Emissary of the Doomed: Bargaining for Lives in the Holocaust

Ronald Florence, Author . Viking $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-02072-0

In a taut, detailed narrative, historian Florence (A Blood Libel ) relates Joel Brand's efforts to save Hungary's Jews from the Holocaust. In April 1944, Brand, a disheveled Jewish businessman was living in Budapest, working with fellow Zionists on a secret rescue committee. He met with notorious SS officer Adolf Eichmann (responsible for shipping Eastern European Jews to the death camps), who offered to sell Brand the freedom of almost a million Hungarian Jews for 10,000 heavy-duty military trucks. With this offer, Brand contacted the Allies and the Jewish Agency in Palestine. The Jewish Agency's Moshe Shertok, though incredulous, presented the proposal to the British high commissioner in Palestine, who asserted Eichmann's proposal was another Nazi intrigue and Brand a Nazi agent. Brand was eventually jailed in Cairo by the British. Some questioned Brand's competence, but Brand himself always believed his mission had been betrayed by Jewish Agency officials who couldn't grasp the reality of the Final Solution. Although Brand's story is known—particularly through his testimony in two postwar trials (including Eichmann's in 1961), Florence (Lawrence and Aaronsohn ) paints a colorful but dispiriting tale of mankind's gross inhumanity. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/30/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-101-18984-9
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