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Israel Kastner's Geni Profile

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Rudolf Rezső Kastner

Also Known As: "Rezső Kasztner", "Israel Kastner"
Birthplace: Cluj, Kolozsvar, Klausenberg, Transylvania, Austria - Hungary
Death: Died in Tel Aviv, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Yitzchak Kastner and Helen Kastner
Husband of <private> Kastner (Fisher) and Elizabeth Kastner (Fischer)
Father of <private> Kastner; <private> Kastner; Zsusi Kastner and <private> Kastner
Brother of Gyula Kastner and Erno Kastner

Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Israel Kastner

RUDOLF (RESZÖ) KASTNER (1906-1957) Born in Cluj ("Klausenburg", Transylvania when it was part of Romania. Later annexed to Hungary).Kastner was a lawyer with a doctorate degree and a journalist. A Jewish intellectual, his thinking is analytical and strategically oriented. He has the demeanor of a politician. He always dresses well and his words are carefully chosen.

But most of all, Kastner is a committed Zionist, who puts his whole heart and soul into the rescue of Jews. He moves to Budapest in 1941, where he meets Joel and Hansi Brand and joins the rescue committee VAADA. Although timid by nature, he is able to muster enormous courage at critical moments.

From the summer of 1944 until the collapse of the Third Reich, Kastner plays a dangerous game of poker with the Nazis, in order to save as many Jews as possible. In the eyes of many, he becomes a collaborator, while getting too close to the enemy. Yet, as history has proven, he is one of the most unsung heroes of the Holocaust.  


On the night of March 3, 1957 Rudolph (Rezsö) Kasztner became the first Jewish victim of a Jewish political assassination in the State of Israel. He was murdered for what some would consider "playing God," determining which Hungarian Jews to save from extermination during the Holocaust.

Like Oskar Schindler, Kasztner negotiated with the Nazis to save lives. Unlike Schindler, however, Kasztner's actions and motives were questioned by Hungarian Holocaust survivors whose families were not included in the select group of Jews to be saved. There is no question, however, that to act in the face of that dilemma took the courage of a hero.


His daughter Zsuzsa lives in Tel Aviv where she works as a hospital nurse. She has three daughters, including Merav Michaeli, a well-known radio and television presenter in Israel and as of 2013 member of the 19th Knesset. Zsuzsa and Merav attended the formal presentation of the Kastner archive to Yad Vashem in 2007. Zsuzsa lectured about her father in Britain in 2008.



Alternative death date: March 15, 1957

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Israel Kastner's Timeline

Klausenberg, Transylvania, Austria - Hungary
Age 24
March 12, 1957
Age 51
Tel Aviv, Israel