Ladislaus Löb: Dealing with Satan: Rezső Kasztner's Daring Rescue Mission (Jonathan Cape)<?

Ladislaus Löb: Rezső Kasztner: The Daring Rescue of Hungarian Jews (Pimlico and Kindle)

The text is identical in all three editions

Two months and a day after my eleventh birthday the gates of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp closed behind me. It was 9 July 1944. Five months later, with the Second World War still raging, I crossed the border into neutral Switzerland, stunned but alive and safe. I was one of 1,670 Jewish men, women and children from Hungary, released from Belsen thanks to a unique deal between another Hungarian Jew, Rezső Kasztner, and Adolf Eichmann, the chief architect of the Holocaust. Kasztner saved many more, but ten years on he was accused of collaborating with the SS. An Israeli judge ruled that Kasztner had "sold his soul to Satan". Eventually the highest court in the land reversed the judgement, but by that time Kasztner had been murdered in Tel Aviv by a Jewish gang.


The violent arguments surrounding the case rocked the young state to its foundations. The trial marked the beginning of Israel’s gradual shift to the right, which still determines the course of events in the Middle East. Kasztner himself remains a controversial figure: a traitor to some, a hero to others. This book regards the second view as nearer the truth. It tells the story of a man who had the courage and resourcefulness to stand up to the Nazi mass murderers and save thousands of lives before losing his own. It tells the story of how 1,670 people survived in Bergen-Belsen until he rescued them shortly before hell broke loose. Finally, it tells the story of one child who, thanks to him, lived to grow up after the Holocaust.


Kasztner was faced with terrible situations and had neither the time nor the temperament to engage in reflections about the ethical implications of what he was doing. He saw that lives were at risk and he acted as fast and as decisively as he could to save them. Without ignoring the excruciating moral issues raised by Kasztner's deal with some of the most evil men ever known, I believe that what Kasztner did was right.


In 2012 I received the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Award for this book. The main speaker at the ceremony described it as follows: “This text is an outstanding contribution to the commemoration of the Holocaust, revealing the context of the Holocaust in Hungary ...In Dealing with Satan we find a more than successful link between, on the one hand, autobiographical writing and the precise depiction of facts on the other. It is this unique combination which ... is both personal and impartial in the best sense of both words.”

To date, Dealing with Satan has been translated into German, French, Hungarian, Finnish and Chinese.  

From the Reviews

Dealing with Satan is exemplary ... The enormity of human loss in occupied Hungary is recorded with a detached calm and appropriate empathy.” Daily Telegraph


“Far more than just a testimony ... A deeply moving, splendidly written book, posing crucial moral questions.” Jewish Report

“Well-written and well-researched ... an incredibly exciting story as well as an insight into some of the worst horrors of the Holocaust.” Jewish Renaissance


"The author clearly identifies with Kasztner ... while even-handedly providing enough facts to enable readers to form their own judgment. This remarkable achievement is a tribute to Löb’s honesty and skill." The National Jewish Post & Opinion


"He describes in harrowing detail what the refugees actually experienced, and convincingly refutes the allegation that Kasztner saved only his relatives and associates.” TLS


"A remarkable book ." Times Higher Education


"Authoritative ... Fascinating and disturbing." Areté


“A compelling, balanced and well written story, calmly put together by someone well-placed to provide a particular insight.” The Budapest Times


"Clearly and powerfully written, glittering with subtle sarcasm.” Neue Zürcher Zeitung


"A sensitive and exciting account." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


"An exciting, illuminating and long overdue book." Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung


“An important, thought-provoking work.” Népszabadság

Where to buy Dealing with Satan:




Rezső Kasztner broadcasting from Radio Israel