Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Documents concerning rescue attempts of the Hungarian Jews

Source: The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes. ed John Mendelsohn.  Vol 16.  Doc 23, page 128.  Doc 30, page 152.

Comment: Interest lies in the suggestion of camps available for those unable to work during Hungarian Deportation.  This is in connection with the issues discussed around Elie Wiesel, Lazar Wiesel and a tattoo.  See more here:

Text: Doc 23
Department of State (Incoming Telegram)
Dated September 11, 1944:  Received 10:26 pm
Secretary of State, Washington
2827, September 11, 5 p.m.
Mayer reports that with the approval of the Hungarian Jewish Community all Hungarian Jews between 14 and 70 are to be put in to 3 classes.  Class I all able to work who will be employed in industry.  Class 2, all medically unsuited to heavy work who will be interned in camps outside Budapest.  Thse will also be required to work where possible in agriculture and light industry and will organize camps themselves under supervision Intercross.  Class 3, all completely unfitted to work who will be sent to Jewish hospitals.  Mayer also asks immediate advice and instructions about money asked for JDC 67.  He claims this an eleventh hour situation as next meeting delegation September 13.

 Text 2 Doc 30
Paraphrase of Telegram Received
FROM: American Legation, Bern
TO: Secretary of State, Washington
DATED: September 15, 1944
NUMBER: 6092
Referencie is made herewith to Department's cable of August 23, No. 2900, WRB 129.
There follows a summary of the material portionof the Swiss note of September 13 which states that report from the Swiss Legation in Budapest indicates that it has followed the development of the situation of Budapest Jews in order various questions which the Department presented:
It is currently established that the Hungarian Government under German pressure, has decided on transfer of Jewish residents of Budapest to Hungarian provinces and that this is to occur in the immediate future.
After assembly Jews of both sexes from 14 to 70 years of age must be incorporated in the Hungarian labor service while persons above and below these age limits must be concentrated in provincial camps.
It seems that the Hungarian Government is to O.K these measures to protect Jews against whom the German Government for its part, without consulting Hungarian authorities, would otherwise have taken measures.
DCR:VAG:MFR  9/13/44

TEXT 3: Excerpt Doc 9 pages 94-98
COMMENT: Seems to be reporting what Kastner says Gestapo said.  Bad faith all round

Paraphrase of Telegram Received
From: American Legation, Bern
To: Secretary of State, Washington
Dated: August 11, 1944
Number: 5197

As proof of their "good faith" and on the insistence of Kasztner, the Germans also unconditionally agreed to release the convoy of 500 people from Bergen-Belsen which would be permitted to come to Switzerland.  Finally assurances were given by the Germans that until the question had been discussed with JDC representatives no deportations of the 17290 Jews would take place.
A Gestapo agent on July 21 visited Jewish groups in Bratislave who assured him 300 tractors were available in Switzerland.  A very favorable impression was created by this news with the Gestapo chief in Budapest, since as is reported by Kasztner, tractors are what are most desired and used here.  Before Joel Brandt's departure, the Gestapo in budapest had declared that they were willing to trade 1000 Jews for every 10 tractors and even went os far as to give assurance that if the delivery of the tractors was begun seriously "They would destroy the 'plants' at Auschwitz"
It is my personal opinion, in light of this information, that Saly Mayer should be permitted to meet Gestapo agents (provided that his own Government, with which the matter has been discussed, apporves and grants the necessary border permits for German agents) in an effort to draw out the negotiations and gain as much time as possible without, if possible, making any commitments.  I recommend to Saly and he concurred that preliminary message be sent to Budapest postponing the scheduled meeting for a few days pending the arrival of a letter to be dispatched on August 10 to Budapest by courier, the letter to state in turn that no meeting can take place before the arrival in Switzerland of the convoy of 500.  In view of the rapidly changing military situation, any time gained is in favor of the endangered Jews.  On the other hand, before Saly goes to such a meeting, we must have some very definite expression of your opinion, in case it is impossible to stall, whether any commitments whatsoever on the basis of either tractors, money  or both can be entered upon.  You should also bear in mind the fact that the Gestapo chief in Budapest has already declared that not one of the 40,000 Jews whose emigration to Palestine is now being planned will be allowed to depart from Hungary unless tractors are secured for them.

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