Page 11 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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5
BLOCH — THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
people at all, to grasp the depth of suffering and horror of which
Auschwitz has been the frame. Still less will it be possible to un-
derstand those who have survived it, that they can remain hu-
man beings, think and feel and be like human beings; one can’t
help admiring them, their calm, their cheerfulness and their
resignation.”
Seldom has there been a more sympathetic yet unemotional
account of the plight of Jewish I).P’s, in this case the 1,014 who sat
peacefully but determinedly for thirty-five days aboard two small
ships, the Fede and Fenice, until the British yielded permission
for them to sail from La Spezia to Palestine, as is given by Ad-
miral Franco Maugeri, chief of staff of the Italian Navy in his
From
the ashes of disgrace
(N.Y., Harcourt, Brace, 1948). I t is an in-
tensely personal book with the author writing simply, often even
entertainingly, of his own preferences and prejudices on every-
thing from nations to food, from Eisenhower to Jewish I).P.’s.
Horrible as concentration camp stories are they must be told
even though not every reader believes them. One recalls the
hesitation in accepting the stories that seeped out of Nazi Ger-
many before the war. But read them we must, and believe them
we should.
The stars bear witness
by Bernard Goldstein, trans-
lated and edited by Leonard Shatzkin (N.Y., Viking, 1949),
is the remarkable, provocative personal narrative of one of
the few survivors of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The author,
a leader in the “ Bund” , helped organize the resistance of
men, women and children who fought with a handful of rifles,
incendiary bottles and grenades against what was then the
mightiest army in the world. They did not think they would
win. Nor was it a mere act of desperation. It was rather a battle
for the future of their people. I t was also a last protest against
a world which had not answered their cries for help. They were
all brothers and they died as children of one family. Of the half
million Jews in pre-war Warsaw, but ten thousand survived.
And yet
The stars bear witness
is a story not of extinction but
of heroism, of a gallant fight for life. Here is a record for free
people all over the world to read and remember.
»
A horrible, though now quite familiar, tale is told in
I was
a doctor in Auschwitz
by Gisella Perl (N.Y., International Uni-
versities Press, 1948) who lost her son and husband and numerous
friends and relatives in the Nazi crematoria. She tells of spying,
deportations, enforced nudity, beatings, burnings, deprivation
of all human comforts and of a German sadism unmatched in
world history.
Life in a displaced persons’ camp in Southern Italy, where
several hundred gaunt human fragments of the recent war, most