Page 85 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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H E V E S I ---- JEWI SH LITERATURE IN HUNGARY
75
inhuman cruelty; in the victory of good over evil. Sometimes
even a sad smile, some glorious but painful humor, downcast but
warm, radiates through the pages, witnessing the spiritual strength
of the sufferers.
These stories are very much alike. Authors such as Bela
Zsolt, Endre Gyorgy and Endre Sos, all three well-known jour-
nalists, are among the foremost in this new epical poetry.
There are also marks in the same strain by Gentile authors.
Secretary of State Alexander Millok and the great publicists
George Parragi and Charles Ratkai, who fought in the under-
ground opposition during the Nazi rule, published the sad re-
membrances of their deportation to the extermination camp,
where they witnessed the execution of 30,000 Hungarian Jews.
In contrast to the loving attitude of these decent men remains
a subdued antisemitic feeling, expressed in some books under the
mask of objective research. For instance, Baronet Miklos Wes-
seletyi, pondering over the causes of antisemitism, expounds a new
theory of cultural antisemitism, in an effort to tell that all evil in
Hungary’s history, economical and political, comes from the
country’s close contacts with the Germans. German culture and
thought, he maintains, were poison to Hungarian spiritual develop-
ment. And as the Jews have always been a vanguard of German
culture in Hungary, he proves that they were the cause of Hun-
gary’s catastrophic fate. The German racial theory thus is con-
verted into an anti-German and anti-Jewish compound, a useful
weapon of instigations against us. This line of reasoning was
followed up by several Hungarian writers with the purpose of
justifying and even strengthening the undercurrent animosity
against the Jews. These discussions served to produce a tense
atmosphere and a consequent feeling of insecurity among the
Jews of Hungary. Jewish authors answered those accusations
only with partial success.
Strenuous work is being done today in the field of Jewish sci-
entific literature. An example of this is the memorial volume
dedicated to the great scholar Michael Guttmann.
An anthology of the poetry of the perilous years was just pub-
lished by Dezeo Por and Oscar Zsadanyi. Even its title is cogent:
You Are the Witness!
From Ukraine to Auschwitz.
I hope that in view of the dearth of data available in this coun-
try I have given a satisfactory survey of the general trends in
Hungarian Jewish literature. May I also express the hope that
Hungarian genius will continue to contribute to Jewish culture in
a measure worthy of its fruitful and glorious past.