I Wonder how many pe### happened in Germany just ###istice, the circumstances ### cate and the conditions of co### generals, dictated Germany’s ### in Germany during the autun### in the postscript to his “Th###main”, “though historically s### people, or, at best, the mem### beneath a steady accumulati######ume I have attempted to give ### weeks during which the fou### existence after the war.”
Plivier, whose previous wo### “The Kaiser’s Coolies”, elicited mu### favorable comment, writes his hi######tory with a touch of fiction ar### with an attempt to give us the fe### of the social fabric by using spec######mens of the common people, so ### diers, sailors, women on food lin### and of course many revolutionaries ### Reichstag deputies, Cabinet membe### and various aides-de-camps, wit### their proper names, their proper (###improper) actions portrayed, their words quoted and their intention clarified. This is History bright ###ened by the dramatic sense of a ma### who feels the throb of events. ‘Th### Kaiser Goes: The Generals Remain’ tells us why the Kaiser had to abdicate, why the German armies had to have an Armistice, at almost any price, by what methods the Social Democrats took control of the Communist revolution, regularized it and broke it impulse on the wheels of Parliamentarianism.
Mr. Pliver’s bookâ€”which is published by the Macmillan Company in a capable translation by A. W. Wheenâ€”authoritatively corrects some of the Nazi legends about the War and the Armistice; the legend of victorious German armies being stabbed in the back by Social Democratic traitors and thus forced to accept an Armistice, Mr. Plivier makes it plain that if the Social Democratsâ€”especially such as Ebert and Noskeâ€”were traitors they were traitors not to their Emperor, or to Hindenburg or Ludendorff, but to the Independent Socialists and the Communists who had, with almost no organization, taken over the whole of the seacoast and were carrying the revolution through the interior. Mr. Plivier lets us see by what process Ebert saved the Reich from the Red Revolution, by summoning the very generals who were, to the radicals, the symbols of Reaction. Ebert’s contribution as an enemy of Revolution seems to have been so generally recognized that even the Nazis have been made a bit uneasy and the Berlin street honoring him was one of the last of which the Nazis changed the name.
Mr. Plivier paints for us a Germany exhausted in its civilian population, weary to death in its military, discouraged in its generals, stupidly ignorant in its generals, stupidly ignorant in the Kaiser and his lickspittles, flaming red in its revolutionaries and treacherous in its Social Democrats. The revolution seems to have been initiated, without guidance or leadership, in the stokeholds and forecastles of the warships that steamed out of Kiel to engage the English fleetâ€”an almost suicidal effort on the part of the German High Command to rally the people behind the “last effort.” From the individual ships which raised the red flag, the revolt spread to the land, liberated the tens of thousands of political prisoners, spread to such towns as Hamburg. Forced the abdication of the Duke of Brunswick and moved on into Berlin, while a Kaiser was still debating with his generals the advisability of leading an army the temper of which he was ignorant, against the rebels.
The Nazis may sneer at Mr. Plivier’s book, but the worst is, that ### in a convincing dissertation which was written in partial fulfillment of the requirements for his doctor’s degree at Teachers College, entitled “Judaism in a Changing Civilization” (New York: Teachers College Publications, 213 pp., 1933), attempts to explain coherently the current theories of Jewish survival and their implications for Jewish education. Dr. Dinin announces that this volume is a condensation of a great amount of material which he gathered for his thesis. It will be followed later, he says, by subsequent work “analyzing democracy and the place of minority groups in a democracy.”
The first five parts of his work which are included in this volume treat first, the reason for Jewish survival in the Diaspora; second, the religionist theories of Jewish survival held by Orthodox, Reform and Conservative groups; third, the Nationalist theories of Jewish survival, particularly those of the Spiritual Zionists, the Anti-Diaspora Jews, and the Galut Nationalists; fourth, the theories of Jewish survival held by the different labor and economic groups; fifth, the theory of survival held by the Reconstructionists.
Dr. Dinin’s work is exhaustive and scholarly, his style lucid and interesting. There is a warmth of feeling that the reader feels in cursory reading, prevailing throughout the volume. Opinions there are in plenty but they are not the hasty, uncalculated prejudices or the trite, brittle views of a careless investigator.
“Now that religion is losing its power as a national solidifier, cultural bonds must be substituted. Language is the soul as well as the soil of culture … the means of communication. Yiddish must assume the role once held by religion.”
However violent your disagreement, the matter is food for reflection. What will then happen to Judaism as we know it today? What will then happen to the old forms? What will the new forms be like?
Dr. Dinin holds that Judaism will have to undergo a “national-poetic rebirth” if it is to survive in modern times. “Many of the old forms.” he writes, “can be retained, but they will have to be clothed with a new content. Judaism too, like all religions, has its holy personsâ€”temples, hills, vales, streams, trees; its ceremonialâ€”phylacteries and scrolls of law … they still have a magnetic power over the soul of a truly religious person … We must strip the customs and folkways of their thaumaturgy qualities … we must transform … we must discard … we must cleanse.”
It is to be regretted that limitations of space make it impossible to quote at length from this highly informative and provoking book. “Judaism in a Changing Civilization” is indeed a contribution to education and cannot be overlooked by those interested in the welfare of the Jewish race. Arthur Settle.
### must be puzzling. He was not a man who could be found waiting for the spotlight to pick him up. Yet to the theatrical world he was all-powerful and typified everything that they believed a man should be. He ruled not because he wanted to but because he had that rare qualityâ€”understanding of the other fellow’s troubles.
The thought of death is especially terrifying to the confirmed Broadwayite. It is the only thing he can’t patronize or alibi away. With a reputation for being hard-boiled the Broadwayite is the most sentimental and maudlin of men. The death of Sime Silverman was like a clanging signal for the boys to let go and they did with a eulogistic out-burst that would have made a living Sime Silverman squirm with discomfort.
Sime Silverman was important because he refused to be blinded by the Broadway “front.” He knew what went on behind the glitter and he understood it.
At Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago a meeting of theatrical people was held before an official who is Jewish. Most of the men present were also of that faith. When time to adjourn for the day came, the official announced that the next conference would take place on Thursday, September 21. Everyone nodded until Pat Casey, an Irishman, and one of the indusry’s best known figures, got up and said, “Mr. Commissioner, we can’t meet next Thursday; it is Rosh Hashonah.” The Commissioner agreed to a further postponement.
The publishing business has felt a noticeable improvement in the past few months. Titles that were creeping in with sales records of five or less copies are now becoming rarer. Minimum sales have increased… Many authors claim that they do not care what critics say about their books and that they never read reviews of the opus in print. Without knowing what has been said about their books they seem to have a second sight because invariably, if the reviews are unfavorable, they curse the critics…. ###ly follows the Leader.
Bennett Southard as the Jewish professor and Lester Alden as the president of the medical society, both overact to a disagreeable point.
“Kultur”, as the first play to reach Broadway on present conditions in Germany, fails miserably to give any idea of the suffering and the persecution endured by hundreds of thousands of people, While one many be criticized for having that view, to see a Broadway burlesque of so tragic a situation which ignores any attempt at seriousness is disheartening.
Adapted and staged by Adolf Philipp, “Kultur” may be viewed at the Mansfield Theatre.
“ONCE UPON A TIME”
“Once Upon a Time”, by Peretz Hirshbein, now playing at the Second Avenue Theatre, is derived from the vast body of medieval folk-lore and legend bound up with the prophet Elijah, who is said to have appeared to men in different forms, performed miracles, advised them, given aid, and punished them for their sins.
The story in itself is simple, dealing with the pernicious influence of greed on a family of poor Jewish folk of Eastern Europe, who on having been kind to a stranger (the prophet Elijah) receive an endless supply of gold from an old sack which the stranger has left behind. The money instead of being a blessing to the family of Chaim Duvid only serves to alienate them. The gold vanishes as mysteriously as it had come. The household of Chaim Duvid end up wiser and happier people for having had revealed to them the unhappiness that comes from avarice.
The first half of the play is much better than the last. The latter part suffers from a thinness of plot and lack of invention. The story is not sufficiently developed and there is a lack of complication in the incidents which results in a series of tableaux rather than dramatic action.
Samuel Goldenberg, in the role of the stranger, gives the outstanding performance in the play. Dressed in rags and bent over with weariness, he maintains a dignity of spirit and demeanor that lends sincerity to the interpretation of the spirit of Elijah. The cast includes Celia Adler, Joseph Buloff, Bina Abramawitz, Moishe Feder, Luba Kadison and others.
Michael Saks presents the play with an eye to bringing to the Yiddish theatre the better type of production. Although “Once Upon a Time” is not all one would hope for, nevertheless it marks an improvement in the type of entertainment offered by the Yiddish theatre, with the exception of the Yiddish Art group.
The music for the production was written by Lazar Weiner and that part of the score which clung to the traditional Jewish music was more effective than the other. The dances were arranged by Illya Trilling and the settings were designed by Leib Kadison. The play was produced by Ossip Dymow and Leib Kadison.
“MEN IN WHITE”
“Men in White” by Sidney Kingsley, the story of a young physician who is faced with the problem of either devoting himself entirely to his medical work or joining in the pleasures of youth and life as his fiancee urges him to, is now playing at the Broadhurst Theatre. The production is sponsored by the Group Theatre in conjunction with Sidney Harmon and James R. Ullman. Alexander Kirkland has the role of the young physician and he is supported by Margaret Baker, Luther Adler, J. Edward Bromberg, Morris Carnovsky and others of the permanent Group Theatre Acting Company.
“Jewish Follies of 1934”, first Yiddish motion picture musical, is being completed by the Jewish Talking Picture Company in New York. One of the most ambitious Yiddish talking films yet made, the cast comprises a list of favorites headed by the late Cantor Josef Rosenblatt, Included in the cast are: Joseph Buloff, Menashe Skulnick, Boris Rosenthal and Meyer Machtenberg’s Symphony Choir. Sydney Golden is directing and Sam Rosen is in charge of the production…. “Jew Suss”, the novel by Lion Feuchtwanger which was dramatized several seasons ago by Maurice Schwartz, is now being made into a talking picture in England by the Gaumont-British Company. Conrad Veidt, German film star, is to have the leading role.