Page 25 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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resisted reached power. The writer Leo Hirsch ascertained sum­
marily in the
Jiidische Rundschau(
1937) that after 1933, aside
from “isolated publications” elsewhere, only Schocken Verlag
stuck to “its sphere” of a “methodical concept of Jewish pub­
That brings me to the question of the value and effect of
Jewish cultural activity during the time of the Third Reich,
which has been viewed by some so negatively. The statement
that efforts to create and to bring Jewish cultural values closer
to the German Jews remained ineffectual reminds me of the
bitter remark of Hans Gunther Adler, who claimed that the
concentration camp Theresienstadt did not bring a single Jew
living there back to Judaism or motivate the “adherent of a
‘Jewish ideology”’ to a “freer and deeper contemplation.”24 We
wonder: were endeavors in theater and in Jewish publishing
entirely pointless?
There was no lack of contemporary voices to suggest that
conclusion. Lucia Jacoby, the head of the Philo-Verlag, wrote
in the
in the fall of 1937: “A voluntary intellectual
switch to Jewish subjects has taken place only to a small extent
in the book world.”25 How small this extent was is evident from
the sales figures of Jewish books. As I mentioned earlier, about
30,000 copies of the Jewish bestseller, the little
were sold within three years. As an introductory handbook,
which served as a first orientation in the area of Judaism, this
with Arnold Pauker (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1965: Schriftenreihe
wissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen des Leo Baeck Instituts 13), pp. 405-499
idem, Der jiidische Abwehrkampf gegen Antisemitismuss und
Nationalsozialismus in den letzten Jahren der Weimarer Republik,
2nd ed. (Ham­
burg, 1969) (Hamburger Beitrage zur Zeitgeschichte, Vol. IV).
23 Leo Hirsch, ‘Urn das jiidische Buch. Eine Mahnung an den Leser,’ in
XXXXII, no. 67 (August 24, 1937), p. 11.
24 H.G. Adler,
Theresienstadt, 1941-1945. Das Antlitz einer Zwangsgemeinschaft
(Tubingen, 1955), pp. 648f.
25 Lucia Jacoby, ‘Ich mochte ein Buch . . . ’, in
XVI, no. 45 (No­
vember 11, 1937), p. 7f. Cf. also the positions taken by Soma Morgenstern
and Hans Bach in the context o f the survey ‘Gegenwart und Zukunft der
jiidischen Literatur,’ in
Der Morgen,
12, no. 6 (September 1936), p. 225f.,
and 13, no. 8 (November 1937), p. 316.