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Rudolf Kastner's Geni Profile

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Rudolf Rezső Kastner

Hebrew: ישראל (רז'ה) קסטנר
Also Known As: "Rezső Kasztner", "Israel Kastner", "Rudolf Kastner", "Rudolf Israel Kastner"
Birthdate: (51)
Birthplace: Cluj, Kolozsvar, Klausenberg, Transylvania, Austria - Hungary
Death: March 12, 1957 (51)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Yitzchak Kastner and Helen Kastner
Husband of Elizabeth Kastner (Fischer)
Father of Zsusi Kastner
Brother of Gyula Kastner and Erno Kastner

Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Rudolf 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, an analytical and strategically oriented thinker with the demeanor of a politician---always dressed well and his words carefully chosen.

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

From the summer of 1944 until the collapse of the Third Reich, Kastner played a dangerous game of poker with the Nazis, in order to save as many Jews as possible. In the eyes of many, he was seen as a Nazi collaborator. Yet, as history has proven, he actually was 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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Rudolf Kastner's Timeline

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