WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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Shmuel Tamir's involvement in the Kastner case was an interesting coincidence to us, for Serge and I had been involved in another case that was indirectly related – an example of how small and how tight the circles of the former S.S. are.

Kastner had saved S.S.-Standartenführer Kurt Becher, Himmler's special representative in Budapest, from the gallows at Nuremberg through his accommodating testimony. So Kastner was now even with Becher, who had protected him in the past just in case of such an eventuality. Becher knew that Kastner would have to cover up for him or his role in the slaughter of the Hungarian Jews would be disclosed. It would have come to light then how Kastner had continuously persuaded masses of Jews to go quietly to the "work" camp at Auschwitz. Kastner was fully aware of the fate that awaited them there; he also knew that many Hungarian Jews could have saved themselves by going underground or by fleeing to Rumania if he had warned them, at the risk of his life and that of his family.

On February 17, 1958, the Israeli Supreme Court solemnly declared that "Kurt Becher was a war criminal not only in the technical sense of the term but in a still more terrifying sense." Becher had also been guilty of enormous confiscations and extortions of funds from Jews. He had put those sums into a Swiss
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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