IMT - Deportation testimony of Dieter Wisliceny

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23252
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

IMT - Deportation testimony of Dieter Wisliceny

Post by David Thompson » 10 Feb 2005 17:21

Here is the IMT testimony of SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Dieter Wisliceny, a member of RSHA Sondereinsatzkommando Eichmann, given to the International Military Tribunal (IMT) on 3 Jan 1946. It is available on-line through the Avalon Project at the Yale University Law School, IMT Proceedings vol. 4, pp. 355-73.

Wisliceny, Dieter (1899 (SS: Roll of Infamy p. 175) or 1911 (Encyclopedia of the Third Reich p. 1054) -1948) [SS-Sturmbannfűhrer (SS: Roll of Infamy p. 175) or SS-Hauptsturmfűhrer (Encyclopedia of the Third Reich p. 1054)] -- service, Reich Security Main Office Special Action Command "Eichmann" (RSHA Sondereinsatzkommando Eichmann) {arrested by British authorities; extradited to Czechoslovakia; put on trial by a Czechoslovakian court for war crimes; convicted and sentenced to death by hanging; executed at Pressburg (Bratislava) 27 Feb 1948 (Encyclopedia of the Third Reich p. 1054) or Jul 1948 (SS: Roll of Infamy p. 175).}

COL. AMEN: The next witness to be called by the Prosecution is Dieter Wisliceny.
That witness will be examined by Lieutenant Colonel Smith W. Brookhart, Jr.

[The witness, Wisliceny, took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?

DIETER WISLICENY (Witness): Dieter Wisliceny.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath: "I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing." [The witness repeated the oath.]

THE PRESIDENT: Please speak slowly and pause between questions and answers.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL SMITH W. BROOKHART, JR. (Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States): How old are you?

WISLICENY: I am 34 years old.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Where were you born?

WISLICENY: I was born at Regulowken in East Prussia.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Were you a member of the NSDAP?

WISLICENY: Yes, I was a member of the NSDAP.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Since what year?

WISLICENY: I entered the NSDAP first in 1931, was then struck off the list and entered finally in 1933.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Were you a member of the SS?

WISLICENY: Yes, I entered the SS in 1934.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Were you a member of the Gestapo?

WISLICENY: In 1934 I entered the SD.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What rank did you achieve?

WISLICENY: In 1940 I was promoted to SS Hauptsturmfuehrer.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Do you know Adolf Eichmann?

WISLICENY: Yes, I have known Eichmann since 1934.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Under what circumstances?

WISLICENY: We joined the SD about the same time, in 1934. Until 1937 we were together in the same department.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: How well did you know Eichmann personally?

WISLICENY: We knew each other very well. We used the intimate "du," and I also knew his family very well.

355

3 Jan. 46

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What was his position?

WISLICENY: Eichmann was in the RSHA, a section chief in Amt IV, Gestapo.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Do you mean Section IV or a subsection, and, if so, which subsection?

WISLICENY: He ran Section IVA4. This department comprised two subsections: one for churches and another for Jewish matters.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: You have before you a diagram showing the position of Subsection IVA4b in the RSHA.

WISLICENY: Yes.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Did you prepare this diagram?

WISLICENY: Yes, I made the diagram myself.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Does it correctly portray the organizational setup showing the section dealing with Jewish problems?

WISLICENY: Yes, this was approximately the personnel of the section at the beginning of 1944.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Referring to this chart and the list of leading personnel as shown in the lower section of the paper, were you personally acquainted with each of the individuals named therein?

WISLICENY: Yes, I knew all of them personally.

LT. COL.BROOKHART: What was the particular mission of IVA4b of the RSHA?

WISLICENY: This Section IVA4b was concerned with the Jewish question for the RSHA. Eichmann had special powers from Gruppenfuehrer Muller, the Chief of Amt IV, and from the Chief of the Security Police. He was responsible for the so-called solution of the Jewish question in Germany and in all countries occupied by Germany.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Were there distinct periods of activity affecting the Jews?

WISLICENY: Yes.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Will you describe to the Tribunal the approximate periods and the different types of activity?

WISLICENY: Yes. Until 1940 the general policy within the section was to settle the Jewish question in Germany and in areas occupied by Germany by means of a planned emigration. The second phase, after that date, was the concentration of all Jews, in Poland and in other territories occupied by Germany in the East, in ghettos. This period lasted approximately until the beginning of

356

3 Jan. 46

1942. The third period was the so called "final solution" of the Jewish question, that is, the planned extermination and destruction of the Jewish race; this period lasted until October 1944, when Himmler gave the order to stop their destruction.

[A recess was taken.]

LT. COL. BROOKHART: When did you first become associated with Section IVA4 of the RSHA?

WISLICENY: That was in 1940. I happened to meet Eichmann . . .

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What was your position?

WISLICENY: Eichmann suggested that I go to Bratislava as adviser on the Jewish question to the Slovakian Government.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Thereafter how long did you hold that position?

WISLICENY: I was at Bratislava until the spring of 1943; then, almost a year in Greece and later, from March 1944 until December 1944, I was with Eichmann in Hungary. In January 1945 I left Eichmann's department.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: In your official connection with Section IVA4, did you learn of any order which directed the annihilation of all Jews?

WISLICENY: Yes, I learned of such an order for the first time from Eichmann in the summer of 1942.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Will you tell the Tribunal under what circumstances and what was the substance of the order?

WISLICENY: In the spring of 1942 about 17,000 Jews were taken from Slovakia to Poland as workers. It was a question of an agreement with the Slovakian Government. The Slovakian Government further asked whether the families of these workers could not be taken to Poland as well. At first Eichmann declined this request.

In April or at the beginning of May 1942 Eichmann told me that henceforward whole families could also be taken to Poland. Eichmann himself was at Bratislava in May 1942 and had discussed the matter with competent members of the Slovakian Government. He visited Minister Mach and the then Prime Minister, Professor Tuka. At that time he assured the Slovakian Government that these Jews would be humanely and decently treated in the Polish ghettos. This was the special wish of the Slovakian Government. As a result of this assurance about 35,000 Jews were taken from Slovakia into Poland. The Slovakian Government, however, made efforts to see that these Jews were, in fact, humanely treated; they particularly

357

3 Jan.46

tried to help such Jews as had been converted to Christianity. Prime Minister Tuka repeatedly asked me to visit him and expressed the wish that a Slovakian delegation be allowed to enter the areas to which the Slovakian Jews were supposed to have been sent. I transmitted this wish to Eichmann and the Slovakian Government even sent him a note on the matter. Eichmann at the time gave an evasive answer.

Then at the end of July or the beginning of August, I went to see him in Berlin and implored him once more to grant the request of the Slovakian Government. I pointed out to him that abroad there were rumors to the effect that all Jews in Poland were being exterminated. I pointed out to him that the Pope had intervened with the Slovakian Government on their behalf. I advised him that such a proceeding, if really true, would seriously injure our prestige, that is, the prestige of Germany, abroad. For all these reasons I begged him to permit the inspection in question. After a lengthy discussion Eichmann told me that this request to visit the Polish ghettos could not be granted under any circumstances whatsoever. In reply to my question "Why?" he said that most of these Jews were no longer alive. I asked him who had given such instructions and he referred me to an order of Himmler's. I then begged him to show me this order, because I could not believe that it actually existed in writing. He...

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Where were you at that time? Where were you at the time of this meeting with Eichmann?

WISLICENY: This meeting with Eichmann took place in Berlin, Kurfurstenstrasse 116, in Eichmann's office.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Proceed with the answer to the previous question. Proceed with the discussion of the circumstances and the order.

WISLICENY: Eichmann told me he could show me this order in writing i! it would soothe my conscience. He took a small volume of documents from his safe, turned over the pages, and showed me a letter from Himmler to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD. The gist of the letter was roughly as follows:

The Fuehrer had ordered the final solution of the Jewish question; the Chief of the Security Police and the SD and the Inspector of Concentration Camps were entrusted with carrying out this so-called final solution. All Jewish men and women who were able to work were to be temporarily exempted from the so-called final solution and used for work in the concentration camps. This letter was signed by Himmler himself. I could not possibly be mistaken since Himmler's signature was well known to me. I. . .

LT. COL. BROOKHART: To whom was the order addressed?

358

3 Jan. 46

WISLICENY: To the Chief of the Security Police and SD, that is, to the office of the Chief of the Security Police and SD.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Was there any other addressee on this order?

WISLICENY: Yes, the Inspector of Concentration Camps. The order was addressed to both these offices.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Did the order bear any classification for security purposes?

WISLICENY: It was classified as "secret."

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What was the approximate date of this order?

WISLICENY: This order was dated April 1942.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: By whom was it signed?

WISLICENY: By Himmler personally.

LT.COL. BROOKHART: And you personally examined this order in Eichmann's office?

WISLICENY: Yes, Eichmann handed me the document and I saw the order myself.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Was any question asked by you as to the meaning of the words "final solution" as used in the order?

WISLICENY: Eichmann went on to explain to me what was meant by this. He said that the planned biological annihilation of the Jewish race in the Eastern Territories was disguised by the concept and wording "final solution." In later discussions on this subject the same words "final solution" appeared over and over again.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Was anything said by you to Eichmann in regard to the power given him under this order?

WISLICENY: Eichmann told me that within the RSHA he personally was entrusted with the execution of this order. For this purpose he had received every authority from the Chief of the Security Police; he himself was personally responsible for the execution of this order.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Did you make any comment to Eichmann about his authority?

WISLICENY: Yes. It was perfectly clear to me that this order spelled death to millions of people. I said to Eichmann, "God grant that our enemies never have the opportunity of doing the same to the German people," in reply to which Eichmann told me not to be sentimental; it was an order of the Fuehrer's and would have to be carried out.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Do you know whether that order continued in force and under the operation of Eichmann's department?

359

3 Jan. 46

WISLICENY: Yes.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: How long?

WISLICENY: This order was in force until October 1944. At that time Himmler gave a counter order which forbade the annihilation of the Jews.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Who was Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt at the time the order was first issued?

WISLICENY: That would be Heydrich.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Did the program under this order continue with equal force under Kaltenbrunner?

WISLICENY: Yes; there was no diminution or change of any kind.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: State, if you know, how long Kaltenbrunner knew Eichmann.

WISLICENY: From various statements by Eichmann I gathered that Kaltenbrunner and Eichmann had known each other for a long time. Both came from Linz, and when Kaltenbrunner was made Chief of the Security Police, Eichmann expressed his satisfaction. He told me at that time that he knew Kaltenbrunner very well personally, and that Kaltenbrunner was very well acquainted with his family in Linz.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Did Eichmann ever refer to his friendship or standing with Kaltenbrunner as being helpful to him?

WISLICENY: Yes, he repeatedly said that, if he had any serious trouble, he could at any time go to Kaltenbrunner personally. He did not have to do that very often, since his relations with his immediate superior, Gruppenfuehrer Muller, were very good.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Have you been present when Eichmann and Kaltenbrunner met?

WISLICENY: Yes; once I saw how cordially Kaltenbrunner greeted Eichmann. That was in February 1945 in Eichmann's office in Berlin. Kaltenbrunner came to lunch every day at Kurfurstenstrasse 116; there the chiefs met for their midday meal with Kaltenbrunner; and it was on one such occasion that I saw how cordially Kaltenbrunner greeted Eichmann and how he inquired after the health of Eichmann's family in Linz.

WISLICENY [typo in original; actually LT. COL. BROOKHART]: In connection with the administration of his office do you know to what extent Eichmann submitted matters to Heydrich and later to Kaltenbrunner for approval?

WISLICENY: The routine channel from Eichmann to Kaltenbrunner lay through
Gruppenfuehrer Muller. To my knowledge reports to Kaltenbrunner were drawn up at
regular intervals by

360

3 Jan. 46

Eichmann and submitted to him. I also know that in the summer of 1944 he made a personal report to Kaltenbrunner.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Did you have an opportunity to examine files in Eichmann's office?

WISLICENY: Yes; I frequently had occasion to examine the files in Eichmann's office. I know that he handled with special care any files which had to do with questions concerning his own special task. He was in every respect a confirmed bureaucrat; he immediately recorded in the files every discussion he ever had with any of his superiors. He always pointed out to me that the most important thing was for him to be covered by his superiors at all times. He shunned all personal responsibility and took good care to take shelter behind his superiors -- in this case Muller and Kaltenbrunner -- when it was a question of responsibility for his actions.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: In the case of a typical report going from Eichmann's department through Muller, Kaltenbrunner, to Himmler -- have you seen copies of such reports in Eichmann's file?

WISLICENY: Yes, of course there were many such copies in the files. The regular channel was as follows: Eichmann had a draft made by a specialist or he made it himself; this draft went to Gruppenfuehrer Muller, his department chief; Muller either signed this draft himself or left the signing to Eichmann. In most cases, when reports to Kaltenbrunner and Himmler were concerned, Muller signed them himself. Whenever reports were signed by Muller without any alteration they were returned to Eichmann's office, where a first copy and one carbon copy were prepared. The first copy then went back to Muller for his signature, and thence it was forwarded either to Kaltenbrunner or to Himmler. In individual cases where reports to Himmler were involved, Kaltenbrunner signed them himself. I myself have seen carbon copies with Kaltenbrunner's signature.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Turning now to areas and countries in which measures were taken affecting the Jews, will you state as to which countries you have personal knowledge of such operations?

WISLICENY: First, I have personal knowledge of all measures taken in Slovakia. I also know full particulars of the evacuation of Jews from Greece and especially from Hungary. Further, I know about certain measures taken in Bulgaria and in Croatia. I naturally heard about the measures adopted in other countries, but was unable to gain a clear picture of the situation from personal observation or from detailed reports.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Considering the case of Slovakia, you have already made reference to the 17,000 specially selected Jews who were sent from Slovakia.
Will you tell the Tribunal of the other measures that followed concerning Jews in Slovakia?

361

3 Jan. 46

WISLICENY: I mentioned before that these first 17,000 laborers were followed by about 35,000 Jews, including entire families. In August or the beginning of September 1942 an end was put to this action in Slovakia. The reasons for this were that a large number of Jews still in Slovakia had been granted -- either by the President or by various ministries -- special permission to remain in the country. A further reason might have been the unsatisfactory answer I gave the Slovakian Government in reply to their request for the inspection of the Jewish camps in Poland. This state of affairs lasted until September 1944; from August 1942 until September 1944 no Jews were removed from Slovakia. From 25,000 to 30,000 Jews still remained in the country.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What happened to the first group of 17,000 specially selected workers?

WISLICENY: This group was not annihilated, but all were employed for enforced labor in the Auschwitz and Lublin Concentration Camps.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: How do you know this?

WISLICENY: I know this detail because the Commandant of Auschwitz, Hoess, made a remark to this effect to me in Hungary in 1944. He told me at that time that these 17,000 Jews were his best workers in Auschwitz.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What was the name of that Commandant?

WISLICENY: The Commandant of Auschwitz was Hoess.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What happened to the approximately 35,000 members of the families of the Jewish workers that were also sent to Poland?

WISLICENY: They were treated according to the order which Eichmann had shown me in August 1942. Part of them were left alive if they were able to work; the others were killed.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: How do you know this?

WISLICENY: I know that from Eichmann and, naturally, also from Hoess, during conversations in Hungary.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What proportion of this group remained alive?

WISLICENY: Hoess at that time, in a conversation with Eichmann at which I was present, gave the figure of the surviving Jews who had been put to work at about 25 to 30 percent.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Referring now to the 25,000 Jews that remained in Slovakia until September of 1944, do you know what was done with those Jews?

362

3 Jan. 43

WISLICENY: After the outbreak of the Slovakian insurrection in the fall of 1944 Hauptsturmfuehrer Brunner, one of Eichmann's assistants, was sent to Slovakia. Eichmann refused to grant my wish to go to Slovakia. With the help of German police forces and also with forces of the Slovakian Gendarmerie, Brunner assembled these Jews in several camps and transported them to Auschwitz. According to Brunner's statement, about 14,000 persons were involved. A small group which remained in Camp Szered was, as far as I know, sent to Theresienstadt in the spring of 1945.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What happened to these Jews after they were deported from Slovakia, this group of 25,000?

WISLICENY: I assume that they also met with the so-called final solution, because Himmler's order to suspend this action was not issued until several weeks later.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Considering now actions in Greece about which you have personal knowledge, will you tell the Tribunal of the actions there in chronological sequence?

WISLICENY: In January 1943 Eichmann ordered me to come to Berlin and told me that I was to proceed to Salonika to solve the Jewish problem there in co-operation with the German Military Administration in Macedonia. Eichmann's permanent representative, Sturmbannfuehrer Rolf Gunther, had previously been to Salonika. My departure had been scheduled for February 1942. At the end of January 1942 I was told by Eichmann that Hauptsturmfuehrer Brunner had been nominated by him for the technical execution of all operations in Greece and that he was to accompany me to Salonika. Brunner was not subordinate to me; he worked independently. In February 1942 we went to Salonika and there contacted the Military Administration. As first action...

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Whom in the Military Administration did you deal with?

WISLICENY: War Administration Counsellor (Kriegsverwaltungsrat) Dr. Merten, Chief of the Military Administration with the Commander of the Armed Forces in the Salonika-Aegean Theater.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: I believe you used 1942 once or more in reference; did you at all times refer to 1943 in dealing with Greece?

WISLICENY: That is an error. These events occurred in 1943.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What arrangements were made through Dr. Merten and what actions were taken?

WISLICENY: In Salonika the Jews were first of all concentrated in certain quarters of the city. There were in Salonika about 50,000 Jews of Spanish descent. At the beginning of March, after this concentration had taken place, a teletype message from Eichmann

363

3 Jan. 46

to Brunner ordered the immediate evacuation of all Jews from Salonika and Macedonia to Auschwitz. Armed with this order, Brunner and I went to the Military Administration; no objections were raised by the Military Administration, and measures were prepared and executed. Brunner directed the entire action in Salonika in person. The trains necessary for the evacuation were requisitioned from the Transport Command of the Armed Forces. All Brunner had to do was to indicate the number of railway cars needed and the exact time at which they were required.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Were any of the Jewish workers retained at the request of Dr. Merten or the Military Administration?

WISLICENY: The Military Administration had made a demand for about 3,000 Jews for construction work on the railroad, which number was duly delivered. Once the work was ended, these Jews were returned to Brunner and were, like all the others, dispatched to Auschwitz. The work in question came under the program of the Todt Organization.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What was the number of Jewish workers retained for the Organization Todt?

WISLICENY: Three to four thousand.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Was there any illness among the Jews that were concentrated for transport?

WISLICENY: In the camp proper, that is, the concentration camp, there were no special cases of illness; but in certain quarters of the city inhabited by the Jews typhus was prevalent and other contagious diseases, especially tuberculosis of the lungs.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What, if any, communication did you have with Eichmann concerning this typhus?

WISLICENY: On receipt of the teletype concerning the evacuation from Salonika, I got in touch with Eichmann on the telephone and informed him of the prevalence of typhus. He ignored my objections and gave orders for the evacuation to proceed immediately.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Altogether, how many Jews were collected and deported from Greece?

WISLICENY: There were over 50,000 Jews. I believe that about 54,000 were evacuated from Salonika and Macedonia.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What is the basis for your figure?

WISLICENY: I myself read a comprehensive report from Brunner to Eichmann on completion of the evacuation. Brunner left Salonika at the end of May 1943. I personally was not in Salonika from the beginning of April until the end of May, so that the action was carried out by Brunner alone.

364

3 Jan.46

LT. COL. BROOKHART: How many transports were used for shipping Jews from Salonika?

WISLICENY: From 20 to 25 transport trains.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: And how many were shipped in each train?

WISLICENY: There were at least 2,000, and in many cases 2,500.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What kind of railway equipment was used for these shipments?

WISLICENY: Closed freight cars were used. The evacuees were given sufficient food to last them for about 10 days, consisting mostly of bread, olives, and other dry food. They were also given water and various other sanitary facilities.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Who furnished this railway transportation?

WISLICENY: Transport was supplied by the Transport Command of the Armed Forces, that is, the cars and locomotives. The food was furnished by the Military Administration.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What did the Subsection 1VA4 have to do with obtaining this transportation, and who in that subsection dealt with transportation?

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Brookhart, you need not go into this in such great detail.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: If Your Honor pleases, this particular question, I believe, will have a bearing on the implications involving the military; I can cut down on the other details.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you spent some considerable time in describing how many of them were concentrated. Whether it was 60,000 or how many were kept for the Todt Organization -- all those details are really unnecessary.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Very well, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: I mean, you must use your own discretion about how you cut down.
I don't know what details or what facts you are going to prove.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: If Your Honor pleases, this witness, as he has testified, is competent to cover practically all details in these Balkan countries. It is not our wish to add cumulative evidence, but his testimony does furnish a complete story from the Head Office of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt through the field operations to the final solution.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, what is he going to prove about these 50,000 Jews?

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Their ultimate disposition at Auschwitz, as far as he knows.

365

3 Jan. 46

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you can go on to what ultimately happened to them then.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Yes, Sir.
[Turning to the witness.] What was the destination of these transports of Jews from Greece?

WISLICENY: In every case Auschwitz.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: And what was the ultimate disposition of the Jews sent to Auschwitz from Greece?

WISLICENY: They were without exception destined for the so-called final solution.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: During the collection period were these Jews called upon to furnish their own subsistence?

WISLICENY: I did not quite understand the question.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Brookhart, does it matter, if they were "brought to the final solution" which I suppose means death?

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Your Honor, this witness will testify that 280,000,000 drachmas were deposited in the Greek National Bank for the subsistence of these people and that this amount was later appropriated by the German Military Administration. That is all I have hoped to prove by this question. [Turning to the witness.] Is that a correct statement of your testimony?

WISLICENY: Yes. The cash which the Jews possessed was taken away and put into a common account at the Bank of Greece. After the Jews had been evacuated from Salonika this account was taken over by the German Military Administration. About 280,000,000 drachmas were involved.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: When you say the Jews taken to Auschwitz were submitted to the final solution, what do you mean by that?

WISLICENY: By that I mean what Eichmann had explained to me under the term "final solution," that is, they were annihilated biologically. As far as I could gather from my conversations with him, this annihilation took place in the gas chambers and the bodies were subsequently destroyed in the crematories.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: If Your Honor pleases, this witness is able to testify as to actions in Hungary, involving approximately 500,000 Jews.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, then. You must use your own discretion. I can't present your case for you.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: I have no desire to submit cumulative evidence. [Turning to the witness.] Turning to actions in Hungary, will you briefly outline the actions taken there and your participation?

366

3 Jan. 46

WISLICENY: After the entry of the German troops into Hungary Eichmann went there personally with a large command. By an order signed by the head of the Security Police, I was assigned to Eichmann's command. Eichmann began his activities in Hungary at the end of March 1944. He contacted members of the then Hungarian Government, especially State Secretaries Endre and Von Caky. The first measure adopted by Eichmann in co-operation with these Hungarian Government officials was the concentration of the Hungarian Jews in special places and special localities. These measures were carried out according to zones, beginning in Ruthenia and Transylvania.

The action was initiated in mid-April 1944. In Ruthenia over 200,000 Jews were affected by these measures. Consequently, impossible food and housing conditions developed in the small towns and rural communities where the Jews were assembled. On the strength of this situation Eichmann suggested to the Hungarians that these Jews be transported to Auschwitz and other camps. He insisted, however, that a request to this effect be submitted to him either by the Hungarian Government or by a member thereof. This request was submitted by State Secretary Von Baky. The evacuation was carried out by the Hungarian Police.

Eichmann appointed me liaison officer to Lieutenant Colonel Ferency, entrusted by the Hungarian Minister of the Interior with this operation. The evacuation of Jews from Hungary began in May 1944 and was also carried out zone by zone, first starting in Ruthenia, then in Transylvania, northern Hungary, southern, and western Hungary. Budapest was to be cleared of Jews by the end of June. This evacuation, however, was never carried out, as the regent, Horthy, would not permit it. This operation affected some 450,000 Jews. A second operation was then...

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Before you go into that, please, will you tell the Tribunal what, if anything, was done about organizing an Einsatz group to act in Hungary on the Jewish question?

WISLICENY: At the beginning of March 1944 a so-called Einsatzgruppe, consisting of Security Police and SD, was formed at Mauthausen near Linz. Eichmann himself headed a so-called "SonderEinsatz-Kommando" to which he detailed everybody who had held any position in his department. This Special-Action Commando was likewise assembled at Mauthausen. All questions of personnel devolved on the then Standartenfuehrer, Dr. Geschke, leader of the Einsatzgruppe. In technical matters Eichmann was subordinate only to the Chief of the Security Police and the SD.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: What was the meaning of the designation "Special-Action Commando Eichmann" in relation to the movement into Hungary?

367

3 Jan. 46

WISLICENY: Eichmann's activities in Hungary comprised all matters connected with the Jewish problem.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Under whose direct supervision was Special-Action Commando Eichmann organized?

WISLICENY: I have already said that in all matters of personnel and economy Eichmann was subordinate to Standartenfuehrer, Dr. Geschke, leader of the Einsatzgruppe. In technical matters he could give no orders to Eichmann. Eichmann likewise reported direct to Berlin on all the special operations undertaken by him.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: To whom?

WISLICENY: Either to Gruppenfuehrer Muller, or, in more important cases, to the Chief of the Security Police and SD, that is, to Kaltenbrunner.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: During the period in which Hungarian Jews were being collected, what, if any, contact was made by the Joint Distribution Committee for Jewish Affairs with Eichmann's representative?

WISLICENY: The Joint Distribution Committee made efforts to contact Eichmann and to try to ward off the fate of the Hungarian Jews. I myself established this contact with Eichmann, since I wanted to discover some means of protecting the half million Jews in Hungary from the measures already in force. The Joint Distribution Committee made certain offers to Eichmann and in return requested that the Jews should remain in Hungary. These offers were mainly of a financial nature. Eichmann felt himself, much against his Will, obliged to forward these proposals to Himmler. Himmler thereupon entrusted a certain Standartenfuehrer Becher with further negotiations. Standartenfuehrer Becher then continued the negotiations with Dr. Kastner, delegate of the J.D.C. But Eichmann, from the very first, endeavored to wreck the negotiations. Before any concrete results were obtained he attempted to present us with a fait accompli; in other words, he tried to transport as many Jews as possible to Auschwitz.

THE PRESIDENT: Need we go into all these conferences? Can't you take us on to the conclusion of the matter?

LT. COL. BROOKHART: The witness is inclined to be lengthy in his answers. That has been true in his pre-trial examination. I will try...

THE PRESIDENT: You are examining him.

LT.COL. BROOKHART: Yes, Sir.
Was there any money involved in the meeting between Dr. Kastner and Eichmann?

368

3 Jan. 46

WISLICENY: Yes.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: How much?

WISLICENY: In the first conversation Dr. Kastner gave Eichmann about 3 million pengoes. What the sums mentioned in further conversations amounted to, I do, not know exactly.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: To whom did Dr. Kastner give this money and what became of it?

WISLICENY: It was given to Eichmann, who then turned it over to his financial agent; the sum was in turn handed to the commander of the Security Police and the SD in Hungary.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: These actions that you have described, involving approximately 450,000 Jews being moved from Hungary- were there any official communications sent to Berlin concerning these movements?

WISLICENY: Yes, as each transport left, Berlin was informed by teletype. From time to time Eichmann also dispatched a comprehensive report to the RSHA and to the Chief of the Security Police.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Now with reference to the Jews that remained in Budapest, what, if any, action was taken against them?

WISLICENY: After Szalasi had taken over the Government of Hungary . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Brookhart, we have not yet heard, have we, what happened to these Jews from Hungary? If we have, I have missed it.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: I will ask that question now, Sir. [Turning to the witness.] What became of the Jews to whom you have already referred-approximately 450,000?

WISLICENY: They were, without exception, taken to Auschwitz and brought to the final solution.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Do you mean they were killed?

WISLICENY: Yes, with the exception of perhaps 25 to 30 percent who were used for labor purposes. I here refer to a previously mentioned conversation on this matter between Hoess and Eichmann in Budapest.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Turning now to the Jews remaining in Budapest, what happened to them?

WISLICENY: In October-November 1944 about 30,000 of these Jews, perhaps a few thousand more, were removed from Budapest and sent to Germany. They were to be used to work on the construction of the so-called Southeast Wall, a fortification near Vienna. They were mostly women.

369

3 Jan. 46

They had to walk from Budapest to the German border-almost 200 kilometers. They were assembled in marching formations and followed a route specially designated for them. Their shelter and nutrition on this march was extremely bad. Most of them fell ill and lost strength. I had been ordered by Eichmann to take over these groups at the German border and direct them further to the Lower Danube Gauleitung for labor purposes. In many cases I refused to take over these so-called workers, because they were completely exhausted and emaciated by disease. Eichmann, however, forced me to take them over and in this case even threatened to turn me over to Himmler to be put into a concentration camp if I caused him further political difficulties. For this same reason I was later removed from Eichmann's department.

A large proportion of these people then died in the so-called Lower Danube work camps from exhaustion and epidemics. A small percentage, perhaps 12,000, was taken to Vienna and the surrounding area, and a group of about 3,000 was taken to Bergen-Belsen, and from there to Switzerland. Those were Jews who had been released from Germany as a result of the negotiations with the J.D.C.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Summarizing for the countries of Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia-approximately how many Jews were affected by measures of the Secret Police and SD in those countries about which you have personal knowledge?

WISLICENY: In Slovakia there were about 66,000, in Greece about 64,000, and in Hungary more than half a million.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: In the countries Croatia and Bulgaria, about which you have some knowledge, how many Jews were thus affected?

WISLICENY: In Bulgaria, to my understanding about 8,000; in Croatia I know of only 3,000 Jews who were brought to Auschwitz from Agram in the summer of 1942.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Were meetings held of the specialists on the Jewish problem from Amt IVA, whose names appear on this sheet to which we made reference earlier?

WISLICENY: Yes. Eichmann was accustomed to calling a large annual meeting of all his experts in Berlin. This meeting was usually in November. At these meetings all the men who were working for him in foreign countries had to report on their activities. In 1944, so far as I know, such a meeting did not take place, because in November 1944 Eichmann was still in Hungary.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: In connection with the Jews about whom you have personal knowledge, how many were subjected to the final solution, that is, to being killed?

370

3 Jan. 46

WISLICENY: The exact number is extremely hard for me to determine. I have only one basis for a possible estimate, that is a conversation between Eichmann and Hoess in Vienna, in which he said that only a very few of those sent from Greece to Auschwitz had been fit for work. Of the Slovakian and Hungarian Jews about 20 to 30 percent had been able to work. It is therefore very hard for me to give a reliable total.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: In your meetings with the other specialists on the Jewish problem and Eichmann did you gain any knowledge or information as to the total number of Jews killed under this program?

WISLICENY: Eichmann personally always talked about at least 4 million Jews. Sometimes he even mentioned 5 million. According to my own estimate I should say that at least 4 million must have been destined for the so-called final solution. How many of those actually survived, I am not in a position to say.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: When did you last see Eichmann?

WISLICENY: I last saw Eichmann towards the end of February 1945 in Berlin. At that time he said that if the war were lost he would commit suicide.

LT. COL. BROOKHART: Did he say anything at that time as to the number of Jews that had been killed?

WISLICENY: Yes, he expressed this in a particularly cynical manner. He said he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had 5 million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction.

LT.COL. BROOKHART: The witness is available for other counsel.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other prosecuting counsel wish to examine the witness?

MR. G.D. ROBERTS (Leading Counsel for the United Kingdom): My Lord, I have no desire to ask any questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the Soviet prosecutor wish to ask any questions?

COL. POKROVSKY: At this stage the Soviet Union does not wish to ask any questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the French prosecutor? [There was no response.]

DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, you mentioned the impressment of the Jews for labor and
named two cases, one of Jews from Slovakia who were brought to Auschwitz and put
to work if they were fit for it; then later you spoke of those Jews who were
brought from

371

3 Jan. 46

Hungary to the Southeast Wall. Do you know whether the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor Sauckel had any connection with these actions, whether this happened on his orders, and whether he otherwise had anything to do with these matters?

WISLICENY: As far as the Jews from Slovakia were concerned, the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor had nothing to do with these matters. It was a purely internal affair for the Inspector of Concentration Camps who employed these Jews for his own purposes. Concerning the impressment of Jews for the construction of the Southeast Wall, I cannot definitely answer this question. I do not know to what extent the construction of the Southeast Wall was directed by the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. The Jews who came up from Hungary for this construction work were turned over to the Lower Danube Gauleitung.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions to ask the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Any other?

HERR BABEL: Witness, you mentioned measures taken by the Security Police and the SD; and you spoke about these organizations several times in your testimony. Is this merely an official designation or are we to conclude from your statement that the Security Service (the SD) as such, participated in some way?

WISLICENY: The actions mentioned were executed by Amt IV, that is, the Gestapo. If I mentioned the Chief of the Security Police and the SD, I did so because it was the correct designation of this office and not because I wished to mention the SD as such.

HERR BABEL: Did the SD then participate, in any way, in the measures against the Jews mentioned by you: 1) to what extent, and 2) in what manner?

WISLICENY: The SD as an organization was not involved. Some of the leaders, including me, who worked with Eichmann, came from the SD; but they had been detailed to Amt IV-to the Gestapo.

HERR BABEL: Did former members of the SS and SD who later became active in the Gestapo still remain members of their original organization, or were they now members of the Gestapo?

WISLICENY: No, they still remained with the, SD.

HERR BABEL: And were they acting as members of the SD or were they carrying out orders of the Gestapo?

WISLICENY: We belonged to the Gestapo for the duration of our assignment. We merely remained on the SD payroll and were taken care of as members of their personnel. Orders were received exclusively from the Gestapo-from Amt IV.

372

3 Jan.46

HERR BABEL: In this connection I should like to ask one more question. Could an outsider ever know his way about in this maze of offices?

WISLICENY: No; that was practically impossible.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any other of the defendants' counsel who wishes to cross-examine this witness? Colonel Amen, do you wish, or Colonel Brookhart, does he wish to re-examine the witness?

COL. AMEN: No further questions, Your Lordship.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. That will do.
[The witness left the stand.]

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”