Page 66 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 1

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against cruelty! I t is to belong to a race that has given
Europe its religion, its moral law, and much of its science—
perhaps even more of its genius—in art, literature and music.
“Th is is to be a Jew; and you know now what is required
of you. You have no country but the world, and you inherit
nothing bu t wisdom and brotherhood. I do not say there are
no bad Jews—usurers, cowards, corrupt and unjust persons—
bu t such people are also to be found among Christians. I only
say to you this is to be a good Jew. Every Jew has this aim
brought before him in his youth. He refuses it at his peril;
and at his peril he accepts it.”
Anne Parrish’s
Pray for a Tomorrow
is a fantasy involving a
Jewish refugee; R. C. Hutchinson’s
The Fire and the Wood
is
concerned with a Jewish refugee physician; and Nevile Shute’s
delightful
Pied Piper
describes how a Jewish child’s soul becomes
bitter with hate at the murder of his parents by the Nazis.
Undoubtedly, the most memorable, perhaps immortal portra it
of a German Jewish family
in extremis
has been created by
Upton Sinclair in his epic novels
Wor ld’s End, Between Two
Worlds
and
Dragon’s Teeth,
with others to come. Wi th remark-
able skill Sinclair has chronicled the events of our times from
before
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down to
1 9 3 4
• We meet the central Jewish char-
acter, Johannes Robin, in
Wor ld’s End
where he and Robbie
Budd, father of Lanny Budd, the hero of the epic, join in a
business adventure. We follow the Robin family through the
second volume where the coming of Hitler casts its gray shadows
upon the fortunes of the Robins, down to
Dragon’s Tee th
where
the storm breaks and the Robin family, persecuted and tortured,
are helped by their American friends to escape to free America.
This third volume is almost entirely taken up with conditions
inside Germany, and the tragedy of the Jewish people there.
Unlike Phyllis Bottome’s idealized and romanticized picture
of Jewish life and character, Upton Sinclair strives for realism.
Johannes Robin is a man of the world, an enormous money-
maker, shrewd and capable, bu t honest and in his own way con-
siderate. His absorption in his business has made him one of the
richest men in Germany. There is much in him to like, con-
siderable to admire, and some little to despise. His sons, Hansi
and Freddi, embody together intellectual and artistic abilities,
and heartily dislike the materialistic pursuits of their father. T h e
old mother never loses her Ghetto traits, her sweet simplicity and
sincerity, her innate loyalty to Judaism. This is a real Jewish
family, portrayed with fine insight and profound understanding.
Sinclair attempts no heroics so far as these Jews are concerned.
These Jews are not better, and certainly not worse than the rest
of humanity. They are human beings facing agony and death.
Writing of Upton Sinclair’s masterpiece, Dr. John Haynes
Holmes in
Opinion,
says:
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