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Eichmann Trial -- Sessions 27 and 28 -- Testimonies of F. Masia, M. Dworzecki, A. Kovner, A. Peretz

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.040 | Film ID: 2039

Sessions 27 and 28. Witness Frieda Masia, a leader in the Zionist youth movement and member of the Jewish underground, recounts an incident in which Harry Blumerfracht, a member of the Zionist youth movement attempted to steal weapons from a German plant-owner. The plan failed, and Masia states: "...they took hold of Harry and arrested him. Harry was tortured in a horrible way."

There is a blip at 00:03:50. Witness Dr. Meir Mark Dworzecki, survivor of Vilna Ghetto and five Estonian concentration camps, discusses 'malines' [hiding places] in the Vilna Ghetto. He states: "... an underground town was established. Every simple house had a built-in hideout..." Attorney General Gideon Hausner questions Dworzecki about certificates; Dworzecki describes how families were separated because the Nazis did not distribute enough certificates. This insufficiency forced him to choose between his own wife and mother. Blip at 00:08:49. Dworzecki is asked to identify the 'Lebensschein' [yellow certificates], which the court numbers T/276. Dworzecki explains that the certificate: "... promised life for a few months or years to a person in the ghetto..." Furthermore, Dworzecki clarifies that Nazi gave pink certificates to families (T/277) and blue certificates to children (T/278).

Dworzecki recounts a selection day; he possessed a family certificate, which allowed him to register a spouse and two children. As he and his wife did not have children, Dworzecki registered his younger sister as his child, and an orphan boy he met on the way to registration. Following a blip at 00:12:27, Hausner questions Dworzecki about diseases in the Vilna ghetto, and subsequent repercussions. After another blip at 00:17:50, Dworzecki describes how the Nazis marched his camp toward the sea with the intention of drowning everyone. The Jews staged an escape attempt; thousands scattered but that night only 83 were found. Dworzecki recounts his liberation by the French Army, and the tape skips after a blip at 00:21:21.

Hausner questions Abba Kovner, commander of the Vilna underground, about the first published announcement of rebellion (January 1, 1942). Kovner reads: "Let us not go like sheep to the slaughter. Jewish youth! Do not believe those who are deceiving you." The court marks this document T/289. Kovner defends the Jews who did not fight. He describes the destitution and overwhelming fear that permeated the European Jewish community: "... it is astonishing that there existed a minority who believed in this manifesto [and] that a fighting force existed at all..."

Following a blip at 00:28:37, presiding Judge Moshe Landau reprimands Hausner for irrelevant testimonies. He expresses appreciation for the historical value of Abba Kovner's testimony but notes its overall irrelevancy to Eichmann's indictment and trial. Landau states: "...the Prosecution must direct itself in accordance with what it hears from the Court." Court is adjourned.

Blip at 00:31:06. Witness Dr. Aharon Peretz, survivor of the Kovno ghetto and Stutthof camp, describes conditions in the Kovno ghetto. Following a blip at 00:34:06, Hausner questions Peretz about births in the Kovno ghetto. Peretz replies: "...I received an end each and every pregnancy..." (478). He further describes children in the ghetto; children played next to graves, and seemed to express a seriousness beyond their ages. Peretz recounts the 'children action' when Nazis loaded children onto trucks and transported them to an unkown destination. Some mothers were forced to choose between their children, and other parents attempted to hide their children. Peretz placed his own wife and child in a cellar.

After a blip at 00:52:49, Hausner submits document T/298 in which Eichmann states: "All operations in regard to the Jewish Question in occupied areas of the East must be carried out on the assumption that the Jewish Question must find its general solution in all the areas of Europe." The Court discusses this document.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Event:  1961 May 04
Production:  1961 May 04
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 22:00:46
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