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Historical and Investigative Research - 08 February 2008
by Francisco Gil-White




The Devil’s Advocate

Refuting Anna Porter's defense of Rudolf Kastner in Kasztner’s Train


Kasztner's Train: The True Story of Rezsö Kastner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., 2007; by Anna Porter.

Author Anna Porter has just released a book in which she defends that Rudolf Kastner, who was found to be a Nazi collaborator in a Jerusalem trial in the early 1950s, was instead a great Jewish hero. To accept Anna Porter's argument is to render the defense of the Jewish people impossible. This piece will explain why Anna Porter is wrong, and it will show the connection between the betrayals of certain Jewish leaders during the Holocaust, and the current policies of the Israeli government, which are endangering the survival of the Jewish state.

Table of Contents


Some basic problems with Kasztner’s Train

Is Anna Porter able to defend Kastner?

Lies to free Kurt Becher

Lies to murder the Hungarian Jews

Anna Porter’s key argument

The Supreme Court of Israel defends Kastner

What does Anna Porter say about Perfidy?

Anna Porter’s revealing bias

The great implications of all this

Epilogue: The twists of history


Towards the end of World War II, halfway into 1944, with the Nazis clearly on their way to lose the conflict, Adolf Eichmann, architect of the German Nazi Final Solution, proposed to free the 800,000 Jews of Hungary in exchange for cargo. He wanted several thousand trucks, most of all, and they should be loaded with tea, soap, and other things. The government of Winston Churchill intervened to sabotage this potential deal. In fact, Churchill wrote: “Surely we cannot negotiate with the Germans on this matter, certainly not without the Cabinet being consulted. This is not the time to have negotiations with the enemy.”[1]

This would have been the first time in Winston Churchill’s career that he showed such fastidious care for the proper niceties with the Cabinet. He was famous for thinking nothing of what anybody but Winston Churchill ever thought. As First Lord of the Admiralty in World War I, for example, when presented by his own naval intelligence with a negotiation they had started with the Turks to buy them out of the war for a paltry sum, Churchill, without consulting the Cabinet, ordered the negotiations stopped because he was eager to launch an attack against the Turks in the Dardanelles (which turned out to be a huge fiasco that cost tens of thousands of British lives, achieving nothing).[2] But when he was presented with the opportunity to save 800,000 Jewish lives he didn’t wish to decide unilaterally -- he wanted the antisemitic British Cabinet to back him up.

There was a lot of Jewish pressure in London to help the Hungarian Jews, but on July 11th (1944) Churchill vetoed any negotiations.[3] He went further: his government took prisoner Joel Brand when he arrived in Syria. This was the Hungarian Jew whom Eichmann had sent to notify the Allies and the Jewish Agency of the offer, and whose return to Budapest -- with his word that the offer was being considered seriously -- would have triggered the release of the first 100,000 Jews. By having Brand arrested, Churchill guaranteed that not even those first 100,000 Jews would be freed.

But ask almost any historian and they will tell you that Churchill was radically pro Jewish...

Those who know that the US government had a policy to deny entry to Jewish refugees may be surprised to learn that it pronounced itself initially in favor of Brand’s return to Budapest. But this was in response to heavy pressure from the War Refugee Board that the ‘Bergson Group’ had managed to create through its public agitation. The US government craftily added the condition that the Russians would have to agree, and it is almost certain that they already knew the Russians to be opposed.[4] In any case, when flooded with desperate appeals -- the first came from the Bergson Group[5] -- that it should bombard Auschwitz-Birkenau or the train tracks leading to the death camp, so as to throw a wrench in the wheels of the Final Solution and save the Hungarian Jews, the United States government refused.[6] So did the British government.[7]

The Hungarian Jews were exterminated. Not all of them, because the war ended, but a good 400,000 were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau packed in cargo trains worse than cattle, gassed, and then incinerated.

Now, in the early 1950s there was a dramatic trial in Jerusalem. The government of Israel was accusing an old man, Malchiel Greenwald, of having slandered a high government official, Rudolf (alias Rezsö, alias Israel) Kastner. According to Greenwald, Rudolf Kastner had collaborated with the Nazis to assist in the extermination of the Hungarian Jews. So in bringing suit against Greenwald, the government of Israel was defending one of its own from the charge of Nazi collaboration. This is a key point.

This trial produced a tremendous international scandal because, to the satisfaction of the presiding judge, Benjamin Halevi, it was documented that Malchiel Greenwald was right: Kastner was a Nazi collaborator. And more: it was shown that Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, and Moshe Sharett, the troika that had formed the first Israeli government and was still in power (except for the recently departed Weizmann), were implicated in this episode of mass murder. Sharett had been the point man in their successful efforts to sabotage Joel Brand’s mission, a fact that became so notorious that an article by Uri Avnery bore the title ‘The Sharett Trial’ -- but all three were implicated.[8] This helped to explain why they had been defending Kastner.

Ben-Gurion and Sharett continued controlling the government directly for quite a few years, and it was their Marxist followers who took control of all the Israeli institutions. So much so that, as recently observed by historian Kenneth Levin, “even in times of right-wing control of the government” -- when followers (and later nominal followers) of Vladimir Jabotinsky’s erstwhile Revisionist movement had been elected to office -- “the large state bureaucracy in Israel remained essentially in the hands of functionaries of the Left and this was true of state-owned media as well.”[9] It should not surprise us, therefore, that Perfidy, the book that Jabotinsky follower Ben Hecht wrote documenting what happened at the ‘Kastner Trial,’ was banned for many years in Israel.[10] Nor should it surprise us that various intellectuals affiliated with the important Israeli institutions -- which the Labor Zionists have always controlled -- have made and continue to make efforts to attack Ben Hecht, on the one hand, and to clean up the image of Rudolf Kastner and of the Labor Zionist leaders implicated in his crimes, on the other. Those academics have celebrated Anna Porter’s Kasztner’s Train, a book that was also celebrated in the press of Toronto, Porter’s native city, and in other Canadian media.

Kastner’s Train came to my attention after my colleague Chaim Wolfowicz attended a lecture that the author gave in Toronto to promote her book. Porter claims that Kastner was not a traitor but a hero, and she endeavors to defend, as well, the Labor Zionist leaders who stood by Kastner. In the question and answer period, Wolfowicz challenged Porter, stating that Kastner was in fact a traitor who knew that the Hungarian Jews would be exterminated and who betrayed his responsibility -- as head of the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee -- to warn them. According to Wolfowicz, Porter was quite vague and dismissed the issue.

Given that Porter’s book is the most recent and also the longest of the efforts so far to defend Rudolf Kastner, it is well worth our time to examine the quality of her arguments, for these are issues that, as we shall see, are highly relevant to what is happening today in Israel, and to the future of the Jewish state.


Some basic problems with Kasztner’s Train

Before Kasztner’s Train, Anna Porter had been writing fiction. I recognize that people who were not trained as social scientists can sometimes produce excellent historiography. And someone’s work, in any case, must be evaluated on its merits. If the author knows her subject well, and has investigated it thoroughly, we must recognize the quality of the effort and not be too particular about professional titles. But when the author betrays a certain ignorance of the Jewish people -- for example, when she comments in passing, as Anna Porter does, that “the Kabbalah [is] an ancient Hebrew text”[11] -- we have a right to worry. (Kabbalah is a mystical discipline based mostly on the Zohar and other texts; there is a controversy as to how old it is, with many scholars arguing it dates only from the 12 c.; it has produced a great many different texts, but there is no ancient Hebrew text called ‘Kabbalah’). Perhaps it is not altogether unfair, in this case, to lament the author’s lack of professional training in social science, or in her particular subject.

In her introduction, Porter says that hers is “a work of popular history,” which is to say a book aimed at the general public.[12] I will be the first to defend that history be addressed to a wide audience, but Porter’s book looks to me more like a historical novel than a work of historiography. The historical novelist often will not support himself with any documentation, and if he does he will not provide the reader with a detailed compendium, point by point, because the historical novelist will respect what has been shown about the period, whereas the personalities, scenes, dialogues, and sequences are invented at will (depending on the author, there will be greater or lesser artistic liberty). Anna Porter confesses in her acknowledgments that her book contains footnotes only because others convinced her to include them.[13]

Porter seems to think she has lots of footnotes and a Montreal newspaper, the Gazette, agrees: “Porter describes Kasztner’s Train as a popular history, but she has brought an impressive amount of scholarship to bear on the telling of this complex and controversial tale. The book contains 20 pages of footnotes…”[14] This suggests that journalists do not check things carefully, or else that they are easily impressed: Porter’s footnotes are not really that many, and in fact enormous blocks of text appear without any support whatsoever. When I consult those “20 pages” at the end I see that many of the notes do not contain documentation but clarify some point (for example, semantic) in the prose, or else they contain an additional claim, without support. Those that provide documentation do so poorly because Porter gives neither the page nor the chapter of the documents she cites. In other words, Porter’s footnotes appear designed to give the impression of scientific rigor (to a journalist, for example) rather than to facilitate the exercise of science, for they make it quite laborious for a skeptical reader such as myself to verify her claims.


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Now, what fits most nicely with the conventions of the historical novel is Porter’s prose. To support this judgment, I will reproduce here a passage from her book as a representative example. The context of what I quote is a conversation between Rudolf Kastner and Samuel Stern, the president of the Budapest Jewish Council, concerning Kastner’s negotiations with the Nazis to obtain the safe exit for a number of Jews.

[Quote from Kasztner’s Train begins here]

Kastner went to see Samuel Stern again. “In principle, we have an agreement,” he said. “It’s thirty thousand people, and I think we can make it fifteen thousand from the provinces and fifteen thousand from Budapest. All those who can work will work; the others won’t have to.”

“What did you promise them this time?” Stern asked, wearily. He had shrunk into an ailing old man, bent over the edge of his desk for support. Kasztner wondered how long it would be before Stern collapsed under the weight of all he had to endure. Would he live to see the Nazis leave Budapest?

“They never tell you exactly,” Kasztner replied, “but they will accept 100,000 pengös on depost. And perhaps only two million Swiss francs later. All on deposit against the Brand deal.”

“That’s what they asked for?”

“No. Not exactly. It’s the number I guessed. I had offered five million francs for 100,000 lives.”

Stern sighed. “Why?”

Kasztner looked out the window at the bare, grimy bricks of the courtyard. The sun lit up a corner where someone had hung a small basket of blue flowers, now withered. Perhaps the woman who had tended them had been dragged away to the Sárvár prison, or Kistarcsa, or was already on her way to Auschwitz-Birkenau. “Because, Herr Hofrat, it was the best I could do. And we have to supply everything: medicines, baby food, blankets if -- God forbid -- winter comes and we are still waiting [for the war to end]…”

Stern nodded.[15]

[Quote from Kasztner’s Train ends here]

As mentioned earlier, Anna Porter is a writer of fiction. Earlier she had written an autobiographical work titled The Storyteller: Memory, Secrets, Magic, and Lies. I pay attention to that last word because, according to what Porter writes, in her family everybody was a genius at making up stories. Should we be surprised? Porter has seen the old man Stern bending over his desk for support; she can describe how the light fell on blue but withered flowers in the corner of a Budapest courtyard; she has heard the exact content of the most detailed dialogues; she knows the most intimate thoughts and emotions of her protagonists. Porter explains in the introduction that “[I] have allowed myself the leeway to reconstruct scenes and dialogue…”[16] Indeed she has. Kasztner’s Train is a novel.

This is naturally not what is called for when debating one of the sharpest and most painful controversies in the history of the Jewish people. If Porter means to show that Kastner was not a traitor but a hero -- as she announces in her subtitle: The True Story of Rezsö Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust -- then she must do everything with academic care and without frivolity or artistic liberty. She would like to stake a claim to scientific responsibility when she says, also in her introduction, that “where I have attributed emotions or thoughts to people, I based these on published and unpublished sources.”[17] But embellishing what Kastner and his allies wrote and said is not a good way to defend him, because one can immediately object that their reports are more self-justifying than honest. Porter does not appear even to see this problem.

Moreover, Kastner’s reports, those of his lover (and accomplice), of his wife, of their descendants, and of people who owed Kastner his life play an outsized role in Porter’s reconstruction of what supposedly happened. After interviewing Porter, the CBC reported as follows: “...the facts are still murky, even Porter acknowledges, with several conflicting witness accounts. Porter says she had to be subjective and choose the stories that were the most convincing.” She had to be subjective? Is this any way to defend a supposed work of history? And how come the stories that seemed “most convincing” are somehow always those of people who owed something to Kastner or else were implicated in what he did? In the same CBC piece I learn that Anna Porter decided to write the book on Kastner after contacting Peter Munk because she wanted to write his biography. Munk is one of the wealthy Jews saved by Kastner and now the Canadian gold baron, president and founder of Barrick Gold, the world's largest producer.[17a] This origin for Porter's interest, in my view, goes a long way towards explaining her pro Kastner bias.

Porter’s novelistic liberties are all deployed to defend the character and moral strength of Kastner, and to assassinate everybody else’s character and motives -- even their physical appearance. The elegant and good-looking Kastner is practically the only person in this tale with pristine motives, the only brave stalwart, the only person truly concerned to save Jewish lives. Every friendship Kastner developed with the leaders of the extermination was just so that he could negotiate with them for the lives that he saved, and nobody saved more lives than he. Those who accuse him are all jealous or evil, people either consumed by hate or else warped by the incomprehensible suffering of the Holocaust and eager to find a scapegoat -- or both. And they are ugly. Malchiel Greenwald, the man who accused Kastner in Israel, for example, “was a disappointed, angry, toothless old man with a black yarmulke and a small beard; his one ambition had been to become a journalist. ...Few people took Grünwald or his frequent outpourings of hate seriously. He was particularly hysterical in his attacks on the ruling Labor Party...”[18] But it should be obvious that assassinating the character and physical appearance of Greenwald cannot be the same as a proper and legitimate defense of Rudolf (alias Rezsö, alias Israel) Kastner.

Anna Porter does not stop with Kastner but defends also the Labor Zionist leaders. Among other things, she defends them from the accusation “that the Jewish Agency knowingly hid news of the murder of Europe’s Jews from the Yishuv [Jewish community in Palestine].”

Porter explains to the reader that, in the early 1950s, Shmuel Tamir made this accusation at the trial of his client, Malchiel Greenwald. Tamir charged that the Jewish Agency leaders didn’t want the Palestinian Jews to know about the Holocaust so as to avoid pressure on the British to open the doors of Palestine to the desperate Jewish refugees. And why? Because, Tamir accused, the Jewish Agency leaders David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett, and their ally, Zionist Organization leader Chaim Weizmann, didn’t want Eastern European Jews in the future Jewish homeland. (And because they were a proxy for executing British policy, which was to close the doors of Palestine.) Porter expresses surprise that Tamir’s accusations “made headlines,” because, she says, “a cursory examination of the evidence would have proved the opposite” -- that the Jewish Agency did inform about the Holocaust.[19] But what evidence would that be? She doesn’t say.

I can see right away a major problem with her claim: the dates. The Holocaust is arguably the most dramatic news story in history, and WWII had just ended in 1945. If we accept Anna Porter’s claim that the Jewish Agency did inform the Palestinian Jews about the Holocaust, then these Jews had to remember this still in the early 1950s. How then to explain that Tamir even dared to make his accusations? How to explain that the newspapers rushed to repeat them without comment? And how to explain that Tamir was not confronted in court with a “cursory examination of the evidence” to clear the Jewish Agency?

In any case, here we can invoke Anna Porter to refute Anna Porter, for she awkwardly contradicts herself in other pages of her book, where she does mention evidence that supports Tamir’s accusations. For example, in one page she writes, concerning “the full impact of Germany’s war on the Jews of Europe,” that “through 1939 and 1940… Mapai’s Central Committee did not once put the subject on its meeting agenda.”[20] Mapai was David Ben Gurion’s party, the main political force in Labor Zionism, and the controlling power in the Jewish Agency. In another page Porter confesses that “the Jewish Agency’s first recognition of the systematic extermination of Europe’s Jews was published in November 1942.”[21] This was the “first recognition” -- they had known it long before. In fact, at least since August 1942, when Rabbi Stephen Wise in the United States also learned of this.

To further support the point that the Labor Zionist leaders held their peace about what they knew I can invoke Porter’s hero: Rudolf Kastner. All of the information that was sent to the Jewish Agency about the great mass killing, Kastner explained in Benjamin Halevi’s courtroom, was kept secret.

KASTNER: ...the Jewish Agency and Joint Distribution Committee Representatives in Switzerland, Moshe Schwalbe and Saly Mayer, did not give out information to the press about the mass killings. They failed to give the press the news I sent from Budapest. I sent cablegrams also to the Istanbul Rescue Committee [of the Jewish Agency]. They were also kept secret from the press. I informed them almost daily by cables about the pace of the extermination. My cables were never published anywhere.[22]

But if Anna Porter fails in her attempt to defend the Labor Zionist leaders, her biggest challenge is still the defense of Rudolf Kastner.

Porter concedes that Judge Benjamin Halevi, who presided the trial against Malchiel Greenwald for supposed slander, began with a bias in favor of Kastner: “Judge Halevi... had shown early indications that he thought Grünwald should apologize to Kastner, pay a fine, and stop writing scurrilous articles about people...”[23] However, in the courtroom Kastner confessed his crimes and this is what convinced Halevi. Here lies the problem for Anna Porter and anybody else who would labor to defend an interpretation different from Ben Hecht’s in Perfidy: Kastner’s confession. The almost 500 pages of novelized prose in which Porter paints for us the pristine mind and emotions of dandy Kastner are entirely beside the point; she must confront his confession and the accusation it confirms: that the handful of wealthy and influential Jews ‘saved’ by Kastner were in exchange for his collaboration with the murder of around 400,000 Hungarian Jews (and they would have been 800,000 if the war had not ended). But it is necessary to reach the very end of her book -- after having traveled endlessly from one scene to another in which Kastner emerges always as the supposed hero -- to find Anna Porter’s effort to deal with what was established in Halevi’s courtroom.

Let us now take a look at these efforts.


Is Anna Porter able to defend Kastner?

There are two main points to consider, in ascending order of gravity. The first is Kastner’s (successful) postwar effort to gain the freedom of Kurt Becher, butcher of Jews. And the second is Kastner’s (successful) wartime effort to disinform the Hungarian Jews about their fate if they got on the Nazi trains, assisting in this way the murder of his people.

Lies to free Kurt Becher

The first issue is that, after the war, Kastner -- in the name of David Ben-Gurion’s Jewish Agency and of Stephen Wise’s World Jewish Congress -- lied at Nuremberg to obtain the freedom of Kurt Becher, one of the main exterminators of European Jewry. And not only that. Becher was the human vulture in charge of removing gold from the teeth of dead Jews (for the German banks), the hair from their heads (for German pillows), and later used their ashes as fertilizer.[23a]

In Halevi’s courtroom, Kastner initially tried to deny that he had done this. When Malchiel Greenwald’s lawyer, Shmuel Tamir, asked him if, had he intervened at Nuremberg to free Becher, such a thing would be a national crime, witness Kastner was agreed. Then Tamir produced the documentation that demonstrated Kastner indeed had done this, which forced Kastner to confess his national crime, though -- incoherently -- he now insisted in defending it.[24] (Incidentally, Kastner also did his best to free exterminator Hermann Krumey).

How does Anna Porter deal with this? As follows:

“Why did Kastner go out of his way to help Becher? Bogyó [Kastner’s wife] thought the simple explanation was that Rezsö always kept his word. He had promised Becher his help at a time when survival depended on the currency of his word being accepted. Bogyó fully accepted that Becher was the one angel in the SS, the man who risked his life for others. Hansi had a different explanation. In an interview in Tel Aviv in the 1970s, she said that Reszö had fallen for Becher’s lovely countess and that it was she who had begged him to testify. Indeed, Hermine von Platen was in Nuremberg for the duration of Kasztner’s testimonies. “Reszö never could resist a pretty woman,” said Hansi. As likely as that lighthearted remark might be, another explanation is supported by documents and letters: Kasztner was hoping he could help Israel recover some of the lost treasure of Hungary’s Jews [and which Becher had stolen].”[25]

Notice that what Porter offers here is, in each case, pure speculation. And who do these speculations come from? One comes from Bogyó, Kastner’s wife. According to Porter, Bogyó allowed herself to evaluate Becher -- a mass murderer of Jews, and the human vulture in charge of dispossessing their dead bodies from any valuables useful to the Reich -- as an angel who supposedly risked his life to save Jews. Another speculation comes from Hansi Brand, Kastner’s lover and accomplice. It is Porter herself who tells us that, during the days of the trial, “[Hansi] held Rezsö’s hands and soothed him as she had done in Budapest. The document Tamir had flourished in the courtroom [to prove that Kastner had worked hard to free Becher] was nothing Rezsö should be ashamed of. He had saved Becher because he -- they all -- owed Becher their lives.”[26] Since Hansi was implicated in Kastner’s crimes, she was defending herself. The last speculation comes from Anna Porter, based according to her on “documents and letters” that she naturally does not cite.

Now, suppose we are gracious to Porter and accept any of her explanations. What do we have? That Kastner considered it more ethical to keep his promise to an exterminator of Jews than to warn Hungarian Jewry that this man was going to kill them; or that Kastner freed an exterminator of Jews because he was a womanizer and he liked the equally Nazi countess who played the part of Becher’s concubine; or that it was more important for Kastner to try and get for the government of Ben-Gurion and Sharett the money of those Hungarian Jews whose lives Ben-Gurion and Sharett had sacrificed, rather than getting justice for European Jewry. None of this defends Kastner for the simple reason that his actions have no defense.


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Porter does not even mention two obvious hypotheses to explain why Kastner interceded at Nuremberg to free Becher. The first is that Kurt Becher and Rudolf Kastner were friends, as Becher stated in the postwar period (it is from Anna Porter that I learn that Becher said this).[27] The second is that there could have been an implicit threat -- and perhaps explicit through the Countess von Platen -- that if Becher were tried in Nuremberg he would give up Kastner. And not only Kastner. Anna Porter does not seem to realize the significance of the following detail which she supplies: “Kasztner went to see David Ben-Gurion, whom he had consulted before going to Nuremberg to testify on behalf of Becher and Krumey (emphasis added).[28]

Lies to murder the Hungarian Jews

Rudolf Kastner’s intervention at Nuremberg to free Becher, scandalous as it may be, is nevertheless dwarfed by Kastner’s other crimes, to which he likewise confessed in Benjamin Halevi’s courtroom. First, when Kastner went to Kluj to supervise that its 20,000 Jews would get on the trains supposedly going to work camps in Kenyermeze, he already knew that they were really headed for Auschwitz-Birkenau -- that is, he knew that they would be tortured to death -- but he didn’t tell them. Anna Porter does a really bad job of dealing with this, and to make matters worse she has zero regard for consistency.

She begins by denying what happened as follows: “[Tamir] questioned Kasztner’s inability to convince others of the truth of the death camps.”[29] This is a barefaced lie. Tamir never accused Kasztner of being insufficiently persuasive in his warnings -- he accused him of not warning anybody. Tamir accused Kastner of having lied to his Jewish compatriots about their destiny in order to ingratiate himself with the Nazis and gain the safety of a handful of wealthy and influential Jews, included his relatives and friends, who were put on a different train. In Benjamin Halevi’s courtroom Kastner confessed to the justice of Tamir’s accusation.

Now, to evaluate in context Kastner’s actions the following details -- which Anna Porter never mentions -- are crucial: 1) guarding the 20,000 Jews of Kluj there were no more than 20 Hungarian gendarmes and one SS officer; 2) the Romanian border, beyond which Jews were no longer being murdered (because the Soviets were at that moment invading Romania), was less than 3 miles away from Kluj; and 3) Kastner had been sent to Kluj alone -- not one Nazi escorted Kastner to Kluj.

In Perfidy Ben Hecht comments as follows, narrating in the present tense Kastner’s arrival to his native Kluj from Budapest:

[Quote from Perfidy begins here]

I am not guessing here at what Kastner knows. It is what he will admit in the Jerusalem Court. He will say that when he came to Kluj he knew that the deportation of his townsmen to Auschwitz was about to begin.

This incident has great mystery in it, chiefly the mystery of Hermann Krumey. Colonel Krumey knows that Kastner is aware of the S.S. program for deporting Hungary’s Jews to Auschwitz for extermination. Krumey is aware that Kastner knows that the twenty thousand Kluj Jews are headed for the “Cyclone” gas chambers. And the Jews in Kluj are cut off from telephone, transport and all information media [they are in a ghetto]. If Kastner breathes a word of this truth to a single condemned Jew in Kluj, the entire Final Solution will be wrecked...

Yet Colonel Krumey sends Kastner to Kluj, to move along among the twenty thousand doomed men, women and children. I stare at this moment of leave-taking between Kastner and Krumey. The Jerusalem Court record has nothing to offer on the mystery of Krumey’s incredible trust in Kastner, other than that it existed.

Is Krumey so brilliant a Mephistopheles that he can see to the bottom of Kastner’s soul—in so brief an acquaintance with it? Or did Kastner assure Krumey on his honor as a Jew he would drop no hint in Kluj of the shameful death awaiting his fellow Jews? And if Kastner made such a vow, why should Krumey believe he would keep it?

What is the hellish truth behind not only Krumey’s certainty, but the certainty of Eichmann and all the other Jew-killers who let Kastner ride off to Kluj [alone, with nary a Nazi escort], convinced that he will keep his mouth shut?

...And here is an item from which my pencil shrinks. There are only twenty Hungarian gendarmes and one German S.S. officer guarding the twenty thousand people in the ghetto. And there are thousands of able-bodied young Jews among the condemned. The border, and freedom, are only three miles away.

...There is a little trouble hatching here and there in basements. Hotheads are talking resistance and escape to Rumania. The Rumanian hussars are no longer occupied in slaughtering Jews. They are getting their own heads blown off on the Russian front. Escape is easy. There are only twenty-one guards to overcome.

Dr. Kastner, moving among the muscled young ones of Kluj, helps cool the trouble makers down. He has the Zionist organization to help him. In Kluj the Zionists are the leaders of Jewry. And the head man of all the Kluj Zionists is Dr. Joseph Fisher, father-in-law of Rudolf Kastner.[30]

[Quote from Perfidy ends here]

In court, Greenwald’s lawyer, Shmuel Tamir, asks Kastner, “Is it true, Dr. Kastner, that some people in Budapest warned you that all your negotiations with Eichmann were only for the purpose of distracting the Jews from the knowledge of their extermination?” Kastner replies: “Yes, there were such opinions expressed. And I also felt the same thing in my heart.” Kastner confesses that “in his heart” he understood that his role would be to distract the Jews so they wouldn’t realize that death was their destination.

At this point judge Halevi intervenes, slowly and with deliberation: “Did you tell anybody in Kluj what you knew about the extermination that was going on in Auschwitz?” Here follows quite a bit of dissembling, gasping and grasping, as Kastner labors to avoid answering the question. At last the judge corners the witness: “Every day a train left after the middle of May -- sealed trains that went to Auschwitz. Did you know that?”

Judge Halevi is talking here about cargo trains, with sealed cars, without ventilation, in which the Jews were crowded with their arms up high to pack them in as tightly as possible. They had to defecate and urinate as they stood. They suffocated. Many died in transit. Many children were among them. The great majority of those who arrived alive at Auschwitz were immediately gassed, and their bodies incinerated. The Jews of Kluj got on these trains because Kastner assured them that they would not be murdered.

Kastner replies: “Yes, after the middle of May I knew that as a fact.” Judge Halevi asks again: “Why didn’t you inform the Jews of Kluj of what you knew? I want to hear your answer, Dr. Kastner.” The witness falls apart and tries to suggest that the fault of everything lies with his father-in-law, because he should have guessed, after all, what was going on (despite the fact that, according to Kastner’s own testimony, he didn’t even tell his father-in-law). Finally, Kastner decides to lay the blame on the Jews themselves, focusing on the survivors from Kluj -- those few who were sent to die but who nevertheless lived to accuse Kastner in Halevi’s courtroom. “Your Honor, I am sorry to say that the witnesses from Kluj who testified here -- in my opinion, I don’t think they represent the true Jewry of Kluj. For it is not a coincidence that there was not a single important figure among them.”[31]

This appears to be an honest answer: Kastner, Hungarian leader of Labor Zionism, and a member of David Ben-Gurion’s Mapai Party, stands on the ideology of this movement to defend his crime: the great majority of Jews are not ‘important,’ and do not deserve to be saved (we shall examine this ideology further).

But we have yet to consider Kastner’s greatest crime, which Shmuel Tamir also established in the courtroom: Kastner did not warn the 800,000 Hungarian Jews whom the Nazis meant to exterminate.

TAMIR: Did your Budapest committee contact other towns on the telephone?

KASTNER: I didn’t personally. But there was a special sub-committee which dealt with these matters.

TAMIR: Did the members of your sub-committee telephone to the other towns of Hungary?

KASTNER: I don’t know.


TAMIR: I put it to you, Dr. Kastner, that you could have used the telephone to call the towns and villages of Hungary.


TAMIR: Did you talk to any other town than Kluj?

KASTNER: I? No, I didn’t manage to. I couldn’t do everything myself. So I concentrated on Kluj, for obvious reasons.

TAMIR: Dr. Kastner, you could have phoned the other towns, just as you phoned Kluj?

KASTNER: Yes, that’s right.

TAMIR: Then why didn’t you contact the Jews of all these towns on the phone to warn them?

KASTNER: I didn’t because I didn’t have time enough.

TAMIR: If you were so busy with your political activities, why didn’t you assign the task to another Rescue worker less busy than yourself?

KASTNER: That was impossible.

TAMIR: Let us sum it all up -- you had the opportunity of communicating with all the towns of Hungary.


TAMIR: And you, Rudolf Kastner, head of the Hungarian Jewish Agency Rescue Committee, do not know if any of your assistants tried to warn the Jews of Hungary.

KASTNER: (wildly) I can’t remember.

[PROSECUTOR] TELL: (jumping to his feet) This is torturing a witness! This man will have to be carried out of here on a stretcher. It is pure torture.

TAMIR: If simple questions become torture because the witness is struggling to avoid answering them truthfully, the fault is not mine.

JUDGE HALEVI: Don’t you feel well, Dr. Kastner?

KASTNER: I’m nervous.[32]

According to Anna Porter, “Tamir shouted at [Kastner], kept asking the same questions over and over, and the judge allowed it to go on day after day. Kasztner grew pale, tired; his hands shook when he raised a glass of water to his lips, and once he slumped over the witness lectern, his face bathed in sweat, his fist clenched against his chest. Tel’s repeated requests that Halevi stop Tamir’s badgering went unheeded.”[33] It is of course possible that Kastner’s physical collapse was the outward manifestation of his inner guilt, and Porter does not cite one passage from the transcription of the trial to support her interpretation of Tamir’s supposed “badgering” of the witness. My readers have, above, an example of what prosecutor Tel, quite agitated, interpreted as “pure torture” -- so severe, in his opinion, that “this man will have to be carried out of here on a stretcher.” You may also see above the judge’s reaction.

Anna Porter’s key argument

Chaim Cohen was the Attorney General of Israel, sent by the government to take the case from Tel when they realized how badly things were going for Kastner. In his concluding statement, Cohen repeated Kastner’s argument to defend him: the great majority of European Jews did not deserve to be saved. It is amazing -- read below the transcription from the trial -- but Cohen seems in fact to defend the Nazis, for he complains that they stand accused of having “played a vicious trick” on the Jews in order to exterminate them.

COHEN: “My learned friend [Tamir] says that the Germans played a vicious trick, using Kastner to help them induce the masses of Jews to avoid resistance, avoid escape.

What masses? Escape -- where to? Revolt -- by whom? . . . These were Jews behind whom there were many long years of persecution, torture, endless suffering, who had returned from forced labor in the Ukraine -- who saw with their eyes what the Germans had perpetrated there; they were the Jews who were tortured in quizzings for their property, who were jammed in brick factories without a pillow for their head, without food, without dress . . . For those and millions of Jews like them there came true the old curse, ‘And lo, they were meant but to be taken like sheep for slaughter, for killing, destruction, crushing and shame.’

These should escape? They had no feet on which to run. They should revolt? They had no hands with which to fight. No spirit was left in them...”[34]

It is difficult to feel greater contempt for the Jews of Hungary than that expressed by Chaim Cohen. Those Jews, he says, were good only for the slaughterhouse, and they would not have risen in revolt even if Kastner had told them that they would be sent to their deaths because “no spirit was left in them.” How then can it be objected that Kastner did not warn them? This is the argument that the Attorney General of the Jewish State presents in court to defend a man who played a starring role in the murder of 400,000 Jews.

One is entitled to a pause, here, to digest this.

And this had also been Chaim Weizmann’s argument, the leader of the Zionist Organization, and earlier a collaborator with the Nazis in the effort to save Hitler from the 1933 international anti-Nazi boycott.[35] He announced in 1937 that he would abandon the Jews of Europe:

“I told the British Royal Commission that the hopes of Europe’s six million Jews were centered on emigration. I was asked, ‘Can you bring six million Jews to Palestine?’ I replied, ‘No.’ . . . The old ones will pass. They will bear their fate or they will not. They were dust, economic and moral dust in a cruel world. . . . Only a branch shall survive. . . . They had to accept it . . .”[36]

They had to accept it.

This is, likewise, the argument that Anna Porter presents in her book to defend Kastner.

On one occasion Porter attributes the argument to Hansi Brand, Kastner’s lover and accomplice: “Hansi [said that]... they knew, they had all known about Auschwitz. They had listened to the refugees from the rest of Nazi-occupied Europe. How was Rezsö to tell them what they already knew?”[37] The implication here is that, since according to Hansi Brand the Hungarian Jews understood that they were being taken to their deaths, they got on the trains instead of rebelling because, as Chaim Cohen puts it, “no spirit was left in them.” Kastner is not to blame. But what the Hungarian Jews believed would happen was most of all a function of Kastner’s statements to them, and not so much the rumors they heard from a handful of refugees. The Hungarian Jews wanted to believe they would not be murdered, and they wanted to believe that their prestigious leader Rudolf Kastner had the ability to negotiate with the Nazis. Kastner told them that the rumors were not true, that the trains would take them not to Auschwitz but to Kenyermeze; they were not to be slaughtered, they were to work.

According to Porter, when some survivors from Kluj testified that, had they known their true destination they would have murdered the twenty Hungarian guards who controlled them, Hansi Brand yelled from the back of the courtroom: “What would you have used? Kitchen knives?”[38] The obvious answer to Hansi’s question is: of course, kitchen knives. And anything else that was handy. Thousands of Jewish youth can naturally overcome twenty Hungarian guards. Hansi Brand seems to be saying that it was better for the Jews to go silently to their deaths, rather than at least to make the attempt to survive (!). This is equivalent to Chaim Weizmann's statement that, concerning the frightful slaughter of the European Jews, "they had to accept it."

None of this helps Porter’s case. To accept a defense of Kastner on the basis of contempt for the Hungarian Jews one would have to think like a Nazi, which once again demonstrates that Kastner has no defense.

On another occasion Porter gives us Chaim Cohen’s argument from Kastner’s lips. She cites her hero’s comment on the poet Hana Senesh and two other Jewish parachutists who had entered Hungary clandestinely: according to Kastner they were “idiots.” These “idiots” had come to organize the resistance of the Hungarian Jews, but they were abandoned by Kastner -- with whom they were supposed to coordinate -- and Senesh was tortured and then executed. In the same sentence Kastner spits equally his contempt for “the sacrificial lambs of the Warsaw ghetto.”[39]

Porter defeats her entire purpose when she defends Kastner by quoting his distaste for people whom everybody else considers heroes: the rebellious Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto. For Kastner here gave himself away: the reason he didn’t like the Warsaw Ghetto fighters was no doubt his discomfort at their politics, for they began their revolt by murdering the Jewish collaborators who did for the Nazis the dirty work of oppressing them daily. The stadlan fears the sicarii.

And I point out that the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt were already half starving to death and had been repeatedly mauled and humiliated, and yet it would be false to say that there was “no spirit left in them.” There was plenty of spirit left in them -- these were the best soldiers of WWII, holding off against the Nazis for four months despite the fact that they were half-starved, had zero military training, and were quite short on military supplies and could not be resupplied. So this does the opposite of supporting the idea that the Jews of Hungary, because they had been mauled and humiliated, would not have rebelled even if informed of their true destination. The mere evocation of the Warsaw Ghetto heroes, then, repudiates Porter’s key premise.

Then there is the absurdity. The Jews who rebelled in the Warsaw Ghetto cannot be compared to sacrificial lambs, as Kastner does. Lambs hardly resist, which is why the Jews who without too much struggle boarded the trains are often compared to sheep on their way to the slaughterhouse. Those who resisted in Warsaw chose to be soldiers, and they forced the Nazis to pay dearly for their lives, precisely because they convinced themselves that they would be taken to their deaths and they much preferred to die fighting. If more Jews had equally convinced themselves of their terrible fate, more acts of resistance comparable to Warsaw would have blossomed, and then fewer Jews would have died, because under such conditions the killing business is more difficult.

As if the above shots to the foot were not sufficient, Anna Porter adds the following:

“[Tamir] accused Kasztner of willfully hiding the truth about Auschwitz and helping to spread the fiction that everyone would be put to work in some other part of Hungary. Witnesses testified to the terrible loss of their families, their conviction that Kasztner had misled them all. No one mentioned what fate had befallen those Jews who resisted. In 1941, for example, when Dutch Jews attacked the SS in Amsterdam, four hundred Jews were arrested and tortured to death in retaliation.”[40]

The obvious reply is that when the Jews did not resist more than five million were tortured to death. But Porter seems to think that for the Jews to go passively to their deaths is better than forcing the Nazis to pay a price for the lives they take; and better than to die fighting for the honor of the Jewish people, so Kastner did the right thing in not telling them. Absurd. And, anyway, her premise (based on one lonely example) is false: many Jews who chose to fight lived to tell their tale, especially those who joined the partisan movements. And revolt was not the only option: those who understood they would be exterminated could have tried to hide, run away, etc. Naturally many would have been caught anyways, but just the disorder -- let alone acts of revolt -- would have raised the costs of the Final Solution significantly for the Nazis. According to what Eichmann wrote in the postwar years, the chances of success were good for a revolt in Hungary, because the Nazis were quite low in manpower by this date.[41] We’ve already seen that 20 Hungarian guards and one SS officer were controlling 20,000 Jews in Kluj. The main point, anyways, is that, whatever the probabilities of success, Kastner did not even give the Jews of Hungary the chance to even try to save their lives.

Now, this is disconcerting, but it is not impossible that Porter should have taken her ridiculous arguments directly from the Supreme Court of Israel.


The Supreme Court of Israel defends Kastner

After Benjamin Halevi’s gavel came down in favor of Malchiel Greenwald, the government of Sharett and Ben-Gurion appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, and each of the five judges wrote individually his opinion.

Judge Shlomo Chesin wrote the following:

“[Kastner] didn’t warn Hungarian Jewry of the danger facing it because he didn’t think it would be useful, and because he thought that any deeds resulting from information given them would damage more than help. . . . What point was there in telling the people boarding the trains in Kluj, people struck by fate and persecuted, as to what awaits them at the end of their journey? . . . . Kastner spoke in detail of the situation, saying, ‘The Hungarian Jew was a branch which long ago dried up on the tree.’ . . . I fully agree with my friend, Judge Agranat, when he states that, ‘The Jews of Hungary, including those in the countryside, were not capable, neither physically nor mentally, to carry out resistance operations with force against the deportation scheme.’ . . . From this point of view no rescue achievement could have resulted by disclosing the Auschwitz news to the Jewish leaders there, and this . . . is a consideration which one can properly conclude that Kastner had in front of his eyes.”[42]

Once again we see here a profound contempt for the Jews of Hungary, which asserts that, since they would have done nothing anyways, there was hardly any point in warning them that they would be exterminated. Kastner, then, is innocent. Chesin cites above the opinion of Shimon Agranat, which agrees with his, but we are still lacking Agranat’s conclusion, which goes as follows: “one cannot find moral defects in that behavior [of Kastner].”[43] (And the behavior of the German Nazis? Was that also without moral defects?) The president of the Supreme Court, Isaac Olshin, likewise concurred with Chesin and Agranat, for he also ruled that Greenwald had slandered Kastner.

Thank heavens these were not the only voices from the Supreme Court of the Jewish State! Judge Moshe Silverberg wrote the following:

[Quote from Judge Moshe Silverberg starts here]

“The aim of the Nazis was an easy and peaceful extermination without special efforts, without casualties to themselves. This aim had been achieved in full. Except for two places, the exterminators did not meet with any resistance on the part of their victims nor even any refusal whatsoever to board the trains. This shocking success of the Nazis was, as was clearly proven, a direct result of the concealment of the horrifying truth from the victims. And the main question is did Kastner participate in the concealment of this truth? . . . It was proven to us that when Kastner was in Kluj on the third of May that he did not disclose to the local leaders what was known to him. And if he did not tell these things by word of mouth while he was there, he definitely did not disclose it in the ten telephone conversations from Budapest which he had with his father-in-law, Dr. Fisher, after the third of May. . . .

“And how did he behave towards the other countryside towns? Did he inform them of the Auschwitz news? Definitely not. Nobody even claims it. . . . The gist of the question facing us in this trial is: this agreement to save the prominents -- was that part of a general plan [of rescue] or was it consideration for a general non-rescue? … [Kastner says:] ‘I don’t remember that the committee had a telephone connection with the towns of the countryside. . . . I do not remember if any of the members of the committees visited any of the towns in the countryside.’

Explanations are superfluous! Such forgetfulness would not come upon him even ten years later, had the general rescue of the Hungarian Jews, three-fourths of whom lived in the countryside, been the main aim for which he toiled all the months of that summer. For he was the head of the committee, the central personality and the driving spirit in it. How can he ‘not remember’ whether a personal or telephone contact of any kind was made with the masses of Jews, the rescue of whom was seemingly his main consideration?

The conclusion is, therefore, that that which he did not remember in the spring of 1954 in Jerusalem did not concern him in the summer of 1944 in Budapest.

The declaration of the learned Attorney General [Chaim Cohen] therefore shrinks into an opinion. . . . ‘Kastner was convinced and believed that there was no ray of hope for the Jews of Hungary, almost for none of them, and as he, as a result of his personal despair, did not disclose the secret of the extermination in order not to endanger or frustrate the rescue of the few -- therefore he acted in good faith and should not be accused of collaborating with the Nazis in expediting the extermination of the Jews, even though, in fact, he brought about its result.’”

[Quote from Judge Moshe Silverberg ends here]

I interrupt to make this clear: Chaim Cohen, the Attorney General and defender of Kastner, declared, as we see above, that Kastner indeed “did not disclose the secret of the extermination in order not to endanger or frustrate the rescue of the few” -- the few whom he had selected. The facts are not in dispute -- they cannot be, because Kastner confessed. What Cohen did was assert that Kastner had collaborated in the murder of an entire people in order to save an influential few... “in good faith.”


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Let us now see Judge Moshe Silverberg’s reaction to this argument:

[Quote from Judge Moshe Silverberg starts here]

“I am compelled to state that it is very difficult for me to conceive such an intention. Is this good faith? Can a single man, even in cooperation with some of his friends, yield to despair on behalf and without the knowledge of 800,000 other people? This is, in my opinion, the decisive consideration in the problem facing us. The charge emanating from the testimony of the witnesses against Kastner is that had they known of the Auschwitz secret, then thousands or tens of thousands would have been able to save their lives by local, partial, specific or indirect rescue operations like local revolts, resistance, escapes, hidings, concealment of children with Gentiles, forging of documents, ransom money, bribery, etc. -- and when this is the case and when one deals with many hundreds of thousands, how does a human being, a mortal, reject with complete certainty and with an extreme ‘no’ the efficiency of all the many and varied rescue ways? How can he examine the tens of thousands of possibilities? Does he decide instead of God? Indeed, he who can act with such a usurpation of the last hope of hundreds of thousands is not entitled to claim good faith as his defense…

We can sum up with these three facts:

A. That the Nazis didn’t want to have a great revolt -- ‘Second Warsaw’ -- nor small revolts, and their passion was to have the extermination machine working smoothly without resistance. This fact was known to Kastner from the very best source -- Eichmann himself. . . . And he had additional proofs of that when he witnessed all the illusionary and misleading tactics which were being taken by the Nazis from the first moment of occupation.

B. That the most efficient means to paralyze the resistance wheel or the escape of a victim is to conceal from him the plot of the coming murder. This fact is known to every man and one does not need any proof or evidence for this.

C. That he, Kastner, in order to carry out the rescue plan for the few prominents, fulfilled knowingly and without good faith the said desire of the Nazis, thus expediting the work of exterminating the masses.

And also the rescue of Becher by Kastner. . . . He who is capable of rescuing this Becher from hanging proves that the atrocities of this great war criminal were not so horrifying or despicable in his eyes. . . .”[44]

[Quote from Judge Moshe Silverberg ends here]

Judge I.D. Goitein also ruled in favor of Malchiel Greenwald, which is to say that he agreed, with Silverberg, that Kastner was a Nazi collaborator.

The result was as follows. The Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of Malchiel Greenwald on the accusation that Kastner had defended Becher at Nuremberg, and they split -- two in favor of Greenwald, three against -- on the accusation that Kastner had collaborated with the Nazis. The efforts to clean up Kastner’s image always represent this Supreme Court decision as a ‘vindication’ of him, but on the question of Becher Greenwald was found to be right, and on the question of the murder of Hungary’s Jews the Supreme Court split. Moreover, the opinions in favor of Kastner which I have quoted above resort to an odious logic, so they cannot be upheld as a vindication of Kastner by anybody who reads them and who does not agree with the German Nazis.

The split decision required, mechanically, that Attorney General Chaim Cohen -- the man who had been defending Kastner -- should now prosecute him for crimes of collaboration, in order to decide finally the question of his guilt (because Benjamin Halevi had presided a trial against Greenwald, not Kastner). The Israeli government of Moshe Sharett and David Ben-Gurion was in an awful pickle but this awkwardness was solved when a ‘former agent’ of Israeli intelligence murdered Kastner. Then, Chaim Cohen was promoted to the Supreme Court.


What does Anna Porter say about Perfidy?

For those who know this history it is obvious that the ghost haunting the pages of Anna Porter’s book is Ben Hecht, for the interpretation defended in Kastner’s Train repudiates that in Perfidy. And yet, in 500 pages Porter practically never mentions Ben Hecht. The only effort in the book to deal directly with Perfidy is the following:

[Quote from Kastner’s Trial begins here]

Egon Mayer [professor at Brooklyn College] had helped to organize a special event in New York in the winter of 2000 in honor of the English-subtitled release of Motti Lerner’s film The Kastner Trial. Shlomo Aronson, the author of the book Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews, gave the keynote address. Egon moderated a panel that included the respected scholar Randolph Braham and Zsuzsi Kasztner-Michaeli [Rudolf Kastner’s daughter], who had flown in for the occasion... When the film was over and the speeches were finished, some two hundred elderly men and women argued over the events of the Kasztner trial. Voices were raised. When one young man challenged all the speakers and denounced Kasztner as having ‘sold his soul to the devil,’ several people left in disgust. Shlomo Aronson asked the protester to justify his belief, since it was obvious he had not been in Hungary at the time of the Holocaust. [Neither was Aronson! -- FGW] He replied that he had read Ben Hecht’s Perfidy, and he didn’t need another source.

Perfidy, Mayer told me, was the most biased, least researched book he had ever read on the subject. The Academy-Award-winning American screenwriter and journalist covered the Kasztner trial, and he went on to write hate-filled articles and this terrible book, Mayer said. Hecht was a supporter of Vladimir Jabotinsky’s Revisionists and the Stern Gang, he was to the right of Menachem Begin, and he took Shmuel Tamir’s side in everything. How could anyone seriously interested in what happened in Hungary during 1944-45 read only Ben Hecht? Mayer asked. And he posed another idea as one worth investigating: ‘The most enduring question asked about Oskar Schindler is why he bothered to save any Jews. By contrast, the most damning question asked about Kasztner is why he didn’t save more.’

As for the affidavit supporting Kurt Becher, Mayer believed that Kasztner owed the SS colonel a debt, and, he said, an honorable man delivers on his promises.

At the end of the afternoon, he asked me to make sure I knew the whole story -- as far as it had been told to that point -- before I started writing. ‘Make sure you get it right,’ were his parting words.

Egon Mayor died in 2004.”

[Quote from Kastner’s Trial ends here]

What I just quoted is a treasure and it will be worth our while to examine it closely.

First there is the ideological environment in which Anna Porter moves, and which she here reveals. Egon Mayer is such a fervent admirer of Kastner that he forgives -- no, he defends -- that Kastner should have freed Kurt Becher from Nuremberg, for this is the act of an “honorable man.” Not only that. Mayer asserts that the worst thing one can say about Kastner is that he didn’t save more Jews. Nonsense. We have seen already the worst: Kastner didn’t whisper a word to the 800,000 Jews of Hungary -- though he perfectly could, and though he had the supreme responsibility to do so, for he was at the head of the Jewish Agency’s Rescue Committee -- that they would be taken to be exterminated. Porter elevates Mayer’s incoherent remark to an “idea... worth investigating.”

Egon Mayer, says Porter, helped organize that Motti Lerner’s movie about Kastner would be presented in New York. It should be obvious that Lerner’s movie celebrates Rudolf Kastner, which explains why Zsuzsi Kastner, his daughter, traveled to New York for the event. It also explains that the main speaker at the event should have been historian Shlomo Aronson, from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, for he labors hard in his book Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews to blame the German Nazis, and only the German Nazis, for the Holocaust.

Aronson exonerates the Allies, asserting that they were ‘trapped’ by circumstances and by Hitler’s astute propaganda. He never once mentions the term ‘eugenics,’ so his book naturally never explains that the German Nazi movement, and its ideology, grew rapidly in Germany when the eugenics movement was exported to Hitler’s adopted country from the United States and Britain, financed and supported by the ruling classes in those two countries. The eugenics movement was first born there fully fledged as the ideology of German biological superiority, and in the United States, in the first half of the 20th c., hundreds of thousands of innocent victims in the lower classes were either forcibly sterilized or incarcerated, legally and by the organs of state, for not having proper ‘Aryan’ or ‘Nordic’ genes.[45]

This context is in fact crucial to explaining the policy of supposed ‘appeasement’ by means of which the Allies gave Europe to Hitler on a silver platter, and the otherwise inexplicable assistance that Hitler got from the US and British ruling classes -- throughout WWII -- for the carrying on of his war effort, even as US and British soldiers were being blown to bits on the front.[46] It also explains the cooperation of the US and British ruling classes with the Final Solution: they sealed the escape routes, forbidding entry to the desperate Jewish refugees; they refused to send a few thousand trucks in exchange for 800,000 innocent victims, even preventing Joel Brand’s return (which was supposed to trigger the release of the first 100,000 Jews); and they refused to bomb Auschwitz-Birkenau or the train tracks leading to it.[47]

Aronson equally exonerates the Labor Zionists of any guilt. To do this, he must keep himself completely silent about the manner in which Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion plotted with influential Jewish leaders in the United States, Britain, and continental Europe, but especially with Rabbi Stephen Wise in New York, to sabotage an international anti-Nazi boycott that came within a hair’s breadth of destroying the Nazi regime in the cradle, in 1933.[48] In fact the term ‘boycott’ does not even appear in his index -- the event itself is never mentioned. Stephen Wise himself is mentioned only four times in the entire book, so Aronson also does not explain how Wise worked overtime, during the Holocaust, to sabotage the rescue efforts of Jabotinsky follower Hillel Kook (alias Peter Bergson), thus condemning the European Jews.[49] On the question of Hungary’s Jews, one of Aronson’s main arguments is that Eichmann’s offer to free them in exchange for cargo probably was not genuine, which he says by way of excusing the conspiracy that kept Joel Brand from returning to Budapest. But the easiest way to find out if Eichmann’s offer was genuine was just to let Joel Brand, who wanted to return, to have his wish, and see if Eichmann completed the first part of the deal. The only reason not to let Brand return (obviously) was out of a fear that the offer might in fact be genuine.

Naturally, Shlomo Aronson likewise defends Labor Zionist and Mapai member Rudolf Kastner.[50] I don’t think we should be surprised that Shlomo Aronson assisted Anna Porter with her book.[51] And it should now be obvious why, when a young man opposed himself to the pro-Kastner interpretation of Mayer’s event, presided by Shlomo Aronson, he was immediately ganged upon.

Porter’s ideological location also betrays itself by the way in which she repeats Egon Mayer’s ‘accusation’ against Ben Hecht for having been a follower of Vladimir Jabotinsky. Porter adds, for good measure, that Hecht was a follower of Avraham Stern and that he was further to the right of Menachem Begin.

Now, Jabotinsky, Stern, and Begin have all been accused by the Labor Zionist tradition of being supposed ‘fascists’ and ‘terrorists,’ but the facts are as follows. First, Hecht was not a follower of Stern but of Hillel Kook (alias Peter Bergson), the Jewish hero and Jabotinsky follower who fought tirelessly from the United States to save the European Jews from the Holocaust while the Labor Zionist leaders -- led by Stephen Wise -- sabotaged the rescue efforts.[52] The accusations against Jabotinsky that he was a ‘fascist’ and ‘terrorist’ are baseless, part of a propaganda campaign launched by the Labor Zionist leadership in order to scare ordinary Jews into not joining the Revisionist movement that was leading the 1933 anti-Nazi boycott against Hitler; the Labor Zionists had agreed with the Nazis to sabotage the boycott in exchange for the forcible transfer of a handful of German Jews, and their money, to Palestine.[53] The accusations against Begin are also unfair, and they were launched by the Labor Zionist leadership in an attempt to undermine the growing popularity in Palestine of the Irgun Tzvai Leumi, the underground Revisionist army that Begin led, and which opposed itself to the do-nothing policy of David Ben-Gurion’s Jewish Agency in the face of Arab terrorist attacks.[54] This is a policy that has now been institutionalized in the Oslo Accords by the Israeli Establishment that has always been dominated by the Labor Zionists.

Incredibly, Anna Porter makes a tremendous slip in one portion of her book and lets it out -- despite her efforts to defend Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, and Moshe Sharrett -- that the Revisionists were the patriots fighting the betrayals of the Labor Zionist leaders. This is the moment when Joel Brand, sent by Eichmann to Istanbul to propose an exchange for the Hungarian Jews, goes from Istanbul to Syria. He does this against his better judgment because what he would like to do, as he explains to the Labor Zionists in Istanbul, is return right away to Budapest. Eichmann had said that his return would suffice as a sign that the offer was being considered seriously, following which he would release the first 100,000 Jews to get the negotiations started. Brand didn’t want to risk being arrested by the British in Syria, but the representatives of the Jewish Agency in Istanbul insisted that he go meet Moshe Sharett there, and he consented to go under what he thought was friendly pressure. When Brand’s train stopped in Ankara, two Revisionists got on board. Anna Porter writes about this:

“[The Revisionists] warned Brand that he would be arrested by the British once he reached Aleppo [Syria]. They were zealots, Brand thought, crazed revolutionaries [no doubt he thought this because of the Labor Zionist propaganda he had been exposed to]. He had met their chief, Vladimir Jabotinsky, in Istanbul. The man had been dismissive of all but his own efforts to save Jews. The British had to be forced to leave Palestine, he said. It was the only hope that Jews could be offered -- a safe haven. His visceral hatred of the British was supported by long explanations, as were his fears of the Mapai-controlled Jewish Agency’s complicity with the British. Brand could no longer indulge in such suspicions: the British were, after all, fighting the Germans. However misguided their policies in Palestine, they were, at least, on the right side in this war.

The Revisionists’ prediction, as it turned out, was accurate.”

In other words, the Revisionists were right that the Labor Zionist leadership, represented in Aleppo by Moshe Sharett, would betray Brand and that he would be arrested by the British so that he could not return to Budapest and save the first 100,000 Jews. It is Porter -- mind you -- who says it.

Now, but even supposing that in an alternate universe being a follower of Vladimir Jabotinsky could be a reason for any shame, that accusation against Ben Hecht is still nothing more than an ad hominem -- it is an attack against his person and not against his argument in Perfidy. What about the scientific question? Did Ben Hecht make important errors -- whether of documentation or interpretation -- in Perfidy? Anna Porter does not make the slightest effort to show that he did -- she barely even mentions the book. She limits herself to this: “Perfidy, [Egon] Mayer told me, was the most biased, least researched book he had ever read on the subject.”

If Mayer didn’t read Ben Hecht’s book then he was a liar, and if he did read it then he was a barefaced liar. More than half of Perfidy consists of verbatim quotations from the transcription of the trial in Benjamin Halevi’s courtroom and other documents. Footnotes can almost be dispensed with when the main documents are all reproduced verbatim in the text, but in any case there are plenty of footnotes to document with care every one of Ben Hecht’s claims, and in those notes sometimes entire documents can also be found, for example the opinions of the Supreme Court judges who considered the government’s appeal after Halevi’s ruling. It is Anna Porter who leaves me underwhelmed with the quality of her documentation, and it is to Porter that Egon Mayer trusted his project to “get right” the story of Rudolf Kastner.


Anna Porter’s revealing bias

Porter makes lots of categorical assertions about what happened in Benjamin Halevi’s courtroom, but unlike Hecht she tends not to quote the court transcript to back herself up. Here is an example of how Porter talks about what happened:

“Tamir used every chance in the trial to extol the virtues of his fellow fighting sabras [Jews born in Israel] and to denigrate the Diaspora Jews of Europe. To further his own political ambitions, he talked about his part in the War of Independence and made long speeches, virtually uninterrupted by the judge, about the heroic battles. He questioned witnesses from the Holocaust about what they knew of the Yishuv’s resistance to British forces. He lectured them about the betrayal of the Yishuv by the [Jewish] Agency’s organizations, headed by those same leaders who headed the government now. He submitted to the court newspaper accounts of the Haganah’s battles with the Revisionist armies, of the betrayal of the Irgun by the so-called government.”[55]

There is much truth in what she writes, but we must correct the bias, and then a great lie.

First the bias.

It is true that lawyer Shmuel Tamir was much more than a lawyer -- he had been a brave Revisionist soldier of the Irgun, and was now an important politician in the Revisionist camp.

It is true that Tamir was not only concerned with exposing Kastner’s crime but also the crimes of the main protagonists in the Jewish Agency leadership in Palestine, now leaders of the Israeli government, who were implicated in what Kastner had done and much more.

It is true that the armed forces of Ben-Gurion’s Jewish Agency attacked their Revisionist compatriots -- on orders from the British who were collaborating with the slaughter of the European Jews -- and then they attacked them again during the War of Independence, when they had supposedly allied to defeat the Arabs.

It is true that the trial was for Tamir a tool to educate the Jews of Israel -- and especially the Holocaust survivors who knew nothing about what had been going on in Palestine -- about the danger to everybody that Ben-Gurion, Sharett, and their accomplices should continue running everything.

But none of this embarrasses Tamir in the least, as Porter absurdly pretends. Tamir deserves nothing but praise for his efforts to educate ordinary Israelis about all this.

Now the great lie.

Porter asserts that “Tamir used every chance in the trial... to denigrate the Diaspora Jews of Europe.” She gives the reader not one quotation to substantiate her accusation. Could it be that she can’t?

Vladimir Jabotinsky’s Revisionist movement, of which Tamir was a proud soldier, was composed of people who had fought tirelessly to rescue the desperate European Jews from Hitler’s jaws when the Labor Zionist leaders of whom Porter is so fond abandoned them or worse. Tamir’s entire strategy was to defend the memory of the fallen Jews of the European Diaspora, the same Jews whom Kastner had betrayed. If Tamir had really denigrated the Diaspora Jews he would have allied with Chaim Cohen’s strategy, for in order to defend Kastner, Israel’s Attorney General communicated the most profound contempt for those Jews and asserted that they did not deserve to be informed of the extermination, so Kastner was not guilty. My readers know that Cohen did this because I quoted him.

And now I will quote Tamir’s argument before the Supreme Court judges of Israel:

TAMIR: I shall defend before you not only an historical judgment, not only the truth, but also the hundreds of thousands of slaughtered people against whom the most horrible defamation was made here -- that they were like sheep to be taken to slaughter. I shall prove that one cannot purify and exonerate Kastner without exonerating Becher and Himmler and without concurring with what Hitler said of the hundreds of thousands of Jews -- ‘garbage of the earth’. . . . There is no human being who is authorized to deprive 800,000 Jews of the clear knowledge as to what awaits them; who is allowed to deprive them of their right to try and escape, to jump from the train or even commit suicide with honor; to deprive a mother of her right to tear away the eyes of the beast before it assails her child; to deprive them of their right to choose between life and death.”

. . . This is not a trial of Greenwald or even of Kastner alone. The question is whether the same fate would have befallen all the Jews of Hungary had they known the whole truth. I challenge this court not to issue a moral death penalty on these Jews after their death. Because it is this the learned Attorney General [Chaim Cohen] is calling upon you to do.

The whole nation is now facing an immense moral test, through you. I pray that we shall stand the test.[56]

It is obvious that Shmuel Tamir passionately opposed the denigration of the European Jews. What Tamir did attack was the galut (exile) mentality of the leaders of the Diaspora Jews. Tamir accused that those leaders were in the habit of abasing themselves and ingratiating themselves with the European ruling classes to which they were rapidly assimilating, and were in the habit also of allying with the attacks against the Jewish people. Tamir accused that they had done the same during the Holocaust. In his accusations he included also the leaders of the Jewish Agency who had cooperated so closely with the anti-Jewish attacks of the British, and of the Nazis. None of this, however, can be construed as Tamir’s denigration of the common Jews who were victims of those leaders. That is absurd. Defending the common European Jew fallen in the Holocaust was the entire basis of Tamir’s court strategy.

It is Anna Porter, as we have already seen, who uses Chaim Cohen’s identical arguments, denigrating the European Jews, to defend Kastner, communicating a frightful contempt for the innocent who died at Auschwitz.


The great implications of all this

If the past does not teach us anything then what is the point of doing history? So we must ask: What lessons can be extracted from all this? First, let us return to Egon Mayer’s event celebrating Motti Lerner’s movie, which defends Rudolf Kastner.

According to a biographical note at the famous film website IMDB, filmmaker Motti Lerner “has been a member of the peace movement in Israel since 1973.”[57] That ‘peace’ movement has been a creature, most of all, of the Labor Zionists, David Ben-Gurion’s political tradition, which, as earlier mentioned, since the founding of the State of Israel to the present moment has dominated all of the main Israeli institutions. With that dominance, the governing class in Israel has had no trouble giving Lerner the Israeli equivalent of the ‘Oscar’ for his movie on Kastner[58] -- naturally because defending Kastner, as we have seen, is simultaneously to defend David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Sharett, and Chaim Weizmann, ‘founding fathers’ of the Labor Zionist movement and the government of Israel.


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The year in which Lerner began his involvement with the ‘peace’ movement, 1973, is also the year when the Arab states, defeated once again in a joint war against Israel, changed tactics and decided to demand a state for PLO/Fatah in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, a strategy that PLO/Fatah leaders have explained in public is a ‘Trojan Horse’ to destroy Israel by killing all the Jews in it.[59] I write ‘PLO/Fatah’ because the PLO is really Al Fatah, an organization created by Hajj Amin al Husseini, former Mufti of Jerusalem and Adolf Eichmann’s partner and co-equal in the direction and implementation of the German Nazi Final Solution.[60] What are Motti Lerner and other Labor Zionist defenders of Kastner, that Nazi collaborator, hoping to achieve with their ‘peace’ movement? This: to give PLO/Fatah -- the continuation of the German Nazi Final Solution -- what it wants: strategic territory in the Jewish state (and cleansed of all Jews).

There is lots of consistency here, no?

And the most chilling of all consistencies is this: just as Kastner assisted the Nazi extermination by hiding from the Jews where the Nazi trains were headed, David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Sharett, and Chaim Weizmann’s ideological descendants have hidden from the Israeli citizenry, and the world, PLO/Fatah’s origins in the German Nazi Final Solution. Just as the Jews, unaware of their true destination, boarded those trains during WWII, they are now, with comparable docility -- born once again of a profound ignorance about their enemies and a stubborn faith in the good intentions of their leaders -- allowing the Orwellian ‘peace’ process to destroy them. The main reason this is all happening is that people don’t know history, thanks in part to authors such as Anna Porter.

This is important: The main architects of the ‘peace’ process were Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, both of them protégés of David Ben-Gurion, the man who defended Rudolf Kastner because he was implicated in the other’s crimes.


Epilogue: The twists of history

Shmuel Tamir was one of the founders of Herut, the continuation of Vladimir Jabotinsky’s Revisionist movement into Israeli politics. It may be argued that Israeli history took a sharp turn for the worse when Tamir lost the leadership of the Revisionist movement to Menachem Begin.

Menachem Begin was another founder of Herut. There was a sharp rivalry between him and Tamir. The latter considered politicians who had come from the Diaspora to be nothing more than the galut- (exile-) minded lackeys of antisemitic gentiles, and he wanted Israeli politics to be dominated by Jews born in Israel. “This line was unacceptable to Menachem Begin,” explains Israeli historian Yechiam Weitz, no doubt because Begin himself had been born in the Diaspora.[61] With all due respect to Begin’s heroic achievements as commander of the Irgun, during his period as prime minister he presided over the return of massive territories that Israel had won in a defensive war, just as would be expected of a Jewish galut leader mindful of keeping powerful antisemites happy (in this case, US leaders). So it appears that Shmuel Tamir had a point.

The rivalry between Tamir and Begin led to Tamir’s splitting away from Herut to found his new Free Center Party. Enter Ehud Olmert. “When he was a mere 21-year-old student activist back in 1966, [Ehud] Olmert clamored for Begin’s resignation as party leader to make room for someone better,” a move apparently calculated to ingratiate him with Shmuel Tamir, for in the spring of 1967 he left Herut to join the Free Center Party, and attached himself to Shmuel Tamir as protégé.[62] It is interesting that at this time Tamir and the Free Center seemed to think that peace was possible, whereas Begin had a tougher line. But when the Arab States once again attempted to exterminate the Israeli Jews, provoking the Six-Day War, after which Israel ended up controlling the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai, “the Free Center’s slogan became ‘not one inch’ of withdrawal, and Olmert eventually rejoined Begin in the Likud.”[63] In the late 1970s, Begin, as prime minister, would return the Sinai to Egypt.

The Free Center’s new slogan may not have been the only reason for Olmert to return to Begin’s party. Shmuel Tamir writes in his autobiography, Son of this Land, that Ehud Olmert approached him with the idea to solve the problems in the Free Center Party by throwing Mordechai Olmert, his own father, out, and offering any assistance needed to do this. Tamir was quite taken aback that Olmert would propose stabbing his own father in the back to score political points, and Olmert must have realized that he need to search for a new mentor.[64]

If a man can stab his own father in the back, might he not do the same thing with his country?

“In 1991, [Ehud Olmert] helped steer [Yitzhak] Shamir toward the Madrid Peace Conference.”[65] This conference became the platform for the Oslo Accords, the so-called ‘peace’ process that had for purpose to rescue PLO/Fatah -- the continuation of the German Nazi Final Solution -- from its exile in Tunis, and bring it into the heart of the historical Land of Israel, give it power over the Arabs, and prepare it to receive a strategic piece of the Jewish State.[66]

Then, it was Ehud Olmert -- before Ariel Sharon -- who in late 2003 floated the blueprint for a unilateral withdrawal from most of the disputed territories, and with this, announced a Jerusalem Report headline, came the “cracking of the Israeli right.” The same article explains that, “a few days later, the rumble got louder. Olmert came to Sdeh Boker, burial place of David Ben-Gurion, to speak on the 30th Yahrzeit of Israel’s founding father.” He had come to praise Ben-Gurion. And yet, “in the hyperheated political camp in which Olmert grew up, [Ben-Gurion] was the enemy: The man who’d agreed to partition the Land of Israel in 1947, and who the next year as prime minister of the new State of Israel dismantled the right’s Irgun underground and sunk its arms-laden ship, the Altalena.”[67]

Ah yes, the Altalena. This is worth a short detour.

Israel had to fight its War of Independence when the Arabs announced that they rejected the UN Partition Plan which gave them an Arab state in what had been British Mandate Palestine. The Arabs had no interest in such a state (they still don’t), and stated openly that they much preferred to exterminate the Israeli Jews. Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League promised: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”[68] Menachem Begin’s Irgun offered all of its assistance to David Ben-Gurion’s Haganah even though Ben-Gurion had been persecuting the Irgun, and the two armies fought together in the War of Independence. However, there was more than one act of treachery against the Irgun, and the Altalena Affair is a dramatic case in point.

Great Britain and the United States assisted the Arab attack in various ways, including a US-led arms embargo that hurt only the Israelis, for the Arabs had no trouble getting arms, including from the British.[69] As a result, “the battle-worn Palmach [the main body of the Haganah] and Irgun [stood] in the hills of Jerusalem holding off the Arabs with almost no arms or ammunition.” To solve this problem, the Irgunists filled a boat with arms in the French port of Marseille, with the cooperation of the French authorities: the Altalena. “The arsenal had been financed by ‘The Hebrew Committee for National Liberation,’ established in New York by Irgun representatives Peter Bergson [alias Hillel Kook] and Samuel Merlin.” All of this had been coordinated, naturally, with the Haganah and had the explicit approval of Ben-Gurion’s government. Writes Hecht: “The Weizmann-Ben-Gurion Government had given a precise and specific go-ahead to the Altalena. It had also promised to help unload the cargo that would ensure the safety of the new Israel and relieve the siege of Jerusalem.”[70] It is important not to forget this because Ben-Gurion, in order to damage the prestige of the Irgun and neutralize them as a political force in postwar Israel, now accused the Irgun of supposedly bringing these arms to launch a coup d’Etat. But is it logical that the Irgun would have an agreement with those it was supposedly going to depose to help them unload the weapons to shore?

After the war Peter Bergson explained:

“The contention that this was a kind of putsch is absolute hogwash, or errant nonsense. The Israeli government knew about the ship, it authorized its leaving, and so forth. Because [Samuel] Merlin participated in a meeting with Levi Eshkol, who was then head of the defense department under Ben-Gurion. And the whole thing was discussed, the place [of arrival] was decided, the whole thing was done.”[71]

Historian Uri Milstein writes: “According to the agreement, twenty percent of the munitions was earmarked for the Irgun forces in Jerusalem -- the city with an undefined political status and where the Irgun forces still operated independently. The balance was to be delivered to Irgun battalions within the IDF.” The weapons would be unloaded at Kfar Vitkin, but as soon as that began “the Government reneged on the earlier agreement and the IDF attacked the site.”[72]

It didn’t all happen at once. First, David Ben-Gurion’s government helped the Irgun to unload some weapons. Having begun this, the government reneged. Then Peter Bergson, who was there, headed for Tel Aviv, in his words, to “try and see Ben-Gurion, and sort of try and make some head or tail out of it.” But on his way to Tel Aviv he was illegally arrested by Ben-Gurion’s people.[73] While this was going on, Ben-Gurion gave the order and forces under Moshe Dayan started shooting at the Altalena. The Altalena was at sea, without having unloaded its cargo, and with Menachem Begin on board. The ship was pursued and attacked by the Wedgwood, from the Israeli navy, and then later deliberately ran itself aground close to the Palmach headquarters. Who were the people on the Altalena? Who were Ben-Gurion’s forces shooting at? They were “Irgun members, mostly Holocaust survivors, [who] had boarded the ship to join Irgun battalions in the IDF.” In the battle that followed, the ship, with all its armament, was sunk. Some of those who died were murdered by Palmach soldiers while they did their best to swim to the shore from the blazing ship. “Yitzhak Rabin was in charge of the shooting.”[74]

On July 26, 2007, the second Hebrew anniversary of this episode, Sarah Honig reproduced in the Jerusalem Post the testimony of Uri Yarom, who on that fateful day was “a youthful Palmach soldier under the command of Yitzhak Rabin.” Yarom’s testimony reads as follows:

“The wounded were being lowered off the boat. From the shore people started swimming toward them to offer help but from the hotel and nearby houses indiscriminate shots were aimed at the helpless wounded and at those who swam to rescue them! I’ll never forget that fellow wearing a blue shirt done up with a white cord the Hashomer Hatza’ir uniform who directed the snipers to their targets and pointed to each head that bobbed above the water’s surface. His eyes flashed with hatred as he egged the sharpshooters on with his shouts, spotted their quarry, and encouraged them to get the swimmers. My heart shuddered within me. Before my eyes was waged a war between brothers! Jews are shooting Jews - in order to kill!”[75]

And I emphasize that those who jumped to see from the Altalena were not even shooting back but simply trying, once again, to survive, swimming to shore.

But Ehud Olmert, supposedly from the political tradition that understood these betrayals and the damage they had done to Israel, made a pilgrimage to David Ben-Gurion’s tomb in 2003.

“Olmert stood at the grave, [and] praised Ben-Gurion as the man ‘able not only to raise the vision of generations to the heights, but to limit it to what was possible under the circumstances.’ …A shocked Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, another prince of the right, listened and reportedly said he was reminded of his own ultra-Orthodox relatives who’d turned secular.”[76]

Ehud Olmert, if he has his way, will soon bring to completion the legacy of Labor Zionism, now adopted by the Likud, in Israel. He is trying as hard as he can to improve the strategic position, inside Israel, of Arab terrorists sworn to the annihilation of the Jewish State, and whose leadership traces its roots to the German Nazi Final Solution. These terrorists will be able to act as the advance troops of a massive, combined Arab-Iranian attack (especially once US troops leave Iraq, which will give Iran a land corridor all the way to the northern border of Israel).

And there is no limit to Olmert’s cynicism. Speaking a few days ago in a special Knesset session on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, he dared to say the following:

“The Jewish people will never again be without a home or the power to defend itself, as in the days of the Holocaust. Yet we are paying close attention and are more sensitive than any other people to threats of extermination.”[77]


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Is that so? Then this must be why Ehud Olmert, against the wishes of the great majority of Israeli citizens, is about to give PLO/Fatah its own state in the heart of the Biblical Land of Israel, strategic territory without which Israel cannot survive according to a publicly available Pentagon study.[78] And this must also be why Ehud Olmert has not explained to the Israeli public that PLO/Fatah was created by Hajj Amin al Husseini, co-architect, with Adolf Eichmann, of the WWII Holocaust. Olmert is doing all this, I am sure, because he is “paying close attention... to threats of extermination.”

(It pays to study history. It is most costly to ignore it.)

The next piece in this series is:

"How Jewish piety sabotages Jewish self-defense"; Historical and Investigative Research; 18 January 2007; by Francisco Gil-White.



Footnotes and Further Reading


[1] Cohen, M. J. 1986. Churchill and the Jews: The Holocaust. Modern Judaism 6:27-49. (pp.38-39)

[2] Stafford, D. 1997. Churchill and the Secret Service. New York: Overlook Press. (pp.77-78)

[3] Cohen, M. J. 1986. Churchill and the Jews: The Holocaust. Modern Judaism 6:27-49. (pp.38-39)

[4] ibid.

[5] To read about the Bergson Group, visit:

“How the mainstream Jewish leadership failed the Jewish people in World War II”; THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 17 Jan 2006; by Francisco Gil-White

[6] Wyman, D. S., and R. Medoff. 2002. A race against death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust. New York: The New Press. (pp.54-55)

[7] Cohen (1986:42-43)

[8] Weitz, Y. 1996. The Holocaust on Trial: The Impact of the Kasztner and Eichmann Trials on Israeli Society. Israel Studies 1:1-26. (p.11)

[9] Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.516)

[10] Hecht, B. 1991[1961]. Perfidy. Jerusalem: Gefen.

For a digest of Perfidy, and access to an online version of the book, visit:

“The responsibility of the mainstream (Labor Zionist) Israeli leaders during the Shoah ('Holocaust')”; THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 21 February 2007; by Francisco Gil-White.

[11] Porter (2007:393)

[12] ibid. (p6).

[13] ibid. (p.439)

[14] Making the case for Kasztner; Controversial figure was a hero, author finds; The Gazette (Montreal), October 13, 2007 Saturday, WEEKEND: BOOKS; Pg. I3, 812 words, JOEL YANOFSKY, Freelance

[15] Porter (2007:203)

[16] ibid. (p.6)

[17] ibid.

[17a] In Depth: Holocaust hero; "Anna Porter on a Hungarian pariah"; September 21, 2006; By Armina Ligaya, CBC News

[18] Porter (2007:375)

[19] ibid. (p.389)

[20] ibid. (p.61)

[21] ibid. (p.56)

[22] Hecht, B. 1991[1961]. Perfidy. Jerusalem: Gefen. (p.91)

( page numbers are different in the pdf )

[23] Porter (2007:385)

[23a] In court, after Rudolf Kastner denied that he had testified at Nuremberg to help free Kurt Becher, attorney Shmuel Tamir produced the following document, signed by Rudolf Kastner, which he read aloud to the witness:

“I the undersigned, Dr. Rudolf Kastner, wish to make the following statement in addition to my affidavit submitted to the International Military Tribunal under document 2605 P.S. concerning former Lt. General Kurt Becher... There can be no doubt about it that Becher belongs to the very few SS leaders having the courage to oppose the program of annihilation of the Jews, and trying to rescue human lives... Having been in personal contact with Becher from June, 1944, to April, 1945, I should like to emphasize, on the basis of personal observations, that Kurt Becher did everything within the realm of possibilities to save innocent human beings from the blind fury of the Nazi leaders...

“Therefore, even if the form and basis of our negotiations may be highly objectionable, I never doubted for one moment the good intentions of Kurt Becher...

“In my opinion, when his case is judged by Allied or German authorities, Kurt Becher deserves the fullest possible consideration...

“I make this statement not only in my name but also in behalf of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress. Signed, Dr. Rudolf Kastner, Official Jewish Agency in Geneva. Former Chairman of Zionist Organization in Hungary, 1943-1945. Representative of Joint Distribution Committee in Budapest.”

SOURCE: Hecht, B. 1991[1961]. Perfidy. Jerusalem: Gefen. (p.78)

The judge, shocked, wanted to know who had given Kastner permission to do this in the name of the Jewish Agency and the World Jewish Congress -- officially, in point of fact, in the name of the Jews. Kastner spat a list of names, implicating all sorts of important people in this crime.

To read more about this, consult:

“The responsibility of the mainstream (Labor Zionist) Israeli leaders during the Shoah ('Holocaust')”; THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 21 February 2007; by Francisco Gil-White.

[24] Hecht, B. 1991[1961]. Perfidy. Jerusalem: Gefen. (pp.72-79)

( page numbers are different in the pdf )

[25] Porter (2007:373)

[26] ibid. (p.386)

[27] ibid. (p.372)

[28] ibid. (p.387; emphasis mine)

[29] ibid. (p.384)

[30] Hecht (1991[1961]:102-03)

( page numbers are different in the pdf )

[31] ibid. (pp.115-18)

[32] ibid. (pp.113-14)

[33] Porter (2007:386)

[34] Hecht (1991[1961]:163-64)

( page numbers are different in the pdf )

[35] To read about Weizmann’s role sabotaging the 1933 boycott against the Nazis, visit:

“The Crisis of 1933: In 1933, ordinary Jews all over the world banded together and came within an inch of destroying the Hitler regime. They did not fail. Their leaders failed them.”; from THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 06 May 2006; by Francisco Gil-White.

[36] Hecht (1991[1961]:20)

( page numbers are different in the pdf )

[37] Porter (2007:400)

[38] ibid. (pp.398-99)

[39] ibid. (p.377)

[40] ibid. (p.398)

[41] Hecht (1991[1961]:96)

( page numbers are different in the pdf )

[42] ibid. (pp.270-71; fn.176)

[43] ibid. (p.275)

[44] ibid. (pp.272-75; fn.176)

[45] Black, E. 2003. War against the weak: Eugenics and America's campaign to create a master race. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.

To read an online summary of the eugenics movement see chapter 7 of:

Gil-White, Francisco 2004. Resurrecting Racism: The modern attack on black people using phony science; Historical and Investigative Research.

[46] Higham, C. 1995[1983]. Trading with the Enemy: The Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949. New York: Barnes & Noble.

[47] American and British policy toward the desperate Jewish refugees is examined here:

“1939-45 -- The Policy of the Allies Toward the Plight of the Jews”; from IS THE US AN ALLY OF ISRAEL: A chronological look at the evidence; Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White

[48] Black, E. 1984. The transfer agreement: The dramatic story of the pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine. New York: Carroll & Graf.

You may read a digest of this evidence here:

“The Crisis of 1933: In 1933, ordinary Jews all over the world banded together and came within an inch of destroying the Hitler regime. They did not fail. Their leaders failed them.”; from THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 06 May 2006; by Francisco Gil-White.

[49] Wyman, D. S., and R. Medoff. 2002. A race against death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust. New York: The New Press.; Rapoport, L. 1999. Shake heaven and earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe. Jerusalem and New York: Gefen.

For a digest of this evidence, see:

“How the mainstream Jewish leadership failed the Jewish people in World War II”; THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH

SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 17 Jan 2006; by Francisco Gil-White

[50] To get a sense for Aronson’s position on Kastner, consult:

Aronson, S. 2004. Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews. New York: Cambridge University Press. (pp.227-31)

[51] Porter (2007:440)

[52] See: “How the mainstream Jewish leadership failed the Jewish people in World War II”; THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH

SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 17 Jan 2006; by Francisco Gil-White

[53] For the accusations against Jabotinsky, consult the section entitled “June: Chaim Arlosoroff is murdered,” in:

“The Crisis of 1933: In 1933, ordinary Jews all over the world banded together and came within an inch of destroying the Hitler regime. They did not fail. Their leaders failed them.”; from THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE; Historical and Investigative Research; 06 May 2006; by Francisco Gil-White.

[54] “Was There a Massacre at Deir Yassin?: The pro-PLO camp says yes; the historical documentation says otherwise”; Historical and Investigative Research; 20 Nov 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

[55] Porter (2007:396)

[56] Hecht (1991[1961]:212, fn.162)

( page numbers are different in the pdf )

[58] “IsraDrama Write-Ups, Part 2: Spotlight on Political Theater”; The Theater J Blog; December 5, 2007.

[59]  “Shortly after signing the Declaration of Principles and the famous handshake between [PLO leader Yasser] Arafat and [Israeli prime minister] Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn, Arafat was declaring to his Palestinian constituency over Jordanian television that Oslo was to be understood in terms of the [PLO’s] Palestine National Council’s 1974 decision. This was a reference to the so-called Plan of Phases, according to which the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] would acquire whatever territory it could by negotiations, then use that land as a base for pursuing its ultimate goal of Israel’s annihilation.”

SOURCE: Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.ix)

[60] “How did the 'Palestinian movement' emerge? The British sponsored it. Then the German Nazis, and the US.”; from UNDERSTANDING THE PALESTINIAN MOVEMENT; Historical and Investigative Research; 13 June 2006; by Francisco Gil-White.

[61] Weitz, Y. 1996. The Holocaust on Trial: The Impact of the Kasztner and Eichmann Trials on Israeli Society. Israel Studies 1:1-26. (p.11)

[62] Likud - in dire search of a leader and a cause; The Jerusalem Post, August 27, 1999, Friday, FEATURES; Pg. 2B, 2568 words, Sarah Honig.

[63] THE CRACKING OF THE ISRAELI RIGHT; The Jerusalem Report, December 29, 2003, Pg. 10, 2672 words, Gershom Gorenberg.

[64] Tamir, S. 2002. Ben ha-arets ha-zot. Zemorah-Bitan: Lod.

[65] THE MAN WHO WOULD BE PRIME MINISTER; The Jerusalem Report, April 3, 2006, Pg. 12, 6263 words, Leslie Susser.

[66]  “1991 -- Bush Sr.’s administration forced Israel to participate in the Oslo process, which brought the PLO into the West Bank and Gaza.”; from IS THE US AN ALLY OF ISRAEL: A chronological look at the evidence; Historical  and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White

[67] THE CRACKING OF THE ISRAELI RIGHT; The Jerusalem Report, December 29, 2003, Pg. 10, 2672 words, Gershom Gorenberg

[68]  Sachar, H. 1982. A history of Israel: From the rise of Zionism to our time. New York: Knopf. (p.333)

[69] “1947-48 -- Forced by external circumstances, the US government gave lukewarm support to the creation of the State of Israel. But then it reversed itself and implemented policies designed to destroy Israel”; from IS THE US AN ALLY OF ISRAEL: A chronological look at the evidence; Historical  and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White

[70] Hecht, B. 1991[1961]. Perfidy. Jerusalem: Gefen. (p.39)

( page numbers are different in the pdf )

[71] Wyman, D. S., and R. Medoff. 2002. A race against death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust. New York: The New Press.

[72] Milstein, U. 1999. The Rabin file: An unauthorized exposé. New York: Gefen. (pp.358-59)

[73] Wyman & Medoff (2002:184-85)

[74] Milstein (1999:358-59)

[75] “Another Tack: The ‘Altalena’ sequel”; The Jerusalem Post; July 26, 2007; by Sarah Honig.

[76] THE CRACKING OF THE ISRAELI RIGHT; The Jerusalem Report, December 29, 2003, Pg. 10, 2672 words, Gershom Gorenberg

[77] “PM: Jews will never again be powerless”; Jerusalem Post; Jan 28, 2008 20:33; By SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL

[78]  This Pentagon document was apparently declassified in 1979 but not published until 1984. It was published by the Journal of Palestine Studies:

"Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense"; Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 13, No. 2. (Winter, 1984), pp. 122-126.

One may also find it reproduced as an appendix in:

Netanyahu, B. 2000. A durable peace: Israel and its place among the nations, 2 edition. New York: Warner Books. (APPENDIX: The Pentagon Plan, June 29, 1967; pp.433-437)

  Part 0 -  The Crisis of 1933

 Part 1 -  Diaspora Jewish leaders WWII

 Part 2 -  Diaspora Jewish leaders today

  Part 3 -  Israeli leaders today

 Part 4 -  Israeli leaders in WWII

 Part 4.5 -  Refuting the defense of Rudolf Kastner

 Part 5 -  Piety and Jewish self-defense



















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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