Page 61 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

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55
T
e m k in
— O
ld
F
r ien d s
R
e v is it ed
Is it all worth while? There are exceptions. I t is difficult to
believe that Sokolow’s
History of Zionism
ever enjoyed the status
which rendered it worthy of being disinterred. A contemporary
once told me that Sokolow kept a sack under the bed of the
London hotel in which he stayed during the First World War,
into which he consigned a few pages of his history whenever he
had a spare moment to dash them off. The result is a tribute to
the flair of a vanished breed of
maskilim,
but hardly organized
history. Besides, the Zionist movement went on to innumerable
fresh achievements in the years after 1918, when Sokolow wrote,
and a great deal of archival material is accessible which then was
unknown. Here is an obvious task awaiting Jewish historians of
the present day. For the most part, however, an unqualified
welcome can be given to these offerings from the past. The present
century has seen one of the sharpest breaks that Jewish history
has known. The fact that, working on a purely commercial basis,
publishers have felt the need to supply the post-Holocaust gen-
eration with the works of pre-Holocaust scholars, shows that con-
tinuity still exists. We do not have to begin again. We do have
friends from the past and can visit them if we will.