Back in 1861, Jewish philosopher Moshe Hess wrote: “… [non-Jews] may tolerate us and even grant us emancipation, but they will never respect us as long as we place the principle ubi bene ibi patria (“my country is where I feel good”) above our own great national memories.”
One would think that after being persecuted in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s – not to mention after the catastrophic result of WWII — Jews would have realized the futility of trying to gain acceptance by denying or distancing themselves from their roots.
However, in reading the recently published book, After Germany’s Fall, chronicling events witnessed by Eli Blankfeld between the years of 1946-1953, I was amazed by stories of survivors living in Munich who tried to integrate into the society by denying they were Jews.
The book, a collection of articles published in the Yiddish newspaper Unser Welt, is of historical value, as it brings to light, among other things, the degrading conditions Jews still endured in the years after being liberated from the concentration camps.
I became aware of these and many other stories a couple of years ago, when I found my father’s typewritten Yiddish pages bound in a book he gave my mother on their first wedding anniversary, in 1953.
I immediately proceeded to get it translated with the intention of having it for his children and grandchildren as none of us read Yiddish. As the translator began sending me those stories and their historical magnitude unfolded, I decided it should be available to a larger audience.
How could his perspective of the Phillip Auerbach trial not be shared? How could Moshe Halperin’s narrative about my father’s involvement in the liberation of his Etsel comrades Avraham Hubert and Jacob Redlich from British prison not be revealed?
All the stories are reported in his typical passionate way and have his proud Jewish and Zionist mark affiliated with Jabotinsky’s movement. Can it reflect some bias in his perspective? Certainly. But nevertheless, it is a witness account Jewish life in Munich after WWII.
You can find a copy of the book at Amazon books. All proceeds received from the sale will go towards supporting The Desiree and Max Blankfeld Fund for Jewish Studies at Rice University and Houston Hillel’s Desiree and Max Blankfeld Scholarship for experiences in Israel
Please share this post if you like it