The title of my blog post today comes from a news article which you can read in full at https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/03/29/rezso-kasztner-the-man-who-betrayed-400000-jews/
The following quote is from the news article:
From May 1944 to July 1944, more than 400,000 Jews were deported from Hungary to Auschwitz. The enthusiastic perpetrators of this crime — the fastest destruction of any Jewish population during the Final Solution — were Adolf Eichmann’s SS unit and the Hungarian government.
Throughout the preparations for, and the implementation of, the deportations, the Nazis conducted “rescue negotiations” with a small Jewish committee led by Rezső Kasztner (also known as Rudolf Kastner). The Nazi aim in these “negotiations” was to buy time for the mass murder operation by holding out the prospect of a rescue deal. As Himmler told one of his officers: “Take what you can get from the Jews. Promise them what you like. What we keep is another matter.”
Kasztner knew that the trains from the Hungarian ghettos were taking their victims not to a resettlement site — as the Jews had been told — but to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Yet he ordered his committee to send messages to the ghettos telling local Jewish leaders to prepare their communities for agricultural work in the countryside. By doing so, Kasztner guaranteed that there would no significant escape attempts, even though some of these Jewish communities were near the country’s borders, and the Romanian authorities — at this stage of the war — openly tolerated the arrival of Jewish refugees.
I have written about this subject on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/HungarianJews2.html
Begin quote from my website:
The following information is from the book “Auschwitz, a New History” by Laurence Reese:
On April 25, 1944, in his office at the Hotel Majestic in Budapest, Eichmann met with Joel Brand, another leading member of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee. Brand had already attended previous meetings with Eichmann and other SS officers in an attempt to bribe them to allow a number of Jews out of Hungary. Now Eichmann said to Brand, “I am prepared to sell one million Jews to you.”
Eichmann proposed an exchange of “Blood for Goods,” in which the British and the Americans would give the Nazis one new truck for every one hundred Jews. Eichmann promised that the trucks would only be used on the Eastern front where the Germans were fighting against the Communist Soviet Union. Brand was asked to go to Istanbul in Turkey to negotiate the deal. Eichmann hoped to obtain 10,000 trucks in exchange for one million Jews. But even before Brand reached Turkey on May 19, 1944, Eichmann had already ordered the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, which began on April 29, 1944.
According to Laurence Rees, SS officer Kurt Becher, who was a Lt. Col., equal in rank to Eichmann, was trying to blackmail the Weiss family, owners of the biggest industrial conglomerate in Hungary, into giving its shares to the SS in return for safe passage out of the country. Rees wrote:
By the time of his meeting with Brand, Eichmann knew that his rival Becher had successfully arranged for shares of the Manfred-Weiss works to be transferred to the Nazis; in return, about fifty members of the Weiss family were allowed to leave and head for neutral countries.
Brand was accompanied to Istanbul by another man named Bandi Grosz, a former agent of the Abwehr, the German intelligence agency, whose operations in Hungary had been taken over by an SS officer, Lt. Col. Gerhard Clages. At the last meeting with Brand, SS officers Clages, Becher and several other Nazis had been present.
In the book entitled “The Last Days,” David Cesarani wrote that an attempt to save the Hungarian Jews was made by Otto Komoly and Dr. Rezo (Rudolf) Kastner, two leading figures in the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee in Hungary. In 1942, the Jewish Council of Slovakia had tried to bribe Dieter Wisliceny, an SS man, to stop the deportation of the Slovakian Jews. When Wisliceny arrived in Budapest, Komoly and Kastner revived the proposal first made to Wisliceny in Slovakia, offering him a $2 million bribe to save the Hungarian Jews from deportation to the death camps. Wisliceny suggested a down payment of $200,000 to show good faith, but while Komoly and Kastner were trying to raise the money, Wisliceny left Budapest to organize the deportation of the Jews in eastern Hungary to Auschwitz. According to Cesarani, the Jews confronted Wisliceny with his betrayal, and “he coolly offered to save 600 Jews of their choosing. Soon afterwards Eichmann himself took up the negotiations.”
End quote from my scrapbookpages.com website