Q. During your journey, when you crossed the border between
Turkey and Syria, were you arrested by the British authorities?
A. Yes. After I crossed the Syrian border and we arrived in
Aleppo, I was arrested by British military authorities.
Q. Did you see Moshe Sharett in Aleppo?
A. Yes, I saw him.
Q. And did you inform him of your mission?
A. I gave him an account of my mission.
Q. Were you freed from your imprisonment?
Q. Where were you subsequently taken?
A. To Cairo.
Q. For how long were you held there?
A. Four and a half months.
Q. And was that the end of your mission?
A. No; unfortunately, for me there was no end.
Q. But you conveyed what you knew and did not return to
A. Yes. I conveyed what I knew and was not permitted to
return to Hungary.
Attorney General: Until now, I have been questioning the
witness. At this juncture, however, I request the Court to
accept a number of documents which may possibly have
significance for cross-examination by Defence Counsel, as
well as for questioning by the Court.
Presiding Judge: Are you certain that questions will be put
by the Court?
Attorney General: I said “possibly,” I assume that.
Presiding Judge: That is not certain at all.
Attorney General: In any case, at this juncture I must give
the Court material which may lead to questions, because if I
present it later on, after the witness leaves the witness
stand, it may be more difficult.
Presiding Judge: Mr. Brand, you may leave the witness stand
in the meantime and wait; you will return afterwards.
Attorney General: I intend to present a report from the
Jewish Agency archives which has been authenticated by the
Keeper of the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, Dr.
Michael Heymann. It includes the account by Moshe Sharett –
formerly Moshe Shertok – concerning his meeting with Joel
Brand in Aleppo, and, following the latter, a document or
series of documents which have all been authenticated by the
Keeper of the Weizmann Archives in Rehovot, Mr. Boris
Presiding Judge: The report of Mr. Moshe Sharett, formerly
Mr. Shertok, concerning his conversations with…?
Attorney General: Concerning that conversation in Aleppo
about which the witness testified.
Presiding Judge: And has that been authenticated?
Attorney General: Yes. It was authenticated by the Keeper of
the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, Dr. Michael
Heymann. The document is in the file described by the title
“Negotiations with the Germans Regarding the Rescue of the
Jews of Hungary – 1944.” Since the death of Mr. Boris
Guriel, the Keeper of the Weizmann Archives in Rehovot…
Presiding Judge: Why does Mr. Sharett not come to verify
this report himself?
Attorney General: If the Court should so request, I have no
Presiding Judge: Would that not be a preferable
Attorney General: I thought it more appropriate to present
the material first, during Mr. Brand’s testimony, in the
event of any questions regarding it. If subsequently any
need should arise, Mr. Moshe Sharett has informed me that he
is at the Court’s disposal, ready to testify at any time. I
should like to explain the second document as well.
Presiding Judge: I see that Dr. Servatius wishes to comment
Dr. Servatius: I have a photocopy of this memorandum of a
discussion. But it ends with “incomplete” or something
similar. The signature is missing, and the report does not
appear to include its last part; it would certainly be
essential to have the complete report.
Attorney General: What Defence Counsel has been given is the
English translation of this document – a translation, I
would say, edited in English, which is presently in the
Weizmann Archives. In order to avoid presenting it in this
Presiding Judge: Are we already talking of the second
Attorney General: No, we are talking of the first document.
Presiding Judge: You mentioned the Weizmann Archives.
Attorney General: What is in the hands of Defence Counsel,
and which he refers to as “incomplete,” is the first
document, namely Moshe Sharett’s report of his conversation
with Joel Brand. But because I had to give Defence Counsel
the document in question in a language comprehensible to him
– and this report is in Hebrew – I gave it to him in the
English translation of this report which appears in the
Weizmann Archives, and, admittedly, at the end of it it says
“incomplete.” However, the essential part relevant to
Brand’s testimony is to be found in its entirety here.
Presiding Judge: But is the report from the Central Zionist
Archives the full report?
Attorney General: It is complete; therefore, I am presenting
the report in Hebrew, and not in its English translation
which bears the remark “incomplete.” Furthermore, I have
requested my colleague, Mr. Bar-Or, to explain to Defence
Counsel that part which is missing from the English
translation and which has no relevance to the Brand mission.
I understand that this has already been done.
Presiding Judge: These are matters which do not bear…
Attorney General: They do not bear directly on the Brand
Presiding Judge: But there is no difficulty at all in also
translating the remainder?
Attorney General: There is no difficulty at all in
translating the remainder. In any event, I intend to
present the complete report, not a truncated version.
Presiding Judge: And the second document, Mr. Hausner?
Attorney General: The second authenticated document
comprises fifteen documents from the Weizmann Archives in
Presiding Judge: Is that a collection of documents?
Attorney General: Yes, it is a collection of documents
dealing with the same subject.
Presiding Judge: What, in brief, is a description of the
Attorney General: These documents are reports which were
received in London concerning Brand’s mission. At that
time, the Jewish Agency was sending material via the British
authorities which it was, in any case, intended to disclose
to the British authorities. Thus it was that at time Mr.
Sharett was apprising Dr. Weizmann of material via the High
Commissioner or the Foreign Office in London, if the
material was, in any case, destined for subsequent
transmission to the British Foreign Office. This was a much
more convenient line of communication. There are here
documents which were sent at that time in code, internal
Presiding Judge: Was everything sent by Mr. Sharett?
Attorney General: No, but a large part consists of Mr.
Sharett’s reports afterwards in London, memoranda prepared
in London for meetings with senior officials of the British
Foreign Office; an account of a meeting with Anthony Eden,
and the response of the British regarding the deal. This is
important because it will immediately clarify how they
viewed the deal, and why it was not carried out.
Presiding Judge: Was Mr. Anthony Eden then the Foreign
Attorney General: Yes, he was the British Foreign Secretary
Weizmann’s demands, and the reports of Shertok about these
demands, and the last document – this is an outline prepared
for Dr. Weizmann concerning the material needed for his
testimony; there was a plan for him to testify before the
International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. Dr. Weizmann
did not testify, but there was a plan of this kind, and this
minute is important and instructive.
Presiding Judge: Is it known who was the author of this
Attorney General: I think it was prepared by Dr. Nahum
Goldmann and his assistants in the United States. It was
brought to the archive by Mr. Meyer Weisgal, but it was
confirmed by the late president, Dr. Weizmann. These
matters are relevant and important, because we cannot leave
matters hanging in mid air. The Accused has had his say
concerning this deal. At first glance, matters – according
to his own version – speak in his favour: He wanted to
evacuate Jews. The Court must be shown the outcome. I
think that, in order to complete the picture, I must submit
a small part of the material – and indeed, it is but an
extremely small part, for there are dozens of documents, and
they are all at the disposal of the Court, should it wish to
have them. However, there is a minimal framework of
documents which have not been published to this day. They
were a part of the archive which has not been made public
but which, I believe, requires explanation.
Presiding Judge: Does this entire collection of documents
pertain to the mission of Mr. Brand?
Attorney General: Completely, to the very end; almost
everyone of them mentions the name of Joel Brand, including
the conversation with Anthony Eden. Defence Counsel, has,
of course, received copies of the documents in due time.
Presiding Judge: What is the response of Dr. Servatius?
Dr. Servatius: I have no objection to the presentation of
Decision No. 62
We permit presentation of the report by Mr. Moshe Sharett
(Shertok) and of the compilation of documents from the
Weizmann Archives, as described by the Attorney General.
Defence Counsel offered no objection to the presentation of
Presiding Judge: Is that Mr. Moshe Sharett’s report?
Attorney General: This is the report of Mr. Moshe Sharett, a
lengthy document. And the Court will note, after perusing
it, that it confirms the matters here testified to by Mr.
Brand, although it includes amplification. It contains a
report by Mr. Brand about the situation of the Jews of
Hungary, about underground activities, about organizing self-
defence in Hungary. And those are, in fact, the matters
which are not included in the translation which is in the
hands of Defence Counsel. However, all the reports
concerning Mr. Brand’s mission and the complete details of
the conversation and the questions which Mr. Sharett asked
him – all of these are already in the English translation
and are to be found here.
Presiding Judge: I mark this document T/1176. Do you have an
additional copy of this?
Attorney General: Yes, Sir, I do.
Presiding Judge: The compilation of documents from the
Weizmann Archives is hereby marked T/1177.
Attorney General: Permit me to direct the Court’s attention
to several passages from the documents appended to T/1177.
The first is a notification to Dr. Weizmann of 5 June 1944,
from G.H. Hall of the British Foreign Office. “Strictly
Personal and Confidential,” it states that there is a
suggestion reported by the Jewish Agency for the evacuation
of Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. It is stated there
that a trusted and well-known representative of Hungarian
Jewry arrived in Istanbul on 19 May on board a German plane,
accompanied by a Hungarian Gestapo agent. The deal is
detailed in the body of the letter: The Nazis propose that
instead of annihilating the remaining Jews in Romania,
Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia, they will make it
possible to evacuate the latter to Spain or Portugal, but
not to Palestine, in exchange for ten thousand lorries and
certain quantities of tea, coffee, cocoa and soap. As an
earnest token of good faith, they are prepared to release
five to ten thousand Jews before receiving any corresponding
consideration. They would also consider exchanging Jews for
German prisoners of war.
Presiding Judge: Was that written by someone in the English
Foreign Office to Dr. Weizmann, as if Dr. Weizmann knew
nothing about it?
Attorney General: As I have explained to the Court, there
were communications which the Jewish Agency transmitted via
the Foreign Office, namely via the High Commissioner in
Jerusalem to the Foreign Office, for the purpose of
informing Dr. Weizmann about those matters which the Jewish
Agency knew that their contents would, in any case, have to
reach the Foreign Office. That was a line of communication
more convenient, certain and rapid.
Judge Halevi: The date is not clear to me. Is it 5 June?
Attorney General: Yes.
Judge Halevi: When did the conversation in Aleppo take
Attorney General: On 11 June.
Judge Halevi: Did this notification of 5 June precede the
Attorney General: Yes, it preceded the conversation, because
prior to it, Brand had already met with Haim Barlas and
other representatives of the Jewish Agency in Istanbul.
This notification is based on the first report which reached
the Jewish Agency, and the Jewish Agency informed Weizmann
about it. This is, in fact, the contents of the statement
from the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem which was destined for
Weizmann via the British Foreign Office. The Jewish Agency
expressed its fear that, if there was no possibility of
rescuing the Hungarian, Czech and Romanian Jews promptly,
their fate would be sealed. “While fully realizing the
overwhelming difficulties, they believe that, if the task is
faced with the boldness demanded by such an unprecedented
catastrophe, these might not prove insurmountable. Shertok
is proposing to proceed to Istanbul as soon as he can obtain
a Turkish visa…”
The next day Dr. Weizmann wrote to Anthony Eden. He thanked
him for transmitting the information to him and said he had
needed a short respite – one day – in order to recover from
the shock he had received. And he said: “It is my paramount
duty to try and discover the course of action which offers
the best hope of saving Jewish lives.” He requested two
things: an immediate meeting with Eden, and obtaining a
Turkish visa for Mr. Shertok.
I shall be returning to the next document later on. It is a
proposal for bombing the death camps, which was worked out
in London at the beginning of July, and which was
transmitted – as the Court will subsequently see – to the
British Foreign Office. I shall return to this at the
The next document is a cable from Shertok to the Jewish
Agency in London. It was transmitted directly in code, and
the Court will observe that, whereas the cable was
dispatched on 15 June, it was not received in London until
19 June. Shertok relates that he waited four days in Aleppo
until he was able “to see [the] friend who arrived [on]
Wednesday, 7 June. [I] interviewed him […] six hours. [I]
found him one hundred per cent reliable; [I] was deeply
impressed by his purity [of] character [and] spirit.”
Thereafter, Mr. Shertok reports that he had a meeting
together with the High Commissioner and Ben-Gurion. The
High Commissioner contacted London and requested that the
gist of the Jewish Agency’s evaluation of the situation be
transmitted to Weizmann. Mr. Shertok ended his cable with
the following: “Agreed line of keeping [the] door open makes
friend’s return absolutely imperative. Please do utmost
[on] your part [to] expedite my journey. Inform Nahum.” (A reference
to Nahum Goldmann.)
In the document dated 23 June 1944, Mr. Randall, who was in charge —
as I understand it — of the refugee section in the Foreign Office,