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February 27, 1987 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-27

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

Jews And Money

Contiued from Page 2

the Orientals by their scientists
and academicians ...
Jewish thinkers have never
viewed poverty as a desirable
condition, and there is nothing in
Jewish tradition similar to the
vow of poverty assumed by
monks and nuns. Maimonides'
highest degree of charity was
providing the destitute with suf-
ficient capital to become self-
supporting.

Many studies of Jewish interests in
various fields of endeavor have prev-
iously indicated how Jews have "run
away" from their parents' involvements
in manufacturing, their revulsion at the
very mention of the "sweat shops," their
movements toward Hollywood where
they have been very creative, and then
toward academia. It is with the latter in
view that Dr. Shapiro raises interesting
questions. How will the trend toward
academia affect the future Jewish inter-
ests?
Dr. Shapiro states in "Jews with
Money":

One of the present-day fears
of American Jewish communal
leaders is that too many young
Jews are going into the profes-
sions and academia and not
enough into business. From
whom will Jewish philanthropies
receive the major gifts on which
they depend and which they

previously received from wealthy
businessmen? (Ironically, this is
the same Jewish establishment
which downplayed Jewish eco-
nomic achievement, rarely held
up the businessman as a role
model, and encouraged the
"normalization" of the Jewish
economic profile.)

Their concern seems to be
needlessly alarmist. Judging
from the Forbes list and other evi-
dence scattered in the sociologi-
cal literature, there is little indi-
cation that the American Jewish
passion for "making it" has di-
minished. The founders of Amoco
Gas, Inland steel, Federated De-
partment Stores, Petrie Stores,
Hyatt Hotels, Consolidated
Foods, and Levi Strauss have
been as significant a part of the
American Jewish experience as
Louis Brandeis, Woody Allen,
Saul Bellow, David Dubinsky,
and Emma Goldman. American
Jewry will come of age when it
recognizes that this achievement
should occasion pride and not
embarrassment for, as Samuel
Johnson remarked in the
Eighteenth Century, "there are
few ways in which a man can be
more innocently employed than
in getting money."

The Samuel Johnson quotation cer-

tainly is not a defense. It is, however, the
recollections of a famous saying that
bears on current experiences. As in the
instance of a recent Wall Street scandal
involving a Jewish trader, there is al-
ways the danger, as there is from some of
the observations by Dr. Shapiro, that
anti-Semites will immediately turn to
one of the accusations leveled at Jews
that they control the banks, and therefore
also Wall Street, etc. A.M. Rosenthal, one
of the New York Times editors who has
begun to assume an important role as an
op-ed page columnist for his newspaper,
took it into account in an essay entitled
"Wall Street Worries." He stated therein:

Fear of a particular backlash
led to private meetings among
some top Jewish figures in the in-
dustry, bankers, chief executive
officers, heads of brokerages.
The central topic was the fact that
so many of the men caught cheat-
ing or about to be indicted were
Jewish. There was concern that
the backlash might carry a de-
cided tinge of anti-Semitism. The
anti-Jewish arbitrageur jokes are
all around the street.

Anybody with an ounce of
sensitivity knows that anti-
Semites do not need excuses to
hate Jews. There is no need for
Jews on Wall Street to feel called
upon to explain the number of
Jews involved any more than

there is for the members of any
race or religion to try to explain
their evildoers.
But anybody with an ounce of
sensitivity also knows that this
good advice will not prevail.
Every minority group whose
members are caught doing dirty
worries anyway, even though it
knows it should not have to.
The religion of the crooks and
near-crooks is not the issue.
Anti-Semitism is not the issue
either. The issue is that Wall
Street every day practices what
the people believe is just plain
wrong. That is dangerous to Wall
Street and to the rest of us.
This should really end the discus-
sion. While the Apocrypha on Patriarchs
admonishes that "the love of money leads
to idolatry," there is a bit of irony in what
Heinrich Heine wrote in English Frag-
ments: "The fundamental evil of the
world arose from the fact that the Good
Lord has not created money enough."
There is also a Chassidic twinge. A
noted rebbe, Nahman Bratslav, is quoted:
"Abolish the lust for money and the Mes-
siah will come." That's how the path is
strewn toward the end of all evil and the
commencement of heaven on earth. The
trouble is that the path is trekked from
conflicting directions and each and every
pair of hands that strives to pave that
road never paves deep enough. Greed
may be blocking the road toward the
Messiah.

Mounting Testimony

Continued from Page 2

won't get through. Many of us
were able from here to watch the
bombardment of a nearby town,
probably Emden. So why
shouldn't it be possible for the
railway line to be hit too, and for
the train to be stopped from leav-
ing? It's never been known to
happen yet. But people keep hop-
ing it will, with each new trans-
port and with never-flagging
hope ...

Jan G. Gaarlandt, who assembled
the letters and wrote the tribute to the
martyred author, explains that it took
time to secure interest in her and her
works. Now her diaries and letters ap-
pear in English, French, German, Ita-
lian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian,
Danish, Finnish, Portuguese, Japanese
and Hebrew.
Every letter is a heartrending story.
Collectively they describe the sufferings
in the camp, the anxiety, the tensions, the
anticipation of endless cruelties.
Etta herself went to her death with
the inmates who were comforted by her.
The Red Cross reported that Etta died on
Nov. 30, 1943.
Would that all the letters could be
reproduced. It is a total heartrending ac-
count.
The English translation by Arnold J.
Pomerans provides the sad record. It
helps assure retention of the facts so
necessary about Dutch Jewry and Wes-
terbork for a totality of indictments of
Nazism.

`Star Children'

More than a million children
perished at the hands of the Nazis. The
story may never be told completely be-

cause the sufferings were so brutally im-
posed on the victims, not enough of them
can relate them.
Now that a few are being assembled
to tell some of the tales, the books relat-
ing them must be treated with great re-
spect and with an anxiety for their widest
distribution.
Star Children (Wayne State Univer-
sity Press) by Clara Asscher-Pinkhof was
translated from the Dutch by Teerese

Clara Asscher-Pinkhof

Edelstein and Inez Smidt. Dr. Harry
James Cargas of the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial Council wrote the introduc-
tion.
The author of Star Children sent the
Dutch text of her book to her publishers
before being sent to the Bergen-Belsen
camp. It is noteworthy that she was able

to go to Palestine on a prison exchange
and completed her work there. It has
since been published in several lan-
guages after its publication in Holland in
1946.
The 68 stories in this book are about
the children who wore the Star of David
to identify them as Jews.
Clara Asscher-Pinkhof knew the
moment she saw the children who were
marked for death, who had the "Star" im-
posed on them, that she had to become
"their voice."
She describes Amsterdam as "Star
City," the detention center she called
"Star House."
The children were sent to Wester-
bork, the transit camp that preceded
their death camp. She calls it "Star Des-
ert."
"Star Hell" is the end of the line for
these children and the author gives this
title to Bergen-Belsen.
The author asserts: "At the end there
are only a few left to tear off the stars,
from among them crowds of Star Chil-
dren who did not live long and happily,
whose stars were torn off by God Himself
and placed among the other stars in the
heavens, as eternal evidence."
The author made other important
contributions to children's literature.
Until her death in Israel in 1984 she con-
tinued a creative life. Every story in her
Star Children is noteworthy in the record
of the many who perished, the few who
survived.

`Survivors'
Holocaust Youth

There is more about the children of
the era of horror, and the stories of the
surviving few are as valuable for the re-

Judith Hemmendinger

cords as those of the martyred.
There also are the escapees. Judith
Hemmendinger is one such who escaped
to Switzerland but her family perished in
Auschwitz.
Her Survivors: Children of the
Holocaust (Zenith Edition, National
Press, Maryland) is her collected effort to
share the impressions of the survivors.
It was in Taverny near Paris that
Judith Hemmendinger was in charge of
rescued children. Her interviews lead to
that locale. It is of great interest that Elie
Wiesel who also was there should recall it
in an impressive foreword to this book,
adding significance to its totality.

Judith Hemmendinger's Survivors:
Children of the Holocaust retraces the

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