Page 162 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
German Reparations: A History o f the Negotiations
(Jerusalem,
1980; German edition,
Wiedergutmachung fu r Israel
: Stuttgart,
1980) is Nana Sagi’s study of the history o f the contacts and nego­
tiations that led up to the Luxembourg Agreement between the
German Federal Republic, on the one hand, and the State o f Is­
rael and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against
Germany, on the other. The background o f the negotiations, the
deliberations themselves, the agreements and the struggle waged
for their approval form the content o f the study.
LITERARY RECORD
The Holocaust in literature is the topic presented by Sidra
DeKoven Ezrahi in
By Words Alone
(Chicago, 1980; pb 1982). The
au thor locates the literature along a five-stage continuum that
stretches from realism to myth. The first stage, documentary
literature, preserves a “sacred” attitude towards broad historical
processes. T h e second stage, defined as “concen tra tionary
realism,” also reflects the artist’s primary sense o f loyalty to fact.
In the next stage, the “survival novels,” the tyranny o f fact over
imagination is challenged through the use o f metaphor, fantasy
and memory. The fourth stage on the continuum relates to the
Holocaust as a Jewish tragedy, where collective Jewish history
and forms of memory rather than personal biography provide
the links between past and future. The final stage, and most rad i­
cal fo rm o f th e a b so rp t io n o f th e h is to r ic a l ev en t in to
imagination, is the realm o f myth, where writers distill the ho r­
rors o f history into the essential symbols o f violence, evil and
death. The last chapter of the book is a separate literary history of
the resonances of the Holocaust in American literature.
In
Spain, the Jews and Franco
(Philadelphia, 1982; Spanish edi­
tion:
Espania, Franco y los Judios,
Madrid, 1983), Haim Avni ad­
dresses a question that has long been a matter of controversy: the
role played by Spain regarding the Jews during World War II.
This investigation is viewed within the context o f Spain’s unique
relationship with the Jewish people since the Edict o f Expulsion
in 1492. It traces the impact o f this event upon the attitudes and
expectations of both the Spanish authorities and Jewish organi­
zations regarding the rescue of the Jews, and tries to evaluate the
extent to which rescue opportunities were actually exploited.
Zionism and the history o f the renewal o f Jewish settlement in