Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Eichmann Trial -- Sessions 34 and 35-- Witnesses Dr. Melkman and David Melchior

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.046 | Film ID: 2045

Session 34. Tape begins with Dr. Joseph Melkman (Michman) being sworn in as a witness for the Prosecution. He was born in Holland and immigrated to Israel. He was the director of Yad Vashem.

00:03:17 Tape jumps. Dr. Melkman is testifying, being asked about a man who helped organize the Judenrat in Holland because the Jews did not know how to deal with the Germans. Edelstein's status is discussed. He describes that at first, many Jews wore the yellow stars with pride; that they were not ashamed to be Jewish, and many Christians supported them in protesting the act.

00:08:21 Tape jumps. Dr. Melkman is asked about when he was detained, saying that he held out until 1943 because he was a teacher in a Jewish intermediary school. They were moved into a certain area, and then that area was raided by the Germans. They were able to hide their son with a willing Gentile family.

00:11:00 Tape jumps. The Prosecution asks about their hiding son, that the list the Germans had listed their family as having three people. They came upon a young mother whose husband had already been killed in a camp. She gave them her son, who was nearly the same age, and she was sent to Sobibor. The son survived the war.

00:14:19 Tape jumps. The organization of the deportations is discussed. The Jews were told by their leaders a day before it happened, and they were forced to supply a list of names, slightly larger than the requested number to make up for those who died en route. He says that nothing stayed in his memory quite like those nights, where lists of death sentences were read out every week at 3am, and that even today that they hold a certain feeling towards Tuesday. They did not know that it was certain death, but they thought that it would not be good. He describes his family's story, with quite a few surviving the Holocaust. He describes what it was like to be in hiding, and tells of one boy who was not allowed to walk or speak normally for fear of being found. When he was finally found, he kept talking in hushed tones. He was told that he could speak normally, and he began running about the courtyard shouting at the top of his lungs. At the time, they thought perhaps that was better than living in hiding. The boy was sent to Auschwitz after three days.

00:27:00 Tape jumps. Melkman describes the different camps, and his job of carting coal. He describes an instance where two women grabbed some food left at the bottom of a barrel, only to be beaten by a woman officer. He then talks about cannibalism that he witnessed, and that there were 13 instances of it at the camp.

00:30:03 Tape jumps. The Prosecution says that it intends to corroborate the testimony of Melkman, and to show Eichmann's direct connection to all of this. They submit a document concerning a letter about the concentration of Jewish property. A letter concerning the treatment of half-Jews is submitted. It recommends identical treatment for half-Jews as full Jews, though the Wehrmacht has some objections, considering that soldiers might be affected by this. Eichmann is cited directly as wanting this, and other evidence that they will submit later says that Eichmann was more strict about this than Hitler himself.

00:35:14 Session 35. The Prosecution wishes to focus on Denmark, and calls the witness Werner David Melchior. He is sworn in. He is asked about the treatment of Jews in Denmark, and he says that they were treated equally in all aspects of life.

00:41:16 Tape jumps. Melchior is asked about when the deportations began. He describes news that arrived from the German high command, and they fled as best they could from this coming terror. He describes the people rounded up and taken to Theresienstadt, as well as many Danish police being sent to Buchenwald.

00:50:20 Melchior describes his escape, he was delivering warnings to his neighbors and friends. They went by rail to a clergyman's house, packing only essentials and planning to stay together. They then took a boat to Sweden, where they were not sure if they would be accepted. Court adjourns a few minutes early to maintain narrative.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Event:  1961 May 10
Production:  1961 May 10
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 21:56:29
This page: