Ernest Bloch is a great composer. He is now the foremost Jewish composer in the world. When Mr. Bloch speaks on music, he speaks with authority. Whatever he says on that subject is extremely interesting and illuminating. But Mr. Bloch makes the mistake of many celebrities who discuss for publication every subject under the sunmerely because they attained fame as masters in their own chosen fields. When Mr. Bloch airs his views on Hitler and Hitlerism, he not only reveals his own limited knowledge of what is happening in Germany, but he renders a disservice to the cause of all right-thinking people who are combating the Nazi menace.
Mr. Bloch is quoted in The New York Times as saying:
“The phenomenon of Germany is bigger than the treatment of the Jews. A movement as pro-found as the Lutheran Reformation is taking place. I greatly respect Hitler’s sincerity. He believes wholly and disinterestedly in what he is doing. He is a fanatic, if you will, on fire with his cause, but certainly not an opportunist making political capital. I do not think he is right. But to label him and his movement as anti-Jewish is inaccurate. The movement goes much further back; its Jewish aspect is discernible in H. S. Chamberlain’s ‘Genesis of the Nineteenth Century.’ Great books lead the movements of the world. Chamberlain’s work, with its terrible anti-Semitism, has had an immense if unrecognizable influence on the rise of the nationalistic movement crystallizing in Fascism today, just as Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ led the other great movement of our time–Communism.”
There is no doubt that Chamberlain’s book, brimful of distortions of facts and vicious Judo-phobia, served as one of the pillars of Hitlerism and Nazism. “The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion” formed another pillar of Hitlerism. To speak of Chamberlain’s book as a great work is just as absurd as to speak of the ## as an authentic work.
When one of the interviewers asked Mr. Bloch what the functions of a creative artist should be in this experimental age, the great composer replied:
“To make love and create beautiful works. Not only artists, but every one should do that. The engineer, the window-washer should do their work finely. beautifully. for its own sake. That would solve many of our problems People depend too much on hypotheses they don’t understand–Freud or communism or technocracy.”
If only the great musician would follow his own splendid recipe.