TEL AVIV (Mar. 13)
Hundreds of Hungarian-born Jews met here last night to commemorate the first anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Rudolph Kastner, central figure in a two-year controversy involving charges that he had collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.
Giora Josephthal, General Secretary of the Mapai Party of which Dr. Kastner was a member, told the assembly that Dr. Kastner, who was posthumously cleared by the Israel Supreme Court of charges of collusion with the Nazis when he arranged for the emigration of more than 600 Jews from Nazi-occupied Hungary, was a “symbol of Jewish martyrdom.” He said that Dr. Kastner, unlike other leaders who either withdrew seeing no hope for survival or found refuge for themselves alone, decided to remain and struggle to save Hungarian Jews.
Mr. Josephthal stressed that the Mapai movement supported Dr. Kastner and that the assassins’ bullets were actually directed against the movement Dr. Kastner was shot and killed March 3, 1957 as he was returning home from his work as editor of a local Hungarian language daily. Three suspected terrorists were convicted last January 7 of intentional murder in the slaying.
Dr. Nahum Goldmann, world Jewish leader, stressed in a message to the meeting the “important task” of Dr. Kastner during the European holocaust. Participants in the commemorative meeting decided to establish a committee in Dr. Kastner’s memory by a memorial project and by research into Dr. Kastner’s efforts to save European Jews.
Earlier this week, a “Public Committee Investigating the Genocide of the Jewish People in Europe” made up mainly of members of the right-wing Herut party and scholars like Prof. Joseph Klausner, Dr. Joseph Schechtman and Itzhak Levinson of South Africa, started a campaign to establish an independent worldwide Jewish committee to investigate the actions of Jewish leaders during the European tragedy.