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Kasztner’s Crime: The Book

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“[T]he majority of Hungary’s Jews were never warned about their imminent fate [in Nazi death camps], but believed they were being resettled for forced labor ‘in the east.’ ... [Paul Bogdanor’s] well-researched and incisive indictment... is both graphic and convincing. It will undoubtedly cause renewed shockwaves among the descendants of survivors worldwide.”
– John S. Conway, Professor Emeritus of History, University of British Columbia

“Paul Bogdanor has written a clear, compelling, important book about one of the most disputed sets of events during the Holocaust... Bogdanor has produced what may be the best historical review of Kasztner’s wartime activities produced in recent years... The case against Kasztner, based on years of careful research is presented with forensic skill... Kasztner’s Crime takes the history of the Holocaust in Hungary a considerable step forward.”
– Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, Jewish Chronicle

“[A] well-researched book on the contentious Kasztner affair – a controversy that commenced in wartime Hungary and has continued until the present day... Bogdanor demonstrates that Kasztner’s story after 1945 constantly changed, peppered by omissions and contradictions... [A]t the back of the reader’s mind, there will still lurk the question of what he or she would have done in Kasztner’s position. A course of action which resides in the grayness of immoral choice – the difference between bad and worse. Bogdanor’s book provides uncomfortable food for thought in this personal arena as well.”
– Colin Shindler, The Jerusalem Post

“Kasztner continues to be seen in polarized lights. His champions emphasize his strong points; his detractors highlight his moral failings. But not even his most ardent defenders will now be able to ignore the painstakingly marshalled barrage of damning evidence that Bogdanor has presented. Is the case finally closed on Kasztner? Looks like it.”
– Tibor Krausz, The Jerusalem Report

“[S]ets out the case against [Kasztner] in damning detail. Even the most devoted defender might have second thoughts after reading his book.”
– Jenni Frazer, The Times of Israel

“[Paul Bogdanor] gives us a more compelling and convincing overall assessment of Kasztner... well-researched... Bogdanor[’s] book is a must read.”
– Josef Olmert, The Times of Israel

“Paul Bogdanor studied the image of Kasztner and published his conclusions from the evidence given by Holocaust survivors about the controversial man. In his new book the author shatters the positive myth created around Kasztner, whereby he was a hero who saved many Jews from the clutches of the Nazis.”
– NRG

“Mr Bogdanor, who spent ten painstaking years researching Kasztner’s connection with the Nazis, uncovered the terrible truth after examining a number of unequivocal – and until now overlooked – testimonies of Holocaust survivors. He also delved into Kasztner’s own post-war report and other documented evidence, much of which has never been translated into English before.”
Daily Mail

“Rumours and unsubstantiated charges that Kasztner sacrificed the lives of Jews are not new. The claims led to a controversial libel trial in Israel in the 1950s. But it is the first time that he can be shown ‘beyond all doubt’ to have played a role in the genocide and to have knowingly betrayed his people.”
The Mirror

Media Coverage

Blic / Channel 20 / Daily Mail / Express / Hidabrut / Israel Hayom / The Jerusalem Post / The Jerusalem Report / Jewish Chronicle / Jewish News / The Jewish Press / The Mirror / NRG / The Times of Israel #1 / The Times of Israel #2 / Worker’s Liberty

Summary

Nazi-occupied Budapest, 1944:

Adolf Eichmann, the SS officer sent to exterminate Hungary’s Jews, confronts Rezső Kasztner (Rudolf Kastner), acting head of the Jewish rescue operation.

At stake: the lives of over 750,000 people.

The outcome of this encounter is the liberation of 1,684 Jewish hostages on a train. Meanwhile, 500,000 Jewish men, women and children are murdered by the Nazis and their Hungarian henchmen in the most brutally efficient phase of the Holocaust.

After World War II, Kasztner is hailed by some as a hero for arranging the release of his special train, and condemned by many Holocaust survivors for alleged complicity in the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz.

Kasztner becomes the unwilling focus of a hugely controversial trial. The judge concludes that he “sold his soul to the Devil.”

Kasztner is assassinated – and then he is partially exonerated by Israel’s Supreme Court.

Paul Bogdanor reopens the Kasztner controversy. His book is the most thorough and devastating account of Kasztner’s activities ever written. It proves that Kasztner did collaborate with the Nazis. The SS converted Kasztner’s rescue committee, which was established in order to save Jews, into a tool for the destruction of Jews.

Bogdanor shows, for the first time, how Kasztner helped the Nazis keep order in Hungary’s ghettos before the Jews were sent to Auschwitz. He also shows, for the first time, how Kasztner sent Nazi disinformation to his Jewish contacts in the free world.

Bogdanor seeks to give a voice to Hungary’s Holocaust survivors. Many of them have insisted for decades that Kasztner was guilty of collaboration. But their testimony has been ignored, dismissed or even ridiculed by Kasztner’s defenders. Kasztner’s Crime sets out to correct this injustice.

Making extensive use of the transcripts of the Kasztner and Eichmann trials in Israel, this is a chilling account of one man’s descent into evil during the genocide of his own people.

The themes of collaboration, saving lives, and playing God pose moral dilemmas that will never go away.

Author / Cover / Contents / Introduction / Publisher

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