The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Session 56
(Part 4 of 4)

Q. And did you report to the committee about this?

A. Certainly. The committee was already waiting up there on tenterhooks for my return.

Q. In the meantime, those men of the counter-espionage of whom you spoke at first were arrested, and Kasztner as well?

A. Yes, Kasztner was put under arrest for one night and came back the next day, also I...

Q. What did you have to do?

A. I had to go up to the Schwabenberg, to the Melinda Hotel.

Q. Were you summoned again to Eichmann a few days later?

A. I don't remember whether I was summoned or whether I went on my own. At that time the concentration of Jews was already proceeding on a mass scale, and we were receiving frightful news. The committee wanted to have concrete details, not proposals for the following years, but we wanted guarantees for no atrocities in Hungary, no concentrations, no ghettos. I was to secure the release of persons under arrest; the community wanted me to obtain the release of individuals, namely relatives of members of the Jewish Council who were to be freed.

Q. And so you came to the office, had to wait a long time, and were at long last granted admittance?

A. Yes. There was a swarm of officers with him.

Q. Who were they?

A. I can't give the names of all of them, but certainly Becher, Klages and Eichmann were present, as well as Novak and Hunsche. I also saw Dannecker there at that time.

Q. What did Eichmann say?

A. Eichmann shouted at me: "What are you still doing here?" The others were astonished at my presence. I then said that I had not yet received my papers, and he said that I would be getting them soon; I should go across to Krumey. I don't remember precisely whether it was in this or the next conversation that I complained about the news, the frightful news that we had from the ghetto, to which he gave me this heinous reply: "I've just been travelling around the entire country and have seen only waggons loaded with bread for delivery to your Jews." He also told me that I was to bring my wife to him and show her to him. He did not want to have anything to do with anyone if I was not there; I was to return quickly. My wife was to maintain contact; if she received news from me, it was to be conveyed to him immediately...

Q. And then?

A. That was approximately the third Session - I went over to Krumey - I beseeched Krumey - I was going away, and my mother and my sisters, my wife and children...

Q. Did you bring your wife to Eichmann?

A. I brought my wife to Eichmann the next time.

Q. Did you get the papers from Krumey?

A. Before everything else, he inscribed my wife and my children, my sisters and my mother, in these immunity papers which he had...

Q. Can you identify the man in the photograph? (Exhibit T/1174)

A. That is Franz Novak.

Q. When did the last meeting between you and Eichmann take place?

A. My last meeting with Eichmann took place on 15 May 1944. Eichmann told me then that he had no more time; I must travel immediately. That very day he was about to begin the deportations, twelve thousand daily, he said, he would deport from that day onwards.

Q. Deportation to where?

A. He did not say. But later on he said in a somewhat oblique way...He said that he could no longer wait; I should hurry and return quickly. He could hold back the people for eight to fourteen days, and they would not be sent directly to Auschwitz, but to Austria or Slovakia. However, he could not hold them back for a longer period, I would have to be back with my answer before that.

Q. What else did he say?

A. That the adults and youths could indeed work, but the aged and children would have to go...

Presiding Judge: Who could work, and who was to go? I believe there was a mistake here.

Witness Brand: The young and strong could remain; the aged and the children had to go... The decision was in my hands.

Attorney General: Did he tell you where you could travel to?

Witness Brand: That had already been discussed. He told me that Obersturmbannfuehrer Krumey would bring me to the airplane. I was to go across to him, he would tell me. He told me several times that I must hurry. He again repeated that on my return, he would blow up the installations in Auschwitz and give the first ten per cent.

Q. Did you receive a letter of accreditation - credentials - from the Rescue Committee?

A. No. I received a letter from all the Zionist parties, without exception, from the Revisionists to the Hashomer Hatzair, etc. Not exactly a letter of recommendation, it requested: "Do what Joel Brand says." I received it from the Jewish Council.

Presiding Judge: Where is the original of this letter?

Witness Brand: I do not have the original; at that time I passed it on. I don't know what became of it.

Q. To whom did you pass it on?

A. To the Jewish Agency in Constantinople, or perhaps the English have it; I don't know. Moreover, when I think about it thoroughly, it is possible that it was returned to me, and that I even have it in a safe...

Q. All right...And moreover, did you receive a letter from the Zionist parties?

A. From all the Zionist parties except my own, I had to write that letter myself.

Attorney General: Mr. Brand, if we may return to the meeting...

Presiding Judge: I mark this Exhibit T/1174.

Attorney General: Let us return for a moment to the meeting with Eichmann at which Mrs. Brand was present; was that the previous meeting?

Witness Brand: Yes.

Q. I have perhaps not asked what occurred at that meeting.

A. Eichmann told my wife that she was not to leave Budapest, that she and the children were to remain near him. I do not know whether or not he used the word "hostage"; in any case, what he wished to say was clear. She was also to report to him every day and convey to him any kind of news received from me...

Presiding Judge: Again, an error has apparently slipped in... That is No. T/1175 and not T/1174 as I said previously.

Attorney General: On 18 May, did Krumey take you in his car to the Vienna airport?

Witness Brand: No, it was on 16 May, in the afternoon; by 18 May, I had already taken off.

Q. Did Krumey say anything to you before your departure?

A. Yes. He accompanied me through the barriers and brought me to the foot of the steps to the airplane. Then he told me that I should spread the word and recount abroad that not only were there officers like Eichmann in the SS, but also decent ones as, for example, Wisliceny and he himself, and he perhaps named others; these would make every effort to fulfil the offer and do everything to save the Jews.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I believe we must break off the Session now.

Attorney General: It won't last much longer; I shall soon terminate my questions.

Presiding Judge: But we have arrived at the right place for a break.

Attorney General: I should only like to inform the Court that I wish to present several documents from the archives of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. It would be expedient to submit these documents before the testimony is concluded, since they perhaps comprise material for the cross- examination. But that will require some time, since I also have to read out a few passages.

Presiding Judge: Therefore that will require some time. Mr. Brand, you will therefore continue your testimony tomorrow. You are free for today.

There are still a few matters at present. Mr. Bodenheimer, you will submit documents T/1171, T/1172 and T/1173 to representatives of both parties for inspection until tomorrow morning.

Now I must return to the matter of the questionnaires, since time is running very short. There are several points here. First of all, Dr. Servatius, have you an answer regarding Hoettl and Huppenkothen?

Dr. Servatius: No, I have not yet received any answer. If, however, I do not receive their telegraphic assent by this evening, then I shall assume that they will decline to appear here. I gather from press reports that these witnesses have encountered some difficulties in their homelands.

Presiding Judge: Does that mean, therefore, that the questionnaires for the witnesses will be ready for dispatch to them, if no other communication from Dr. Servatius is received by tomorrow morning?

Dr. Servatius: I would so request.

Presiding Judge: Hence we expect, Mr. Attorney General, your questions for the questionnaires.

Attorney General: I still request deferment for a day or two, since we had assumed that the witnesses would perhaps appear here, and consequently we did not devote time to working on these questions.

Presiding Judge: That is really not in order. I have serious misgivings that we are encountering delays. Please hand them in by noon tomorrow.

Attorney General: By tomorrow evening.

Presiding Judge: All right. Now what about the matter of Kappler in Italy? What is being done in this matter?

Attorney General: I assumed that the Court would administer the questionnaire in accordance with the usual form.

Presiding Judge: The question of representation of the two sides still remains here.

Attorney General: As far as we are concerned, apparently we will only be represented indirectly, and we shall have to accept that.

Presiding Judge: Do you want anything on that to be included in our Letter of Request to Italy, or will you see to that yourselves?

Attorney General: We shall see to it ourselves.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, what about your representation there?

Dr. Servatius: As soon as a date is set for a hearing in Rome, I shall give power of attorney to an Italian colleague.

Presiding Judge: You do not require that something on that be included in our request to the Italian Ministry of Justice, do I understand that correctly?

Dr. Servatius: Yes, it depends only on my being informed in time about the time and the place of the examination.

Presiding Judge: Mr. Hausner, I assume that you are in contact with our embassy in Rome.

Attorney General: As soon as the material is dispatched from here, we shall be in touch, and Dr. Servatius will be promptly notified.

Presiding Judge: [to Dr. Servatius] Is that satisfactory to you?

Dr. Servatius: Yes, thank you.

Presiding Judge: We have already received the Defence Counsel's questions for Hoettl and Huppenkothen.

Attorney General: But it would be good to know whether this is the end of the matter, or whether we must still make preparations for additional witnesses. Dr. Servatius has not yet said his last word on this question.

Presiding Judge: Well, you, likewise, have not said your last word on what you intend to say.

Attorney General: I can already tell the Court that I would like to submit a document, an expert opinion of Professor Serafim of Goettingen University, which was submitted to the Ulm District Court in the proceedings which I cited in my opening argument. The opinion concerns the possibility for SS officers to be released from duties which involved bloodshed, without thereby incurring damage, whether bodily or materially. We are trying to find out whether Professor Serafim can appear here in person. He could appear, since according to our information, his past is unblemished. But he fell ill and is now recovering from his illness. If we shall be able to bring him here, we shall do so. If we shall not be able to do so, we shall wish to submit the written opinion, and then Defence Counsel will naturally be able to cross-examine him, if he so wishes.

Presiding Judge: But I now inform you that, from this point onwards, we must bear the time factor in mind, also in discussing whether a document should be admitted, even if the witness is subsequently interrogated abroad.

Attorney General: If that is so, it will perhaps be better that I should submit, or offer the documents for submission, already tomorrow.

Presiding Judge: Yes, and that applies to both parties. We are today already at a rather advanced stage, and I do not want us to have to wait for weeks or even months for replies from abroad.

Dr. Servatius: Your Honour, there is still the question of the witness Novak who is incarcerated in Vienna. I shall submit an application on that before noon tomorrow. Next, it has been announced that the memoirs of Eichmann will perhaps be submitted in evidence. If so, I would have to request that those persons be heard who were present during the preparation of the transmission of those memoirs. That is so important a matter that I shall not waive the evidence of these witnesses.

Presiding Judge: That also requires prior discussion of the matter of the Life transcript, is that not so?

Attorney General: In this matter I have to request several days from the Court, since the possibility of authentication, which we intend to submit to the Court, is being checked. I have been promised a reply by Friday. Consequently I cannot inform the Court whether or not I can submit this document, properly authenticated, before Friday noon.

Presiding Judge: This means, therefore, that the deadline is novon tomorrow. Everything you wish to submit after that will have to be dealt with having regard also to the time factor.

The Session is adjourned until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning.

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