Page 21 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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9
BLOCH----THE YEARNS BOOKSHELF
space the story of the Jewish people from the earliest period to
our time and is intended for both Jewish and non-Jewish readers.
Some phases of Jewish history are often inadequately treated
if not altogether neglected in general presentations of Jewish his-
tory. One therefore welcomes the several special studies devoted
to given subjects of historical and kindred interest which have
appeared during the year. Such a study is
The Maccabees
, an
account of their history from the beginnings to the fall of the
House of the Hasmoneans by Elias Bickerman [translated by
Moses Hadas] (N. Y., Schocken, ’47). It presents a dramatic
account of the rebellion of the Jews against the Greek Seleucid
Empire in the second century B. C. E., and of the reign of the
Maccabean dynasty. A vivid description of Jewish life in the two-
thousand-year-old Jewish community of Rome, from pre-Christian
times to about the middle of the nineteenth century, is offered by
a great European historian in
The ghetto and the Jews of Rome
by
Ferdinand Gregorovius [translated by Moses Hadas] (N. Y.,
Schocken, ’48). A thorough, attractive, learned and fascinatingly
written account of a single facet of Jewish communal life is pre-
sented in
Communal sick care in the German ghetto
by Prof. Jacob
R. Marcus (Cincinnati, Hebrew Union College Press, ’47). It
deals with the care of the sick, poor and needy in Ashkenazic
Jewish communities from 1500 to 1800 and unfolds an extraordi-
nary story of Jewish solicitude for its suffering and unfortunate.
In this, as in other philanthropic manifestations of their life, the
Jews were motivated by spiritual and religious incentives.
I t has been established at the trials of the French collaborators,
and is today a well-known fact, that the same uncivilized attitudes
which created the French anti-Semitism of which Dreyfus was the
chief victim were operative in the Naziphile-minds of Petain and
his collaborators. The Dreyfus Affair, although half a century
passed, still remains one of the most mysterious causes celebres.
An interpretation and recapitulation of the documents and facts
in this Affair, connecting the Petain case as a sequel to it, are
offered in
From Dreyfus to Petain:
the struggle of a republic by
Wilhelm Herzog [translated by Walter Sorell] (N. Y., Creative
Age, ’47). I t contains a comprehensive account of Count Ester-
hazy’s and the German General Staff’s complicity in the Affair
and illuminates some of the most beclouded details in it. In those
days men still felt strongly about human rights. As Mr. Herzog
says, this classic case of anti-Semitism “weakened, roused and
inflamed . . . all the latent antitheses, all the passions and ideas
slumbering in the French people, and menaced the structure of
the state.” Those were the days when a novelist like Emil Zola,
by his pamphlet “J ’Accuse!” could set half of France fighting the