The true, heart-wrenching tale of Hungary's own Oskar Schindler, a lawyer and journalist named Rezso Kasztner who rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews during the last chaotic days of World War II -- and the ultimate price he paid.
In summer 1944, Rezso Kasztner met with Adolf Eichmann, architect of the Holocaust, in Budapest. With the Final Solution at its terrible apex and tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews being sent to Auschwitz every month, the two men agreed to allow 1,684 Jews to leave for Switzerland by train. In other manoeuvrings, Kastzner may have saved another 40,000 Jews already in the camps. Kasztner was later judged for having "sold his soul to the devil." Prior to being exonerated, he was murdered in Israel in 1957.
Part political thriller, part love story and part legal drama, Porter's account explores the nature of Kasztner -- the hero, the cool politician, the proud Zionist, the romantic lover, the man who believed that promises, even to diehard Nazis, had to be kept. The deals he made raise questions about moral choices that continue to haunt the world today.
"It's a fascinating story about a Hungarian Jew who had the chutzpah to bargain with the Nazis. As Porter sees it, 'If you're in hell, who do you negotiate with but the Devil?'"
"[A] fascinating and painstakingly researched biography."
"Every once in a long while a book comes along that makes history so real that it trumps fiction. Kasztner's Train easily falls into that category, and it is Anna Porter's consummate art as a storyteller that makes this true tale so compelling."
"Perhaps the most important question Porter's book asks is, what is the value of a human life?"
"Anna Porter's research in her book Kasztner's Train has been the most thorough ever on the rescue of thousands of Jews by Dr. Rezso Kasztner during the Second World War. It took Ms. Porter, a non-Jew, to meticulously research, day by day, the related events in 1943 to 1945...and to analyze the findings in an unbiased manner."
"Kasztner's Train is an extraordinarily affecting book that deserves to be read both for its masterful storytelling and for the timeless moral interrogatives at its heart."
"Porter's book makes clear that Kasztner ultimately became a casualty in the search for reasons why more Jews did not violently resist their oppressors...It is obviously time that the reality of his accomplishments, as well as the price he and his family paid, are finally discussed."
"Anna Porter's intention in her new book, Kasztner's Train, is clear from the start: to restore the reputation of her subject, Rezso Kasztner...Porter describes Kasztner's Train as popular history, but she has brought an impressive amount of scholarship to bear on the telling of this complex and controversial tale."