Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Judgment/Judgment-034 Last-Modified: 1999/05/27 From a letter, T/1136, dated 25 September 1942, to the German Foreign Ministry, in reply to a proposal to deal separately with the Jews who escaped to Hungary, we learn about the Accused's own attitude. He objects to this proposal because "experience shows that the preparation and implementation of partial actions require the same effort as comprehensive plans geared to cover, as far as possible, all the Jews of that country. Therefore, I do not regard it appropriate to set in motion the whole machinery of evacuation for the sake of resettlement (Aussiedlung) of those Jews who escaped at the time to Hungary, and afterwards, without any progress in the Solution of the Jewish Question in Hungary, the action will be held up again. For these reasons, I believe that it is preferable to defer this action until Hungary is ready to include the Hungarian Jews also within the framework of these measures." This "strategic" approach to the matter, shown by the Accused, was fully justified by later events. The turn of Hungarian Jewry came after the Final Solution had been carried out almost to the end in the other countries in which the Accused and his men had been active. Now they were free to concentrate on the implementation of the task which still lay before them - the extermination of Hungarian Jewry. So the Accused left his Berlin office and moved to the scene of action himself, with most of his assistants, and the "Eichmann Special Operations Unit" set up its headquarters in Budapest. There he appeared at the head of the Security Police and Order Police column, which had been formed a few days earlier in the Mauthausen camp, and entered Hungary on 19 March 1944, immediately after Horthy's surrender. The Accused brought with him Himmler's order for the expulsion of all the Jews from Hungary, after combing the country from East to West, and their deportation to Auschwitz (Session 103, Vol. IV, p.xxxx3). The Accused did his utmost to carry out the order, and if in the end about a third of the Jews of Hungary, and in particular the Jews of Budapest, were saved, that was in spite of his obstinate efforts to complete the operation to the very last Jew. He found loyal collaborators in Hungary, who were with him heart and soul: Endre, the State Secretary in the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, a fanatical anti-Semite, was his chief collaborator, and with him Baky and Ferenczy of the Hungarian gendarmerie. A personal friendship also developed between Endre and the Accused. 112. The first week after the German entry into Hungary saw the implementation of anti-Jewish laws which were published in quick succession, and aimed, on the German model, at ousting the Jews from economic life, robbing them of their property, confiscating their homes, limiting their freedom, and rounding them up in readiness for deportation. The Jews in the provinces were thrown into ghettos from 16 April 1944, and in mid-May deportations to Auschwitz began. They continued at a feverish pace until 9 July 1944. During this period of less than two months, 434,351 Jews were deported in 147 trains of sealed freight cars, about 3,000 men, women and children to each train, and the average was two to three trains daily. Ferenczy's report on 9 July 1944, which gives this total (T/1166) provides the information that: "The Jewish community has now been evacuated from all regions of the country, except from the capital Budapest. For the time being, only labour service men of the Honved (Hungarian armed forces) are in the country." The Auschwitz gas chambers were working to full capacity, and could hardly cope with the pace of the transports (T/37, p. 1321). From the minutes of a meeting which took place in Munkacs between representatives of the Hungarian gendarmerie and the German Gestapo, we learn about the transport conditions. The Hungarian officer remarks: "If necessary, one hundred people can be put into a single freight car. They can be packed like salt herrings, for the Germans need strong people. Those who cannot hold out will fall. Fashionable ladies are not needed there in Germany." Thus, Veesenmeyer reports on 25 May 1944 on "the increased exploitation of the railway waggons" (staerkere Belegung der Waggons), enabling a much quicker completion of the programme of evacuation from Carpatho-Russia (T/1193). Mr. Ze'ev Sapir gave evidence about the deportation of Jews from Munkacs. His community, 103 souls, were loaded into one freight car without food and without water for the whole three-day journey to Auschwitz (Session 53, Vol. III, pp. 971-972). When the late Dr. Kasztner and the witness Hansi Brand came to the Accused to tell him that a hundred people had been loaded into one freight car, this is how the Accused reacted: "He told us we were not to worry, because this only concerned Jews from Carpatho-Russia, whose families were blessed with many children. These children, therefore, did not need so much air and so much room, and nothing would happen to them." (Session 58, Vol. III, p. 1048.) 113. The Allies landed in Normandy on 6 June 1944. Important personages, including the King of Sweden and the Pope, intervened with Horthy to stop the deportations. Budapest was bombed heavily from the air. Under the impact of these events, Horthy gathered courage and ordered that deportations be stopped at the beginning of July (T/1212; T/1113, the Kasztner Report - pp. 57, 69). This step came too late to save the Jews in the provinces, but it did, for the time being, foil the plan for the evacuation of the Jews of Budapest. That the plan for this operation was ready, we read in the report prepared by von Thadden, of the German Foreign Ministry, who visited Budapest at the end of May 1944. The information about the plan of action against the Jews was provided for him by the Accused's office (T/1194, p. 3). Later, in a memorandum prepared by him for his superiors (T/1195), he describes a plan to evacuate all Budapest Jews within 24 hours in the middle or at the end of July in one huge operation, for which auxiliary help would be mobilized, including all the postmen and the chimney sweeps. The intention was to collect all the Jews of Budapest together on an island in the Danube, and to deport them from there. The Accused could not reconcile himself to the cessation order, and on 14 July 1944 he tried to deport another 1,500 Jews, imprisoned in the Kistarcsa camp, near Budapest. This came to the knowledge of the Jewish leaders, and they managed to inform Horthy about this action. The latter ordered the return of the train carrying these Jews before it crossed the Hungarian border (evidence of Dr. Alexander Brody, Session 52, Vol. III, pp. 957-958). This setback enraged the Accused, who organized the transport anew, in spite of Horthy. SS men under the command of Novak, of Eichmann's unit, appeared in the Kistarcsa camp on 19 July 1944. Novak informed the Hungarian commander of the camp that the very same 1,500 who had been brought back on 14 July would be expelled again, because "Eichmann will not tolerate his orders to be countermanded, not even by the Regent of the state himself (Evidence of Dr. Brody, supra, p. 957). SS men loaded the Jews onto trucks with great brutality and brought them to the railway station, and this time the expulsion took place. To avoid another intervention with Horthy by prominent Jewish personalities, the Accused resorted to a ruse. He assembled all of them in his office, where they were kept by his assistant, Hunsche, for the whole day on various pretexts, and were sent home only when word was received that the train had crossed the border (evidence of Freudiger, Session 52, pp. 947-948). About those events, as seen through the eyes of the deportees themselves, who were returned to Kistarcsa and deported a second time, this time reaching Auschwitz, we learn from the witness Elisheva Szenes (Session 53,Vol. III, p. 961 seq.). In his evidence, the Accused claims (Session 104, Vol. IV, p.xxxx6) that all he remembers is "that a train left and returned." On further cross-examination by the Attorney General, he seeks refuge behind the naive question: If all this be correct, where did the trucks come from, in which the Jews were taken the second time from the Kistarcsa camp? (supra, p. xxxx8). When he is reminded that trucks could be obtained from the Hungarian gendarmerie, again he remembers nothing at all. We have no doubt that the Kistarcsa incident occurred, as testified by the witnesses for the Prosecution. Witness for the Defence, Grell, who at the time served as an adviser at the German Embassy in Budapest, also confirms in his declaration (T/691, p. 8) that he heard about the Accused's resorting to some stratagem in order to deport the inmates of some camp to Germany. We are convinced that the Accused remembers his victory over Horthy quite well. The whole incident is very significant as proof of the Accused's position in Hungary, and the traits of obstinacy and cunning which characterized his actions. 114. On 14 August, the Hungarian Minister of the Interior informed the Accused that the Council of Ministers had decided to propose 25 August to Horthy as the date for the commencement of the evacuation of the Jews of Budapest. The Accused was not satisfied with this, and at his request the Minister of the Interior agreed to advance the date of the evacuation to 20 August (T/1217; T/1218). In his evidence he explains that his demand for the speeding-up of the evacuation was apparently due to an approach from the Ministry of Transport in connection with timetables (Session 86, Vol. IV, p. xxxx18). The plot failed once more because of the resistance of Horthy, who ordered instead that the Jews of Budapest be collected in camps outside the capital, but that they were not to be deported to Germany. In Veesenmayer's report to the German Foreign Ministry on 24 August 1944 (T/1219), he adds that "Eichmann will report the matter to the RSHA and will request that he and his unit be withdrawn, since they have now become superfluous."
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