Page 199 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

Basic HTML Version

LIPTZIN /REHABILITATION OF ARNOLD ZWEIG
191
then published diatribes against the Zionist movement. Urged
to desist, he refused and was denounced as a traitor and as­
sassinated.
Zweig transposed the tragic end o f De Haan to 1929, when
Arab riots broke out. His novel was full o f praise for Jews who
resisted pogroms, weapons in hand, and continued with their
productive labor on the ancestral soil.
D E F E N D E R O F J E W R Y
When Hitler came to power a few months after the publi­
cation o f the novel, Zweig was able to escape to France. There
he collaborated with Lion Feuchtwanger on a pamphlet
Die
Aufgabe des Judentums
(The Task o f Jewry), 1933, in which anti-
Semitism was denounced as degrading both Jews and non-Jews.
In great haste, he also completed in 1933, his polemic volume
Bilanz der deutschen Judenheit
(German Jewry Considered), in
which he detailed the cultural contributions which Jews had
made to Germany. They differed from other Germans to no
greater extent than a Bavarian differed from a Frisian. Only
in Eastern Europe were Jews a distinct people whose masses
had a unique way o f life, spoke a common language — Yiddish,
and had a literature o f their own. In Germany, however, they
were as much German spiritually, economically, politically and
linguistically as were Bavarians, Saxons, or Swabians. Now that
they were ostracized and threatened with extermination by their
fellow Germans, they found comfort, understanding, encour­
agement, and strength to endure among their community o f
fate — “Schicksalsgemeinschaft.” In their distress, a practical,
desirable plank o f rescue was available to them in Palestine.
Zweig chose this plank for himself.
At the end o f the eventful year 1933, he arrived in Palestine
and took up residence on Mt. Carmel, in the vicinity o f his
friend, the artist Hermann Struck. When Zweig had come as
a tourist during the preceding year, he had been feted and
adulated. Now he was coming as a refugee who, like thousands
o f other fleeing German Jews, faced practical problems o f ad­
justment to a lower standard o f living. Without a knowledge
o f Hebrew, he was mute and while other German writers, who
found a safe haven in Palestine, mastered the new language
in a reasonably short time, he could not because o f his failing