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May 04, 1984 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-05-04

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

36 Friday, May 4, 1984



855- 1400

Johnny Chase

Jerry Fenby
Shelby Lee
Eric Freudigman
Carl Ryding
George Brooks
Sheldon Yellen

Tom Ploeger
Loving Cup
Jay Valle
Tim Hewitt & Feelings
Johnny Griffith
Design In Music
Eric Harris


Talent Agency


ABZ Orchestra

Harry Teichert Strings
Raymon Carbone
Perfect Blend
Mariachi Band
Smiling Faces

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Feuchtwanger classic reissued

Special to The Jewish News

Jew Suss by Lion
Feuchtwanger is considered
by the critics to be one of the
finest, if not the finest, his-
torical novels of the 20th
England and America plus
its sale of more than three
million copies over the
years since it was first pub-
lished in 1925 make it one of
the most notable and more
successful historical novels
ever written. No wonder it
is said Jew Suss is being
brought back by popular
It is the sheer power of the
narrative that gives the
book its absorbing interest.
Lion Feuchtwanger's abil-
ity to recreate history, at
the same time adhering
closely to historical truth, is
little short of marvelous. Its
original title in America
was Power, a word which
expressed the dominant
motif of this splendid novel.
It immediately became an
international best seller. It
established Lion
Feuchtwanger's popularity
and probably remains the
book by which he is most
widely known.

"Jew Suss,"
reissued 1984.
By Lion
Carroll & Graf

From many scattered
sources published in the
United States and England
I found reviews of the book.
All of them were extremely
complimentary. Some are
quoted here.
In the words of the New
York Times Book Review,
Jew Suss is "comparable to
Sir Walter Scott and
Alexandre Dumas . . . a ro-
mance on the grand scale
and in the grand manner."
Jew Suss is superb, a
true work of art by an
author • who wove a grand
tapestry. He brings to life a
panorama of civilization, an
exciting historical period of
time for Jews, Catholics and
Protestants in a turbulent
southern German state.
"He does it with vivid de-
tail, sweeping drama and
full-blooded characters. It is
great popular fiction at its
most robust and satisfying.
"Feuchtwanger's method
is of historical romance but
his treatment is realism.
The narrative is particu-
larly effective in dealing
with power and its physical
Feuchtwanger wrote this
unforgettable historical
novel about Josef Suss Op-
penheimer (1698-1738), the

Lion Feuchtwanger

son of Rabbi Issacher Sussk-
ind Oppenheimer. Joseph,
called Jew Suss, became the
Jewish courtier and finan-
cial councilor to the Duke of
Wurttemberg, an area in
southwest Germany, for-
merly called Swabia.
encyclopedias carry the
story of Suss' experience as
part of our history. The ear- _
liest Jews known to be in
Wurttemberg was about
The book's gripping story
is based on the exploits of
the Jew Suss, a living, pul-
sating figure . . . a talented,
ambitious Jew born in
Heidelberg who became the
friend and confidential ad-
viser to Prince Karr Ale-
xander, ruler of the Duchy
in the early years of the
18th Century. By clever
maneuvers, Joseph Suss
Oppenheimer made himself
indispensible to the Duke
and became the virtual
ruler. He also acquired a
controlling hand in the in-
trigues of the court; a court
rampant with greed and
lust, populated by the
rapacious and the sensual.
Subserviency to the Duke
brought upon Suss the
enmity of the people, both
non-Jew and Jews.
Suss' special duty was to
assist the Duke to regulate
the finances of the country.
He was given control of the
mint. Later, he became
Privy Councilor of Finance
and did such a fine job of
bringing in a great deal of
unexpected profits and
taxes for the Duke that he
became the major impor-
tant power in the country —
• second only to the Duke ---
during the years 1733 to
1737. Suss settled many
Jewish families in
Wurttemberg in spite of the
strong objection of the
people of the country.
Suss had only one vul-
nerability — his love for
Naemi, his young virgin
daughter. And, it is the
Duke's pursuit of the beau-
tiful Naemi that forces Suss
to choose. It began the
downfall that lead to an
heroic but tragic death.
The book's hero has been
called a great refined rascal,
debauchee, grinder of the

faces of the poor. But, he is a
sympathetic fellow and his
hanging amid circum-
stances of fantastic terror
will move the hearts of the
staunchest upholders of
The distinguished British
writer, Arnold Bennett,
wrote: "Feuchtwanger
treats the Jewish commu-
nity with extraordinary in-
sight and fairness. He im-
mersed himself in this
period with the meticulous
thoroughness and impar-
tiality of an historical stu-
dent. He does not shirk
difficulties. He writes
naturally. He accepts
human nature (as it was
then — different from ours).
"He seldom shows indig-
nation — even in his pages
on the lasciviousness of men
or the acquiescence of
women in Heavens! What a
sex were German women in
the 18th Century! . . . he
keeps his head excellently
and sins neither by audacity
nor by timidity.
"There are few examples
of this kind of novel in
English literature, and I
want many more of them .. .
it entertains, it enthralls,
and simultaneously it
teaches; it enlarges the field
of knowledge."
The novel gains in inten-
sity as the end approaches.
The pages exercise an ever-
tightening clutch on the
minds of the readers. Sev-
eral critics liken the plot to
the Faust legend. Suss has
sold his soul to the devil —
that is, to say, for power.
And, indeed, so has nearly
everyone else in the book.
Feuchtwanger delimits
narrowly the theme of the
Jewish secular hero. For
here, the Jew Suss makes no
appeal to partiotism. He is
interested in power only.
But though he is a long way
from the Torah, he never
seems at any time to be
alienated from the religion
to which, at the close of the
book, in sacrifice and sub-
mission, he eventually re-
When in 1737 the Duke of
Wurttemberg died, all the
Jews in Stuttgart, the capi-
tal of Wurttemberg, were
made prisoners including
Suss. In a sequence of
highly dramatic scenes,
Feuchtwanger describes
how Suss is arrested and
made to pay with his life for
the crimes that had been
committed by the Duke and
dozens of corrupt, spineless
In all this there is nothing
theatrical, nothing ar-
ranged. Suss' character is
traced with the utmost de-
tachment and objectivity.
We see his brilliance and his
victories and his sacrifices;
but we also see his defeats
and forced servilities.

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