for forthcoming uk programmes of jewish or israeli interest

Rudolf Kastner (1 of 2)

tomorrow morning (thursday 17th), 11.30am-12.00, on bbc radio 4
setting the past free (presented by mark lawson) (1st of 2 weekly episodes)

For some Rudolf Kastner is a hero, for others a traitor. Mark Lawson explores the cultural retellings of a story that began in Nazi occupied Hungary in 1944.

At the time Kastner, a lawyer and a journalist, was deputy chairman of the Relief and Rescue Committee. He negotiated with Adolf Eichmann to save Jewish lives – but did he pay for them with other Jewish lives? This question has been the subject of court trials, books, poetry, documentaries, television dramas, and plays – each one retelling Kastner’s story from a new perspective.
Two of those cultural retellings, one in the UK – the 1987 play Perdition, and the other in Israel – the 1994 television drama The Kastner Trial, managed to make headlines of their own. And still the retellings continue, with one of Israel’s most celebrated playwrights, Motti Lerner, in the process of writing a new version of Kastner’s story.
The new play will be staged at Israel’s National Theatre in 2017, thirty years after Jim Allen‘s play, Perdition, led to one of the most incendiary episodes in British theatre history.”
“1. Rudolf Kastner’s story outside Israel:
In part 1, Mark Lawson talks to those outside Israel – including the film director Ken Loach, the historian Professor Deborah Lipstadt, and the theatre critic Michael Billington – who have wrestled with Kastner’s story and the issues it raises.”

(if you miss it, available at


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