JHC Film Club: “Killing Kasztner” (2008)

Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt with Nazis (2008) 120 mins
Directed by Gaylen Ross

Presented by Dr Adam Brown, Deakin University

The controversial story of Reszo Kasztner, the Jewish leader in Budapest who negotiated directly with Adolf Eichmann amidst the deportation of Hungary’s Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Kasztner organised what came to be known as the ‘Kasztner Train’, which took 1,700 Jews to safety in Switzerland. Praised as a hero by some, Kasztner was labelled a traitor by others, and following an intense libel case in Israel which saw Kasztner judged as selling his ‘soul to the devil’, he was assassinated in Tel Aviv in 1957. This film draws on interview with members of Kasztner’s family, Holocaust survivors his actions affected, and (speaking for the first time about the issue) the man who fired the gun that ended Kasztner’s life. Part real-time investigation, part historical journey, the filmmaker unearths the Kasztner story and its implications for the survivors, his family, and his country, exploring the very nature of history itself: who writes it, how it is remembered, and what is at stake for the present – and future.

 

Many thanks to GRFilms Inc. (http://www.killingkasztner.com/) for making this screening possible.

In partnership with the Centre for Memory, Imagination and Invention, Deakin University (http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/src/cmii/).