Judge Raveh: Mr. Brand, in the certificate you have given
us it says that you are a member of the “Central Committee
of Jews” (the Zentralrat). Were you a member of this
Witness Brand: No.
Q. Did other people who were not members also receive
A. Yes. Should I give their names?
Q. Many or just a few?
A. Very few.
Q. What category of people received these certificates?
A. We asked for it, Kasztner and myself. I forget whether
it was Kasztner or myself, but it was so that we could get
around, so we could travel on the tram, take taxis – we were
always in a hurry – and so for several members of our
committee we got one of these permits. But before I left, I
asked for my wife and also my sisters and my children and my
mother to be included as well. Then there were people who
got it from Freudiger, some rich Jews who got it through
Freudiger, and so on. There was Link’s group…
Q. Another minor matter, because the record is not quite
clear on that. With reference to the money transferred to
you by Eichmann, what sums did you receive?
A. The sum I received from Eichmann?
A. It was two hundred and seventy thousand Swiss francs and
a further sum of dollars. I cannot quite remember if it was
fifty or fifty-three or fifty-seven thousand dollars. But I
can find out.
Q. The reason why I am asking is because at one point in the
record it says seventy-two thousand Swiss francs, and also
seventy-two thousand dollars. Is neither amount correct?
A. Two hundred and seventy thousand Swiss francs and some
fifty thousand dollars.
Q. You said that during one of the discussions someone
mentioned Himmler’s name, and you used the expression, “Man
wollte mir ein Kind hereinreden in den Bauch mit dem
Himmler” (one wanted to tell me a tall story about Himmler).
I should like to know who referred to Himmler and what they
said about Himmler.
A. The main speakers were this Laufer, who was not Jewish
but had a converted Jewish wife, and possibly also a Jewish
mother or grandmother – this man was one of the members of
the German counter-espionage service. He maintained that
Himmler had never – in no speech could you find anything
that Himmler had said against the Jews. I said to him that
it was not true. I did not actually have the precise text
at the time, but I had heard about a speech he made to SS
officers which subsequently became known. I knew that
Himmler was the head of the SS and that the SS was the
organization which destroyed the Jews. That’s what I meant
when I used this phrase “one wanted to tell me a tall
story.” The other one was Klausnitzer, who was a captain in
the River Police. On the day the Germans occupied Hungary
he was one of those active in arresting prominent Jews in
Budapest, and also prominent Hungarians who were known to be
anti-Nazis, and put them in the cellar of the Danube
Steamship Company; he, too, was a Security Service man.
Q. But in connection with this “blood for goods, goods for
blood” transaction, did no one mention Himmler?
A. No, that was after Eichmann’s “goods for blood” offer,
that was probably – I cannot be one hundred per cent
definite as to whether it was before or after the second
conversation with Eichmann, when Eichmann already specified
ten thousand trucks and so on. It was about that time, but
after Eichmann made the offer. I cannot say whether it was
before the first or second or third conversation with
Q. What I wish to know is whether there was any connection
between Eichmann’s proposal and the reference to Himmler.
A. There was definitely a connection, because they said that
the Eichmann offer was the only possibility of saving
people. Your Honour, please try and understand our
position: The Security Service, the Jewish Affairs
Department, the Intelligence Department, the Hungarian
Secret Service – they were all more or less after our
favours; we weak Jews who had nothing – everyone wanted to
play the one off against the other. We had worked for years
and years, primarily with the German intelligence
departments. They had blackmailed us, they had robbed us,
but they had also brought us money, they had enabled us to
save people, and that meant that somehow we were linked to
them. Now the situation had changed, the Jewish Department
was there, and they were the ones who had rounded up the
Jews in Carpatho-Ruthenia, in Transylvania, in the border
areas, and rounded them up so horribly, using the Hungarian
Q. Please understand my question: Did those who mentioned
Himmler’s name know about Eichmann’s proposal? Did they
refer to Himmler, in order to show you that the proposal was
a serious one? This is what interests me.
A. Yes, the name of Himmler was mentioned. As far as I
understood – there were several conversations with Eichmann
which are still present in my mind – he was implying that
Himmler was the only one who could save the Jews, and
Himmler would save the Jews, Himmler was a decent,
acceptable man. I had the impression – and I have always
maintained this – that Himmler was given the Jews as a kind
of baksheesh, a tip, in order to be able to talk about other
matters. That was my impression, and I made that clear.
Q. You were arrested in Turkey by the Turks, were you not?
A. Yes. I was first arrested in Turkey by the Turks.
Q. Why? In connection with your visa?
A. In connection with my visa. When I reached Turkey, I had
no visa. Then a disembarcation permit was arranged.
Q. How long after your arrival in Constantinople were you
A. Two or three days, a few days, perhaps four days.
Q. Did you remain in Turkish custody, in prison, until you
left for Aleppo?
A. No, I was not in a prison cell at all, I was – the Turks
did not quite know what to do with me. They kept me in a
large room which the public used to frequent, but there was
a policeman at the door, and I could not leave. In the
evening they locked the room; we were supposed to remain in
this room, and then, on the same evening, there came a
policeman. I went with him to a hotel, and then on the next
day I was released.
Q. At all events, before you were arrested you gave the
Jewish Agency people in Constantinople all the details about
the negotiations and everything that was going on in
A. I spoke to the Jewish Agency people in Constantinople
practically continually from the first half hour after my
arrival onwards – to all of them together, or to one or the
other party, etc., all along.
Q. Did you tell them all the details?
A. Yes, all the details.
Q. Did you also tell them about the one hundred thousand
A. Yes. I would say about yesterday’s questions: I spoke
often about ten thousand, twenty thousand, a real ten per
cent in advance. I really dealt with everyone who spoke to
me. I begged and I negotiated and I spoke, etc. There was
nothing I didn’t try. I did what I could. It was the same
thing, over and over again.
Q. I want this to be quite clear. Did you tell the Jewish
Agency people in Constantinople that, if you returned to
Budapest with a positive answer, Eichmann had promised that
he would first of all keep back one hundred thousand Jews?
A. Yes, ten per cent.
Q. Ten per cent of what?
A. Of a million Jews.
Q. In other words, it was clear that one hundred thousand
Jews were involved?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. Did you also tell them that in that case he had promised
to blow up the gas chambers?
A. Yes, Your Honour.
Q. Let us now return to Hungary, to your conversations with
Eichmann. You said that he promised that for one to two
weeks there would be no further deportations to Auschwitz,
but that people would be sent to Austria or Slovakia.
A. I would not state a hundred per cent that he said they
would not be sent to Auschwitz. What he said was, “For the
moment I shall only…” – no, he did say Auschwitz. “I will
not send them to Auschwitz: I shall hold them in Austria or
Czechoslovakia until you return, one or two weeks, but you
must hurry up,” and so on.
Q. Did you tell the Jewish Agency people in Constantinople
about that as well?
A. Of course. I had to be back in one to two weeks at the
latest. I repeated that hundreds of times, and I begged,
and said that twelve thousand were being deported every day.
Q. When did you find out that Eichmann had not kept his
A. In Istanbul. Already during the first days, when I had
just arrived, the first telegrams arrived from Budapest,
“deportations continuing,” and I sent desperate telegrams
Q. When you heard that in Constantinople, did that make any
difference to your impression of the seriousness of the
Eichmann proposal, that they would not remain in Austria?
A. No, I knew what Eichmann was like. I just hoped that
there would be no transports to Auschwitz and no gassings,
but I knew that he was deporting people.
Q. My question was: When did you hear that Eichmann did not
keep his promise to retain the people in Austria or
Czechoslovakia, but that they were being sent on
A. I did not get a telegram to that effect. I was cabled
“deportations continuing.” I did not get a telegram to the
effect that they were not remaining in Austria or Slovakia.
Q. There has been a misunderstanding. My question was, when
did you find out that Eichmann did not keep his promise to
retain these people in Austria for a week or two?
A. After I left Istanbul. After Istanbul, not Istanbul,
Cairo. And even in Cairo I received notes from people
saying, “we have managed to stop matters.”
Q. That is to say, that until you were released in Cairo,
you did not know that Eichmann had not kept his promise?
A. I did not receive any news, but in my own head it was
clear to me that, when I had not returned, and also after my
conversation with Hirschmann, the deportations and gassings
Q. You have not understood my question. My question was:
Until you were released in Cairo, did you not know that
Eichmann had not kept his promise to bring people to Austria
and Czechoslovakia for a week or two?
A. I did not receive information in that sense. But I knew
I had to get back there; if I did not, the trains would
continue running. After all, he had told me so. But I did
not actually receive information that they kept on running.
Q. The point in question is the first two weeks.
A. At that time I was not yet in Cairo, I was still in
Q. I was trying to find out when you discovered that even
during the first two weeks people were sent straight to
A. A long time after I was released.
Q. Now another point. Did Eichmann say to you that there
were two million Jews left in Europe and that, if the Allies
or Churchill or Roosevelt wanted them, they should take them
and give something in return?
A. Yes, Eichmann said to me that Roosevelt and Churchill and
whoever could have them. As for the precise figure, two
million or two and a half million Jews – it was something
like two million Jews. But that was not important to me,
what was always important to me…
Q. In the documents we received yesterday, I read a somewhat
different description, not – as you have related – the
promise that people would remain in Austria or Slovakia, but
there it says that Eichmann said, to the contrary, that the
deportations would start in full force, and afterwards – and
here Krumey’s name is mentioned – that he said he was
prepared to promise that no one would be killed until you
returned. What can you say about this version?
A. Either that is a typing error, or it must be something
else. It was definitely Eichmann who said it to me. When
the plane left, Krumey told me he would ensure that the
promise was kept. But I am sure that is a typing error, or
something else, it was definitely Eichmann, not Krumey.
Judge Halevi: Mr. Brand, perhaps you could answer briefly
and to the point, without getting worked up, as far as you
can. Remember the example your wife gave, by speaking
calmly. I know that these matters are supremely important
to you, but this is a court of law. We wish to clarify the
Witness Brand: I am trying, Your Honour, but I get excited.
Q. I understand that these matters are close to your heart,
but this is a court. We want to clarify facts. today you
said that you were not a member of the Judenrat in Budapest,
despite the certificate which states that you were.
Q. And that others, who were also not members of the
Judenrat, received these certificates as well?
Q. You mentioned Freudiger. Was he not a member of the
A. Freudiger was a member of the Judenrat. For a while
there was an argument over who it should be, and he was the
Q. Were all the members of the Judenrat exempt from wearing
the yellow patch?
Q. Including yourself and those who held similar
A. Your Honour, sometimes I did wear my Jewish star – on
Jewish streets it was easier to wear it, elsewhere I went
Q. Answer my question briefly: Were you exempt from wearing
the yellow patch?
Q. I have gone through the documents submitted to us
yesterday, and I did not find that there you mention the
matter of ten per cent. These documents are the record of
your conversation on 11 June 1944 with Mr. Sharett, then
Shertok, and also the English translation. But if you wish
to peruse these documents again, perhaps you can show me
where there is a reference to ten per cent.
A. I don’t think I can. I also looked through them
yesterday afternoon, but I could not find a reference. I
also got these copies, and there is no reference to this
Q. Are you saying that you have an explanation for this? I
shall return to this later. But there is no mention of ten
per cent. Can you confirm this?
A. There is no such mention.
Q. In the two documents to which I have referred, is there a
reference to destroying the extermination installations?
A. According to what I have read – there are several
documents, there is a reference; in one document there is no
Q. In which document is there mention of this?
A. I saw letters there where the English refused.
Q. I was not referring to documents about destruction by
English or American planes, but destruction by the Nazis
A. I did not see anything about that either.