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Eichmann Trial -- Session 93 -- Transports to Trawniki, Sobibor; Einsatzgruppen; discussion of the Fuehrerprinzip

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.144 | Film ID: 2144

Footage begins in the middle of Session 93 during cross-examination of the accused by Attorney General Gideon Hausner concerning the Trawniki labor camp. Eichmann is questioned about the date of transfer of the camp to the Economic-Administrative Head Office and whether in 1942 the Jews arriving at the camp were immediately sent for extermination.

The opening segment is repeated after a break in the footage. Hausner presents a document to Eichmann and asks him if Odilo Globocnik was Oswald Pohl's representative in charge of implementing extermination in Poland. [Globocnik oversaw the camp in Trawniki but was also a major participant in the extermination of Polish Jewry in the killing centers of Belzec, Sobibor, and Majdanek.] Judge Landau asks Eichmann why Globocnik never received any orders from Pohl even though the accused maintains that everything that went on in the camps was Pohl's affair (00:10:17). Eichmann does not give a clear answer to Judge Landau's question.

Hausner again asks Eichmann why the Economic-Administrative Head Office did not receive notification of the transports to and from Trawniki while Eichmann did receive notification (00:12:02). Eichmann replies that he does not know the answer, he did not take part in discussions regarding these transports, and he was only following orders.

Hausner questions Eichmann about why he is able to recall transports to Auschwitz but not these other transports to the General Government (00:16:11). Eichmann testifies that it is because most of the transports went to Auschwitz. Hausner presents a document in which Eichmann instructs Roethke to send transports to Cholm on 23 March 1943 and asks Eichmann to confirm that these transports were going to Sobibor (00:17:27). The accused seems confused about the name Cholm and a long discussion ensues in which the parties attempt to clarify where Cholm is and the town's proper name (00:18:44 to 00:24:11), or whether it has been confused with Kulmhof, better known as Chelmno. Hausner reminds the accused that he received many reports on transports to Cholm and asks Eichmann if the people in these transports were sent for extermination.

Hasuner presents a map of the General Government and explains that Cholm is near Sobibor in eastern Poland. Eichmann is asked if he was notified about the destination of the transports (00:29:44) and if he authorized them. Further questions concern whether those unable to work were immediately sent for extermination and if Eichmann was the one who decided if transports of Jews from the Reich would go to Minsk or to Riga (00:32:36). Eichmann testifies that it was Reinhard Heydrich who would have made these decisions. When Hausner asks whether he knew the horrible fate that awaited the deportees Eichmann says that he did not know at the time (00:34:15).

Hausner questions Eichmann about his knowledge of the Einsatzgruppen's activities, including whether or not he received reports in 1942 on the murders being carried out by these units (00:35:55). During this section of footage there are shots of the audience. Hausner questions the accused about whether the Final Solution applied to all Jews or only the Jews in the Reich. Eichmann says that he expected the Jews of the Reich to be treated differently, that he thought they would be resettled. The Attorney General accuses Eichmann of deceiving the Jews by telling them they were being resettled when he knew full well that they were to be exterminated. Footage on this tape (#2144) from 00:37:06 to 00:42:15 duplicates footage found on tape #2140 (at 00:25:47 to 00:30:52). The footage on tape #2140 is less complete.

Hausner questions Eichmann who was responsible for giving orders and who merely followed orders. Eichmann is asked if Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Heydrich carried out Hitler's orders and in this sense received orders (00:42:20). Hausner asks if the accused feels that the International Military Tribunal's verdict for Kaltenbrunner was just. There is discussion of the Fuehrer principle (Fuehrerprinzip) by which everyone below Hitler received and gave orders in a hierarchical chain of command. This topic continues to the end of the session. Judge Landau asks to adjourn and all rise as the judges exit the courtroom. Eichmann exits the booth. There are various shots of the courtroom, people exiting, and the attorneys' desks.

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 21:56:25
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