22 July 2007
Yad Vashem recently received the Kasztner Archives and the Dov Dinur archival collection. The ceremony took place in the Yad Vashem Auditorium at 11:00 with the participation of Kasztner family members and "Kasztner Train" survivors, and their children.
The Archives: The private archives of Dr. Israel Kasztner include original historical documents describing correspondence that took place between private parties, Jewish and non-Jewish institutions as well as papers documenting the rescue efforts of the Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest. In 1981, the archives were given to the historian Dov Dinur to aid in his research on Kasztner and the Kasztner Affair (Trial). These papers, along with other original material that Dinur collected while researching the subject were formally presented to Yad Vashem.
Israel Kasztner: Dr. Israel (Rezsõ) Kasztner was an attorney, journalist, and one of the leaders of the Zionist movement in Hungary during World War II. As the co-chairman of the Relief and Rescue Committee, Kasztner aided Jewish refugees who reached Hungary during the first years of World War II. In April 1944, a month after the invasion of Hungary by the Germans, the Committee began deliberations with the Nazis in order to rescue Hungarian Jews in exchange for money, goods, and military equipment. These negotiations took place under the shadow of the deportations of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews. In June 1944, the "Kasztner Train" traveled to Bergen-Belsen and eventually on to safety in Switzerland where the 1,684 Jews on the train found refuge. The negotiations also resulted in the deportation of 20,000 Hungarian Jews to an Austrian labor camp, preventing their impending expulsion to extermination camps.
In 1954, Kasztner was publicly accused of collaborating with the Nazis, and a libel suit ensued. Kasztner was assassinated in 1957, a year before the Israeli Supreme Court cleared his name and in essence overturned the judgment against him.
Joseph (Tommy) Lapid, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council
Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate
Prof. Shlomo Aronson, Dept. Political Science, Hebrew University
Dov Dinur, Historian
Dr. Kinga Frojimovics, Director of the Hungarian Desk, Yad Vashem Archives
Naomi Herskovitz, Kasztner Train Survivor
Susan Kasztner, daughter of Dr. Israel Kasztner