The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-056-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-056-02
Last-Modified: 1999/06/04

Q. Were these the persons with whom you met by virtue of
your role on the Rescue Committee?

A. Yes.  I must interject that Springmann, who had gone to
Eretz Israel a half year previously, had transferred these
emissaries to Kasztner and to me; I automatically took over
the German emissaries.

Presiding Judge: What did he transfer to you?

Witness Brand:  The shlichim* {*Hebrew: Emissaries, usually
from Palestine to countries of the Diaspora} contact with
the shlichim; we called them shlichim, because we dispatched
them to Istanbul, to Turkey.

Attorney General: After three days there you were released?

Witness Brand:  Yes, I was released after three days.

Q. And by that time you learned that Wisliceny was in

A. I learned about it while under detention.

Q. And did you attempt to establish connection with him?

A. We certainly wanted to have a connection.

Q. Why, for what purpose?

A. We knew about the Gisi Fleischmann-Wisliceny negotiations
in Czechoslovakia.  We knew about a deal that had been
successful, as a result of which the Slovakian Jews were not
deported.  And we also knew about a second deal, when
Wisliceny demanded two million dollars for the so-called
Europa Plan.
Q. The connection with Wisliceny was finally established
with the help of the Schmidt group, is that not so?

A. Yes, we bribed the Schmidt group with money, with
dollars; they were to establish a connection, and they did.

Q. Who came to the meeting?

A. Two came from the SS: Wisliceny and a Captain
Klausnitzer.  From the Army Counter-Espionage division, Dr.
Schmidt and a certain Winninger were present; the latter's
real name is Durst, if you wish to record it.  Kasztner and
I represented our side.

Q. Was a sum of money paid, so that the negotiations could
take place at all?

A. Yes.

Q. How much?

A. Officially, we paid the Schmidt group twenty thousand
dollars, and each of the participating agents got about one
thousand dollars in his waistpocket.  I no longer remember
exactly, but this amounted to about three or four thousand

Q. Did you make any demands?  Were any requests addressed to
the German officials?

A. Since I spoke a purer German than Kasztner, I presented
the demands, which consisted of the following:

(a) that there be no concentration, no ghettoization of the
Jews in Hungary; at that time there were still no ghettos in

(b)  that there be no pogroms, no bloodshed in Hungary;

(c)  that there be no deportation of Jews from Hungary;

(d)  permission for emigration to Eretz Israel.

In this regard, I would like to make the brief observation
that up to that time, during almost the entire course of the
war, we were officially permitted to send about fifty
children per month to Eretz Israel, though adults were also
included among them from time to time.

Presiding Judge: I did not understand that.

Witness Brand:  It means that up to that time, fifty
children could go legally from Hungary to Eretz Israel
almost on a regular basis every month.

Attorney General: What did you propose to the Germans in

Witness Brand:  What Wisliceny had demanded in Slovakia,
namely two million dollars, payable in ten monthly
instalments of two hundred thousand dollars; we assumed that
the War would have long been over before that.

Q. What was Wisliceny's reply?

A. Wisliceny delivered a lengthy lecture.  He was so fat at
that time that he could not sit on a chair.  He gave us a
kind of scientific lecture.  The end result can be stated in
several sentences: Yes, they would make no ghettoization,
but it would be in our interest if the Jews left the small
villages, since the SS could not act as a Protective Force*
{*SS = Schutzstaffel: Protective Force} for Jews in small
villages; they should be concentrated in small and medium-
size towns...

His second point was: Yes, the Germans are here and have no
interest at all in creating unrest; pogroms and bloodshed
are out of question, but on the other hand, his SS could in
the last resort not be detailed as a protective guard for
the Jews; he could well imagine that "where you plane wood,
chips must fall" - that was his heinous expression.

He was very positive in regard to the third point:
deportations were out of the question.  That was self-
evident.  Two factors were requisite for deportation: one
who wishes to deport, and another who agrees to receive the
deportees.  And they would not receive deportees, nor permit
deportations, if we came quickly to a conclusion...we should
move fast, in order to reach a settlement with them...

Q. What about the fourth point concerning aliyah and

A. His answer in regard to this was very strange: He was
opposed to removal by us of small groups of Jews from
Hungary, because in that case we would remove the rich, the
leadership, and he would be left with the rest.  He was
opposed to this.  However, we should work out a plan for the
evacuation of all of Hungarian Jewry.  Such a plan had a
chance of being accepted by his superiors.

Q. And what about emigration to Palestine?

A. He delivered another lecture to the effect that an
agreement between the Mufti and the Nazis existed, and that
an exodus to Palestine was out of the question.  We should
seek out areas like North Africa, North America, Australia,
South America, and such places.... Of course, if they
subsequently went from North Africa to Palestine, then it
was no longer any concern of his...

Q. Did Kasztner mention anything about several hundred
Halutzim who had already received immigration permits?

A. Yes, Kasztner delivered a counter-lecture to the effect
that it would be much easier for us to get support and help
from abroad if we were to show concrete results.  There was
a ship in Constantsa (Romania) that was going to Turkey
soon, and we had - I am no longer certain - about six
hundred or seven hundred certificates, and he would like -
as a sign of goodwill on the part of the Germans that they
were in earnest about this matter - that they would now
grant these six hundred or seven hundred permits all at once
for passage to Constantsa...

Q. Did Wisliceny propose that a list of names be submitted
to him?

A. Yes.  Wisliceny demanded a list of names and again
delivered a lecture to us in which he said that he could not
sell Hungarian Jews directly from Hungary.  They would have
to be brought to German-occupied territory first, become
German merchandise, and then they could be delivered.
However, this sounded very ominous to us.  He explained that
a Danube steamer should first take our group either into
Slovakia or to Vienna, and then they could travel back from
Vienna via the Hungarian Danube to Constantsa and conclude
the affair.

Q. Did he actually say: "German merchandise"?

A. Yes, merchandise, German merchandise.  It sounded very
ominous to us.

Q. Mr. Brand, did you pay Wisliceny money as a result of
this discussion?

A. Yes, indeed. Although Wisliceny said that he could not
accept our terms, that two million dollars would certainly
be too little, first he would have to get instructions from
his superiors; but initially we would have to pay the first
instalment of two hundred thousand dollars.  In this way, he
said, the business connections between us would be

Q. Did you pay?

A. In several instalments.  We did not bring the money all
at once.  We paid the sum to him, that is to say to Krumey,
who took his place at that time.  Hunsche was also there.
The money was mostly in pengoes.  We got about sixty per
cent of this money from the Jewish community.

Q. Did you have further contacts with this group, this time
with Krumey and Hunsche?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was Krumey?

A. Krumey was Eichmann's representative in Budapest.

Q. How many sessions did you have with this group?

A. At least four, and possibly five.  But I believe there
were only four.

Q. How did the negotiations progress?

A. Nothing real resulted from it.  Our payments were made in
instalments only.  The Nazis were furious because of that.
We sought to excuse ourselves by saying that the problem
stemmed from anti-Jewish laws, especially anti-Jewish
economic laws.  The rejoinder of Wisliceny, Krumey, Hunsche
etc. was invariably that they cursed the Hungarians, that
until now the Hungarians had been so good to the Jews, and
now they were in a headlong rush to get the money.  And it
became absolutely clear to us that an acute competition was
taking place between the Hungarians and Germans for
plundering Jewish wealth.  May I add three or four sentences
in answer to this question?

Q. Yes, please.

A. We did obtain certain concessions.  For example, we made
requests that arrested comrades, arrested persons whom we
knew or whose names had been given us by the Jewish Council,
should be freed - secretaries of the Palestine Office, etc.,
etc.  These requests were granted.  Then we also had other
types of requests, as for example that we be given permits
to visit the camps, the concentration camps.  Krumey also
agreed to this.  At first he misunderstood, and we got
permits to enter the camps and check whether or not the
people there were getting food.

Q. What did he misunderstand?

A. He did not understand what a major job, a major request,
that was, and he approved it.  But then he sabotaged it, in
that he gave us permits only for Budapest, whereas most of
the camps were outside Budapest.  We could not get tickets
to make such trips.

Q. Did you have an identity card, of which this is a
photocopy, signed by Krumey and the Hungarian authorities?
[Shows the witness the photocopy.]

A. Yes, that is part of it; that is the second part of it.

Q. Is that an identity card?

A. Yes.

Presiding Judge: That will be Exhibit T/1174a and T/1174b.

Witness Brand:  With this card I could go out on the
streets, travel on a tram, or ride in a taxi; it enabled me
to get around.

Attorney General: I understand that, in conversations with
Krumey, the question arose as to where the Jews should go.

Witness Brand:  Yes.  I have already said that, in part.
The question was discussed in regard to Spain and North
Africa; Palestine alone was excluded, because - so they said
- there was an agreement with the Mufti there.  However,
Krumey had already told us in our second conversation that
the group we wanted had been approved.  Only he demanded the
list of names several times.  But the committee had decided
not to provide any list of names, because we were afraid of
any such emigration via Germany and back again to
Constantsa.  Krumey said repeatedly during this conversation
that he had discussed the matter with  Obersturmbannfuehrer
Eichmann, who was responsible for these matters, matters
concerning Jews in the entire territory of the Reich.
However, he still had no definitive reply, and thereupon we
conceived a plan to pull the wool over his eyes, i.e., we
told him there were thirty to thirty-five thousand
immigration certificates; the Jewish Agency was going to
place all of these certificates at our disposal.  These were
all certificates for families consisting of eight to ten
persons.  Thus several hundred thousand Jews could have

Q. But nothing came of this?

A. No.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, do you perhaps wish to sit

Attorney General: No, thank you.

[To the witness] When did you enter into communication
personally with Eichmann for the first time?

A. On 25 April.  I believe I am absolutely certain about the
date, but since some have contradicted this, I would not
like to swear to the date.  But I am certain it was the 25th
of April.

Q. What occurred on this date of which you are certain?

A. I usually went in the morning to a coffee house called
Ujpo to meet with the German counter-espionage agents to see
what could be settled, what could be done.  There I was told
that about nine or ten o'clock I was to stand in front of
the Cafe Opera; an automobile would come and would take me
to Eichmann.

Q. Who told you that?

A. Schmidt, Winninger, Segarczek - this group.

Q. You went there, and the automobile was waiting?

A. Yes.  I consulted first by telephone with various members
of the committee.  One of them came to me there; it was
Szylagyi.  All were of the opinion that there was no other
way: "This order you must obey.  Plead with Eichmann for the
four-point programme that we had already proposed."

Q. Did you go by car to the Majestic Hotel on the
Schwabenberg?  Were you brought there before Eichmann?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you identify him here in the courtroom?

A. There is no question at all; he has less hair, his
spectacles are different...

Presiding Judge: "No question at all" - yes, or "no question
at all" - no?

Witness Brand:  "No question at all" - yes.  Excuse me.  The
twitch in his eyes and his mouth I already described at that
time.  I am not saying that I would recognize him if I were
to go past him once on the street; but if I were to sit
opposite him for ten minutes in a coffee house, I would know
after five minutes that this is Eichmann and not someone

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