The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-051-05
Last-Modified: 1999/06/02

Q. What did this factory produce?

A. Textiles and clothing.

Q. Was your grandfather one of the founders of the Orthodox
community in Budapest?

A. Yes.  Moshe Freudiger.

Q. Were you also active in the Orthodox community in

A. Yes.  After my grandfather, my father, of blessed memory,
was the head of the community for approximately 26 years.
When he died, in 1939, I occupied his place until 1944.

Q. What kind of relations were there between your family and
Hungarian ruling circles before the outbreak of the Second
World War?

A. In view of the fact that my family had been Hungarian for
over a hundred years, that we manufactured goods in the
factory, that we worked for the government and manufactured
clothing goods for the Hungarian army and for other
government institutions, we were on very good terms both
with the Ministry of the Interior, the Police Ministry and
the Defence Ministry.  We had many friends there.

Q. In fact, your grandfather received the title of nobleman
in Hungary?

A. Yes, from King Franz Joseph.

Q. You also inherited this title?

A. Yes.

Q. How many Jews were there in Hungary on the eve of the
outbreak of the War?

A. In 1939 there were approximately half a million, a little
less than that, perhaps 480,000 Jews.

Q. Perhaps could you tell this Court what were the changes
that occurred regarding the borders of the state, and also
how these affected the number of Jews in Hungary?

A. I do not remember the dates exactly, but after Munich,
after an independent Slovakia was set up, Hungary regained -
this was at the end of 1938 - the southern portion of
Slovakia.  And thereafter, gradually, Hungary received the
north-eastern territory which was called Carpatho-Russia,
later on it received the northern part of Transylvania, and
later still, a small area, the northern part of Yugoslavia.
All this occurred between the end of 1938 and 1940.  By this
means the Hungarian population was increased, let us say,
from eight or nine million to twelve or thirteen million
Hungarians, and the number of Jews from half a million to

Q. When did Hungary enter the War on the side of the Axis

A. In June 1941, Hungary declared war on Russia, and
afterwards also on the United States.  As far as I remember,
the United States did not declare war on Hungary.

Q. By the way, you said there were 800,000 Jews.  Was there,
in addition, also a certain number of Jews who had converted
out of the faith?

A. Yes.

Q. How many were there in this category?

A. I cannot say exactly, but more than 100,000; one hundred
to one hundred and fifty thousand.

Q. Can you tell the Court what was the attitude of the
Hungarian Government to the Jews, up to March 1944?

A. The waves of anti-Semitism, which began after the end of
the First World War, in 1919, gradually subsided.  And in
1927 the economy was also put in order, more or less. There
was prosperity, then, in the whole of Europe, in the whole
of central Europe, and also in Hungary.  This, too, was the
reason why the life of the Jews was more or less normal in
the years 1927-1928, and of the anti-Semitic laws of 1920
there remained actually only two: One was the "numerus
clausus," by which not more than 6per cent - I think it was
6 per cent - of students admitted to the university could be
Jews.  And even if we acknowledge that this, in itself, was
not a great disaster, since our students went abroad to
France, Italy and Germany and studied there, and came back
with their diplomas, it nevertheless remained in effect and
was the only law that, in fact, ran counter to the Hungarian
constitution.  According to the Hungarian constitution
Judaism was a religion, and they were not admitted because
they were of the Jewish religion.

In the "numerous clausus" law nothing was said to the effect
that this was against the Jews; it was to "divide up the
possibility of studying at the university according to
race." And hence there remained the concept that Jewry was
already an alien body, the Jews began to be an alien body in
Hungary.  And the other factor that remained was the use of
anti-Semitism as a political weapon.  Of course, there were
always anti-Semites, both in Hungary and throughout the
world.  But this was the first time that there were
political parties in Hungary established on the basis of
anti-Semitism.  There was the party - the organization of
the "Awakening Hungarians," and there was the party which
called itself simply the "Party for the Defence of the

Q. Of what period are you speaking now?

A. Of the years from 1920 to 1925, 1930, the period between
the two World Wars.  And in this way the concept was
gradually created that the Jews of Hungary were alien.  And
if you wanted a "pure Hungarian," this meant a "non-Jew."

Q. What was the attitude to the Jews from the outbreak of
the Second World War until March 1944?
A. The most vicious anti-Semitic line began actually before
the outbreak of the War.  This was after the "Anschluss" of
Austria.  In March 1938, the anti-Semitic line of the
government began.  Then they passed the first anti-Jewish
law. This law - it was not yet described as an anti-Jewish
law - was called "The Law for the Restoration of Social
Equilibrium."  This was after the "Anschluss" of Vienna.
Whether or not this was under the growing influence of
Nazism, which was approaching nearer to the borders of
Hungary - it certainly was self-understood.  That was in
April 1938.

In December of that year, 1938, after Hungary regained  part
of Slovakia, as I mentioned previously, the government
already presented the second Jewish law, which was much more
severe than the first, but which was not yet based on the
concept of race, not yet based on the Nuremberg laws.  The
number of Jews had been increased and their rights reduced.
And in 1941, a month after Hungary had declared war against
Russia, came the third law, and by now it was based on the
Nuremberg laws.

Q. You mentioned the year 1941.  Do you remember a
particular event that occurred in 1941 and which caused harm
to many Jews in Hungary?

A. Yes.  This was the first deportation from Hungary.  As I
said, the second Jewish law, of December 1938, curtailed the
rights of the Jews on account of their citizenship as well.
Many Jews, of the areas which Hungary regained, did not
receive Hungarian citizenship.  In principle, anyone who did
not possess Hungarian citizenship, did not have the right to
reside in Hungary.  And they were deported - they were
deported as a matter of principle.  They were given a
deportation order, and afterwards regularly received an
extension of six months, and a further extension of six
months, to remain in Hungary, since there was no possibility
of deporting them anywhere.  But in 1941, after the German
army occupied Wolhynia, Ukraine and White Russia, one of the
Hungarian leaders, Martinides* {*Oedoen, Martinides} - one
may say: "May his name be blotted out!" - came forward with
the suggestion that now it was already possible to expel the
Jews, to deport them, those Jews who, in principle, did not
possess the right to remain in Hungary.  He took advantage
of the opportunity, when the Hungarian Minister of the
Interior was on his summer vacation, it was exactly on 17
Tammuz, and extracted a decree from his deputy, the head of
the department, to deport the Jews to Galicia.

Q. Were these Jews stateless?

A. Stateless.

Q. How many Jews were affected by this deportation, and
where were they sent to?

A. The object was to seize at least 100,000 Jews, or even
more.  They began deporting them to Koeroesmezoe, a small
town near the border, and in the course of two or three
weeks 17,500 Jews were deported to Galicia.

Q. Did these Jews come from particular places in Hungary, or
in fact from all parts of the country?

A. Actually, they came from all parts of Hungary.  Thus, for
example, a woman clerk who worked in my factory, and who had
been born in Budapest and had never, at any time, been
outside Budapest, but who possessed Austrian, not Hungarian,
nationality, was taken, and she, too, was sent off to
Galicia.  But naturally the greatest number came from the
north-eastern areas, Munkacs, Maramaros, Szeged, and all
that region.

Q. Mr. Freudiger, can you tell us where these Jews
ultimately got to and what happened to them?

A. They came to Galicia, and afterwards a large number of
them reached Kamenets-Podolski.

Q. Where was this place?

A. Between Galicia and Wolhynia.  Previously this had been
Russia, not Austria.  Out of 17,000-18,000, two persons
returned by special permit - two.  Approximately 2,000 came
back via the Carpathians by an illegal route - they escaped
and returned.  The others remained in Galicia - they moved
them more and more towards the east.  Thereafter, we
received information that in Kamenets-Podolski about 12,000
of them were killed on one day.  Apparently, all the
residents of Kamenets-Podolski were killed at that time, and
together with them all the Hungarian Jews.

Q. By whom were they killed?

A. By the Germans.

Q. Mr. Freudiger, you told us of the anti-Jewish
legislation, which at that time was mainly economic, which
hit the Jews in their economic life.  Between 1941 and March
1944, did a radical change come about in these laws, in the
anti-Jewish legislation?

A. From 1941 to 1944, no.  They were the outcome of the law
of 1941.  For example, I cannot say that Jewish farmsteads,
forests, and so on were confiscated, although they were
exploited.  But more severe laws - there were none.  Perhaps
I could say this - that despite all the difficulties we had
undergone since 1941, those that I have described, such as
the deportation of part of Hungarian Jewry, we were still
given the right in those years to help the Slovakian
refugees in 1942 and, at the end of 1941, to help the
refugees from Galicia and Poland who were brought to
Hungary, and we took care of them.

Q. When were the labour camps set up for the Jews of

A. Labour camps or labour service?

Q. I understand that it was called "labour service."  But as
I understand it, the people were also kept in certain camps.
Tell us about the labour service.

A. The labour service was based on a law, I think it was No.
2, of the year 1939, which gave the Hungarian army the right
to avail itself of people to whom it was unwilling to give
arms, because it did not trust them, and to demand that they
serve the state with their labour.  In that law as well,
there was not a single word about its being against the
Jews, but in practice this was a severe decree against
Hungarian Jews.  Labour service began in 1940.  At the
beginning they exploited these people only for work within
the state, in the country itself, to build roads and for all
kinds of work.  Assuredly this was not pleasant, but it
still did not endanger the lives of the people.

In 1941 they began sending them outside of Hungary, as the
German army advanced.  The Hungarian Government under Horthy
did not want to supply Germany with soldiers, but provided
them with soldiers in the occupied areas, the areas which
had been occupied by the Germans; they sent Hungarian
soldiers there, and also Jews for labour service.  As far as
I know, approximately 60,000-80,000 Jews were dispatched for
labour service in the year 1941-1942 - and possibly 45,000-
50,000 died.

Q. Do you know anything about roughly 60,000 Jews who were
sent to Galicia and the Ukraine - to labour camps?

A. That is what I was talking about.

Q. Now, Mr. Freudiger, when were detention camps established
- such as Kistarcsa?

A. This was in connection with what I said earlier - namely
that Jews were sent away but were not deported beyond the
borders.   Where there was something against them, the
government set up four to five concentration camps, such as
Kistarcsa, Goron, Riesa and others.  In each of these places
there were several hundred Jews.  Generally it was the
practice at that time to judge Jews administratively.  If
they had brought a Jew before a Court of Law, the Court
would have found him to be either guilty or not guilty, but
by administrative means it was possible to send him to a
concentration camp.

Presiding Judge: Also, at that time, Jews possessing
Hungarian nationality?

Witness Freudiger:  Yes, also Jews possessing Hungarian
nationality: For instance, there was a law which provided
that, if anyone helped a Jew who was in Hungary illegally,
his penalty would be to be sent to a concentration camp.

State Attorney Bach:  What did they do with the Jews who
escaped from Slovakia and reached Hungary and were captured
by the Hungarian authorities?

Witness Freudiger:  If they were caught - if they were
lucky, they were sent to one of the concentration camps we
mentioned, and if they were not lucky - they were sent back
to Slovakia.

Q. Mr. Freudiger, you told us that there had always been a
good relationship between your family and the Hungarian
authorities.  When there were anti-Semitic measures, did you
occasionally try to contact those Hungarian officials and
ask for an explanation, why they were adopting anti-Jewish
legislation and anti-Jewish measures?

A. It was not only the Freudiger family that had a good
relationship.  There were also other Jews in Hungary who
were on good terms with the government.  Officially,
Hungarian Jews still had their formal institutions, and they
used to complain and to take all kinds of steps with the

Q. What was the reply that you received?

A. At first the reply was that they wanted to take the wind
out of their sails.

Presiding Judge: Whose sails?

Witness Freudiger:  Those of the anti-Semites.  They said:
If we promulgate a few anti-Jewish decrees, it is possible
in this way to avoid some kind of anti-Semitic explosion.
After the War had broken out, after 1940, they said that
they were being subjected to German pressure.  They said
that the Germans were insisting on the application of the
Nuremberg laws and the liquidation of Hungarian Jewry, and
that what they were doing - we could count ourselves lucky
that they were doing it - amounted to a stand against the
strong pressure of the Germans.  For instance, the last
Prime Minister of Hungary, Kalai, said this specifically on
more than one occasion.

Q. The last Prime Minister before the revolt?

A.  He was Prime Minister from 1938 until March 1944.

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