Page 83 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

Basic HTML Version

Slowly the ephemeral character of this new literature was
moulded into its present more stable forms. This character was
shaped by the horrors of Nazi rule which have stamped their
uneffaceable marks on our collective and individual memories.
Most of the new books fall within the classification of
literature. A few months after liberation, the Zionist
Organization issued several leaflets about Palestine and her pos-
sibilities. The point was stressed that the terrible experiences
should bring to Hungarian Jewry what the Zionists viewed as the
only possible solution of its tragic problem. Together with these
essays a very valuable collection of documents was published,
A sarga konyv
(Yellow Book). The book revealed tragic
aspects of the life under the German occupation and the Arrow-
Cross (Hungarian Nazi Party) rule. I t emphasized the terror, the
mass murders throughout the country and particularly in Buda-
pest. I t told the gruesome story of the deportations and stressed
the rescue work done both openly and underground by the spirited
leaders and members of the Zionist movement. This work how-
ever ignores the rescue activities of the Jewish non-Zionist and
the Christian underground movements which saved the lives of
thousands of Jews.
Less one-sided is the account given by Tibor Levai, a talented
newspaperman, who, following his dismissal from his important
journalistic post by the antisemitic Horthy regime, devoted his
energies to research on contemporary Jewish life. Levai’s
(The Black Book) is a ponderous volume built upon thou-
sands of documents, which reveal the dark background of the
development of antisemitism in Hungary. The book proves that
the horrors of German occupation and terrorism were the logical
consequence of the anti-Jewish attitude of Hungary’s political
and intellectual leaders. The book presents a chronological sketch
of all the injustices and bestialities perpetrated against our suf-
fering brethren. I t radiates a warm feeling and love of Judaism.
Levai’s second volume
Saurice Konyv
(The Grey Book) gives
a thorough account of the rescue work done by Hungarian Chris-
tians, most of whom were clergymen. In proportion to the general
indifference toward Jewish sufferings on the part of millions of
Gentiles, this material is shamefully scanty. I t can be said that
paradoxically the book reveals an abundant and telling scarcity
of data.
Dr. Erno Munkacsi, the erudite attorney of the Budapest
Jewish Community, published a series of articles in the
Uj Elet
weekly based on his personal experiences. In his capacity of
general secretary of the Judenrath during the Nazi rule he had
the opportunity to observe that the subservience of the Jewish