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January 16, 2017 / 18 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘paul’

Kastner: Holocaust Hero Or Nazi Collaborator? – An Interview with Author Paul Bogdanor

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

In 1952, an elderly Hungarian Jew, Malchiel Gruenwald, published a pamphlet accusing Rudolph Kastner – a spokesman for Israel’s Ministry of Trade and Industry – of collaborating with the Nazis during the Holocaust. The Israeli government sued Gruenwald for libel, expecting the trial to last a couple of days.

It didn’t. It lasted a yearAnd at its conclusion, instead of exonerating Kastner, Judge Benjamin Halevi found that Kastner had “sold his soul to the devil.” The trial led to the government’s collapse and the assassination of Kastner in 1957.

Although six decades have since passed, the Kastner Affair remains highly controversial. Some continue to see Kastner as a collaborator while others – like Israel’s Supreme Court, which overturned Halevi’s ruling by a vote of 3-2 in 1958 – argue that Kastner’s dealings with the Nazis enabled him to save over 1,500 Jews. The latest to weigh in on the debate is Paul Bogdanor, an independent researcher in England and author of the recently released “Kasztner’s Crime” (Transaction Publishers).

The Jewish Press: Many Jews know about Rudolph Kastner from the riveting book Perfidy, by Ben Hecht. Are your book’s findings in consonance, or in conflict, with those of Perfidy?

Bogdanor: What Perfidy says about Kastner is accurate. Its accusations against the Zionist movement as a whole, however, are not so accurate.

For example, Perfidy accuses Ben-Gurion and his colleagues of deliberately sabotaging a mission by Kastner’s colleague Joel Brand to convey Eichmann’s “goods for blood” offer to the West. This was an offer by the Nazis to release a million Jews in exchange for 10,000 trucks and other goods from the West. Hecht says the Zionist leadership willingly sabotaged this mission, and thus doomed the Jews to extermination.

But the opposite is true. Ben-Gurion and his colleagues went all out to further the “goods for blood” offer. In doing so, though, they fell into a Nazi trap since these trucks were going to be used on the Eastern front against the Soviets in an effort to split the Allied coalition at a crucial point of the war.

Furthermore, Eichmann told Brand that he would not murder Hungary’s Jews until he had a definite answer on the “goods for blood” offer when, in fact, he had already started deporting thousands of Hungarian Jews a day to Auschwitz even before Brand left Budapest to convey Eichmann’s offer to the Zionist leadership. In other words, the Nazis used this offer as a way of keeping the Jewish leadership busy while it went about murdering Jews.

You write that Brand might have been naïve but you offer no such excuses for Kastner. You regard him as an outright Nazi collaborator. Why?

Because he deliberately misled scores of thousands of Jews into boarding the trains to Auschwitz. And because throughout the mass deportation from Hungary to Auschwitz he sent Nazi disinformation to his Jewish contacts in the free world with the aim of aborting any successful rescue effort.

How so?

For example, at the height of the deportations – when 12,000 Hungarian Jews every day were being driven onto death trains and sent to Auschwitz – he wrote that the deported Jews were alive in “Waldsee,” which was a Nazi camouflage for Auschwitz. At one point he even claimed to have received 750,000 postcards from these Jews saying they were alive and well. So Kastner’s Jewish contacts abroad read these letters and were misled about what was going on.

Is it clear that Kastner knew the Nazis intended to exterminate these Jews?

Absolutely. There’s no doubt about that because he admitted it. After the war he said Eichmann repeatedly told him that Hungarian Jews were being exterminated in Auschwitz. He also knew that escapees from Auschwitz had warned that the camp was being prepared to receive – and murder – massive numbers of Hungarian Jews.

If Kastner knew the Nazis planned on exterminating Hungarian Jewry, why didn’t he sound the alarm? He negotiated with the Nazis to save 1,684 select Jews on board what later became known as the “Kastner Train,” but why didn’t he warn all of Hungarian Jewry to go underground or resist boarding the deportation trains to Auschwitz?

When the Nazis occupied Hungary in 1944, Kastner tried to negotiate the rescue of all of Hungary’s Jews. At the very first meeting with Adolf Eichmann’s officer, Dieter Wisliceny, on April 5, 1944, Kastner and Brand made four demands: no executions, no concentration in ghettoes, no deportations, and permission for Jews to emigrate.

Wisliceny, though, told Kastner that the Jews could only emigrate if the emigration was disguised as a deportation. Kastner agreed, and from that moment on he had to collaborate with the Nazis because he had to make sure Jews boarded the deportation trains. But of course, once the Jews were on these trains, the Nazis could do whatever they wanted with them, and they sent them to Auschwitz.

Perhaps Kastner thought he had no choice. Perhaps he believed the Nazis would most likely kill everyone and that only by negotiating and cooperating did he stand a chance of rescuing at least some Hungarian Jews.

First of all, if the Jews were going to be killed, they didn’t have to be killed with Kastner’s help. And secondly, there was an opportunity to save many thousands of Hungarian Jews in north Transylvania. There was an escape route across the border to Romania, but on May 3, 1944, Wisliceny told Kastner to tell the Jewish leaders in Kolozsvar – Kastner’s hometown – that the escape routes had been blocked.

Kastner gave this false information to the leaders in Kolozsvar who immediately ended all the escapes. Kastner directly obeyed a Nazi instruction to sabotage the escape routes from his hometown.

Didn’t Kastner realize at some point that he was being used? After all, the Nazis exempted him from wearing a yellow star and allowed him use of a phone and car. At one point, they even convinced him to hand over two rescue activists – Yoel Palgi and Peretz Goldstein – who had been smuggled into Hungary by the Zionist leadership. Didn’t this close relationship with the Nazis make Kastner suspicious?

Exactly. Kastner must have understood he was serving the interests of the Nazis and that his rescue negotiations were gaining time, not for the Jewish victims but for the Nazis to exterminate them. And I argue that he understood this very early on in the rescue negotiations.

So what are we to conclude – that Kastner was an evil man?

My conclusion is that he was motivated partly by his pessimism about the possibility of saving any Hungarian Jews and partly by his megalomania. You have to remember that before the Nazi occupation of Hungary, Kastner was an underground rescue activist. He wasn’t a major figure among Hungarian Jews; he was a minor figure operating illegally. As soon as the Nazis occupied the country, though, he suddenly became the most important figure in Hungarian Jewry because he was the only person (after Brand’s departure) allowed to negotiate officially with Eichmann on the fate of the Jews of Hungary.

Even Kastner’s enemies usually give him credit for saving 1,684 Jews aboard the “Kastner Train.” You don’t. You argue, provocatively, that this rescue train was actually a Nazi hostage operation. How so?

Elliot Resnick

Some Words About The Deaths in Dallas, St. Paul, And Baton Rouge

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Lid}

Devastating, it’s the only way to describe what has happened in this country over the past few days.

There’s not much to say about the facts of the horrific goings on during the past few days because most of the facts are still not out.  However, to this observer sitting safely in his office, the news about Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in St Paul, and five dead Cops in Dallas is nothing short of sickening and I feel for all of their families.

Allow me to make a few possibly random observations while doing my best not to draw conclusions about the facts of the case.

  • Too many people are taking sides; mourning the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile should not stop people from mourning the deaths of five Cops (or vice versa), they are not mutually exclusive. It is okay to strongly support law enforcement officers, while admitting the possibility that there are a few bad cops who may have unjustly killed African Americans. What the Black Lives Matter movement gets wrong is that ALL lives matter, what many of the rest of us forget is–that goes both ways. The situation behind the deaths of their loved ones may be very different, but praying for the families of the cops, as well as praying for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile is a moral obligation. They all feel the pain of losing a loved one.

The Bible (Genesis 25:11) records that God himself visited Isaac when his father died : “And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed Isaac, his son.”The sages infer from this verse that God Himself, as it were, was comforting the bereaved Isaac. In Isaiah 40:1 following the destruction of Jerusalem, the first temple, and the decimation of the Jewish people, Isaiah proclaimed God’s message “Console, console My people,” says your God.” That is meant that comforting the bereaved is not merely a recommendation, but a specific order obliging Isaiah to console the mourning Jews.  Also notice that that God didn’t tell Isaiah to pick and choose based on who the individual Jews were mourning. It is our obligation as human beings to comfort the bereaved and today seven families; five cop families, and two families of people who were killed by cops (justified or not). If God can comfort the bereaved, certainly we can feel for all seven families who lost a loved one.

  • The videos of the Sterling and Castile shootings certainly make these incidents seem like the police involved abused their power, but all the facts are not out in the end we may find out that the shootings were justified (we may also find out the shootings were “bad).” And even if we learn that the shootings weren’t justified they may not have been motivated by racism, they may have been mistakes by some of the very few cops who are incompetent.
  • There is no excuse for the cowardly and disgusting attacks by snipers against police, 99.99% of cops are good people who do their jobs correctly. Cops are there to help all of us, every day they put their lives on the line to protect our families.  This attack wasn’t “black on blue,” it was a terrorist attack on all Americans. It may have been Dallas police officers caught an ambush, but by attacking the officers who protect us, the scum who shot the cops were really ambushing all Americans. Those cops were protecting all Americans regardless of their skin pigment, gender, religion etc. Whatever happened in St. Paul, and Baton Rouge this week we need to back up our law enforcement officers. This does not mean cover up the actions of the very few cops who may be incompetent or evil, but the vast majority, who put their lives on the line each and every day and do the right thing, protect and serve their communities.
  • Too many of my conservative colleagues put down the people who protest cop/black shootings.   Whether backed up by facts or not (and we won’t know until we learn what really happened) the anger and frustration displayed by many African-Americans is justified. Sorry if this sounds like a liberal, but white people (including me) can never understand the Black experience in America (the same way I tell my Christian friends that they could never understand the Jewish experience of the past 2,000 years).
  • Almost as bad as the scum who shot five cops, is the reaction to the shootings by some who exploited the deaths as an excuse to score political points. The governor of Minnesota who proclaimed the shooting of Philando Castile was racially motivated before knowing what really happened is nothing short of an idiot, but so areJesse Jackson who blamed it all on Donald Trump, President Obama blamed it on guns--and at least one chapter of the Students For Justice in Palestine blamed it all on the IDF.

Right now it is not time to politicize the deaths,  we should understand the need of some to express their emotions (peacefully), and that goes for the people who are angry and frustrated by the deaths of Mr.Castile and Mr.Sterling as well as those who are angry and frustrated by the five dead and seven injured police officers. But our most important task is to comfort the bereaved–all of the bereaved.

May God comfort all the families, friends and loved ones of those who died, and may the souls of the dead rest in peace

Jeff Dunetz

Vatican: Papal Visit to Show IDF ‘Imprisoning’ Christian Population

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Fr. Peter Vasko, President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL), heralded Pope Francis’ announcement that he may visit the Holy Land next year as an opportunity for the “whole world to see the plight of Christians in the area.

Vasko said the pontiff’s presence would also “shine a light on the dwindling Christian population in the Holy Land, and hopefully help ease living conditions in the area.” Christians, once a majority in the area, have diminished to less than two percent of the population as restrictions on travel, education and work have increased.

In Palestinian controlled areas, including Bethlehem, what remains of the Arab Christians population are virtual prisoners in their own homes. At the same time, Israeli controlled areas are the only places in the entire Middle East where the Christian population has been rising.

Pope Francis said the visit – his first as head of the Church – would mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s trip to Jerusalem in 1964. The announcement came on the heels of Israeli President Shimon Peres’ recent visit to the Vatican. During that visit, Peres urged the pope to come to Israel, adding, “The sooner you visit the better, as a new opportunity is being created for peace, and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief in peace.”

Peres added, “I turn to you and ask that within your sermons in front of millions of believers in the world you include the hope for peace in the Middle East and the whole world.”

Vasko said the Vatican has long supported FFHL programs, which provide education, housing and work opportunities for thousands of Palestinian Christians. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI visited Israel during their tenures.

Pope Francis accepted Peres’ invitation, but no date has been set for the trip.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/vatican-papal-visit-to-show-idf-imprisoning-christian-population/2013/08/08/

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