JERUSALEM (Apr. 18)
Attorney General Gideon Hausner, completing a nine-hour prosecution recital of the incredible Nazi atrocities against the Jews which left correspondents sickened and spectators weeping, told Adolf Eichmann today he would enjoy a privilege in his trial which he "did not accord to a single one of his victims"–the right to defend himself.
Mr. Hausner did not ask the death penalty for Eichmann when he ended his stirring statement on the inhuman methods used by Eichmann’s organization to annihilate millions of Jews. However, the law under which Eichmann is being tried provides it automatically. The prosecutor described in tearful details the torture in camps, cannibalism, castration, surgical experiments on the living, the killing of infants before the eyes of their mothers, and other forms used by the Nazis to destroy the Jews.
The prosecutor told the court that the former Gestapo colonel, charged with directing the murder of 6, 000, 000 Jews, would have his fate decided by law according to the evidence, with the burden of proof of his crimes resting on the prosecution. The judges of Israel, the Attorney General said, "will pronounce a true and righteous judgment."
With the conclusion of the prosecution statement, the court began hearing testimony by witnesses for the prosecution, which will also include presentation of the tremendous collection of documentary evidence collected by Israeli police from many of the countries where Eichmann operated.
The final part of the prosecution statement, describing the unbelievable bestialities in the Nazi extermination camps, was too much for some of the hundreds of correspondents covering the trial. Several left the hall, unable to listen longer. The defendant continued to sit impassively in his bullet-proof glass box, showing so little emotion, he almost gave the impression he was not hearing the details translated into German and transmitted to him over his earphones.
When Mr. Hausner read a long list of perished Jewish scientists, writers and artists who had made distinctive contributions to European culture and described what the destruction of East European Jewry meant for the Jewish nation, Eichmann sat with his eyes closed, slightly rocking the upper part of his body as if he were dozing.
"We will prove that the Jewish people were bereaved of many millions, certainly close to 6,000, 000 people," the prosecutor said. He added that the genocide meant more "than the destruction of more than a third of all Jews. It meant the extinction of Jewish communities which represented the most important element in the nation."
GIVES DATA ON JEWS KILLED IN NAZI CAMPS; CITES BRUTALITIES
The prosecutor asserted that Eichmann "knew that if he succeeded in destroying this Jewry, he would destroy the entire Jewry. By the mercy of a Providence which preserved the ‘saving remnant,’ Eichmann’s design was frustrated and the intention he cherished was not implemented to the end."
Describing the horrible treatment in the Nazi camps and ghettoes in Poland, the Attorney General said that the only place in Maidenek where children were treated kindly was at the entrance to the gas chamber, where each child received a sweet before being gassed and burned. He said at Maidenek a weekly race was held in which any inmate participant who lost a wooden shoe or stumbled was shot on the spot.
Summing up the statistics of murder, the prosecutor said that at least 200, 000 Jews were murdered in Maidenek, 750, 000 in Treblinka, 340, 000 in Chelmo and 250, 000 in Sobibor.
As an example of the brutalities practiced in Sobibor, the prosecutor cited the practice of dragging to a lavatory persons who begged for water and wiping their faces with excrement. Another was the practice of setting dogs against prisoners who were torn to bits. In Sobibor, too, the prosecutor said, the practice was followed of clipping the hair of the doomed Jews before they were gassed and extracting their gold teeth before they were cremated.
He told the court that the Auschwitz death factory accounted for 250, 000 victims who were annihilated in addition to the 500, 000 who died of sickness and starvation. He said this data was based on statements of Rudolf Hoess, the Auschwitz commandant who was hanged by the allies after judgment at Nuremberg.
The prosecutor declared that Eichmann visited Auschwitz to order inmates to send reassuring postcards to relatives, the senders usually having been killed before the postcards arrived. At Auschwitz, 2, 000 victims died every 24 minutes in the infamous "shower baths" of poison gas, the prosecutor said, adding that at Auschwitz grisly medical experiments were carried out on inmates, including the removal of female organs, the injection of chemicals to "test resistance" of the victims. Sometimes the victims were exploited in forced labor in mines and forests before being murdered.
EICHMANN PROMISED AID TO EX-MUFTI TO ANNIHILATE JEWS IN PALESTINE
The prosecutor said that Eichmann’s devotion to the goal of annihilation of the entire Jewish people was such that it even evoked the admiration of the notorious Nazi collaborator, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
"Eichmann took special pains to frustrate emigration of any Jews to Palestine," Mr. Hausner declared. "He had obligations on this matter to the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, whom he met and with whom he established contact. The impression these two men made on each other was so strong that the Mufti asked Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler to provide him, after the war when he planned to enter Jerusalem at the head of the Axis troops, with a ‘special advisor’ from Eichmann’s department to help him solve the Jewish question in the same way as it had been done in the Axis countries. Eichmann offered the job to his assistant, Dieter Wisliceny."
The prosecutor opened his presentation on the fifth day of the historic trial with a description of the destruction by the Nazis of West European Jewry, concentrating on the tragedy of Dutch Jewry. He said in Holland, the standard anti-Jewish campaign began immediately after the German occupation. First came anti-Jewish legislation depriving the Jews of human and civil rights, then the theft of Jewish property, and finally the deportation to the murder centers. When Jews began hiding, Eichmann ordered larger rewards to those revealing hidden Jews.
Only 5,000 of the 123, 000 Dutch-Jewish deportees survived, the prosecutor said. The same story was repeated in all other countries of Nazi occupation–Norway, Denmark, Belgium, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Germany itself. There were differing nuances with minor adaptations to local conditions but all of these were simply variations on the single theme of "atrocity, murder and extermination."
JEWS MURDERED ON EICHMANN’S ORDER WHILE NEGOTIATING RANSOM
In Hungary, said the prosecutor, Eichmann exceeded all bounds in initiative. To ensure that the Hungarian Jewish community of 800, 000 men, women and children did not escape him as the Soviet advance in the Ukraine threatened imminent Soviet encirclement, Eichmann commenced active supervision of the plan which he had previously plotted. Determined that the "disgraceful episode" of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising should not be repeated, he speeded up the death camp exterminations which had practically ceased. He became absolute master, lord of life and death, over Hungarian Jews.
While the Hungarian "operation" was underway, Eichmann ordered deputy Wisliceny to negotiate under extortions and promises an offer to release Jews in return for a ransom of $2, 000, 000. The subject of the negotiations with Dr. Rudolf Kastner, the Hungarian Jewish leader, and Joel Brand was the "infamous" proposal to exchange Jews for trucks, coffee, tea and soap, the prosecutor said.
Despite instructions to slow down the murder machinery, Eichmann made every effort to sustain the pace of exterminations and he ordered resumption of mass murders even while Brand was sent under his protection to Turkey to carry out the "Jews for trucks" proposal.
MASS-DEPORTATIONS OF JEWS FROM WESTERN COUNTRIES DESCRIBED
In Norway, the prosecutor said, Eichmann did all he could to frustrate efforts by the Swedish Government to rescue Norwegian Jews; only 21 survived of the 800 who were deported. Eichmann was beside himself with rage when he learned that the Danes, under the noses of their occupiers, organized an effort that saved 6, 000 Danish Jews.
The prosecutor described the Breedonck camp to which Belgian Jews were sent. He said that whenever one of the inmates was executed, the rest of the inmates were ordered to march before the corpse, singing the camp anthem: "Never Shall We Forget Breedonck, the Jewish Paradise."
Mr. Hausner declared that Eichmann dealt personally with deportation operations in France. He quoted a description by a witness of the deportation of children from the Drancy camp. The children were awakened at 5 a. m. on deportation day. Screaming with fear, the children refused to go down to the courtyard "but the Germans and their collaborating French gendarmerie did their job."
EICHMANN UNITS KILLED 720, 000 SOVIET JEWS IN EIGHT MONTHS
The prosecutor described in detail the annihilation program carried out in the Czech protectorate where a unique camp, the Theresienstadt ghetto, was set up. The purpose
Mr. Hausner also discussed the Nazi murder program in the occupied sections of the Soviet Union. He said Eichmann participated in a secret meeting in Berlin where Reinhardt Heydrich, chief of the Nazi security police, explained the plans to exterminate every Jew in the Soviet Union. Instructions were then issued to kill every Jewish man, woman and child.
The Attorney General said Einzatgruppe (commando execution squads) reports on a mass-murder of Jews in Russia which he would submit to the court "are bloodcurdling-hair-raising documents." It is almost impossible to believe that for many months thousands of people daily, in cold blood, murdered multitudes of human beings. It is difficult to grasp the idea that such beasts ever walked on the face of the earth. Murder was committed as a matter of daily routine and after every such bloodbath, the murderers would eat a hearty meal, have a cigaret and chat."
In eight months of 1941 and 1942 the terrible total of more than 720, 000 Jews were murdered by the execution squads in occupied Russia, he said. He also cited details of the mass executions in the various ghettoes, stressing the hair-raising cruelties of the methods the Nazis used in their extermination of Soviet Jews.
PROSECUTOR LAUDS NON-JEWS WHO RESISTED NAZI DEPORTATIONS OF JEWS
Throughout this portion of his statement, the Attorney General paid frequent tribute to individuals and the local underground movements which bravely did their best to rescue at least part of the doomed Jewry. He mentioned the "Danish miracle," and he described an attack by the Belgian underground on a deportation train, French Marquis organizing escape routes, Yugoslav partisans helping.
In the Italian-occupied territories, he said, while Mussolini was prepared to cooperate with the Nazi extermination program, sections in the Italian administration thwarted some of the efforts. "As a general rule," the prosecutor said, "Italians adopted delaying tactics and succeeded in saving a thousand Jews from certain death." But when the Italians were replaced by Germans in the occupied territories, particularly Greece and southern France, the extermination process was completed. He remarked that 40 Jews survived in Monaco.
In Bulgaria, King Boris personally opposed extermination, the Attorney General said, and only Jews from newly occupied Bulgarian territories were deported, Mr. Hausner emphasized. He also paid tribute-to Raoul Wallenburg–the young Swedish diplomat who dedicated himself to saving Jews–for courage and humanitarianism, adding that "his deeds, like those of King Christian of Denmark, give rise to the somber thought: how many could have been saved, even in countries of actual extermination, if there had only been many others like him among those who had the power to act, whether openly or in secret."
FIRST PROSECUTION WITNESS PRESENTS MATERIAL AGAINST EICHMANN
Following the conclusion of the prosecution statement by Mr. Hausner, the first prosecution witness was called to testify. The witness, David Bar Shalom, a plainclothes officer of police bureau 0-6 which assembled the material for the trial, submitted a series of documents gathered from various parts of the world together with depositions from governments and individuals as sources of the material.
The documents indicated that Britain, United States, France, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Yugoslavia provided material requested by Israel for preparation of the 15-count indictment against Eichmann. Another series of documents submitted by the witness pertained to the Nuremberg trials. It comprised photostats of official reports as well as exhibits from the United States national archives.
The defense offered no objection to the presentation of the documentary material but reserved the right to ask for an opportunity to cross-examine those presenting the documents should the occasion arise. The entire afternoon was taken up by the presentation of the prosecution’s first witness.