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February 13, 1970 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-02-13

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

Eric Lind Criticizes Jakov Lind's Self-Study

A Review by ERIC LIND
Jakov Lind has given us several
books all which were reviewed in
The Jewish News. "Landscape in
Concrete" was a strong expose of
Nazi crimes and "Ergo", a rather
ambiguous and vague Vienna of
the imagination. In "Soul of Wood",
Short stories, the author relived
war experiences true and imagined
during his boyhood years caught
in the ghettos of Europe and in his
former native Austria.
The new book, "Counting My
Steps", published by Macmillan,
is an autobiography: the "An-
schluss," March 1938, is the end
for all what is dear and near to 11-
year-old Jakov. His parents ship
him to Holland for safety, they
themselves start the perilous trip
as "illegals" with Aliya Bet on
a dilapidated Danube-vessel which
ends at the port of Haifa on the
"SS Patria" (this commentator al-
so went to Palestine on the same
boat five years earlier), which is
then blown up by Hagana to pre-
vent the ship and its travelers
from being sent to the Isle of Mau-
ritius by the British who govern
Palestine; 350 passengers drown
as "just a little bit too much TNT
was placed at the boat's hull" but
Lind's parents and sisters escape
and settle in a kibutz.
Now begins young Lind's trau-
matic experience: be lives with
Jews as a "paying guest" (an
organization is responsible for the
children's upkeep) but the Nazi
tide reaches also the shores of
Holland. "All Jews out of their
houses", a voice shouted in a
way he had never believed pos-
sible. Was Hannah Ahrendt right
what she claimed during the Eich-

mann trial in Jerusalem — that

Jews went like sheep to their
doom? Quote from Lind's book:
"The families sat ready to await
the Germans, like any family that
waits for the bride of their son.
They were impatient. The suitcases
stood neatly packed in the halls
(30 kilo were allowed and not five

kilo more). Chairs and armchairs
were covered with sheets to protect
the furniture from dust. They had
Washed up the kitchen and polished

every pot — the children were
dressed in their Sunday best
clothes .. ."
The writer is nauseated: he gets
away not as Jakov Lind the Jew
but disguised as a Dutch Nazi (he

practiced for hours before a mirror
how one has to look as one who
hates). With this mimicry and his
new identity he gets away and in-

deed he hates: not only his tor-
mentors but the Jews as well.
"Death marked them", he writes,
"and why should I like death?"


YOU /it A








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2. Enclose your entry with with any
of the following: The Maxwell House
symbol snipped from the plastic lid
on any can of Maxwell House Cof-
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of Instant Maxwell House. Or Just
the words MAXWELL HOUSE print-
ed In plain block letters on a plain
piece of paper 3"x5".

FEE P.O. Box, 4488, Grand Central
Station, New .York, New York 10017.



His will to live is stronger than
everything else and so, all energy
put into a single effort, he sur-
vives as Jan Overbeek, a 17-year-
1 old Dutch laborer and later a sea-
man (this reviewer also was three
, years at sea). But the noose tight-
; ens: all young able bodied men
are questioned by the occupiers
and again Lind has to run: this
time into the lion's den—Germany.

Now sure of himself, he plays
along well and this is the first per-
iod of his writing. But he destroys

all as workers don't write and any-
one belonging to the class of "in-
teligenzia" may himself give away
. . . The first poem goes down the
drain, other trials are torn to
pieces." I worked, drank, survived
bombings, made love to German
girls and eventually landed on a
surreal job carrying reports for an
industrialist's factory which did
metallurgical research to the Ger-
man air ministry."
• • •
When the war ended, he walked
off for Holland on foot. Meeting
survivors from concentration
camps on his way he recalls his
boyhood dreams in the Zionist
movement." "Jabotinsky was our
Lind gets another identity, now
Jakov Chaklan, born in Palestine
—and mingles with other refugees
—against British immigration re-
strictions—on an overcrowded boat
to Haifa.
Did he now find peace and his
destiny? No! Jakov is the angry
young man of this generation. The
real beatnik, beaten emotionally
to pieces by what he went through
and had experienced. He finds a
big gap between him and his father
and sisters at the kibutz who lived
in security all these years. Again
he finds the narrowminded people
from back home who had not
changed and which he learned to
despise because of their lethargy,
petty quarrels and indifference to-
ward his problems and to what
has happened as long as they "do
well and are safe" .. .
He does not fit in—"is he mate-
rial for a pilot?" "No," declares
a minor official giving him a
rather boring job which does no
justice to Jakov's abilities. He has
no "protekzia," meaning no con-
nections, so important in Israel.
He is not a member of the lead-
ing political party. Picking oranges
in Nathanya he says, "not enough
to live but too much to die," an
Israel pound a day his salary at
that time.
• • •
Lind's odyssey is not over yet:
restless, he settles in Britain and
starts to write, and now he finds
his way, appreciatively he reaches
the place to live .. .
The Nazi era was a traumatic
experience for both Linds. To for-
get? How can one? And those who
do, are those the better Jews who
marvel with their new possessions
with their survival and their in-
difference and "who cares" atti-
tude . . .? Observing well German
character, mentality and manner-
ism of his former Nazi tormentors
and "go-along with Hitler burgh-
ers" is well portrayed in Lind's
books who fixed the monstrous
mind-scape of wartime Germany
more vividly than any other writ-
er, maybe with the exception of
Guenther Grass. His novels are the
stark impressions during his own
lost youth, the many unseen
wounds he received from all sides,
even from his very own which
makes Lind the qualified writer
he is today.
Eric does not agree with all of
Jakov's writings (no kinship what-
soever with this namesake now liv-
ing in London). Many of his ex-
periences he fortunately did not
share, but your reviewer probably
comprehends this book more than
anyone who lived through this
period in safety and was informed
of all that went on "through the
papers" .. .
But in one chapter, "Scholl for
Metaphysics," the author speaks
for both Linds, not so much by
agreement but by historical fate:

"If Jews seem more vital and
energetic than others, it's not sur-
prising—no other people went so
often through the Christian mills
of natural selection." The strong
live and the weak die and that's
why all the Bernsteins and Fish-
beins, Melzers and Hollaenders,
are the strong people. They are
now in Melbourne and Venezuela,
Tel Aviv and New York, London
and Paris, making a good or less
good living. Business goes on as
always. We probably lost only 84
uncles, aunts and cousins in the
last war That's all.

He who advertises his name, THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
loses It; he who does not increase
Friday, February 13, 1970-13
(knowledge) diminishes it; he who
refuses to learn, merits extinction;
and he who puts his talent to self-
ish use, commits spiritual suicide.

Have An Affair to Remember


And Orchestra

KE 4-5980


Ex-Palestine Nationalist
Gets Israeli ID Card
JERUSALEM (JTA) — In 1948,
Musa Alami was a prominent
leader of the Palestinian nationalist
movement and a declared enemy
of the Jewish state who fled to
Jordan when Israel's independence
was declared.
On Feb. 5 Alami was given an
Israeli identity card which is good
for travel anywhere in Israel and
the occupied territories except for
areas that are restricted to all
civilians. Identity cards also were
issued to his wife, his four children
and his chauffeur.
Alami was the former develop-
ment official for the Arab League.
The Alamis returned two weeks
ago from the East Bank of Jordan
where they have lived since the
June 1967 War. With the permission
of Israeli authorities, they moved
back into their East Jerusalem
home. Alami has becs running a
farm training school for boys in

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Jericho and has lived abroad for
extended periods. He is said to be
disillusioned with Palestinian na-
tionalism and wants only to live as
a private citizen in his old home.
Alami was greeted formally by
Israeli officials when he crossed
the Allenby Bridge two weeks ago.
His identity card was issued in
what Israelis called record time.

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