Page 88 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
at the neighborhood drugstore for an up-to-date compendium
of statistics and facts. The
Ikuf-almanakh,
best appreciated as
a literary miscellany but originally projected as an annual, ap­
pearing in 1961 and again in 1967 under the editorship of an
aging Nachman Meisel, seems to have been the last Yiddish
“almanac” published in the United States.
A somewhat curious American almanac is the
Jewish Family
Almanac
(New York, 1943), published in the midst of World
War II and intended, in large part, “to broaden the horizon
of the average reader and increase his understanding of Jewish
problems and his appreciation of Jewish culture.” Edited by
B.Z. Goldberg, this 400-page almanac clearly served both a Jew­
ish and a non-Jewish constituency, especially the latter, one sus­
pects, in order to combat defamation and distortions of Jews
and Judaism in the anti-Semitic press and popular negative
stereotypes such as the all-too-prevalent accusations of Jews
profiting from hoarding gasoline ration cards or shirking mil­
itary service. This wartime almanac, compiled in the spirit of
“pulling together” and
E Pluribus Unum,
in distinct contrast to
Hitler’s Germany, stresses that “Citizenship, not race, creed, na­
tionality, is the foundation of our nation.”
Of the pre-Holocaust almanacs in Europe, the
Almanach des
Schocken Verlags
(Berlin, 1933-38) deserves special recognition
for maintaining, in the face of Nazi adversity and harassment,
a high intellectual and aesthetic standard and helping to solidify
an endangered and shrinking Jewish readership. Appearing in
its pages are all the luminaries of German Jewry: Martin Buber,
Leo Baeck, Gershom Scholem , Ludwig S trauss , F ranz
Rosenzweig, Ernst Simon, Nahum Glatzer. The final volume,
edited by Moritz Spitzer (later prominent in Israel as a book
and type designer), is especially valuable for the statistical tables
that starkly record Jewish population declines in Germany be­
tween 1933 and 1938; additional statistics provide a tabulation
of the destinations of Jewish emigres from Germany. One can
only guess at the intense pressures the Gestapo must have placed
on the almanac’s non-Jewish printer, Oswald Schmidt, in Leip­
zig.5
When Salman Schocken, the almanac’s publisher, migrated
5. Stephen M. Poppel, “Salman Schocken and the Schocken Verlag,”
Leo Baeck
Institute Year Book
17 (1972), pp. 93-113.