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October 14, 1983 - Image 80

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-10-14

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80 Friday, October 14, 1983


Wiesel's Latest Discusses The Holocaust and Vengeance


Wiesel, the novelist-
laureate of the Jewish
people, has, in his latest
work, created a powerful
and intensely moving book
about the major issues that
have been lacerating the
Jewish people, and man-
kind, since the Holocaust.
Like all great novels with
a universalist bent, Wiesel's
oeuvre is rooted in a par-
ticularistic ethos. In the
case of "Le Cinquieme Fils"
(The Fifth Son") published
in French by Grasset, it is
the milieu inhabited by
Holocaust survivors and
their families in the New
York area.
Ariel Tamiroff is the
highly-sensitive son of
Reuven Tamiroff. When we
meet the young Tamiroff his
mother has just been sent to
a clinic in upstate New York
where she will be treated for
an unnamed terminal dis-
Ariel has been raised in
an atmosphere of ex-
treme religious piety. He
is, moreover, know-
ledgeable about matters
biblical and historical:
While not members of
any • ultra-Orthodox
Hasidic groups within
the Brooklyn enclave
which they call home,
both father and son are
respectful of the religious
norms adopted by their
Reuven Tamiroff is a man
with many complexes. A
student of ancient Latin
philosophy who works at
the New York Public Lib-
rary, Tamiroff senior is re-
luctant to reveal to his son

the wartime memories
- who caused so much per-
which are so much a part of
sonal grief to his father
his psychological being.
and people.
Ariel's inquisitive nature
He resolves to become an
will not be stilled by his
expert on Richard Lander
father's silences and he pre-
and with the help of his girl
vails upon family friends,
friend Lisa, Ariel compiles
especially Bontchek, to dis-
mounds of documentation
close details . about his
about the wartime SS of-
father's experiences during
ficer who helped implement
the Holocaust.
the final solution of the
The story emerges in
"Jewish problem."
snippets as Ariel begins
One day, while examin-
to piece together a story
ing some magazine articles,
of awesome and terrify-
Ariel discovers a startling
ing poignancy.
thing: Lander is not dead.
After fighting for the
He is alive and well, living
Polish army against the in-
in a German city where he
vading Nazis in 1939,
enjoys prominence as a
Reuven Tamiroff returns to
wealthy businessman and
his home and wife. Soon the
tiny Jewish community of
Ariel decides then and
Davarowsk is caught up in
there to visit Wolfgang
the vortex of the Nazi mur-
Berger (Lander) at his home
der machine.
base in Rehastadt and con-
A ghetto is erected to con-
front the former SS man
tain the town's Jews and
with the crimes he had
Reuven Tamiroff is chosen upon the Jews to worship Richard Lander.
committed. • Much of
A group of survivors had Wiesel's narrative is taken
to be the president of the him on Yom Kippur, the
small collective. The choice holiest day in the religi- located the former SS officer up with a description of
in Germany after the war Ariel's state of mind as he
is not accepted with grace ous calendar. -
Reuven Tamiroff realizes and had blown him to approaches the German
for Reuven understands the
consequences of his new that his role as president is smithereens with a hand town where Berger-Lander
nothing more than that of grenade. Tamiroff relates resides.
The SS officer in charge of facilitator for the Nazi mur- the tale not with trium-
It would be woefully
the ghetto, Richard Lander der squads. He tenders his phalism but rather with indiscreet to reveal the
(nicknamed • "The Angel") resignation and as a con- remorse as if the act consti- details about the drama-
becomes in Wiesel's novel, a sequence of this courageous tuted a repudiation of his tic encounter which en-
kind of 'minor league com- act the other members of his Jewish soul.
sues except to say that
Ariel Tamiroff, the there is a hallucinatory
posite of Josef Mengele, council are executed by the
Adolf Eichmann and Rudolf Nazis. Tamiroff indicates in New York scion of the quality about Wiesel's
Hoess, three • Nazis as- a retrospective judgement Tamiroffs, learns also prose that draws the
sociated with the Auschwitz of his act that he wished he that he had a brother, the reader into its web.
had not been so courageous. first Ariel, who perished
concentration camp.
The title of Wiesel's rivet-
Miraculously, Tamiroff in the Holocaust. The re- ing novel "The Fifth Son" is
Lander's brutality is
masked by an outward survives the war, obsessed velations of his father based on a section of the
show of gentility but the with guilt, like so many about his wartime suffer- Passover' Hagada, the text
ghetto dwellers soon other survivors for having ing, the death of a brother which records the exodus
learn that their fate is lived while most died. He and the confession about from Egypt. There are four
sealed. SS troops begin to tells his son, however, that the execution of Richard sons described therein. One
execute the ghetto vic- his greatest regret is having Lander cause Ariel to is wise, one is impious, a
tims. Lander, in one participated in a post-war plunge into his own ob- third is innocent and the
gruesome scene, calls act of vengeance against session about the man fourth does not know even



how to pose questions.
Wiesel's fifth son is Ariel
Tamiroff, the quintessen-
tial child of the Holocaust
survivor who must go
through his own particular
hell before he gets the
answers to questions which
are too horrible even to be
And yet they must be
asked. Wiesel uses the novel
to probe deeply into one of
the most vexing of all the
questions. Does veng6ance
reside with man or is it only
a prerogative of God?
For Wiesel, the answer
must be rooted in the
grandeur of Jewish trad-
ition. The dialectic is re-
ported fully in the discus-
sions carried on by many
of the characters in this
work. Wiesel is clearly on
the side of those who es-
chew vengeance even
against those who have
murdered millions. As
one of the people says in
the debate: "God may
wish to punish but let him
not choose me as his
There are those who will
find in Elie Wiesel's latest,
and in some ways, most per-
turbing work, a gentle re-
proach against the kind of
obsession which animates a
man like Simon Wiesent-
hal, the Nazi hunter.
Wiesel's novel seeks a new
ground for coming to grips
with the Jewish past. For
him the foundation must
rest on respect for those
Jewish values which prom-
ote love of God and man.
Vengeance, however
much it appears justifi-
able, has no place in
Wiesel's canon.

Jews, Arabs Together Integration Comes to Jewish Nazareth


HAIFA — The town of
Nazareth Illit (Upper
Nazareth) was established
in 1957 as a Jewish town-
ship alongside the historic
old Arab city from which it
took its name. Fifteen years
later the twin cities were
described as a case study in
co-existence. "Affluence,
friendliness, economic in-
terdependence, peace and
mutually beneficial co-
existence — a model of liv-
ing together," one observer

Old Nazareth has a popu-
lation of about 40,000, al-
most equally divided bet-
ween Christians and Mos-
lems. Nazareth Illit has
about 25,000 inhabitants.
There can be little doubt
that long-term security con-
siderations had an influ-
ence on the location of the
new town. Arab Nazareth
had a reputation as a hotbed


of nationalist activity, an,
Communism was very
strong there. The first resi-
dents of Nazareth Illit were
veteran Israelis from other
parts of the country, but
once the foundations were
established, thousands of
new immigrants were di-
rected there.

Emphasis was put on
community planning,

comfortable homes and
social and educational
institutions. Much was
written about the advan-
tages of living in the new
city, located 1,500 feet
above sea level.
Relations between the
twin cities have indeed been
good.,The Jews from up on
the hill do much of their
shopping in the old city,
while much of the labor
force engaged in construc-
tion, etc. up there comes
from below. The industrial
section provides employ-
ment for both cities.
Nazareth Illit is clean and
progressive. Its plans for the
future include two hotels for
tourists, a country club and
even a cable railway ex-
tending 3.5 miles to link it
with the peak of Mt. Tabor.
In addition to the standard
apartment houses, sections
of villas have been con-
No one recalls exactly

which was the first Arab
family to move in to
Nazareth Illit apparently a
policeman, or some other
government employe, who
had housing rights. There
were no problems. Other
Arab families followed. At
first they lived in one sec-
tion only, but gradually
moved into other neighbor-
hoods as well. It is
estimated that today there
are about 600 Arab families
in Nazareth Illit, 8-10 per-
cent of the population.
There have been objec-
tions and protests from
some of the local Jews.
They have nothing
against the Arabs, they
say, especially since
those who come to
Nazareth Illit are for the
most part professionals,
well educated or pros-
perous. But the local re-
sidents want this to be a
Jewish neighborhood.
"Our children will grow
up together, and this will
lead to intermarriage. It is
not for this that we came to
Israel," they say. Others are
more brutally frank: "How
do I know they won't leave a
bomb somewhere?"
Some objectors have cir-
culated petitions to prevent
the sale of homes to the
Arabs. Unfriendly placards
have been displayed. Some

families simply move away
and their apartments are
bought by Arabs in a pro-
cess of community ethnic
metamorphosis which is
very familiar in almost
every large American city.
Despite the objections,
the Arabs continue to move
in. Why? Samir Abu Ata,
interviewed in a local paper,
replied: "I came here be-
cause it is quiet. I was one of
the first ones here.
Neighbors? No difference to
me. We preferred Jews, but
since we came most of my
neighbors are now Arabs.
The neighborhood is becom-
ing noisy, and we're think-
ing of moving to the other
side of Nazareth Illit where
there are only Jews."
Hakim Rizak, 26, a tech-
nician, said he brought his
family here because of the
high quality of life, lacking
in the old city.
All the Arabs send their
children to Moslem or
Christian schools in the
valley, but after school
the youngsters play to-
gether with their
neighbors on the hill. Not
all the Jews are un-
The Arabs are willing
(and able) to pay any price
demanded for flats or villas,,
and it appears that their
number in Nazareth Illit

will continue to grow.
"Your Home in Nazareth
Illit," a booklet produced
some years ago by the Israel
Ministry of Immigrant Ab-
sorption and the Jewish
Agency Aliya Department,
described the place as a
"children's paradise. The
clear air, enchanting scen-
ery, large expanseS and the
municipality's concern for
the young and adult genera-
tion — all these attract
people to the place and con-
vert them into enthusiastic
patriots." It appears that
Jewish immigrants were
not the only ones.

Medical Tool
Rates High

Chicago-based Industrial
Research and Development
magazine, owned by Dunn
and Bradstreet Corp., has
described a chemical sep-
aration instrument de-
veloped by the Lidex Corp.
of Haifa as "one of the 100
most significant technologi-
cal advances of 1983."

Lidex's Dynomat, a
dynamic column liquid
chromatography system, is
designed for quick and
cheap separation of corn-
pound chemical and biologi-
cal mixtures.

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