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November 30, 1962 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1962-11-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Purely Commentary

Gabrilowitsch and
Twain . . . Orthodoxy.
and 'Separation'

By Philip

SIOMOVitZ

Testimony Taken
I on Nazis Who Killed
Jews by Thousands

i

are aligning themselves with the overwhelming majority in Jewry
who support the high court's position. Typical of this group is COBLENZ (JTA) — Franz
The death last week of Mrs. Clara Clemens Samossoud, one of the ablest of the Orthodox leaders, Dr. Joseph H. Look- Gennert, 52, a former SS officer,
the former Mrs. Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the last of the five daugh- stein, the acting president of Bar-Ilan University of Israel, a told a Coblenz court that Georg
ters of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), created an occasion for noted leader in Mizrachi, JDC, American Jewish Congress and Heuser, the former
N men
a z i on
on
11 other
reminiscing about the lady who just passed away, her first other movements. In an article, "Federal Aid to Parochial trial with
Schools,"
in
the
Fall
1962
issue
of
Jewish
Education
Magazine,
charges
of
the
mass
murder
of
husband and her eminent father.
he stated: some 35,000 Jews in Minsk dtir-
Less than a month before the world famous pianist, con-
ing the Nazi occupation had in-
ductor and composer was called by death, this Commentator
"Every survey in recent years confirms the high position structed him long before the
interviewed Mark Twain's daughter, at the Gabrilowitsch home that religion has come to occupy in this country. The member- trial on how to react in the
on West Boston Boulevard. While he waited for her—she was ship rolls of synagogue and church are growing. No less than
event that the Minsk incidents
.
delayed, visiting her husband at the. hospital. where he was 60 percent of our population are affiliated with the various should ever be investigated.
suffering from an incurable malignancy — he had occasion to religious denominations. Magnificent churches and synagogues
Gennert, who was testifying
browse among her books, and he was the first newspaperman to are everywhere in evidence. The landscape of Suburbia is well
as a witness in the case said
discover the inscriptions by Mark Twain to his daughter in a dotted with Houses of God of every size and description. Paro-
that Heuser had told him:
24-volume set of his works he had presented to Clara. -
chial schools and church-related colleges and universities have "Should you ever be interro-
With Mrs. Gabrilowitsch's permission, this Commentator increased in number and in enrollment beyond all proportion gated, point out that the execu-
incorporated these until then unpublished Mark Twain - epi- to population growth. Catholic, Protestant and Jew were able tions were carried out by Lat-
grams in the November 1935 issue of Real America and in to achieve all this because church and state under American vians" and that the Nazis were
his own paper. More about these epigrams in another issue. democracy were not close partners but understanding allies. there "only to fight resistance
Meanwhile, some reeollectiOns about' the visit with Clara Religion and the State benefitted from this arrangement.
people." Gennert, who was him-
Gabrilowitsch.
"The Jew is perhaps best able to appreciate this arrange- self arrested only a few days
It was in September of 1935. The Nazis had already marked
For centuries he was exposed to bigotry, persecution and ago, recalled further that Heu-
for
for extinction not only the Jews but also half and quarter Jews. discrimination because of his religion and by the zealots and ser took part in the killing of
Mrs. Gabrilowitsch expressed her fear about her daughter's status. fanatics of other religions. The record of history cannot be Minsk hospital inmates and that
She is
What will happen to my daughter, she asked this writer? denied nor erased. It is, alas, stained with the blood of countless he had been present at other
a half-Jewess: dOes that place her in danger? Can it happen martyrs, victims of inquisitor and crusader who did their devlish executions.
here?, she asked, referring to the dangers to mankind from work in the name of God. We were expelled from country after Another witness,
Theodor
Hitlerism.
country because of religious myths that were not permitted to Feldmann, 55, Heuser's former
Clara was unquestionably influenced by her father's attitude die and religious blood libels that were fanned into the fury of driver, told the court that Heu-
toward the Jews, and she had much to learn from her first pogroms and other forms of violence and brutality. We are in ser took part in executions and
husband who, although he came from an ultra-assimilated Jewish America today because our fathers and grandfathers came here described in detail the chief
home, became thoroughly imbued with the Zionist . idea and in as fugitives of religious hostility no less than as victims of defendant's leading position in
the last 10 or 15 years of his life had made Zionism his major political oppression. the Minsk special detachment.
cause. He advocated the teaching of Hebrew to Jewish children,
"We number some five million—about three percent of the
In other testimony, Paul
supported the Jewish National Fund and was the patron of the
total population—in this land. A large part of this number came
Palestine Symphony Orchestra — which preceded the Israel to these shores in the closing decades of the last century and Rumschewitsez, 54, a Latvian,
said that he had been order-

Symphony — in this country.
ed by Heuser to remove all
Mark Twain, whose views on the Jews first appeared in the early decades of the present one. The early immigrants and
a lengthy article in Harper's Magazine, in 1904, paid great their descendants established a magnificent communal structure valuables from the Jews be-
fore they were placed in a
tribute to the Jews. In Mark Twain's Essays, Vol. 2, Page 253, on the soil of America. We built every type of institution to
serve the physical and spiritual welfare of our people and of gas oven. The witness recalled
we read:
"The Jew is not a disturber of the peace of any country. the community at large. Our total communal budget over the other incidents of the Minsk,
Sloniman Slutsk ghettos.
Even his enemies concede that. He is not a loafer, he is not I last fifteen years was in excess of two billion dollars. This huge The trial, which has been in
a sot, he is not noisy, he is not a brawler nor a rioter, he is sum was provided by the central community organizations and
quarrelsome. In the statistics of crime his presence is does not include the funds raised through independent campaigns progress for three weeks, has
been adjourned until next
not
conspicuously rare—in all countries. With murder and other and expended for a variety of institutions here and abroad.
crimes of violence he has but little to do; he is a stranger to Jewish education is of course one of the important beneficiaries week.
* * *
the hangman. of this impressive achievement in public philanthropy.
Nazis
Shot
Jews from
"In the police court's daily long roll of "assaults" and "We succeeded materially as did all other Americans. We
"drunk and disorderlies" his name seldom appears. That the prospered spiritually and flourished culturally along with the Roofs Like 'Rabbits'
other faiths and denominations. Together with them. we believe.
Jewish home is a home in the truest sense is a fact which we enriched the intellectual and spiritual life of this land and FLENSBURG (JTA ) — Jews
in Michaelowice in Nazi-held
no one will dispute. The family is knitted together by the
Poland who managed to escape
strongest affections; its members show each other every due its inhabitants.
"We believe that the American way of life had much- to do to the roofs of houses during
respect; and reverence for the elders is an inviolate law of
with all this. We are convinced that our special brand of con- roundups for deportation "were
the house.
"The Jew is not a burden on the charities of the state stitutional democracy is greatly responsible for the happy for- shot down like rabbits," a for-
tunes of our own religious community and of the religious mer SS man testified in trial
nor of the city; these could cease from their functions without
communities that thrive all about us. We assert unhesitatingly of Martin Fellencz, a former SS
affecting him. When he is well enough, he works; when he is
incapacitated, his own people take care of him. And not in a that the separation of church and state has been the secret major. Fellencz is charged with
poor and stingy way, but with a fine and large benevolence. blessing of America and its people. the killing of 40,000 Jews in
"American Jews will, therefore, not trifle with the First the Krakow area in 1942.
His race is entitled to be called the most benevolent of all the
Amendment,
nor stand by passively while others attempt to The former SS man, Sepp
races of men."
Dr. Theodor Herzl, who was known as a most distinguished trifle with it. For us that amendment is one of the sacraments Mueller, who was the first wit-
feuilletonist before he became world famous as the founder of of our democracy. We counsel our brothers of all faiths to treat ness, is himself serving a life
sentence for similar wartime
the political Zionist movement and of the World Zionist Con- it as such."
This is the logical position to be taken by us. There is crimes to which he was sen-
gresses, once wrote an essay on "Mark Twain in Paris." In it
room for dissent. and no one dares stifle opposition or difference tenced last April. He also testi-
he paid this tribute to the great American humorist:
"His humor is something immense, overpowering and of opinion. But it must be offered on the basis of fact, not as fied that the blood of murdered
shattering—great chunks of humor intended for a people that an appeal to passion and to anger. as in the instance of one of Jews "ran in the gutter."
the Orthodox spokesmen at the Washington convention of Ortho- The court rejected an applica-
doesn't smile. Once an Englishman makes up his mind to
laugh, he means to do so wholeheartedly; he lets himself go, dox congregations who maintained that the separation doctrine tion from the defendant's attor-
and he laughs until his sides split. And it is this little man
had become "a slogan of escape from the need for Jewish ney for release from detention
who is responsible for this huge laughter wherever the English
identification." This is an utterly ridiculous contention. Anyone on bail. The court ruled that
who seeks escape from Jewish responsibilities does not have to the possibility of the prisoner
tongue is spoken, reaching the widest field."
Sholem Aleichem, the great Yiddish humorist, was likened resort to an argument over an American idea endorsement of disappearing still exists and the
to Mark Twain. When he came to the United States in 1910, he which would place him in the ranks of religious libertarians. attorney was asked to "show
more restraint" in making such
was introduced to Mark Twain as "the Jewish Mark Twain,"
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations didn't take
and the great American author remonstrated with a response a definite stand on the Supreme Court's decision. It deferred applications. Fellencz said he
knew nothing about any execu-
that has become famous: "No, no," he said, "I am the American
action, pending further discussion. Its delegates knew better tions in Krakow when he was
Sholem Aleichem."
than to legislate in contradiction to a stand taken by the over-
These are the recollections that came to mind when it whelming majority of American Jewry in support of every arrested.
The 53-year-old business-
became known that Mark Twain's daughter passed away.
courageous sten to guarantee the continuation of the "separa-
man was charged with having
tion" principle. It was the better part of valor for the Orthodox
directed the deportation of
congregants to act more wisely than they were asked to do in
The 'Separation' Principle and Orthodox Jewry
Jews from Michaelowice and
the
haste
of
extremists.
Neither
the
possibility
of
getting
Federal
During the heated discussion over the Supreme Court ruling
four other Polish towns dur-
aid for Jewish parochial schools, nor the misleading appeal to
on the constitutionality of the reading of prayers in our public
ing the Nazi occupation. The
religious
fervor
that
would
lead
to
the
injection
of
parochialism
schools, a number of Catholic newspapers. made much. of the
256-page indictment charged
in
our
schools,
would
justify
the
passion
that
marked
the
attacks
position taken by a number of Orthodox Jewish leaders who
that the victims were either
upon
those
who
defended
the
Supreme
Court's
ruling.
But
even
joined in the opposition to the high court's ruling. These dis-
killed on the spot or taken to
the proposal that there should be "silent prayers" in our public
senters formed a minority in Jewish ranks. The overwhelming
death camps near Lublin
schools
is
a
step
in
the
wrong
direction.
Let
the
children
pray
sentiments in Jewry were to uphold the Supreme Court and to
where they were murdered.
at home and in their houses of worship, but as soon as they
welcome its decision.
Another witness in the Fel-
bring their religious feelings into the schools they will bring
The Orthodox involvement came to a head at the convention with them also their religious symbolisms. The Orthodox were, lencz trial testified that the de-
of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America in
therefore, cautious only to a degree in their convention decisions. fendant had been in charge of
Washington, last week. Those who favor Federal aid for parochial
The "separation" idea will be discussed as long as there are the office of police commander
schools especially utilized the occasion to excoriate the high religious schools which seek government support; it will be in the area. The witness, Bruno
court and to endorse some form of religious prayers, as well as unending as long as the basic principles enunciated by the Streckenback, former police
to approve of released time planning for our schools by releasing
Founding Fathers of this Republic continue to be under dis- officer, said he knew nothing of
children during certain hours of the week for religious studies. cussion. It has been said that the position taken by American the execution of Jews, at least
But even in the Orthodox ranks there were spokesmen
Jewry's leaders, with the overwhelming support of their con- as long as he was in Krakow.
who were adamant in their opposition to religious infiltrations stituencies, may have brought about a revival of anti-Semitism. He told the court that only on
in our schools and who pleaded in defense. of -the high court's
If- that is • so, then it can only be a resurgence of bigotry in leaving occupied Poland and
ruling. There are among them men and women who recognize. limited ranks, by a small number of people. It certainly is not after the war had he heard
the validity of the "separation" idea and who warn against'
an argument for a reversal of the Jewish position. On the about the killing of Jews.
acceptance by Jews of any proposals for government aid to
A third witness, Dr. Rein- .
contrary, if our position is right—and we have no doubt about
. private and parochial school.
the soundness of American Jewry stand in defense of "separa- hard Busch, 62, of Coblenz, tes-
The strong support that has been gained for the Jewish tion"—then the only way to uphold it is by adhering to it; and tified that when deportees were
Day School idea has had something to do with some of the the only way of overcoming prejudice stemming from resent- discussed with ,the area com-
dissenting voices in our midst where we now hear endorsements ment against our position is by fighting for the principle we mander the word, "extermina-
of the opposition-to-separation views. Yet, even the Day School
tion" had not been used.
,t_a;c_tirictuich.r1 nrthnrimt leaderq hold to be correct.
_

THE DETRO IT JEWI SH NEWS -

Mark Twain ... His Daughter . . . Gabrilowitsch

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