Page 214 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
influence on the Polish Jewish community between the two
World Wars and took an active stand against Zionism.
c) Admiration for the contemporary Jew as a person and for
the Jewish people and its heritage, and the highlighting o f their
spiritual contribution to humanity and civilization by stressing
the lofty image o f the Prophets and the Divine Spirit exemplified
by his fellow-Jews.
d) Significance o f the Holocaust from an historical point o f
view against the background o f the Judeo-Christian confronta­
tion in Western culture.
The
Diary
represents a total effort to treat various specific
themes that are loosely connected and flow from the author’s
consciousness. Rather than offering a chronological record o f
events, it bespeaks an effort to give artistic form to the author’s
flow o f thoughts and emotions.
The incorporation o f numerous sub-topics as part o f the over­
all thematic treatment, through use o f a stream o f consciousness
technique, is what gives unity to the
Vittel Diary,
despite its multi­
plicity o f subjects and its sudden shiftings. We are presented with
the author’s deepest responses to events and the baring o f his
soul as a Jew and poet over the short period o f a few weeks.
What characterizes the work, then, is not any planned struc­
ture, but an inner unity which springs from the very being o f the
writer. He makes extensive use o f rhetorical devices, such as rep­
etition o f words and expressions, figurative language, allusions
to literary and biblical sources, direct speech and the like. Many
o f his lengthy paragraphs read like monologues whose compo­
nents are linked together by the association o f ideas. Katzenelson
is motivated throughout by an awareness that he is the sole sur­
vivor o f the group o f Warsaw writers and that there is no one else
to lament for the murdered Jewish people. Only by recording the
horrors he experienced, including the death o f his wife and chil­
dren on the eve o f Mila Day, is he able to retain his sanity.
H IS J ’ACCUSE
In attempting to account for the events o f the Holocaust,
Katzenelson.points to two factors: (a) The Western Christian civ­
ilization. He reiterates, in various forms, his condemnation o f the
nations which remained silent; (b) the entire German people, or
the “Hitler people,” as he terms it, which he presents as the evil