Page 54 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
4 6
during the Holocaust and his post-Holocaust existence. Even
madness is no escape. His guilt is overpowering and his only
way out is suicide .The part of Sigmund with his tormented
inner world was played by the late Aharon Meskin of the Ha-
bima theatre with superb inner strength, and sensitivity.
Tomer is not interested in German guilt, a theme so com-
mon in German and European plays. His main concern is
the Jewish survivor’s struggle with rehabilitation. For a country
like Israel, where Holocaust survivors comprise a high per-
centage of the population, this was one of the most diffi-
cult problems. In Tomer’s play young survivors, like Yoram
and Helenka, are afraid of life: yet, youth is in their favor
and they are able to overcome. Tomer seems to imply tha t
“normalcy” for the adult survivor is a difficult task, beyond real-
ization. Sigmund finds the solution in the waves of the sea.
Another survivor sells balloons, a symbolic occupation of
nothingness. Israeli society and its attempt to “absorb” the sur-
vivors is marginal to the play and is represented by N u rit and
the couple’s friend, Dubi.
TWO GENERAT IONS
In
The Last Jew
15 by Uri Assaf and Yaffa Eliach, the lives
of two generations are constantly marred by the trauma of
the Holocaust. Vladimir, a convert to Judaism, is the son of
a collaborator who murdered the Jews of Eisyski in 1941 and
his wife Bluma is the daughter of the Last Jew. Both Vladimir
and Bluma emigrated to Israel from the Soviet Union and are
psychiatrists in a mental institution. Yigal Sinai is an Israeli
Intelligence officer who screens Russian immigrants. T he older
generation is represented by Schneiderman, Bluma’s father, the
sole adult Jewish survivor of Eisyski who continued to live
in the town for thirty years, and Levangorski, Schneiderman’s
business associate who is Vladimir’s father and a former Nazi
collaborator. Nachummadman and Maphtir-Yonah are two
lunatic survivors from Eisyski living in a mental institution in
Israel under Vladimir’s care.
Each protagonist from his own perspective, experiences the
15 Yaffa Eliach and Uri Assaf,
The Last Jew,
trans. from the Hebrew
by Yaffa Eliach. Alef-Alef Theatre Publications, Israel, 1977.