Page 97 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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91
P
arzen
— L
eo
P
insker
the dead must be sounded . . . I am only a doctor . . . with
a limited circle of friends; I can only look on from afar. But
you . . . possess both a good name and a profession; because
of these you can raise your voice and engage in propaganda
on behalf of our cause . . . as soon as our idea takes root
our first task will have to be the convening of a Congress.
Perhaps this work should begin at once. I am ready for any
sacrifice I shall be called upon to make. But to my regret
all my sacrifices will not add up to very much. You are the
man of action. Enter the struggle and I shall willingly be
your faithful adherent.5
This note is patently a prose poem; in striking, succinct
strokes it reveals the writer's character and the need of the hour.
Space forbids additional sketches etched in his letters to his
co-workers. But in his own words, “we may sum up the contents
of this pamphlet [
Auto-Emancipation
] in the following sen-
tences” :
The Jews are not a living nation; they are everywhere
aliens, therefore despised. The civil and political emancipa-
tion of the Jews is insufficient to raise them in the estimation
of the peoples.
The proper, the only remedy would be the creation of a
Jewish nationality, of a people living on its own soil, the
auto-emancipation of the Jews . . .
The lack of national self-respect and self-confidence, of
political initiative and unity, are the enemies of our na-
tional renaissance.
We must have an extensive, productive place of refuge,
a
rendezvous
which is our own . . .
The international Jewish question must receive a na-
tional solution. . . .
We
must take the first step. Our
descendants
must follow us . . .
A way must be opened for the national regeneration of
the Jews by a Congress of Jewish notables . . .
Help yourselves and God will help you!6
These are jarring ideas today. They were a hundredfold more
irritating then. The literature of the national rebirth hardly has
an infuriating and provocative work comparable to
Auto-Eman-
cipation.
I t seared the spirit of Jews to action, favorable or
antagonistic.
5
יכ ד ר מ י
.ילאו
.י .ל פ י
:רקסנ
רשבמ התה י ה
תימ ואלה
לת(
,ביבא
,)ך"שת
מע, 139 .
.
22-23 .
AE, pp
״