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Thomas Mann Praises Jewish Colonies As He Tours Holy Land for Book Material

April 9, 1930
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Zionism was compared, in its ideals and purposes, to the Romantic movement among the Germans in the nineteenth century by Thomas Mann, eminent German author and Nobel Prize winner, who is visiting the Holy Land in order to gather material for a new novel to be based on the Bible story of Jacob and Joseph.

In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Mr. Mann declared that while the settlement at Dilb had greatly impressed him Tel Aviv struck him most because in this all-Jewish city he found the Jews unlike Jews elsewhere. They seem, said Mr. Mann, “freer and happier.” He believes that Tel Aviv has a bright future because of the wide-awakeness and intellectuality of its people.

The world-famous novelist in discussing the present situation, pointed out that the Jews are doing fine work but “they must not push their heads through the wall; they must go carefully. After all the Arabs have been here for over 1,000 years and they too have historical associations and rights to the land. But the Jew has not come to conquer but to fulfill himself and to liberate his soul. Arabs and Jews can certainly live and build together.” Mr. Mann said he was deciding with Zionism but declared that he could be set down as “with spiritual Zionism.”

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