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Kasztner's Train (Anne Porter 2007)

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-11 11:28 PM
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Kasztner's Train (Anne Porter 2007)
The Shoah in Hungary is not a pretty tale, and even the limited success stories often have unhappy endings. Raoul Wallenberg was taken prisoner by the Soviets as the war ended and died after many years imprisonment. Carl Lutz returned to Switzerland afterwards, where he faced an investigation for producing false identity papers to save lives. Rezso Kasztner finally emigrated to Palestine, was accused of being a Nazi collaborator, and was assassinated before he could clear his name

"This is a work of popular history," says the author, meaning she freely reconstructs scenes and dialogue, while nevertheless attempting to be accurate. The Kasztner saga is complicated, because Kasztner attempted to play a complex game to buy time, by negotiating directly with Eichmann and other Nazis for Jewish lives. The Nazis made impossible demands, for war material, and Kasztner attempted to stall, using token payments from his international sources. In the end, Kasztner had some success: several trains, including one carrying people from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, were allowed to leave, for example. The absolute numbers will seem unimpressive, compared to the scale of the Hungarian catastrophe, but they may be astonishing in the context of official Nazi plans to exterminate Judaism completely and the fact that Kasztner was directly negotiating with at least one of the major engineers of the holocaust

"If this ever ends," Rezso told Hansi, "Horthy should be given the Legion d'Honneur for extraordinary bravery in the face of the enemy and, immediately afterward, taken out and shot for cowardice"
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-13-11 02:08 AM
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1. Thanks. Interesting remark about Horthy, but as I understand
it, he protected the Jews until about 1944. Am I wrong about that? At least as far as the Jews were concerned, he procrastinated in sending them to the camps about as long as anyone could. A lot of lives were saved as a result -- not all, but a lot.

Horthy deported Jews who were not Hungarian citizens rather early.

According to Wikipedia:

German officials blamed Hungary's Jews for the nation's "defeatist attitude." In the wake of the Don Bend disaster, Hitler demanded at an April 1943 meeting that Horthy take sterner measures against the 800,000 Jews still living in Hungary. Horthy and his government supplied 10,000 Jewish deportees for labor battalions, but otherwise refused to comply. Cautiously, the Hungarian government began to explore contacts with the Western Allies in hopes of negotiating a surrender.<24>

It was not until after Hungary was taken over and Horthy ousted -- 1944 -- that the large part of Hungarian Jews were deported.

This is history with which I am familiar due to stories in a family close to my own.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-01-11 10:10 PM
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2. I'm no expert on the Hungarian Shoah. This book paints a picture of an extraordinarily vacillating
Horthy, now capitulating completely to Germany, now appearing to agree to German demands but not following through, now standing up to Germany, in a rather unpredictable fashion

I do not know what was possible in the shifting contexts of war and Hungarian politics; I do not know whether Horthy's decisions were informed by his own judgments of the chances of immediate German intervention, depending on other war issues; I do not know if anti-Nazi Germans, with good inside information, counseled Horthy

Moshe Herczl's "Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry" indicates an ugly picture: thousands of Hungarian Jews were murdered in the White Terror in 1919 and after; beginning in the late 1930s, Hungary passed a number of anti-Jewish laws; and in January 1942, Hungarian security forces lined up about 3000 people, perhaps mostly Jews, along the Danube and shot them

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jul61252 Donating Member (50 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-14-11 07:17 PM
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3. great post
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