REVIEW Le Dernier des Justes 107

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Of Zemyock where the Levys settle for two centuries in relative peace It is in the twentieth century that Ernie Levy emerges The Last of the Just in s Germany as Hitler’s sinister star is on the rise and the agonies of Auschwitz loom on the horizon This classic work long unavailable in a trade edition is one of those few novels that once read is never forgott. All I can say is that this book made me weep Literally If you read this book and are unmoved by the terrible inhumanity we are all capable of exhibiting you may not have experienced a healthy dose of love in your life and therefore have no heart Seriously This book follows the Jewish experience through pograms to an entire family's extinction during the Holocaust It examines anti semitism and an all too human reaction to atrocity of not my problem It is tough to read but worth it

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Le Dernier des JustesPublished in sixteen languages and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt Andre Schwarz Bart’s The Last of the Just is considered by many the single greatest novel of the HolocaustOn Marchin the old Anglican city of York the Jews of the city were brutally massacred by their townsmen As legend has it God blessed the only survivor of this medieval pogrom Rabbi. “ It is said that at all times there are 36 special people in the world and that were it not for them all of them if even one of them was missing the world would come to an end The two Hebrew letters for 36 are the lamed which is 30 and the vav which is six Therefore these 36 are referred to as the Lamed Vav Tzadikim This widely held belief this most unusual Jewish concept is based on a Talmudic statement to the effect that in every generation 36 righteous greet the Shechinah the Divine Presence Tractate Sanhedrin 97b; Tractate Sukkah 45b “Rivers of blood have flowed columns of smoke have obscured the sky but surviving all these dooms the tradition has remained inviolate down to our own time According to it the world reposes upon thirty six Just Men the Lamed Vov indistinguishable from simple mortals; often they are unaware of their station But if just one of them were lacking the sufferings of mankind would poison even the souls of the newborn and humanity would suffocate with a single cry For the Lamed Vov are the hearts of the world multiplied and into them as into one receptacle pour all our griefs” — from The Last of the Just by Andre Schwarz BartScattered throughout the world their identity is unknown even to each other If unlikely as it may be one of them is ‘discovered’ by accident the secret of their identity must not be disclosed The lamed vavniks do not themselves know that they are one of the 36 In fact if a person claimed to be one of the 36 that is proof that he or she is certainly not one since the 36 are each great exemplars of anavah “humility” and as such are simply too humble to believe that they are specialLike much of the profound tenets of Jewish mythology the “meaning” of this story is not in its content but in what effect belief in its truth would have on the practice of one’s life What would it mean to live in this world It would mean that not only must I treat every passing human being as a potential cornerstone of the world’s continued existence but that I must recognise and cherish the humble those who seem most attuned to the endless grief and suffering of our species To uery whether such people actually exist is to miss the point as it would be to uery whether Shabbat has any true inherent “specialness” other than that we can give to it through our conscious ritualistic efforts to do so Judaism is at its most powerful when it is about ways of Being in the World rather than creed and dogma which is why it is perfectly possible to be both an atheist and a JewSo how does this concept and the way it is expressed in this novel enrich or illuminate our understanding or “experience” of the Shoah I think that one answer to this uestion is to consider the role of the Author as inhabiting in some way the position of such a Lamed Vav For is it not possible to view Schwarz Bart and many other of his fellow Survivor writers as such vessels for this grief through which it pours is channelled funnelled into ink and forced through the sharp nib of a pen I have studied this period for almost 20 years including writing a Master’s Thesis on some of the worst aspects of Nazi Brutality and yet the ending of this Novel had me in tears in a way very little else had done WhyTo write a Novel of the Shoah is to take on immeasurable sorrow to put pen to page and narrate such events to summon them up from the past and place them raw and bloodied in the Reader’s mind it is a task of unenviable difficulty And when your parents were murdered in Auschwitz When you as a young teenager fought in the French Resistance despite speaking only Yiddish and a slight smattering of French How much harder must the task be then How much greater must the honour be we accord those capable of such action There are many novels that deal with this period and with these events but very few have any true power very few do little but simplify rationalise dramatize turn the indescribable into recognisable tropes and thereby diminish the “truth” of these events Hollywood narratives have no place in the Death CampsThere are many reasons for reading this novel it is wonderfully well written it is endlessly fascinating; it is historically and humanistically rich; its structural and thematic daring is at times breathtaking; and it is filled with people whose tales will move you However the most important reason remains for me that to do so is to perform a ritual to say a set of magic words which re juvenate re incarnate re member the sorrows of Jewish which is a synonym of “human” of course history and which alters the Reader’s present by its presence It is also to acknowledge that “specialness” of those who are prepared to create such a text and to allow our lives to flood over with it There may be many than 36 or there may be less there may also be a piece of each 36 shattered throughout us all but I know there are those in this world whose existence has a power which ripples wider than they know and they should be cherished They may not create art but if they do such art will be as close to the Sacred as an atheist like me can get

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REVIEW Le Dernier des Justes 107 à [Ebook] ➠ Le Dernier des Justes By André Schwarz-Bart – Published in sixteen languages and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt Andre Schwarz Bart’s The Last of the Just is considered by many the single greatest novel of the HolocaustOn March 11 1185 Published in sixteen languageYom Tov Levy as one of the Lamed Vov the thirty six Just Men of Jewish Le Dernier PDFEPUB or tradition a blessing which extended to one Levy of each succeeding generation This terrifying and remarkable legacy is traced over eight centuries from the Spanish Inuisition to expulsions from England France Portugal Germany and Russia and to the small Polish village. it is difficult to find words to describe a book that i look back upon as one of the most brilliant yet difficult reads of my life andre' schwarz bart winner of the Prix Goncourt is an author extraordinnaire a genius of a writer who might not appeal to the average reader please forgive the sound of arrogance yet will titillate the juices of the discriminating deep reader i cannot say too much nor do i want to write so called spoilers this work of genius and art ranks as one the difficult holocaust story reads i've EVER experienced schwarz bart takes his readers on a roller coaster ride through the history of the story of the last of the just which commences back to the time of the prophet isaiah jumping from chapter to chapter from the life of ernie levy the last of the just back tothe beginingthen back to ernie once until eventually we stay with ernie and his attempts to escape the almost inevitable fate of every european jew during the rise of hitler's nazi war machine and attempts to wipe the jews off the face of the earth i promise you great emotion as you travel with mr schwarz bart the 36 mortal just men and then ernie levy the last of the just brilliant emotional and a don't miss must read