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Trading in Lives?

Operations of the Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee in Budapest, 1944–1945

Szabolcs Szita has published extensively on the persecution of the European Jewry during the Second World War. He is cofounder of the Holocaust Documentation Center in Budapest Hungary, and has been its Research Director since 1990. He is the recipient of the Sandor Scheiber Prize, and the Csatkai Prize.

Set in the tumultuous moments of 1944–45 Budapest, this work discusses the operations of the Budapest Relief and Rescue Committee. Drawing out the contradictions and complexities of the mass deportations of Hungarian Jews during the final phase of World War II, Szita suggests that in the Hungarian context, a commerce in lives ensued, where prominent Zionists like Dr. Rezso Kasztner negotiated with the higher echelons of the SS, trying to garner the freedom of Hungarian Jews. Szita's portrait of the controversial Kasztner is a more sympathetic rendition of a powerful Zionist leader who was later assassinated in Israel for his dealings with Nazi leaders. Szita reveals a story of interweaving personalities and conflicts during arguably the most tragic moment in European history. The author's extensive research is a tremendous contribution to a field of study that has been much ignored by scholarship-the Hungarian holocaust and the trade in human lives.


Chapter 1 The Operations of the Budapest Relief and Rescue Committee Chapter 2 The German Occupation of Hungary, May 19, 1944 Chapter 3 The Sonderkommando and the Ungarnaktion Chapter 4 The Deportation of Hungarian Jews in the Eyes of the World Chapter 5 The SS Trading in Human Lives Chapter 6 The "Sample Train" Chapter 7 Another Chapter in Human Trade; Forced Labor for the SS Chapter 8 More Looting—Daylight Robbery on a Different Plain Chapter 9 In the Lion's Maw Chapter 10 Spring 1945 Chapter 11 The Links Endure; Epilogue

240 pages + photos (16 pages)
ISBN 978-963-7326-30-1 cloth $50.00 / €45.00 / £40.00