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Concentration camps in Poland

Gitta Sereny

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The fatal envelope

Uri Avnery - Social activist

Let's start with Kastner, I knew an old Jewish man in Jerusalem named Malkiel Grünwald. Malkiel Grünwald was the scourge of the journalists. He would lurk in the Vienna Cafe on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, and would attach himself to journalists and tell them stories – Arabian Nights. He was an old Hungarian Jew, and owned a hotel in the area. Now and then I would receive an envelope, and inside it would be a couple of stenciled pages. I do not know if everyone knows what a stencil is. It was a copying machine which was hand-operated for printing in those days. And it contained material. The title was: To my friends in Mizrachi. Mizrachi superseded Mafdal, which superseded Bayit Yehudi. National Religious Party. And inside were different stories, boring, unreliable things that he overheard at the cafe. And over time I got into the habit of throwing them straight into the waste-basket without opening them. I already recognised the envelopes. And this was what happened, I think, with the 'fatal' envelope. The 'fatal' envelope contained an entirely fictional story about someone named Kastner, who was an associate of Adolf Eichmann and had collaborated in the extermination of the Hungarian Jews. It was totally absurd. In the first place, I had met Kastner. He was a minor clerk in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which had formerly been called the Ministry of Rationing, and he was responsible for the Press. When the government conspired against us at HaOlam HaZeh and did not give us paper for printing, we went to him and conducted a sit-in in the office there. He helped us. In general, we had a good relationship. So how could this man, this small man, on the top floor of the palace building, be in partnership with Eichmann?

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