Page 55 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 2

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educational and spiritual endeavors and in fostering Jewish
cultural interchange of thoughts and ideas. The Nazis, more-
over, have pillaged and confiscated our literary treasures in
order to build up their collections of Jewish books in Frank-
fort a. Main, in Munich, and elsewhere. They wish to write
Jewish history without Jews,
Judenf'orschung ohne Juden
; that
is to say that the memory of Israel is to be slandered and black-
ened through propaganda, and through distortion of the truth
through the various Nazi “ institutes” of research on the Jew-
ish question. After they have exterminated us physically, they
would justify that action on so-called historical, ethical and
moral grounds. Thus, at Frankfort a. Main, their Institute
for the Investigation of the Jewish Problem, and its publica-
tion, the quarterly,
Der JVeltkampf: Die Judenfrage in Gesehiehte
und Gegenwart
, will have at their disposal a library of no less
than 350,000 Judaica and Hebraica, lichly augmented through
pillage and confiscation since the Second World War began.
To Frankfort went, for example, a considerable number of ar-
chives of the Rotschilds of Vienna and of Paris; the archives of
the Alliance Israelite Universelle up to the year 1933; the archives
of a number of leading Jewish social and cultural organiza-
tions and of distinguished Jews. Not only have Jews gone into
exile or to concentration camps, but their books also have been
imprisoned and placed in library-shelf ghettoes. Their spirit, too,
has gone into exile, to be redeemed and re-kindled anew with the
resources we have at hand, to be augmented by an historically
conscious American Jewry.
This task is stupendous. To become aware of its significance
one has but to consult the standard Jewish encyclopedias, in
English, German, Russian and Hebrew under such captions as
Libraries, Seminaries, Academies, Incunabula, Press, Printing,
Typography, Printing. Re-read Professor Alexander Marx’s essay
on the “Aims and Tasks of Jewish Historiography” (
Publications
of American Jewish Historical Society
, No. 26) where he briefly
sums up the achievements of 100 years (1818-1918) and outlines
in general the task confronting the Jewish historian of the future.
Re-examine Professor Ismar Elbogen’s chapter, “Von Graetz bis
Dubnow” (
Festschrift zu Simon Dubnows siebzigsten Geburtstag).
Judge and compare all that has taken place in Jewish scientific
and literary endeavor since Zunz, one hundred and twenty-five
years ago, wrote his pioneering essay
Etwas ueber die rabbinische
Literatur
in the light of present day events, in order to discern the
magnitude of the spiritual tragedy and the need for bolstering
our spiritual bulwarks, our cultural ramparts — our own academies
of learning, our scholars and students, our journals, books and
periodicals. How great has been the loss! How important it is
to cherish and to strengthen the little that we still have, the
Shearith IsraelI
Today this can be done only in democratic
countries! A university may in a large measure be judged by the
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