The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 52
(Part 7 of 8)

Q. You spoke about a conversation you had with the Accused - I think it was on 24 or 25 April?

A. About the "ghettoization."

Q. In the course of that conversation, whose first-degree relatives did the Accused propose, or agree, to release from the "ghettoization"?

A. Those of the members of the central executive.

Q. Did you request that?

A. No. We did not request it. It was spontaneous. Because Dr. Reiner had complained; he said "Why are you making a ghetto?" something like that. He asked: "How can one maintain hygiene, if one square metre is being provided?" He was then asked: "How do you know this?" He replied: "Rooms have been allotted both to our parents and our families according to this quota." Then Eichmann said to Krumey: "Very well, they can be brought back to Budapest."

A. And was this carried out afterwards?

A. It was partly implemented, partly not. People were brought from Nyiregyhaza, but, for example, the two sisters of Dr. Wilhelm, who were living in Kassa, were deported, as were the mother and sister of Kahan-Frankl.

Q. Why did the Accused extend this favour, or this act of grace, to the Jews?

A. I believe that was somehow part of the plan of the SS. Generally, there was a plan to calm the people and to let everybody think that if one person could be brought back, perhaps another one could be brought back as well. Or simply that we had asked that they should not implement "ghettoization" - that they should create better conditions; then it was simpler to tell me: "I shall send five or ten people to Budapest, rather than making some other arrangement on the spot."

Q. Did you see Wisliceny's evidence after the War regarding yourself?

A. Yes. I was happy to read it.

Q. Please look at this page, and see whether the account is correct. (I am showing him T/1116 on page 14) At the bottom, in the last line.* {*Refers to the Hebrew translation. For the original, see Exhibit T/1116, p. 8 (S.86).}

A. "There were circumstances preceding Freudiger's departure. From the very beginning Eichmann had hated Freudiger, because he had a red beard, and because of his confident and non-servile bearing towards him. Endre had a Jewish informer, a certain Rabbi Berend who came from Satoraljaujhely or from Kosice. That is where his family were living.

Endre described this Berend as a Jewish national socialist. Berend constantly gave Endre information about members of the Jewish council, but especially about Freudiger. He described Freudiger as the head of a Jewish conspiracy. Endre reported this to Eichmann and suggested eliminating Freudiger. Eichmann agreed and wanted to get rid of Freudiger and his family, in exactly the same way as he had sent people simply off to their deaths, one by one - Dr. Eppstein and other public officials in Germany who had 'known too much.' Freudiger was to 'depart' from Budapest towards the end of August, either alone or on the first deportation train.

As soon as I became aware of this, I advised Freudiger about it. I was the one who insisted on his escaping. We considered all kinds of ways how he could escape, for Freudiger's family was a very large one.

After we examined all the possibilities, we were left only with Romania. I secured from Grell, the counsellor to the German embassy, the grant of Romanian 'returnee passports.' Freudiger did not want to leave but only wanted to send his family. But his wife and children did not want to leave without him. On my personal insistence that any delay was likely to mean certain death, he decided to go, and a few hours before that he was still in my apartment. I sent a Hungarian policeman, who was personally loyal to me, to the train to watch the departure and report to me. When Freudiger left me, he happened to come across Hunsche.

In this way Eichmann got to know about Freudiger's visit to me. The next day Eichmann learned, through Endre, of Freudiger's escape. He immediately accused me of assisting him and opened an enquiry. Dr. Kasztner's report does not do full justice to Freudiger and his activities. Freudiger had to leave, since his remaining would simply have been a useless sacrifice. No one can appreciate this more than I do."

Q. Is this a correct description?

A. It is slightly exaggerated, but there is something in it.

Q. Were all these details known to you at the time, or did you get to know about them later?

A. No. He told me, as I have said: "Freudiger, go now - you must go." Several times he told me that Eichmann was angry with me. But the fact that he wanted to deport me or to kill me and my family - that he did not tell me.

Q. Why this excessive care on the part of Wisliceny - why did Wisliceny worry so much about you?

A. Your Honour, I have spoken about this matter - how he brought me a letter, and how our connections with him through Slovakia were known. I was in constant contact with him, and he also received money and all kinds of things from me. He did, in fact, say that it was worthwhile rescuing me. He thought this to be somewhat of a duty, after all the negotiations with him. I do not know whether he would have saved me if there had been a deportation in Budapest as there were throughout the country. But to save me from the private hatred of Eichmann - that he found to be in order.

Q. Did you not know about Eichmann's personal hatred towards you?

A. Not to that extent. I read that, as I have said, with joy - joy at the fact that I had been privileged to read it, to be alive and to read it.

Q. To what extent did you supply information about the situation to the provinces - to the communities that were deported - before the deportations took place, or at the time they were taking place? When you got to know, when you received the news from Weissmandel, was it possible to convey information about it to the communities in eastern and northern Hungary? What did you do?

A. In eastern and northern Hungary, it was not possible. By the time I received the information, and by the time we believed what Auschwitz meant - the eastern and north- western parts of Hungary, the 300,000 persons whom I mentioned - they had already been deported. The plan of action was according to the following order: North-east, east, north, south and west. By the end of June, by the middle of June, only western Hungary remained, and the Jewish population there was relatively small. They already knew, they already received instructions from us, they were aware of their fate. But what could we have done?

Please forgive me, Your Honour. We spoke about this before, before the incident - I mean the disturbances in the courtroom. Now people are saying that they were not told to escape. Fifty per cent of the people who escaped were caught and put to death. With regard to those who were caught and put to death while escaping, people say: Why did they tell them to escape? Where were they to escape to? I emphasized yesterday, possibly Your Honour may remember, that from 1938, perhaps even before that, the Jews were gradually becoming an alien body in Hungary. It was not the same as in Denmark. First of all, there were many more Jews...

Presiding Judge: I am not sure that this relates to the question you were asked.

Attorney General: If Your Honours wish at this stage that we submit that report - we were intending to submit it sometime later - we can put it before the witness and ask him if this is the report he saw. This report is verified in another way. If my memory serves me correctly, it was also part of the I.M.T., but if you so desire, I am quite ready to try to have the report identified by the witness.

State Attorney Bach: This report was, in fact, submitted at Nuremberg as an exhibit.

Witness Freudiger: [(after the report is handed to him for perusal] I think the report that was sent to us was shorter. But I remember the last page, which I quoted, together with the detailed figures, where it says that now they were preparing to act against the Jews of Hungary. Yes, I remember the illustrations. It is possible that he did not send us all that is in it. For it is so detailed - who was there, what was there.

Attorney General: The Court will find in the sworn verifying affidavit that the declarant Yeshayahu Carmil states there that there are additions to the report which he himself wrote at the time. There is a full explanation in the affidavit accompanying the report as to why the report contains more pages than it contained when Freudiger received it.

Witness Freudiger: [while examining the report] This I remember in particular - if I close my eyes I can still see this page before me.

Presiding Judge: What can you tell us about this report? Can you identify the whole of it? I hear from the Attorney General that part of it was added by someone else. Can you identify part of it?

Witness Freudiger: I can identify the two pages that I remember, which are truly engraved in my mind.

Q. Which are they?

A. There is this page with the illustrations of the Auschwitz camp and the last page, where there is a detailed account of the victims, and I even remember the numbers. What was inside - there was not so much of it.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any comments? I hear that the witness has identified two pages of this report - firstly, the plan of the Auschwitz camp, and secondly, a list of the Auschwitz victims.

Dr. Servatius: I once read the report - but now I am only able to glance through it. At the time it struck me that in the text the total number of victims was stated as 174,000.

Presiding Judge: 1,450,000.

Dr. Servatius: That appears on the last page. There it says 1,765,000.

Witness Freudiger: Another 300,000.

Dr. Servatius: ...and until 27 May there were about 180,000 Hungarian Jews, whereas in the report itself there is one numeral less. The figures are added precisely, and at present I cannot see whether it refers to several camps or it is Auschwitz only, and whether the final figure refers also to other camps. Thus on page 18 of the text which I have before me, the final figure is 174,000, whereas later it is more by one zero numeral. May I hand the report to you?

Presiding Judge: On what page is this written, Dr. Servatius?

Dr. Servatius: On page 18.

Attorney General: I can explain this briefly. There is no mistake here. The last figure which Dr. Servatius read out, appearing on pages 16, 17 and 18, is not a total but refers to the period from the end of February until the beginning of March. This is what it says there, and a detailed account appears there for the various periods. It begins with 153,000-154,000, and after that 155,000-160,000 in October-November 1943, and so on. And when we add it all up together, we receive the total on the last page.

Presiding Judge: At all events, the witness has only identified the two items I mentioned previously.

Attorney General: In the further course of the trial, when we come to submit the chapter of our evidence on Auschwitz, it is in any case our intention to submit this document, and then we shall ask the Court to admit the whole of it; for the present - that part which the witness has identified.

Presiding Judge: Then we can defer this matter. For the present, the witness has said what he has said, and it has been recorded. That is your No. 4.

[To witness] In connection with the matter of the 250 trucks which you did not have, what was the sequel? Eichmann referred you to Becher. This is what we heard.

Witness Freudiger: Eichmann told me to go to Becher. When I left the room, I remembered that Becher was not in Budapest; this was the day after the attempt on Hitler's life. The attempt was on 20 July and this was on 21 July, and I knew that Becher had gone to Berlin and that there were no communications. I went back and said "Obersturmbannfuehrer, Becher is not in Budapest, according to what I know, should I perhaps go to Hauptsturmfuehrer Grueson (who was his deputy)?" He told me that Becher was due to return on Tuesday, and if he did not return, I should come to him to receive fresh instructions. I then went to consult my colleagues, not of the central executive, but those attached to the executive with whom we worked in matters of rescue. Dr. Kasztner was not there then. He had disappeared and, as we ascertained later, the Hungarians had seized him.

We sat there, thinking what we could do. There were Dr. Wilhelm and Dr. Komoly, and Offenbach and Johanan Link, my friends and I. We took counsel together as to what we would do. The decision was that, first of all, we would have to go to Becher and first of all promise and talk about twenty trucks and about fifty trucks, to drag the matter out, and meanwhile to buy the trucks in Switzerland, for we had money there. But actually I did not go to Becher, for Dr. Kasztner returned in the meantime, and then he said he would handle the problem. And in the first days of August I had already stopped dealing with all those matters from which I could divest myself, for I was already getting ready for my escape. That was on 23 or 24 of July; and after that I escaped.

Presiding Judge: You left this in the hands of Dr. Kasztner?

Witness Freudiger: Yes.

Presiding Judge: Thank you, Mr. Freudiger, you have completed your evidence.

Presiding Judge: Yes, Mr. Bach.

State Attorney Bach: Your Honour, just a few words of explanation. It is difficult to maintain a chronological order of presentation, as each witness describes various stages. With the Court's permission, I shall now call our remaining witness in regard to the central aspects regarding Hungary. One of these is the chapter of Kistarcsa. The witness Freudiger told us what happened to him at the Schwabenberg on that critical day. I shall now call a witness who was present at Kistarcsa. He is Dr. Alexander Brody.

Presiding Judge: [to witness] Do you speak Hebrew?

State Attorney Bach: The witness does not speak Hebrew. He knows German and Hungarian, but he prefers to testify in Hungarian.

Presiding Judge: As he wishes.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your full name?

Witness: Dr. Sandor Brody - now Dr. Alexander Brody, a Brazilian citizen.

Presiding Judge: Where do you live?

Witness Brody: Sao Paulo, Brazil.

State Attorney Bach: Dr. Brody, you told us that you now live in Brazil. Were you born in Hungary?

Witness Brody: I was born in Hungary, in Miskolc, on 13 March 1900.

Q. When did you leave Hungary?

A. On 24 March 1949.

Q. Were you in Budapest in 1944?

A. I was in Budapest in 1944.

Q. What did you engage in there?

A. After I returned from labour service in Russia at the end of September 1943, I became, in 1944, the director of the department for Jewish aid called O.M.Z.S.A.

Q. Dr. Brody, do you remember when the Germans entered Hungary in March 1944?

A. Certainly. On 19 March 1944, in the morning, while I was taking part in the Annual Meeting of the community council, although I knew about it earlier since, at 8.30, Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinsky telephoned me and informed me that the Germans had arrived, and that we had to prepare for the worst, and while we were talking the Germans entered his apartment.

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