Presiding Judge: What post did Mr. Hall hold?
Attorney General: Mr. Hall was the Undersecretary.
Mr. Randall writes to Weizmann that it is “unthinkable that
retaining Brandt [sic] in Cairo should be held to indicate
that His Majesty’s Government are not giving earnest
attention to any practicable scheme for assisting Jews now
suffering under German threats; but whether the particular
scheme brought by Brandt [sic] has any right to
consideration is a question on which we may obtain more
light during Mr. Shertok’s forthcoming visit.”
The next document is a personal account submitted by Mr.
Shertok as soon as he arrived in London; it is dated 27 June
1944. The Court will see that he arrived at 1:00 p.m. that
day, and at 6:00 p.m. the same day he dictated the account.
It contains the details of his attempts to secure a visa to
Ankara and of his decision to make the journey without a
visa; the notification from Ankara not to come without a
visa; the assurance of a high-ranking British officer that
there would be no difficulty in regard to Mr. Brand’s
return. That was an explicit assurance, on the basis of
which Mr. Brand left Turkey and went to Aleppo. And again,
a report concerning the conversation with Mr. Brand which
was already referred to in the previous document.
Thereafter, Sharett writes that he returned to Jerusalem,
met with Ben-Gurion, and together they went to the High
Commissioner and presented the demands which are detailed on
page 13, viz.: Brand was to return; Sharett was to travel to
London; a meeting to discuss the release of Jews was to be
arranged immediately; the Germans had to be given some sort
of indication of the other side’s desire to conduct talks.
There are suggestions here as to who was to make contact
with the Germans – the War Refugee Board of the United
States, the Inter-Governmental Committee, or the Red Cross.
On page 14, we are told that the High Commissioner
communicated to Mr. Ben-Gurion and Mr. Sharett the details
of Weizmann’s conversation with Eden, in which the latter
said that he would do his utmost “to avoid anything that
might look like slamming the door.” On page 15 Mr. Sharett
writes that the High Commissioner was not impressed by his
arguments about the need for Mr. Brand to return. And
subsequently, on the same page, Mr. Sharett says: “I then
said that Brand…would not have left Turkey for Syria were
it not for…” The High Commissioner here interrupted me
rather sharply: “I know what you’re going to say: you’re
going to say that this was a breach of faith. Don’t go on.
The answer is simple: This is war!”
Presiding Judge: Who was the High Commissioner at that time?
Attorney General: In the year 1944 MacMichael was High
Commissioner. Next we are told about the connections with
the American consulate, about the connections with Ira
Hirschmann, about the notification to Mr. Stettinius, the
American Secretary of State at that time. It states here
that Hirschmann was impressed by Brand’s integrity and
Mr. Sharett concludes with the statement that he returned to
Cairo and departed for London the same evening. On 30 June,
Mr. Sharett sent a statement to Mr. Ben-Gurion in Jerusalem:
He reports about the interview which Professor Weizmann had
with Undersecretary Hall. Again the demand to inform the
other side immediately about the readiness to initiate
talks, in order to rescue as many Jews as possible, and that
Brand should return, so that a reply could be transmitted
through him to the effect that the matter was being acted
upon. At the end of the cable it says that “Hall stated
[the] matter is before [the] War Cabinet [and] our
suggestions will be transmitted immediately [and] decision
will be reached as soon as possible in conjunction with
[the] American Government.” This is followed by a
discussion of immigration matters, the suggestion of Mr.
Gruenbaum; it ends with a request that a warning be given to
Hungarian railway men “that whoever operates deportation
trains will be considered [a] war criminal.”
The next document is a report concerning a meeting which
took place with Foreign Secretary Eden on 6 July. We have
an account of the same conversation in an additional
document, the “Note of Interview with the Right Honourable
Anthony Eden, Foreign Office, Thursday, 6 July 1944, at 3:15
p.m.” It is a memorandum prepared on the same day, the 6th
of July, and as the Court will see, it was presented to Mr.
Eden. Dr. Weizmann says that when he saw Eden previously,
“They thought that time might still be gained. Now the
catastrophe was right on them.” Dr. Weizmann relates what
had occurred in the meantime. Permission was being
requested for Mr. Menachem Bader, now in Istanbul, to travel
to Budapest. It was hoped that Mr. Brand would be permitted
to return. The requests which had been made at the meeting
with Mr. Hall, which I have already mentioned, were
repeated. Mr. Eden “expressed his profound sympathy. He
added that they had to be extremely careful. The enemy was
obviously playing a devilish game. When he (Eden) made his
proposal to the Cabinet, the feeling was that he (Eden) had
gone too far. Moreover, they had to carry America and
Russia along with them. They had been acting in unison with
America throughout on this problem, but they had also to
have the agreement of the Soviet Government […] They (the
Cabinet) had cabled to Moscow and were waiting for a reply.”
Mr. Sharett adds that the proposal to send Bader was “still
alive”; he believes that the Germans are prepared to “strike
a bargain.” Mr. Sharett adds that he thinks a ransom must
be paid in order to rescue Jewish lives. Mr. Eden “doubted
whether that was a possible course.” As for Mr. Bader’s
journey – that was questionable. Mr. Sharett said “that the
question was what would Brand take with him if he went
back.” At this point Dr. Weizmann briefly outlines the
details of the aide-memoire, which is not connected with
And here I return to the aide-memoire: The following are the
demands concerning the rescue of the Jews of Hungary which
Dr. Weizmann presented in the previous document; they are in
“(a) an intimation should be given to Germany that some
šappropriate body is ready to meet for discussing the
rescue of Jews.
(b) a representative of the American War Refugee Board,
if necessary seconded by a British official, should
be ready to meet at Istanbul a member of the Nazi group
in Budapest to explore possibilities…”
It is assumed that the Gestapo has “ulterior motives –
avowed or hidden.” Nevertheless, it would be
intolerable not to make the maximum effort possible to
rescue Jews, be they many or few. If it all boils down
to a question of money – it has to be paid. Apart from
Brand’s mission, the “Allies should publish a
declaration expressing their readiness to admit Jewish
fugitives to all their territories, and stating that
they have in this the support of neutrals (Switzerland,
Sweden, Spain, and possibly Turkey), who are prepared
to give temporary shelter to Jewish refugees from
massacres.” The Swiss Government should be asked to
notify the authorities in Hungary that it is ready to
issue certificates of asylum to “the largest possible
number of people.” A “stern warning” should be issued
to Hungarian officials, railwaymen and the population
in general that “anyone convicted of having taken part
in the rounding-up, deportation and extermination of
Jews will be considered to be a war criminal and
treated accordingly.” An appeal should be made to
Marshall Stalin that he too should issue a similar
warning on the part of the USSR. The “railway line
leading from Budapest to Birkenau, and the death camps
at Birkenau and other places, should be bombed…”
Such were the demands which Dr. Weizmann presented at the 6
July meeting. Mr. Eden’s reply (I am now returning to the
transcript of the meeting) was as follows: The matter has to
be considered. As for the bombing, it has to be gone into
with the Air Ministry. He had already got into touch with
them about bombing the death camps at the request of the
Jewish Agency, and he will now get into touch about bombing
the railway. Dr. Weizmann concludes on the note that they
must meet again to create a state of things in which a
tragedy of this kind will no longer be possible.
At this point, I am returning to the document dated 11 July,
which I previously skipped, which was submitted by
representatives of the Jewish Agency at their conversations
in London. It deals with the possibilities for bombing,
stating arguments both pro and con. It reaches the
conclusion that this bombing is essential, because it would
have a deterrent effect in any event. It would also
“convince the German circles still hopeful of Allied mercy
of the genuineness of Allied condemnation of the murder of
Jews and could possibly result in internal pressure against
the continuation of the massacres.” And finally, in order
to convince the Allies further that this was worthwhile,
they add that the Auschwitz camp also included German
armament works operating for Siemens and Krupp.
Presiding Judge: Was that drawn up here, in Jerusalem?
Attorney General: No, it was drawn up in London on 11 July
1944, by the Jewish Agency. On the same day on which the
meeting occurred, Mr. Sharett also reported to Mr. Ben-
Gurion, as well as to Mr. Nahum Goldmann, about the meeting
with Eden in a cable, a copy of which is before you. Mr.
Sharett emphasized therein that the time for discussions had
passed: “Stage of temporizing thus over and definite steps
imperative, if remote chance of saving remnants is not to be
missed. We realize our proposals are unorthodox and
unprecedented, but they are warranted by tragedy which is
without parallel or precedent.”
On 12 July Mr. Sharett met with Mr. Randall in the Foreign
Office. The Brand mission was again discussed. It was
again requested that Bader be sent to Budapest. An
alternative proposal was to send Kullmann of the Inter-
Governmental Committee. Perhaps he would be the one to
convince the Germans that the Allies were really prepared to
conduct negotiations. On page four, further on, Mr. Sharett
proposes that an announcement be transmitted proclaiming all
Jews in countries conquered by the Nazis to be under the
protection of the British or the Anglo-Americans. Mr.
Randall immediately replied that this had already been
discussed and had been rejected. On 15 July Mr. Randall
informed Mr. Shertok that the proposal to bomb the death
camps was under consideration, that the Soviet Government
was being addressed in this matter, and a personal appeal
was being made by Mr. Eden to Mr. Molotov; he requested that
Dr. Weizmann be informed accordingly.
The debate apparently must have continued from 6 July to 1
September, since Richard Law, Permanent Undersecretary of
the Foreign Office at that time, if I am not mistaken, wrote
the following to Dr. Weizmann:
“You will remember that on the 6th of July you
discussed with the Foreign Secretary the camp at
Birkenau in Upper Silesia, and the atrocities that were
being committed there by the Germans against Hungarian
and other Jews. You enquired whether any steps could
be taken to put a stop to, or even to mitigate, these
massacres, and you suggested that something might be
achieved by bombing the camps, and also, if it was
possible, the railway lines leading to them.
“As he promised, Mr. Eden immediately put the proposal
to the Secretary of State for Air. The matter received
the most careful consideration of the Air Staff, but I
am sorry to have to tell you that, in view of the very
great technical difficulties involved, we have no
option but to refrain from pursuing the proposal in
“I realize that this decision will prove a
disappointment to you, but you may feel fully assured
that the matter was most thoroughly investigated.”
Judge Halevi: What were these “technical difficulties”?
Attorney General: Perhaps they were known to the writer of
this letter; I do not know, Sir. As for myself, I do not
think they existed.
Judge Halevi: Is there no additional document which could
help to clarify this question?
Attorney General: Not directly; perhaps a later memorandum
will clarify it. At this point, I shall merely mention a
letter from J.F. Martin, the British Prime Minister’s
secretary, to Dr. Weizmann.
Judge Halevi: Where is this document?
Attorney General: You have it; it is dated 30 October 1944.
If not, I am prepared to submit another copy immediately.
It is certainly among the photostats, with the original
document. It is the next to last document.
Presiding Judge: Yes, it is here. Do you have an additional
Attorney General: Yes, but with a brief addendum: Chief
Secretary to the Prime Minister.
Now, when the meeting was taking place in Moscow at that
time, Weizmann turned to them. Mr. Martin states: We have
dealt with this matter and have also discussed it with the
The next document is an aide-memoire which was prepared for
possible testimony by Dr. Weizmann before the International
Military Tribunal. It is dated November 1945 and states the
“In the beginning of 1944, when there were over seven
hundred thousand Jews alive in Hungary, the Jewish
Agency had put up a scheme to the British authorities
which involved the dropping of hundreds of Palestinian
Jews by parachute into Hungary and which, in the
considered view of high British military authorities,
would have been advantageous to the Allies militarily,
and would have been helpful in preventing the massacre
of many of the Hungarian Jews alive then. When this
scheme was approved by all military authorities
concerned and arrangements were initiated to carry out
the scheme, the foreign colonial office interfered and,
for political considerations, instructed the military
authorities to drop it.”
These were the documents which I wished to bring to the
Court’s attention; should the Court desire any additional
document, or also any copy thereof, all the relevant
documents are at the Court’s disposal.
Presiding Judge: All right; we now ask Mr. Brand to return
to the witness stand. Dr. Servatius, do you have any
questions to the witness?
Dr. Servatius: Yes. Mr. Brand, you said that deportations
from Hungary occurred in the year 1941. Who carried out
Witness Brand: I know that the pressure of the Nazi
authorities upon the Hungarian authorities continually
increased from the time the Nazis entered Hungary.
Presiding Judge: That was not an answer to the question of
Dr. Servatius. Please reply very briefly to the question:
Who carried out these deportations?
Witness Brand: The Hungarians – at the instigation of the
Dr. Servatius: Therefore, if I understand you correctly,
the Hungarians did it.
Witness Brand: At the instigation of the Nazis.
Q. Who instigated the deportations would be a second
question; the first answer would have to be – the
Hungarians. You have said that Eichmann caused you to be
arrested when the Germans marched into Budapest.
A. No, I do not believe that I…
Q. You did not say that?
A. Not in that way. I said that agents of the German
intelligence organization told me that I was on Eichmann’s
arrest list, and that consequently they were taking me into
Q. Do you know who drew up that list?
Q. You were soon released from custody; do you know who
brought about this termination of custody?
A. The same persons, the counter-espionage agents, who took
me with them; I was, in fact, held in the apartment of one
of the agents, Rudolf Schmidt. They told me: “The worst is
now over, and you can go now.” During my detention I could
also telephone my committee and my wife from there, from
this so-called protective custody.