2 weeks ago
In Hungary my basic orders were to ship all the Jews out of Hungary in as short a time as possible. . . . In obedience to Himmler's directive, I now concentrated on negotiations with the Jewish political officials in Budapest . . . among them Dr. Rudolf 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 I 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 to keep the deportation camps peaceful, I would let his group 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 the Jews. (p.261)
Our system is to exterminate the Jews through the Jews. We concentrate the Jews in the ghettos -- through the Jews; we deport the Jews -- by the Jews; and we gas the Jews -- by the Jews. (p261)