Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-052-02 Last-Modified: 1999/06/02 Q. Was that on 5 May or 5 April? A. On 5 April. Jewish lawyers and actors were expelled from their guilds, public servants had to stop working, telephones were disconnected, and it was forbidden to keep a private vehicle. Bank accounts of Jews were blocked, and safes kept by Jews were closed. On 5 April, we received a demand from the Hungarian authorities in Budapest to hand over 500 Jewish apartments - in the wake of an air attack by the Allied forces. In the course of 24 or 48 hours, we had to supply 500 apartments. On 6 April, jewellery and articles of gold were confiscated. On 7 April, radio sets were impounded. On 14 April, Jewish pharmacies were requisitioned and handed over to non-Jewish ownership. On 16 April, Jews were forbidden to draw more than one thousand pengoe per month from their blocked accounts and were not allowed to possess more than 3,000 pengoe in cash. On 20 April, an order came preventing Jewish doctors from treating non-Jews and banning the employment of Jewish officials, in private enterprises as well as in public ones. On 23 April food supplies to Jews were cut down. It was wartime. Throughout the entire War, foodstuffs were distributed by means of ration coupons for the whole population. On 23 April, they restricted several articles of food, such as fat, sugar and meat, which Jews could not get at all. On 26 April, there was a decree forbidding Jews to reside in locations which did not have at least 10,000 people, and concentrating them in towns, in places set aside for that purpose. In actual fact, this was the Hungarian confirmation of the "ghettoization" which had begun a week earlier and was implemented by the SS. I shall later come back to this. On 1 May, special food ration cards were issued for Jews; on the ration card it said "Jew," with quantities smaller than the normal. Also with regard to the foodstuffs which the Jews actually received, the quantities were smaller. On 8 May, a body was set up called the Association of Hungarian Jews, and a provisional executive was appointed instead of the central executive which had been appointed by the SS. On 9 May, there was the requisitioning of the Jewish hospitals of Budapest. On 12 May - the closing of all Jewish stores. On 25 May - a ban on visiting cafes, restaurants, etc. On 26 May - by 31 May houses in Budapest were to be set aside to which the Jews would move, and their apartments, including furniture, were to be handed over to non-Jews. On 26 May - there came the deportation, the expulsions which were already in effect throughout the country, except for Budapest. On 4 June, the time Jews were allowed to make their purchases was limited to two hours daily - foodstuffs between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., other necessities between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. From 17 June, the removal of the Jews to Jewish houses which were marked with a yellow star was carried out in the course of five days, until 21 June. This period of five days was too short, and in the end it was extended by three more days, until 24 June, up to midnight. On 25 June, a ban was imposed on leaving homes except between two and five o'clock in the afternoon. Also, bicycles had to be surrendered. It was forbidden to ride on the trams, except in a special section. A non-Jew was absolutely forbidden to take a Jew into his apartment. And on 28 June - this was when approximately eighty per cent of the Jews of Hungary had already been deported, and here the Hungarian gendarmerie assisted in the expulsion of the Jews, and there was great fear because 1,600 gendarmes were brought to Budapest on 28 June. Apparently, there was a plan to deport the Jews of Budapest as well. Q. Mr. Freudiger, was a law also published determining who was a Jew according to the laws of Hungary? A. Yes. Then it was already decreed that, according to the racial laws, any man whose grandfathers and grandmothers were Jewish was a Jew, even if he had in the meantime changed his religion. Q. Can you tell the Court something about the publication of a pronouncedly anti-Semitic newspaper in Budapest? A. Yes. They issued a paper in Budapest exactly along the lines of the Stuermer,and its name was the Harc. This followed exactly the pattern of the Stuermer. Q. You mentioned that regulations had been issued whereby 500 Jewish apartments had to be handed over. Did this number remain static or was it raised in the course of time? A. No. We again received such an order, and then they demanded 1,000 apartments. It was easier to demand 1,000 apartments than 500. Q. Were all these instructions in fact carried out? A. Yes, Q. You told us that, at that first meeting with Krumey and Wisliceny, there was mention of establishing a kind of central Jewish committee, a "Zentralrat," I think they called it. Was such a committee established? A. Yes. Q. How many members were there on this committee? A. Hofrat Stern, the president, and six other members. Q. Who were these members? A. Hofrat Stern was the chairman. On behalf of the Neologue community, there were Dr. Boda and Dr. Petoe, who were vice- presidents of the Neologue community. Also Dr. Karl Wilhelm whom I mentioned yesterday. On behalf of the Orthodox community, there were the head of the national Orthodox bureau, Mr. Kahan-Frankl, and myself. On behalf of the Buda community, there was Dr. Csobadi, and representing the Zionists was Dr. Nison Kahan. Q. Were other persons added to this committee at a later stage? A. As I said earlier, there came an order on 8 May from the Hungarian Government to set up a committee, a provisional executive committee for Jewish affairs. This provisional executive replaced the central executive. From the previous central executive, there remained Hofrat Stern, as chairman, Dr. Boda, Dr. Petoe, Dr. Wilhelm and myself. The remaining members were not appointed. In their stead, they appointed Dr. Joseph Nagy, who was head doctor at the Jewish Hospital, and Janos Gabor, who was until then liaison officer between the central executive and the SS, the Sondereinsatzkommando; Bela Berend, who was rabbi in Szigetvar; Toeroek as a representative of Jewish converts, and Dr. Stoeckler. Q. Mr. Freudiger, you said before that the Germans demanded, from time to time, that you hand over property and various articles for their use. Can you tell the Court who demanded it, how they demanded it, and if their demands were carried out? A. Already during the early days they began demanding housing in which to accommodate their soldiers - and thereafter equipment for the apartments and workers. They demanded workers after the headquarters of the Sondereinsatzkommando were established at the Hotel Majestic, to dig a shelter there and all kinds of things. They simply set up, within the central committee, a department to comply with their daily demands. Q. Within the Jewish committee, did they set up a department whose function was to fulfil German demands? A. Yes. Q. Who used to pass on the demands on behalf of the Germans? A. On one occasion it was simply a sergeant who came to us and said that he needed "such and such." Q. A sergeant of the SS? A. Yes, a sergeant of the SS. Once we received a telephone call. They never gave these instructions in writing. Q. Did they ever pay you for this work? A. No. That was out of the question. Q. Did they also demand Jewish labour, in order to perform various tasks for the Germans? A. Yes. Q. Who had to pay for these workers? A. We did. Q. Now, Mr. Freudiger, did you meet Adolf Eichmann in Budapest? A. Yes. Q. Do you see the Accused here? Can you identify him? A. In my mind's eye, Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann appears in uniform, in high boots, standing with his legs apart and his hand on the pistol in his belt, and shouting at me from the heights of the Master Race, but, despite that, I believe he is the man. Q. Are you able to tell the Court under what circumstances you met him? A. On the first occasion I came across him and did not know that he was Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann. I went to the Schwabenberg. I wanted to talk either to Wisliceny or Krumey, and to ask them, after they had requisitioned our synagogue, to let us have the scrolls of the law which were inside the synagogue. An officer met me there - he asked me what I was doing here? I told him. He replied: "Very well, I will arrange the matter." Q. Was the matter actually settled? A. Actually it was settled - we received back all the scrolls of the law. Meanwhile, they had sent off approximately 1,500 persons whom, as I told you yesterday, they seized at the railway stations - they sent them to Kistarcsa under inhuman conditions. I went and wanted to speak to Krumey and to Wisliceny - that they should leave them alone, and to ask what was the meaning of this, and to implore them to make some suitable arrangements. Again I came across that officer whom I did not know, whom I did not recognize, and again he asked me what I was doing there. I explained the matter to him. He said that this was out of the question and that they had to remain where they were. I asked him: "For what reason? What crime have they committed? They were simply travelling on the railway and did not yet know that this was forbidden." He replied: "It is out of the question, this is enough, don't argue with me." This was no longer as pleasant as the first meeting had been. A day or two later, I met with Wisliceny; we again began to speak about the matter, and I told him that one of their officers had said to me that this was out of the question and that I really could not understand why not; that they had not done any wrong, they were not criminals. He told me: "You have been talking to Eichmann, and if he said no, then it is no." Q. Do you remember the exact words Eichmann used at that meeting with you? A. Not altogether. Presiding Judge: You are talking of the same officer who returned the scrolls of the law? Witness Freudiger: Yes. State Attorney Bach: When you made your request to him, did he say anything in particular to you? Witness Freudiger: He said: "This is out of the question, they must remain where they are." After that I argued with him a little. He began shouting at me: "Ich werde Euch schon Ordnung lehren. Ich werde mit Euch schon Schlitten fahren." I speak German fairly well, but I did not know the meaning of "Ich werde mit Euch schon Schlitten fahren." Subsequently, I found out what it meant. Interpreter "I shall yet teach you all what order means. I shall ride on your back as on a sledge." Presiding Judge: This is not correct. I already noticed that in the Attorney General's opening address. It is simply a gross expression - "I will show you." Perhaps we can find a different translation. One could say: "I will yet show you," no more than that. State Attorney Bach: But literally... Judge Halevi: Words are not all as important in this trial as deeds. State Attorney Bach: Occasionally words indicate a certain intention behind the deeds. Presiding Judge: Perhaps this is more of a German than an Austrian expression. Is such an expression common in Austria-Hungary as well? Witness Freudiger: I do not remember such an expression. Presiding Judge: I think it is more of a northern expression. Attorney General: I must say that when, for my opening address, I gave it a literal translation, I did not know the expression, and for that reason I also quoted the expression in the original. Presiding Judge: I was thinking of remarking on it already then. Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, the Presiding Judge, may I give a professional explanation? This is the language used by sergeants when talking to recruits. Presiding Judge: This is also how I understood it. Attorney General: At all events, I understood that this was something not very pleasant. Judge Halevi: It could be translated by the Hebrew expression "to put you through the mill" ("leshafshef etchem" - literally "to give you a rubbing-down"). State Attorney Bach: Did you come across Eichmann again after this? Witness Freudiger: Yes, but this was already a more important meeting. I think that it was on 16 or 23 April. I think it was 16 April. We received information to the effect that they had begun to concentrate Jews in the border towns. I came to the central executive, and there I found my colleagues, together with Dr. Reiner, who was also liaison officer on the executive on behalf of the Orthodox. He told me that he had received information that during the night they had taken all the Jews to a town called Nyiregyhaza, and had concentrated them all in a particular place, a small place. They were all compelled to leave their houses, their apartments, and to take with them only thirty kilograms of personal effects. The gendarmes took them and gathered them together there. We did not know what had happened. This was a short time after we had paid 220,000 dollars to Krumey, in order to buy the "goodwill" of the Sondereinsatzkommando. Perhaps five or six days had passed since then, and, after that, this had occurred. We were simply like "vor den Kopf gestossen" (struck with bewilderment), and Dr. Reiner, whose family also lived in Nyiregyhaza - his parents were aged eighty or over - requested us: "Mr. Freudiger, go to Wisliceny and Krumey and ask them." I said: "I cannot go, I have no definite information on the whole matter. First we have to get information." We discussion this and it was resolved that the two of us would go together, since he was the one who had the information. We went to the Schwabenberg in the morning. I wanted to speak to Krumey. I could speak to him more openly, for he had received 220,000 in the past week. We waited for Krumey. The secretary would not allow us to wait inside. We waited outside. Then Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, whom I knew by now, came in. He said: "Was machen da die Schoenen?" (What are these beauties doing here?) I told him that we are waiting for Krumey on such and such a matter. He said: "Come into my office." He took us into his office. The offices were adjoining. There was a large map of Hungary on the wall. He stood in front of the map and said: "These are the border provinces of Hungary." Perhaps I may quote his words in German. He said: "Ich habe die Ghettoisierung der Juden in den Grenzgebieten von Ungarn verfuegt. Das betrifft 310,000 Juden." (I have given instructions to place the Jews living in the border provinces of Hungary into ghettos. This affects 310,000 Jews.) He went on to say that the Russian enemies were on the other side of the Carpathians, and that obviously it was impossible to leave 300,000 hostile persons to wander around freely so close to the border. And for this reason it had been necessary to concentrate them into ghettos. I said to him: "Is Nyiregyhaza close to the border, 300 kilometres from the border?" He replied: "You ask your Hungarians. All this is the area of Brigade 8 of the Hungarian army, and that is the region of the border. Everything in this area is called 'border'." I had nothing to say in reply. Then he went on, saying: "All right, so they won't have to live in a ghetto, but we must preserve quiet and order and see that there are no epidemics." Judge Halevi: Who were we"? Witness Freudiger: We, the Jews, the Zentralrat. We had to make certain that there were no epidemics, to preserve hygiene. Dr. Reiner asked him: "How can one preserve hygiene when we get one square metre per person for living quarters?" Then he began shouting - up to this point he had spoken fairly politely - and said: "Again you are starting with this horror propaganda? Who told you that?" I said: "I know that this was the space provided for aged parents also, for the elderly." Meanwhile Krumey had arrived, and he came in and joined us. Afterwards Eichmann said: "Very well, if you have parents, they can be brought to Budapest." He told Krumey to have an order issued to bring the families of the members of the Judenrat, of the central executive, first-degree members of the family - to bring them to Budapest. I asked him: "What is the meaning of 'first- degree members' of the family? And he replied: "Don't you even know this? It means husband and wife, parents, children." And I asked him: "And what about brothers and sisters?" He said: "These are second-degree family members." In practice, there were brothers whom they brought back, and many parents whom they did not. State Attorney Bach: And with that, the meeting ended? Witness Freudiger: Yes.
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