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December 16, 1977 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-12-16

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, December 16, 1977 21

Dying, Sex, Revenge and Intrigue Mark New Mystery Novel


We all accept the dictum
that truth is stranger than
fiction — but can the fiction
of a novel be stranger than
universal truth?
That is the question that
confronts the reader of this
most fantastic story that
runs the gamut of six conti-
nents, six decades, and seg-
ments of modem Jewish
history that strain the most
One may counter : How do
you determine credibility?
Could anyone have predict-
- ed that Sadat would address
the Knesset only a month
before it happened? Did
people believe Herzl when
he predicted in 1897 that in
50 years a Jewish-'tate will
be a reality? Or on a more
somber note, did anyone be-
lieve in 1939 that one-third
of Jewry would be con-
verted into ashes by 1945?
Let the reader judge.
In "The 13th Man" by
Murray Teigh Bloom (Mac-
millan), the narrator, Harry
Hanan, is CIA chief in An-
kara, Turkey, who receives
a note that he is to be the
13th man to be murdered by
a "goel hadam." The latter
is the Hebrew word mean-
ing avenger.
One may note that until
King David this kind of re-
venge was accepted prac-
tice in ancient Israel (not
unlike various family
feuds). An avenger could
even kill a sinner who slept
with a married woman not
necessarily his wife.
At about the time Harry
Hanan receives this menac-
ing note he finds out that he
has inoperable lung cancer.
Despite this unusual devel-
opment, he determines,
with the aid of two other
CIA men and a young wom-
an, Elly Bricha, to identify
this mysterious killer.
It soon becomes clear that
all the victims were Jewish;
and since the note Was in
Hebrew, a Jewish con-
nection was almost certain.
Various theories were there-
fore entertained by a He-
brew professor.
(The theme is reminiscent
of a powerful play called
"The Visit" which deals
with a woman, pregnant,
rejected by her suitor. After
25 years, she returns to her
village as one of the most
powerful and wealthy per-
sons and demands the death
f her onetime suitor, now a
-- respectable citizen. By her
total ownership of the
town's industry (similar to
the role of Arab oil), and
after an orgy of giving
goods and credit she causes
the townspeople by econom-
ic pressure to kill their kin-
sman. Her motive was pure
The historical background
of some episodes exposes
the sordid part of Jewish
life. In fairness to the au-
thor, he explains that the
Jewish villains were no dif-
ferent than other parasitic
elements in society, (unlike
pf- • 1 4 4" .4 - 4"-'

the author of "Portnoy's
"benevolent societies."
Compaint ).
Some even became presi-
The avenues for in-
dents of synagogues to hide
vestigation are of interest
their principal activity.
as they represent specific
VIII. Even a black Jew
periods of stress in Jewish
was not immune in this re-
vengeful project and be-
To illustrate:
came a victim. He was one
I. It is known that during
of the self-elected Jews, not
the early part of the 19th
the falashas, who became
Century the Russian Czar
the brains of the white
decreed conscription of a
slavery that included black
definite quota of youths for
girls. Between 1919-31 there
25 years' military service.
were eight black Jewish col-
The well-to-do Jews of the
lectives in Harlem.
cities hired thugs who kid-
If some of the above
napped boys from small
makes one squirm, one only
towns and villages to fill the
has to recall what Bialik
quota, thus saving their own
implied that a Jewish
boys. Many victims were
state will be a reality when
never seen again. Was it
a policeman will arrest a
that the descendants of the
Jewish prostitute in Tel
perpetrators of this villainy
were now paying for the
This reviewer was moved
crimes of their forefathers?
at the circumstances of
II. Another theory was
many Jewish families in
that in 1931 both Hitler and
Eastern Europe who could
Stalin were in Vienna and
not feed their children and
someone was assigned to
were willing to gamble for a
kill them by means of a
better life for their daugh-
premeditated car accident.
ters by sending them to the
This plan failed, by a hair-
"Goldene Medine."
line. Stalin was writing his
Space does not permit the
book on nationalism and
tedious steps taken to in-
Hitler was a housepainter.
vestigate all leads. The
Is someone seeking re-
"goel hadam" killed his vic-
tims by various means such
III. Another theory was
as drowning, car accidents,
that this is retaliation
poisoning, falling from win-
against Jewish German fin-
dows, etc. Since our 13th
anciers who made it pos-
man was suffering from
sible for Lenin to travel in a
cancer, he took Dilauded (a
sealed train from Switzer-
pain killer) regularly.
land to Russia for the Octo-
One day he observed that
ber Revolution of 1917.
one of the tablets had a
IV. Another possible mo-
slightly different appear-
tive considered was revenge
ance. Having the back-
- against persons who gave
ground of the CIA, he pur-
aid to Israel to withstand
chased two rabbits from a
the initial onslaught of the
pet shop, gave one the regu-
Arabs against the Jewish
lar and the other the sus-
settlements in 1948.
pected tablet. The result
V. Another theory con-
was prompt and final—the
cerned an American re-
latter rabbit died. Harry
searcher who had reached
Hanan then knew that the
the final stages of producing
threat was earnest.
synthetic coffee when he
In the meantime, Harry
was mysteriously killed.
went through some of the
The powerful hand of the
usual agonies of a patient
coffee cartel was suspected.
with terminal lung cancer:
VI. Another theory, rather
denial, anger, bargaining,
depressing, is that some
resignation, going from spe-
Jews were actually in the
cialists to quacks and prom-
service of the Nazi Security
Service, helping to send
One may note that the
their brethren to the crema-
author took advantage of
toriums, and collaborated in
several ingredients that
the Lodz Ghetto.
make for popular reading in
VII. Another known ugly
this country. It appears that
chapter in Jewish history,
in the last few years two
though not publicized, is
new discoveries occurred, if
that of white slavery which
we judge by the literary
was prevalent in the U.S.,
volume: death and dying,
Agentina and Mexico (1880-
and sex. The first was in-
1920). It was not only the
corporated with the main
poor, but those of higher
character's terminal illness.
status, even rabbis, who
The second, that of sex, is
were tricked by men who
presented in the last few
promised to marry their
daughters. Others were sim- chapters. If you add the
ingredient of the Jewish
ply nabbed and shipped to
link, you have indeed the
the U.S. for prostitution.
makings of a best seller. If,
This was so embarrassing
in addition,- you add mys-
to the Jewish conscience
tery and intrigue, you have
that the Jewish Daily For-
a "million-dollar movie."
ward refused to print the
letters of the victims. Did • (Movie rights have been se-
the relatives of the victi-
cured for the book).
mized seek revenge on the
To heighten the drama —
families whose wealth and
while Harry and his wife
power were derived from
Dorothea vacationed in
their misery? Various sub-,. Smyrna, Turkey, a man at-
terfuges were used by many
tempted to rape Dorothea.
criminals, pimps and assas-
Harry shot the assailant
sins by joining various
with a direct hit, but the

4'4 " 4 4

bullet richocheted and killed
his wife.
The plot unfolds with an
invitation from Elly Bricha,
one of the quartet in the
CIA, for an evening at home
with Harry. They ended in
bed. Harry classified worn-
en in three categories, a)
those whom he does not
want; b) those who are
easy; c) those whom he
desires but "fears the chem-

Pretty Elly Bricha be-
longed to the third category.
The found each other more
congenial than anticipated,
and she gave him the key to
her apartment. One morn-
ing there his eyes fell on
some recipe cards which
spelled out in code all the
details for which he was
searching — the names of
people killed, all descend-
ants from a Jewish "Mafia"
gang, and an account of the
poisoning attempt on him-

his CIA associate, was in-
deed the killer, and that she
was avenging wrongs done
to her mother, a devoted
Communist who was be-
trayed by a man in the
service of the Nazi Security.
In general, the style of the
book is uneven and choppy;

the characterization poor
and inadequate. On the posi-
tive side, the author does
present some excellent
scenes, pertinent philosophi-
cal comments, along with
recent interesting, dis-
tressing episodes in Jewish


It is a pleasure to announce that

Melvin Weisz C.L.U.

has received the agent-of-the-month award as the most out-
standing Representative of our Detroit-Rosenwasser Agency.
The award is in recognition of his excellent service to his •
policyholders and our Agency.

In the investigation, which
included a Mexican counter-
feit apparatus, Harry dis-
covered that his grand-
father, Max Hanan, had
been the grandmaster of all
the gangs. Harry finally as-
certained that Elly Bricha,

Seymour M. Rosenwasser, C.L.U.
General Agent

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30555 SWIM pd. SWUM 48075

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Silk 140

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