Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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One of the best books on historical fiction ever written for chil­
dren was published in the sixties — Sulamith Ish-Kishor’s
Boy of Old Prague
(Pantheon, 1968). This was followed by her
Our Eddie
(Pantheon, 1969). The best book that
Sadie Rose Weilerstein ever wrote, the imaginative, literary,
non-didactic story for Passover,
Ten and a Kid
1961), beautifully illustrated by Jamina Domanska, was pub­
lished in the sixties. The sixties saw also Betty Schechter’s
Dreyfus Affair
(Houghton, Mifflin, 1965), an award-winner that
set this decade’s standards for a history book of Jewish interest,
and Sydney Taylor’s
A Papa Like Everyone Else
(Follet, 1966)
about a Jewish family who wait in their Czechoslovakian village
until Papa can have them join him in America — which was
to spawn a cottage industry of similar stories.
All told, 14 books about the Holocaust were published during
this decade, plus two — Arieh L. Eliav’s true-life
Voyage o f the
(Sabra, 1969) and James Forman’s fictional
My Enemy, My
(Meredith, 1969) that bridged the Holocaust and Israel
themes. Again, the first books on the Holocaust were several
novels written, primarily, by non-Jews.5 Three stories were trib­
utes to Danes who saved Jews, two translated from the Danish
— Aime Sommerfelt’s
(Criterion, 1963) and Anne
North to Freedom
(Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965); Jane
Whitbread Levin’s
Star of Danger
(Harcourt, Brace
1966) was an American book. The first novels of anti-Nazi Gen­
tiles, James Forman’s
Horses of Anger
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
1967) and Martha Stile’s
Darkness Over the Land
(Dial, 1966) were
published in the sixties.
It took almost 20 years from the end of World War II before
Jews began to write extensively about the Holocaust. In 1964,
the first personal narratives and biographical fiction by Jewish
authors since Anne Frank’s
began to be published. There
was the heartrending
Young Moshe’s Diary
by Moshe Flinker who
died in Auschwitz (Yad Vashem, 1965); Lore Segal’s
Other Peo­
ple’s Houses
(Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964); Esther Hautzig’s
The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia
(Crowell, 1968); and
Sonia Levitin’s
Journey to America
(Atheneum, 1970).
5. This theme was reworked in 1989 by Carol Matas in
Lisa’s War
Macmillan, 1989), and by Lois Lowry’s prize-winning
Number the Stars
(Houghton, Mifflin, 1989).