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Rezso Kasztner: The Daring Rescue of Hungarian Jews: A Survivor's Account (Pimlico) [Paperback]

Ladislaus Lb
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Mar 2009 Pimlico (Book 823)

Two months after his eleventh birthday, on 9 July 1944, the gates of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp closed behind Ladislaus Löb. Five months later, with the Second World War still raging, he crossed the border into Switzerland, cold and hungry, but alive and safe. He was not alone, but part of a group of some 1,670 Jewish men, women and children from Hungary, who had been rescued from the Nazis as a result of a deal made by a man called Rezso Kasztner - himself a Hungarian Jew - with Adolf Eichmann, the chief architect of the Holocaust. Twelve years and a miscarriage of justice later Kasztner was murdered by an extremist Jewish gang in his adopted home of Israel.

To this day he remains a highly controversial figure, regarded by some as a traitor and by many others as a hero. He was accused of betraying the bulk of the Hungarian Jewry by hand-picking only those who were politically and personally dear to him, or those from whom he could benefit financially, and the judge of his post-war trial concluded that he had 'sold his soul to Satan'.

Rezso Kasztner tells his story - and also the story of a child who lived to grow up after the Holocaust thanks to him. A compelling combination of history and memoir, it is also an examination of one individual's unique achievement and a consideration of the profound moral issues raised by his dealings with some of the most evil men ever known.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico (5 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845950089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845950088
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 15.3 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 635,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Among the abundant literature of atrocity about the Nazi camps, it is exemplary. The enormity of human loss in occupied Hungary is recorded with a detached calm and appropriate sympathy" (Daily Telegraph)

"Löb's story is, at times, heartbreaking... It is fair to say that, even though, Kasztner saved more Jewish lives during World War II than any other Jew, the history books have not wholly acknowledged this triumph" (Sunday Business Post)

"Well written and well researched...gripping" (Jewish Renaissance)

"A remarkable book... Löb has painstakingly re-examined the evidence, recreated the dramatic story of negotiation and rescue and paid warm tribute to Kasztner and his father for their courage and resourcefulness in terrible times" (Times Higher Education Supplement)

Book Description

Rezso Kasztner is the story of the man responsible for saving Béla Zsolt, and the author himself. Combining history with memoir, it is ultimately a remarkably honest analysis of morality and survival.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love it 13 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
gripping book that takes you into the world of how these people survived such attrocities very emotional but worth reading
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is no better book about the holocaust. 9 Oct 2009
Professor Lob's book is an emotionally challanging read. It is simultaneiously harrowing & fascinating. It makes one boil with anger at how horrible people can be & weep with joy at man's essential goodness. It is different from other stories about the holocaust. His erudite & balanced view pulls no punches when discussing good & bad on both sides. Consequently it brings home the full horror of the Nazis crime in a way that a one sided report would not. It also highlights the very understandable reasons that people do bad things in revenge when they have not thought carefully enough. What happened to Rezso Kasztner was a travesty. He may have been flawed but he was a very brave man & a true hero.
Reading the evocative description of the start of the holocaust in Hungry was hard for me because my fahters family were Checkoslovak jews & were murdered by the Nazis. This book helped me understand what they & my father (Who escaped to join the british Army) suffered. Visiting Yad Vashim is an essential experience for any decent human being but this book is more informative & more real.
If you only ever read one book about the holocaust this should be it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Recycling - Sterilizing Dirt. 13 Nov 2012
The argest part of my family perished due to Rezso Kasztner's betrayal and cold-blooded inner Jewish and Zionist policies. This is a fact, especially since my grandfather and him were working partners and my family didn't leave in time Hungary because of Kasztner's intrigues, exploitation of his personal acquaintances with Eichmann and other high ranking SS officers, and false promises which were made for large financial advantage.
The author did what he can - as many other privileged, well situated Jews and Zionists from the Hungarian elite who got tickets out of the Holocaust, on board of a train very different from the trains heading for Auschwitz gas chambers and Co.
Kasztner and his gang were the most hideous Hungarian Jews known to history. And the book belongs into a recycling bin
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Holocaust Surviver has a story worthy of a book. 2 May 2010
By Tom Margittai - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Every Holocaust survivor has a story worthy of a book and every book, if written, would be a different story. And no two books would (or for that matter are) be alike. But to write about the survival of 1700 Hungarian Jews due to the intervention of Rezso Kasztner as described in Ladislaus Lob's eponymous book seems almost an impossible task. I am also a survivor, and was one of those rescued. As a consequence my library has almost everything ever written on the subject starting with James McDonald's "The Man Who Played God" (in the early fifties) through Ben Hecht's "Perfidy"(in the early sixties) to Anna Porter's "Kasztner's Train" (a very important and thoroughly researched book) but of all the books that I have ever read on the subject including various articles and memoirs,I never read anything as factual, concise and clear headed, beautifully written work. Besides telling all the chronological facts, Lob gives us more than glimpse of life as it evolved after arrival in Bergen Belsen and his observation of the human side of members of the group and their reactions to their plight. In summation Lob tackles The Kasztner controversy of "traitor or savior" with an exceptional and objective and sensitive insight. I recommend this book not only for those who are interested in the Holocaust but for those who want to read a beautifully written story of a heartbreaking tragedy that ends with hope.
Tom Margittai
Santa Fe NM May 2010
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