Page 53 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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41
BLOCH----THE YEAR’S BOOKSHELF
told of Banion, reporter on a San Francisco paper who is given
the assignment to find Rogan Lochmeister, who had been con-
victed of murdering three young women, and only very few people
seem to doubt his guilt. Among these is Banion who believed
Lochmeister to be the innocent victim of a frame-up. Banion’s
adventures include an encounter with the Jew-hating White
Knights of the Flaming Torch who demand that he tell them
where Lochmeister is hiding. Some of the knights live to be sorry
that they ever heard of the reporter and Lochmeister is completely
vindicated.
The key to the great gate
by Hinko Gottlieb, trans-
lated from the Serbo-Croat by Fred Bolman and Ruth Morris;
illustrated by Sam Fischer (N. Y., Simon & Schuster, ’47) offers
an interesting mystery story of the imprisonment in a 6 x 12 cell
in a Nazi jail in Vienna of three men and that astounding fellow,
Tarnopolski, whose amazing fifth dimension feats astonish and
confound his cell-mates.
VERSE AND DRAMA
The experiences of the Jews in the Hitler years and the impact
of World War II and its aftermath upon their lives everywhere
have in a definite degree touched the literature of verse and
drama. American authors of such writings are not many but their
works are significant. But the most significant of such works
published in this country is by a Jewish poet from Germany. I t
is
1933
a poem sequence
by Karl Wolfskehl (N. Y., Schocken,
*47). I t was issued in the original German text accompanied by
English translation by Carol North Valhope and Ernst Morwitz
who succeeded in retaining the subtle musical quality of the
verse and the oft-changing meter. Wolfskehl, in his verse, gives
expression to the reaction of a German Jew to the succession of
events in 1933. His is an intensely religious, almost apocalyptic,
attempt to explain “the ways of God” to the Jewish people in the
events of 1933 when Hitler came to power. He advances the view
that the Jews are responsible for their catastrophe under the
Nazis because they had wandered so far from their God. I t is a
passionate work of literary art, sincere, biblical and evidently
born in fire. Bitterly moving but memorable poems comprise
Losses
by Randall Jarrell (N. Y., Harcourt, Brace, ’48). As war
poetry one must turn to Whitman’s verse for the expression of a
profound sense of bitterness and of guilt. There is less love in
Jarrell’s verse than in Whitman’s and more scorn; and rightly:
for it is not glamorizing the Civil War to point out that our own
time is more degraded, more contemptible in its loss of faith and
its apparent insistence upon self-destruction. Evidently, it is