News and Reviews
“If you know the name Rezso Kasztner, you won't need any encouragement to see "Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt With Nazis." If you don't, that is even more reason to see this documentary on the strange and compelling life and death of one of the most morally complex figures to come out of the Holocaust.” Grade “A”
- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"The two-hour film, “Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt With Nazis,” took its director, Gaylen Ross, more than eight years to make. The movie presents new information, including allegations by the confessed gunman, Ze’ev Eckstein, that others were in on the plot but never prosecuted, and it has already been acclaimed in Israel, Canada, England and Hungary. It also suggests that Mr. Kasztner had acted with the knowledge of Jewish Agency officials he later protected."
- Ralph Blumenthal, New York Times
“A gripping study of how a nation defines itself through its heroes”
- New York Time Out
"Grade A" -unravels 66-year mystery of Rezso Kasztner"
-Clint O'Connor, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER
”It’s one thing when a documentary tells a story that has already unfolded. But when it provides a new window onto the past and even creates new chapters, that’s when documentary filmmaking reaches its pinnacle. This is where filmmaker Gaylen Ross has found herself with “Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt with Nazis.”
- Alison Gang, San Diego Union-Tribune
“.. Did I say a film? Indeed, I did… it is actually a searing documentary.. this is a movie so philosophically contentious, also in the abstract, that anyone who ponders well will want to ponder here.”
- Marty Peretz, Editor, The New Republic
.. a narrative that rivals any Hollywood political thriller: Jews literally sold into freedom, an explosive trial, high-level political cover-ups, fanatical terrorists and a scandal that threatened the future of the new Israeli nation. The movie is an onion; Ross peels back layers of the story, spacing out surprises over the length of the film, until we finally see the whole disturbing picture.”
- Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer
"Killing Kasztner.. digs deep and scores big"
- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle
"..poses hard questions about how countries pick their heroes and scapegoats from history."
- Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun Times
"...explores in fascinating detail the ethical complexities of Kasztner’s wartime negotiations and the political intricacies surrounding the fateful libel trial."
- J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"fascinating look at this complex man and the still-smoldering argument about his legacy."
- Jonathan Richards, Santa Fe New Mexican
“Brilliant... I urge everyone, Jew and Gentile, to see this film …‘Killing Kasztner’ will cause you to weep…
- Ed Koch (former Mayor, New York) The Atlantic Monthly
“Killing Kasztner" is crammed with vivid detail …Did he truly sell his soul, or was he just, as a family member says in the film, the wrong kind of hero? The film fascinates even as the man himself remains elusive. …
- Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
Killing Kasztner: A True-Life Espionage Thriller...takes seemingly simple moral statements (Nazis = always and everywhere bad; saving Jews = always and everywhere good) and fractures them with a fascinating and troubling kaleidoscope of truths and educated guesses."
-Brendon Kiley, Seattle "The Stranger"
“Gaylen Ross’s splendid new documentary, “Killing Kasztner,” comes at a time when a new generation of Israelis is rediscovering a forgotten conflict, one that threatened to tear apart Israeli society in the 1950s…The film’s verdict joins the consensus of historians: Kasztner, far from being a villain, was a hero. He saved Jews, thousands of them.”
-Jerome Chanes, The Jewish Forward
“I thought I knew the whole story, but after seeing the remarkable film, “Killing Kasztner,” I now realize how much I didn't know. See this film to understand the choices the Holocaust forced human beings to make and their struggle to be decent and humane.”
-Abraham H. Fox, Former National Director, Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor
“One of the Ten Best Films of the Year”
- Hannah Brown, The Jerusalem Post
The Kasztner Conundrum - George Robinson - THE JEWISH WEEK
“... A moment before the official opening, echoes of the first scandal of the festival began to roll. The powerful and impressive documentary "Killing Kasztner", will likely reopen a Pandora’s box .….This film will undoubtedly re-ignite this affair that shook the nation in the 50's.”
- Yehuda Stav, Yediot A'haronot
"Gaylen Ross has made a powerful and compelling documentary. It's a
fascinating story told with great skill by a gifted film-maker."
- Milton Esterow, Publisher and Editor ARTNews
“A stunning, shocking bit of suppressed history that is finally coming to the fore. Makes for fascinating viewing!”
- Jeffrey Lyons, KNBC
"The most remarkable thing about the story behind Gaylen Ross' documentary Killing Kasztner is ... well ... just about everything, actually."
- John Meyer, Pegasus News, Dallas
"If I mentioned the words; conspiracy, intrigue, assassins and courtroom drama – you’d think I was discussing perhaps the new John Grisham novel. But there is a story that contains all these elements – a tale that has been sadly excluded from our history books. Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt with Nazis " **** 4 Stars
-Susan Kandell, PopSyndicate, Dallas
Longboat Key Holocaust victim defends rescuer "she knows she would have died there were it not for one man: Rezso Kasztner."
-Billy Cox, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Not to be missed!
- Richard Chesnoff, Huffington Post
"... a highly personal, haunting account of a man whose name can still prompt tears of both gratitude and rage."
- The Telegraph, (UK )
"Gaylen Ross's excellent documentary speaks to those who Kasztner saved, and to his doubters. It also sets up an extraordinary meeting between Kasztner's daughter and the man who assassinated him."
Hannah Pool, The Guardian (UK)
"A comprehensive and profound film... fascinating and humane treatment of one of the biggest disputes in the early days of the State of Israel"
- Ruta Kupfer, Haaretz (Israel)
"More than 50 years after the murder of Israel (Rudolf) Kastner... the controversy surrounding him is being rekindled...Now a storm has been raised again after the documentary "Killing Kastner" by the American director Gaylen Ross..."
- Ofri Ilani, HAARETZ
“There are few stories that contain an historic mystery, a courtroom drama, a political murder, and a family saga. In the complex story of Dr. Israel Kasztner, that is just the tip of the iceberg…It takes a skilled hand to deal with this colossal drama, and Ross succeeds in connecting all the different parts with sensitivity.”
- Shir Ziv, Israel Today
Take that Tarantino!
-Ami Eden, JTA
“…a fascinating experience, and that is, in many ways, one of the director’s foremost accomplishments …Ross does all this wisely and lucidly-- a fact that carries special importance given the current surge of both Israeli and foreign movies about the memory of the Holocaust, many of which lack the necessary emotional and conceptual eloquence to confront this memory…”
- Uri Klein, Haaretz Guide (Israel)
"A Documentary of Riveting Drama - As someone who knows the dramatic ability of the medium in which she works, Ross offers an emotional and loaded conflict … Killing Kasztner is a lesson in documentary filmmaking. The film is strong, difficult, shocking, reaching far beyond the limited aims of an historical story. It is an emotional and fascinating film, one of those documentaries that turn history into a living lesson in civics – a required class."
- Gidi Orsher, Galeil Tzahal (Israel)
"The story of Yisrael Kasztner is one of the last great untold stories of the Holocaust," says Gaylen Ross, director of the documentary Killing Kasztner.....Ross has devoted the last eight years of her life to unraveling this extraordinarily complex tale, which involves a politically motivated assassination, a famous libel trial, rivalries among different Israeli political factions and a Jew who negotiated with Adolf Eichmann during the last year of World War II. "
- Hannah Brown, THE JERUSALEM POST
"The best drama was found in documentaries"
5***** Killing Kasztner in the best list of 2010
-Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Le documentaire de Gaylen Ross est mis en scene comme un drame, puissant, mysterieux, qui se poursuit encore, plein de frissons, de larmes, de coups de theatre, plus de cinquante ans après la mort du protagoniste, Reszö Kasztner."
- Le Figaro
Ce n’est pas une histoire extraordinaire, mais tout un faisceau de recits étonnants qui sont condenses par ce documentaire. Mene avec une science consommee (parfois un peu trop) du recit et du coup de theatre"
Il arrive, selon l'expression consacree, que la realite depasse la fiction. C'est le cas de l'affaire Kasztner, que ce film, realise en 2008 par l'Américaine Gaylen Ross, a le merite de faire decouvrir au plus grand nombre.
- Le Monde
"C'est cette injustice, cette ecriture mensongere d'un des episodes les plus méconnus de la Seconde Guerre mondiale que raconte le documentaire de Gaylen Ross, un des plus passionnants que l'on ait vus ces dernieres annees."
Radio Interview France with Gaylen Ross, Henry Rousso, and Georges Amsel
"Alongside the sirens, tears, memories and speeches, this year's Holocaust Day in Israel was also influenced by the screening of Killing Kastner, a groundbreaking two-hour documentary directed by Gaylen Ross about the murder in Tel Aviv of Yisrael Kastner by another Jew, Zeev Ekstein, in 1957.
- Hillel Schenker, THE GUARDIAN UK
Bargaining With the Devil: Documentary Focuses on Rudolf Kasztner, Shoa Traitor — Or Hero "...it deserves wide viewing simply for its compelling narration of Kasztner’s experiences during and after the war. Perhaps most important, the film addresses the very contemporary question of whether the man should be regarded as a Jewish hero — and what constitutes a hero."
- Shlomo Schwartzberg, THE FORWARD
….if we start from the point of view that a film's job is to arouse emotion and thought, then "Killing Kasztner" does this better than any film around. My screening partners and I were glued to the screen right up to the credits, and we continued to discuss what we had seen hours later. The Kasztner affair has just begun.
- Avner Shavit, CITY MOUSE
The Kasztner case still inflames tempers in Israel. The killing of Yitzhak Rabin shows that right-wing murder can still certainly happen there, and not just to Palestinians. At two hours and ten minutes, and with extended detailed testimony from a largely unrepentant Ze-ev Eckstein, who gives a step-by-step account of the shooting, the film takes you through a mini-history of Israel's contentious early days, and into debates have not been resolved. Expect Killing Kasztner to fuel those fires on the festival circuit after Toronto.
- David D'Arcy GREEN CINE DAILY
"...the most powerful parts of the film happen in the present; they show the emotions and desires that still rage around the entire affair, more than 50 years since the trial and the murder, and which clarify the fact that certain aspects of the story are still relevant...Kasztner was not a hero that was easy to love... He acted in an impossible environment, and did not deliver a story that is easy to digest, but a complex saga, full of unanswered questions."
- Nirit Anderman, HAARETZ
Killing Kasztner reopens the debate of a 50-year-old tragedy and whether a figure long reviled as a villain of the Holocaust was in fact a heroic saviour of Jewish lives. What was, and is, the reaction of your film and this true story?
- Sharon Adler, Aviva Magazine Interview
"To an even greater degree than Oskar Schindler, Dr. Israel Kasztner played a key role in saving the lives of well over 1,000 Jews from the Holocaust ... Kasztner's tale thus speaks volumes about the complex loyalties, conflicting allegiances, and deep-seated confusion at the heart of World War II, and those are the gray areas explored by director Gaylen Ross in this penetrative documentary account of Kasztner's life. The film ultimately poses key questions about the extent to which collaboration with the enemy is morally acceptable in a time of war; it reveals the extent to which Kasztner touched innumerable lives, and features deeply moving interviews with Kasztner's family (who are still attempting to restore his legacy), even as it also features conversations with Kasztner's political opponents and detractors."
- Nathan Southern, ALLMOVIE.COM
"Tomorrow night the Yad Vashem Holocaust Rembrance Authority will host an official screening of the documentary "Killing Kasztner"Israel Kasztner saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews by negotiating with Nazi officers. After World War II, Kasztner immigrated to Israel and was murdered by a Jew after he was accused of collaborating with the Nazis. In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that he was also my grandfather..."
- Merav Michaeli, HAARETZ
Rescuees plan first Kasztner memorial
- Ofri Ilani HAARETZ