Page 30 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

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24
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Joseph Kessel as a member of the French Academy is one more
reminder that many other Jewish authors could become more
interested in things Jewish. Conceivably, a reason for this lack
of interest can be found in the fact that there is no Jewish
press or review in French which can attract, help or publish
the young Jewish writer. French Judaism has no Jewish weekly.
A few months ago it lost its only good review, the American
Jewish Committee supported
Evidences.
Apart from a few modest
parochial papers, the only remaining publication is a monthly,
Arche,
published by the French equivalent of U. J. A. But
Arche
is rather a magazine, and cannot be a literary influence.
It is odd to note that French Jewry supports two Yiddish
dailies, one Zionist oriented
Unser Wort,
and the other com­
munist directed
Freie Presse.
There is also an intermittent daily
published by Bund, not to mention weeklies and monthlies.
Of these the only publication with a measure of influence is
Unser Wort.
In a country where not more than 15 to 20 percent
of the population is Yiddish-speaking (how many are Yiddish-
reading?), this paper managed to gather a team of Yiddish
litterateurs who keep writing and publishing. It achieved some­
thing French speaking Jewry could not do for its writers. One
cannot therefore ignore an important and active Yiddish liter­
ary effort in France. To be sure, this effort was imported; no
Yiddish writer received his schooling in France. All came from
Eastern Europe and, in a way, followed their readers to France.
Thus important works were published, among which must
be cited Dr. Jacob Zinaman’s
Herzel-buch,
and especially his
Geschichte fun Zionism.
Domankiewitsch contributed a number
of essays: “Fun Aktuelen und eibiken,” and “Werter und
Werten.” Others wrote about Paris and its Jewish immigrant
population. B. Schlewin described in
Belville
the Jewish quarter
of Belleville where many poor immigrants lived before the war
and which was practically uprooted during the war. I t was trans­
lated into French, and now serves as a witness to a past already
lost.
Joseph Schein also remembered time past in his
Wegen
Moskver Yiddischen Teater.
Mendel Mann, who now lives in
Paris, wrote his trilogy:
Moskwe, Warshe, Berlin
in Israel. It
hardly refers to any Jewish experience in France, but it must
be added that in French translation it enjoys great success.
The late Israel Jefroykin, who was the great old man of the
Eastern European immigration to France before and after the
war, asked many questions in his
Cheshbon haNefesh,
where he
tried to find the reasons of Jewish doom and a way to Jewish
existence. He had not participated in the Jewish struggle during
the war, but witnessed it from a distance. He was therefore in
a position to try to understand, at a time when all the other