Eichmann Trial Participants
Select a participant (listed alphabetically by last name) to see a photo during the trial and in 1996, along with excerpts of testimony and reflections from the Eichmann trial participants.
Witness to conditions in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, Czechoslovakia
1961 Quote: 5/12/61: ANSBACHER: Freddy Hirsch issued instructions on how to organize aid for the old people. Those were special activities by which children were sent to the houses of the elderly, and we had to serve the food to them, to read to them from books, fiction, books about Jewish tradition, or the Bible.
And it used to happen that, when we were reading to them, these old men and women were so moved that they cried all the time. It would also happen that in the middle of the reading these old folk, who were mostly sick and feeble, died in the course of the reading of a chapter from a novel.
DEPUTY STATE ATTORNEY YA’ACOV BAROR: The youth sat there reading and the old people died?
ANSBACHER: Yes. The youth sat there reading and the old people died. After they died, they were taken below to the courtyard where all the bodies were collected.
1996 Quote: Theresienstadt was the so-called baby of Eichmann. Theresienstadt was used by the Nazis as a showcase for the whole world.
And I gave details in my testimony about how children had to appear before international delegations from Denmark to show that everything is nice in the camps; there is a theater, there are schools, there are the concerts and so on.
All this was a big lie, because all these actors and performers were sent a few weeks later to Auschwitz to their deaths in the gas chambers.
Deputy State Attorney and Legal Advisor to Bureau 06, which investigated Eichmann before the trial
1961 Quote: 5/25/61: BACH: [Shows the witness a copy of the letter] Do you recognize the handwriting here?
WITNESS MARGOT REICH: Yes. I can also read it. I remember that the letter was torn in the way that it is torn here.
BACH: And how did this letter reach you?
REICH: In the mail. And on it was written: “Blessed be the hand which will post this letter.”
BACH: With the court’s permission, I shall read the translation here.
PRESIDING JUDGE MOSHE LANDAU: Yes. If she [the witness] wants to, she can read it herself, but I would like to spare her this emotional experience.
REICH: Yes, I understand.
BACH: “My dear wife and children. One postcard I have already thrown out of the train. I shall endeavor to write another letter. There is no doubt that we are setting out upon a very long journey.
May God help us so that we may meet in joy, for one miracle already happened on the Sabbath. Maybe God will help us again. We were not able to take everything with us. What we have in the railway wagon is a rucksack.
The important people are in one wagon, wagon No. 60. The destination – Germany. At any rate this is what we know. But possibly, the German soldiers accompanying us will get off at Kassa. The attitude towards us is tolerable.
We are lucky that it is not very hot. If only I knew that no harm would befall you! I shall somehow bear my fate whatever it may be. I do not want to make you sad, but I would want very much to live yet in your midst.
May God grant us that we may be allowed to achieve that. My dear children, look after your mother. And you, my dear wife, protect our property. If, with God’s help, I should return – I will thank Him for that.
If I have an opportunity – I will write. Until then I embrace you from the bottom of my heart, with love, your father. From the freight-car, Thursday, 10:30 approximately.” I request to submit this document.
1996 Quote: Well, actually, I don’t think that only David Ben-Gurion thought that this would be a – a case of historic dimensions. I mean, we were very – very much aware of the fact that this was a special case, with enormous historic impact.
I mean, the Holocaust had been mentioned in other trials before, like in the Nuremberg trials, but it was always just one – marginal point. It was mentioned in passing by this or that witness, or in some of the judgments.
This was the first and only case, it’s had at – until that point, where the – the Holocaust was the focal point and where we could deal with it, in all its aspects.
Deputy State Attorney
1961 Quote: 5/16/61: BAROR: What were the subjects discussed when you appeared in Adolf Eichmann’s office?
WITNESS HEINRICH KARL GRUEBER, A BERLIN PRIEST: I went there very often and raised all the questions of importance to us. Questions about emigration, questions about treatment of Jews and everything of importance – I raised the mall in the office unless they were matters concerning other authorities.
BAROR: Did you sometimes manage to achieve your purpose in going to see Eichmann?
GRUEBER: As far as I remember, either I heard a “no,” or I was told you will receive a reply, come back. But I do not ever remember being given a decision with a “yes.”
BAROR: Mr. Grueber, do you remember whether during these meetings or conversations the Accused ever referred to his superior’s instructions, which he had to ask for or receive?
GRUEBER: As far as I can remember, everything was in the first person, i.e., I order, I say, and I cannot; whether that was an expression for – if I can put it this way – making himself more important, or whether he really did not only wish to give the impression but really was entitled to decide matters by himself, I am not aware of a single instance in which he may have said: I have to consult a superior authority.
I certainly do not remember any such instance.
1996 Quote: The judges had, right through the trial, been really open-hearted. They were disgusted, sometimes, and they said they were disgusted. They were even, sometimes, amused. And they looked it.
They were disgusted, in an openness that is wondrous to me, today. Eichmann himself must have felt that he had a very fair investigation. He was treated not like a criminal. He was treated like a man in trouble.
In deep trouble, with human fairness. Months and months of expressing himself the way he saw it, and that was tendered to the court. He must have felt that there was humanity in the treatment. I’m terribly happy about that.
Witness to conditions in the Plaszow labor camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 5/1/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Fifteen thousand people stood there – and opposite them hundreds of guards. Why didn’t you attack then, why didn’t you revolt?
BEISKY: I believe that this thing cannot be explained – it cannot be answered. To this there is no single reply. What I can talk of is the general situation. And perhaps from this it can be deduced.
It will certainly be difficult for anyone who was not there to understand, but after all, this happened in the middle of 1943. This was already in the third year of the War, and it didn’t begin with this. It began with something else.
The people were already, the whole of Jewry was already in a state of depression owing to what they had endured, during three years. This is one thing. And the second – nevertheless there was still hope.
Here were people working on forced labor, they apparently needed this work. Possibly, maybe … it was plain at that time that if anyone did the pettiest thing – for it was not difficult when people, when many forces were standing there .. may I now be permitted to sit?
PRESIDING JUDGE MOSHE LANDAU: Certainly, you may also rest for a while.
1996 Quote: What should Eichmann’s sentence have been? My answer may seem strange but, it doesn’t matter to me what his sentence was because for me, Eichmann presents no danger anymore.
Since my childhood I have been against capital punishment. No human being has the right to take the life of another human being, and for one Eichmann I am not ready to change the principles in my life.
Witness to conditions in the Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 6/8/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Did you know that gas was used to kill people?
BEN-ZVI: Yes, we knew, and we even saw how. Later, we got to know that this place where we worked, this famous “Canada,” also served as one of the storerooms–although not the main storeroom-for that gas. How did we know that?
Before an operation, before we knew that a transport was due-we knew that from the fact that we saw the commandant of crematorium No. 2, Moll, coming on his motor cycle into our Kommando, into this courtyard which was specially fenced off, and he was followed by a Red Cross vehicle, an ambulance.
HAUSNER: The German Red Cross?
BEN-ZVI: Yes, a German Red Cross which, in theory, in time of war, belonged to the International Red Cross. And into this truck the tins of Zyklon B were loaded and transferred to the gas chambers.
HAUSNER: In a truck of the Red Cross?
BEN-ZVI: Yes, in a truck of the Red Cross which was always on hand with each transport.
1996 Quote: The trial of Adolf Eichmann succeeded in bringing the Holocaust to the attention of the world, but the closest thing that I am thinking however, when I am writing or I am thinking about the Holocaust, is my personal day to day experience, and not the whole work like it was expressed in the trial.
I remember it as a young boy of16 years old, coming from a well to do house, and entering into Hell. When I think of it today, I think of my survival as a riddle.
It is a riddle for everybody, and not only for me, because you could be strong and clever and you didn’t survive. You could be weak and poor in thinking and still you survived. It’s very hard to explain.
Chen, Dr. Mordechai
Witness to conditions in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after liberation, which he inspected as a captain in the British Army Medical Corps
1961 Quote: 6/8/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: On your way, you met a BBC photographer?
CHEN: I met him there- in Bergen-Belsen itself.
HAUSNER: Did you see that he was shocked at what he had seen?
HAUSNER: Did he tell you that he was taking these photographs so that people should believe his story-for otherwise they might possibly not believe him?
CHEN: It was slightly different. He was shocked and I was shocked. That was something understandable-for it was impossible for a normal human being to believe it.
I said to him “I’m sure that in ten years’ time nobody will believe what we have seen, and we ourselves will also not believe it.”
And I asked him to give me photographs of what he had seen, so that I could relate, ten years later, that I had witnessed these scenes, and possibly one would be able to utilize them against those responsible, against those who were responsible for the situation we had witnessed.
HAUSNER: And you received a number of photographs from him?
1996 Quote: Gideon Hausner said that he was interested in having the evidence of somebody who had not himself been in the camps, but had seen the horrors himself.
I went through the camps with the Allies as a photographer. The sights were so horrible, and so unbelievable, that I was sure that in another ten years I myself wouldn’t believe that I had seen these things.
At Bergen-Belsen, this place that you see here, they hadn’t got the crematorium. They had a much more simple method. They simply stopped giving them food and water.
And that was it. Looking back today, I can’t feel the same revulsion that I felt then, because it seems so far away. It’s almost impossible to believe.
Witness to mass killings in the Sobibor concentration camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 6/5/61: We finished taking out personal belongings from one shed. Paul was our commander. It so happened that, between the rafters and the roof, a torn umbrella had been left behind. He sent one of our boys to climb up and bring the umbrella down.
It was at a height of seven to eight meters – these were large sheds. The lad climbed up through the rafters, moving along on his hands. He was not agile enough and fell down, breaking his limbs. Because he had fallen, he received twenty-five blows.
This appealed to Paul, and he went and called other Germans. I remember Oberscharfuhrer Michel, Schteufel and others. He called out to them: “I have discovered parachutists amongst the Jews. Do you want to see?”
They burst out laughing and he began sending people up, one after the other, to go on to the rafters. I went over it twice – I was fairly agile; and whoever fell- these were older people, or they fell out of fear – fell to the ground.
When they fell to the ground, they were given murderous blows, and the dog bit them incessantly. In the midst of all this, Paul began running around, went into ecstasy; when anyone was bitten, he put a bullet into him on the spot. All of those working went through this “game.”
1996 Quote: When Eichmann was caught, I didn’t know who he was. And then people they know me, they know I am a survivor and they asked me as a survivor who is Eichmann and I didn’t know.
And I was a little bit ashamed because they look at me that I have to know, I was in the Holocaust and I have to know who is Eichmann. Although I never met Eichmann, I was called to testify about my experience in the Sobibor camp.
Afterwards, I remember I get a letter from the United States. They say they read about my testimony in the New York Times. I say, wow! My testimony, it’s going around all the world.
Police inspector of Bureau 06, which investigated Eichmann before the trial, and later Attorney General Gideon Hausner’s special assistant
1961 Quote: 5/2/61: WITNESS YA’ACOV BUZMINSKY: I first returned to this Polish woman, for I had nowhere to go back to. She had been left on her own.
They killed her father and transferred the remaining members of her family to Germany for labor. She remained with her small sister, aged seven, and when she saw me bleeding all over and broken, this woman, who had previously been my neighbor in the place where I lived, took me in, washed me, and gave me a place where I could sleep.
ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: And you remained there until the Russian army reached Przemysl and liberated you?
BUZMINSKY: Before that I went back to the ghetto, and in the ghetto I saw a German, Schwamburger, who had shot and murdered people, beating up a young lad, giving him eighty lashes with a strap.
HAUSNER: Do you see here, in this Court, that same lad who received the eighty lashes?
HAUSNER: Is he police officer Goldmann, who is sitting at my side?
BUZMINSKY: Yes. Normally a young man could not survive after fifty blows. And, generally, after fifty blows the young man would be dead. Since he survived eighty lashes, and he then ordered him to run and he ran, he let him remain alive…
HAUSNER: Subsequently you married the woman who saved you and she is now with you in Israel – and she is your wife?
BUZMINSKY: Yes, I married her and took care of her little sister who is now a doctor in Poland, and I am here now with my wife.
1996 Quote: I met Eichmann when he was in prison in Israel. I remember, when I sat opposite him for the first time, and he opened his mouth, I had the feeling, as if the crematoria of Auschwitz opened in front of me.
I am a former inmate of Auschwitz. He made a desolate, pathetic impression. But we knew what he had done during the period of the Holocaust, and how he had behaved, and the comparison between the Eichmann then and the Eichmann who sat opposite us, made it difficult for us to comprehend, that he was the fifth man in the hierarchy after Hitler concerning the Jews.
Witness to transport to Belzec concentration camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 5/1/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Tell me, at the railway station when they packed you into a trail going to Belzec, when you thought that it was likely to go to Belzec, why didn’t you resist, why did you board the train?
GURFEIN: We no longer had any strength left. Very simply, we wanted it to end very quickly. This was in 1943. After so many years we did not have the strength to resist any more.
HAUSNER: You wanted it to end?
GURFEIN: We wanted to die more quickly.
HAUSNER: Then why did you jump from the window?
GURFEIN: There nevertheless was an impulse. For from the moment that we saw that the train was going in the direction of Belzec some spark was ignited. We saw someone jumping and some spark was kindled within people who wanted to save themselves. I wouldn’t have jumped, if my mother hadn’t pushed me forcibly.
1996 Quote: The trial was a breaking point for the younger generation in Israel. I think they started to understand what happened to the Jewish people in Europe then because from reading books or stories in the newspapers they could not understand it but when you see people alive in front of them and everyone explaining another story you know and such terrible stories, this was the point, the breaking point for them.
I think they started to understand what happened to the Jewish people during the war.
Witness to conditions in the Maijdanek concentration camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 6/2/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Mr. Gutman, while you were in the hospital, did you see people being marched off to the gas chambers in Maijdanek?
GUTMAN: Yes, this happened once. I heard some noise, and whoever could stand on his legs jumped out of bed and ran to the windows. All this only lasted a few seconds, for we were chased back at once and not allowed to watch.
I saw this march of naked people. Amongst them I noticed a boy – I don’t know how old the boy was, perhaps ten years old. I saw that this boy was holding in his hands, in his arms, a child who was younger still.
And I saw two SS brutes – one was pointing at the scene to the other and laughing. I would like to say that there were moments like this when I tried to gaze into their eyes, to look stealthily, since to glance directly was too dangerous.
I wanted to see whether they showed any trace of scruples, of mental anguish whether there was any spark of humanity in their eyes.
And I constantly encountered the very same experience. Whenever we grieved – they were rejoicing; whenever they were able to maltreat us – they laughed, they were drunk with blood.
1996 Quote: And what happened during the– the-the Eichmann trial, that for the first time, the public here in our country and in the, especially young people in the country, yes, and the interest was enormous, they listened and they – they heard perhaps for the first time what happened to this kind of simple people which was the, their tragedy, what happened to their families, what happened to them, day by day, and – and this -this caused a very strong, a very profound change in the – the approach to the average survivors.
Judge, president of the Jerusalem District Court
Director of the Mossad, Israel’s Secret Service, during Eichmann’s capture in Argentina
1996 Quote: I sent a message to Ben-Gurion, not only to Ben-Gurion, also to Foreign Minister Golda Meir, to inform them that we had completed the operation successfully, and, not less important, that the identity of the suspect Ricardo Klement was really that of Adolf Eichmann.
As was Ben-Gurion’s way, he received the information rather coolly, but it was clear that he hoped the matter would develop into a trial for Adolf Eichmann.
Hausner, Gideon & Yehudit
Attorney General Gideon Hausner and his Wife Yehudit Hausner
1996 Quote: It was a very interesting trial. People were outside with transistor radios which everybody was holding in the street. My husband wanted things to come out that the world didn’t know. People couldn’t believe it.
They couldn’t believe that such a horrible thing happened in the 20th Century, that human beings could do such horrible things to other human beings. The court was full every day. You couldn’t get tickets.
Witness to conditions in the Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 6/8/61: HOCH: We found ourselves in a large hall which resembled a bathhouse. There were nails in the walls – each nail had a serial number. They asked us to hang up our clothes.
ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: They asked you?
HOCH: They ordered us to get undressed. We did not want to undress, and then they began shooting inside the hall; they then ordered us to get undressed and to hang our clothes on the nails and to remember the serial number, so that, when we came out, we would know where to find our clothes.
Naturally, this was a deliberate fraud, and we already knew that. We got undressed and threw our clothes on the floor in the middle of the hall.
After that, we were drawn up in rows of fives and then – I remember it as if it were happening now – one of the Sonderkommando who was working there came up to us and said: “Boys, at least don’t show them that you are worried – sing!”
1996 Quote: They wanted me to testify because I had actually witnessed the inside of a gas chamber. I was taken out because a transport of potatoes had arrived and they needed people to take them down from the wagons.
They choose 50 people, the strong ones from inside the gas chamber. Attorney Gideon Hausner was crying at the time I was telling this story. He himself was crying.
I have the feeling that I remain, I was chosen out from the gas chamber only to tell and to explain that something like that could not be ever again.
Witness to the liberation of the camps as a member of the second battalion of the Jewish Brigade in the British Eighth Army
1961 Quote: 6/12/61: HOTER-YISHAI: It was impossible to obtain a list from the camp commandants, it was impossible to get to them then, it was impossible to know where they were to be found.
In order to reach them, it was necessary to concentrate them in national camps, as a Jewish camp, something which was, of course, objected to by the directors of all camps which were run on national blocks, by national officers, and also the camp management; and I believe that no other force in the world would have been able to get to them or-more correctly-to provide them with the spiritual and physical strength to get them out of these blocks and to concentrate them in one place, other than a Jewish Force, which gave them the impression, as if the entire Yishuv [Jewish community of Palestine] had appeared there and had brought them the power, as well as the authority and had also provided them with the miracle.
However miraculous these happenings might seem to me today, it was sufficient to take a sheet and paint a Shield of David on it with ink and, after attaching it to a broomstick, to give it to two to three hundred persons-each of whom looked like a skeleton-and then they would feel themselves linked suddenly to a certain center, and they had the strength to congregate and to refuse to allow the officers of the country to which they had previously belonged, in whose block they had previously been-to refuse to allow them to take them out of there.
ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: And that was how you took them out of their anonymity, is that so?
HOTER-YISHAI: That was the way we gathered them together. To take them out of their anonymity was a much more difficult task.
1996 Quote: Since the Eichmann trial I have read my testimony in it’s entirety and I have found it so pale, without color, without fire, without giving the least expression of what I had in my heart to say.
I was not satisfied with my testimony, and yet I’m sure I could never be satisfied, because it is impossible for anyone to truly describe what happened during the Holocaust.
Kleinman, Joseph Zalman
Witness to the selection process in the Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 6/7/61: KLEINMAN: I stood there in total despair. I thought to myself, “My life is ending here.” Suddenly my brother whispered to me, saying: “Don’t you want to live? Do something!”
I woke up, as from a dream, and began searching for a way of saving myself. My mind worked rapidly. Suddenly I caught sight of pebbles scattered around me. I thought that perhaps I could be saved in this way.
We were all standing in line, at attention. I bent down without being noticed and seized some handfuls of pebbles. I untied the laces of my shoes and began stuffing pebbles into my shoes. I was wearing shoes which were larger than my size.
I filled my shoes with pebbles under my heals and I gained two centimeters. I thought that, perhaps, this would be sufficient. Meanwhile I felt I was unable to remain standing at attention with the pebbles in my shoes.
It wasn’t easy. I told my brother I was going to throw the stones away. My brother said to me: “Don’t throw them away, I’ll give you something.” He gave me a hat. I tore the hat into two pieces and I began inserting the rags made from the hat into my shoes, so that it would be softer for me.
ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Perhaps we could make it briefer, Mr. Kleinman. Did you pass the test?
PRESIDING JUDGE MOSHE LANDAU: But, nevertheless, let us hear how he got through.
KLEINMAN: I stood for ten minutes with the stones and the rags inside my shoes. I thought that perhaps I might reach the required height.
Meanwhile all the boys went on passing that spot. Two would reach the necessary height and two would not. I stood where I was. Ultimately my brother looked at me and said: “This is not high enough.”
Then I began to fear, perhaps I would fail because of nervousness, lest when I began walking, they would realize that I had something in my shoes. I asked my brother and someone else, who could look around better, that they should estimate what my height was.
Both of them said that I had no chance of reaching the desired height. So then I began looking around for a way to escape and get to the taller ones who had already passed the plank, the selection.
They were drawn up in ranks of hundreds, on the opposite side, and the shorter ones who had not reached the plank and the required height were lined up on the opposite end of the field. The shorter ones were trying to force their way into the second group. I also just stole my way into the taller ones.
1996 Quote: In my opinion the trial was a great thing. It saw to it that all the world would know what had happened to us during the Holocaust.
Without this trial, many things would never have become known, and history would have passed quietly over the whole matter.
Presiding Judge, representative of the Israeli Supreme Court
Michman, Dr. Joseph
Witness to the fate of Holland’s Jewish community
1961 Quote: 5/10/61: DEPUTY STATE ATTORNEY GAVRIEL BACH: Dr. Melkman, you stated that there were people who hid themselves and were caught.
Are you able to say something, from the emotional point of view, about the effects on such people who hid themselves, or on children who hid themselves and were caught – how they behaved subsequently?
MICHMAN: The conditions of a hide-out are somewhat known to the world through the diary of Anne Frank. But perhaps, in order to give some impression of what it means to be in a hide-out, I shall describe one child whom I saw.
My wife and I worked in the children’s home in Westerbrook. They always brought to this place children who were seized by the Germans, children who did not have parents, who did not actually have parents, or whose parents had hidden themselves or who had been deported, almost invariably straight away.
I remember one case of a child whose name was van Dam – his first name I do not recall. He was ten years old. He had been cooped up for a whole year in a narrow room, he was not allowed to talk in a normal voice – and I do not mean talking loudly.
He was not allowed to walk as a child would walk, lest the neighbors should hear him. When he came to Westerbrook, he came to the children’s home and also began speaking in whispers.
When we told him that there was no need to do so and he understood that everything was permitted here, he began running around the grounds of the children’s home all the time. He could not stop himself, and he shouted very loudly, for he had been forbidden for a whole year to speak or walk.
Thus, the sort of life in a hideout, especially for children who had no understanding at all of their situation, was terrible, and we often asked ourselves, when we were in the camp and we saw that as long as the children in the camp were able to live like children – perhaps it was better than living in hiding.
Of course, when it became clear to us, later on, what the fate was of those who were sent to Poland and what was the fate of those who were hidden in Holland, the position of the Jews of Holland was, nevertheless, better, for many of them were saved by the Righteous Gentiles – about 4,000 children were saved.
But it was hard to describe the mental agony of a child who was obliged to live through a long time such as this – for two years and sometimes more.
BACH: What happened to the child you were describing?
MICHMAN: He was sent three days later to Auschwitz.
1996 Quote: I was not satisfied with my testimony at the trial because you could say so much more. But when you are testifying there is of course not enough time. There are so many stories I could have told. All the time I ask myself, why did I tell the stories I did, perhaps I could have told other more important things. When I think back to it, I am not satisfied with myself.
Judge, president of the Tel Aviv District Court
Witness to conditions in the Treblinka concentration camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 6/6/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Please be good enough to approach the picture. You say that this is the Treblinka camp. Which way did they take you to the camouflaged gate? Will you please point to it?
ROSENBERG: (Pointing) The gate was here, at this place, camouflaged with pine branches. We reached this point. When they opened the gate, we went in, here.
All of us were automatically in a state of shock, for we saw a pile of corpses. And the German Mattias began shouting to this group – “An die tragen” – “To the stretchers!”
We did not understand what was going on. We began running around the bodies. The Germans and the Ukrainians who were present there hit us.
We did not know what we were supposed to do. The Jews who worked on removing the bodies said to us: “Take hold of the stretchers and put a body on each.”
We seized a stretcher, another person and I, I don’t know what his name was, we went up to this pile, and we took a body away on a stretcher. We walked to the graves at this spot – 150 to 200 meters to the grave, and we threw the bodies down below.
1996 Quote: When I entered the courtroom and entered the witness-stand, only after I received the first questions from Gideon Hausner and from the Judges did I look into Eichmann’s face.
I thought to myself, here I have the privilege, to fulfill the wish of the victims to tell the world what had happened in Treblinka, and here I stand opposite one of the greatest criminals and I am going to testify against him.
Witness to underground resistance in the Krakow and Warsaw ghettos, Poland
961 Quote: 5/3/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Towards morning you escaped?
RUFEISEN: Towards morning I decided that I would have to escape. The ghetto was on the eve of the “action,” and I was afraid that when my comrades learned that I had been arrested (for these were comrades that had come with me), I was afraid that they would do something in order to rescue me, and I didn’t want that as a result the time of the “action” would be advanced.
I decided that I had to escape, and at four o’clock in the morning I managed to run away, to penetrate into the ghetto. The place was very well illuminated by a large reflector. Four German and two Polish policemen pursued me and fired at me incessantly.
HAUSNER: You were wounded in your leg?
RUFEISEN: Yes, I was wounded in the leg, but I managed to get into the ghetto and once again return to my comrades.
HAUSNER: Did you participate in the operations of the revolt?
HAUSNER: On 8 May 1943, together with an underground group you passed through the sewage canals and reached the Aryan side of Warsaw?
HAUSNER: You remained hidden for some time, and afterwards you were sent with a group of Jews of foreign nationality to Bergen-Belsen. What happened? How were you caught?
RUFEISEN: I simply had no strength. I was crushed. After I had seen the Warsaw Ghetto in flames, and not one of my dear ones remained, there was no longer anything to fight for. At any rate I was broken.
There was also little hope that I would be taken into the forest. Although this was what I wanted …
1996 Quote: My first impression of Eichmann when I saw him in the glass cage, reminded me of a poem that had been written by the poet from Cracow, Mordehai Gebirtig.
In the poem, “my dream” he describes how he dreamt that the war was over, and suddenly he hears the sound of a chain, and he sees a glass cage, and inside it lies a naked man, like a corpse.
He doesn’t write Hitler, but everybody knows whom he refers to, and the people who pass in mass call out, “look at that scoundrel,” and everybody points at him, “he murdered my people, he murdered my people!” That was Gebirtig’s dream, but of course he writes it much nicer, than I tell it here.
Servatius, Dr. Robert
Attorney for the Defense
Witness to conditions in the Treblinka concentration camp, Poland
1961 Quote: 6/6/61: TEIGMAN: But most of the people had been advised that the revolt was to begin at four. However, as I ascertained-we were told this afterwards-Rudek fired at the SS man who was beating these two young men, and subsequently a grenade was thrown.
ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Was that how it began?
TEIGMAN: This was the signal for the revolt to commence. And after that, the explosions began. There was a young man who used to disinfect the hits of the Germans and the Ukrainians.
He had a receptacle on his back, with a hosepipe, with which he sprayed [disinfectant]. On that day, this young man was to mix the chemicals with fuel, petrol, and in fact he did so. In addition to that, there was a large tank of petrol near the garage.
I think it must have contained several thousand liters of petrol. This tank was also set on fire. It exploded and spread flames along the fence which was covered with dried foliage, and it began burning.
I was at the workshop refurbishing aluminum utensils. I knew that I was to receive arms at the garage. I ran, in fact, towards the garage, but I could not reach it, for the fire from the tank prevented me from getting near.
Then I turned around and ran in the direction of the Lazarette towards the second gate.
HAUSNER: And you escaped from there?
TEIGMAN: And I escaped from there.
1996 Quote: I followed the Eichmann trial all the time, and even visited the courtroom a few times to listen to the other witnesses. The testimonies, of course, were all very similar, since we all had gone through the same things, some more, some less.
After my testimony, like most witnesses, I was a little relieved. On the other hand, I thought about it for a long time and could not free myself. It was all very difficult and it haunted me for a long time.
Deputy State Attorney
1996 Quote: The Eichmann case is part of Jewish history, which includes persecution, heroism, mass murders up to the Holocaust and tremendous will to survive and power to survive. And limitless staying power in adverse conditions, and the ability to reconstruct our lives and build ourselves a new nation.
Witness to torture and beatings for carrying false German identification papers
1961 Quote: 5/1/61: ZABLUDOWICZ: There was a semi-circular chair there and it had openings. They told me to lie down on my stomach on the chair, with my head going through on the other side.
One of them came up, took my head between his legs, while another one stood on my legs. I was on my knees, and my legs were being held.
Two of them took out whips with lead tips and started beating. I couldn’t shout because I was choking. I felt moisture all over my body. I couldn’t count the blows I received. I had already lost count.
I began to work myself loose with all my strength; I made a tremendous effort, and I knocked over the two who were holding me, together with the chair, and the chair was smashed to pieces, and they fell down.
Then they said “Der Hund hat uns den Stuhl kaputt gemacht” (The dog has broken the chair for us), and they seized the legs, they were round legs made of hard wood, we used to call it “redwood” oak, and they began to beat me on my head with these legs until there were no more pieces of wood left.
I fell down and fainted, and then they poured over me a bucket of water that had been standing in the room. I regained consciousness somewhat. The room was full of blood.
It was one o’clock. At one o’clock they looked at their watches and said: “Wir mussen Mittag essen gehen” (We have to go for lunch).
There was a man there walking around, his name was Bresler, he used to wander around the streets of the town, and they told him to watch me until they returned.
ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Did you ask him to finish you off?
ZABLUDOWICZ: Yes… [I] begged him: “Icht bitte Ihnen, schiessen Sie mich!” (I beg you to shoot me).
He answered me: “Du Hund, es ist schade fur eine Patrone. Du wirst so krepeieren muessen” (You dog, it would be a pity to waste a bullet on you – you will have to die this way), and he kicked me in the mouth with his foot and I spat out all my teeth.
1996 Quote: I saw Eichmann a lot in the camp of Auschwitz. He was always dressed in his long coat, with one glove on one hand holding the other glove.
He was often invited to Auschwitz to the opening of pits when the crematoria did not suffice.
Zimet, Walli Malka
Witness to bureaucratic functions of Eichmann’s office of emigration and property confiscation in Prague
1961 Quote: 4/27/61: ZIMET: I remember an occasion when there were already no more people for emigration…
DEPUTY STATE ATTORNEY YA’ACOV BAROR: When was that, approximately?
ZIMET: In 1940. And a group of persons had to appear there every day.
BAROR: Do you remember the size of a normal group that had to appear?
ZIMET: I don’t know, but I do know that when it was known that Eichmann was about to come, there was fear throughout the building.
There were no longer any people there who had visas for any country, and then Gunther made an urgent request to the community officials that, for this day when Eichmann was coming, they should bring along a large number of people, even with empty kits, so as to show that some kind of activity was in progress there.
And then several hundred persons lined up before the Zentralstelle and Eichmann appeared and was most satisfied to see people there, even though they only had blank papers in their kits. This he did not check.
BAROR: That is to say – they were there just for show?
1996 Quote: I definitely did not want to testify. I had a terrible feeling. On the one hand it was terrible that I saw him.
On the other hand, it was good that I saw him in such a place as the courtroom. I was very relieved when the trial was over.
I think all Jews were relieved after the trial. Many people were sick during that time.
Witness to rescue operations for Jews in Poland
1961 Quote: 6/1/61: ATTORNEY GENERAL GIDEON HAUSNER: Did you have any contact with those who were in charge of the Krakow Ghetto on behalf of the Gestapo?
ZIMMERMAN: We were interested in knowing everything that was happening and everything they were preparing to do, and our comrades were working in all kinds of places, as officials and as stenotypists, and we tried to gather information and to listen.
HAUSNER: Were you also amongst them?
ZIMMERMAN: I was also one of them, from time to time.
HAUSNER: From which Gestapo members in Krakow did you obtain information?
ZIMMERMAN: Especially those in charge of the ghetto used to come to the Krakow Ghetto, particularly Kunde and Heinrich, and others.
More than all the others, these were the two who made visits. They used to oversee the liquidation operations, but from time to time they felt the need to prove that they were also human beings and that they, too, had feelings.
I do not know who are worse-those who wanted to prove such feelings from time to time, or those who were brutal all the time. At any rate, possibly this was merely a facade, almost certainly this was just a pretense, a kind of policy of deceiving us.
They would pretend that they regretted what was taking place-it was not their fault-they were implementing a plan in charge of which there were special persons, there was a special department and special people in charge.
And again, in their conversation they would mention this expert, of whom they boasted that he knew Hebrew and Yiddish, who had lived in Palestine, and that sometimes he also mixed with Jews who were afraid to do anything because they were afraid of him.
1996 Quote: Testifying was a very hard moment for me. Because now I had to come to the court and to tell what happened in my life. I was afraid that it would not be possible to be cool enough to testify without emotion. I asked myself, was I prepared to see for the first time in my life the murderer of my family and of my nation and of my friends and relatives and children. Was I prepared to see him eye to eye.
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