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NEXT STORY

Did this little Jew meet Eichmann the devil?

RELATED STORIES

The 'fatal' envelope
Uri Avnery Social activist
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אני אתחיל עם קסטנר, אני הכרתי בירושלים יהודי זקן בשם מלכיאל גרינוולד. מלכיאל גרינוולד היה מכת העיתונאים. הוא היה אורב בקפה וינה ברחוב יפו בירושלים, והיה נדבק לעיתונאים ומספר להם סיפורים - אלף לילה ולילה. הוא היה יהודי הונגרי קשיש, בעל בית מלון בסביבה. והוא היה שולח, מדי פעם הייתי מקבל מעטפה, בפנים כמה עמודים מודפסים בסטנסיל. לא יודע אם כל האנשים יודעים מה זה סטנסיל. זו מכונת שכפול כזאת, שהיו מפעילים ביד והיה מדפיס. בימים ההם. ובפנים היה חומר. הכותרת הייתה: "לחבריי ב’מזרחי'". "מזרחי" הייתה לפני המפד”ל, שהייתה לפני "הבית היהודי”, מפלגה דתית לאומית. ובפנים היו סיפורים מסיפורים שונים, משעממים, לא אמינים, דברים שהוא קלט בבית הקפה. ובמשך הזמן התרגלתי לזרוק אותם לסל מבלי לפתוח. אני כבר הכרתי את המעטפות. וכך גם קרה, נדמה לי כך גם קרה למעטפה "הגורלית". במעטפה "הגורלית" היה סיפור דמיוני לחלוטין, על אחד בשם קסטנר, שהיה שותפו של אדולף אייכמן ושיתף פעולה בהשמדת יהודי הונגריה. הדבר היה מגוחך על פניו. אל״ף, הכרתי את קסטנר. הוא היה פקיד קטן במשרד המסחר והתעשייה, שקודם נקרא "משרד הקיצוב", והוא היה פקיד אחראי לעיתונות. וכשהממשלה התנכלה לנו ב"העולם הזה" ולא נתנה לנו נייר להדפסה, אז הלכנו אליו ועשינו שביתת שבת במשרד שם. הוא עזר לנו. היו יחסים בסך הכל טובים. אז כשהאיש הזה, הפקיד הקטן הזה, בקומת הגג של בניין פאלאס היה שותף של אייכמן.‏

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 Mizrachi superseded Mafdal, which superseded Bayit Yehudi.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?

Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Jerusalem, Malkiel Grünwald, Adolf Eichmann, Israel Kastner

Duration: 3 minutes, 56 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017