The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-057-04

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-057-04
Last-Modified: 1999/06/04

Q. During the negotiations concerning the departure of a
million Jews in consideration of the supply of materiel, did
Eichmann not often tell you that superior orders made the
deportations a continuous process, but that he was at that
point endeavouring to stop the deportations by means of the
proposed deal?

A. No, not in the way you have framed the question, Sir.  If
I may be permitted to reply to the question properly, it
should be noted that Krumey was said to have told Wisliceny
that they had supported what we were asking, both before
Eichmann, who was responsible for Jewish matters in all
territories of the Reich, and in Berlin; and if we could
propose a plan for the emigration of all Jews, the prospects
would be favourable.  Eichmann never said to me that he
wanted no deportations, that he wanted to rescue the Jews;
his words, as previously cited by me, were: "I have had you
investigated and have determined that you are still capable
of getting things done.  I am prepared to sell you a million
Jews - goods for blood, blood for goods."  Elsewhere he told
me that he had received permission from the highest of his
superiors to conduct these negotiations.  I do not recall
whether he said he had received "permission" or an "order"
or something of this sort, but Eichmann never said to me
that it was his wish to stop the deportations.

Q. Do you wish to say that this entire plan originated with
Wisliceny and Krumey?

A. No, but certainly not with Eichmann.

Q. Why was Eichmann then in such haste, even setting so
short a time for your journey abroad?

A. Precisely to make things more difficult, to demand the
impossible.  How could a million people be evacuated in
eight days, in fourteen days, in order to consummate such a

Presiding Judge: Mr. Brand, speak more softly; you are
giving testimony here and nothing more.

Dr. Servatius:  Was delivery to be made, then, within
fourteen days?

Witness Brand:  He said that if I returned within eight to
fourteen days, he would immediately deliver the first
hundred thousand to a neutral country -  the idea was first
and foremost to Spain - and would also blow up the

Q. And what had to be done on your part within that time?
Were you merely to return, or were you supposed to be able
to make a firm offer for delivery?

A. I had to offer thereafter at once a confirmed delivery.

Q. Would that have meant, therefore, the delivery of ten
thousand trucks in Budapest?

A. No, one thousand trucks, ten per cent, and not in
Budapest, but at a neutral border.

Q. Mr. Brand, a book by Weissberg entitled The Story of Joel
Brand has been published.  Is the account that appears there
of events correct?

A. This - I regard it as my book - is correct, with the
exception of a few minor errors.  For example, I wrote that
my grandfather had seven sons; he only had six - in other
words, minor errors of this sort.

Q. Let us not digress from what I asked you.

A. As far as political questions are concerned, it is
correct, absolutely correct; a name was once misprinted,
Hunsche instead of Novak, or vice versa, I am not sure.

Presiding Judge: Did the witness say that the book is his?
Did he give the material to the author?  Or how are we to
understand it?

Witness Brand:  I wrote the book here, in Tel Aviv, for the
Ayanot Publishers.  I had difficulties with publication,
because Ayanot had the sole world rights to print the book.
So I went to Europe, where I worked in collaboration with
Alex Weissberg and had the book published under his name.  I
would say that Mr. Weissberg improved it considerably from
the stylistic point of view.  But I consider one hundred per
cent of the book's structure and content to be mine, taken
from my manuscript.  That is why I regard it as my book.
Subsequently, it was also published here, under my name.

Dr. Servatius:  Is it not stated in this book more than once
that it would have sufficed if only notification had been
made that the matter was being explored.  Deliveries, of
course, could not yet be made, but at least there could have
been a declaration: We are exploring the matter, and we will
do everything possible.  Was this not a sufficient basis for
the immediate departure of the one hundred thousand, thereby
gaining time, as you say in your book, and, through this
gain in time, the achievement in practice of an end to all
the deportations.  Is not that what your book says?

Witness Brand:  Not in the way that you, Counsel for the
Defence, have stated it.  If you wish to quote my exact
words, the book is here; I invite you to check it.
Essentially, many complaints, my complaints about the
handling of this affair are contained in this book.

Q. Did I understand you correctly yesterday, that you said
that Eichmann had explained to you that haste was required,
because he could only delay this evacuation for about a
fortnight, he could divert the people somewhere for fourteen
days only, perhaps to Austria, and therefore you had to
hurry, since otherwise his superiors would get after him; he
could not delay things longer.

A. When he told me that on that very day he was beginning
the deportations, and that consequently I should set out on
my journey immediately, I said it was a catastrophe.  No one
in a neutral country would believe me that his offer was a
serious one when, at the very same time, he was commencing
with the deportations.  He said that he had to start them,
not because...He said simply: "I am starting today."  But he
made a promise - and unfortunately he did not keep it - that
he would not be sending the people directly to Auschwitz, he
would delay them initially either in Czechoslovakia or
Vienna for two weeks.  He could not, however, keep them
there for a longer period, he could not, he said, "put them
on ice."  And the aged and the children would have to be
sent off; the youthful and healthy could perhaps be put to
work.  But unfortunately, he did not keep his word.  He sent
me away with false statements, he deported the people
immediately to Auschwitz.

Q. Didn't you say yesterday, at the beginning of your
testimony, that Eichmann had told you that you could have a
million, choosing whomever you wished - old people, children
or women.  Doesn't that contradict your statement later on
in the proceedings?

A. I see no contradiction.  And if there is a contradiction,
it is Eichmann's.

Q. You spoke yesterday about the cold and hideous proposal
to exchange one hundred thousand [Jews], or rather a
million, for goods.  Was this proposal, with its ten per
cent proviso, a solid and businesslike proposal from
Eichmann's standpoint?

Presiding Judge: I assume that this question is meant to be
ironic; otherwise it is beyond my comprehension.

Dr. Servatius:  Yes; the witness said it was a coldly
calculated affair, and I want to know from him whether it
was a sober proposal, made in cold blood, to offer someone
ten per cent commercially in advance, before anything is
supplied in return.

Witness Brand:  Yes, it was a hideous proposal as far as I
was concerned.  He destroyed my life.  Eichmann put a
million human beings on my back, most of whom, I am sorry to
say, were murdered by him.  On the other hand, however, it
was incumbent upon me, or on us - I am not speaking only of
myself - to clutch at a straw, if we saw a possibility of
saving human lives.  Yes, that last offer of his to give ten
per cent in advance - he certainly promised to release the
people and to blow up the installations in Auschwitz.  Yes,
that was perhaps the basis for beginning the rescue of our

Q. Did you write in your book, when you came away from this
discussion: "This is the turning point."  Therefore, were
you not using an expression indicative of happy

A. I don't know my book by heart.  I'm not sure whether I
used the term "turning point" or "deliverance."  But, in
fact, this is what I am saying.  When the proposal was made
to me, the proposal concerning the supply in advance of one
hundred thousand and the demolition of the gas chambers,
what was I supposed to say?  That fate had chosen me for
such a mission, that I had such a chance.  Whether I said
deliverance or turning point, I do not know.

Dr. Servatius:  May I perhaps cite the number of the page
from which my quotation was taken? It was page 127.

Mr. Brand, you have previously testified that the transport
of six hundred persons suggested by Kasztner was increased
to eight hundred by Eichmann on his own initiative.  Is that

Witness Brand:  Yes, he used the number eight hundred.  At
the first discussion with Wisliceny and Krumey, we spoke of
six hundred persons.  It is possible that other figures also
came up.  But he certainly specified a larger number than we

Q. Was this a good omen, namely that with his big proposal
he had a favourable solution in mind?

A. I didn't regard it as either a good or a bad omen.  The
promise had already been given, and I was inclined to think
that he did not know the precise number we had asked for and
was merely throwing a figure at me.

Q. Mr. Brand, you said that about one hundred thousand
dollars and, I believe, seventy thousand Swiss francs and a
batch of letters were given to you in Eichmann's office...

Presiding Judge: The witness said two hundred and seventy
thousand Swiss francs.

Witness Brand:  Yes, I received a package full of letters in
Eichmann's office.

Dr. Servatius:  You were of the opinion that that could have
been a trap?

Presiding Judge: I did not understand from the testimony of
the witness - to make it brief - that that was supposed to
be a trap; but the intention was to create the impression
that the proposal being made was serious and practicable.
That is my understanding of the testimony.

Judge Halevi:  But he also said that he was on tenterhooks,
so he said.

Witness Brand:  I believe I described that in my book:
Initially, it seemed very ominous to me to receive from
Eichmann this sum of money and a packet of letters, which he
said he had not read.  Then, when I went to the committee
and we opened the letters, I was sure it was a trap, because
among them were letters which were awful: We got letters
from Switzerland which said we were to conspire with this or
that Hungarian politician and organize an uprising...

Dr. Servatius:  Mr. Brand, you have already described

Witness Brand:  In my book, yes, but not here...

Presiding Judge: All right, you probably know more than I,
having read the book; I have not done so, I have only heard
the testimony.

Dr. Servatius:  Mr. Brand, did you not say that Eichmann had
passed on the money and those letters apparently under
pressure from the counter-espionage officers?

Witness Brand:  Yes, I said that.

Q. Doesn't this indicate that Eichmann was not all-powerful,
that counter-intelligence personnel were even more powerful,
even though they belonged to the Canaris Group which, as you
testified, was hostile to the SS.

A. May I correct you, Sir; they were not from the Canaris
Group, but rather from Klages' people, and therefore from SS
counter-intelligence, which stood in sharpest opposition to
the Canaris Group.  Subsequently they even executed the
leader of the Canaris Group.

Presiding Judge: Please come to the point as soon as

Witness Brand:  I never said that Eichmann was all-powerful
in the Nazi apparatus; at most I said that Eichmann was the
murderer-in-chief of the Nazi murder department.

Dr. Servatius:  Between the first discussion, in which the
offer came up, and the second, in which its terms were
specified, was not Eichmann repeatedly in Berlin, in order
to secure the approval of his superiors?

Witness Brand:  He told me that he had gone to Berlin and
returned that night; he got the endorsement of his superiors
in Berlin, and then he specified the type of goods he

Q. Thank you.  You said that Obersturmbannfuehrer Becher was
present in civilian clothing at the first discussion.  Was
he also present at the second discussion?

A. He was there at the first discussion. I can't recall
whether Becher was also there at the second discussion, but
he was again present at subsequent discussions.

Q. Did Becher participate in the negotiations, and what did
he say?

A. Never during any negotiations with Eichmann did any of
the officers present interject a word in my presence.

Q. What was SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Becher doing in

A. He robbed the property of Hungarian Jews.  Later on, we
made use of him and were also able to rescue Jews through
his help.

Q. Was he tough in regard to these property matters, or was
he an accommodating, friendly man?

A. He confiscated, he took property away, he negotiated and
allowed people to give him money voluntarily for promises.
He became a rich man, a very rich man.

Q. Didn't he appear in order to increase the returns from
supplemental deals, like the one for seventeen hundred
people from Belsen and others?  Wasn't he a man with a flair
for economic values who demanded as much money as possible?

A. As far as I know, he had this role.  But by that time I
was no longer in Budapest.  Kasztner increased the number of
people rescued in this connection from six hundred to
seventeen hundred, not me.  I know it...

Q. Did you speak with Mr. Becher after the War?

A. Yes.

Q. Where did you meet him?

A. I made inquiries, and, after numerous telephone calls and
telegrams, I located him in Bremen where I spoke with him
frequently and at considerable length.  I even boarded a
plane with him when I heard that he wanted to get away from
me.  I then also spoke with him in Paris.

Q. Did you speak to him about the book you wanted to

A. I wanted to know his point of view.  I gave a list of
about a hundred questions.  There may have been a hundred
and ten questions; I still have the original list.  Of these
hundred to one hundred and ten questions, he answered
perhaps about a dozen for me.  I still have the questions
and his answers.  He did not wish to answer the remaining
questions or, as far as part of them were concerned, he
wanted to give me his replies later on; I have not yet
received them.

Q. In your book, doesn't SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Becher
appear in a very favourable light?

A. That is a matter of taste; in my view this is not the
case, since I wrote that he had been robbing.

Q. Do you know Mr. Alois Steger?

A. Yes, I know Mr. Alois Steger.

Q. What role did he play?

A. Alois Steger was a very decent human being who helped us
a lot; he saved people.  At the same time, he was a
businessman, though I do not wish to say that he was
rescuing and helping in order to do business.  But he was a
businessman.  I believe that at present he is no longer
entirely all right, perhaps because of the heavy blows of
fate which he had to suffer later.

Q. Have you spoken with him since the end of the War?

A. Yes, I spoke with him often since the end of the War.
But ultimately it became very difficult to talk with him,
because I could no longer take him seriously.

Q. Did he not say that his adversity resulted from his
having made use of his fortune for the sake of rescuing Jews
and supplying trucks which could not be paid for?

A. Steger helped us Jews; now he is demanding more than one
hundred million dollars which we owe him.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.