminsky then hid in the bunker and was saved.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Event:  1961 May 02
Production:  1961 May 02
Jerusalem, Israel
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archives of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 21:57:03
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