Events around date of publication of this item.
: David Lan Published in
: London Review of BooksDate of issue
2 April 1987Topic(s) addressed
: People/entities mentioned in this item:
The High Court of Justice in London, 1967. Dr. Miklos Yaron, a Hungarian gynaecologist, is suing his former assistant Ruth Kaplan for libel. Kaplan has published a pamphlet accusing Yaron of collaboration with Nazi leaders in 1944....
Is there anyone in Britain interested in the theatre, in civil liberties or in Jews who can't identify this as a scene in Jim Allen's play Perdition? The successful lobbying by Jews in Britain to have its production cancelled has made it one of the most famous plays of the decade....
I'll start with a confession: I am the only Jew in England who is not an expert on Zionist politics, 1939-1945.... When I was growing up in South Africa I was totally uninterested in - not to say, embarrassed by - Zionism, or accurately, by Zionists. How I feel is captured by Lenni Brenner's account, in Jews in America Today, of the callow youth who are heard to say "I wouldn't be seen dead with those creeps." ....
The most passionate chapter, "Six Million Skeletons in the Closet," is a return to the themes of Brenner's earlier book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, one of the key sources for Perdition. Here Brenner reviews the efforts of the Jewish establishment of the war years to play down, even to conceal, reports of the camps in Europe for fear of inciting anti-semitism at home. One of his prize quotations is also used by Jim Allen. It is from a letter sent by Rabbi Steven Wise, leader of the American Jewish Congress, to Roosevelt in 1942, the first year of the final solution: "I have had cables and underground advices for some months, telling of these things. I succeeded, together with the heads of other Jewish organizations, in keeping them out of the press."
"I wouldn't be seen dead with those creeps." As I watched Shoah, it came to me that of course in certain circumstances, whether I wished to or not, I would.