Page 82 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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JEWI SH BOOK ANNUAL
72
of hatred. We were forced to take a stand against these libels.
In response, we published fine studies exposing the racial myth, as
well as studies on the history of Hungarian Jewry, dealing mostly
with Jewish contributions to Hungary’s material prosperity and
cultural development.
Important theological works were published even during the
Second World War. We are proud of our achievement in editing
and publishing a new translation of the Pentateuch, together with
a new commentary by Dr. Joseph Hertz, the late chief rabbi of the
British Empire. In 1943, my own
History of Ancient Jewish Phi-
losophy
was published notwithstanding the serious wartime
difficulties.
All these activities had to cease on March 19, 1944, when the
German Army occupied Hungary. All Jewish life was then para-
lyzed. The schools, the temples of knowledge and education were
closed. All Jewish publications were prohibited, with the excep-
tion of one weekly news bulletin of two pages, published for the
express purpose of transmitting the orders of the Gestapo to the
sorely harassed Jewish community. In October 1944 even that
very weak and morbid breath of life was extinguished by German
orders.
However, Jewish vitality, our love of culture, zeal for education,
and spirit of idealism could not be eradicated. The day the vie-
torious Russian Army entered the country, Jewish cultural life
was revived.
No paper was available; most printing shops had been destroyed.
The few that remained intact had to serve the needs and purposes
of the Russian Army and the new Hungarian• government. But
Jewish ingenuity found ways and means of overcoming the prob-
lem. Zealous youths rallied to the Zionist organization and
invented “wall newspapers,” handwritten sheets illustrated with
hand-drawings. These were pasted on the walls of the synagogues,
schools, and other Jewish public buildings. They contained news,
editorials, research items, short stories and poetry. The public
would crowd around those large and conspicuous sheets and after
reading them would comment on the topics of the day. Thus was
Jewish public opinion shaped in those crucial days.
I t took quite some time until enough paper was manufactured
so that a Jewish newspaper could appear in print. First to be
published was a weekly bearing the significant name,
Uj Elet
(New Life). In addition, several typewritten news-sheets con-
tinued to circulate. Soon after, as if by some miracle, pamphlets
and books began to pour forth from the many presses. We could
then say that the revival of Jewish literature in Hungary had
begun.