The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-058-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-058-03
Last-Modified: 1999/06/04

Q. Did you first ask for permission to see him, or did the
two of you simply go to see him?

A. I do not remember whether I telephoned first or whether I
just went up to see him straight away, but we went up, we
wanted to speak to him about the inhuman treatment, cramming
a hundred people into a railway car.  When we talked to him
about this, he said that we need not worry any more, since
these were only Jews from Carpatho-Russia, and these people
had a lot of children, and in any case children did not need
much air, and even less room, so that nothing at all would
happen to them.

Q. Did the Accused also explain to you why these
deportations had to take place at all?

A. He was never short of an explanation.

Q. What was the explanation in this case?

A. That the Russians were not far from the Carpathians, and
after all, it was a border area, and since the front was
coming closer, the Germans had to evacuate the border areas
- I can state that those were his very words - of
undesirable elements, unreliable ones, that was how he
explained this, so that it was a military necessity, and it
had to be clean there.

Q. Mrs. Brand, did you have a special pass which allowed you
to move freely around Budapest?

A. Before my husband left, the Germans gave him and some
other colleagues of his what were known as "immunity
passes," which were signed by Krumey for the Germans and by
a certain Kultay for the Hungarians.  With these passes we
had the right to move freely and without the yellow star, we
were also allowed to use the tram and other means of
transport.  I myself had this pass only for a short time,
because when we were arrested, it was taken away, and I
never got it back.

Q. Mrs. Brand, would you please tell the Court how you were
arrested by the Hungarians, and what happened when you were
under arrest.

A. One Saturday afternoon, detectives from the Hungarian
Gestapo came to my flat and searched it.  Everyone who was
in my home was arrested.  At the beginning we had no idea
why this happened and how they had found us.  We spent the
whole night without knowing why we had been arrested.

The next day I was called down, and in the presence of
someone from the German Security Service, in his presence a
man was brought before me, and I was asked if I knew him.
If he had not first been presented to me as the printer, I
would not have recognized him, he was so beaten up.  So
there I was, confronted with this printer who had produced
the false papers for me.

Q. Were you, too, interrogated?  And if so - about what?

A. After this confrontation - one or two days, I do not
remember exactly how long I spent in the cell - I was called
in for interrogation.

Q. Do you know the name of one of the Hungarian

A. The Chief interrogated me himself, Peter Hain.

Q. What were you interrogated about?

A. First of all about the false papers, and there was a
series of pictures of the whole group of halutzim with whom
we had worked: Did I know them, these people?  And since I
did not know them, they beat me up.  After these first
questions and the first beating, they asked me a second
question: Where was my husband?

Q. Did you tell them the truth about that?

A. This kind of half questions, half beatings, continued for
about seven hours.  Of course, I did not tell them anything,
and that is why they kept me so long and beat me, because I
was terrified of passing on the Reich secret.  I was
frightened, and I did not want to be the person who would
jeopardize, because of my own weakness, this only chance
which we had been given.  So I kept silent.

Q. How were you then released, and where were you taken?

A. The morning after my interrogation, the SS appeared, and
all those who had been arrested in my flat were released, or
rather transferred to the German Security Service.  In
brief, I was released there.

Q. But you did confess to the Hungarians that the documents
had been forged?

A. Yes.

Q. But you were nevertheless released when instructions came
from the SS?

A. I must explain something - I cannot do this briefly.
About the papers: There were two attache cases.  One
contained Hungarian papers, and the other, German papers.
Since I saw what the situation was and realized that I would
definitely not be able to get off by lying and beating about
the bush, I confessed that I had done it - but only the
Hungarian papers.  I did not need the German papers, because
the Hungarians had seen that I had German papers.  I did not
need to forge these as well, because I had the original.
But I did make the Hungarian papers.

Q. After you were released, with which of the SS men did you
speak about your arrest?

A. When I was taken out, I could hardly walk, and so I was
taken - it was just a few meters from the house where we had
been arrested, this SD, as it was called - to the Security
Service.  Its chief was Klages.  We were taken to this

Q. I believe you said "we were taken" - who else was then
under arrest together with you?

A. There was also Kasztner and his wife, Offenbach and his
wife, my sister, Springmann's sister, and two other people
from Carpatho-Russia.

Q. And you were all released at the same time?

A. We were all released, as well as a woman from Yugoslavia.

Q. And then you were all taken to Klages?

A. Yes.

Q. What did Klages say to you?

A. So to say, that is not good.  The others left then, and I
and Kasztner were the only ones to remain: I could no longer
stand, and I was given a folding chair, and I sat there
almost the whole day.

Q. Did Klages say anything to you about your arrest?

A. He pretended to be horrified when he saw me, and how I
had been - as he put it, "how can a poor woman be brought to
such a state?"

Q. Did you also speak to Eichmann about this question, about
the way you were treated when you were under arrest?

A. This was not discussed - there was only one reference,
just one, that was made to that - I forget what the other
occasion was, when he said that I myself had earned my life.
In other words, that I deserved to live.  I need to explain
something else about this, but I do not know if this is the
place to do it.

Q. Perhaps you could explain the meaning of this?

A. The meaning was this: My husband had not come back, and
there were many difficulties, and the negotiations had not
progressed, and I had said some things to him, but he did
not undertake any steps against me; that he left me alive
because I had earned my life, because despite everything I
had kept the Reich secret, because I had kept silent.

Presiding Judge: Who said that, Klages?

Witness Hansi Brand:   No, Eichmann.

State Attorney Bach:  Mrs. Brand, roughly how many times did
you have meetings with the Accused during those months in

Witness Hansi Brand:   It is very difficult to say how often
I met him.  It may have been ten times, twelve times, or
fifteen times - we did not keep any records, so I cannot
give a precise figure.

Q. Approximately ten to fifteen times?

A. More often.  It may have been more.

Q. Over what period of time was that?

A. After my husband's departure, roughly until the beginning
of September, end of August.

Q. Did you normally go alone or with Dr. Kasztner?

A. Sometimes on my own, sometimes with Kasztner, and
sometimes Kasztner went on his own.

Q. Can you tell the Court what was usually the purpose of
your going there?

A. Our aim was always the same.  The precise form and
details varied, but it was always the same.  To obtain
something, to do something, to help somehow.  Sometimes a
group had been arrested, and we wanted him to help us get
the group out.  And I still remember very distinctly that we
talked to him about the parachutists who came from Eretz
Israel and who were to find out about these first
transports, and he was asked to help us get them released,
and then we tried - Slovak refugees, whom they had already
been holding there for three years, and suddenly they were
seized and were to be deported by train.  All sorts of cases
like these.  We also wanted to get these six hundred people
out, and we also wanted to avoid these Jews being taken
directly to Auschwitz.

Q. How did the Accused generally react to your requests?

A. Generally we had problems with him all the time.  He
promised good will, an atmosphere was to be created abroad,
he wanted to allow us to get these six hundred people out,
and he promised that if he was given the lists of the areas
of the provinces where the Jews had already begun to be put
in ghettos and dragged out from the ghettos by train - he
promised that groups from all directions would be brought to
Budapest.  And when we insisted on that, there was always
some excuse. In the end, when he could not think of anything
else, he said "we have nowhere to put these six hundred
people in Budapest."  And then we had a great deal of help,
because Lev Sigmund from Klausenburg had come illegally to
Budapest with his family, and when he heard about this reply
from Eichmann to us, within twenty-four hours he made
arrangements not for six hundred people, but in the end for
three thousand, which later became the camp in Columbus
Street.  I should like to add that all Jewish institutions
were requisitioned and were used, some for horses, and some
for warehouses and for other things, even the synagogue.

Q. You said that you approached him also with regard to the
parachutists from Palestine.  What was his reaction to that?

A. His reply was that the matter was not within his

Q. Mrs. Brand, could you give the Court details about the
sums of money which you paid to members of the SS for the
release of these six hundred people, as was mentioned at the

A. I cannot remember the exact sum, what was the actual
amount that was given.  I only know that I myself - as a
consideration paid for various rich people who reached
Switzerland from Columbus Street - at that time I entrusted
three large suitcases containing diamonds and gold and
securities to the SD for safekeeping.

Q. To whom did you entrust these suitcases?

A. I gave three suitcases to Klages, he was the head of the

Q. I want to make sure I understand.  Did you give these
suitcases to Klages for safekeeping, or did you give them to
him because he could arrange to get the Jews out of Hungary?

A. It was not so simple at that time for Jews to keep money
and valuables with them, and that was already after our
arrest, when we were robbed, so nothing was safe.  What
could also happen was for another German department to take
our money, without our getting any promise or undertaking in
return, and he - he always tried to act the decent person
with regard to us. When I went to him with this problem: All
well and good, we will collect these sums of money which we
have promised for the transport, but where shall we keep it,
we have no safe any more, we are living from one day to the
next, we do not have a flat either where we can sleep in
peace.  Then he himself proposed that I bring it to him for
safekeeping.  And that is how the suitcase came to Klages.

Q. Did you tell Eichmann that you had entrusted the
suitcases to Klages?

A. Quite honestly, I do not remember.  But although there
were three different authorities involved, finally we
reached a situation where they were all completely aware of
the whole thing and completely informed, so that I could
well imagine that if I did not tell Eichmann, then Klages
would tell him.  He knew that we had handed them over.

Q. Do you know where the suitcases went to?

A. After the transport left, two experts were brought to
Klages, in order to draw up a list and to evaluate the
contents of the three suitcases, and then these three
suitcases were handed over to Becher.

Presiding Judge: The three suitcases were handed over to

Witness Hansi Brand:   Yes.

State Attorney Bach:  Did you also talk to Krumey and
Wisliceny about this transaction?

Witness Hansi Brand:   I never spoke to Wisliceny.

Q. Did you speak to Krumey?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know about money paid to Krumey, apart from these

A. That was at the beginning, when the whole so-called
business connection was established.  Then they received an
enormous sum.  I do not know how many million Pengoes, but
it was several million.

Q. From whom?

A. From the committee.  However, I must add that not all the
money came from the committee, but it was collected by the
various religious communities, the Orthodox and the
Neologue, and the amount still needed was made up by the

Q. Could you clarify that, Mrs. Brand?  You are saying that
a great deal of money was handed over.  Who on the committee
handed this over to whom?

A. [In Hebrew] That much I do know.  My husband and Kasztner
handed it over in a suitcase to Krumey. [In German] And
there is something else I must say.  It may not be relevant
here, but it is so characteristic.  There was a one hundred
note missing - they counted the money again, and then they
asked for it to be made up.

Presiding Judge: Who was "they"?  After all, we do not know who they were.

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