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Eichmann Trial -- Session 42 -- Testimony of Heinrich Grueber, Charlotte Salzberger; affidavit of Bernard Loesener

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.054 | Film ID: 2053

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    Eichmann Trial -- Session 42 -- Testimony of Heinrich Grueber, Charlotte Salzberger; affidavit of Bernard Loesener


    Under questioning from the judges, the German theologian Dr. Heinrich Grueber testifies about his role in the rescue of Jews. He says that he receives hate mail and threats for his rescue work and for agreeing to come to Jerusalem to testify. He refuses to publicly state the name of a fellow rescuer for this reason. He quotes Leo Baeck as he describes the difference between the reactions of working people versus scholars to the persecution of the Jews. (Duplicate footage also found on Tape 2052 at 01:00:02 and Tape 2051 at 00:31:04). Judge Halevi asks Grueber what happened to Dr. Bernard Loesener, who testified at Nuremberg. After hearing about the 1941 massacre of Jews in Riga Loesener asked to be relieved of his position in the Ministry of the Interior. Judge Halevi then asks Grueber whether Losener had the same duties as Dr. Globke in the Ministry of the Interior and whether Grüber received help from high authorities in the Catholic church in Germany, including Pope Pius XII. (Duplicate footage found on Tape 2051 at 00:34:07).

    A small part of the proceedings is missing from the video. Judge Halevi asks Grueber about the lack of moral courage in Germany that helped lead to the annihilation of the Jews. Grueber discusses Eichmann's character and his anti-Semitic beliefs. Grueber characterizes Eichmann not as a man consumed by hatred, but rather as a man who exhibits a "cold rejection" of humanity. Grueber leaves the witness stand and sits in the audience of the courtroom while the translation of his personal statement about his hope for forgiveness and for good relations between Germany and Israel is read in English. The woman sitting beside him (his wife?) wipes away tears as his statement is read.

    Assistant State Attorney Bar-Or speaks of a minor problem with the gathering of a witness's testimony in Rome. He then enters documents into evidence and states that Eichmann's department was responsible for the efforts to "politicize" the churches. He enters an affidavit by Bernard Loesener into evidence. Bar-Or summarizes part of the document in which Loesener discusses his duties to enforce the Nuremberg Laws, the massacre in Riga, and his efforts to leave the Interior Ministry (00:42:34). Bar-Or contends that it is clear that Eichmann's department was heavily involved in matters concerning Jews. Bar-Or reads part of this document in German, in which Loesener names Eichmann as an "especially fanatical Jew hater." Various shots of Eichmann taking notes.

    First part of testimony from witness Charlotte Salzberger (00:47:46). Mr. Bar-Or asks the witness about her arrival in Holland, how long she stayed there, and whether her family had to register as Jews. Salzberger shows items that she kept in an album, including the Jewish star she was forced to wear and the deportation order sent to her sister. (Identical footage found on Tape 2051 at 00:41:02). She is asked about the summons for deportation that she received in 1942 and she states that she did not report for deportation as ordered. Salzberger testifies that her nationality in 1941 was "stateless" and that her family received Ecuadoran passports but not exit visas.
    Film Title
    Eichmann Trial
    Event:  1961 May 16
    Production:  1961 May 16
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archives of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Director: Leo Hurwitz
    Producer: Capital Cities Broadcasting Corporation
    Subject: Bernard Loesener
    Producer: Milton Fruchtman
    Camera Operator: J. Kalach
    Camera Operator: Emil Knebel
    Camera Operator: J. Jonilowicz
    Camera Operator: F. Csaznik
    Camera Operator: Rolf M. Kneller
    Bernard Lösener was the "Racial Expert" of the German Interior Ministry from 1933 to 1943. In this post, Lösener took part in drafting twenty-seven anti-Jewish decrees. Most important among them were the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 and the subsequent legal definitions that distinguished among different kinds of partial Jews ("hybrids, " or mischlinge), in effect exempting quarter Jews and secularized half Jews from the full brunt of persecution. After the war, Lösener recalled how he was summoned at the last minute to bring his Interior Ministry files to the 1935 Nazi party rally, where the drafting of the Nuremberg Laws took place over a hectic weekend. His detailed first-hand account of this event has been frequently cited, especially by those historians who emphasize the unplanned and evolutionary nature of Nazi Jewish policy. Lösener was the son of a minor judicial official. He served as a soldier in World War I, attended the University of Tübingen, and passed his civil service examinations, becoming a customs official in 1924. He joined the Nazi party in December 1930. In April 1933, when experienced officials with party credentials were in short supply, he was summoned from his obscure customs post to the Interior Ministry in Berlin. By his own account, Lösener quickly became disillusioned with the Nazis, for two reasons: the inclusion of even one-quarter Jews among those banned from the civil service, and the party's intervention in the internal affairs of the Evangelical church. Like many others, Lösener claimed that he clung to his post to prevent worse from happening and to save those who could still be saved. By his own admission, this meant accepting the impossibility of doing anything for "full Jews, " but doing everything possible to prevent quarter and half Jews, as well as the latter's parents living in mixed marriages, from being equated with full Jews. It also meant abjuring open opposition and framing his arguments on the basis of Nazi ideology, despite the "internal aversion" and "shame" he felt. Two factors distinguish Lösener's apologia from those of others. First, he did in fact work consistently, tenaciously, and with considerable success to prevent Mischlinge and Jews in mixed marriages from being affected by the regime's anti-Jewish measures. According to his calculations, this saved from deportation as many as 100,000 of the former and 20,000 of the latter. Second, unlike others who clung to their posts allegedly to prevent worse, but in fact steadily accommodated themselves to the escalating violence, Lösener had a limit beyond which he would not go. When he learned of the December 1941 massacres of the first German Jews deported to Riga, he requested a transfer from his post as Rassereferent. Eventually, in March 1943, he was appointed as a judge. Lösener was arrested in November 1944 for hiding a couple implicated in the July 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler. He was expelled from the party for "treason, " but survived his Berlin imprisonment until liberation. After two subsequent arrests -- first by the Russians and then by the Americans -- and submitting to denazification proceedings, he was briefly employed by the German mission of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in 1949. He then resumed government employment until his death. A posthumous memoir was published about Lösener's activities in the Interior Ministry, "Als Rassereferent im Reichsministerium des Innern, " Vierteljahrshefte fur Zeitgeschichte 9/3 (1961), pp. 264 - 313.
    Courtesy of: "Encyclopedia of the Holocaust" ©1990, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, NY 10022
    Emil Knebel was a cinematographer known for Andante (2010), Adam (1973), and Wild Is My Love (1963). He was one of the cameramen who recorded daily coverage of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem (produced by Capital Cities Broadcasting Corp and later held academic positions in Israel and New York teaching filmmaking at universities. Refer to CV in file.

    Physical Details

    English German Hebrew
    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    00:00:24:00 to 00:58:03:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2053 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2053 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2053 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2053 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 2053 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2053 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2053 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2053 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    Public Domain
    Conditions on Use
    To the best of the Museum's knowledge, this material is in the public domain. You do not require further permission from the Museum to reproduce or use this material.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    Capital Cities Broadcasting Corporation recorded the proceedings of the Adolf Eichmann trial in 1961. The original recording was made on two-inch format videotape. One set of videotapes contained selected portions of the trial for distribution to television stations. The "selected portions" version remained in Israel and was later turned over to the Israel State Archives. Capital Cities Broadcasting retained the set of videotapes containing the complete trial proceedings at offices in New York City until 1965, when they gave the videotapes to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. The Anti-Defamation League, in turn, gave the complete set to the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1972. With a grant from the Revson Foundation, Hebrew University transferred the two-inch videotapes to U-Matic format. During the transfer process, Hebrew University created three duplicate sets. One set was given to the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive, one to the Israel State Archives, and one set to the Jewish Museum in New York City. In 1995, the Israel State Archives transferred the trial footage to digital videoformat with a grant from the Israeli Prime Minister's Office. Three subsequent digital videotape copies resulted from this transfer of footage. The Israel State Archives retained one digital copy and a second set was deposited at the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the third set of digital videotapes in May 1999.
    See official transcripts, published in "The Trial of Adolf Eichmann", Vol. I-V, State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, Jerusalem, 1994. Also available online at the Nizkor Project.

    *Scratches in first 5 minutes of master; hits in video at 12 minutes in master.
    Copied From
    2" Quad
    Film Source
    Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 2155
    Source Archive Number: VTEI 177
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 08:05:38
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