- Blood for goods
- On the eve of the deportation of the Jews of Hungary in mid-1944, Joel Brand, a member of the Relief and Rescue Committee of Budapest (Va’ada), which had been established in January 1943 to help Jewish refugees who had escaped from Slovakia and Poland, was summoned by Adolf Eichmann on 25 April 1944 for the purpose of offering his “blood for goods” deal. Approved by Heinrich Himmler, the arrangement would have exchanged one million Jews for goods outside of Hungary. This would have included 10,000 trucks that, Eichmann assured Brand, would be used for civilian purposes, or on the eastern front. The exchange would have allowed Jews to leave Hungary and find refuge in any Allied-controlled part of the world save Palestine, where the Germans had promised Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, that Jews would not be permitted to enter.Brand was allowed to go abroad and establish contact with representatives of world Jewry and the Allies. Receiving his travel papers on 15 May, the day the deportations began in Hungary, Brand set out for Turkey but was eventually detained by the British in Cairo. His offer, however, did reach the Allies, who considered and rejected it. On 13 July 1944, the British government’s Committee for Refugee Affairs concurred with the Soviet Union that the trucks would be used against the Soviets and voted against making the exchange. The trade would also have violated the Allied principle of “unconditional surrender,” which eschewed the possibility of negotiating with the enemy. Eichmann who had committed to suspend the deportations until a reply was received, reneged on his promise and continued without interruption the transport of Jews to Auschwitz.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.