Page 35 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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23
BLOCH----THE YEAR’S BOOKSHELF
became absorbed in her new found world to which she devoted
herself.
To the bitter end
by Hans B. Gisevius (Boston, Houghton,
Mifflin, ’48) is the story of a minor civil service official in Germany.
When Hitler came to power Gisevius stayed on waiting for prom-
ised reforms to be effected in the life of his country. On the basis
of carefully kept notes he is able now to tell of the despoiling of
the “German citizens of Jewish persuasion” and of the removal of
the evidence thereof from the national conscience by pretending
no knowledge of the crematoria. This “submissiveness is illus-
trated by the four or five million Jews who for years could have
had no doubt as to their fate and who yet, even on the final march
to death, did not attempt to take a few of their murderers with
them into the next world.”
l e v i n
s
m y
f a t h e r
s
h o u s e
A deeply felt novel about the so-called “illegal” immigration
into Palestine is
My fathers house
by Meyer Levin (N. Y., Viking,
’47). I t tells a warm-hearted story of a group of Aliyah Beth
(“unauthorized”) immigrants and their adjustment in the Holy
Land. The story is accurate, delicate, restrained. Under the
restraint one feels a throb of passion, but Levin has treated his
slice of Palestinian life in the idyllic tradition, despite the neces-
sarily tragic elements introduced. He has also stringently isolated
his situation within the general life of the Yishuv (as Koestler,
in his
Thieves in the night
, did from another angle), though the
wandering of his young David gives him a chance to do a charm-
ing and admirable scenic “travelogue” of Palestine.
The hero of his story is David Hallevi, a lad who lived through
the Nazi reign of terror and who came to Palestine through Aliyah
Beth in search of his family, sure that they are alive, — waiting
for him somewhere in Palestine, as when he was rounded up
together with his family in Cracow at the age of five, David was
pushed out of the crowd by his own father who told him to escape,
promising to meet him in the Holy Land after the War. His
family was shipped to the crematoria. David knew his own name
but he did not remember the names of his parents or of any of his
relatives. He did remember his father’s promise and he had faith
in it. Hence his relentless search for his dear ones. It is also the
story of Miriam and Lazar and Macabee who represent the rem-
nants of Europe’s Jewry in
their
search for peace and happiness
and security. Finally, it is the story of the devotion and courage
of the Yishuv in fighting against all odds to save their brethren