The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-059-04

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-059-04
Last-Modified: 1999/06/07

Q. Yesterday you explained that you did not want to refer to
the large figure of one hundred thousand Jews in the
presence of English officers.

A. I assume - I forget - that the reason was - yes, I was
afraid of the English.  In Budapest we had decided to say as
little as possible to the English, not to give them any
information, but to the Americans, and I knew what their
position was, the White Paper, the certificates every month
- I was afraid, I wanted to say as little as possible.

Q. Eichmann's proposal was not to send these Jews to
Palestine, but to a neutral country, and he said explicitly
to you "not to Palestine," did he not?

A. Yes, that was one of the dilemmas.

Q. I am not asking about the dilemma.  Why were you afraid
to reveal the proposal to the English?  After all, it had
nothing to do with the White Paper.

A. The Zionist organization to which I belonged had only one
interest - emigration to Palestine; the Germans were
interested in extermination.  The world was interested in
not letting the Jews in.  I was stuck in the middle.  I
turned and twisted, in order not to step on either side's

Q. Mr. Brand, if you were not afraid to reveal to Mr.
Sharett, then Shertok, in the presence of English officers,
the proposal to release a million Jews, why were you afraid
to reveal the detail that, if a positive reply were given,
they would start with one hundred thousand?

A. I am convinced that I said that the Germans would take
the first step and release Jews.  Today I have already said
once that in the first months, and to this day...

Q. Mr. Brand, it seems to me that that is not an answer to
the question.

A. Your Honour, I must reply.  I bargained with myself, as I
said today: They will give five thousand, they will give ten
thousand, a hundred and twenty-thousand, they will give a
hundred thousand; I bargained with myself.

Q. Mr. Brand, did you, in Aleppo, tell Mr. Sharett that, as
soon as you brought a positive answer in principle to
Budapest, even before the agreement was implemented,
Eichmann had promised to blow up the extermination

A. I am convinced that I must have said that.

Q. Did you say that to Mr. Sharett in Aleppo?

A. I cannot swear to it - I am simply convinced, since it
was the most important thing in my head, that I must have
spoken about it; I do not understand why it is not in the

Q. In this connection, there was no reason not to reveal it
in the presence of English officers?

A. I cannot remember every particular thought I had at the
time.  I just cannot imagine my not speaking about it - I
cannot imagine not doing so, as I know myself.

Q. On the other hand, yesterday you told the Court that you
would rely completely on Mr. Sharett's record?

A. I cannot believe that Mr. Moshe Sharett would have hidden
or incorrectly recorded something - I cannot imagine that
being the case.  Moshe Sharett would definitely have
recorded the truth.

Q. Perhaps, Mr. Brand, you feel so deeply about these
matters, and so many years have passed since then, perhaps
you are mistaken about a particular detail?  Think, Mr.
Brand, is it not possible that the destruction of the gas
chambers by the Nazis was not promised to you as part of
what you call the advance?

A. No, when I said "gas chambers" yesterday, I obviously did
not use the right term, because Eichmann only spoke of the
installations at Auschwitz.  I understood that these were
the gas chambers.  He never spoke of the gas chambers to me.

Q. That is also how I understood it.  The question is
whether this was promised to you as soon as you would bring
a positive reply in principle, or perhaps you are mistaken
about this detail?

A. I am convinced that he spoke about this, that we spoke
about it for hours in our discussions in the committee in
Budapest, that we spoke about it in Constantinople.

Q. Another matter: When the Nazis invaded Hungary, you
already knew about the destruction of the Jewish People
before that?

A. Certainly, already for years.

Q. And up to then, you had worked successfully with the
Wehrmacht Counter-Intelligence Group?

A. They themselves did not do the rescue work.  It was with
the help of Wehrmacht agents.  They brought us money, and
that gave us resources for our work.  Sometimes, for money,
they took money over for us.

Q. In any case, you already knew that in Germany there was a
group, about which you heard more later, called the Canaris
Group, an anti-Nazi group?

A. The Canaris Group must be divided into two.  Up to a
certain point, the entire German counter-espionage was
called the Canaris Group.  The entire counter-espionage

Q. But you told us yesterday, I believe, that there was also
an intelligence office of the Security Service, Office VI.

A. That is correct.  Himmler had set himself up his own
counter-intelligence, particularly in the last years and
during the War.  Schellenberg was one of the heads.

Q. And it was Bandi Grosz who suggested to you that you
switch from the Wehrmacht counter-espionage people to the SS

A. He did not call it the SD Office VI Group.  But he was
the one who brought Laufer to me, and also Klausnitzer.  He
was present at the discussion.

Q. But that is what the proposal was about?

A. Yes.  And he himself switched from the German counter-
intelligence to the Security Service.

Q. And, in addition, he turned the people from the Wehrmacht
counter-intelligence over to the people from the SS, and in
the end they were executed?

A. No, they are still alive today.  But they were arrested.
I have every reason to assume that he ensured that they were
arrested, but they are still alive today.

Q. And they were arrested in the committee's flat?

A. Some of them - two of them.  That is to say, in the
getaway flat, Blitz' flat.

Q. Is it true that Bandi Grosz explained to you that the
Wehrmacht people had no influence over the destruction of
the Jews, and that you should make contact with those in
charge of the destruction of the Jews?

A. That the Wehrmacht people could not stop the destruction
of the Jews, could not put a halt to it.  He said more also.
That was the general drift.

Q. And so, if you wanted to see results, it would be better
to contact the SS?

A. Your Honour, if I could answer in three or four
sentences, I can make my reply intelligible. The SS
consisted of various groups.  The Jewish Department, the
Security Service, the Motorized Department, dozens of
different groups.  We had got - via the German counter-
intelligence, the Wehrmacht Counter-Intelligence
Organization - to Wisliceny, Krumey, and then later I got to
Eichmann, i.e., the Jewish Department.  Now Bandi claimed -
at that point, or roughly at that point, Bandi claimed - the
German counter-intelligence people can no longer do
anything.  They cannot help you, they have simply robbed
you, and so on.  Now only these Security Service people can
help you - Laufer, Klages, and so on - to carry this great
project through.  I hope this has explained things.

Q. In the Rescue Committee report submitted to us, there is
a different version from what you have told us.

A. This is not a report of the Rescue Committee of Budapest
- or I am not familiar with it.

Q. Perhaps the document can be shown to the witness.  This
is what I am referring to.

A. It is called "Report of the Jewish Rescue Committee."  I
was a member of this committee, this report was not
submitted to me before it was issued.

Q. Perhaps you would look at pages 33 and 34.

A. Do you mean the second paragraph?  On page 33?

Q. And also further down, not just the second paragraph.
Perhaps you should continue on to page 34 and look at that
page too.  In the middle of page 34 - the fifth paragraph -
and the last two paragraphs on page 34, particularly the
emphasized passage.

A. I consider these assertions to be false.

Q. You should know, should you not?

A. Yes, I consider this to be untrue, what it says here is

Q. This is not a question of opinions.  This is something
that happened to you.

A. What happened to me where?

Q. For example, that you excluded the late Dr. Kasztner from
all these negotiations and did everything behind his back.

A. That is completely untrue.

Q. Also look at the passage which is emphasized on page 36,
in the penultimate paragraph.

A. That is nonsense, he was at Simsi Andor Street, our
illegal headquarters, every day - we had hours and hours of
discussion every day - the whole committee and he and I and
my wife, and whoever else was there.  Nonsense.

Q. Who chose you to be sent to Istanbul, Eichmann or the

A. Both.  Eichmann sent for me and asked where I wanted to

Q. That you would go and no one else...

A. Eichmann did not say "no one else."  Eichmann said I
should go, whereupon I said I had to have the confirmation
of the committee.  The committee selected me, and I said
that I would see.  All the Zionist parties chose me.

Q. Did the late Dr. Kasztner not suggest someone else?

A. Yes.  Dr. Kasztner made various proposals; above all, he
wanted his father-in-law to go, Dr. Jozsi Fischer.  The
committee was against him, because he was not known in our
work, he was a Jewish notable, not a Jewish leader.

Q. Why did Dr. Kasztner not go himself?

A. Dr. Kasztner voiced reproaches to me at the end.  At the
beginning he never suggested himself as a counter-candidate
to myself; at the end he reproached me heatedly: "Why did
you not arrange things," he would shout at me on the last
day or two, "so that instead of Bandi Grosz I come with
you?"  I could not have done that.  I would rather have gone
with Kasztner than with Bandi Grosz.

Q. I did not mean instead of Bandi Grosz, but that he should
go instead of you.

A. In the discussions, he was there, and he never suggested
going himself instead of Joel, he suggested Jozsi Fischer,
Dr. Martin Ernoe, and so on.

Q. Did you not see dangers in the transaction proposed by

A. Yes, right from the very beginning.

Q. Did you not think that it might be a trick?

A. We thought of that as well, but we refused, and I
refused, to ask ourselves these questions; after all, he did
not want anything in advance - nothing, not even the value
of this cigarette.  He wanted to give an advance, he said:
"I will release the Jews."  He made a German aircraft
available, I was to go abroad. How could I turn down an
offer like that?

Q. Perhaps it was too good to be true?

A. Yes, I did think about that, too - "too good."  But what
was I to do?  After all, I could not allow myself to turn
down an offer like that.

Q. And this condition, that the lorries be made available
not on the Western Front but on the Eastern Front, that must
have made it clear to you that, if it was at all meant
seriously, the intention was to divide the Allies.

A. I am the worst of politicians.  We knew that there were
all sorts of underlying aspects - like dividing the Allies,
or a separate peace, or good marks for later - I could list
a dozen reasons.  That was clear to us.

Q. Did Bandi Grosz also tell you that he had a proposal for
making separately, not simply peace, but a separate peace
with the West.

A. Not until later, but Grosz was not the person I had
discussions with.  He arranged channels for us, for which I
paid money.

Q. In Aleppo you gave Mr. Sharett details about the Hagana,
the Jewish self-defence organization, in Hungary.  Inter
alia you said that there were some one hundred pistols in
good condition and two machine guns, and you also said that
now Hungarian Jews knew what the meaning of deportation is,
they understand that it means extermination.  And you
continued that, in your opinion, as it says here, "In Joel's
opinion, the nucleus of Hagana people can concentrate round
it a great many Jews who will be prepared to defend
themselves."  You also said, "The Hagana has available to it
at the moment two thousand people, including also women."
This was all noted by Mr. Sharett, and you said all this in
the presence of British officers.  Is that correct?  Can you
confirm this?

A. I have now had a look at the record.  In it Mr. Sharett
says that he did not take shorthand notes of what I said.
The report is some twelve or thirteen pages long, and he
says that it covers six hours.  I know that it lasted far
longer, because during the lunch period - the lunch break
was two or three hours - we carried on with the discussion.
I cannot remember the exact figures and everything, but I
shall give an approximate answer.

Yes, it is true that we had revolvers, whether it was a
hundred or... I would just like to comment on one point.  I
think what I explained was that we had a nucleus of thirty
or forty people, halutzim, who could be officers in a  self-
defence organization (Hagana).  When we put them all
together, that perhaps we could get up to two thousand. But
I definitely did not say that we have an army of two

Q. Yesterday you said that in Cairo you spoke to many
British people, including, I believe, Lord Moyne, about
these matters.

A. Yes.

Q. What did Lord Moyne say to you?

A. His last sentence was: "What shall I do with those
million Jews?  Where shall I put them?"  That was his reply.

Q. When did he say that to you?

A. In the late summer of 1944.  I do not remember the date.

Q. You said that later you put a hundred and ten questions
to Kurt Becher.  I gather you did so in writing.

A. In writing and also orally.  I had to explain it to him.

Q. Yesterday you also told the Court that Becher had grown
rich by plundering the Jews of Hungary.

A. When I knew him, he was an officer.  Before that, he was
an ordinary official.  Now he has a hundred and twenty

Q. He could have earned that after the War as well.

A. He could have, but I know what Jewish property got into
his hands.   I know that he gave back a little, without an
inventory.  And that other things - I don't know.  I know it
was in his hands.  I know that he suddenly became rich, and
he always had the money in his hand.

Q. Did you ask him whether he became wealthy by plundering
Hungarian Jews?

A. Yes, yes, in various ways.

Q. Did he answer your question?

A. No, I have already said that, out of my hundred or so
questions, he answered ten or twelve.  He did not answer
this one.  He spun me a story that he had received a list of
import prices for cereals, and he himself had transacted
business, or wanted to, with the Jewish Agency or with

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.