Perfidy

ISBN 10: 0964688638 / ISBN 13: 9780964688636
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Perfidy... An exploration of the Kastner affair: a conspiracy, a violation of conscience, criminal betrayal.


A true classic! History that reads like a mystery novel when villains parade themselves as heroes and the real heroes are targets of evil.

Picture those early days when the new nation of Israel was being formed in the region of Palestine European Jews had just endured history's ultimate holocaust. Allied governments such as Great Britain had refused to take action to block the trains from carrying thousands of them to certain death. In those final days before the end of the war, the epicenter of the Nazi extermination effort was Hungary. Jews had fled there from Germany and Poland, but they could not outrun the shadow of death. That is the obvious truth, but was there more? Was there collaboration with the enemy that resulted in these murderous acts?

Can you really trust governments and leaders to do what is right and best for those they represent?

As Edmund Burke declared, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." But what happens when those who are trusted as good join forces with evil?

Underlying this story is a bizarre tapestry of deception at the highest levels of government with the lives of many innocents in the balance. The libel trial of Kastner establishes the outline of that hidden past, protected by the political interests of some of Israel's early leaders. Rudolf Kastner was a prominent journalist representing this new government and supported by its Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. Ben Gurion desperately wanted to exonerate those British and Jewish men who had collaborated with Nazis, supposedly to save the lives of others.

Another man, Malchiel Greenwald, accused Kastner of testifying on behalf of SS Lieutenant General Kurt Becher and thus saving him from punishment for his war crimes. Greenwald further accused Kastner of collaborating with the Nazis and contributing to the death of over 400,000 Hungarian Jews during WWII when Kastner served as a major leader of the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee in Hungary.

Kastner sued Greenwald for libel. The unfolding courtroom drama becomes intense as Kastner loses the case. When faced with the possibility of being convicted under Israel's anti-collaboration law (the one Eichmann was convicted under), he was convenient "assassinated." The appeals are followed by the mysterious death of Kastner, relieving the government of political embarrassment and scandal. As a reader, you will be the final judge of this case and all its horrible details. But first, you must read the book and weigh the evidence for yourself.

About the Author: Ben Hecht (1894 1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist and novelist. He received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some seventy films. He wrote thirty-five books and created some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. The Dictionary of Literary Biography - American Screenwriters calls him "one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures.";

At the age of 16, Hecht ran away to Chicago, where in his own words he "haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls, and bookshops". In the 1910's and early 1920's, Hecht became a noted journalist, foreign correspondent, and literary figure.

A prolific writer, Hecht received the first Academy Award for Original Screenplay, for Underworld (1927). Many of the screenplays he worked on are now considered classics. He also provided story ideas for such films as Stagecoach (1939). Film historian Richard Corliss called him "the Hollywood screenwriter", someone who "personified Hollywood itself." In 1940, he wrote, produced, and directed, Angels Over Broadway, which was nominated for Best Screenplay. In total, six of his movie screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards, with two winning.

He became an active Zionist shortly before the Holocaust began in Germany, and wrote articles and plays about the plight of European Jews, such as, We Will Never Die in 1943 and A Flag is Born in 1946. Of his seventy to ninety screenplays, he wrote many anonymously to avoid the British boycott of his work in the late 1940's and early 1950's. The boycott was a response to Hecht's active support of paramilitary action against British forces in Palestine and sabotaging British property there, during which time a supply ship to Palestine was named the S. S. Ben Hecht.

According to his autobiography, he never spent more than eight weeks on a script. In 1983, 19 years after his death, Ben Hecht was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

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