George Mantello and the Kasztner Trial

NB: Mantello was the Jewish diplomat-rescuer who distributed the Auschwitz Protocols to the world press. The international uproar provoked by his efforts was a major factor in ending the deportations of Jews from Hungary to the death camp. According to Kranzler, below, Mantello wanted to testify about Kasztner’s attempt to sabotage his successful press campaign.

From David Kranzler, The Man Who Stopped the Trains to Auschwitz: George Mantello, El Salvador and Switzerland’s Finest Hour (Syracuse University Press, 2000), pp. 313-4n53:

The Kastner trial focused prominently on the very issues in which Mantello had been directly involved during the war: the receipt and dissemination of the Auschwitz Reports. He had been exhorted by Kastner to stop the press campaign because the Germans had told Kastner that this would endanger his own negotiations with Eichmann to save as many Jews as possible. Mantello disregarded this warning, correctly believing that the campaign was the only means of alerting the world to the horrors of Auschwitz and saving the rest of Hungarian Jewry.

Some Israeli officials informed Mantello that if Kastner lost the trial it might seriously affect the Israeli government itself, for Kastner represented the Jewish Agency, which was essentially the predecessor of the Mapai Labor Party organization, in Budapest. They also told him that Shmuel Tamir, the brilliant young lawyer defending Malkiel Gruenwald, Kastner’s original accuser, was a Revisionist Zionist and was interested not only in showing Kastner to be a traitor to Hungarian Jewry, but also in undermining the Labor government itself. In accusing Kastner, he was essentially accusing the Mapai Party, especially because Kastner was put up as a candidate for election to the Knesset. This even though he [Mantello] had been an admirer and supporter of the Revisionist Zionists. Under these circumstances, it took great effort for Mantello to refrain from testifying at the trial.