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Eichmann Trial -- Session 99 -- Cross-examination of the Accused

Film | Accession Number: 1999.A.0087 | RG Number: RG-60.2100.164 | Film ID: 2164

Footage begins with a shot of Attorney General Gideon Hausner and Assistant State Attorney Gabriel Bach seated at the prosecution table. Dr. Robert Servatius, counsel for the defense, enters (00:00:26) and the camera cuts to a long shot of the courtroom. Servatius walks over to the defense table and is seated. The camera cuts to another angle and Adolf Eichmann enters the booth (00:00:39) carrying documents and accompanied by three Israeli guards. He bows to Servatius and is seated. There are various shots of Servatius and Eichmann preparing for the session. All rise as judges Halevi, Landau, and Raveh enter the courtroom (00:03:12). The attorneys bow to the judges (00:03:20). Judge Landau opens the 99th session of the trial (00:03:38).

Footage begins at the opening of the session. Hausner continues with cross examination asking the accused about meeting Heinrich Müller, head of Section IV (Gestapo) of the Reich Main Security Office, after witnessing the Einsatzgruppen units in action and telling him that their method was making them into sadists suggesting that another method for executions had to be found. When Eichmann replies that he is not familiar with the last phrase, Hausner notes that during his interrogation he was shown an excerpt from the LIFE article and did not comment on its contents (00:04:48). An excerpt from LIFE discussing the need for another method of extermination is read out loud by Hausner in German. Eichmann contests the statement given in the article and testifies that it is a wrong interpretation of his words and either way, whether by shooting or gas, he was against the killing (00:07:50). Hausner continues to ask questions to the accused in German. The entire opening segment of footage is duplicate footage also found on Tape 2165 (from 00:00:50 to 00:09:16). The footage on Tape 2164 is more complete.

Cross examination continues with questions regarding whether or not Eichmann spoke to people from Rosenberg's Ministry concerning gas (00:12:30). Eichmann replies that he does not think that he spoke to anyone about gas matters. Hausner continues to question the accused in German. Letters written by a man named Wetzel are introduced and Eichmann is questioned about several instances in which he is referred to in conjunction with matters concerning gas (00:15:51) and deportations of Jews from the Reich to Minsk and Riga (00:18:22). Hausner notes that only Wetzel knew that Eichmann had given consent on behalf of the Reich Main Security Office for the use of gas in the extermination process (00:19:38). Eichmann testifies that he did not give consent since he had nothing to do with the killings (00:19:48).

The Attorney General reads a passage in German from the Sassen interviews noting that Eichmann dictated a letter to be given to Odilo Globocnik (00:20:51). After the war Eichmann was interviewed by a Dutch journalist and former SS man, Willem Sassen. The interviews became a major document within the trial simply referred to as the Sassen Document. Hausner goes on to ask Eichmann if the letter was an order to exterminate a quarter million Jews (00:26:07). Eichmann replies that the Jews were already dead and that Globocnik had wanted to have a retrospective order for the Jews he had already killed (00:26:14). Questions concerning retrospective orders for the killing of Jews continue with Hausner asking Eichmann if he ever brought Globocnik an order to kill Jews (00:35:24). Eichmann replies that he did not (00:35:41).

Eichmann is then asked about which concentration camps he visited (00:36:23) and if Rudolf Höss showed him the entire extermination process at Auschwitz (00:37:37). The Attorney General continues asking the accused if he had any authority over the extermination camps (00:40:35). Eichmann denies having any authority (00:40:38). The segment beginning with Eichmann viewing the extermination process is duplicated footage also found on Tape 2165 (from 00:09:18 to 00:11:01). The footage on Tape 2164 is more complete.

Questions towards the accused turn to the topic of Eichmann's involvement in matters concerning an Auschwitz inmate named Bertold Storfer (00:41:18). Storfer was a representative of the Viennese Jewish community. As told by Eichmann, Storfer was sent "by mistake" and "behind his back" to Auschwitz. Upon learning of the deportation, Eichmann went to Auschwitz to ask Höss for the man's release. Release is denied by Höss because of orders but supposedly upon Eichmann's insistence Storfer is given an "easier" job, sweeping the sidewalk in front of the commandant's office. Eichmann is asked a series of questions by Hausner and judges Landau and Halevi regarding his degree of involvement in procuring this "easier" task for Storfer. Among the questions the accused is asked are from whom and when he received "special permission" to go to Auschwitz to talk with Höss and make the arrangements. Hausner questions Eichmann about his deputy, Rolf Günther's orders to execute Storfer, Eppstein, and Edelstein while he was in Hungary and the accused's reaction when he was informed of the killings (00:54:31).
Eichmann is then asked about orders he received from Müller to go to Kulmhof/Chelmno (00:59:20). The accused replies that it was Müller's method of being kept informed about what was going on in Reich territories and that it was just him who was sent on these assignments (00:59:27).

Hausner continues asking Eichmann about the Economic-Administrative Main Office's recognition of two categories of Jews 1) transport Jews who arrived based on instructions from Eichmann's section and 2) custody Jews, who arrived on instruction from Department IVC2 (01:03:07). Hausner goes on to question the accused about instances in which Jews who couldn't be included in transports were ensured, by Eichmann, to be sent to Auschwitz as inmates in "protective custody" (01:04:14). The accused is handed a document. This is duplicate footage also found on Tape 2163 (from 00:00:34 to 00:02:00). The footage on Tape 2163 is more complete.

Film Title
Eichmann Trial
Event:  1961 July 17
Production:  1961 July 17
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: 2021-06-03 12:45:13
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