Page 224 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
signal account o f Holocaust resistance,
Blessed Is the Match16
which includes the deeply moving meeting with the mother o f
Hannah Senesh; the interview with Joel Brandt who tells o f
his negotiations with A d o lf Eichmann for the ransom o f Jews
in the famous “goods for blood” episode; and Marie Syrkin’s
own inspired translation from the Hebrew o f Hannah Senesh’s
already widely quoted poem “ Blessed Is the Match.”
While in Palestine Marie observed the plight o f survivors
caught in the pincers o f British mandatory policy and Arab
terrorism. This was just prior to the twenty-second Zionist Con­
ference o f December 1946 where the burning issue o f Partition
would be the major concern. Drawing on her recent experience
in post-war Palestine, Marie then wrote a powerful article on
the urgent need for partition.17 It was during the 1946 visit
as well that Marie Syrkin had her personal adventure with un­
derground activity. She was recruited to give the first English
language broadcasts on the secret radio o f the Voice o f Israel.
The critical need for partition and for the establishment o f
a Jewish State became even more apparent when in January
o f 1947, Marie Syrkin received permission to visit the DP camps
in the American Zone in Germany. Not only was she gathering
material for a first-hand account o f the desperate plight o f those
survivors still trapped in the camps, but also she had the onerous
task o f finding suitable candidates for Hillel scholarships to
American universities; she was to choose no more than fifty
from the entire American Zone in Germany, a task which she
has characterized as “a heartbreaking as well as responsible as­
signment.” 18
This excruciating experience quickly was followed by her re­
turn in July, 1948 to the new State o f Israel, just after the siege
o f Jerusalem. One o f her primary tasks on this trip was to draw
up an official report on the continuing Arab exodus and on
the accusation that the new government o f Israel had destroyed
mosques and other holy places. Her study was to be the basis
o f an account to be given by the Israeli government at the Unit­
ed Nations. T o gather material for this document, Marie trav­
16. Marie Syrkin,
Blessed Is the Match,
Philadelphia, 1947.
17. “Why Partition?”
Jewish Frontier
(Novem be r 1946), reprinted in
The State
o f the Jews,
p. 28.
18. “Th e Hardest Examination,”
Jewish Frontier
(1945), reprinted in
The State
o f the Jews,
p. 28.