Highly Nostalgic Story About Immigrants, \
Their StrOgles onthe Old _East Side, Its
Idealist Socialist Religiois Devotees --
.Fascination in 'Immigrant Experience! Recapitulation
Roskolenko's experience with his own.
Roskolenko"s story" is filled with love and compassion
It is gobd that books like "Immigrant Experience"
for the parents. That's the tribute to a father who strug-
are being published.. Else the entire fascination about
gled but never gave up his ideals: who combined his .
the elements that make up the- American. amalgam might
Jewish loyalties with his-Socialism; who voted for Meyer
be totally forgotten.
Londin, the Socialist,' for Congress, ( Wnat an interest-
Thomas G.- Wheeler edited 'The Immigrant Experi-.
thus is revived in
ence," which describes- "The Anguish of Becoming Arnert- ing chapter in AMerican Jewish"history
a tale about iiianigranta !)
Can" and which was 'published by . Dial Press. It is a
. And the mother She lost an arm crawling beneath
deeply moving account of immigrant life. It is the•
of "An Irish Integrity" (told under . the title - "Pride and . a- truck to pick up a fallen piece of ice—that was one
roverty") by William Alfred. The "Italians_ in Hell's; •_ of the results of . hardships—but. she carried ,'on eonr-
ageously - during a life of many - struggles. His' sister
Kitchen" are related here as "Choosing a - pream"
Mario Pure. . - • _was killed by a truck, of the firm she worked for.
- hi the Roskolenko story we have the fusion of the
Eugene Boe's "Pioneers to Eternity" describes
"Norwegians on the Prairie." Jack Agueros !writes "Half- - ,Jew into an American-Jewish entity, "To 'our parents.
way to Dick and Jane" as "A Puerto Rican Pilgrimage." - We were always. Jews, never. Americans, though we lived
within a perplexing let of physical .and spiritual nuances,"
"A . Chinese Evolution" by Jade Snow Wang deals with
yet out of it emerged a powerful American fealty.
"Puritans From the Orient." - - •
Father the devout Jew and the"Socialist,- mother with
There are the "Roots of Black Awareness" piesented
a passion for success "American style," the son to
as "Time and. Tide" by John A. Williams; "A Polish Poet
"the synagogues meant nothing after 13, though
in California,". a story by Czeslaw Milosz titled "Biblical
Heirs and Modern Evils;" and Alan Pryce-Jones wrote on; Judaism' is still my private world"—this does not _sum-
"The Center of Impermanence—New York in the Eyes of marize the. Roskolenko _story but clarifies it for an appre-
ciation of the conclusion and of the Writer's current
status. Roskolenko was warned by his mother when he
Of direct Interest to the Jewish . reader are the
-acquired a passion for the nver, iater turning to a
recollections by Harry Roskolenko — "America, the
maritime journey, then . to -attain success as a poet and
Thie&—A - Jewish Search for Freedom." The knowl-
writer, that he was acting like a Goy.
. edgeable reader who retails his Yiddish 'will :remem-
Roskolenko the Jew who went to sea was "a Trot-
ber how early immigrants. satirized about "Amerika
Ganef" and Roskolenko has applied-the idea brilliantly': skyite when almost everyone was a Stalinist," and he
to his account of the Jewish 'malignant in-- anguish. • - refers to Trotsky as "a poor sort of Jew," and about
himself: "Today. when Judaism is often a sentimental
All the enumerated stories are deeply moving, and
awareness of differences and the memory of pain and the
"America, the Thief" serves as such an impressive
past, I am 'the Jew all the time." There is even a con-
reminder of an age that is gone, that it will arouse many
fessional about the myth of Zionism that became realism.
nostalgic feelings and will help many a reader equate
Shameful Incident Recorded in 'Rumor in Orleans'
Primarily, this is the story of a man, Roskolenko's
father, who would not condone:any type Of thievery. He
was the thoroughly honest, scrupulous Jew and Out of such
sinews came the stalwart American.
This is the story'of America—"the Thief"—it stemmed
out of the preference for God to the making of 'money!
And no matter how cfuel fate was, these impoverished,
struggling teople were saving pennies for Iditifskarten—for
boat tickets to bring other relatives to this America Ganef!
Thus. we have in the Roskolenko story also a review
of life on New York's East Side: How did it end? Rosko-
lenko concludes in part: -
"Yiddish culture is a, Moat, the sentimentality to
recall it is awe inspiring the more it disappears. It
is like the Socialist party and themes who built it—
gone- Rh like my relatives, evaporating into the vacuum
that New York has become . ."
Yet the man who relates all this is a' 'product of
that East Side, of America Ganef, of the Jewish search
There is as much humor 'as there is pathos in the
stories related in "Immigrant Experience. Fot instance,
from "Choosing a Dream: Italians in Hell's Kitchen,"
we quote: -
But we weren't all- bad. In -our public schools one
year an appeal was made to every child to try to bring a
can of food to fill Thanksgiving baskets for the poor. The
teachers didn't seem to realize we were the poor. We
didn't either. Every kid in that public school, out of the
goodness of his heart, went out and stole a can of food
from a local grocery store. Our school bad the best con-
tributor record of any school in the city."
The entire book is a fascination. Thomas C. Wheeler
edited it splendidly.
H IAS—Survival Through Migration
Soviet-led' invasion of Czechoslo-
By GAYNOR I. JACOBSON
A most shocking occurrence of jokes by boys and girls are not Morin's book is 'especially valu-
vakla; and the reign of terror
Executive Vice President
- able as a study of myths. He
our time, in the advanced civilized ruled out.
directed it the Jews who still
United Bias Service ,
ints to the existence of -white
sphere of France, is recapitulated The merchantl had all been
in Arab -lands. Time
young, yet it was the young who slavery and places 'emphasis on
in .a full-length book.
It is sad to reflect that in 1970, and time again, the unanticipated
In "Rumor in Orleans," pub- spread rumors about the people a conclusion that "Jews are hard-
realititi and time and
lished by Pantheon Books, Edgar In sense different from them. ly ever connected with . white sla- a quarter of a century after World time again, United Inas Service
Morin, research 'director on the The elders piiked it up, cleaning _ y " As .a :Jew, the Jew is "nat- War II, the progress of freedom and its sister agencies, the Joint
sociology of the present
" at the women spread it—the mysteri- - wally suspect" because of pre- fared badly. Military conflicts and Distribution cinn„,,itace and ath.
th e a
behveen th use v ailin g prejudices
C enter for the Study of Mass Com- ous duff
political upheavals continued, and
munications in Paris, reviews the spreading the tales and their states. Yet he adds' : "The myth had a devastating effect on the ers, were called upon to help.
In 1970, United Hies Service as-
unbelievable events in Orleans victims was: "their Jewishness." was not utilized against the Jews; lives of individuals and families
that actually occurred. There was some support' for the rather it, utilized a Jew to , plug as well as in terms of international sisted 6,130 Jewish refugees and
to leave Eastern Europe,
For his •lengthy study, which Jewish merchants, yet crowds be- the hole in its mythology. But this affairs. Jews again found them-_
was translated from the French gan to gather at Jewish stores to hole was concerned with malice selves among the displaced, the the Middle East, North Africa and
to fmd new homes in
by Peter Green, the author had the stare at the Jewish merchants, Old and culpability, and the plug al- uprooted, the distressed.
the United States and other free
collaboration of Julia Verone, appellations were directed at them: ready carried within it the virus
'The age-old Jewish traditional Western countries.
considered "sharp." of both vices. It follows that a decree that to' save a single life
Claude Capulier, Bernard Paillard; Mostly,, the
In addition, some 47,000 others
the were at the de facto case of anti-Semitism is tantamount to saving the entire
Evelyne Burguiere and Suzanne
can- be made out from the very world takes 'on a special meaning received assistance in such areas
de Lusignan.- A thorough study y oung, modern, French Jews.
as: aid to aliens' in the United
Morin devotes a chapter to the beginning of the rumor." -
for United Bias Service. Since its States, including naturalization;
Morin livens this gigantic fan-
was made of the type of rumor Jewish community. He tells about
that accused very respectable Jew- the 30 families who formed the tasy to the fraudulent "Protocols inception 87 years ago, United Ifias adjustment of stabis and preven-
g Jewish community, of Orleans be- . of the Elders--of Zion." The "Jew- Service and its predecessor agen- tion of deportation-end jeopardy;
of having and
cies have fulfilled the implied man-
fore the war, their decimation as ish bogey" and the "ghost of anti- date of this tradition by assisting location of relatived in the United
mg kidnaped them for
. white slay- a result of Nazi persecution; now Semitism" are probed with skill in the rescue, migration and re- States, Israel, Russia and other
countries; =resettlement assistance
there are about 100 families, half by the sociologist. _
settlement of some 4,000,000 Jew- in Latin America to migrants who
Morin takes into account the ish men, women and children.
Morin followed an impulse to of them repatriates from North
arrived in prior years; prelimi-
make a study of this case, of a Africa.
"scandal technique" - and the
Hounded, harassed and forced
rumor, as he states in his IA-
During and after the atrocious "technique of silence" which he to flee from the ravages of war, nary processing of the registered
in. Europe, North Africa
troduction, in which "not one incident, Jews began to talk about defines as having corresponded social unrest, pogroms, Nazism,
disappearance was actually re- leaving, to some, Israel was the with a Jewish standpoint. He states Stalinism and other anti-Semitic and the Middle East, including
with government of-
ported to the police, the near refuge. •With time, "the effect of that "the par ty of silence be- persecutions, countless thousands
certain belief held by thousands the shock wore off, things began came a party of suppression." of our fellow Jews have been up- ficials for prospective migrants;
of Orleans' citizens, that a white to move back into the old, state Then there was the -emerging "de- rooted and compelled to seek haven and pre-migration services in the
States and Latin America
slave traffic was being run from of peaceful and invisible segrega- sire to forget the whole thing." and refuge in other lands. United United
the very heart of town, in the tion."
The author points out that Bias. Service has helped to rescue to relatives and sponsors of pros-
fitting-rooms of six dress shops
That's a point made here: the
these Jewish victims of oppression
The point to bear In mind is
— all Jewish — though neither 'segregation of the communities French anti-Semitism, but he and persecution and to fulfill their
are not merely sta-
press, radio nor television had that persisted.
emphasizes the problem of arous- yearnings for freedom and reunion-
tistics .,. they are persons . . .
one word to say in support of
Confronted by the - rumors, the ing the conscience of the world with their relatives in lands - of Jewish men, women and chil-
it; a kind of medieval panic that police did not investigate the
and shows how even among the peace, security and dignity. '
dren whose lives have been torn
for several days held a modern source but made inquiries "rather
intelligentsia there is a failure
In the decade of the 1960s alone, ' asunderoind who are being aided
to comprehend emerging prob-
town in its grip, in the age of into the lives of the shopkeepers."
United Elias Service assisted
to rebuild their lives in freedom,
the mass media; a fantastic sex- The 'rumor spread, the Jews
lems like those created by the
dyer 78,000 Jewish men, women
dignity and security by United
ual threat that suddenly con- were blamed, there were accusa- •stupidities to Orleans: •
and children to find new permow
jured up the grim specter of tions that the police had taken
In diary form and through ga- neat homes in the United States,
case we handle is not just
anti-Semitism," bribes to declare the stories to be thered opinions, the views of those Canada, Australia, Latin Amer-
who were affected have been se- ica and Western Europe. These a file number, but an epoch of
When the rumor spread, and falsehoods.
was declared a fabrication, it kept
The deluded began to propagate cured. Morin points to some who were the years of the heavy flow human drama. The Russian families
flourishing, -"in an indirect, under- that people should not buy from ignored "the anti-Semitic issue al- of refugees from Cabe in the reunited with brothers and uncles
ground fashion, infiltrating the Jews, husbands dragged their together, a line which suited those wake of the Castro takeover; the they had not seen since they were
separated in a Nazi concentration
town's subconscious," and was wives from the accused stores, who were scared that any mention flight of 130,000 Algerian"Jews
camp- more than 30 years ago ..
"transformed into a swarm of women workers in the shops were of anti-Semitism-would simply en- France in the aftermath of con- the
Hungarian-youth who, at great
mini-rumors and micro-myths." warned not to work for Jews.
tinuing convulsions in that North risk, studied Hebre w behin d the
As a scientific- study, the author African nation; the Six-Day War
On June 2, two provincial.
It was in May of 1969 that the
Curtain, fled his native land,
rumor began to spread, first about newspapers published articles contrasts the anti-Semite with the and the reverberations that af-
and celebrated his Bar Mitzva
one Jewish shop, then extending co nd e mning "An Odious anti-Semitic a s p e c t s and corn- fected Jews in Eastern Europe, last
.Hanuka in Cleveland at the
Calumny" and "A Campaign of ments: "The hypersensitivity to North Africa and the Middle
to the six. Similar . rumors were
traced by Morin and his investiga - Defamation."- Then the national anti-Semitism evidenced in Jew- East; the upsurge of anti-Semi- age of 18 . The Egyptian couple,
sweethearts, who were
tors to other French cities, and French press began to 'condemn ish circles, among the victims and tism in Poland that virtually
the author of the study of the Or- the outrageous rumor. Church- elsewhere, very soon brought .in purged the country of the sur- separated when Jewish males were
leans case declares that "it forms
men were outraged and while the Jewish myth as an element in viving remnant of what had been
the Six-Day War, reunited through
the rumor seemed to have sub- the general picture."
a more or less anti-Semitic leit-
a population of 3,500,000 Jews the endeavors of United Hies
motiv, which becomes open anti- sided, there were "sub-rumors"
In the supplementaiy documents, before Hitler's rise to power; the Service . - •these are typical of
Semitic propaganda if it leads to
and "a vague substratum of the expose is of the "odious cabal"
judgments and reactions which re- fear remained." There were-still and of rumors as invoking hatreds emerges a book inspired by one the challenges we face and repre-
flect unfavorably on Jews as a those who said "there's no and suspicions. As a event -in cur- of the nastiest occurrences of our sent the essence 'of our goal and
commitment in behalf of the Jewish
smoke without fire" and "some- rent history and a social study time.
Malice on the part of rival vutr- one is hiding somethin
and c o n ct-
g from of human reactions an
chants and resort to practical us."
ing confusing attitudes-, thus 2—Friday. October 8, 1971
THE DETROIT, JEWISH NEWS