Page 54 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 2

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held in London, thought was given to the formulation of plans
for the restoration of the continental Jewish libraries, archives
and museums, which the Nazis have destroyed or pillaged.
What began, however, as an attack on Jewish books logically
led to deliberate incendiary attacks on the vulnerable book-center
of London; for on the night of December 29, 1940, to which we
have already referred, many book-selling houses and publishing
firms were destroyed. Stationer’s Hall, the center of the British
book trade, which had escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666,
during Milton’s lifetime, on that night went up in smoke. Stocks
of books, roughly estimated at six million, were devoured by the
flames a little over six and one-half years after non-Aryan books
had been consumed in the public bonfires in Berlin. The challenge
is to all free men and will be answered by free men!!
Our enemies know that memory starves through inactivity.
Destroy our books, our libraries, our journals of expression, our
learning and thought, and victory is assured for them. During
the year 1939 the thirty-fifth volume of the
Publications
of the
American Jewish Historical Society appeared. A copy was sent
via the Smithsonian Institution of Washington to the Jewish
Theological Seminary of Breslau. The
Publication
was returned
to the sender. I t bore the following label, placed there by the
German postal authorities,
Firma erloschen
,
Raison sociale n existe
plus.
Extinguished! Gone! The school that had influenced modern
Jewish historiography; where Graetz had taught; where Fraenkel’s
historical approach to Judaism had been propounded! The war
of destruction of Jewish values had begun long before the war’s
formal outbreak in September, 1939.
But as long as Jewish life continues elsewhere, untrammelled,
unfettered, in America, in England, in Palestine, we shall not be
conquered. As long as the organs of the expression of our spirit
and of our culture are not starved by a short-sighted parsimony,
so long shall we live. As long as our institutions of learning, our
scholars and writers, our libraries and museums, our books and
journals, can flourish on free soil, so long is Israel’s immortality
assured. So long as books can be published, disseminated and made
accessible, so long will the spirit thrive. The havoc wrought by the
destruction of the living monuments of Israel’s memory on con-
tinental Europe, its academies of learning, its press, its libraries,
its scientific periodicals, its popular newspapers, impose upon
the free communities of Jews throughout the world the historic
duty and responsibility to live up the tasks imposed upon them
by the fortunes of history. Our schools, the
Hochschulefue r Wissen-
schaft des Judentums
, the
Yeshiboth
of Eastern Europe, our libraries,
the Amsterdam Jewish collections, the Straschun Library; our
learned periodicals, the
Monatsschriftfuer Geschichte und Wissen-
schaft des Judentums
, the
Revue des Etudes Juives
; and the various
Jewish communal libraries and museums of Berlin, Paris, Warsaw
and Vienna, for example, are no longer with us to assist us in our
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