I believe that Kastner would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal. He was not interested in old Jews or those who had become assimilated into Hungarian society. But he was incredibly persistent in trying to save biologically valuable Jewish blood, that is, human material that was capable of reproduction and hard work. "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 keep the deportation camps peaceful, I would let his groups escape. After all, I was not concerned with small groups of a thousand or so Jews.
At the same time Kastner was bargaining with another SS official, a Colonel Kurt Becker. Becher was bartering Jews for foreign exchange and goods on direct orders from Himmler. A crafty operator, Becher had come to Hungary originally to salvage a stud farm which the SS wanted. He soon wormed his way into dealings with the Jews. In a way, Reichsführer Himmler was Becher's captive. Becher showed me once a gold necklace he was taking to our chief, a gift for a little lady by whom Himmler had a child. There were other agencies, German and Hungarian, which tapped Kastner for foreign exchange in return for Jews, but I held aloof from money affairs and left the material transactions to Becher.
Men under Becher's command guarded a special group of 700 Jews whom Kastner had requested from a list. They were mostly young people, although the group also included Kastner's entire family. I did not care if Kastner took his relatives along. he could take them whereever he wanted to.
June 21, 1998