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

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.131 | Film ID: 2131

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


    Footage begins in the middle of the session with cross-examination of the accused by Attorney General Gideon Hausner. Hausner questions Eichmann about the September 21, 1939 meeting in Heydrich's office. At this meeting Reinhard Heydrich met with Adolf Eichmann and other Einsatzgruppen commanders to discuss Hitler's approval of a plan to concentrate Polish Jews in cities and later deport them eastward. Eichmann maintains that he was not present at this meeting and refers to the testimony of Dr. Alfred Six, noting that the witness would have stated that Eichmann had been at the meeting. Hausner reads contrary evidence which proves that Eichmann did attend the meeting (00:02:48) and accuses Eichmann of distorting testimony. Eichmann protests, saying that he can not remember since too much time has passed, to which Hausner replies that less than three years ago Eichmann was interview by Sassen and recounted everything that he is being asked now (00:05:29).

    Hausner then asks the accused to indicate whether and when he read books by Reitlinger (00:07:39) and Poliakov. Eichmann testifies that he read them while in prison but Hausner states that Sassen had questioned him about these books (00:09:42). The accused is then asked about documents that Sassen had read to him, including one that refers to an order he gave to Globocnik for the murder of 250,000 Jews (00:13:29).

    Hausner returns to the subject of the meeting with Heydrich and whether or not Eichmann was the man in charge of Heydrich's Jewish policy (00:14:14). Eichmann is asked whether Heydrich boasted about Eichmann's successes to Herman Goering and the Reich Ministers (00:14:47). Hausner presses the accused about when he was named head of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. When asked if he was in charge of departments in Prague, Vienna, and Berlin (00:16:56) Eichmann testifies that he was responsible for the general running of the offices but goes on to describe the differences between being the director of the office and being someone who merely follows orders from his supervisors.

    Eichmann is then asked a series of questions about whether or not he was aware of Heydrich's Jewish policy (00:18:44), and if he knew that this policy had been carried out by the Einsatzgruppen in Poland (00:26:42). Hausner again raises the September 21st, 1939 meeting, and when Eichmann reiterates that he was not present at the meeting, Hausner asks Eichmann if he means to tell the court that the document in which Eichmann is named as a participant in the meeting is a forgery (00:28:29).

    The Attorney General questions the accused about the extent of his authority in the Nisko project (00:29:37). [The Nisko project was an attempt made between 1939 and 1940 to solve the "Jewish Question" by concentrating Jews in an area around the region of Lublin and Nisko in Poland.] Presiding Judge Moshe Landau reiterates Hausner's question and Eichmann says that he worked under Franz Stahlecker. Stahlecker was an SS officer and commander of Einsatzgruppe A who worked with Eichmann in the development of the Nisko project. Eichmann maintains that neither Stahlecker nor himself came up with the idea of the Nisko project but that it was the idea of certain "Jewish functionaries," namely Dr. Loewenherz, Edelstein in Prague and Rabbi Dr. Murmelstein (00:31:54). This section is duplicate footage also found on Tape 2133 (at 00:03:20).

    The accused testifies that Stahlecker had received permission for the implementation of the Nisko project (00:36:32) and that he himself was not in Berlin when the deportations started (00:37:52). Judge Halevi asks the accused how and why Stahlecker became his superior (00:39:30), as well as who Stahlecker's superiors were. The English translations of both of these questions are delayed and begin at 00:42:11. Eichmann explains Stahlecker's administrative authority (00:46:56) and goes on to state that he himself did not give instructions for the Nisko project

    The remainder of the footage concerns the camouflage of returned deportees after the failure to implement the Nisko project (00:48:52). By the end of October 1939 all the deportations to the Nisko region had been stopped and by spring 1940 the remaining Jews who had not been expelled throughout the Lublin area were sent back to Austria and the Bohemia and Moravia. The documents used in this section suggest that the Jews who had been returned were ordered to present themselves, when registering in the Central Office for Emigration, as "persons returning from retraining." This section is duplicate footage also found on Tape 2133 (at 00:11:06).

    Judge Landau calls for a recess (00:57:17) and all rise as the judges exit the courtroom (00:57:21). Eichmann, escorted by guards, exits the booth (00:57:34). There are shots of the audience and people filing out of the courtroom. Footage ends with a shot of the empty booth.
    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
    Director: Leo Hurwitz
    Producer: Capital Cities Broadcasting Corporation
    Subject: Willem Sassen
    Producer: Milton Fruchtman
    Camera Operator: J. Kalach
    Camera Operator: Emil Knebel
    Camera Operator: J. Jonilowicz
    Camera Operator: F. Csaznik
    Camera Operator: Rolf M. Kneller
    Willem Sassen, Dutch by birth, was a former SS man who had been a war correspondent attached to an Einsatzgruppe unit during the war. Sentenced to death in his own country, he hid in Buenos Aires where he met Adolf Eichmann. In 1957 he began a series of taped interviews with Eichmann, the bulk of which became known as the Sassen Document and were used at the 1961 trial. The document itself consisted of the tapes and the transcripts.
    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
    00:00:12:00 to 00:58:29:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2131 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2131 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2131 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
      Master 2131 Video: Digital Betacam - NTSC - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 2131 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2131 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2131 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2131 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.

    *Digital playback hits in audio track at 45 seconds.
    Copied From
    2" Quad
    Film Source
    Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 2399
    Source Archive Number: VTEI 200
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-05 07:33:08
    This page:

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