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Eichmann Trial -- Session 91 -- Cross-examination of the Accused

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.130 | Film ID: 2130

The camera fades in on Eichmann's empty booth. Defense counsel Dr. Robert Servatius is visible in the foreground. The camera cuts to the lawyers' tables. Servatius is seated in the foreground and Attorney General Gideon Hausner, Assistant State Attorney Gabriel Bach, and Assistant State Attorney Ya'akov Bar-Or are seated in the background. Eichmann enters the booth (00:01:53). He sits and cleans his glasses. There is an overhead shot from the balcony of Eichmann sitting in the booth. The camera begins to zoom in. The camera cuts to various shots of the courtroom and the audience. All rise as the judges enter (00:06:00). The defense and prosecuting lawyers bow to the judges (00:06:09). Presiding Judge Moshe Landau opens the ninety-first session (00:06:51).

Landau begins the session by addressing Servatius's application to summon witnesses Tohar and Shimoni. Servatius presents his case for allowing the two witnesses to testify (00:07:32). Judge Landau confers with judges Benjamin Halevi and Yitzchak Raveh (00:16:43 to 00:17:16). Hausner presents his opinion on the matter (00:17:21) and the judges confer again (00:20:24 to 00:22:17). Judge Landau notifies Servatius that the court has rejected his application (00:26:17). Another application, made by Servatius, to summon the witness Van Taalingen-Dols is presented by Judge Landau (00:27:24). Servatius argues that since the letter he has presented from the witness is in Dutch the court has not thoroughly considered the necessity to have the witness testify. Landau insists this is not the case and explains how documents are handled by the court (00:32:45). Hausner states his position on the matter and reads excerpts from the letter (00:35:44). The judges confer (00:43:27 to 00:46:43) and it is decided that Servatius will send a telegram to Van Taalingen-Dols to see if he would be willing to testify in Israel (00:47:20). Landau makes notes (00:49:11).

The cross-examination of the accused resumes (00:50:26). Hausner asks Eichmann about his trip with Franz Stahlecker to the Generalgouvernement of Poland (00:50:48). Hausner then asks how long Eichmann stayed (00:52:57), what route he traveled (00:54:32), and whether he was in Nisko (00:56:00) and saw the torture and killing of Jews at the beginning of the war (00:56:12). Eichmann gives a very vague replies to Hausner's questions, but he does state clearly that he never saw anyone being tortured or killed. Hausner asks the accused whether he saw what the German army did to the Jews during the first few weeks of the occupation (00:57:35) and Eichmann replies that he was not aware of any of this because he was at his desk in Berlin (00:58:01). The Attorney General presses Eichmann on whether he saw anything in Lublin, Katowice, or Sosnowiec (00:58:22). Again Eichmann replies that he did not see anything. He is then questioned about the September 21, 1939 meeting in Reinhard Heydrich's office (00:59:26) and whether Heydrich brought up the plan for the Final Solution (01:00:42). Eichmann states that he did not participate in the meeting. Only part of Eichmann's answer in German to Hausner's question is complete. The English translation is not heard.

The cross-examination is in reference to Eichmann's role in the Nisko project, which was a "territorial solution" to the Jewish question that was considered between September 1939 and March 1940. When Eichmann was transferred to Prague in 1939 he and Einsatzgruppe A Commander Franz Stahlecker conceived of the idea of 'resettling' Jews in Poland. The area between the Bug and Vistula rivers, called the "Lublin reservation," was the area chosen for this purpose. Stahlecker proposed the operation to Heydrich, and during a meeting on September 21, 1939 Heydrich reported to commanders of the Einsatzgruppen that the plan had been approved. On October 6 Müller instructed Eichmann to make contact with Joseph Wagner, the Gauleiter of Eastern Upper Silesia, concerning the expulsion of 70,000-80,000 Jews to this territory. Eichmann went first to Vienna and Ostrava then to Katowice and arranged for deportations from all three locations. By mid October it was ordered that the deportations be stopped. Eichmann went to Berlin to try to reinstate the deportations but nothing came of his attempts and the Lublin reservation was never fully developed.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Event:  1961 July 11
Production:  1961 July 11
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 21:56:45
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