The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-061-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-061-03
Last-Modified: 1999/06/07

Q. Until when were you imprisoned?

A. Until 5 July.  I was detained for about seven weeks - I
was imprisoned in the gaol for political prisoners.  On 5
July I was brought to the police in Budapest for
interrogation.  I was handed over for further examination.
On 6 July, I fell ill.  I had an internal haemorrhage.  At
that time, it was the Feast of Peter and Paul.  I was
brought to the prison for young people.  I was brought there
without papers and without documents.  I was there for some
days.  There were some more Jews there.  They were in a bad
way.  They were seriously ill.  On the 7th or the 8th of
July, all the Jews were taken away from there for
deportation.  I remained there as the only one in the
hospital.  Since I was not released by the police and it was
a holiday, and I did not bring any papers with me, and the
documents had not been brought, I remained there.  I saw
that it was a dangerous place.  Jews did not remain there.
That was the period when there were the last deportations
from Budapest, from the environs of Budapest.

I got in touch with the director of the Palestine Office,
Krausz, and asked him for help.  With his assistance, I was
moved from that place to the hospital of the Jewish
Community at 9 Bethlen Square.  I was there for a long time.
My condition was serious.  I suffered another internal
haemorrhage.  From that place, too, Jews were taken away for
deportation.  I remained there.  With the aid of Moshe
Krausz, I obtained a certificate from there, stating that I
was employed in the Swiss legation.

Q. Was Moshe Krausz the person whom you mentioned

A. Yes.  I was there for almost a month and a half, and I
began feeling that in this place Jews were being attended to
in some way.  Someone from the Wallenberg group visited me

Q. Perhaps you would tell the Court who this Wallenberg was?

A. He was perhaps the only man who had great influence in
Budapest.  He had been sent there by the King of Sweden.  I
met him on several occasions, and also carried out some
joint activities with him.  I was together with him on the
road to the Austrian border.  He was the person who achieved
perhaps the greatest amount of rescue activities.  At that
time, there was a large rescue operation.  But he was the
man who took the initiative, gave us the strength, who gave
a personal example.  He was the complete opposite of
everything taking place in Budapest.

Presiding Judge: I hear that you are a lawyer and you
understand these matters.  Please do not give us general
evaluations.  Mr. Bach was not referring to that.  You know
what we require.

State Attorney Bach:  I shall return to Wallenberg. Mr.
Breszlauer, you say that someone from his group visited you;
where did he visit you?

Witness Breszlauer:   In hospital.

Q. Did they give you assistance?

A. They said they would help me, they offered me a Swedish
passport.  After some time I received the passport.

Q. You say "Wallenberg and his group" - were they all from
the Swedish legation?

A. These were Hungarians whom he had dealt with.  He had
them released from the obligation to wear the yellow badge,
and they looked for people whom they could help, in
particular by giving them Swedish protective passports
(Schutzpaesse).  But I was not liberated in this way.  I was
released afterwards by the Swiss consulate.  That was
already at the beginning of August.  This was the document I
received [shows the document].

Q. May I see it for a moment?

A. That was at a later stage.

Q. Was that the "Schutzpaesse"  issued by the Swedish

A. Yes, but I did not use it.

Q. When did you get it?

A. At the end of August.  They took me for registration
before that, but this was given to me at the end of August.

Q. Perhaps the document can be shown to the Court?

Presiding Judge: Show or submit?

State Attorney Bach:  Show.

Presiding Judge: As you wish, but something that is only
shown does not become part of the record.
State Attorney Bach:  Perhaps we could do what we have done
with other documents, submit a photocopy to the Court at a
later stage.

Dr. Breszlauer, perhaps we can make more systematic
progress.  I asked you at the outset when you yourself began
your activities within the framework of the legation.

Witness Breszlauer:   I began operating within the rescue
framework - I was still living in the hospital, but they
allowed me to go out already at the beginning of August.  In
August I received an identity card, on the strength of which
I could move around freely in the streets of Budapest.  At
first I went from there every day, I did not have an
apartment.  I went from the hospital to a place which
afterwards became known as the "Glass House," at 29 Vadasz
Street,* {*There was an organization there which already at
that time was engaged in work for Aliyah, but later this was
the centre.} for the rescue of Jews.  There I worked in this

Q. Please tell the Court what this "Glass House" was, to
whom did it belong, who managed it, and who protected this

A. The handling of British affairs, of Palestine affairs,
passed to the Swiss embassy and, with the approval of the
Swiss ambassador, Jaeger, and with the active assistance of
Lutz, Mr. Moshe Krausz set up an organization.  This
organization was stationed in the "Glass House."  It was a
two-storied building.  This was a place with extra-
territorial status; there were officials there of all
political parties, and they began dealing with the problem
of Aliyah.  From one point of view, it was an important
place, for every person who received confirmation that he
had a passport and that he was able to immigrate to
Palestine - there were then instructions that such a person
should not be sent out of the country.  Several thousand
people had already, at that time, received certificates to
the effect that they appeared on collective passports for
immigration into Palestine via Switzerland.  They were held
up by the Hungarian authorities in Budapest and were not
allowed to move from Budapest.

Q. Dr. Breszlauer, you said that Mr. Moshe Krausz was the
director of this department.  How many people worked in this
department under his direction?

A. It varied.  At first there were some sixty to eighty
officials there - they belonged to all the parties, from the
left to the extreme right.  After that, this house was
converted into a larger dwelling place, into a shelter.  In
the end, 3,000 to 3,500 Jews were given shelter in this
building.  Thereafter, we obtained another building - it was
no longer possible to work there, the congestion was
terrible.  In that building, at a later stage, there were
more than 3,000 persons.  At this particular period, more
than eighty officials worked there, and their number
increased gradually.  If anyone was released and was able to
leave the framework of the labour camp - for labour of young
people - and went there, he had some positive link with the
Jews, and he remained there as an official and was supplied
with documents enabling him to remain there.

Q. You mentioned Lutz - who was he?

A. He was the consul.  He was in charge, on behalf of the
Swiss embassy, of attending to the problems of Palestine and
those of rescuing Jews.

Q. And the activities which you mentioned were carried out
under his protection?

A. Under his protection, as organized by Moshe Krausz.

Q. Is this a copy of the certificate you mentioned
previously, which was in your possession? [Shows a document
to the witness].  This is a document which was submitted to
the Accused and was given the number T/37(216).

A. Yes.

State Attorney Bach:  I beg to submit this.

Presiding Judge: We shall understand very little without a

State Attorney Bach:  I am actually referring to the German
stamp, but I believe that something is stated here in German
as well.  This is our document No. 852.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1236.

State Attorney Bach:  Dr. Breszlauer, are you able to
estimate how many Jews were rescued thanks to the activities
of that department which you described?

Witness Breszlauer:   To my knowledge - some tens of
thousands.  The majority of the Jews of Budapest were saved
under this arrangement, which was set up at the time by the
director of the Palestine office.
Q. You wanted to say something about Wallenberg's
activities.  Can you tell us how Wallenberg went about
saving Jews?

A. Mr. Wallenberg visited the most dangerous localities.  He
had good connections, he had influence, he was respected.
He also had an attractive external appearance, he was a
handsome man, with a fine presence.  He was daring, and a
man of action, and devoted himself with all his heart and
soul to the rescue of Jews.  He was limited to certain
numbers.  According to what he told me, he distributed
between four and five thousand Schutzpaesse.

Q. Did you meet him personally?

A. I met him personally several times.

Q. Do you remember that you were given a special task
connected with the Fussmarsch - the foot march - in November

A. The situation changed radically on 15 October, the day
the Hungarian Regent wanted to surrender.  At that time, the
radio was in the hands of the Germans.  May I be permitted,
Your Honours, to say a few words about the position as it
was prior to this?  The Jews were concentrated in marked
Jewish houses, but these houses were in different parts of
the city.  However, the general atmosphere was more
reassuring.  There was a feeling in the air that the
situation was about to change.  Some of the Hungarians were
looking for an alibi and a possibility to be of help.  We
were relieved of the necessity of wearing the yellow badge.
It was also possible to go outside.  At first, Jews were
allowed to be outside for three hours, after that also for
six hours.  But they were not very strict about it.  On 16
October, the first thing that happened was a total curfew
imposed on Jewish houses.  For five days they were not
permitted to go outside, to leave the houses.  On the sixth
day, they were allowed to go outside for two hours, in order
to do their shopping.  Throughout all that period, Jews were
kidnapped, taken from their homes, forced to walk in the
street with upraised arms to various places.  In the main,
they were taken to the brick factory in Buda.

Q. Who did this?

A. Some were Germans, but a large part were Nyilas.* {*
Nyilas: A member or follower of the Arrow Cross Party} When
Szalasi rose to power, he issued a general pardon to
political prisoners, and a substantial number of these
people were given arms and took a decisive part in the
events which occurred after 15 October.

Presiding Judge: What political prisoners were these?

Witness Breszlauer:   They were political prisoners in
Hungarian gaols - not Jews.

Q. Of what political beliefs?

A. The extreme right wing.

Q. And they had been imprisoned before Szalasi's ascent to

A. Before Szalasi's time, there were some political

Q. And who arrested them - Horthy?

A. Yes, Horthy.

State Attorney Bach:  You mentioned, previously, the
"Nyilas."  Perhaps you could explain to the Court who these
Nyilas were?

Witness Breszlauer:   It was an armed band under Nyilas

Q. Was it a political party?

A. It was a part of Szalasi's party, the youths, the armed
youths, party stewards and so on.

Q. You say the Jews were concentrated in this brick factory?

A. On the 23rd of the month, or on the 22nd, various
proclamations appeared.  If I am not mistaken, there was a
separate proclamation for men and another for women.  All
men aged from 16 to 60, irrespective of their physical
condition, were ordered to report at certain places, and
that applied also to women aged 16-40.  But they removed
older people from the houses and took them away - younger
people also - they robbed them of their possessions and took
them away.  The streets were full of Jews who were being
removed by the Nyilas.  And here came the Swiss embassy's
great opportunity to do something.  In this proclamation,
which appeared on the 23rd of the month, and which called
for a general mobilization of the Jews, there was a section
which stated that those who held passports or who were
foreign nationals were given consideration, and they would
not have to report.

Then the people came in their masses.  They got to know on
the 23rd that the department for the rescue of Jews in the
Swiss consulate was issuing Schutzpaesse, letters of
protection, in which it was stated that the holder thereof,
Mr. So-and-So, was under the protection of the Swiss
consulate, that he was to be treated like a Swiss citizen,
that his name appeared in the collective passport of the
Swiss consulate.

Q. How many such certificates were issued by the Swiss

A. There was a limit, a limit of 7,800 who were allowed to
leave.  We saw that we would not be able to make do with
that number.  A delegation went to Lutz.  He was in a
difficult situation.  At first, they brought him forged
Schutzpaesse.  He summoned us. I was a member of the
delegation to Lutz.  Krausz was there.  He brought us along
so that we could explain to him.  I was in constant touch
with the outside world.  I looked for the people, I went
from place to place.  I explained to him that the situation
was impossible, since they were seizing the people, tearing
up their protective documents, taking them away, withholding
all consideration, despite the fact that the proclamation
that had appeared had given the assurance that their
position would be taken into account.  But the mob that led
the Jews away robbed them of everything; in the brick
factory, they took away all their remaining possessions,
their valuables and all their papers - even their papers.
In this way, in the first few days, we exceeded the total of
7,800.  Lutz, however, did not himself know that we were
working with such large numbers.  There was a certain

Presiding Judge: Perhaps we do not need all these

State Attorney Bach:  How many documents were issued by your

Witness Breszlauer:   A total of between 70,000 and 80,000
of these Swiss letters of protection.  And let me explain to
whom they were issued.  There were young Jews from the
Ukraine and Russia who were brought back at the time of the
retreat of the German army; they came to Budapest and said:
"This morning, they are going to take us to western
Germany."  They told us there was one chance of being
rescued - and that was if they would bring letters of
protection.  They came en masse.  I must admit that
Hungarian officers from these battalions helped them to
present themselves at the Swiss consulate.  And, without
exception, whoever appeared there received his protective

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