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 interrogators? 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 department. 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 Budapest? 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 competence. 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 beginning? 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 SD. 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 Becher? 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 suitcases? 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 committee. 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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