The Deathmaster by Hugo N. Gerstl

The Deathmaster by Hugo N. Gerstl

Does the rescue of 1600 men, women, and children justify aiding and abetting the murder of more than half a million others? Under these circumstances, is it morally imperative for one man to bring down an entire government? A young attorney defends an old man accused of criminal libel and must confront these agonizing ethical questions arising from the Holocaust.

Jerusalem, 1953-1954. A 72-year-old pensioner, Malchiel Greenwald, publishes a mimeographed newsletter accusing Rudolph Kasztner, Deputy Minister for Trade and a prominent Israeli politician, of being complicit in the deaths of 800,000 Hungarian Jews during 1944, when he was Chairman of the Hungarian Jewish Rescue Committee. Kasztner demands that the State of Israel bring a criminal libel action against the virtually penniless Greenwald for this defamatory publication. Greenwald manages to convince brilliant lawyer and former Irgun “terrorist,” Samuel Tamir, to take on his defense at no cost. On a frigid December day in 1953, Greenwald could not know, nor could he imagine, that he was about to walk into the history of Israel; and that fourteen months later, when the trial concluded and the verdict was announced, the government of Prime Minister Moshe Sharett would be brought down, and the Holy Land would never be the same again.

Even today, more than 65 years later, this tale, which has been largely suppressed until now, remains a “hot potato” in Israel. And international bestselling author Hugo N. Gerstl, author of Assassin, The Wrecking Crew, Scribe, and Against All Odds, himself a nationally known trial lawyer, brings the proceedings to the forefront in this riveting historical thriller.

Year first published: 2024

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