Page 71 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

Basic HTML Version

RAVITCH— AMONG RECENT YIDDISH BOOKS
59
million Jews will be proclaimed, these poems will be a fitting Book
of Lamentations over our third
hurban.
Like the prophet Jere-
miah, Katzenelson had faith in the eternity of the Jewish people.
In the presence of witnesses he buried his poems in a bottle, be-
cause he knew, deep in his heart, that some day Jewish hands will
disinter them. This really happened. The book contains photo-
graphs of Katzenelson at different periods of his life as well as
facsimiles of his manuscripts.
Mordecai Strigler’s
Maidanek
(Maidanek) and Noah Griss*
Kinder Matyrologie
(Martyrdom of Children) edited by Mark
Turkow, were both published in Buenos Aires, as part of the series
of books “Polish Jewry,” issued under Turkow’s editorship, by
the Central Federation of Polish Jews in Argentina. Mordecai
Strigler, the young poet who now resides in Paris, was himself an
inmate of the Nazi murder factory in Maidanek. Noah Griss,
during the war a refugee in the Soviet Union, is now a resident of
Israel. After the end of the war he resided first in Poland and
then in France. His descriptions of the martyrdom of Jewish
children are based on first hand sources. Griss is precise. Strigler,
on the other hand, strives to give his descriptions literary quality
and a Jewish, as well as an all-human, mission. This aim he has
fully achieved.
Hertz Bergner’s novel,
Tzivishn Himel un Vasser
(Between
Heaven and Water — Melbourne, Australia, Aufbau), depicts the
trials and tribulations of Jewish refugees who had managed to
board a Greek boat which was supposed to bring them to Aus-
tralia. The night before the refugees were to land, the steamer
sank and the ocean became both the refuge and the grave of those
who had managed to elude the gas-chambers.
In the eleven short tales of his book,
Malkhus Getto
(The Ghetto
Kingdom — Lodz, Dos Naye Lebn), Isaiah Spiegel depicts Jew-
ish ghetto-life under Nazi domination. Spiegel is one of the few
Yiddish writers who survived the Nazi occupation of Poland, and
his little book, which contains the first authentic and most literary-
artistic descriptions of ghetto-life, has achieved the acme of Yid-
dish literary expression. With philosophical self-control he deals
with the most stormy subject matter — human annihilation with-
out reason. Spiegel’s tales will enable the coming generations to
look into the abyss of our Jewish century of martyrdom with real
understanding, deep insight and genuine feeling.
A book published under the same imprint as Spiegel’s is Liebel
Olitzky’s collection of fables,
Der Mentsh Vet Gut Zein
(Man Will
Be Good). Olitzky, who had been a war refugee in the Soviet
Union, had in mind the younger generation that is to be educated.