Page 32 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

Basic HTML Version

JEWI SH BOOK ANNUAL
22
Essays on antisemitism
edited by Koppel Shub Pinson, with a
foreword by Salo Baron (New York, 1947). Most of the essays
comprising the first edition (which appeared in 1942) have been
revised and three new ones have been added: an essay on France
by Hannah Arendt, a study of German racial antisemitism by
Waldemar Gurian and a brief article on the post-war world by the
editor. I t was equally well to distribute widely a reprint [from
Israel of tomorrow
, New York, 1946] of Elisha M. Friedman’s
splendid essay
America and Israel of tomorrow
which is rich in
information and sound thought on Jewish disabilities and various
suggested solutions for the Jewish problem. In his
Program fo r
survival
(New York, New Century, 1947) Alexander Bittelman
presents the communist position on the Jewish question.
“These I have loved,” Rupert Brooke wrote in one of his poems
and proceeded to enumerate the sights and smells and the touch
of things tha t brought him joy. Though a novel of ideas, a politi-
cal novel, some of the pages of
Thieves in the night
by Arthur
Koestler (New York, Macmillan, 1946) recall the contents and
cadences of the poet’s lines. With the v itality th a t characterized
Koestler’s earlier books, the same zest for life, the same receptive-
ness to new experiences, he conveys his feelings for th a t particular
bit of Palestine which is being reclaimed with self-sacrificing
courage, toil, sweat but with pride and enthusiasm. I ts back-
ground is the daily life of a Jewish settlement in Palestine, from
the erection of the barricade, through the deadly battles with the
Arabs, the conflicts between the settlers themselves, to the final
relative security and prosperity of the settlement.
Admittedly
Thieves in the night
is a novel only in form. I t is a
novel of Zionist struggle in the days to which Munich has irre-
vocably attached its name. I t is an impressive and significant
performance, not so much as a novel but because of the heroic and
terrible light it casts on the Jewish tragedy in Modern Palestine.
I t is written with intimate knowledge of the life of the Jewish
communities there in the late Nineteen Thirties, and with an
effort to be ju s t to all concerned. I t presents a graphic account of
the rural Jewish communes, of the desperate plight of European
Jews who believe Palestine to be their only hope, of Arab resist-
ance, of British wavering and of the Jewish underground activities.
The author portrays vividly and starkly simple pictures of the
remarkable work of communes, of Arab violence and of the extra-
ordinary manifestations of Palestinian Jewish life. I t is all vivid,
colorful and apparently accurate reporting.
The impression one gets of Palestine, its peoples and its prob-
lems is extremely vivid. One follows the fortunes of the commu-
nity with excitement and sympathy and one is staggered by the