From the files of MI5 in the Public Record Office, London
[In the nature of a Final report on the Joel Brand Mission:]
On July 12, 1944 somebody ("Sender") reported from Hungary to Palestine on the failure of the Brand mission. The letter was intercepted by British Palestine Censorship authorities, who summarised its content in these terms -
. . . that Joel [Brand] went to Istanbul about two months previously and that the original idea was that he should reveal the German proposals to the Jewish Agency people in Istanbul who were to submit them to the 'representatives of Selig [England] and Stefan [USA]'. He was to find out if this plan was likely to materialize, and to return to Budapest within two weeks.
'The main point of the proposal was that the Germans were not so much interested in money but that they were prepared to release such Jews as were unsuitable for compulsory labour via Spain to the USA. Joel apparently could not stay in Istanbul [he was deported as his papers were not in order] and proceeded to Palestine instead of returning home.
'Wholesale deportations began before he left, as the idea was that the selection of people for release should be made in the camp of Auschwitz. But it was learned soon after that the people who arrive at Auschwitz were put to death indiscriminately although a telegram had arrived from Joel that his suggestions had been accepted and that "Stephen Head's" [i.e., Roosevelt's] special envoy [Ira Hirschmann, of the War Refugees Board] had flown to the States in order to secure a provisional agreement.
'They were not able to judge what categories might still be saved if the whole plan came off. It was obvious that the anti-Jewish legislation in Hungary was more powerful than the small group of Germans who were prepared to negotiate the release of a certain number of Jews from certain death.
'Sender further refers to a certain Freudiger [probably Philip von Freudiger, leading member of the Jewish Central Committee in Budapest], who was also a party in the negotiations with "Willy" [Wisliceny] and who had plans of his own -- unknown to Sender -- for which purpose he wrote to "Uncle" [presumably Elizier Kaplan, Treasurer of the Jewish Agency] and asked for vast amounts in USA currency.
'Sender reports that they had only one interview with "Willy" in which they requested him to stop the deportations and the rounding up in concentration camps and asked that the people should be permitted to emigrate to Palestine. "Willy" promised that, but he was withdrawn from his post and his chief sent another person to proceed with the negotiations.
'"Willy" was put in charge of the organisation and actual operation of the deportation scheme. Negotiations were then conducted with Willy's successor on the basis that 600-750 people "should be allowed to emigrate and the 'entrance-fees' for them were two thousand Stefanim [i.e. dollars] which were paid over at the beginning of April in Hungarian currency, later another four million pengo were remitted which had been received from Switzerland. [note: quote marks are in a mess].
'Meanwhile Willy's chief [Eichmann] himself took over these negotiations. Joel's journey to Turkey [May 19, 1944] was a result of these. At the same time the deportations reached their climax and Joel's report was awaited with great anxiety.
'Sender then describes the incredible hardships to which the deported people were subjected. He points out that the organisation of the deportation was not only perfect in technical respects but also from a psychological point of view, as the deported were soon reduced to such a state that death seemed the easiest and most preferable way out.
'The Willy project cut into all this and its realisation seemed the more difficult as very peculiar conditions prevailed among the Hungarians and the Germans.
'The official Hungarian authorities were dead against the plan and hindered it in every way. They were also most suspicious of the collaboration of the Jews with the Germans on this particular issue. Some results had been obtained from this collaboration: a few transports scheduled for the death camp of Auschwitz were differently routed:
1) four train-loads -- 5000 people altogether -- were sent to Strasshof in Austria where Sender's organisation in [sic.is] responsible for their maintenance.
'When Sender and his organisation saw that no early reply from Joel was forthcoming they submitted certain proposals for goods to the Germans which were obtainable either in Hungary or in the neighbouring countries in exchange for emigration permits. The goods were to be additional to the pengoes, dollars and Swiss Francs, which the Germans had already received. When Sender learned from 'Wenia' [Wenia Pomeraniec in Istanbul] that large amounts could be put at their disposal they started delivering the goods.
'Two million Swiss francs were necessary to cover these expenses. Sender adds that 'uncle' should be immediately informed that such a 'frame' should be deposited with one of [Julius] Link's friends 'there.' The completed transaction should be notified by telegram addressed to [Rezsö] Kastner, 15 Semsey Andor, Budapest, reading as follows: 'Uncle well.'
'Sender adds that this might be only a beginning if their offers meet with confidence and success. Addressee should remember that plain business language is the only medium of understanding. It might be necessary to transact such business until Joel's negotiations will come off.
'Sender then refers to the new situation which arose following Roosevelt's intervention at the end of June. It was not quite clear yet at the time when this report was written. Sender's organisation contacted the Hungarian authorities -- on the strength of new financial sacrifices , but it was not clear how things would work out and how the Germans would react.
'Sender was, however, hopeful that a few transports might be sent to the ultimate destination of Spain.
'Sender adds on the following day that he receive a telegram from Wenia [Pomeraniec] informing him that Joel's plan had been accepted in principle but that Joel was not likely to return home mat present. He then suggests the following alternatives:
1) that he himself should travel with a friend of Willi's to Dr Schwarz [JDC representative in Lisbon];
Addressee should contact the Embassies in order to arrange for the necessary travelling documents for Laufer and Komoly.
'Sender finally remarks that he has just learned from an agreement signed by Joel on the 5th of June that negotiations had proceeded much too slowly, and that the offers made were not like to produce the anticipated result. Both parties were suspicious of each other. This suspiciousness has led to the destruction of half a million people.'
© Focal Point 2003 write to David Irving