Page 381 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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1966 L
“Eliezer Friedland was one of the founders, editors and moving
spirits of these periodicals and the literary movement it repre-
sented. Many of the poems in his prize-winning book were first
published in these magazines. The center has shifted decisively
to Tel-Aviv. But if the sun of Hebrew literature in this country
is setting (at least for the time being), Friedland’s
Poems in a
M inor Key
represents a poignant afterglow, a demonstration that
the efforts expended to forge still another link in the chain of
Hebrew creativity were not in vain.
“These past thirty years have witnessed the aftermath of the
Great Depression, the rise of Hitlerism and the destruction of
European Jewry, the resurgence of the State of Israel, and the
spiritual letdown that has afflicted the postwar era. All this is
reflected in the highly individualized prism of Friedland's imagistic
verse which fuses the forms and techniques of American poetry
of the 20’s and 30’s with those of Palestine Hebrew poetry of the
Third Aliyah. As the name of the book implies, Friedland’s poetry
is keyed to a melancholy note. But his brooding over the barren-
ness of days and the vain struggle to eke out a measure of reality
and immortality from the otherwise sterile cycle of life and death,
is punctuated by a sense of exhilaration over the triumphant
resurgence of nature and the inexorable will of man not to forget.
Ultimately, the poet is committed to salvaging what he can from
the jaws of oblivion and death. Friedland’s poems are exquisitely
musical and polyphonic. Once read and understood, they are
Leon Jolson Award
The winner of the Leon Jolson Award for a book in Yiddish on
the Nazi Holocaust was selected by Dr. Eric Goldhagen, director
of the Institute of East European Jewish Studies at Brandeis Uni-
versity, Dr. Elias Schulman, librarian of the Jewish Education
Committee of New York, and Dr. Shlomo Noble, distinguished
author and teacher. Dr. Noble made the presentation on behalf of
the judges. He said:
“The catastrophic events of the third and fourth decades of
our century produced a new genre of Jewish writing, namely, the
history of the Holocaust. The scope of this history is so vast, its
meaning so baffling, its implications so challenging that they defy
the traditional forms and methods of the historical discipline. In
its organization and execution, the Holocaust was an experience
altogether unprecedented in Jewish life; consequently, new tools
and new forms have to be employed in its presentation.
“In a sense, from the very beginning, all writers on the Holo-
caust have been creating their instruments of research and their