Directed and written by award-winning filmmaker Gaylon Ross, Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt with Nazis, is a gripping documentary that tells the story of a man who helped save Jews during the Holocaust, but was later assassinated in a controversial trial by his own people.
Rezso Kasztner was a Hungarian Jew who worked as journalist and lawyer before the war. During the Holocaust, he moved to Budapest and worked with the Aid and Rescue Committee who helped refugee Jews find safe placement. Kasztner negotiated with the Nazis, namely Otto Adolf Eichmann, to rescue 1700 Jews from Auschwitz, an extermination camp. His plan was to put the selected Jews on a train, known as the Kasztner Train, to Switzerland where they would be safe. He also collaborated with the Nazis to send nearly 20,000 others to a safer work camp in Austria. His plan was successful, though the remaining Jews were sent to Auschwitz.
After the war, Kasztner and his wife and daughter moved to Israel, as did many Holocaust survivors. His fellow Israelites questioned his actions, and suggested a preference for his selection of rescued Jews. A pamphlet was published about the story which claimed he worked with the enemy. The words gained momentum, and the Israeli government sued for libel on Kasztner’s behalf. But the trial turned, and Kastzner went from being a plaintiff to becoming a defendent. He was accused of selling his soul to the devil and for giving positive remarks post-war about a few SS officers which in turn, affected their own trials. Reszo Kasztner was assinated in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1957. His daughter, Zsuzsi, the survivors of the train, and his descendants are pioneering to change the opinion of the what they view as a martyr.