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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-086-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-086-03
Last-Modified: 1999/06/09

Accused: Now, I know that it is hard...I know that it sounds
incredible, or at least hard to believe, but the documents
show that I am right.

Dr. Servatius:  That means, then, that things were totally
quiet in your office, except for these things you have
referred to just now?  How big was the office, how many
staff were employed in it?

Accused:    Including the guards, fifteen or twenty men,
including the typists.

Dr. Servatius:  So no one came to your office, and things
were totally quiet there?

Accused:    The fact that things were still very quiet at
this time is shown, for example, by Krumey's testimony a few
days or weeks ago, where he says that he was struck by the
fact that my typist, for example, had nothing to do for most
of the day.

I will now explain why this was so.  During the first days
after my arrival in Budapest, I was housed in a hotel, and
it was not until - I would estimate today ten or fourteen
days later - that I was ordered to move to the Schwabenberg,
to the Majestic Hotel, a hotel right next to the hotel where
the Senior Commander and some of his departments were housed
- in other words, all of this row of hotels were Security
Police and Security Service offices.

When I was still at the hotel, one day Becher - at that time
an Obersturmbannfuehrer - came to see me.  This Becher told
me that he was Himmler's Special Plenipotentiary and had
been ordered to get out of Hungary any available economic
assets for the Reichsfuehrer-SS or the Waffen-SS.  And
during my talks with him, and in his frequent visits to me,
I found that this man was trying to do something which had
been prohibited by Himmler, and could only be done in
totally exceptional cases - that is to say, issuing exit
permits if - as we put it - there was a positive Reich
interest, while for Becher the interest existed if, in
return, he got foreign exchange or equipment, and at that
time he was already negotiating, he was paving the way for
the negotiations with the island of Csepel.

The way I saw things, in Department IVB4 I myself was not
able to decide as to whether there was a positive Reich
interest or not - after all, in many instances neither could
Mueller, my immediate superior; things had to go up to the
Chief of the Security Police and the Security Service, and
here there was someone who was alien to police work, who was
able to take a decision about an area which I myself
considered to be my field, because I had fair knowledge -
after all, I had become intimately versed in matters of
emigration over all these years.

I was furious that Becher was able and allowed to deal with
matters related to emigration.  I was to help and take part
in deportations, and now what I considered myself to be
responsible for, dealing with emigration matters, was not
assigned to me.  On the other hand, there was another fact -
that this Special Plenipotentiary subsequently breathed down
my neck almost daily and wanted to speed up the evacuation
in an unbelievably pressing manner, in order to create a
climate of deportation, a nervous climate, because, as he
put it, in such a climate it was possible for him to push
through the Reichsfuehrer's order both more elegantly and
faster.  I had enough of that: Here someone who had nothing
to do with a police department was pretending to try and
give me instructions, or put pressure on me.

In this connection it is of interest to consider document
No. 681, N/75, which was dealt with at the beginning of
today's session, where Veesenmayer is asked to say that he
had done everything on his part, but that the fault lay with
the offices dealing with transport matters.  That is not
quite true, because it was not my fault, nor anyone else's
fault, that these delays occurred; it was simply a result of
the bureaucratic procedures of the Hungarian gendarmerie who
needed a certain period of time, in order to conclude their
work on these plans - tactical plans.

Dr. Servatius:  Witness, did you draw any conclusions from
your experience with Becher?

Accused:    Certainly.  I have already referred to my
indignation at the fact that I had to help and co-operate in
this miserable work, the deportations, and then I found out
through some of the officers who at that time were under my
orders, that the German counter-intelligence was also
applying the same methods - I was absolutely furious.  I had
tried for years, from the autumn of 1939 on, to get away
from Department IV; there I was in Hungary, I was to carry
out deportations, and now people were messing around with
the area which I had worked on up until then - so I started
thinking about things and sent Krumey or Wisliceny - I
forget which - to find out what could be offered for 100,000
or 200,000 Jews who were to be allowed to emigrate.  Come
what may, I had to outbid the activities of these two
agencies, Becher and also the counter-intelligence people.
That was quite obvious to me.  And when my people came back
and said that, after all, there were all sorts of things
that could be done, I continued to chew things over and
realized that it must be some large offer which my superiors
would accept.  That would then make it possible to snatch
back for myself these matters which Becher and the counter-
intelligence were running, these emigration matters.

One day Joel Brand came to see me.  As to how he came to see
me, where he came from, who brought it about - I do not
remember and therefore can no longer say.  But there is one
thing I do remember.  I can still see Joel Brand sitting in
front of me...and what I said to...roughly what I asked
him...what Joel Brand also said here in his testimony, as to
how it began. In the meanwhile, I had simply changed the
figure of 100,000 or 200,000, which was to help me remember,
into a million, because that was a figure I could - let us
say for psychological reasons - bring up with my superiors
without running the danger of being ordered out of the room
immediately.  Because if I had offered sympathy or
compassion, or five thousand or ten thousand, Mueller would
not have heard me out.  He just would not have listened to
what I had to say.  But this whole business of one million
was something new.  It was too big for Mueller to be able to
reject on his own initiative.  Then I hit on a ten per cent
clause, because I knew that it would be very difficult for
Brand to be successful abroad, unless he could bring some
sort of guarantees along, since he could not do business
abroad with a letter, or a word of honour.   So I said to
myself, once these first 100,000 Jews are across the border,
then these 100,000 Jews will - not in person, but the fact,
the very fact, will ensure that the whole business will go
on in some form or other.  As to how, where and what - I was
not at all interested in that as yet.  And so I went to
Berlin.  Altogether I went to Berlin several times on this
matter and presented it to Mueller.

My Department chief, General Mueller, was also not able to
take a decision on the matter on his own initiative, and
doubtless passed the matter on through the official
channels.  I went back.  I was called to Berlin two or three
times, as I have already testified, and the result - I found
this difficult to believe myself - was that it was approved.
It was approved as far as the number was concerned, the ten
per cent clause was approved, and I heard that, as a result,
Himmler aimed at motorizing the 22nd and 8th SS Cavalry
Divisions, something on which Becher was also working.

In the meanwhile, in between my various trips to Berlin, I
kept holding consultations with Joel Brand, and when Joel
Brand said in his testimony that he was amazed when a large
amount in foreign currency was handed over to him...these
were donations from abroad, as I know now from the
documents.  As far as the statement is concerned, I only
knew that there was money which went back and forth across
my desk from time to time, and the reason was that at that
time I did everythng possible for Brand to make things
easier, because everything I could do to facilitate things
served to give credit to my intentions - if I can put it
that way.

That also included making up a transport at that time which
originally was several hundred men strong, and I was really
surprised when I read about this in Brand's book here in
Israel, where Brand described this matter very truthfully
When I gradually came to the end and heard the positive news
from Berlin, and when my superiors came up with their final
order, then I, in turn, said to Brand in this matter, well,
it is all approved, and he was really amazed and could not
understand why everything had been approved, why these six
to eight hundred thousand had not made any difference.  It
was all connected to this business, and I had received
approval for that, precisely because something greater and
bigger was forthcoming.

Here it was Becher who got in the way by putting the brakes
on this transport, which has become known, I believe, as the
transport of the seventeen hundred.  He started haggling, he
wanted...things did not work out with the foreign exchange,
and so the transport was delayed; there are testimonies
about this matter, the details of which I do not remember,
because I was not in sole charge.  At that time the centre
of activity was with Becher, but they know precisely and
best what went on with this matter.   And I should like to
return to the matter of Joel Brand.

One day the order arrived, and obviously now I started to
put my shoulder to it, pushing and shoving to get this
matter authorized.  We got hold of a courier airplane, a
Luftwaffe one, I believe, which was to take Brand to Turkey.
I forget how the matter of his companion was sorted out, but
a few weeks ago Krumey testified that in this connection he
had been instructed by the Senior Commander of the Security
Police and the Security Service in Hungary - at any rate, by
a Specialist Officer of this Senior Commander of the
Security Police and the SD in Hungary - to take Bandi Grosz
along.  As to why I came across Brand and took him for this
mission, this really is clear from Brand's testimony: at
that time Brand impressed me as being an honest man, an
idealist, so that sufficed for me as to his integrity, and I
personally was very happy to see Joel Brand take the witness
stand here and say truthfully what happened at that time,
except for a few minor points, to which I shall now turn by
way of conclusion.

When the matter was approved by Berlin, further orders were
given to the effect that the planned evacuations, which were
to proceed in accordance with the timetable arrangements and
the preparations of the Hungarian gendarmerie, were to get
underway and could not be delayed.  This was another reason
why I really rushed Brand; this was also the reason why I
sent along Obersturmbannfuehrer Krumey himself, to take
Brand to Vienna and put him on the plane, in order to avoid
some mishap or incident delaying things.  There is no truth
in what Joel Brand says about my having said to him, "Then I
shall shut down the mills in Auschwitz" or "I shall let the
mills in Auschwitz continue running" - I never said anything
like that.  Quite apart from the fact that I neither ordered
it nor could I have stopped it - that was not within my
competence and I had no such authority.

If Mrs. Hansi Brand testified that I did not keep my word, I
must say that that is not true.  I did not break my word in
any way, I only promised one thing, that is what I was
authorized to do, that is to say, that any trucks received
would not be used on the Western Front.  But I said to Joel
Brand, as also to Mrs. Hansi Brand, as well as to Dr.
Kasztner, that the order from Berlin said: "Deportations
will continue in the meanwhile and will not be stopped until
Joel Brand returns with a statement to the effect that these
matters have been accepted by the Jewish organizations
abroad."  That was an order I had received and was unable to
change.  Had I changed it in any way, it would have been
meaningless, because there would not have been any powers
behind me to accomplish such a thing.

Presiding Judge: Please stop here.  We shall now have a
break. I should like to inform the representatives of the
parties that, in the meanwhile, we have received the
official record of Hoettl's statement, and that there is
also an accompanying letter from the examining court, which
you will probably wish to peruse; it is available to both
parties.  We shall now recess for twenty minutes.


Presiding Judge: Please proceed.

Dr. Servatius:  Witness, continue with your statement.

Accused:    I really have nothing further to add to this
matter, other than the following.  In the subsequent days
and weeks, I of course harried and harassed and pressured
Dr. Kasztner constantly to find out something of what was
going on.  After all, the only thing I could think of was
that things would come out right, and I myself was very
happy that I had thus managed to get back on my previous
track.  And in terms of my work and planning, every single
day now I would be busy considering how to organize the one
hundred thousand.  As to the idea that it was possible that
nothing would come of this business, that was something I
just did not allow myself to think about - because paper,
which is normally so patient, seemed in this case to be
inadequate.  As to why this matter went wrong, I really
heard the actual reason for the first time here when the
secret documents were read out.  I myself went back to my
beaten track in which I had been moving according to orders
since 1939, and the small dealers and hucksters could once
again happily attend to their handiwork.  And if today I
read, for example, that someone claims that I took money
from the Jews, and he bought saddles and harness with this
money, then I am overcome with holy rage, because it was
precisely the other way round.  For example, this sum in
foreign currency - which was a fairly large sum - I did not
touch this but handed it over right down to the last dollar.
And I did not hand it over - how shall I put it - because of
some exaggerated feeling; I handed it over as proof that I
intended the matter honestly. In any case, I submitted this
matter to the authorized powers in a totally legal fashion,
through official channels.  I had it authorized in a totally
legal fashion, through official channels, and if circles
abroad brought things to nought, this was something which
hurt me at the time, and I think I can fairly claim to be
one of the few who could understand Joel Brand's fury and
anguish.  And in reverse, I believe that Joel Brand, now he
knows from these documents that I had nothing to do with the
annihilation, can also, for his part, understand my anger
about this affair, about this matter going wrong.  I have
nothing further to say about this.

Dr. Servatius:  Witness, in your negotiations with your
superiors, did you point out that you felt compassion for
the Jews, and that they should be helped?

Accused:    I am on oath, and I must testify according to
the truth.  I did not pursue this matter out of compassion;
I would also have been thrown out on the spot, if I had even
touched upon that subject.  As for the reasons which
inspired me with these thoughts, I already described them at
the outset.

Dr. Servatius:  I refer to exhibit T/1191, document No. 448.
This is a report from Veesenmayer to the Foreign Ministry,
dated 22 July, and it refers to this operation.  I shall
simply refer to the text, without quoting it.

I submit as evidence document No. 518.  This is a letter
from Veesenmayer to the Hungarian Minister of the Interior,
dated 12 August 1944.  The point is made that there must be
sufficient provisions and clothing, and that in this respect
there are critical observations about the transports
arranged for by the Hungarians.

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/81.

Dr. Servatius:  Exhibit T/1218, document No. 976.  This is a
telegram from Grell to the Foreign Ministry, dated 19 August
1944.   At the beginning it says: "Hungarian Ministry of the
Interior has notified Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann that
with approval of Regent Hungarian Government will start
evacuation of Jews from Budapest city area on 25 inst."
Further down, at the end of the paragraph, it says:
"Concentration carried out only by Hungarian gendarmerie,
gathered specially for this purpose."

I offer the next document as evidence - No. 847.  This is a
communication from Grell to the Foreign Ministry, dated 29
June 1944.  The beginning reads:

     "Since cleaning-up of the Jewish Question in Hungary
     has entered acute phase, there has been an increase in
     steps undertaken from abroad to improve their position.
     As Prime Minister Sztojay had informed me, the
     following three operations have recently been carried
     out which, apart from general humanitarian purposes,
     are designed to benefit the Jews in particular."

Then there is a list of the proposals we are familiar with
from the Feldscher Operation.  At the end of the
communication it says:

     "Since agreement with Reich Government most important
     for Hungarian Government, they wish urgently for an
     early reaction from the former on the entire complex of

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/82.

Dr. Servatius:  I also submit document No. 680, Ribbentrop's
reply to Veesenmayer on these moves from abroad.  This is
dated 3 July 1944.  The short text reads: "Please inform the
Hungarian Government that it is not opportune to agree to
the various proposals from abroad for the benefit of the
Jews in Hungary.  I ask that arrangements be made to ensure
appropriate treatment of matter.  Ribbentrop."

Presiding Judge: I mark this exhibit N/83.

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