Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Short History of the Jewish People: 1600 B.C.-A.D. 1935

I came across this work and found it to be especially somber - not because of its content alone, but because of its date of publication - 1936. Cecil Roth, an Oxford-educated historian, completed this work during an era of rampant anti-Semitism in Europe, but prior to the most violent events of the Holocaust.

From the Oxford Chabad Society:
"As early as 1933, Roth penned a letter of protest to the London Times against Hitler's declaration to boycott Jewish establishments. Roth wrote numerous articles and also developed books such as 'Jewish Contribution to Civilization' that was written specifically because it had the potential to show the Germans and the world how the Jews have contributed greatly to society, and possibly have the side effect of mitigating mal treatment against the Jews."
While Roth noted the pogroms against European Jewish communities in 'A Short History', he was obviously unaware of the terror that would erupt so soon after his work was published. Nevertheless, he concluded his work speaking of "dangers [to the Jewish people] which, in any other case, might prove fatal" but believed that "[the Jewish people] can look the gravest dangers and difficulties of the moment in the face, in the calm confidence that each has been encountered, and surmounted, at least once before."

It is both ominous and tragic.

No comments:

Post a Comment