Hansi Brand


Hartman Hajnalka Hansi

Born in Budapest in 1912

Died on 9.4.2000 in Israel

Member of “Ihud Mapa’i”

Hansi came from a traditional and Zionist family. In 1928 she joined the “Shomer” movement which later became the “Hashomer Hatzair” but when it became part of the “World Movement”, she quit and was among the founders of “Netzah” (Scout Zionist youth movement).
In 1931 Hansi was a member of an “Ihud Mapa’i” mission to Vienna in order to meet other similar movements in Austria. She was engaged in
educational activities and in setting up hahsharot.
In 1935 she married Joel Brand.
As of 1941 Hansi gave assistance to Jewish refugees who arrived in Hungary from Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia. Hansi and Joel’s house and hearts were open to all the refugees, many of whom asked for their help.
On 19.5.1944 Joel went on a mission to Istanbul for the Relief and Rescue Committee, with the support of Adolf Eichmann, in order to present to the representatives of the Yishuv the deal of “Goods for Blood”. Before his departure, Joel introduced Hansi to Eichmann, who entrusted her with being the contact person between the Jews and himself.
In addition to her role as liaison officer Hansi obtained and distributed forged documents and helped hide the forgery laboratory. On May 27th she was arrested by the Hungarian secret police who wanted information about the laboratory, the documents and, especially, about her husband’s mission to Istanbul. Hansi was interrogated and tortured but did not reveal anything. About Joel’s mission, she maintained that he was traveling in order to buy provisions for the Germans. In the end she was released due to the intervention of the Germans who did not want the Hungarians to know the details of Joel’s mission.
After her release Hansi resumed her activities and dealt mainly with financial matters in order to insure the existence of the children’s houses. At the beginning of January 1945 Hansi and her two sons went into hiding with a Christian family until the city was liberated by the Red Army. The whole family made aliya. At first they lived in Kibbutz Givat Haim but later settled down in Tel-Aviv. Joel published his book “On a mission for the sentenced to death” and, together, they published another book, “The Devil and the Soul”.