Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-052-01 Last-Modified: 1999/06/02 Session No. 52 10 Sivan 5721 (25 May 1961) Presiding Judge: I declare the fifty-second Session of the trial open. Mr. Bach, in connection with the dispatch of questionnaires abroad, there are a number of matters which, it seems to me, are not progressing as required. State Attorney Bach: We are making progress - I do not know whether it is really at the required speed - but these questionnaires which we have to submit to the Court are almost ready. Presiding Judge: This refers to Becher, Hoettl, and Huppenkothen. State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour. As far as I could see this morning, the questionnaire for Becher is almost ready, and I very much hope that we shall be able to submit it during the day. Presiding Judge: There is a further matter regarding Kappler, in Italy. It seems to me that, up to now, you have not informed us of the address of the representative of the Prosecution in Italy. State Attorney Bach: I have also been approached in this matter by Defence Counsel, with a request to clarify where he is imprisoned - in Rome or somewhere else. I presumed at first, as something which could be taken for granted, that he is in gaol in the vicinity of Rome, but that is not altogether certain. We are still checking the matter through the Foreign Ministry in order to ascertain exactly where he is to be found, and then we should be able to know who will represent us. Presiding Judge: I would ask you to speed this up, so that we may get everything back in due time. State Attorney Bach: We shall do so to the best of our ability. Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, I wanted to ask you if you have any information concerning Hoettl and Huppenkothen, whether they are going to come here, or whether it will actually be necessary to continue drawing up the questionnaires for their interrogation abroad. Do you have an answer on that? Dr. Servatius: No. I shall only be talking tomorrow by telephone with my assistant. I asked him in a cable to be ready to answer my questions in this matter. Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach, do you think that you, too, will have an answer for us by noon tomorrow? State Attorney Bach: On the question of Kappler? Presiding Judge: Yes. State Attorney Bach: This depends somewhat on the Italian authorities. Therefore, I cannot make a commitment on this; I can only undertake that, for our part, we shall do everything possible to speed up the matter. Presiding Judge: In any case, I shall raise this matter again on Monday. Now we shall continue with the evidence of Mr. Freudiger. Mr. Freudiger, you are continuing to testify under affirmation. State Attorney Bach: Mr. Freudiger, you told the Court yesterday that you went to Wisliceny with the object of securing your brother's release. Witness Freudiger: Yes. Q. And you began telling us of your conversation with Wisliceny? A. Yes. Q. Can you tell the Court what happened in this conversation and what Wisliceny told you? A. As I said yesterday, Wisliceny promised that nothing would happen to my brother and said that I should come to the larger meeting in the afternoon, and that after this meeting he wanted to speak to me. Q. Did you go to the meeting? A. Yes. Q. What happened at that meeting? A. At the meeting there were present about forty to fifty persons from all the Jewish institutions of Budapest, and Krumey and Wisliceny came. Krumey opened the proceedings and called upon Wisliceny to speak. He himself only said a few words. Wisliceny repeated the same things we had heard from him on the previous day at greater length, and the tenor of his speech was that there would be no major steps taken; there would be certain restrictions, we should be calm, and he wanted to set our minds at rest. Q. He wanted to set your minds at rest; did he demand anything from you in relation to other Jews? A. Yes, that we should preserve quiet and order - that was our duty. Then questions were asked which were not so pleasant. Firstly he was asked what was the significance of the fact that they had seized people at the railway station - I described this already yesterday - and why they kept taking people all night. Hundreds of Jews were already detained in the Rabbinical Seminary - as I related yesterday. He said that of course they were taking hostages - this was the practice everywhere, but nothing would happen to them - they were merely hostages, so that there would be quiet. And with regard to the ban on travelling, it was surely impossible that Jews should move around. Everyone had to remain in his place of residence. If anyone needed to travel, he would receive a special permit. Q. A special permit from whom? A. He did not specify. Only that there would be travelling permits. For the present, everyone should remain at his place of residence. Q. After this meeting, did you meet Wisliceny once more, alone? A. Yes. The meeting lasted approximately an hour, an hour and a half. I went up to him, together with my cousin who was present. He was the head of the hospital of our community. I asked him what could be done, I told him I would come to see him. He said that we should come to him the following morning at the Rabbinical Seminary, and there we would discuss my brother's fate. Q. Did you go to him at the appointed hour? A. Yes. My late cousin and I went to him, and we noticed that they were bringing in people, and yet more people. We saw the SS (although at that time I did not know that they were the SS), we saw German soldiers bringing people there. Q. What kind of people? A. Some of them I knew. Q. What people? Jews? A. Yes. They were Jews. They continued bringing them there into custody. After some time, when he saw that I was there, he called me and asked whether I wanted to speak to my brother. I replied: "Certainly." He sent a sergeant to summon my brother, and several minutes later they brought him. I told my brother that, while I still did not know what would happen, I nevertheless felt that something was going to happen, and that he would be allowed to come home. Then Wisliceny called me and asked who, here in Budapest, was dealing with refugee affairs ("Wer gibt sich hier ab mit den Angelegenheiten der Fluechtlinge?"). I did not know what to tell him, for the matter of aiding refugees was illegal. I asked:" Which refugees?" He replied: "I know everything." I then said: "If you know everything, why ask me?" And he remarked: "Sind Sie nicht frech! (Do not be impertinent!). But he did not go on talking about that subject and told me to send him a certificate that my brother was a member of the executive of the community council, and after that he would send him back home. This, in fact, took place - I sent him to the Astoria confirmation of the fact that my brother was an executive member of the community council, and in the afternoon he sent my brother home. Q. Mr. Freudiger, when did Wisliceny first mention to you his connections with the Jewish leaders in Slovakia? A. What I have told you now took place on Wednesday, 22 March. As far as I remember it was on Friday, 24 March. (I have recently read the book of Rabbi Weissmandel, of blessed memory, and he says it was on 27 March. One of us is wrong, so it was either on the Friday or the Monday.) I received a phone call that the Baroness Edith Weiss, Mr. Nison Kahan, who was one of the leaders of the Hungarian Zionist Organization, and I were invited to come to him at the Rabbinical Centre. Q. "To him" - who was that? A. To Wisliceny. Q. And you went? A. Edith Weiss did not come; her entire family, including herself, had gone underground already from the first day, and I did not manage to reach her. So I went to him, together with Nison Kahan. He said only a few words to him and then sent him to another room, and I was left alone with him. He closed the door and told me to sit down - usually we did not sit, but stood. And he said to me: "I have brought you a letter - read it." Q. From whom was the letter? A. I read the letter. This letter was from the late Rabbi Weissmandel. It was written in Hebrew - it was a short letter. He wrote to me that "Fate has ultimately overtaken the Jews of Hungary," and he suggested to me that we should go ahead with the "Europa Plan" which they had begun with Wisliceny and which was familiar to me. Altogether it was a letter expressing confidence in Wisliceny - that we could negotiate with him. I read the letter. Wisliceny asked me: "Have you read it?" I answered: "Yes." "Did you understand it?" "Yes." He said to me: "Give it back to me." He tore it into small pieces and threw them into the stove. Then he asked me: "What do you have to say about the letter?" I said to him: "I am at your disposal." He said to me: "From today onwards, we need the funds that are reaching you from abroad." I asked him: "We or I?" I wanted to know whether the deal was official, or a private one with him. Then he said to me: "That is not your business." There was nothing I could say in reply. Afterwards he said to me: "You will still be hearing from me." That was all. I went away. Q. On that occasion, or at one of the earlier meetings, when you spoke to Wisliceny, was the question of the synagogue in Budapest also raised? A. Already in the early days they requisitioned the buildings of the Orthodox community, which included the community centre, the synagogue and also the school - it was a large building, an entire block - for the purpose of billeting soldiers there. Until matters were put in order in the early days, we did not know whom we could turn to. Krumey said that the whole matter belonged to the SS and the Sondereinsatzgruppen. In the beginning they were at the Astoria; afterwards they occupied flats and houses on the Schwabenberg (Swabian Hill), a small hill near Budapest. They had their offices there, and their officers were also accommodated there, apart from Krumey who lived at the "Rose Hill." They demanded equipment and furniture from us. That is how it started. A day or two after they told us that there would be economic restrictions and we would have to suffer them, there began all sorts of demands, day after day. Q. Mr. Freudiger, I shall ask you about these demands at a later stage. A. Anyhow, they requisitioned all the buildings of the Orthodox community. I was responsible, in my capacity as head of the Orthodox community, and I spoke to him. He said they needed room in order to billet their soldiers. Q. And then, amongst others, they also took the synagogue? A. They took the synagogue and turned it into a storehouse. This hurt me especially, for it was an ornate synagogue which my father had built, but I could do nothing about it. Q. That is to say, you approached Wisliceny in this matter? A. Yes. Q. Did Wisliceny promise you anything in this connection, or did he say it was needed? A. He did not promise - he said it was needed. Q. You spoke about a conversation with Wisliceny about the "Europa Plan" and the monies... Presiding Judge: I did not hear the witness speaking about a "Europa Plan." State Attorney Bach: Yes, he said that Weissmandel wrote to him about it. [To witness] Did you personally later still negotiate with Wisliceny about this plan or similar plans? Witness Freudiger: No. Presiding Judge: Perhaps you would repeat what you said to Wisliceny after you read the letter? Witness Freudiger: He asked me whether I had understood it. I answered: "Yes." He asked me: "What do you have to say?" I replied: "I am at your disposal." And then he said that they needed the funds coming from abroad from that day onwards. I asked him: "We or I?" Presiding Judge: That is enough, that I understood. State Attorney Bach: After the Germans entered, many changes were introduced in the Hungarian Government? Witness Freudiger: Yes. Q. Perhaps you could tell the Court who was appointed Prime Minister? A. Sztojay, who had previously been the Hungarian Minister in Germany, was appointed Prime Minister in place of Kalai. Q. Who was appointed as Minister of the Interior? A. Jaross was appointed Minister of the Interior, and after a few days two directors-general to the Ministry of the Interior were appointed, Laszlo Baky and Laszlo Endre. We did not know Laszlo Baky, but Laszlo Endre was the anti- Semite of Hungary. Q. Perhaps you could now tell us something about the anti- Jewish laws that were promulgated immediately after the entry of the Germans into Hungary? A. That is quite a long list. In the first days, let us say the first week, they only imposed the ban on travel - one could not leave one's place of residence. But that was not a decree. We knew that in practice they used to seize everyone who was on a train or at a railway station. Afterwards, on 31 March, Hungarian regulations began to be published. Apparently it took ten to twelve days until matters could be arranged and the Hungarian Government began to assist the SS, as it was supposed to be. And, thereafter, the Hungarian Government began to issue regulations. On 31 March, there was the first of those - the wearing of a yellow badge in the form of the Shield of David, sewn on the chest, 12 x 12 centimeters in size. As from 5 May, they expelled all the lawyers and actors...
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