The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Judgment
(Part 35 of 70)

115. The situation again changed radically in mid-October 1944. The Germans intervened again, to avoid Horthy's surrender to the Allies, and forced him to appoint Szalasi, the extremist leader of the "Arrow Cross," as prime minister. This again opened the way for the deportation of Jews from the country. Horthy submitted to the Germans on 16 October (evidence of von dem Bach-Zelewski, p. 13). Two days later, the Accused returns to Budapest and starts negotiations for the handing over of more Jews to the Germans. Veesenmayer's cable to the German Foreign Ministry, on the same day, states that the Accused "began negotiations with the Hungarian authorities for the deportation of 50,000 able-bodied Jews on foot (im Fusstreck) to work in Germany" (T/1234).

Veesenmayer cables again on the same day (T/1235), reporting the results of the negotiations between the Accused and the Hungarian Minister of the Interior: The minister will attempt to obtain consent for the handing over of the 50,000 male Jews. Veesenmayer adds that,

"according to top secret information, after completing the above foot march successfully, Eichmann intends to ask for another 50,000 Jews, in order to achieve the final aim of complete evacuation of the Hungarian area, while having due regard for the attitude taken on principle by Szalasi."
(Szalasi, it follows from the same cable, demanded that the Arrow Cross themselves deal with the Jews within Hungary proper.)

The idea of marching the Jews from Budapest to the Austrian frontier, some 220 kilometres distance, emerged because Allied bombing had destroyed the railway line.

This march of tens of thousands of Budapest Jews began on 10 November 1944. Mrs. Aviva Fleischmann, who took part in the march, told us about this operation, and Dr. Arye Breszlauer, who was employed by the Swiss Embassy in Budapest, saw the marchers on their way and also wrote a report on the subject at the time (Session 61, Vol. III, p. 1102; T/1237).

The Arrow Cross men assembled all the Jews from the special Jewish houses. Those taken were not only adults - mostly women, as many men were away from home on work service - but also children and old people. Thousands of Jews were crammed into the yard of a brick factory which was used as the assembly point for the marchers. There they were kept, terribly crowded, in the open and in the rain. From there, they started to march in large groups. Witness Mrs. Fleischmann spent only one night at the factory, but others stayed there two or three days until they set out on their way. The escort consisted of Arrow Cross men, who behaved cruelly towards the Jews, robbed them of all their valuables, clothes, blankets and the provisions they had taken with them.

Thus they marched for seven or eight days, without food for days on end. They slept in stables, in pigsties or even in the open, during cold November nights. No medical help was afforded them. Those who fell by the way from exhaustion were shot by the Arrow Cross men or died by the roadside. The survivors were handed over to German SS men at the Austrian frontier.

Twenty-five thousand Jews had been dispatched in this manner by 22 November 1944. Veesenmayer estimated the total number of Jews thus brought to the frontier at no more than 30,000 (T/1242). Mr. Breszlauer, in evidence, set the figures at 50,000 (Session 61, Vol. III, p. 1101).

Even SS officers who saw the marchers on their way regarded the march as an atrocity. Krumey, the Accused's assistant, discussed the march with him. The Accused's reply was simply: "You saw nothing!"; that is to say, he ignored the matter completely and ordered Krumey also to close his eyes to it (Evidence of Krumey, on pp. 15, 16). The witness Juettner, who was an SS General, describes the sight of the marchers as shocking. He approached Winkelmann, the Higher SS and the Police Leader in Hungary, but Winkelmann said that in this matter he was helpless, since this was in the hands of the Accused's unit, and the Accused did not take orders from him [Winkelmann]. Juettner then approached the Accused's office. A young officer was sent over to him from the Accused's office to explain to him that he [Juettner] was not to interfere in the matter, as the Accused's unit took orders only from the RSHA (declaration T/692 and the evidence of Juettner in this trial).

Finally, the march was stopped by order of Himmler. The credit for this is claimed by a number of German witnesses (Becher, Juettner, Winkelmann). We need not decide whether one of them or someone else secured this order to stop the march. It should be stated that Szalasi, on his part, also ordered the stopping of the march (See Veesenmayer's cable of 21.11.44, T/1242).

116. We wish to mention two more matters from the Hungarian chapter.

(a) At the beginning of June 1944, Blaschke, the Mayor of Vienna, requested Kaltenbrunner to supply him with labourers for war work in Vienna. Kaltenbrunner replies in the affirmative on 30 June 1944 (the reference on this letter is IVB4b - the Accused's Section, managed in his absence by his deputy, Guenther). He writes there that, in the meantime, four transports with some 12,000 Jews will be sent and will arrive shortly at the Vienna-Strasshof camp. He adds that, according to his estimate, about thirty per cent of the Jews will be fit for work, and that they can be employed, provided that they can be withdrawn at any moment. As to the wives and children of those Jews, who are not fit for work, they will all be kept ready for special action (fuer eine Sonderaktion), and will therefore be removed in the future, but are to stay in the camp in the meantime, under constant guard also during the day.

Kaltenbrunner asks Blaschke to discuss further details with the representative of the State Police and with SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Krumey of the Special Operations Unit in Hungary (i.e., the Accused's unit) (T/1211). The meaning of the words "special action" need not be explained: All those Jews were to be taken away and exterminated, but in the meantime, those fit for work would be employed at the pleasure of the Mayor of Vienna, and their wives and children would wait with them as prisoners until their turn came to die.

The Accused made use of this order by Kaltenbrunner, which he had to obey, to mislead the Hungarian-Jewish leaders and to extort money from them. From the report of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest written by the late Dr. Kasztner, it is apparent that the Accused made a show of agreeing to the request put to him by Jewish communal leaders to save Jewish lives by allowing the transfer of 15,000 Hungarian Jews to Austria, in order to "put them on ice." In consideration for this simulated concession, he demanded a large sum of money from them, alleging that this was needed for food for these Jews and for the care of the sick (see T/1113, pp. 49, 50).

When cross-examined by the Attorney General, the Accused does not deny this act of deceit. He says: "It is possible that I painted a bright picture for Kasztner" (Session 104, Vol. IV, p.xxxx6).

If some of these Jews were finally saved from the fate which was in store for them, this was not thanks to the Accused, but because extermination by gassing at Auschwitz was stopped in October or November 1944. There is proof here of the deceitful methods to which the Accused resorted in regard to his victims.

Mention should also be made of another remark by the Accused to Dr. Kasztner, to the effect that there should be no Jews from the Carpathians or from Siebenbuergen amongst the Jews to be sent to Austria, because they were "elements of much greater ethnic value and more fertile, and he was not interested in keeping them alive." These words were confirmed by witness Mrs. Hansi Brand (Session 58, Vol. III, p. 11052).

(b) We listened to long testimony from Mr. Joel Brand and his wife, Mrs. Hansi Brand. Also documents were submitted to us about negotiations carried on between Jewish communal leaders and Himmler's agents concerning a barter of Jewish lives against goods required by the Germans, especially trucks. We do not intend to follow all the details of these complicated negotiations, which are now a matter of history, but shall only make a few comments on the Accused's contentions regarding these negotiations.

The Accused alleged that Becher, Himmler's chief agent for economic affairs in Hungary - in particular responsible for robbing Hungarian Jews of their property - trespassed into his domain, by handling matters of Jewish emigration which were reserved for the Accused, he being the expert on the subject. Moreover, Becher pressed him (the Accused) to step up deportations to Auschwitz, in order to force the Jews to hurry up with the supply of the goods. But actually, Becher dealt with these matters only in a small way - the emigration of a few thousand Jews. Becher's interference angered the Accused, for here - so he explains - comes an outsider and interferes in a field in which the Accused had become expert over the course of many years - namely Jewish emigration - and what is more, presses him to increase the pace of the despicable work of deporting Jews to Auschwitz.

That is why he, the Accused, thought up a far-reaching plan for the emigration of a million Jews, in order to have the better of Becher in this competition. And here the unbelievable happened: He is informed by Mueller, to whom he put the plan, that it has been authorized by his superiors. He therefore sends Brand to Istanbul; and now he understands the feelings of Brand, who is bitter about the failure of his mission, because of his arrest by the British Intelligence Service, and the Allies' refusal to respond to the proposal for the supply of goods. He further alleged that he stipulated with Brand - and this, too, with the consent of his superiors - that ten per cent of the total number, i.e., 100,000 Jews, would be allowed to emigrate to any country they wished, as soon as Brand brought the consent of the other party to the supply of the goods, and even before the actual supply began. In the meantime, he was already busy working out the organizational measures involved in the transport of these 100,000 emigrants (Session 86, Vol. IV, p. xxxx15). He concludes his long explanation as follows:

"If, later on, an obstacle was put in the way of this transaction abroad, this caused me sorrow at the time, and I permit myself to say that I can very well understand Joel Brand's fury and pain. I only hope that Joel Brand, too, in the light of the documents which now prove to him that I was not the man who carried out the extermination, understands on his part my own fury and my anger...." (supra)
We are of the opinion that this whole effort to appear now before this Court as the initiator of the above transaction is nothing but a lie.

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