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July 08, 1966 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-07-08

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Hans Hate's 'The Mission' Exposes
Tragedy of Evian Conference Fiasco

Sad recollections ab o u t an
abortive undertaking to rescue
Jews from the Nazi persecutions
are incorporated in one of the
year's most important novels —
"The _ Mission," by Hans Habe,
published . by Coward-McCann in
a translation from the German by
Michael Bulloc.
"The Mission" is fiction. But it
is based on fact—on the occur-
rences in Evion-les-Bains — and
preceding that in Austria during
the early years of Hitler's domi-
nation of the country—describing
the commencement of the terror
and the attempt to unify 32 coun-
tries in an effort to provide haven
for the persecuted Jews.
Ilanz Habe was the Prager
Tagblatt's correspondent at the
Evian sessions. They lasted from
July 6 to July 15, 1938. The
delegates from the 32 nations
were convened by President
Roosevelt. The fiasco, the lack
of vision over the impending
future, the suspicions that were
generated, the fears that Jews
might inundate certain coun-
tries — these are revealed in
what may well be considered the
historical portion of the novel
by a man who is best qualified
to describe the occurrences.
A documentation is appended to
the novel itself, containing the
author's comments on the Evian
deliberations, a chronology of
world events relating to the dates
of the meetings during that July
1938 period, a complete list of the
delegations of the 32 nations. It
lists the budget for the conference
as well as the private organizations
that were represented. Included in
the latter were: Jewish Agency for
Palestine, Committee of Aid for
German Jews, World Jewish Con-
gress, Joint Distribution Commit-
tee, Council for German Jewry,
Joint Foreign Committee of the
Board of Deputies of British Jews
and the Anglo-Jewish Association,
World Agudas Israel Organization,
Central Bureau for the Settlement,
of German Jews, Comite voor Bij-
zondere Joodsche Belangen, New
Zionist Organization and a score
of other non-JeWiSh and refugee
aid movements.
There were 200 correspondents
present, among them some very
proMinent writers .
The U.S. delegation was com-
posed_ of Myron C. Taylor, James
G. 'McDonald, Robert T. Pell,
George L. Brandt, Hayward G.
Hill and George L. Warren.
There was a sympathetic ef-
fort to provide relief, the role
of the American, British and
Colombian delegates are espe-
cially noted, and only the Co-
. lombian seemed to have a spe-
cial interest in a proposal that
was brought in the name of the
Jewish community of Austria but
actually at the dictates of the
Gestapo by Heinrich von Benda,
a world famous Austrian physi-
.- .- cian. The request was that a
fund of $10,000,000 be paid to
Germany for permission to re-
lease 40,000 Jews — a sort of
blackmail, a type of inhuman
ransom the very idea of which
outraged many of the partici-
pants. But the Colombians had
a way out: to save 40,000 with-
out offering any funds. But there
was lethargy. There was fear.
There was indifference. There
was anti-Semitism. And the
Evian sessions ended with a
resolution—a pathetic tragedy in
the. unconcern for the
fate of German and later all
European Jewry.
The novel itself, even without
the elements involving a sad chap-
ter in world history, is a good one.
The plight of the Austrian Jews,
the overconfidence of those who
retained unjustified faith that
Hitler's role would be shortlived,
the sufferings that were endured
when the Nazis took control of
Austria—these are part of a narra-
tive well told. The characterization
of Heinrich von Benda is splendid.
Then there are the various ele-
ments involving the assimilation of

the von Benda's son, his daughter's
escape from the Nazis and her
eventual settlement in Palestine
with the aid of a generous lady
and the committee with which she
It has been established as a
fact that Prof. Heinrich Neu-
mann, in whose memory the
novel is dedicated, was the emis-
sary described in this novel as
von Benda. The novelist was
operated upon by this professor
who was a friend of his family.
Habe explains in his commen-
tary: "The Professor had few
acquaintances among the par-
ticipants in the conference and
was totally inexperienced in
press matters. We were living
next door to each other in the
Hotel Esplanade. Although I was
only 2'7, he took me into his
confidence; we spent hours, in-
deed many half nights, together.
I was something like a press
officer in reverse: it was my job
to shield him from the press."
But he was not shielded com-
pletely. The story leaked. Although
as related, Habe states, "this does
not mean that this novel is 'authen-
tic' in every detail, that it is in-
tended as a 'factual report.' "
Nevertheless, the quotations from
the deliberations, the actual ex-
cerpts from speeches and from the
adopted resolution that resulted in
so vague an expression, the news-

paper reports — New York Times
and others—indicate that in the
main the story is correct.
It can properly be considered a
tragedy. Von Habe, widowed, had
married a younger woman, a non-
Jewess, whom he left in Austria
with their Young son. He promised
to return after the mission, even
though he could have escaped
easily. The United States offered
him asylum. But he did go back.
He fulfilled a desire to buy for his
wife an expensive dress. He hid
it and was crossing the border. But
he had suffered a heart ailment.
He died on the train after passing
customs. His valise was opened
and all the frontier policeman, who
knew of his status and the reason
for his mission, could say was:
"The Yid was smuggling a lady's
dress." It is with this inhuman
comment that the story ends.
"The Mission" is an expose of a
world fiasco when 32 nations could
have rescued many Jews and
didn't. It tells the story about an
important, albeit scandalous pro-
posal, that spelled blackmail. It
results in a great and very dra-
matic novel that deserves the top
spot among the narratives pub-
lished this year. And on top of it
all it serves as an important ad-
dendum to the already vast litera-
ture on the holocaust.
—P. S.

Friday, July 8, 1966-9


Simon and Schuster
Founder Leaves Firm




Conqratulations to


In 1940, according to Mengin,
there also were "non-Gaullist
Jews" who were accused of hav-
ing fled France "because they
were afraid." And the author poses
the question: "If so, why were they
in London and not in New York"—
because in London was centered
the movement of the French re-

viewed in The Jewish News Com-
mentary May 6), Blum, as Mengin
states, "believed for a long time
that General de Gaulle favored
parliamentary democracy" An en-
mity arose between the two men
when Blum became convinced that
de Gaulle sought personal power.
Mengin's personal background
accounts for much in his story.
He was an attache of the French
embassy in London in 1940 and
resigned when Petain began
negotiations to surrender to the

The author of this impressive
work then went to see General de
Gaulle, but his .ardor cooled when
he became aware of his political
ambitions. He joined the Free
French forces but did not remain
in the Guallist camp because he re-
fused to sign the Acte d'Engage-
meat, regarding it as an oath of
allegiance to de Gaulle. He went
to work for the English, fought in
North Africa, rejoined the French
Navy, fought and won laurels in
Tunisia, he earned the Croix de
Guerre and the Legion d'honneur,
was posted with the French Naval
Mission in Washington in 1944 and
after the war became a free-lance

"No Laurels for de Gaulle," is a
valuable addendum to the history
of the last war, is an important
evaluation of many historic inci-
dents in Europe, makes significant
references to major personalities
of that era and certainly is major
as a work describing the inclina-
tions of Charles de Gaulle.

..1111 ■ 1111L,

NEW YORK—M. Lincoln Schus-
ter sold his half interest in Simon
and Schuster Inc. Thursday to
Leon Shimkin, his partner. Schus-
ter was a founder of the company
with Richard D. Simon in 1924.
The reported price of the sale
was $2,000,000.
The sales agreement stipulates
that Schuster cannot engage in
publishing in the next two years.
He plans to write, edit and com-
pile books that he will offer to
publishers, including Simon and
Schuster. .
Schuster's primary interests
are in philosophy of history and
in history of philosophy. In his
42 years with the publishing
firm, he published the works of
such men as Bertrand Russell,
Albert Einstein, Will Durant,
Max Lerner and Bernard Beren-
Shimkin started with Simon and
Schuster in its first year as a
accountant. Since 1959 he has been i
the owner of Pocket Books Inc.
He will merge the two firms, in-
corporating Pocket Books as a
division of Simon and Schuster.
855 Oakland, Pontiac
LI 9-6161

Mengin's 'No Laurels for de Gaulle'
Exposes General's Personal Ambitions

"No Laurels for de Gaulle" by
Robert Mengin, published by Far-
rar, Straus and Giroux, is just
what the title implies: it is a severe
critir:ism of the French leader. The
subtitle is "An Appraisal of the
London Years," and in it the
author, who played an important
role during the critical war years,
in French ranks, writes authorita-
tively on the subject.
DeGaulle gets full credit here
for his heroic efforts as leader of
the Free French, in the war against
Nazism. But he is depicted as the
dictatorial ruler who sought pledg-
es of personal allegiance from his
followers. It is in defense of those
who were maligned by de Gaulle
that this work was written.
Mengin, whose book was trans-
lated from the French by Jay Al-
len, pleads for the restoration of
the French slogan of Liberte,
Egalite, Fraternite and his charge
against de Gaulle is.
"General de Gaulle is deserv-
ing of glory, eternal glory, for
having picked up the flag in
1940. But there are no lautAs
on his brow, for he is the sym-
bol, if not the cause, of. the dis-
ease which continues. It is. the
disease that drives the weak and
bitter survivors of generations
decimated by the world wars to
renounce their liberties, entrust-
ing power to one man; to re-
nounce lucidity and candor for
obscurity and deceit; to show
themselves not as brothers to
other nations, but full of dis-
trust; not thankful, but ungrate-
ful, toward the very nations that
saved us all."

As the thirst is, so tastes the
water.—Russian proverb.

for an outstanding achievement.

The Gratiot District, of the Metro-.

politan Life Insurance Company,
located at 15300 E. Seven Mile

Road, is pleased to announce that .
Lawrence B .Wayne has again

qualified as o member of

Millionaire Club, of the Metro-
politan Life Insurance Company,
for the seventh consecutive year.

This year's accomplishment was
completed by the end of June.
Mr. Wayne has been a consistent
recipient of the Quality Award of

the National Association of Life


New York, N.Y.

20% to 30% OFF

On Complete Stock or




were $110


*Slight Alteration Charge

Young Leaders Take Part
in Annual UJA Mission

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

NEW YORK — A group of 86
American Jewish men and women
left New York Thursday in the
sixth annual leadership mission of
the United Jewish Appeal for a
26'-day survey of Jewish immigra-
tion and absorption needs in Israel
Personal exercise of power is and refugee aid programs in
thoroughly condemned and there France, Italy and Greece aided
are indications that the pretenders by UJA funds.
made use of letters of Leon Blum
Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, UJA
and others. In England de Gaulle
was the great hero and may those vice chairman, is leading the mis-
who followed him were completely sion which is by invitaton to young
men and women in the 25-to 40-
year bracket, who demonstrate
As was indicated in the biog- "leadership potential" . in their
raphy of Leon Blum by Joel Col- home communities. Each is paying
ton (published by Knopf — re- his own way.

Our meticulous attention to fine tailoring and superb
fitting, coupled with unparalleled personal service, offers
that little bit more that makes a world of difference!

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Sunday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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