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February 04, 1983 - Image 69

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-02-04

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Friday, February 4, 1983 69

Love as a Cure in Philosopher Stefan Zweig's Beware of Pity'


"Beware of Pity" by Ste-
fan Zweig, translated by
Phyllis and Trevor Bleivitt
and published by Harmony
Books (Crown), is written
by a man who was a close
personal friend of Sigmund
Freud, both in Vienna and
later, in exile, in London.
Both Freud and Zweig be-
longed to that galaxy of bril-
liant minds -whom Fred-
erick Grunfeld has called
"Prophets Without Honor."
Their outpourings of litera-
ture, music and ideas re-

suited from the confluence
of two great intellectual
traditions, the German and
the Jewish.
Theirs was the great
German Renaissance which
was destroyed by the Nazi
countercultural revolution.
In Vienna; Zweig and
other intellectuals con-
sulted with Freud with
the same regard in which
the early Greeks listened
to the Delphi Oracle.
When Freud escaped to
London in 1938, Zweig
had preceded him by four

Boris Smolar's

`Between You
. . . and Me'

Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1983, JTA, Inc.)

there was heightened anxiety and sense of vulnerability in
the American Jewish community tied to concern over a
possible spill-over of anti-Jewish feeling from anti-Israel
feeling generated during the war in Lebanon and because
of distortions of the American media in reporting the war.
The increase in Arab propaganda efforts in the U.S. also
seemed to contribute to the forebodings.
However, the National Jewish Community Relations
Advisory Council is now coming to its annual five-day
plenum (which will take place in Cleveland Feb. 13-16)'
with a report that the year's events brought no major in-
crease in reported levels of anti-Semitism in the country,
and that the 1982 anxiety ran counter to a continuing trend
of declining levels of anti-Semitic indicators in the U.S.
The 1982 elections to both houses of Congress, which
took place after the Lebanon war, evidenced no discernible
anti-Semitic spill-over, the NJCRAC report points out. On
the contrary, more identifiable Jews were elected by non-
Jewish constituents across the country than ever before.
Even in cases. where Jewish candidates lost, neither anti-
Semitic nor anti-Israel propaganda was a factor. In two
separate cases where anti-Semitic and anti-Israel issues
emerged, the Jewish candidate won and the anti-Israel
candidate lost.
In the opinion of Jewish leadership, the election re-
turned a Congress potentially more sympathetic to contin-
ued support for Israel.
THE PRESENT TENSE: At the General Assembly of
the Council of Jewish Federations three months ago, CJF
president Martin E. Citrin emphasized that, as a group,
Jews have never been as "free, affluent, accepted, influen-
tial and satisfied" as they are today in this country.
A study by the American Jewish Committee conducted
in 1982 established that evidence "seems clearly to point to
a sharp decline in prejudice against Jews and a marked
increase in theii- social acceptance as individuals and as a
The 'Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith, in its
"1982 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents," established the fact
that anti-Semitic vandalism and other attacks against
Jewish institutions and Jewish private property such as
homes and stores had declined noticeably in the U.S. dur-
ing the year. There were 829 incidents in 1982, compared to
974 incidents in the previous year — a decrease of about 15
percent. The ADL report emphasized that it was the first
time since 1979 that such anti-Semitic incidents did not
increase and that much of these anti-Jewish activities ap-
peared to be overwhelmingly carried out by youngsters
under the age of 20 who were acting on their own and not on
orders of anti-Jewish hate groups.
ACTION GOALS FOR 1983-1984: The American
Jewish community's sense of apprehension in 1982 was
deepened by anti-Jewish events in some Western European
countries. Leaders from Jewish communities overseas who
came to this country to address the CJF General Assembly
spoke of growing anti-Semitism in some of the European
The NJCRAC urges its affiliates to continue to main-
tain unremitting vigilance against any manifestations of
anti-Semitism. It also recommends undertaking special
programs to deepen the consciousness and understanding
of the Jewish community and the general community about
the nature of anti-Semitism in this country so that it will be
neither minimized nor exaggerat'ed.
The NJCRAC and the groups which it embraces will
carefully monitor and assess anti-Semitism in this country
this year, as well as the nature and extent of correlations
between events in the Middle East and attitudes toward

years. He was chosen to
speak at Freud's funeral.
The theme of Zweig's
novel "Beware of Pity" is
love and a search for a cure
through love. Freud de-
scribed psychoanalysis as a
cure through love.
A rediscovery of Zweig is
taking place. At the height
of his career, his works were
published in 40 languages.
He was an Austrian Jew,
the son of a textile manufac-
He served in the Austrian
Army during World War I.
Here he gained first-hand
knowledge of the horrors of
war. He and other intellec-
tuals like him returned, de-
termined to create a modern
humanist Renaissance.
This German-Jewish de-
tente resulted in the most
fascinating and creative de-
cade in German cultural
With the rise to power
of the Nazis, it became

soul against the sufferings
of another; and the other,
the only kind that counts,
the unsentimental but crea:
tive kind, which knows
what it is about and is de-
termined to hold out, in pa-
tience and forbearance, to
the limit of its strength and
even beyond."
In his novel, Zweig uses
the lieutenant to illus.,
trate pity without com-
passion from which love
never develops. He then
uses the young girl's per-
sonal physician to illus-
trate the creative, com-
passionate feelings for
the needy and the help-
less that can lead to love
for the less fortunates in
our society.
This physician takes on
cases which other physi-
cians abandon and call
hopeless. The physician al-
ways offers hope. Using
diabetes as an example, he
considers every uncurable
case today, having a chance
for cure through tomorrow's


life is not worthwhile with-
out love? -
Zweig needed to be loved
through his writing by his
readers. In the book,
Lieutenant Hofmiller feels
pity for the attractive girl
whom • fate had dealt the
cruel blow of making walk-
ing impossible for her. Her
sensitivities prevented the
substitution of pity for love.
Zweig prefaces the- novel
with the following: "There
are two kinds of pity. One,
the weak and sentimental
kind which is really no more
than the heart's impatience
to be rid as quickly as possi-
ble of the painful emotion
aroused by the sight of an-
other's unhappiness, that
pity which is not compas-
sion, but only an instinctive
desire to fortify one's own

His philosophy is that for
the individual to feel really
worthwhile, one must do
things for other people who
need us desperately.
He lives out his philos-
ophy in his work with. his
patients and in his mar-
riage to a blind wife whose
entire life revolves about
his love for and care of her.

Three on Trial
in Argov Attack


impossible for Zweig and
his Jewish colleagues to
be published. In 1942,
Zweig committed suicide,
believing that he had lost
his gift.
Edith, the tragic, crippled
heroine of this book also
suicides. She commits
-suicide because she cannot
live without the love of the
young Austrian cavalry
officer who is stationed near
her father's baronial home.
Could Zweig have been de-
scribing his own feelings
that led to his suicide? That

U.S., Israel
Disagree Over
Beirut Incident

Defense Secretary Caspar
Weinberger disclosed on
Wednesday that three Is-
raeli tanks had a confronta-
tion with a U.S. Marine
checkpoint in west Beirut
this week.
Weinberger said the
Marine officer in charge
loaded his rifle and told the
Israelis they could only
come through the
checkpoint "over his dead
Jerusalem were upset by
the incident and said the
problem arose because the
U.S. and Israel had agreed
last week that Israel would
patrol that area of west Be-

To refrain from sinful ac-
tion is itself a religious act.


=NM 11=1,1

To: The Jewish News

LONDON (JTA) — Three
Arabs identified as mem-
bers of a PLO splinter group
went on trial last week for
the attempted murder of
Shlomo Argov, the Israeli
Ambassador to Britain, who
was shot and severely
wounded last June 3 outside
a London hotel.
The defendants, Hussein
Ahmad Ghassan Said and
Marwa Al Banna, both Jor-
dians, and Novoff Nagib
Meflehel Rosan, an Iraqi,
pleaded not guilty to the
charges of shooting Argov
and his police bodyguard.
According to a prosecutor,
Argov was shot in the head
by Said who was wounded
by police when he at-
tempted to escape.
The three men were iden-
tified as members of the
Palestine Liberation-
Movement, a little-known
breakaway faction of the
Palestine Liberation

1 75 1 5 W. 9 Mile Rd.

Suite 865

Southfield, Mich. 48075



Bar-Ilan Chair

than 100 of the world's
foremost mathematicians
took part recently in an
academic convocation on
the campus of Bar-Ilan
University marking the
dedication of the Abe Gel-
bart Chair in Mathematics,
endowed by David Rose of
New York.
Prof. Gelbart helped de-
velop the theory of
pseudoanalytic functions —
mathematical foundation of
modern fluid dynamics —
and served as editor of
"Scripta Mathematica"-
from 1958, to 1972.


This is the theme of this
As for writing style,
Zweig writes clear, pre-
cise character studies of
the common man and
woman of the Austria-
Hungary of his time. Ex-
cept for the doctor, there
are no heroes.
People's pettiness, an-
xieties and dynamics are
laid bare, with so little
humor that they do not feel
lovable to the reader. One
feels pity for them but not
attracted to them. As in the
Greek tragedies, they can-
not change their fate.
These are not stories
about Jewish people, but
about all the people of Au-
stria of Zweig's time.
If you are in the mood for
serious thinking, read Ste-
fan Zweig.

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