Adolf Eichmann on the outcomes of the Final Solution (1945)

Wilhelm Hoettl was an Austrian NSDAP member and SS Sturmbannfuhrer (major) during the last year of the war. In late 1945, Hoettl gave this affidavit describing a conversation he had about the Final Solution with Adolf Eichmann:

I, Wilhelm Hoettl, hereby declare under oath:

“At the end of August 1944, I conversed with SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Adolf Eichmann, whom I had known since 1938. The conversation took place in my apartment in Budapest. At this time Eichmann was to my knowledge departmental head of Amt IV (Gestapo) of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt and, more importantly, had been charged by Himmler to get hold of the Jews in all European countries and transport them to Germany.

Eichmann was at the time much affected by Romania’s withdrawal from the war which took place in those days. That is why he had visited me to obtain information about the military situation which I received daily from the Hungarian Honved (War) Ministry and the Commander of the Waffen-SS in Hungary. He expressed his conviction that Germany had now lost the war and that he personally no longer had a chance. He said that he knew that he would be regarded as a major war criminal by the United Nations because he had millions of Jewish lives on his conscience.

I asked him how many it was, to which he replied that the number was, in fact, a great Reich secret – but that he would tell me as I would be interested in it as a historian… A short time before he had made a report for Himmler, who had wanted to know the exact number of Jews killed. On the basis of his information, he had come to the following conclusions: About four million Jews had been killed in the various extermination camps, while a further two million met their death in other ways, the majority being executed by the Einsatzkommandos of the Security Police during the campaign against Russia.

He said that Himmler had not been satisfied with the report as in his opinion the number of Jews killed must have been greater than six million. Himmler had said that he wished to send a man from his statistics department to Eichmann in order to write a fresh report, on the basis of Eichmann’s material, in which the exact figure should be worked out.

I must assume that the information that Eichmann gave me was correct, as of all the people concerned he certainly had the best overall view of the number of Jews murdered. Firstly, he so to speak “delivered the Jews to the extermination installations by his Sonderkommandos and therefore knew the exact number… and secondly, as Head of Department of Amt IV of the RSHA, which was also responsible for Jewish matters, he certainly knew best the number of Jews who had perished in other ways. In addition to this, due to the events, Eichmann was certainly in no frame of mind to have any intention of telling me anything that was untrue.

I myself am quite sure of the details of this talk because it had understandably moved me very much and because I had, before the German collapse, already made detailed statements on this matter to an American authority in a neutral country with which I was at that time in contact.

I swear that I have made the above statements voluntarily and without duress and that the above statements are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

Signed, Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl