Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Eichmann Trial -- Sessions 39 and 40 -- Whether Musmanno can testify; other leaders implicate Eichmann

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.049 | Film ID: 2048

Sessions 39 and 40. Attorney General Hausner, citing that a certain witness could not make it for that day, breaks the current narrative to call Justice Michael Musmanno, a judge at the Nuremberg trials who was responsible for interrogating Nazi leaders, as a witness. Dr. Servatius objects and argues that he has already made judgments and would only present hearsay evidence to the case.

00:08:51 Tape jumps. Hausner is arguing that the cases of Musmanno do not affect this case. He says that since none of Eichmann's superiors are around, nor anybody directly related to this case, he must obtain a picture from those who dealt with men in their official capacities. At Nuremberg, Musmanno heard official documents and from the accused themselves in order to learn the narrative.

00:13:42 Dr. Servatius asks that perhaps he could be considered an expert witness and treated as such. He heard from two biased sides, including the defendants, and was skewed in some way. He then says he would never question a judge, but Musmanno is also a publicist and therefore biased. He asks the Judges not to accept the evidence. The Judges take a 20 minute recess.

00:16:34 Tape jumps. The Judges are in their seats and give their decision considering Musmanno, deciding to accept his testimony, but nothing concerning the things he investigated on his own after the Nuremberg trials. He says that he is on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for just over nine years and a trial judge for over 20.

00:21:23 Tape jumps. Musmanno is testifying about Hitler ordering that every captured Allied pilot be executed, and that Kaller refused to follow the order, going to Kaltenbrunner concerning that. Kaltenbrunner agreed, except he had a problem with Eichmann insisting that downed pilots of Jewish heritage be executed.

00:25:09 Eichmann is said to repeatedly have gone above Heydrich to talk to Himmler. After Heydrich's assassination, it is said there was a time where Eichmann ran his department with a completely free hand.

00:29:43 Tape jumps. It was said that nobody had control over Eichmann because he was fulfilling a mission for Hitler.

00:30:58 Tape jumps. Musmanno is asked about the principle purpose of the Einsatzgruppen with respect to Jews. He says that their purpose was to exterminate Jews and rob them of their property.

00:33:21 Hausner asks to submit a document not related to Musmanno but to a problem that arose in relation to him. The President of Court tells him to wait for the cross-examination. Dr. Servatius asks Musmanno about a statement concerning Eichmann's responsibility with the extermination of the Jews. Dr. Servatius asks him if he talked to Goering in his investigation. He says that he did, and that Goering said he was unaware that the extermination of the Jews had hit its reported levels, and that Hitler, Bormann, Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich, and Eichmann did since they were directly responsible for the Holocaust. Other people close to Hitler who spoke of Eichmann were von Ribbentropp, Kaltenbrunner, Hans Frank, Schellenberg, Karl Koller, and others. He says that Hitler put Eichmann into the program of Jewish extermination (this is duplicate footage from Tape 2043). Servatius asks if Goering was trying to pawn off this guilt upon a small official to escape accusations of his own involvement. Musmanno says with enthusiasm that he spoke of Eichmann as a large figure, with great power and total control over the extermination of the Jews.

00:43:41 Dr. Servatius asks about Musmanno talking to von Ribbentrop. He is asked about Eichmann pressuring von Ribbentrop. He said that von Ribbentrop claimed that Eichmann influenced Hitler, but he did not accept that, because nobody could influence Hitler. Servatius says that this was von Ribbentrop passing off responsibility for killing the Jews, and Musmanno immediately responds that he wasn't accusing von Ribbentrop for anything, but asking about Hitler. Von Ribbentrop insisted that Hitler was not responsible for anything, but it was Eichmann, and his great regret was the faith that Hitler put in Eichmann.

00:49:45 Tape jumps. Musmanno is asked to explain some statements from the Nuremberg trials that contradict the evidence he had just given regarding von Ribbentrop. He says that von Ribbentrop knew his guilt, and attempted to bring all of the other guilty parties with him. He says that von Ribbentrop never denied guilt, but only added names to those who were also guilty; he wasn't accusing these men, but only talking to them.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Event:  1961 May 15
Production:  1961 May 15
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: 2021-06-03 12:45:23
This page: