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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-052-08

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Last-Modified: 1999/06/02

Q. Dr. Brody, who were the first Jews to be arrested, and
where were they taken?

A. They began making arrests right from the very beginning.
There were two categories of arrests.  The first was an
operation according to a list, when SS men rounded up about
280 hostages whose names were recorded there from the

Q. And what was the second category of arrests?

A. The second category of arrests was carried out without
any selection.  First of all, at the railway station, they
arrested all the Jews who were trying to leave or as they
arrived.  Similar arrests were made at the Danube ports, and
there, at one of the ports, the first personality to be
seized was Janos Vazsonyi, an ex-member of Parliament, the
son of Wilmos Vazsonyi, a former Minister of Justice, who
had been intending to travel by ship to Bahia.

Q. What camp were they taken to?

A. May I first be permitted to add that, not only at the
railway stations but also at the train terminals, they
seized people who were travelling to the suburbs, such as
Ujpest and Kispest.

Q. Now, perhaps, would you please reply to the previous

A. They brought the hostages to the building of the
Rabbinical Academy bearing the name of Franz Josef, a
building which the Germans had requisitioned for this
purpose right from the first day.  The remaining prisoners
who were arrested at random were brought to a place of
detention on Mosonyi Street.

Q. Where were these prisoners taken to ultimately?  What was
their final destination?

A. When these places became full in the course of a day or
two, the prisoners were taken to Kistarcsa, to the
concentration camp at Kistarcsa, which was about 17
kilometres from Budapest.

Q. Who had to pay for the accommodation and the necessities
of life of these prisoners?

A. The Gestapo men informed the Jewish Council that they
would not be responsible for the maintenance of the
detainees, but that they were imposing this obligation upon
the Jewish Council.

Q. Were you given a particular task in connection with the
camp at Kistarcsa?

A. Yes.  Samu Stern, who was the head of the Jewish Council
at that time, charged me with dealing with the economic
problems of the prisoners of Kistarcsa, and the handling of
the affairs of the detainees in general.

Q. Perhaps you can tell us what this task implied?

A. From the first moment, we organized the feeding of the
inmates of the camps.

Presiding Judge: This Stern - was he Hofrat Stern?

Witness Brody:   Yes.  He was the past chairman of the Pest
community and was then chosen to be chairman of the Jewish

State Attorney Bach:  Did you receive a special document
which enabled you to travel to Kistarcsa and back?

Witness Brody:   Yes.  I have with me here the original
permit which was signed by Samu Stern, and on it also the
permit of the police and the SS Command, together with their
signatures.   I cannot now determine exactly whose signature
appears on this permit, but I believe it is the signature of

Q. I see that something has been erased from the top of the
document.  Can you explain why it was deleted?

A. Yes.  The text of the permit was written inside in
Hungarian and in German by the Jewish Council.  Outside
there is the confirmation by the State Police of Budapest,
and underneath this there is the confirmation by the SS.  At
SS headquarters they felt themselves affronted because of
this, for the confirmation of the Hungarian police was
written above their own confirmation, and they erased it.
In this way the Hungarian police were obliged to confirm
this again after their confirmation.

State Attorney Bach:  With the Court's permission, we have
here copies of that document.  Perhaps we may submit them to
the Court.  The Court will be able to compare them with the
original and then return the original to the witness.

Presiding Judge: Please hand the document to us, and we
shall give it back to him immediately.

State Attorney Bach:  This is actually our document No.

Presiding Judge: This will be marked T/1146.

State Attorney Bach:  Dr. Brody, you, in fact, visited
Kistarcsa every day?

Witness Brody:   Yes. I visited Kistarcsa daily; however,
this did not start on 19 March but some time in May.
Perhaps I may be allowed to make a comprehensive statement
about Kistarcsa.

State Attorney Bach:  Perhaps it would be better if he first
answered my questions.  If he has something to add, he could
do so at the end.

Presiding Judge: [to interpreter] He should first answer the
questions.  If he should want to add something, we shall
allow him to do so at the end.

State Attorney Bach:  Who was the commandant of Kistarcsa?

Witness Brody:   The commandant of Kistarcsa was Istvan
Vasdenyei, a chief superintendent of police, which more or
less corresponded to the rank of a police major.

Q. What was your relationship with the commandant Vasdenyei?

A. On the first day that I went to Kistarcsa I asked
Vasdenyei to be permitted to speak to him alone.  I staked
everything on one card and asked him whether it was clear to
him that the Germans had lost the war.  He replied to me:
"Why do you ask that?"  I answered: "It depends upon this
how we shall be able to cooperate."

Q. Perhaps the witness can put it more concisely: Was the
relationship with Vasdenyei actually a positive one towards
you and the detainees, or was it negative?

A. Vasdenyei's attitude to me, and also to the detainees,
was very good, and many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Jews
owe their rescue to Vasdenyei.

Q. We shall come to this point.  Did you ever see SS men
inside the camp?

A. I constantly saw SS men in the camp.

Q. Which of the SS officers did you see in the camp?

A. Amongst the SS officers whom I saw in the camp were
Novak, Hunsche, Lemeke.  I do not remember the names of the

Q. Was it clear to you what was the function of those
officers in regard to the Kistarcsa camp?

A. Yes, I remember they had two functions.  On the one hand
they used to bring in the new detainees; on the other hand
they took care of the transport of the detainees from there,
for deportation.

Q. When, for any reason, you wanted to procure the release
of some Jew - or a Jewish boy - from the camp, who had to
give the authorization for that?

A. Only the SS could give permission for that.  But
Vasdenyei helped us very much.

Q. Dr. Brody, please tell the Court what happened on 12 July

A. At the beginning of July we received information,
according to which the Regent had forbidden all further

Q. Perhaps, before you continue with your answer, let me ask
you: How many deportations were there from the Kistarcsa
camp which are known to you?

A. I cannot give you a precise date, but I know that the
first train left already in April, and Janos Vazsonyi was
also deported on it.  After that they always sent trains out
when the camp filled up.  This became more frequent when
they arrested the Jews of the towns surrounding Budapest,
from Ujpest and Kispest.  I remember this well, since on one
of the trains they deported my brother Bela Brody of Ujpest,
who had been the inventor of light bulbs filled with krypton

We hoped that at the beginning of July there would be no
more deportations.  To my great surprise, Vasdenyei notified
me on the evening of 12 July, in confidence, that on the
14th of the month the Germans were preparing to take away an
additional 1,500 persons from Kistarcsa, and that the
Germans had ordered a special train to Kistarcsa.

Q. When you learned about this, what did you do?

A. When I got to know about it, I got in touch, that same
evening, with the directors of the Jewish Council, Samu
Stern, Ernoe Petoe, Karoly Wilhelm; I told them about it,
and I requested action in two directions.  My first request
was that the Jewish Council should prepare food parcels for
1,500 people, so that these people should not die from
starvation during the journey.

Q. Perhaps you can inform us what happened to this train
that departed, as a result of Jewish intervention?

A. We gave food to the people, and at the same time the
leaders of the Jewish Council sought to make contact with
the Regent, in order to foil the plan to take the train out.

Presiding Judge: This is not an answer to the question that
was asked.  You were asked as follows: What happened, in the
end, to this train?

Witness Brody:   The Regent gave an order that the train
should not proceed.  Since the train had already left, the
Regent ordered a major of the gendarmerie, Lullay, to halt
the train while it was still in Hungarian territory.  And
Lullay managed to reach the train at the town of Hatvan and
gave orders for it to be sent back, and the train arrived
back at Kistarcsa in the evening.  This was the sole
deportation train in the eleven years of Nazi domination,
ever to be turned back in its tracks.

State Attorney Bach:  These 1,500 people who were sent to
Kistarcsa, did all of them remain in Kistarcsa that day, or
were they split up amongst various camps?

Witness Brody:   Since not all of these 1,500 had previously
been in Kistarcsa, but about 300 souls came from Csepel,
Horthyliget, and also from Mosonyi Street, it was impossible
to send all of them back there.

Q. Hence, where did they place the others?

A. Accordingly, on the next day, Vasdenyei sent about 280
persons to Sarvar, which was an auxiliary camp to that of

Q. What was the next thing that happened to these people who
travelled on this train and returned to Kistarcsa?

A. We all rejoiced, together with these people, since we
believed that their troubles were over and that they had
finally been saved.

Q. And so, what happened to them?

A. On 19 July, in the morning, SS men, under the command of
Novak, appeared with many cars.

Q. Who else was there that you knew, apart from Novak?

A. Lemeke.

Q. Were you yourself there personally on that day at

A. I was there personally, and I was in Vasdenyei's office
when Novak and Lemeke came in.

Q. Please tell the Court what happened then.

A. Novak told Vasdenyei that it was forbidden for anyone to
leave the office.  He forbade the use of the telephone.  And
he declared that, on Eichmann's orders, he was going to take
those 1,500 persons, who had been placed in the railway
coaches on 14 July, since Eichmann - allow me to quote this
in German as I heard it said - "Eichmann laesst es sich
nicht gefallen, dass seine Befehle kontrakariert werden,
selbst vom Reichsverweser nicht" (Eichmann will not tolerate
his orders to be countermanded, not even by the Regent of
the state himself).

Q. What happened after that?

A. After that, an order was issued for everyone to go out
into the courtyard, and the SS men began throwing them with
great brutality into the trucks.  Amongst them were people
who walked on crutches and, if I remember correctly, there
was one invalid chair and there were sick people; but they
were told that they could leave all these things behind, for
anyhow they would not be needing them any more.

Q. Who said these things?  Who shouted out these words?

A. The SS men who were throwing the people about or who were
forcibly loading them on to the trucks; Lemeke told
Vasdenyei he should also dispatch Brody, since he, too, was
to be deported.  And Vasdenyei ordered his secretary, named
Istvan Vass, to accompany me to headquarters.

Q. Did he say anything more about you - any personal
accusation against you?  Did Lemeke add any personal
accusation as to why you had to be deported?

A. Yes: "Brody hat uns schon sehr viele Unannehmlichkeiten
gemacht (Brody has already caused us a great amount of

Q. Did he also mention a particular unpleasantness?

A. He attributed to me the fact that he was obliged to bring
back the transport of 14 July.

Q. Can you tell us something about the number of people who
had to be deported?  You said earlier that some of the
people were transferred previously to Sarvar.  Was there a
discussion in regard to that?

A. Yes.  Novak stated that he wanted to take those people
who had been on the train on 14 July.  To this Vasdenyei
answered that it was impossible to do so, since 280 persons
had already been transferred to Sarvar.  To this Novak
responded that then he would take 280 others in their stead,
but that he insisted on a total of 1,500.  Then Vasdenyei
began pleading with Novak not to take others as substitutes
for those people, and after much persuasion Novak agreed.
Thus only 1,220 souls were then deported, and in this way we
rejoiced, together with Vasdenyei, that at least 280 had
been saved.

Q. You were telling us earlier how these people were thrown
into the trucks.  Where were you standing, and where did you
see that?

A. I? was possible from the first floor to
observe the courtyard where they were being put on to the

Q. You told us about cripples.  What about elderly people?

A. Yes, I even remember old women, eighty years of age,
being thrown in this manner on to the trucks.  I also
remember, in particular, the widow of Sandor Flussig, who
had been a member of the Upper House and chairman of the
Stock Exchange, a woman of eighty, who was unable to take
care of herself and who was sick.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach do you still have many questions?

State Attorney Bach:  Not many, but it will still take some

Presiding Judge: We shall adjourn at this point.  The
Session will be resumed at 15.30.  The witness must be
present in Court.

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