The Collaborator by Diane Armstrong


It’s March 1944 and Adolf Eichmann is intent on deporting to Auschwitz the last remaining major group of Jews in Europe – the Hungarian Jews. Eichmann is considering an audacious proposal to save over 1600 of these people in exchange for 10,000 trucks to be supplied by the Allies and for use by the Nazis on the Eastern Front. The intermediary in this negotiation is Miklos Nagy, a fictionalised Reszo Kasztner - a figure who, to this day, evokes polarising views about his purpose, methodology and morality.

The book takes us to three different times zones and places – Sydney and Israel 2005, Tel Aviv 1954 and Budapest 1944. Using well-developed fictional characters, Diane unravels the story of the train and its passengers, the impact on Hungarian Jewry and, later, on the fledgling Israeli government. Using her imaginative skills, Diane is able to realistically evoke scenes and conversations involving the real-life personalities and with finely tuned antennae, she explores the moral ambiguity of the choices people make ‘in extremis’ and the misconceptions that arise.

The Collaborator invites the reader to ponder the dilemmas that war brings to the people affected while simultaneously taking the reader on a thrilling emotional journey leading to a spectacular dénouement.

- Rita