Page 193 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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LIPTZIN / REHABILITATION OF ARNOLD ZWEIG
185
o f Jews on the world scene. When I again met him in May
and June 1936 atop Mt. Carmel, a refugee from Hitler’s Ger­
many, he was already wavering in his devotion to the Zionist
cause and wondering whether he should not return to Europe
to participate at closer range in the struggle against Fascism,
then on the upsurge from Madrid to Vienna.
Zweig was born in Glogau, a town in Silesia with a Jewish
population o f about 1000. His father was a harness-maker, who
received sufficient orders from the German army to enable him
to support his family in tolerable comfort. But when Arnold
was only two years old, the army commissary issued an ordi­
nance not to do any purchasing from Jews. The family then
had to abandon Glogau. It moved on to Kattowitz, where five
years earlier the famous Kattowitz Conference had taken place
that united the Hoveve Zion, or Lovers o f Zion, into a worldwide
movement. The town had a mixed population o f Poles, Ger­
mans and Jews. Most o f the 2000 Jews were tradesmen who
shared in the prosperity o f the rapidly expanding community
but who also experienced increasing anti-Semitism. This anti-
Semitism left a deep impact upon the Zweig family. The young
boy came to realize that Jewishness was part o f the fate to which
he was consigned by his birth. His father reacted to the anti-
Jewishness, from which the family suffered, by embracing Zi­
onism. Young Arnold thus grew up in a Zionist home and his
Zionist faith enabled him to withstand with dignity the mockery
o f his classmates and the sarcastic barbs o f his teachers. In ad­
dition, the emergent socialist movement was beginning to attract
idealistic youth in the rapidly industrialized town and, long be­
fore he read Karl Marx, Zweig was dreaming o f Utopian So­
cialism as the antidote to Capitalism.
FORMATIVE INFLUENCES
Zionism and Socialism were hence the two earliest layers in
the structure o f Zweig’s personality. Throughout later life and
in many o f his literary works, these layers came to the fore
in love and in hate, in fervent espousal and in bitter disillu­
sionment.
In 1912, Zweig came under the influence o f Martin Buber
and, when Buber, four years later, founded the influential pe­
riodical
Der Jude,
the aspiring young man frequently contrib­