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April 14, 2008

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shimonhaber

Kasztner was a hero

Shmarya

1. No one says Kasztner got the first cioy of Vrbba's report. I fact, there were about 8 people who got that report – after the Slovakian Jewish council got it. Kasztner was one of them, and he was not in charge of the Hungarian Jewish council.

2. Like your previous lie, the rest of your points are equally false, and demonstrably so. For example, Becher stopped killings in several work camps, concentration camps and death camps with Kasztner, disobeying Eichmann's direct order.

3. The Vatican – which got the Vrba report from Kasztner, not Wiessmandl – had the report publicized in the West and, if memory serves got a copy to the State Department.

4. Kasztner and Wallengerg knew each other and worked together.

5. Oskar Schindler also knew Kasztner and called him the bravest man he ever knew.

6. As for you, you're a notorious self-hating antisemitic British anti-Zionist how is detested by Zionist and most non-Zionist Jews alike. You have a well deserved reputation as a liar and hatemonger and are a truly disgusting person.

Tony Greenstein

There is only one point that Shmarya makes of any note in the debate about Kastner, NOT if I support Zionism, which I of course don't.

Did Kastner save more Jews than anyone else and in particular Rudolf Vrba. The record is too clear to stand contradiction.

Vrba and Wexler escaped from Auschwitz to warn Hungarian Jewry. They dictated what became known as the Auschwitz Protocols. These were widely translated but Kastner who received the first copy almost certainly, (29.4.44.) sat on it.

It did eventually find its way to the West, was published by Swiss (not Palestinian Jewish newspapers like Davar, though the Istanbul office of the Jewish Agency had a copy)after having been sent probably by either Weismmandel (who made many mistakes) or the Vatican among others.

The result was the setting up of the War Refugee Board and the threat by Roosevelt to bomb Budapest incessantly, on August 1/2 there was particularly heavy bombing there (Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem; Levai, Black Book of Martyrdom of Hungarian Jewry). On August 8th Horthy stopped the deportations. Eichmann did his best to get further trains out, but only managed one. Yes many more Jews died when the Nylas took power but some 200,000 Hungarian Jews survived.

Now who was responsible for that? Kastner with his vain boasts or Vrba? Fact is that almost all rescuers had more to their credit than Kastner. Wallenburg, Lutz to name but two.

But Kastner was an individual who was paid by the Jewish Agency. They defended him because they had to, almost up till the last minute. Then they sank the knife into him and lied about not knowing about his affidavits to release Nazi war criminals.

And incidentally Kurt Becher (there is a dispute about whether he was promoted to Lt. Gen. in 1945 as Hecht maintains)was steeped in the blood of the Jews of the Pripyet Marshes in Ukraine/Poland. He was rapidly promoted because of his service at the time of the Einsastzgruppen massacres of up to 2 million (although he was an SS Cavalry Officer).

Anna Porter's book does not rehabilitate Kastner. Nor does Lobb's. Shmarya simply ignores evidence in favour of abuse. A standard Zionist tactic and who can blame him?

ron

Shmarya, I'm so happy I came across this article of yours. I was feeling a bit guilty that maybe I didn't give you the proper credit you deserved.

Now I realize that I was right, I never gave you the proper credit for the sort of man you truly are.

Jeremy Davidson

There is a new feature film about Kasztner to be released in New York this summer called TICKLING LEO. Information and the trailer are posted at www.ticklingleothemovie.net. This is a narrative feature starring Eli Wallach ... not the documentary by Gaylen Ross.

Shmarya

To be absolutely clear, the above quote is from a letter Greenstein wrote for publication in the Weekly Worker, the paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Shmarya

How much of an ideologue is Tony Greenstein?

This much:I deliberately described Israel’s actions as a blitzkrieg…Yes, I want the state of Israel to be destroyed.…The Zionist emissaries swanned around Nazi-occupied Europe organising kibbutzim and facilitating the emigration of their own cadre and no one else.Of course, Kasztner saved famous anti-Zionists like the Satmar Rebbe. He saved non-Zionists. Kasztner, a left or center Zionist, depending on how the terms are defined, saved left, center and right wing Zionists. He saved rich and he saved poor. He saved capitalists and communists.

Perhaps that is why Tony Greenstein hates him so much.

Greenstein demonizes Israel. A key part of that demonization is his false claim that Zionists – like Kasztner – only saved other Zionists.

Kasztner – the most successful Jewish rescuer of Jews in the Holocaust – saved everybody without distinction.

Kasztner makes a liar out of Greeenstein and a liar out of his ideology.

Shmarya

Asserting that Kasztner saved more lives than any other Jew (why Jew? don't Jews saved by non-Jews count?) doesn't make it true. Moshe Krausz for one. Rudolf Vrba for another. Kasztner's 'saving' of Jews was the SS 'saving' of Jews.

Really? I take it you flunked out of any classes involving logic and rational thought.

Here's one example of your problem:

Vrba on his own saved no one. Got that? NOBODY.

The information Vrba brought – details about Auschwitz – caused Slovakian and Hungarian Jewish leaders to try to find any way to save Jews. That mostly focused on contacts with Western governments.

Indirectly, those contacts eventually led to the creation of the War Refugee Board, which saved about 200,000 Jews in the last months of the war.

But those contacts were only a very small part of what created the War Refugee Board.

Information Kasztner sent to the West also played a role.

But, again, Vrba directly saved no one.

Kasztner saved all those on his train, along with thousands more who were diverted to work brigades and such and not sent to Auschwitz as a direct result of his negotiations.


The rest of what you write is simply bad anti-Zionist propaganda.

You're a sick man, someone who ignores fact and clings to hateful fantasy.

After the train left July 1st the Hungarian Holocaust had largely been completed.

This statement is a prime example of your twisted, sick, venomous manipulations.

Left to his own devices, Kasztner's train would have left many months earlier and with 50,000 Jews.

But Kasztner was negotiating with smoke and mirrors. he had no money. As the record ignore clearly shows, he stared down Eichmann many times while concocting excuses and stringing the process on.

If that process had stopped in March, say, all the Jews eventually on Kastner's Train would have perished. So would thousands of others who survived. So would Kasztner.

That said, tens of thousands of Jews were killed AFTER Kasztener's Train left.

So, while the majority of Jews may have died or been deported before Kasztner's train actually left, it is wrong and deceitful to saw the Holocaust of Hungarian Jews was largely over when Kaszter's Train left.

In fact one of the judges made clear that if Kasztner was to be found guilty of collaboration then a lot of other Hungarian Zionists would likewise have to account for what they did. It is this and more that meant that a halt had to be called.…

Again, deceitful, selective information.

Oskar Schindler – a big fan of Kaszner's, by the way – also collaborated with the Nazis. He saved hundreds of Jews as a direct result of that collaboration.

Holocaust rescuers come in three basic molds:

1. Non-Jews who hid Jews. This is usually a husband and wife who secreted one or two Jews.

2. Non-Jewish diplomats who were able to issue travel documents and the like. This includes people like Raul Wallenberg, certain Red Cross officials who were able to issue special passes, etc. These people saved larger numbers of Jews because they had the status to do so.

3. Non-Jewish owners of businesses employing Nazi slave labor including Oskar Schindler and others like him. They saved Jews by collaborating with the the Nazis.

In Hungary, Kasztner and the Jewish leadership worked closely with diplomats from group two, along with some people from group three and even a few individuals from group one.

Kaszter was JEWISH. He had no way to do what group 1,2, or 3 did.

The only way he had to save Jews was by doing what he did: negotiating with the Nazis and "collaborating" with them.

The Nazis needed trucks and other supplies and were willing to trade Jews for those trucks. They were willing to sell Jews for money.

Kasztner used the Nazis' willingness to deal to save more Jews than any other Jew saved throughout the entire Holocaust.

Did he "collaborate" with them to do so? Yes. Did other Hungarian Jewish leaders do the same? Yes.

So did Schindler. So did dozens of other who saved lives.

The alternative was to let every Jew die in the gas chambers.

What hate-filled ideologues (like you) fail to tell the people they spew their hate to is that Israel at the time of the Kaszner trial was less than 10 years old. A large portion of its citizens were survivors of the Holocaust. The country had fought one war and was under daily threat.

It was too close to the pain and death of Europe to view events calmly and rationally.

Judge Halevi believed diaspora Jews were weak and marched like sheep to their deaths, but Israeli Jews were strong and free from 'ghetto pathologies.' His ideological beliefs permeated his decision.

With the benefit of time and distance, what Kasztner and others did to save Jews can be viewed in a calmer, clearer light. And that is what has taken place.

Dozens of historians, including leading historians of Slovakian and Hungarian Jewry, support Kasztner.

Why?

Because the FACTS support Kasztner.

Kasztner saved thousands of Jews. His detractors saved no one.

That is the point.

Tony Greenstein

Asserting that Kasztner saved more lives than any other Jew (why Jew? don't Jews saved by non-Jews count?) doesn't make it true. Moshe Krausz for one. Rudolf Vrba for another. Kasztner's 'saving' of Jews was the SS 'saving' of Jews.

Kasztner pulled back at the Jerusalem trial from accusing the Jewish Agency directly of having authorised his intercession on behalf of Becher (& now we know Krumey, Wisliceny & Lt. Gen. Hans Juttner). Dobkin flatly denied he had even heard of Becher until the trial. Joel Brand in his 'Satan and the Soul' convincingly demonstrates, that Dobkin was all too aware of who Becher was since he was due to meeting him in London in 1944!

Barri likewise demonstrates that the Jewish Agency was very aware of and approved of Kasztner's actions. The Budapest R&R Cttee was effectively a JA Committee. Kasztner was unable to bite the hand of those in authority over him and he was trapped at the trial between the devil and the deep blue sea - Tamir and his 'protector' Chaim Cohen.

There is no archive in the world which can manufacture a case. Kasztner kept silent about the Nazi intentions for deportation. That Auschwitz meant absolute death for those who boarded the trains. The fears, the uncertainty - as I've quoted from the 2 instances in Helen Fein's book - were nothing as compared to the exact knowledge of where the trains led. Yet the populace was not informed. Noone except the 'Prominents Train'.

The Appeal Judges took different views over this. Agranat and Cheshin believed that it was right, the subjective view, to not tell the mass of their fate IF you believed that they were doomed. And this is the question. What right, as Silberg said, did Kasztner have to take this decision? Who was he to deny the right of Hungarian Jews to know their fate? He was elected by noone except a minority of the minority (Zionists).

After the train left July 1st the Hungarian Holocaust had largely been completed. The Zionist leaders in the Yishuv had said nothing, even denied what was happening (Davar). This is the reality of the record of Zionism, literally in the crucible of the Holocaust.

In fact one of the judges made clear that if Kasztner was to be found guilty of collaboration then a lot of other Hungarian Zionists would likewise have to account for what they did. It is this and more that meant that a halt had to be called. When Chaim Cohen said in the lower court that choosing the minority from amongst the majority was the Zionist way, the judges knew that they had to overturn the lower court's decision.

BUT the Supreme Court upheld the factual findings of Halevi. Their interpretation as to what constituted collaboration, whether the defendant Greenwald had to prove all, not just some of the libel, was legally technical but the facts of the case were indisputable. And on the question of testifying for Becher they upheld the allegation of collaboration (not knowing that Kastner had gone on to try and clear Krumey, deputy to Eichmann and Wisliceny, the butcher of Slovakian and Greek Jewry.

The record is clear but it is unfortunately one in a long line where Zionism prioritised building a 'Jewish' State over saving the Jews.

Shmarya

1. Kaztner saved more lives (by far) than any other Jew during the Holocaust.

2. I don't think he was protecting the Jewish Agency and I do not believe Anna Porter does, either.

The question of how the Supreme Court reached its decision is not a technical one as Anna Porter would have one believe. It was a clearly political decision to exonerate the leadership of the Zionist movement

There is no proof for this statement of yours.

What there is – and what you conveniently ignore – is much evidence supporting Kasztner – including lots of evidence from archives formerly locked up under Soviet control.

Dozens of historians support Kaztner – including Slovakian and Hungarian born Jews.

Tony Greenstein

This seems to be some form of Zionist love-in. No matter. The failures of Zionism are becoming self-evident. Worship of a state and for what purpose? But I digress.

If Shmarya wants to split hairs as to who was doing the suing, not that it mattered, then the final decision was that of Kasztner and indeed, despite the pressure of the State, he hesitated to the last. Although the State paid for the action and it was formally in its name, the action was that of Kastner.

But I agree with Shmarya on one point and Anna Porter hints at the same though she doesn’t take the plunge in her book. Kaztner was made into a scapegoat for others. And who were those others? The Jewish Agency. Noone can seriously doubt, as Barri certainly concludes, that Kaztner was acting under orders or, at the very least, strong and persuasive advice, when he testified in favour of the 4 war criminals. How else to explain his previous affidavits to the contrary, viz. that all those concerned only ‘saved’ Jews when that was their only hope of surviving.

However there is no doubt that he did absolutely nothing for Hanna Senes, refusing even the smallest comforts, because it might get in the way of his negotiations. What Kastner didn’t do was save many lives.

The key point that both Anna Porter and Ladislaw Lob elide over is that all of Kastner’s negotiations at the Swiss borders and his escapades with Becher occurred after the deportation of Hungarian Jews from the provinces outside Budapest. Who actually was he saving after nearly 450,000 Jews had gone to Auschwitz? The train of the ‘Prominents’ left on July 1st 1944, just one week before Horthy’s order halting the deportations to Auschwitz.

Nachum Lamm is wrong to simply explain Jewish survival on whether a country was allied with Nazi Germany. Romania was an ally and butchered about half its 600,000 Jews. The survival of Jews in Europe also depended on existing antagonism to anti-Semitism. That was primarily why 75% of Jews survived in France and 50% in Belgium. In Bulgaria, it wasn’t the antics of the King, who’s record isn’t quite as liberal as made out, but to the strength of the left, especially the Communist Party who demonstrated against deportation of Jews from Sofia into the countryside. The Government was perfectly happy to agree to deportations but it was the populace who rebelled. In the Netherlands it was the viciousness and intensity of the occupation and direct rule which overcame the native hostility to the deportations. Only in Amsterdam was there a general strike against the deportations.

I think Janos Damon attributes too much to Anna Porter’s book. People have been trying to make a hero out of Kastner for some time, not least the historians around Yad Vashem. However they keep coming up against awkward facts such as saving Wisliceny from the hangman’s noose.

The question of how the Supreme Court reached its decision is not a technical one as Anna Porter would have one believe. It was a clearly political decision to exonerate the leadership of the Zionist movement who during the war, as even Anna Porter acknowledges and S Beit Zvi documents at length in his Ugandan Zionism in the Crucible, not only did nothing to save the Jews of Europe but did their best to prevent anyone else doing anything. It was this, and the treatment of Bergson and Merlin’s Emergency Committee in the USA which led Ben Hecht to put pen to paper.

But then the dilemma facing the Zionist leadership was inherent in Zionism. Do you prioritise building or saving the state or the Jewish people?

Incidentally, this suggestion that people knew about Auschwitz and extermination from refugees is not true. They were not refugees in Hungary from Auschwitz, at least not directly. They were refugees from the ghettos of Poland and elsewhere. Noone had illusions that the Nazi’s killed Jews by the thousand but that was still a far cry from extermination camps. What changed this was the Auschwitz Protocols of Vrba and Wetzler, who as Ruth Linn shows in her Escaping Auschwitz – A Culture of Forgetting, were effectively silenced by the Yad Vashem historians, Bauer & co. The Protocols showed exactly what was happening and where. The key point that Anna Porter again elides over is when Kastner obtained his copy of them. Oscar Neumann, I believe puts the date he handed them over on April 29, Porter avoids trying to put a date on it. Regardless there was ample testimony, Jacob Freifield, David Rozner and others, that Kastner deliberately did not inform people of Auschwitz.

And there is little doubt that Jews did not know with any degree of certainty what was happening or would happen. Hungarian Jews would and did think that it might happen to ‘uncivilised’ Jews in Poland but not them. Read the 2 accounts of Eva Heyman and Elie Wiesel in Helen Fein’s Accounting for Genocide, where parents did not allow non-Jews to save their children because they didn’t have more exact or definite information. There is no doubt that the reason that the Protocols do not figure in Kasztner’s Report is because this weighed heavy on his conscience. As even Braham, no real critic of Kastner, admits, his Berichte was ‘self serving’. I would put it higher – worthless on most accounts.

It is ironic that despite the books of Porter and Lob trying to exonerate Kastner, in my view they only condemn him more because at the end of the day, Kaztner’s boasts of his achievements do not tally with what actually happened, e.g. the saving of the Budapest Ghetto.

anna porter

I am sorry to be responding so late to BRRR's posting of October 6th. I have been traveling.
In paragraph 8 of my original posting on this site, the "sued for libel" goes with the "He", as does the end of the sentence "lost the suit, was murdered..."etc. I assumed that was clear.
About the money: as you know from your own reading, Brand left Budapest on May 17, 1944, on his way to Istanbul to negotiate with the Yishuv's representatives. The deal Eichmann was offering then: trucks (preferably winterized) for lives, one hundred lives for each truck. I wrote about the offer at some length, about the Jewish Agency Executive's attempts to deal with it, as well as Brand's despair over the fact that the deportations to Auschwitz continued while he was on his failing mission. Meanwhile, Kasztner met many times with Eichmann, then Becher and continued the negotiations. As is evident from all the documents these now included money, valuables, share certificates, gold, whatever Kasztner and his colleagues could scrounge in Hungary.
I wrote extensively about the trial and how and why Kasztner lost. If you want to read the transcripts, they are accessible.
As for how the Supreme Court arrived at its conclusion and Kasztner's murder, please check my book. And if you need further information, check the verdict.
As for Rezso vs Rudolph: everybody, except the Germans he dealt with, called him Rezso. I am puzzled that you think Rezso does not sound "European". It's Hungarian.

BRRRR

Anna,
Please address where you find that Malchiel Greenwald (or anyone) sued Rudolf Kasztner as you state in paragraph 8 above (begins with, "After the war"). Everything I ever read says that Greenwald was sued, not Kasztner, and by the government not a private citizen. The facts that came out in the trial are what incriminated Kasztner.

Also please address where Eichmann ever asked for money as you state in paragraph 3(begins with, "My recently published.."). Brand himself said that Eichmann specifically insisted on "Goods" not money.
Furthermore the idea that Eichmann was chasing the leaders of the mythical, "World Jewery" was a story invented by the defense. Eichmann's goal (as discovered in the trial) was to keep Hitler's "final solution" in Hungary manageable to avoid another expensive incident like the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Everything was a stall tactic and Kasztner fell for it- though I will admit it's easy to see that from my vantage point 60+ years later.

There is another important fact that keeps being overlooked. Judge Halevi had the benefit of hearing Kasztner himself speak on his own behalf and he found him guilty!!

Judge Shimon Agranat heard testimony from many people and he heard a defense created by an army of political phonies, lawyers and PR spin experts. But nothing from Rudolph Kasztner himself. At the end of the day it didn't amount to a hill of beans because Judge Agranat did the politically correct and expedient thing, he aquitted the dead guy, cleared his name and made the government look well, not good but at least not bad.

I'd say you need to hit the books again because it looks like from those 200 books you say you read all you did was skim. You're misrepresenting & missing a lot of facts.

By the way nice touch calling him Rezso and not Rudloph. The nickname makes him sound more human and so much less "European".

mnuez

This is an old and dead post but I'll comment anyway:

I only skimmed the comments but of all the commentors (poster included - sorry) Nachum appears to have the most level-headed and accurate view of the thing. (Anna, you lost me when you wrote three sentences in, "Unlike Ben Hecht, I was not at the trial in that Jerusalem Court in 1955" - unless this detail somehow never came to my attention, Hecht wasn't in Jerusalem in 1955.)

In my opinion, Perfidy is a book that every Jew should read - once he's gotten to the level where he can properly read it and understand it. This requires a sense of achdus, ahavas yisroel, mourning over churban europe, an understanding of the absolute correctness of Herzlian/Jabotinskian/Beginist Zionism, a knowledge of the politics of Jewish leadership in the 20th Century and a full knowledge of Hecht's own autobiography.

mnuez

Shmarya

I guess you just don't read.

You cannot:

A. Post entire articles here in the comments.

B. Use multiple names when posting.

You violated those rules even after being told to stop twice.

I am deleting your comments.

Shmarya

A. Stop cutting and pasting entire articles in the comments.

B. Stop using different names when you post.

Now process this:

The man you cite was removed from his teaching position.

He is an extreme right wing figure with little credibility.

He is not a reliable source.

Shmarya

The author you cite is a well-know right wing extremist.

He's not much of a source.

Shmarya

About 92% of Kasztner's Train were poor people. Only 150 actually paid a lot of money and that covered the other 1500 or so.

Kasztner and the Vaad also made sure to have religious and non-religious, Zionists from all the various Zionist groups, anti-Zionists, Reform Jews and many children.

Why the children? "Classism"?

No.

Because Kasztenr and the Vaad did not know how many Jews would survive. Therefore they chose as many children as possible to maximize the Jewish future kind of like Noah's Ark.

Jacqueline Homan

There is one fundamental fact that cannot be ignored: Classism played a role in who escaped and who could not. Regardless of whether you believe Ben Hecht is a credible author or not, he is one of the very few people who exposed the issue of classism in the Holocaust.

Those who were able to emigrate to other countries were overwhelmingly middle and upper class, and young. Those who couldn't emigrate were overwhelmingly poor, and older.

Anti-Semitism may have targeted European Jewry for Hitler's "Final Solution", but classism determined who was accepted for immigration to other nations, including the US, the UK, and Palestine.

Two very dear friends of mine who are very, very old now escaped the horrors of Naziland. They had managed to get out of Nazi Germany before being herded onto a death train. But it took all they had to be able to leave. They arrived here in the US penniless and with only the clothes on their backs.

The big shots of American Jewish charities and most other well-heeled American Jews didn't want to be bothered with impoverished Jewish refugees who had no family here that could help them. They were poor, they spoke a funny language, they were shunned and ignored in synagogues here.

The "rabbi" who ran the Hillel dining room at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania refused my friend, Gerhard Falk, a kosher meal. Gerhard was hungry. He had no money, no job, no home; he had lost everything in the Shoah.

Gerhard's then-future wife Ursula arrived here as a poor refugee child, with only one dress to her name. One of the wealthy "machers" in the local synaguge in the town where her family settled invited little Ursula for some "charity" to their home. She was told she could have either a piece of gum or a piece of peanut brittle (but not both). She chose the candy, whereupon her benefactor sang aloud in Yiddish , "Beautiful is the life of gypsies, they only take but never give." Of course, Ursula - an eight year old refugee child - was expected to be grateful.

To this day, poor Jews are not acknowledged in many American or Israeli Jewish communities. To be Jewish and poor is to be a non-person; it is to be "invisible."

There are programs providing funds for younger people to make aliyah to Israel. But there's nothing for poor older people who never had the chance to go to Israel.

The message is loud and clear: poor older Jews are non-persons who don't deserve any consideration, never mind opportunity to make aliyah. Israel is still selective and exclusive. Is there reason to believe it was less exlcusive during the Holocaust, or when Ben Hecht penned "Perfidy"?

With rampant ageism and sexism in an increasingly lousy job market, many poor Jews are middle-aged women who are having to re-enter the workforce after being out of the loop for years. Yet, they are often treated by their co-religionists as if their poverty is solely their own fault.

When you don't have an "in", when you're close to or over 40, or if you're credit is bad from being poor, getting a job that pays a living wage is mission impossible. When prestigious universities practice social class based exclusionary admissions policies, getting the "right" education from the "right school is out of reach. Basically, the poor don't have any opportunity for upward mobility. Especially if you're having to start all over later in life.

Lack of appropriate and adequate opportunities due to systemic social barriers of classism is one of the main reasons for poverty.

Classism transcends all ethnic, religious, and national lines. Classism determines who gets opportunities for good jobs and who does not. It determines who gets a chance to climb out of poverty and who does not.

And classism determined who was offered the chance to escape the Holocaust, and who ended up in Nazi crematorium ovens. Classism determined who lived and who died.

What does the Torah say? Justice, justice thou shall pursue.


Jacqueline S. Homan,
Author: "Classism For Dimwits"
"Eyes of a Monster"

Shmarya

Read a fictionalized account of Kasztner's work that was written well before most evidence was public – and by a man with no access to any hard data. Yup. You'll learn the truth that way – not.

antirudolphkastner

A book came out in the '60's titled " The man who played god" by Robert St. John. Its available on ebay and Amazon. This is a "Must Read". It is an accurate novel based on the life and death of Kastner. It is a truly amazing book! Please Please Read this book and then decide...

Al T. Alana

b"h
The are individual Chareidim who were/are pro-Israel.
The Lechi (one of the underground organizations) found Chareidi supporters & let's not forget Rav Aryeh Levin, zt"l. The Jabotinsky Movement had its Brit Yeshurun in Europe, a religious organization. Brit Hashmonaim, a religious "youth" group existed in Europe & its branch in british palestine had ties to the fighting underground, Etzel & Lechi.

That said, too many Chareidim were/are anti-Zionist and ambivilant to Israel. They visit "Eretz Yisroel", never "Israel." Didn't/doesn't matter what wing of the Zionist movement, Labor, Jabotinsky (Right), Religious-Zionist is being discussed. All were considered treif. And Yeshiva Rebbeim still teach that a Zionist are trief and worse than a goy. A recent meeting for the settlers at a Chabbad House in Flatbush had a pamphlet to take "What to Answer a Religious Zionist". The pamphlet continued the vilification of Religious Zionists. How many Chareidi shuls will say the prayer for Tzahal or the Medinah? (But they will take the Medinah's handouts and rely on the treif chilonim in Tzahal for protection.) Let's not forget that Rav Teichtal's HY"D philosophy never became a part of Chareidi outlook. Chareidim still confuse the policies of the government with the present that G-d gave us in 1948. For many Chareidim and Chareidi teachers, the current State of Israel is but one more institution that will govern the Land until Moshiach.

Janos Damon

It is both, easy and most unfair to criticize Kasztner's actions in hindsight, without having been there and then, without experiencing the terrific pressures - and without knowing all the facts we know today.

I agree with Anna Porter that Kasztner was a hero whose accomplishments were largely unknown until she published her book. He made mistakes as we all do, but I believe Kasztner sincerely did his utmost to save as many lives as he could.

anna porter

nachum: Hecht was a wonderful playwright and a fine writer. During the war years he did a great deal to draw attention to the plight of European Jews. However, he was adamantly opposed to the Labor leadership, in particular those who had been in the Jewish Agency Executive during the war. All this, too, is in the book, though I think I would have given it more space had it not been so eloquently written about by Tom Segev.

anna porter

Re Tibi's April 14 comment: Kasztner was never in Auschwitz with or without Eichmann.
Re Nachum: April 14: He was accused by Malchiel Gruenwald, the State of Israel sued on his behalf for criminal libel. It's on the record and in the book. i was paraphrasing in the "essay".
He did not turn his back on Hannah Szenes, there just was nothing he could do to help. it's all in the book.

Nachum

Actually, Hecht portrays Kastner throughout the book as more pathetic than evil. The leadership (and, in fact, the Jewish people as a whole) is who comes in for the harsh criticism.

pushkina

Rudolf Vrba made his famous escape from auschwitz, back to slovakia, because he (and the friend who accompanied him) had been told in the camp that the SS were expecting a "lot of hungarian salami" (SS in camp often referred to victims by an item of their national cuisine as an impromptu code)and because the ramp, which before had been just a wooden train platform, was renovated, re-made in concrete, in order to be able to withstand the almost 1 million pairs of feet expected from Greater Hungary in 1944.

When Vrba got back to Slovakia, there was R. WEissmandel on the committee that de-briefed him. he was able to tell the jewish communal leadership exactly what he had seen as an eyewitness: even then they accused him of 'exaggerating.' it was only after GREAT effort that committee members then made the journey to budapest and to kasztner. so there were MANY in hungary, slovakia, the erdei, who already knew what would happen.

Hungarian jews chose to believe that they would be spared, and even made communal plans to be able to "assist in re-generating" Jewish life after the soon to come defeat of the axis. the hungarian jews had an attitude of natural superiority (and sometimes still do!) that would have made the german jews blush, especially the budapesters. "progressive, " modern, well-educated, wealthy, even some were ennobled and had ties to Horthy, who had resisted their deportation from the beginning.

in addition, all jews who had been soldiers in 1941 and had been posted to the first munkasolgalat (military forced labor), jews who were later posted to subsequent munkasolgalat and forced labor postings (personally arranged by Horthy with Hitler) to germany all could attest to seeing and knowing that a bloodbath was in store.

to blame kasztner, because he collaborated and put together one train, for the supposedly silent murders of half of the entire Hungarian community, utter stupidity, ignorant, arrogant and ridiculous.

even if he did testify on the behalf of becher, there were many jews who did the same for other SSmen, some even more blooded.

really, who should be blamed, throughout the entire region of the shoah, is the collective jewish leadership, who often lied to their people, "in order not to disturb them or create panic." i see that jewish leadership now is not much better; i would NEVER trust my or my family's lives to the clowns and jokers who run our communities.

joseph landau

he never go to the
1) war refugee board record located at the roosevelt library in hyde park ny

2) the vaad hatzala archives located in the yeshiva university in washington heights
3) the book of dr david kranzler

4) the two books of rabbi herschel friedman with a full documentation of the train

5)the book from rabbi s y gelbeman who gives a full of documentation of this train

6) 78 articles in the jewish newspaper der yid in 1997 98


that makes clear from all documents that rabbi weissmandel rabbi isaac sternbuch and rabbi rubinfeld rabbi abraham kalmanowitz who actually

allan snell

I don't like this article it lacks info it could use some work

Yochanan Lavie

A father of a friend of mine escaped Yugoslavia. He went to Italy, where he was treated very sympathetically. He loved the Italians for that. Not feeling safe in an Axis country, he went to Spain, which let him in but did not make him feel welcome at all. From there, to Argentina, then USA. Quite a journey- just him and his mother (my friend's grandmother).

I think it's true that chareidim read "Perfidy" already hating Israel, and totally ignorant of Zionist history. Certainly Peter Bergson (aka Hillel Kook) did what he could- as did many Revisionists. The other posters are correct: Israel= Labour for much of the State's history.

PishPosh

Nachum and Isa thank you for filling in some gaps in my knowledge of Franco. I remember growing up hearing about as a teenager at the time he died, at least in the media he was associated with pretty much what they termed a Strongman in those days. Never would have guessed he had different side to him.

Isa

Comment regarding Generialisimo Francisco Franco.
If a Jew made it to the Spanish border, they were likely to be let in to continue their travels. Spanish diplomats while hob nobing with nazis at night gave out Spanish passports during the day to Sephardim with the fiction that the Sephardim were long lost Spanish citizens. I even have a book that details this all. General Franco never gave a reason for his actions.

Nachum Lamm

MalachHamovies, a couple of points:

First, a story: I first came across Perfidy on an NCSY Shabbaton and started to read it. I'd heard of it before and had been looking for it. One of the advisors came up to me and said, "Don't let any of the public school kids read that. Because you have to love Israel before you can hate it." I think too many people pick the book up hating Israel and only have their ideas reinforced. Hecht, of course, was coming from the place of a man who fought, and suffered (financially at least, by being banned in Britain), for Jewish independence. (On the other hand, some people love Israel so much that they refuse to read the book- this happened to a roommate of mine, who didn't want to read what the book said about Ben Gurion, Weizmann, and so on.)

As to Nordau: Herzl and Nordau were not socialists. Their faction of the Zionist movement were the middle class bourgious elements who became known, in the State of Israel, as the "General Zionists." Herzl did not literally found the movement, but it is probably the one that reflected him the best. (Weizmann was one, even though he probably had socialist leanings.) The party was in coalitions with Labor, and was the largest "opposition" party. Later, it became known as the "Liberal" party (liberal in the classical small-government sense) and merged with Herut, which had grown larger, to eventually form Likud. To this day, or at least until recently, there were those in Likud who considered themselves Liberal people and those who considered themselves Herut people, even though the actual parties disappeared long ago. I guess it's sometimes reflected in "economic" versus "social" conservatives, to use US terms.

In any event, I know that the old-time Irgunists and the modern day Likud claim Herzl as their own. Of course, so does Labor, but that's a beauty of the thing, much as Washington is claimed by all in the US.

Nachum Lamm

PishPosh, it's an ironic truth of history that Jews were relatively safe in countries allied with Hitler, at least until the Nazis themselves invaded. This was true of Hungary (the Jews were rounded up only when Germany, fearing Russia, invaded), Bulgaria (the king and archbishop threatened to lay down in front of the trains), Italy (Mussolini wasn't much of an anti-Semite and only went along with Hitler's laws reluctantly; no Jews were deported until after Italy surrendered and the Germans took over the country), Japan (which famously took in Jews and kept them relatively safe in China), and Spain (which also took in Jews). Denmark was also technically "allied" with Germany (faced with certain defeat, they worked out a deal) and saved all its Jews. Countries occupied by these others- Greece, Romania, and so on- are a bit of a different story.

MalachHamovies

(like many others)

sorry !

Nachum,

You seem to know your history. When i was in yeshiva and people were speaking against the "tzionim" i always asked them - have you ever heard of menachem begin, zev jabotinsky, beitar, dov gruner etc. ? Maybe one bachur knew what i was talking about. They were so ignorant !! (they still are - many they know more today because the internet has tons of information)

As you said nachum zionism in their mind was Labor zionism.

What's interesting is that hertzl's right hand man Max Nordau was closer to jabotinsky and his views then he was to the leaders and views of labor zionism. Correct me if i'm wrong.

MalachHamovies

(like many others)

sorry !

Nachum,

You seem to know your history. When i was in yeshiva and people were speaking against the "tzionim" i always asked them - have you ever heard of menachem begin, zev jabotinsky, beitar, dov gruner etc. ? Maybe one bachur knew what i was talking about. They were so ignorant !! (they still are - many they know more today because the internet has tons of information)

As you said nachum zionism in their mind was Labor zionism.

What's interesting is that hertzl's right hand man Max Nordau was closer to jabotinsky and his views then he was to the leaders and views of labor zionism. Correct me if i'm wrong.

PishPosh

Speaking of saving lives, I dont have a source and its something I heard way back when, but Hitler Yemach meeting with Francisco Franco and told him he could help him solve his Jewish problem. Franco responded that were he to follow the German racial laws of blood, there probably wouldnt be a spaniard left in the whole iberian peninsula.

Franco was neutral and hitler yemach after a meeting told his confidantes that he would sooner have his teeth pulled then meet with Franco again to persuade him to join the axis.


If somebody else heard this can you confirm. Just as an aside as the topic deas

Nachum

Oh, so to answer the second point, I think it's just anti-Zionist Charedim latching onto Hecht. Hecht would probably be pissed.

Unfortunately, Shmarya probably was taught this "Hecht=anti-Zionist" trope by whoever made him frum, and so has internalized that to defend Israel, he has to attack Hecht and defend Kastner, not realizing that lots of Zionists (like Hecht) don't like Kastner either. I think this goes hand-in-hand with his defense of Sharon and Olmert as well. It's sad, but understandable.

Nachum

R' Elchonon Wasserman also went back.

MalachHamovies, two very good questions:

1. I think it was Shmarya who posted a few weeks back how the Charedi apologists (in the form of R' Dessler, I think) were already hard at work during the war itself. Either R' Weissmandel fell for it, willingly or not, or the apologists were able to cover it up so well he didn't know- he died in the 50's, I think.

Related to the next point, "Zionism" from about the 20's to the 70's meant "Labor Zionism". So if one was angry at the Labor Zionists, it would be easy to transfer that, rightly or not, to the state.

2. I've always wondered this as well. Hecht uses "Zionists" as the people he's angry at when he means "Labor", so maybe people read him the wrong way. He says explicitly, I think in Perfidy but maybe in his autobiography, that his beef is only with the current government and that as soon as it falls, he'd be the biggest supporter of Israel. (I wouldn't say that, but he did.) Of course, Labor stayed in power for over a decade after Hecht died.

Tibi

Some major Rabbis stayed with their people. The Klausenberg Rebbe, z'tl, even came back in order to be with them in their time of need.

MalachHamovies

Fascinating ! I always thought (like my others) that the perfidy book was the real truth. I'm going to have to pick up and read this new book.

What bothered me all these years was a few items:

1) Rabbi weismandell z'l became a rabid anti-zionist after the war. Didn't he know that all of the rabbis and chassidic leaders in hungary and slovakia were against leaving these countries (and "god forbid" even wanting to go to palestine). Yet 2 of the major rebbes (satmar and belz)escaped while many of their chassidim and their families perished. In r'weismandell's letters we don't see any anger against these leaders. Why ??

2.The charedei world always mentioned perfidy to stress their proof of anti-zionisim. But ben-hecht WAS the biggest zionist of all. He was an american revisionst zionist (not a labor zionist like ben-gurion or chaim weitzmann).

steve

BREAKING NEWS!!! KOLKO PLEADS GUILTY!! AGREES TO PLEA BARGAIN!!

Brooklyn Rabbi Sentenced in Sex Abuse Case


NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A Brooklyn Rabbi pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn prosecutor said.

Rabbi Joel Kolko has been sentenced to three years probation and will enroll in counseling.

Kolko had been charged with two counts of sex abuse in the first degree, one count each of sex abuse in the second and third degrees, one count each of harassment in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges were made in connection with incidents that accusers said happened between the early 80s and 2006. The Yeshiva and Mesivta Torah Temimah, where Kolko taught, was also accused of covering up the incidents of abuse and threatening parents who tried to report them.

The Yeshiva denied those claims.


Tibi

Shmarya, I have written previously on your blog about Teitelbaum and his abandonment of his community. That doesn't excuse Kastner. My family is Romanian/Hungarian Sephard from that region. Only my father, his sister and a handful of cousins survived. My father had the option of going into Romania, where he most likely would have been safer. But none of the Hungarian ,Romanian or Zionist leaders told them the truth.

Shmarya

Try reading again, this way:

Kasztner was accused, sued [his accuser] for libel…

That is as plausible a reading as:

Kasztner was accused, [he was] sued for libel…

Nachum

"I think you rushed to judgement while ignoring a plain reading of the sentence."

You misread me. The plain meaning of the sentence is that Kastner sued Greenwald. Kastner did not sue Greenwald. The State of Israel did. There's a big point there.

Bartley Kulp

"He is verified to have been in Auschwitz with Eichman, he was fully aware of the outcome of silence. Yet- he remained silent. That action was unconscionable."

How exactly would Kastner warn 800,000 Hungarian Jews spread all over the place? Fox news online? Even if he created a grapevine, we all know what happens to grape vines. In many cases during the war Jews were warned by witnesses about what was going on and were met with cognitive dissonance.

Even Oskar Schindler(this was not in the movie)traveled to Hungary himself in order to report what was happening in Poland. He met with Kastner and other Jewish Agency officials. He knew that smuggled messages would not suffice. Remember this was the 1940's without the hindsight that we have today when it comes to genocide. He knew that nobody outside would believe it. A non-Jew coming to bear witness would lend credence to the information being presented.

Kastner had a job to do which he could not achieve by becoming a soap box prepare to meet thou doom announcer.

Paul Freedman

Shmarya: thanks

Shmarya

Shmarya, the original trial involved the *State of Israel*- not Kastner- suing for libel. It's a minor point, but if she can't get that right...

"He was accused, sued for libel, lost the suit …"

So, Kasztner was accused, sued [Greenwald] for libel…

I think you rushed to judgement while ignoring a plain reading of the sentence.

Nachum

Shmarya, the original trial involved the *State of Israel*- not Kastner- suing for libel. It's a minor point, but if she can't get that right...

"You know the answer to that, right?

Of course not."

Neither do you. This is all speculation, and you're presenting it like it was settled.

Of course, I hold no brief for the Rebbes either. On the other hand, I don't judge anyone too harshly. It was a hell of a time- wars always are, and this one more than most. I'll let God deal out justice to all of them. Unfortunately, Kastner is dead and Belz seems to be thriving.

As to Poland, remember that Hungary was a Nazi ally, so Jews weren't killed there until late into the war, when the Germans occupied it. People may have been lulled into a false sense of security. As I said, hard to judge, but Kastner comes out of it smelling a lot worse than others.

Shmarya

Yes.

Paul Freedman

Is this book for sale in a national chain outlet (Barnes and Noble, etc)?

Shmarya

He is verified to have been in Auschwitz with Eichman, he was fully aware of the outcome of silence. Yet- he remained silent. That action was unconscionable.

Really?

How many Jews lived because the killing was stopped or greatly slowed in other death camps due to Kasztner?

You know the answer to that, right?

Of course not.

As for Kasztner's supposed silence, ask yourself a question. Hungary had many Jewish refugees who had escaped Poland and other areas where the Nazis were exterminating Jews.

These refugees told many people about mass killings, slave labor, etc.

Yet somehow no one knew except Kasztner?

Please.

Lots of people knew. Rabbis knew. Other community leaders knew. Regular people knew.

Yet, you don't blame any of those other people – you only blame Kasztner.

The more Kasztner's story becomes public, the more his story is told, the more clear it becomes that Kasztner was made into a scapegoat for the sins of others.

Kasztner dealt with Eichmann and saved many lives as a result.

He didn't save enough lives for you? The right lives for you?

Just compare him to the Belzer Rebbe, the Satmar Rebbe, and Hungary's Revisionist Zionists.

Kasztner saved more Jews than all others combined. Exponentially more.

Shmarya

"He was accused, sued for libel,"

Nope.

Okay. Humor us. What was the original trial about?

dd

what happened to all the sephardim jews of romania and trasylvania? did any survive?

Question

Tibi:

The same question should be asked of the Rebbe of Belz who did not rescue anyone yet saved himself, not only kept silent but reassured the Hungarian Jews that they would suffer nothing more than fear and asked that they donate generously as a tribute for this blessing.

Anonymous

Every time you try to whitewash your hero
Kastner, you come up looking foolish.

What did you add since last time?

Another person went through his papers and thinks he was a Lamed Vov?

The guy went to testify for a SS War Criminal.

The guy knew 12,000 Jews a day were going
to be gassed and cremated.

The guy turned his back on Chana Shenesh.

And you need to make him a hero and blame
Ben Hecht and the Charedim.

Therapy is in order.

yidandahalf

No matter what more comes out on Kastner, he just never seems to wash clean.

Nachum

"He was accused, sued for libel,"

Nope.

Nachum

Not exactly a slam-dunk, is it? Lots of speculation, testimony from people who- can't blame them- were saved by Kastner, not-quite-stated facts (Yad Vashem is run by Bauer, dontcha know), and there's lots of politics here.

That said, Hansi Brand was involved with Kastner? Remarkable.

Tibi

The question this book avoids is: Kastner knew the fate that awaited Hungarian Jewry. While he did work to save those who were saved, he did nothing surreptitiously to alert the other Jews so that they might have a chance to save themselves. He is verified to have been in Auschwitz with Eichman, he was fully aware of the outcome of silence. Yet- he remained silent. That action was unconscionable.

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