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Caught in the Middle: German Jewry 1939-1945

  • The Chatham Synagogue 1536 County Road 28 Chatham Center, NY, 12184 United States (map)

"The Kastner Transport"

In 1955, inside a courtroom in the young nation of Israel, a man by the name of Rudolf Kastner was said to have "sold his soul to the devil” due to the fact that he cut a deal to free about 1,700 Hungarian and Romanian Jews from certain death, and be sent to Switzerland for safety. They were transported in two separate trains, both known as the “Kastner trains.” However the deal was that each passenger would have to pay $1000 per head in order to get a “seat” on the train. Eichmann however decided, for reasons unknown, to divert the train to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp first, from where two separate transports would later be sent to Switzerland. Although it was deemed to be an undoubted act of good, many Holocaust survivors criticised Kastner for the way he went about and did it. Two years after the trial Kastner was found murdered in his home in Tel Aviv. The controversy centers around whether or not Kastner was a collaborator or a savior. Make your own decision after you listen to member Carl Rheins at this last workshop of his "Caught in the Middle" series.

This workshop is the last of the second 2017 Summer Reading Series. Led by TCS/NT member Carl Rheins, Carl holds a PhD in History, is former faculty in the Judaic Studies Program at SUNY Stony Brook, and is a past CEO and Executive Director of YIVO.

All readings are in English; no prior knowledge is required. You're welcome to drop in as you can and wish during the five weeks of the series.  For more information and to sign-up, contact Carl Rheins:

Earlier Event: July 28
Community Kiddush
Later Event: August 5
Community Kiddush