JESUS RACONTE PAR LE JUIF ERRANT. By Edmond Fleg. Librairie Gallimard, Paris, 1934.
The story of Jesus as Narrated by the Wandering Jew,” is the English translation of the title of this last work by the author of “Hear, O Israel,” “Moses,” and “Solomon,” which have given him a prominent place in France as an impartial historian of Biblical events. This life of Christ, coming from the pen of a Christian writer, shows a refreshing breadth of view. One of its main aims is to free the Jews of the period from any blame of the crime of “deicide.” Jesus is pictured as one of the Jewish rabbis of the period who had his own following of disciples like the other rabbis and who taught the usual teachings of Judaism, but added to them his own interpretations. That he suffered death at the cross was no fault of the Jews, the author proves, but of the secular rulers of Palestine at that time-the Romans, with whose political philosophies Jesus’ teachings had come in conflict.
What is rather surprising in this Judeophile work is that the author adopts as the narrator the “Wandering Jew” a flctitious figure in no way complimentary to the Jewish people, as it was invented by medieval bigots as a chastisement of the Jew for the alleged crime of crucifying Christ.
The story deals with the love affair of a young Jewish writer. Spira, with a German woman, Carola Weber. It begins in 1932 and ends in 1933 prior to the advent of the Hitler regime. Local background: mountain sanitarium in Germany, near the Silesian border. The affair runs a smooth, poetic course, until the day when the first clash occurs. The question of race brings to the foreground the conflict between the Jew and his Aryan sweetheart, which ultimately leads to final spearation. They physical attraction and love between the Jew and the Aryan woman is doomed to defeat in the clash of opposed spiritual ideals. This love between the Jew and Aryan the author calls “Distance-love,” as there can never be any “real merging of two beings” with such divergent moral and mental backgrounds.
THE ASSIMILATED JEW
The title of this novel, “Jew? No, Israelite,” almost tells the story. The author’s chief aim is to show the distinction between a real Jew and an assimilated Jew, who is Jewish in name only. The Countess de Meillan was one of those who thought that the Jews formed a caste by themselves, and were guided in everything by selfishness. During the war, as a nurse, she falls in love with a wounded army lieutenant, later learning to her sorrow that his name is Simon Levy. However, love overcomes all her prejudices and the French countess becomes Madame Levy. Everything runs smoothly until she discovers that Levy is too assimilated. He goes every day to his cafe, attends hunting parties and does everything in exactly the same way as the small-town well-to-do Frenchman.
In Countess de Meillan’s eyes he has lost the personality with which she endowed him and with this disillusionment comes the end of love. The idea which the author tries to convey through his work is that there is no more a Jewish race than a Mohammedan, French or German race. The term race which refers to a specific zoological entitye, in his view, is being confused with social concepts such as language or nationality. The Jews do not represent any particular types as there are just as many brachycephalic as dolichocephalic types among them, both of brunette and blonde complexion. What really characterizes the Jew is the language and habits and customs which he has acquired during centuries of ghetto life.
“THE BLACK BOOK”
This new book of facts and documents-in English “The Black Book,”-written in German, follows up the Brown Book of last year. Its 500 pages are filled with irrefutable evidence of the barbarities practiced in Germany during the latter part of 1933. It completes the picture of “Aryan” Kultur of Nazi Germany.
ALEXANDRIA’S CHIEF RABBI
This rather bulky volume in Italian, dealing with the last “Five Years of the Rabbinate” of David Prato, Chief Rabbi of Alexandria is an historical study of the origin and growth of the Jewish colony of Alexandria, with special attention to the last few years. It presents an excellent example at to what can be achieved toward Jewish advancement in a community where all work in harmony.
APPEAL TO GERMAN JEWS
“The Call to Judaism” is a touching appeal to the German Jews to face bravely the present critical hour of German Judaism and to unite in a common effort to come out succesfully from the test of their religious and moral strength which they are now undergoing.