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February 13, 1987 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-13

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The Courage Of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Carl Von Ossietzky

At the ceremony in Oslo, Norway at
which Elie Wiesel was awarded the
1986 Nobel Peace Prize, the 50th an-
niversary of a similar honor was re-
called. Emphasis was applied to the
award on Nov. 23, 1936 of the Nobel
Peace Prize to Carl von Ossietzky,
whose defiance of Nazism lists him
among the most courageous in the
entire record of anti-Hitlerism. The
Gestapo and Hermann Goering tried
to induce him not to accept the prize.
When Hitler came to power von Os-
sietzky was sent to a concentration
camp. According to a special article in
Nordwest Zeitung of Oldenbug, Ger-
many by Elke Suhr, which was re-
printed in an English translation in
the German Tribune of Hamburg:

The last time Carl von Os-
sietzky wrote anything in op-
position to the Nazi regime was
in 1936 as he lay seriously ill in
a Berlin hospital: "After care-
ful consideration, I have de-
cided to accept the Nobel
Peace Prize which I have been
"I do not share the view
expressed by representatives
of the state's secret police (Ges-
tapo) that this would exclude
me from the V olksgemeinschaft
(Nazi jargon for society)."

The message was written on a
torn scrap of greying paper.
Elke Suhr recalls in her article
that as a pacifist von Ossietzky was
kept in a concentration camp from
1933 until 1936 when his illness com-

Thomas Mann Among
The Highly Honored
German Exiles

Thomas Mann

"Exile," in the sense used when
people fled Nazism, became a highly hon-
ored designation.
Thomas Mann was such an exile. His
role among the distinguished Germans
who never submitted to the terror is re-
called presently on the 50th anniversary
of Bonn University's repudiating the
awarding to him of an honorary docto-
The letter to him by the university's

pelled his being released to a hospital.
The Suhr article states at this point:

His nomination as a can-
didate for the Nobel Peace
Prize was a thorn in the flesh of
Nazi leaders.
The Gestapo and even
Hermann Goering himself had
tried to put pressure on Os-
sietzky to refuse to accept the
peace prize awarded to him by
the Norwegian Nobel Prize
Committee on 23 November,
He was forced to stand to
attention for a whole hour
while Goering continuously
implored him to change his
mind, finally offering him a
lifetime pension of 500
Reichsmarks as well as his
personal freedom.
However, even after three
years detention in a concentra-
tion camp the small and frail
prisoner was unwilling to be
swayed by threats or promises.
He told Goering: "I was a
pacifist, and a pacifist I shall
In 1935 Thomas Mann had
appealed to the Nobel Prize
Committee that awarding the
Nobel peace prize to concen-
tration camp prisoner Carl von
Ossietzky would represent an
"act of liberation."
An act, said Mann, "which
would not only strengthen the
belief in the power of good in

Dean Carl Justus Obenauer stated on
Dec. 19, 1933, that it was revoked "as a
result of the loss of your citizenship." It
was sent to him at his residence in Swit-
zerland three weeks earlier.
In 1946, the honorary degree was re-
stored to him. It was among the academic
atonements that marked a restoration of
decency to post-Hitler Germany.

This resumption of honorable treat-
ment of one of the most eminent Germans
is now recalled on the 50th anniversary of
the humiliation that was proclaimed for a
great German to the disgrace of his coun-
try. Mann took occasion in a pamphlet
that was distributed clandestinely in
Nazi Germany to explain his status as an
He declared in his reply to Bonn
University Dean Obenauer that he "was
born to be rather a representative than a
martyr"; that he would rather bring "sub-
lime pleasure into the world than fight to
feed hate." He declared it pitiable to
think about the people who considered
they had the power to take his German
culture and way of life away from him.
Mann also said about the Nazis that
"they had the audacity to confuse Ger-
many with themselves." He entertained
the hope the moment was not far distant
when the German people would not be
confused with the Nazis and the end of
the terror would come soon. It did not
materialize so soon, but Mann was among
the Germans who found it necessary to
apologize for their tyrants who became
mass murderers.
Thomas Mann gave dignity to the
term "Exile." As such he emerged from
being an expatriate in Switzerland into a
role of honor.

the heart of this one man, but
also in the millions of tor-
mented hearts which are on
the point of doubting the exist-
ence of good in the negligence
and darkness of this age."
Political refugees from
Germany were the first to call
for the Nobel peace prize for
Carl von Ossietzky in 1934.
The first proper recom-
mendation was submitted fol-
lowing efforts by Hellmut von
Gerlach, Albert Einstein and
Ernst Toiler.

Mesorah Publishers'
Art Scroll Series
Attains High Marks

Mesorah Publications and its Mis-
hnaic and Traditional book series, as well
as the children's stories, have assumed a
most important place in Jewish publish-
ing fields. The emphasis on the biog-
raphical of eminent Orthodox scholars,
the commentaries on the Talmud, and the
attractions created for the youth in the
children's books continue to enrich the
educational and enlightening efforts
exerted for American Jewry.
While the Mesorah tasks are entirely
aimed at the traditional Orthodox, the
informative has value for all. At the same
time, the stories for children have high
merit as entertaining reading as well as
for their teaching values to inspire links
with Jewish history.
Most important among the most re-
cent of the Mesorah published works is
the biography of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.
There has not been an inquiry about
Jewish traditions that did not make it
necessary for rabbis and communities to
call upon Rabbi Feinstein for comment
and interpretation. His decisions have
been considered definitive.
His biography, entitled Reb Moshe:

The Life and Ideals of HaGaon Rabbi
Moshe Feinstein was authored by Rabbi

Shimon Finkelman, with Rabbi Nosson
Scherman. The latter shares in preparing
most of Mesorah books. Rabbi Meir
Zlotowitz wrote the foreword to Reb


Rabbi Feinstein, in his more than 50
years of creative writing and Talmudic
interpretive roles, produced seven vol-

There was hardly a Ger-
man emigre at that time who
did not campaign for Os-
Scattered throughout the
world they joined together to
proclaim a single goal: "Save
Carl von Ossietzky!"
One major problem was
how to get the publicity they
needed for their cause in a
foreign country and in a
foreign language.
It often seemed as if the
governments of their host
countries were blind to the in-
justice existing in Germany.
Most of them had long
since made their peace with
A naval agreement had
been drawn up, for example,
between Britain and Germany.
Sweden was exporting
iron ore for use in the German
arms industry and close trad-
ing links existed between
Germany and the Soviet
And which country was
not making preparations for
the Olympic Games to be held
in Germany in 1936?
One year before this spec-
tacle of Nazi propaganda Carl
von Ossietzky was still lying on
a plank bed in a concentration
camp in Esterwegen (Ems-
"Take heed all you politi-

Continued on Page 28

umes of Responsa and some 12 volumes of
Talmudic commentaries. The
encyclopedic knowledge of this eminent
scholar and teacher is embodied in these

The Sanzer Rebbe

Noteworthy in the Mesorah series
recently issued is Der Sanzer Ray and his
Dynasty. It is authored by Rabbi A.Y.
Bromberg. It was translated from the
Hebrew by Shlomo Fox-Ashrei.
This is the story of Rabbi Chaim
Halberstam, a 19th Century Torah
scholar, author of an important Responsa
and other works.
A noted Chasidic leader, Rabbi Hal-
berstam had an important role in
Chasidism. Therefore his biography adds
immensely to an understanding of
Chasidism, Chasidic leaders, their fol-
lowers and the time in which they func-

Mishnaic Series

The commentaries on the Mishnah
are among the most significant in
Mesorah publishing works.
Among the most recent in these
series is the first in the series on "Seder
The "Seder Nezikin" translation and
anthologized commentaries are by Rabbi
Matis Roberts. It was edited by Rabbi
Yehezkel Danziger.

Spiritual Resistance

A deeply-moving volume dealing
with the Holocaust describes the

Continued on Page 28

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