Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-060-03 Last-Modified: 1999/06/07 Q. No, altogether. A. We know that we had paid money several times. First of all, in order that they would allow us to speak to them at all, we were compelled to give them a substantial amount, substantial for us. After that, we were obliged, once again, to raise some two million... Q. Two million what? A. Pengoe, or what it was then. I don't know what these sums were each time. My function was to attend to the young people, and not necessarily the raising of the funds. Q. How were the people selected who were to board that train? Did each one pay a certain amount? A. No. First of all, the halutzim who wanted to leave or whose movement had to send them with this group, they obviously went along without payment. Parents of halutzim who were in Palestine, or who were close to the Zionist movement, those who were active in the Zionist Organization, the elite of Hungarian Jewry, whom we were able to get hold of and who were ready to join [the group] - not all of them were ready to join - all those and rabbis; we sent people specially to search for rabbis, for we regarded it as important that they should come with this group. Only after this group was formed were the guidelines more or less clear, but obviously the extent was not sufficient. One of our members was there. There were people to deal with the question of raising the money - they took it from the Jews who were not Zionists. State Attorney Bach: Thank you very much. Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions? Dr. Servatius: You mentioned the name of Becher, that same Obersturmbannfuehrer who also came into contact with you on financial matters. Witness Rosenberg: I did not say that he came into contact with me. Presiding Judge: He said that he did not have any contact with the Germans. Witness Rosenberg: I know that he put sixteen people on the train to travel on it, for money. I don't know how much money. Dr. Servatius: Then I did not understand the witness properly. Did you then hear any details of Becher's activities? Witness Rosenberg: I pointed out earlier that I had heard about his activity at the beginning of the occupation, and then I heard about this activity of his again later. Later still, when we were already in Switzerland, I heard from Dr. Kasztner about this operation. Q. Did you hear, in regard to the transports that had already been permitted, that he put up the price and pressed for payment? A. No, but in this case I want to point out: At the moment when the Bergen-Belsen train was en route from Belsen to Switzerland, it was halted for a number of hours on the German-Swiss border. Krumey and Kasztner were present there, and on the other side Saly Mayer, and they conducted the "cattle-deal" over our fate. And I know that after these exhausting negotiations they allowed Kasztner to board the train, and he told us that during these hours we had been in the hands of Krumey, Eichmann, or someone else, who could have decided to send us back to Bergen-Belsen. We did not hear the name of Becher. Q. Was the Jewish Council already aware at that stage that exterminations were being carried out at Auschwitz? A. I have to say that already in 1943 we knew what was going on at Auschwitz, and the Judenrat - I don't know if in Budapest they called it Judenrat - the Jewish Council knew what was happening. I don't think there were many Jews who did not know what was going on - I don't think so. We, at any rate, did everything in our power in order to warn every Jew of this and of what was happening in the camps generally. Q. Was Dr. Reiner a member of the Jewish Council? A. I know Dr. Reiner personally, but I don't know whether he was a member. He was a representative of the Orthodox community generally - that was his function all the time - but whether he was a member of the Judenrat, I cannot say. Q. Was he aware of the fact that exterminations were being carried out at Auschwitz? A. I have no doubt about that, since Mr. Freudiger, who was chairman of the Orthodox community in Budapest, kept in constant contact with us, and he knew, and of course Dr. Reiner was also aware of it. Q. Witness, may I be permitted to read to you from document No. 347 which has not yet been submitted here. It is a declaration by Dr. Reiner. On page 28 he says, "because the Central Jewish Council did not, indeed, know then about killings by gas." Presiding Judge: What is the meaning of `then'? Does it refer to 1944? Dr. Servatius: It evidently concerned events at the time in question. It says here "5 July." If so, it should have been in 1944. Witness Rosenberg: I do not wish to deny here what Dr. Reiner said in his evidence. I merely want to say that in the summer of 1944 it was well known to all of us, to all who were then present at the Jewish Community Council. Once a Jew came in by the name of Dr. Borgo. He was a dentist and had a discussion with us as to whether we were adequately explaining to the community what was going on. This Jew came into the Jewish community building, into a very large hall full of people, where the representatives of Jews were sitting, and began shouting bitterly for a whole hour: "What are you doing, sitting here? What do you think you are doing by coming together and talking? All of us have to commit suicide - there is no way of getting out of here. And in order to prove the truth of what I am saying, I shall go away from here and commit suicide, together with my wife." And this is what he did. It cannot be that in 1944, in the month of July, Dr. Reiner did not know that it was a matter of gassing. We spoke about Auschwitz and about gas chambers in the same way as one talks today about the Eichmann Trial. Q. Witness, regarding the Jewish Councils in the provincial towns, were these councils supposed to remain in the provincial towns or to come to Budapest as soon as possible? A. If they had managed in any way in the provincial towns to set up Jewish Councils instead of the community councils - I don't know whether they were supposed to come. In my opinion, nearly all of them remained with their communities. Here and there, for example from Nagyvarad, the head of the community would make his way to Budapest - they came from Kolozsvar as well - but it was not systematic. Presiding Judge: Did you instruct them in this matter, what to do, whether to move to Budapest or to stay where they were? Witness Rosenberg: To those who were given instructions or advice, it was only to come with false papers. Q. To come where? A. To come to Budapest or to cross the border. There was no other possibility. The intention was clear - in Budapest there were not yet any concentrations. Dr. Servatius: In Dr. Reiner's declaration it says here: "We thought it important that the instruction that the leaders of the councils in the provincial towns should come to Budapest should be implemented." Do you know of such an instruction? Witness Rosenberg: I know of no such instruction. Q. Then may I inform you what it says here, in addition: "For this reason, we passed on this instruction immediately, without delay, to provincial councils of the Jews." A. I must say, as I pointed out previously, that I was in charge of the Department for Provincial Towns on behalf of the Jewish Council. It is true that I dealt with rescuing the Jews from the provincial towns, and not with instructions. But I never heard of this - it must certainly have been done behind my back. Dr. Servatius: It goes on to say here: "But rumours reached us that Gestapo commanders in the provincial towns were not carrying out this order, and that they were also loading all the members of the Jewish Councils on to the trains." I skip a section, and then further: "This was intended only as an act of grace towards those members of the council who cooperated and who helped." Did council members actually come to Budapest? A. I do not know of such an order, nor of such persons who co-operated, nor of such persons who came to Budapest because of this. I know by chance of Dr. Reiner and his family, who are relatives of mine, I know that they also seized his father and his mother in one of the provincial towns, and that afterwards, if I am not mistaken, they brought his father or some other relative to Budapest. But concerning members of Jewish Councils who came there - of this I am not aware. Dr. Servatius: I have no further questions. Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach? State Attorney Bach: I have no questions. Judge Raveh: Mr. Rosenberg, that train in which you travelled - when did it leave Budapest? Witness Rosenberg: On 29 June 1944 we assembled, and the train departed from Klenfeld - I think it was a night or a day after that. At any rate, I entered the camp on 29June. Q. And until then you were a member of the Rescue Committee? A. Yes. Q. I must say that I have not properly understood how the activity was organized, that is to say, the operation of persuading people to come to Budapest and live underground there, and on the other hand the operation of persuading people to cross the border. How was this activity organized? You said that you sent young men from Budapest also clandestinely - this was forbidden, as you said - you sent them to the provincial towns. What were they supposed to do? In what way were they to find the right people? A. Perhaps I could illustrate this by an example of one town, one person and one case? There was a young man called Efrat Teichmann who now lives in Israel. He was then a man in his twenties, was dressed in the uniform of a railway official, and he travelled, in the course of his duty, to a town which was almost the furthermost on the border of Carpatho-Russia, Munkacs. He went there with the task of finding a way to enter the ghetto. They were there in a brick factory. He was supposed to go in there and look for a man named Berger. I remember this name because he was involved in Zionist activity. We sent him on this mission. We gave him money, I don't remember the amount, and we said to him: "You have to make contact with Berger and try to persuade him and the others whom you can reach, persuade them to leave the camp and find a way for themselves. Pass on these papers to them, give them the money and try to guide them how to come." This Jew did not come. Q. That is to say, you gave this emissary the name of the man he was supposed to reach. A. Yes, that was his task, to pass it on. Q. And this relates to both aspects - both in regard to moving to Budapest, and also in regard to crossing the border? You gave him the name and said, "Find a man called so-and-so?" A. No. This we did only in regard to transferring people to Budapest. For in Budapest we could make arrangements for them. If they did not have suitable papers they could not board a train and travel, for there were searches. Q. This was the method by which you operated only in respect of those who were supposed to come to Budapest? A. Yes. We dressed the man in railway uniform only for the purpose of reaching Budapest by train, and for passing inspection. This Jew did not come. Crossing the borders meant a completely different technique. Q. Let us still remain on this subject of the transfer to Budapest. And my next question is: This name of the man who was supposed to come to Budapest - how did you select the name, or how did his name come to you? A. We know that this man was one of the best-known Zionists in Munkacs; after all, we knew all the Jews with whom we were in contact as Zionists, and we sent this man to him. Q. That is to say, this was an operation limited to a circle of people whom you knew? A. Yes. We sent someone to them, in order to transfer them. This Berger did not even want to escape from the furnace. Q. That was in regard to those who were supposed to come to Budapest. Now, concerning those who were supposed to cross the border - in their case, I gather, you did not supply names? A. Here, there was a different technique. Q. And what was that technique? A. Here I have to go into a personal matter. In 1942, I managed to get my mother-in-law out of Germany, a few days before she was to leave for Poland. And I succeeded in doing so with the aid of an SS officer, for full payment. I managed to bring her over, and she is now with us here. That SS officer, for money... Q. I merely want you to understand my question. I am not interested in knowing how people did this technically. I am interested in knowing to what category of people this suggestion or idea was conveyed. A. First of all, it concerned young halutzim. Q. Did your emissaries select the people to whom they suggested this? A. The entire movement of young people - they, in fact, chose the people whom they wanted to smuggle out or to provide with papers or to put into bunkers. They did all this by themselves. We acted only in regard to those Jews who were not organized, to enable them to find some way. A suggestion like this, for example, I sent to my brother - that they should bring him. Q. That is to say, you people had no influence on the selection of those who were to cross the border? A. No influence. I did not know them. Judge Halevi: From the time of the Nazi occupation until the time you left Hungary - from 19 March 1944, until the end of June 1944 - how many people did your department succeed in bringing to Budapest by this means? Witness Rosenberg: From the provincial towns? Q. Yes. A. Fifty people at most that I know of. Q. And what did these fifty people do in Budapest? A. Some of them afterwards got onto this train, others remained in Budapest with papers, and yet others subsequently went into these houses, these protected houses, Schutzhaeuser. But they are all alive. Q. How many did your department succeed in smuggling across the borders into other countries? Do you know that? A. Those were hundreds. I must again return to the example which I referred to. In the case of my brother, who was in a provincial town, I did not succeed in persuading him to move. It was all the more difficult to persuade strangers with whom we had no direct contact. Q. Did you, in your Provincial Towns Department, have any telephone contact with the provincial towns? A. From our office we were unable to telephone to the provincial towns. The general executive committee could, perhaps. I could not phone. Q. Who was the general executive committee? A. I was in this department. There were Samu Stern, Freudinger, Petoe - I don't remember all the names today, for it was a large administrative body. Q. Of the community? A. Of the community, of the congregations that by then were organized together. Q. Your department - the Department of Provincial Towns - was it part of the Community Council? A. The department operated within the Jewish Community Council and was part of the Jewish Community Council. It operated in the same building. I received money from them, but we had no telephone available to us. Q. You also said that groups came to Budapest from Kolozsvar, Nagyvarad and Debrecen - not by the way you spoke of? A. No. They came by this way from Kolozsvar and afterwards joined the transport, but it was otherwise with those from Debrecen. From Miskolc and from Nagyvarad came those people whom we brought.
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