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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-060-02

Archive/File: people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-060-02
Last-Modified: 1999/06/07

Q. Perhaps you can tell the Court what positions you
occupied there.

A. I was the Chairman of the Jewish National Fund.  From
1942 until June 1944, I was a member of the Relief and
Rescue Committee.

Q. Mr. Rosenberg, when you were in Budapest after the German
occupation, did you have in your possession a particular
certificate which enabled you to move around in the city
more freely?

A. Yes.

Q. On what basis did you obtain this certificate?

A. After the occupation I began working in Sip Street.  This
was the place where the Jews concentrated all their
activities.  There I ran the department which we called "The
Department for the Provincial Towns."  As director of this
department, I received this certificate from Dr. Kasztner.

Q. Perhaps I could show you a copy of that certificate.  Can
you tell us whether this is what it looked like?

A. Yes.

State Attorney Bach:  Your Honours, the original certificate
has already been submitted to the Court.  This is one of the
certificates given to the Accused for the purposes of
identification.  The certificate was given the number

Presiding Judge: Is this a copy of that certificate?

State Attorney Bach:  Yes.  Where did you obtain this rubber
stamp, reading "Einsatzkommando der Sicherheitspolizei und
der SD" (Operations Unit of the Security Police and the SD)?

Witness Rosenberg:  I received this certificate directly
from Dr. Kasztner, and I don't know where the stamp was
impressed on it.

State Attorney Bach:  I beg to submit this document.  The
Court will find a copy of the Accused's signature on page 2
of the document, whereby he confirmed that the document had
been shown to him.

Presiding Judge: This document will be marked T/1201.

State Attorney Bach:  Mr. Rosenberg, perhaps you can tell us
what function was assigned to you within the framework of
the Central Jewish Committee?

Witness Rosenberg:  Perhaps I should divide up my duties
into the period before the occupation and the period after
the occupation?

Q. Yes, tell us what were your duties before and after the

A. Before the occupation, there was a Committee for Relief
and Rescue.  Its function was to deal with refugees who
crossed the frontiers from Poland, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, and
so on.  Hungary at that time was a kind of country of
refuge.  Amongst the tasks of this committee was to attend,
in every respect, to the needs of our brethren who had
crossed the borders and were living in Hungary as illegal
residents.  That was its function until the occupation.  The
moment Hungary was occupied by the Germans, we first of all
were confronted with the problem of what would happen to
those people who, up to that point, had found shelter in
Hungary.  They needed papers; even if these papers were
forged, they could, with their help, also live as Jews.  Now
it was essential for us to find various solutions for these
Jews.  We also had to face the question - what would happen
to the Jews of Hungary?

The Rescue Committee assigned two parallel tasks to me - one
was to deal with the provincial towns, with the Jews in the
provincial towns.  And if I were to define this more
clearly, my task was to send money to these towns, where
ghettos were beginning to be established, and young men who
were able to travel.  For, in those days, Jews were already
forbidden to travel by train.  We dispatched these young men
to the ghettos to bring them false papers and cash, money,
and try to persuade those persons who were somehow able to
do so to leave the ghetto and to go over to the Aryan side,
as we called it at that time.  We carried out these
activities, first of all, with the help of the money
available to us, the fund that Dr. Kasztner and Offenbach
were already operating.  We also tried to obtain money from
the Jewish community.  Before the occupation, there were
various Jewish communities.  After the occupation, they
united in a way, even if it was not formal, nevertheless in
practice for this purpose of saving what could be saved.  We
tried to centralize all the funds.  I also tried, and on
occasion succeeded, in transferring money for this purpose
to several towns.

To our great regret, we did not have much time at our
disposal to deal with these matters, owing to the fact that,
by the time we found our feet, by the time we found the
right people, the ways and means, the monies, by that time
there were hardly any Jews left in the provincial towns any
more.  The majority of those with whom we succeeded in
communicating did not accept the information we sent them,
or were unable to do anything about it.  They could not
leave the ghettos.

Q. What do you mean by "did not accept?"  They did not
physically receive them?

A. They did not regard this message as being really a way by
which they could save themselves.  What did we say to them?
We told them: "You have to come to Budapest."  There was no
other way, with those papers we had sent them.  We were not
able to send tens of thousands.

Presiding Judge: Who told them to move to Budapest?

Witness Rosenberg:  To leave the provincial towns, we told
these Jews to come to Budapest, where they would be able to
hide in the "big sea" and to find some form of underground.

Q. This was your advice?

A. This was our advice in respect of those who were unable
to cross the border.  That was one activity.  I am talking
of the activity in which we engaged as the Department for
Provincial Towns.  We also had another function which I will
mention later.

State Attorney Bach:  First let us talk about the provincial
towns.  Did you succeed in smuggling out some of those also,
or certain numbers?

Witness Rosenberg:  Only a few.

Presiding Judge: The witness has now mentioned three
matters: To cross over to the Aryan side, or perhaps that
was the same as what he said afterwards about moving to
Budapest.  I should like to understand your evidence.

Witness Rosenberg:  There is no contradiction here, no
difference.  It was the same whether the person came to
Budapest, for at the same time he would have to be provided
with suitable papers, so that he could enter Budapest and go
underground as an Aryan.  To smuggle him out, that was a
different matter.  If he was able to cross the border - and
the provincial towns were close to the border, to Romania
for example - and there were Jews who crossed the borders.

State Attorney Bach:  Was this also organized by you, or was
it done with your assistance, or was it done by these people
on their own initiative?

Witness Rosenberg:  I should stress that as the Department
for the Provincial Towns, we merely wanted to give
information to the people who were in the ghettos.  We did
not send our men there to organize public meetings, but we
passed on this information to people whom we had known from
the Zionist Organization, in order to advise them that this
was the solution open to them.  "In this way, we can assist
you," and we did so with the help of the money and the
personnel we had at our disposal within the Jewish

Q. That was one activity.  What was the other one?

A. I had a second task on the Rescue Committee.  Also before
the occupation we handled forged papers, smuggling people
out, and so on.  With regard to young boys, we organized
four categories of rescue. Firstly, we took care of those
whom we could supply with false papers.  For instance, we
prepared several lists from the university.  We supplied
them with such papers, and they went over to the Aryan side.
We furnished them with money.  Then there were those whom,
because of the Jewish problem, we were unable to help by
supplying papers.  We tried to smuggle them across the
borders.  Such borders were available to us for a "tour"*
{*The Hebrew word "tiyul" (excursion) used as a cover name
for crossing the border illegally.}  of Romania or
Yugoslavia, for some of our comrades.  We had one part which
we called "Re-tour" - we sent them back to Slovakia, for at
that time Slovakia was quiet.

Presiding Judge: What was that word?

Witness Rosenberg:  "Re-tour."  They originally came to us
from Slovakia, and we were now obliged to send them back.
We had information - misleading to our great regret, but
then we thought it was right.  After that we saw to it - and
this was the second method - we tried to place these
comrades in apartments, so that they should not mingle with
non-Jews, that they should live there.  We supplied them
with food.

State Attorney Bach:  What was the extent of this escape
activity, the "tours" or "re-tours"?  To approximately how
many people are you referring, people whom you succeeded in
smuggling out in this way?

Witness Rosenberg:  We did not keep statistics, but I could
assess it today at about six to seven hundred persons to
Romania, transferred by us; to Yugoslavia there were not
more than fifty to sixty, and in the "re-tours" there were
hundreds.  Almost all those comrades, for whom we could not
find an Aryan solution or a solution of escaping to another
country, went back to Slovakia.

Q. How many of you were engaged in this work on behalf of
the committee?

A. The Rescue Committee?

Q. Yes.

A. The Rescue Committee was divided up - each one had his
role.  Every member had his own task.  The task of dealing
with refugees, and rescue - that was my job, that is to say,
to organize the rescue.  Others had different jobs.  I was
given the responsibility of funding.  I myself did not deal
with any form of smuggling.  I did not accompany any young
men.  I saw to their being provided with money.  I made it
possible for them to falsify the papers which they needed; I
found the funds required to build the bunkers.  There were
also flats which were called "bunkers," and there were real
bunkers, places not suitable for normal habitation.

Q. Where did you build these bunkers, and what was their

A. In two places, with which I dealt personally.  One was in
Buda, the other half of Budapest.  We built one in Satmar, a
town not far from the Romanian border.  We did this because
from there the escape route was into Romania, and this was a
town not far from Romania.  Sometimes we did not manage to
arrange for the escape on the same night, within twenty-four
hours.  Then we put the people into a bunker such as this,
since this town was already "judenrein"; we had no other
alternative but to put them into bunkers.  This was one of
my responsibilities which, again, I did not carry out

Q. Mr. Rosenberg, do you also know anything about the
negotiations with members of the Gestapo concerning the
release of, or the granting of exit permits to, Jews from
Hungary, in exchange for monetary payments?

A. I was aware of all stages of the negotiations.

Q. Did you also deal with it personally, or did it only
become known to you from other colleagues on that committee?

A. There was an inner committee of four members - the late
Komoly, the late Dr. Kasztner, Szilagy  (who now lives in
Budapest) and Jenoe Fraenkel, and myself - which received
information on what was going on almost every day.

Q. Did you also take part in this committee, or how did you
receive the information?

A. I took part.

Q. Did you participate in meetings, together with these

A. I participated in this committee, together with these

Q. Were you one of the members of this inner committee?

A. I was a member of the inner committee, and my task was to
meet, after we received this information, with the members
of the Zionist Organization - which, of course, was illegal
- and to pass on to them the information we received.

Presiding Judge: Did you have contact with the Germans?

Witness Rosenberg:  No.

State Attorney Bach:  You only received information during
those joint meetings?

Witness Rosenberg:  Yes.

Q. How many times a week did this committee meet?

A. One could say that it was almost every day or two.  When
necessary, we met even more than once a day.  But we met
almost every day or two with Kasztner or Joel Brand, whoever
brought us the information.

Q. Did you know which members of the Gestapo actually
determined the sum that had to be paid, that each Jew had to
pay, if he wanted to get out in this way?

A. I knew that all the negotiations were conducted solely
with Eichmann.  That is to say, I also heard of other names
involved in this matter, but only in an auxiliary capacity.
But the one who determined every question that came before
us and any variation of these proposals which we received,
or which we passed on - all of this was brought before

Q. Did you also try to equip your colleagues with arms?

A. We received a notice from the committee which was based
in Istanbul that we were to place Dr. Moshe Bar-Zvi - this
is his name today, then he was called Dr. Schweiger - in
charge of self-defence.  But the Germans seized Dr.
Schweiger two days after they entered Hungary, and then this
task was entrusted to me.  And one of the tasks that I
attended to was also to see that the young men should
purchase and equip themselves with pistols and ammunition,
in quantities that were not considerable in relation to the
troubles which we faced.  It was not our intention to plan a
revolt in Hungary.  This was not our purpose.  But we
consciously thought that we should have a pistol whenever it
might be necessary, when we would face the final danger.  We
did not have any illusions.  We knew exactly what would
happen to us if we were to fall into their hands, that they
would send us off to the Auschwitz camp.

There was also another activity that I concerned myself with
which was the supply of funds to make these purchases, and
they bought a number of pistols - between twelve and sixteen
- and ammunition for them.

Q. At those joint meetings of the committee, was there ever
a discussion to the effect that Eichmann, or members of his
Section, were prepared to approve of a "tour" of young men,
or halutzim across the border, and that they were ready to
assist in this?

A. I never heard of such a thing.  On the contrary, it was
clear to us that if anyone participating in such a "tour"
should fall into the hands of the Germans, they would
assuredly transfer them at first, according to the practice
of those days, to Kistarcsa.  This was the place where they
assembled all such people.  I also know of a case where, in
Kolozsvar, they caught a group of youths who had all gone to
a particular hotel; they were most certainly seized a few
hours later when they came out, and were transferred.  But I
do not know what happened to all of them later.  I only know
that one of them is alive - I met one of them here - but in
regard to the others, I do not know what happened.

Q. Do you know about the group that left for Bergen-Belsen
and thereafter for Switzerland?

A. Yes.

Q. In fact, as I understand, you were one of them?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know what part, if any Becher played in arranging
that train, or in placing the Jews on that train?

A. I know that when we had already crossed the border, I met
about sixteen people who told me that they had been included
in this transport because they had given money to Becher.
And they spoke of very large sums.  That is what I know of
this matter.  Until then, in connection with Becher, I had
only heard of the famous deal whereby the Baroness Weiss had
been allowed to leave Hungary in exchange for her property.
And we were told then that Becher was the one who had dealt
with this matter.  I came across this name in Bergen-Belsen,
en route with these sixteen men.

Q. Do you know how much money was paid to the Germans for
this transport?

A. Of the sixteen?

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