Session 056-01, Eichmann Adolf

Session No. 56
14 Sivan 5721 (29 May 1961)

Presiding Judge: I declare the fifty-sixth Session of the
trial open. We shall complete the evidence of Professor
Gilbert. Professor Gilbert, you are still under oath.
There are two questions remaining. The one, if I remember
correctly, dealt with the statement that had been made by
Pohl, or was that the second one?

Witness Gilbert: Yes, Your Honour. I did locate the
references to two conversations with Pohl which I believe
are not in the printed diary. They are right here. I have
marked them with yellow tags.

Q. Is there any mention of the Accused there?

A. In one of them I believe there is. The conversation
which refers to Eichmann is dated first and second of June
1946. This must have been a weekend diary entry, and the
excerpt is as follows: “He wanted the concentration camps to
be left for the enemy to overrun, instead of the constant
evacuation to the interior which made more starvation
inevitable. But he assured me that he had nothing to do
with the extermination of the Jews. Although, of course,
every man in the state knew about it. That was not in his
department. That was Eichmann and Mueller working under
Kaltenbrunner. I told him Kaltenbrunner denied having
anything to do with the exterminations. He had said that
he, Kaltenbrunner, had said it was Eichmann and Pohl working
with Mueller. Pohl assured me very politely that
Kaltenbrunner was a liar. He was chief of the RSHA and
naturally was in charge of the whole organization.” That
is the excerpt that is relevant.

Q. Is that the only place where he is mentioned?

A. That is the one I had in mind. There is also another
reference to Pohl, and I don’t think it mentions Eichmann in

Q. And now, what about the written statement by Pohl?

A. Yes, Your Honour, I have that here too. This is an
autobiography, written for me by Oswald Pohl, in his own
handwriting, in pencil, also for psychological purposes, and
it has some references to the extermination programme, and I
have appended an English translation of the document.

Q. Did you receive this material previously, or is it also
new to you?

Attorney General: It appears that the witness has a suitcase
full of documents which are worthwhile dealing with, but it
is in the United States. He has a statement of Hans Frank
spreading over one thousand pages and more very rich
material – which I would gladly wish to go through.

Presiding Judge: But at the present moment we are dealing
with this statement.

Attorney General: No, I have not seen it.

Presiding Judge: I suggest that you submit it now, but in
order to enable you to react to it, should it be necessary,
we will hand it over after the Session to both parties, and
we would request the witness to appear once again tomorrow
morning, so that he may reply to your questions on this
statement of Pohl. This opportunity has to be given mainly
to Defence Counsel.

Attorney General: Certainly, as the Court pleases.

Presiding Judge: Will you be in Jerusalem also tomorrow?

Witness Gilbert: Yes, Your Honour. I’ll be in Jerusalem at
least another week.

Presiding Judge: In that case, we would ask you to appear
here tomorrow morning, after you will have submitted this
document, in case one of the parties should still wish to
question you further.

I mark the statement of Pohl T/1173.

Does Dr. Servatius still have any questions based upon the
questions asked by the judges, and solely in this context?

Dr. Servatius: No, I have no more questions; I would just
be grateful if I were permitted to take a brief look at the
diaries, to learn about their general form.

Presiding Judge: Does the Attorney General have any more

Attorney General: No.

Presiding Judge: The diaries will therefore also be at the
disposal of both parties after this session, so that, should
anything further arise in this connection, it can be dealt
with tomorrow morning.

Attorney General: Professor Gilbert, your testimony is
concluded. But I request that you be so kind as to be
present in Court tomorrow.

We now return to the subject of Hungary; I call as witness
Mr. Joel Brand.

[The witness is sworn.]

Presiding Judge: What is your name?

Witness: Joel Brand.

Presiding Judge: You may sit down, if you wish. Please
answer the Attorney General’s questions.

Attorney General: Mr. Brand, where do you live?

Witness Brand: I live at 4 Wedgwood Street, Yad Eliahu, Tel

Q. Do you wish to testify in Hebrew?

A. No, it is too difficult; I would prefer to testify in

Q. Where were you born?

A. In Naszod, in Siebenbuergen (Transylvania).

Q. Did you grow up in Germany?

A. Yes, I grew up in Germany.

Q. Did you leave Germany in the year 1934 and go to Hungary?

A. Yes, in 1934.

Q. Did you take up residence in Budapest and intend to go to

A. Yes.

Q. Were you at Hachshara and generally active in Jewish

A. Yes.

Q. What was your occupation in Budapest?

A. At first, I underwent Hachshara. Subsequently we – that
is, my wife and I – established a knitwear factory which was

Q. Were you one of the directors of the Keren Kayemet
(Jewish National Fund)?

A. I was a member of its governing body.

Q. And were you also an assistant director of the Palestine
Office in Budapest?

A. Yes, I was one of the vice-presidents of the Budapest
Palestine Office.

Q. Then, after the outbreak of the Second World War, did you
engage in helping and rescuing refugees?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember what happened in the year 1941, when Jews
were expelled from Hungary to Poland?

A. Yes; suddenly, practically overnight, tens of thousands
of Jews were arrested within a few days, transferred to a
transit camp, and expelled to Poland.

Q. Were your sister-in-law and her husband among them?

A. Yes, among them were my sister-in-law – that is, my
wife’s sister – and her husband.

Q. What was the destination of the deportees?

A. At first we did not know. My wife succeeded in speaking
with them in the transit camp the morning after the arrest.
Deportation then followed immediately. My wife gave me no
peace. She neither let me sleep nor eat; I had to see to it
that her sister and brother-in-law were brought back. We
had an acquaintance, an officer in the Hungarian counter-
espionage service named Joszi Krem. This Joszi Krem was a
light-minded chap. He always needed money. He gambled, he
drank, and did everything of this kind. He always needed
money. I surprised him with an offer to pay him 10,000
pengoes if he brought back my sister-in-law and brother-in-
law. This was a large sum for him; the average salary at
that time was…

Q. That is not so important; let us move on. In any case,
you became acquainted with Krem.

A. Yes. Krem accepted the assignment and went off. He told
us at that time that the Hungarian Jews, or the allegedly
stateless Hungarian Jews – I emphasize allegedly – were
deported to the Ukraine, to the Stry and Kamenets-Podolski
region. He went with his automobile to fetch them. I had
only a photograph to give him. But when he returned from
there the first time, he had not found my relatives. He
was, however, clever or dexterous enough to bring back with
him other Hungarian Jews who had been deported there. They
had also promised him a lot of money. These Jews told us
for the first time clearly about the mass shootings and
about the horrors, so that we understood that this was a
systematic operation. We had already heard previously that
this was a systematic operation, but up to this point had
not really believed it.

Q. The Zionist party to which you belonged thereupon decided
to create a Relief and Rescue Committee, is that so?

A. Yes, my party, Po’alei Zion (Labour Zionists) decided
upon this.

Q. Who led the Relief and Rescue Committee, and what actions
did it take?

A. There were three leaders. One was Dr. Rezsoe Kasztner;
he directed the, let us say, political department. Above
all, he had the task of maintaining liaison with the other
Zionist parties, non-Zionist parties, and also, naturally,
non-Jewish opposition parties.

Q. Who else was on the committee?

A. Second was Samu (Samuel) Springmann who was responsible
for establishing lines of communication. He was able to
form connections with Hungarian – and later German – counter-
espionage agents, which was a department of the army. These
agents took our letters and reports to Turkey and
Switzerland, and brought back letters, instructions and
money. We transmitted a great part of the money to the
various ghettos and concentration camps in German-occupied
territories. That was Samu’s work.

Q. Were you the third member, Mr. Brand?

A. Yes. I was responsible for rescue work, in other words,
for bringing Jews from all possible regions of the East to
Hungary, which at that time was still relatively safe for
Jews. I didn’t do this alone; I established a Vaadat Tiyul.

Q. Vaadat Tiyul?

A. Vaadat Tiyul* {*Hebrew: Touring Committee} that is to
say, across the border. Almost ninety-five per cent were
halutzim (pioneers) who worked together with me. But the
group was organized on a geographical rather than party
basis. It included Peretz Revesz, Josko Baumer, Rafi
Friedl, and one or two others from Slovakia, Shaya
Radsprecher and Fritz Knoll from the Ukraine, Josef
Komanski, Zvi Goldfarb and Hannele from Poland, from Warsaw,
etc. There was also Leon Blatt from Upper Silesia, etc.,
etc. We were trying to bring Jews to Hungary by every

Presiding Judge: By every means…

Attorney General: Did you co-operate with the Zionist
Organization, with Dr. Komoly?

Witness Brand: Yes. This committee was taken over by the
Zionist Organization. It was resolved that the chief task
of Zionism at this time was not raising money for the Keren
Kayemet and Keren Hayesod, but rather the saving of Jewish
lives. The work of both funds was also promoted. The
president of the Zionist Organization, the engineer Otto
Komoly, assumed leadership of the committee.

Q. How many Jews were you able to bring to Hungary from 1941
to March, 1944?

A. By direct and indirect means, we brought between 22,000
and 25,000 to Hungary. These had – excuse me for perhaps
adding this – to be provided with false papers. They had to
be given illegal housing; they had to be clothed and given
money. We were always hampered in regard to the latter,
because we never had enough money…

Q. When did you first hear the name Adolf Eichmann?

A. I cannot give a precise date. But it was quite early,
since we were always getting reports from the hundreds and
thousands of refugees who were coming. We had a sort of
questionnaire – there was a poet, a certain Hermann Adler
now living in Switzerland who was in charge of this
department – he would ask people: Where are you from
originally? To which ghetto did you go? How many people
were in the ghetto when you arrived? Who were the
commandants there? Who perhaps can be bribed?

Q. Let us be more brief. And so he conducted these

A. Consequently, we had a rather precise picture, I would
say a blueprint – hence a plan of what was taking place in
general in Europe in Nazi-occupied territories. And along
with this, we also knew of the role of Adolf Eichmann, but
it is difficult for me to specify the exact date.

Q. Did you have contact with a Gisi Fleischmann?

A. We had rather close contact, since the Slovakian group
among the refugees in Budapest was a very efficient and very
active group, and Gisi Fleischmann was the person – so we
knew exactly what was going on in Slovakia, and we forwarded
the mail from Gisi Fleischmann to Turkey and Switzerland.
Gisi Fleischmann visited us on one occasion; I met her twice
and discussed the problems, etc. with her.

Q. How did the entry of the Germans into Hungary on 19 March
1944, affect your situation?

A. I was not living in my own home on that day; it required
fumigation in order to remove bedbugs and lice, since so
many strangers were always coming.

Presiding Judge: Let’s not digress.

Witness Brand: Thus that day I was staying at the Majestic
Hotel, to which Eichmann came later. My wife had just gone
out with the children at 9 o’clock in the morning. Three
German army agents came and informed me that Budapest would
be occupied by the Nazis that morning, that I was on an
arrest list of the Eichmann Detachment, and that they had to
take me with them immediately, as if in protective custody.
Nothing would happen to me, but I had to get away, otherwise
I would fall into the hands of the Eichmann Detachment and
everything would be lost.

Attorney General: Do you know which unit of the German army
took you into custody?

Witness Brand: Yes, German a Counter-Intelligence, Army
Counter-Espionage; they were known as the Canaris Group.

Q. Was there a man named Schmidt?

A. Yes, a man who called himself Dr. Schmidt. Subsequently
I found out that his real name is Gefrorener; he was the
leader of this department.

Last-Modified: 1999/06/04