By mid-1944, the Jews of Hungary were being deported at a frightening rate, most to Auschwitz. Against this backdrop, Rudolf Kasztner negotiated directly with the Nazi Adolf Eichmann to release Jews in exchange for payment. The story of the rescue transport that carried 1,676 Jewish men women and children is one of the most thought-provoking episodes of the Holocaust.
To some, Kasztner was a literal life saver. To others, he was the subject of much controversy. Among those on that train was eight-year-old Imi Mandel, son of a prominant cantor. How he came to be included in the uncertain journey that travelled from Budapest to the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp and, after six months, on to freedom is but one part of Terry Horowitz’s vividly-told history of the Mandels.
Imi, now known as Manny, has had a successful, rewarding life. The saga of the Mandel family offers us a rich detail of the Jewish world before and during the war, along with its aftermath, and becomes a chronicle of a quintessential American life.