WASHINGTON (Oct. 29)
The selection of Soviet novelist Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” for a Nobel Prize has attracted the interest of many Jews who feel the novel makes a case against Jewish survival.
The author who rejected the prize today after being subjected to a campaign of abuse and vilification in the Soviet Union, is himself of Jewish origin and the son of the late Leonid Pasternak, a noted Russian-Jewish painter who was deeply interested in Jewish life and visited Palestine.
In “Doctor Zhivago,” Pasternak refers to anti-Semitism. He asks “For what purpose are these innocent old men and women and children, all the subtle, kind, humane people, mocked and beaten up throughout the centuries?”
But instead of rebuking the anti-Semites. Pasternak goes on to ask why the intellectual leaders of Jewry have not “disbanded this army which keeps fighting and being massacred nobody knows what for.”
It is concluded from this that Pasternak does not see a purpose in the sacrifice of Jews for survival and feels that Jewry should surrender to anti-Semitism and disappear.
Pasternak’s assertion that “nobody knows” why Jews strive to survive is seen by many readers to reflect an attempt to repudiate Judaism and Jewish values.