Session No. 52
10 Sivan 5721 (25 May 1961)
Presiding Judge: I declare the fifty-second Session of the
Mr. Bach, in connection with the dispatch of questionnaires
abroad, there are a number of matters which, it seems to me,
are not progressing as required.
State Attorney Bach: We are making progress – I do not know
whether it is really at the required speed – but these
questionnaires which we have to submit to the Court are
Presiding Judge: This refers to Becher, Hoettl, and
State Attorney Bach: Yes, Your Honour. As far as I could
see this morning, the questionnaire for Becher is almost
ready, and I very much hope that we shall be able to submit
it during the day.
Presiding Judge: There is a further matter regarding
Kappler, in Italy. It seems to me that, up to now, you have
not informed us of the address of the representative of the
Prosecution in Italy.
State Attorney Bach: I have also been approached in this
matter by Defence Counsel, with a request to clarify where
he is imprisoned – in Rome or somewhere else. I presumed at
first, as something which could be taken for granted, that
he is in gaol in the vicinity of Rome, but that is not
altogether certain. We are still checking the matter
through the Foreign Ministry in order to ascertain exactly
where he is to be found, and then we should be able to know
who will represent us.
Presiding Judge: I would ask you to speed this up, so that
we may get everything back in due time.
State Attorney Bach: We shall do so to the best of our
Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, I wanted to ask you if you
have any information concerning Hoettl and Huppenkothen,
whether they are going to come here, or whether it will
actually be necessary to continue drawing up the
questionnaires for their interrogation abroad. Do you have
an answer on that?
Dr. Servatius: No. I shall only be talking tomorrow by
telephone with my assistant. I asked him in a cable to be
ready to answer my questions in this matter.
Presiding Judge: Mr. Bach, do you think that you, too, will
have an answer for us by noon tomorrow?
State Attorney Bach: On the question of Kappler?
Presiding Judge: Yes.
State Attorney Bach: This depends somewhat on the Italian
authorities. Therefore, I cannot make a commitment on this;
I can only undertake that, for our part, we shall do
everything possible to speed up the matter.
Presiding Judge: In any case, I shall raise this matter
again on Monday. Now we shall continue with the evidence of
Mr. Freudiger. Mr. Freudiger, you are continuing to testify
State Attorney Bach: Mr. Freudiger, you told the Court
yesterday that you went to Wisliceny with the object of
securing your brother’s release.
Witness Freudiger: Yes.
Q. And you began telling us of your conversation with
Q. Can you tell the Court what happened in this conversation
and what Wisliceny told you?
A. As I said yesterday, Wisliceny promised that nothing
would happen to my brother and said that I should come to
the larger meeting in the afternoon, and that after this
meeting he wanted to speak to me.
Q. Did you go to the meeting?
Q. What happened at that meeting?
A. At the meeting there were present about forty to fifty
persons from all the Jewish institutions of Budapest, and
Krumey and Wisliceny came. Krumey opened the proceedings
and called upon Wisliceny to speak. He himself only said a
few words. Wisliceny repeated the same things we had heard
from him on the previous day at greater length, and the
tenor of his speech was that there would be no major steps
taken; there would be certain restrictions, we should be
calm, and he wanted to set our minds at rest.
Q. He wanted to set your minds at rest; did he demand
anything from you in relation to other Jews?
A. Yes, that we should preserve quiet and order – that was
our duty. Then questions were asked which were not so
pleasant. Firstly he was asked what was the significance of
the fact that they had seized people at the railway station
– I described this already yesterday – and why they kept
taking people all night. Hundreds of Jews were already
detained in the Rabbinical Seminary – as I related
yesterday. He said that of course they were taking hostages
– this was the practice everywhere, but nothing would happen
to them – they were merely hostages, so that there would be
quiet. And with regard to the ban on travelling, it was
surely impossible that Jews should move around. Everyone
had to remain in his place of residence. If anyone needed
to travel, he would receive a special permit.
Q. A special permit from whom?
A. He did not specify. Only that there would be travelling
permits. For the present, everyone should remain at his
place of residence.
Q. After this meeting, did you meet Wisliceny once more,
A. Yes. The meeting lasted approximately an hour, an hour
and a half. I went up to him, together with my cousin who
was present. He was the head of the hospital of our
community. I asked him what could be done, I told him I
would come to see him. He said that we should come to him
the following morning at the Rabbinical Seminary, and there
we would discuss my brother’s fate.
Q. Did you go to him at the appointed hour?
A. Yes. My late cousin and I went to him, and we noticed
that they were bringing in people, and yet more people. We
saw the SS (although at that time I did not know that they
were the SS), we saw German soldiers bringing people there.
Q. What kind of people?
A. Some of them I knew.
Q. What people? Jews?
A. Yes. They were Jews. They continued bringing them there
into custody. After some time, when he saw that I was
there, he called me and asked whether I wanted to speak to
my brother. I replied: “Certainly.” He sent a sergeant to
summon my brother, and several minutes later they brought
him. I told my brother that, while I still did not know
what would happen, I nevertheless felt that something was
going to happen, and that he would be allowed to come home.
Then Wisliceny called me and asked who, here in Budapest,
was dealing with refugee affairs (“Wer gibt sich hier ab mit
den Angelegenheiten der Fluechtlinge?”). I did not know
what to tell him, for the matter of aiding refugees was
illegal. I asked:” Which refugees?” He replied: “I know
everything.” I then said: “If you know everything, why ask
me?” And he remarked: “Sind Sie nicht frech! (Do not be
But he did not go on talking about that subject and told me
to send him a certificate that my brother was a member of
the executive of the community council, and after that he
would send him back home. This, in fact, took place – I
sent him to the Astoria confirmation of the fact that my
brother was an executive member of the community council,
and in the afternoon he sent my brother home.
Q. Mr. Freudiger, when did Wisliceny first mention to you
his connections with the Jewish leaders in Slovakia?
A. What I have told you now took place on Wednesday, 22
March. As far as I remember it was on Friday, 24 March. (I
have recently read the book of Rabbi Weissmandel, of blessed
memory, and he says it was on 27 March. One of us is wrong,
so it was either on the Friday or the Monday.) I received a
phone call that the Baroness Edith Weiss, Mr. Nison Kahan,
who was one of the leaders of the Hungarian Zionist
Organization, and I were invited to come to him at the
Q. “To him” – who was that?
A. To Wisliceny.
Q. And you went?
A. Edith Weiss did not come; her entire family, including
herself, had gone underground already from the first day,
and I did not manage to reach her. So I went to him,
together with Nison Kahan. He said only a few words to him
and then sent him to another room, and I was left alone with
him. He closed the door and told me to sit down – usually
we did not sit, but stood. And he said to me: “I have
brought you a letter – read it.”
Q. From whom was the letter?
A. I read the letter. This letter was from the late Rabbi
Weissmandel. It was written in Hebrew – it was a short
letter. He wrote to me that “Fate has ultimately overtaken
the Jews of Hungary,” and he suggested to me that we should
go ahead with the “Europa Plan” which they had begun with
Wisliceny and which was familiar to me.
Altogether it was a letter expressing confidence in
Wisliceny – that we could negotiate with him. I read the
letter. Wisliceny asked me: “Have you read it?” I
answered: “Yes.” “Did you understand it?” “Yes.” He said
to me: “Give it back to me.” He tore it into small pieces
and threw them into the stove. Then he asked me: “What do
you have to say about the letter?” I said to him: “I am at
your disposal.” He said to me: “From today onwards, we need
the funds that are reaching you from abroad.” I asked him:
“We or I?” I wanted to know whether the deal was official,
or a private one with him. Then he said to me: “That is not
your business.” There was nothing I could say in reply.
Afterwards he said to me: “You will still be hearing from
me.” That was all. I went away.
Q. On that occasion, or at one of the earlier meetings, when
you spoke to Wisliceny, was the question of the synagogue in
Budapest also raised?
A. Already in the early days they requisitioned the
buildings of the Orthodox community, which included the
community centre, the synagogue and also the school – it was
a large building, an entire block – for the purpose of
billeting soldiers there. Until matters were put in order
in the early days, we did not know whom we could turn to.
Krumey said that the whole matter belonged to the SS and the
Sondereinsatzgruppen. In the beginning they were at the
Astoria; afterwards they occupied flats and houses on the
Schwabenberg (Swabian Hill), a small hill near Budapest.
They had their offices there, and their officers were also
accommodated there, apart from Krumey who lived at the “Rose
Hill.” They demanded equipment and furniture from us. That
is how it started. A day or two after they told us that
there would be economic restrictions and we would have to
suffer them, there began all sorts of demands, day after
Q. Mr. Freudiger, I shall ask you about these demands at a
A. Anyhow, they requisitioned all the buildings of the
Orthodox community. I was responsible, in my capacity as
head of the Orthodox community, and I spoke to him. He said
they needed room in order to billet their soldiers.
Q. And then, amongst others, they also took the synagogue?
A. They took the synagogue and turned it into a storehouse.
This hurt me especially, for it was an ornate synagogue
which my father had built, but I could do nothing about it.
Q. That is to say, you approached Wisliceny in this matter?
Q. Did Wisliceny promise you anything in this connection, or
did he say it was needed?
A. He did not promise – he said it was needed.
Q. You spoke about a conversation with Wisliceny about the
“Europa Plan” and the monies…
Presiding Judge: I did not hear the witness speaking about a
State Attorney Bach: Yes, he said that Weissmandel wrote to
him about it.
[To witness] Did you personally later still negotiate with
Wisliceny about this plan or similar plans?
Witness Freudiger: No.
Presiding Judge: Perhaps you would repeat what you said to
Wisliceny after you read the letter?
Witness Freudiger: He asked me whether I had understood it.
I answered: “Yes.” He asked me: “What do you have to say?”
I replied: “I am at your disposal.” And then he said that
they needed the funds coming from abroad from that day
onwards. I asked him: “We or I?”
Presiding Judge: That is enough, that I understood.
State Attorney Bach: After the Germans entered, many
changes were introduced in the Hungarian Government?
Witness Freudiger: Yes.
Q. Perhaps you could tell the Court who was appointed Prime
A. Sztojay, who had previously been the Hungarian Minister
in Germany, was appointed Prime Minister in place of Kalai.
Q. Who was appointed as Minister of the Interior?
A. Jaross was appointed Minister of the Interior, and after
a few days two directors-general to the Ministry of the
Interior were appointed, Laszlo Baky and Laszlo Endre. We
did not know Laszlo Baky, but Laszlo Endre was the anti-
Semite of Hungary.
Q. Perhaps you could now tell us something about the anti-
Jewish laws that were promulgated immediately after the
entry of the Germans into Hungary?
A. That is quite a long list. In the first days, let us say
the first week, they only imposed the ban on travel – one
could not leave one’s place of residence. But that was not
a decree. We knew that in practice they used to seize
everyone who was on a train or at a railway station.
Afterwards, on 31 March, Hungarian regulations began to be
published. Apparently it took ten to twelve days until
matters could be arranged and the Hungarian Government began
to assist the SS, as it was supposed to be. And,
thereafter, the Hungarian Government began to issue
regulations. On 31 March, there was the first of those –
the wearing of a yellow badge in the form of the Shield of
David, sewn on the chest, 12 x 12 centimeters in size. As
from 5 May, they expelled all the lawyers and actors…