Page 36 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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and to find a place for them in the every-day life in Palestine.
There is much in the story of the experiences of the DP’s and of
their settlement and adjustment in Palestine.
Books such as these do not necessarily make fascinating read-
ing but they engross many a reader. Books like these have to be
written and need to be read. They are accounts of life in Nazi
Germany’s concentration camps and death factories. They are
records of the degradation of the human race in our time, a sci-
entific degradation literally unmatched in all the annals of history.
But they also belong to the hundreds of books that have already
been written on the unrivalled Jewish struggle and heroism of
this desperate age. They all do their part in keeping in our memory
the horror of those days, to the end that such crimes against
humanity may never be known again.
Several novels have appeared during the year which deal with
one of the more recurrent themes of recent fiction: the ever recur-
ring instances of marriage between Jews and non-Jews. Such
novels treat often not merely with intermarriages and the prob-
lems they engender but also with aspects of anti-Semitism and
apostacy. Usually, as in
Earth and high heaven
, it is the attitude
of the Gentile to the Jew that is featured in such novels. An effort
to present the same question from the opposite side is made in
Eagle at my eyes
by Norman Katkov (Garden City, Doubleday,
’48) who deals with what he thinks is the attitude of the Jews to
their Gentile neighbors. Written with unsparing candor his novel
is a bitter attack on what he describes as the intolerance of Ortho-
dox Jews towards the Gentile. A mixed marriage and the attitude
of the Jewish family to the stranger in its midst is the pivot of the
plot. The theme is not new but the presentation is. I t is a vulgar
approach to a delicate subject, crudely executed. The novel dif-
fers from other recent novels of intermarriage in its author’s
insistent preoccupation with what he presents as the savage anti-
Gentilism of the Jews of Saint Paul, Minnesota, where the plot
is set, and, by implication, of the entire country. I t is, however,
an intensely felt love story of the dilemma of a young American
Jew who falls in love with a non-Jewish girl, and faces the stub-
born opposition of his immigrant parents, whom he cherishes.
The author of the novel is apparently not quite aware of the
fact that Jewish opposition to intermarriage is not altogether
confined to Orthodox Jews. Other Jews, too, share in that opposi-
tion, which is not altogether motivated by religious considerations.