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May 22, 1964 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-05-22

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Powerful Elie Wiese' Novel
Emphasizes Survival Issue,
Exposes 'Game' of Nazism

Three novels by Elie Wiesel-
"Night," "Dawn" and "The Acci-
dent" — all translated from the
French, already had drawn very
wide attention to the able author
whose psychological - sociological
studies of people and events re-
lated to the Nazi era are among
the most brilliant of the post-war
The newest work by the 36-year-
old foreign correspondent, who
covers the United Nations, and who
has served as correspondent in
Paris, adds nobly to a glorious
literary career. His "The Town
Beyond the Wall." translated from
the French by Stephen Becker,
published by Atheneum (162 E.
38th, NY 16). emphasizes a talent
in narration.
This is an allegorical novel. It
is replete with legends and the
author's powerful resort to sym-
bolism makes his new work stand
out as a distinct literary gem.
The four chapters are dedicated
to the first, second, third and final
prayers of a youngster imbued with
fervor, who. having survived the
humiliations under Nazism, goes
back to his native city to solve the
problem of those who had failed to
act during the acts of terrorism.
"The Town Beyond the Wall"
is a remarkable story in the
sense of the author's deep knowl-
edge of Jewish traditions, his
understanding of life in the
ghetto, his interpretation of
Jewish values.
He describes the Sabbath: "Like
a mantle of purple silk the Sab-
bath came to drape the city at
sundown on Friday. The city's face
changed visibly. Merchants closed
their shops, coachmen went home
because there were no passengers,
the pious proceeded to the ritual
baths to purify their bodies. The
Sabbath is compared to a queen:
it is proper to have body and soul
clean, to merit her visit. The Sab-
bath: the essence of Judaism. The
divine revelation in Time , . . "
Then follows the description of -
the Sabbath aura.
All this is part of the nostalgia
with which the young Michael, re-
calling his youth, his having been
torn away from family, the murder
of his mother, craves for the old
Interlinked are legends, stories
about the Vilna Gaon, about the
Zohar, about the ceremonials which
had elevated Jewish life. And the
memories of Auschwitz—the "last
stop" — and the defiance as ex-
pressed in the prayers.
Survival mingles with destruc-
tion, and the author probes into
life and death, into the meaning
of godliness and man's role in the
soul-stirring episodes.
The tale that Michael relates
about the attempt of a peasant
to save him and his mother, with
the tragic end of the latter, is
one of the very deeply moving
incidents in a dramatic tale.
In the Great Synagogue the
young Grand Rabbi speaks about
the punishment of the Jews by
God because He loves them and is
"determined to make them pure
and just." Meanwhile, like ghosts,
the Jews carry their knapsacks, on
the way to doom, and the narrator
expresses merely curiosity, not
hate nor anger, because he fails
to understand, because: "How can
anyone remain a spectator indefi-
nitely? How can anyone continue
to embrace the woman he loves,
to pray to God with fervor if not
faith, to dream of a better tomor-
row—after having seen that?"
Was it a game? And what are
/2 the rules of such a game? The suf-
fering is evident and there can be
I no forgetting. In the midst of this
soul searching and heart probing,
of revealing the crime, • there re-
mains the prayer in the receding
night. The author concludes his
novel with a legend:
Legend tells us that one day man
spoke to God in this wise:

"Let us change about. You be
man., and I will be God. For only
one second."
God smiled gently and asked
him, "Aren't you afraid?"
"No. And you?"
"Yes, I am," God said.
Nevertheless he granted man's
desire. He became a man, and the
man took his place and immediate-
ly availed himself of his omnipo-
tence: he refused to revert to his
previous state. So neither God nor
man was ever again what he seem-
ed to be.
Years passed, centuries, perhaps
eternities. And suddenly the .drama
quickened. The past for one, and
the present for the other, were too
heavy to be borne.
As the liberation of the one was
bound to the liberation of the
other, they renewed the ancient
dialogue whose echoes come to us
in the night, charged with hatred,
with remorse, and most of all, with
infinite yearning.
What a remarkable commentary
on the experiences of the conflict
in which man's hatred was so dom-
inant in our time! It is no wonder
that the narrator, in his final ut-
terance, asserts: "The real heights
are like the real depths: you find
them at your own level, in simple
and honest conversation, in glances
heavy with existence."
Thus man is studied and found
wanting, and resort to prayer aims
at fulfillment as tragedy is unfurl-
ed — in a great drama by Elie
Wiesel. —P.S.

Israel Bonds Honors 'Labor Priest'

dals raided the unused synagogue
of Congregation Mishkan Israel
here, scattered religious articles
about the pews and floor, and
ripped prayer books in the sanc-
tuary. Residents of Elizabeth com-
plained to police after the vandal-
ism was discovered, and the police
department assured them that it
will attempt to trace the culprits
and bring them to justice.

home geared especially to the
needs of emotionally disturbed
adolescent boys will be opened
here by the Jewish Family and
Children's Service.

Yourself a




Monsignor Charles Owen Rice, known as Western Pennsylvania's
"labor priest," was the guest of honor this week at a dinner
in Pittsburgh sponsored by the Labor Committee for State of
Israel Bonds. Among the outstanding personalities paying tribute to
Monsignor Rice were the noted actor Edward G. Robinson (left), a
foremost leader in the Israel Bond drive, and Michael Ouill (right),
president of the Transport Workers Union. Some $700,000 in Israel
Bonds were sold a', the dinner in tribute to Monsignor Rice. who has
been a preen - rv•nt Roman Catholic spokesman for brotherhood and
human rights.

Cleveland Federation
Endowment Fund Gets
$291,683 From One Estate
CLEVELAND ( JT A ) — Final
distribution of receipts from the
estate of the late Mrs. Fannie
Brawn has brought the share be-
queathed to the endowment fund
of the Jewish Community Federa-
tion here to $291,683.

Friday, May 22, 1964

Garage Door


• opens and closes door
from inside your car


Firmer British Stand on Arab Boycott Is Sought

JERUSALEM — Israel plans to
press the British government to
take a firmer stand against the
Arab boycott of British firms which
deal with Israel. Despite state-
ments of government policy against
such tactics, the Israelis say that
the boycott is becoming more effec-
Engines, Turbines and Pumps
Ltd. had directed its employes not
Soviet Union to Take
to work for or in Israel within
three years of terminating their
Control of 2 Convents
employment with the company.
in Jordan Jerusalem
(A factory in Zurich known as
JERUSALEM—The Soviet Un- Engines, Turbines and Pumps
ion is expected to take over a large Ltd. was described by the de-
part of the Mount of Olives in the fense in court in Zurich as being
Jordanian sector.
Presently affiliated with the Rus-
sian Church in America, the two New York UJA Raises
Russian Orthodox convents would $13 Million in Campaign
follow a pattern set by Israel in
NEW YORK (JTA)—The United
1948. The Israel government had Jewish Appeal of Greater New
by decree decided that the Soviet York, now conducting its annual
Union was legal successor to the drive for 1964, has raised $13,000,-
previous proprietors, the Imperial 000 thus far in this year's cam-
Russian Palestine Society and the paign, it was announced by Samuel
Moscow Patriarchate of the Ortho- D. Leidesdorf, chairman of the lo-
dox Church.
cal UJA's "person-to-person" tele-
The large Russian Orthodox phone campaign.
holdings of purely secular lands
That phase of the drive opened
were sold by the Soviet Govern- at New York UJA headquarters
ment to the government of Israel and was the first of 14 telephone
a few months ago for about $3,000,- solicitation sessions scheduled be-
000. But the Soviet Union retained tween now and the end of June.
ownership of the religious proper-
Home Rule Requested
King Hussein has assured the
District of Columbia
two convents there will be "no
Aaron Goldman, Washington,
D.C. businessman and vice chair-
of the National Community
New York UJA Reports man
Relations Advisory Council, in a
on Bequests in 1963
statement submitted to the Corn-
NEW YORK (JTA)—More than mittee on the District of Columbia
$2,000,000 was bequeathed to the of the House of Representatives,
United Jewish Appeal of Greater urged the prompt enactment of
New York during 1963, and $700,- pending legislation to give home
000 of this total has already been rule to the District.
received, according to an an-
nouncement by Louis B r o i d o, 5,000 U.S., Canada Jews
chairman of the UJA's legacy de-
Settled in Israel in 1963
velopment committee.
NEW YORK (JTA) — Shlomo
Among the recent bequests, he
said, was one from an elderly Zalman Shragai, head of the Im-
woman who left her entire $30,- migration Department of the Jew-
000 estate to the UJA after con- ish Agency, told a press confer-
sulting her prospective heirs. An- ence here that 5,000 Jews from
other bequest came from a Chris- the United States and Canada set-
tian woman, who left $17,000 "for tled in Israel in 1963. He reported
the poor, downtrodden Jews in Is- that with the industralization of
Israel there is a shortage of 40,000
skilled workers who can come from
the free lands.
Synagogue Building

Vandalized in Jersey

Home for Disturbed Boys

exclusively engaged in working
for the Egyptian "war industry.")
On the other hand, a London
firm shrugged off a ban by the
Arab League. The boycott shut off
trade between Burberrys, makers
of raincoats, and members of the
Burberrys in the past has not
traded extensively with Arab coun-
tries because it seldom rains there.
There is limited trade with Israel.



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