The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-052-03

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-052-03
Last-Modified: 1999/06/02

Q. When did the mass deportations from the provincial towns begin?

A. The deportation itself?

Q. Perhaps you would first say when, in fact, the first
deportation of Jews from Hungary took place - after the
entry of the Germans?

A. The first deportation was at the end of April.  I do not
remember whether that was on 10 or 12 April.  At any rate,
it was before the "ghettoization" I spoke about.  One day
they made a selection from the inmates who were detained in

Q. It does not matter, but I believe it was, in fact, at the
end of April?

Presiding Judge: In the neighbourhood of Budapest?

Witness Freudiger:  It was in the neighbourhood of Budapest
- 15 kilometres from Budapest.

State Attorney Bach:  This name will still appear in a
number of testimonies.  So, what happened to the Jews there?

Witness Freudiger:  1,500 Jews were detained there, and from
them they selected men aged from 16 to 60, and women, I
believe, from 18 to 50.  People who were below or above
these ages were sent home.  Later they were sent abroad.
Since they were examined and only people who were of working
age were taken, we thought that they were really taking them
for labour.  Afterwards we learned that they had been sent
to Auschwitz.  But, previous to that, we were convinced that
they were sending people aged 16 to 50 to work.

Q. When did you find out that these people had also been
sent to Auschwitz?

A. On one occasion I received a letter from Rabbi
Weissmandel, in which he wrote...

Q. When did you receive it?

A. When a particular trainload of Jews passed through
Slovakia in the direction of Auschwitz.  It did not say
there that they had reached Auschwitz, but were in the
direction of Auschwitz.

Q. When did you receive the letter?

A. I received many letters.  I do not remember in which
letter it was.  But at the time we were corresponding, when
there was an exchange of letters on the deportation itself,
he mentioned to me that there had been such a train.

Q. Apart from this one train, which you have spoken about
now, when did the mass deportations from Hungary begin -
from the provincial towns?

A. On 15 May.

Q. And until when did they continue?

A. 7 July, perhaps 5 July.

Q. How many Jews did they manage to deport during this

A. In my opinion, 600,000.

Presiding Judge: Will you kindly repeat the two dates?

Witness Freudiger:  The first train left on 15 May, and they
concluded the deportations during the first days of July, on
the fifth or the seventh.  I no longer remember exactly.

Q. Did you receive accounts in Budapest of the manner in
which these deportations were carried out?

A. Yes.

Q. What were these accounts?

A. Of cruelty.

Q. Would you go into a little more detail?

A. You have heard so much about these matters that perhaps I
may be permitted not to speak about them.

State Attorney Bach:  All right, perhaps we shall bring
witnesses who themselves saw that.  Did you have a further
conversation with Wisliceny regarding the carrying out of
those deportations?

Witness Freudiger:  Yes.

Q. Do you recall a conversation with Wisliceny in which he
informed you of certain matters relating to the link between
Eichmann and those Secretaries of State, Endre and Baky?

A. Yes.  First of all, I have to say that Wisliceny -
although the negotiations on the subject of the "Europa
Plan" and on the matter of funds had passed out of my hands,
still I always wanted to be in contact with Wisliceny.  He
complained to me on one occasion that Eichmann was
exceedingly angry, that he was very cross with me and with
him, that he had said that Freudiger was a swindler, that I
wanted to cheat them when I had begun to talk of two to
three million dollars - "das ist Kleingeld" (that is small
change) for Hungary.

Presiding Judge: Who said that?

Witness Freudiger:  Wisliceny told me this on behalf of
Eichmann.  He told me that Eichmann was annoyed with me
because I was a swindler, and that Eichmann was angry at him
for also going the same way.  He told me that he had given
him this "Schmutzarbeit" - this dirty job - when he sent him
to carry out the "ghettoization."  He said that he was now
going to leave Budapest, but that he would come back later
on, from time to time, and he told me how to get in touch
with him, where I could find him.

State Attorney Bach:  Since you have already referred, Mr.
Freudiger, to that conversation in which he spoke of
Kleingeld  - did he also mention a particular case, also in
connection with Hungary, and say that this deal would be
more worthwhile from the German point of view?

Witness Freudiger:  Yes, Wisliceny said so to me.  I do not
know whether on behalf of Eichmann or in his own name - this
I do not remember any more.  I began conducting
negotiations, in order to rescue all the Jews of Hungary, a
million people, in exchange for two or three million
dollars, and they made a deal with one family.  For 32
persons they received many millions, tens of millions.

Q. Who were this family?

A. This was the well-known transaction with the family of
the Baroness Weiss, which, through Becher, handed over all
its capital.  Part of it was non-Jewish capital.  It was
handed over, through Becher, to Himmler.

Q. Perhaps you would give the Court further details of the
deal with Manfred Weiss.  What did their property consist

A. There is a large island on the Danube, near Budapest, the
island of Csepel, with a population of 30,000.  There was a
large factory there belonging to the family, an arms
factory, as it is called: "Schwerindustrie" (heavy
industry). Apart from this, there were large agricultural

Q. And they gave all this property over to the Germans?

A. This was the Labour Trust Company - that was their name -
and they transferred all the shares, through Becher, to

Presiding Judge: To Himmler personally?

Witness Freudiger:  I do not know.

State Attorney Bach:  At any rate, into the control of the
SS, in return for the departure of the members of the

Witness Freudiger:  Yes, in return for the departure of 32
persons.  They transferred them - as I remember - first of
all by train to Stuttgart, and from there by private plane
to Portugal.

Q. Mr. Freudiger, let us come back to the conversation with
Wisliceny regarding the deportations.  You told us that
Wisliceny informed you that the dirty job - as he put it -
had been imposed upon him, of carrying out the deportation.

I come back to my question about the connection between
Eichmann and the Secretaries of State, Endre and Baky, in
this respect.

A. The deportation began from the north-eastern region of
Hungary, the area that had before been Carpathian Russia, as
far as Kosice.  That took perhaps ten days, and afterwards
Wisliceny returned to Budapest, and I got hold of him, I
spoke to him, I simply wept, I begged, and I grieved.  He
asked me what I wanted of him - that he had really tried to
do everything possible.  And after the deportations had been
decided upon, at the demand of the Sonderkommando of the SS
who came with a plan prepared in advance, and obtained the
approval of the Hungarian Government for it, of Laszlo

Presiding Judge: A plan for what?

Witness Freudiger:  A plan - as I have heard here at the
trial - a plan for the Final Solution.  He was given the
task of carrying it out.  They sat together at the summer
lodge, Eichmann, Laszlo Endre, and he himself, and drank
cognac in celebration of the fact that the Hungarian
Government had at last agreed to the deportation.

State Attorney Bach:  They drank to the fact that the
Hungarian Government had agreed to the deportation?

Witness Freudiger:  Yes.  It cannot be said that they "drank
lehayim" (toasted good health).  They drank cognac out of
joy that they had received the authority of the Hungarian
Government.  It had not been all that easy to obtain the
authority, but they got it.  Afterwards they discussed how
it could be carried out.  Wisliceny suggested sending one
train every three days, so I believe.  The capacity of a
train was 3,000 to 3,200 people, with 45 freight waggons,
with 75-80 persons in each waggon.  That amounted more or
less to 3,000 to 3,200 persons.  He said that it was
possible to dispatch that number every two or three days.
He informed me that there were 150 SS men to carry out the
task.  Eichmann said that that was not sufficient - it had
to be done somewhat faster.

Q. Do you know, or did Wisliceny tell you, what had been
finally decided?  What was to be the rate of deportations?

A. Four trains daily, and that is how they went.  12,000
Jews each day.

Judge Halevi:  Did Wisliceny use the expression "the Final

Witness Freudiger:  He simply said "deportation."

State Attorney Bach:  Mr. Freudiger, when, in fact, did it
become clear to you that these deportations were destined
for Auschwitz?

Witness Freudiger:  Actually, the fact that they were
leaving for Auschwitz was perhaps known to me well before
the trains departed for Auschwitz, since I had received a
letter from Rabbi Weissmandel some days before 15 May - I
had received the letter possibly on 10 or 11 May.  He then
wrote to me: "To our regret and to our sorrow, the evil
decree has become a fact."  But then the reference was
really to people in the border zones, of whom I spoke
earlier.  He wrote to me saying that there had been
negotiations between the Hungarian and Slovakian railway
authorities; they had been negotiating about the transit of
300,000 Hungarian Jews through Slovakia.  300,000 was the
number of Jews that kept on coming up, 300,000-310,000 Jews;
that was the Jewish population of the region I have been
talking about.  I read the letter and I showed it to the
members of the central executive - not one of them wanted to
believe me.  They said: "That is impossible.  How can
Hungarian Jews be sent out of Hungary?"  I told them: "But
that is what it says - this is what Weissmandel had

Presiding Judge: With whom were you talking about this?

Witness Freudiger:  With all the members of the Judenrat,
and they did not want to believe me.  I kept on arguing with
them, but they maintained that the matter had to be
investigated.  That was perhaps four to five days before the
deportation began.  Dr. Petoe, who was on good terms with
Remenyi-Schneller, then the Hungarian Minister of Finance,
went to see him privately - officially Jews were no longer
admitted - and he spoke to Remenyi-Schneller.  Remenyi-
Schneller told him that this is impossible.  It had not been
brought to a meeting of the government, there had been no
such decision, and the government would never decide that
Hungarians should be sent beyond the border.  He came back
on the same day.  I remained the liar, for the Hungarians
were saying that there would be no deportation.  The
following day - we had connections with the Hungarian
railways, for we manufactured clothing for them also -
through these connections I got to know that a Hungarian
railway delegation had been in Bratislava.  More than this I
was unable to ascertain, merely that there had been a
railway delegation.  I reported this at a meeting of the
executive.  Meanwhile, there was a department for Jewish
affairs in the Ministry of the Interior.  They wanted to
speak to the department for Jewish affairs, and the woman
secretary of the Director General told Dr. Petoe - who was
on the telephone - that it was not possible to talk to this
gentleman, since he was at a meeting with the railway
management.  Actually, that had been the previous day, 14
May.  On the following day they began dispatching the

State Attorney Bach:  When, in fact, did you become aware
for the first time of the details of the fate of those Jews
who had been deported to Auschwitz, of what was being done
to them there?

Witness Freudiger:  SS officers, and Krumey in particular,
maintained and promised that they were sending them to work
in Germany.  And for each question that we asked he had an
excuse.  We asked how could they send aged people and
children, together with the whole family?  We told him that
it had still been possible to understand that at Kistarcsa
they had sent people of working age - but here they were
sending them all.  And he replied: "No, it is the German way
to send people together with their families, for then they
work better, they do not miss their families."  Thus we
negotiated for a week or two.  Possibly we already knew that
they were going in the direction of Auschwitz, for Rabbi
Weissmandel had written to us that they were going via
Budapest, Kassa (Kosice), Eperjes (Presov), Nowy Sacz,

Q. Mr. Freudiger, I want to put a question to you before we
come to what Krumey told you: When did you learn, in fact,
from a Jewish source, what they were doing to the Jews in

Judge Halevi:  Are you referring to the Jews of Hungary or
in general?

State Attorney Bach:  I mean the Jews of Hungary.

Witness Freudiger:  As I have said, I had been in constant
correspondence with Rabbi Weissmandel.  I received a letter
from him almost every week.  And at the end of May or the
beginning of June, I received a batch of letters among which
was a report on Auschwitz.  I think the Court is already
aware of this.

Q. Was that the report of the two Slovakians who escaped?

A. Yes, the two Slovakians who escaped.  I received the mail
which the courier of the Hungarian embassy in Slovakia
brought me, I received a large number of letters to pass on
to all the people.  Amongst them I received Weissmandel's
letter.  I began reading the report.  I read it and went on
reading, and I asked myself if one could truly believe this.
I sat there and simply could not believe it.

Presiding Judge: Was this a report about the extermination?

Witness Freudiger:  I still well remember it - I can see
before me the last page.  There it said that, so far,
1,450,000 Jews had been put to death.  He gave details: from
France, from here, from there, detailed numbers. And another
300,000 from various places...1,700 and 50,000; and then the
last sentence: now they are getting ready to receive the
Jews of Hungary.

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