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March 27, 1964 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-03-27

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Friday, March 27, 1964 — THE DETRO IT JEWISH NE WS -

Harry Simonhoff's 'The Chosen One,'
Novel About Inquisition, False Messiahs

Harry Simonhoff of Miami is charges against Jews and Sara- on the square facing the Ca-
a practicing attorney. Nationally cens that they practiced magic thedral."
he is known as an author of and alchemy, there should have
As in present-day experi-
several important Jewish books, been firmer assertation of the ences from anti-Zionists
as a collector of historical data libelous nature of such accusa-
(Council for Judaism), the
on the Jews and the South. His tions. But in the main, the Jew Mantino who was inform-
"Jewish Notables in America" Simonhoff story is creditable ing on Molko shouted at him,
and his "Jewish Participants in and it has much power.
after one of his friendly visits
the Civil War," both of which
with Clement VI: "You walk
were reviewed in The Jewish
out of the Vatican and imme-
News, gained wide recognition
diately forget the benificence
for his literary efforts.
of the Pope. You enter the
"The Chosen One," his new-
synagogues and start yammer-
est novel, adds to his stature.
ing about the Galuth and the
This story, published by Thomas
oppression of Jews. Shame on
Yoseloff (11 E. 36th, N.Y. 16),
you disturbers of Israel." It
deals with the period of the
was against the dream of Zion
Inquisition, with the Marranos
as well as Messiahism that the
in Portugal and specifically
opponents of Jewish liber•
with the life Of the false Mes-
tarianism shouted in that day
siah Shiomo Malko and that of
as they did in our time.
David Reubeni, who posed as
There are many more inter-
the Jewish ambassador from the
esting aspects to the Simonhoff
kingdom of Khaibar.
story that merit attention from
Simonhoff deserves a great
the reader of "The Chosen
deal of appreciation for the
One." The relationship between
research he has conducted in
Reubeni and Molko is explained
gathering the material for his
in an enlightening preface.
novel. While the accounts of
Simonhoff even believes, based
the activities of Molko (often
on research he did in Cochin
spelled Molcho) and Reubeni
that there may have been a
are given in Jewish histories
kingdom of Chaibar, claimed by
and encyclopedias, the novel-
Reubeni to have been the Jew-
ized form of history may at-
ish area he represented as am-
tract many more readers and
bassador, and that it might have
will serve to enlighten a
Jewish-Catholic differences been the Jewish kingdom of
and the interrogation of Malabar.
wider public on the cruelties
Molko by the Inquisition have
of the Inquisition. Simonhoff
"Was David Reubeni a mere
great merit as revelations of
introduces not only the cruel
adventurer, or a charlatan?"
factual differences in views,
but also those in the Vatican
Simonhoff asks. "Then the mys-
of the charges against Jews
who tried to be fair, and his
tery that surrounds him is more
and the defense.
novel deals justly with the
baffling than ever. The obvious
Simonhoff did not limit him- question is: what did he stand
In "The Chosen One," Simon- selves to review of disputes. He to gain by attempting to deceive
hoff presents a factual account delves also with Jewish tradi- a King, a Pope, an Emperor—
of the transformation of Diogo tions and with the attitudes of not to mention his own perse-
Pirez. a Marrano, who was bap- the Marranos—their fears and cuted people verging on the
tized in childhood by his Mar- their interpretations of the fears brink of the greatest disaster in
rano parents, who learned about and • dangers they confronted. Europe outside of Poland? Yet
his Jewish background, re- For instance, when Molko cir- if Reubeni accomplished noth-
turned to Judaism and turned cumsized himself, one of the ing else he did contribute to
mystic, eventually believing that Jews in the Marrano group coin-
Jewish history, its most colorful
the Messiah was about to arise mented:
story, perhaps, since the Bible.
and that he was The Chosen
"I maintain you should not He inspired the Portugese
One. have done it! This rite is no Marrano, the young, impression-
- His relationship with the longer necessary; for it states able Diogo Pii.ez, to become the
Jews of that time and with in the Talmud that on the corn- self-deluded messiah. Salomo
other MarranoS, the personal ing of the Messiah, all of the Molko, whose life ended on the
performance of his circumcision, 613 mitzvos will be abolished.
auto-da-fe. It is quite evident
his disputations with priests, This is how mysticism and that his tragic history can only
the friendship he established superstition at times deluded be fictionalized."
with Pope Clement VII and the the . mystics, and such myths
Enough history is injected in
enmity with Clement's successor also are indicated in depicting the
Simonhoff novel to make
who proved his undoing.
the conditions that were created the fiction in "The Chosen One"
Molko's adventurous career by the Inquisition.
a noteworthy novel.
ended on the pyre. He was
Molko, in the controversy
—P. S.
burned on the auto-da-fe, and
he had with Caraffa, also took
the Inquisition had its way
occasion to show that the ref-
with the "renegade" from
erence in Isaiah which is
Catholicism. In the few years
commonly interpreted as pro-
that he carried on his activi-
phesying immaculate concep-
ties, however, he created a
tion was not to a virgin but
large following and aroused
to a young woman, and Molko
Jewish hopes in the coming
in his defense tells Caraffa
of the Messiah, at the same
who was soon to become Pope
time creating bitter enmities
Michigan Democratic Congress-
among his enemies in the
out of the Latin _Vulgate. I man James G. O'Hara warned
am translating from the orig- in the House that "cultural
There are few available his-
genocide is now a matter of
inal Hebrew text."
toric facts about Molko and
Determined to avenge what official
policy in the USSR.,
Reubeni, both of whom had met
and the latter was convinced of he considered an insult, Caraffa and the consequences for world
Jewry may indeed be more
the justice of Molko's "anoint- vowed, Simonhoff's story re-
ment" for Messiahship. Simon- lates, "that he would never rest lasting and destructive than
outright murder."
hoff therefore had to resort to until the humiliation and the in-
Reviewing the recent death
poetic license in concocting his suit of that day be wiped out
story. What he did, however, in- on that very spot by the blood sentences against Soviet Jews
eludes all the available his- and tears of unbelieving Jews." for alleged "economic crimes,"
torical facts about the Inquisi- Simonhoff thereupon concludes and the interference in baking
tion and its cruel perpetrators, I the chapter on the disputation matzoth, O'Hara stressed that
it is not a question involving
about the Marranos, the Jews I by stating:
of that time in Italy, the differ- ; "Caraffa made good his oath. a few individuals who suffered
ing views in the Vatican, and Twenty-six years later he was "punishment that defies Mos-
an element among Jews who elevated to the chair of St. cow. "nor a feW thousand Mos-
could be likened to the present- Peter and became Pope Paul cow Jews who will have to go
day Council for Judaism—those IV. Immediately he issued his without matzoth, but rather
who were informing on Molko infamous Cum nibis absurdum, a question involving the future
to the Vatican and were advo- which created a ghetto for the ofthe Jews in the Soviet
eating his imprisonment. It was first time in Rome. After a long Union.
The congressman listed the
from that element in the story and secure residence of almost
that the major harm took place 2,000 years in the Eternal City, special forms of cultural, na-
the Jews of Rome, whose ances- tional and religious discrimina-
leading to Molko's undoing.
There are a few weaknesses tors had given shelter to St. tions to which Soviet Jews are
in Simonhoff's narrative. While Peter and St. Paul, were herded subjected. He concluded by
he exposes Giovanni Pietro in the filthy, narrow confines of stressing that "these revolting
Caraffa, who was to succeed the a walled enclosure, deprived of facts demonstrate beyond any
ailing Pontiff, and shows with all rights and reduced to the doubt that Jews are not just
what an evil spirt he persecuted status of pariahs. At the same another victim of a regime
Molko, there may he many more time all the Jews of Ancona committed to the atrophy or
factual details that could en- were imprisoned in the dun- destruction of religion. Rather,
lighten the reader on the in- geons of the Inquisition, and on the .Jews have again been
trigues and machinations in May 13, 1556, 24 former Mar- singled out for special perse-
Rome. When he describes the I ranos were burned at the stake cution."

Culture Genocide
. o icy
Rep. O'Hara

Windsor Community to Observe
Israel's 16th Birthday at Celebration

Mrs. Judith Beilin, consul of at the Windsor Jewish Center,
Israel in New York, will be 1641 Ouellette.
guest speaker for the 16th anni-
Born and educated in Eng-
versary celebration of Israel's
independence p.m.
8 April 12 land, Mrs. Beilin was an actress
on the English stage and with

Guest entertainers will be
Malka and Joso, folk singers
and television and concert per-.
sonalities. Students of the Shaar
Hashomayim Religious School,
I. L. Peretz and Temple Beth El
schools also will participate,
along with the Jewish Center's"
Friendship Club Choir.

Refreshments will be served.
The public is invited, according
to chairman Jacob D. Geller.

OK Hebrew U. Budget

Argentina Jewish Club
Bombed for Second
Time in One Month
MENDOZA, Argentina, (JTA)
—The Jewish Club of Mendoza
was bombed for the second time
in one month but this time
police seized three suspects who
are youth members of an ex .
tremist racist group which has
been banned by the Govern- •

board of governors of the He-
brew University ended a three-
day meeting by approving a 40
i 11 i o n-pound ($13,333,000)
budget for operations and a 16
million pound ($5,333,000) budg-
et for development. The board
also decided to give priority de-
velopment for a science faculty
and to establish a school of
home economics.

The three suspects, members
of the Guardia Restauradora
Nationalista, were found in pos-
session of an arsenal of weapons
and inciting pamphlets. The
Mendoza Jewish Community
issued a statement declaring
that bombings followed "an
organized plan tending to bring
the country to violence and sub-
version." The statement warned
that "the anti-Semtic phase is
only the first step."




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