A Q&A with Killing Kasztner director Gaylen Ross

Gaylen Ross’s documentary Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt with the Nazis examines the life of Rezso Kasztner, a Hungarian Jew who helped many Jews escape the concentration camps but was also accused of collaborating with the Nazis and withholding information about Auschwitz. Ross will be in town this weekend when the film opens at the Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Rd., 216.321.5411, clevelandcinemas.com). She’ll lead question and answer sessions after the 1:30, 4:15 and 7 p.m. screenings on Friday, April 16, Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18. In addition, Dr. Anna Rubin, a local woman who survived because she rode on a truck transport that Kasztner arranged, will also attend the screening. Ross recently phoned in from her New York home to discuss the movie. Here’s what she had to say.

I think you might have mentioned this in the movie, but what intrigued you about Kasztner’s story?
In 1997 or 1998, I was producing and writing a film about the Swiss banks and the holocaust accounts, and a woman who was a claimant said she got to Switzerland on the Kasztner train. That’s when I stopped her and said, “What are you talking about?” I had never about the train or about the rescue or a Jew who had negotiated with Adolf Eichmann. I thought it was an amazing story. I finished the film about the Swiss banks. Then, I was doing other films and this was in the back of my mind. And then I started researching and that’s what you have to do before you begin to film or raise money or do any of the things you have to do. That’s when I discovered how complicated and difficult this story was in terms of what happened to Kasztner. The trial and his murder in Israel complicated the rescue story so his tale never got told here.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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