children. We had a long discussion, in the
course of which I told Brunner everything that was on my mind, paying no
attention to the fact that here was I, a Jew, upbraiding a German officer. In
any event, I could not see why little children had to be arrested under the
guise of reprisals.
I tried in every conceivable way to change
Brunner's mind. I appealed to the emotional aspects of the case (the arrest of
little children), to the aspect of public opinion (children are especially
sacred in France), to the UGIF aspect (this would mean the end of that
organization), and finally to my personal point of view. I insisted that this
abuse of small children showed lack of courage. I told him that I was a one
hundred percent Jew and that I would gladly be deported if only he would leave
those children in peace. His only answer was that those children were "future
Anyone knows that the most dangerous thing I could do was
to try to bring Röthke and Brunner into conflict. Nevertheless, I thought
it was my duty to leave no stone unturned in trying to save those children. I
was sure before I began that Röthke knew about the situation, but I wanted
to try everything even if I risked enraging Brunner. So I telephoned
Röthke for an emergency appointment, and got one for the next day, a
Sunday, at 11:45 A.M. I also told Röthke everything that was on my mind,
and several times he had to request that I get control of myself and not use
such offensive expressions. Then the door opened, and in stepped Brunner.
Röthke told him we had been talking about the children.
yelled at me: "You are a liar! You have lied to me!" When I asked him what he
meant, he continued shouting that he had questioned all the children and found
they were orphans, whereas I had told him a large number of them had parents in
Paris. I tried to discuss the matter, but he roared that "he would throw me
down the stairs if I said another word." When Brunner left, Röthke told me
that he would like me to leave.
In another document at the
CDJC, written by a man who had escaped from Drancy, I read what happened to
those children, none of whom returned from Auschwitz. Those who survived the
trip were immediately thrown into the crematory ovens without having gone
through the gas chamber.
Before coming to France Brunner had disposed
of Austrian and Greek Jews, and had also directed the liquidation of Jews who
had taken refuge in the Italian zone, which cost Serge's father his freedom and
his life. After Brunner left France, Eichmann assigned him to deporting Slavic
Jews, and he did a good job of that too. In March 1945, he fled from
Bratislava. He was sentenced to death in