Page 32 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
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of information of the martyrdom of the Jews in Europe, gleaned
through personal contact with survivors in Europe and Palestine,
Miss Syrkin is able to* describe graphically the horrors of Nazi
torture and murder of Jews, the Jewish heroes who resisted in all
the occupied countries and the status of the Jews in Palestine.
She emphasizes the efforts made by the Palestinian Jews to aid
their European comrades and condemns British temporizing with
the attempts to build a Jewish homeland in Palestine. By her
exquisite artistic talent Miss Syrkin has moulded into form a
Memorbook
which, for us — the Jews of America — constitutes
a surpassingly indispensable document and epic of the pain and the
glory that are our very own. I t is a
Memorbook
for the whole con-
gregation of Israel.
The ruins of Jewish Poland, the home of integral east European
Jewry, for the past two centuries the physical and cultural reser-
voir of Jewish life and the burial ground of nearly five million
Jewish victims of Nazi brutality, hold grim fascination for every
sensitive Jew. There are several books which give timely human
evidence from the community which suffered a terrible toll —
Polish Jewry.
In Ashes and fire
by Jacob Pat, translated by Leo
Steinberg (N. Y., International Universities, *47) the people
themselves speak. They tell the story of Poland’s Jewry under
and after German occupation. For sixty days Pat traveled through
Poland, gathering his material. The people speak from Lodz,
where the last of the pious Jews pray again “as if Hitler had never
been” ; from Bialystok where only a handful, with “safe” (Aryan-
looking) faces, survived because they play-acted as priests, nuns,
Red Cross workers, shepherds, etc.; from Cracow, where all but
5,000 of 60,000 Jews perished; from the overflowing orphanages
where many Jewish children have been brought back from Chris-
tian homes which sheltered them and from Desolation Square,
the remains of the Warsaw ghetto where there stands now a huge
and impressive monument to the heroes of that ghetto uprising
of 1943, when for twenty-nine days 50,000 Jews resisted their
German, Ukrainian and other tormentors, only to be massacred.
In Warsaw, too, Jacob Pat heard the ditty the Jews sang in
Oswiecim “stables” when they knew they would not live another
night:
“Play me a non-Aryan dance,
A waltz non-Aryan, non-barbaric,
Just to show our nonchalance.”
In
Between fear and hope
by S. L. Schneiderman [translated by
Norbert Guterman] (N. Y., Arco, ’47), a newspaperman, origi-
nally a native of Poland, offers a well-written report on a return