The “Blood for Goods” Deal

Trading human lives for goods and commodities. How absurd and cruel does it sound? Well, it actually took place. Or, at least, was intended.

On April 25, 1944, the Nazis made the Allies an unbelievable offer: to allow one million Jews to leave Hungary for any Allied occupied country (apart from Palestine) in exchange for goods such as 10,000 trucks or tea. The proposal was approved by SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann and the Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Eichmann, being the officer in charge of the deportations and one of the architects of genocide, personally met with Joel Brand, a member of the Relief and Rescue Committee of Budapest (also known as the “Va’ada”) to assist the Nazis in negotiations with world Jewish leaders and the Allied governments. Eichmann called the deal “Blut gegen Waren” (“blood for goods”).

Clearly, the Allies considered the Nazi offer another trick and did not want to negotiate. In fact, the proposal was nothing else but a desperate measure to increase the flow of commodities into Nazi Germany. The British press called the “monstrous offer” blackmail against Jews. Moreover, the Soviet Union strongly opposed the deal. It must not be forgotten that the Allies were hesitant in this matter also due to the problem of absorbing so many immigrants if the Nazis actually let one million people escape.