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January 09, 1987 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-09

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PURELY COMMENTARY

Bitburg

Continued from Page 2

is famous for being a good PR man.
Wiesel: He was; that's why I
can't understand that this could
happen to him.
Spiegel: In your opinion, will
the Bitburg affair permanently
damage the President?
Wiesel: Probably not, but since
we deal with morals, and since Re-
agan puts great store in a moral
image, the equalization of -victims
with their violators will diminish
his reputation.
Spiegel: If Reagan does cancel
the side-trip to Bitburg after all, or
if Kohl, in response to calls for help
from the White House, does pro-
pose a change of program — would
it still be disturbing to you that this
change of mind only came about
under pressure of public opinion?
Wiesel: That isn't really the
question any more. If Reagan were
to find a way to cancel Bitburg, we
would all know anyway that he
had really wanted to go. But for the
sake of history, a U.S. President
should not bow down before SS
graves.
In the positivism in the Levkov as-
sembled material is included the now
famous speech by West German President
Richard von Weizsacker. On May 5, 1985,
President Richard von Weizsacker deliv-
ered a speech in Bruehl, West Germany in
honor of President and Mrs. Reagan.
That's when he made the accusatory dec-
laration condemning the Nazi atrocities. It
remains a speech often quoted, in which he
asserted:
At this time many nations look
back on the year 1945. We Germans
know that untold suffering was
brought upon nations and indi-
vidual citizens by the Nazi barba-
rism and the war which originated
in Germany. The suffering caused
to our Jewish fellow men in the
name of Germany, epitomized by
the Holocaust, to the Russians, the
Poles and nearly all our neighbors,
but also the suffering of countless
Germans as a result of persecution,
death and the loss of their home-
land — none of this will ever be
erased from the memory.
In the meantime young Ger-
mans have grown up who had no
part in all this. They themselves
certainly bear none of the blame,
but they cannot cast off a heavy
legacy. All of us in Germany,
whether old or young, face up to
this dark chapter in our history.
We all bear responsibility for its
consequences.
In Bitburg and Beyond, the editor-
compiler speculates on the "beyond" to
what emerged as sort of a crisis for Ameri-
can foreign relations. There is no limit to
criticism of Reagan in Levkov's book.
What's the aftermath, the "beyond" in the
tragic Bitburg? Levkov suggests:

What lesson concerning the
interplay of morality and politics
can be drawn from the political
hurricane called the Bitburg af-
fair? One school of thought is
characterized by the pragma-
tiepolitical approach taken by Is-
raeli Prime Minister Shimon
Peres: "Ronald Reagan is a great
friend who committed an error.
The friend will remain, so will the
error." The same point of view was
voiced by Morris B. Abram, who
subsequently became Chairman of
the Conference of Presidents of
Major American Jewish Organiza-

tions, in his New York Times op-ed
article, "Reagan isn't indifferent to
Jews."
Another school of thought,
based on pure moral tenets, is re-
presented by Elie Wiesel, Israel
Singer, Menachem Rosensaft and
others; it calls for uncompromising
confrontation in such crises. The
questions posed by Senator Frank
Lautenburg's essay — "Which Les-
son Will be Remembered?" — may
constitute the heart of this di-
lemma. Perhaps future genera-
tions of Americans, Germans and
Jews will look back upon the Bit-
burg affair and, as a result, will be
able to avoid such conflicts by
looking truth in the eye and letting
it be the guiding light.
In the Bitburg volume, a veritable an-
thology, Ilya Levkov provides an impor-
tant chapter in the historical records of the
U.S. and Germany. It is an important
chapter in the Holocaust records. Its con-
tents will surely be referred to in the de-
cades ahead.

factors went into his early East
End environment, however. Near
the Gompers home lived many of
the descendants of the Huguenot
silk workers who had been driven
from France by Louis XIV in 1685.
They had inherited the family skill,
but machinery had deprived the
world of the need for their services,
and the child Samuel Gompers ob-
served their suffering and listened
to their cries of hunger.
Gompers' father also was a cigar-
maker. The Jewish background must have
provided the traditional Jewish inspira-
tion to treat labor and laborers with re-
spect. This is the legacy that is certain to
survive with respect for the memory of
Samuel Gompers.

Shulman

Continued from Page 2

Gompers

Continued from Page 2

.and a box for a chair. A son who
helped out after school "trans-
formed empty tomato boxes con-
tributed by the friendly proprietor
of a grocery store across the street
into files."
Gompers would walk to work,
to save carfare, and carry his
lunch. "More often than not, it was
midnight before I got home. There
were meetings, speeches to make,
conferences to attend, for the
cause of labor is no easy mistress to
serve."
But when the AFL held its sec-
ond annual convention, the 58
delegates present represented 40
unions with more than 600,000
members.
America's trade union move-
ment was on its way.
Samuel Gompers, who was born in
London, England in 1850 (he died in San
Antonio, Tex.), had a few years of Jewish

Samuel Gompers

learning. It is indicated briefly in the Uni-
versal Jewish Encyclopedia, in these facts:
From the time he was six years
old until he was ten, Gompers
attended a Jewish free school in
Bell Lane, Spitalfields, London,
and these four years provided the
only formal education he ever had
except for courses in Cooper
Union.
Quite different educational

Marshall Shulman

Shulman's mother, Bea Shulman, was for
more than 50 years active in social service
and relief work here. With her husband
Harry Shulman, she co-chaired the Mo'os
Chitim Passover relief committee here.
Bea Shulman- was a name closely
linked for four decades with the Home Re-
lief Society whose social service and
charitable records were among the out-
standing in their fields in this community.
Harry Shulman was president of
Cong. Shaarey Zedek and during his term
of office he introduced the lecture series,
bringing to the synagogue podium the
most distinguished Jewish and Christian
scholars.
As a dedicated scholar who devoted
himself to studying Soviet Russian
policies, Marshall Shulman reached
authoritative heights. In that process he
rendered very important services to our
nation.
The Detroit schools and the Univer-
sity of Michigan, where he had his start as
a scholar, share in his glory. The Detroit
News has a bit of a role in it, his original
professional aspiration having been jour-
nalism and the afternoon Detroit news-
paper had him as a staff member for a brief
period.
Our community has reason to be proud
of Marshall Shulman.

Recognition For A Noted
Academician: Festshrift
For Dr. Sol Liptain

In the record of outstanding academic
achievements, by American Jewish schol-
ars, Dr. Sol Liptzin must, with very little
challenge, be listed among the dozen most
accomplished.
He is Jewishly dedicated in every re-

Dr. Sol Liptzin

spect. He is a linguist and an authoritative
historical researcher whose facts are ir-
refutable. He has taught in German uni-
versity departments and has evaluated
Yiddish, with numerous books and essays
on the literature in that language. The
Bible and the Midrash are among his
sources.
No wonder, therefore, that aFestshrift
has been compiled acclaiming his schol-
arship on the occasion of his 85th birthday.
The festshrift is a traditional form
chosen by scholars to honor their confreres.
It is the festival anthology, the Feast of
Writings, in which the distinguished honor
a fellow scholar with whom they learned,
who has their great respect and admira-
tion.
This is the case in Identity and Ethos:
A Festshrift for Sol Liptzin on the Occasion
of His 85th Birthday. It was published by
Verlag Peter Lang, A. G., Jupiterstrasse
15, Bern 15, Switzerland.
Replete with scholarly discussions on
major Jewish topics, with emphasis on his-
torical experiences, academicians and
scholars of note have combined their skills
to pay honor to a distinguished colleague.
Scholars of note, identified in a verita-
ble who's who, review literary and histori-
cal events hitherto unavailable in the pub-
lished records.
Thus, the noted scholar Jacob
Kabakoff presents fascinating facts about
the author of the national hymn, Hatik-
vah, in the essay "Naphtaly Herz Imber as
a Yiddish Poet." It is a fascinating story
throwing new light on an era and an
author.
This invites attention to a number of
articles dealing with Yiddish history and
literature. Included in this group are: "On
Yiddish, in Yiddish and for Yiddish: Five
Hundred Years of Yiddish Scholarship," by
Dovid Katz; "Kabbalistic Ideas in the
Women's Yiddish Prayer Book, Themes,"
by Zelda Kahan Newman; "The Yiddish
Theater as a Specie of Folk Art: Lateiner's
`The Jewish Heart' (1908)" by Dinah
Pladott; "Sholom Aleichem's `Stantsye
Baranovitsh" by Jonathan Boyarin.
This list already affirms the claim for
this book as an impressive gift to Jewish
knowledge and literary historiography.
Many important personalities are
dealt with, including Sholom Asch, Joseph
Leftwich, Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler,
Franz Rosenzweig, Charles Reznikoff,
Cynthia Ozick and numerous others, in
each case illuminating important de-
velopments involving them.
Of added importance is the essay by
Jeffery B. Berlin, revealing many facts in
"The Unpublished Letters of Rochard
Beer-Hofmann to Hermann Bahr (With

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