After 50 years, will the Jew accused of collaborating with the Nazis during the Holocaust be exonerated?
How much should you negotiate with the enemy? In Israel, the debate over that question evoked fury to the point of assassination. Such was the case of Kasztner.
Dr Israel (Rezso) Kasztner, a Hungarian Jew who tried to rescue the last million Jews of Europe by negotiating face to face with Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann, was gunned down by another Jew who never set foot in Nazi Europe.
After 50 years, his assassin Ze’ev Eckstein breaks his silence on the fateful night he shot and killed Kasztner.
Some people considered Kasztner a hero for his eventual rescue of almost 1,700 Jews on a train to safety in Switzerland. Yet this extraordinary act was later cast as an one of betrayal. After Kasztner moved to Israel, he fought a vicious libel battle in a trial that portrayed him as ‘the man who sold his soul to the devil’, leading to his assassination in Tel Aviv in 1957.
This documentary re-opens the history books on Kasztner’s life and the events surrounding this controversial figure. It follows Kasztner’s family and survivors, plagued by a legacy they are determined to change. Ze’ev Eckstein reveals, step-by-step, his transformation into an assassin – the events and passions that turned a young man into an agent of politics and revenge.
Intensely emotional for those still living it, part real-time investigation and part historical journey, filmmaker Gaylen Ross unearths the Kasztner story and its ramifications for his family and his country, exploring the very nature of history itself – who writes it, how it is remembered and what is at stake for the present and the future.
On the night of March 3, 1957 Rudolph (Rezsö) Kasztner became the first Jewish victim of a Jewish political assassination in the State of Israel.
He was murdered for what some would consider “playing God,” determining which Hungarian Jews to save from extermination during the Holocaust. Like Oskar Schindler, Kasztner negotiated with the Nazis to save lives. Unlike Schindler, however, Kasztner’s actions and motives were questioned by Hungarian Holocaust survivors whose families were not included in the select group of Jews to be saved.
In 1955, Malkiel Grunwald, a 70-year-old Israeli journalist, attacked Kasztner’s character in a self- published newsletter. The libelous pamphlet led to a lawsuit against Grunwald which then exploded into a public debate about what should have been the appropriate actions taken by Jews in the Holocaust. Fifty years later, the moral dilemma remains: Was the saving of a selected number of Jews an act of righteousness or an act of collaboration?
There is no question, however, that to act in the face of that dilemma took the courage of a hero.
Tracking Kasztner’s Train
Why are thousands of non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust memorialized in Yad Vashem, while the one Jew who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews is virtually forgotten?
This is the moral injustice that Anna Porter, prominent Canadian publisher and author — Hungarian born and not Jewish — tries to rectify in her impressive biography of Reszo Kasztner, “Kasztner’s Train.” Although he saved 1,684 Jews, Kasztner remains a controversial figure. His frantic efforts to negotiate a “trucks for Jews, goods for blood” deal with Adolf Eichmann, master bureaucrat of the Holocaust, ultimately earned him vilification as a Nazi collaborator after the war. Ironically, while Eichmann or any of the other SS officers Kasztner was forced to confront daily could easily have shot Kasztner, a fellow Jew on a quiet street in Tel Aviv fatally gunned him down in 1957.
Ref: Jewish daily
The Transfer Agreement is Edwin Black’s compelling, award-winning story of a negotiated arrangement in 1933 between Zionist organizations and the Nazis to transfer some 50,000 Jews, and $100 million of their assets, to Jewish Palestine in exchange for stopping the worldwide Jewish-led boycott threatening to topple the Hitler regime in its first year.
Filed under: A MUST READ, ISRAEL, proIsrael thinktanks, Racism/hate, zionism | Tagged: assassination, assassination in the State of Israel, blood for goods, collaboration, Edwin Black, Holocaust, Holocaust survivors, Jewish political assassination, Jewish victim, Kasztner, Kasztner’s Train, Killing Kasztner, nazi collaboration, nazis, Schindler, The Jew who Dealt with Nazis, The transfer aggrement |