Max Reinhardt has come to the United States to produce a Jewish play. The play, entitled “The Road to Promise,” is the work of a Jewish dramatist, Franz Werfel. The music is by Kurt Weill, a Jewish composer. Werfel’s manuscript, a Jewish “Morality Play,’ is to be translated from the German by Ludwig Lewisohn. The producer is Meyer Weisgal.
That the foremost German theatrical genius, Max Reinhardt, who has done more than any other man to elevate the German stage in modern times, will now direct this Jewish play, is Hitler’s contribution to the Jews. While the Nazi Fuehrer is persecuting and humiliating the Jews of Germany, endeavoring to crush them physically, economically and spiritually, the effect of his cruelties has been just the opposite of what he has expected. The Jews of Germany are returning to Judaism and Jewishness. The German Jewish exiles, scattered over the world, are now giving their creative talents to their own people, to the Jews, and to the lands which offer them shelter and new opportunities for cultural work.
The genius that has enriched Germany for many years is in exile now. The people who made Germany one of the great cultural centers in Europe have been driven from their home, degraded and robbed by the Nazi government of their possessions. The rest of the world welcomes them and honors them as creators of cultural values that will outlive Hitlerism.
There is another thing that the Hitlerites, in their blind anti-Jewish madness, did not foresee. Instead of exterminating the Jews by all sorts of devices of discrimination and persecution, they have actually increased the number of German Jews. When Hitler came into power, there were only about six hundred thousand Jews in Germany. Today there are about two or three million, for the “Aryan paragraph” includes also the Jews who had abandoned Judaism, the so-called Christian Jews whose only link with Jewry was through their forgotten grandmothers. But it may be that the Nazis had a deliberate design in thus increasing the number of German Jews. They wanted more Jews to persecute.
A FILM OF LIFE
The story of the beginnings of the Warner Brothers, the American film magnates, has come out in connection with the death of Mrs. Benjamin Warner, mother of the four Warner brothers. She came from Poland to this country years ago with her husband, and settled in Youngstown, Ohio. The father worked as a cobbler. The boys tried their hands at all sorts of occupations. One of them was a soap salesman, another was a peddler, a third was selling popular songs. The old man’s trade did not yield enough to sustain him and Mrs. Warner. So a family council was held for the purpose of considering a way out of the critical situation.
All the sons gathered in their parents’ home and decided to pool their interests and work together. One of them suggested that they enter the film industry, then in its infancy. The father pawned his old watch which he had brought along from the old country, and with these proceeds, together with the boys’ meager savings, the family bought a projection machine and exhibited “The Great Train Robbery.” They struggled and worked industriously, suffering privations in the beginning, but they were determined to hold together and to take full advantage of the opportunities their people had been denied in Poland. And they have risen to the front ranks in the film industry.
The story of the hardships, the struggles and the rise of this immigrant family in America, the land of equal opportunity, would make a more thrilling and fascinating film than any that the Warner Brothers have thus far produced.