Perfidy, by Ben Hecht

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: Perfidy, by Ben Hecht

Postby admin » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:15 pm

THE ODDITY OF GUILT

It is not a pleasant spectacle to see the truth ripped out of a man. A guilty man exposed suffers often more than an innocent one misjudged. I used to note this when I covered murder trials in Chicago -- that guilt was sometimes harder to bear than injustice.

It is odd that a man should be suddenly hurt by something he has known for a long time -- his guilt. There are many reasons for this. One of them is that a man does not feel his guilt deeply until the world sees it, or until he has to pay for it.

Individuals accustomed to private lives are often crushed by becoming visible to others -- as what they are. Not so with public figures.

Guilt does not make a politician outcast -- be he Jewish, British or Nazi. For the politician is never guilty as a wrongdoer; only as a wrong thinker or wrong guesser. Even if his thoughts and guesses set bonfires raging in the world and rain disaster on large areas of it -- he is still immune from guilt in the eyes of the law, and in the eyes of his contemporaries. History will sometimes take a look at him, dead in his grave, and give him a bad mark. But the contemporary verdict is nearly always the same -- not guilty by virtue of serving an ideal.

Although shaken and embittered by the continuing revelations in Halevi's court room, the statesmen of Israel offered no visible or audible sign of any suffering.

There's the thing I find most ominous in my day -- the rhinoceros hides that encase politicians' hearts. They will not react to the truth that exposes them any more than to a drop of rain. For they are never exposed. The evils proved against them reveal only that they were devoted servants of an ideal, a party, a national destiny.

Exposed in the Kastner case, the Israel politicians do not need to disprove any of the facts in order to prove themselves not guilty. They need only to flash into the eyes of their constituents the "ideal" they served. Who attacks them, attacks Zionism. Who attacks Zionism attacks the finest development in two thousand unhappy years of Jewish history. Tyrants, dictators, and all power-drunk leaders operate always behind the screen of some Ideal. The Ideal exempts them of any guilt for what they do. More, it magically converts their connivings and wicked deeds into proof of how valorously they served the Ideal.

"I understand Kastner," Eichmann writes in his autobiography, published in Life magazine. "He is an idealist like I am." [120]

CHAIM COHEN "STANDS BEFORE GOD"

The Attorney General of Israel offers a rather brief summary of his admiration of Dr. Rudolf Kastner. It is lyric, sardonic and tempestuous, but it takes only one day. This would be almost a distance record for United States court oratory, but in Israel it is only once around the track. Particularly for so leading a silver tongue as Chaim Cohen.

At the finale of the trial, Judge Halevi's court room is no longer the teapot chamber in which the proceedings began. When Attorney General Cohen took over the case for the Government, the proceedings were moved immediately into Israel's largest court room, with the largest seating capacity. And the government pulled two of its stenographers out of the Knesset to take over the recording.

Now the large court room is jammed. All the top journalists of the land are on the job. The largest assemblage of trial fans ever beheld in a Jerusalem court since the Romans left around 300 A.D. packs the scene.

I cut the day's oration down to its vital statements; but though I cut, what I quote is a literal translation of Chaim Cohen's Hebrew sentences.

Israel's Attorney General speaks as follows:

"Your Honor, I feel like a representative of the public before God. I pray to you that the man I have to defend will not suffer because of my unworthiness. It is presumptuous of me to try, with my dull words, to do justice to these great heroes who stood as a holy guard during the most tragic hour to befall our people."

(The great heroes are Rudolf Kastner, and his co-workers in Budapest.)

"I am not worthy of the task," says Chaim Cohen, "I can only hope Your Honor will not be deaf to my humble efforts. My prosecution today will be more firm and more grave than it ever was before in an Israeli Court."

There follows a ringing affirmation from Attorney General Cohen (and author of the law) that any Jew who collaborated with the Nazis during the extermination deserves to be hanged by the neck until dead. After which, the Attorney General orates: "There is not an iota of proof that Rudolf Kastner became such a collaborator. His honorable intentions never left him to the end.

"My learned friend [Tamir] says that the Germans played a vicious trick, using Kastner to help them induce the masses of Jews to avoid resistance, avoid escape.

"What masses? Escape -- where to? Revolt -- by whom? ... These were Jews behind whom there were many long years of persecution, torture, endless suffering, who had returned from forced labor in the Ukraine -- who saw with their eyes what the Germans had perpetrated there; they were the Jews who were tortured in quizzings for their property, who were jammed in brick factories without a pillow for their head, without food, without dress ... For those and millions of Jews like them there came true the old curse, 'And lo, they were meant but to be taken like sheep for slaughter, for killing, destruction, crushing and shame.'

"These should escape? They had no feet on which to run. They should revolt? They had no hands with which to fight. No spirit was left in them. . . .

"Even the Warsaw ghetto was no exception. The masses in the Warsaw ghetto were in the same condition and the revolt there was waged only by a few extraordinary characters."

(Item: the few extraordinary characters were thirty-three thousand Jews who stood off three hundred fifty thousand Wehrmacht troops and thirty thousand S.S. troops -- their tanks and cannon -- for twenty-seven days in the Warsaw ghetto. None of the Jews surrendered.)


Attorney Cohen makes a small concession. He fails to support Government official Kastner completely in his testimony about Becher: He argues:

"I am willing to assume that Kurt Becher was a vicious criminal, a man not to deal with. Kastner did not lie [about Becher] and there was even no contradiction in what he said. But let us assume for a moment that he did lie.

"Supposing Kastner forgot after a lapse of ten years [it was only six years] to whom he gave the testimony. [The pro-Becher affidavit.] This may justify my learned friend, Tamir, in claiming that Kastner had a weak memory, and that one cannot rely on his testimony.

"The question, therefore, of whether or not Kastner tells the truth or has a reliable memory has no bearing on the accusation at issue here. My friend [Tamir] has asked some of his witnesses, 'Would you give a sworn affidavit in favor of a Nazi?' All of them answered in chorus, 'Amen, we wouldn't have done it.'

"There may well be a divergence of opinion between such people and Dr. Kastner as to what is correct and what is incorrect. And he who thinks it is a national obligation [to help S.S. Colonel Kurt Becher with an affidavit] does not become a worse Jew or a traitor. If Dr. Kastner thought his way was the right way, then it was right for him, and nobody has the right or the authority to say to Dr. Kastner, 'You had no right to testify for a Nazi.' There is no one who can sit in judgment on Dr. Kastner, but Dr. Kastner's own conscience, his sense of values, of duty, and his sense of national responsibility.

"There is nobody who can invent standards by which to measure a man's sense of national responsibility. If my learned friend [Tamir] wants to teach this court or me a lesson in national responsibility, pardon me if I look for a teacher somewhere else.

"My friend attacks Kastner because he did it [the Becher whitewash] in the names of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress. I don't understand the aims of this attack. If it is intended to prove that Kastner pretended to a standing he didn't have, or if it wishes to prove that Kastner used the name of respectable institutions in order to raise himself above anyone's criticism -- be that as it may -- I hold that Dr. Kastner's explanation for his act is reasonable and wise. And I don't want to go into the question of whether he did or did not have such power of attorney.

"But let us assume again that he did not have such power. Since he had power of attorney to negotiate with Kurt Becher in the past [in Budapest] why should he think he has no power to testify for Becher as he did?

"Let us assume that Dr. Kastner was being boastful here [about claiming Jewish Agency backing -- or a Nazi whitewasher?], as he seems often inclined to be, because he likes to pose as a man of high standing. What does it prove -- using the name of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress? I say that as the man who negotiated with Becher in the name of the Jewish Agency, and found out that Becher's reaction was good and beneficial for those Jewish institutions and for the people of Israel, I say Dr. Kastner had the right to do what he did -- was, in fact, bound to do what he did.

"I think that the crime of the Defendant is as grave as actual bloodshed. He took upon himself the right to put a sign of Cain on the forehead of a man on whom neither the Defendant nor his persecution, torture, endless suffering, who had returned from forced labor in the Ukraine -- who saw with their eyes what the Germans had perpetrated there; they were the Jews who were tortured in quizzings for their property, who were jammed in brick factories without a pillow for their head, without food, without dress ... For those and millions of Jews like them there came true the old curse, 'And 10, they were meant but to be taken like sheep for slaughter, for killing, destruction, crushing and shame.'

"These should escape? They had no feet on which to run. They should revolt? They had no hands with which to fight. No spirit was left in them. . . .

"Even the Warsaw ghetto was no exception. The masses in the Warsaw ghetto were in the same condition and the revolt there was waged only by a few extraordinary characters."

(Item: the few extraordinary characters were thirty-three thousand Jews who stood off three hundred fifty thousand Wehrmacht troops and thirty thousand S.S. troops -- their tanks and cannon -- for twenty-seven days in the Warsaw ghetto. None of the Jews surrendered.)

Attorney Cohen makes a small concession. He fails to support Government official Kastner completely in his testimony about Becher: He argues:

"I am willing to assume that Kurt Becher was a vicious criminal, a man not to deal with. Kastner did not lie [about Becher] and there was even no contradiction in what he said. But let us assume for a moment that he did lie.

"Supposing Kastner forgot after a lapse of ten years [it was only six years] to whom he gave the testimony. [The pro-Becher affidavit.] This may justify my learned friend, Tamir, in claiming that Kastner had a weak memory, and that one cannot rely on his testimony.

"The question, therefore, of whether or not Kastner tells the truth or has a reliable memory has no bearing on the accusation at issue here. My friend [Tamir] has asked some of his witnesses, 'Would you give a sworn affidavit in favor of a Nazi?' All of them answered in chorus, 'Amen, we wouldn't have done it.'

"There may well be a divergence of opinion between such people and Dr. Kastner as to what is correct and what is incorrect. And he who thinks it is a national obligation [to help S.S. Colonel Kurt Becher with an affidavit] does not become a worse Jew or a traitor. If Dr. Kastner thought his way was the right way, then it was right for him, and nobody has the right or the authority to say to Dr. Kastner, 'You had no right to testify for a Nazi: There is no one who can sit in judgment on Dr. Kastner, but Dr. Kastner's own conscience, his sense of values, of duty, and his sense of national responsibility.

''There is nobody who can invent standards by which to measure a man's sense of national responsibility. If my learned friend [Tamir] wants to teach this court or me a lesson in national responsibility, pardon me if I look for a teacher somewhere else.

"My friend attacks Kastner because he did it [the Becher whitewash] in the names of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress. I don't understand the aims of this attack. If it is intended to prove that Kastner pretended to a standing he didn't have, or if it wishes to prove that Kastner used the name of respectable institutions in order to raise himself above anyone's criticism -- be that as it may -- I hold that Dr. Kastner's explanation for his act is reasonable and wise. And I don't want to go into the question of whether he did or did not have such power of attorney.

"But let us assume again that he did not have such power. Since he had power of attorney to negotiate with Kurt Becher in the past [in Budapest] why should he think he has no power to testify for Becher as he did?

"Let us assume that Dr. Kastner was being boastful here [about claiming Jewish Agency backing -- or a Nazi whitewasher?], as he seems often inclined to be, because he likes to pose as a man of high standing. What does it prove -- using the name of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress? I say that as the man who negotiated with Becher in the name of the Jewish Agency, and found out that Becher's reaction was good and beneficial for those Jewish institutions and for the people of Israel, I say Dr. Kastner had the right to do what he did -- was, in fact, bound to do what he did.

"I think that the crime of the Defendant is as grave as actual bloodshed. He took upon himself the right to put a sign of Cain onhe forehead of a man on whom neither the Defendant nor his lawyer is authorized or able to express any legitimate opinion whatsoever." [121]

Such is the gist of Chaim Cohen's address to Judge Halevi. It re-affirms the Israeli Government's contention that Dr. Kastner did the correct thing in not warning the twenty thousand Jews of his native Kluj, when there were only 21 guards to keep them from escaping the ash barrels of Auschwitz.

But I'll let Tamir make the rebuttal.

THE DEFENSE SUMS UP

I offer a longer account of the Defense Summation, since it takes seven days to deliver.

Another reason is: the Defense Summation is a fine mark for Israel. It is a denunciation of the Government of Israel, made in an Israeli Court room, by a citizen of that new land. When such a denunciation as this one is tolerated by a government and given ear to by a judge, it is a bright proof of a people's honest soul.

Tamir addressing the District Court of Jerusalem is more than a Jewish voice. He is the voice of an individual who can still assail the sins of the State in which he lives. This voice sounds the difference between government's triumph over man, and man's non-defeat by government.

Tamir begins:

"Your Honor, a cruel and inevitable duty was imposed on us in the trial. Every step taken had to be made through Jewish blood. And now a great human, moral and historic task commands me. Our nation raises its eyes to the high seat of justice and waits the sound of truth from it. [122]

"From the great butchery of Jews until a year ago our land was given to forgetfulness and perfidy.

"The bones of the slain millions of Auschwitz had been plowed into German soil as fertilizer. And these plowmen had regained their freedom and become leaders of the new Germany. The murderers and their collaborators had returned to the bosom of human society.

"In payment for Jewish blood, money has been offered and accepted [123] by the state of Israel. And memorial forests were planted in our land in honor of the exterminated Jews of Europe.

"But memorial forests did not silence the voices of the slaughtered. The voices entered finally a court room in Jerusalem and compelled us to open the book of extermination, and study it, and see its truth.

"I heard the Attorney General's cry in this court room, 'Who are we and what are we to judge public officials who worked in that Hell of death?'

"I heard that question. I ask another. Who are we and what are we who dare avoid facing the truth in our souls -- the truth of why and how catastrophe came to our people? Out of all the shames and agonies which smote us during the slaughter of Jews, there is one shame we can remove today -- the shame of hiding the truth.

"The Attorney General said, 'Nothing is proven -- not a single fact -- it is all a baseless series of charges -- all whipped up for political reasons: Your Honor, if our charges were so groundless, why the great anxiety which seized the Attorney General, and those he represents? Why did he rush to take over the prosecution from his assistant? Why did he start pleading for long recesses to bring witnesses from abroad? [124]

"And why did important public figures like Avriel, Danzig, Bader, Rafael, [125] Palgi, appear here and make themselves a laughing-stock in their efforts to conceal what they knew?

"Was all this due to the mud-slinging tactics of some irresponsible lawyer? And did this court allow us to waste its time with that sort of chicanery?

"If the case of the Attorney General is so pure, why is it so dirty? He cries out the dirt is in my accusations. The dirt is not in them, Your Honor, but in what they have exposed.

"I have heard it said, 'Even if it is true, why expose it? Can it restore the dead? It can only damage us. We are all in a very small boat in a stormy sea. Exploring these matters can only damage all the Jews of Israel and of the world.'

"There is a factor more important than any temporary damage that may be done by exposing the truth. There is a young generation in Israel that must know the full story of what happened to its brothers, its fathers, its kith and kin. This young generation must know the full truth in order that it may have a true scale for its judgements.

"I shall not insist that Rudolf Kastner is a born criminal, or a man entirely black. I shall not say, 'Death to Kastner!' [126]

Footnote 126. Attorney General Chaim Cohen said in his summation, "Either Kastner should be sentenced to death, if the allegations are true, or -- if they are not -- Greenwald should die by the hand of God."


"I say this: just as Kastner's brothers were exterminated bodily in Auschwitz, his soul was destroyed there. He, too, was a Hitler victim -- a victim who became a wild danger to the Jews of Europe -- but a victim nevertheless.

"I shall try to show Your Honor how an idealistic, Zionist youth like Kastner, owning a few flaws, but full of talent, deteriorated into a trusted chum of the Nazi leaders in 1945.

"In explaining Kastner's activities I shall offer many facts in his defense. But how dare anyone stand in this court and say we are not to judge Kastner? And who says it? The Attorney General of Israel -- four years after our parliament has enacted the law against Nazis and their collaborators, the same law under which this same Attorney General prosecuted scores of offenders in our courts.

"And whom did this Attorney General bring to justice? Little people, always. A Jewish policeman who had beaten a woman in a concentration camp in order to save his own life. The whole force of the state of Israel was mobilized against such small, pathetic offenders. And the Attorney General thundered for conviction.

"Are the legal nets of our country only for the catching of little fish? Are there big holes specially left in them for the escape of the big sharks?

"... The Attorney General's words shocked my heart. Because it was not a privately hired lawyer who orated here. It was the representative of the government of Israel.

"I charge, Your Honor, that his whole speech from beginning to end, was an oratorical screen to cover evils that were exposed.

"And when they wish to cover up any of their own actions, they are willing to defame all of Jewry. It is about one million Hungarian Jews that the Attorney General said, 'revolt' -- by whom? They had no hands. They had no feet. There was no spirit in them.'

"Moshe Sharett is o.k., Rudolf Kastner is o.k., Hillel Danzig is o.k., but the Jewish masses in Kluj, Nodvarod, Budapest -- they had no spirit, no hands. They were without courage and reason. Therefore they had to be slaughtered. It was heaven's decision, said this Attorney General of Israel, a decision not to be altered that they must go like sheep to the slaughter pens.

"The Attorney General said, 'Who is he and what is he who dares defame public officials who worked in the Hell of Death?' [Kastner et al.]

"And I say: Who is he and what is he who dares defame our own good Jewry which was so badly smeared by the Prosecution witnesses in this trial? Who is he and what is he who dares utter this defamation of the Jewry of Herzl, Nordau, Dov Gruner, Jacob Weiss, Hanna Senesh -- and all the heroes and martyrs who sacrificed their souls?

"The Defense in this trial defends not the accused alone. It defends all Jewry that has been berated and cursed by ruthless men -- it defends the Jews who have been called dust, called 'Jews without spirit or hands,' called 'the frozen hearts,' called non-Zionists.

"I call upon Your Honor to decide that, in the choice between Hungarian Jews and Kastner and his clique, it was Hungarian Jewry that was fine, great and tragic.

"But in their tragic hour they had no true honorable leaders -- only little egoists, self-seeking and narrow-minded -- who aided in their destruction.

"I call on Your Honor to agree -- that there was no reason on earth for these men, women and children of Hungary to go like sheep to the German butchers.

"It is a sin against God and against Jewish pride and human dignity to say that these near million Jews had to go to their deaths the way they went -- and that it was impossible for them to do other than they did -- that a man had to go with his wife, children and parents like an animal to butchery by the Germans.

"Guilty for their deaths are first the German murderers. Next, the criminality of the nations who aided the murders, actively or passively -- Hungary on the one hand and England on the other. Guilty next are the other great civilized nations, whose acquiescence and indifference spurred on the slaughter.

"But guilty also is the small-souled, criminal leadership and cowardice of our own Jewish leaders. They knew only how to grab power. Courage and ability and decision were beyond them.

"All these apologetic chants. about Jews having to go to their deaths without protest, these hymns of acquiescence for the death-industry of Auschwitz, we had to hear from an Attorney General of Israel.

"No, Your Honor, this is not the morale of Jewry -- the sacrificing of the many to save the few.

"Chaim Weizmann in 1937 said that the Jews of Europe are '... economic and moral dust in a cruel world ...'

"True, they were not wanted. And so they remained the dust to be scattered. Now the Attorney General continues this point of view, he endorses it.

"Who is this Attorney General representing the citizens of our state or the private interests of some officials of the state? It is not too difficult a question to answer.

"The Attorney General is not alone in covering up for Kastner. Many institutions have done the same covering-up before him. In 1946 the Zionist Congress in Basel, [127] ...

Footnote 127. Testimony was brought in the trial of an official complaint filed against Kastner at the Zionist Congress of Basel in 1946. After a few hours hearing, the inquiry, which was conducted by members of the Mapai party, was stopped in the middle and an official communique declared Kastner exonerated.


... the Haganah trial in the case of the parachutists, [128] ...

Footnote 128. During the same session of the Zionist Congress, Kastner was interrogated secretly by a special Haganah court, but no verdict was reached, publicly.


... and the Israeli police in 1951, all took a look at Kastner's activities -- and covered up what they saw.

"And when all the Jewish leaders and all the powers of government had covered up for Kastner, one old man steps forward to reveal the truth.

"And why did all the powerful government institutions leave this truth-telling to Malchiel Greenwald? Why did they knowingly cover up the collaboration of Kastner with the Nazis? There is only one answer. They had no choice. They had to protect Kastner for fear he would reveal all the facts known to him about another collaboration -- the Jewish Agency collaboration with the British -- which sabotaged the rescue of Europe's Jews and contributed to their annihilation.

"That's how this 'show' happened in this court -- a government and all its leaders did not act towards this man, Kastner, as any decent society would have done.

"After seven days of cross-examination, Kastner's lies and villainies were clear to all. Instead of abandoning the protection of such a creature and handing him over to the court saying, 'Let's look into this nightmare ourselves: they throw all their great authority, all the prestige and cunning of their officials into the case to save him. And all these Israeli government officials came here, one pulling the other, all conspiring to conceal from this court and from the nation the truth of how the catastrophe befell the Jews of Hungary.

"I charge that all the witnesses for the prosecution lied to this court. I can say, with a clean conscience, that none of the witnesses for the defense lied knowingly.

"There was no relation between our witnesses. They had no thought of 'helping each other.' They were workingmen, clerks, refugees, people from all parties, the people of our land.

"The other side offered a united group of public figures -- all culled from one party and clique.

"There you have the two sides -- the ruling clique of Israel and the people of Israel."

Tamir continues about Kluj.

"Our charge against Kastner is this -- a community of twenty thousand Jews, one of the finest in Hungary, of which a great part could have been rescued, was sacrificed in order to save 380 of his own friends and relatives.

"We charge that these 380 people (we are all happy they remained alive) were not an achievement but the price for sacrificing the many thousands.

"We charge that this cost was reckoned and this price paid with the same lack of conscience that the Attorney General described with such enthusiasm when he declared that the sacrificed Jews were 'without hands or spirits.' And we charge that Kastner deliberately decided it was best to rescue the 'prominents.' "I said Kastner was not a born criminal, and not all black. It is foolish to say that he was even a bloodthirsty man.

"We have never said Kastner was a traitor who did what he did simply to receive money from the Nazis. He did not start with treason. He started with collaboration -- which the Nazis preferred.

"The traitor is not the most efficient instrument for an enemy. A traitor hands over his regiment, his information, and his job is finished. The traitor's way is one act of surrender.

"Collaboration is a more effective technique. You take an important figure from the other side. And you help him play the drama in which he stars as the leader of his people. You help him show success and triumphs (little ones). But the cost of these successes to the people is their destruction.

"Kastner, the collaborator, was worse than any Petain or Quisling. Because Kastner's collaboration didn't sacrifice honor and freedom alone. It accomplished the complete extermination of the people themselves -- after which nothing remains.

"It is only human for a man to save himself and his family first. Had it been an ordinary man, exploiting his connections and running away with his family, who would dare to criticize him? Who knows if any of us would behave differently?

"But this is not the case of Kastner. We deal here with a leader, a leader of rescue, a man who became a national leader. This is another story.

"And is this the motto our Attorney General wishes to give to every officer in the Israeli Army and Navy, 'When danger comes, run away first and save yourself and your own.'

"Let us grant further that even a National Leader can make mistakes -- pull strings to save his own skin. It is not nice, but one can sometimes understand or forgive.

"But at what a cost! Here we don't speak of a man who runs away, who, under great pressure, deserts his people. With Kastner, it is not the running away. It is the terrible price in the blood of his people that he is willing to pay. Out of his sickly ambition to be considered a big shot, a leader of Jews, his blindness, his lies, and his terrible crimes, increase and increase.

"This is a collaboration for which there is not the routine apology, 'Other days will come and the situation will be changed.'

"No, I don't say traitor. I say collaborator. And a collaborator needs studying.

"Of course in the beginning he is trapped by the German Satan. Eichmann tells him -- 'Everything is lost. Your accursed Jews must all die. There is no way out. No matter what you do, they will all be annihilated.' Then he adds, 'But perhaps you can save a few. But in return for such a favor, you have to help me!'

"And here the list of train-people appears. And Kastner, the little journalist from Kluj, never too choosey a fellow -- allows his sickly ambition to confuse his values. His eagerness to be a somebody outwits his conscience. He grabs at the Eichmann proposal. He hopes, he trusts, he deceives, until he is hooked on the wheel and into the mill he goes for grinding.

"The 380 prominent Jews are quartered outside the Kluj ghetto. And they will be kept there until all the twenty thousand Jews have ridden off to Auschwitz.

"Their function is to soothe these doomed ones, to keep them calm and hopeful. And this they do, until the last Jew is sealed and delivered to the gas chamber. Not until Kluj is empty of Jews and their lullaby task is done, do they get their reward. In special trains they ride through the barren ghetto, through the empty streets, and leave for Budapest.

"Until May, 1944, Kastner was a man of honest intention. He was a self-seeking, slippery fellow, but basically his intentions were to save Jews.

"From mid-May on, his entanglement deepens, his crime grows. He performs in a whirlpool of blood.

"No wonder that he will never return to his home town of Kluj when the war is over. No wonder that on October 15th all the survivors who trickled back to Kluj-Zionists, Social Democrats, Communists, Jews of every sort try him in absentia in a people's court and pronounce him a war criminal.

"Kastner tells us that at the beginning the Germans talked to him about money he must pay them. But soon Kastner finds out the Germans have no financial interest in Jews. When every other Jewish group had to give money to the Germans, Kastner alone gives no great sum. He has something better to give the Germans. He gives Jews.

"And who are the Germans who help Dr. Kastner? He mentions Becher, Krumey, Wisliczeny -- the killers of the Jews of Poland, Greece, Hungary. He mentions Hunshe and Novak, two of Eichmann's chief assistants.

"And Kastner has an in also with Hungarian Nazis. He meets Ferenczi, chief of the Hungarian gendarmes. He even meets Baky, who, according to all testimonies, was even more eager to 'eat Jews' than Eichmann. And he is in contact with Gerzoli, head of Hungarian anti-espionage.

"It is of Garzoli and Gestapo chief Klages that Kastner said, They were among those who wanted to help me.'

"Who, then, wanted to exterminate Jews? They all wanted to help, says Kastner-Klages, Garzoli, Krumey, Becher, all wanted to help. And Himmler 'helped.' Who then exterminated the Jews?

"And what was Kastner doing in Berlin?

"The Attorney General says, 'His solemn and noble duty.'

"Does the Attorney General claim seriously that there was such a close mutual interest between the Third Reich and our Jews? When hundreds of thousands were rotting in the camps, being murdered daily by the thousands, and used in laboratories for inhuman experiments -- was it then there bloomed this mutual interest?

"In the last, most crucial four months of war, the Jew Kastner parades in Vienna or Berlin -- among the highest Nazi chieftains. And his Nazi chums speed him goodbye as he hustles off at the climax of the war. He will arrive in Switzerland in time to meet the American representative, McClelland, there, and be able to supply McClelland with all he knows of the Nazi crimes. [129]

"Is there a deeper trust that Kastner's Nazi friends could show than this? What else do I have to prove in this case -- but this alone? The Nazis would never put such trust in an Englishman or American. But they put their faith in the representative of the Jewish Agency who witnessed their worst crimes.

" -- I therefore say to this court what the defendant Greenwald did not say in his pamphlet. I say that, in the last months of the war, Kastner became the agent for the whole Nazi gang -- the most effective Jewish agent in their ranks. For he was now one of them, their trusted ally and apologist."

Tamir takes up Becher and Kastner's affidavit:

"Who is Kurt Becher? The head of the Economic Department of the S.S. The Economic Department meant concentration camps, gold teeth, bones for fertilizer, clothes, and above all -- Jewish fat for soap. These were the functions of the Economic Department. And it was for this crime that the Americans held Becher in custody from 1945 to 1948.

"All the witnesses have testified that General Kurt Becher had always the last word, that he was responsible only to Himmler himself.

"Becher was also involved in the extermination of Slovakian Jews. He decided who would be deported in the notorious death march. He decided even what women should go to their deaths. And Kastner dares to make depositions at Nuremberg declaring that Becher saved Jews in Budapest. The same Kastner who wrote in a report that Becher was among the chief Nazi criminals who worked actively in the extermination of six million European Jews.

"Sir, he who says Becher saved Jews, says Himmler saved them. He who says Becher was an honorable man says Himmler was an honorable man. There is no escape from the facts. I will go one step further and say he who says Kastner was an honorable man says the S.S. leaders Becher and Himmler were honorable men.

"Sir, the learned Attorney General had the gall to deny even Kastner's proven lies. If there were ever malicious and willful lies -- perjury in a court case -- admitted and corroborated -- they are the lies told by Kastner.

"At least let the Attorney General keep silent, and not deny they were lies.

"I say that Kastner cold-bloodedly stood in the witness box for days and lied to this court and to the Israeli nation. And our Attorney General of the Government of Israel overflows with pathos and tells us he feels 'with all modesty and humility' his great privilege of defending the glory of this man, Rudolf Kastner.

"The Attorney General allowed himself to define the testimony of the twenty concentration camp survivors as a chorus of amens against a Nazi officer. Thus he describes the cry of agony of an exterminated people.

"But I speak no more of the time of extermination. I will speak of the years 1947 and 1953. I speak of a Kastner not under Nazi pressure, not in the dread atmosphere of the ghetto or in occupied Budapest.

"I speak of the action of a man in the free world, after he was saved from doom -- of a man who knows everything -- a man whose honor the state of Israel has stepped forth to vindicate -- the man in whose behalf all the legal apparatus of Israel has been mobilized -- while all their might was hurled against the one who dared attack this man.

"This man, Kastner, contemptuous of court and public, has brazenly tried here to cover up his own crime in delivering Kurt Becher, one of the arch-killers, from judgment in Nuremberg.

"Sir, if this is how he behaves after the war, in an atmosphere of freedom, when no danger threatens, when he has become one of the pillars of the government of Israel -- how did he behave then, in a climate of terror, under the Nazis, when scores of thousands were in his keeping? If this is his morality now, what could it have been then?

"Sir, today I am allowed and am bound to call upon Your Honor not only to acquit the Defendant, not only to lay down that the Complainant and chief witness, Dr. Kastner, perjured himself maliciously in this court, not only to lay down that he and his colleagues conspired together to conceal from this court and from the whole world the historical truth -- but also to recommend that this Dr. Kastner be put to trial by the Israeli Government in accordance with the law against Nazis and their collaborators.

". . . Sir, I am convinced that neither the rhetoric of the Attorney General nor the backing of the whole Israeli government will overcome the truth. Nor will they be able to make a free Israeli court exonerate even partially the enormity of the collaboration with Nazi killers that was reached by Dr. Kastner, Rudolf Kastner, the biggest Jewish agent in the service of the Germans." [130]

Footnote 130. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

After the war, S.S. General Walter Schellenberg, Chief of Himmler's Intelligence, stated in a special document, now in the custody of Mr. Hillel Storch of the World Jewish Congress in Stockholm, that Kastner had served throughout the war as an agent of the German S.S. among the Jews in Hungary.


THE SOUL OF A JUDGE

There is a likeness between Justice of the Jerusalem District Court, Benjamin Halevi, and the girl, Hanna Senesh. They serve different causes -- Hanna, the cause of human love; Judge Halevi, the cause of human justice -- but they serve them in the same way -- with their entire souls.

The enemy Halevi had to face and vanquish is sometimes a tougher foe than the one Hanna met in Budapest. It is the enemy of a man's own perspectives and prejudices. Halevi has to sit in judgment objectively not only on Greenwald and Kastner, but on his own complex humanity, which includes his life's dedication to Jewry and to the State of Israel.

Two men were never more apart as Jews and patriots than Tamir and Halevi at the start of the trial. Tamir was a child of revolt. He loved his country completely. But Tamir's country did not consist only of the righteous few who ran it. To the contrary, these men had offended his patriotism and embarrassed his soul since childhood. Tamir considered most of the government men in power as unproud and unworthy Jews who had come into their power through the courage and vision of others -- a courage and vision they had usurped after it was safe and profitable to echo them.

Not so, Halevi. To Halevi, most of the factotums who took over the running of the new land of Israel were, often, friends, and men and women of upright character.

With 90 percent of the world's Jewry, Halevi believed in these new rulers as he believed in the great kings and prophets of ancient Judea. They, the new ones, were anointed by the long travail of the Jews. The long Jewish dream was a halo over their heads. [131]

It takes Halevi nine months to write his verdict. He does it in the loneliness of his study. He reads and re-reads the protocol of the trial. Halevi is not a slow-witted man. His mind has been long aware of the lies and villainies in the case. Then why so long at his chore? Were there doubts he must resolve? Was it clarity and logic on which he labored? Perhaps. But there was more than fastidiousness that slowed down the writing of his verdict.

I did not interview Judge Halevi in his study any more. than I did Hanna Senesh in her cell. And neither of them made report on what went on in their dolorous days. Their deeds, only, speak for them.

Judge Halevi's deed is under his arm as he enters his Jerusalem court room after the nine months. It is a thick manuscript. His verdict is in it.

The court room is filled, and the land of Israel holds its breath. In the court room old Malchiel Greenwald sits staring grimly. He has been well-behaved throughout the trial, contenting himself with derogatory grunts and salty mutterings. Tamir sits beside him.

Kastner is not present. Also missing is Attorney General Chaim Cohen.

Judge Halevi reads his verdict in a low voice that is almost a whisper. But under his quiet tone, a storm is audible. Pale, burning-eyed, and half whispering, Judge Halevi reads for fourteen hours.

Said Tamir, "A nation raises its eyes to the high seat of justice and awaits the sound of truth from it."

The nation hears that sound now. I quote only the vital fragments of Judge Halevi's verdict:


The masses of Jews from Hungary's ghettos obediently boarded the deportation trains without knowing their fate. They were full of confidence in the false information that they were being transferred to Kenyermeze.

The Nazis could not have misled the masses of Jews so conclusively had they not spread their false information through Jewish channels.

The Jews of the ghettos would not have trusted the Nazi or Hungarian rulers. But they had trust in their Jewish leaders. Eichmann and others used this known fact as part of their calculated plan to mislead the Jews. They were able to deport the Jews to their extermination by the help of Jewish leaders.

The false information was spread by the Jewish leaders. The local leaders of the Jews of Kluj and Nodvarod knew that other leaders were spreading such false information and did not protest.

Those of the Jews who tried to warn their friends of the truth were persecuted by the Jewish leaders in charge of the local "rescue work."

The trust of the Jews in the misleading information and their lack of knowledge that their wives, children and themselves were about to be deported to the gas chambers of Auschwitz led the victims to remain quiescent in their ghettos. It seduced them into not resisting or hampering the deportation orders.

Dozens of thousands of Jews were guarded in their ghettos by a few dozen police. Yet even vigorous young Jews made no attempt to overpower these few guards and escape to nearby Rumania. No resistance activities to the deportations were organized in these ghettos.

And the Jewish leaders did everything in their power to soothe the Jews in the ghettos and to prevent such resistance activities.

The same Jews who spread in Kluj and Nodvarod the false rumor of Kenyermeze, or confirmed it, the same public leaders who did not warn their own people against the misleading statements, the same Jewish leaders who did not organize any resistance or any sabotage of deportations, . . . these same leaders did not join the people of their community in their ride to Auschwitz, but were all included in the Rescue train.

The Nazi organizers of extermination and the perpetrators of extermination permitted Rudolf Kastner and the members of the Jewish Council in Budapest to save themselves, their relatives, and friends. The Nazis did this as a means of making the local Jewish leaders, whom they favored, dependent on the Nazi regime, dependent on its good will during the time of its fatal deportation schedule. In short, the Nazis succeeded in bringing the Jewish leaders into collaboration with the Nazis at the time of the catastrophe.

The Nazi chiefs knew that the Zionists were a most vital element in Jewry and the most trusted by the Jews.

The Nazis drew a lesson from the Warsaw ghetto and other belligerent ghettos. They learned that Jews were able to sell their lives very expensively if honorably guided.

Eichmann did not want a second Warsaw. For this reason, the Nazis exerted themselves to mislead and bribe the Jewish leaders.

The personality of Rudolph Kastner made him a convenient catspaw for Eichmann and his clique, to draw into collaboration and make their task easier.

The question here is not, as stated by the Attorney General in his summation, whether members of the Jewish Rescue Committee were or were not capable of fulfilling their duty without the patronage of the S.S. chiefs. It is obvious that without such S.S. Nazi patronage the Jewish Rescue Committee could not have existed, and could have acted only as an underground.

The question is, as put by the lawyer for the defense, why were the Nazis interested in the existence of the Rescue Committee? Why did the S.S. chiefs make every effort to encourage the existence of the Jewish Rescue Committee? Did the exterminators turn into rescuers?

The same question rises concerning the rescue of prominent Jews by these German killers of Jews. Was the rescue of such Jews a part of the extermination plan of the killers?

The support given by the extermination leaders to Kastner's Rescue Committee proves that indeed there was a place for Kastner and his friends in their Final Solution for the Jews of Hungary -- their total annihilation.

The Nazi's patronage of Kastner, and their agreement to let him save six hundred prominent Jews, were part of the plan to exterminate the Jews. Kastner was given a chance to add a few more to that number. The bait attracted him. The opportunity of rescuing prominent people appealed to him greatly. He considered the rescue of the most important Jews as a great personal success and a success for Zionism. It was a success that would also justify his conduct -- his political negotiation with Nazis and the Nazi patronage of his committee.

When Kastner received this present from the Nazis, Kastner sold his soul to the German Satan.

The sacrifice of the vital interests of the majority of the Jews, in order to rescue the prominents, was the basic element in the agreement between Kastner and the Nazis. This agreement fixed the division of the nation into two unequal camps; a small fragment of prominents, whom the Nazis promised Kastner to save, on the one hand, and the great majority of Hungarian Jews whom the Nazis designated for death, on the other hand. An imperative condition for the rescue of the first camp by the Nazis was that Kastner will not interfere in the action of the Nazis against the other camp and will not hamper them in its extermination. Kastner fulfilled this condition. He concentrated his efforts in the rescue of the prominents and treated the camp of the doomed as if they had already been wiped out from the book of the living.

One cannot estimate the damage caused by Kastner's collaboration and put down the number of victims which it cost Hungarian Jews. These are not only the thousands of Jews in Kluj alone, but also the thousands of Jews in Nodvarod or any other community in the border area; Jews who could escape through the border, had the chief of the rescue committee fulfilled his duty toward them.
All of Kastner's answers in his final testimony were a constant effort to evade this truth.

Kastner has tried to escape through every crack he could find in the wall of evidence. When one crack was sealed in his face, he darted quickly to another.


Judge Halevi reverts to the meeting of Kastner, Becher, and Rudolf Hoess, at the time when the "new line" of rescuing Jews was revealed by Hoess. He says:

From this gathering in Budapest, it is obvious that the. "new line" stretched from Himmler to Hoess, from Jutner [132] to Becher and Krumey.

Footnote 132. S.S. General Jutner, Chief of the Waffen S.S. on the Eastern Front, who accompanied Hoess on the visit to Budapest; who had always been met by Kastner according to the latter's testimony.


According to Kastner, however, these Nazis were all active in rescuing Jews.

This meeting of these important German guests in Budapest exposes the "rescue" work of Becher in its true light. It reveals also the extent of Kastner's involvement in the inner circle of the chief German war criminals.

Just as the Nazi war criminals knew they needed an alibi and hoped to achieve it by the rescue of a few Jews at the eleventh hour, so Kastner also needed an alibi for himself. Collaboration between the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee and the Exterminators of the Jews was solidified in Budapest and Vienna. Kastner's duties were part and parcel of the general duties of the S.S.

In addition to its Extermination Department and Looting Department, the Nazi S.S. opened a Rescue Department headed by Kastner.

All these extermination, robbery and rescue activities of the S.S. were coordinated under the management of Heinrich Himmler.


Judge Halevi continues:

Kastner perjured himself knowingly in his testimony before this court when he denied he had interceded in Becher's behalf. Moreover, he concealed the important fact that he interceded for Becher in the name of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress. [133]

As to the contents of Kastner's affidavit, it was enough for the defense to prove Becher was a war criminal. It was up to the prosecution to remove Becher from this status, if they wished to negate the affidavit.

The Attorney General admitted in his summation that Becher was a war criminal.

The lies in the contents of Kastner's affidavit, the lies in his testimony concerning the document, and Kastner's knowing participation in the activities of Nazi war criminals, and his participation in the last minute fake rescue activities -- all these combine to show one overwhelming truth -- that this affidavit was not given in good faith. [134]


Footnote 134. Statement by Richard H. Gutman, January 1, 1961:

"From the summer of 1945 to the summer of 1946 I was stationed as an intelligence and interrogation officer of the U.S. Army in Oberursel, Germany .... One of the men I interrogated was Standartenfuhrer (S.S. Colonel) Kurt Becher. ... At the time of the attack against Poland he was under the leadership of Fegelein, a member of the Reiter S.S. which committed the worst excesses in occupied Warsaw. I remember that during the interrogation it came out that Becher had contracted a venereal disease during the Polish campaign. . . . Undoubtedly Becher knew much more than he was willing to tell and was directly involved in many different aspects of the "final solution" to the Jewish problem as envisaged by Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann, etc., than he would ever be willing to admit. But his constant reference to the fact that he was a "friend" of the Jews and that he knew they would vouch for him was too much for me to take. I put him in solitary confinement for which he loudly thanked me because, as he put it, 'it gave me a chance to reflect on all the terrible things that had happened.' I finally escorted him by jeep to Nuremberg where I delivered him to the prison authorities.

"Shortly after I had delivered Kurt Becher, war criminal and leading S.S. officer on Himmler's staff, I found that due to the intercession of Mr. Rudolf Kastner, Becher was enjoying a comfortable existence in the witness wing of the Nuremberg prison.... I was shocked and couldn't believe it and went to see Kastner. . . . When I said to Kastner that I didn't understand his loyalty and concern for a man like Becher he answered me, with a sentimental and far-away look in his eye, that when he once went into an S.S. office, he saw their belts hanging on the clothes rack. And on the belt buckles was inscribed the motto, 'Meine Ehre ist True' -- My Honor is Loyalty."


Kastner knew well, as he himself testified, that Becher had never stood up against the stream of Jewish extermination, as Kastner had declared in the affidavit.

The aims of Becher and his superior, Rimmler, were not to save Jews but to serve the Nazi regime with full compliance. There is no truth and no good faith in Kastner's testimony, "I never doubted for one moment the good intention of good Becher."

It is clear that the positive recommendation by Kastner, not only in his own name but also in the name of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress was of decisive importance for Becher. Kastner did not exaggerate when he said that Becher was released by the Allies because of his personal intervention. The lies in the affidavit of Kastner and the contradictions and various pretexts, which were proven to be lies, were sufficient to annul the value of his statements and to prove that there was no good faith in his testimony in favor of this German war criminal. Kastner's affidavit in favor of Becher was a willfully false affidavit given in favor of a war criminal to save him from trial and punishment in Nuremberg.

Therefore, the defendant, Malchiel Greenwald, was correct in his accusations against Rudolf Kastner in the first, second, and fourth of his statements. [135]


Judge Halevi's verdict found Malchiel Greenwald generally innocent of libel against Kastner, but fined him one Israeli pound (fifty cents) for the one unproven accusation -- that Kastner had actually collected money from his Nazi partners for his aide to their slaughter program. The judge also ordered the Government of Israel to pay Greenwald two hundred pounds (one hundred dollars) as court costs.
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Re: Perfidy, by Ben Hecht

Postby admin » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:16 pm

THE MORNING AFTER

The trial had already cast a villain's shadow on the Ben-Gurion Kleagles. Halevi's verdict aggravated their problem -- how to rise and keep shining as the custodians of Jewish honor in the face of evidence to the contrary.

There was a way -- caution, patience, and faith in the political psychology of the mob. The new Israelites were like the people of any other nation -- eager to believe in the virtues of their masters, and quick to forget any proof that these virtues were non-existent.

Halevi's verdict was an emancipation proclamation for the soul of Israel. But a soul is harder to set free than Uncle Tom. The soul of a people is no eagle soaring toward the sun, but a ground hog blinking out at it.

The Ben-Gurionites know all the tricks -- how to bamboozle a people and keep the trumpets of righteousness pealing. They know also how to orchestrate the word "smear," and how to hide guilt in the strut of importance. But, chiefly, the leaders of Israel, like all leaders, know that moral indignation in the public is usually a brief passion. Usually a few headlines, a few editorials, a few denunciatory rallies and parades with hand-made posters, will suffice for its full expression. After which, the rebellion will subside to a cafe and parlor mutter. And, presently, to a repentance for ever having existed at all.

Thus will the Ben-Gurionites arise out of the almost-Revolution that almost filled the land. They will remain in their swivel chairs, with their names lettered on the doors of government.

Nevertheless, though no Israeli job holder except Prime Minister Sharett is booted out of office, in the hearts of Israel something has been overthrown. An illusion has collapsed. The face of the government of Israel will no longer be the face of Hebrew dreams, but the scandal-pocked winner's phiz of the politician. Not to all, but to many.

The government clique will continue, but its bloom will change, just as a love affair changes in the heart of a lover after glimpsing his Isolde between the sheets with another. Forgiveness and forgetfulness may ensue. Kissing may be resumed. But magic is out of the cuckold's bedroom.

Thus Tamir's court-room revolution does not overthrow a regime. It reveals it. And it sets the soul of Israel to brooding.

Israel's press erupted and kept erupting over the Halevi verdict as if His Honor had bombed Jerusalem.

Dr. Moshe Keren, one of the nation's leading political journalists, who had been considerably pro-Kastner, wrote in Haaretz -- the New York Times of Israel,


Kastner must be brought to trial as a Nazi collaborator. And at this trial, Kastner should defend himself as a private citizen, and not be defended by the Israeli government.

. . . The manner in which the Attorney General allowed Tamir to play with them [the government] and so completely dominate the case, can only be described as a shameful show. A government official is sometimes allowed to fail, like any other human being. But such a tremendous failure calls for consequences. [136]


(Item: The consequences for Chaim Cohen-promotion to Supreme Court Judge.)

Keren continues:


The echoes of the Kastner trial will keep on among us for years and years to come. They will continue to poison the air above us, like those famous historical trials after which old governments fell and new governments arose.

The State of Israel will never be after this verdict what it used to be before the verdict. [137]


After writing seven installments on the Kastner case, Dr. Keren flew to Germany. His intention was to interview Kurt Becher.

A few days after his arrival in Germany, journalist Keren was found dead in a German hotel. The diagnosis was "heart attack."

Dr. Keren was clasping a book on the Jewish extermination in his dead hand.


The newspaper Herut editorialized:

"Israel is fortunate to have an independent judge." [138]

Hatzofe, a religious paper, pronounced:

"The decision will have deep echoes in our generation and generations to come." [139]

Lamerchav, the pro-government Kibbutz paper, stated:

"Nobody can shut his eyes to the tremendous educational value and great national importance this verdict will have." [140]

Haboker, the general Zionist pro-government paper, stated:

"The public wants to know the real facts about Kastner, and not about him alone. The only way to find out the truth is to put all the Rescue Committee people on trial and give them a chance to offer their defense." [141]

Maarev, Israel's largest evening paper, stated:

"This is one of the most terrible blows ever received by the Mapai -- coming as it does just before the elections." [142]

Yediat Achranot, an independent evening paper, stated:

"If Kastner is brought to trial the entire government faces a total political and national collapse -- as a result of what such a trial may disclose." [143]

Davar, the Ben-Gurion party paper, stated:

"Any attempt to decide in 1955 how rescue workers should have acted ten years ago is undertaking a tremendous human and historical responsibility.

"And it is astonishing how a single judge had the courage to take upon himself this responsibility." [144]

Kol-Haam -- Voice of the People -- a Communist paper, stated:

"All those whose relatives were butchered by the Germans in Hungary know now clearly that Jewish hands helped the mass murder." [145]

The Jerusalem Post -- English paper (pro-government) -- offered:

"The most you can wish for Dr. Kastner is that now, after having been found guilty of grave crimes, he will be brought to trial by normal procedure -- and will be prosecuted by the State prosecution and not by a lawyer with a political ax to grind." [146]

Mr. Argov, one of Ben-Gurion's closest friends, and chairman of the Defense and Security Committee in Parliament, stated:

"Only a ruthless judge could hand down such a verdict." [147]

Ben-Gurion, himself, was more coy in his comment. [148]


Footnote 148. However, the judgment was never forgiven Halevi. When the Eichmann trial came up, the government, through Minister of Justice Pinhas Rosen and the new Attorney General, Gideon Hausner, acted in an unprecedented manner by introducing and passing through Parliament a special law which was intended to deprive Halevi of the right to preside over the Eichmann trial. The same Minister of Justice, Rosen, launched in Parliament a special pressure campaign on Halevi to disqualify himself from sitting in the Eichmann trial.


He stated:

"Judge Halevi's verdict has aroused in me deep astonishment both in substance and style." [149]

Rudolf Kastner, in a radio interview, stated:

"I am a victim like Captain Dreyfus." [150]

(In the Dreyfus case a Judge was bribed and the trial proved to be a frame-up -- against Dreyfus.)

Dr. Karlebach, one of Israel's brightest journalists, wrote in Maariv:


What is going on here? The Attorney General has to mobilize all the government power, appear himself in court, to justify and defend collaboration with Himmler! And in order to defend a quisling, the government must drag through the streets one of the grimmest stories of our history!

At 11 P.M. the verdict was given. At 11 A.M. next morning the government announces the defense of Kastner will be renewed -- an appeal filed. What exemplary expediency! [151] Since when does this government possess such lawyer-genius who can weigh in one night the legal chances of an appeal on a detailed, complex verdict of three hundred pages? [152]


The whole question of the extermination of Europe's Jewry was revived by the trial and its verdict. It continued to sound throughout Israel despite Ben-Gurion's German handshaking policy.

There is one comic note in these morning-after shudders of Israel. It is sounded by Chaim Cohen -- who else?

After his all-out defeat by Tamir, and with the land full of cries of "Fire Cohen!", the Attorney General draws up a new law for Israel and submits it for adoption.

It is a new evidence law, especially tailored for Israel -- to prevent another Kastner case, and another government fiasco. It restrains an attorney from attacking a witness too severely, from bullying or insulting a witness, or from asking questions without advance proof of their answers. [153]

This is the same Chaim Cohen who had proposed a law allowing the use in court of a confession secured by the police by physical force.

Israel's parliament adopts Chaim Cohen's "please-don't-hurt-me-Mr. Tamir-law" -- with modifications. It leaves the matter and manner of wangling truth out of government officials up to the presiding judge. [154]

This is a setback for Chaim Cohen. But a Supreme Court judgeship for life will take the sting out of it.


MY OWN SUMMATION

Rudolf Kastner's story is vicious. But it has a human pulse in it. And there are glints of courage and pain in it. He is understandable.

But the others -- Ben-Gurion, Sharett and Company -- are a harder lot to plumb. Looked at as humans, they are almost preposterous. Obviously they have to be looked at as something else -- not Jews, not citizens, but the Face of Authority, as old as the first cities of the world.

A hundred thousand differently named gods have spoken out of this Council Chamber Face -- from Babylon and Crete to Washington and Moscow -- and the Jerusalem of the new Zion. And if it is not quite gods who speak today, the voices are not a bit less all-knowing and unknowable.

The most preposterous fact at hand about the ruling clique of Israel is this: How did it happen that these potentates were dimwitted enough to launch such a suit as must bring them to obloquy?

The Golden Calves of Israel could not have been ignorant of what lay behind Kastner. Yet they boldly launch the case that will expose what they have carefully hidden for a decade.

The answer is that authority has an unshakable faith in the image of virtue it calls itself. Authority knows the thousand lies and shenanigans out of which it was created. But authority does not regard these as its true character. Its true character is not what it is, but what it can induce people to believe it is. Thus, until it is led off to the guillotine for its villainies, its true character is always glory and beneficence.

Like the actor, authority has faith in its false whiskers.

But its deepest faith is in the human hunger for illusion. People will hang on to illusion as eagerly as to life itself.

To the people, the false whiskers are the Prophet; the actor strut of Bossism is the Patriot; the reiterated lies of power are the soul of truth.

The government of Israel launched its case against Greenwald because it believed staunchly in the stupidity of the People and the power of the Lie.

To be betrayed, misused, lied to, robbed of youth and life; to be inoculated with hates and manias never in their heads before, and to be sent forth to kill and get killed -- all this has always been the lot of peoples unfortunate enough to enter history. The Jews are no exception, although there is a difference in verbs -- they were not urged on to die, but permitted to die.

I have a personal involvement in this matter of how six million Jews of Europe were permitted to be slaughtered by the Germans. I worked with those in the United States -- the only ones -- who tried with all their might to break the Silence in which Europe's Jews were being exterminated. When the massacre had hardly more than started, the propaganda committees of the Irgun Zvai Leumi in New York City began banging out the bloody news.

Two young men of the Irgun, Peter Bergson and Samuel Merlin, came to the United States from Palestine, without contacts or funds. Occupying a hall bedroom, they used the lobbies of swanky hotels in which to hold stowaway press conferences, and in no time at all they hatched a series of propaganda committees glittering with notables. I was their co-chairman, later joined by Senator Guy M. Gillette and novelist Louis Bromfield.

I list the numbers of our notables, not to show how powerful we were, but how powerful was the opposition of Jewish Agency and Zionist organizations. For the opposition of Jewish Authority won the day. Although we could break the conspiracy of Silence in large meeting halls and in coast-to-coast newspapers and magazines, we could not grab the ear of government. The slick and respectable Jewish organizations of the United States kept this ear plugged.

On our side, working for our various committees -- for a Jewish Army in Palestine to help fight the Germans, for a Free Palestine, for the smuggling of German-doomed Jews into British-closed Palestine; working for us as lobbyists, helping us raise funds, stage pageants and perform in them; endorsing our conferences, proclamations and appeals, were the following categories. I take the count from a Proclamation in 1943 signed with the names of these: thirty-three U.S. senators, one hundred and nine members of the House of Representatives, fourteen reigning state governors, fourteen outstanding ambassadors and members of President Roosevelt's Cabinet, (never Mr. Roosevelt, himself), fifty-five justices and judges of various Supreme and district courts, sixty mayors of leading American cities; four hundred rabbis in all the centers of American Jewry, and almost twice as many Catholic and Protestant right reverends, priests, ministers; a score of American Army generals, colonels and Navy admirals and rear admirals; scores of national leaders in high government posts, five hundred university presidents and professors; and an equal number of playwrights, poets, newspaper editors, and book writers; also hundreds of star actors, singers, dancers, and showmen.

Their names are too many to enumerate, and their contributions of talent, prestige, and energy are also too many for listing. But I cannot pass by the names of my friends Kurt Weill and Arthur Szyk. Weill wrote all the music for all our pageants and rallies. Szyk, one of the best artists of his day, drew all the pictures, scrolls, and ornamentations for our printed propaganda.

The notables on our roster were sufficient seemingly to sweep any cause to victory. That they didn't was due to two factors -- our notables were not all of them on our side all the time. They came and went, like volunteer firemen. And the Jewish respectables outnumbered us. However many senators, congressmen, governors, rabbis, priests, college presidents, and puissant dignitaries of every stratum we could muster, the Jewish respectables could come up with five times as many. And not volunteer firemen, but full-time affiliates.

This difference is due to the fact that protest is always a part-time activity; and respectability is a life-time job. There was also another factor against us. Most of our high-powered cohorts and endorsers were Gentiles. Out of the five thousand Important Names we were able to pipe to our side, hardly a handful were Important Jewish Names.

Thus our Gentile Captains of a Thousand, after winning a battle, felt it their duty to step aside modestly and permit the Jewish leaders of the land to finish the victory. We could convince our Gentiles of our cause, but we could seldom convince them that nearly all the fine American Jews whom they admired were the enemies of our cause.

There was no such confusion among these fine American Jews. They knew on what side they were, and they stayed there, battling away vigorously and ceaselessly on two fronts. One was the front of Silence. Directives for this front came from Ben-Gurion, Weizmann, et al. in Palestine. They were the custodians of the Jewish future. They knew what was going on. And American Jewry (like the doomed ones of Europe) translated their cowardly policies of expediency and parochial politics into the noblest of Jewish objectives.

The second Front of American Jewry's respectables was to convince the world that we who were shouting the news of the slaughter were liars, publicity seekers, race racketeers and, at best, misinformed cases of hysteria. We were, they said, the Wrong People.

It is always a losing battle, this trying to outshout authority. Those who have been in one are left with the conviction that it is easier to waken the dead than the living. But what a hopeless world it would be without this record of lost battles.

In addition to the pageants and oratorical marathons staged by our "outlawed" group, the Bergson-Merlin Committees also kept a barrage of full-page newspaper ads going at the Silence. I wrote most of these ads.

The ads in their large type were like the black flags of holocaust. They advertised graphically the slaughter of Europe's Jews, and called for the residents of the White House and Downing Street to cry halt to the Germans in their murder. Graphic though they were, and truthful, they failed in their mission.

I offer one tragic example and one (of many) explanations of this failure.

During a midnight walk on Fifth Avenue, my friend Kurt Weill paused under a street light and read me a Swiss newspaper clipping. It was the story of an offer made by the Rumanian Government to the American and British Governments to allow seventy thousand Trans-Dniestria Jews to leave Rumania, at the cost of fifty dollars each for transport to the border. The story stressed that the offer would be voided as soon as the Germans entered Rumania. They were due any week.

Bergson and Merlin, through underground sources, verified the Swiss story immediately. Such an offer had been made through diplomatic channels. The American State Department had received and pigeonholed it. The British had done the same, naturally.

I wrote a full page ad in the New York papers that announced in heavy type:

FOR SALE
70,000 JEWS
AT
$50 APIECE
GUARANTEED HUMAN BEINGS


The ad explained briefly that three and a half million dollars would rescue the seventy thousand Rumanian Jews from murder by the Germans.

On the appearance of this news advertising copy, Rabbi Stephen Wise, [155]...[/b]

Footnote 155. When the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe called upon the American Government to establish a War Refugee Board, Rabbi Stephen Wise, testifying before a special committee of the American Congress, objected to this proposal.


Zionist chieftain in New York and guiding light for the city's Jewish respectables, issued the following statement. The date was February 23, 1943:

"The American Jewish Congress, dealing with the matter in conjunction with recognized Jewish organizations, wishes to state that no confirmation has been received regarding this alleged offer of the Rumanian Government to allow seventy thousand Jews to leave Rumania. Therefore no collection of funds would seem justified."

The Jewish Agency in London also denied the Rumanian offer. This denial was cabled to American newspapers, and carried by them. And reading it, American Jews felt grateful to the Jewish Agency for removing the ugly Rumanian problem from their consciences.

Peter Bergson telephoned Undersecretary of State Adolph A. Berle, Jr., and asked him to affirm or deny the Rumanian offer. Berle said he would call back with the answer. He did, the next day. The story was true, said Berle. The State Department had received such an offer from the Rumanian government.

Years later, Bartley Crum, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, confirmed the facts of the offer. Bartley Crum stated what we knew in 1943, and what the Zionists and Jewish Agency, with their vastly superior organizations, must also have known in 1943.Lawyer Crum revealed that the seventy thousand Rumanian Jews could have been saved, and transported to Palestine via Turkey -- a few days' ride in a truck; but that because of Jewish pressure the State Department had not given out the news.

But in 1943, we, who called out the plight of the Rumanian Jews to the world, were discredited by the Zionist unions, the established Zionist leadership and their associated philanthropies, as scandalmongers. Our attempt to get the Jews out of Rumania before the Germans came was scotched.

The seventy thousand Jews who might have been saved were herded into barns by the Germanized Rumanians under General Antonescu, hosed with gasoline, ignited, and shot down when they came blazing and screaming out of their cauldrons.

Was it for this the conspirators of Silence had been holding their high-level meetings, fraternizing with presidents and prime ministers and keeping intact Weizmann's pro-English policy of an "exclusive" (more or less Jew-less) Palestine? This Silence, this wretched business of Jewish leaders lying about the slaughter of Europe's Jewry -- trying to hide it, soft-pedal it -- for what?

These organizations, these philanthropists, these timorous Jewish lodge members in Zion, London and America -- these Zionist leaders who let their six million kinsmen bum, choke, hang, without protest, with indifference, and even with a glint of anti-Semitic cunning in their political plannings -- I sum up against them. These factotums, these policy-makers, the custodians of the Jewish future in Palestine who hung on to their jobs, who lorded it over their real estate holdings in Palestine, who obeyed the British demand that no ruckus be raised about Europe's Jews being murdered, and that nothing be done to disturb the British sign hung out over all the ports of Palestine -- "No Jews Wanted" -- these Zionist men and women -- I haul into the prisoner's dock of this book.

What would have happened to the Jews of Europe had these Leaders raised their authoritative voices in their behalf? Who knows what even the British would have done had Saul cried out in Tel Aviv rather than Uriah Heep? Would an unselfish, passionate demand for the lives of the six million (one third of the world's Jews) by the official Jewish Leaders have awakened the hearts of England and the United States?

I do not know. I answer only out of my faith in humans. Just as they can be blinded to all goodness by the villainy of leaders, so can they be stirred to noble enterprise by the honor and strength of their leaders. My faith says that nearly all the six million Jews could have been saved, and the honor of our century saved with them -- had the powerful American Jewry alone united in a campaign to save them. And had those Palestine leaders who stayed mum on the slaughter and were garrulous as geese on the needs of Zionism in Palestine -- had they cried out -- would they have survived as leaders? Would the British have ousted them, and gutted the "dream of Zionism"?

Again, I do not know. [156] I know only that, by my measure, such honorable human behavior would have been of deeper worth to the world than a dozen States of Israel.


A SONG OF SONGS -- ?

Chaim Cohen took nine days to argue his appeal before the Supreme Court Judges, five in number.

Hark to the Cohen voice sounding in the Supreme Court.

"All this talk about Kastner's collaboration with the Nazis is fairy tales! Fairy tales! Never in human history -- neither Jewish nor Gentile -- was there such a miscarriage of justice." [157]

In this statement, Israel's Attorney General implies that the sorrowful verdict of an honorable Jewish judge sitting in judgment on German crimes is worse than the judgments of the Spanish Inquisition, the Stalin purge trials, and the German verdicts under Hitler. (This is taking in only the more recent phases of "human history.")

Cohen rants about Halevi:

"Look at the style the judge uses! This judge said (in his verdict), 'Kastner lied.' . . . 'Kastner lied here again.' Look at that style! The way he uses the word, 'lied,' 'lied,' 'lied'!" [158]

"Kastner did nothing more and nothing less than was done by us in rescuing the Jews and bringing them to Palestine," cries Cohen, vindicating everybody at one stroke. [159]

Footnote 159. Chaim Cohen also said, "The man Kastner does not stand here as a private individual. He was a recognized representative, official or nonofficial, of the Jewish National Institutes in Palestine and of the Zionist Executive; and I come here in this court to defend the representative of our national institutions."


Cohen defines the Jewish Agency philosophy -- "You are allowed -- in fact it is your duty -- to risk losing the many in order to save the few." [160]

Footnote 160. Chaim Cohen admitted, "that Eichmann, the chief exterminator, knew that the Jews would be peaceful and not resist if he allowed the prominents to be saved, that the, 'train of the prominents' was organized on Eichmann's orders to facilitate the extermination of the whole people." However, he added that "there was no room for any resistance to the Germans in Hungary and that Kastner was allowed to draw the conclusion that if all the Jews of Hungary are to be sent to their death he is entitled to organize a rescue train for 600 people. He is not only entitled to it but is also bound to act accordingly." He continued explaining that this attitude toward extermination had always been the system of the national Jewish institutions, who gave emigration certificates to Palestine only to a few of the masses who wanted to emigrate -- emigration based on selectivity.


Chaim Cohen reads Rabbi Weissmandel's letter from his Slovakian cave -- the cry for help which the Zionist leaders had ignored -- and hidden from the world. He recites liltingly now its despairs, whose every sentence is an indictment of the guilt of his colleagues -- the abandonment of Europe's doomed Jews in return for England's good will, and in favor of the quicker development of Zionist real estate. And Chaim Cohen weeps as he reads the rabbi's passionate words. Sorrow rends his bosom. (Chaim Cohen's)

Chaim Cohen weeps for the exterminated ones a bit tardily -- ten years tardily. I am sure they are nevertheless not crocodile tears, but honest Jewish ones. Thus might a great general weep for the multitude of soldiers who had to be killed in order for his battle to be won.

When the newspapers reported that in his appeal to the highest court Chaim Cohen wept over the slaughtered Jews of Hungary, who remembered that ten years before the government clique turned their backs on these same dying ones and served the British with their silence on the subject? A few chronic troublemakers remembered. But the great public of Israel sighed appreciatively over Chaim Cohen's good Jewish heart, and the good Jewish hearts of all the Bosses who were also quick with tears, and rhetoric for the six million victims of the Nazis.

This is not because the Jews of Israel are more gullible than the goyim of England and the United States. It's merely that being Jews is of no help; they are no brighter than any other public.

Here are a few final samples of Cohen's political philosophy, as offered to the Supreme Court judges:

"If in Kastner's opinion, rightly or wrongly, he believed that one million Jews were hopelessly doomed, he was allowed not to inform them of their fate; and to concentrate on the saving of the few.

"He was entitled to make a deal with the Nazis for the saving of a few hundred and entitled not to warn the millions. In fact, if that's how he saw it, rightly or wrongly, that was his duty."

Said Cohen:

"If you don't like it, if it doesn't coincide with your own philosophy, you may criticize Kastner and say his policy. was a mistaken one. But what does all this have to do with collaboration?  [161] ... It has always been our Zionist tradition to select the few out of many in arranging the immigration to Palestine [the Weizmann Blueprint]. Are we therefore to be called traitors?"

Nazis and Communists have written: "I served my country, as do the patriots of the Western democracies whose ideal is 'My country, right or wrong.'"

Such loyalty and faith in a Party Line is Chaim Cohen's basic theme. He argues, impassionedly, that if the Supreme Court should confirm Judge Halevi's verdict, it would mean that they indict the entire system and government of Israel.

And thus I leave Chaim Cohen intoning his statist Song of Songs in Israel's Highest Court. [162]

Footnote 162. In his Supreme Court reply Tamir said:

"I shall defend before you not only an historical judgment, not only the truth, but also the hundreds of thousands of slaughtered people against whom the most horrible defamation was made here -- that they were like sheep to be taken to slaughter. 1 shall prove that one cannot purify and exonerate Kastner without exonerating Becher and Himmler and without concurring with what Hitler said of the hundreds of thousands of Jews -- 'garbage of the earth' .... There is no human being who is authorized to deprive 800,000 Jews of the clear knowledge as to what awaits them; who is allowed to deprive them of their right to try and escape, to jump from the train or even commit suicide with honor; to deprive a mother of her right to tear away the eyes of the beast before it assails her child; to deprive them of their right to choose between life and death."

Referring to the patronage given to Kastner by the S.S. high command during the last year of the war, Tamir said in his summation,

"Thus the circle is closed. The same Krumey who exterminated the Jews has sent Kastner into the Kluj ghetto; the same Krumey brings him a few days before the end of the war safely, in a special car, to the Swiss border.

. . . "I know that this Kastner is a victim and is a very miserable, ruined human being. But tolerance toward his crimes may mean an unheard of cruelty toward the exterminated Jewish people .... This is not a trial of Greenwald or even of Kastner alone. The question is whether the same fate would have befallen all the Jews of Hungary had they known the whole truth. I challenge this court not to issue a moral death penalty on these Jews after their death. Because it is this the learned Attorney General is calling upon you to do.

"The whole nation is now facing an immense moral test, through you. I pray that we shall stand the test.
"
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Re: Perfidy, by Ben Hecht

Postby admin » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:13 pm

HERE IS "NEW EVIDENCE"!

Attorney Tamir has won a great legal victory, but he feels no glow of triumph. This is because he was not so much an attorney arguing a libel case before a judge, as a sort of one-man revolution in a black gown trying to tip over an unpalatable 'government. Despite his victory, Tamir notes that the government still stands, and that Ben-Gurion and all his henchmen are still the mighty of Israel.

And he girds himself to finish the job. History is full of men who wouldn't give up. The lone Tamir is like that.

Tamir's major plan is to bring Rudolph Kastner to trial as a Nazi collaborator. [163]

Footnote 163. In Israel, the complaint of a single citizen against a suspect of Nazi collaboration was enough to detain him and start a police inquiry. In the case of Kastner, despite the finding of the president of the District Court -- which came after a trial lasting continuously for a full nine months with dozens of witnesses and hundreds of documents -- neither the police nor the attorney general's office was willing even to start an interrogation of Kastner. An official complaint filed by Tamir on behalf of Greenwald after Judge Halevi's verdict also remained without response.


There is a little difficulty here. In such a trial, the same government group that embraced Dr. Kastner as one of their finest heroes, will have to turn on him and try to get him hanged as the most evil of men. It is a spectacle hard to imagine -- Ben-Gurion and his aides standing with heads bowed and moaning "mea culpa." Nevertheless, Tamir embarks on this project.

First he must dig up new evidence of Kastner's guilt as a Nazi life-saver. Such new evidence plus Judge Halevi's verdict of guilty will leave the government no choice. They will have to bring their own Kastner to trial.

Another certainty. Should the Supreme Court uphold the Halevi verdict in full or in a split decision, the trial of Rudolf Kastner must follow as day does night.

During the trial Tamir filed away scores of clues that pointed to further Kastner pro-Nazi doings. The clues lay in the harmony of the Jew-Killer quartette -- Becher, Eichmann, Krumey, and Wisliczeny. These four were all Dr. Kastner's chums. During the Hungarian extermination, all treated him as a court favorite. Thus, if he went to Becher's rescue, why not to Krumey's, Eichmann's, Wisliczeny's?

Tamir knows the finale of two of the Nazis -- Becher and Colonel Von Wisliczeny. Wisliczeny is identified on the Jewish Agency War Criminal List, Card 0-685, as Heinrich Himmler's brother-in-law, as supervisor of the extermination of the Jews in Greece; as officiating at the killing of sixty thousand Slovakian Jews; as helping organize the deportation -- of Hungary's Jews to Auschwitz.

Hearing that "Willie" Von Wisliczeny had been captured by the Slovaks and was going to be tried for all the aforesaid activities, Dr. Kastner had hurried to the rescue. There was only oneway to keep this member of the Budapest Quartet from being strung up: this was to get him out of the bloodthirsty hands of the Slovaks into cooler American mitts. Dr. Kastner writes to the American authorities in Nuremberg about von Wisliczeny.

"It is particularly fitting that the U.S.A. conduct such a prosecution because the German satellites are too implicated in the anti-Jewish program. They may, therefore, not be able to conduct such a trial with all its ramifications in an impartial manner." [164]

A bold letter. Its lie yells out of it -- that the Slovaks may feel too guilty as anti-Semites to punish anti-Jewish Von Wisliczeny. The truth is that the Slovaks are boiling with rage against this exterminator; so indignant, in fact, that they stick "Willie's" neck in a noose and finish him off before the Americans can get around to acting on the advice of the Jewish Agency Rescue Chief, as they did in the case of the other Quartet member -- Kurt Becher.

But nobody notes this black-is-white Kastner appeal for Von Wisliczeny until Tamir looks at it with his huntsman's eye.

The third of the quartet, Adolf Eichman, has vanished, leaving no footprints; and Tamir focuses on the last musketeer -- Colonel Hermann Krumey. Among the things Kastner testified to in Jerusalem about this apple-cheeked bad boy of the S.S. was that he had been convicted as a war criminal by the Americans in Nuremberg and was doing time in some prison. Tamir believes Kastner lied, and that he had helped Krumey as he did Becher.

But Tamir's theory hits a rock. lie runs down Kastner's testimony at the 1945 preparatory sessions of the International Court. Dr. Kastner stated:

"Colonel Hermann Krumey directed the killing of Jews in Austria, Hungary and Poland." [165]

Footnote 165. During the Greenwald trial, as well, Kastner stated on oath that "Krumey was one of the chief exterminators" and as such "he deserved no help," and that in fact he, Kastner, never did anything for him.


Nevertheless, Tamir persists. With a plane ticket and ten dollars in his pocket, Tamir hops from London to the Pentagon in Washington. Within its file-bulging walls are the records of the Nuremberg trials. Working alone, with all the doors of organized Jewry bolted against him, and with no other status than that of an inquisitive lawyer subsisting on sandwiches, Tamir pulls the truth about Herman Krumey out of American pigeon holes.

First a record of Krumey's testimony as a War Crimes prisoner. Colonel Krumey testified September 23, 1947, in Nuremberg. [166] American prosecutor Herbert Meyer did the questioning. Tamir reads:

Meyer: What position did you have in Budapest?

Krumey: I was in the department of S.S. Commander Adolf Eichmann.


Then Krumey related that when Vienna fell he was assigned by Eichmann to escort a Rudolph Kastner to Switzerland.

Meyer: Who was Kastner?

Krumey: He was a Zionist leader.

Meyer: What was his job?

Krumey: To help and rescue Jews in Budapest. When the Russians occupied Hungary he came to Vienna with me.

Meyer: Was he Jewish?

Krumey: Oh, yes. And I helped him a great deal in his work.

Meyer: Why did he go to Switzerland with you?

Krumey: I don't know exactly. But I think he was afraid of the negroes who came into Vienna with the French. I know he was also afraid of the Russians. He took his wife along to Switzerland.

Meyer: What did you do in Hungary while you were there?

Krumey: I was in charge of the censorship of the Jewish press.


(This is a lie worthy of Kastner himself. There was no Jewish press in Hungary. The Germans had stamped it out, along with all the journalists, editors, critics, and global experts attached to it.)

Meyer: Where is Kastner now?

Krumey: Dr. Kastner is now in Geneva. I have a letter from him.


And Krumey reads into the record the letter from the Jewish Agency Rescue head in Budapest, Dr. Kastner:

Most Honorable Mr. Krumey,

I have sent a report to the Zionist Congress meeting in Basel in which I have officially clarified and identified the work done by those who were of help to the Jews....

I hope that my efforts in your behalf will enable you to regain your freedom, and to start a new life on a new basis. I shall do all I can to help you in this matter.

With heartiest regards,

Dr. Rudolph Kastner [167]


Later, Tamir runs down another document -- Kastner's sworn affidavit given to Benno Selcke, assistant to the Chief of American Evidence Division of Nuremberg. The affidavit identifies Krumey as a good Samaritan to the Jews. Here, Kastner deposes under oath, "I wish to point out that Hermann Krumey performed his duties in a laudable spirit of good will, at a time when the life and death of many depended on him." [168]

Following Kastner's letter and affidavit, Krumey, the goodwill ambassador to Lidice and the Death Camps was released.

Item: Today (1961) Colonel Krumey is again a prisoner in Frankfurt. The charges of war crimes against him are heavy. In the German Prosecutor's hands are only two affidavits in Krumey's favor. They are by Becher and Kastner. [169]

How will the Prosecution be able to rationalize or dismiss this new evidence against Kastner? Tamir returns to Tel Aviv convinced now that all the power and publicity Ben-Gurion and his train-bearers can muster against bringing Kastner to judgment will avail nothing. The laws of Israel are lucidly written, and the judges of Israel are one of its finest achievements. And the State of Israel, itself, is a small glass house in which concealment of perfidious deeds is not possible. Everyone can look in; everyone can see.

Thus Tamir, his suitcase full of new dynamite evidence, daydreams of a house-cleaning trial for Israel. A New Deal must come out of such a trial. Such a trial must put an end to the thirty-nine years of bondage of Palestine's Jews to Ben-Gurion, Agency and Party.

With the new Krumey evidence, the story of the Budapest Quartet is complete in Tamir's files. The evidence is that the four S.S. Colonels and Jewish Agency chief Kastner arranged their escape plot during the time of Jew-killing.

Not precisely, as one arranges a bank merger. There were too many unforeseeable plot turns. But arranged it as an over-all modus operandi. Three of the Colonels would return to Germany and take their chances on facing arrest and trial as war criminals. Dr. Kastner would then ride to the rescue of these three and plead for them as a rescuer of Jews, as an official high in the councils of Jewish officialdom; and his pleading would gain freedom for the three exterminators.

All three, and Kastner also, would dump the guilt of the Budapest quartet on the missing member, after helping the scapegoat achieve invisibility. [170] The Quartet member who went into hiding, to become the sole symbol of Nazi evil in Hungary, was Adolf Eichmann. [171]

Footnote 171. For years after the war, the Israeli authorities neither asked for the extradition of the German war criminals from Germany nor searched for Eichmann's hideaway. It was only after the Kastner trial developments that the subject was revived in the country and the search started.


There is only one worry in Tamir's battle plan. His chief weapon is now Rudolf Kastner. What if something happens to this weapon?

Shortly after Judge Halevi's verdict, Tamir warned publicly that Kastner now walked in danger and insisted that he be guarded day and night. Two guards from the secret police were assigned to watch that no harm befell Kastner.

With the Supreme Court decision due any day, a friend says to Tamir,

"A second Kastner trial will never take place. Too much is involved. Too many people will get hurt. And it is easily avoidable. With either Tamir or Kastner dead -- half the headaches of the Israeli Government would be cured."

BEN-GURION'S CROP OF DILEMMAS

In the winter of 1956, troubles pile up for Ben-Gurion and his henchmen. I will say for Israel's chieftain that he has a striking talent for slipping out of headlocks. For one thing, there is no shame in him. You can floor Ben-Gurion with enough exposes to leave a dozen prime ministers whimpering. Not Ben-Gurion. He thrives on exposure and fattens on scandal. [172]

Footnote 172. The last three scandals involving Ben-Gurion:

A. The Lavon affair where the majority of his own government practically determined that Ben-Gurion's own group was responsible for the frame-up against Pinchas Lavon, former minister of defense, in connection with a grave security matter.

B. The Israel Beer affair -- a shady Israeli military historian who was groomed by Ben-Gurion as the official military historian. After attributing almost every Israeli victory to Ben-Gurion's brilliance, Beer was handed his post by Ben-Gurion. This post gave him access to the most secret military files. In spite of the warning of the Intelligence Service, Ben-Gurion refused to fire Beer until he was finally caught and exposed as a Russian spy.

C. Ben-Gurion's declaration that every Jew living outside Israel is Godless.


Where other statesmen would be pleading for mercy, Ben-Gurion's voice only rings out that he is still God's gift to the Jews.

And who knows but what he is -- a gift somewhere between the parting of the Red Sea and the forty-day rainfall around Noah's Canaan.

High on Ben-Gurion's trouble agenda is a new ill wind. Son Amos Ben-Gurion, Assistant Chief of Police of Israel, has also instituted a suit for libel. Son Amoshad lost his temper on reading a pamphlet published by a group of students of the Hebrew University. The group was known as the Line of Volunteers. It published the pamphlets, until recently much admired by Ben-Gurion's Mapai Party.

This latest pamphlet, however, forfeited the Ben-Gurion esteem, for it seemed to proclaim that his son Amos Ben-Gurion was involved in police corruption. Backing up Amos Ben- Gurion in his suit for libel against four of the Line of Volunteer students, were the Israeli Chief of Police, Yechezkel Sahar, and the personnel of Israel's Intelligence Service; also Attorney Michael Kaspi.

The trial is to give the government clique almost as big a black eye as the Kastner case had done. The Supreme Court will convict Chief of Police Sahar as a perjurer, and reprimand Amos Ben-Gurion and his lawyer Michael Kaspi [173] for their crooked tactics in the conduct of the trial. The judges censured Amos, his lawyer, and their array of high-government witnesses -- for falsely using the pretexts of national security and national defense to keep incriminating material hidden from the court. [174]

The Amos Ben-Burion mess was an expose not only of the dishonorable behavior of Amos, but the first of the anti-Intelligence Service scandals to stir the land.

In the winter of 1957, the Amos trial was at its height, and one of the matters especially plaguing to Ben-Gurion was the fact that the lawyer defending the four university students and clobbering the Ben-Gurion name was Tamir. Yes, Shmuel Tamir, the same one. [175]

Footnote 175. During this trial, the Ben-Gurion group, aided by the Israeli Intelligence Service, published a special weekly called Rimon. Its main theme was a violent smear campaign against Tamir, who was described as, "the enemy of the people." The management of the weekly posted special notices on the walls of Tel Aviv for weeks with a picture of Tamir and derogatory captions. The weekly was financed by secret funds.


An equally depressing matter on the Ben-Gurion agenda was the soon due Supreme Court decision on the Kastner business. The general feeling was it would be a split decision -- which would be bad for the government clique.

The decision, when it was delivered, was that -- a split one. [176]

Footnote 176.

A. Supreme Court Judge Shlorrw Chesin: excerpts from his Kastner Appeal verdict:

"I make a further step and say that even if Kastner knew the whole bitter truth when he came to Kluj on May 3, 1944, and even if he concealed it from the people of Kluj, leaders and rank and file alike -- still this doesn't serve as a proof that he did so because of seeming "obligation" towards the Germans and because of his wish to help the Germans in their extermination. He didn't warn Hungarian Jewry of the danger facing it because he didn't think it would be useful, and because he thought that any deeds resulting from information given them would damage more than help. . . . What point was there in telling the people boarding the trains in KIuj, people struck by fate and persecuted, as to what awaits them at the end of their journey.... Kastner spoke in detail of the situation, saying, 'The Hungarian Jew was a branch which long ago dried up on the tree: This vivid description coincides with the testimony of another witness about the Hungarian Jews, 'This was a big Jewish community in Hungary, without any ideological Jewish backbone: (Moshe Shweiger, a Kastner aide in Budapest, protocol 465)

"I fully agree with my friend, Judge Agranat, when he states that, 'The Jews of Hungary, including those in the countryside, were not capable, neither physically nor mentally, to carry out resistance operations with force against the deportation scheme.' . . . From this point of view no rescue achievement could have resulted by disclosing the Auschwitz news to the Jewish leaders there, and this ... is a consideration which one can properly conclude that Kastner had in front of his eyes.

". . . And I take one more step. I am certain that the silence of Kastner when he arrived in Kluj was premeditated and calculated and did not result from his great despair because of the helplessness of the Jewish community. Even then, I say, this is still not considered willful collaboration and assistance in the extermination, because all the signs indicate that Kastner's efforts were aimed at rescue and rescue on a big scale . . . And towards the end I take one last step. In doing so I go very far and say that even if Kastner ordered himself to keep silent knowingly, in submission to the strong will of the Nazis, in order to save a few Jews from Hell -- this is still no proof that he stained his hands by collaborating with the enemies of his people and carrying out their plan to exterminate most of the Jewish community in Hungary.

"Even if, through these activities of his -- or rather, his omissions -- the extermination became easier. And as to the moral issue, the question is not whether a man is allowed to kill many in order to save a few, or vice-versa. The question is altogether in another sphere and should be defined as follows: a man is aware that a whole community is awaiting its doom. He is allowed to make efforts to save a few, although part of his efforts involve concealment of truth from the many; or should he disclose the truth to many though it is his best opinion that this way everybody will perish. I think that the answer is clear. What good will the blood of the few bring if everybody is to perish? . . . As I said, I am not arguing with the basic factual findings of the learned President of the Jewish District Court [Judge Halevi] but it seems to me, with all due respect, that his findings do not, as of necessity, demand the conclusion he has arrived at. That is to say, collaboration on the part of Kastner in the extermination of the Jews. And that they better coincide with bad leadership both from a moral and public point of view....

"Counsel for Greenwald stated excitedly that if the deeds of Kastner shall be approved of, the people of Israel have no future because every leader will act like him in an hour of tragedy. He also says, in discussing the arguments why Kastner didn't call for revolt, that lack of arms should not have been a reason for non-resistance. The meaning of which is that the Jews of the ghetto side of Hungary had to fight and die for the honor of the nation and for the name of God. In this context he indicates that the rebels in the Warsaw ghetto fell and with their death brought glory to the name of God. This is also a philosophy. And the history of the Jewish people, full of blood, tells us a lot of such moral heroes. But there is also another philosophy, different from this and contrary to it, and this different philosophy has roots in the pages of history. Jeremiah the prophet, for example, preached surrender to the enemy and a peace treaty with them and Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai preferred to save that which it was possible to save in an hour of tragedy. Still no one has accused them of selling their souls to the devil.... There is no law, either national or international, which lays down the duties of a leader in an hour of emergency toward those who rely on leadership and are under his instructions. There is also no law attaching responsibility to a leader who does not act with reasonable responsibility of leadership.

"In my opinion, one can say outright that if you find out that Kastner collaborated with the enemy because he did not disclose to the people who boarded the trains in Kluj that they were being led to extermination, one has to put on trial today Danzig, Herman, Hanzi Brand, Revis and Marton, and many more leaders and half-leaders who gagged themselves in an hour of crisis and did not inform others of what was known to them and did not warn and did not cry out of the coming danger. . . .

"Because of all this I cannot confirm the conclusion of the District Court with regard to the accusation that Greenwald has thrown on Kastner of collaboration with the Nazis in exterminating the Jewish people in Hungary during the last war."

B. Supreme Court Judge Moshe Silberg: excerpts from his verdict in the Government's Appeal of Judge Halevi's verdict:

"The aim of the Nazis was an easy and peaceful extermination without special efforts, without casualties to themselves. This aim had been achieved in full, or almost in full. Except for two places, the exterminators did not meet with any resistance on the part of their victims nor even any refusal whatsoever to board the trains. This shocking success of the Nazis was, as was clearly proven, a direct result of the concealment of the horrifying truth from the victims. And the main question is did Kastner participate in the concealment of this truth? ... How did Kastner behave while in Kluj, and did he inform while there, any of the leaders of the facts known to him? We have seen earlier that the inmates of this ghetto did not know, boarding the trains, that their last stop was Auschwitz; and therefore one of the two answers is a must. Either Kastner did not disclose to the local leaders the secret of Auschwitz or the leaders did not inform the masses the secret known to them from Kastner. A third possibility is non-existent ....

"One thing is, in my opinion, proven beyond any doubt. The meaning of the testimony of Danzig is that Kastner did not disclose to him any of the facts (about Auschwitz) known to him. . . . And then Kastner comes and not only doesn't he uproot from our hearts the suspicion against him, but he further indirectly confirms the truth of the words of Danzig and Hermann about this point. . . . It was proven to us that when Kastner was in Kluj on the third of May that he did not disclose to the local leaders what was known to him. And if he did not tell these things by word of mouth while he was there, he definitely did not disclose it in the ten telephone conversations from Budapest which he had with his father-in-law, Dr. Fisher, after the third of May....

"And how did he behave towards the other countryside towns? Did he inform them of the Auschwitz news? Definitely not. Nobody even claims it. . . . The gist of the question facing US in this trial is: this agreement to save the prominents -- was that part of a general plan or was it consideration for a general non-rescue? And therefore it is very important for us to know not only what was the external communicative connection of Kastner with the Jews of the countryside, but also what was his internal mental connection with them. And here is how this attitude is revealed in his testimony: 'I had a connection with Kluj. What connection the other members of the committee had, I don't know. I don't remember that the committee had a telephone connection with the towns of the countryside. . . . I know the town of Nodvarod. There were more than 20,000 Jews there .... I don't remember if we had a connection with this town. I also don't remember whether through a sub-committee, which had a telephone connection, we had a connection with this town. I cannot answer the question whether we could reveal to this town underground information .... I do not remember if any of the members of the committee visited any of the towns in the countryside.'

"Explanations are superfluous! Such forgetfulness would not come upon him even ten years later, had the general rescue of the Hungarian Jews, three-fourths of whom lived in the countryside, been the main aim for which he toiled all the months of that summer. For he was the head of the committee, the central personality and the driving spirit in it. How can he 'not remember' whether a personal or telephone contact of any kind was made with the masses of Jews, the rescue of whom was seemingly his main consideration?

"The conclusion is, therefore, that that which he did not remember in the spring of 1954 in Jerusalem did not concern him in the summer of 1944 in Budapest.

"I do not say that he was the only man who possessed information among the leaders. It is quite possible that somebody else as well does not have a clear conscience with regards to this concealment. 'But we are dealing here with the guilt of Kastner and we do not have to make judgments on the guilt of others ....

"The declaration of the learned Attorney General therefore shrinks into an opinion. . . . 'Kastner was convinced and believed that there was no ray of hope for the Jews of Hungary, almost for none of them, and as he, as a result of his personal despair, did not disclose the secret of the extermination in order not to endanger or frustrate the rescue of the few -- therefore he acted in good faith and should not be accused of collaborating with the Nazis in expediting the extermination of the Jews, even though, in fact, he brought about its result.'

"I am compelled to state that it is very difficult for me to conceive such an intention. Is this good faith? Can a single man, even in cooperation with some of his friends, yield to despair on behalf and without the knowledge of 800,000 other people? This is, in my opinion, the decisive consideration in the problem facing us. The charge emanating from the testimony of the witnesses against Kastner is that had they known of the Auschwitz secret, then thousands or tens of thousands would have been able to save their lives by local, partial, specific or indirect rescue operations like local revolts, resistance, escapes, hidings, concealment of children with Gentiles, forging of documents, ransom money, bribery, etc. -- and when this is the case and when one deals with many hundreds of thousands, how does a human being, a mortal, reject with complete certainty and with an extreme 'no' the efficiency of all the many and varied rescue ways? How can he examine the tens of thousands of possibilities? Does he decide instead of God? Indeed, he who can act with such a usurpation of the last hope of hundreds of thousands is not entitled to claim good faith as his defense. The penetrating question quo warrento is a good enough answer to a claim of such good faith. . . .

"If the superintendent of a big hospital lets thousands of sick people die so that he may devote himself to the sure rescue of one soul, he will come out guilty, at least morally, even if it is proven that he as an individual erroneously thought that there was no hope of saving the other patients. He is a collaborator with the angel of death.

"Either a complete atrophy of the soul or a blind involvement with complete loss of senses and proportion in his small but personal rescue operation could bring a man to such a gigantic, hazardous play.

"And if all this is not enough to annul the claim of good faith which was put before us on behalf of Kastner by the Attorney General, then Kastner himself comes and annuls it altogether. Not only did he never make this claim, but his own words prove the contrary. He writes in his report to the Jewish Agency that the Committee sent emissaries to many ghettos in the countryside and pleaded with them to organize escapes and to refuse to board the trains. And though the story of these pleadings is untrue, and the silence of Kastner in Kluj is proven, the very uttering of these statements entirely contradicts the claim that Kastner had concealed the news about the fate of the ghetto inmates in good faith and only as a result of his complete despairing of the chances of escaping or resisting the Germans. You can not claim at the same time helplessness and activity. Anyway, such a claim is not convincing....

"We can sum up with these three facts:

A. That the Nazis didn't want to have a great revolt -- 'Second Warsaw' -- nor small revolts, and their passion was to have the extermination machine working smoothly without resistance. This fact was known to Kastner from the best source -- from Eichmann himself.... And he had additional proofs of that when he witnessed all the illusionary and misleading tactics which were being taken by the Nazis from the first moment of occupation.

B. That the most efficient means to paralyze the resistance wheel or the escape of a victim is to conceal from him the plot of the coming murder. This fact is known to every man and one does not need any proof or evidence for this.

C. That he, Kastner, in order to carry out the rescue plan for the few prominents, fulfilled knowingly and without good faith the said desire of the Nazis, thus expediting the work of exterminating the masses.

"And also the rescue of Becher by Kastner. . . . He who is capable of rescuing this Becher from hanging proves that the atrocities of this great war criminal were not so horrifying or despicable in his eyes. . . . I couldn't base the main guilt of Kastner on this fact had it been alone, but when it is attached even from afar to the whole scene of events it throws retroactive light on the whole affair and serves as a dozen proofs of our conclusion."


All five Supreme Court Judges upheld Judge Halevi's verdict on the "criminal and perjurious manner" in which Kastner after the war had saved Nazi War criminal Becher -- "without justification."  [177] Two of the judges further upheld Judge Halevi's finding that Kastner had collaborated with the Nazis during the war. [178] Three did not.

As a result of this judgment of partial reversal, Greenwald was given a suspended sentence of one year and was assessed five hundred pounds (two hundred and fifty dollars) as court costs. This split decision on Kastner being a Nazi collaborator during the war and the unanimous decision that he rescued war criminal Becher after the war in a criminal and perjurious manner made it imperative that the Government put Kastner on trial. It was also generally known that Tamir had a suitcase full of new evidence against Dr. Kastner, and God knew against whom else!

Then there was Kastner, himself. The Prime Minister had few illusions about him. It had been bad enough in the first trial, the way this talkative Hungarian allowed himself to be cornered by Tamir and reduced to gibbering from the witness box.

And now in a second trial, fighting for his life, with the new evidence smacking away at this same Kastner! It was not going to be good. Who knows what the muddle-head from Kluj will blurt out.

Here history intervenes in Ben-Gurion's behalf, or seems to. Israel's fine army embarks on the Sinai Campaign, meets the army of Egypt, and scatters its regiments to the four winds. The victorious Jews overrun their foe's terrain.

All this re-establishes Ben-Gurion in the world's eyes as a man of heroic mold whom it will take more than a dozen Tamirs and Kastners to dishonor. Who cares about any court room didoes when the cry is, "Onward, Jewish arms!"

The Prime Minister dashes to the radio station one November morning in 1956 to proclaim the victory of the Jewish forces to the nation. The Ben-Gurion voice is sharp and metallic. He announces that the Third Jewish Kingdom now reaches from Dan in the north to the southern straits of Shlomo. [179] (The newly won Sinai Peninsula was three times larger than was the whole of Israel before its victory over the Egyptians.) The eloquent Prime Minister also offers some potent quotations from the ancient Greeks, identifying the newly conquered territory as part of the original land of the Hebrews.

There is rejoicing in the land over its gallant army and over the nation's dauntless leader, Ben-Gurion. But the rejoicing and the dauntlessness are not for long. The next evening Ben-Gurion is back on the radio. His voice falters as he unburdens himself. Israel learns that it is not going to be three times bigger than it was; that it is lucky, after its fine victory, to remain the same size.

Says Ben-Gurion, speaking in a sickly voice on this night of dolorous surrender,

"Neither I nor any authorized spokesman ever said that we intend to annex Sinai Peninsula to Israel. We shall willingly withdraw our forces." [180]

Goodbye, the Sinai Peninsula, goodbye the Third Jewish Kingdom from Dan to the Shlomo Straits. And who is it hog-ties Ben-Gurion this time? Certainly not the British, who are hovering over Cairo themselves and dropping bombs on the Egyptians, from the unheard of height of eighteen thousand feet. The bombs missed, but the British were nevertheless in the air as allies of the Jews.

The people of Israel manage to decipher the newspaper reports and learn that this time it is the Americans whom Ben-Gurion obeys. The international situation for the Americans is a complex one, involving Arab friendship -- a non-existent matter; and American oil company investments, a more tangible item.

There is also the factor that the Americans do not want to lose the good will of the Egyptians, although, as a matter of fact, they haven't got it. Because if they alienate Nasser, Egypt will join the Communist side. An uninformed Israeli might ask, what can Egypt do for the Communists, except to get in their way? The question is beside the point. The point is that the Americans do not want anybody to join the Communists, even on a stretcher.

The people of Israel ponder the American high policies with bafflement. But there is one fact in the complex business that is obvious to all -- Ben-Gurion's flair for obedience to anyone resembling an Anglo-Saxon. A man's soul can be permanently conditioned no less than a dog's salivary glands. The Ben-Gurion soul has practiced bowing to English-speaking masters for thirty-five years. And it must bow to Eisenhower's Kansas accent as automatically as to Lord Moyne's Oxford one.

But not all the leaders of Israel share the Prime Minister's collapsible spine. The army heads protest submission to the American whim about an intact Egypt. Even the obedient Senators in the Knesset raise their voices against the Prime Minister's scurrying submission to the United States orders.

But Ben-Gurion defies army and parliament outcries, as well as public demands. A few months after his surrender broadcast, the Prime Minister orders the victorious Jews to withdraw, not only from Sinai, but from the Gaza strip. This withdrawal throws away the last few yards gained by the spectacular Sinai victory. And the fighting Jews withdraw, full of mutterings.

But the important Jews of Israel are not as masochistic as they were. They no longer consider it an honor to be beaten by the right people. They scowl, grumble, protest in print and oratory. Ben-Gurion and his nobles stand up against the Amos Ben-Gurion scandal, against the Gaza retreat fiasco. And now another deviltry threatens -- the Supreme Court decision on the Kastner Appeal; and a possible trial of their man -- Kastner -- for the worst of crimes.

Forty years of running the Jews of Israel, of winning the esteem of the world by hook or crook, of enchanting nearly all its eleven million surviving Jews -- and a Tamir (and a Kastner) have to appear and start making a shambles of everything!
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Re: Perfidy, by Ben Hecht

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EXIT, DR. KASTNER

On the March night of the Ben-Gurion order to the Jewish army to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, Dr. Rudolf Kastner leaves his editorial offices, where he has been working overtime. There is no report of his mood and manner in this vital hour, so I must imagine them.

Dr. Kastner has had conferences with his $50,000 lawyer, Michael Kaspi, and with various important government officials. About the chances of the appeal, and the possibility of a Kastner trial; and this and that. All is in order. The basic situation is unchanged. Lawyer Kaspi will battle for him. Chaim Cohen remains on his side. And the great leaders of Israel will stand behind him in stalwart array.

He has noticed that the leaders are a little cool toward him socially. They frown and talk curtly in his presence. But Kastner, a realist from way back, knows that into each life some rain must fall. Let them frown and snub him as much as they want, the basic situation will stay the same. When the time comes to fight for his honor and, perhaps, even for his life, the mighty of Israel will be beside him and around him. For Kastner and the government of Israel are one. Who touches Kastner, touches Ben-Gurion and all his nobles. Who smears, exposes, and hamstrings Rudolf Kastner, does a similar disservice to all the finest leaders of Jewry.

Chaim Cohen, himself, said just that to the Supreme Court judges. And there is small likelihood of Chaim Cohen's changing his mind or his philosophy. Because it is obvious even to a child that he, Rudolf Kastner, all alone, could not have done all the things of which the judge found him guilty. Yes, Kastner assures himself on this March night -- the more evidence Tamir unearths against him, the harder the government forces will have to fight for him. For Kastner has not allowed his colleagues to forget it for a minute; they will be fighting for their own honor and status as much as for his.

So Dr. Kastner is not too disturbed on this March night of the Gaza retreat. His editorial work finished, he straightens his desk, smooths his hair with a pocket comb, and walks into the Tel Aviv night.

A year ago, when the Kluj business and the Kurt Becher business and the parachutist business were first called to the attention of Israel, he might have felt a bit nervous about entering a dark, lonely street. But not on this night. There may be trouble later. Hotheads will start stewing about Kastner again. But this night the hotheads are off on other topics -- the Gaza retreat, the Ben-Gurion salaam to the Americans, the business of Amos Ben- Gurion. This is a night of trouble for David Ben-Gurion, not Rudolf Kastner.

There is also another reassuring fact. After Judge Halevi's verdict, the government had assigned secret police to guard Kastner's life, day and night. They had remained on duty, protecting him for a year and a half. Two months ago the secret police had been relieved on their task. This added to Dr. Kastner's sense of safety. Nobody was after him any longer.

An unruffled Dr. Kastner steps into his parked gray automobile and starts for his home.

I imagine him full of memories. Who had ever more violent and exotic things to remember? The hundred hells of Hungary through which he moved like a favored tourist; the world travels; Nazis, doomed Jews, Hanna Senesh, Becher, Krumey, Himmler, Hoess, Eichmann; plots, perils, conferences, accusations, Kenyermeze, Nuremberg, Kluj, Death Marches, sealed trains -- he had survived them all. A man who can survive German devils and Hungarian ones, and climb to greatness on a million Jewish corpses; who can wriggle out of constant disaster with his hair perfectly combed, must feel a pride in himself, must smile a little smugly at any more enemies to come.

My imaginings end here. The rest is fact.

At midnight, Dr. Kastner steps out of his car in front of his home, 6 Emmanuel Street, Tel Aviv. The air is balmy. The night glows with starlight and history. Dr. Kastner starts across the pavement for his front door.

A young man steps out of the shadows and asks, "Are you Dr. Kastner?"

Kastner answers politely, "Yes, I am."

The young man pulls a gun out of his pocket. Kastner sees the weapon and runs. The young man fires a bullet into Dr. Kastner.

Kastner yells and keeps running. Two more bullets from the young man's gun hit him in his head and body. He drops and lies groaning in the street.

There is a witness to the event. A high ex-Haganah officer happens to be in the neighborhood. He has been calling on his girl and is just leaving on his motorcycle when the shooting starts. He sees the assassin jump into a waiting jeep and go riding off.

The ex-Haganah officer rushes to Kastner, bends over him, hears him gasp a few words. The ex-officer mounts his motorcycle and speeds after the jeep. But he fails to pick up its trail. The assassin escapes.

An ambulance arrives in Emmanuel Street, and Kastner is taken to the hospital. In the hospital, after he is operated on, the bullet-riddled Kastner starts regaining his health. It begins to look as if the assassin's work was in vain.

But after ten days of continued improvement in the municipal hospital, a sudden change takes place. A bulletin announces that Rudolf Kastner has taken a "sudden turn for the worse." Dr. Kastner corroborates the bulletin. He dies on St. Patrick's Day, 1957.

And with his death, Tamir loses his greatest weapon against Ben-Gurion and his clique. Of all who mourn Dr. Kastner's death, Tamir is among the sincerest. All the new evidence -- worthless. All the planned onslaughts on the defenders and colleagues of Kastner -- to be filed away as unfought battles. [181]

There is an impressive funeral for the one-time rescuer of Jews. The government clique is well represented. A proper grief is exhibited.

Also, a number of headaches are cured, although not permanently. The dead Kastner will continue to haunt Israeli politics. The government of Israel and its train-bearing press will work constantly to restore Dr. Kastner's good name, and its own. It will cause the facts of the trial to become vague, to vanish, and even to change from bad into good.

But with all this legerdemain, the truth of Kastner will stay alive. And that sad, foolish and tormented penny-Napoleon from Kluj will become the nation's leading ghost.

I have one more paragraph about Kastner. As a journalist working among Hungarians in Kluj, his name was Dr. Rezo Kastner. When he came to Budapest to work among the Germans, he called himself Dr. Rudolf Kastner. Arrived in Israel and embraced by the government clique as one of their own, he became Dr. Israel Kastner.

Vale, Rezo, Rudolf, Israel --

THE HARLEQUIN MURDER

Three men were arrested, tried, and convicted for Dr. Kastner's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Two of them were named accessories. [182]

The actual confessed killer was Zeev Eckstein, age twenty-four.  [183]

Until a few months before shooting down Kastner, Zeev Eckstein was a paid undercover agent of the Israeli government's Intelligence Service. [184]

THE STORY OF JOEL BRAND

Mr. Wickham Steed, columnist for the Manchester Guardian in England, states: "Two Nazi or Hungarian agents called on the Allies with a certain extortion proposal, which the Allies scorned with indignation."

This mysterious item about Joel Brand and his desperate mission was reprinted in Ben-Gurion's newspaper Davar on July 28, 1944. This and no more ... before Joel Brand's Banquo-like appearance in Judge Halevi's court room nine years later.

The mysterious item was on view in the government press after emissary Joel Brand had been handed over to the British, and after Hungarian Jewry had been dumped into the German ash barrels.

And now I have a confession to make. Taking a leaf from Zionism, I too have suppressed the Joel Brand story in my book for a while. For, chronologically, Joel Brand appeared in the Greenwald trial while Prosecutor Amnon Tell still reigned in the teapot court room, and before the great Chaim Cohen took over.

I put off the Joel Brand story in my narrative until it could be believed (if ever). But there is a difference between my suppression of the Joel Brand story, and the Zionist scuttling of it, as well as the hiding and scuttling of Joel Brand himself:

A million lives were not at stake in my juggling.

Ben-Gurion's Davar reportage quoting the illusive "Wickham Steed" did not even mention the B.B.C. broadcast, made in London on June 20, 1944, on which the item was based. Communist dictators, too, consider it correct procedure to keep their constituencies uninformed about what the wretched world outside is saying. This outside world is usually saying things of a derogatory nature. But what is there derogatory about the B.B.C. broadcast? Why is it cut down to unintelligibility by Ben-Gurion's paper? Here is the broadcast:

"Two emissaries of the Hungarian Government arrived in Turkey to present the Allied representatives with the following offer from the Hungarian Government -- all the Jews remaining alive in Hungary will receive exit permits in return for a certain quantity of medical supplies and transport trucks from England and America. The promise was also made that these materials would not be used on the Western Front.

"At this time, the names of the emissaries cannot be revealed.

"Authoritative British circles consider this offer as a crude attempt to weaken the Allies, whose sympathy for the Hungarian Jews is well known; also to create dissension among the Allies.

"There is not the slightest possibility that the British and American governments will agree to enter into any negotiations of this short, although they would like to help the Hungarian Jews."

This was not entirely bad reporting. The emissaries were from the Germans, not the Hungarians. And there was only one emissary, sent out to the world's Jews, not to the Allies. The objective cited, "a crude attempt to weaken the Allies," was one of the possible reasons involved. And the British, speaking for the Allies, do not quite "scorn with indignation" as Davar states. Instead they make a cool and cautious statement that cannot be nailed as a lie. They "would like to help the Hungarian Jews."

Who wouldn't "like to help" a million human beings about to be tortured and murdered? The myriad of men, women, and children entering the death houses in Auschwitz don't know about this Christian wish "to help" them, but it is there, spoken with true British restraint by the B.B.C. announcer.

The princes of Israel are so efficient in their silence technique that Tamir, in Judge Halevi's court room, has never even heard of the Joel Brand story.

But the Joel Brand Story comes now to Tamir.

It comes as the whisper of a nightmare. A friend brings him word that there is a certain man in Tel Aviv who has a story to tell about the slaughter of the Hungarian Jews and the connivance of Israel's leaders in it -- a story that might fit into the trial.

Tamir would like to discount the story. He has already wasted many nights on "eye witnesses" who, in the end, proved to be liars.

Nevertheless, at night, after court sessions, he holds secret meetings with the new "witness," on the seashore, in hideouts, in his parents' home. He hears a horror story that rings with truth, and he ushers it into the Trial.

I write it now as a climax.

A GHOST IS SUMMONED

Prince Escalus, speaking over the corpses of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare's envoi to the tragedy, asks for silence on their story.

"Seal up the mouth of outrage," he pleads.

Can it be done? For a time, yes. But outrage finds its spokesmen. The violated dead do not stay silent. Someone speaks out for them. Someone uncovers and reports it. Not that the report will do any good, or lessen by a single corpse the history of human brutishness. There's no clipping the claws of humanity. Tigers and lions can be tamed and made to sit on circus tubs like tabby cats. But not we, who have heard God speak and developed His gift of reason. (And how loathsomely we wallow in it.)

The Joel Brand story hits Israel cruelly. No longer a stowaway item about some British "Mr. Wickham Steed," who opines something or other in London that nobody can understand about "two agents" with certain "extortion proposals" -- which the Allies naturally will "scorn with indignation."

But Joel Brand himself, all over the front pages -- not two men, but one -- and this one man not at all "scorned" as an agent of an enemy government, but embraced as a fellow Jew -- and then betrayed by Jews. This one man takes the witness stand and relates one of the most painful and wretched stories ever to enter the chronicle of the Jews -- and the mouth of outrage is unsealed!

But, first, a technicality that belongs to court room melodrama. Tamir, having decided that Brand's is an honest report, must slide the man with the story into the trial. Brand has nothing to do with defendant Greenwald, and his relation to Kastner may be difficult to establish, legally.

Prosecutor Amnon Tell solves the technical problem for Tamil. The Prosecutor summons a government big-wig to offer the court a prettier picture of the Jewish Agency rescue activities in 1944 than Tamir has hung up for Israel's eyes. Menachem Bader, manager of the Israeli Development Ministry, is up there to testify for the government. He will enlighten Judge Halevi. on how ardently the far-flung Jewish Agency had worked to rescue Jews from the German inferno.

Menachem Bader is a man of high repute in Israel. In answer to Prosecutor Tell, the slow-speaking, dignified Bader recalls the activities of the Jewish Agency rescue officials in Istanbul in the spring of 1944.

Thus Bader and Tell have opened the door for the man with the story. Joel Brand, too, was in Istanbul in the spring of 1944. Bader'srescue work in that place must include knowledge of and contact with Joel Brand. Tamir's cross-examination ushers Joel Brand's nightmare tale into history.

I omit Tamir's questions and write only the answers Bader speaks in the Jerusalem court room.

"On May 19th, 1944," Bader testifies before Judge Halevi, "a cable arrived from Vienna informing us that Joel Brand, a member of the Budapest Rescue Committee, was on his way to Turkey. Brand arrived on the appointed day and presented us with his credentials. He gave us a detailed picture of the hell that raged in Nazi Europe.

"After he had told us the facts, Brand laid before us the 'deal' that Adolf Eichmann had proposed.

"Eichmann had offered Brand a deal he called 'Blood for Cargo and Cargo for Blood.' Eichmann had told Brand he would spare a million Jews and send them out of Hungary alive and unhurt in exchange for one thousand tons of tea, one thousand tons of coffee, and ten thousand trucks.

"We sat there horror-stricken and did not believe our senses. Our first reaction was to consider the 'offer' a swindle -- a diabolic and malicious scheme.

"But Brand told us that Eichmann had agreed to postpone his killing schedule of twelve thousand Jews a day for two weeks. This was to enable Brand to start negotiations. Brand explained to us that his return to Hungary in two weeks was of utmost importance, as it would show Eichmann that the offer was being seriously considered. Upon his return to Budapest, one hundred thousand Jews were to be released by Eichmann in advance payment and as a sign of his willingness to go on with the trade.

"I remember that first hour with Joel Brand as though it happened yesterday. None of us could speak a word. We sat staring at each other and all our hearts thumped so you could hear them.

"We were all full of suspicion, but we kept silent. We had neither the right nor the moral strength to talk of German traps or German deceit. Our job was to use the straw that fate was offering to our doomed brethren.

"However slim the chances of rescue were, we could not confront Brand with a refusal. The responsibility weighed too grimly on us. If we didn't do everything we could, we would be haunted for the rest of our lives. We saw the doomed million Jews of Hungary in our minds. We had two weeks in which to save the lives of a million Jews.

"Brand's return to Budapest was delayed beyond the two weeks, however, pending instructions from the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, which was studying a full report of his mission.

"This delay brought letters pouring from the Jews of Hungary. The letters pleaded for Brand's immediate return. They warned us that the extermination of the Jews would start up at a swifter rate if Brand failed to reappear in Budapest. At the same time, British representatives in Turkey, who were in constant touch with us, kept insisting that Brand be deported from Turkey.

"While we were waiting to hear from our leaders in Jerusalem, the British authorities told us that they wouldn't stand in Brand's way if he wished to go to Palestine to report personally and furnish a living account to the Jewish Agency.

"Brand was nervous about the further delay, and also about stepping onto British soil. Our opinions were also divided. Some of us considered the proposal a British trap. Others thought it a genuine proposition. The fact of the matter was that, on arriving at the Syrian border, Brand was arrested and confined by the British.

"After Brand's arrest, Moshe Sharett [at that time head of the political department of the Jewish Agency] made haste to arrive at the Syrian border, and after having waited a day or two, was enabled to meet Brand and talk to him in the presence of a British Intelligence officer." [185]

Bader continues. He tells of how Brand's arrest in Aleppo by the British led to the collapse of his mission. Brand was detained by the British for four and a half months. The Eichmann offer fell through, and the Hungarian Jews were turned into ashes.

Tamir's cross-examination now brings an admission from Bader that, shortly after Brand's arrival in Constantinople (Istanbul), the British had been informed of his presence and his mission -- by a Jewish Agency official.

Tamir: Who was this man of the Jewish Agency?

Bader: (quietly) It was Ehud Avriel who informed the British of Brand's arrival.

Tamir: Who accompanied Brand to the Syrian border where he was arrested?

Bader: A certain Jew.

Tamir: What Jew?

Bader: (slowly) A certain Turkish Jew.

Tamir: When did the news of his arrest reach the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem?

Bader: Both we and the people at home heard of the matter simultaneously, immediately after the arrest.

Tamir: And when, according to you, did Sharett contact Brand?

Bader: Some twenty-four hours later.


Israel had never heard the story of Joel Brand and his wild mission. Its tragic details had been pigeonholed by the Weizmann, Ben-Gurion regime. Not a word more than the Wickham Steed paragraph had been printed in Palestine, not an official statement made about the Eichmann offer, or the message delivered by Joel Brand to the head Jews of the world.

And Menachem Bader, making his slow, weighty answers, has no worry about anyone contradicting these answers, since nobody knows the story of Joel Brand. But somebody does know. A tense, harsh-voiced Tamir fires it point blank at startled witness Bader.

Tamir: I put it to you that your entire story is a malicious distortion of the truth! I put it to you that Brand's betrayal and arrest was planned and effected by all of you! I put it to you that in compliance with orders from the British, Sharett, together with you, knowingly and purposely trapped Brand and induced him to set out for the Syrian border. Sharett knew all along of the impending arrest, and was waiting for Brand at the border in a nearby British Military camp, before the train pulled in.

Bader: (his eyes shifting nervously) You're wrong. You know you're wrong. [186]

Tamir: Did or did not Sharett wait at the border before Brand's arrival?

Bader: I don't know.

Tamir: I put it to you, Mr. Bader, that it was Avriel. in person, who accompanied Brand to the Syrian border. The Turkish Jew was non-existent.

Bader: Correct. Ehud Avriel did accompany him, but there also was some sort of Turkish Jew.

Tamir: I put it to you that Avriel witnessed Brand's arrest.

Bader: I do not deny it.

Tamir: But Avriel was not arrested?

Bader: Correct.

Tamir: I put it to you that Avriel was in the service of the British Intelligence.

Bader: I don't think so.

Tamir: You no doubt will agree with me that at least some of you thought that the British were planning to trap Brand and had allowed him to travel to Syria with that aim in mind.

Bader: That is true.

Tamir: And did you inform Brand ,that his journey to Syria was possibly a British trap directed at arresting him and thus causing disaster?

Bader: We did not inform him.

Tamir: Why didn't you inform him?

Bader: Out of awe and respect for the emissary of the doomed. [187]


As lawyer Tamir continues his hammering at the Bader testimony, one thing becomes certain -- Joel Brand's own story must be the climax of this dark drama unfolding in the District Court of Jerusalem.

Israel storms with speculation. Why has the government hidden the Eichmann-Brand story? These government leaders so full of lamentations today for the slaughtered Jews of Hungary, what did they do to try to save those Jews while they were still breathing -- and when Brand was sent out to bargain for their lives? What would this long-hidden emissary from the doomed Jews of Hungary say on the witness stand?

Had the Leaders of Israel actively betrayed the Hungarian Jews and handed Brand over to the British -- to be rid of him and his blood bargaining? Or was this the ex-"terrorist" Tamir avenging himself against old political enemies by a wanton smearing of the government?

The Tel Aviv headlines shout, "Where is Brand?" "Will Brand Testify?"

The government clique becomes aware of the disaster that threatens them out of this trial. Prosecutor Tell is directed by Prime Minister Sharett through Attorney General Chaim Cohen to end the trial as quickly as he can, and the devil take the Kastner case. It should never have been started. And, hereafter, it will be a wise thing for the government to keep out of the courts, and solve its problems in a less troublesome way.

Prosecutor Tell makes the following startling pronouncement -- I quote the court record:

Tell: The State is desirous of resting its case. I doubt if any more witnesses will be called by us. Perhaps Mr. Ehud Avriel will be summoned to close our list of witnesses. Otherwise I shall rest the State's case tomorrow.

Tamir: In the event that Avriel is not summoned tomorrow, the Defense asks permission to start its case immediately -- tomorrow morning. Our first witness is Joel Brand. [188]


This announcement ushers in a series of desperation measures by the Prosecution -- an attempt to have the case put off for a whole month -- until "after the Passover Holidays," denunciations of the "smear that has been the case for the Defense"; and finally, a demand by the Prosecution that Brand be recognized as their own witness -- whom they had fully intended to produce all along.

The Court Protocol at the point where the Prosecution begins to fight for a delay, follows. Tamir argues:

Tamir: I must inform the Court that Joel Brand is in constant peril. He is being shadowed. Moral and economic pressures have been brought to bear upon him in the attempt to prevent his testimony. It is my duty to demand that the Court Protocol record our warning. Various elements are doing their utmost to suppress this man's evidence. He is, to the best of my belief, in physical danger. Moreover, various documents of the highest importance have been lately stolen from him. Your Honor, Brand must be summoned immediately.

Tell: This is a scandalous and filthy smear! We intend to take necessary measures to prevent the repetition of such outrageous statements!

Tamir: (coolly) I fear neither you nor your regime.

Tell: (blasting) What! Let's hear that clearly for the sake of a precise recording in the Protocol!

Tamir: I reassert my words and join Mr. Tell in requesting that they be set forth in the Court Protocol. For the sake of greater clarity, I hereby state that the government of Israel is the regime referred to. Neither the government nor those who direct and instruct Mr. Tell shall prevent me from carrying out my duty to the end.

Tell: Mark your words! You'll have to answer for them!

Tamir: Is that a hint that an attempt to silence me will be made? I am not intimidated. Your Honor, I request once again that Joel Brand be summoned immediately as first witness for the Defense. For the past five years, this man has not managed to find employment and has wandered about, destitute, devoid of the least chance of earning a living. But last week he was offered a job which involved his boarding one of Shoham's steamers and leaving the country. [189]


On the following morning, a bristling Tell announces that Joel Brand is his next witness. He demands of His Honor that Tamir be kept from leaving the court room, lest he meet the new government witness and sneak in a few words with him.

Tamir, safe in the knowledge that he has "stolen the horse," allows the lock to be put on the barn door. And the journalists alert their editors. The biggest story of the trial is about to break.

"THE MOUTH OF OUTRAGE"

Joel Brand, a blonde, stocky man with a round face, enters the court room. He is sworn in on the witness stand.

On behalf of the Government of Israel, Prosecutor Tell questions the man who had faced Adolf Eichmann and gone forth on one of the saddest missions in history.

Tell: Were you a member of the Budapest Rescue Committee, Mr. Brand?

Brand: I was.

Tell: How old are you?

Brand: I am 48 years old.

Tell: No more questions. The witness is dismissed. [190]


So much interest and no more has the government of Israel in the tale Brand has to relate. It is the government's idea of fancy strategy. Produce the troublesome Brand, ask him only two questions, and hand him over to Tamir for cross-examination, with no scrap of information for Defense Counsel to work over. Thus Specter Brand will materialize and dematerialize without damage to the government clique. A little damage, perhaps. Some people might imagine the government of Israel was frightened of what Joel Brand had to reveal. Very well -- let them imagine. How long can people keep imagining that the noblest Jewish Leaders are afraid of anything, or guilty of anything?

The only thing wrong with this government strategy is Tamir. He is on his feet, announcing:

"In order to avoid misunderstanding, I hereby inform the court that Joel Brand and I have met some seven or eight times during the past fortnight.

"At our very first meeting I asked him, in the presence of a third person, as to whether he had been summoned to testify by the Prosecution. I specifically stressed that if such were the case, I had no right to contact him. Brand told me, however, that he had not been summoned by the Prosecution and had not been approached. Hence, I considered myself free to discuss the matter with him and obtain the information which he could provide. At my request, Mr. Brand consented to show me various documents, a number of which he placed at my disposal. These are in my keeping till today and I am willing to return them to the witness at any time.

"My talks with Mr. Brand were conducted clandestinely, as I did not wish Dr. Kastner or other government figures to know of our meetings. This was due, in the first place, to my anxiety for Brand's safety. The man carries within him one of the greatest secrets of Jewish history. I wanted to make sure that no harm would befall him, at least until he took the stand. For that reason, I urged him not to reveal our meetings to anyone and to regard them as highly secret." [191]

Tamir cross-examines Brand for three days; and the people of Israel, gaping as at a nightmare, learn specifically of how the leaders of the world's Jewry had turned their backs on the doomed million Jews of Hungary. And more -- how these Jewish Leaders, knowing all the details of the extermination, had kept their mouths shut and published not a word of the Hungarian catastrophe while it was going on.

It was a story not to be disbelieved, for its torment and truth were in the man who spoke it. No government question could alter it in the court room, [192] nor could later government threats against Brand outside the court room alter his story. Joel Brand speaks as follows from the witness stand in the Jerusalem court: [193]

"It was mid-April, almost a month before my trip to Turkey (1944). One of the German agents in Budapest instructed me to wait at an appointed street corner and said that I would be brought before Eichmann.

"A half hour later, I was taken to the luxurious hotel where Eichmann had his Headquarters. I was ushered immediately to his room.

"The words which then passed between us have imprinted themselves on my memory till I die."

Brand spoke in German. He now articulates in the dog-bark of a Nazi S.S. officer. The court hears Eichmann's menacing yips out of Brand's mouth:

"'Do you know who I am?' he asked me. 'I am the man who carried out all the actions [the Jewish extermination] in Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia. My next task is Hungary. I have checked up as to whether you and the Joint Distribution Committee are capable of getting things done, and I want to make a deal with you. Blood for Cargo and Cargo for Blood. Now tell me, what is it that you want to salvage -- women who can bear children? Men in their prime? The aged? The young? Speak up!'

"I was sitting. A civilian was standing beside us. No other Jew was present. A young woman sat behind the desk, pencil in hand. I presumed that she was taking down our talk in shorthand.

"The meaning of his words dawned on me. I sat there thunderstruck. I never was a politician nor statesman and blurted out the first words that came to my mind:

"'I am not empowered to decide as to whom you are to murder!' I said. 'I would like to save everybody. I don't understand this deal. Where are we to get the cargo? You have confiscated everything.' Then I became full of hope and went on -- 'The local Jews and our friends abroad may perhaps muster sums of money, if lives are to be saved.'

"Eichmann answered, 'Go on then. Go ahead. To Switzerland, to Turkey, to Spain, wherever you please; so long as you can produce the cargo!'

"'What sort of cargo do you want?' I asked.

"'Anything at all,' Eichmann said. 'For example -- trucks. Ten thousand trucks are worth a million Jews to me: He paused a moment and added: 'Tea and coffee, too, and soap. One thousand tons of tea and coffee. All these I am in need of.'

"To this I replied, 'I haven't the vaguest idea where all these cargoes are to be obtained. Who on earth will treat this offer seriously? Which official body will believe that delivery of the trucks will in fact induce you to spare a million Jews?'

"Eichmann answered that he was willing to offer one hundred thousand Jews in advance, and on receiving the proportionate payment, he would release another ten per cent. 'Pick them anywhere you want,' he said, 'Hungary, Auschwitz, Slovakia -- anywhere you want and anyone you want.'

"On leaving the building, I felt like a stark madman. All the members of our Budapest Committee were waiting for me. Word had been passed to them that Eichmann had summoned me. This was the first time that one of the Committee had faced Eichmann in person.

"We racked our brains. What were we to do with this monster's offer? We talked and talked. Every faction of the Jewish community had sent its representative to sit in the council to decide the matter of Blood and Cargo.

"I had gotten to know the Germans and their cruel lies exceedingly well. But the thought of 100,000 Jews 'in advance' tortured my mind and gave me no respite. I had no right to think of anything but this advance payment.

"Eichmann had also promised to cease the deportations and extermination while negotiations on the deal itself were being carried out. I knew that negotiations of this sort would have to last a number of weeks at least.

"No death and no deportation for a number of weeks! No! We had nothing to lose if this one hundred thousand were given in advance and deportations ended in the meantime.

"Eichmann received me on the 15th, for the last time, and told me, 'You are to set out now. Today we begin to deport twelve thousand per day, but these shall not be exterminated during negotiations. But you, Brand, have to return in a week or two. I can't put your Jews on ice and preserve them forever. If it turns out that the negotiations demand some more time, well be considerate. You, however, have to return. Quickly. Your return, coupled with the verbal acceptance of my offer, will inspire me to cease the gassing, and lay down the advance payment of one hundred thousand immediately.'

"On May 18th, I left Budapest and reached Constantinople on the following day. I was flown there in a German diplomatic plane."

At this point, the first day of Brand's cross-examination ends.

On the next day, Brand resumes the witness stand and, in answer to Tamir's questions, states that the inevitable result of his failure to return to Hungary had been Eichmann's renewed extermination of Hungary's Jews. Brand testifies:

"Some time before my departure, we, in Budapest, informed the representatives of the Jewish Agency in Turkey of my coming visit. We received an answer that read, 'Let Joel come. Chaim shall await him.'

"We regarded the above as an answer to our request that a high member of the Jewish Agency come to Constantinople in order to discuss matters with me and make the final decision. Chaim, we took for granted, was Chaim Weizmann, who would attend to the matter personally. This was the greatest hope for the rescue of Hungary's doomed Jews that had ever come to our hearts.

"Every single party and faction of the Hungarian Jewish Community -- from the Revisionists to the Hashomer Hatzair, and even the religious groups, were agreed that I set out for Turkey and empowered me to act on their behalf in the matter.

"On landing at the airport in Constantinople, we discovered to our amazement that nobody was waiting to meet us. Moreover, our Turkish entry visa was not arranged and we did not have the right to disembark. We were mortified and astonished at this state of affairs. The Jewish Agency cable from Turkey had explicitly stated that we would be met and taken care of.

"The man who accompanied me from Budapest managed to patch matters up, however, and after a little delay, we made our way to the city."

"The first member of the Palestine Rescue Committee whom I met in Constantinople was Venia Pomeranietz.

"The Committee's address was known to me -- Hotel Pira Palace, Constantinople. On leaving the airport, I headed for the hotel and managed to obtain a room. Venia came into the room immediately after my arrival.

"This was the first time, since the German massacre of Jews had begun, that I ever talked to a Jew in a free country. He . asked me whether it was true that Jews were being slaughtered on the other side.

"To a man like myself, who had just arrived from hell, it was bitter to hear that a Jewish Agency official could still have doubts on the subject. We had informed them constantly about what was going on. We knew our letters had reached them. Everything was known to them, as a more or less regular correspondence had been going on between us for some time.

"Shortly after my arrival in Constantinople, a meeting of the entire committee was called to sit with me. I reported to them at great length and told of everything that was known to me. I stressed the fact that my return to Hungary during the next fortnight was imperative. I asked to go back with the next diplomatic plane, which was to leave Constantinople on the following week.

"At this meeting it was decided that one of the important members of the Jewish Agency Executive be summoned to Constantinople. Either Sharett, Greenbaum, or anybody else of equal standing. It was also decided not to inform the British of my arrival. On these matters the decision was unanimous, and everything was clear. I demanded that the British should not be informed. One of the decisions was that Venia Pomeranietz set out immediately for Palestine and see to it that Sharett should come to Constantinople, if possible.

"At one of our meetings we decided that Barlas (a member of the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee in Constantinople) and myself should approach Steinhardt, the American Ambassador in Ankara. Back in Budapest we thought that Steinhardt, being a Jew, had the heart of a Jew, and would certainly be the best man to contact on the Allied side, if any approach to the Allies was to be made at all by me.

"Barlas and I were in the same hotel. On arriving at the station to go to Ankara, I was unable to board the train for lack of necessary travel papers. Barlas had arranged all his papers, but none was given me. I had not even been told that a special permit was required for a trip of this sort.

"I was conducted to a building and confined in a large lobby, which apparently served as the police department dealing with foreigners. Some twenty or thirty officials rushed in and out all day long. I believe that Bader, or perhaps some other member of the Committee, visited me. I can't be sure on that point. I was permitted to spend the night at the hotel and told to come back the following morning. The confinement lasted for two or three days.

"Following my release, I was free to move as I pleased for a . week or so. Nobody followed me. I was a free man. Thus, I waited for Sharett, but he did not arrive.

"In the meantime, the Agency rescue officials drafted a tentative agreement to Eichmann's 'offer,' which implied that we were agreed, in principle, on all the basic points. I kept a copy of the draft to deliver to Eichmann in order to induce him to believe that in principle his 'offer' had been agreed to. This draft was to be used if Sharett did not arrive in the next few days and help us decide what to do.

"Finally, it became apparent that Moshe Sharett would not come because of the Turks' refusal to issue him a visa. So I was told by members of the Jewish Agency and Joint Distribution Committees. I was also told that the British were actively preventing his arrival.

"It was then that I was urged to set out for the Turko-Syrian Border in order to meet him. r was assured that within a few days I would be back in Constantinople.

"I told Barlas that the trip was not to my liking. I said that I would rather go to the German Embassy and arrange for my immediate return to Budapest. I was afraid to step on English soil in Aleppo.

"We had a sharp argument on the subject and one of the reasons I offered for returning was the draft agreement which we had drawn up in response to Eichmann's offer.

"Barlas told me not to worry. He repeatedly asserted that I would be back in Constantinople in a day or two, and could return to Budapest immediately afterwards.

"The representatives of the Halutzim (Pioneers) movement, Bader and Avriel, were, in my eyes, people of the highest authority and integrity. This applied to Barlas, too, who, being a man sent from Palestine and representing the Jewish Agency, was regarded by me as authorized to decide on matters.

"I complied with their wishes and agreed to set out for the Syrian Border.

"They gave me my German passport, stamped with a British visa to British Aleppo, and an immigration visa to Palestine. It was clearly understood that all this was in order to enable me to cross the border at Aleppo and there meet Sharett.

"Avriel and myself set out. We slept in the same compartment while aboard the train. To the best of my knowledge, there were no police keeping watch over us. The trip lasted a few days and we ate and sat in this compartment. I practically never left it. No one traveled with us in this compartment."

Tamir asked, "Was there an important Turkish Jew accompanying you in another compartment?"

"I don't have the faintest notion of any Turkish Jew, important or not important. I don't know who traveled in the other compartments. As I said, Avriel left the compartment a few times. I stayed there practically all the time. Avriel did not tell me that an important Turkish Jew was accompanying us. When the train passed Ankara, I was warned by two men who boarded it not to proceed with the trip. They were agents in Turkey of the Revisionist (Jabotinsky) Party in Palestine and the Agudath-Israel Orthodox religious party. They warned me that British Agents were waiting in Aleppo to arrest me.

"I was terrified on hearing this. It meant the failure of my mission and the extermination of my family and a million other Jews in Hungary.


"But I calmed myself with the thought that these two representatives of the small Revisionist and religious parties were nobodies alongside the men of our own Hahalutz movement.

"I told Avriel what I had heard. He brushed the warning aside and told me again not to worry. Everything was going to go smoothly.

"Reassured by Avriel, I agreed to go on to Aleppo as planned, and meet Moshe Sharett at the border.

"Avriel told me he had iron-clad guarantees from the British that nothing wrong would happen to me.

"On leaving Ankara, we traveled for more than a day before reaching the border at Aleppo. About an hour or so before Aleppo, Avriel suddenly turned to me and said, 'Should anything happen to you, Joel, should we be separated and you get arrested, don't speak with the British unless somebody from the Jewish Agency, one of us, be present.'

"An hour or so later we arrived in Aleppo. Avriel left the compartment to arrange something, he said. Just as he left, the British came in and arrested me. I presume that the men who took me were British Intelligence Agents, but I couldn't be sure, as none of them was known to me personally. At any rate, I was compelled to leave the train and I was taken to an English barracks.

"A few hours later, I was brought before an English officer who wanted to interrogate me. Complying with Avriel's instructions, I said that, being a Jewish emissary, I would not utter a word unless a representative of the Jewish Agency was present.

"Some time later this officer faced me again and said, 'We agree to your demand. The interrogations shall take place in the presence of a man from the Jewish Agency.''' [194]
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Re: Perfidy, by Ben Hecht

Postby admin » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:01 pm

"SET YOU DOWN THIS. . . THAT IN ALEPPO ONCE -- "

How was it that such a story as Brand tells Judge Halevi was never heard before? Did Joel Brand keep it secret during the ten years in Israel? No, Brand talked. He told the story often, to politicians, to journalists -- the wrong ones. He told it also to acquaintances in homes, in cafes. But these Jews in the new State of Israel listened to Brand's tale, sighed, and turned away. There were too many Jews in Palestine babbling a little madly about what had happened in Europe. About Germans. The long killing. The incinerator smoke that hung in the sky all day and night. Better to forget those things. Better, also, not to think wrong things about Palestine's great Jews. What other Jews were there for the world to admire?

But now it was no longer a story to be evaded. Every word of it was entering a court record. Joel Brand, the outcast, had finally found the ear of history for his tale. In the record for all time there would stand the account of this overt crime done by the great men of the Jewish Agency: Brand's virtual kidnapping to Aleppo, his arrest and detention there for a long enough time (during which time the Hungarian Jews were slaughtered), and then the hiding of their crime by these same leaders from the Jews of Palestine and of the world, and finally their mourning the murdered ones, and proving their innocence by a show of grief.

Brand returns for a third session of testifying. He goes on with his story:

"The next morning, I was taken by two officers to an elegant Arab villa which served as the residence of high-ranking British officers stationed in the area. There I first met Moshe Sharett. Sharett told me he had been waiting for me for a day or two.

"I had a long talk with Moshe Sharett, but not alone. There were a few British officers present and a young woman who took notes in shorthand. All in all, there were some six or seven people present. We spoke English and German. Our talk lasted a whole day. Sharett knew exactly how things stood. Venia Pomeranietz had seen him in Jerusalem and told him everything.

"Before leaving, Sharett informed me that to his great regret, I would not be able to return to the north and would have to go south. I was taken aback and complained bitterly, but he said there was no other alternative. Thus we parted. I was taken to Cairo, via Palestine.

"In Cairo I was confined in a villa that served as a sort of private prison and had guards posted everywhere. I was interrogated and now talked freely, as everything had already been said in Aleppo. They questioned me every day for ten and twelve hours at a stretch. Many of them. Questions were hurled at me from every side, sometimes simultaneously by more than one officer. All in all, they were quite polite, but persisted in learning every detail of what I knew.

"Day followed day and I could stand it no longer. On the tenth day I went on a hunger strike. I insisted that I be rele'ased and allowed to go to Hungary, where men and women were being murdered.

"While on the hunger strike, I kept on talking to them and answering their questions. All throughout the seventeen days of my hunger strike (I drank a little water now and then) I spoke to them.

"On the seventeenth day, one of my captors handed me a note from Ehud Avriel. It urged me not to make difficulties and to testify freely, and stated that everything was being done to ensure the success of my mission.

"One of the gentlemen present during my interrogations was Lord Moyne. He answered my appeal with regard to Eichmann's 'offer' by saying, 'What can I do with this million Jews? Where can I put them?'

(His Lordship had already tried the bottom of the Mediterranean for the Jews on the refugee ships -- the Stroma, Patria, etc.) [195]


Footnote 195. Lord Moyne was killed in Cairo a few months later by two members of the Lehi (Stern Group) from Palestine (Eliyahu Beit-Tzuri and Eliyahu Chakim). They were later executed by the Egyptians after a special demand from Winston Churchill to have them hanged, instead of being given a life term in prison. On hearing of the death of Lord Moyne, Chaim Weizmann declared that his death was more painful to him than the death of his own son, who fell in the battle of London.

Following the attack on Lord Moyne, Weizmann rushed to Palestine to help organize the Jewish Agency onslaught on the Irgun Zvai Leumi and Lehi.

After the Kastner trial, Brand wrote a book telling his story (Advocate for the Dead). Ehud Avriel demanded that in his book Brand change the name of Lord Moyne and state that the man told him, "Where shall I put a million Jews -- what shall I do with them?" was not Lord Moyne but another, unknown, British official. Avriel also made this change in his own written version of Brand's mission.

However, in the Eichmann trial, Brand repeated under oath his testimony that it was Lord Moyne in person who uttered this expression.


"I wrote a letter to the Jewish Agency Executive as follows: 'It is apparent to me now that an enemy of our people is holding me and does not intend to release me in the near future. I have decided to go on a hunger strike again and will do my utmost to break through the bayonets guarding me.' I added that the above was being written despite my knowing that the military censor would see the letter.

'While being confined in the villa, I was enabled to meet a few of the Jewish Agency Leaders. On these occasions I was driven by the British to the Esplanade or Metropol Hotel and left alone with the Agency gentlemen. My British escort would inform me that I would be picked up a few hours later. This happened about ten times." [196]

Finally, after four and one half months, the British released him. From Cairo, Brand was compelled to go to Palestine. He was not allowed to return to Hungary.

Brand recites the last dismal chapter of his tale. Coming to Tel Aviv, the Holy Land of his youthful dreams, he tried to reach the ear of the moral leader of World Jewry, Dr. Chaim Weizmann.

With the Jewish slaughter in Europe at its bloody height, Brand tells how he wrote desperately to President Weizmann (of the Agency, not yet Israel) imploring him to help the Jews still unslain in Hungary. He enclosed the full Eichmann offer. He pointed out how it could still be accepted, and the last of Hungary's Jews bought out of the German death camps. [197]

Footnote 197. The original of this document and the original of the subsequent document exhibited by Tamir were mysteriously stolen from Brand a few days before his testimony. However, before they were stolen, Brand gave Tamir photostatic copies of the documents.

During his testimony, Tamir wanted to enter these copies as official exhibits in the protocol. Prosecutor Tell tried to prevent the submission of these documents. He argued that since Mr. Brand was a government witness, Tamir was not allowed to meet him and receive documents from him. And therefore Tamir had committed an offense by filching such a document from the witness.

Tamir replied:

"Your Honor, the Prosecution originally presented this Court with an official witness list. This list named all the witnesses scheduled to appear for the State. Insofar as Joel Brand's name was not listed therein, I was entirely free, both legally and morally, to contact him and obtain documents and information pertaining to this trial. One of the main reasons for the existence of a witness list is to establish the precise framework which is out of bounds for the opposing side."

The court room waited tensely for the Court's decision. Judge Halevi pronounced it:

"I hold this document legal and admissible as evidence. I find no place, even prima facie, for the supposition that a criminal act has been perpetrated [in its procurement]."

Both documents were included in the protocol.


Tamir puts in evidence the reply to Brand made by the late President of Israel. Government Attorney Tell stands by "reverently" as this callous letter from Chaim Weizmann is read into the protocol.

Rehovoth, 29 Dec. 1944

Mr. Joel Brand
Tel Aviv
Dear Mr. Brand:

I beg you to forgive me for having delayed in answering your letter. As you may have seen from the Press, I have been traveling a good deal and generally did not have a free moment since my arrival here. I have read both your letter and your memorandum and shall be happy to see you sometime the week after next -- about the tenth of January.

Miss Itin -- my secretary -- will get in touch with you to fix up the appointment.

With kind regards,

Yours very sincerely,
Ch. Weizmann [198]


Brand points out in the court room that while this letter was being written, Jews of the Budapest ghetto were being butchered daily.

The last lines of Brand's testimony, as they appear of page 676 of the Protocol, read:

"Rightly or wrongly, for better or for worse, I have cursed Jewry's official leaders ever since. All these things shall haunt me until my dying day. It is much more than a man can bear." [199]

PERFIDY IN ISRAEL

It is known now (1961) that Eichmann's offer of a million Jewish lives for a few thousand trucks was not an Eichmann whim. It was a plan hatched by Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Becher, [200] ...

Footnote 200. Brand testified in the Eichmann trial that Becher was standing in civilian clothes behind Eichmann when the latter made the offer to him.


... Goering, and all the leading German thinkers of 1944. The execution of the plan was assigned to Colonel Eichmann.

The very fact that Brand was chosen, and not Kastner, may be proof of their hope to be taken seriously. An honest Jew was needed to bring the offer to the Jewry of the world -- a Jew with no known taint of German -- love in him. Brand was such a man, the Germans decided. And he was. [201]

But why? When such an inspired Jew-killer as Eichmann, and all the inspired Nazis, decide to offer to stop their Jew-killing, there must be a reason. I find in the evidence several obvious reasons. In 1944, the chief hope Germany's leaders had of escaping disaster was a divorce between Communist Russia and the Western Allies. It was a hope based on much logic. Hitler and his co-students of history must have gone to their deaths still bewildered at the "illogic" of the Western Allies who preferred Red Russia to the Nazi Reich as a friend.

Thus the first answer is that the Eichmann offer of Jewish Blood for Trucks was a separate peace overture toward the West. The trucks, said the Germans, would not be used against the Western Allies. They would be used only against the Russians.

A second reason for the offer was its whitewash possibility. Sparing the lives of the last million Jews might brighten the world's opinion of the fallen Third Reich, and win for it and its leaders a kindlier postwar judgment.

There is a touch of fantasy in this second reason, to wit -- why should the Germans imagine that the Allies were concerned about saving Jews? Have the Allies ever bombed the furnace houses in the death camps? Or the bridges leading to Auschwitz? Or allowed the Jews to find refuge in what had been given them as their own land -- Palestine?

But a little fantasy in so bedevilled a pack of intellects as the Germans in 1944 is to be expected.

Reason three is the most obvious, and the most German. Should it turn out that the Allies do not give a hoot about saving a million Jews, and that they regard the offer with contempt and derision -- that, in itself, will be a psychological victory for the Germans. The Allies will then be on record as having had no wish to save Jews when they could. How, then, will they be able to denounce Germans for killing them? Let Emissary Joel Brand come back to Budapest empty-handed, without ransom for a single Jewish child, and Germany will have proved its case against the Jews -- nobody likes them. Or, more practically, will have established the fact that Germany's deliberate torture and murder of six million defenseless and unmenacing humans (Jews) did not make it an outcast from Western civilization. Germany's case? -- "you not only made no protest against the slaughter, you refused to negotiate for the saving of the last million unslaughtered."

And so I restate the story of Joel Brand as I see it in the court of my mind, but it is not old Malchiel Greenwald who will stand trial in my court -- but the princes of Jerusalem -- the forty-year-long governing clique that has continued to flourish in the world's eyes as leaders of the Jews. I cannot serve warrants on Ben-Gurion, Sharett, or call upon them officially to defend themselves. I can only attempt to take upon me "the mystery of things" -- and imagine . . . what I can.

I begin with Joel Brand's return from Colonel Eichmann's headquarters in Budapest with news of the offer. The Budapest Jewish Council meets in full strength. They meet, debate, pray, burst into tears. For a sun suddenly blazes in Jewish darkness. Hope almost drives these Hungarian Jews mad. They were all going to be reduced to ashes at the rate of twelve thousand a day! Now Eichmann, the Furnace-Tender, wants to sell them to the Free World, the wonderful world outside of German hands, where nobody kills Jews!

And he is willing to pay one hundred thousand Jews in advance for the first thousand trucks, and the first hundred tons of coffee and tea!

There is no dissenting voice in the Jewish Budapest Council. Joel Brand must hurry to market to make the sale.

How can he fail, they ask each other? Joel will make the offer to the world's Jewish leaders who hold in their hands the millions of dollars collected in charity drives wherever there are Jews -- for the saving of stricken Jews.

Synagogues, cafes, meeting halls, and kitchens all buzz alike with hope. Such a miracle as this has not been heard of since Moses opened the Red Sea for the menaced Jews.

Of course, they will not be allowed to take anything along, so there is no need to pack. But who cares about possessions? They will be allowed to take fathers and mothers and children along. These are possessions enough.

Hungary's Jews lie awake at night, murmuring the word "Palestine."

The major matter in my mind is the arrival of the news of the offer in Palestine. When does this happen? The story is known to the safe and free -- the Elite of Palestine -- almost that same day. And after Brand's arrival by German plane in Constantinople, the Jewish-Agency-Zionist leaders stare at their unhappy problem. For who can doubt what the British would do if the Agency starts welcoming a million Jews to Palestine! There's no question of it -- the Jewish Agency and Zionist leaders will lose their standing as Jewish saviors -- if they proceed to save the Jews in disobedience of the British. Such is the Jewish situation in Tel Aviv.

While Hungary's Jews lie sleepless with the name Palestine lighting up their hearts, the leaders of Palestine vote on their course. Nothing will be done for Hungary's Jews without British permission -- never granted. And yet the situation must be met face to face. A Jew has to be talked to -- by the leaders of Jewry.

The deliberations of the Jewish Leaders on this topic are full of painful undercurrents. Jews like Avriel, Weizmann, Sharett, et al. are not creatures divorced from human mood. Sympathy for Jews to be fed into German furnaces is strong in their Jewish hearts.

They suffer at the thought of the doomed million in Hungary looking to them for rescue. They see, not only the faces of their brothers, but the old prayer shawls, the tvillin, they know by heart the Hebrew prayers these doomed ones are uttering.

And they wince (in Tel Aviv) at the thought that such rescue might be possible if they act quickly and boldly.

How wonderful to see the lighted faces of Eichmann's First Payment -- the first one hundred thousand Jews! To hear the cries of gratitude from mothers and children, plucked at the last hour out of German furnaces! How sweet to hear the tearful thank-yous of learned old men, of gentle rabbis and their sturdy young students!

With pale faces, the Jewish Leaders stare at the problem of Joel Brand, the salesman from Budapest.

Nevertheless -- pale, wincing or suffering -- the Jewish leaders decide on their course of obeying the White Paper. They decide on the criminal deed that must wreck all hope of saving the million men, women, and children from German slaughter. They will betray Joel Brand to the British.

But first, before betraying him, they are compelled by their high estate to play host to this spectral Banquo from Budapest. There is no escaping it. There are certain things that the Jewish Agency, historic champion of Jewry, must do. It must recognize a cry for help coming from its doomed Hungarian "chapter."

I have mentioned often "the Jewish Agency" as being responsible for this and that action in Palestine. Having come now to May 1944 and to its conduct in the Brand business, I think it well to identify the Jewish Agency of that time -- what it was, and what it was not. (Today there is a Jewish Agency, Inc. in the U.S.A. It is a new organization and did not participate in the Palestinian events of the forties.)

To nearly all American Jews and to most of the American press, the Jewish Agency loomed unequivocally in the thirties and forties as an institution devoted to the solving of Europe's "Jewish problem." In the twenties this problem was a minor political matter having to do with the creation of some sort of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. The problem grew more dramatic in the late thirties. It then had to do with saving the Jewish millions of Europe from being murdered by the Germans.

American Jews who offered their money and participation to the Jewish Agency in Palestine were emotionally certain that such rescue of Europe's Jewry was the primary objective of the "powerful Jewish Agency" headquartered in Tel Aviv and with puissant branches in most of the capitals of Europe.

The American notions of the Jewish Agency were compounded of daydream and lack of information. There was a third content -- the emotional belief that a Jewish organization could not ignore the plight of Europe's Jews, could not substitute politics for humanitarianism. Despite all that has happened, most American Jews still hang on to this concept of the Jewish Agency.

The significance of the Jewish Agency begins with its establishment in 1923. It was established by the British to facilitate the execution of the mandate given them by the League of Nations and the U.S.A. -- "to prepare a homeland for Jews in Palestine."

The British government asked the leaders of Zionism to submit for British approval a coterie of Jews who would be acceptable as chiefs of the new Jewish Agency. The coterie was submitted and blessed with British sanction. Thereafter the Jewish Agency became the Jewish face for the British rule of Palestine -- a sort of caricature of authority to which Jews could give their loyalty.


Inspired in part by a August 31, 1914 cable from Henry Morgenthau, then US Ambassador to Turkey, to prominent US philanthropist Jacob Schiff requesting $50,000 to save the Jews of Palestine, then part of Ottoman Turkey, from starvation, representatives of 40 US Jewish organizations met in New York in November 1914 to discuss the coordination of relief measures for beleaguered Jewish populations in central and eastern Europe and the Middle East.

On November 27, 1914 they founded the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC or "Joint"). Originally the result of a merger of two newly established relief committees, the largely Reformed American Jewish Relief Committee and the Orthodox Central Relief Committee, the Joint was joined by a third committee, the People's Relief Committee, composed of labor and socialist groups, in early 1915. The initial purpose of the Joint was to raise and distribute funds to help support the Jewish populations of eastern Europe and the near east during World War I.

In 1917-1919, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the collapse of the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey) at the end of World War I, and the massive and often brutal population transfers connected with the breakup and overthrow of the Ottoman Empire continued to adversely effect the ability of Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Middle East, to survive, support themselves economically, and maintain their Jewish identity.

Between 1914 and 1929, the JDC collected some 78.7 million dollars from Jews living in the United States. Intended to be a temporary relief organization, the increasing impoverishment of Jews in eastern Europe, the Soviet effort to settle Jews on the land, and continued Arab violence against the Jews of Palestine prolonged the life of the JDC into the era of the Holocaust. In the decade after World War I, the JDC became the primary communal agency for overseas relief and rehabilitation. In addition to direct relief funding, JDC operatives provided funding through the American-Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation to settle Soviet Jews on the land, primarily in Ukraine and the Crimea, and fostered economic development among Jews living in Palestine through the Palestine Economic Corporation.

The impact of the Depression in the United States drastically reduced the funding available to the JDC, whose leaders had to shelve their development schemes by 1932. With the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, the JDC, while continuing to provide support for Jewish communities in eastern Europe, focused on aid to Jews remaining in Germany and assistance to Jewish refugees from the Nazis. In April 1933, after Nazi thugs ransacked the JDC's European headquarters in Berlin, JDC officials relocated the office to Paris. Despite the Depression, contributions to the JDC actually increased as Jews in the United States became increasingly aware of the dangers and hardships facing their European brethren. Throughout the decade, the JDC painted a realistic picture of the plight of Jews overseas and managed to obtain sizeable contributions for overseas relief.

JDC efforts were instrumental in assisting at least 190,000 Jews to leave Germany between 1933 and 1939; 80,000 were able to leave Europe altogether with JDC assistance. The JDC supported various refugee resettlement efforts in Latin America, including the Jewish colony in Sosua, Dominican Republic, and a colony in Bolivia. JDC funds were also instrumental in funding a relief program for 20,000 German and Austrian Jewish refugees in Shanghai, China.

Nine months after the Germans invaded Poland to initiate World War II, the JDC was compelled to close its offices in Paris in the wake of the German advance in 1940 and reopen in Lisbon, Portugal.

In 1939, the JDC boosted its fundraising potential for rescue by joining with the United Palestine Appeal and the National Coordinating Committee for Aid to Refugees to create the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). Whereas between 1929 and 1939 the JDC raised and spent almost 25 million dollars on relief, between 1939 and 1945, it raised more than 70 million dollars, and between 1945 and 1950, it raised approximately 300 million dollars for refugee aid.

Until the United States entered the war in December 1941, the JDC sent food and money by various means to Poland, Lithuania, and other German-occupied countries. The JDC supplied money to support imperiled Jews throughout Europe—including those trapped in ghettos in German-occupied Poland. It funded orphanages, children's centers, schools, hospitals, housing committees, public kitchens, and various cultural institutions.

Even after the United States entered the war against Germany, the JDC, though no longer legally permitted to operate inside German-occupied territory, continued to funnel clandestine funds into ghettos in Poland via its office in Switzerland, headed by Saly Mayer. Mayer had contact with individuals in Switzerland—including officials of the International Red Cross—who in turn had links to Polish underground organizations. The JDC was also a significant contributor to the operations of the US War Refugee Board (WRB) after its creation in January 1944.

Made available through neutral legations, JDC funds facilitated the rescue of Jews residing in Budapest and assisted in the support of Romanian Jews during the last years of Marshal Ion Antonescu's rule. JDC funds also supported children's shelters under international protection in Budapest and partially financed the rescue operations of neutral diplomats such as Raoul Wallenberg and Carl Lutz. The JDC also sent thousands of relief packages to Jewish refugees in the Soviet Union.

The JDC provided material support and facilitated the emigration of refugees who had escaped to neutral countries including Portugal and Turkey or who had found refuge in other Axis countries, including Vichy France and Japan. Between 1939 and 1944, JDC officials helped 81,000 European Jews to find asylum through emigration to various parts of the world. Following its liberation in August 1944, JDC officials reopened their central office in Paris.

After the war, the JDC—working together with the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), and other organizations—became the central Jewish agency providing support and financial assistance to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust residing in the displaced persons (DP) camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy. The JDC provided food to augment official rations, supplied clothing, books, and school supplies for children, supported cultural amenities, and bought religious supplies for the community. Between 1945 and 1950 alone, some 420,000 Jews in Eastern Europe become beneficiaries of the Joint, which spent over 300 million dollars on assistance and sent an army of professionals (doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, and administrators) to serve the needs of approximately 700,000 people each month—both in and outside of the DP apparatus.

From 1947 on, an increasing part of the JDC budget was devoted to assisting refugees to emigrate from Europe. Between 1947 and the foundation of the Israeli state in May 1948, JDC funding assisted some 115,000 refugees to reach Palestine. JDC officials also provided relief and assistance to those would-be immigrants whom the British interned in camps on the island of Cyprus. After Israel was established, the JDC continued to facilitate Jewish immigration to the new state.

By the end of 1950, around 440,000 Jews had reached Israel with JDC assistance: 270,000 were refugees from Europe; another 167,000 were refugees from Moslem countries in North Africa and the Middle East, including 46,000 from Yemen flown in from the British colony Aden in Operation “Magic Carpet.”

-- American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Refugee Aid, by Holocaust Encyclopedia


The Jewish Agency continued to function as a Jewish collaborator and a Jewish front for British policy in Palestine. It was not an elected body, but an appointed one. And just as it had been established by British approval it could be dissolved by British disapproval.

The Jewish Agency, led by Ben-Gurion, Sharett et al., kept its Jewish look through the years of the extermination of Europe's Jews. But it remained unwavering in its loyalty to British policy. When British policy required silence and inaction toward the extermination of Hungary's Jews, the Jewish Agency and its now world famous factotums upheld this policy. Not once did the Jewish Agency inform the world and the Jews of Palestine of the mass murder of a final million Jews being done in Hungary and Auschwitz. Neither the headlines of Ben Gurion's press nor his innumerable orations during this time made reference to the matter of the murder of Jews.

The leaders of the Jewish Agency and of Zionism in 1944 cried out openly against the minority of Jews who fought to open the ports of Palestine to the still unslaughtered Jews of Europe.


I have repeated these facts about the Jewish Agency and its leaders to clarify the incredible adventures that befell Joel Brand on his arrival in Istanbul.

Albert Camus wrote, "To serve falsehood and despotism is the patriotism of the coward." I add -- "also of the uninformed."


Thus the Rescue Leaders in Constantinople gather around Brand like a troop of enfevered Samaritans. They listen to his tale with paled faces, with pain-filled eyes. And Brand talks on eagerly to Avriel, Barlas, Pomeranietz. His heart bursts with hope. What a deed to be doing -- rescuing a million Jews!

Joel Brand has no suspicions. Suspicions of whom? Of these Rne Jews of the Jewish Agency?

But the betrayal takes place. The time is not specified in the evidence by Bader or Brand.

Perhaps I behave too politely in my court room. There is nothing doubtful or vague about the whole business. Joel Brand was betrayed by the Jewish Agency to the British for a dozen reasons, all of them unspeakable from any human point of view.

Is the deed done from Tel Aviv or Istanbul or London? Was Weizmann really traveling "a good deal" and incommunicado? Was Ben-Gurion busy with other news? Government official Bader himself testifies that his fellow government official, Ehud Avriel, revealed Brand to the British right away.

Bader is noted for being an honest fellow, but his statement is a foolish one. Does he wish to make the point that Ehud Avriel played informer on his own? True, Avriel is a British Agent. But he is an agent on loan from the inner circle of the Jewish Agency. Whatever are his duties for the British, Avriel is a disciplined member of the Jewish politicalized society.

I pronounce in my own court room that Ehud Avriel was given his "betray Brand" orders by the Jewish Agency leaders in Tel Aviv.

I wonder what Chaim Weizmann said in the "top level" discussion that resulted in the dirty deal of betrayal. I wonder what that righteous "Greek scholar" and Man of the People, Ben-Gurion, said. And what said the clever Moshe Sharett -- the one who would have to face Joel Brand in Cairo?

If I had to put such a scene in a play I would not know how to write it. Any more than I would know how to write a scene about three cultured Germans sitting in a room and discussing the most economical way to murder six million Jewish men, women, and children. I would be inclined to overwrite something in both scenes -- the tug of conscience, the hidden human pain under the inhuman language.

This scene in London and Tel Aviv that I find hard to imagine takes place. Whatever the grimaces and sighs, these moral leaders of world Jewry come to a decision.

But how do they rationalize such a decision and bring its language within the bounds of decent human speech? I shall let an Israeli journalist of today, a pro-government journalist, naturally, make the kind of statement I am unable to imagine. He is Zeev Laqueur, writing in 1955 in The Jerusalem Post. M'sieur Laqueur writes:

"The whole approach of the court in finding fault with Kastner for having failed to make policy from 'a position of strength' is monstrous."

There you have the kind of reasoning that explains the High Command deliberating in Tel Aviv in 1944. The decision to scuttle Brand's mission is not only honorable per se -- simply because it is their decision -- but any criticism of their policies is "monstrous."

For in the eyes of the regime, all Jews who deal with the enemy from "a position of strength" -- the Irgun, the Lehi -- they are the betrayers. They who dared everything -- death in battle, the gallows -- they are the "criminals," the "scum," the "gangsters."

This hocus-pocus reasoning that attaches shame to the brave -- this unimaginable rationalizing -- is not a Hebraic trait only.

The judges of Joan of Arc were Frenchmen afraid of the English who sat in power over them. Having, out of this fear of their masters, decided on the heresy of Joan, her judges too found her continued defiance of their cowardice wicked -- probably "monstrous."

Thus, with the help of journalist Laqueur, and a little history to assist me, I am able to walk the crooked mile to the Joel Brand decision. The conference is probably a short, cool spoken scene. Quickly the debaters agree that it is folly to make policy from a position of strength, and it is wiser to continue "making policy" from a kneeling position.

But now the Jewish Leaders realize that a little cunning is needed if Brand is to be handed on a platter to the British. For Joel Brand is nervous about the British. He knows that if they detain him, his own family and a million others will pack the German incinerators.

Zion has a man for the job -- Ehud Avriel. And Jewish Leader Avriel does the job well. He soothes the fearful Emissary. How? By smiling on him as a fellow Jew. By chanting the lullaby names of Weizmann, Ben-Gurion, Sharett, to him.

Surrounded and "aided" by the people he most venerates in the world, Emissary Brand darts around Istanbul. He is arrested by the Turks. He is released -- all too quickly for the Jewish Agency timetable.

And now he wants to go to call on the United States Ambassador in Ankara, a Jew named Steinhardt. Maybe Steinhardt, having a Jewish heart, can help. Maybe he can induce Steinhardt's country, the glorious United States, to help.

But there's a snag. Brand can't get to Ankara. The Jewish Leaders somehow can't manage to get the right travel papers for Joel Brand. They will later manage to get the most difficult of papers for the emissary, papers allowing him to leave Turkey and enter British territory. But this simple police pass that would allow Brand to hop a train to Ankara is too much for them.

Thus, the Jewish Leaders prevent Emissary Brand from calling on the important Jew-Ambassador Steinhardt.

Had Brand made his visit, possibly all that would have happened is that Ambassador Steinhardt would have gotten into a peck of trouble and been recalled by President Roosevelt for harassing the British in their war effort. Emissary Brand, however, cannot reach the Ambassador, and continues to dart around Constantinople -- and to meet only with his Jewish rescuers.

But Joel Brand is a man of honest enterprise and a little cunning. He fears he is being delayed by small talk of "important officials due any day" and important officials "going over the Basic Situation."

Suddenly he gets an idea. If the Jewish Leaders in Istanbul will draw up a document agreeing to the big swap of Cargo for Blood, he will be able to fly back with it to Eichmann, and a hundred thousand Jews will be saved, automatically.

The Leaders draw up the document for Eichmann. Emissary Brand trembles with joy. His mission is a triumph. All he has to do is deliver the document to Eichmann! And there will be no massacre! A hundred thousand men, women, and children will be released from the queue outside the death furnaces!

But Joel Brand does not get back to Budapest with his priceless document. The Jewish Leaders talk him out of it. How can he think of returning to Budapest without first meeting face to face their great leader Moshe Sharett? Sharett is Weizmann's right hand man. Sharett will put the whole matter on a top political level and make it all official.

Brand wavers. Is Sharett coming to Istanbul? Certainly, the officials answer him. A day or two and he will be sitting right in this Turkish chair.

And Brand waits. He does not fly off with hallelujahs to Budapest. He sits on a hot stove -- on a great furnace whose fires are kindling -- and he waits for the famous Moshe Sharett.

Oddly, the Turks won't let Moshe Sharett come to Istanbul. Avriel can come there, Bader, Pomeranietz, Barlas and innumerable other Agency-Zionist officials. The" riff-raff of Europe can come to Istanbul. But not Moshe Sharett.

The record shows that Moshe Sharett was in Istanbul a few months before Brand's ill-fated arrival there. The bright-spoken Sharett came and went with nobody throwing up any road blocks.

I wonder why Joel Brand does not see the crudity of all the lies. Why he does not put together all the plot turns against him? -- nobody to meet him at the airfield, no papers to allow him to get to Steinhardt in Ankara, the insistence against his returning to Budapest with his "governor's pardon" for a hundred thousand Jews. And now the inability of the much-traveled Moshe Sharett to travel to Istanbul. I wonder how Brand can fail to spot the duplicity and betrayal in which he now walks.

But I am not a bewildered man with a million lives at stake if I make a wrong move. Nor am I a man infatuated since childhood with the nobility of Jewry's Leaders.

Joel Brand is. He listens desperately, nervously, and suspects nothing. His faith is in Weizmann, Ben-Gurion, Sharett and the other respectables. His soul is full of homage toward them.

Now the time has come to hand Joel Brand over to the British. It is a ticklish hour for the Jewish Agency. The Leaders tell Brand he will have to meet Moshe Sharett in Aleppo. Aleppo is on English soil.

The prospect frightens Brand. He argues. What if the British arrest him? Too much time has already passed. He promised Eichmann to be back in two weeks. Eichmann may start burning Jews any minute. Twelve thousand a day.

It is hard to believe that these fellow-Jews in Istanbul will not suddenly cry out to Joel -- "Go back to Budapest. Quickly! We are fooling you, hoodwinking you, betraying you."

No such sentimental collapse happens. Instead, the unhappy Joel Brand is urged on in another direction. If the great Moshe Sharett is willing to come to Aleppo to meet him, how can Joel refuse? And how can he worry about anything wrong happening when the highest officials of Palestine have all sent assurances that there is no danger?

And during all these days of Joel Brand's desperate talking, pleading, darting about Istanbul -- in jail, out of jail; meeting more Jewish Leaders from Palestine and listening to more and more reassurances -- it has all been arranged.

It was all settled shortly after the emissary from Hungary's doomed arrived in Istanbul. He is to be kept from telling his story to the world, he is to be kept from returning to Budapest with his precious document. He is to be lured to Aleppo. In Aleppo the British will arrest him.

TRAIN TO PONTIUS PILATE'S VILLA

Aleppo-bound Joel Brand sits in his train compartment with his friend Avriel, who smiles and chats like a parent calming a troubled child.

The train stops at Ankara and Fate comes aboard. A young Jabotinsky disciple from Palestine, Joseph Klarman, nnds Brand in his compartment and speaks to him. He warns Brand. The British are waiting to arrest him in Aleppo. He begs Brand not to go on.

Jewish Leader Avriel sneers on hearing of the intruder. He knows him -- one of the toughs from Tel Aviv, a Jabotinsky hothead.

Unknowing, the million Hungarian Jews, still alive, wait for the outcome of this talk on the train at Ankara. If Joel Brand will believe what this "troublemaker" from Palestine tells him, the million may escape the German ash barrels. What a moment this is, a moment that could change history.

But it changes nothing. Joel Brand does not believe the "troublemaker." Brand is a Jew trained to believe only in Respectability, such as rides with him in the compartment. Truth can scream itself hoarse at him in a compartment. But his allegiance must go to the patrician Vandyke beard of Weizmann, to the diplomatic frock coat of Sharett. Besides, does not his friend Avriel remind him constantly by his presence and purring cheeriness that all is well?

Emissary Brand shakes off the truth-teller. He rides on to Aleppo. His ride is a death march for a multitude. But there is Leader Avriel to purr cheery words to him. Nothing can possibly go wrong, dear Joel. Remember that the highest Jewish officials have told you this again and again --

Suddenly, an hour out of Aleppo, All-is-Well Avriel whispers to companion Brand that something may happen. He, Brand, may be arrested by the British, and separated from his good guide, Avriel. If this happens, Joel must promise not to answer any British questions unless an official of the Jewish Agency is present.

Brand stares at his sly companion as the train roars on. He may be arrested? But he was assured when he started for Aleppo! He asks desperately for more assurance.

But now Jewish Leader Avriel is silent as in a nightmare. In Aleppo the British take over. They will hold Joel Brand captive for four and a half months.

One of the cruelest moments in Brand's story is in Avriel's farewell sentence -- before he ducks out of the compartment -- the speech bidding Brand not to answer British questions unless a member of the Jewish Agency is present.

At the last moment the betrayer demands a pledge from his victim -- in the name of Jewish loyalty. Most certainly the British will do all in their power to keep the secret. Still, Avriel feels, it won't harm to get Brand to be his own policeman.

And Brand, still trusting, promises. He will speak only in the presence of his Jewish Leaders. The rest of the time -- silence.

When he is arrested and marched to British headquarters, Brand's feverish dream seems to be coming true. He meets one of the great Jewish Leaders. Not quite Chaim Weizmann, but almost. Moshe Sharett is there to hear his wild tale of Eichmann's Blood for Cargo offer.

Israel's leading diplomat Moshe Sharett, Reuven Shiloach, Zvi Yehieli, and other Jewish Leaders are present. Here are the rescuers of whom the doomed Jews of Europe dreamed, and in whose support the Jews of the United States are united today (1961).

But something has gone wrong. In a nightmare our loved ones suddenly appear with unfamiliar faces and look at us with queer expressions. We shudder and move deeper into the bad dream. Brand feels this terror.

Brand talks to Sharett for eighteen hours, without stop. He has a tale to pour out, an Iliad of murder and hope. The English take shorthand notes. Sharett listens solemnly and clucks with compassion.

When his wild sales talk for the doomed Jews is finally done, Brand hears the Leader of the Jews, Moshe Sharett, speak the decision. Says Leader Sharett,

''I'm very sorry, Mr. Brand. I have been given to understand that you will have to travel southwards (to British Cairo) and not go back at this time to Budapest."

And now a hoarsened, bewildered Brand is put in an army car and driven by British guards through Haifa, through Tel Aviv, through the new land of the Jews, past the offices of the Leaders of the Jews -- to a British jail. As the car moves on, a wild hope keeps Brand staring at the crowded streets. The Jews will rescue him! They will stop the car, take him from the two English soldiers in the car, and bring him in triumph to the high quarters of Dr. Weizmann and Ben-Gurion.

But no Jews rescue Joel Brand. He arrives at his British prison. Sharett, Weizmann, Ben-Gurion have kept Brand, his mission, and his imprisonment, a secret. During all this time the Hungarian Jews have been burning -- 12,000 a day. Soon there will be no further danger of Jews disturbing the White Paper by trying to pry their way into Palestine.

After Sharett leaves, Brand recalls an odd thing. Moshe Sharett said he had been a guest at the British villa for a day or two before Brand's arrival. Then everybody must have known the British were going to arrest him. All the Jewish officials who had talked to him day after day in Istanbul. And wept over his story. And drawn up the paper for Eichmann. They all must have known, and hid their knowledge.

In the British jail Joel Brand's innocence leaves him. His faith in the honesty of Jewish hearts no longer blinds his soul.

The British asking him polite questions are no different from the German bargainers! He has told them about the furnaces Eichmann has lighted now. It is a month since he left Budapest on his salesman errand. It is going on now -- the killing of twelve thousand a day!

Brand pleads for the burning ones. He screams. He goes on a hunger strike.

The British officers evidently complain to the Jewish Agency officials in Tel Aviv about Brand's unmannerly behavior. And the Agency rebukes Brand. Leader Avriel himself instructs him to cooperate with the British. It seems he is somehow misbehaving toward his captors.

During the four and a half months, a number of Jewish officials visit Brand, and other big shots keep dropping in on him for chats. No reason for this is given by Brand. I wonder at their boldness. I would not like to hear his wild, honest heart begging for the burning Jews of Hungary.

As each Day of the Twelve Thousand passes, Brand sees more and more clearly what his soul refused at first to imagine. He sees, detail by detail, the trickery that wrecked his mission. The sly arguments. The lies, the ruses, hypocrisies. Remembering them all in their true light now, Joel Brand wants only to die.

For seventeen days Brand takes no food. His hunger strike is more than a wish for death. It is his judgment on the world. He cannot break bread with human beings. He has seen all the faces conspiring in massacre.

Everywhere he looks with his awakened mind he sees the humanless face of man. Everyone -- Great Britain, the United States, and the leaders of world Jewry -- traitors all! Murderers. How can the kindly, human-loving world turn its back on the wild destruction of six million guiltless people?

Answer -- it can.

After four and a half months, Joel Brand is released. Here, (I am not sarcastic) is curious evidence of Anglo-Saxon "humanity."

It would have been shrewder for the British to see that no Joel Brand survived with his horror tale to tell. He could well have died "as a result of his hunger strike." The Jewish Leaders of Palestine would have raised no outcry over such a bulletin.

But Brand is allowed to stay alive. Like the Americans, the British are humane as individuals. Political murder is one thing. Murdering innocent captives is another.

So the British let him go. Nobody feels too happy about the Joel Brand business. On the other hand, nobody feels too unhappy. Political objectives exonerate leaders from feeling guilt. They regard their actions, however cruel and vicious their results, as impersonal deeds dictated by national demands.

Thus it comes to pass that though there are six million Jews murdered, there is no guilt. Neither German, Briton, American, nor Jew feels guilty.

EVERY MAN HAS TWO TONGUES

The Hungarian Jews are nearly over and done with. Joel Brand, released from prison, arrives in Palestine. The Jewish Leaders are as humane as the British. They also allow Brand to stay alive. And Joel Brand walks the streets of the new Zion.

He walks these streets, still intent on his mission. He visits the headquarters of Mapai, of Histadrut, of the Jewish Agency. Wherever there is a Headquarters for important Jews, there Joel Brand enters, talks, pleads. And he sends out scores of letters to all the Jewish Bosses of Palestine. There are still Jews to be saved in Hungary, he pleads. He pleads also that the Jewish Bosses allow him to return to Budapest, and share the fate of the Jews he was unable to save.

But his pleas and letters arouse only indifference or irritation. A last hope flickers in this nuisance of an Emissary. He has written to Sharett, Ben-Gurion, Bader, Avriel, Barlas. These are all big Jewish leaders. But there is one above them, Dr. Chaim documents of our century. I have read it a number of times and each time it makes a new confession.

At first reading I thought it only the callous letter of a leader whose sense of importance had blinded him to all human values. I noted that Dr. Chaim Weizmann, "the greatest Jewish statesman," has no word of sympathy to offer Joel Brand on the extermination of Hungary's Jews.

Instead, with mock humility the great man requests, "I beg you to forgive me for having delayed, etc."

In this pose of punctiliousness, Dr. Weizmann politely sidesteps the genocide in Hungary as if it were a faux-pas not for discussion.

"Manners before morals, Lord Windermere."

Manners before murder, Chaim Weizmann.

But a re-reading of the opening line startles me. This opening line addressed to Joel Brand, the betrayed emissary of the Jews, begins, "I beg you to forgive me -- "

These six words are a social cliche out of the "Ever-Ready Letter Writer" in all languages. They are also written by a Jew who conspired to turn a Jewish emissary from the pogrom over to the British.

After first reading this callous and vacuous letter from Weizmann, I wondered why he had written it. Why send so evasive a letter to a man whose soul is in an inferno? Surely Joel Brand is as easy to ignore as Eichmann's offer to spare the lives of a million Jews!

A re-reading brought a deeper meaning to its words. Masking its utterance in glibness, Chaim Weizmann's unhappy soul spoke its atonement to Joel Brand -- and felt a certain relief -- "I beg you to forgive me -- "

Weizmann's second sentence reads,

"As you may have seen from the Press I have been traveling a good deal and generally did not have a free moment since my arrival here."

This sentence, on the surface, seems to say a number of foolish things. In it Chaim boasts of his fame a little whimsically. The Press reports all his movements in large and constant headlines. You say kittenishly "as you may have seen" about something enormously visible.
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Re: Perfidy, by Ben Hecht

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Part 1 of 2

REFERENCE NOTES

ABBREVIATIONS:


C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem: Criminal Case 124153 in the District Court of Jerusalem.

"Eichmann Confessions" [Eichmann Tells His Own Damning Story] published in Life, November 28 and December 5, 1960: as dictated by him to Danish Nazi officer William Sassen, the summary of which appeared in Life magazine.

1. Ratified by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922.

2. British White Paper Cmd. 6079 of 1939: PALESTINE: Statement of Policy.

3. Debate in the British House of Commons, May 24, 1939.

4. The New Judea (official organ of the Zionist Organization of England) XIII (April, 1937).

As distinct from this attitude of Weizmann stood the alarm of Max Nordau and Vladimir Jabotinsky.

In the Zionist Congress of 1911, 22 years before Hitler came to power, and three years before World War I, Nordau said, "How dare the smooth talkers, the clever official blabbers, open their mouths and boast of progress.... Here they hold jubilant peace conferences in which they talk against war. . . . But the same righteous Governments, who are so nobly, industriously active to establish the eternal peace, are preparing, by their own confession, complete annihilation for six million people, and there is nobody, except the doomed themselves, to raise his voice in protest although this is a worse crime than any war ... "

Vladimir Jabotinsky, in 1936, declared: "It is not our task to establish in Palestine a home for selected people, not even a state for a small portion of our people. The aim of our efforts is to organize a systematic massive Jewish evacuation from all the countries in which they live . . ."

And in April, 1940, he declared in New York, "The transfer of millions of Jews to their homeland will save the European Jewry from extermination," and again, "evacuation of the masses is the only cure for the Jewish catastrophe."

5. Article by S. N. Behrman in Weisgal, Meyer, editor. Chaim Weizmann -- The Builder of Zion, The Statesman, The Scientist. Jerusalem: Hebrew University.

6. The State of Israel was proclaimed and established on May 14, 1948. Weizmann was appointed president of Israel by the Provisional Government in June, 1948 (Who's Who in Israel, 1952). He was sworn in as President nine months later on February 17, 1949. Weizmann hung on to his status as a citizen of Great Britain until a week after taking office as Israel's president. No longer able to continue as a British citizen, he then adopted citizenship as an Israeli.

7. The following letter was written by Henry Montor, Executive Vice-Chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. It states the official attitude of the Jewish leaders of Palestine toward the rescue of the six million European Jews whose extermination was well under way.

February 1, 1940

Rabbi Baruch E. Rabinowitz
Congregation B'nai Abraham
Hagerstown, Maryland
Dear Rabbi Rabinowitz:

· . . I am enclosing herewith two items which may be helpful in revising your judgment on several aspects of the situation relating to the refugees on the Danube ....

The United Palestine Appeal is a fund-raising instrument of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, as well as the Jewish National Fund. Whatever may be the attitude of the Jewish Agency toward unregistered migration [the refugees from Nazi persecution] to Palestine, it cannot, as a legally constituted body, publicly emphasize any interest in or sympathy with such immigration as it may and does have.... As you know, provisions of the White Paper provide for an annual immigration schedule of 10,000 a year .... Public emphasis on unregistered immigration and acknowledgment by such a body as the Jewish Agency that it not only endorses, but finances, such unregistered immigration can only strike a disastrous blow at the possibility of facilitating the entry of legal, properly qualified immigrants into Palestine. . . .

· . . "Selectivity" is an inescapable factor in dealing with the problem of immigration to Palestine. By "selectivity" is meant the choice of young men and women who are trained in Europe for productive purposes either in agriculture or industry and who are in other ways trained for life in Palestine, which involves difficulties and hardships for which they must be prepared physically and psychologically. Sentimental considerations are, of course, vital and everyone would wish to save every single Jew who could be rescued out of the cauldron of Europe.

But when one is dwelling with so delicate a program as unregistered immigration, it is, obviously, essential that those people sent to Palestine shall be able to endure harsh conditions under which they must live for weeks and months on the Mediterranean and the difficulties which await them when they land on the shores of Palestine.

· . . There could be no more deadly ammunition provided to the enemies of Zionism, whether they be in the ranks of the British Government or the Arabs, or even in the ranks of the Jewish people, if Palestine were to be flooded with very old people or with undesirables who would make impossible the conditions of life in Palestine and destroy the prospect of creating such economic circumstances as would insure a continuity of immigration. . . .

Until the resources of Palestine are adequately developed, immigration of from 30,000 to 60,000 a year may be possible.... Under these circumstances, therefore, is it not essential for responsible leaders to concern themselves with the necessity of selecting immigration, particularly under the arduous conditions that surround unregistered immigration at the present time . . . ?

Cordially yours,
Henry Montor
Executive Vice-Chairman

8. In his article The National Sport, Jabotinsky stated:

"'The National Sport which I heartily recommend to the Jewish youth is free immigration [into Palestine]. It helps to acquire a homeland for homeless masses and turn them into a nation. . . ."

In a public rally in Warsaw in 1939 (before the Declaration of War) Jabotinsky declared:

"I state with shame that the people behave now as if they were already doomed. I have not found anything like it, neither in history nor in novels. Never did I read of such acquiescence with fate.

""It is as if twelve million educated people were put in a carriage and the carriage was being pushed towards an abyss. How do such people behave? One is crying, one is smoking a cigarette, some are reading newspapers, someone is singing -- but in vain will you look for one who will stand up, take the reins into his hands and move the carriage somewhere else. This is the mood. As if some big enemy came and chloroformed their minds. I come to you now to make an experiment. The last experiment. I cry to you: "Put an end to this situation! Try to stop the carriage, try to jump out of it, try to put some obstacle in its way, don't go like sheep to the wolf'."

9. In 1933 one of the Mapai leaders, Chaim Arlosomv, was assassinated on the beach of Tel Aviv. Months later two Arabs confessed that they were the actual killers. However, a few hours after the assassination David Ben-Gurion, then Chairman of the Jewish Agency, declared in far-off Warsaw that he was convinced that Arlosorov was assassinated by Jewish Revisionists (Davar daily, June 29, 1933).

Following Ben-Gurion's notion, the Jewish Agency and Mapai Party collaborated with the British Police in concocting murder charges against three revisionists: Abrasha Stavsky, Zvi Rosenblatt, and Aba Achimur, a noted philosopher and historian and one of the leaders of the Revisionists. After a lengthy trial, which agitated Palestine for years, the three were found innocent by a British Court and acquitted. But in the meantime, Ben-Gurion and his disciples had exploited their empty murder charges to get a strong grip over the Zionist Organization.

10. Haaretz, the leading Israeli daily of February 27, 1942, quoting an official communique from the British Legation in Ankara which has reported a message of Andolio, the semi-official Turkish news agency.

11. Hamerad (The Revolt) by Menachem Begin, Chief Commander of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, quoting the official "Declaration of War" by the Irgun against Great Britain.

12. Official address to the Histadrut Convention in Tel Aviv as quoted in Davar (Israeli daily and the official organ of the Histadrut) on November 23, 1944.

13. Evidence testifying to this torture technique was given during the Civil Case of Paul Kollek v. H erut (Civil Case No. 503/49 in the District Court of Tel Aviv).

14. "War among brothers -- never!" Official declaration of the Irgun, published in the Irgun underground organ, Herut, on December 3, 1944: "This may be an undiplomatic declaration. But let the people know; under no conditions shall we raise our weapons against rival Jews."

15. Official testimony of David Ben-Gurion, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, before the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry in Jerusalem, as quoted in The Jewish Case Before the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry on Palestine as presented by the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Jerusalem: Publishing Department of the Jewish Agency, 1947.

16. Nedava, Joseph. Ole; Hagardom (Those Who Mounted the Gallows). Tel Aviv, 1952.

17. Invalids (Pension and Rehabilitation) Law, 1949.

18. A letter dated May 7, 1958 by David Ben-Gurion addressed to Judge Joseph Lamm of the Tel Aviv District Court, Vice President of the B'nai Brith in Israel, in reply to an official demand by B'nai Brith in favor of the repatriation of the remains of Jabotinsky to Israel: "Israel does not need dead Jews, but living Jews, and I see no blessing in multiplying graves in Israel."

19. This decision is echoed in an official statement of Moshe Sharett (Shertok), head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency, at the United Nations at Lake Success on November 13, 1947, declaring that the Jewish Agency agrees to the exclusion of the whole municipal area of JaHa from the boundaries of the future Jewish State.

20. From an address by David Ben-Gurion on July 23, 1948 in a meeting of his party, Mapai, as quoted by the official daily of Mapai, Hador.

21. In an interview published in the Israel weekly Yaad on August 17, 1960, Itzchak Greenbaum, member of the first Israeli Government, stated: "The attitude of the Israeli Government [during the war of Independence] was not to take Jerusalem from the Arabs in order not to hurt the Christian and the Moslem World."

22. Begin, Menachem. Hamerad (The Revolt). Hebrew Edition. Israel, 1950.

23. Official statement in the Provisional State Council (Parliament) of Israel as quoted in Hamashkif, Israeli daily, on June 24, 1948.

24. On the day of the British withdrawal from Palestine, the British Colonial and Foreign Office published a Termination of the Mandate explaining the withdrawal: "Eighty-four thousand troops ... had proved insufficient to maintain law and order in the face of a campaign of terrorism waged by highly organized Jewish forces equipped with all the weapons of the modem infantryman. Since the war 338 British subjects had been killed in Palestine, while the military forces there had cost the British taxpayer one hundred million sterling. . . . ... The declared intentions of Jewish extremists showed that the loss of further British lives was inevitable. . . .

In these circumstances His Majesty's Government decided to bring to an end their mandate and to prepare for the earliest possible withdrawal from Palestine of all British forces. They accordingly announced ... that the Mandate would end on the 15th May, 1948, from which date the sole task of the British forces in Palestine would be to complete their withdrawal by the 1st August, 1948." (The New York Times, May 14, 1948).

On February 1, 1947, the former Colonial Secretary, Mr. Oliver Stanley, spoke on behalf of Churchill and said: "The Government had conceded exactly what the terrorists demanded . . . Rather than this country should suffer further humiliations of this character we would prefer that we clear out of Palestine and tell the people of the world that we were unable to carry out our Mandate there."

Churchill's speech in the House of Commons on March 3, 1947, as quoted by The Palestine Post on March 4, 1947: "Shouting angrily and thumping a dispatch box in front of him, Churchill demanded to know how long this state of squalid warfare in Palestine, with all its bloodshed, would go on before some decision was reached. Churchill said it was costing thirty or forty million sterling a year and keeping 100,000 Englishmen away with the military forces. How long is this to go on? Are we just to drift month after month with these horrible outrages and countermeasures, which are necessary, but none the less objectionable?"

25. Official charge sheet of the Attorney General v. Malchiel Greenwald in Criminal Case 124/53 in the District Court, Jerusalem.

26. Ben-Gurion said in an interview with the reporter of Haaretz, Israeli daily, on October 2, 1959, "The Germany of today is not the Germany of yesterday. We have to win over the friendship of the people of West Germany; we have to treat West Germany as any other nation."

27. "On the Holocaust and on the Reaction," statement by Itzhak Greenbaum, Chief of the Rescue Committee of the Jewish Agency, addressed to the Zionist Executive Council on February 18, 1943 and published in his book, Beeyemei Khurban Veshoah (In days of Holocaust and Destruction), 1946.

28. Halevi, a graduate of the Universities of Freiburg, Gottingen, and Berlin, left for Palestine in 1933 and spent one year in an agricultural settlement. He later was one of the three judges who tried Eichmann in Jerusalem.

29. The number later increased to 1,680.

30. Kastner's testimony in the trial from the protocol of The Attorney General v. Malchiel Greenwald in Criminal Case 124/53 in the District Court, Jerusalem, later referred to as Protocol of C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

31. Interrogations of Kurt Becher in Nuremberg by American interrogators Captain Richard A. Gutman, Mr. S. Jaari, and Mr. Richard Sonnenfeldt on March 27, 1946, as quoted in the official protocol kept by the American National Archives and Record Service.

32. Kastner's testimony in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

33. Wisliczeny's testimony in Nuremberg.

34. Final verdict by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg.

35. Becher's own written statement to his interrogators in Nuremberg.

36. Eichmann statement to the Israeli police, regarding Becher:

"Becher told me of an assignment which he had received from Reichsfuhrer S.S. Himmler and pressed me from then on for the immediate commencement of the evacuation of Jews (to Auschwitz) because otherwise he wouldn't be able to carry out his Reichsfuhrer's order. Becher referred regularly to the Reichsfuhrer order which he would be able to carry out only if the evacuation were driven forward with utmost pressure."

37. During the trial a special committee to help the defense of Greenwald was formed and was headed by the Israeli historian and writer, Professor Joseph Klausner. Its chief members were Meir Rubin, Vice- Mayor of Jerusalem, Professor Joseph Rivlin of the Hebrew University, and Dr. Joseph Schechtman of New York. Also helping the defense, mainly with information, was Itzchak Sternbuch of Montreux, Switzerland, who was active during World War II in special rescue efforts on behalf of the orthodox organizations. Active with them was also Dr. Rudy Hecht of Swiss origin, who was a special representative of the Hebrew Committee for National Liberation in Europe and later was a witness for the defense in the trial of Malchiel Greenwald.

38. Exhibit 22, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

39. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

40. Amendment of Evidence Rules (Privileged Evidence) Law, 1958 (Proposed law No. 342, March 16, 1958.)

41. Affidavit before Mr. Benno H. Selcke, Jr., of the American Evidence Division of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg on August 4, 1947.

42. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

43. Official wanted list of German war criminals issued by the Legal Department of the American Occupying Forces.

44. Affidavit by Walter H. Rapp, head of the Evidence Division of the Chief of Counsel of War Crimes at Nuremberg, Germany, and Deputy Chief of Counsel to Brigadier General Telford Taylor, Chief of Counsel. Affidavit given in Tel Aviv on February 6, 1957.

45. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem. In his report to the Jewish Agency Kastner quoted a statement made by Becher to him about Himmler:

"Do you know that Himmler never cursed Jews? He was forced to; he is not a mass murderer. He has a tender heart. Even now you cannot imagine how difficult it is for him to hurt a Jew!"

46. Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law, 1951.

47. His largest holdings, the "Koerner Aussenhandelsgeselschaft" of Koeln, Bremen, and Frankfurt.

48. Becher's assets were recently estimated by reliable German newspapers to be $30,000,000.

49. Testimony of Mr. Rafael Ben-Susan, economic editor of Haaretz, Israeli daily, at C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

See also Yaad, Israeli weekly dated February 1, 1961 and June 7, 1961.

50. Adolph Hitler's speech, April 19, 1942, in Levai, Eugene. Black Book of the Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry. Zurich: Central European Times Publishing Co., Ltd., 1948.

51. Davar, official daily of the Histadrut in Palestine, June 2, 1943.

52. Lavai, Eugene. Black Book of the Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry.

53. Testimony of Professor Benjamin Aktzin, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, at C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

54. Davar, official daily of the Histadrut in Palestine on January 12, 1945, reporting on the conference of World Jewish Congress.

55. Commandant of Auschwitz: the Autobiography of Rudolph Hoess. Cleveland and New York: World Publishing Co., 1959.

56. Kastner's report to the Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, 1946; "Eichmann Confessions" [Eichmann Tells His Own Damning Story] published in Life magazine, November 28 and December 5, 1960.

57. In his trial, Eichmann admitted that the extermination of the Jews was conducted as strategic warfare, and that an important psychological element was deluding the Jews about the real intention of the Germans.

58. Testimony of Moshe Krauss, Chief Secretary of the Palestinian Bureau in Budapest in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem; also Kastner's cross examination in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

59. "Eichmann Confessions" [Eichmann Tells His Own Damning Story] published in Life magazine, November 28 and December 5, 1960.

60. Kastner's testimony in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

61. Lavai, Eugene. Black Book of the Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry.

62. In his "Confessions" in Life magazine, Eichmann writes, "I had already given orders to collect these Jewish officials in advance. Because I planned to work with them I wanted to be sure they would not be harmed by any right-wing hysteria."

63. Kastner's cross-examination in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

64. Kastner's testimony in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

65. Kastner's report to Zionist Congress in Basel, 1946.

66. "Eichmann Confessions"[Eichmann Tells His Own Damning Story] published in Life magazine, November 28 and December 5, 1960: "In Hungary my basic orders were to ship all the Jews out of Hungary in as short a time as possible. Now, after years of working behind a desk, I had come out into the raw reality of the field. As Muller put it, they had sent me, the "master" himself, to make sure the Jews did not revolt as they had in the Warsaw Ghetto. I use the word "master" in quotation marks because people used it to describe me.... Since they had sent the "master," however, I wanted to act like a master. I resolved to show how well a job could be done when the commander stands 100%behind it. By shipping the Jews off in a lightning operation, I wanted to set an example for future campaigns elsewhere.... In obedience to Himmler's directive I now concentrated on negotiations with the Jewish political officials in Budapest ... Among them Dr. Rudolph Kastner, authorized representative of the Zionist Movement. This Dr. Kastner was a young man about my age, an ice-cold lawyer and a fanatical Zionist. He agreed to help keep the Jews from resisting deportation -- and even keep order in the collection camps -- if 1 would close my eyes and let a few hundred or a few thousand young Jews emigrate illegally to Palestine. It was a good bargain. For keeping order in the camps, the price . . . was not too high for me.

"... We trusted each other perfectly. When he was with me, Kastner smoked cigarets as though he were in a coffeehouse. While we talked he would smoke one aromatic cigaret after another, taking them from a silver case and lighting them with a silver lighter. With his great polish and reserve he would have made an ideal Gestapo officer himself.

"Dr. Kastner's main concern was to make it possible for a select group of Hungarian Jews to emigrate to Israel. ...

"As a matter of fact, there was a very strong similarity between our attitudes in the S.S. and the viewpoint of these immensely idealistic Zionist leaders. . . . I believe that Kastner would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal.... 'You can have the others,' he would say, 'but let me have this group here.' And because Kastner rendered us a great service by helping keep the deportation camps peaceful, I would let his groups escape. After all, I was not concerned with small groups of a thousand or so Jews.... That was the 'gentleman's agreement' I had with Kastner."

67. Testimony of Yechiel Schmueli of Kluj in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

68. Later in the trial the witness, Joel Brand, testified that S.S. Colonel Von Wisliczeny told him:

"Our system is to exterminate the Jews through the Jews. We concentrate the Jews in the ghettos -- through Jews; we deport the Jews -- by the Jews; and we gas the Jews -- by the Jews."

Dr. Rudolf Verba, a Doctor of Science now serving at the British Medical Research Council, was one of the few escapees from Auschwitz. In his memoirs published in February, 1961, in the London Daily Herald he wrote:

"I am a Jew. In spite of that -- indeed because of that -- I accuse certain Jewish leaders of one of the most ghastly deeds of the war.

"This small group of quislings knew what was happening to their brethren in Hitler's gas chambers and bought their own lives with the price of silence. Among them was Dr. Kastner, leader of the council which spoke for all Jews in Hungary ....

"While 1 was prisoner number 44070 at Auschwitz -- the number is still on my arm -- I compiled careful statistics of the exterminations ... I took these terrible statistics with me when I escaped in 1944 and 1 was able to give Hungarian Zionist leaders three weeks notice that Eichmann planned to send a million of their Jews to his gas chambers .... Kastner went to Eichmann and told him, 'I know of your plans; spare some Jews of my choice and I shall keep quiet.'

"Eichmann not only agreed, but dressed Kastner up in S.S. uniform and took him to Belsen to trace some of his friends. Nor did the sordid bargaining end there.

"Kastner paid Eichmann several thousand dollars. With this little fortune, Eichmann was able to buy his way to freedom when Germany collapsed, to set himself up in the Argentine. . . ."

69. An unexpected example of Kastner's behavior in misleading the Jews popped up during the current Eichmann trial (1961).

Witness for the Prosecution Dr. Joseph Melkman, a Dutch Jew, testified how he, together with other Jews, were being taken on a train for deportation. "It was in the railway station at Bergen-Belsen. I stood there near the entrance of the train. . . . Suddenly a car came and two persons got out of it. One of them was in the uniform of the S.S., a Colonel. ... This officer talked to me ... and asked me what our conditions were. He was accompanied by a man wearing civilian clothes. When the officer finished talking, the man in civilian clothes told me his name was Kastner. . . . Kastner said: 'I promise you that you will be sent to a good place' . . . in fact the trains were meant to be sent to the East (for deportation) but because of unexpected war situations we could not proceed directly and we had to turn about until finally we were liberated."

70. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

71. Exhibit of the Defense No. 158 in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

72. Cross-examination of Hillel Danzig in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

73. Testimony of Yechiel Schmueli in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

74. Testimony of Mr. Joseph Katz of the town of Nodvarod in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

75. Testimony of Mr. David Rosner of Kluj in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

76. Testimony of Mr. Levy Blum of Kluj in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

77. Cross-examination of Kastner in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem. In his trial Adolph Eichmann answered the Court:

Q. You have mentioned camouflage orders which came from Himmler. These activities facilitated ... the mobilization of Jews to the service of annihilating themselves by misleading the victims.

A. Yes.

Q. How did the Warsaw Ghetto revolt effect the following operations?

A. I think that the conclusion of the Nazi leaders was that they expected a revolt in Holland and Hungary It was therefore decided to accelerate the deportation of Jews They were afraid of Jewish resistance .... It was all organized like a Military Campaign, including psychological warfare."


78. Ibid.

79. Bar-Adon, Dorothy and Pessach. Seven Who Fell. Palestine: "Sefer" Press, 1947.

80. Ibid.

81. Ibid.

82. "The Return of Hanna Senesh," Pioneer Woman, XXV, No.5. May, 1950.

83. Bar-Adon, Dorothy and Pessach. Seven Who Fell.

84. Ibid.

85. Palgi, Joel. Ruakh G'dala Ba'ah (The Great Wind), Israel: Hakibutz Hameuchad, 1948.

86. Palgi's testimony in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

87. Bar-Adon, Dorothy and Pessach. Seven Who Fell.

88. Ibid.

89. Ibid.

90. Kastner's cross-examination in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

91. Hanna arrived in Budapest in July. Kastner admitted knowledge of her arrest in August.

92. Testimony of Mrs. Catherina Senesh in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

93. Protocol C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

94. Levai, Eugene. Black Book of the Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry.

95. Ibid.

96. Ibid.

97. Ibid.

98. Cross-examination of Bader in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

99. Rabbi Weissmandel refers here to the Auschwitz protocol, a detailed report drafted by Dr. Rudolf Verba and a colleague. Both escaped from Auschwitz a few weeks before the deportations started and sent warning to the Jewish leaders in Slovakia and Hungary. This information was not published by the Jewish Agency. Moshe Krauss sent the full details of Auschwitz to the Jewish Agency representative in Geneva, Mr. Chaim Pozner, who also failed to publish it. Two Hungarian Jews, George Mantello and Joseph Mandl, managed to reveal the facts to the world in the month of July through news agencies.

See also note 68.

Dr. Verba had detailed knowledge about the atrocities and the activities of Eichmann. Because of the importance of the Auschwitz statements, which indicated the exact figures on the Auschwitz victims, Judge Moshe Landau, in the Eichmann trial, asked the Attorney General why he did not call this escapee from Auschwitz as a witness. The attorney general, Mr. Gideon Hausner, answered that the government couldn't cover the travel expenses of its witnesses.

100. In a Polish town, all the Jews assembled in the Synagogue before their extermination and cursed the Jews of the free world, who did nothing, while they were being taken to their death. (Magen Bessetter, official documentary publication of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, 1948).

101. In the preface to his book, Pathway to a Promised Land, Ira Hirschman of the American Refugee Board writes:

"Americans are kindly and humane. Their failure to act before the establishment of the War Refugee Board was due, in my opinion, chiefly to the fact that they were not then, and are not even today, fully aware of the horror and extent of the stupendous tragedy prepared for a guiltless people ....

"History will tell that our government achieved marked success through the War Refugee Board in rescuing the remnants of persecuted minorities and in checking their slaughter. Had we acted as vigorously and decisively at an earlier date, we undoubtedly could have saved many times the number of people that we did."

102. In the Kastner trial, the following testimony was given by witness Joseph Katz from Nodvarod, who was deported to Auschwitz and worked there in a tailor shop:

Tamir: Was Auschwitz bombed from the air by the Allies while you were there?

Katz: Yes. The industrial plants were bombed. Also the military targets were accurately bombed.

Tamir: Were the gas chamber buildings bombed?

Katz: No.

Tamir: Were they visible from the air?

Katz: Very much so.

Tamir: Were the crematoria bombed?

Katz: No.


103. During his last years in Mount Kisco, N.Y., Rabbi Weissmandel related in his book, Min Hametzar that when one of his messages fell into German hands, the Germans were much pleased by his plea for the bombing of the bridges on the Auschwitz run. The German attitude, wrote the Rabbi, proved their understanding of how the Allies felt about the extermination of the Jews. Writes Rabbi Weissmandel, the Germans were convinced that telling the Allies which bridges should be blown up to save Jews made those bridges safe from all attack; and they could be used thereafter by the Germans for troop transportation. The plea to bomb the Auschwitz Crematoria and the bridges leading towards it was finally addressed to the British authorities.

The British Government delayed answering until September, 1944, (by then most of the Hungarian Jews were annihilated). In an exhibit filed in the Eichmann trial it was revealed that on September 1, 1944, Mr. Richard Law, of the British Foreign Office, referred to the proposals of the bombing and stated: "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 technical difficulties involved, we have no option but to refrain from pursuing the proposal in present circumstances. . . ."

The British Government never explained what were "the very great technical difficulties" involved in sending one or two bombers to bomb the very visible Auschwitz crematoria or the easy targets of the bridges leading towards it.

In an interview with the correspondent for the Israeli Maariv on the 1st of June 1961, Air Marshall Sir Arthur Harris, who served as the Chief Air Officer of the British Bomber Command from 1942 until 1945 stated: "I can't recall that I ever heard of such a plea [to bomb Auschwitz] ... To the best of my recollection I never knew of the existence of German extermination camps until we liberated Bergen-Belsen [at the close of the war]."

British Colonel Leonard Cheshire admitted to the Daily Telegraph on June 2, 1961, that "the bombing of Auschwitz in 1944, although difficult, was feasible. Had we known that the Jews requested to bomb the place there would have been no difficulty at all in mobilizing an air group to carry out this task."

104. Exhibit of the Defense No. 36, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

105. The first Palestinian underground organization, led by Aaron and Sarah Aaronson, which helped the British to fight the Turks in the first World War, aimed at establishing in Palestine a free Jewish State.

106. The first organized armed Jewish guards in Palestine.

107. Tamir presented the Court with volumes of the Palestinian Davar daily, covering the four relevant years of the war. They were accepted as official exhibits.

108. Joel Brand.

109. The famous Palestinian Detention Camp formed by the British for political detainees.

110. Marx, Karl. A World Without Jews, ed. Dagobert D. Runes. New York: Philosophical Library, 1959.

111. Kastner's cross-examination in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

112. Kastner's cross-examination in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

113. Eichmann in Hungary, documents edited by Jeno Levai, Panonia Press, Budapest 1961.

114. Testimony of Moshe Krauss in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem. Krauss has also filed a court case against the Jewish Agency in Palestine for not paying his salary and for throwing him out of his job without even compensation.

115. Exhibit No. 1 in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

116. Kastner's cross-examination in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

117. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

118. Kastner's last cross-examination and testimony in C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

119. The Jerusalem Post, Israeli English daily, September 20, 1954.

120. "Eichmann Confessions" [Eichmann Tells His Own Damning Story] published in Life magazine, November 28 and December 5, 1960.

121. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

122. When the trial started.

123. The German reparations to the State of Israel and World Jewish institutions.

124. At the beginning of the trial, immediately after Tamir took up the Defense, he asked for a postponement in order to prepare the Defense. The request was contested by the Prosecution. Judge Halevi imposed a payment of £20 on the accused -- costs for "negligence in the preparation of the Defense." A few months later, the Prosecution requested a postponement of the trial in order to prepare itself more fully. Judge Halevi granted this postponement and then restored the £20 to Greenwald.

125. One of the central figures of the Israeli foreign office.

126. Attorney General Chaim Cohen said in his summation, "Either Kastner should be sentenced to death, if the allegations are true, or -- if they are not -- Greenwald should die by the hand of God."

127. Testimony was brought in the trial of an official complaint filed against Kastner at the Zionist Congress of Basel in 1946. After a few hours hearing, the inquiry, which was conducted by members of the Mapai party, was stopped in the middle and an official communique declared Kastner exonerated.

128. During the same session of the Zionist Congress, Kastner was interrogated secretly by a special Haganah court, but no verdict was reached, publicly.

129. The special representative of the American Refugee Board, who was stationed in Berne, Switzerland.

130. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

After the war, S.S. General Walter Schellenberg, Chief of Himmler's Intelligence, stated in a special document, now in the custody of Mr. Hillel Storch of the World Jewish Congress in Stockholm, that Kastner had served throughout the war as an agent of the German S.S. among the Jews in Hungary.

131. In his final plea to Judge Halevi, Tamir challenged the Court:

"The Defense invites the Court to release itself from the environment surrounding it, to uproot itself from its very midst, to raise itself to a higher level, and to be willing and able to pass a verdict on a whole community, on a whole leadership within which the Court lives and whom the Court trusts. This is a gigantic psychological obstacle. But the Defense trusts the Israeli Court of Justice. And although the burden is almost too heavy for a single human being to carry, we challenge the Court to pass judgement in view of facts only, facts so clear that nothing can withstand them."

132. S.S. General Jutner, Chief of the Waffen S.S. on the Eastern Front, who accompanied Hoess on the visit to Budapest; who had always been met by Kastner according to the latter's testimony.

133. During the trial a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, Eliyahu Dobkin, testified that he never authorized Kastner to give an affidavit and a recommendation in favor of Becher on behalf of the Jewish Agency or anyone else. However, although Becher was released from detention as a direct result of Kastner's intervention in the name of the Jewish Agency, and although this affidavit serves as a clean bill of health for Becher up to this very date, the Jewish Agency refused to inform the allies or German authorities that the affidavit was given in its name without its knowledge or approval.
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Re: Perfidy, by Ben Hecht

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Part 2 of 2

134. Statement by Richard H. Gutman, January 1, 1961:

"From the summer of 1945 to the summer of 1946 I was stationed as an intelligence and interrogation officer of the U.S. Army in Oberursel, Germany .... One of the men I interrogated was Standartenfuhrer (S.S. Colonel) Kurt Becher. ... At the time of the attack against Poland he was under the leadership of Fegelein, a member of the Reiter S.S. which committed the worst excesses in occupied Warsaw. I remember that during the interrogation it came out that Becher had contracted a venereal disease during the Polish campaign. . . . Undoubtedly Becher knew much more than he was willing to tell and was directly involved in many different aspects of the "final solution" to the Jewish problem as envisaged by Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann, etc., than he would ever be willing to admit. But his constant reference to the fact that he was a "friend" of the Jews and that he knew they would vouch for him was too much for me to take. I put him in solitary confinement for which he loudly thanked me because, as he put it, 'it gave me a chance to reflect on all the terrible things that had happened.' I finally escorted him by jeep to Nuremberg where I delivered him to the prison authorities.

"Shortly after I had delivered Kurt Becher, war criminal and leading S.S. officer on Himmler's staff, I found that due to the intercession of Mr. Rudolf Kastner, Becher was enjoying a comfortable existence in the witness wing of the Nuremberg prison.... I was shocked and couldn't believe it and went to see Kastner. . . . When I said to Kastner that I didn't understand his loyalty and concern for a man like Becher he answered me, with a sentimental and far-away look in his eye, that when he once went into an S.S. office, he saw their belts hanging on the clothes rack. And on the belt buckles was inscribed the motto, 'Meine Ehre ist True' -- My Honor is Loyalty."

135. From the judgement of Judge Dr. Benjamin Halevi, President of the Jerusalem District Court, given June 22, 1955, Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

136. Dr. Moshe Keren in an article in Haaretz, Israeli daily, dated July 14, 1955.

137. Dr. Moshe Keren in an article in Haaretz, Israeli daily, dated July 8, 1955.

138. Herut, Israeli daily, June 23, 1955.

139. Hatzofe, Israeli daily, June 23, 1955.

140. Lamerchav, Israeli daily, June 23, 1955.

141. Haboker, Israeli daily, June 23, 1955.

142. Maariv, Israeli evening paper, June 23, 1955.

143. Yediot Acharonot, Israeli evening paper, an article by the editor, Dr. Herzl Rosenbloom, June 23, 1955.

144. Davar, Israeli daily, June 23, 1955.

145. Kol Haam, Israeli daily, June 23, 1955.

146. The Jerusalem Post, Israeli daily, June 23, 1955.

147. Yediot Acharonot, Israeli evening paper, June 26, 1955.

148. However, the judgment was never forgiven Halevi. When the Eichmann trial came up, the government, through Minister of Justice Pinhas Rosen and the new Attorney General, Gideon Hausner, acted in an unprecedented manner by introducing and passing through Parliament a special law which was intended to deprive Halevi of the right to preside over the Eichmann trial. The same Minister of Justice, Rosen, launched in Parliament a special pressure campaign on Halevi to disqualify himself from sitting in the Eichmann trial.

149. Davar, Israeli daily, June 27, 1955.

150. Official statement to the "Voice of Israel," the Governmental Israeli broadcasting service on June 23, 1955.

151. Item: While Halevi was reading his judgment, Kastner hurried to Prime Minister Sharett, who immediately contacted Minister of Justice Rosen. As Judge Halevi finished reading the judgment, the minister of justice (in the absence of Chaim Cohen, who was abroad) called on the acting attorney general and instructed him to announce the following morning that an Appeal was to be filed.

152. Dr. Azriel Carlebach in Maariv, Israeli evening paper, on June 24, 1955.

153. Amendment of Evidence (Examination of Witnesses) Law -- 1956. (Proposed law No. 257, 1956).

154. Amendment of Procedure (Examination of Witnesses) Law, 1957.

155. When the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe called upon the American Government to establish a War Refugee Board, Rabbi Stephen Wise, testifying before a special committee of the American Congress, objected to this proposal.

156. The line of the Irgun, as proclaimed in all its publications, was that the fight for the rescue of the masses of Jews in Europe coincided with the real aim of Zionism -- the establishment of a true viable State of Israel.

157. Chaim Cohen in the Appeal before the Israeli Supreme Court, January 20, 1957.

158. Chaim Cohen himself said in that very Appeal that Kastner "behaved as a fool" and that he lied in court more than once.

159. Chaim Cohen also said, "The man Kastner does not stand here as a private individual. He was a recognized representative, official or nonofficial, of the Jewish National Institutes in Palestine and of the Zionist Executive; and I come here in this court to defend the representative of our national institutions."

160. Chaim Cohen admitted, "that Eichmann, the chief exterminator, knew that the Jews would be peaceful and not resist if he allowed the prominents to be saved, that the, 'train of the prominents' was organized on Eichmann's orders to facilitate the extermination of the whole people." However, he added that "there was no room for any resistance to the Germans in Hungary and that Kastner was allowed to draw the conclusion that if all the Jews of Hungary are to be sent to their death he is entitled to organize a rescue train for 600 people. He is not only entitled to it but is also bound to act accordingly." He continued explaining that this attitude toward extermination had always been the system of the national Jewish institutions, who gave emigration certificates to Palestine only to a few of the masses who wanted to emigrate -- emigration based on selectivity.

161. Chaim Cohen attacked Judge Halevi bitterly, stating that he had no right to make a decision now as to the duties of Kastner ten years ago. To this Judge Goitein, of the Supreme Court, said, "You took upon yourself the risk of filing this trial ten years after the events took place. It is you who took it."

162. In his Supreme Court reply Tamir said:

"I shall defend before you not only an historical judgment, not only the truth, but also the hundreds of thousands of slaughtered people against whom the most horrible defamation was made here -- that they were like sheep to be taken to slaughter. 1 shall prove that one cannot purify and exonerate Kastner without exonerating Becher and Himmler and without concurring with what Hitler said of the hundreds of thousands of Jews -- 'garbage of the earth' .... There is no human being who is authorized to deprive 800,000 Jews of the clear knowledge as to what awaits them; who is allowed to deprive them of their right to try and escape, to jump from the train or even commit suicide with honor; to deprive a mother of her right to tear away the eyes of the beast before it assails her child; to deprive them of their right to choose between life and death."

Referring to the patronage given to Kastner by the S.S. high command during the last year of the war, Tamir said in his summation,

"Thus the circle is closed. The same Krumey who exterminated the Jews has sent Kastner into the Kluj ghetto; the same Krumey brings him a few days before the end of the war safely, in a special car, to the Swiss border.

. . . "I know that this Kastner is a victim and is a very miserable, ruined human being. But tolerance toward his crimes may mean an unheard of cruelty toward the exterminated Jewish people .... This is not a trial of Greenwald or even of Kastner alone. The question is whether the same fate would have befallen all the Jews of Hungary had they known the whole truth. I challenge this court not to issue a moral death penalty on these Jews after their death. Because it is this the learned Attorney General is calling upon you to do.

"The whole nation is now facing an immense moral test, through you. I pray that we shall stand the test."

163. In Israel, the complaint of a single citizen against a suspect of Nazi collaboration was enough to detain him and start a police inquiry. In the case of Kastner, despite the finding of the president of the District Court -- which came after a trial lasting continuously for a full nine months with dozens of witnesses and hundreds of documents -- neither the police nor the attorney general's office was willing even to start an interrogation of Kastner. An official complaint filed by Tamir on behalf of Greenwald after Judge Halevi's verdict also remained without response.

164. Exhibit No. 33, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

165. During the Greenwald trial, as well, Kastner stated on oath that "Krumey was one of the chief exterminators" and as such "he deserved no help," and that in fact he, Kastner, never did anything for him.

166. Interrogation of Hermann Kromey on September 23, 1947, by American interrogator Herbert H. Meyer, file No. 2010 as quoted in an official protocol kept by the American National Archives and" Record Service.

167. Letter dated February 5, 1947, sent from Geneva and attached to Interrogation of Hermann Krumey on September 23, 1947, by American interrogator Herbert H. Meyer, file No. 2010, as quoted in an official protocol kept by the American National Archives and Record Service.

168. Affidavit by Rudolf Kastner given on May 5, 1948, in Nuremberg, Germany to Benno H. Selcke, Jr. of the American Evidence Division of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg.

169. Becher starts his affidavit in favor of Krumey by identifying himself as the man who cooperated with the Jewish Agency. Krumey, in turn, was one of the witnesses for Eichmann in the Jerusalem trial. Servatius, the Attorney for Eichmann, submitted his affidavit as part of the defense.

170. When Eichmann was caught, however, a partial rift developed between him and Becher, each of them throwing part of the responsibility on the other in order to try and exonerate himself.

171. For years after the war, the Israeli authorities neither asked for the extradition of the German war criminals from Germany nor searched for Eichmann's hideaway. It was only after the Kastner trial developments that the subject was revived in the country and the search started.

172. The last three scandals involving Ben-Gurion:

A. The Lavon affair where the majority of his own government practically determined that Ben-Gurion's own group was responsible for the frame-up against Pinchas Lavon, former minister of defense, in connection with a grave security matter.

B. The Israel Beer affair -- a shady Israeli military historian who was groomed by Ben-Gurion as the official military historian. After attributing almost every Israeli victory to Ben-Gurion's brilliance, Beer was handed his post by Ben-Gurion. This post gave him access to the most secret military files. In spite of the warning of the Intelligence Service, Ben-Gurion refused to fire Beer until he was finally caught and exposed as a Russian spy.

C. Ben-Gurion's declaration that every Jew living outside Israel is Godless.

173. Final judgment in the case of Yechezkel Sahar v. the Attorney General, Criminal Appeal No. 20/61 in the Supreme Court, Jerusalem.

174. Final judgment in the case of Eliakim Haetzni and others v. Amos Ben-Gurion, Civil Appeal 256/57 in the Supreme Court, Jerusalem. This judgment, unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court, was delivered by Judge Moshe Landau, later presiding judge in the Eichmann trial.

175. During this trial, the Ben-Gurion group, aided by the Israeli Intelligence Service, published a special weekly called Rimon. Its main theme was a violent smear campaign against Tamir, who was described as, "the enemy of the people." The management of the weekly posted special notices on the walls of Tel Aviv for weeks with a picture of Tamir and derogatory captions. The weekly was financed by secret funds.

176.

A. Supreme Court Judge Shlorrw Chesin: excerpts from his Kastner Appeal verdict:

"I make a further step and say that even if Kastner knew the whole bitter truth when he came to Kluj on May 3, 1944, and even if he concealed it from the people of Kluj, leaders and rank and file alike -- still this doesn't serve as a proof that he did so because of seeming "obligation" towards the Germans and because of his wish to help the Germans in their extermination. He didn't warn Hungarian Jewry of the danger facing it because he didn't think it would be useful, and because he thought that any deeds resulting from information given them would damage more than help. . . . What point was there in telling the people boarding the trains in KIuj, people struck by fate and persecuted, as to what awaits them at the end of their journey.... Kastner spoke in detail of the situation, saying, 'The Hungarian Jew was a branch which long ago dried up on the tree: This vivid description coincides with the testimony of another witness about the Hungarian Jews, 'This was a big Jewish community in Hungary, without any ideological Jewish backbone: (Moshe Shweiger, a Kastner aide in Budapest, protocol 465)

"I fully agree with my friend, Judge Agranat, when he states that, 'The Jews of Hungary, including those in the countryside, were not capable, neither physically nor mentally, to carry out resistance operations with force against the deportation scheme.' . . . From this point of view no rescue achievement could have resulted by disclosing the Auschwitz news to the Jewish leaders there, and this ... is a consideration which one can properly conclude that Kastner had in front of his eyes.

". . . And I take one more step. I am certain that the silence of Kastner when he arrived in Kluj was premeditated and calculated and did not result from his great despair because of the helplessness of the Jewish community. Even then, I say, this is still not considered willful collaboration and assistance in the extermination, because all the signs indicate that Kastner's efforts were aimed at rescue and rescue on a big scale . . . And towards the end I take one last step. In doing so I go very far and say that even if Kastner ordered himself to keep silent knowingly, in submission to the strong will of the Nazis, in order to save a few Jews from Hell -- this is still no proof that he stained his hands by collaborating with the enemies of his people and carrying out their plan to exterminate most of the Jewish community in Hungary.

"Even if, through these activities of his -- or rather, his omissions -- the extermination became easier. And as to the moral issue, the question is not whether a man is allowed to kill many in order to save a few, or vice-versa. The question is altogether in another sphere and should be defined as follows: a man is aware that a whole community is awaiting its doom. He is allowed to make efforts to save a few, although part of his efforts involve concealment of truth from the many; or should he disclose the truth to many though it is his best opinion that this way everybody will perish. I think that the answer is clear. What good will the blood of the few bring if everybody is to perish? . . . As I said, I am not arguing with the basic factual findings of the learned President of the Jewish District Court [Judge Halevi] but it seems to me, with all due respect, that his findings do not, as of necessity, demand the conclusion he has arrived at. That is to say, collaboration on the part of Kastner in the extermination of the Jews. And that they better coincide with bad leadership both from a moral and public point of view....

"Counsel for Greenwald stated excitedly that if the deeds of Kastner shall be approved of, the people of Israel have no future because every leader will act like him in an hour of tragedy. He also says, in discussing the arguments why Kastner didn't call for revolt, that lack of arms should not have been a reason for non-resistance. The meaning of which is that the Jews of the ghetto side of Hungary had to fight and die for the honor of the nation and for the name of God. In this context he indicates that the rebels in the Warsaw ghetto fell and with their death brought glory to the name of God. This is also a philosophy. And the history of the Jewish people, full of blood, tells us a lot of such moral heroes. But there is also another philosophy, different from this and contrary to it, and this different philosophy has roots in the pages of history. Jeremiah the prophet, for example, preached surrender to the enemy and a peace treaty with them and Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai preferred to save that which it was possible to save in an hour of tragedy. Still no one has accused them of selling their souls to the devil.... There is no law, either national or international, which lays down the duties of a leader in an hour of emergency toward those who rely on leadership and are under his instructions. There is also no law attaching responsibility to a leader who does not act with reasonable responsibility of leadership.

"In my opinion, one can say outright that if you find out that Kastner collaborated with the enemy because he did not disclose to the people who boarded the trains in Kluj that they were being led to extermination, one has to put on trial today Danzig, Herman, Hanzi Brand, Revis and Marton, and many more leaders and half-leaders who gagged themselves in an hour of crisis and did not inform others of what was known to them and did not warn and did not cry out of the coming danger. . . .

"Because of all this I cannot confirm the conclusion of the District Court with regard to the accusation that Greenwald has thrown on Kastner of collaboration with the Nazis in exterminating the Jewish people in Hungary during the last war."

B. Supreme Court Judge Moshe Silberg: excerpts from his verdict in the Government's Appeal of Judge Halevi's verdict:

"The aim of the Nazis was an easy and peaceful extermination without special efforts, without casualties to themselves. This aim had been achieved in full, or almost in full. Except for two places, the exterminators did not meet with any resistance on the part of their victims nor even any refusal whatsoever to board the trains. This shocking success of the Nazis was, as was clearly proven, a direct result of the concealment of the horrifying truth from the victims. And the main question is did Kastner participate in the concealment of this truth? ... How did Kastner behave while in Kluj, and did he inform while there, any of the leaders of the facts known to him? We have seen earlier that the inmates of this ghetto did not know, boarding the trains, that their last stop was Auschwitz; and therefore one of the two answers is a must. Either Kastner did not disclose to the local leaders the secret of Auschwitz or the leaders did not inform the masses the secret known to them from Kastner. A third possibility is non-existent ....

"One thing is, in my opinion, proven beyond any doubt. The meaning of the testimony of Danzig is that Kastner did not disclose to him any of the facts (about Auschwitz) known to him. . . . And then Kastner comes and not only doesn't he uproot from our hearts the suspicion against him, but he further indirectly confirms the truth of the words of Danzig and Hermann about this point. . . . It was proven to us that when Kastner was in Kluj on the third of May that he did not disclose to the local leaders what was known to him. And if he did not tell these things by word of mouth while he was there, he definitely did not disclose it in the ten telephone conversations from Budapest which he had with his father-in-law, Dr. Fisher, after the third of May....

"And how did he behave towards the other countryside towns? Did he inform them of the Auschwitz news? Definitely not. Nobody even claims it. . . . The gist of the question facing US in this trial is: this agreement to save the prominents -- was that part of a general plan or was it consideration for a general non-rescue? And therefore it is very important for us to know not only what was the external communicative connection of Kastner with the Jews of the countryside, but also what was his internal mental connection with them. And here is how this attitude is revealed in his testimony: 'I had a connection with Kluj. What connection the other members of the committee had, I don't know. I don't remember that the committee had a telephone connection with the towns of the countryside. . . . I know the town of Nodvarod. There were more than 20,000 Jews there .... I don't remember if we had a connection with this town. I also don't remember whether through a sub-committee, which had a telephone connection, we had a connection with this town. I cannot answer the question whether we could reveal to this town underground information .... I do not remember if any of the members of the committee visited any of the towns in the countryside.'

"Explanations are superfluous! Such forgetfulness would not come upon him even ten years later, had the general rescue of the Hungarian Jews, three-fourths of whom lived in the countryside, been the main aim for which he toiled all the months of that summer. For he was the head of the committee, the central personality and the driving spirit in it. How can he 'not remember' whether a personal or telephone contact of any kind was made with the masses of Jews, the rescue of whom was seemingly his main consideration?

"The conclusion is, therefore, that that which he did not remember in the spring of 1954 in Jerusalem did not concern him in the summer of 1944 in Budapest.

"I do not say that he was the only man who possessed information among the leaders. It is quite possible that somebody else as well does not have a clear conscience with regards to this concealment. 'But we are dealing here with the guilt of Kastner and we do not have to make judgments on the guilt of others ....

"The declaration of the learned Attorney General therefore shrinks into an opinion. . . . 'Kastner was convinced and believed that there was no ray of hope for the Jews of Hungary, almost for none of them, and as he, as a result of his personal despair, did not disclose the secret of the extermination in order not to endanger or frustrate the rescue of the few -- therefore he acted in good faith and should not be accused of collaborating with the Nazis in expediting the extermination of the Jews, even though, in fact, he brought about its result.'

"I am compelled to state that it is very difficult for me to conceive such an intention. Is this good faith? Can a single man, even in cooperation with some of his friends, yield to despair on behalf and without the knowledge of 800,000 other people? This is, in my opinion, the decisive consideration in the problem facing us. The charge emanating from the testimony of the witnesses against Kastner is that had they known of the Auschwitz secret, then thousands or tens of thousands would have been able to save their lives by local, partial, specific or indirect rescue operations like local revolts, resistance, escapes, hidings, concealment of children with Gentiles, forging of documents, ransom money, bribery, etc. -- and when this is the case and when one deals with many hundreds of thousands, how does a human being, a mortal, reject with complete certainty and with an extreme 'no' the efficiency of all the many and varied rescue ways? How can he examine the tens of thousands of possibilities? Does he decide instead of God? Indeed, he who can act with such a usurpation of the last hope of hundreds of thousands is not entitled to claim good faith as his defense. The penetrating question quo warrento is a good enough answer to a claim of such good faith. . . .

"If the superintendent of a big hospital lets thousands of sick people die so that he may devote himself to the sure rescue of one soul, he will come out guilty, at least morally, even if it is proven that he as an individual erroneously thought that there was no hope of saving the other patients. He is a collaborator with the angel of death.

"Either a complete atrophy of the soul or a blind involvement with complete loss of senses and proportion in his small but personal rescue operation could bring a man to such a gigantic, hazardous play.

"And if all this is not enough to annul the claim of good faith which was put before us on behalf of Kastner by the Attorney General, then Kastner himself comes and annuls it altogether. Not only did he never make this claim, but his own words prove the contrary. He writes in his report to the Jewish Agency that the Committee sent emissaries to many ghettos in the countryside and pleaded with them to organize escapes and to refuse to board the trains. And though the story of these pleadings is untrue, and the silence of Kastner in Kluj is proven, the very uttering of these statements entirely contradicts the claim that Kastner had concealed the news about the fate of the ghetto inmates in good faith and only as a result of his complete despairing of the chances of escaping or resisting the Germans. You can not claim at the same time helplessness and activity. Anyway, such a claim is not convincing....

"We can sum up with these three facts:

A. That the Nazis didn't want to have a great revolt -- 'Second Warsaw' -- nor small revolts, and their passion was to have the extermination machine working smoothly without resistance. This fact was known to Kastner from the best source -- from Eichmann himself.... And he had additional proofs of that when he witnessed all the illusionary and misleading tactics which were being taken by the Nazis from the first moment of occupation.

B. That the most efficient means to paralyze the resistance wheel or the escape of a victim is to conceal from him the plot of the coming murder. This fact is known to every man and one does not need any proof or evidence for this.

C. That he, Kastner, in order to carry out the rescue plan for the few prominents, fulfilled knowingly and without good faith the said desire of the Nazis, thus expediting the work of exterminating the masses.

"And also the rescue of Becher by Kastner. . . . He who is capable of rescuing this Becher from hanging proves that the atrocities of this great war criminal were not so horrifying or despicable in his eyes. . . . I couldn't base the main guilt of Kastner on this fact had it been alone, but when it is attached even from afar to the whole scene of events it throws retroactive light on the whole affair and serves as a dozen proofs of our conclusion."

C. Supreme Court Judge Shimone Agranat:

"I sum up my final conclusions as to the conduct of Dr. Kastner during the extermination of the people in the country as follows:

A. During this period Kastner was motivated by the sole motive of rescuing all Hungarian Jews, i.e., rescuing the maximum number which, considering the circumstances of time and place as assessed by him, could have been saved.

B. This motivation coincided with the moral duty of rescue by virtue of his task as manager of rescue in Budapest.

C. Influenced by this motive, he exercised a system of financial or economical negotiations with the Nazis.

D. This system can withstand the test of reasonableness.

E. His behavior on the date of his visit to Kluj (May 3) and thereafter -- both from the active aspect (the plan of the prominents) as well as the passive aspect (the not informing of the 'Auschwitz news' and not encouraging resistance operations and large scale escapes) -- coincides with his loyalty to the same system in which he saw during all relevant times the only chance of rescue.

F. Therefore, one cannot find moral defects in that behavior; one cannot find any causation between it and the expediting of the deportation and the extermination and one can not consider it amounting to the degree of collaboration with the Nazis."

D. Supreme Court Judge Isaac Olshin (President):

"Let us not forget that the court is not called here to give Kastner a clean bill of health or a confirmation certificate evaluating his activities from a national point of view. A public Commission of Inquiry -- in front of which Kastner could have defended himself as a party and not a witness -- was more appropriate to deal with all of this. In this respect 1 fully agree with Attorney Tamir, Counsel for the Defendant, who has proposed it in one of the early stages of the trial.

"The task of the court was to examine whether the respondent (Greenwald) did prove the truth of the libel, i.e., that Kastner was an indirect killer of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews through his criminal activities and through his collaboration with the Nazis; this and nothing more. The learned President in the District Court answered this question with a big 'Yes.'

"This court too has to examine one question only. That is whether, in light of the conclusions which have to be drawn, from the evidence or from the findings and in view of the onus of proof which lay upon the respondent (Greenwald) due to this cruel libel -- was the learned President justified, legally, in his said answer? ... From this point of view the question here is not whether we like the ways of Kastner or not. From this point of view one has to convict the respondent (Greenwald) if he was not successful in proving the act of betrayal of which he accused Kastner beyond reasonable doubt. Even he who is inclined to the opinion that the respondent (Greenwald) has managed to raise a doubt which is not beyond the reasonable doubt in this matter, has to convict the respondent (Greenwald)."

E. Supreme Court Judge I. D. Goitein:

"Apart from the factual difficulties, we are also faced with an uneasy legal question. As it is impossible to find out today what were the acts or rather what was the motive of the acts of Dr. Kastner in 1944, isn't the way out of the entanglement to ask Dr. Kastner himself and then at least we shall have a statement of the accused, if not a confession, out of which it will be possible to judge one way or another? And, indeed, Dr. Kastner did testify in the lower court and the court didn't trust him. The Attorney General as well, here before us, did not ask us to trust this testimony -- described it using almost every word except 'lie' -- which was enough to prevent us from putting our trust in it. And if this is the case I think that the respondent (Greenwald) fulfilled his duty because he is not a government prosecutor who is prosecuting Kastner in a criminal case. It is enough that he has managed to convince the lower court, who fulfilled the task of jury and judge alike, that the man whom he accused lied in court and behaved in a way which left the cold impression that his conscience is not clear and that he is afraid and is trying to conceal things that shouldn't be revealed to the sun. We didn't see Dr. Kastner in the box and didn't listen to him.

"However, the facts which were revealed substantiate the findings of the lower court and prevent us as a court of appeal from interfering.

"I should add also that the evidence that was brought and which is not argued against by anybody on the Kastner-Becher relations after the war and the collaboration of Kastner by rescuing Becher from the gallows, do not coincide with viewing Kastner as a National Jewish Zionist personality; and coincide with the findings of the lower court -- that the acts committed during the war were acts of collaboration with the Nazis. The conclusion of the learned judge does not contradict the facts which were revealed but emanate reasonably from them."

177. The five Supreme Court Judges were in agreement in upholding Judge Halevi's decision that Kastner, "in a perjurious and criminal way," saved Kurt Becher, a major German war criminal, from the punishment awaiting him in Nuremberg.

Judge Silberg summed up the Supreme Court finding on this point:

"Greenwald has proven beyond any reasonable doubt this grave charge. Important are the six following facts:

A. That Becher, chief of the Economic Department of the Waffen S.S. and one of the chief aids of Himmler, was a war criminal and not merely in the technical sense of the word, but in its most real and horrifying aspect. Kastner writes in his report to the Jewish Agency, 'Between the institutions of the S.S. there was a perfect coordination: the "Jewish Kommando" liquidated -- the Economic Department "cashed in." That is to say that he too, with Becher, had a hand in the extermination of the Jews. It was the extermination which made the extortion more effective.

B. That the rescue acts made by Becher, if there were any such, were made for alibi purposes only and not out of love for Jews or out of a feeling of repentance. Kastner himself hinted to that effect in his London affidavit of September 13, 1945, given to the International Tribunal.

C. That his (later) affidavit in Nuremberg in favor of Becher was not a merely dry factual affidavit, but a recommendation most positive and warm on this war criminal, before the Allied and German authorities and towards the day when his case will be brought before them. The same Becher who, during the last days of the Hitlerian Germany, started to fear and not in vain, the facts that Kastner knew about him. (See Kastner testimony)

D. That he signed the affidavit not in his name alone but also in the name of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress. This was done undoubtedly to add very heavy weight to the recommendation included in the affidavit, for the facts themselves were not known either to the Agency or the Jewish World Congress.

E. That a few months after this affidavit Becher was released from prison.

F. That in his letter to the Minister of Finance, Kaplan, Kastner states that Becher was released by the Allied authorities owing to his personal intervention.

I shall not touch here upon all the many contradictions -- endless in number -- in which Kastner contradicts himself in connection with this affidavit. It is enough for us that a Jewish man, an ex-Zionist leader, dared to recommend [mercy), almost in the name of the whole Jewish people, for one of the major sharks of the German war criminals before the authorities who detained him, and to cause, alone or together with others, the release and the evasion of punishment of this great criminal."

178. After the five Justices had handed down their judgments, which acquitted Greenwald in the matter of Becher being saved by Kastner and convicted him by a majority of 3 to 2 in accusing Kastner of collaboration, both sides were given the right to plead as to the punishment.

Tamir did not plead for mercy on behalf of his aging client and spoke no word as to the kind and amount of punishment. He thus summed up the trial:

"Honorable Court,

"I address this honorable court and claim that the entire nation must be grateful to Greenwald for having disclosed what Justice Silberg and all of you set down. 'That a fellow Jew, a one-time Zionist public figure, had the gall -- on behalf of almost all the Jewish people -- to commend one of the major war criminals to the authorities holding him under arrest, and to bring about . . . the release and evasion of punishment for that same major criminal.'

"Greenwald's cry came out of Jewish pain ... the anguished cry of one who has lost all his family; one of the simple folk who raised his voice in bitter protest, while all the nation, headed by its notables and dignitaries, kept silent.

"The Honorable Justice Cheshin has already pointed out in his judgment -- frank and outright to the bitter end -- that the State of Israel, which has not brought any single Nazi criminal to trial as yet, has launched its authority and might against a fellow Jew -- a brother of the victims -- whose heart and soul were full of agony over these horrifying crimes.

179. Bamachane (in the Camp), the Israel Army weekly, November 8, 1956.

180. Broadcast over "Kol Israel," November 8, 1956.

181. Chronology of the trial:

May 5, 1953 -- The Attorney General of Israel presents a criminal complaint to the District Court of Jerusalem against Malchiel, son of Menachem Greenwald, for libel against Dr. Israel Kastner.

January 1, 1954 -- The indictment is read to the accused, Malchiel Greenwald. The accused declares that he is not guilty, asks for a postponement in order to contact a lawyer.

January 17, 1954 -- The accused appears for the first time in the company of his Defense Counsel, Advocate Shmuel Tamir.

January 18, 1954 through February 23, 1954 -- The direct examination and testimony of Dr. Rudolf Kastner.

February 24, 1954 through March 4, 1954 -- The cross-examination of Dr. Kastner by attorney Tamir.

March 8, 1954 -- Reexamination of Dr. Kastner by the representative of the prosecution, Amnon Tell.

March 9, 1954 -- The reexamination of Kastner by Amnon Tell continues and further cross-examination by Tamir.

March 10, 1954 -- Dr. Kastner's testimony ends.

April 1, 1954 -- The testimony of witness number 16 of the Prosecution, Joel Brand, member of the Rescue Committee of Budapest, who went to Istanbul with Eichmann's proposition of exchange of Hungarian Jews against trucks and merchandise.

Cross-examination of Joel Brand by Advocate Tamir.

April 1, 1954 and April 2, 1954 -- Cross-examination of Joel Brand by Tamir.

June 1, 1954 -- The trial is renewed after a postponement at the request of the Prosecution. The Attorney General of the Government of Israel, Mr. Chaim Cohen, takes over the conduction of the Prosecution. Reexamination of Joel Brand.

June 2, 1954 -- Cross-examination of Ehud Avriel by advocate Tamir.

June 3, 1954 -- Advocate Tamir requests to recall Dr. Kastner and Joel Palgi to the witness box. The Judge approves the request and decides on his own initiative to recall Joel Brand also.

June 4, 1954 -- Renewed examination of Joel Brand by the Court. Further cross-examination of Dr. Kastner by Tamir.

June 13, 1954 -- The accused, Malchiel Greenwald, reads a statement from the box of the accused.

June 14, 1954 -- Testimony of the fourth witness for the defense, Mrs. Catherina Senesh, mother of the parachutist Hanna Senesh.

September 16, 1954 -- Further testimony of Dr. Kastner, upon request of the Defense Counsel, S. Tamir.

End of the testimonies in the trial.

September 19, 1954 -- Summation of the Attorney General, Mr. Chaim Cohen.

September 22, 1954 through October 3, 1954 -- Summation of the Counsel for the Defense, S. Tamir.

June 21, 1955 -- The Verdict.

June 23, 1955 -- Declaration of Appeal by the Ministry of Justice.

August 21, 1955 -- Appeal by the Attorney General presented.

January 20, 1957 through January 25, 1957 -- Summation of Appeal by the Attorney General, Mr. Chaim Cohen.

January 27, 1957 through February 5, 1957 -- Summation of answer by advocate S. Tamir.

February 5, 1957 through February 27, 1957 -- Summation of the Prosecution in the Appeal.

March 3, 1957 -- Kastner shot near his house by Zeev Eckstein.

March 15, 1957 -- The death of Dr. Rudolf Kastner.

January 17, 1958 through January 19, 1958 -- Judgment by the Supreme Court.

November 28 and December 5, 1960 -- Life magazine publishes Eichmann's confessions in which he tells of Kastner's collaboration with him.

182. The Attorney General v. Joseph Menckes, Zeev Eckstein and Dan Shemer, in the District Court, Tel Aviv.

183. Ibid.

184. Ibid.

185. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

186. In the Eichmann trial a report of Mr. Sharett to the Jewish Agency in London on June 27, 1944 was exhibited. In it he stated that he waited for four days in Aleppo to meet Brand.

187. When Kastner testified how he, according to his version, allowed parachutist Joel Palgi to hand himself over to the Nazis, he added similar words, "He did it out of awe and respect to the emissary of Jewish Palestine."

188. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

189. Ibid.

190. Ibid.

191. Ibid.

192. In later statements and in a book which he published, Brand described how he was terrorized by high government officials, including Ben-Gurion and Sharett's direct aides, to falsify his testimony and perjure himself, and how later he was threatened with imprisonment in a lunatic asylum if he persisted in penning his memoirs.

193. The full testimony, which for ten years was unknown to the Israeli public, was later repeated by Brand as a witness for the Prosecution in the Eichmann trial.

194. Protocol, C.C. 124/54 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

195. Lord Moyne was killed in Cairo a few months later by two members of the Lehi (Stern Group) from Palestine (Eliyahu Beit-Tzuri and Eliyahu Chakim). They were later executed by the Egyptians after a special demand from Winston Churchill to have them hanged, instead of being given a life term in prison. On hearing of the death of Lord Moyne, Chaim Weizmann declared that his death was more painful to him than the death of his own son, who fell in the battle of London.

Following the attack on Lord Moyne, Weizmann rushed to Palestine to help organize the Jewish Agency onslaught on the Irgun Zvai Leumi and Lehi.

After the Kastner trial, Brand wrote a book telling his story (Advocate for the Dead). Ehud Avriel demanded that in his book Brand change the name of Lord Moyne and state that the man told him, "Where shall I put a million Jews -- what shall I do with them?" was not Lord Moyne but another, unknown, British official. Avriel also made this change in his own written version of Brand's mission.

However, in the Eichmann trial, Brand repeated under oath his testimony that it was Lord Moyne in person who uttered this expression.

196. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

197. The original of this document and the original of the subsequent document exhibited by Tamir were mysteriously stolen from Brand a few days before his testimony. However, before they were stolen, Brand gave Tamir photostatic copies of the documents.

During his testimony, Tamir wanted to enter these copies as official exhibits in the protocol. Prosecutor Tell tried to prevent the submission of these documents. He argued that since Mr. Brand was a government witness, Tamir was not allowed to meet him and receive documents from him. And therefore Tamir had committed an offense by filching such a document from the witness.

Tamir replied:

"Your Honor, the Prosecution originally presented this Court with an official witness list. This list named all the witnesses scheduled to appear for the State. Insofar as Joel Brand's name was not listed therein, I was entirely free, both legally and morally, to contact him and obtain documents and information pertaining to this trial. One of the main reasons for the existence of a witness list is to establish the precise framework which is out of bounds for the opposing side."

The court room waited tensely for the Court's decision. Judge Halevi pronounced it:

"I hold this document legal and admissible as evidence. I find no place, even prima facie, for the supposition that a criminal act has been perpetrated [in its procurement]."

Both documents were included in the protocol.

198. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

199. Protocol, C.C. 124/53 in the D.C. Jerusalem.

200. Brand testified in the Eichmann trial that Becher was standing in civilian clothes behind Eichmann when the latter made the offer to him.

201. See also Eichmann's testimony in his Jerusalem trial.

202. Tamir had challenged Sharett to appear in court to testify and answer Brand's charges.

203. Instead, Avriel had tried to submit to the Court a report by Mr. Sharett to the Jewish Agency Executive in London. Judge Halevi upheld Tamir's contention that the document was not admissible unless it was verified by Mr. Sharett in person so that its veracity could be subject to cross-examination.

In the Eichmann trial, Attorney General Gideon Hausner submitted the document again. Advocate Servatius, Eichmann's lawyer, didn't contest it and the Court accepted it, indicating that it was acceptable in the absence of objection by the Defense. Regarding all this, Homer Bigart, special correspondent of the New York Times to the Eichmann trial, writes on June 12, 1961:

"To exonerate Zionist leaders of charges that they had reacted indolently, helplessly in the face of the Hungarian tragedy, Mr. Hausner introduced several documents from the archives of the Weizmann institute .... "

The New York Times special correspondent added, "The Israeli Jerusalem Post reported that Mr. Sharett had said that he had offered to testify on the Hungarian episode, 'but so far had not been called by the Prosecution.'

"This was the first time any newspaper here had mentioned this omission. Attorney General Gideon Hausner had called more than one hundred witnesses against Eichmann, some of them fetched at great expense from the United States and Western Europe. Yet Mr. Sharett, who lived within a mile of the court room, has not been called."

204. Haaretz daily. July 3, 1954.

205. During all these months, the British cabinet had refused to bomb Auschwitz or the roads and bridges leading to it or take any other effective step which would help prevent annihilation or delay it.
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