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Eichmann Trial -- Excerpts from session 94 -- Cross-examination of the Accused

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.142 | Film ID: 2142

The camera fades in on the courtroom. Eichmann's attorney, Dr. Robert Servatius, and Attorney General Gideon Hausner sit at their respective tables. Assistant State Attorneys Gavriel Bach and Ya'akov Bar-Or are standing near Hausner conversing. Audio begins at 00:01:31. There are shots of the courtroom from various angles. The camera zooms in on the empty booth (00:01:59). Adolf Eichmann enters the booth carrying documents (00:02:51), which he hands to Servatius via a guard. Servatius examines the documents. All rise as the judges enter the courtroom and Presiding Judge Moshe Landau opens the ninety-fourth session of the trial.

Hausner questions Eichmann about instructions he gave to a man named Roethke for reporting deportations to the East and Auschwitz and asks when he became aware that Odilo Globocnik was murdering Jews (00:09:06). Heinrich Himmler put SS Obergruppenfuehrer Globocnik in charge of Operation Reinhard (the plan for the extermination of the Polish Jews) in May 1942. To this end Globocnik established the death camps of Belzec, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka.

Hausner asserts that although Eichmann has said a lot about his duties concerning timetables, the accused never went to the Ministry of Railways but instead sent his deputy Franz Novak to meetings on transportation in his place (00:10:01). Eichmann denies the Attorney General's allegations.

Cross-examination turns to the process of locating, marking, and concentrating Jews in order to carry out deportations (00:12:12). Hausner reads from a statement Eichmann made about the "Sisyphean" administrative difficulties of such a task. Hausner notes that Eichmann had demanded a solution to the "territorial principle" (00:15:25). Eichmann is further questioned about the "territorial principle" including whether or not an agreement was reached between him and the Foreign Ministry (00:18:21).

Hausner presents a document that contains instructions given to the police for the arrest of Jews with Argentinian nationality. Those arrested were to be sent to Bergen-Belsen after being handed over to a Dr. Siegfried Seidl, who was a member of Eichmann's section (00:20:41). Eichmann testifies that at the time of the arrests Seidl was no longer a part of section IVB4 (00:21:50). Hausner asks the accused why Argentine nationals were arrested and Eichmann states that he really does not know, but he assumes that the order was given after Argentina declared war on Germany (00:23:34).

Hausner questions Eichmann about whether or not the dissolution of ghettos and deportation of Jews to concentration camps were part of his duties (00:24:39). Eichmann testifies that these tasks were not part of his duties (00:24:59) and Hausner reads contrary evidence from a transcript of Eichmann's interrogation, in which he stated that matters concerning the dissolution of ghettos had to pass through his section (00:25:54). There is some confusion about which ghettos are being referred to in the document (00:31: 08). The accused believes that there is reference to Litzmannstadt/Łódź but Hausner states that the document does not concern Litzmannstadt. Eichmann is then questioned about the early evacuation and liquidation of all ghettos with the exception of the Budapest ghetto. This is duplicate footage also found on Tape 2140 (at 00:30:56). The footage on Tape 2140 is less complete. Judge Halevi asks the accused to read a document and explain what the reference to the Budapest ghetto meant (00:45:12). Eichmann reviews the document and states that the information presented in the document is correct (00:46:23). Judge Halevi asks the accused if matters concerning deportations from Budapest to Auschwitz would have been dealt with by his section (00:46:41). There is some visual interference during this section of footage but the audio is intact. Eichmann is then asked to explain the term "eastern territories" (00:48:25), as distinct from the Generalgouvernement.

A small part of the footage is repeated. Nothing from the proceedings is missing. Eichmann replies to Judge Halevi's question about the eastern territories and states that they did not include the General Government (Generalgouvernement). Hausner asks Eichmann to identify one ghetto within the German Reich (00:52:54). Eichmann tries to avoid naming a ghetto and Judge Halevi repeats Hausner's question and then asks the accused to give an example of one ghetto from which he was responsible for deporting people to Auschwitz (00:56:02). Eichmann again attempts to evade the question and minimize his responsibility. This entire section is duplicate footage also found on Tape 2140 (at 00:35:31). Hausner asks Eichmann if his section was aware of the number of people being deported and whether Eichmann knew that people were dying en route (00:59:08 on this tape and at 00:36:41 on Tape 2140). Judge Halevi asks if there was any way he could have prevented people from dying in the transports. Eichmann testifies that there was nothing he could have done and Hausner notes that he determined the number of people in each car and therefore did have the capability to prevent people from dying. Hausner reads a quote from the Sassen document (01:03:25 on this tape and at 00:41:00 on Tape 2140) describing the accused's indifference to the deaths. The English translation of Eichmann's answer to the quote from the Sassen document is not heard on this tape although it is presented in full on Tape 2140. The camera focuses on Eichmann's hands. The Sassen document consisted of a set of tapes and their transcripts from interview sessions between Dutch journalist Willem Sassen and Adolf Eichmann over a four-month period in 1957. Sassen, a former SS man, had been attached to an Einsatzgruppe unit during the war. Following the war he was sentenced to death in his own country. Sassen fled to South America where he met and interviewed Eichmann. The tapes and transcripts were referred to throughout the trial.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Event:  1961 July 12
Production:  1961 July 12
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 21:56:38
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