Researcher Concludes Kastner Was Guilty

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Paul Bogdanor, a pro-Israel British researcher, was tired of hearing people use the story of Rezső Kasztner to denigrate Israel and decided to vindicate his memory. But ten years of research led him to the opposite conclusion which is convincingly presented in his latest book, Katsztner’s Crime, printed by Transaction Publishers.

According to the publisher, “This book reexamines one of the most intense controversies of the Holocaust: the role of Rezső Kasztner in facilitating the murder of most of Nazi-occupied Hungary’s Jews in 1944. Because he was acting head of the Jewish rescue operation in Hungary, some have hailed him as a savior. Others have charged that he collaborated with the Nazis in the deportations to Auschwitz. What is indisputable is that Adolf Eichmann agreed to spare a special group of 1,684 Jews, who included some of Kasztner’s relatives and friends, while nearly 500,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to their deaths. Why were so many lives lost?”

The publisher notes that after World War II, many Holocaust survivors condemned Kastner for complicity in the deportation of Hungarian Jews. They alleged that as a condition for saving a small number of Jewish leaders he had deceived ordinary Jews into boarding the trains to Auschwitz. Was he a Nazi collaborator, as branded by Ben Hecht in his 1961 book, Perfidy, or a hero, as Anna Porter argued in her 2009 book, Kasztner’s Train?

Drawing on unpublished documents and making extensive use of transcripts of the Kastner and Eichmann trials in Israel, Paul Bogdanor argues convincingly that Kastner helped the Nazis keep order in Hungary’s ghettos before the Jews were sent to Auschwitz and sent Nazi disinformation to his Jewish contacts in the free world, the blurb concludes.

Bogdanor notes in the introduction to his book that it exposes for the first time “the conveyor belt of deception from Budapest that enabled the Nazis to manipulate Jewish leaders in ghettos throughout Hungary. Readers will learn why hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews boarded the death trains either in total ignorance of where the trains were taking them or in the belief that they were being resettled for labor.”

Bogdanor maintains that Katstner started out helping Jews but turned into a collaborator after he began negotiating with the Nazis.

{Matzav.com Israel}

14 COMMENTS

  1. Matzav!!!…..Paul… and Ben…. and not even a word of mention of the Gaon & Tzaddik, the Nitra Rav Rav Michael Ber Weissmandel zt”l and his sefer Min Hameitzar????

  2. I read “Perfidy” I could have told you that he was guilty 30 years ago. By the way an excellent book. Should be required reading for every Jew

  3. Always amazed at how they managed to obscure the stories of how he testified on behalf of nazis after the war totally inexplicable unless he collaborated

  4. Guilty or not, we should be very grateful we have not been in such place. How many of us can honestly say we would have done differently, had we been in his shoes? In any case he is dead and can no longer harm anyone, and is no longer for us to judge either.

  5. Perfidy is very one sided . It may be that Kasper was guilty but at the same time who was dealing with ? Eichman.

    He was dealing with the devil himself and could have easily been killed at any moment .

  6. Chanoch… It is true. There are two stories. One is that Kasztner’s father in law convinced him to take the Rebbe. The other is that chassidim payed Kasztner a lot of money. Both are certainly possible but the later is definitely supported by the facts: we know from other sources that after hand picking his coterie of family, friends, and fellow zionist elites, Kasztner “sold” the remaining places on the train for a lot of money. We also know from those same sources that most of that money was from chasidim who bought their Rebbe a seat on the train. Kasztner undoubtedly expected to escape the Nazis as a well-to-do man but, undoubtedly due to hasgachah pratis, he wound up having to pay out as bribes all of his misbegotten gains.

  7. Mike: It’s no coincidence that when “Perfidy” was first published, Israel banned the book for 25 years! Trying to hide something? I wonder if this book has likewise been banned.

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