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Lecture of Maxa Nordau and Vladimir Jabotinsky Attracts Crowds at Cooper Union

March 21, 1926
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A joint lecture evening of Mile. Maxa Nordau, daughter of the late Dr. Nordau, and Vladimir Jabotinsky, leader of the Zionist Revisionists, attracted crowds on Thursday evening to Cooper Union.

Dr. S. M. Melamed, chairman of the Zionist Downtown District, presided.

Maxa Nordau and Vladimir Jabotinsky lectured on the personality of Dr. Nordau. Mr. Jabotinsky, who was greeted with a great ovation by the audience, delivered a moving address on the character and role of the late Dr. Nordau in world literature of the 19th Century and his participation in the Zionist movement.

“My generation’s young years coincided with the fin de siecle, and in those days Nordau was, intellectually, our first love,” Mr. Jabotinsky declared. “He was the man who explained to us what we called society, parliament, democracy, etc. were just poor imitations of real democracy, real popular rule; that the fin de siecle literature on which we were fed was mostly morbid and unwholesome; in short, that our atmosphere was poisoned with all sorts of “conventional lies.” This merciless criticism helped our generation to get some of the poison out of our mind’s tissue; yet Nordau was accused of being “that typical Jew who loves nothing on earth, who can only hate.” But he proved to us what a power for love he had when he joined the Zionist movement; though his famous Congress speeches, in which he dissected the mouldy soul of the ghetto, were also ruthlessly critical, there throbbed in them a constructive passion which made of us–of some among us–new men, new Jews.”

Speaking of Mademoiselle Nordau, the speaker pointed out the cult with which Nordau’s memory was surrounded in his widow’s and daughter’s home. “Only recently another great Zionist name was dragged in infamy and ridicule by its unworthy present bearer; and many a Zionist father is secretly worried by doubts whether his children will one day prove faithful in spirit. Let this young woman be a good omen and an example. Yet she is not the only spiritual child of Max Nordau. There are others, their number grows, and the fight on. For ‘fighting on’ was the leading principle of the Grand Old Man. Like Cyrano de Bergerac in his last moments, so Nordau, abandoned, scorned, disappointed, still kept on fighting lie and pussilanimity. Almost on his deathbed he wrote a book passionately denouncing the lie of the Versailles ‘peace’; and at the London Zionist Conference in 1920 he warned us not to cheapen Zionism, but to press for the quick realization of Zion as an actual solution of Jewish misery–for conditions which would make possible a mass-immigration of millions of Jews into Palestine. No one followed his call at the time; but Nordau’s day will yet come, and we may repeat to him the words he himself dedicated once to Herzl’s memory: ‘what you swore, we shall keep, and your longing shall be fulfilled.”

Maxa Nordau spoke for over an hour, during which she gave the audience an intimate picture of the late writer and Zionist leader.

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