True stories rarely contain a historic mystery, a courtroom drama, a political murder, and a family saga, but all can be found in the contentious story of Rezso Kasztner. In Nazi occupied Hungary, Kasztner, a Jew, dared to negotiate face to face with the architect of the Final Solution, Adolf Eichmann. While the Nazi killing machine was at its peak, Kasztner secured a rescue train for 1684 Jews from Budapest, and bargained for tens of thousands additional lives. It may have been the largest rescue of its kind during the Holocaust, more than were saved by Oskar Schindler. Yet Kasztner was condemned as a traitor in his adopted country of Israel; accused as a collaborator in a trial and verdict that divided a nation and forever stamped him as the “man who sold his soul to the devil.” He was ultimately assassinated by Jewish right wing extremists in Tel Aviv in 1957.
After receiving critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival and playing to sold out houses in Israel, American director Gaylen Ross’s Killing Kasztner – eight years in the making – now poses the question to U.S. audiences: Was Rezso Kasztner a heroic rescuer of Jews or a villain colluding with the Nazis? Through accounts of the inflammatory political trial, startling revelations after 50 years by Kasztner’s assassin, Ze’ev Eckstein, and a chilling meeting between the killer and Kasztner’s daughter, Zsuzsi, audiences finally can decide the legacy of this forgotten man.
Killing Kasztner features Zsuzsi Kasztner, Merav Michaeli, Ze’ev Eckstein, Joseph “Tommy” Lapid, Uri Avnery, and U.S. prosecutor Eli Rosenbaum.
Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt With Nazis will begin its run at Cinema Village in New York City on October 23, 2009.
You can find out more about Killing Kasztner at the film’s official website www.killingkasztner.com.